There were a lot of potential avenues for me to explore in this week’s column.
I could have talked about how booking six singles matches on the same show will inevitably reduce quality and why Impact should think about ‘less is more’ on a weekly basis.
I could have looked at Jordynne Grace’s (long overdue) title win and how the Knockouts division currently feels quite flat and needs some fresh blood.
I could also have addressed Tommy Dreamer continually being booked in long, dry main events that are designed to get younger guys over, despite the fact that this doesn’t work anymore.
However, I thought I’d go with a more positive angle and stress just how good El Hijo del Vikingo is and why Impact should be doing everything they possibly can to get him a working VISA and get him booked on every possible show.
I can’t pretend to be a Lucha expert in any way – I probably watch roughly 20 matches from Mexico every year and they are invariably based on recommendations from friends, Twitter and reviews on this very site. However, I do know top tier talent when I see it and El Hijo del Vikingo is definitely that.
When you’re at the level Impact currently are, your focus when signing talent has to focus mostly on four things:
- Are you going to be the first to push them and do something with them – novelty is key.
- Are they someone that will resonate in the digital and social space – i.e. do they have the promo ability, moveset or style that easily translates into shareable gifs and social media videos?
- Have they got the ability to consistently deliver matches that will get more eyeballs on the product?
- Do they have MOTY level end product in the ring?
As far as I’m concerned, El Hijo del Vikingo ticks all four of those boxes.
In terms of point one, that’s a definite yes. At 22, El Hijo del Vikingo is only three years into his wrestling career and as things currently stand he’s never worked outside of his native Mexico. Outside of doing the Impact tapings, he’s only worked for AAA and a few smaller Mexican promotions. As such, although his English is very limited, Impact would have a blank canvas when it comes to doing things with him. Even if they were only able to hold onto him for six months to a year before AEW or WWE came circling, that’s a lot of time if you get it right with a talent like this.
When assessing guys that do well in the social space, El Hijo del Vikingo is primed for it because he’s capable of mind-blowing things in the ring. Look at his match with TJP (which is the only Impact TV match to hit **** for me this year) – the GIFs from that match on the official Impact account did a good number and the video from their match did over 12k views (more than 2k more than the next best, which was from Tommy Dreamer vs Ace Austin).
.@MegaTJP vs. @vikingo_aaa was a MUST-SEE CLASSIC! #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/2hbelGdgGO
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 11, 2020
While those numbers may be bolstered by TJP attracting more casual interest, and they are not replicated as well on YouTube, they are a useful indicator. To use the old boxing analogy, book a big main event that sells tickets and use the undercard to show off the next generation – adding El Hijo del Vikingo matches to their big shows would show him off to a wider audience and allow them to exploit his talents in that increasingly important social space.
On point three, that’s also a YES. He has killed it every time he’s been featured during their trips to Mexico; his match last year with Rich Swann was great, as was his encounter with Josh Alexander in 2020. He’s got so much ability and having him over for more tapings and giving him the chance to work with guys like the Rascalz, Eddie Edwards, Ace Austin and others will only help him get more exposure and deliver more matches that can attract casual eyeballs.
Beyond that, one only has to watch his bout with Laredo Kid last year to see the quality he’s capable of. He’s got it in the locker to produce incredible, awe-inspiring performances that will be in the MOTY discussion and Impact needs as many talents like that as possible. Imagine him against TJP at a PPV, with more time and proper stakes on the line. I’m sold.
In an ideal world, El Hijo del Vikingo is someone that ticks all the boxes and he’s someone that I’d bring in and belt up with the X-Division title as soon as possible, having him wrestle fun names up and down the card and absolutely maximize what he brings to the table. He’s an incredible talent and it surely can’t be long before he’s killing it week in, week out in front of a much bigger audience.
The Week in Review
- Michael Elgin went 2-0 up in his series with Eddie Edwards and again the match was good, easily the best thing on the show, but it was quite samey to the first one.
- Madman Fulton has a lot of untapped potential and I really hope Impact realizes that and makes the most of him this year.
- FALLAH BAHH FOR TAG TEAM GOLD. THE NATION OF BAHHNATION WILL RISE.
- Rob Van Dam vs Joey Ryan sucked. A true DUD.
- This week marks the first show from the Las Vegas tapings and we’ve got Madison Rayne’s open challenge, Josh Alexander vs TJP, Michael Elgin vs Eddie Edwards match 3 and Tessa Blanchard, Trey Miguel and Tommy Dreamer vs Ace Austin & Reno SCUM.
Well, until next time…