By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Vikingo vs. TJP: Vikingo continues to be the standout of the AAA wrestlers who work the Impact tapings. The generic Viking gimmick doesn’t do much for me, but he has a good look despite the bulky gear and he’s been very impressive in the ring. TJP is a top notch wrestler and he showed that again in this match. His counter out of Vikingo’s huracanrana attempt into an STF for the win was slick. As much as I am impressed by Vikingo, TJP going over was the right call because he’s the Impact regular, whereas we may not see Vikingo in Impact until the next time the company returns to Mexico. I hope I’m wrong about that. With Impact taping television so infrequently, it would be nice if they could work out a deal with AAA to making Vikingo a regular.
Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard vs. Adam Thornstowe in a non-title match: A good showcase win for the champ. The angle that followed with Ace Austin and the Reno Scum teaming up on Blanchard led to good heat for Austin. Tommy Dreamer making the save was logical given his storyline history with Blanchard and set up his match with Austin for later in the show. Austin continues to strike me as the company’s next breakout star, so I hope they find a way to keep him a strong X Division Champion even if they plan to feed him to Blanchard.
X Division Champion Ace Austin vs. Tommy Dreamer in a non-title street fight: Impact shows taped in Mexico can be tough to watch because the live crowds lack familiarity with the Impact regulars. That wasn’t a problem with Dreamer, who was really over with the Mexican fans. The match was a nice mix of Dreamer’s hardcore style with Austin working in some of the flashier spots that he’s known for, including the cool dive in the crowd. Dreamer can always be counted on to do the honors with the goal of elevating younger talent and so it was no surprise to see him do right by Austin.
Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes attack Joey Ryan: A simple backstage beatdown did a nice job of setting the stage for the RVD vs. Ryan match next week. Ryan’s penis matches get old in a hurry when they air on television frequently. That said, he comes off as a likable, down to earth guy in most of the backstage segments. It would be nice to see him stray from the old reliable penis match in favor of having a more traditional program with RVD. I’m not holding my breath, but I can hope.
The build to next week’s show: Pro wrestling television shows are at their best when they feel episodic and not just like a collection of randomly put together matches. This week’s Impact was a mixed bag as an overall show, but they did a solid job of building to next week’s matches. There was the aforementioned build to RVD vs. Ryan. Taya Valkyrie was shown looking for help heading into her title defense against Jordynne Grace. Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards in the second match of their best of five series doesn’t need much hype, but it got some in the form of Elgin’s backstage promo. And even the Daga vs. Madman Fulton match stemmed from Fulton attacking Daga and his partner following a tag team match.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Rosemary vs. Susie: Will this campy saga ever end? Rosemary, Su Yung, Jessicka Havoc, and Jim Mitchell are all talented individuals. The Undead Realm felt like Impact’s attempt to recreate the success of the Broken Universe and it never came close to having the same effect. But these segments just keep plodding along anyway with no end in sight.
Daga and Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Jake Crist and Dave Crist: A soft miss. The live crowd enjoyed the match due to their love of Dr. Wagner Jr., but it felt rather forgettable as someone who didn’t follow his glory years. Daga getting the win was logical given that he’s an Impact regular, but he still hasn’t clicked as a personality. Worst of all, it seems like the Crists are back in henchmen mode. I don’t know that Dave has ever truly broken out of that spot, but Jake was really impressive as a cocky singles heel during his X Division Title run and proved that he’s ready to be more than a Sami Callihan sidekick.
Rhino vs. Taurus: A soft Miss. The feud between wrestlers named after animals continued, complete with interference from Moose. This filled some time and that’s about it.