By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
“The North” Ethan Page and Josh Alexander vs. Naomichi Marufuji and Eddie Edwards for the Impact Tag Titles: A good tag match and good use of Marufuji, who apparently stuck around after the Bound For Glory pay-per-view. The North duo are a good team and hopefully Impact has the right challengers in mind for them to have a good, long program. The Rascalz strike me as the best fit, though Rich Swann and Willie Mack are also a quality team.
Sami Callihan and Madman Fulton vs. Rich Swann and Tessa Blanchard:A well worked match that kept the Callihan vs. Blanchard feud simmering. I was surprised to see Swann take the loss because I thought they might be setting up a title match for television between him and Callihan. The appearance of Brian Cage afterward felt flat and uneventful.
Trey Miguel vs. Rohit Raju vs. Aiden Prince vs. Brent Banks vs. Willie Mack vs. Petey Williams for a shot at the X Division Championship: The highlight of the match was actually Ace Austin sitting in on commentary with Josh Mathews and Don Callis. All three were comical in playing up Austin’s gimmick of wanting to sleep with the wives of fellow wrestlers, which now apparently includes Trey Miguel’s mother, who was in the crowd. The in-ring action was solid, yet forgettable. I have no idea what Prince and Banks have done in Impact to warrant a spot in a No 1 contenders match, and it’s not like either one of them was actually there to take the loss. Ultimately, though, it was a good segment and Austin continues to shine.
Daga vs. Jake Crist: A good match as the company continues it’s attempt to get Daga over. He’s solid in the ring, but the tricky part continues to be getting something out of him on the mic so that he actually connects with fans. I hope they’re not moving Crist back down the card following his fun X Division Title reign. I was hoping that we’d see some signs of jealousy now that Sami Callihan captured the Impact World Championship and Crist lost the X Division Championship, but it feels like he’s slid back into the forgettable role as a guy who is happy to be a henchman.
Johnny Swinger and Ken Shamrock: I’m not really sure why Impact went from featuring Shamrock in the match against Moose to having him work with their comedy figures. That said, I got a kick out of Swinger mistakenly dropping a deuce in Shamrock’s bag. Yes, kids, wrestlers used to haze unliked talent in this manner. Sean Waltman could probably do an entire podcast series if he opted to share his stories.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Overall show: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. The Hit count shows that there were some things to like about this episode, but it doesn’t feel like Impact has come out of the gate strong early in their run on AXS. Impact delivered some really good shows during their run on Pursuit and I hope the early AXS shows are not a sign that the creative team peaked before the move.
Moose’s tennis video: It’s not that Moose’s homage to the Mr. Perfect vignettes isn’t fun, it’s that it feels like he should be moving away from quirky comedy and into a serious major player following his big win over Ken Shamrock at Bound For Glory.
Madison Rayne vs. Alexia Nicole: A minor Miss for a match that felt like filler more than anything. I’ll change my tune if they intend to do more with Nicole and the idea was to establish that she put up a good fight.