By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C vs. AAA Reina De Reinas Champion Deonna Purrazzo in a title vs. title match: A great main event. This was the best version of Purrazzo. She was a confident heel champion who didn’t need to cheat or rely on outside interference. This is the Purrazzo that initially showed up in Impact and felt special. She slipped into becoming more of a typical heel by cowering from certain babyface opponents and by getting help from her sidekicks. Hopefully this version of Purrazzo is here to stay. Meanwhile, Rok-C continues to shine even in defeat. I don’t know where she’s going next after having a recent WWE tryout, but she has big upside potential if she gets the right creative support.
Tom Hannifan: Hannifan is a home run hire. I never understood why WWE let him go when he checked all of their usual boxes. He should be even better in Impact where he can be himself rather than call shows for the audience of one. He’s clearly prepared in that he seems up to speed on the storylines and has some historical knowledge of the product. Impact officials showed their confidence in Hannifan by having him call his first Impact with a collection of guest commentators following the early injury angle with color commentator D-Lo Brown.
Chris Bey vs. Laredo Kid: A very good X Division opening match. Kid is always impressive, but it was still a surprise to see him get the clean win. Kid seems to have brief stays in the U.S. promotions, which has understandably prevented companies from pushing him aggressively. Trey Miguel sat in on commentary for the match, so hopefully they are building toward Miguel defending the X Division Championship. I don’t know if Kid is around for the long haul, but it looks like Impact intends to get what they can out of him while they can.
Josh Alexander and Charlie Haas: A nice angle to set up Alexander’s latest obstacle. Haas returning to the ring at these tapings was an unexpected surprise. I wonder if the story will turn out to be that Scott D’Amore has been putting these obstacles in front of Alexander. No, not as a heel authority figure. Rather, I could see the story being that D’Amore is actually trying to help Alexander raise his game by booking him against a wide variety of strong opponents.
“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Jake Something: Another impressive outing for Bailey to follow up his four-way win at the pay-per-view. It still means something to beat Something, but it’s starting to mean a little less due to the number of losses he takes.
Jonah vs. Raj Singh: A good bounce back win for Jonah following his loss to Josh Alexander at Hard To Kill. I wasn’t sure if we’d see Jonah in Impact coming out of the pay-per-view. It will be interesting to see what his next program will be.
Former ROH wrestler faction: This is off to a good start. Impact creative did a good job of explaining that Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, PCO, Vincent, and Maria Kanellis don’t represent ROH in Impact, whereas Jonathan Gresham, Rok-C, Ian Riccaboni, and Bobby Cruise do. The new faction made a splash to start the show by taking out D-Lo Brown, and they closed the show by beating up Matthew Rehwoldt and anyone who ran out to save him.
Impact Wrestling Misses
None: This was my kind of show. It’s not that this was a flawless episode. But Impact ditched the campiness and presented itself as a straight forward professional wrestling product for a full two hours. No Undead Realm. No Wrestle House. No Swinger’s Palace (thought I do enjoy some Johnny Swinger humor). Has Impact finally turned the corner by moving away from the silliness? If so, it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe they might even be able to stop booking ref bumps during Impact World Championship matches on pay-per-view. Okay, seeing is believing on that one, but I did enjoy the serious approach shown in this episode and I hope its here to stay.