Hey, kids, it’s your Botching one trying something different. I haven’t watched “Impact Wrestling” in forever. I gave up after Billy Corgan took off and Anthem took over. They completely ditched workers by the side of the road without much explanation and even fired their entire referee staff. I’ve thus far refused to support a company that does business like Anthem does. Still, it deserves its time and since we don’t just cover WWE, it made sense to give this a shot. I’m going in as someone who hasn’t watched in a bit and I won’t hide it throughout. If you feel like clueing me in on anything, feel free to do so in the comments. I could use the help.
On the commentary side of things, it appears the feud between Jeremy Borash and Josh Matthews has ended. Pope is regrettably gone too but I knew that already. If anyone can be called the heart and soul of Impact Wrestling/GFW/TNA, it’s Jeremy Borash. He’s been there since the very beginning and is very passionate about what he does. Josh blends well with him here now they aren’t embroiled in that ridiculous feud that consumed them the last time I watched and the whole thing works pretty well.
Dezmond Xavier vs. Taiji Ishimori
This was a really good match. Dezmond has made his name on the Indies and Taiji has worked in Japan for years. They really gave it all they had here. Dezmond’s huge dive beyond the barriers into Ishimori was just brilliant to look at. I love Dezmond’s “Final Flash” finisher too. It’s a corkscrew, flying thing (it’s beyond description, really) and it’s amazing to look at. The match deservedly got “this is awesome” chants…because it was. Both of these guys are just incredible athletes and they know how tell a great story too. Dezmond sold his frustration of not being able to put Taiji away throughout. You can’t do this any better. Bravo to both of them!
As a side note, I have no idea what the deal is with Ishimori’s tights. They are…different. The belt itself is just sad. Since they are no longer called GFW, you’d think they’d just replace the belt. You’d be wrong. They simply took what looks like a metal plate and covered the GFW logo. No, really, they actually did that. In fact, they’ve done that with all of them save the Grand Championship which was already an Impact Wrestling title. This is a prime example of all that’s wrong with Impact Wrestling. The workers are not now and never have been the issue; it’s management.
Backstage segment: Sami Callihan and oVe (Jake & Dave Crist)
It’s very “VHS cinema verité” and I dig it. This isn’t WWE so it’s not live. What I didn’t like was the botch. “We show no prisoners? Ooops. Why they didn’t fix that is beyond me and Sami’s botch took me right out of it.
Backstage segment: oVe (Ohio vs. Everything) & LAX
oVe comes off in the promo as very face. The story of the feud was told fairly well here. I did like the ending vignette with Konnan and Sami. Konnan was eloquent and exacting in what he had to say. Sami was decent but a little shakier. They’re making this look like a little movie and I kinda like it. The fireball in Konnan’s face was a nice touch too. This was, of course, to set up the Barbed Wire match (the one where they replace all the ropes with barbed wire) that won’t show on TV because it absolutely can’t. I abhor unnecessary matches like this so I won’t be covering it either but they did set the match up nicely. As someone coming in knowing nothing feud at all, I’m intrigued by the storyline itself. They gave me enough to be a bit involved in it.
Backstage segment: America’s Top Team
I like the idea of this storyline. Dan Lambert seems a good mouthpiece too. His premise is that pro wrestling is fake and that they can’t hold a candle to MMA fighters. Of course, we already know that James Storm, like many others, is now gone. However, they did tell the story of the feud pretty well. I’m not really that sold on it and I think I’d need to see more before I was.
Flashback: Aron Rex vs. Eddie Edwards @ Bound for Glory 2016 for 1st ever Grand Championship
WWE fans will remember Aron as Damien Sandow/Mizdow. This is before Aaron was saddled with the sub-Liberace gimmick he was saddled with later before he took off. This match wasn’t getting much of a response which is a shame as Eddie is absolutely incredible. Aron was getting the job done for sure but Eddie is the better worker for sure. This was well-worked because that’s just how these guys are. We only got a portion of the match but I was still watching when it first aired and it really was pretty good. When it ended, they continued to tell the story of Matt Sydal’s title reign (which Impact already told us has ended at the hands of a recently-returning Austin Aries).
Recap: Knockout’s Championship
Well, this is helpful for me so I can catch up a bit. Last time I saw this, I was a fan of Laurel Van Ness and of Allie. Allie has now become much more assertive than I remember her being and as a result, a little less interesting – at least for me as someone tuning in again after a long respite. I’m happy to cop to the idea that perhaps I need to see more. Because of the taped nature of this program, I already know Laurel is gone. I’m assuming she won.
Kongo Kong (w/ Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Chandler Park (w/ Joseph Park)
Chandler is the cousin of Joseph Park. Kongo Kong has been on the indie scene for a long time as has Chandler Park (Ethan Page). This is the “I’m in over my head with Kongo Kong and I’m gonna get squashed” match and it worked okay. Ethan played a jobber well and Kong squashed him sufficiently. Not much more to say, really. There is clearly more to this storyline and I’m uninitiated.
Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact (Border City Wrestling – Detroit, MI)
Alberto cannot cut a promo to save his life! He literally forgot Drake’s name during the course of it. Yikes. Drake on the other hand, is golden on the mic. Johnny gave us one too and it did its job. On to the match.
The vibe of this is very indie and I kind of like it. The ropes were incredibly loose so if you’re them, you can’t really use them like you might otherwise. That should have been dealt with before they started recording. Each of them was very ginger with them and it absolutely did hurt the match. Borash and Matthews both mentioned it more than once too. They all worked well in there. I loved watching the ref lose his mind when he felt disrespected and all Drake, Patron, and Impact super kicking him into oblivion to shut him up. Nice comedic twist. There was still more official abuse and it was fun as I wasn’t expecting it. Of course, after the second instance of ref abuse, the locker room cleared and the match was thrown out.
The fact that they were unable to completely use the ring dragged my grade down. Thankfully, As we found out later, this match will take place yet again in a six-sided steel cage in the Impact Zone.
Rosemary vs. KC Spinelli
I have always liked Rosemary. She is completely bizarre and she stays winning Twitter! The last time I saw her, she was in Decay (a stable which is no more). KC has been around the Indies too so she’s more than capable of having a good match. That’s exactly what we got. I really like Rosemary’s “Red Wedding” finisher. She went for it repeatedly and finally got it. It bears a resemblance to Brock’s F-5.
Rosemary’s promos were always epic and this one was too. More than anything, I’m amazed that she was able to do this so well right after working a match. Rosemary was attacked right after it by… She was identified as “a woman we’ve never seen”. She was then identified as Hania (Hania the Huntress on the indie scene). They went back and forth a bit but Hania got the upper hand and really gave Rosemary a beating. Very impressive.
Update: Turns out Hania has just been fired for refusing to do a 90-second job to Su Yung. Strange that they’d ask her and strange that she’d decline…
Backstage segment: LAX and oVe
So oVe destroyed the LAX clubhouse. Interesting. This is another segment to set up the Barbed Wire match so they really are pushing it. As I said earlier, Pop won’t air it and I’m sure you can imagine why. They really should have made a bigger deal of how one could view it. You can go to their Twitch channel and see it if you wish.
Of course, the episode can’t end without something maddening and this one didn’t either. Rather than just adhere to Pop’s wishes and not air the match, they actually showed the intro to the match during the broadcast and ended it just as it was starting. Yeah, it gets people to switch to Twitch to watch it but Pop told them not to air it. They took it as far as they could with Pop without actually showing it. It just comes off as petulant to me.
So ends what may be my only entry for Impact Wrestling. It sums up the issues we all know about too well. The workers have a lot to offer but the office (booking) insures that whatever they offer will fall flat and few will see it. Will there be another? Honestly, depends on if it’s desired. If you want it, say so in the comments.