Last week I sat down at my laptop with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement to write my weekly Impact column.
The weekly television product was good and I felt excited about where the company seemed to be heading ahead of their Rebellion pay-per-view. The fact the column seemed to do well on social media after its release kept that excitement high (hey, even if some of you thought I’d missed the boat on something, it proved you read it – all press is good press!).
That excitement stayed until I saw that I had missed the news about Impact releasing Eli Drake.
I wasn’t sure at first whether I was more annoyed that I had missed the news than I was with the company’s decision, such is my usual pedantic attitude towards following news of all forms.
Ultimately, and I am aware that this is now a freezing cold take, I think Impact made the right decision for letting him go. His public refusal to wrestle Tessa Blanchard at United We Stand and repeated comments about intergender wrestling on social media seemed quite unprofessional, even if I think they are positions he is undoubtedly entitled to have. Moaning about your booking in the company and openly flouting the fact that you may not resign probably doesn’t go down too well with your employer either.
With all of that in mind, I am still disappointed to see him go. As I have regularly expressed on this website, I am a massive Eli Drake fan. I think he’s actually a far better worker than most give him credit for, having actually improved his work since joining the company in 2015. In terms of character and charisma, Drake stood at the very top of the Impact roster and was someone that you could guarantee would deliver in any programme – notably the hardcore stuff late last year with Tommy Dreamer and Abyss.
Having read up on the story since finding out last week, I watched this week’s Impact main event with a rather large sense of disappointment. The closing angle, with Drake turning on Eddie Edwards after the two lost a match with the Lucha Brothers, was well done and looked to be building to a hot singles match at Rebellion, something that I am certain would have delivered given the talents of the two guys involved. Now, it was almost certain that Edwards was winning, especially with Drake’s contract situation in the air, but it still would have been one of the biggest matches on the show and one I was particularly excited for.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see the directions in which both Drake and Impact move. All sorts of rumors have gone round about where Drake could turn up, but I think he’d be a solid hand no matter where he went. In terms of creative freedom and long-term prospects, a return to NXT probably isn’t ideal but it represents stability and good money. In terms of his charisma, Drake is someone I think could add a lot to AEW or Ring of Honor, and also be someone MLW could build around moving forward. Whatever happens, I hope he rocks up somewhere he can make a difference because he is a real talent.
As for Impact, taking the step of releasing Drake does lose that big PPV match I mentioned. Eddie Edwards remains one of the company’s most popular stars, so I would expect to see him stay on the card, quite possibly in a multi-man scramble, involving some talents from the X-Division. That would be a good opportunity to give Edwards a big win and reset him for a new programme after the PPV but also give some shine to others on the roster.
Seeing Eli Drake leave Impact Wrestling certainly dampened my positivity on the company for a quick minute, but as my wise Grandfather used to say ‘worse things happen at sea’ – Impact will be fine and still looks to be in a very good place ahead of Rebellion at the end of this week.
The Week in Review
- The tag team opener involving Fallah Bahh, Scarlett Bordeaux and the Desi Hit Squad was a lot of fun; Fallah Bahh is a treasure.
- I really enjoyed the Moose/Dezmond Xavier match from this week and I look forward to those probably locking horns again at Rebellion with more time and a bigger stage.
- I wasn’t a tremendous fan of the stuff with Tessa Blanchard and Robert Irvine or the heel ref stuff in the World title picture but I was a big fan of the Lance Storm announcement. It was solid storyline continuity and he’ll get a massive reception in Toronto.
- Madman Fulton looked rock solid in his singles debut against Tommy Dreamer this week. I’m not saying he’s a game changer or a super worker, but having remembered nothing of his NXT run and only going on his 2.14 Cagematch rating before his recent matches, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
- On the go-home show for Rebellion we’ve got Ace Austin and Rosemary in action, Killer Kross against Willie Mack, the Deaners making their debut and a massive six-man main event: Brian Cage & LAX vs Johnny Impact and the Lucha Brothers.
- Look for my big Rebellion preview towards the end of the week!
Well, until next time…