By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Brian Cage vs. Sami Callihan: A good cage match. In fact, this was the latest “Cage in a Cage” match (a pun Lucha Underground played around with a bit). Anyway, I agree with Jason Powell’s review that this was better than the Bound for Glory match, mostly because Cage took a more serious tone as opposed to expressing his love for X-Men and Wolverine. On one hand, this continues the trend of Sami Callihan not being able to win PPV matches, but looking strong during big TV matches. On the other, he still looks strong. It looks like Impact is setting the table for what they’ve been foreshadowing for a while – Tessa Blanchard will beat Callihan to become the first female Impact World Champion.
“Susie” Yung: I’m confident that Impact will find a way to screw this up given their lack of tact in putting together cinematic storylines, but when encapsulated in a bubble I like this storyline? I think? The reason I’m giving it a Hit is because the “Zombie” Su Yung has been damaged so much that she’s due for a reboot. Cosmetic wise and acting wise, she was good here. In a way this also screams “Firefly Funhouse” in more ways than one. It’s a tentative Hit because I see this possibly being very intriguing, as long as they don’t “murder for murder’s sake” or have Su Yung start shooting lighting from her hands again. I was told that the actress behind the Su Yung character is well versed in Asian morbid folklore so hopefully she’s allowed to have some input as opposed to all of the random Undead Realm stuff we’ve seen in the past. That said, please not let this be the start of the return of the Undead Realm!
Ace Austin vs. Eddie Edwards: While “Crazy Eddie” has been a dud for a while, his match quality hasn’t suffered. This was a good hardcore match that put Ace Austin over. Austin continues to develop as a solid character. Random aside, but Impact has three sleezebag characters in Johnny Swinnger, Ace Austin, and Joey Ryan, is it possible for them to form a “Sleezebag Dynasty” trio similar to how MLW has a douchebag Dynasty in MJF, Alex Hammerstone, and Richard Holiday? By the way, can we now finally kill “Kenny” (no pun intended). Can Tommy Dreamer stop giving Eddie Edwards pet kendo sticks?
Ken Shamrock and Joey Ryan: An intriguing Hit at least. Shamrock has been quite the surprise in his Impact return. He’s solid on the mic and he’s good in the ring, what more can you ask for. Joey Ryan’s penis thing is two years played out, but when you look past his dick, he’s really good overall. This was a solid exchange and I’m confident that Joey Ryan has it in him to put on a good match (even though we’ll probably get his Penis Plex at least once).
Rob Van Dam: Good first heel promo from RVD and the best promo that he’s cut in Impact since his return. That’s probably due to the static hard cuts they were doing because maybe if we saw another RVD promo from start to finish it will still be incomprehensible. At least, his “everybody is copying my moves” line makes more sense as a heel this time and they don’t have to roll Ethan Page out there to save him.
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Josh Alexander: Solid singles match with Alexander being protected somewhat in defeat. On the other side, if they are going to present Marufuji as this “legend” type, it does help that he looks strong in the eyes of an audience unfamiliar with him.
Impact Wrestling Misses
The Rascalz Smoke Circle: I’m guessing someone on the creative team discovered weed and Netflix and this is the brainchild of that new discovery. That ’70s Show is a great show, but I don’t see the need to do a low rent ripoff of it to pop just a few people. The only one really coming off as a ’70s Show character is Wentz with his Kelso routine. Anyway, this should have died with Impact on Pursuit, but it’s staying for some reason. It’s sad too, because the Rascalz have upper mid-card potential and Dezmond has shown main event upside.
Impact Plus Moment of the Week: They showed a woman getting hanged/choked to death.
Rich Swann and Willie Mack vs. The Desi Hit Squad: I like that they’re trying to position Mack and Swann into meaningful roles. That’s good, but are they already giving up on their latest reboot of the Desi Hit Squad yet again? They did this before when they kicked Gursinder out of the group and gave Raj a bit of a monster push. At least Mahabali Shera isn’t running around doing his stupid finger dance. We didn’t really get any of Shera at all for that matter?
Alisha Edwards: I don’t know what Impact wants us to think about her. That she’s an idiot for being so oblivious? You can’t help but be on Ace Austin’s side on this one despite the guy being a despicable human being. He’s not an idiot at least. They’ve even acknowledged that the Edwards’ house does get Impact when Eddie talked about how he found out Reno Scrum drugging him from watching the TV. Eh. At least she didn’t get to yell at Eddie this week.