By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
X Division Champion Rohit Raju vs. Suicide in a non-title match: A solid play on the old gimmick of the heel facing a masked wrestler only to have the person he assumed was wearing the mask show up. Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA did something similar during a James Gang vs. Midnight Express match years ago and I’m sure there are many other examples. In this case, TJP walked out and distracted Raju, which allowed Crazzy Steve to score the upset win. Raju made the most out of his time as X Division Champion.
Kimber Lee vs. Killer Kelly: A Hit for a well worked match. But I don’t really understand the logic of having Kelly lose a match before she and Renee Michelle work their tag team tournament match. Perhaps it will make more sense once the tournament match plays out. The post match angle with Susie introducing Su Young was fun. It’s not something that Impact can do live or even in front of a crowd, but the production trick worked nicely in the empty venue.
Ethan Page vs. “The Wee-nomenal One” AJ Swoggle: Harmless fun. The key to the hype was that it was never positioned seriously enough to feel like the company pulled a bait and switch. On a side note, Page is in tremendous shape and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for him.
Wrestler’s Court: A Swoggle gag and Wrestler’s Court both landing in the Hit section? Impact has finally rotted my brain. Tommy Dreamer’s impersonation of Paul Heyman was good for a chuckle, and Swinger came through with some fun lines, including that “McDevitt” told him to wear a neck brace for sympathy. Perhaps I’m being kind because Impact wrapped up the “who shot John E Bravo” story quickly compared to the Undead Realm and other sports entertainment style silliness, but I truly fear what Impact has planned for their wacky comedy side story.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Rich Swann vs. Ken Shamrock for the Impact World Championship: The presentation of this match was poor. The company never sold viewers on the guy billed as the World’s Most Dangerous Man being a threat to take the title from Swann, nor did they attempt to make it feel special to see the new Impact Hall of Famer challenge for the title. The actual match was fine given the limitations of Shamrock at this point in his career. Swann beating the MMA legend is a nice feather in his cap. I just wish Impact had gotten more out of it.
Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz vs. “The Sea Stars” Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo in a Knockouts Tag Title tournament match: A solid match with the Impact regulars going over. Unfortunately, the presentation of this match was also an issue. The Sea Stars just showed up and never got to introduce themselves or their gimmick in a promo or a video package, so there was no reason for viewers who are unfamiliar with them to care one way or another.
Broadcast team: Madison Rayne was missed on commentary. There was a time when I never thought I would write those words, but she has made real improvement since she stepped in for Don Callis on color commentary during the pandemic. I thought Matt Striker would be a good replacement and perhaps even an upgrade, but he just didn’t bring much energy to the show. In fact, it sounded like he delivered his comments in such a quiet and subdued voice that it was as if he was worried about waking up a baby in the next room. That said, Striker did come through with the line of the night. His “deal with the devil” jab at Vince McMahon regarding third party work and low residual checks was a gem.