Madison Rayne says Josh Mathews is going to knock it out of the park in his new role with IMPACT Wrestling.
Rayne announced her retirement from the wrestling business at Hard To Kill in January and had a chance to speak with WrestleZone about her next step, as well as the career plans for Mathews. While there was some speculation that Madison was preparing to leave the business, Mathews’ departure from the commentary table came as a surprise to many, especially considering it was coinciding with Rayne’s exit as well.
Mathews was largely seen (or in this case, heard) as the “voice of IMPACT Wrestling” and served as the company’s lead announcer for the past six years, but his promotion to senior producer also marks the first time since 2009 that he hasn’t had a regular on-screen role as a commentator. Despite the timing of the career changes for the husband and wife (and commentary partners in 2020), Rayne says this wasn’t a strategic plan on their part, and it just happened to work out the way it did. Rayne is leaving pro wrestling for a career in corporate America and Mathews will now serve as Senior Producer, and although he will no longer be a regular fixture on weekly TV, she has no doubt he will flourish in his new role.
“Honestly, I think everyone just assumed, including myself—Josh is synonymous with providing commentary for wrestling so I didn’t think [he’d completely leave the role]. I knew that he was pivoting and doing other things behind the scenes, and also, the way that the world got rocked and the way that COVID has not only affected the entire world obviously but our industry and how we run shows,” Rayne explained, “it’s given everyone an opportunity to try new things or do different things or operate a little bit differently.”
“We were both taking on a few more roles here and there at TVs, but did I think that he was going to completely leave the commentary booth? No. But the caveat to that is—and I probably say this with a bit of a biased opinion—but I watch him day in and day out and I see how much of himself he gives to IMPACT Wrestling. His phone never stops ringing, he never stops answering it and he does everything that he can, all the time,” Rayne said, “even through the summer months when he takes a week of vacation to go spend with his family, he’s still plugged in in some capacity, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that he’s been promoted and he’s got this new position that he’s taking on.”
“I also have zero doubt that he’s going to excel in this new role. I’m excited for him. He is the kind of person who works in silence and lets the product of what he does speak for him. I could go on and on for the next several hours about all the things that he does and all the contributions that he makes,” Rayne said, “and that’s a testament to his work ethic. It’s also a testament to everyone in management at IMPACT Wrestling, who allows him the free reign to do those things and explore those things because they have all the confidence in the world in him. They know that whatever he’s tasked with or whatever task he picks up and puts on his own plate, he’s gonna do really well with.”