By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Willie Mack vs. Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey for the X Division Championship: A strong main event that closed the show on a high note. Austin continues to feel like the brightest young star in the company, and Mack is a likable enough babyface. Bey more than held his own in the match, but I wish the company had done more to establish his persona before rushing him into an X Division Title match. Overall, though, this was a very good match and one that’s worth going out of your way to see if you didn’t watch the show.
Sami Callihan, Ken Shamrock, and Michael Elgin: The babyface turn of Callihan appears to be in full effect with Shamrock endorsing his toughness coming out of their match. Shamrock was good in putting over Callihan for not tapping out to his ankle lock while listing some of the big names who did. It was also a nice touch to avoid having Callihan accept Shamrock’s handshake offer by having Michael Elgin interrupt them. Elgin’s involvement also gave Callihan a potential heel opponent to feud with. The only thing I didn’t care for was Callihan’s hacking bit causing the lights to go out so that he could magically disappear during the second of darkness. There’s a realness to Callihan’s persona that felt undercut by the needless production trick.
Kiera Hogan: The brief vignette with Hogan dubbing herself The Girl on Fire again gave me some hope that company officials recognize that she has far more upside as a babyface. Hogan feels set in a “good hand” role as a heel, but she has far more upside and has the potential to emerge as the face of the Knockouts Division if she gets the right push from creative.
Madison Rayne’s Locker Room Talk: Rayne is a good host for these segments and I enjoy the oddball pairing with Johnny Swinger as her sidekick. Havok was solid as a guest and they did a nice job of playing up Nevaeh’s appearance from last week by acknowledging her history with Havok. The only negative about the segment is that it was an underwhelming setting for Kimber Lee’s debut. Then again, it’s not like an empty venue would make for a strong setting.
The North vs. The Creeps: A fun skit with Ethan Page displaying a good sense of humor while Josh Alexander held up his end as the straight man. The over the top ring announcer was fun, though I’m afraid his brain might explode if he had even a single drop more of caffeine. I like the creativity and this is worth going out of your way to see, but hopefully future installments will include The North taking some jabs against future Impact opponents so that it feels like they are leading to something.
Moose sit-down interview with Josh Mathews: A decent segment with delusional Moose continuing to stake his claim to a defunct championship. I can’t say that bringing back the TNA Championship even as a defunct title does anything for me, but I guess we’ll see where it goes.
Cody Deaner skit: A cute skit. It was harmless and even timely fun.
Impact Wrestling Misses
XXXL vs. Jake Crist and Madman Fulton: A lengthy match involving one team that hasn’t received much character development and two guys who were booked as underlings in a faction that is now without a leader. The in-ring action was solid, but the match overstayed its welcome in the empty venue setting, in part because it felt inconsequential and even predictable given that OVE have been losing matches ever since Sami Callihan left the fold.
Joseph P Ryan vs. Cousin Jake: The Rebellion match was fine. Did we really need a repeat right down to Ryan cheating to get another win? I’d really like to see both men go back to the drawing board and come up with new gimmicks.
Suicide vs. Johnny Swinger: A soft Miss for a spotlight win for Suicide over a guy who loses most of his matches and still remains fun. I still dislike the Suicide name and while it’s a TNA throwback, it’s not like the character ever took off back in the day.