By Jason Powell
Impact Wrestling Hits
Johnny Impact vs. KM: I’m typically annoyed when a wrestler agrees to put a title shot on the line in exchange for nothing and for no reason other than another wrestler challenged him to do so. And while it was nice that Josh Mathews questioned the decision of Impact to do so, it didn’t bother me in this case because the Johnny Impact character is supremely confident and this came off like a case of him showing no fear of KM. And then he did it again. More on that later. This match was solid and the fans are starting to get in synch with Impact’s countdowns. The only disappointment is that KM continues to be such a Biff Tannen clone. He’s a good talker and he plays the character well, but it would be nice to see him pull back on the Biff routine in favor of becoming his own man, and have creative position him as more than an undercard act.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Ava Storie: Another showcase squash win for Valkyrie, which is exactly what the company should be doing with her at this early stage of her run. Meanwhile, Storie has been positioned as an enhancement talent. She has a “girl next door” quality and these early losses could be a positive if they opt to eventually have her character score an upset win and start working her way up the ladder. The post match fight with the various women started with a weak forearm and included a lot of soft punches, but the crowd was responsive and this was a nice set up for next week’s six-woman tag match. By the way, one of my favorite moments in pro wrestling this week was Allie talking about how the heels were “super mean to my demon friend” and then hopping away after Rosemary called her bunny. On the flip side, Karen Jarrett’s unnecessary television appearance of the week was once again a turnoff. Karen was a very good heel, but she’s just not likable as a babyface authority figure.
Kongo Kong vs. Mahabali Shera: Another dominant win for Kong. Shera botched the springboard move, but the overall match was fine in terms of serving as another showcase win for Kong. I don’t get the feeling that creative knows where they are going with Kong, as he’s been working this style of match since he arrived and yet he hasn’t had a real storyline feud yet. On a side note, Mathews boasted that he’s better than Tony Romo as a color commentator. Rather than play into this, Borash immediately transitioned to plugging something unrelated. The broadcast team has improved since they toned down their over the top feud. Admittedly, I am thinking more about Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon this week, but it would be nice if Borash would sell those heelish lines by acting as believably taken aback as Monsoon did when Heenan would go there. They tried again later when Mathews claimed he was asked to sing the Canadian national anthem. Borash fed in nicely this time by asking Mathews who made that request, but Mathews had a weak comeback about Impact officials making the request and seemed more concerned with getting laughs from co-workers than the audience when he said Dutch Mantell asked him to do it. I can almost hear Heenan going over the top and claiming the Canadian Prime Minister called him personally. Anyway, the point is that it feels like these exchanges between the two could be stronger, especially since they have the benefit of calling these matches in the studio.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Eli Drake vs. Bronce for the GFW Championship: While I appreciate the idea of airing footage of Impact Wrestling talent working for other promotions, the presentation leaves so much to be desired. In this case, most Impact Wrestling viewers have no clue who Bronce is. And while the broadcast team did their best to bring everyone up to speed, it would have been much more effective if the viewers were given a reason to care long before the match. Ideally, we would have seen Bronce appear in the Impact Zone and win a few matches before this match aired. If that wasn’t possible, then give viewers some video packages or at least have the broadcast team discuss the match a couple weeks in advance to build up fan interest. On a positive note, it was nice to see the actual match rather than the highlight video approach the company took for the LAX tag title defense in The Crash promotion.
EC3 and Eddie Edwards vs. Pagano and El Hijo del Fantasma: The actual match was Hit worthy from a quality standpoint. The Miss is that Impact viewers barely know Pagano and Fantasma, and now they are adding El Texano Jr. to the act. He’s a talented guy and a nice addition, yet they need to do more from a storytelling standpoint to make viewers care about these new faces. It certainly didn’t help that James Storm came out and tossed two of them out of the ring with one hand while holding a beer in the other.
Johnny Impact vs. El Texano Jr.: Another Hit from a match quality standpoint, but there were some flaws here that dragged it down. Impact viewers were introduced to Texano earlier in the show and then he ended up losing clean on his first night in. I’m sure there are some viewers who are familiar with him from AAA and Lucha Underground, but why not give him a real buildup before feeding him to Impact? And the idea of Impact putting his No. 1 contender status on the line twice in one show was silly. The first time felt like the act of a confident babyface, but the second time felt like overkill. If anything, making this a No. 1 contender match telegraphed the outcome because it was hard to believe that Texano would earn a title shot on his first night in and then face fellow heel Eli Drake on next week’s show. I get that they wanted to showcase Impact heading into his title match next week, but one match would have been enough.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ROH COO Joe Koff confirming plans for a weekly ROH online series, discussing his decision to call off ROH events due to the coronavirus outbreak, making Marty Scurll the head booker, ROH's partnerships with NJPW and the NWA, and much more...