Traci tells all about her in-ring return and the surprise Hall of Fame announcement.
IMPACT Wrestling celebrated 1000 episodes of their weekly show. The show was taped in White Plains, New York and aired over the course of two weeks on AXS TV.
One of the matches that took place at IMPACT 1000 was Alisha Edwards and Eddie Edwards versus Frankie Kazarian and Traci Brooks. It was Brooks’ first match since 2012 and her first match for IMPACT/TNA since 2011. While speaking to the Battleground Podcast, Brooks stated that she was fearful going into it.
She added that part of the reason why she got back in the ring was so that her and Frankie’s son could watch her wrestle live. She had a panic attack before going out to the ring because of nerves. Traci stated that Frankie had to shove her near the entrance so she would go out. Looking back at the build-up to the match, she described it as ‘amazing’.
Fear (is what I was feeling before my in-ring return). Fear was a big one. Going back, it had been 12 years since I’d been in an IMPACT Wrestling ring. It’s one of those things, it’s not like riding a bike. I don’t care what anybody says. A little worried if I was gonna get injured. I stepped away to be a mom and I was happy with that and I wanted to do that. That was one of the reasons why I did it. It was for my son to be able to watch me, because it’s different. He sees me in videos or past matches but it’s the first time we went down to a ring, Frankie (Kazarian) and I were in the ring wrestling around and my son’s face, his jaw dropped to the floor. He’s like, ‘Mom, I didn’t know. You’re like PTA mom. Like what?’ And he had no clue I knew how to do any of this stuff… It was all worth it. But fear, I had a panic attack before I went through those curtains. I just kept saying, ‘I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs. I just can’t’ and he’s like, ‘You’re fine!’ And the music hit and it was one of those, he had to shove me through the curtain but it was fear but after it was relief that I wasn’t injured (she laughed). Just joy, so much joy that my son got to see that and I got to do it with my husband. Who gets this ending? I got to end — and again, Eddie (Edwards) and ‘Lish which was just an amazing storyline to begin with and as much as we don’t like Eddie and ‘Lish, they’re just incredible professionals that are so good at their job, and it was just great for my son to be able to sit front row, watch it. Fear, relief, joy.
After Brooks and Kazarian got the win, Brooks was surprised with the announcement that she is going into the IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Fame. She said her reaction was legit and did not know that was going to happen. She has went over her speech and has not been able to get through it without getting emotional.
Well you saw my emotion, and that was legit (when I found out I was going into IMPACT Hall of Fame). I didn’t know it was happening. I remember when it was like, ‘One, two, three…’ I remember being on the ground and I remember thinking this is not a flattering position and I am like, get up. So I remember getting up and then celebrating with Frankie (Kazarian) and then all of a sudden, Frankie grabs the microphone. I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ And then I’m like, ‘What’s happening?…’ It was my butt I think the first thing you saw and I’m like, why is my ass on the screen? What’s happening? And then they said it and it just — I’m gonna cry again. I’m an emotional mess. I don’t know how this is my life. Who gets this ending? Who gets to come back after 12 years? Wrestle against two incredible, talented people like ‘Lish and Eddie (Edwards), against my husband who is one of the greatest in the business and then have my son in the ring and then I get announced for the Hall of Fame. I was like, I was retired school mom, PTA member, you know? Baseball coach and that was my life and now all of a sudden, I’m like, oh! Okay. Things have changed a little bit. I never thought in my wildest dreams though. I mean, I love this business, I got in it to be a wrestler and I never thought past that… Again, when I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 11 years, I never thought that. There will be a lot of tears. Bring your Cleanex. I’m a hot mess. I can’t even say my speech without crying. Like just by myself. A funny story, I was telling Frankie that I needed a little bit of advice and I couldn’t get it out without crying so I texted it to him, because I could not stop crying (she laughed).
Doing the honors of inducting Traci will be fellow Hall of Famer and IMPACT Head of Talent Relations, Gail Kim. She spoke about their close friendship and says there is no one else who could have done the honor other than Gail.
Oh, she’s (Gail Kim) my best friend. She’s my sister and she’s auntie Gail to Rebel. We FaceTime almost every day, literally. It’s like, ‘Hi auntie Gail.’ There was no one else. She had to do it… Because I was like, ‘Does Frankie do it?’ But I’ve known Gail for so long and Gail was my first marriage in wrestling. Her and I, we trained together, we traveled together. She went her own way, I went to IMPACT and then we were back together again and we were roommates, maid of honors. We were everything to each other’s lives so, I’m just a little worried she might be mean to me. I’m like, ‘You have to be nice to me. You can’t be mean to me…’ Those Knockouts are so lucky to have her because even to have Gail as a friend, no one will fight for you harder or even when you don’t wanna fight for yourself, she’s the one fighting for you or no one will support you or she doesn’t baby you. That’s for sure. But she’s your biggest cheerleader and that also goes over to her relationship with the Knockouts so, those Knockouts are so lucky to have her. Just incredibly lucky and to see her back in the ring, like seriously, you didn’t miss a beat. She is annoying. You can’t stumble or something? No, you’re just this high-flying cruiserweight that’s flipping and flopping everywhere and just picking up where she left off… I was always her base. She flew around me. I made her do that stuff and I just caught her.
Joining Brooks in the 2023 IMPACT Hall of Fame class are the duo of Mike Tenay and the late Don West. They’ll be inducted by IMPACT President Scott D’Amore.
The Hall of Fame ceremony is taking place prior to IMPACT’s Bound For Glory pay-per-view on October 21st.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Battleground Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.