I was admittedly highly critical of the heavy nostalgia that dominated last week’s episode of Impact Wrestling. Perhaps I was being needlessly curmudgeonly when I bemoaned the fact that three talented commodities on the Impact roster were being presented as dorks and were likely to end up losing a six-man tag to the trio of Rob Van Dam, Sabu and Tommy Dreamer, a booking move based solely on ECW nostalgia and not on any long-term aims for Ethan Page, Josh Alexander and Moose.
Whilst I could use this week’s column to take another victory lap, as Ethan Page ended up eating the pin from Rob Van Dam in their match this week, I feel that the match and subsequent segments actually set up some positive directions moving forward. I tried to see the positives and I think I more or less succeeded.
Firstly, the six-man was actually quite entertaining. It was the sort of match that I feel probably better suited the live crowd, but it was solid. It was worked at a decent pace and the action was good, and even the finish worked for me.
The biggest upshot of this short program though was a backstage promo involving Moose. The former NFL player bemoaned the defeat of his team and said that he was fed up of relying on other people, declaring that moving forward he would be his own man, doing things his own way.
That new direction is very much needed. Moose has felt a bit aimless since his program with Eddie Edwards that culminated at the start of the year, drifting in and out of the world title picture and seemingly lacking a long-term direction. With a new contract under his belt, a new direction and a new attitude for his character feels necessary and should make him a more intriguing presence as the year progresses.
Looking to Slammiversary, the site of Moose’s best showing in the company last year and the night where he felt like a bona fide main event player, that promo and change of direction could well set Moose up for a big match. A match that can help him regain some cache and establish him as a player in a title program moving forward. To me, he’s a compelling singles talent capable of good work with the right opponents, and he’s someone the company should be trying to maximize their use of over the next year and beyond. That backstage promo seemed to suggest they would be doing just that.
This six-man also likely marks the end of the whole feud, as RVD will make a challenge for Slammiversary next week and the Rascalz are challenging for the tag team titles. The build to LAX facing the Rascalz has focused on LAX not taking the Rascalz seriously, meaning they could slip up and then face them in a bigger match at Slammiversary. Of course, I could be wrong, but if that is the plan, the North has time to grow within Impact and establish themselves as a serious team, taking this defeat as a setback and becoming much more ruthless because of it, rather than losing their way up the card into a title match.
Whilst I still feel that the six-man this week was booked wrongly, it looks as though Impact has a plan for Moose and The North, which was my biggest concern coming in, and it could well lead to some interesting character development over the next few weeks and months. Can’t really ask for much more than that.
The Week in Review
- At least Glenn Gilbertti against Tessa Blanchard was quick and finished with the desired result.
- The Desi Hit Squad against the Deaners was relatively fun, and the finish likely sets up a rematch down the line. With Mahabali Shera recently resigned to the company, he could add some depth to proceedings and give Jake Something a big hoss to impress against.
- Killer Kross/Eddie Edwards was entertaining, with Kross once again thriving in a hardcore setting. A program between him and Sami Callihan might well work if Impact is determined not to give Kross his release. However, the finish here with Sandman was poor and made Edwards look weak.
- The stuff with Rosemary and Father James Mitchell was beyond hokey. Make it stop.
- This week’s main event tag team contest that pitted Rich Swann and Willie Mack against Michael Elgin and Johnny Impact was superb. It felt like a proper elevation for Swann and Mack, whilst Elgin once again looked fantastic.
- The top two matches for Slammiversary were locked in this week: Cage vs Elgin for the World Title and Impact vs Swann for the X-Division belt. That’s a good start with five weeks to go.
- Next week we’ve got Taya Valkyrie vs Rosemary, LAX defending the tag belts against the Rascalz, the Crists against Fallah Bahh & Scarlett Bordeaux and Rob Van Dam making his Slammiversary challenge.
Well, until next time…