Feast or Fired: The Stipulation That Keeps on Giving
Impact is known for its terrible gimmick matches.
From the Dixieland disaster involving Magnus and Jeff Hardy in 2013 to James Storm and Chris Harris doing battle in a blindfold steel cage match, Impact has shown an innate ability to produce terrible match stipulations. Oh, and there was the reverse battle royal as well!
As much as most of the blame for that can be blamed on Vince Russo’s questionable booking ideas, every ownership the company has found ways to make things needlessly contrived; copying bad WWE ideas and finding a way to make them worse.
Something I’ve always seen as exempt from that list of bad stipulation matches is Feast or Fired. Perhaps that’s because the first one I watched, Final Resolution 2009, came at a time when I was still innocent in my wrestling fandom. I was not clued up on what happened behind the scenes and everything felt dramatic and important in the way most things do to an impressionable 12-year-old.
Whilst many criticize the match’s lack of plausibility with regards the ‘fired’ element, a fair criticism no doubt, I think that’s part of its appeal. Yes the guy who normally gets the pink slip isn’t actually fired, but from a kayfabe perspective, it adds to the much drama. It fulfills all the usual corny wrestling spiel that the industry is all about ‘betting on yourself’ and that Impact is a company that is a ‘land of opportunity’ for all those competing in it. If you’ve got a 25% chance of being fired against a 75% chance of becoming a champion and supposedly ‘upping your purse’, why wouldn’t you go for it? Rationality doesn’t come into wrestling; everybody is a ‘risk-taker’ who loves the business. This is the ultimate gamble.
Alongside that, there are genuinely intriguing permutations of the match that have always made it a highlight for me. It could be the chance for someone like Caleb Konley or Rohit Raju, men who have made minimal impacts to date, to get a World title shot and potentially shake up the entire company hierarchy. How about Tyrus getting a tag title shot, or KM suddenly becoming a player in the X-Division title scene? To the childish wrestling fan that still lives in me, that drama and intrigue is what keeps me entertained and stops me being too cynical.
Indeed, another thing the match has going for it is that this week’s edition was only the seventh since the match’s debut in 2007. Unlike Money in the Bank, which has become tired and dated, the infrequency of Feast or Fired in recent years has kept its appeal that bit fresher, meaning I looked forward to this week’s episode with renewed vigor.
And, in keeping with the recent direction Callis and D’Amore have sent the company on, it delivered. There were no shenanigans about double case grabs, or too many people in the ring at once. They kept it simple – 10 participants of varying relevance on the Impact roster. We had former case winners in Petey Williams (interestingly Petey grabbed the first case in the match’s history back in 2007), EC3 and Eli Drake, former Impact champions of varying sorts in Moose, Trevor Lee and Taiji Ishimori and four also-rans in Caleb Konley, KM, Rohit Raju and Tyrus.
The match itself was a simple, effective battle royal. Petey grabbed a case soon after the opening bell, and he was followed into the winners enclosure by Moose. EC3 grabbed Case 3 to leave one more, and seven men to fight over it. Eli Drake cleared house with a series of Gravy Trains, before being foisted off by Lee. Just as it looked like Lee would grab the final case, Drake sprinted across the ring, hit a huge avalanche german suplex and got the final case. Seventeen minutes of action that has the potential to change the direction of every Impact title picture. What more could you ask for?
This week Feast or Fired once again proved it has a place in Impact.
For a company that has such a troubled history with stipulation matches, this one really is a success story.
The Week in Review
- An all-round solid episode. It was a good transition from Crossroads last week as the company looks towards Redemption in April, locking in Aries vs El Patron as the PPV main event.
- Fallah Bahh is my guy. His opener with Sami Callihan ticked all the boxes of what it set out to do and continued the interesting sub-plot of Bahh still searching for his first win with the company. I’m behind you all the way big man. #FatKidsRuleTheWorld
- Everything about Rosemary against Taya screamed money feud. Both women carry themselves like major stars, and ending this week’s bout in a double count-out allows them to extend the feud.
- Father James Mitchell is still one of the best promos in the whole business. He managed to turn the slightly dull Abyss/Kongo Kong feud into something hot, and I’m now firmly invested in next week’s Monsters Ball match.
- I’m not sure how I feel about Josh Mathews being a) Matt Sydal’s spirit guide and b) the new Grand champion. If it gets him away from commentary I’m all for it, and it might even see the title get retired. It might work, but it’s the only thing they’ve done so far that has made me raise my eyebrows.
- Viewership for this week was back up at 350,000. Given the competition from college basketball, this was another strong number and a testament to the product they’re putting out.
Well, until next time…