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Impact Wrestling Redemption recap and reactions: Cero Miedo


Impact Wrestling debuted their Redemption pay-per-view (PPV) last night. You can find the results at the live thread here.

Overall thoughts:

Every time I recap an Impact PPV, and that’s not often since there’s usually only two per year, I look at it as more than just a PPV. And that’s because so often, Impact has something bigger going on. Sometimes it was financial issues that jeopardized the show. There was one a few years back that looked like it feasibly could be their last PPV. Other times, there was a new management team. Or the company was for sale. Or there was another new management team.

With all the narratives that surrounded this company during those shows, the PPV itself took on more life than just an in-ring wrestling show. It was their possible last hurrah or a new vision or a different, newer vision. And that put added pressure on the show, and the performers participating, to be more than just a wrestling show.

In a way, you could argue last night’s Redemption PPV had a narrative outside the show. There is a new regime that’s running the promotion. And there was the news of the Alberto El Patron release.

But even with that, tonight didn’t feel like it was carrying extra weight. While the Don Callis/Scott D’Amore regime is new and still finding what works and what doesn’t, there is already a feeling of stability. Hell, in this show, they advertised the next time they are on PPV in July. Because of that, this show didn’t need to be the greatest show ever. And it wasn’t. Few shows are. But it was an entertaining three hours of wrestling. That’s all it needed to be.

They switched up the commentary team, adding Don Callis, who replaced Sonjay Dutt. However, they kept Josh Mathews, even removing him from his role as Matt Sydal’s heater. That’s an interesting move as Sonjay was doing a pretty good job on color commentary while Josh was the announcer who grated the most nerves. But we’ll have to give it time to see how it gels.

Flow wise, Redemption started light and got stronger as the night went on. The early matches consisted of exhibition matches and the tag match, which due to the involvement of Steiner, was likely the closest thing to a dud on this show. As they worked their way up the card, the show picked up. From the X Division title, to the hardcore match (which had the night’s best angle), to the Knockouts title, to the shocking title change in the main event. It had a slow build and ended with a bang. That’s how it should be structured.

Now about that main event.

Pentagon Jr. def. Austin Aries (c) & Fenix to win the world title

This was a shocker.

But it was the right kind of shocker. It wasn’t something manufactured just for buzz. It was a man winning a title match. It was just a man that no one would have guessed would win.

That creates buzz with the fan base and may get some new eyes on the product. But it’s not some over-the-top BS that will have people rolling their eyes like past attempts to generate some interest.

The match was great. These men delivered a multitude of impressive maneuvers, most of whose names I probably don’t know. With the action, they were able to build the drama. It was a match with no real build, but by the end, when Aries took a superkick from both brothers that would eventually doom him, I realized I was hooked in.

Aries took the pin so there is no question that Pentagon Jr is the rightful champion. He even broke Aries’ arm in the process like he has many a foe on Lucha Underground. The breaking of the arm is a move that will have fans curious on Aries’ status. In LU, that’s a very protected move. What’s the status for Aries in Impact given that?

This was a well done, no frills main event match with a surprising finish that has me looking forward to seeing what’s next.

That’s a win.

oVe def. Eddie Edwards, Moose, & Tommy Dreamer. Post match, Eddie snaps, attacking everyone in site

I was very weary when they added Dreamer to the Eddie vs. Sami Callihan/oVe story and decided to represent their best feud as a random six man hardcore match.

But it ended up being a fantastic addition to their top story.

The match itself delivered. Often hardcore matches can get lost, but these six kept it moving without losing sight of the story they’re telling. oVe are vicious bastards who will do anything. Eddie Edwards has been pushed to the limit and wants his revenge but is still a target of the sadistic Callihan. Throughout table spots and tacks spots, that was never lost.

Sami Callihan earned the win for his team. Tommy Dreamer tried to use a barbed wire bat to the face of Sami but instead was rolled up.

But that was only the beginning.

Eddie Edwards snapped, attacking the man who has antagonized him every step of the way. It started as catharsis but soon became uncomfortable. Edwards took the barbed wire bat and rubbed it against Sami’s forehead, busting him open. Then Eddie taped his arms to the ropes, kicked the defenseless Callihan in the groin, and then beat him mercilessly with a kendo stick.

The referee tried to stop him but got attacked by Eddie for his troubles. Dreamer tried as well and got shoved aside. Eventually Edwards’ wife Alisha ran down to the ring, concerned with what her husband was becoming. She put her hand on Eddie’s back but he instinctively turned around swinging the kendo stick and knocked her out with it.

The closing scene was the medics tending to Alisha while Callihan was taped up to the ropes bloodied and unconscious. All the work of Eddie Edwards.

This is the most interesting Eddie Edwards has ever been in Impact. The man was pushed and pushed and pushed and finally snapped. He displayed a sadistic side we’d never seen, even rubbing the blood of Callihan on his face. And can you blame him? Sami has been torturing him for months.

But now what? Is Eddie going to atone for his actions tonight? Or is he going to embrace them? I for one can’t wait to find out.

Scott Steiner & Eli Drake def. LAX (c) to win the tag team championships

This one caught me by surprise.

Match wise, this was enjoyable when it was Drake, Santana, and Ortiz. Those three are really good workers. Scott Steiner, however, is not. At least not in 2018. Yes, he hit a Frankensteiner. But the landing from it wasn’t pretty and just moving around did not look easy for the veteran.

Konnan wasn’t ringside for this. Apparently, he was attacked by an unknown assailant prior to the match. This had LAX fighting angrier, but not smarter. In fact, that may have well cost them the titles.

It looked like LAX was going to win with the double team Street Sweeper on Eli Drake, but instead Santana decided to dive onto Steiner outside the ring. Drake capitalized with a Gravy Train to Ortiz and the victory. This seems like the mistake that a manager like Konnan would have made sure didn’t happen.

Those subtle details, which were addressed on commentary, are always appreciated. If something changes for the wrestlers, it affects their attitude and their match.

As for Steiner as an Impact tag champion, we’ll see where it goes. It’s not a move I’d make when they’re trying to brand themselves as a new promotion. Doing that and putting a title on an old timer at the same time is a curious decision. And each championship match is guaranteed some lulls in the in-ring action until they lose it. But we’ll see if this is a short term reign.

Allie (c) def. Su Yung to retain the Knockouts championship

This was a fine match, though I never felt these women fully clicked chemistry wise through out this feud. The post match shenanigans were the actual entertainment.

Braxton Sutter was at ringside and once again, he tried to affect the match. But after he prevented Allie from winning, she punched him in the face, knocking him off the apron. Su Yung tried to take advantage of the moment with a Panic Switch but Allie reversed it for a roll up victory.

The Undead Bride was obviously angry she lost. Sutter noticed this so he did the only thing he knows how. He proposed to her.

Su responded by misting him in the face and then applying the mandible claw. It’s always fun watching Braxton get his ass kicked.

This feud needed to happen, even if the chemistry wasn’t fully there. It gave Allie a big win, established Su Yung as a force in the division, and reminds us all that Braxton Sutter is the loseriest of losers. Now Allie can move onto her next feud (and there are plenty of options), Su Yung can move on too (don’t think I didn’t notice that like Rosemary, she has a misting), and Braxton can continue to do really well in the role of comedic relief.

Matt Sydal (c) def. Petey Williams to retain the X Division championship

This match was built around Petey’s finish, the Canadian Destroyer. He fell a bit too in love with it as he tried for it again and again. The last time, Matt was able to reverse it into a pinfall for the win. Live by the Destroyer, die by the Destroyer.

This wasn’t a quick, high flying affair, but I appreciate that the X Division title bouts have moved from multi-man matches to one on one feuds with real builds that take their time in the ring. That was something that was missing from Impact for years.

Josh Mathews is finished as the heater for Matt Sydal, presumably doing commentary full time again. Sydal doesn’t need him. He is obnoxious enough with his current persona without Josh. But they had just started it. It’s curious to see it end this soon.

Tessa Blanchard joins Impact

This was announced during the Taya Valkyrie/Kiera Hogan match when Tessa joined commentary to discuss that she’s coming to Impact. It was clear that this was the real focus of the segment and not the match itself.

Tessa is a big get for the promotion and will help add to the ranks of a talented roster. The division had issues with depth, but that looks like it’s being slowly rectified.

Brian Cage wins the six pack challenge

The six pack challenge involving Brian Cage and others they couldn’t get on the card went exactly as you may have predicted. It was a designed to make Brian Cage look good. And boy did he look good.

He moves like a cruiserweight. This is a bonafide heavyweight moving around like a man half his size... and it looks natural! He’s something special.

It wasn’t all Cage though. Everyone got a chance to shine. For a match with nothing behind it, this was a blast to watch.

Aerostar def. Drago

This was your typical exhibition. With no story behind it, it was all about dazzling in the open match. It was an athletic performance that the crowd was into and that’s what’s most important. Personally, matches with zero build with talent who are part of a different promotion don’t do much for me, but they warmed up the crowd and that was their task.

In the end, this was a good show. There were a lot of strong performances in the ring. The Eddie Edwards’ angle was fantastic. The show got better as the night went on and ended with a bang.

Grade: B+

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