By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Eric Young vs. Tommy Dreamer in a non-title match: A good match to show psychotic Young dispatch a lovable babyface (though, Impact should pull back a bit with Dreamer’s usage because it seems like he’s always the guy they throw out there to go “you disrespected my love for pro wrestling” only for him to be the same predictable gatekeeper). Young has been stellar since returning to Impact and in two weeks he’s already proven to be a huge upgrade as champ over the last champion Eddie Edwards. Rich Swann returning to chase away Young shows that they’re already moving towards the huge showdown between Young and Swann and that should be a very hot feud.
The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Rascalz for the Impact Tag Titles: Two Hits here. One for the match. You can’t really go wrong with a Guns match as they tend to have great chemistry with other great teams opposite to them. The second Hit goes to the post-match brawl that was meant to showcase their new tag division. A few weeks ago we had to deal with a weak and predictable tag division involving meaningless matches between XXXL, Rascalz, Reno Scum, and Bahh and Perkins every week. This week showcased The North, “slightly more serious” Rascalz, Fulton and Ace, The Guns, and The Good Brothers as the new hotter tag division with a purpose. The quick turnaround from mediocre to deep deserves a hit by itself and this segment showcased it really well.
Brian Myers vs. Willie Mack: Mack doesn’t get hurt by the loss and Impact continues to do a great job presenting the artist formerly known as Curt Hawkins in a way that allows him to differentiate himself from his WWE run. Myers picking up the dirty win protects Mack but also allows for a slow build towards Myers gain credibility. Much better than the guy with WWE’s worst win-loss record coming in as an absolute world beater. Now if only Impact would creatively utilize Heath [Slater] differently than WWE did.
Chris Bey vs. TJP: Impact has a nice and small X Division program here going between Perkins, Bey, and Raju. Perkins is more a a catalyst here to provide a true babyface for the other heels to work off (which is fine now, but Impact really needs to figure out that this guy has top-level heel potential). They did a solid job pulling the surprise move of moving the title over to Raju. The jury is still out on whether they’ll take Raju seriously finally (they’ve teased many times a serious turn, only to have him settle back into undercard comedy). This match was a good match to keep Chris Bey in the picture, set up a future X Division title match, and showcase Raju as a champion from the periphery.
Locker Room Talk: The talk show is usually solid in pushing stories forward, but the Hit here ultimately boils down to the return of Johnny Swinger to the show. Even campy-ass Johnny Swinger was marginalized in Wrestle House. So much that it was refreshing to seeing him in comedy segments outside of Wrestle House.
No Wrestle House: After weeks-and-weeks of Wrestle House segments being the most jarring and meaningless segments on the show, they’ve finally ended that mess. The side-show was a bit witty and funny the first week and a half, but they ran their jokes into the ground and the novelty quickly jumped the shark (if Impact was so confident in that thing, why didn’t they just air it as YouTube fringe content?). Taking away Wrestle House also upgrades their roster immediately because a lot of talented wrestlers were trapped in those segments.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary: Taya and Rosemary just aren’t as hot as they could be and were at one point. I like Taya’s acting so far as the ditzy best friend, but it’s coming off as a step down from her after being one of the top Knockouts Champions that Impact has presented in years. Rosemary was one of the strongest characters on the entire roster and it’s segments like this that show she’s now a bit to on-the-nose with the supernatural aspects of her character and the fact that someone in Impact’s creative team has a fetish with “teleportation”.
Sami Callihan: Speaking of “teleportation”, for some reason all Sami Callihan is, is a “hacker” who can “teleport”. Not to mention, he’s feuding with Katie Forbes, who’s the most one-note of one-note characters. She twerks.
Moose: The Moose and EC3 segments have been very strong over the past few weeks and I feel like this week’s Moose segments were the weakest of the bunch. It might be because EC3 was taken out of the picture for the most part this week and they were falling into more of “quirky Moose”. This, a bit more than last week, also may be presenting EC3 as some sort of cult-like leader with his “control your narrative” ploy. I hope Impact isn’t trying to get too pretentious with their writing again. We saw them try to make Sami Callihan a cyber-cult hacker a few months ago, and it just came off as jarring and pretentious as opposed to innovative. Not all writing needs to be complex because it’s streamline writing that can pack the most punch at the right times.
Heath: Heath [Slater] bringing up that the “commercial” fees might be catching up with him made it seem like they might have some sort of alternate take to this storyline, but this is still a poor carbon copy of Heath’s “I have kids” storyline from 2016. This is an inferior version of it too. That one was a bit more organic and charming where here the characters are really forcing it, including Scott D’Amore being needlessly douchey compared to Shane McMahon who played D’Amore’s role in the exact same storyline. You see what Eric Young, EC3, and Brian Myers are doing differentiating themselves from their marginalized past, and you wonder why they are going the tired-old route with Heath. Even if they are planning to do a bit of a different take on it with someone turning or something, it doesn’t make the last few weeks of Heath goofball segments any productive.