I could have dedicated this week’s column to reviewing Impact Wrestling’s television product, talking about how lethargic this week’s episode felt and how irritating the finish to Michael Elgin and Eddie Edwards’ best of five series was. Believe me, I considered it. But with more and more events canceled across the world because of the COVID-19 outbreak, which in turn is seeing more and more people have to work from home and isolate themselves, it seemed rather moot.
As this situation has developed, a narrative has grown on social media about ‘supporting your faves’. Wrestlers can’t work because shows aren’t happening, something that ultimately means they don’t get paid. To supplement this, fans are encouraged to buy some merchandise from their favorite wrestlers and support those companies having a hard time by subbing to their VOD services.
While those promotions and those wrestlers need support, we all need to support each other too. With countries increasingly heading into lockdown, it’s going to be a pretty rough time for those who struggle with mental health issues. Wrestling is often an escape for people and wrestling will always be there. Getting the most from the VOD services you’re subscribed to will be a vital tool in the weeks ahead.
As such, I thought I’d use this column to try and explore the ways you can maximize an Impact Plus subscription. If you haven’t subbed yet, why not? You can get the first month for free and after that, you can cancel with no strings attached. But at $7.99 a month after that, it’s great value for money.
The best place to start if you’re looking for something to watch is Classic PPVs.
You can filter the PPV section by year and on the Impact Plus homepage, there are recommendations, like 2018’s Slammiversary event, featuring Sami Callihan vs Pentagon Jr and LAX vs The OGz. My personal favorites include Genesis 2009, which includes the Alex Shelley vs Chris Sabin match that got me into the promotion that I won’t stop going on about, Jeff Jarrett vs Kurt Angle and the in-ring debut of Mick Foley, and Destination X 2012, which saw another chapter in the rivalry between Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels and Austin Aries vs Bobby Roode for the World Title.
The homepage also features the list of the 10 best matches of the last decade, a list that involves tag team wars, AJ vs Kurt, a women’s match that overdelivered on most expectations and, of course, the Final Deletion.
You want something a bit quicker than a whole PPV or a classic, lengthy match? How about trying the full library of Xplosion (yes, it still exists) or the Hidden Gems section. Everyone loves a good throwback match and as you can see from the screengrab below, there really are some hidden gems from the promotion in years gone by.
Also in that section you’ll find matches involving Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and CM Punk. They’ll open your eyes to a lot of the promotions’ mistakes in the past but also some downright crazy moments in the mid-2000s wrestling landscape.
You can watch random episodes of Impact TV from years gone by, all handily filtered by year and date, or you can watch some original, digital-only Impact content like the Diary series or the new run of Gut Check (I’m very much enjoying seeing a new side of John E. Bravo in this).
My favorite part of the whole platform, though, is the Indie tab right at the top. Hitting that is like, to quote Gene Wilder, opening up a world of pure imagination. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that good, but it is certainly a worthwhile trip.
You’ve got a full 2019 library for Canadian promotion Smash Wrestling, as well as a series of great matches from the company in previous years including Mike Bailey vs Matt Cross, Johnny Gargano vs Icarus, Michael Elgin vs Zack Sabre Jr and the Super Smash Bros against The Young Bucks.
There’s extensive back catalogs for Border City Wrestling, Destiny Pro, Prestige Wrestling, RISE, Rocky Mountain Pro and Future Stars of Wrestling. People’s mileage on those first few will vary A LOT, but the FSW stuff is pretty neat and includes matches between Ricochet and Austin Aries, Matt Hardy and Lance Archer and Eli Drake against an even younger but still irritatingly well-built Karl Fredericks.
Preston City Wrestling was one of the powerhouses at the front of the BritWres renaissance almost a decade ago and a lot of their early stuff is also on Impact Plus. You’ve got a very young Joe Coffey, Zack Sabre Jr with a big fringe against El Ligero and matches involving John Morrison, Noam Dar and the late Kris Travis.
If you’re looking from brand new stuff from 2020, this platform has also got you covered. There’s new content from River City Wrestling, including a fun match between Jaxon Stone and Steve O Reno. Stone is probably a more familiar name to many than Steve O Reno, but Steve delivered a killer promo recently that this site’s very own Joe Lanza loved.
Current Impact tag team champion Ethan Page’s promotion Alpha-1 Wrestling have also, as you can see, got a prime slot on Impact Plus. Their show Deadly Encounter is a breezy watch at just over two hours and if you don’t want to watch the whole show, they’ve got you covered as each match is broken up into individual videos, much like NJPW World. The show includes Warhorse vs Mike Bailey, Mark Wheeler vs Gregory Iron, Josh Alexander vs Isaias Velasquez vs Kody Lane, Kylie Rae in tag team action, and much more.
Impact Plus’ interface is very easy to navigate and even a simple search for a wrestler from years gone by will bring up a variety of stuff that you can sit and watch for hours. The next few weeks might look pretty bleak for a lot of us, but hopefully, this will help you find something that brings a little joy and light relief.
The Week in Review
- Considering that Rebellion might get nixed because of the Coronavirus, reviewing last week’s show seems a bit moot but it was so flat. The main event was the high point but the poorly executed finish didn’t help matters much.
- I get that they wanted to bring Sabu back but surely they could have had Madman Fulton beat Rhino, then beat him down with oVe after the match and have Sabu come out to save the day. You’ve got to put the right guys over!
- The whole Joey Ryan/RVD/Katie Forbes angle works in principle but it remains to be seen whether that’ll be the case long-term.
- Next week we’ve got Chris Bey’s debut (not really a debut, but hey ho), Fallah Bahh & TJP challenging for the tag titles, Jake Crist vs Daga and Ken Shamrock making a career announcement.
Well, until next time…