SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The LAX Video: One thing Impact could do to stand out from WWE is to have more mature content on their show. Sadly, “mature” in the past usually meant objectifying women and gratuitous amount of hardcore matches. But using Rated R language at key times feels realistic and gives the product an edge. Konnan dropping the f-word (but having it muted) was one of those occasions. Even the most badass wrestlers in WWE aren’t going to be able to do something like that (well, except for Brock Lesnar). Overall, the segment was well shot and a huge improvement from the production values of Impact in the past.
Laurel Continues Losing It: I can often go a month without genuinely laughing at something in WWE or Impact, but between The Miz and Maryse parodying Total Bellas, and Laurel Van Ness still being a complete trainwreck, I got a few chuckles this week. Not sure how much longer they can keep this going, but a couple minutes of Van Ness an episode is still entertaining at this point.
Cody’s Attack: Cody emerged from a limo, the camera followed him, he picked up a chair and attacked Moose from behind. That was it, and I dug it. The way they filmed the segment made for an interesting visual and it was a nice way to keep their feud going. Also, props to Impact for announcing Tag Title matches and Grand Championship matches a week in advance.
The Crowd: I have no idea why everyone at the Impact Zone was so excited for some parts of this episode, but they genuinely seemed to enjoy it. The past couple of years Impact has often been tough to watch, due in part to how uninterested the crowd has been. There are times when you would feel bad for the wrestlers, because they weren’t getting any sort of reaction. So far in this new era, the crowd is genuinely invested, which makes for a better show. New acts like Laredo Kid and Garza Jr. received big reactions, and they felt like emerging stars. But seriously…why did Karen Jarrett get that pop?
ODB Returns: I hated her match (more on that below), but ODB coming back is a good move. The Knockouts desperately need some more talent, and she’s a fun character who adds some energy into the show. Here’s to hoping Alissa Flash, Hamada and Awesome Kong also get another opportunity.
Fallah Bahh Jobs: It’s too soon to say if Bahh is going to be a big star, but he has an interesting look that makes him stand out in a good way. Unfortunately, he was taken off his feet multiple times and pinned by Mahabali Shera. Imagine that happening to Yokozuna in his debut! If Bahh is so green and they have no plans on bringing him back, then I guess it’s fine. But if he’s going to be working more, having him do the job feels like a mistake. They should have got something out of having the big man toppled. Also a bit disheartening was Shera continuing to look dominant. It may make business sense as they’re soon heading to India, but from an entertainment standpoint it’s not a lot of fun to watch.
Bobby’s Sit Down: I’m not sure what they were going for with this. Bobby Lashley came across as way too friendly in his sit-down interview with Bruce Prichard. While his dialogue was a bit heelish, his demeanor and tone of voice made him seem like a real friendly guy that you’d want to hang out with. He put on an entertaining squash match later on, but I was more distracted by looking for clues as to whether he was turning. Nope!
Rebel Returns: Why? My only guess is that having her on the roster means Shera is no longer the greenest wrestler on Impact.
Arrest Earl: Someone in management has a fascination with Earl Hebner making out and being touched by the Knockouts. He’s kissed Madison Rayne multiple times in the past, and has been rolled over time and time again by the women during matches. It gets scummier every time out. A man forcing a woman to kiss him should have never been a spot for a babyface, but in 2017 it’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s virtually nothing Rebel could do to him to justify that, but someone in the back has a weird Earl fetish that makes for uncomfortable TV.
Karen’s Return: No wrestling show should ever end with fans wondering how Josh Matthews will respond to being slapped. What a bucket of dog vomit this was. Last week LAX returned to close out Impact on a hot note, and this week we were gifted with Karen Jarrett. KAREN JARRETT?!?! Where to begin with this? First off, why was the crowd so happy to see her? Shame on all of you! Also, who is in control: Karen, Bruce Prichard or Dutch Mantell? Why would she show up but not Jeff Jarrett? Who in management thinks that the one thing Impact needed was an all-encompassing authority figure storyline? Why did Josh Matthews—of all people—confront her? While Josh was playing a heel, I couldn’t help but think his line about Madison Rayne forgetting more about the Knockouts than Karen ever learned about them is 100% true! And yet, Karen laughed as if it was an absurd statement. Does anyone out there believe she watched TNA before she started with the company or after she left? I don’t know where this is headed, and I don’t care. As much as I enjoyed last week’s show, this was a mediocre offering capped off with a craptastic ending.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: IMPACT HITS & MISSES 3/16: Suicide is back, Match Length, LAX “surprise,” Announce Team, Cody, Alberto vs. EC3