It all began on March 1st. A needlessly elaborate spot to build some tension in a short-term feud resulted in a botch, one man nearly needing to retire and without doubt the hottest feud Impact has produced in years.
Yes, I’m talking about Sami Callihan clouting Eddie Edwards in the eye with a baseball bat.
It was never intended and could have forced Eddie into retirement (which would have been a crying shame, as he’s one of the best in the world), but the guys involved and Impact management have helped spin it into a great angle, which was set to reach its conclusion this week with an unsanctioned fight in the woods.
Before I discuss that ‘match’ though, it’s worth providing some detail to this feud. After the spot aired, Sami Callihan did an interview with TMZ, where he said he’d do it again. He began to follow Eddie’s wife Alisha, and the animosity between the two men grew from week to week.
They squared off on the Impact vs Lucha Underground show in New Orleans in an ‘I Quit’ Match. It wasn’t the best contest, but Don Callis’ involvement allowed the feud to continue without either man losing definitively. Callihan attacked Callis at a Destiny Pro show in Canada, really trying to cement the baseball bat as his gimmick. Eddie, meanwhile, became increasingly deranged.
That derangement was no more apparent than at Redemption, where Eddie teamed with Moose and Tommy Dreamer against OvE in a House of Hardcore match. It was an entertaining affair that saw OvE sneak the win with a roll-up (what a crappy finish, but never mind), but the post-match was where the feud blew up again. Eddie Edwards tied Callihan to the ropes with duct tape and laid into him with a Singapore cane. He also took out OvE and fought off all those who tried to stop his rampage. Even his poor wife Alisha, who has taken an increasingly central role in the feud.
The visual of Eddie’s eyes beaming wide with blood smeared all over his face was a stark departure from the happy-go-lucky, valiant babyface mainstay of Impact for the last few years. This was a man pushed to his very limits and probably a few blocks beyond by a man who nearly ended his career. Eddie attacked him in the hospital post-Redemption and had to be bailed out by Tommy Dreamer.
Dreamer has done a great job of selling the story and trying to make Eddie see reason, using his own experiences with Raven, but there was no reasoning with a man scorned. To Eddie, this would not be over until he’d taken Callihan out of competition permanently. Or, perhaps, even a step further?
These weeks of intricate and emotional storytelling brought us to the fight in the woods. Drawing on the cinematic style they’ve used before, it was not your stereotypical match. There were some shenanigans with OvE, almost video game-esque, as though Eddie had to dispatch of them before he met the Boss. And at the end of the match (which you can see in its entirety below), there was still no definitive outcome. Eddie had Sami beat, despite Sami’s repeated attempts to rake the eyes, but an intervention from Tommy Dreamer and Alisha distracted Eddie. When he turned, Sami had gone. And then Tommy was left to feel the full force of his wrath.
I had suspected initially that we’d get an unsanctioned match at Slammiversary, but the announcement of this match had made me think otherwise. Now, I’m back to where I was before. Some will argue that the angle has run its course, that the buzz it had initially has died. Yeah, maybe it has. But live crowds are still engaging with it, and it makes sense to have a big blow-off for this blood feud at one of their tentpole events. There’s some mileage left, and it’s a match that needs to happen. And Eddie needs to win.
Even if there is no blow-off match, it’s clear where Eddie Edwards needs to go now, at least in my mind. He needs to move towards the world title picture. Over the past few months he’s done the best character work of his career. Gone are the babyface promos with little to no substance, replaced with a rage and desire for revenge we’ve never seen in him before. And if he moves past Sami, there’s no need for that side of his character to go. I mean, from a kayfabe perspective, why would it? Without wishing to use a cliché, Eddie more or less saw his career flash before him; his livelihood was almost taken away from him. More than that, he almost lost his sight. That sense of his own mortality and vulnerability would surely only fuel his desire for a title, to bring in that big purse and savour every moment. A vicious, vengeful and determined Eddie Edwards that takes no prisoners as he looks to secure his future is the man I want as my world champion. He feels fresh and the stories you can tell with him are 10 times more interesting than with anyone else.
As for Callihan, the bat gimmick isn’t over, but he’s undoubtedly managed to get some cache from this feud. Him and his OvE goons are established firmly as heels and could head back to the tag title scene, or he could start a new beef with someone else. He’s got the nastiness down and he looks motivated. Maybe a match with Jericho on the Cruise, or event at Bound for Glory?
After this week, it was clear that Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan still have a score to settle. Be that at Slammiversary or further down the road, I don’t know. What I do know though, is that Eddie Edwards is unhinged, vengeful and angry, and that’s the sort of man I want as my world champion.
The Week in Review
- Don Callis truly is the Golden Announcer. What a majestic individual.
- Why were Drago and Aerostar getting a tag title shot? It felt like lazy booking and annoyed me at the start of the episode, and then their match with Z and E felt very disjointed.
- LAX got back on track with a win and I love where there story is going. Diamante’s return was interesting and I am looking forward to the future developments.
- Interestingly, their win over Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley took the two teams to 2-2 for the year. I’d hope that that is an intentional booking move, and that either team parlays that into a final bout for the tag titles later in the year.
- After being deprived for well over a year, this week I was overjoyed to see the return of the best talk show on television, Fact of Life. Eli Drake is a treasure and I for one hope he’s in that Slammiversary main event. That’s not an insult, that’s just a fact of life.
- We already have three bouts set for next week – Matt Sydal against Brian Cage for the X-Division Championship, Eli Drake vs Moose for the right to main event Slammiversary and Tessa Blanchard vs Kiera Hogan.
Well, until next time…