Impact Wrestling has had a pretty fascinating 2017 so far. They’ve been rebranded from “TNA” to “Impact,” saw Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell return to power and lost their biggest stars in Matt and Jeff Hardy, as well as other featured performers in Drew Galloway, Aron Rex, and Jade.
However, Impact’s losses have been WWE’s gain, as they quickly picked up the Hardys (now a featured part of Monday Night Raw) and Galloway (now rebranded back as Drew McIntyre in NXT). It now looks like the company is about to sign a pair of recent Impact alumni once again.
According to Sportskeeda, free agents Mike Bennet and Maria are set to join WWE soon.
“We have been informed by our sources that both Bennett and Maria have either signed or all but signed their new WWE deals.”
This news is a bit surprising, as the company could have likely brought the two in at any point over the past few years (minus their time under contract to TNA), but they never did. However, now with the brand split in full effect, and the emergence of NXT, they need more wrestlers under contract than ever.
Of course, whenever someone signs with WWE, the question quickly turns to which brand they’ll debut on. Sportskeeda also revealed the tentative plans for the married couple.
“It is believed that there was some debate as to whether they would be used on SmackDown Live or NXT.”
That news is not too surprising, as both brands could badly use the duo right now (though Raw certainly could as well). Even with the recent additions of Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black, and Kassius Ohno, NXT still has nowhere near the buzz they did when Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor, Bayley, Charlotte and Sasha Banks were all in the promotion.
However, SmackDown could always use some more credible heels as well. Even with the arrival of Kevin Owens, they need someone to feud with the likes of Sami Zayn, and A.J. Styles when he eventually turns face. Bennett could be that guy. And while Maria isn’t an in-ring general, she could certainly be used to bolster the ranks of the women’s division and compete in the occasional match.
Even though the move feels well past due, it will be interesting to see how the couple will fare in WWE. Bennett did a great job for himself on Impact, where he was given an opportunity to be a legitimate singles star and was often booked at the top of the midcard. He seemed to be more comfortable as a character in the promotion than he ever was in ROH, and if he’s able to take that level of poise and demeanor over to WWE, he should be able to find quite a bit of success.
Maria was a member of the WWE roster from 2004 to 2010 until she was released. What’s intriguing about her return is that she had a bit of heat with The Bella Twins, whom she believed prevented her from coming back a couple years ago. Bennett has never been employed by WWE, but he was a member of the Ring of Honor roster for seven years. The two joined TNA on the first episode of 2016 and announced they were leaving in March of 2017.
If Mike Bennett and Maria do sign with the company, this would be a good move on WWE’s part. The two are entertaining and talented heels who deserve another shot (or a first one) in the major leagues. Still, it also once again makes Impact look foolish for letting some of their most talented wrestlers get away and sign with their much larger competitor.
[Featured Image by Impact Wrestling]