By John Moore
Impact Wrestling Hits
LAX vs. DCC: There’s going to be an ongoing pattern on this episode and it’s a positive pattern in that it looks like the company formerly known as TNA is trying to do some long term booking all across board. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t (which I’ll address in the Miss section). I have a feeling this might be the positive influence of Dutch Mantell as far as the long term booking is concerned. LAX’s reintroduction has been solid so far. They had a cool, Lucha Underground-esque cinematic and Konnan is good as the babyface manager. Santana and Ortiz don’t really stand out yet, but that should come in time and the commentators did a decent job trying to give some identity to the two new LAX members. Another hit involved in the match they had was the post-match was it looks like we’re marching towards the end of the DCC faction (after we learned that their hand symbol is supposedly a “U” for Unity).
Davey Richards vs. Suicide: One negative in these enhancement matches was that they went a bit too long with the enhancement wrestlers getting more offense than they should, especially if a handful of them aren’t going to be booked long term. That aside, this was a better reintroduction of the Davey Richards character as the “Lone Wolf”. Davey was the American Wolf who always showed more personality and uniqueness and he got to start to establish a new persona here. What also helped was he was drawing lots of heat with his PDA moments with Angelina Love. Love so far has been a good complement to heel Davey. I hope they keep Eddie Edwards away from him a bit more since they kinda rushed to that initially. This was a good first step towards the new Richards.
Idris Abraham, Fallah Bahh and Mario Bokara vs. Mahabali Shera, Garza Jr., and Laredo Kid: Again, this match went three minutes too long for my book, but it was a good showcase again for the Laredo Kid and Garza Jr team. Unlike the new LAX guys, these two have anchored unique identities since day one. Garza is the arrogant one and the mat wrestler while Laredo Kid is the Lucha Libre guy with enough hybrid moves to make him not just like every other luchador. Shera is still Shera and he’ll be green for life, maybe they can call him Evergreen? He literally has only three moves and no real charisma. Another person that Impact might find some value in is that big 400 pound guy since he’s unique enough and he looked to have more stamina than most guys his size.
Cody Rhodes and Moose: The segment was short and effective and really good in forwarding the Moose and Cody storyline. Cody was rushed in his last run in the company when he got the World Title shot right out of the gate for no real reason. Now he’s a weekly fixture and they are writing chapters between Rhodes and Moose. Brandi is also playing her role way better than her trying to be a wrestler. This is also helping build towards Moose finally getting his hands on Cody in a fair fight, so there’s sympathy there. Another benefit for Moose, is he didn’t get kicked in the balls this week because there was a stretch of time in the past few months where he would just take nut shots on a weekly basis to almost comical levels.
Rebel vs. ODB: Rebel is down there with Mahabali Shera and Brandi Rhodes as far as in-ring talent is concerned, but at least she did her job here by doing the job. ODB oozes this strange charisma and she got to quickly reestablish herself in this enhancement match. There was a Miss here, which I’ll get into, but at least it was good to see ODB back and getting a win.
The Impact Zone crowd: This was an oddly good Impact Zone tonight. We must have gotten the wrestling fans strolling through rather than the apathetic Universal Studio tourists. They were into almost everything tonight. They also gave Karen Jarrett “Yes” chants and chanted her name. To be honest, what has Karen Jarrett ever really done in wrestling other than be the wife of Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett? Good for the crowd though for caring at least and this was really comparable to how a Full Sail University crowd would react. It was odd, but Impact should try to draw more of this crowd more often.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Karen Jarrett: Great crowd aside, why are we supposed to be excited that Karen Jarrett is the latest authority figure in Impact Wrestling? I think we’re at three at least with Bruce Prichard, Dutch Mantell, and Karen Jarrett at the current tally. They were treating this like it was a big deal, but why? Why is this a big deal? This was like Dixie Carter hyping a big surprise only for it to be Tommy Dreamer or something. I’m just not sure what audience they are trying to serve or what they were trying to sell here. We also got the return of the “Jeff Jarrett Siren”. The Jeff Jarrett Siren are the opening notes to JJ’s TNA theme which usually signified we were getting an overbooked match finish, a ref bump, and/or a guitar shot to the head. What also made this segment less than impressive was it looks like we’re heading into some extended feud involving the announce team.
Earl Hebner: Even though ODB had a good reintroduction, the Earl Hebner forcing himself thing was not only out of place but a bit appalling. I can totally see this fitting in “old” TNA, maybe that’s what they are going for? Anyways, this was still in bad taste. Earl’s character literally just sexually harassed Rebel for no reason.
Reno Scum vs. Decay: I get trying to get the new tag team over, but at the expense of the only surviving established tag team? Decay is an awesome act and have proved character-wise that they should be the flagbearers of TNA’s tag team division. Suddenly they are fed to Reno Scum, who don’t really mean anything yet other than being the “Oy” guys? While I feel like Impact is doing a few thing right, I feel like some of the guys that stuck through the past few years are getting thrown under the bus, like Decay, Jessie Godderz, Eli Drake, and even EC3 to some extent (even though it looks like there might be some positive long term planning on Ethan’s case).
Lashley: Let me get this out of the way, Lashley was good in his interview. He’s a great talker now. He became one of the top tier pro wrestling promo guys in 2016. What I didn’t like was that they told a babyface story with him talking about coming back from almost getting shot to becoming a top tier athlete. He was also all smiles and nothing was heelish in any of the sit-down interview segments. Lashley might be able to be a good babyface but he’s a great heel. It’s the converse problem that they had with Drew Galloway when they tried to transfer his pop to Aron Rex. At least Lashley was acting heelish during his squash, but I still don’t know where they are going with him when is should be simple in booking him as the dominant bully of Impact.