SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Edwards vs. Sydal: Impact has done a great job in starting off the show lately. They’re constantly mixing up their approaches. This week they just gave us an entertaining match. However, Eddie Edwards losing seems like the wrong call. He should be kept strong in his hot feud with Davey Richards. But overall, this X-Division-style match was better than 95 percent of what we’ve seen in WWE’s Cruiserweight Division this year.
KM’s Paper Problems: I gave KM’s segment a miss last week, but somehow this turned things around for me. His gimmick is that he’s a liar, and he will threaten people when they call him out for it. It’s simple and maybe stupid, but it kind of reminds me (in its randomness) to Gene Snitksky’s “It wasn’t. My. Fault!”, which worked for a bit. Sometimes little things can go a long way.
An Actual Good Call: WWE’s announcing style is often maddening. One of the most frustrating things they do is have someone claim, “That’s it! We have a new champion!”, which every single time it’s not the actual finish. In the women’s match on Impact, Sienna hit Christina Von Eerie with her finisher and Josh Mathews yelled that we had a new GFW champion. It then actually happened! It reflected reality, as a finisher should mean it’s over, and thus, an announcer should make that claim. I was shocked that it was the finish, but all of wrestling needs more of that. Reverse psychology no longer works!
William Weeks: The best jobber since the introduction of James Ellsworth has arrived. Let’s just hope Impact doesn’t overdo it like WWE has. William Weeks had the perfect look and demeanor for someone to be brutalized by Kongo Kong. Laurel Van Ness also shined in this segment with her over-the-top facial expressions and manic body language. Somehow the Kong/Van Ness pairing is really working at the moment.
Eli Drake: This man should be an Impact main-eventer by year’s end. He’s confident, charismatic, and improving in the ring. He had an entertaining backstage segment with Bruce Prichard and then followed it up with a really good match with Alberto El Patron. Simply, he was the MVP of the show.
Sad Spud: Humor is highly subjective, but for me, the funniest wrestling line of 2017 so far is “Why’d he do it? Why me? I didn’t mean to pull down his pants.” I strongly disliked Swoggle’s hammer attack on Rockstar Spud last week. However, the black and white, overdramatic video with sad music playing this week was hilariously absurd (with one unnecessary addition, more on that below).
Overall Show: Unfortunately, I don’t have an official list going, but I’d say this week’s show was probably in the top three of the “newest era” Impact episodes so far. It may have even been the best! The announcing was less annoying, the matches were entertaining, and nothing amazingly embarrassing happened. I’ll gladly take it.
Morgan vs. Magnus: Matt Morgan has been a nice return for Impact, but the company should have put more effort into making his match with Magnus mean more. It could have used at least one week of hype at the minimum. Also, Morgan just didn’t look great here. He wasn’t awful by any means, but it seemed he had a bit of ring rust slowing him down (which is understandable since he’s only had a couple matches in the past few years). He should have received the Kongo Kong treatment and ran through a series of jobbers before having a marquee match.
Sad Dutt: Give Impact credit for taking a real-life injury and turning it into a storyline to give it some extra heat. Well, it was nice until Sonjay Dutt started becoming far too dramatic. He basically was wondering if he should quit the entire wrestling business because of his eye. It’s not like he broke both of his legs, or had his eye fall out or anything! It was just a big (though quite nasty) bruise. He was also upset about whether Low Ki “did it on purpose.” Well…yeah Sonjay, he should be trying to hurt you on purpose. It is a fight after all. Imagine the media reaction if Conor McGregor walked out of a UFC fight and openly wondered if his opponent was trying to hurt him on purpose.
Pain Pills For Comedy: I had missed the first 30 seconds of the sketch and didn’t catch the full thing until after the show. Despite my initial love of it, Mike McMahon on the Livecast made a great point that the addition of pain pills in the skit was tacky. Watching wrestling as a teenager in the Attitude Era, it seemed that one wrestler after the next was passing away every couple months from drugs, suicide or pain pills. Other TV shows could get away with that (I just watched an old episode of Impractical Jokers last night where Q took prescription medication while dressed as a clown in front of a bunch of children as a joke, but they haven’t lost multiple cast members due to pill addiction), but due to wrestling’s history, it’s best to stay far away from continual real-life tragedies in any form.
Mathews Is Confused: Of course, he’s here again. Josh Mathews was a babyface for 70% of the night and a heel for 30% of it. He was afraid that Eddie Edwards was going to get his legs broken, but then gleefully cheered on other heels. It was bad, but this was the least annoying night of commentary since the feud with Jeremy Borsah began. It’s still FAR from being good, or even mediocre, but for once, I didn’t want to give my TV a powerbomb due to the announcing.
The Walking Corpse Known As GFW: Why does anyone want one of these belts? The company doesn’t exist anymore! Seriously, if you have a GFW title, what are you going to do with it? There aren’t any ballpark shows to defend it at this summer! I imagine they’ll merge some gold at Slammiversary, but that should have been stated at the outset. It’s hard to get invested in a title being defended that you’ve never even seen it before.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: IMPACT HITS & MISSES 4/28: Sydal beats Trevor Lee, Karen Jarrett as authority figure, Swoggle, EC3, Storm, Magnus, Josh Matthews