By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Pentagon Jr. and Fenix vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack: Exactly the type of big, fun, spot-fest style match that it appeared to be on paper. I love the way Impact not only opened the show with the match, but they also gave it a second segment. So essentially this was given main event time in the opening segment. I’m not sure if this will become the norm now that Impact is airing in the later time slot, but I hope that’s the plan. The only negative is Willie Mack taking yet another pin. If there’s a storyline reason or if he won’t be around long then so be it, but otherwise it feels like they are positioning him to look weak early in his run.
Konnan’s response to LAX giving Pentagon Jr. and Fenix a title match: Konnan cautioned LAX against facing Pentagon and Fenix last week, but Santana and Ortiz went against his wishes and made the match this week. Konnan’s passionate objection while using lucha legends as historical examples of why this was a bad decision was a nice and unexpected touch. Plus, I can’t remember the last time I’ve looked forward to an Impact Tag Title match as much as this one. Here’s hoping it actually happens, though, as MLW pulled Fenix from their show due to injury, though they did say he would be sidelined until January, so perhaps there’s still cause for optimism. While WWE dedicates a minimal amount of creative attention to its talented tag teams, Impact has gotten a lot out of their smaller tag division by booking LAX in strong feuds with OVE, the OGz, and now what should be a gem with the Lucha Brothers.
Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage build: Good sit-down interviews with both men and another interesting moment with Killer Kross attempting to convince Impact to accept his help. Is this leading to the return of Austin Aries? Will Impact turn by accepting Kross’s help? Is he being swerved in that Kross is actually aligned with Cage? I could also see this going a number of other ways so it’s become a nice hook heading into the title match at the Homecoming show.
The Rascalz vs. Chris Bey and Mike Sydal: I’m still not sold on the That ’70s Show smoke circle introduction. Fortunately, the in-ring introduction of The Rascalz was much better, thanks in large part to that tremendous and innovative finisher.
Jordynne Grace vs. Katarina: A minor Hit. Katarina’s offensive run was a lot longer than it needed to be if the idea is to spotlight Grace. However, Grace looked strong and dominant in the end and thus I suppose it was mission accomplished. By the way, whatever happened to Grado and Joe Hendry in Impact?
Taya Valkyrie vs Ray Lyn: A minor Hit for the Valkyrie showcase. It was a bit of an odd dynamic in that both women seemed to be trying to get over as spunky and likable. While Valkyrie did it better, I still feel we need to hear more from her to get her new persona over. The post match attack by Tessa Blanchard was fine, though it was hard not to like her attacking the referee who barked orders at her earlier. Gail Kim coming out sets the stage for her being involved in the next Blanchard vs. Valkyrie match at Homecoming, perhaps as special referee. By the way, did Scott D’Amore and Sonjay Dutt find a two for one special at the suit store? I’m not hating, take a deal when you can find one!
Impact Wrestling Misses
Tommy Dreamer vs. Eli Drake: Dreamer doubled down on his anti millennial spiel. Shouldn’t pro wrestling companies find ways to play to millennials rather than have their babyfaces put them down? Given the the low viewership numbers, one would think that Impact could use all of the millennial fans it can get. In this same promo, Dreamer mocked Drake for being a Dwayne Johnson wannabe. It’s an issue we point out on this website on a regular basis, but I don’t think it’s a bright move to point out to viewers that the company’s former champion is a knockoff. I think highly of Drake aside from that flaw, so if this somehow leads to him toning down the Rock Lite schtick then the world owes Dreamer a thank you. As for the match, the great thing about Dreamer is that he’s never afraid to put over current stars or even local independent wrestlers. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t mean what it once did and thus Drake didn’t get much out of this. The post match angle with Drake reading a card that was left for him and then storming off may lead to something cool, but the way it was done was too vague to make for a compelling cliffhanger.
Eddie Edwards at Shady Acres: Bad acting, bad lines, and a bad musical score ruined this before Moose even entered the room. On the bright side, the doctor essentially told Alisha that the Eddie of old would return, so hopefully they are moving on from the Crazy Eddie routine.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Jonny Fairplay discussing WWE Raw’s struggles, All Elite Wrestling, Johnny Impact on Survivor, and Drake Maverick’s gimmick infringement.
What the issue with Drake idolizing the Rock and doing his schtick? I wonder if you felt the same about Ric Flair using Buddy Rogers schtick? Probably not.