By John Moore
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Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Best of 2017 Part 1 Episode
The Impact Wrestling signature aired. Josh Mathews welcomed the viewers in front of a blue screen where he welcomed the viewers to the two-week year in review. Josh talked about how viewers got to see new stars and knockouts. Josh also took a low-key cheap shot at Impact by being brutally honest in saying that Impact has had “several” new beginnings in 2017. Josh cut to the early part of 2017. A TNA history video package aired…
John’s Thoughts: We’re in “Best of…” material, folks. Just FYI, I won’t be as detailed as I usually am in this week and next week’s review since I have already analyzed these segments in full, in detail. You can check my past reviews by clicking on the Impact Reviews section in prowrestling.net’s “TV Reviews” dropdown menu on the main page. Those reviews will have my thoughts and transcriptions in detail so I won’t have to reiterate myself here.
The first recap segment was Bruce Prichard introducing that “TNA is Dead” (well, hasn’t TNA been Dead for years technically? as a Zombie?). Josh Mathews was in the middle of his Heel Michael Cole impersonation at this point of 2017. Bobby Lashley was involved in this segment and he was a main eventer on the show as opposed to being the undercard bit player that he is behind Dan Lambert today. Alberto El Patron also made his debut in this segment where he challenged Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Championship on Alberto’s first night in Impact…
1. Alberto El Patron vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA Heavyweight Championship.
The match was decent for 75% of it. Josh Mathews and Jeremy Borash were bickering at this point. EC3 was also a main eventer at this point and he entered ringside to watch the match. This match included not one, but two ref bumps (see. TNA isn’t dead. With the classic Jarrett booking TNA is more alive than ever. God help us). Because two referees were bumped, Alberto El Patron hit Bobby Lashley with the championship belt to become the new champion.
Alberto El Patron defeated Bobby Lashley via pinfall to become the new TNA Heavyweight Champion.
John’s Thoughts: Eh, would those last two segments be considered “best of”? If I did a “best of…” compilation of 2017, and I’m confident that some Impact viewers will agree, that the compilation would consist of X Division matches, LAX matches/cinematics, and Low Ki matches. Honestly, those are the only things that were exceptional all year.
Back at the blue screen room, Josh Mathews talked about how all eyes were on Alberto El Patron at that point. Josh also talked about the debut of Cody and Brandy Rhodes and their feud with Moose (which sadly was cut short due to Cody moving over to Ring of Honor full time). Josh also talked about how the Hardy Boyz leaving forced Prichard to make a tournament to crown new champions…
Impact then cut to one of the Impact teasers that they played before an episode earlier in the year. This episode featured EC3 tapping out to El Patron, Suicide, Cody Rhodes, Reno Scums, Bruce Prichard, and the return of the Latin American XChange. They cut to one of the first Lucha Underground inspired LAX cinematics where Konnan talked about how LAX came to Impact to get revenge against the “Impact Crackers” for sending the Hardys over to take the tag team championships of his (now former) Crash Promotion. Josh Mathews talked about how cool the LAX Clubhouse scenes were.
Josh Mathews transitioned to a “big return” in the X Division. An X Division hype package aired. Dezmond Xavier made his debut in the highlighted match. The big return to Impact/TNA was Low Ki. Hornswoggle made his Impact debut at this point by cheering in the crowd. Rockstar Spud was the ring announcer…
2. Sonjay Dutt vs. Andrew Everett vs. Trevor Lee vs. Suicide vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Low Ki for the TNA X Division Championship.
Of course, for some reason this was the time where Low Ki decided to cosplay as Agent 47 from the Hitman video games. This was a good X Division multi-man contest despite how tired the concept of multi-person spotfests have become in TNA over the past decade. Low Ki shined with his innovative striking offense and he ultimately won the X Division title which was the beginning of a really credible championship reign. Low Ki hit Warriors Way on Trevor Lee to become the champion.
Low Ki defeated Sonjay Dutt, Andrew Everett, Trevor Lee, Suicide, and Dezmond Xavier via pinfall to become the new TNA X Division champion.
John’s Thoughts: Just to note so you know I’m not making a typo here, leading up to Slammiversary despite TNA supposedly being “dead” the company still used the TNA belts until Slammiversary. In fact, since they brought Jeff and Karen Jarrett aboard, with the integration of GFW championships into the mix there were actually around 8-10 active championships floating around. I also think since Adam Thornstowe got injured, they ran a tournament to crown new GFW Tag champs for no good reason because the TNA Tag Champions ended up winning the tournament anyway.
They showed the post-match were Josh Mathews was in full Heel Michael Cole mode. D’Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke) was playing peacekeeper. Jeremy Borash punched Josh Mathews after Dinero got out of the way… [C]
Back at the Mathews blue screen, Josh Mathews recapped the Decay vs. LAX street fight…
3. LAX vs. Decay for the TNA Tag Team Championships.
Because it was a Street Fight, it was essentially five on three. The viewers did get to see that the new LAX members could really perform well in the ring. Santana and Ortiz hit their signature Blockbuster Powerbomb on Crazzy Steve through a table and thumbtacks to win the match. This was Decay’s last match in TNA with Crazzy Steve leaving the company.
LAX defeated Decay via pinfall to retain the TNA Tag Team Championships.
The camera didn’t stick too long with the LAX celebration… [C]
Back at the Josh Mathews blue screen room, Josh Mathews bragged about hitting a Swanton Bomb in India. This was the transition to an India highlight package. This was the video package that aired before one of the Impact in India episodes where the talent talked about being excited to be in India. They also showed a Mahabali Shera where he talked about his family and how excited he is to bring pro wrestling to his family and the country of India. It was the singular best promo that Mahabali Shera has cut in Impact and it was pretty good because of how genuine he came off as. A Low Ki and Sonjay Dutt video package aired afterward with Dutt wearing an eye patch due to an accidental injury inflicted on him by Low Ki… [C]
After the break, the next match they aired was Sonjay Dutt vs. Low Ki in Mumbai…
4. Sonjay Dutt vs. Low Ki for the TNA X Division Championship.
I won’t go much into this match other than to say that it’s worth going back to on their GWN to rewatch. Low Ki’s matches in 2017 were all pretty good, especially since they allowed him to get a main event spotlight. Sonjay Dutt won this match via a splash.
Sonjay Dutt defeated Low Ki via pinfall to become the TNA X Division Champion.
I believe that this was taped right before Slammiversary so it might have been the last time they used the TNA belts and went to using Global Force Wrestling belts (which ultimately ended up biting them in the ass)…
The show cut back to the Josh Mathews blue screen room where he congratulated Sonjay Dutt for winning the championship in his home country. Josh said part 2 of this “best of…” series was going to happen next week…
John’s Thoughts: Well, that might have been one of the better episodes I’ve reviewed selfishly, mostly because I got to hit the fast forward button on the DVR throughout the show due to covering these matches in full already. I also find it a bit funny that I was being a bit sarcastic, but it is true and Impact seems to agree, the best part of Impact in 2017 was LAX and Low Ki. I did find it interesting that there were more standouts that I forgot to mention, like the great series of matches between Rosemary and Jade (Mia Yim), the Hardy’s expedition of gold, Drew Galloway as Grand Champion, and the strong Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards feud with Angelina Love putting in a strong performance as the instigator. I’m guessing their reason for Impact just neglecting those and me doing a similar thing in my memory is that particular era was associated with the Lagana and Conway creative team and not the Jeff Jarrett one brought in by Anthem.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...