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Impact Wrestling preview (Feb. 15, 2018): First loaded show


Impact Wrestling returns tonight (Feb. 15) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida and tonight is the third episode from the most recent set of tapings.

Here is what’s advertised for tonight:

  • Austin Aries (c) vs. Eli Drake for the Impact world championship
  • Brian Cage debuts
  • EC3 and a mystery partner vs. Matt Sydal and Johnny Impact
  • Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. El Hijo de Fantasma for the X Division championship
  • Lashley vs. Sami Callihan
  • Allie’s secret admirer is revealed

And as per usual, here are our five questions about Impact tonight:

1) Is this Eli’s last stint in the title scene?

Eli Drake held the title for the better part of last year. After winning it in a battle royal after Alberto El Patron was stripped, he’s had a tight grip on the gold until Austin Aries unceremoniously unseated him two weeks ago.

Tonight he gets his rematch.

This match will give us an idea if this is closing out the book on Drake’s first run or if this is another chapter in the championship story for Drake. Even if he does not win, there could be an ending that ensures he is still going to be in the conversation, such as a screwy finish or a non-finish. But if Austin Aries picks up a clean win with no issue, that may be it for the Neighbor of Dummies for awhile. Especially with Johnny Impact holding a title opportunity himself.

2) What will Brian Cage’s role be?

Tonight Brian Cage will debut for Impact. Most of you, like myself, know Cage as the Machine from Lucha Underground. He’s impressively big and athletic.

Likely he’s going to be in the main event scene quickly. A stop for something along the lines of the Grand Championship would surely surprise me. Given the fact that main event guys like Bobby Lashley and EC3 are on the way out, Cage will likely be taking their role in the upper echelon of Impact.

I’m curious to see what kind of segment he’ll be revealed as part of tonight. Will he have an introductory promo segment, a squash match, or will he interrupt someone else’s match/promo segment?

3) Who is EC3’s mystery partner?

Ethan Carter has to find a partner to face Johnny Impact and Matt Sydal tonight.

While I placed this question right below my musings on Brian Cage’s debut, using Cage here would surprise me. For one thing, they’ve announced his debut and they’ve announced the mystery partner bit separate. That makes it feel like it’s two different things. Plus, if Cage is going to be a big deal in Impact, best debut him as his own entity and not someone EC3 brought in to tag with him.

That being said, Carter hasn’t made many friends in Impact. He’s teamed with Alberto El Patron, and they got along rather well as partners, but they certainly do not like each other.

May I suggest Dewey Barnes or Norv Fernum?

4) What ever happened to Braxton Sutter?

Allie has a secret admirer and right in time for Valentine’s Day (well a day late), we learn who that is tonight.

That has me wondering whatever happened to her love interest from the big story last year. It was about a year ago that Braxton Sutter left Laurel Van Ness at the alter for Allie. But he hasn’t been seen much. They teased that he was becoming a controlling boyfriend but then seemed to drop him in general.

Is their relationship still canon? I would assume so but he’s never been addressed so maybe not. We’ll find out tonight who delivered the over-sized card to Allie last week.

(It should go without saying that they’re not debuting Brian Cage here. Or they should debut Brian Cage as both the mystery partner for EC3 AND the mystery love interest for Allie.)

5) Will Impact turn a corner tonight?

Enjoyment of wrestling is subjective. But for me, the person recapping this show weekly, I felt the first two episodes of the new regime were rather underwhelming. There were many random matches without reason. The surprise title change was sloppy. There was a general lack of excitement.

However, with any new creative team, they need time to get into the flow of things. That may take more than just one taping. But within this taping, this episode may serve as a bit of a turning point for them to really start enacting their vision.

The show is loaded and it promises more stories to watch for. Drake vs. Aries may have been sloppy the first time because it was pretty much a surprise hot potato but their rematch should be very good. Brian Cage is a big player and likely in their plans for a while. Hania vs. Rosemary is a match with a reason to it.

It’s going to take more time than just three episodes to really see the vision of Scott D’Amore and Don Callis, but this episode may start to establish the direction for this set of tapings.

Impact Wrestling airs tonight at 8 EST on Pop TV. Who’s watching?

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