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If I was the type of guy to say I told you so …
Alberto El Patron was terminated by Impact Wrestling this week, following a pair of no-shows this weekend as the company ran events in conjunction with WrestleCon during WrestleMania weekend. El Patron no-showed the Impact vs. Lucha Underground show this weekend, and then the next day, no-showed a scheduled autograph appearance. El Patron has not made a public comment, despite numerous media outlets reaching out to him.
Just par for the course with this guy.
El Patron was scheduled to face Austin Aries in an Impact World Title match at the upcoming Redemption pay-per-view later this month. If you listen to Andrew Soucek and I on the Thursday PWTorch Livecast, you know that we criticized the move from the very beginning.
El Patron had proven himself to be undependable. Despite never being found guilty (or even charged) with anything stemming from an airport incident with Paige last summer, he messed up the company’s plans for Bound for Glory and had to be stripped of the World Title. Upon returning, he was thrust back into the main event picture.
Then, one of the first moves Don Callis and Scott D’Amore made as the new heads of wrestling operations was to put El Patron, of all people, in the main event of a pay-per-view. Remember, these episodes — and hence, this match — was booked back in January when the company was taping television in Orlando. D’Amore and Callis had to hope that El Patron would stay out of trouble for three whole months.
Obviously, that was too much to ask.
While the blame for his behavior is all on El Patron, Callis and D’Amore shouldn’t be immune to criticism for this decision. They knew his history, and they still put themselves in a position to depend on El Patron. That’s a huge mistake.
Callis and D’Amore deserve credit for what have been entertaining shows recently. Until this week, the viewership numbers had been climbing steadily. All indications are that the Impact vs. Lucha Underground special from this weekend was a huge success. But the El Patron story will be a dark cloud that hangs over the promotion on what should have been a celebrated weekend.
The silver lining is that El Patron was the highest-paid member on the talent roster. While dumb (he’s not a draw and didn’t deserve to be the highest-paid member of the roster), his termination should open up a lot of funds for new Impact signings. If Callis and D’Amore are really about making a change, they now have some salary flexibility to sign some up-and-coming stars, instead of WWE re-treads.
Impact has the opportunity to turn a negative into a huge positive. The only problem is they created the negative themselves by relying on Patron. I don’t feel sympathy for them, and you shouldn’t either. They knew the risks, and they made the decision to put him in a main-event spot anyway. That’s dumb. Point proven.
Much like the name of their upcoming pay-per-view, D’Amore and Callis have a chance for some redemption if they take Patron’s salary and do some good with it. Improve their roster. Help their company. But they need to make the right decision. Patron was strike one, and it was a big swing and a miss.