By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Josh Alexander vs. Eddie Edwards: Impact typically opens with a good match and this was no exception. The finish gave Alexander an upset win while protecting Edwards via the interference from Ethan Page at ringside. The post match attack by The North on Edwards followed by Tessa Blanchard making the save was a solid way to set up the Blanchard vs. Page main event.
Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard vs. Ethan Page in a non-title match: A well worked match with Page using his size advantage early, acting cocky, and then allowing Blanchard into the match. I’m still not sold on the idea of Blanchard holding the Impact World Championship, but this was the best televised intergender match that Blanchard has had since her feud with Sami Callihan ended. The post match angle with Michael Elgin attacking Blanchard and Edwards was decent. The babyfaces stood tall, but there’s obviously time to put heat on Elgin before that postponed match eventually takes place.
Kylie Rae vs. Cassandra Golden: Rae is a nice signing for Impact and she had a good showcase match with Golden. I’m still not sure what to make of her childlike persona and whether it’s too close to the NXT version of Bayley, but I’m curious to see what Impact creative has in mind for her character. Taya Valkyrie strikes me as a strong foil for Rae at some point. For that matter, there could be some fun in Rae befriending the Susie Yung character (as long as it doesn’t lead to another trip to the Undead Realm).
Rich Swann and Ace Austin: A solid segment with Austin hijacking an interview that Jimmy Jacobs was conducting and setting up a long distance off-camera attack on Swann. This worked on multiple levels. In the short term, it heats up Austin’s feud with Swann’s best buddy Willie Mack, and the company can always go back to Austin vs. Swann once Swann is healthy.
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne: The husband and wife team clearly wasn’t the initial plan, as Don Callis was shown at the broadcast table several times during the show. I assume that Impact went with new commentary to avoid having constant plugs for the TNA: No Place Like Home pay-per-view that was scheduled to be held this weekend. I’m a fan of Don Callis on commentary, but Impact made the right call to go with new commentary rather than run a crawler throughout the show, assuming that was their motivation for the switch.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Sami Callihan vs. Tommy Dreamer in an old school rules match: A soft Miss. I couldn’t shake the feeling of “been there and done that” while watching this match. It’s not just that Callihan and Dreamer have had hardcore matches in the past, it’s that there was nothing about Callihan the hacker that felt any different than the Callihan we saw prior to his hiatus. Callihan has been Impact’s MVP in a lot of ways, so I am holding out hope that the character will evolve into something that feels fresh. The only thing about the act that felt new was that he didn’t seem interested in being aligned with his OVE followers.
Moose vs. Kid Kash: It was nice to see Kash again, but why have him lose quickly and decisively on this show when he was one of the few wrestlers the company had lined up for the TNA special that followed this episode of Impact?
Fallah Bahh and TJP confront Team Triple XL: Acey Romero and Larry D delivered a harmless promo announcing the formation of their new team when the babyfaces interrupted to tell a corny wordplay joke. It came off like Bahh and TJP were the heels, but it didn’t seem like something that was the intention.
Joseph P Ryan vs. Cody Deaner: While I’m all for Ryan trying to do something other than dick matches, his new persona comes off as Right To Censor rebooted. It feels like Ryan is trying to go in the opposite direction of his previous persona, but he continues to come off like a guy playing a character rather than something believable. With Mathews implying that Ryan needs to go back to using his, um, weapon, does that mean this heel gimmick is just temporary?