By Jason Powell
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Impact Wrestling Hits
Trevor Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori for the X Division Championship: A good match and a strong way to kick off the first match of the new year. That said, I wish the title change felt more important. Lee should mean so much more. He’s had three forgettable X Division Title reigns and beating him just doesn’t mean anything in Impact because they haven’t done right by him creatively. And while I appreciate the return to focussing on singles matches in the X Division, it’s not like the title is in a meaningful place either. The backstage exchange with Dezmond Xavier reminding Ishimori that he beat him once before and then throwing his name in the hat for a future title shot was well done.
OVE vs. LAX for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles or LAX must leave Impact Wrestling: The LAX and OVE feud is the best thing Impact has going these days. The addition of Sami Callihan to the OVE act along with the much needed double turn of the teams has everyone slotted properly and has heated up the feud nicely.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron for the Impact Wrestling Championship: I really wanted to like this since they finally dedicated some promo time to building up to one of the matches taped at another promotion’s venue. Unfortunately, the actual match footage filmed at a a Wrestle Pro event in Rahway, New Jersey looked piss poor from a production standpoint and made the Impact Wrestling Championship and both wrestlers look minor league by working in a venue with nearly empty bleachers. What’s worse is that the wrestlers actually brawled into those bare bleachers at one point. I love independent wrestling and some of the shots made it look like a good crowd from an independent show standpoint, but this footage simply was not prime time cable television.
Impact Wrestling Grand Championship: Unless the new creative team of Scott D’Amore and Don Callis have some, well, grand plan for the Grand Championship, here’s hoping they merge the championship and give up on the round system. We’ve seen countless wrestlers and multiple creative regimes attempt to make the rounds format work and it really hasn’t led to anything memorable. Some of the matches are better than others, but if Impact Wrestling feels the need to have a secondary championship then I feel they’d be better off with a traditional secondary title that is ideally used as a stepping stone belt rather than a quirky round system title. The current storyline with Matt Sydal chasing EC3 has Sydal accusing EC3 of using the clock and judges to his advantage so hopefully this is leading to the end of the rounds format.
James Storm vs. Dan Lambert in a loser leaves Impact Wrestling match: Lambert’s MMA fighters, Lashley, and KM all interfered in the match. Storm lost as a result of this and then headed backstage where he was greeted by a group of applauding wrestlers. Where were these a-holes when Storm was getting his ass handed to him by Lambert’s goon squad? This was nonsensical, as was the decision to put the heat on Lambert rather than an actual wrestler for ending Storm’s latest run with the company. Storm won’t be the last of the veteran names to leave due to the company’s financial situation. Hopefully they will do a better job going forward of using the departing veterans to elevate younger talent or strengthen the wrestlers who are sticking around. For instance, they could have made Eli Drake responsible for ending Storm’s run by defeating him clean in a title vs. career run and it would have helped the new Impact Wrestling Champion a hell of a lot more than the footage of his independent match with El Patron did.