Impact Wrestling returned last night (Jan. 25) from the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Find all the results in the live blog here.
There’s a good chance you knew the finish of the championship triple threat cage match going into it. Hell, Impact were the ones to spoil it. So coming in, the question from me was whether or not this match would suffer since the fans knew the finish.
While not knowing is always going to make things more exciting than knowing, this match still was enjoyable. It had a handful of fun spots while keeping the belt on Eli in a creative fashion.
They set this match up with the stipulation that if Eli Drake won, Johnny Impact nor Alberto El Patron could challenge him for the title again. It was a stipulation that made Eli an extra jerk when he avoided losing because of his henchman Chris Adonis.
Chris Adonis prevented Alberto El Patron from leaving the cage when he slammed the door in his face. He then prevented Johnny Impact from winning when both Eli and Johnny were climbing to the floor. With Johnny neck and neck with the champ on their race to escape the cage, Adonis grabbed Impact from the cage and held him up so his feet didn’t hit the floor. This gave Drake the chance to hop down.
It was a clever way for Eli to pick up the victory with a reasonable amount of cheating.
Matt Sydal finally vanquished EC3 to win the Grand Championship.
I’ve been a fan of this story from the beginning and it never really slumped. That alone is fairly impressive for a wrestling story.
That being said, I was left feeling slightly underwhelmed with the match. It was structured to show Matt having to survive EC3’s dominance until he was able to pretty much sneak out a win at the end. I was hoping they’d do more with Matt’s character to lead him to his victory.
That looked promising at the beginning of the match when Sydal started out aggressive. However, Carter was able to turn it around with a big clothesline and Matt was on the defensive the rest of the match.
His win didn’t feel like he proved something to Carter. In fact, he could have lost if Carter covered him quickly after he hit a One Percenter. Instead EC3 waited and let Sydal roll out of the ring to recover. Sydal eventually was able to escape a TK3 from the top rope and hit a Shooting Star Press for the win.
For a story about Matt Sydal digging deep to find that fire to finally beat Carter, the end of the match didn’t highlight that. The end lacked a sustained fire up from Matt to really get the crowd into it and relay to the fans that he had discovered that other level that Carter claimed he never had.
The finish to the story was the correct one with Sydal winning and this certainly wasn’t a bad match. I was just left underwhelmed given the story they told getting us here and would have preferred more moments of Matt demonstrating he had that killer instinct.
Laurel Van Ness retained her Knockouts championship against Allie. It was a good match. Now that they’ve pretty much dropped the “Allie is still learning how to wrestle” bit, she can open her bag of tricks and have good wrestling matches.
The finish of the bout was subtly set up at the very beginning. The referee went to hand Laurel’s title off before the start of the match. The champ took her title back and carefully placed it on the ring steps. It was a brief moment that was easy to write off as Laurel just being Laurel.
However, after Van Ness was finding Allie tough to put away, she found a moment where the referee took an inadvertent bump from the challenger. The champ took that moment to retrieve the title from where she left it and use it as a weapon to pick up the win. That small little set up at the beginning of the match fed into the payoff of the match, which was a nice touch.
Moose defeated Lashley and much of it was the fault of KM, who was trying to help Bobby though Lashley didn’t want it. These interjections of KM distracted Lashley and allowed Moose to win.
After the match, Dan Lambert got into Lashley’s face telling him this was his fault. And that was enough for the Destroyer, who physically attacked his former companions.
KM received a spear and Dan Lambert was tossed into the ring to a waiting Moose, who kicked him in the face. Moose set up a table in the corner and Lashley speared Lambert through it.
While it’s certainly nice to see Lambert finally get his, this was very rushed. It was only a couple weeks ago that they started teasing that Lashley was having issues with American Top Team, specifically KM and Lambert. For the vast majority of this feud, Lashley was the villain and they didn’t take the proper time to change that. Lashley was complicit in retiring James Storm just a month ago. That isn’t something that should be easily forgotten and yet within a month, he’s flipped.
But that was the rub with this story overall. It was always inconsistent. It certainly had its moments here and there but few of those moments were earned. I’ll be fine if this is the end of the American Top Team era.
Over in Japan
They showed the end of an X Division title match between champion Taiji Ishimori and Andrew Everett. Obviously, the champion got the win. What we saw of the match was impressive.
Pros of the Show:
- Main event still enjoyable despite knowing the ending
- The subtle set up of the finish of the women’s match
Cons of the show:
- Lashley turning on Lambert was too sudden
It was a decent showing this week. Though the real interest will be on next week’s episode, the first from the newest regime.
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