By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Brian Cage and Melissa Santos wedding: As much as this drifted into the WWE Lite type of material that I typically wish Impact would avoid, there were plenty of fun moments along the way. The creative team put a lot of thought into this and it showed. Ethan Page delivering his wrestlers’ union speech was odd, as it seemed like Impact was making light of legitimate complaints from some of their wrestlers. There were also some fun moments, including the highlight of Sinister Minister showing up and hitting on the bride while officiating the ceremony. The in-ring reception portion more straight forward with Sami Callihan interrupting the first dance and accidentally hitting Santos with a bottle. It’s odd that Callihan was remorseful and that it seemed accidental as that lightens the heat, but garnering heat has never been an issue for Callihan and I’m sure he’ll have plenty going into his Bound For Glory title match with Cage.
Ken Shamrock and Moose: A good promo from Shamrock, who did a nice job of connecting with the live crowd and then acting agitated by Moose’s comments. Moose was really good as the smug yet dangerous antagonist. Impact creative has done a good job of building up a match between Shamrock and Moose for Bound For Glory despite the two men not actually crossing paths on camera yet.
The North spoof LAX and face Rob Van Dam and Rhino: A good segment with the heel tag champions gloating over running Santana and Ortiz out of the company. It’s crazy to think about the strange creative path that Ethan Page took to get to this point, but he and Josh Alexander are a good team and they are delivering on the mic. Konnan introducing Rob Van Dam and Rhino as his old friends was a solid way to set up the opening match. I’m not big on The North losing, but it’s fine if the idea is to set up a feud established to use the veterans to put over the tag champions.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Dave Crist in a qualifying match for the five-way X Division Championship ladder match at Bound For Glory: I’m surprised they are going with a five-way rather than building to a straight up singles match between Blanchard and Jake Crist. That should be the spotlighted feud within the five-way match and they did a good job in this segment of putting Blanchard over while also putting heat on OVE by having Madman Fulton attack her afterward.
Mahabali Shera vs. Cousin Jake: It started with Gama Singh showing more fire than usual during his in-ring introduction. That said, if Gama is going to be treated as a respected figure by his troops then perhaps less is more from him as far as his mic work goes. Shera going over strong at this early point in his return was logical and he has shown signs of improvement since his previous stay in Impact.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Tenille Dashwood vs. Madison Rayne: The broadcast team kept things fun with the conversation about Rayne’s title count and Don Callis needling Josh Mathews over never being able to handle a woman like Rayne (who, of course, is actually married to Mathews). The match was well worked. This may have been good for an “in the middle” assessment under normal circumstances, but I moved it into the Miss section once they announced that Dashwood will be challenging Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Title at Bound For Glory. I enjoyed Dashwood as Emma in NXT, but she just hasn’t connected in a major way since then. I hope the Impact creative team recognizes this and isn’t making the mistake of thinking she’s over based on what she’s done in the past.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...