By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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Impact Wrestling Hits
Johnny Impact promo: John Hennigan has really struggled to make a meaningful connection with fans over the mic during his various babyface runs over the years. He’s spoken about Slam Town and called opponents turd cutters and said other lines that hurt his cool factor. None of that was an issue in this promo. He spoke about falling in love with pro wrestling and being into things that weren’t considered cool. Perhaps the key is that he spoke from the heart rather than trying too hard to play the cool guy? Whatever the case, it clicked and I hope this was a sign of things to come. The only negative is that the Austin Aries situation was a cloud over this promo in that fans were presumably waiting for Impact to address it in a more meaningful way. The absence of Aries from these tapings doesn’t tell us much about what really happened, as it could be a case of him truly being done with company, but it’s also something I could see the company doing to sell the angle if that’s what it is. Even so, a quality effort from Johnny.
Brian Cage vs. Rich Swann for the X Division Championship: A very good television main event. Cage’s power moves looked awesome. Swann took the moves like a champ and his own offense looked really good against the powerhouse. I was surprised that we didn’t hear from Cage following his loss at Bound For Glory. He feels like the future face of the company, but the fans need to hear from more from him and get behind whatever his mission statement is. Once that happens the sky will be the limit. The post match angle with OVE left something to be desired. Cage put Callihan down with a clothesline with ease even after taking a shot to his injured thigh. I was hoping that Cage losing to Callihan would elevate Callihan to the point of feeling like Cage’s in-ring equal. And he still can be positioned in that manner, but this segment made his win on Sunday feel flukey.
Killer Kross vs. Tommy Dreamer: Just about the time I was ready to put this match in the Miss section because part-time Dreamer was manhandling two of the company’s top heels at once, Kross ended up being put over strong in a way that made his Saito suplex finisher feel more dangerous.
Abyss video: Very nice production work with the footage from his Hall of Fame speech mixed in with classic shots from his career. Impact’s television shot looked much more professional than the side angle shot they aired live on the company’s Twitch TV channel on Saturday night.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Katarina: A quality Knockouts match and a nice bounce back from Bound For Glory for Valkyrie. Her post match promo was a little flat and lacked logic. She said she lost respect for Tessa Blanchard because of her actions at BFG. It’s not like Blanchard just turned heel and started cheating. For that matter, it’s not like Valkyrie’s character wasn’t using the same tactics throughout her own Impact career prior to Sunday.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Ethan Page vs. Trevor Lee: The actual match was fine and Hit worthy. The decision to expand the Matt Sydal “third eye” act by adding Page is odd. Page is a nice addition to the company and I think highly of Sydal. In fact, I continue to think that Sydal is above the third eye gimmick that is keeping him a mid-card pest heel. I’d prefer to see the third eye gimmick scrapped rather than expanded. Meanwhile, there may be some hope for Lee. Yes, he lost yet another match, but he wasn’t portrayed as a hayseed and the broadcast team spoke as if he is struggling rather than treating his loss as if it was par for the course.
Allie vs. Alisha Edwards: Possessed Allie and the Undead Realm stunt does nothing for me. If it catches on in some quirky way and attracts viewers like the Broken Universe did then so be it, but I’m not seeing any signs of that happening and I find it to be a turnoff.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and former NWA Champion Nick Aldis.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...