Debuts are amongst the most memorable things in professional wrestling. First impressions of a wrestler, team, manager or gimmick can often be lasting. If done well, the act in question will get over pretty quickly but if done badly, it can leave people dead on arrival.
One of the most notable moments of Impact’s Rebellion PPV was the company proper debut (he appeared on a One Night Only show last year) of former ROH World Champion Michael Elgin. ‘Big Mike’ came down to the ring after Brian Cage’s World title victory and laid the new champion out in dominant fashion.
That debut was well done. Elgin is someone I’ve always really enjoyed the work of (more on his outside the ring incidents later), and I thought he came across as a mean, dominant killer. The real test for Impact was following up on that PPV debut with a strong debut this week in Toronto. Impact not only delivered, but showcased the perfect way to do that debut.
Elgin opened the show, calling his shot as the number one contender, only to be joined by former champion Johnny Impact and Pentagon Jr, by way of Konnan. Whilst I am not usually a fan of those talking heads segments, as they have been done to death by WWE, I thought it worked. Elgin delivered a tremendous promo, constantly making eye contact with the hard cam, the segment allowed Konnan to get a nice burn in on Johnny Impact and it set up a fun, first time match for the main event. Likewise, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt with regards the segment, because of Cage’s enforced absence from the tapings there and Philadelphia later in the week through injury.
In addition to having great theme music (the type that will resonate with fans), Elgin delivered a very strong performance in the main event. The triple threat was worked well and allowed Elgin to come across a star, cleanly pinning Impact in the middle of the ring in decisive fashion. The match worked because it was potentially a great final use of Pentagon, Elgin got a strong main event setting to establish himself in front of the Impact fans and he pinned the right guy in the middle of the ring with an Elgin Bomb.
I thought Elgin was a tremendous acquisition by Impact because he’s one of the bigger names out there waiting to be used, he’s worked at the top of a company before and he’s made for TV, meaning Impact don’t have to put in a ton of effort building him up from that perspective. Also, where he’s been in Japan and so on, he’s not worked with a lot of this roster before and if he has, it was quite a while ago, meaning that basically all the matches Impact can book for him moving forward are new and fresh.
Impact made that obvious to most other people this week with an almost picture-perfect debut. Elgin looked dominant, got a chance to speak and his arrival gave people something to care about. It also probably set something up with Johnny Impact for the Philly tapings which will be a good diversion whilst Brian Cage is off TV for at least the next five weeks.
Now, of course, people will point to Elgin’s issues outside of the ring. I’m not excusing the things that he did, may have done, should have done or whatever. For me, what’s in the past is in the past. I don’t have a major issue with Impact using him moving forward but fully understand that some may.
Michael Elgin’s debut this week on Impact TV was pretty much all you could ask for. It wasn’t particularly extravagant or ground-breaking, but it was effective and in theory set-up what should be an intriguing Slammiversary main event between him and Brian Cage. Strap yourselves in folks, the Unbreakable one has arrived.
The Week in Review
- I dug the Ace Austin/Petey Williams opener from this week’s show. I thought the mini feud the two have had has been a fun way to get Austin over and I thought he delivered his most complete singles performance in the company to-date in this match. It will be interesting to see where he goes next.
- I like the idea of a Killer Kross/Eddie Edwards feud moving forward. The Edwards/Fenix match wasn’t good in my opinion but I think Edwards could get something really good out of Kross, similar to his match at Bloodsport.
- Willie Mack has signed a new deal with Impact. I’m glad to see him tied down for longer, and hopefully now he can move more into a title programme with Rich Swann or have a feud he can properly sink his teeth into.
- The RVD/Ethan Page segment did nothing for me and I don’t like the idea that the North are seemingly going from a big six-man win at Rebellion to a feud with the likes of RVD and Dreamer, whilst the Rascalz seem to have lost their way up the card to a tag title programme. Very strange.
- Next week there’ll be no column (I’ll be dying under a stack of revision notes) but Impact will feature Taya Valkyrie vs Madison Rayne, RVD vs Ethan Page, LAX vs Josh Alexander and Moose and an eight-man tag featuring OvE against Rich Swann, Willie Mack, Tommy Dreamer, Fallah Bahh.
Well, until next time…