By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Jordynne Grace vs. Gisele Shaw for the Knockouts Championship: A decent television main event. Shaw has been such an over the top character that she didn’t come off like a strong threat to win the title. I get that Shaw is a vain character, but she plays to the crowd so much that it makes her feel more mid-card and less like a main event player. Even so, Shaw gained a little something in defeat by having competitive match with Grace. The post match angle with Masha Slamovich returning and attacking Grace was strong. It’s the first time Slamovich has appeared since she lost to Grace at Bound For Glory and she fills the void she left by reclaiming her spot as the top heel in the Knockouts Division.
Mickie James vs. Chelsea Green: A solid match that got a little sloppy late with a rough looking Thesz Press followed by a bad kick from James. Even so, there was more good than bad and they followed up that sequence with a solid near fall for Green before James eventually put her away. I continue to hope that the James stating she will retire if she loses will lead to some dramatic moments the longer it goes, because at this point it’s just making her match outcomes feel predictable. Meanwhile, this was reportedly Green’s last match with Impact, which explains her character telling Deonna Purrazzo that she was going home. I’m happy they took a moment to write her off, though I continue to question why the company doesn’t get more out of situations like these by booking matches with “loser leaves Impact” stipulations.
Brian Myers vs. Joe Hendry for the Impact Digital Media Championship: A logical title change. Myers needed to drop the title now that he and Matt Cardona are the top heel tag team in Impact. The poorly named title belt still lacks importance, but I suppose it gives Hendry a small boost to win it this early in his run with the company.
Bully Ray vs. Zicky Dice: Cute comedy before Bully put Dice away quickly. The match set up Moose attacking Bully Ray afterward to set up their match for the Over Drive event.
Frankie Kazarian video package: Great work by the Impact production team. The video did a great job of chronicling Kazarian’s Impact career and it was a really nice touch to have his wife Traci Brooks speak about him and how their family started because of Impact. It’s hard to believe that Kazarian will win the championship while the company is simultaneously building to Josh Alexander vs. Bully Ray, but this video package was effective in making Kazarian feel like a strong challenger and not just a bump in the road for Alexander.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Mike Bailey vs. Trey Miguel in a semifinal tournament match for the vacant X Division Title: A Hit for match quality. The match landed in the Miss section for the lousy finish that saw Kenny King attack Miguel to intentionally get Bailey disqualified. This was the most appealing tournament match on paper and it concluded with a copout finish. On the bright side, King delivered a quality promo coming out of the match that helped explain his character’s motivations.
Bhupinder Gujjar vs. G Sharpe: Dot Net staffer John Moore had a running joke at one point about how it felt like Impact was contractually obligated to have a weekly throwaway Gujjar match. The situation improved when Gujjar had an entertaining feud with Brian Myers. Now that their feud is over, it feels like Gujjar is back to having meaningless television matches while lacking any sense of creative direction. I hope the creative forces find something better for Gujjar, who has shown real improvement.