Impact Wrestling returned last night (May 17) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. You can find all the results in the live blog here.
I was apprehensive of Impact giving is us a big match in the Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan story at a show that wasn’t filmed in the Impact Zone. While there have been matches out of the Impact Zone that have been OK, many come off looking bush league.
Unfortunately, this was one of them.
The camera work was all over the place and just looked amateur. (And it probably was.) When the men brawled over the arena, which happens often in street fights, the camera had a tough time keeping up with them. There were a couple moments neither man was on screen at all as the cameras tried to locate them. And on a smaller level of annoyance, the House of Hardcore logo wasn’t far enough in the corner of the screen and was a bit distracting.
When the match finally moved into the ring, things weren’t as bad. But it still would have looked much better in the Impact Zone. And running a big match which is part of a big feud in a place that makes the quality look poor isn’t a wise move.
The bout itself was good when you could follow it. It picked up when they were in the ring, or maybe I just noticed it more because the cameras didn’t have to chase after them as much. This had its share of brutality to earn the stipulation. It was Eddie who was victorious when he hit the Boston Knee Party as Sami was about to use his bat as a weapon.
After the match, Eddie was right back on the attack, choking out Sami with his own bat until security pried him off.
Prior to the match, Eddie told Tommy Dreamer no matter what happens, this wouldn’t be the end of it. And it sure looks like that is the case. Mathews even had a good line saying “When does Eddie Edwards become the villain?” That’s clearly the next part of this story, a story that I hope spends more time in the Impact Zone than outside it.
The It Factor
Tessa Blanchard won her first Impact match this week against Kiera Hogan. When she tried to attack Kiera post match, Madison Rayne, who was on commentary, came down to the ring and pulled her off.
Tessa just has it in that ring. She has the look. She has the attitude. And she can wrestle. She’s a huge get for Impact and can be one of their top Knockouts for a longtime. In short, she’s a star.
That’s not to take away from Kiera, who is newer to the ring but has a huge amount of upside. She started the match on fire, living up to her nickname. Given how Tessa attacked her last week, that’s the appropriate response. It’s simple, but I really appreciate when the emotion of the match meets what got them there. Even if it was just one segment.
Madison as a first real feud for Tessa is a great call. Rayne is very good in the ring and a highly decorated Knockout. They can have themselves a great match or two and give Tessa the ability to claim she beat one of the best when it’s all said and done.
Who are these masked men?
In the main event, El Hijo de Fantasma & Pentagon Jr. defeated Matt Sydal & Austin Aries.
This match had plenty of championship implications. Sydal defends his X Division title against Fantasma next week while Pentagon defends his world title against Aries two weeks at the Under Pressure special.
Despite that, and despite the match being technically fine, I struggled to get invested. A big part of that was the fact the luchadors don’t have match going on when it comes to characters in Impact. They’re talented wrestlers and Pentagon has a great look, but otherwise we don’t know anything about them.
So while the match was good, with a fun finish that should indicate some fun title matches in our near future, there was nothing about it that had that hook.
The relatively new team of DJZ and Andrew Everett defeated Scott Steiner and Eli Drake to win the tag team championships as Eli Drake’s poor run continues.
It was a miscommunication between the former tag champs that did them in. Steiner accidentally hit Drake with a chair when he thought it was DJZ grabbing him. It certainly looked innocent enough, but who knows.
The team of Z & E are exciting will make for fun tag team champs. The division is still rather thin though. There’s LAX, oVe, the Cult of Lee, and Steiner/Drake (who I bet don’t last much longer as a team). They likely need one or two more so they’re not recycling feuds. (Speaking of, LAX and Cult of Lee are fighting again next week.)
This makes two really bad weeks for Eli Drake in a row. He cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase last week and challenged Pentagon Jr. for the world title. Not only did he not win but it was a very unimpressive outing, not even hitting the ten minute mark. Now he lost the tag titles. Looks like Drake’s current story is of a man experiencing a bit of a slump. And that’s a fine story. Wins and losses matter and the story should be how he’s going to respond to a really bad two weeks.
Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.
Grado may need to move on for Katarina. Because she is bad for his health.
Our Scottish friend was backstage accusing Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong of being the mystery attacker, injuring his friend Joseph Park last week. Jimmy denied it, saying they aren’t going to attack someone mysteriously. But if Grado wanted to continuing making accusations, they can beat him up face to face. It looked like Grado was going to make the wise decision and back off until Katarina talked the trash for him and got him into a match with Kongo Kong later in the night.
And of course, Grado lost. Now, it has looked like Grado is being treated a bit more seriously in the ring since he came back. He’s still comedy, but even this week it looked like he was able to at least stagger the big man. That’s for the better. Pure comedy Grado has more of a ceiling than one that you can believe in the ring.
Katarina, who got him into this mess, bailed to the back immediately after the match, leaving poor Grado to get beaten further by Kongo Kong. In fact, it looked like Kong was going to lawndart him into the ring steps like he did Johnny Impact until Moose made the save.
This was a good save spot. Grado is goofy, but I like the guy and didn’t want to see him take the move that has kept Johnny off TV for over a month. Moose is a big man and matches up well with Kongo Kong. I’m not all in on Moose as a top guy, but they’ve done enough that I’m certainly into seeing Kong and Moose fight again.
Rest in Fire
The funeral for Rosemary was a taped segment where the Undead Brides take the wooden coffin housing the Demon Assassin into a cemetery. Su Yung places dead flowers on the casket and then mists it, which sets it on fire.
All of this is going to be filed under the “Your Mileage May Vary” banner. Wrestling can be a lot of things. It can be silly or serious. It can be blood feuds or technical masterpieces. And it can be fantasy. Some people like it and others don’t.
I’m a fan and this did it pretty well. I enjoyed the music they used and the image of all the undead brides carrying a wooden casket through a forest and cemetery for Su Yung to set it on fire. (The fire was almost getting a bit much for me, but I’m still into it.)
Pros of the Show:
- Tessa Blanchard looks like a star
- Exciting new tag champs
- Moose saving Grado was a good spot
Cons of the Show:
- The Street Fight had a real amateur look given the camera work
- Pentagon & Fantasma are a bit lacking in the character department
This was a pretty packed show and almost everything had a purpose. It was definitely disappointing that the Street Fight didn’t look better on TV, but otherwise, this was a solid show.
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