Canon is an important element of wrestling, particularly that on television. Utilizing history in the right way lends credibility to characters, titles and matches. It helps give pro wrestling an authentic sports-type feel and can help generate a sense of occasion. This is perhaps no more obvious example of this at the moment than in NJPW, where title defenses, reigns and belt history are repeatedly mentioned during big matches. Pinfalls, former tag teams and individual wrestlers’ career trajectories matter.
Admittedly, there are times when emphasizing the canon of an individual or a certain time period is wisely avoided. Be that because there are unsavory things you want to skirt around or because a wrestler is being reintroduced as something totally different. There are also many periods and instances where you could see Impact not wanting to embrace their canon. Be it the LOLTNA years, the reverse battle royal or whatever a Cheex is, there are many things Impact management and fans would rather forget.
However, there are also occasions where that canon should be embraced to enhance stories and feuds. Ignoring past eras of the promotion has been something that’s crept in over the last year – not mentioning Brian Cage actually debuting on Gut Check several years earlier for example. That issue of ignoring the company’s history was prevalent again this week when Josh Mathews commented on Jessicka Havok making her impressive ‘debut’ at the ‘start of her Impact career’ against Masha Slamovich.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 15, 2019
In truth, this was not Havok’s debut or the start of her Impact wrestling career. She may have only worked eight matches for Impact previously back in late 2014 and early 2015, but she was a Knockouts Champion during that time. She won the belt from Gail Kim and then subsequently defended it against her and Madison Rayne before losing it in a battle royal to Taryn Terrell.
Not only did Havok look the same before with a similar gimmick, but she also wrestled the same as before as a dominant monster and had similar entrance music. Given that she has been, in canon, brought to the promotion by Father James Mitchell to level the score with Rosemary and compete with Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts title, I see no reason why you wouldn’t acknowledge her past with the company. It makes her a more credible threat and also opens up avenues for further storyline development beyond Slammiversary.
Where was she over the past four-and-a-half years?
What does she want to achieve with the promotion now she’s back?
It might have been an oversight from Josh Mathews not to mention it, especially given that it was mentioned on their YouTube upload, but it also seems doubly bizarre with Impact’s current television home being Pursuit. Those still watching the promotion on a regular basis now are mostly only hardcores, who will know that Havok was there and will likely remember her having won the title previously. With that in mind, why not cater to them and play up promotional canon but also offer some continuity and a useful storytelling device for those dropping in casually on Twitch or YouTube?
A failure to acknowledge the history of individuals on commentary within the company has irritated me before with Impact. Their latest instance with Jessicka Havok feels like a lost opportunity to add something a little bit more to the product, lending a big match at Slammiversary some further cache and credibility. Hopefully, this will be rectified over the coming weeks, especially with another former champion returning to the promotion soon.
The Week in Review
- A strong main event between Michael Elgin and Willie Mack saved this week’s episode from being a dud. Elgin delivered again in a big spot, whilst Mack’s elevation in the promotion continued with another strong babyface effort.
- I did enjoy the match between Madison Rayne and Jordynne Grace, despite an awkward-looking fall from Rayne early on and the camera focusing a bit too much on Kiera Hogan at the beginning. Still, I like the new character Hogan is showing and her and Grace seem set for another singles clash in the near future.
- The opening contest between The North and The ECW Originals was not good. It lasted too long and both Rob Van Dam and Sabu got far too much in. To my mind, the finish didn’t work and Van Dam looked awful again. Expectations for his match with Moose at Slammiversary are low.
- As part of a commitment to providing only the freshest of matches, this week we got to see 56-year-old Sandman in action. At least it was quick and seemed to advance the Eddie Edwards/Killer Kross feud.
- Laredo Kid is back!
- Next week we’ve got Moose vs Tommy Dreamer, Taya Valkyrie defending the Knockouts title against Su Yung, Tessa Blanchard vs Jake Crist, Eddie Edwards against Madman Fulton and a triple threat between Michael Elgin, Rich Swann and Johnny Impact.
Well, until next time…