Sporting main events should feel special. They are supposedly the pinnacle of an event, the thing that has put the most ‘bums on seats’ as it were. Given the way our minds tend to work, main events often leave the longest-lasting impression of an event, irrespective of whether they were the highlight or not.
This week’s episode of Impact Wrestling needed a strong main event. Whilst nothing had been bad per se, in fact, the episode had been a relatively easy watch as it usually is, it lacked anything particularly emphatic to linger in the memory.
Step forward LAX, the Aces of the tag team division.
In their two years with the promotion, Santana and Ortiz have dominated the tag team division and every feud they’ve engaged with has allowed them to develop and grow as performers. They are the measuring stick of the division; everyone and everything must go through them and in doing so, it adds more to the complexity of their characters.
Although I took objection to the Rascalz losing their way up the card (in the same way I do when New Japan do it), the story was crafted in the right way. The Rascalz was presented as a trio of spunky kids, full of vigor and youth but not the nous to take down the four-time tag team champions. LAX didn’t take them as a serious threat, so were more than happy to offer them a pity shot at the titles.
That story was relatively easy to craft in backstage skits and segments, especially when you’ve got Konnan involved, but translating it to the ring was an entirely different challenge. A challenge that LAX unsurprisingly managed with aplomb.
They worked from the outset with cockiness and casualness befitting of aces who know what their level is and who is on it. As the match progressed, you saw the expressions change on the faces of Santana and Ortiz as they recognized that these plucky kids had more of a shot than they had thought, but their offense never quite hit the breakneck speed that it did in their wars with the OGz and the Lucha Brothers; this was a more strenuous workout than planned, but still nothing to sweat over.
Every time LAX connected with big offense, the Rascalz provided an answer, be it with strikes or beautiful dives.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 8, 2019
The finish came after a ref bump, but for once this miserable old man didn’t object to it. The ref was caught with some of Ortiz’s ‘moonshine’, which was being swilled by Trey at ringside, and in his distracted state, the third member of the Rascalz was able to enter the ring, hit a Meteora and pin Santana for the win. For a brief moment, Santana and Ortiz looked as though their failure to take the Rascalz seriously had cost them and they had dropped their prized tag straps. The frustration was clear on their faces, the emotion and storytelling that had built to the match and played out over 14 minutes of back-and-forth action was evident; the aces had rested on their laurels and been found out.
I normally dislike ref bumps, but this was well done. It teased dissension amongst the Rascalz, but it also showed that Dez and Wentz had LAX beat, that they were on their level and that they were a credible threat. Over 14-plus minutes of action, the Rascalz were elevated to a top-tier tag team on the level of LAX and the champions continued to evolve and develop as aces of the Impact tag team division.
Impact’s main event this week was a home run and took a middling episode in my mind to a memorable one. Roll on the inevitable rematch between these teams at Slammiversary, they’re going to tear the damn house down.
The Week in Review
- Garrett Kidney wrote this earlier in the week, and it’s fantastic.
- Ace Austin against Jake Something was a perfectly solid opener, one that gave Austin a good win and allowed Something to shine. I also don’t mind the Desi Hit Squad stuff, as that will give Something a further platform.
- Havok is back and she’ll be involved in a 4-way Monster’s Ball match at Slammiversary with Rosemary, Taya and Su Yung. Joy.
- Fallah Bahh and Scarlett Bordeaux against the Crists was solid, with my man Bahh again impressing. I’m not sure who Sami Callihan against Tessa Blanchard appeals to, but it looks like that’s the plan for Slammiversary.
- Another emerging match for Slammiversary in early July in Moose vs Rob Van Dam. It’s something and a big singles spot for Moose.
- Jordynne Grace’s match with Kiera Hogan was good, with both ladies putting forth strong efforts and Hogan establishing her new character.
- Next week we’ve got RVD & Sabu vs The North, Michael Elgin vs Willie Mack, Jordynne Grace vs Madison Rayne and Havok in action.
Well, until next time…