By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Alberto El Patron departure addressed: Impact wasted no time in addressing the latest ugly situation involving El Patron by opening the show with a video package that noted that he no-showed the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event. Impact officials only have themselves to blame for signing the guy and then actually showing interest in re-signing him as his contract neared expiration, but they deserve credit for addressing the situation rather than simply attempting to sneak in a quick reference to it. Granted, the need to change the pay-per-view main event probably forced their hand, but I like that they wasted no time and got right to it. Furthermore, it was cool to see footage from the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event on this show. The fresh footage made a show taped in January feel more relevant and timely.
Rosemary vs. Taya Valkyrie in a Demon’s Dance: A strong hardcore brawl between two of Impact’s best female wrestlers. Rosemary continues to be one of the most over acts in the company and it’s cool to see her featured in another television main event (even if they aired the Impact vs. LU footage afterward). The finish of the match was questionable in that it felt premature for Rosemary to conquer Valkyrie. Are they rushing to Rosemary vs. Su Yung? It’s still possible for Valkyrie to do something that will keep the feud alive, but it felt like they squandered a chance to make Valkyrie a
Scott Steiner: The latest return of Steiner didn’t pack as much of a punch as his last appearance when he teamed with Josh Mathews. Even so, it was a fun surprise to see him introduced as Eli Drake’s tag partner for his title match with LAX. Konnan did a good job of establishing the unpredictability about Steiner while also addressing the elephant in the room in terms of whether Steiner can still go in the ring. Steiner’s appearances typically result in chaos and people running scared. In this case, it was wise to have LAX stand their ground, as they are strong babyfaces who should not back down from anyone.
Moose vs. Sami Callihan: A good television match with a nice effort from both men before the bad baseball bat DQ finish. It’s not that I minded a DQ finish between these two because there was no need for a clean finish here, but the baseball bat shots are becoming a bit much if only because they won’t be sold properly. Moose sold the baseball bat shot to the knee that he took by limping, but it’s not like there was any extra concern for his well being. In fact, Tommy Dreamer hyped him as a tag partner for Redemption. In other words, save the bat for when it counts. Meanwhile, the addition of Dreamer to this feud can be helpful if he handles the mic work. Moose and Eddie Edwards are talented guys, but their promos still leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps Dreamer can be a good temporary promo surrogate for both men. Either way, it was nice to see Moose didn’t come off like a total dope who walks into situations where it’s him against multiple wrestlers. Yes, OVE interfered, but it came off like Moose had Eddie Edwards and Tommy Dreamer waiting in the wings.
Sonjay Dutt promotes the Global Wrestling Network: I have been tough on the company for airing GWN Flashback matches without bothering to explain what the Global Wrestling Network is most weeks. They did a much better job last night with Dutt setting up the flashback and then talking about the streaming service and the archives during the Moose vs. Sami Callihan match. The fact that the company apparently isn’t making the Redemption pay-per-view a streaming option for their subscribers makes it feel less important than rival streaming services, but it’s better to hold off on the live stream than run the risk of creating ill will with subscribers if it doesn’t work properly (see ROH).
Impact Wrestling Misses
Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix: The latest Alberto El Patron meltdown left the company in a bad spot in terms of their Redemption main event. And while I view the departure of El Patron as an addition by subtraction and feel that the new main event will be superior to Aries vs. El Patron, they failed to establish who the new challengers are and why they are special. John Moore wrote about their Lucha Underground history in his review. I don’t really need everything John listed to be thrown at me in just two weeks of television time, nor do I believe that a lot of the comic book style of Lucha Underground fits within the Impact storyline universe, they need to do something to sell viewers who are unfamiliar with these two wrestlers on who they are and why this is a main event worth watching. They now have a week to sell viewers on both men and hopefully they can make them feel like threats to win the title and don’t just focus the hype on the likely match quality.
Petey Williams vs. Josh Mathews: It didn’t feel like they had reached a point where fans were clamoring to see one of the babyfaces get his hands on Mathews. The spiritual guru version of Mathews makes me want to turn the channel more than watch to see him be put in his place. Mathews has the ability to be a very good mouthpiece, but this guru bit is forced and screams mid-card. Perhaps the “namaste” routine fits Sydal’s true personality to some extent, but it’s a real reach for Mathews. The antics of Mathews during this match were comical and a lot of this would have worked under different circumstances. Josh has something to offer as a heel manager. Now they just need to find the right person to put Mathews and an actual motivation for his character. In other words, why is he a manager and what are his goals? For the wrestler part, how about Mathews with an arrogant, silent, and ideally renamed Johnny Impact, who just hasn’t connected as a babyface in Impact Wrestling yet?
Tyrus, Richard Justice, and Fallah Bahh vs. KM, Trevor Lee, and Caleb Konley: It felt like the company could have gotten more out of the big men joining forces after KM fat shamed Justice last week. At the very least, I thought they would put more heat on the heels for the next two weeks and it would lead to the babyface trio getting their revenge in a mid-card match at Redemption. Instead, they paid this off one week later and really didn’t get anything out of it.