By Jason Powell
Impact Wrestling Hits
Alberto El Patron vs. EC3 in a cage match for the GFW Title: A strong match that should have been built up at least a week out. After all, the stipulation was that the winner would advance to challenge for Impact Wrestling Championship at Slammiversary. That aside, this was a good television main event that sets up the champion vs. champion match at the pay-per-view between Lashley and El Patron.
Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park: The brief backstage interview was the highlight of the night. Borash was petrified by the thought of facing Scott Steiner (because who isn’t?), so Park gave him the big motivational speech about how they could train and prepare for the match. Borash’s “Are you out of your damn mind?” and “Get the f— out of here” response was great. It was laugh out loud funny and reenforced the element of danger that they established so well the previous week.
Moose vs. Eli Drake for the Impact Wrestling Grand Championship: A minor Hit. It wasn’t enough to make me feel like the Grand Championship is a title worth keeping around, but Moose and Drake did a better job than most with the format. It also gave two of the judges a chance to be on camera in back-to-back segments, which seems to be important to them. Ugh. I’m still waiting for creative to recognize what they have in Drake. He is a star in the making and one can only hope that Impact creative figures that out before he ends up proving them wrong while working for another company.
Allie vs. Amber Nova: A minor Hit for a basic match made passable by Allie’s charisma. It was also good to see Allie get some promo time with Rosemary.
Impact Wrestling Misses
EC3 and authority figures opening: EC3 went into greatest hits mode with the return of a barbershop quartet. The circumstances were even the same with EC3 celebrating his new status as No. 1 contender to the world title. It didn’t pack the same punch the second time around and not just because the original quartet did a better job or even because we’ve seen this before. Rather, it’s because the EC3 character lacks the swagger it had during the original version back in June 2015. He’s suffered some notable losses and the character lacks momentum. It feels like EC3 should be a dominant and athletically arrogant heel by this point. He should be a money opponent in that fans should see him as a threat even without cheating to every top babyface on the roster, but that’s just not the way he is scripted. Meanwhile, the contrived scene with the main Impact Wrestling authority figures rushing onto the stage simply because Alberto El Patron made his entrance was eye rolling material. We see wrestlers confront other wrestlers in promo segments countless times each week on every pro wrestling television show, so it came off as silly that Bruce Prichard, Dutch Mantell, and Karen Jarrett rushed the stage.
LAX vs. VOW for the vacant GFW Tag Titles: A finish that made the company and its many authority figures look idiotic. The story is that they made the tournament final a No DQ match for no apparent reason. By doing so, they made it legal for the three LAX members at ringside to interfere. In other words, it was a five-on-two situation. There were some boos, but it was hard to view LAX as the villains when they simply exploited the situation presented to them.
Low Ki: Low Ki’s match was a Hit in terms of match quality. Perhaps I am in the minority on this, but I just can’t get over the ridiculousness of Low Ki wrestling in a suit. It’s not like this coincided with some type of a character change for Low Ki. He just returned to Impact wearing a suit without any explanation and everyone on the show acts like it’s perfectly normal. Pro wrestling is a simulated sport, so this is the equivalent of Sidney Crosby playing Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final dressed a suit and skates while the NBC broadcast team acts like nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
Swoggle and Rockstar Spud: The lovable Swoggle beat Rockstar Spud with a hammer because he accidentally pulled his pants off. That makes Swoggle the heel, right? Apparently not, as Spud showed up and returned the favor by beating Swoggle with a hammer, even going so far as to drive the hammer into his balls. Which sociopath do they want fans to cheer for?