There was, as Garrett Kidney pointed out, a genuine irony to the wrestling show featuring a four-way match for a vacant title not being the one on Tuesday night to feature a title change in the main event.
Eric Young is now into his second reign with the Impact Wrestling World Championship after beating Eddie Edwards in what was the best part of an otherwise pretty poor showing from the promotion. His victory wasn’t clean, as a hockey mask shot set up Young’s match-winning piledriver, but the match was good and it told the exact right story. Young was the vicious but conniving heel and Edwards was the perfect babyface coming off four title defenses in the month-and-a-half since Slammiversary.
There will be those who’ll question the merit of Eddie’s title reign coming to an end so quickly. There’s a suggestion, that I can buy into, that they maybe should have waited to the PPV to do the title change and that the match this week wasn’t built up well enough.
There’ll also be those who argue that Eric Young, only a few months removed from washing out of the WWE system, shouldn’t be champion and that Impact has once again spurned the opportunity to put faith in their own talents like Ace Austin.
However, for every naysayer, there are arguments in favor of Young’s victory. First off, there’s the news broken by Sean Ross Sapp that he’s on a two-year exclusive deal with the promotion. That’s important and hopefully, it’s the start of something special (and stable) at the top of the card.
Secondly, Young is the more compelling character as champion.
For Edwards, the story arc was coming back from the eye injury against Callihan and two years in the wilderness to challenge for, and win, the belt when the promotion needed their cornerstone most. After winning the belt, his arc was done – the focus then shifts to the next champ. His open challenge gimmick gave credibility back to the title but ultimately if Edwards had won, where would he have gone? All the other possible challengers were probably tied up and by having Edwards retain again you’d have burned off Young’s first singles loss for very little reward.
Additionally, EY leaving WWE is probably his biggest asset at the moment. He looks as motivated as ever and he is regularly the best part of the show. By reading and listening to the interviews he’s done since returning to Impact, it’s very clear that he wants this run to succeed and to prove something, both to himself and everyone else, as much as anyone. Belting him up gives him the chance to tap into a few things, cut some differing promos and on the flip side, it puts Edwards back into the position of challenger, where he is always at his most compelling.
Then, the final wrinkle, is that inevitable program with Rich Swann. We all know it’s coming and now it’ll have the World title at the heart of it. To be honest, they can inject that right now, I’m here for it.
Eric Young as champion was a direction I thought the promotion was likely to go in, even if his title win this week was a little earlier than I anticipated. Either way, it’s the right move and with six weeks or so to go until Bound for Glory, the next few weeks should make for interesting viewing. The era of the World Class Maniac has begun.
The Week in Review
- After a lovely week away, Wrestle House being over is perhaps the best returning gift I could have asked for. At this time I’d like to make a request – can we ditch the supernatural nonsense forever and ever? No more teleporting, no more allusions to murder. Let it be gone.
- I loved the setup for The Rascalz getting a title shot against The Guns next week (also, check out Andrew Rich’s lovely series on the site about Chris Sabin). It was simple and effective – it explained the Rascalz’s loss in their first meeting, it explained the need for a rematch but also allowed the champions to exhibit a bit of swagger and confidence. The involvement of Ace Austin and Madman Fulton also intrigues me for how they’re going to book the tag division moving forward.
- Tenille Dashwood is back.
- Rob Van Dam against Sami Callihan wasn’t good. It felt interminably long, Katie Forbes’ distractions only seem to consist of twerking and I really don’t know what Sami’s gimmick is supposed to be.
- The build for Moose/EC3 is great. I hope the pay off at Bound for Glory delivers, I really do.