You’re looking at the Real Deal now (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)

IMPACT Wrestling veteran D’Lo Brown has insisted he won’t get back in the ring and he’s content with life away from the commentary desk.

The WWE legend sat alongside Matt Striker and then Tom Hannifan at the announce table until he was attacked by the Honor No More faction earlier this year, in a move which allowed him to be replaced by Matthew Rehwoldt.

Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, he said: ‘It was more me focusing on the talent relations side backstage.

‘Commentary takes up so much of your time in preparation for it, talent relations – I wasn’t paying full enough attention to that. I needed to get back to the core product of what I was doing.’

For the four-time European Champion, that job is now focused on scouting and negotiating contracts, as well as keeping an eye on the talent’s ‘mental state’.

‘It’s all-inclusive,’ he smiled. ‘I’ve always been that agent type where I help guys with their matches, or give ideas. It was a natural progression.

‘When I started doing the agent thing as a real job, then you start paying attention to the production aspect of it or the talent relations aspect of it. You pick things up along the way and make the transition.’

Plenty of wrestlers have spoken about the addictive side to the business when it comes to thriving on the roar of the crowd and the connection with a live audience in the ring.

‘It’s always there,’ D’Lo admitted, although he played down the idea of lacing up his boots one more time. ‘But I’m very happy to live vicariously through the younger talent now. This kinda hurts after a while. [laughs] I’m happy not hurting anymore.’

Instead, the 51-year-old star gets his thrills from nurturing younger talent, and seeing them ‘grow and evolve as wrestlers and entertainers’.

D’Lo is helping shape wrestling’s present and future (Picture: WWE)

‘There’s a prideful thing. It’s like a dad pushing his son on a bike and watching him ride off for the first time,’ he smiled. ‘It’s a fun ride. I almost get more joy out of this part of it, this aspect of it, than being in the ring myself.’

Pondering where that rush comes from, he added: ‘Just the thrill of helping, or being out there on commentary yelling and screaming about something I love, letting everybody feel that passion.’

D’Lo loved his time as a commentator, but he’s still been delighted seeing the way Tom and Matt have brought something new to the show.

‘Pick anything in the universe that you love, it’s the easiest thing to talk about. My thing is wrestling, so okay, you’re gonna put me out there and let me talk about something I love? Let’s go do it twice,’ he beamed.

Echos of the past still reverberate in our hearts.

Join us at #Slammiversary on June 19th – 20 years to the day since our very first event – as we celebrate 20 years of TNA and IMPACT Wrestling.

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— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) May 20, 2022

‘You’re seeing passion, but it’s a different type of presentation and I love what they’re doing. I think Tom and Matt are doing an exceptional job and they’re bringing a different level of intensity to the desk. It’s awesome!’

He added: ‘Tom is a professional’s professional. To see him enjoying what he’s doing, he has a smile on his face going to the ring. He’s going out there and he’s just loving life, and that comes off on air.

‘You can hear the difference between what he was talking about [in WWE], and what he is talking about now. You can hear it in him that he’s having an amazing time.’

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When it comes down to it, D’Lo’s lifelong love for wrestling shines through in conversation and the way he goes about his work, and he still feels so grateful for the past three decades.

‘I’m watching wrestling for a living or I’m wearing spandex for a living,’ he said. ‘I think about all those who support me, and they’re the ones going to work at the paper mill or going out and being a garbage collector or whatever.

‘Everyone has a great place in life, but golly, I get to do what I love for a living!’

IMPACT Wrestling: Slammiversary airs June 19 at 1am on Fite TV.

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