In tragic news reported earlier today, IMPACT Wrestling co-founder Bob Ryder has passed away. He was 64 years old. Ryder was found by Nashville, Tennesse police. According to the reports, much that by Dave Meltzer below, he had fallen yesterday in the midst of receiving advanced chemotherapy. He had been battling cancer since 2012.
Bob Ryder was found dead at his home in Nashville by police today. We don't know more but he had fallen yesterday and was on advanced chemo. Impact officials couldn't get in touch with him and went to his home and he never answered, police were called and found him dead,
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) November 25, 2020
Below in a statement released by IMPACT Wrestling’s Ed Nordholm and Scott D’Amore shared the following about Ryder’s passing.
Everyone at IMPACT Wrestling is heartbroken by the passing of Bob Ryder, one of its founders and in many ways the heart and soul of the promotion.
As many fans know, the very idea to create this company was born on Bob’s fishing boat during a trip off the Gulf Coast in 2001. It is no exaggeration to state IMPACT Wrestling would never have existed without Bob’s inspiration and would not have gone on to entertain millions of fans over two decades without his passion and dedication behind the curtain.
Anyone who remembers Bob on the 1990s Prodigy chats or his role in launching 1wrestling.com or him co-hosting WCW Live! knows few people love pro-wrestling with the passion Bob did.
At IMPACT, we joked that the chair and desk at Bob’s house was IMPACT’s “mobile command center.” Every wrestler and staff member knew that if they didn’t have a place to stay if they’d missed their flight, if their car had broken down, they could call the command center – Bob’s phone – and he would take care of it. Bob prided himself on that and being available 24/7. Even during his annual Christmas cruises, he’d carry his cell phone and laptop everywhere, so he was available to help even from the middle of the ocean.
IMPACT Wrestling Co-Founder Bob Ryder Passes Away
Few people love professional wrestling with the passion that Bob did. Wrestling was his life. Since learning the news, we’ve spoken to dozens of his friends across the business, and they all have said the same thing; that they’d spoken with Bob just a few days ago.
The last time we saw Bob face to face was a month ago, during BOUND FOR GLORY week in Nashville. Because of the pandemic, Bob was unable to attend the event, but the three of us were able to celebrate his 64th birthday together at a small dinner. Bob talked non-stop about the upcoming matches, how excited he was about the talent and the future of IMPACT.
He also spoke – because he seldom didn’t –about his beloved LSU athletics, particularly football and basketball.
To the end of his life, Bob was a loyal, trusted, hard-working and beloved member of the IMPACT Wrestling family. He was also infuriatingly – and endearingly – stubborn. That stubbornness steeled him in his battle against his illness. It surprised none of us who knew and loved Bob that he outlived his diagnosis by years.
During that entire time, Bob insisted on continuing to contribute to IMPACT. He refused every offer to take time off, or a sabbatical, even after chemotherapy sessions. He wanted, needed to be involved. There are a lot of people who live for pro-wrestling; with Bob it may have been literal.
IMPACT Wrestling will be celebrating Bob’s life in the days and weeks to come. We will think about the best way the honor him and the legacy he left us. For now, we will take a moment to say farewell to a member of our family.
We’ll never forget you, Bob.
Below was a tweet released by IMPACT Wrestling in which Bob recalls how TNA initially came about. Together with Jerry and Jeff Jarrett, Ryder helped to co-found the promotion in 2002.
Here is Bob Ryder discussing the fateful fishing trip on Bob’s boat in 2001 that led to the creation of TNA.
IMPACT Wrestling would never have existed without Bob’s inspiration. He will be dearly missed. RIP.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 25, 2020
Ryder’s contributions and wrestling in particular IMPACT have been well documented. Former colleagues, talent, and friends have shared their gratitude for how he has helped them during their time there.
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