The nature of television wrestling and the wrestling industry as a whole means that certain shows will be better than others. Stories will be further advanced, matches will be better and atmospheres will be stronger. Last week’s Impact Wrestling was one of those shows that was decidedly weaker than others.
The show started off well enough, with the opening segment giving Tessa Blanchard some mic time and setting the scene for the main event, which was easily the best thing on the show. However, the hour or so in between those parts of the show was dry, aimless and a slog to watch. It was nothing more than filler.
I understand that filler is necessary, especially at the moment. The promotion is coming off a less than stellar PPV and they’ve got to get the building blocks in place for their three bigger shows coming up – Lockdown in March, the Wrestlecon TNA tribute show and Rebellion in mid-April. Likewise, they’re dealing with Brian Cage’s departure and Rich Swann’s injury, both of which are likely to have changed their booking plans.
However, when you compare last week’s offering to the slate for this week, you have to wonder whether they could have done a better job of mixing things up and achieving greater consistency week-to-week.
For example, last week’s show featured a dry opening triple threat match between Taurus, Moose and Rhino, a three-minute special involving Joey Ryan and Maximo, Willie Mack against Rohit Raju and Havok and Rosemary plodding around for six minutes. This week we’ve got Josh Alexander vs El Hijo del Vikingo (which got a lot of hype at the tapings), Eddie Edwards against Michael Elgin, Jordynne Grace vying for a Knockouts title shot against Madison Rayne and Kiera Hogan and a tag team match between the Rascalz and Pagano & Murder Clown.
To my mind, you could probably have got away with swapping a couple of the matches around and producing two shows that were a solid 6/10 rather than the scenario we’re now facing which will probably be a 5/10 and a 7.5/10.
Even if that was not an option, there surely had to be a more interesting way of using Taurus. The guy is super over and super talented, yet they stuck him in there in the most formulaic triple threat you’ll ever see. Surely a singles match with Moose or Rhino, which sets up the triple threat for later in the tapings, would have given everything a bit more oomph and energy?
Still, it would be remiss of me to be entirely negative about last week’s show, and it’s important to make the distinction between in-ring action and backstage stuff. While the in-ring was mostly average to mediocre, the backstage stuff was a real plus point.
The announcement of Michael Elgin and Eddie Edwards starting a best-of-five series will inevitably generate a few eye-rolls, but they have shown themselves to have good chemistry and as long as the series escalates well, with stipulations added in the final few matches, it should be a great way to ensure some strong matches week to week.
Likewise, Rob Van Dam’s comments about Joey Ryan backstage were interesting. The issue with having someone like Ryan on a weekly TV show is that his shtick falls flat very quickly. He needs proper storylines that he can sink his teeth into and prove that he’s more than ‘the dick wrestler’. Van Dam’s new gimmick has legs and he’s straddling the line between face and heel which I’m enjoying. Him calling out Ryan, and presumably forcing Ryan to prove himself, is something I’m prepared to go along with and see where it leads. It’s better than Van Dam beating top guys and being in title pictures and it could be a lot of fun.
My biggest plus point was probably seeing Ace Austin in the main event. He is clearly incredibly talented and he’s growing as a performer every time he goes out there. While Taya probably stood out most in the talking heads segment at the start (which I enjoyed as Impact doesn’t do them very often anymore), Austin’s work in the main event was great. His movements are so cerebral and his offense looks so slick and him pinning Trey was the sensible booking decision. It signified that their mini-feud is probably over, it kept the other champions strong and presumably indicates that there’s a fresh direction in store for the X-Division Champion, which I’m all for.
Writing this has perhaps shown that last week’s show wasn’t as bad as I thought when I started thinking about what I’d write in the column. Indeed, a lot of my criticisms are based on what I would have done and what I would have booked, rather than the product that was put before me. Still, it is important that Impact starts to find more consistency week to week in 2020 as they look to achieve some degree of relevancy again.
The Week in Review
- I loved Johnny Swinger coming out to help Willie Mack and getting destroyed by the Desi Hit Squad. It added a new wrinkle to his character and it continued his streak of being entertaining since he came back to the promotion last year. Willie Mack wrestling in a singlet is an image I’d never envisioned before, but it’s now something I need to see.
- Watching Rosemary’s match with Havok was just quite sad. I wish Rosemary was doing something more interesting than this hokey ‘Suzie’ rubbish.
- ACES AND EIGHTS ARE BACK! While Wrestlemania weekend may have jumped the shark as a concept, that Impact show has me so pumped. Not that bothered what they book for it, as long as they include MONTY BROWN.
Well, until next time…