By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Eddie Edwards interview: Finally, some honesty about coronavirus concerns during a pro wrestling television show. Well, technically I don’t believe they actually mention the pandemic, but it was obvious that Edwards opted to stay home for the good of his family. This is the approach that WWE should have taken with Roman Reigns rather than acting like he didn’t exist when he pulled out of WrestleMania. Edwards was relatable and even admirable, and he did it in a way that didn’t throw the company or any of the wrestlers who worked Rebellion under the bus. Here’s hoping we get more of the real Edwards and less of the Crazy Eddie persona going forward.
Ace Austin vs. Willie Mack for the X Division Championship: A very good match that would not have been out of place had it been slotted as the main event of this show. Austin continues to be the rising star of Impact, and Mack has really clicked since Rich Swann’s injury forced him to fly solo. Speaking of Swann, it was nice to see him appear before the match to deliver a pep talk to Mack and then celebrate with him afterward.
The handling of Tessa Blanchard’s absence: I like the way Impact turned a negative into a positive. They stated that Blanchard was in Mexico and unable to defend the Impact World Championship in the main even of Night Two as advertised. They followed that up with the announcement that Eddie Edwards, who was also supposed to be in the Triple Threat title match, was also absent. This set the stage for Michael Elgin to claim his right to the championship and provided an interesting hook for next week’s show.
Empty Venue approach: Impact learned from what other companies have done in empty venues. They had the hard camera opposite the entrance stage. The lighting was set up well in that the ring area and stage were bright while the areas behind the barricade were darkened. Impact doesn’t run large venues, so it’s also less jarring to see an Impact show without fans present than it is to watch WWE, AEW, or NXT these days. I wish they would have taken the AEW approach by having a few wrestlers safely spread out behind the barricade to create some atmosphere, but all in all it was a nice set up.
Kylie Rae vs. Kiera Hogan: A quality match from Impact’s newest signee and the woman who should be booked as the rising star of the Knockouts Division. Rae’s gimmick still hasn’t clicked with me, but she’s very good in the ring. Hogan continues to strike me as miscast as a heel and underutilized in general.
Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, and Crazzy Steve vs. Madman Fulton, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist: More of an in the middle than a Hit or a Miss. It was nice to see Steve back and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does as a singles act given that his Decay tag partner Abyss is working for WWE. Unfortunately, Steve wasn’t the spotlighted person in the match. He got some ring time, but Rhino got the win for his team using a Gore.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Ken Shamrock vs. Sami Callihan in an unsanctioned match: I enjoyed the first half of the match and then they went backstage. The needless musical score started and the broadcast team and the referee disappeared (the ref returned once they went outside the building). I’m trying hard to be openminded when it comes to all the cinematic style matches we are seeing these days, but it just didn’t seem necessary in this case. The musical score didn’t add anything for this viewer and actually took away from the gritty fight feel that existed before it started. Callihan passing out while in the ankle lock didn’t feel right. He was in offensive control moments earlier and we’ve seen him take far more abuse in other matches. The brawl was entertaining, but the needless musical score and the finish ended the mostly good show on a flat note.
TJP and Fallah Bahh vs. Larry D and Acey Romero vs. Dez and Wentz in a three-way tag match: We just saw these same three teams work a four-way tag match that included Reno Scum on last week’s Impact. Josh Mathews did acknowledged that match on commentary, but it didn’t make this match feel any more meaningful. The in-ring action was solid, but I just didn’t care about the outcome. It was also odd that the broadcast team implied the Dez and Wentz were next in line for a tag title shot even though TJP and Bahh won the four-way tag match on last week’s show. Perhaps it’s leading to a match between the two teams? Either way, I hope this leads to Dez and Wentz getting a meaningful push that doesn’t include campy smoke circle skits.