By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Rich Swann “retirement” promo and the Eric Young attack: More of this Swann, please. The happy go lucky Swann persona went as far as it could go, whereas the serious Swann is money. Swann delivered a believable retirement promo, which led to the latest attack by Eric Young. This obviously isn’t the end of Swann, but I really liked the angle and how it made Swann look sympathetic while also making Young look ruthless. The build to their showdown match is off to an excellent start.
Impact announces Emergence themed shows: This feels similar to when Impact made the call to cancel their Rebellion pay-per-view due to the pandemic and then went with the Rebellion theme for two weeks of television. With no pay-per-views on the schedule until October, this gives the company something to build to, and I assume that the themed editions do well in the ratings.
Eddie Edwards vs. Sami Callihan for the Impact World Championship: Edwards and Callihan had stronger matches during their heated feud. Still, this was a quality match. But the thing I liked most about it is that it established that Eddie’s weekly open challenge may include some bigger names, which makes it an even stronger hook for future weeks. The only negative is that Callihan’s babyface run continues to be disappointing and I’m not sure that a feud with Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes will turn things around.
Moose vs. Heath for the TNA Championship: A TNA Title match with a TNA ref bump finish. It’s just like old times. The match was well worked and entertaining and that’s why it landed in the Hit section. But I’m still not a fan of Heath struggling to get a job just like his WWE character did at one point. It feels like a ripoff storyline and defines Heath down. Sure, he lost a lot of matches in WWE, but Impact is also bringing in Brian Myers, who lost 269 consecutive matches in WWE, and it looks like they will be positioning his character as a contracted talent.
EC3 video: Another strong promo. EC3 stating that he wants to reclaim the TNA Championship to burn its legacy to the ground gives me some hope that he will win the title and then destroy it once and for all.
Jimmy Jacobs interviews the Motor City Machine Guns: Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley came off well in the sit-down interview setting before The North came out to set up the rematch for the Emergence shows. The dynamic between The North duo was fun with Josh Alexander’s usual calm approach while Ethan Page went over the top in expressing his rage over dropping the tag titles. Bonus points to Shelley for stating that Page looked like he raided Rick Martel’s closet. This was a fun line for longtime fans.
Ace Austin and Madman Fulton get the better of The Good Brothers: This felt like it needed to happen given that Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson got the better of Austin and Fulton in their previous exchanges. The bit with Austin framing the Good Brothers and getting the cops involved felt a bit wonky, but it did set the stage for the heels to have a numbers advantage on Anderson.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Wrestle House: The best thing I can say about this format is that it limits the time spent in the dark, fan-free studio. The campy skits just aren’t what I’m looking for from a pro wrestling product, and there’s even a cheesiness to the Wrestle House matches that makes them feel trivial. Tommy Dreamer spoke of a prize last week. Will there be eliminations? This could provide some level of suspense whether they are done by some vote or even via matches. Most importantly, it would force the company to establish an end date to this concept.
Chris Bey and Rohit Raju vs. TJP and Fallah Bahh: The match quality was solid and the finish put TJP in line for a title shot, but the personalities are dry. It feels like it’s time to throw in the towel on the TJP and Bahh tag team act. They seemed to be put together because of their Filipino heritage, but there’s just not much chemistry between the characters. Hopefully the idea is for TJP to turn on Bahh at some point, as TJP is a natural heel who has spent way too much time being miscast as a babyface during his career. Meanwhile, we need to learn more about Bey’s character. We know that he’s arrogant and uses people, but those are basic heel traits. What makes him special? What makes his character tick? He’s a talented guy, but I’d like to see the creative team do more character work with him.
I think Bey is boring. No standout personality and no real entertainment value. I loved that Swann came out so gingerly with his crutches yet he was wearing a walking boot…Hello.