By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Ethan Carter III: I really liked the sendoff of EC3 and how they turned a dumbass concept like Feast or Fired into a creative way to dedicate the show to his farewell. We knew he was getting fired, that was obvious given the other briefcase holders and the fact that he showed up on NXT already at the most recent Takeover show. Throughout the night, EC3 cut some inspired promos that didn’t get “Derrick Bateman cheesy” as he tends to do sometimes. That “I hope he gets fired” series of comments by other wrestlers was comedy done right. The best parts in my opinion were the Fallah Bahh and Richard Justice parts. Speaking of promos, that Anti-dumbass-TNA promo was well done where he went on to be self deprecating the company’s dumbass aspects with things like Feast or Fired, running out of TV that one time, and the King of the Mountan. On top of that, he ended up putting Brian Cage over on his way out the door. That Tyrus thing a few weeks ago was hot garbage but they redeemed themselves somewhat with this night dedicated to one of TNA’s few great success stories. EC3 will be missed and I’ll be looking forward to covering him in my NXT live reviews, which you can follow along with me every Wednesday as NXT streams on WWE Network. Speaking of which, William Regal announced a huge announcement for next week on the recent NXT episode. I love the continuity here if they timed EC3’s exit with his NXT debut.
Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards: This was a well done horror movie cinematic set of videos and this continues to prove my point of splitting off LAX and OVE being beneficial to extend their unique production to other feuds. The cinematic approach may not be for some, but this is one of the best forms of alternative professional wrestling presentation. This was very Lucha Underground, but not even Lucha Underground has taken things to a slasher horror movie setting yet. The segment had a great plot twist with them setting the seeds of there being a housekeeper on that floor of the hotel and then Sami Callihan surprising Eddie Edwards dressed as the female maid. That could have came off horribly wrong due to Callihan in drag, but the uncomfortable and scary nature of the situation repaired that situation.
Alberto El Patron and Austin Aries segment: I was really going back and forth on whether to give this a hit or miss. I’ll separate it into a hit and miss by extricating the bad part which I’ll elaborate on in the miss section. I’ll go into the good parts because, ultimately, I think this does deserve credit for continuing to build interest in the Aries vs. Patron main event of the Redemption pay-per-view. Props to Alberto El Patron cutting coherent and efficient promos again. This guy can be one of the upper tier promos in the business but for a stretch after winning the World Championship last year, he’s cut the most scatterbrained, turnoff, and unfocused promos on the roster. Bonus points for him also taking the domestic abuse aspect away from the storyline (because a heel is supposed to be disingenuous, via logical deduction that storyline only leads to Alberto looking like he is guilty). It doesn’t even work for heat because it isn’t in the context of the storyline.
Matt Sydal vs. Rohit Raju for the X Division Championship: The yoga hippy heel thing with Sydal still isn’t clicking yet, but at least there were a few positives to pick up from this. Sydal had a good match. He has tended to having pretty forgettable matches in Impact Wrestling despite him being immensely talented in the ring. I also liked that Sydal got new music to match his new wrestling character.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Feast or Fired: EC3 had the self deprecating humor done right, but everyone else pointing out how dumb this concept makes Impact look bad for living in the past for some reason. The only rationalization I can come up with is Scott D’Amore being a huge proponent of this due to his pride for TNA. I felt bad for Petey Williams for trying to take it seriously because it made him come off as naive. Moose said he didn’t care about most of Impact’s titles. Why would you wrestle in a match where even after taking the case you only have minority 25 percent odds of getting what you want (which continues to bury him as the dumbest babyface in Impact Wrestling)? Eli Drake said it sucked by the end of it. I get how bad it is to live in the past but where does the motivation come when the past is so bad. That was the whole reason many people questioned this company launching a streaming service. Also, Sonjay Dutt, who’s been strong so far as a babyface color commentator, come off as a dick for constantly saying “I can’t wait to see who is going to get fired Josh!”
Alberto El Patron: Here’s the miss from the segment earlier. While Alberto’s promo was coherent this time and decipherable, he’s still all over the place as far as character is concerned. He’s clearly the heel and he did some great heel work against Austin Aries by being patronizing and cunning in last week’s steak dinner segment. Here, he was back to soliciting a babyface reaction and doing his copycat Daniel Bryan chants (which is made worse by DB popping back up again but there’s no way Impact could have predicted that). The only thing that would have made this worse is if he had cut one of those promos like he did at BFG or against Konnan where the diction matches the scatterbrained character. Hopefully Impact saw this as a negative and last week’s backstage promo was taped after seeing how confusing this approach was.
Rohit Raju: Rohit Raju has been a Miss in Impact so far and right now only seems to be there to be the stand-in for Mahabali Shera (currently in NXT) and Sonjay Dutt (currently injured) as the way to panderto Sony Six. The problem is they’ve already established this guy as an enhancement wrestler. At least they protected Mahabali Shera. This Desi Hit Squad thing is also as confusing as Global Forge, the thing Raju won when he was billed as Hakim Zane. We don’t even know if there are even other guys in this faction. The slight saving grace with him is the guy is competent in the ring and can do some cool moves.
Allie vs. Sienna for the Knockouts Championship: This was very strange. Sienna was Impact’s long-term Knockouts Champion last year and here she served as cannon-fodder in a short match. No video packages? There’s a mountain of backstory dating back to the Maria Kanellis days and Allie was the one who won the title from Sienna (via fluke) from that time too. This was very odd. The post-match stuff was decent. I get a kick out of them turning Braxton Sutter into their version of Heath Slater. Su Yung is an upgrade over Hania the Huntress because she at least she looks like she wants to play a wrestling character. Here’s hoping they give Yung some cinematic promos similar to when they had Rosemary use black magic and talk to a tree. Rosemary and Su Yung are definitely on a collision course.
Abyss vs. Kongo Kong: If you’ve been watching Impact for more than a year, you should be familiar with the formula of an Abyss Monster’s Ball match. It doesn’t help that Abyss is a shell of his former self as far as mobility is concerned. There’s not much more I can say about it as far as the match was concerned because we’ve seen this a butt load of times. If you want to see the perfect reaction to this match, look at how many fans in the stands were on their cellphones. Now to analyze the negative of this feud, while James Mitchell cut a great promo last week, they put minimal heat on Abyss leading up to the match which makes me question why they booked Monster’s Ball for this show rather than at the PPV. The match still would have sucked but let’s go by comparison. The Joe Park/Abyss vs. Grado Monster’s Ball match at BFG last year was built up way better with a somewhat intricate storyline. On the side of Kong and Jacobs, they haven’t come off as a devastating duo yet especially with Kong not being as destructive as he once was (when he was paired with Laurel Van Ness and squashing dudes). This pairing with Jacobs also isn’t clicking from a chemistry standpoint. Just because you’re friends in real life doesn’t mean it will always translate on camera.
Trevor Lee vs. Fallah Bahh: The story of Trevor Lee’s Impact Wrestling life. Every time it looks like they might take a step forward with him, he ends up taking two steps back into comedic obscurity. I’ve already said my piece on this for several years now, this guy is going to end up in NXT, Ring of Honor, or New Japan and become a huge international star. We’ve seen this in TNA in the past with people like CM Punk, Matt and Nick Jackson, Xavier Woods (as noted in a recent D-Von interview), Okada, Sanada, Tetsuya Naito, and others. Fallah Bahh needs to find a way to move into a meaningful position on the mid-card because this guy is catching on but the lack of true enhancement talent pigeonholes him in this precarious situation.
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