It feels weird writing a column like this, focusing on an individual. It feels remiss to put faith in, or express any real attachment to, specific wrestlers after a period that has shown the industry to have deep issues right at its core, involving wrestlers across almost every company and continent.

Still, for the second week in a row, I felt as though I couldn’t avoid it. The only thing I wanted to write about in-depth was the importance of Johnny Swinger to my enjoyment of Impact Wrestling on a weekly basis.

As wrestling fans, we often find an attachment to lower-card wrestlers. The plucky underdog, or the loveable loser. I don’t know whether it’s a case of us attaching ourselves to insecurities we have in ourselves that we perhaps don’t observe or identify as well in main eventers, or whether it’s just that part of us that likes the smaller, more authentic individual. Either way, I’m not sure that an 80s tribute act is usually what wrestling fans get on board with, but Swinger has been a brilliant addition to the roster.

I personally thought that his gimmick, when he first rejoined the promotion, was going to be far too on the nose and that it would wear thin very quickly. Perhaps some elements of it grated on me but as he’s become a firmer part of the roster, he’s become ever more endearing. He’s really the only comedy wrestler in Impact right now and he cuts through the rest of their presentation perfectly.

He puts so much into every segment, no matter what he’s given to work with and he’s become so much more than the roster-filler I thought he’d be. From his angle with Willie Mack earlier in the year when he tried to be his tag team partner (who couldn’t love The Pack and Mack Connection?), to his singles match with the 70-year-old ‘Action’ Mike Jackson, he’s provided great entertainment.

As much as I prefer a sports style presentation to my wrestling, hence my admiration of the Puro scene and my appreciation of AEW’s use of win-loss records, I understand that comedy wrestling plays an essential part in this business. Be that on a local ‘family’ indie show or a top-level TV promotion, they are there to be the cool down act, to provide entertainment as a face or an easy foil for a comeuppance as a heel, they have a definite role. Think Toru Yano and the change of pace he brings to New Japan.

In this era of Empty Arena wrestling (which looks set to continue for the foreseeable in the West thanks to the lack of leadership both sides of the Atlantic), we need that comedy more than ever. Ok, the spots designed for a live crowd don’t translate onto television, but it is much harder to engage with the serious elements of a show than before because there isn’t that crowd interaction or background noise. Having someone to fill that comedy role at some point in the show is the perfect pallet cleanser, allowing you to refocus and reset for the more important matches and angles to follow.

Johnny Swinger is simply that every week and his performance this week was a proverbial home run. Deciding that he needed a solution to his current predicament of being banned from ringside for Slammiversary, he donned the old Suicide costume that basically resembled a Swinglet and hit the ring to wrestle Willie Mack. His sheer inability to hit any of Suicide’s trademark spots was brilliant slapstick and for me, it was the highlight by far of the entire show. It might not be for everyone, but to me it was great and it was yet another example of the Swingman thriving at the moment in Impact.

It’s a case of a man knowing his role and fulfilling it to the best of abilities. Swinger was recently on a segment of ‘Around the Ring’ and he said how grateful he was to be getting another crack in the wrestling industry. I’m glad as well because he’s the unsung hero of Impact Wrestling and my personal fave.



The Week in Review

  • I was a big fan of the four-way tag team match this week. Well, more to the point I was a fan of the finish. Reno SCUM and TJP & Fallah Bahh had an ongoing feud and neither needed the win, so they get a conclusion of their own to potentially set up a match for the PPV, and the Deaners got the chance to build some momentum. Good work.
  • We got a bit more build for Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purrazzo this week and I’m hyped.
  • Tommy Dreamer’s promo and segment with Moose this week was a step down from last week but it was still great. I’m very interested to see how the PPV match comes together.
  • The world title video package this week was great. It was longer than the usual fare, perhaps a nod to them having less material to work with after Elgin and Blanchard leaving, but it showed you who was who and explained their motivations going into the match.
  • The latest Slammiversary tease was nice but I hope they’re not bringing Bully Ray back. That would be a low blow.

Well, until next time…