By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo: A really good main event match that was given plenty of time. The story that James had to win her matches or retire led to a lot of predictable matches rather than it ever feeling like her career was in jeopardy, so I’m happy they wrapped up that story by setting up her title match with Jordynne Grace for the Hardy To Kill pay-per-view.
Bully Ray promo: There was a sense of deja vu while listening to Bully taunt the fans about his latest heel turn. Bully did a masterful job of teasing the idea that he was a changed man only to once again pull the rug out from under the fans. It was a wise idea for Impact to open the show with the footage of Bully pulling Josh Alexander’s wife over the barricade. The footage was shown during last week’s Thanksgiving special, but it’s hard to imagine that the mostly “best of” style show was watched by as many viewers who normally watch the show. The timing of Bully’s turn was also well done. They didn’t let the mystery of whether he was a heel or a babyface overstay its welcome, and they left plenty of time for Bully to work his magic on the mic as they build to his title match at the Hard To Kill pay-per-view in January.
Bully Ray vs. Rich Swann: As much as I’ve been down on Impact for not doing more with Swann, it felt like this would have been the right time to have Bully actually pin him rather than lose by disqualification. Even so, Bully drew his usual strong heat for working over Swann until things really picked up once Tommy Dreamer arrived. Dreamer stood up for Bully when he returned at Bound For Glory, and so it meant something when Bully shoved him to the mat. Scott D’Amore better have a Dixie Carter powerbomb through a table coming. I get that his character would be upset over what Bully did to Alexander and his wife, but the idea of D’Amore showing no fear of the company’s top heel and even spitting on him is just too much.
Moose vs. Bhupinder Gujjar: A nice match built around which wrestler could hit his version of the spear. Gujjar got some offense in, but it was clearly the right call to put over Moose clean. The post match angle with Joe Hendry was solid and it was a nice touch to have Gujjar return to hit Moose with his second rope spear (even though it’s still an odd finishing move).
Frankie Kazarian vs. Steve Maclin: Maclin taking the intentional disqualification loss was a good way to launch the feud. Kazarian won the X Division Title and forfeited the belt for a failed shot at the Impact World Championship. It wouldn’t make sense to put Kazarian back in contention for either one of those titles, so a blood feud with Maclin is a good way to utilize Kazarian.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Trey Miguel video: I praised Impact for opening the show with a replay of the the Bully Ray and Alexander family angle from Over Drive. Unfortunately, they left viewers who didn’t see Over Drive in the dark when it came to why Miguel is now a heel. For those who missed it, Miguel sprayed mist in the eyes of Black Taurus and then pinned him to win the tournament for the vacant X Division Title. I’m also down on the idea of Miguel’s heel turn coming at the expense of Taurus, as it just doesn’t pack much of a punch to turn on the guy wearing a bull head. Nevertheless, I like that Miguel is shaking things up. I assume this sets up a Miguel as the heel champion defending against babyface former champion Mike Bailey in what should be a terrific feud.
Deaner stabs Eric Young: Well, I guess they had to do something to write off Eric Young now that he’s returning to WWE. And I’m happy for both guys. Young is getting a presumably more lucrative opportunity in WWE, while Deaner goes from being cast as the one-time weak link in Violent By Design to becoming the leader of the faction. Deaner has come a long way from his redneck comedy act and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does in his new role. Ultimately, though, Deaner stabbing Young was a little too over the top for my taste and the idea of a man stabbing another man on television and presumably facing no charges is too far fetched.