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Impact Wrestling preview (Feb. 22, 2018): EC3’s last shot at the top

Impact Wrestling returns tonight (Feb. 22) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida and is the fourth episode from the most recent set of tapings.

Here is what’s advertised for tonight:

  • EC3 vs. Johnny Impact for the #1 contender spot
  • Moose vs. Alberto El Patron
  • oVe vs. Lashley & Eddie Edwards
  • LAX vs. the Cult of Lee in a non title match
  • Matt Sydal (c) vs. Petey Williams for the Grand Championship
  • Brian Cage returns
  • Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong call out Abyss

As per usually, here are our five questions regarding Impact tonight:

1) Will EC3 get one more title match?

As a result of being pinned by Ethan Carter in a tag match last week, Johnny Impact has to defend his right to a championship opportunity against him. With EC3 on his way out and over to NXT, it seems likely he won’t get placed into a major title program. But at the same time, running Austin Aries vs. EC3 before Carter departs isn’t a bad move.

It’s a match that may have happened in Impact before as they were both there at the same time, but certainly not one that sticks in my memory at least. And if they could run it one time as a big title match before Carter leaves, that’s worth doing.

Johnny Impact will get his big title match, and likely a title win, eventually. But it would make some sense to put that on hold to see EC3 and Austin go head to head on the mic and in the ring while they still can.

2) What’s Lashley’s exit plan?

Much like EC3, this is Lashley’s final taping with Impact. Now he hasn’t showed up at a WWE show yet, so it’s entirely possible they don’t work something out and he’s back in Impact at some point in the future. But as of this taping, it’s a final for now at least.

It looks like the final stage of his run will be as a babyface. He recently pushed American Top Team aside. Then more recently, he was the target of oVe and needed help from babyface Eddie Edwards to fend them off.

He teams with his old foe Edwards to take on Dave and Jake Crist tonight, but to what end, we don’t know. Will this lead to him facing Sami Callihan again and putting him over in a big way on the way out? And what does this indicate for Eddie, who’s been rather lost as of late? Tonight could give us our first clue in all of that.

3) How long will Cage be a squashin’?

Brian Cage debuted last week and looked impressive in a brief squash match. My money is on another squash match tonight. How long he’ll be putting down jobbers remains to be seen.

Eventually he’ll need to transition to a feud. The question is how long and with whom. I don’t think we’ll learn that tonight as he’ll probably end up crushin’ another dude. But hopefully we see him move onto another program sooner than later.

4) Is Chandler Park still a thing?

At the last taping, Ethan Page debuted in Impact as Chandler Park, the cousin of Joseph Park (who is the alter ego of Abyss). Page did great in the role of Chandler, fitting right into the Park family.

Most recently (at the last taping) Chandler was defeated by Kongo Kong in Jimmy Jacobs’ quest to bring Abyss out of Joseph. (This will continue tonight when Jacobs calls out the monster.) Since the beating, Chandler hasn’t been seen, making me wonder if his stint with Impact was brief. Hopefully not because he was highly entertaining in the role and I really wanted to see whether or not Chandler had his own Abyss inside him.

5) Why non-title?

LAX will face the Cult of Lee in a non-title match. That just screams the trope that the challengers must beat the champs to get to face the champs again with the titles on the line.

While it happens everywhere, Impact hasn’t seemed to rely on that trope as much as other promotions. But why else would they book a non-title match here tonight if not to set up the eventual title feud in the future?

Maybe we’ll learn there’s a different reason for booking it non-title, but I’ll be surprised if LAX gets a win here.

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

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