Join Jason Powell for live coverage of Impact Wrestling Redemption as the show airs tonight at 7CT/8ET. Dot Net Members will hear his exclusive audio review after the show.
By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix for the Impact World Championship: I’d be very hard pressed not to pick Austin Aries here, mostly due to this being a patchwork main event with two characters who had zero development on Impact television. It’s not 100 percent Impact’s fault. I give them credit for acting swiftly on Alberto El Patron and their main event did upgrade after his dismissal, but what they gained in match quality they lost in storyline development. Pentagon got the win at WrestleCon in front of the Lucha Underground fanbase. Pentagon’s entire gimmick is his strong character development in the Lucha Underground universe. He’s capable of a great match, but the reason there’s so much hype surrounding him is due to his charisma more his in-ring work. Fenix, on the other hand, is a money player that not even Lucha Underground has tapped into fully yet. Fenix may not be able to cut the promo that his brother can (by the way, Pentagon doesn’t cut promos in English, but he’s so good that you just understand that he’s a good promo). Fenix tells his stories in the ring. For him I’d recommend you check out his feuds against Mil Muertes (Judas Mesias) and King Cuerno (El Hijo Del Fantasma). I’m putting in a lot of analysis into a prediction that I think is a forgone conclusion but I’ll give my personal alternate. If I were booking and had the Lucha Brothers around for a somewhat long term stay, I’d put the belt on Fenix by having him pin his brother and having that be the impetus to an Austin Aries heel turn. Aries is a better heel than babyface and to be honest some of his best work in the past few years was arguably against No Way Jose where he worked as a full on heel. There’s no way I would put the belt on Pentagon at all until they develop him. Lucha Underground did it with squash matches and cinematics. Fenix is ready to be a fighting champion whenever. As for my real prediction, I don’t see them taking the belt off of Aries, especially with him carrying around all those other title belts like he’s Gilgamesh from the Final Fantasy games.
Austin Aries defeats Fenix and his brother via pinfall to retain the Impact World Championship.
Matt Sydal vs. Petey Williams for the X Division Championship: This match will either be very good of very forgettable. Williams has had a string of strong performances since coming out of retirement. Sydal has been extremely hit or miss in the ring and a solid miss as far as character is concerned. I get a chuckle out of Sydal being a parody of a yoga hippy (and since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area currently, I run across these dudes pretty much on the regular), but the problem is this hippy character screams undercard comedy heel and Josh Mathews is only enhancing that perception. Mathews has the potential to be a strong heel manager but pairing him with Sydal in this current form isn’t doing him any favors. It doesn’t help that the transcendental hippy and spiritual advisor storyline is being done way better in the NWA. In Impact it seems like some sort of in-joke that the audience doesn’t get. I’m not even basing my prediction out of storyline but more so hope that it keeps Mathews off of commentary. I’m just going to pick Matt Sydal to win. I do hope he wins clean. Heels in Impact rarely win clean for some reason. But they are going to Canada soon aren’t they? Well, then have Petey win there.
Matt Sydal defeats Petey Williams via pinfall to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Santana and Ortiz vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner for the Impact Tag Titles: This one should be easy right? LAX has to go over here. For one, it continues to establish LAX as the strong tag team of the division (Sadly, in a division only inhabited by only them at the moment. They did that promo where OVE said they were going to take a break from the division). Two, Scott Steiner is a part-time novelty. He’s a fun novelty, but at his age he can’t go like he once did. I also felt we saw what this match is going to end up being at the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event where it was Jake and Dave Crist vs. Teddy Hart and Steiner. All three non-Steiner guys put on a good match until Steiner lumbered in to get a few clotheslines and a Recliner. Because LAX are the babyfaces though, the outcome will be different and LAX will continue their title reign. Konnan’s been planting this seed in the promos, so maybe Eli Drake ends up losing because Steiner betrays him out of petty anger. LAX will hit their blockbuster powerbomb for the win.
Santana and Ortiz defeat Eli Drake and Scott Steiner via pinfall to retain the Impact Tag Team Championship.
Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist vs. Tommy Dreamer, Moose, and Eddie Edwards in a House of Hardcore match: Here’s the hardest match of the night for me to predict because I can see this going either way. I’m going to go with what I would do and put the OVE trio over. Impact should expect their viewers to have been following them for several months and not just trying out the product. OVE, while very entertaining, haven’t won too many matches in their Impact Wrestling run. I feel like Sami Callihan is ready to move up to the next level in Impact and it would look really strange if they just kept having him lose. Again, if you’ve been watching the Impact product, you know that a lot of Sami’s matches recently have ended in DQ finishes. He won at WrestleCon, but that was because Don Callis ran in and threw the towel. Eddie Edwards can absorb the loss and it will make him more sympathetic. Moose is too damaged at this point and needs some sort of reboot. I’ve mentioned in my Impact reviews that I would give Moose the Zelina Vega treatment in giving him a mouthpiece like he did in Ring of Honor, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, there will be a baseball bat involved in this match and since they planted the seed we might see Don Callis pop up here.
OVE defeats Tommy Dreamer, Moose and Eddie Edwards via pinfall.
Allie vs. Su Yung for the Knockouts Title: While the booking on the last episode of Impact was a bit odd because they made Su Yung look weak, I think they have been doing a good job with the Su Yung vs. Allie story. The only odd part here is Braxton Sutter, who comes off as dead weight and extraneous. I feel like he’s only there to call back to the time when Maria Kanellis was in the company. I’ll have this be my “bold pick” prediction. In my heart, I think this match is going to end in DQ with Allie going over due to Su Yung using the kendo stick. My prediction is that Su Yung takes the title off of Allie to set Yung on a path towards Rosemary. By the way, how odd is it to not have Rosemary or Taya Valkyrie advertised for this show? I’m also predicting this based on my other predictions not having a title change.
Su Yung defeats Allie via pinfall to become the new Impact Knockouts Champion.
Taiji Ishimori vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Brian Cage vs. DJZ vs. Trevor Lee: Okay, I know this looks scary. Brian Cage vs. the entire X Division? He’ll most likely destroy them right? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time and hope this match is more like the multi-person matches that we see on 205 Live where multiple stories are told instead of it just being a bunch of guys doing cooperative flips. Cage is surprisingly good at selling. Almost too good at times. The guy sold for Chavo Guerrero Jr, and no one sells for Chavo (which led to some funny Matt Striker commentary). Cage’s worst match was when he decided to sell to Lucha Underground’s version of Richard Justice (Vinnie Massaro) in a competitive match. Bottom line is, Cage can sell well to smaller wrestlers. So, expect Cage to make the other guys look good while also tossing them around and hitting a few of them with his moonsaults. You look at the card and it’s probably obvious. Trevor Lee is going to be pinned by Brian Cage. It would have been more obvious if Caleb Konley was in it. One thing we will also see is El Hijo Del Fantasma hitting his world famous suicide dive. By the way, since they are “partners” with Lucha Underground now, can they make Fantasma put the dead animal on his head and call himself King Cuerno? That guy is a main event quality heel.
Brian Cage defeats Trevor Lee, Taiji Ishimori, Dezmond Xavier, El Hijo Del Fantasma, and DJZ via pinfall.
Aerostar vs. Drago: This match has potential to be match of the night given how great these two guys work together. Impact fans are familiar with Drago. He’s a freakin’ wrestling dragon who also wrestles very well. His finisher is a rollup pin. You must be good if you can make the rollup your finisher. Aerostar is essentially a Lucha Power Ranger. Or at least that’s what fellow Dot Net staffer Will Pruett and I came up with. He also brings a flamethrower to the ring for some reason during his big matches (to the point where he accidentally set the Lucha Underground ring on fire one time). In-ring, Aerostar is one of the smoothest luchadors I’ve seen and he can do some innovative stuff on the ropes. People call Gran Metalik “king of the ropes” but Aerostar can give him a run for his money. He’s also got a bit of Shane McMahon in him in that he likes to fall from high places for the sake of entertainment so expect him to possibly fall from a high place if there is a place for him to fall in the Impact Zone. Another reason I know this match can deliver is because at one point Lucha Underground had these two wrestling every week and their matches never got old. I was going to flip a coin on this one since I’ve seen these two wrestle a ton of matches against each other, but since Aerostar is the new guy to Impact viewers I feel it would be best if the Time Traveling Power Ranger got the win.
Aerostar defeats Drago via pinfall.
Final Thoughts: I’ll predict one ref bump because Scott D’Amore is in charge of creative and it will be tough for him to resist based on how Impact has been booked in 2017 and 2018. Because I feel D’Amore has learned and Don Callis seems like a logical person, I feel like the ref bump shouldn’t happen in the main event and we should get a main event without run-ins. Wishful thinking, but this creative team has shown improvement over the previous regime so I’ll give them one more benefit of the doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kongo Kong vs. Johnny Impact is added to the card, but it is odd that they didn’t and still haven’t advertised that match. It’s also odd that Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary, two of Impact Wrestling’s hottest acts, aren’t booked for the show. Impact is still doing TNA things. I guess it can’t be helped. Is this PPV worth $40? I’m sorry, I can’t recommend that. It’s not only because of the other streaming services, but Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground was a better card and that was free. We don’t have a LAX vs. Shane Strickland and Willie Mack match here to sell the show. Lucha Underground has saved most of this Redemption show, but It’s still inferior compared to the actual Lucha Underground show. Because it’s inferior and there is still a lot of uncertainty, I recommend a “wait and see” approach. This can be good, but $40 is falling for the Sunk Costs fallacy.