By Kevin Stone/@kstone06
It’s no secret that Massachusetts has long been a hotbed for professional wrestling. But there’s never really been a true Bostonian “character” in the spotlight of a major company.
That’s no longer the case. Local guy Eddie Edwards (real name Eric Maher) has carried Impact Wrestling during a time when pro wrestling as a whole has struggled. Edwards’ finishing move is “The Boston Knee Party,” and he often wears green to the ring to show some Celtic pride.
Edwards’ success isn’t an accident. He’s been in the business for 18 years and wrestled anywhere you can imagine. Edwards is the current Impact World Champion. It’s a title he’s held before as a younger man, but this time it’s different. It means a Boston guy is now the face of a well-known company during unprecedented times.
Impact Wrestling, along with World Wrestling Entertainment and the newly formed All Elite Wrestling are the “big three.” Edwards has not only carried Impact while the company has dealt with some ownership and financial issues even prior to the pandemic, but he’s done it while flashing some Boston flare.
ARE YOU REALLY FROM BOSTON?
We’ve all been guilty of it. if you’re out of state and someone asks where you’re from, the easy answer is “Boston” instead of Waltham or Billerica.
Eddie was kind enough to grant me some of his time for a phone interview on Tuesday, and that was the first thing I asked. “Are you really from Boston, or do you just say it like everyone else because it’s easier?” I asked.
Turns out Edwards is a Peabody guy, while his wife Alisha – who is also a wrestler for Impact – is from New Bedford. The two met while on the independent wrestling scene.
Edwards makes no apologies for making sure everyone knows he’s from the City of Champions.
“Yeah, I’m a Peabody guy,” Edwards said. “I take a ton of pride in representing Boston in everything I do. I’m a big Boston sports fan. I tend to wear green (in the ring) because I’m a huge Celtics fan of course. I trained at Killer Kowalski’s school which is in Malden. It’s one of the most famous wrestling schools in the country. Names like Triple H, Perry Saturn, Big John Stud, Chyna, all these different stars have come out of there.
‘So, everywhere I go and everything I do, people know that I’m from the Boston area. If I’m wearing a Celtics hat like I am right now, or whatever I’m wearing that day people tend to know.”
REPRESENTING BOSTON AS THE FACE OF A COMPANY
Again, there is plenty of history in Massachusetts when it comes to pro wrestling. From the big names that have trained here to the biggest moments like Stone Cold Steve Austin winning the title at WrestleMania in 1998.
Even with all the rich tradition, there has rarely if ever been a champion in a major company that has truly represented the area on the screen. That was until Edwards was crowned Impact champion.
Edwards has been with Impact for six years and this is his second world title reign after numerous other championships. This time around the crowning achievement has been more impressive based on the circumstances. Impact is currently taping its shows (airing every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on AXS TV) in Tennessee. Even with the pandemic, Impact has made sure Edwards is front and center.
“Being the face of a company like Impact, in general, is just a huge honor,” Edwards said. “Especially right now during this pandemic, it’s such an important time for the company. We’re trying to almost rebrand or restart the company after some things that went on. In the match, I won the title we had to change numerous times. So to be the guy that has been hand-picked to be like, ‘Alright, we want you to be the guy to help lead the way,’ it’s something I take absolute pride in.”
SOAKING UP THE MOMENT
Edwards has loved every minute of his latest title run. More importantly, he’s making sure both his peers and his fans can count on him outside the ring as well.
“I want to be known as that Impact Wrestling guy,” Edwards said. “There’s a reason I stayed here for six years. I believe in what we’re doing and I want to be the guy in the locker room that people look to. I’m always going to do everything I’d ask anyone else to. I want to be the one leaving it all in the ring and helping us move forward.
‘I’m happy to say ever since day one when (Davey Richards and I) got to Impact we were treated great. Obviously the offices and the owners have changed, but I’ve always been treated with respect and treated right in my book. Now I feel like everyone in the company, from the offices to the locker room to the ownership, everybody’s on the same page. We all want to take Impact to that next level. They treat me right and I’m happy to represent them.”
WORKING WITH YOUR SPOUSE, IS IT POSSIBLE?
It’s a nightmare scenario for some. Working with your significant other every day could certainly spell trouble, but both Eddie and Alisha have embraced the ups and downs.
“It’s been really cool,” Edwards said. “We met doing the independent scene around here. You never know how your relationship is going to go when you start working together. We always had our time apart, but it was an absence that made the heart grow fonder kind of thing. So, it was like alright we’re going to be traveling together, staying together, so obviously we had concerns we didn’t know how it was going to go but we hit the ground running.
‘She’s kicked ass (in her career) so it just felt right. It’s nice to have a partner. It’s nice to have my other half with me as we’re driving to the airport at 4 A.M. or making these long drives. She’s feeling some of that same misery I’ve felt over the years. It’s been fun all along and we’ve picked each other up, it’s been awesome I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”
A RETURN TO THE GOLDEN AGE?
Nothing will ever match the “Attitude Era” of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. As a nine or 10-year old kid growing up wrestling was life. Having said that, this current time period in wrestling is pretty damn cool as well.
The “big three” companies are doing their thing along with independent wrestling. The independents have probably reached their highest popularity ever. The business is in a bit of a pickle right now with no live crowds, but the opportunities for wrestlers have never been greater.
As Edwards continues to be the Impact flag bearer with a Boston vibe, one question remains: Are we heading back to the golden age of pro wrestling?
“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Edwards said. “It’s tough to compare to back then. We all grew up watching that era and loved that era. I think there’s a nostalgia that people are trying to bring the current product back to. Those people are fighting the wrong battle. Let’s make this time special for the reasons we have going on. There are so many different companies booming. Especially before the pandemic, the independents were kicking ass.
‘It’s just a new time and I feel like there’s a new level of respect for pro wrestling. It’s more about trying to create something new and fresh as opposed to trying to be what they were back in that era.”
No matter what era or age this period of wrestling ends up becoming, there’s one thing for sure. Massachusetts will be well represented for as long as Peabody’s Eddie Edwards is the face of Impact Wrestling.