By John Moore
Impact Wrestling Hits
Lashley vs. James Storm: I’ll get the bad part out of the way. We got another ref bump. TNA is never truly is dead these days, I guess. That said, this was picking up right where they left off in the Lashley vs. Storm feud over the King of the Mountain Championship last year, which was really solid due to Lashley and Storm being two of the best promos in Impact Wrestling. Storm also carries his end of the ring work when he’s motivated and he looked motivated without giving too much away if they want to come back to this. This match was built up well in the little time they had to for that with some good promo clips and sit-down interviews earlier on in the show. We also got the long awaited EC3 heel turn, which didn’t come off as huge, but can be a huge thing down the road since EC3 is a much better heel than he is babyface.
Kongo Kong vs. Chris Silvio: While I’m not sold 100 percent on the ’80s savage heel character and not completely sold on the Laurel Van Ness faction; I did like how this was a simple and effective squash match for a monster heel. Kongo Kong moves pretty well for a guy his size.
LAX vs. vs. Jake Holmes and Joe Coleman: While LAX is a returning team from the past TNA, these dominating squash tune-up matches are good to let the viewers know about the new members, Santana and Ortiz. It also helped that Konnan was able to give a quick rundown of his crew after the match.
Rosemary vs. ODB: While this was a bit rushed in that we never really got a program between the two, the match was surprisingly good, mostly due to the aggression that Rosemary shows. ODB’s matches can be a bit formula because she works a comedy style but it managed to mesh well with Rosemary’s in ring moveset here without going too much into comedy mode. It’s also so far so good with trying to make Rosemary dominant as the “most dominant knockout in history”. The only problem with this booking that I can foresee is that they might fall into the same folly that they did with Gail Kim where it’s scorched earth as far as opponents are concerned up to the point where Rosemary will have no more opponents who can take her down.
Impact Wrestling Misses
X-Division Six Way Title Match: The lone positive from this match was putting the X Division guys in the main event slot. The positives end there because just like what they did with Josh Mathews in the second act of the show, they are back to performing retroactive continuity on what were solidly built programs. Matt Hardy and Shane Helms joked on Total NonStop Deletion that they buried [in the ground] young promising talent (Lee and Everett) just like “The Man With Three H’s” would. With the Impact landscape currently, you can make the same joke with “The Man With Two J’s”. I honestly thought Impact was on the verge of creating a new future star in Andrew Everett because it seemed his white-meat high-flying babyface character was really connecting with the audience. Another Miss comes in this being a poor debut of Dezmond Xavier, who I hear great things about. He got to shine at times in the multi-man spotfest and reminded me of Ricochet/Prince Puma a bit. Everett also got a good spot in there with his rapid frankendriver sequence, but that’s just it, it was only a spot in what was again a very homogenous spotfest again. It even included multiple cute choreographed high spot sequences where it looked like the wrestlers were helping each other more than trying to hurt each other.
Low Ki: To get this out of the way first, I’m a huge supporter of Low Ki in that I feel like he’s one of the most underutilized talents in professional wrestling with every promotion he works with. Sadly, I felt like he would do well with any promotion except TNA because they literally did everything they could with him and he’s already been defined down as a standard X-Division guy. He started off as Low Ki, he was a part of the S.E.X faction (yes, there was actually a faction called that in bad-TNA folks), he became “Senshi”, and he became a brute in MVP’s Beat Down Clan. All of those runs included forgettable X Division Championship reigns. I was excited to see him back at first, but then he came out looking like he was late to the DCC party. Then I figured out with the red tie, suit, black gloves, and barcode that he was dressed up as Agent 47 from the Hitman video game. When I think Low Ki, I don’t think Agent 47 because that would fit more of a Cesaro, or even Magnus if only he were bald. The worst part is that they threw away one of their two good feuds in 2017 (the other being Edwards vs. Richards) in favor of putting over the old X Division champion over the rising stars Andrew Everett and Trevor Lee. I’ll keep a bit of an open mind that they’ll put some effort into trying to make Low Ki and the X-Division watchable, but Ki coming out as an Agent 47 cosplayer didn’t leave a good first impression. It made me think of Okada as Kato or Samoa Joe as the Green Hornet.
Josh Mathews: So not only do they kill off the payoff to the Everett vs. Lee feud, but they also killed the payoff to their top program at the last set of tapings. That Team Mathews vs. Team JB with all of the main eventers in it was all for nothing. I keep referencing Josh Mathews’ PWTorch interview from a few years back where he mentioned how he was a huge proponent of the heel Michael Cole character and it seems like he’s just trying to relive that time period as more of a personal passion project. I’m sorry, but this is not good heat, whereas Cole as a manager at least produced good heat and funny moments. This is channel-changing heat and they can honestly lose viewers who don’t want to hear what sounds like two children bickering with Elijah Burke as the only sane man at the table. This also really is a slap in the face to the fans who invested in this story, just like they did with Everett and Lee by just ending a story out of nowhere. We were having an awesome commentary night with Dinero and Borash up to the point where Mathews came out, and stayed out.
Magnus: Magnus’s return so far has been very underwhelming and the promo he cut with McKenzie Mitchell reminded me of the bad World Champion Magnus as opposed to the really entertaining Magnus we got when he wasn’t world champion. The phantom-promotion known as Global Force Wrestling doesn’t give him any credibility either.
Karen Jarrett’s Segment: The Impact Zone continues to be bizarro land in this case when they give Karen even the little bit of encouragement for what seems to be nothing. Her “big announcement” of Global Force Wrestling and Impact being one company now didn’t mean anything. Plus, to Impact viewers, I wonder if a handful of them remember how much Global Force looked like scrubs when they ran the invasion angle that included allusions of trying to bring TNA back to the “good ol’ days”. Her announcement of putting the X Division in the main event spot was good, but then they cluttered things up by booking the six-way. I keep going back to what they did with Everett and Lee, but it seemed like Everett and Shane Helms were making honest cases as to why this time should have been utilized to book a good one on one match. Then Bruce Prichard waddled out there to add to the contrived authority figure picture of Impact in 2017. Can we just have Prichard take lessons to what William Regal is doing on NXT, and just have the authority figure have roughly 30 seconds of talking time at most to get to the point?
Overall Show: This show wasn’t terrible, it was just disappointing. It was a bit sad to see some of the things that worked in the last set of tapings just wiped away. It’s also disappointing that they keep talking about making Impact great [again]. Well, Impact was great in 2016 even before the Final Deletion stuff. They had the Matt Hardy and EC3 double turn that was well done and some solid promo segments came from it along with good matches. We also had the rise of Lashley and Decay. Drew Galloway was a solid flag bearer for the company. This year, Impact decided to be “nostalgic” what’s sad is a lot of TNA’s nostalgia is bad nostalgia, especially the ref bump and authority figure nonsense.