By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Join Jason Powell for live coverage of Impact Wrestling Homecoming as the show airs tonight on pay-per-view television and FITE TV at 7CT/8ET. Dot Net Members will hear his exclusive audio review after the show.
Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage for the Impact World Championship: This is the first non-Austin Aries PPV main event in Impact in a long while which had me a bit worried since he has really done a great job making the last few main events must-see. Impact Wrestling has done a good job adding a level of intrigue surrounding this match if you’ve been watching the weekly television show. Cage has been utilized as a background player over the past few months where he’s doing nothing while everything is happening around him, but you could twist that to a positive in that he’s playing a mystery role. He’s the wild card to the true feud, Killer Kross and Johnny Impact, where Kross has done a stellar job playing the devil on Johnny’s shoulder while trying to turn him to the dark side. Cage is a monster of a man, so Johnny logically could use some help.
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, three things I usually don’t associate with Impact Wrestling, yet they’ve built that into this feud. Impact Wrestling better not get cold feet here and pick a direction, but I understand their quandary because predicting a productive direction to move in is difficult. I’m going to go with Johnny Impact retaining with Killer Kross’s help, but Johnny stays babyface because he didn’t need the help. This can also give Cage reason to be furious at either Johnny or Kross for screwing him out of his Option C (even though Johnny Impact cut a sit-down promo saying he would have given Cage the title shot without relinquishing the title.
Two years ago, Lashley told Eddie Edwards not to cash in so it could be a title vs title match, for example.). There’s a chance that Cage wins, but I wouldn’t mind having Johnny at least survive as champ for one pay-per-view to build him and not give up on him as a babyface. As far as match quality is concerned, I’m expecting a good cruiserweight style spot-fest given Cage’s high flying heavyweight style pitted against Johnny’s Parkour ninja stuff. If you would like to know what I thought about the match these two had in Lucha Underground, you can click on my LU Season 2 Episode 14 review (Right Here) aptly titled “Cage in a Cage”. Long story short, they delivered there too and it included a fun spot where Cage caught a kendo stick flying through the air via Johnny doing a clever trick with the kendo stick.
Prediction: Johnny Impact defeats Brian Cage via pinfall with unwanted help from Killer Kross. Thus keeping Johnny babyface and Cage furious.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Championship: This should be a strong drag-out brawl between two women with a very aggressive style. Tessa has the most well-rounded act on the Impact roster and comes off as a star. She delivers in terms of character and in the ring. Taya has been a mixed bag since her babyface turn. One undeniable fact that’s hard to ignore is she is the most deserving of a title shot on a big stage due to talent level alone. The only problem with her is they never really turned her. She’s just supposed to be good because she’s Johnny’s wife. Tessa brings that up in kayfabe and it makes her look like the credible one. They really needed to tell Taya’s story (which I did in detail HERE in my Impact Review a few weeks ago).
A TNA Homecoming isn’t TNA without a classic TNA “REF BUMP!!!”. Thing about that, we know Gail Kim is good at taking bumps. I think the most logical move here is to keep Tessa’s momentum rolling while having her do one heel thing to protect Taya. They shouldn’t have Taya win because it might rub people the wrong way and come off as nepotism with her husband as the face of the company. Tell her story, and come back to this at Slammiversary. I can see this match planting seeds for Bound for Glory with Gail Kim reluctantly having to count the pinfall while glaring at the dastardly Tessa. How great would a Gail Kim vs. Tessa Blanchard feud be in 2019?
Prediction: Tessa Blanchard defeats Taya Valkyrie via pinfall to retain the Impact Knockouts Championship.
Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel in Ultimate X for the vacant X Division Championship: It’s really tough to argue with Rich Swann winning here because honestly, the other three guys are in tag teams. I see Ethan Page being the dark horse. On one hand, the Page and Sydal pairing is random and has done neither man any favors. So a breakup is good there, but does Impact really want another heavyweight guy holding their cruiserweight title right after Cage?
Prediction: Rich Swann wins the Ultimate X Match to become the new Impact X Division Champion.
The Latin American XChange vs. The Lucha Brothers for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles: The status of this match was in question due to Fenix’s injury that caused him to pull out of recent MLW shows. As Konnan announced on Jason Powell’s Pro Wrestling Boom podcast a few weeks ago, Fenix should be good to go. This is a dream match level type of match. On one side, you have two of the best singles wrestlers in the world in Pentagon and Fenix. Fenix is the real deal and Penta always delivers on the big stage (he does tend to spin his wheels on meaningless matches). On the other side of the ring, you arguably have the best tag team in all of wrestling in 2018. They always deliver. Konnan did a good job setting up this match by playing the concerned father. Santana and Ortiz really drove the feud home with a stellar promo on the last Impact episode building credibility. Without the PPV even happening yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if people have already pegged this match as Match of the Night.
This one is tough to predict but I have the strongest feeling that Impact wants to keep the belts on LAX. They might get some sort of hardcore match after this? Since LAX feuds tend to last half a year, they might even stretch out this Lucha Brothers vs. LAX feud, which I would not complain about. I also think they win since we saw Santana lose a singles match so the “tag team” will pick up the win. Who knows, Callis was in Japan over the weekend and he might feel the need to change every title because New Japan, Dammit!
Prediction: LAX defeats Lucha Brothers via pinfall to retain the Impact Tag Team Championship.
Abyss vs. Eli Drake in Monster’s Ball: Do I even have to try here? We’ve seen this a ton of times and it’s the same thing every single time. There will be thumb tacks, barbed wire on a table, and a piece of wood with nails in it named after Dixie Carter’s mom. I don’t see Eli Drake winning here being any good. Abyss already lost the title of “Monster” to Kongo Kong a few months ago in a Monster’s Ball, so Drake can’t win that. Anyway, a feel good moment for TNA diehards?
Prediction: Abyss wins.
Eddie Edwards vs. Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere match: The feud, as a lot of cinematic feuds in Impact, has come off as tacky, clumsy, and low budget (which I would associate to Jeremy Borash leaving the company since he was really good at producing cinematics). Read my Impact reviews as to find out why this feud has been strange. Can’t we get old Eddie back? That said, Eddie Edwards and Moose had an extremely entertaining and well worked match a month or so ago. The underwhelming feud made the great match stand out even more. Moose has been delivering in the ring since his Austin Aries feud and has done a great job character wise (my problem is with the story, not the characters). Edwards always delivers. I would like to see Moose win here because he could use the boost. Moose was so lame as a babyface and I hope Impact does right by him by not ruining him with booking.
Prediction: Moose defeats Eddie Edwards via pinfall.
Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack: This is a random match. In fact, it was put on the card three days before the PPV (which they knew going into the PPV since the show is taped). OVE has mostly been feuding with Rich Swann. Sami Callihan has made the most of this like he does everything. Sami is coming off as intriguing by only attacking Mack and protecting Rich Swann for some reason. Otherwise, this is just a match to set up something in the future. I feel like Mack winning here would be meaningless parity booking on a larger scale. Mack has been losing a lot so one more loss won’t hurt him. Sami needs to pick up steam. I wouldn’t mind Sami turning babyface since Impact needs credible babyfaces, but I don’t seem that in their plans anytime soon. These two have wrestled in Lucha Underground before, and their matches were pretty good. So there’s that? At least Sami Callihan isn’t a lizard zombie this time (Lucha Underground made some bad decisions last season).
Prediction: Sami Callihan defeats The Mack via pinfall with help from OVE
Dark Allie and Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan and Jordynne Grace: This is hands down the worst part of Impact, the “Undead Realm” Division. What makes it the worst is Impact would have a strong women’s division if they didn’t trap three talented individuals in this cheap melodramatic sub-universe. This creative team has never really got it with Allie. So much that her character has huge changes every few months. She’s like a WWE Video Game Create-a-wrestler at this point. Yung is extremely talented and should be Impact’s Undertaker, but instead she’s their WWE Main Roster Bray Wyatt. Hogan has the potential to be a top babyface in this company if given the right story. This story sucks. Keep Grace the hell away from this. Hopefully Grace just ends by figuratively and symbolically destroying the Undead Realm somehow.
Prediction: I hope Jordynne Grace somehow destroys the Undead Realm division. Either that or Aerostar from Lucha Underground can come over and use his time traveling powers to destroy Su Yung’s coffin in the past to wipe the Undead Realm out of existence (he did bring Fenix back from the dead once). The Undead Realm sucks!
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Will Pruett reviewing the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.