Two names that have been associated with Impact Wrestling for over 15 years are headed to World Wrestling Entertainment: Abyss and Sonjay Dutt.
The news was first reported by Mike Johnson of PWInsider, who noted that both wrestlers that also had backstage roles in the company were given permission to pursue other opportunities. Johnson said that multiple sources believe Abyss (who also played Joseph Park) and Dutt are headed to WWE.
The departures are believed to be amicable according to Johnson’s report and Impact management emailed the roster to let them know the news.
Ed Nordholm, the President of Impact Wrestling, issued this statement to WrestlingInc to confirm that Abyss and Dutt have left the company:
“We reached an amicable agreement with Sonjay and Abyss to allow them to pursue this opportunity. They have been tremendous contributors to IMPACT Wrestling and we wish them every success. We are thrilled that Konnan and Tommy Dreamer have agreed to bring their 50+ years of experience to our core creative team.”
Dutt was working on the creative team in Impact along with Don Callis, Scott D’Amore and Jimmy Jacobs. Now that he is gone from that position, Impact has brought in Konnan and Tommy Dreamer as part of their creative team.
Abyss has been a part of Impact since 2002 when the company started as TNA. He’s one of the best wrestlers in the history of TNA/Impact and considered the best big man they ever had. Earlier in the decade, he also had a lot of success as an alter ego named Joseph Park, which showed how talented of a performer he was.
Dutt started in Impact in 2003 and was part of the exciting X-Division that was mostly built around cruiserweight wrestlers. He left and came back a few times during his career.
Their roles in WWE are not known yet, but Abyss is 45 years old. He had been working as a producer that helped put together matches and promos, so it’s likely that will be his role in WWE. There’s always a chance that he could wrestle in WWE as well since Abyss would give them a big guy to work with Braun Strowman or perhaps the older big guys like Undertaker and Kane. It might be too late for that, though.
Dutt is 36 years old with a lot of experience, so it’s possible he could be wrestling there or perhaps taking a behind the scenes role like he has had in Impact.
A few years ago, Abyss was interviewed about why he didn’t join WWE when he had a chance in 2006. It turns out he’s a very loyal guy and that’s an admirable thing. Here’s how he explained it on Jim Ross’ podcast with thanks to WrestlingInc for the summary:
Ross asked for the scoop on whether or not WWE offered him a contract years ago. Abyss said John Laurinaitis, who was then Head of Talent Relations, offered him a job with an immediate main event push. Tommy Dreamer worked beneath “Big Johnny” in WWE’s head office at the time and orchestrated a conversation between Chris Park and WWE when Abyss’ TNA contract was coming up in 2006. Abyss said he decided not to go at the last minute. Tommy Dreamer called it “stage fright” but Abyss said it was just very hard to leave TNA. He said that he helped build TNA from the ground up, adding that 2005-2006 was one of the hottest times for the company. He said, “I would rather have been part of something… versus taking the chance of going somewhere and just being a number.”
Abyss said he has friends in WWE and he’s incredibly appreciative for the offer, adding: “I’m sure it’s an amazing place to work.”
JR asked what the creative plans for Abyss might have been and Abyss said he was supposed to debut at the 2007 Royal Rumble. From there he would have started a rivalry with the The Undertaker, which would have ended at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. JR said Abyss is an honorable man for choosing to stay with TNA, joking that most wrestlers would give up just about anything for that opportunity.
Abyss was inducted into Impact’s Hall of Fame last year. You can watch it below.
With the Royal Rumble coming up on Sunday, Abyss could be a nice surprise that would likely generate a pretty good reaction from the crowd if he was in full Abyss gear. I don’t know if that’s planned or what might happen.
TJR Thoughts: Abyss is one of the most talented big men wrestlers of this generation. He is 6’8″ and can really move around the ring well, but at 45 years old, I don’t know if he’s going to be wrestling in WWE. There might be some short term plan in place, though. Why not? I think long term it’s likely that WWE will use him to help train less experienced big guys to work the right way and have good matches. In the short term, he could wrestle Braun Strowman or a Lars Sullivan perhaps to help them improve.
He could be an asset at the Performance Center or on the main roster. Dutt has a lot of experience in cruiserweight wrestling, so they could use him on 205 Live as talent or perhaps he’ll be behind the scenes only.
Congrats to both guys on their new jobs. I’m sure it was hard to leave Impact after being there for so long, but I think we all know that WWE is in a position to get as much talent as they can to help their product. I will update this post if more info becomes available over the next day or two.