By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Tessa Blanchard vs. Jake Crist: The problem I have with intergender wrestling is when it comes off as hokey and unrealistic due to a significant size and strength difference for the male wrestlers. I rarely have the same problem while watching Rey Mysterio face larger opponents because Mysterio is so good at what he does in terms of making it seem like he is making up for the size difference with his speed and high flying ability. Blanchard’s moveset is not similar to that of Mysterio and yet she still came off as a believable while in the ring with Crist. It probably helps that she’s been established as being the elite female talent and that Crist has been pegged as a lackey despite the fact that he and his brother are a terrific tag team. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when we inevitably get to Blanchard vs. Sami Callihan, but so far so good with Blanchard wrestling men in Impact.
Moose vs. Tommy Dreamer: Why was Eddie Edwards more upset than Dreamer over Killer Kross waterboarding Sandman? Anyway, the match quality was fine and the right guy went over, which is enough to give his a soft Hit. The post match angle with Rob Van Dam saving Dreamer from a Van Terminator was logical given RVD and Dreamer’s history, and it furthered the build to Moose vs. RVD at Slammiversary.
TJP vs. Ace Austin: It was nice to hear from Austin in his pre-match promo. TJP is a good addition to the Impact roster, though I liked the way he reinvented himself as a heel during the latter part of his WWE run. While part of me appreciates Josh Mathews running through some of his Impact past, another part of me feels like most of it is better left forgotten. I wasn’t crazy about seeing Austin lose this match so quickly and decisively, but it was a decent return for TJP and we’ll see if they do anything with Austin getting revenge coming out of this match.
The basics: Giving a Hit to a pro wrestling television show for simply airing without issues is probably a first many years of covering the industry. Since moving to Pursuit, Impact has had issues with everything from being labeled as four 30-minute shows (creating a DVR nightmare), major audio mix issues that made it nearly impossible to hear the broadcast team, 20 minutes of commercials airing instead of a main event, and even the wrong the wrong episode airing one week. So, yes, we’ve reached the point where a two-hour show simply airing properly with good sound is actually enough to warrant a hit.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Michael Elgin vs. Johnny Impact vs. Rich Swann: The actual match was a Hit in that it was well worked and entertaining while it lasted. But I don’t really understand the logic of Swann pinning his pay-per-view challenger, nor Brian Cage dominating his pay-per-view challenger afterward. It would have been more logical in my mind for Impact steal a win over Swann or for Elgin to go over strong since he’s been built up as the monster heel, then have Cage get a measure of revenge on Impact by destroying him after the match while saving any physicality between Cage and Elgin for Slammiversary. Instead, the company went recent WWE on us by having the babyfaces stand tall while their pay-per-view challengers were both made to look weak. Next week’s Slammiversary go-home show better be an Empire Strikes Back style show with the heels getting their heat back going into the pay-per-view.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Su Yung for the Knockouts Championship: The match and the finish were fine. Jessicka Havok hitting Valkyrie to cause the DQ was followed by Yung logically being logically upset over Havok ruining her title match. But that post match scene with Valkryie waiting in the ring while Havok and Yung went face to face ruined it for me. Valkyrie could have simply rolled out of the ring and been backstage before the monsters were done looking at one another. Instead, Taya waited for the monsters to turn their attention to her, then begged off, which led to Rosemary making her entrance. We also got the official announcement that Valkyrie will defend the Knockouts Championship in a four-way Monster’s Ball match at Slammiversary per James Mitchell’s proposal. The story on Valkyrie has been that she won’t defend her title more than once every 30 days, so why would her character agree to enter the match let alone put her title on the line? I hope we get an explanation next week.
Eddie Edwards vs. Madman Fulton: It felt a little premature for Fulton to give up as much offense as he did to Edwards. The match quality was fine, but I seemed like they skipped a few pages of the pro wrestling monster playbook by going right from Fulton looking dominant against inferior opponents to selling as much as he did for Edwards. The Killer Kross video interruption and the waterboarding of Sandman felt flat. Sandman and Edwards have been on camera together a couple times so it’s not like there’s a real storyline friendship between the two. Plus, I can’t help but feel like Kross has taken a step back in the booking, as he went from being a major player in the world title picture to entering this pointless program with Edwards.
Eddie Edwards eats Killer Kross’s face: Wait, it gets worse! Moments after “Angry” Alisha Edwards yelled at her husband for the billionth time on camera, they showed a scene that suggested that Eddie bit part of Kross’s face off. Impact is a very good product when the company presents straight forward pro wrestling, but the creative forces just can’t seem to resist this type of counterproductive nonsense.
The Rascalz back in the smoke circle: I hoped that the recent issues with LAX would give the Rascalz a storyline reason to mature or at least move away from the cheesy smoke circles. Instead, they were right back to their bad “That ’70s Show” tribute, complete with the cable access smoke special effects.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast discussing WWE’s creative and ratings struggles, Bray Wyatt following the Firefly Funhouse, WWE Stomping Grounds, NJPW G1 Opening Night, and ROH’s issues, what would happen if AEW opted to run head-to-head with WWE Raw, and much more.