Impact Wrestling this week very much felt like a pack of pick ‘n mix sweets, but not a bag you’ve chosen. This was a bag picked by a family member or a friend that includes some stuff you really like, some that you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen but serves as a pleasant change/palette cleanser and some that you absolutely despise that makes you realize the person choosing this bag doesn’t know you as well as they thought and you hoped.
The good came in the form of Santana and Ortiz finishing their Impact tenures with a strong main event against Rich Swann and Willie Mack, and the Rascalz having a fun sprint against Arez, Toxxin and Australian Suicide.
The middling stuff was Havok/Su Yung, right up until Havok literally hung her and then Su Yung came back to life after flatlining in a hospital bed, Mahabali Shera’s return singles match and the eight-person opener involving Blanchard and OvE.
Taya Valkyrie against Alisha Edwards was bad, but the real aniseed in this batch was Brian Cage’s bachelor party.
Wrestling weddings are a time-honored booking option in the business, with six having taken place in Impact before, as superbly documented by Garrett Kidney.
They’re not something I’d ever book but they can be a useful storyline device and provide some entertaining content. In this instance, with Cage still recovering from his back injury, I somewhat understand its placement.
In a forerunner to next week’s festivities in Las Vegas, we had Cage’s bachelor party. Filmed in a small room, the current World Champion and leading male babyface in the promotion was joined by two, yes two, colleagues – Tommy Dreamer and Rich Swann.
While that was problematic, the segment itself actually involved Cage cheating – not cheating in a romantic sense, but instead scarfing down doughnuts to cheat from his extensive gym and healthy eating regimen.
Cheating like @MrGMSI_BCage has never cheated before!
▶️ https://t.co/sWu6SEiYN7 #IMPACT @GottaGetSwann @THETOMMYDREAMER pic.twitter.com/UpEsdhWWfM
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 21, 2019
I sat back and as I took this shambolic scene in, I genuinely had to ask myself a question: Is this supposed to be funny, or in more contemporary parlance, ‘good s***’? Am I, a 22-year-old, supposedly meme generation male familiar with jokes about GAINZ and Leg Day, the target audience for segments like this?
Maybe I’m being miserable, or needlessly curmudgeonly. Both have been known to happen on a regular basis. But to me, I found the whole segments extremely cringeworthy and problematic in their presentation – Impact’s world champion had been presented as an absolute chump.
While not every world champion needs to be presented like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada or Kento Miyahara, they are in theory the biggest draw in the promotion and therefore they should be presented at least somewhat seriously and if they’re a babyface, they should be cool. They should be the sort of guy that you want to go for a beer with or just hang out with.
Cage, who has been an absentee champion because of his genuine back problems, was presented as having only two mates in the whole locker room who wanted to spend time with him on his ‘last night’ as a free man and being someone whose personality solely consisted of the gym, working out and eating right.
To me, that rings alarm bells. It does nothing to keep Cage looking like a strong, cool, ass-kicker ahead of his return at Bound for Glory at Chicago. This sort of wink wink, nudge nudge humor if it can be called that, should be reserved for the mid card, not for your World Champion.
Presentation is important, especially so in the modern age, and after this week I feel Impact would be well-served to remember that ahead of their move to AXS.
The Week in Review
- Van Dam and Rhino actually looked good in the eight-man opener this week, probably because that format allows them to get in, play the hits and get out. Shame it looks as though they’re heading towards a tag title match at BFG though…
- The Ace Austin stuff continues to absolutely stink and it needs to go.
- Johnny Swinger is back next week – OH BOY!
- The tribute to LAX was well done, those two will be sorely missed, but the commentary did a heavy tease of Konnan replacing them in relatively short order, which is a development worth watching.
- Joey Ryan is here!
- Next week we’ve got the aforementioned wedding, Tessa Blanchard vs Dave Crist in a qualifying match for the X-Division title match at Bound for Glory, Tenille Dashwood vs Madison Rayne and Mahabali Shera vs Jake Something.
Well, until next time…