By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard: A strong segment with Callihan doing a great job of talking up Blanchard and making it clear that he sees her as an equal, meaning he will treat her no differently than any other wrestler when they have a match together. I got a kick out of the way Callihan showed Blanchard respect and even offered her a handshake, yet he then slapped her ass and called her toots, which led to Blanchard kicking his ass. It was a nice way to transition from Callihan showing Blanchard respect to reestablishing their issues and his heelish nature heading into their rematch. Callihan was also very good in the backstage promo that followed.
Rich Swann vs. Jake Crist for the X Division Championship: A strong match that concluded with a surprising title change. The outside interference by Dave Crist and Madman Fulton was a bit much in terms of making the referee look silly, but it protected Swann at the same time. I like the title change as it makes Jake feel like more than just Sami Callihan’s henchman. I’m genuinely curious to see how this changes the long term dynamic within OVE. Will Sami and Dave continue be happy or will jealousy boil over with one or both men? Will Jake still hero worship Sami or will “The Golden Draw” get cockier now that he beat Callihan’s rival for a title that has eluded Callihan? And what’s with brainwashed Fulton smiling and high-fiving Jake?
Brian Cage and Michael Elgin: A good bounce back angle for Elgin coming off his Slammiversary loss to Cage. Elgin attacked on the stage to wipe out what was advertised as a non-title street fight, then continued to attack him and all of the security guards who tried to save Cage. Elgin beating up the fake Rhino only to take a Gore from the real Rhino was solid. I’m curious to see how fans take to Rhino going from WWE undercard purgatory to apparently being in the upper mix for Impact. Rhino is a popular figure who made the most of his comedic minutes on WWE television, but this is more than a comedy role and only time will tell whether he maintains his popularity as an on-air regular.
Jordynne Grace vs. Kiera Hogan: A good back and forth opening match. Both women appear to have escaped the Undead Realm unscathed and are now locked in a solid mid-card feud with one another. Madison Rayne was on commentary and helped Hogan avoid a count-out right in front of the referee, so she’s still involved in this feud too.
Rob Van Dam vs. Willie Mack: A decent RVD in 2019 match with Van Dam getting a needed win following his loss to Moose at Slammiversary. RVD shouldn’t be pushed as the face of the company at this stage of his career, but he is a legend and it should mean something to beat him, so saving his losses for key moments is the wise approach.
Moose vs. Ray Steele: A squash win for Moose coming out of his big Slammiversary win over Rob Van Dam. The post match promo was well delivered, but it seems like the latest attempt to let viewers know that Don Callis is more than just a color commentator.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Ace Austin and Alisha Edwards: Ace is down with the married ladies. That was the story told in the first lousy segment that featured some corny magic from Austin and the usual bad acting from Alisha Edwards. The second segment was a fun play on the dick in a box gag from Saturday Night Live (this also works well with a popcorn bucket in a dark theater, er, um, never mind). Stone Rockwell showing up and grabbing Austin’s “malnourished” junk may have been funnier had we been properly introduced to Rockwell. How about a series of comedic vignettes on the adventurer? You have to assume this is all leading to Austin feuding with Eddie Edwards, which would be Austin’s most high profile program in Impact.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ROH COO Joe Koff confirming plans for a weekly ROH online series, discussing his decision to call off ROH events due to the coronavirus outbreak, making Marty Scurll the head booker, ROH's partnerships with NJPW and the NWA, and much more...