Impact Wrestling Is Shaking Up Their Roster With MMA Legend Ken Shamrock And NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji

With their Bound For Glory pay-per-view coming up on October 20, Impact Wrestling has brought in some big names who have histories with the company but are better known for their work in the MMA world, the WWF, and Pro Wrestling NOAH.

Last month, it was announced that Ken Shamrock, who can count being the first champion crowned by TNA (on their first PPV) among his many accomplishments, and the MMA legend quickly began feuding with multiple Impact personalities. He’s been beefing with Brian Cage and Moose – especially Moose – on social media and remotely on Impact TV, and is making his first in-person appearances of this Impact run at their tapings this week.

Shamrock returned to wrestling with bookings on the independent circuit and it sounds like he has plans to stay in the game for a while. After the Impact announcement, he told Sporting News, “I announced a year ago that I was coming back to wrestling and to win the heavyweight title. When I said that, I wasn’t targeting just one title. I wanted to come back to pro wrestling and capture the heavyweight title for whichever organization is hot. Right now, it seems like it’s Impact and AEW. WWE is up there as well.”

Last night, Impact announced another legendary figure, this one from the Japanese wrestling world, for Bound for Glory in Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji. This will be Marufuji’s first time wrestling in the United States since 2017, when he debuted for Impact at Slammiversary and wrestled a few more matches for them back when the NOAH formed a relationship with Impact when it was known as Global Force Wrestling.

While most of Marufuji’s work has been in Japan, he also performed in the U.S. between 2005-8 for Ring of Honor, during the period that drew a lot of new, international eyes to NOAH. His return to Impact comes at a time when NOAH recently formed a relationship with another North American wrestling company, MLW. This partnership has so far resulted in MLW’s Alex Hammerstone wrestling in NOAH’s N-1 tournament and at least one of his matches being scheduled to air as part of MLW programming. The Impact-NOAH relationship seems like a likely reason another international wrestler will be making his NOAH debut soon – Impact Wrestling’s Rhyno later this month.

For Impact, appearances by Shamrock and Marufuji are only a few of the recent changes by the company that says it’s focusing more on Twitch content. As they’ve lost LAX to AEW and continue to deal with the fallout of drama involving Killer Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux, they’ve gained Tenille Dashwood and embraced intergender wrestling. It’s hard to predict how Impact’s moves will work out, but the promotion is certainly making some bold ones.