By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
ODB: Impact stepped up and provided some help for ODB when she needed it after her food truck burned down and her insurance company failed her. It was classy of the company to give her the platform and to donate ticket proceeds to her. I look forward to chatting with her today for my Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast where we will talk more about her fundraising efforts and her plans for the future. In the meantime, visit IndieGogo.com to learn how to help her out and get some cool swag in return. Meanwhile, the angle with Taya Valkyrie heeling on the situation was perfect for her character and I like that Impact provided a feel good ending by having ODB get the better of the Knockouts Champion with a little help from Jordynne Grace.
Sami Callihan and ODB press conference: A strong segment to start the build to their Impact World Championship match at the Hard To Kill pay-per-view. Blanchard was believable in her quest to make history by becoming the first woman to hold the Impact World Championship, and Callihan shined as the antagonist. I like the way Callihan said he doesn’t hate Blanchard because she’s a woman, but rather because he finds her to be a brat who was handed everything because of her last name.
Brian Cage vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin: This match stemmed from the Cage vs. Edwards singles match that opened the show and came to a halt when Elgin interfered. The singles match was solid and it was nice to see Impact follow up the cheap finish with the obvious extension of it becoming a Triple Threat rather than simply moving on. I thought this might be a rebound week for Cage given that the last time we saw him outside of the throwback episode was when he was pinned clean by Tessa Blanchard. Instead, they opted to put more heat on Elgin by having him win a good three-way match. Impact filled over 30 minutes of air time with these two matches and got the show off to a strong start.
The Rascalz vs. Ace Austin and Reno Scum: A good six-man tag match and arguably Reno Scum’s best outing in Impact. The finish that saw Trey leave the ring to go after Austin, who was flirting with Trey’s mom, was predictable in a good way. I really hope this angle leads to Trey becoming a more serious character, ideally with his partners following suit and giving up on the oddball Ode to That ’70s Show smoke circles.
Moose: A soft Hit for the latest Ode to Mr. Perfect segment further established Moose as an egomaniac bully. I still hope his character takes a turn for the serious and is positioned as a main event player, but these skits aren’t doing any harm.
Johnny Swinger vs. Petey Williams: Williams got the win, but this was more about Joey Ryan not coming out to help Swinger despite telling him that he would. After seeing both comedy characters have awkward interaction with Ken Shamrock, it seems like they are finally going to start a program.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Rich Swann follow-up: This was a confusing mess coming out of Swann’s great performance in the gauntlet match that Tessa Blanchard won to become No. 1 contender. Swann spoke of it being Blanchard’s moment and her making history, but Impact was also trying to sell viewers on ordering Impact Plus to see Swann challenge Sami Callihan for the title this weekend. Having the challenger come off dismissive about his own title match is a strange way to sell viewers on an event. On the bright side, I liked the overall exchange between Swann, Willie Mack, and The North, and Mack showing that he was bothered by the heels taunting him over Swann becoming a star was an interesting development.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...