By Jason Powell
Impact Wrestling Hits
Eli Drake vs. Johnny Impact for the GFW Championship: It was nice to see the title match receive plenty of time following the recent brief No. 1 contenders match between Impact and Low Ki. The effort was there from both men and the in-ring work was solid. Unfortunately, we also ended up with the obligatory Impact Wrestling title match ref bump and yet another title belt shot from the champion followed by the challenger kicking out, just as we saw in the X Division Title match earlier in the show. Lazy. I settled in on this being a Hit because the overall match was enjoyable despite the company falling into its usual creative trap. I wish the creative forces would realize just how predictable, tiresome, and damaging their title match ref bumps are.
Trevor Lee vs. Petey Williams for the X Division Championship: A quality match that was brought down a bit by Caleb Konley pulling the referee from the ring, which could be seen coming a mile away due to the referee being positioned so close to the ropes and away from the wrestlers. Fortunately, the creative forces redeemed creatively by having Williams kick out at the last moment after Lee hit him with the title belt off the distraction, and ultimately going with the superior double stomp finish. Overall, the match was effective in making Williams look strong despite losing the match. I just hope that the company recognizes that it’s too similar to have lackeys with both the GFW and X Division champions.
Taya Valkyrie, Taryn Terrell, and Sienna vs. Allie, Rosemary, and Gail Kim: A quality six-woman tag match that was set up well on television in recent weeks. The Knockouts Division has been replenished with the additions of Valkrie and Terrell, Kim’s return from injury, and Allie wrestling more frequently. The only potential negative is that Terrell’s return has not packed as much of a punch as it should have. It felt like she was third in the pecking order on her own team with Sienna as champion and Valkyrie getting the big debut push. Terrell has the most charisma of the three and strikes me as the best heel in the division.
Impact Wrestling Misses
James Storm promo: They actually aired a promo with Storm leading the fans in chanting GFW even though they are transitioning back to Impact Wrestling (I still maintain that “TN EH?” is the perfect name once the company officially moves to Canada). I liked Storm’s line about this not being about USA and Mexico because we’re all human beings, but then he completely lost me by talking about “Mexicans and Mexicants” before telling El Texano Jr. to get his “Taco Bell ass” back in the ring. Ridiculous. I also don’t like that this is about Impact Wrestling feuding with the AAA promotion. By positioning it this way, they are making it seem like the entire AAA promotion seem like heels. Keep this in mind if they get the AAA promotion on their Global streaming service, as it’s going to be odd to watch the company attempt to sell this as a positive, especially when the broad cast team is telling us that Storm and EC3 are united in their hatred of AAA. If the babyfaces hate AAA, why should the fans like the promotion? This entire embarrassing mess of a segment should have been cut from the show for so many reasons.
LAX vs. OVE for the GFW Tag Titles: An odd title change with the fans clearly not expecting the DDT spot to serve as the finish of the match. And don’t get me wrong, I love that the DDT is a finisher and not just a throwaway move, but this didn’t feel like the strong climax you’d expect for a title change. OVE winning the tag straps feels premature. My assumption is that creative did this with the goal of making the duo, but they would have been better off getting them over first and then going with a long chase for the titles.
Lashley and American Top Team: Congratulations to the creative team for pulling off the unthinkable. Lashley was a terrific heel champion and among my favorite acts in the company. I never would have imagined that they could make me stop caring about the Lashley character, but spotlighting money mark target Dan Lambert and the still nameless American Top Team fighters has left me dreading Lashley’s segments.
Joseph Park and Grado skit: As much as I get a kick out of their comedy antics, they got a little too quirky for my taste by showing them on yet another horrible restaurant set. Worse yet, Grado was at this restaurant dressed in his ring gear for no apparent reason. I suspect that someone liked the campiness of this skit rather than this being an oversight, but it’s a little too much for me. By the way, it looked like there could be trouble in paradise based on the look that Grado flashed after seeing the “juicy” royalty check that Park gave him.
Global Forged: So now we have three finalists for a competition that has never been explained. Scott D’Amore told viewers that these finalists are not shoo-ins even though they made it through phase one because there is an entire class of students who are looking to earn the contract. So does that mean the three finalists can be replaced by one of his class members? Does anyone have any clue what is happening?