GFW Impact returned last night (July 13) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida with their second episode from the last set of tapings. Find all the results at the spectacular live blog here.
Despite all the outside issues that caused GFW to suspend their top champion Alberto El Patron, they went ahead with their big story regarding him and LAX. But we already knew that coming in as Jeff Jarrett said as much in an interview yesterday. Patron was featured heavily on this show, opening the show and working the main event.
It’s going to vary from person to person how much events outside the program effect you while watching it. Some people will be able to separate real life from fiction and just focus on the story being told. Others won’t be able to look past the fact that this is a man that GFW suspended due to a domestic violence investigation. I found myself falling somewhere in between. I was still able to appreciate the story they are telling with Alberto, Bobby Lashley, and LAX but at the same time, the real life events were consistently in the back of my head, keeping me from completely enjoying it.
For me, it was worse when Patron was cutting a promo in the ring with Konnan then when he was working a match. Of course, Patron found his way to recall the oppression from up in Stamford and I had to chuckle when he told Konnan he “put that behind him.” (I also don’t think it’s great to say he’s in front of “Better fans” than WWE fans since there’s likely a large overlap.)
In a vacuum, I still enjoy the story. Alberto wouldn’t join LAX so they all attacked him. Lashley ended up making the save since it was LAX that cost him the title last week. This led to a main event that teamed Patron and Lashley to face the tag team champions Santana and Ortiz of LAX. (It was a non-title match.)
The classic teaming of enemies worked here as Lashley had good reason to put his differences with Patron aside to team against LAX. And the men were talented enough to find the same page and get the win. There was even a high five during the match and a brief hug afterwards.
At first, that felt like a bit much. This is Bobby Lashley we’re talking about. The dude doesn’t like anyone. However, as Bobby was leaving, Patron grabbed the microphone and admitted that they made a pretty damn awesome team. That’s when LAX came back for the attack on the champ. But despite a high five and a hug, Lashley didn’t bother assisting Alberto. He was content to just watch LAX deliver the beating to Patron.
In the end, there’s an interesting story between Patron, LAX, and Lashley. How much it’s hindered by real life events is going to vary from person to person.
Search for a green card
Apparently, Grado is at risk for being deported and attorney Joseph Park is helping him with his problem. The answer that Park came up with was to find a Knockout who will marry Grado. It did not go well.
They played a montage of him asking every girl they could find to just go on a date and all of them them briskly turned him down. (Sienna giving him an angry look that scared him off was the highlight of that package.) Park had one more person in mind to try: Laurel Van Ness.
Sorry @gradowrestling, but I don't think @Sienna or @WeAreRosemary are interested... #IMPACTonPOP pic.twitter.com/RrN0b668ad— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) July 14, 2017
Laurel had just defeated Ava Storie in what was Ava’s best match in Impact when Grado and Park made their way to the ring. Grado charmed Laurel and she seemed very receptive but before she could say anything, Kongo Kong came to the ring and Park and Grado bailed.
This all tickled me. Grado does these comedy bits very well and Park is a good partner for them. Chelsea Green has given this “Hot mess Laurel Van Ness” character 100% and has made the ridiculous gimmick work for her. This all could be quite fun.
Moose defended his Grand Championship against Pro Wresling NOAH talent Naomichi Marufuji. It was tied one a piece going into the final round and it looked like Marufuji was the man with momentum. However he didn’t get a chance to put it away as EC3, who was sitting at commentary, ran in and attacked Naomichi with the ring bell. He tried to attack Moose but Moose chased him off.
It looks like Moose/Carter is the plan going forward. That could be a good program. The Impact crowd always seems to love Moose and Carter is a fantastic heel. (His biggest heel move last night wasn’t hitting Marufuji with the ring bell but sitting at commentary and not saying a word.)
Outside Slammiversary, this was my first time seeing Marufuji and he was definitely impressive with his kick based offense. I wonder if he will be involved in this feud in some capacity. He looked like he could have been on his way to becoming Grand Champion when Carter got involved. He has a reason to fight both Ethan for costing him the title and a reason to fight Moose again to try to win it.
A Fighting Champion
Trevor Lee came out wearing Sonjay Dutt’s X Division title and claimed he’d be a fighting champion. He scoured the globe to find the best athlete to defend his title again. And he found jobber William Weeks.
While they fought (or more appropriately while Lee kicked the crap out of this guy), they showed actual X Division champion Sonjay Dutt trying to come out to the ring but being held back by security. The real champion was able to escape the security and attacked Trevor from the crowd after the match. Lee was still able to escape with the title.
Lee is great in this role. This is much better than the psuedo-Savage gimmick. His mic work prior to the match where he talked up himself as a fighting champion and Weeks as some world traveled legendary pro-wrestler was great. His delusional cocky attitude makes a great heel, especial one to oppose Dutt, who often comes off as somewhat bland babyface.
All the Rest:
Super X Cup
ACH defeated Andrew Everett to advance to the second round of the Super X Cup. Unlike Idris Abraham and Dezmond Xavier last week, they only got one segment. They still were able to maximize the time and put together a fun match. ACH is a treat to watch so it’s great we’re getting more of him.
Gail Kim announced her retirement for the end of this year. Like Kurt Angle, she’s going to do a farewell tour, planning to go out on top. They didn’t hint at what was next for her feud wise as this was just the announcement. But there are potential good feuds ahead for Gail, such as with currently GFW women’s champion Sienna and eventually Rosemary.
Chris Adonis challenged two guys from a Pop show named Swole-Mates (you read that correctly) to a pose off. Eli Drake realized how dumb this was and came down to the ring to get Adonis to give this up. Referees had to get between the Mates and the other two.
In a battle between two minis from Triple A, Octagoncito defeated Demus in part of the overall uneventful first hour.
Pros of the Show:
- The main story they are telling is a good one
- ACH and Everett was a fun first round match
- Grado and Laurel Van Ness can make for some entertaining pro wrestling comedy
Cons of the Show:
- The fact that the champion is currently suspended hinders that main story
- Again, a ton of storyline free filler
Much like last week, there was a long stretch in the first hour that had little depth to it. They had Gail’s short retirement speech, then the Swole Mates stuff, then the minis match. And prior to all that was the Super X Cup match, which was really fun, but also exhibition and not much story.
GFW has deals with plenty of companies to allow them to have matches featuring different talent, but they need to spread them a bit or give them more meaning. As a fan who is more storyline driven then match driven, I find too many of these in a row starts to drag.
But like last week, all of the stories they are telling, even the Grado comedy stuff, is entertaining. The main event suffers from events outside of their control when they taped it, but in a vacuum, that’s an intriguing story as well.
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