By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
LAX Clubhouse: LAX continues to be one of the coolest acts in pro wrestling and now we’re getting some strong storytelling from their clubhouse videos. It’s been established over the last two weeks that Eddie Kingston has sinister motives and only Diamante seems to see through his manipulations. There was some concern that Santana and Ortiz would end up looking bad for not recognizing that something wasn’t right with Kingston, but this was addressed nicely in the latest video. Santana and Ortiz started winning again once Kingston showed up and now he secured them a tag title shot. They have no reason to be suspicious of him.
Red X mystery payoff: The antler horns over the silhouette of the back of Kevin Kross’s head left me wondering if someone in Impact was as much of a fan as I was of the Hannibal television series on NBC. I guess it was more about Kross’s centaur tattoo. Nonetheless, this was a good way to introduce a new wrestler. The followup is the key, but this was a decent whodunnit. Kross looking at the camera and telling the cameraman that he better call the police was horror movie good. The big negative is that it was so lazy to have Kross walk Petey Williams straight ahead before attacking him seemingly in plain sight of everyone who was tending to Fallah Bahh. One simple turn down a hallway could have solved that problem.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Kiera Hogan in a No DQ match: The broadcast team had to cover for the referee awkwardly stopping Blanchard from putting the boots to Hogan in the corner even though it was a No DQ match. I guess it was by design so that Blanchard could shove the referee to the mat, but it was a strange spot in that it was hard not to feel like the heel’s actions were harsh and yet justifiable. The Blanchard and Hogan feud is off to a good start. It’s wise to have Hogan look more competitive with each outing while also giving Blanchard the win. If they drag this out and don’t overexpose the feud, it will mean something when the day comes that Hogan actually defeats Blanchard. It’s just not something they should even consider doing anytime soon given that Blanchard inexplicably lost to Madison Rayne recently.
Fallah Bahh and KM vs. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley: I’ve lost hope for Impact doing right by the talented Lee. Sure, his team got the win in this match, but his goofball leader of a cult with one follower gimmick is atrocious. The Hit goes to Bahh getting over as a fun undercard character. I get a kick out of the Bahh and KM pairing so I hope that KM shoving Bahh down wasn’t the end of this team. I have no doubt that they will get back to the two of them feuding again, but they would be wise to keep them together for a few months so that KM’s turn means more.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Moose vs. Eli Drake: The match to determine the No. 1 contender to the Impact World Championship shot at Slammiversary was held at a House of Hardcore event? In other words, this was probably a random match they picked out in order to get them to the main event they wanted. The ring introductions were not televised. The match appeared to be heavily edited. This should have felt like a big match since it set up the Slammiversary main event and instead it felt completely low budget and bush league. Did they have another plan in mind for Slammiversary at the time of the Impact tapings and something forced to patch together a replacement main event in this manner? If not, I’m baffled as to why they would take this approach.
Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage for the Impact X Division Championship: A weak finish with Kongo Kong running Cage into the ring steps for the DQ. Cage’s winning streak coming to an end didn’t bother me since it’s not like Impact made it Goldberg-like by playing up his victory count. That said, they just as easily could have had Kong attack Cage during the entrances to avoid having Cage lose for the first time. That said, I’m not the least bit bothered by Cage failing to win the X Division Title. I have no problem whatsoever with a cruiserweight holding the Impact World Championship, but if a jacked heavyweight held the X Division Title at the same time then it would make things confusing. I would like to be excited about a Cage vs. Kong match, but I’m just not feeling it. The company really needed to go strong with Kong as a monster to establish him as a threat to a guy like Page. I’d like to see the company spotlight Kong in ways that makes him seem as sadistic as Abdullah the Butcher (or as much as you can get away with in 2018) and pull back on making so much of the act about the quirky flamboyance of Jimmy Jacobs.
Eddie Edwards and Tommy Dreamer: The Edwards and Sami Callihan feud was really strong at one time. Things have spiraled out of control with the Edwards character openly expressing his desire to murder Callihan and his mistreatment of female characters. To Eddie’s credit, this was one of his better acting performances. The problem this week was that they tried too hard to be real with the lines about CTE and Dreamer ultimately conceding that he wouldn’t change a thing about his own career. It made for uncomfortable viewing that served no real purpose. It also seems like the creative can’t decide what the tone of the Edwards storyline should be. Last week’s fight in the woods was campy, and this week was back to being serious.
El Hijo Del Fantasma vs. Jake Crist: A minor Miss for brief match without an established purpose. Crist briefly sold being choked out by Eddie Edwards in the fight in the woods and had somewhat of an out for losing, but it’s too bad that he and Dave come off as Sami Callihan’s lackeys rather than as the quality heel tag team that they are. The post match angle was silly with Callihan on the verge of removing Fantasma’s mask only to stop in his tracks because of Pentagon Jr.’s entrance music. We see wrestlers freeze due to entrance music in every promotion and it’s always ridiculous.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Rebel: The basic idea of the match was logical in that Valkyrie needed a win to reestablish herself after losing some television matches. It gets a minor Miss due to some rough moments caused by Rebel. She’s athletic and can perform some unique spots, but she clearly needs more time to work on the basics.