By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
TJP vs. Josh Alexander for the X Division Championship: The show actually peaked with this strong opening match. The back and forth action was top notch and the wrestlers really had me guessing when it came to the outcome. Alexander is off to a good start as a singles wrestler following the departure of tag team partner Ethan Page from Impact. TJP continues to feel miscast as a babyface. It’s not that he’s a bad babyface, he’s just a natural heel who is rarely booked in that manner. It looks like he’s turning heel in MLW, so I look forward to seeing how that goes.
Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone: The usual fun with Khan stating that no one gave him anything for Valentine’s Day yet he gives the world gifts, and then boasting that he writes off the money he spends on the Impact paid advertisements as a charitable donation. The Bizarro World versions of Khan and Schiavone continue to be a weekly highlight.
Juice Robinson and David Finlay vs. “Reno Scum” Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe: A soft Hit for a nice showcase win for Robinson and Finlay. Reno Scum is a talented duo that continues to be in dire need of a gimmick overhaul. The post match angle with Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson taunting Robinson and Finlay about being young boys was fine in terms of establishing friction between the teams. But we really needed a mission statement type of promo from Robinson and Finlay on their first night on loan from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Trey Miguel vs. Shawn Daivari vs. Suicide vs. Willie Mack in a four-way: Another well worked match. I get the sense that creative isn’t really sure what to do next with the three match losers. Daivari has returned to Impact with a whimper. The Suicide gimmick is just an odd throwback to a gimmick that never really got over in the first place. Mack is typically in buddy mode for Rich Swann and lacks direction when he’s not playing that part. Fortunately, Miguel is getting wins and has a looming feud with Sami Callihan, which has a lot of potential.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Moose vs. Tommy Dreamer in an Old School Rules match: The main event had a “been there and done that” feel. Every big Dreamer match is fought under Old School Rules, so it’s not like the announcement of the match type packed any punch whatsoever. The actual match was what it needed to be with Moose scoring a decisive win as he continues to build momentum for his eventual showdown match with Rich Swann. But there was zero mystery regarding the outcome, and it’s not like Moose gained anything from beating Dreamer.
Matt Cardona vs. Hernandez: The match was fine and the Hernandez low blow spot was clever. But Cardona really needs to shake up his act. Curt Hawkins has reinvented himself in Impact and it has paid off nicely. Meanwhile, Cardona is just Zack Ryder using a different name. It’s a shame that WWE didn’t strike while the iron was hot with Ryder years ago, but they beat his character down and the change of scenery just isn’t enough to freshen it up.
Tenille Dashwood vs. Nevaeh: It was good to see Nevaeh get some mic time because we know nothing about her character. Unfortunately, Dashwood’s influencer act continues to feel ice cold. On the bright side, I did enjoy Kaleb’s Brother Love suit.
Bar scene with James Storm, Chris Sabin, Rohit Raju, and Mahabali Shera: I could grumble about this every week. I am not a fan of pro wrestling companies failing to explain the presence of television cameras in these segments. In this case, the cameras just happened to be at a bar to catch the exchange between Storm, Sabin, Raju, and Shera. Why not take five seconds to come up with a reason for the cameras being present? Some wrestling fans don’t care or have simply become numb to this approach. Here’s the thing. You won’t upset those fans if you give them an explanation for the cameras being present, but failing to do so is a turnoff to those of us who want a more realistic approach. The tired “but WWE does it” excuse doesn’t fly. Why follow their lazy lead in an area when you could actually be better than the industry leader?