There are many traditions in pro wrestling and each company will bring one of their own and TNA/Impact Wrestling are no exception. As in 2007 the TNA Turkey Bowl was born, a mini-tournament that take place during the Thanksgiving edition of iMPACT!, and consisted of three preliminary three-way matches including a member of the Tag, X and Heavyweight division. The winner of each would advance to the final, also a three-way. The winner would receive a cash prize of $25,000 but the loser would be forced to wear the dreaded Turkey suit and be tortured by “Gobble Gobble” chants from the Impact Zone.
Over the years some of the biggest names in the companies history have donned the Turkey Suit, let’s take a look at those names.
The inaugural Turkey Bowl took place on the November 13 episode of Impact, the final match consisted of three of the greatest stars TNA has ever produced. Samoa Joe competed in the first qualification match and defeated Johnny Devine and Kip James to take the first spot in the Turkey Bowl, followed by Chris Sabin who defeated The Monster Abyss and Brother Devon to fill the second spot in the inaugural Turkey Bowl. The third and final spot was of course filled by the Phenomenal AJ Styles who defeated Christian Cage and Jay Lethal on his way to the finals. Three of the best competing for the right to not wear the now iconic Turkey suit and win $25,000, but mainly the Turkey suit thing. Samoa Joe would eventually win the match and the money by pinning AJ Styles, as a result, the Phenomenal one was made to wear the turkey suit and be the very first person to do so.
The Turkey Bowl made it the return on the November 27, 2008, Thanksgiving edition of Impact. The rules remained the same but had brand new competitors, Rhino became the first to advance to the Turkey Bowl after defeating The Guru Sonjay Dutt who was accompanied by So-Cal Val. Hernandez was also defeated in that match by The War Machine Rhino. Alex Shelley was up next to earn his spot in the Turkey Bowl, he got that spot by defeating Consequences Creed and Cute Kip in a triple threat action. The final spot in the Turkey Bowl was taken by Sheik Abdul Bashir, the match and the $25,000 was eventually won by the War Machine Rhino who pinned Alex Shelley to win the match. That resulted in Alex Shelley being made to wear the Turkey suit, but despite losing the match he refused to put on the suit that is until Mick Foley came to ring and made him put on the suit, not before taking a few little shots over the size of Shelley’s “Giblets”.
The Turkey Bowl took a little bit of Break after 2008 but made its return in 2011, the turkey suit had been brought back to life thanks to Showtime Eric Young. Only this time there was no cash prize up for grabs instead the competitors were fighting to avoid the dreaded turkey suit, instead of the usual three rounds of triple threat matches this match featured two competitors the competitors being Eric Young and Robbie E who was accompanied by his personal bouncer Robbie T. At this time Robbie E was the current TNA Television Champion, he faced Eric Young and didn’t appear to get in much offence throughout what was quite a short match that ended with a piledriver to Robbie E from Eric Young which led to Robbie E getting knocked out. EY, however, did promise to find a replacement to wear the turkey suit, he just so happened to see Robbie T who was trying to bring the other Robbie round. Referee Rudy Charles then informs Robbie T that “By the power vested in him by the Stinger” If Robbie T did not put on the suit, Robbie T hesitantly put on the suit and was mocked by the crowd in attendance.
The Turkey Bowl returned once again in 2012 on the Thanksgiving edition of Impact Wrestling which just so happened to fall on Open Fight Night on November 22. Like the last year, the Turkey Bowl only consisted of one match and once again there was no cash prize, but it did go back to the tradition of the match being a triple threat to decide the winner and the loser who of course must wear the turkey suit. Eric Young once again brought back the turkey suit, he faced off against Robbie E and the eventual loser Jessie Godderz would all take part. Robbie E would once again be accompanied by the man who was forced to wear the turkey suit last year, Robbie T was on the outside and would, of course, get involved and hold Eric Young so Robbie E could charge at him, but EY would dive out of the way leaving Robbie E to take out Robbie T before Jessie Godderz would take out Robbie E. Jessie’s girlfriend Tara would get involved but would be swiftly dealt with by ODB. Leaving EY to roll up Jessie for the win meaning Jessie had to wear the suit.
Dewey Barnes and Norv Fernum:
The following year the turkey suit was back but this time there were two as for the first time ever the turkey suit match became a tag team match. Eric Young was still a big part of the match but instead of actually competing he took on a master of ceremonies role, the two teams taking part were The BroMans Mr Pectacular Jessie Godderz and former rival turned friend and tag team partner Robbie E, they would take on the completely unknown team of Dewey Barnes who used to run the merchandise stand at Impact Wrestling shows, and Norv Fernum who was the very first opponent for EC3 at Bound for Glory 2013. You may know Norv now as a certain elite librarian, but back in 2013 he and his partner Barnes made history by being the first tag team to wear the turkey suit. But instead of being embarrassed, they embraced it would flap their wings around the ring.
After a three year break the turkey bowl made it’s return in 2016, returning to a singles match but this time Eric Young was no longer involved in the matchup. Robbie E was once again involved in the match and holds the record for most appearances in the turkey suit match but has never had to wear it. He faced off against Grado who at the time was looking to form a team with Robbie E, the special enforcer for this match was Aiden O’Shea who at the time was a special enforcer for former Impact Wrestling President Billy Corgan. The match would not last very long and the two opponents would hardly even touch each other, Robbie E would spend most of the match dancing, whilst Grado would look to get out of the ring and simply leave the match which wears The Thug Aiden O’Shea would come into play as the enforcer. As Grado became distracted by O’Shea Robbie E would see his opening and roll up Grado to once again avoid having to be “A Turkey Bro”. O’Shea would force Grado to put on the suit whilst Robbie would dance.
A new era a new name but the same old Turkey suit, in 2017 the then Global champion Eli Drake would bring back the turkey suit match. But this time he had some new rules where it would be a five on five inter-gender matches and it would now be called the “Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot”. Two teams were selected randomly, Eddie Edwards was chosen as the first captain and his team consisted of Himself, Allie, Richard Justice, Fallah Bahh and Garza Jr. The second team captained by Chris Adonis, El Hijo del Fantasma, Caleb Konnely (Not with a K), KM and Laurel Van Ness. The match would soon break down into a food fight, leading to Adonis hitting Drake in the face with a pie. After being pushed back by Drake he would eventually be pinned by Garza Jr who picked up the win for his team leaving Adonis to be forced into wearing the Turkey suit.
The 2018 Turkey Bowl, Promoted as the second Annual “Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot” was aired on November 22, 2018. It continued with the five on five inter-gender tag team match, established in the previous year. Fallah Bahh was named as captain of a team consisting of himself, Kikutaro, Dezmond Xavier and Alisha Edwards, While Eli Drake was named as captain of the opposition team composed of himself, Katarina, Jake Crist, Rohit Raju and Glenn Gilberti. The teams were once again selected randomly by way of a raffle. Before the match was allowed to begin all of the competitors were led in an oath by Josh Mathews in which they promise that if they are pinned or submitted they will wear the turkey suit. Just before the bell, however, the Smoke Show Scarlett Bordeaux made her presence known on the stage. As Gilberti was the one who got pinned he had to wear the Turkey suit but had to be reminded of the oath as he refused to put it on but was then encouraged by Scarlett Bordeaux to put the suit on before she called him an idiot and left the ring.
So, that was everyone who has donned the dreaded turkey suit since it’s the first appearance in 2007 all the way up to it’s the latest appearance in 2018. It’s been some time since we’ve seen the turkey suit on an Impact show but never assume it’s gone for good because it can come back when you least expect it. You can find all of the matches mentioned in this list on the Impact Plus app and on Impact Wrestling’s award-winning YouTube channel. You can also watch Impact’s weekly show on Tuesday Nights on AXS TV and on Wednesday Nights on Free Sports TV at 10 pm in the UK.