By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Grado: Austin Aries telling him how great he looks after using DDP Yoga was a fun line. Grado’s passionate response of “That man saved my life!” followed by his yoga pose was the funniest thing I’ve seen on television this week. A close second was the seemingly unintentionally humorous moment that occurred when Don Callis accused Josh Mathews of using a dated reference when he brought up the movie Point Break. Callis then learned that Mathews was hyping the movie because it was airing after Impact on Pop TV. Callis then excitedly asked if that meant he would be able to watch it again. By the way, Callis is a tremendous addition. He’s a terrific color commentator and as a member of the creative team he obviously knows the stories they are telling and the points they want to get across.
Rosemary and Su Yung: Turn off the commentary and this was a strong angle. Again, Callis knows the stories they want to tell and it was alarming in this case because he was openly questioning whether we witnessed the death of Rosemary. Yes, WWE has the Undertaker, Kane, and some nonsense involving Bray Wyatt. And, yes, characters are killed off on Lucha Underground. I’m just not a fan of bringing those elements to Impact. It sure seemed bizarre that the broadcast team was expressing concern that a wrestler may have been killed and yet no one ran out to help (aside from Allie, who was already at ringside at this point). On the plus side, the Su Yung character is compelling and is a perfect fit with the awesome Rosemary. Adding undead brides to Yung’s side is a nice touch and I liked the way they forced Allie to watch this whole scenario play out. Rosemary is a twisted and yet believable character. I like the idea of leaving it up to the viewers to assume that Yung uses her look for intimidation purposes. I have no desire to see them go supernatural with this. The angle itself was violent and well done. I just fear where this is headed based on the commentary.
Eli Drake and Pentagon Jr. opening: A minor Hit simply because they took the time to build up the Impact World Championship match a week out. Unfortunately, this was a very basic segment with a rare forgettable promo from Drake, and Pentagon Jr. remaining silent. I understand not having Pentagon Jr. deliver promos in Spanish in front of the live crowd, but it feels like they should be doing a lot more to showcase him and his character.
Kiera Hogan and Tessa Blanchard: Hogan came off humble and likable during the backstage interview with McKenzie Mitchell. I’m not sure why we haven’t heard much out of her in the past, but her basic approach stands out in a good way in a women’s division filled with over the top characters. Enter Blanchard, who is playing the confident and cocky heel. Blanchard has a chance to be everything in Impact Wrestling that Charlotte Flair could be in WWE if she were still portrayed as a heel. The brawl between the two later in the show was solid and wisely made Blanchard look dominant while also showcasing her finisher.
Austin Aries: It’s good to see him slotted as an arrogant heel again. Austin has been a good babyface at times, but he’s a natural heel and it’s good to see a creative shift that plays to his strengths.
Matt Sydal vs. Taiji Ishimori for the X Division Championship: A minor Hit for solid match. Once again, the presentation of an X Division Title match was weak in that it was never made to feel important. They didn’t play up the Sydal character as much this week, which is actually a positive. The spiritual Sydal persona is DOA. He’s a talented wrestler and perhaps he needs something extra since being cast as the hard working nice guy only got him so far, but his current persona is more of a turnoff than something that generates actual heat.
OVE vs. KM and Fallah Bahh: OVE needed a win because they’ve been coming off like Sami Callihan’s henchmen more than a strong tag team lately. Meanwhile, they are obviously telling a story with Bahh and KM. Bahh is on to something with his “Bahh” responses to everything (along with the occasional “no, no, no”). He is the Impact version of South Park’s lovable Timmy character.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Brian Cage vs. Slex vs. Mick Moretti vs. Brodie Marshall: Is it really a Global Wrestling Network exclusive if they show the match on Impact? Anyway, the production was better than we’ve seen from most of the independent events they’ve featured on Impact, and I’ll take a current match over the company’s oddball flashback matches. Still, there’s a moment of disconnect for me as a viewer when they cut to these independent events. The video package on Cage that preceded the match was well done, but I continue to believe that viewers need to hear from Cage before they’ll truly connect with him. On the bright side, the Australian crowd was far more lively than the flat Impact Zone crowd. I also liked the way Callis made excuses for the match going so long by claiming that Cage likes to test himself by putting himself in certain situations and adding that he likes to get a workout.
DJ Z, Andrew Everett, and Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma, Drago, and Aerostar: Insert the usual line about the wrestlers showing great athleticism in yet another match that ultimately meant nothing. If you’re the type of viewer who only cares about the in-ring product then you probably liked this match more than I did. I get the idea of offering something for everyone, but these matches appeal to fans of spot-fests when they could easily appeal to people like me who want established characters in matches that feel like they actually mean something. Most of the luchadores feel interchangeable in Impact unless you happen to be familiar with their work from other promotions. Why doesn’t any Impact creative team seem to realize that the Bromans were obnoxious pest heels? Why are we still hearing that awful Bromans drop even though DJZ is a babyface? Why were the three losers of this match and the guy who lost to Matt Sydal on this same show rewarded with a No. 1 contenders match for the X Division Championship next week?