Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, May 25
Bruce Prichard made his way to the ring accompanied by Tyrus to open the show. Prichard hired Tyrus, an old acquaintance of EC3, to protect him. Prichard introduced Lashley, who has barely been on the show for the last month in spite of being heavyweight champion. EC3, Magnus, and James Storm did some jibber jabbering too to set up the three way main event. All perfectly boilerplate stuff to reestablish the heavyweight scene but nothing particularly interesting from a character standpoint.
Kongo Kong and KM def. Braxton Sutter and Mahabali Shera
KM’s entrance theme is the base track of Samoa Joe’s old music, which is a real demotion for that poor song. Pope refers to Braxton Sutter as the Logan of Impact Wrestling and I have no idea what he even means by that comparison. Shera has the distinction of being a better wrestler than KM, so good for him! This was a ten minute version of a five minute TV match, which was a strange choice. They worked a basic heat, comeback, finish tag match but for some reason felt the need for it to run through a commercial break. It was fine but they could have reached the exact same end in half the time. **
After the match Sienna and Laurel Van Ness attacked Allie. Rosemary came to the ring, hesitated for a moment before taking out Sienna and Van Ness. Jade’s departure left a hole in the babyface side of the Knockouts division and turning Rosemary is a pretty solid way of filling that void. I firmly believe she’s good enough to be a tent-pole act for the whole company, and she’s best positioned to do that as a face. This likely sets into motion Rosemary vs. Sienna in a unification match at Slammiversary.
Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Title Tournament
Veterans of War (Mayweather and Wilcox) def. Mario Bokara and Fallah Bahh
For a patriotic babyface team, the VOW don’t kick nearly enough ass. Their matches don’t have as much oomph as the act should suggest. This was a perfectly functional squash but VOW needs to have more conviction bell to bell. VOW face LAX for the GFW tag titles next week. **1/4
It was then Josh and Jeremy time. Josh faked an apology before revealing Scott Steiner as his partner at Slammiversary vs. JB and Joseph Park. The highlight of this was Joseph Parks’ utterly terrified reaction to the return of Steiner (to crickets from the audience to their shame). Scott Steiner is rather old now but he is still Scott Steiner. Were this a Goldberg situation where Steiner was coming in to main event PPV’s and beat young lads I’d have a problem, but in a novelty midcard programme I’m fine with it. At least we should get some wacky Steiner promos. I actually liked the performances here, especially more than usual, but it was unnecessarily long winded.
The highlight of Impact. #IMPACTonPOP pic.twitter.com/X74HoV46Og
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) May 26, 2017
Alisha and Eddie Edwards def. Angelina Love and Davey Richards
The match, which was fine (and Alisha won with a roll up after dodging a Botox Injection), was mostly the backdrop for the highly effective post match. Richards handcuffed Edwards to the ropes and forced him to watch as Angelina Love powerbombed Alisha through a table. So the Richards’ just violently assaulted Edwards’ wife and forced him to watch. If we don’t hear from Edwards about that and understand how it makes him feel then I give up on this programme. **1/4
Powerbomb through the table by @ActualALove. #ImpactOnPop pic.twitter.com/mvIofYnwuc
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) May 26, 2017
EC3 def. James Storm and Magnus
The first half of the match featured the old two heels team up for a while only to implode trope but things kicked up a gear after that. They broke out a tower of doom spot so that brought things up a notch of course. I realise that may read as sarcasm but it’s not, tower of doom spots are great. They delivered a fun heavyweight main event with some good near falls before EC3 stole the win from Storm after he hit the Last Call on Magnus. They heavily suggested that Alberto El Patron, the current GFW champion, is as interested a party in this match as Lashley is, likely teasing some further development here. While not the most exciting group in the world, Impact has a pretty solid heavyweight division right now. They may not have the highest ceiling but they’ve been delivering some strong main events over the last few weeks. ***1/2
I’m honestly not sure what it is about this show right now. It has some solid wrestling, the stories are mostly solid even if they lack some punch and the plotting can be a little loose, and the pacing has improved in recent weeks but it’s still missing something. The quality of characterisation has fallen off a cliff in recent months with everybody sort of blending together and too often does the show simply feel inessential. I can’t recommend it for consistently great matches. I can’t recommend it for consistently engaging characters. I can’t recommend it for smart, logical booking. I can’t recommend it for compelling stories. The stories, characters, matches and booking is all usually fine, occasionally good – but occasionally good isn’t going to cut it. Not in an age when a dozen streaming services are easily accessible right now. With the India tapings coming up this week they have to work out how to make this show feel essential and they have to do it fast. The window where people may have been paying attention has already passed them by.