Eric Young loves it when a plan comes together.
Young made a surprise return at Slammiversary in a losing effort of a six-way title match, injured Rich Swann’s ankle in a fit of rage, then toyed with Eddie Edwards’ emotions until it was time to answer the call for his weekly Impact World Championship open challenge. That was all by design. Or so Young claims. The methods may be sketchy, but there is no doubting the result. Young defeated Edwards tonight (Sept. 1, 2020) on Impact Wrestling to become the new champ.
Once the opening bell rang, the two combatants charged forward to exchange fisticuffs. Young hit the first power move with a neckbreaker on the apron.
Young would continue to target Edwards’ neck throughout. Edwards relied on fighting spirit to grit his way through. Signature moves were performed, but they were not enough for early victory.
The tide turned when Edwards tweaked his knee on a slingshot plancha. That was the same knee that was bothering him due to wear and tear of the weekly open challenge. The injury played a role in preventing perfect execution in key moments. For example, Edwards connected on a Tiger Driver, but he couldn’t lock his hands on the pin due to the pain.
Edwards was ready for his Boston Knee Party finisher. Young anticipated the maneuver, so he rolled out of the ring for a breather. Edwards launched for a suicide dive, which did even more damage to his knee.
It was now time for Young to reach into his bag of tricks. While the referee was distracted, he grabbed the Heavyweight belt. The ref caught him and snatched it away. That was a ploy for the real ruse. While the ref’s back was turned, Young grabbed his hockey mask prop to bash Edwards. Young closed it out with a piledriver to win and become new champ.
After the match, Young displayed poor sportsmanship by clipping Edwards’ knee and applying a leglock to rub salt in the wound of losing the title. Young stood tall with satisfaction.
That was a fierce battle with moments of intense physicality and smart storytelling up until the finish. Edwards’ damaged knee played into the story of the weekly challenge grind, and Young focused on the neck to soften Edwards for his piledriver finisher. All that pain put over Edwards’ heart of a champion despite the loss.
One criticism is that this is the second week in a row with a foreign object finish for a PPV-worthy main event on free TV. Deonna Purrazzo used similar tactics in retaining against Jordynne Grace in the 30-minute Iron Man match for the Knockouts Championship. The men’s title fight didn’t need that extra layer of protection for Edwards. The work was already done to weaken his neck and give Young a quality win. Alas, Impact went the route of shenanigans instead.
Did the title fight live up to expectations? Are you excited for Eric Young’s reign as the World Class Maniac?