Following a match with The Motor City Machine Guns on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling, The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) have officially finished up with the promotion. As such, it seemed a good time to use this week’s column to assess their Impact runs.
When The Good Brothers walked through the doors of the Skyway Studios in 2020, they felt like marquee additions to the roster. They were the sort of marquee additions that Impact hadn’t made in a long time and the sort of addition that AEW’s arrival on the scene had made seem unlikely.
Slammiversary 2020, where they made their debuts and were the only recently released WWE talent confirmed to be on the show before the opening bell, did superb business for Impact. It produced their best online PPV sales in a long time and broke multiple records across their social media platforms. Impact’s marketing for the show, as well as the lack of options during the height of the pandemic, likely played a role in the show doing as well as it did but The Good Brothers’ arrival was important too, make no mistake.
On that night in 2020, Anderson and Gallows looked great. Gallows was in arguably the best physical shape of his entire career and the pair seemed highly motivated and determined to prove a point.
Their motivation levels dipped over the course of the following two years though, with Karl Anderson making backstage comments at a New Japan show earlier this year to the effect that the ‘Machine Gun’ only turned up when the bright lights were on and the crowds were big. Whether they were already halfway out the door of Impact by that point or not, those comments were serious and seemed hugely disrespectful to both the Impact management who’d brought them into the fold and also to their colleagues in the locker room.
In terms of their contributions to Impact’s business over the last couple of years, they weren’t mega-draws in their own right but they were a big part of a successful 2021 that featured three of the promotion’s most successful PPVs in the post-Spike era – Hard to Kill, Rebellion and Slammiversary. Kenny Omega working main event matches on all three shows was undoubtedly the biggest reason for them doing so many buys but The Good Brothers, as the only other Impact act to get AEW TV time, were a factor too.
It was inevitable when they joined the promotion that they’d be the dominant force in the tag team division. Over their 26 months with Impact they enjoyed three tag team title reigns covering a combined 418 days.
They started their first reign as babyfaces, ending The North’s second run with the belts at Turning Point 2020. From there, the reigns of The Good Brothers became synonymous with two shows – Sacrifice and Slammiversary. The lost the titles at Sacrifice 2021 and 2022 to FinJuice and Violent By Design respectively before subsequently winning them back at Slammiversary in both years, first in a weird four-way match that also involved No Way Jose and secondly against The Briscoes.
Their third reign came to an end a couple of weeks ago, the months-long Bullet Club/Honor No More feud coming to an end with Matt Taven and Mike Bennett finally winning the tag team titles.
As you would expect with these two, their matches in Impact were not a lot to write home about. Karl Anderson worked 62 over the two years or so they were with the promotion, with Gallows involved in 59. Looking through my tracker, the highest-rated match they were involved in was the six-man tag at Hard to Kill 2021 that also involved Kenny Omega, Moose, Rich Swann and Chris Sabin. The vast majority of their work tended to fall in the three to three-and-a-half star range.
In terms of their booking, it’s fair to say that Impact Wrestling have done a good job. While the pair felt decidedly less and less interesting as their tenure with the promotion went on, they’ve left the company with no big matches left on the table. They’ve faced everyone worth facing from The North and Violent By Design to FinJuice, The Briscoes, The Motor City Machine Guns, Sami Callihan, Moose, Eddie Edwards and the rest of Honor No More. Having dropped the titles to Taven and Bennett and put over The Guns, there realistically was nothing left for them to do.
The other legacy of The Good Brothers in Impact Wrestling is one that will hopefully last well beyond their departure and that’s their role in improving relations between New Japan and Impact. When they walked through the door, relations between NJPW and Impact were ice cold. As a team that both promotions wanted to use, The Good Brothers ultimately ended up being conduits for that relationship not just thawing but thriving to the point that Yuya Uemura is now on excursion in Impact. Two, three years ago, that scenario would have been unthinkable. While they weren’t the only reason relations between the promotions improved, they were a big factor.
The big question for Impact to answer following the departure of The Good Brothers is whether the big money deals they were given in 2020 were worth it. On balance, I’d say they probably were but that both parties going their separate ways at this stage is the right move. The Good Brothers can go over to New Japan and feel like a big deal again, while Impact’s tag team division can enjoy a bit of a reset.