Impact Wrestling returned last night (April 27) from the Impact Zone in Orlando with the second episode from the most recent set of tapings. You can find the results at the live blog here.
It says something when I’m opening recaps with the state of announcing. But it’s where we are now.
Honestly, tonight wasn’t bad. The show started with Josh Mathews coming out and telling Jeremy Borash that JB is being suspended for punching him last week. This led to JB being escorted out and Josh calling the rest of the show alongside the Pope.
I may dislike Josh Mathews on commentary when he’s trying to get his heel character over; however, his heel character outside of commentary is good. He came out and started running his mouth and I just wanted to punch him in the face. There’s mileage in Mathews as a heel manager for someone who’s not a great talker. Imagine him running his mouth introducing his client and then trying to interfere in the match? I’d hate him for all the right reasons.
To his credit, Mathews did not spend the entire show trying to get his heel character over. Outside a small comment here and there, Josh was focused on calling the action in the ring and was completely tolerable. As long as he and Borash aren’t bickering with each other, the show is watchable. The show was better for it tonight.
Steve’s Swan Song
The main event was a street fight between LAX and Decay for the tag team championships. LAX ended up getting the win when Santana and Ortiz hit a double team blockbuster/powerbomb through a table.
Goodbye, Steve. pic.twitter.com/aMhJE55ipq— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) April 28, 2017
This was a pretty good main event match, with some spots earning the street fight stipulation (like the one above.) They did a good job building a match between two alignment free teams. They used scattered interference from the other members of LAX the prevent the Decay from winning, in essence making the Decay the babyfaces for this match. I found myself pissed at LAX multiple times when Homicide would get involved as Decay looked to have things working in their favor. While LAX aren’t full heels, I’m already looking forward to someone defeating them given their tactics. That’s something that can be built upon.
Of course, Rosemary got involved, but her involvement didn’t end up helping Decay. In fact, Ortiz of LAX ducked a misting and Abyss got the mist in his eyes instead. (This ended up being a turning point Decay couldn’t return from.) Diamante used this as an opportunity to go after Rosemary and deliver a nasty looking German Suplex, sparking their inevitable feud.
Abyss was soon neutralized between two barbed wire boards and it was left to Steve along to try to get the job done. As he fended off both members of LAX, the crowd was firmly behind him. But when it looked like he was going to put Ortiz through a table from the top rope, Homicide made his presence known one more time and it led to the double team finish shown above.
The match was good, but lacking from a real build. To be fair, they may have ended up rushing this with the news that Crazzy Steve left Impact after the last set of tapings. LAX/Decay could have even been a Slammiversary feud but if Steve is going to leave, they had to run it before he did. (They could have run it at the end of the tapings, but if there’s a Decay break up story coming, they’ll need time to tell that story.) It was nice to get to see Steve as the star of this, despite being the one to take the loss.
With Adam Thornstowe of Reno Scum injured, now it’s time to find another tag team to challenge LAX. We may have met one earlier in the night, which we’ll touch upon below.
Carter is back as a heel and last night was a stark reminder how damn good he is at it.
EC3 cut a fire promo that told off the new regime, everyone in the locker room, and us the fans reminding that he doesn’t have to “Ugh, make Impact great” because he carried the company on his back for the last three years. And he’ll continue to eviscerate everyone who stands in the way.
Out came James Storm, who was understandably upset after Carter cost him the title last week. They had a bit of a promo battle. While Storm is a pretty good promo and always delivers with conviction, Carter is a step above. That was evident tonight as the Cowboy had to rely on calling EC3 “fugly” and “EC-bitch” as Carter could shoot him down with just a facial expression.
When this turned into a brawl, Carter used a production team member as a human shield to protect himself from James Storm. Obviously, Storm wasn’t going to allow the worker to get hurt, so he moved the woman aside just to have EC3 kick him in the balls and then slide him in the ring for a One Percenter. EC3 is back, baby.
Heel fits like a glove on Carter. I still think his promos and character as a babyface were entertaining. But he’s got added passion as a bad guy. He doesn’t need to hold back, like when he pretended to take a crap on the Impact logo. Babyface EC3 was entertaining, but villainous EC3 is must see.
Welcome back, heel EC3.
Matt Sydal debuted against the former X Division champion Trevor Lee last night. He ended up picking up a win when Lee’s manager Shane Helms tried to distract the ref and Sydal kneed Lee into Helms, knocking Sugar Shane off the apron. This led to Sydal’s Shooting Star Press and the 1-2-3.
I really like the Sydal signing. Impact is really building up that X Division from the four man division it had been the last few years. They’ve got Low-Ki, Sonjay Dutt, Suicide, Caleb Konley, Dezmond Xavier to join Andrew Everett and Trevor Lee in beefing up the division.
There has been plenty to complain about with the new Impact, but the rebuilding of the X Division is not one of them. Now they need to start telling some stories with their buffed up roster.
Moose defended his Grand Championship against Davey Richards last night. Davey won the first round working the leg of Moose. Moose won the second by split decision. It looked like Davey was in control the third round, with a good chance to win the title when Eddie Edwards ran out and attacked Davey, resulting in a DQ finish.
This helped strengthen the Wolves and their story. Davey looked like he could legitimately win the Grand Championship, building him up. It gave Davey another reason to hate his former partner while Eddie got a measure of revenge, giving more weight to their eventual next round.
They also used this segment to feature NFL players D’Angelo Williams and Gary Barnidge. They accompanied former NFL player Moose to the ring, which is how they worked them into the show. After the match, they got into Davey’s face and Richards took some offense from both guys. This type of bit is not my cup of tea, especially since it played like the NFL guys we should cheer were the aggressors. (Yes, Davey shoved them but they got into his face first.) Luckily it all happened after the match when all of the action and story building had already taken place. If this is it for these two, that’s fine. If they keep showing up on Impact, it will result in excessive eye rolling.
What in the world?
OK, bear with me on this one because things got weird. Rockstar Spud is the ring announcer and throughout the night, Swoggle tried to torment him by rustling his hair from the crowd or later stealing his notes. When Spud tried to get his papers back, he accidentally pantsed Swoggle. Simple juvenile comedy. It is what it is.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
During a commercial break, Swoggle brutally attacked Spud with a hammer, while wearing a towel around his waist because he never got his pants back! I mean this wasn’t a playful attack that fit the silliness prior. He continually attacked the man’s knee with a hammer!
What in the name of the Anthem Owl is going on? pic.twitter.com/Z5GValfual— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) April 28, 2017
I don’t know why, but I found the sudden shift in tone absolutely hilarious. It went from your basic, dumb comedy bit to this pissed off dude crippling another man with a hammer. Swoggle went from comedy to channeling his Leprechaun Origins role in record time.
All the rest:
We met Christina Von Eerie, the GFW Women’s champion, last night. This is my first exposure to her and she’s definitely someone who is full of charisma. From “Scum City” much like the tag team Reno Scum, she has the same attitude and vibe they do. (And the “Oy oy oy” shout.)
Her opponent tonight was Ava Storie, who she defeated in a GFW Women’s title match. I don’t know much about Storie, but by the looks of it she hasn’t been wrestling for too long. Her movements still look like she’s thinking about every one and they’re not fluid. Plus her strikes looked terrible. It wasn’t an ideal dance partner to show off what the 2-year GFW Women’s champion can do in the ring. But Von Eerie will face Sienna next week so that’ll be a better chance to see her in-ring work.
Veterans of War
The new tag team Veterans of War debuted tonight. They consisted of former TNA talent Crimson, now known as Mayweather, and a man known as Wilcox. They got a win over Fallah Bahh and Mario Bokara.
The VOW are two big dudes and could be a threatening tag team. As of now, their characters are only “Two men who served the country and have a warrior’s mentality” but this is just their introduction. There’s time to explore them. If it stays like this, the gimmick will be too one dimensional, but we’ll see what they do with time.
Much like the X Division, the tag team division is getting some infusion of talent. Those two divisions were the weakest in the prior regime and they are looking much better now. They need to start telling some stories with all the talent they’ve introduced, but it’s a good start.
Match that happened
Konga Kong defeated Matt Sigmon with Sienna’s crew all at ringside. I’ve already spent too many words on this.
Pros of the Show:
- Announcing was way more low key
- EC3 is back, baby!
- Matt Sydal!
Cons of the Show:
- Title scene sorely under represented
- A ton of squash/introduction matches, which allowed a length of time of little importance
While there’s much more work to be done, this may be the best offering of the new regime. They dedicated a single segment to the announcer’s feud and the Josh Mathews focused on the in-ring action the rest of the night. Authority figures were limited to a couple brief Karen Jarrett moments backstage. And they are filling their tag division and X Division with some talent.
They are still lacking on story building. Davey/Eddie has been good. And Storm/EC3 is promising. But much of the X Division and tag division right now is just random matches. And the World title picture was barely represented at all on this show.
And we got the dark turn of Swoggle!
It may be generous again and it’s totally possible that after weeks of bad shows, “not as bad” looks better than it should.
Sound off below.