By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Jonathan Gresham vs. Kushida: This match jumped out on paper and more that delivered. The slower mat based style won’t be for everyone, but this was a treat for someone who does enjoy it. I feel like we need to hear more from Gresham in Impact Wrestling, as I feel like most of his character traits are things I remember from ROH that Impact hasn’t quite established with their viewers.
Mickie James vs. Gisele Shaw for the Knockouts Championship: A soft Hit for a solid match that suffered from Shaw just not feeling like a real threat to win the championship. Some of that is due to James seemingly having a rematch date with former champion Jordynne Grace, but it’s also that they wanted us to believe that a mid-card tag team wrecker who was covered in chili just a few weeks back was suddenly a threat to win the title. They got a television main event out of this, but it didn’t feel like Shaw is now established as a threat in the Knockouts Division even though James needed help from Deonna Purrazzo to get the win. Jai Vidal was a solid addition to Shaw’s mid-card act, but he’s so over the top that he doesn’t really fit if Shaw is supposed to be more than that.
Eddie Edwards and PCO: I’m not a fan of most cinematics in pro wrestling. I’d prefer to see these two have a traditional pro wrestling feud. If nothing else, the cliffhanger of who showed up in the car and saved Edwards from being buried by PCO was a nice hook. The payoff better be stronger than Eddie’s wife Alisha being revealed as the mystery driver.
Jordynne Grace vs. Alex Gracia: A dominant win for Grace. Gracia had a couple of rough moments, but she had an impressive run to the finals of the ROH Women’s Championship tournament. Gracia made a strong enough impression during the tournament, which she eventually lost to Roxanne Perez (f/k/a Rok-C), that I’m surprised it didn’t lead to more high profile opportunities before now.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Taylor Wilde: It was nice to see KiLynn King show up, and Killer Kelly continues to be an intriguing character, but Wilde’s witch or evil tarot card reader gimmick is brutal. And just when it seemed like things couldn’t get worse, the Death Dollz teleported. Make it stop. Impact is at its best when it takes a traditional approach to pro wrestling, as it did through most of 2022. There are still plenty of things to like about the product, but it’s being watered down with witches, demons, cults, cinematic fight scenes, and sometimes too much comedy.
Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer build: It was initially hard to accept Bully as the winner of the Call Your Shot battle royal because he had been away from Impact for a long time and it felt like he was from a different era. His excellent mic work changed that perception quickly and he ended up being a strong challenger for the Impact World Championship. Unfortunately, this feud with Tommy Dreamer feels like it belongs in a senior’s division. If this is the end of the road for one of them and this is how that person wants to go out, then God bless them. But if it’s just another feud and both wrestlers will eventually move on to different things, I hope it happens soon.
Sami Callihan vs. Rhino: Another week of Callihan going through the Design’s never ending initiation process. Who knew it would be so difficult to join a mid-card cult?