Later this week, Impact Wrestling will be airing another one of their TV specials, entitled ‘Final Hour’. The show will be the last before their tapings in Las Vegas to close out the year, and it will be headlined by an Impact World Championship match between Johnny Impact and Killer Kross.
I went back and forth as to whether to preview the show in my column this week as relatively little concrete information had been released, but I’ve decided to go with it anyway. So far we have three matches confirmed – Impact vs Kross, the Lucha Brothers against the OGz in tag team action and Moose against Eddie Edwards. Also announced is the debut of Jordynne Grace, a confrontation between Brian Cage and Sami Callihan in Ohio and an address to the Impact crowd by Eli Drake and Joseph Park.
The easiest place to begin is with the segments outside of the three showpiece matches. I, for one, am excited about Grace’s debut. I’d seen a few of her matches here and there over the course of the year and I’d felt relatively indifferent but I was really taken by her performance in the ALL IN Battle Royal and since then I’ve checked out a lot more of her stuff. She brings a physicality to the Knockouts division and the prospect of a feud with Tessa Blanchard really excites me for Impact in 2019. The video package they aired for her this week was really good too, as it provided some context for viewers before her much-anticipated debut.
Aside from Grace’s debut, the other two planned segments don’t enthrall me much if I’m being honest. I have no idea where this Eli Drake storyline is going, which is a total shame because I was one of the biggest advocates for his re-signing earlier in the year. Then you have Cage and Callihan. As much as I do enjoy Jake Crist’s brilliant mimicry of Callihan in all the backstage OvE videos and Dave Crist’s corresponding annoyance, the confrontation will mark a recurrence of one of Impact’s more irritating habits under the Callis/D’Amore administration.
Too often we’ve seen big matches put into the spotlight and teased very quickly, only for the initial ‘match’ to be little more than a means to build to the actual bout at a pay-per-view or TV special. I don’t mind that strategy in theory but it’s quite clear to me that Cage and Callihan’s big match over the X-Division title is being saved for Homecoming in January, so this segment will be little more than a ruse for then.
Moving onto things I am enthused by, the Lucha Brothers against the OGz has the chance to steal the show. Their feud continued this week with Pentagon’s victory over Homicide and the subsequent post-match beatdown by the OGz. The backstory here is relatively simple – King still has beef with Konnan and he is trying to exploit the connection between K-Dog and the Lucha Brothers to get back at him. My belief is that this will lead to the Lucha Brothers getting frustrated with Konnan and challenging LAX for the tag titles, so they would likely be favorites here. That said, I feel the OGz probably need the win more to give them some concrete credibility, so I suspect they win here but lose the feud.
Then we should see the one-on-one bout between former friends Moose and Eddie Edwards. We were initially supposed to get this match at Slammiversary before that match was adjusted to a tag match between Moose and Killer Kross and the tandem of Tommy Dreamer and Eddie Edwards. Whilst I was disappointed by the way Slammiversary turned out, I am really looking forward to this. Moose’s heel turn has been better than expected and Eddie is thriving in his current role. I still firmly suspect that the eventual direction is Eddie capturing the World Title once again, but my prediction is the same as it was for Slammiversary – Moose wins the first battle to get over his new heel persona and move-set, adding another hump for Crazy Eddie to get over before he can lift the biggest prize for the second time.
Talking of the World Title, the main event will see Impact make the second defense of the belt he won at Bound for Glory against Killer Kross. This match does fascinate me and offering a prediction is hard.
Killer Kross is clearly thought quite highly of by the current administration, and the push he’s currently getting would inevitably have come his way given the way he’s been presented so far. He feels like a big deal. He has a compelling persona and is an excellent promo. That said, his push has undoubtedly been accelerated by the departure of Austin Aries and the associated issues there. As such, him winning the title here feels far too soon.
On the flip side, however, I don’t see Impact as much more than a transitional champion as they attempt to cash in on his Survivor appearances and reset a little bit. For that reason, I do believe Kross will dethrone him, but not yet. Not at Final Hour, but he can earn redemption in his hometown of Las Vegas and ascend to the throne at Homecoming in January.
Johnny Impact should leave Final Hour with his Championship still intact, but eventually, he’ll have to pay the toll. As Killer Kross has said, everyone does eventually.
The Week in Review
- Viewership was up this week after last week’s record tanking, and we still remain in the adjustment phase after the change in timeslot.
- DJZ and Dezmond Xavier remain nowhere to be seen…
- Whilst a step below their clash at Bound for Glory, I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s match between Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie. I thought Taya once again put in a good performance and whilst I hated the non-finish, it made sense and I look forward to a third meeting between the two.
- LAX vs Ethan Page and Matt Sydal was great, adding another tremendous contest to LAX’s ledger for the year. Page and Sydal continue to look good as a team.
- Rich Swann against Willie Mack was not only a tremendous opener, but also one of the best singles matches in Impact this year. I look forward to what both men have in store over the next few months.
- The Desi Hit Squad stuff still sucks.
Well, until next time…