The former ‘Tom Phillips’ details how the IMPACT Wrestling spot came about.
After nine years with WWE, Tom Hannifan, the former ‘Tom Phillips’ exited WWE and this past weekend, he made his return to pro wrestling commentary for IMPACT Wrestling at their Hard To Kill pay-per-view. Hannifan is now the official play-by-play commentator for the company and works alongside D’Lo Brown at the commentary desk.
Renee Paquette welcomed Hannifan onto her Oral Sessions podcast to discuss how the opportunity with IMPACT came about. He said things began to develop over the last month. He has friends within the company who connected him and the IMPACT schedule schedule drew him in.
It’s only really developed within the last month. You know, I love how people on the internet try and come up with concepts and rumors and stuff like that but, you know, I have a lot of friends here that kind of connected me with the powers that be and just had some good conversations and honestly, the schedule was very attractive because as you know, I just got done doing a 52-week-a-year schedule for about nine years so I was like, ‘This is great. This is really cool’ and everything that I was told about what the locker room is like in IMPACT, what Scott D’Amore and Josh Matthews [are like] and everything. Everything’s been accurate thus far and I worked one day but everything’s been awesome so, it was cool, and you know how it is. When you know a whole bunch of people there and like, just showing up yesterday and seeing Matt Rehwoldt and him being like, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ So, it was really cool.
Going into his IMPACT debut, Hannifan was nervous. He credited D’Lo Brown for making him feel comfortable and once he was able to find his footing, he was able to enjoy calling the action.
You [Renee Paquette] and I have seen it over the years where they wanna debut either like an in-ring talent or an announcer on a pay-per-view and it’s like — on paper, it’s like, ‘Oh, that sounds super cool’ and it’s like no, in reality, it’s like really nerve wracking. I was nervous as hell.
Thank you [Hannifan responded when Paquette said he didn’t sound nervous]. It was a lot of fun. Working with D’Lo [Brown] was a breeze so it was just, I don’t know. I hadn’t called a wrestling match in like six months so I hadn’t done something the caliber of a pay-per-view since March so I was like, ‘Oh, okay. This is different.’ Like once I got into it, it was so much fun, crowd was hot, it was awesome.
Prior to Hard To Kill, it was announced that the reigning Knockouts World Champion Mickie James is going to be in the women’s Royal Rumble match. James being the Knockouts World Champion was mentioned by Pat McAfee on SmackDown.
Hannifan spoke about how bizarre it was to be promoting WWE on an IMPACT pay-per-view after spending almost the last decade of his life with the sports-entertainment company.
So the strangest thing was obviously the news broke about Mickie James being in the Royal Rumble the day before and I realized, I was like, ‘I, the former Tom Phillips, will be on an IMPACT pay-per-view promoting a WWE pay-per-view match with the IMPACT Knockouts World Champion Mickie James.’ I was like, ‘Am I being Punk’d!? Like what is happening right now?’ It was pretty weird.
Purrazzo and James headlined Hard To Kill in a Texas Deathmatch and James retained. At the post-pay-per-view television tapings, Purrazzo went one-on-one with ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C in a title versus title match. Purrazzo is in possession of the AAA Reina de Reinas Title. That match is airing on the 1/13 IMPACT on AXS.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Oral Sessions with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.