By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. Kushida and Kevin Knight: A really good opening tag team match that is worth going out of your way to see if you didn’t catch this episode. That said, Impact seems to be falling into the same trap that other companies do. It feels like the mentality is that Kushida and Knight worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and therefore every viewer should know who they are. In fairness, Kushida also had a long run in NXT and I think the average fan is familiar with him at least to some extent. But Knight has made a couple of appearances on Impact and the only thing I know about him is that he throws a hell of a dropkick.
Bully Ray and Mickie James: The usual good mic work from Bully Ray. Mickie standing up for herself by slapping Bully was a nice touch. The backstage angle with Bully Ray introducing himself to Masha Slamovich left me hopeful that they are building to an eventual mixed tag match rather than a Bully Ray vs. Dreamer singles match.
Josh Alexander, Frankie Kazarian, Rich Swann, and Yuya Uemura vs. “The Design” Deaner, Callihan, Angels, and Kon: A well worked main event that continued the story of Callihan’s initiation into The Design. That story hasn’t really clicked yet, but perhaps it will grow on me. I was hoping for an angle that would create friction between Alexander and Swann heading into their title match, but they played it straight for this match. In fact, Swann even had the lengthy stretch were he was isolated by the heels and even made a hot tag to Alexander.
Crazzy Steve vs. Sheldon Jean: A soft Hit for a simple showcase win for Steve. The post match angle with Trey Miguel hitting the ring and being run off by Steve indicates that their feud isn’t over yet. I can’t say that I’m excited by that development, but I could be if they creative forces would add some layers to Steve’s character. It feels like Steve is about as over as he can be as a Joker knockoff. I really hope that he and the creative team can come up with ways to make Steve feel unique.
Gisele Shaw vs. Savannah Evans: A soft Hit for what was a solid match until the silly distraction spot with Jai Vidal dancing in front of the referee. I’m curious to see how Evans fares as a singles act. She wasn’t asked to show much personality while serving as the muscle for Tasha Steelz, so it will be interesting to see if she can connect with the crowd now that she’s on her own. Shaw’s post match promo was well delivered. She’s good in the ring, but she often comes off like the pest heel of the Knockouts division rather than a real player.
Matt Cardona rap: Sign this man to a record deal. I need more of Cardona’s intentionally awful rapping in my life.
Impact Wrestling Misses
The Death Dollz, Killer Kelly, and Taylor Wilde: The Death Dollz teleporting into the picture would have been a channel changing moment if it wasn’t my job to cover the show. The two sides doing simultaneous sinister laughs was awful and went on long enough that it felt like a tribute to Dr. Evil. On the bright side, Kelly and Wilde may end up being a quality team, though I really hope they pull back on Wilde’s lousy witch gimmick.
Kenny King vs. Johnny Swinger: I get a chuckle out of Swinger’s comedy antics, but this match didn’t seem to serve a purpose.