By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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Impact Wrestling Hits
Johnny Impact vs. Alberto El Patron vs. Moose vs. EC3: It feels like Impact and El Patron work three or four-way matches every other week on this show. Putting that aside, this was a good main event filled with nearly as much star power as the company can offer these days and some fun brawling. EC3 taking the loss was logical given that he’s not sticking around. Impact going over seems to set the stage for him to challenge Austin Aries (pending the outcome of next week’s title match), which is an attractive match on paper. With any luck, that match can breathe some life into Johnny’s character, which feels flat at this point.
EC3 promo: This was an unexpected gem with EC3 playing into the fact that he showed up at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia after this promo was taped. He said there are a lot of questions as to whether he’s here or there. He never mentioned NXT specifically, nor did he have to. One of the issues with Impact shows lately has been the lame duck feel that they have with wrestlers appearing weeks and even months after it’s well known that they have left the company. And while EC3 is obviously NXT bound, this promo helped create the impression that nothing is official, which makes his future appearances on Impact Wrestling feel more relevant for more casual viewers.
Austin Aries and Eli Drake verbal exchange: I’m big on the press conference style approach when it’s done right. That was the case here with Aries answering “media” questions shortly after he defeated Drake for the championship. It was interesting to hear him confirm that he does not have a signed contract with Impact Wrestling. Here’s hoping that doesn’t come back to bite Impact as a lot can happen between their marathon tapings (assuming Aries holds the belt by the time this batch of shows finishes airing). Drake’s brief involvement and bickering with Aries was tense and set the stage for next week’s rematch.
Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt: It was initially awkward to hear Mathews go from being the cocky voice of the broadcast team to playing it straight as the play-by-play voice again. Once I got past that, the duo delivered a decent straight forward call of the show. It would have been nice if Mathews could have raised his game by delivering more of a big match call for the main event. I also could have done without Mathews going way overboard with the credibility killing claim that the main event may be the match of the year. Still, the company was put in a tough spot when Jeremy Borash left the company for WWE. These guys didn’t do enough in one week to sell me on them being the right fight long term, but they did a good job on short notice this week.
El Hijo Del Phantasma and Rohit Raju vs. Matt Sydal and Taiji Ishimori: A minor Hit for a solid opening match that felt longer than necessary. Even so, there was good action and three of the four wrestlers are very good while Raju (f/k/a Hakim Zane) is off to a nice start in Impact. I will gladly take longer matches if it means the company will air less of the independent footage and flashback videos. A simple fix would be opening the show with brief promos that set the stage for the opening match similar to the way Raw approached the Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt match on Monday. This approach would set the stage for the match while trimming a couple minutes of match time, which may seem like it’s not much, but it really can make a big difference.
Laurel Van Ness vs. Kiera Hogan for the Knockouts Title: A little sloppy at times and the Unprettier finish didn’t look good, but I like that they managed to get a two week (or more?) story out of Van Ness and an opponent who was previously unknown to Impact viewers. The post match with Allie saving Hogan suggests that they are still going with Van Ness and Allie feuding over the title, but it will be interesting to see what comes next for Hogan.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley vs. TECH: Lee and Konley looked like clowns in Hawaiian shirts last week. This week the broadcast team spoke openly about how ridiculous they looked while wearing bandanas in an apparent attempt to spoof LAX. Impact Wrestling needs stars, not dorky pest heels.
Hania The Huntress vs. Amber Nova: I really don’t get the Huntress gimmick and she strikes me as having a babyface look, but we’ll see where it goes. This was a showcase match for Hania and yet Nova’s limited offense was more memorable. Rosemary attacking Hania after the match keeps their feud going. Don’t get used to it. Hania is no longer with the company.
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