By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Impact World Championship announcement: The segment was laid out well and I like the way that Eddie Edwards insisted that the championship must be earned. I also liked the fire that Scott D’Amore reenforcing what Edwards said while officially announcing the five-way title match at the pay-per-view. It’s definitely strange that we just had a tournament to determine the No. 1 contender and the winner doesn’t get a straight up title hot, but there is some logic in the five-way given that Edwards and Elgin were scheduled to challenge Tessa Blanchard in the cancelled title match at Rebellion, and Trey was attacked backstage before he could face Austin in the tournament finals last week. It’s not ideal, but it’s understandable given that the pandemic forced a lot of changes and presumably some booking on the fly moments.
Jordynne Grace vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Championship: A decent match. I’m not sure if it was ring rust or the lack of fans in attendance or a combination of the two, but we’ve seen better from Grace and Valkyrie. The match did get better as it went on and built nicely to the finish, which played into the oddball storyline involving John E Bravo and Rosemary, who were too busy flirting to help Valkyrie. The post match angle with Deonna Purrazzo taking out the arm of Grace was a simple and effective debut.
Ken Shamrock vs. Sami Callihan vs. Michael Elgin in a Triple Threat: A good opening match between three of the company’s top men’s division stars. Elgin really needed a win after coming up short in the No. 1 contender tournament, so it was wise to put him over. Sami’s hacker disappearance after the match was silly and it feels like he’s lost a lot of momentum since he moved into hacker mode, but Callihan vanishing worked in terms of leaving viewers waiting to see if he will shake Shamrock’s hand.
The Rascalz and The North: The mystery of who attacked Trey is solid, and having Josh Alexander and Ethan Page show up to stir the pot by insinuating that Wentz was behind the attack was nicely done. It also served as good hype for next week’s Impact Tag Title match with The North defending against Dez and Wentz, which looks great on paper.
Rhino’s Heath Slater tease: Rhino played into the idea of recently released WWE wrestlers appearing at the Slammiversary pay-per-view by telling Rohit Raju that he has a tag team partner, then looked into the camera and stated that his partner has kids. Of course, Impact has to actually make good on this tease, but it sure came off like we can pencil in Slater for their pay-per-view.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Tasha Steelz vs. Susie: Meh. Susie is comparable to the former OVE trio once Sami Callihan left the group in that you just assume she will lose her matches. As such, it didn’t feel very impressive when Steelz needed a distraction from Kiera Hogan to beat Susie.
Willie Mack and Cousin Jake vs. Chris Bey and Johnny Swinger: A predictable outcome with Swinger taking the loss for his team. And while that was the right move in terms of protecting Bey, they didn’t exactly continue the protection when they had Cody Deaner work over Bey and Swinger after the match. Deaner is a good undercard comedy act, but I continue to believe that Cousin Jake has more upside and needs to be repackaged. And perhaps the company will get there eventually, but I can’t say the Deaner reunion did anything for me.
Crazzy Steve vs. Jacob Crist: Cancel Culture feels like a collection of wrestlers that the Impact creative team doesn’t really know what to do with. The Joey Ryan led Right To Censor rehash still isn’t clicking with me, and the group just doesn’t seem like a logical place to get the most out of the presumably expensive Rob Van Dam.