I had a simple choice for the topic of this week’s column: either a mild rant about the promotion’s booking of their new World Champion or effusive praise of my favorite wrestler, Fallah Bahh. In the end, I opted for the latter.
Bahh took on Michael Elgin in easily the best match of the second episode of Impact on AXS. It was the second time the two had faced off in recent weeks and while the Filipino Panda fell short once again, he delivered his best bell-to-bell performance during his run with the company.
Their last match was relatively short and mirrored the tale of many of Bahh’s other matches, where he gives a load of energy early on, only to be beaten by a better-rounded opponent. Tuesday’s encounter, however, was longer and much like his bout with Austin Aries last year, it allowed him to shine.
I wrote fairly extensively on why Bahh resonated with me last year. It was a personal connection and it stemmed from the story that they sought to tell of him standing up to the stereotypical bully. Although I had a smile on my face this week as Bahh took big bump after big bump and landed hard chop after hard chop on Big Mike, my appreciation this week was of a different nature. This time it came from the fact that he showed charisma, fight and energy.
Last week we saw Bahh enlightened by the time he spent with the Rascalz, actually speaking whole sentences and not seeing his vocabulary restricted to repetitions of ‘Bahh’ and ‘No’. He spoke fluently about not helping TJP fight off Elgin, expressing his frustration with the ‘Unbreakable’ one and actually explaining why he wanted to beat him in the rematch. Bahh proved that is someone who can talk and someone who can hold up his end of a feud, and not just be a show-opening, comedic filler act.
When the match came around, he took of all Elgin’s best shots over the course of 14 minutes, taking his kicks and firing back with an impressive salvo of his own in a great hoss battle. The comedy that we’ve had for most of his tenure with the promotion was firmly gone; this was a new Fallah Bahh and he meant business.
He was able to show off the massive difference his weight loss campaign has made to his mobility and cardio in the ring, taking a massive avalanche belly-to-belly and kicking out at one.
While once again tasting defeat, Bahh drew the crowd in with spots like that and like his big Samoan drop and ass attack combination for a nearfall. He played his part in a genuine ***1/2 match that was superb because of its in-ring work and its in-ring work alone. Fallah Bahh forced Michael Elgin to dig deeper than many have during his time with Impact, forcing him to move away from the Elgin Bomb and secure the win with a crossface.
Bahh proved that he can go with the biggest hosses in the promotion when given the chance. Bahh proved that he can get the fans on his side when doing something serious and, to me at least, Bahh proved that he is someone that the promotion should be doing more with.
The big man’s development in the promotion has been stunted this year by the departures of KM and Scarlett Bordeaux, but he has continued plugging away, working hard in and out of the ring and now delivering the best work of his career to date. This week felt like the culmination of that, or at least that chapter in his journey, and it was one of those matches where the loser was elevated more in defeat than they would have been in victory.
As much as I have said that Impact does need to bring in a few more names to the promotion for the AXS era, they also have guys like Bahh who are seizing their opportunity. With TJP back for the New York tapings, I sincerely hope they do something with the big man and give him a PPV program to work with.
I might always be the high man on his abilities (I mean, he’s undoubtedly my favorite wrestler in the promotion) but Fallah Bahh proved this week that he’s ready for a bigger spot on the card.
The Week in Review
- This week’s episode was the epitome of a show of two halves – a strong first hour followed up by a slow hour two.
- Moose got a solid win over Willie Mack in the show opener but he still seems somewhat directionless after Bound for Glory.
- Joey Ryan vs Ken Shamrock was a one spot match. It sucked.
- I thought they had reached peak kookiness with the Su Yung stuff before, but now it’s worse. Send help.
- Bhupinder Singh looked good in his debut, the kid will learn a lot from working with Petey Williams, and it produced a couple of fun spots with the referee. Thumbs up from me.
- I enjoyed the eight-person main event, it was fun, chaotic and a good way to start Callihan’s reign, but having him eat the fall in his first match as champion was a poor call. Rich Swann is a star, but the story here is Callihan/Blanchard. If you want oVe to lose that’s alright, but Dave Crist is literally right there, waiting to be pinned.
- Next week we’ve got Daga vs Jake Crist, The North defending the tag team titles against Eddie Edwards & Naomichi Marufuji, Blanchard & Swann vs Callihan & Madman Fulton and an X-Division six-way featuring Brent Banks, Aiden Prince, Petey Williams, Willie Mack, Trey Miguel and Rohit Raju.
Well, until next time…