By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
DeAngelo Williams and Austin Aries angle: Impact is doing a very good job of building up the Aries vs. Moose title match for Slammiversary. They’ve created a sports-like feel with their sit-down interviews and the Moose training videos and they’ve taken a match that didn’t do much for me when it was announced and turned it into something that I’m looking forward to seeing. This angle was great. Williams had a fantastic in-ring debut last year and I genuinely hope this leads to a future match between him and Aries somewhere down the road. Aries was terrific in his backstage promo and in tearing into Williams verbally in the ring before sucker punching him and fighting off the comeback with a kick below the belt. Aries has rediscovered his mojo following his WWE run and forgettable babyface start in Impact. He’s always done his best work as a heel and he’s doing a fantastic job of carrying the build to the Slammiversary title match.
Sami Callihan and The Crist Brothers vs. Rich Swann, Fenix, and Pentagon Jr. A spot crazy main event with great athleticism and hard work from everyone involved. It was surprising to see Swann take another loss so early in his run, but he’s charismatic enough that he should be able to rebound. I interviewed Josh Mathews for the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast (listen at the bottom of the page) and was thrilled when he said the company won’t be returning to the Impact Zone at Universal in the near future. The Windsor crowd added to this match and every other match over the last couple weeks. The atmosphere has been a huge improvement over the theme park fans and I assume that will continue at Slammiversary and the Toronto tapings that will follow.
“OGz” Homicide and Hernandez vs. Silver Smith and Lee: A simple squash match, which was the perfect way to reintroduce the duo after last week’s big LAX Civil War angle. The post match interview by King effectively established his motivations to rule the LAX empire while also explaining Homicide’s reason for turning on Konnan. King did a good job of getting heat and shutting down the fans who wanted to cheer his duo.
Allie vs. Shotzi Blackheart: A minor Hit for a quality Knockouts match with Allie getting a competitive win and good crowd support. It was also nice to see Impact introduce Shotzi to the viewers with a promo and a brief video package. It will be interesting to see if they do more with her going forward. This wasn’t the ideal in-ring introduction, but Shotzi stood out in a good way and can easily bounce back from this loss. The post match angle set up the now officially announced Allie vs. Tessa Blanchard match for Slammiversary.
Eli Drake vs. Grado: A minor Hit for Drake getting a win as the company continues to tell the fun story of what appears to be a Grado, Joe Hendry, and Katarina love triangle. I’m just disappointed that the gray-haired dude in the front row didn’t lose his mind rocking out to Grado’s music again this week.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Madison Rayne and Su Yung cinematic: The last two weeks of Impact have been the company’s best shows of 2018. There’s been a lot to like about these shows and the build to Slammiversary, but I’m not a fan of the Lucha Underground influence of the company’s cinematics (aside from the LAX clubhouse videos). Impact gave viewers a great, realistic sports-like vibe for the Slammiversary main event while the also delivering a campy supernatural style video on the same show. While some viewers may enjoy the company taking more of a something for everyone approach, I prefer more consistent rules within a storyline universe. I enjoy the Su Yung and Rosemary characters, but I strongly prefer when their over the top antics can be viewed as mind games rather than truly supernatural (the same holds true for WWE characters such as Undertaker and Kane). Lucha Underground has created its own universe and it works for them. I’m just not a fan of Impact taking a hybrid approach.
Matt Sydal promo: A Hit in terms of Sydal’s delivery. This is further proof of how much Sydal has improved as a talker and yet another example of how the “third eye” spiritual gimmick fails to pack a real punch. Sydal is developing into a true top tier player now that he’s added the mic skills to go along his impressive in-ring work, but he continues to be held back by this undercard pest heel gimmick.
Check below for the voice of Impact Wrestling Josh Mathews as the latest guest on the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell.