Gauntlet For The Gold Hype: The black and white videos featuring many of the participants in the Gauntlet for the Gold match were well done and made the match feel more important. It reminded me of the early ‘90s when the WWF would let each competitor in the Royal Rumble state their case as to why they were going to win. Both promotions should be taking this approach for big matches featuring multiple competitors. As a side note, it’s possible it was just my TV, but the music on these promos were so loud and overly-dramatic that I struggled to hear what they were saying at times.
The Main Event: This was a one match show and it was a good one. The final five minutes of the elimination part of the match were entertaining, and Edwards and Drake delivered a brief finale that put over the new top heel in a strong way.
Drake Wins The Gold: Ideally, Eli Drake wouldn’t have won the title for another six months or a year. The man had zero momentum heading into his big moment. He was a guy who lost to a football player and was intimidated by the Swole guys. Then he quit talking on TV for weeks. Then he wins the biggest belt in the company. So yes, the build was terrible. Still, I’ve been harping for months that Drake deserves better, so it’s hard to be too down on the idea. I wish there was a happy medium between doing nothing and being champ for the foreseeable future, but I’ll take it. The move mixes things up and casts a fresh, talented, non-former WWE face in the spotlight.
Taya’s Video: Another good pre-debut vignette for a GFW wrestler. Taya Valkyrie has been a blast in Lucha Underground over the past few years, and she should make an excellent addition to the Impact roster. It appears they’re not going to pair her with her fiancee Johnny Impact, but that’s fine. The Knockouts desperately need some new faces, and Impact will probably be cast as a face for the time being. They can always be put them together on-air down the road.
Cornette and Eddie: I’m still quite down on the idea of Jim Cornette being cast as an authority figure, but overall he had a good night on Impact (though a bit overexposed) . His sit-down with Eddie Edwards talking about the time they first met was an especially believable and honest moment that we could use more of in wrestling.
Joseph Park: I can’t help it. Joseph Park continues to entertain me! I didn’t find his pairing with Jeremy Borash funny 95 percent of the time, but somehow he clicks with Grado. It may not even be Grado. It’s just Park’s absurdly ridiculous, over-the-top facial expressions that better belong on a TGIF sitcom from the ’90s that crack me up. The proposal segment itself was a train wreck that for some was likely embarrassingly awful. Somehow I’m giving it a hit. I may come to regret this later in life.
Overall Show: This marks three weeks in a row where Impact delivered an entertaining show. No Karen Jarrett. No Bruce Prichard. No Pope. Just one long match that was given a great deal of importance beforehand. More of this, please!
Grand Championship Entrants: Cornette was brought in to the company to make sure wrestlers get a fair chance, to restore law and order, and whatnot. Well, he basically screwed over half the roster in the first championship match he booked. He proved that he hadn’t been watching Impact last week when he had no idea who the Tag Team Champions were. This week he further solidified that notion with who he decided to put in the Gauntlet for the Gold match. Suicide has literally not won a single match since he came back to the promotion, yet he was an entrant. Fallah Bahh has maybe won one. Ishimori got a shot, but not Dezmond Xavier, the man who beat him in the finals of the Super X Cup. And Richard Justice had never wrestled a single match in the company and yet was somehow involved! I’d be pissed off I was…oh…let’s say Santana, Ortiz, Homicide, The Veterans of War, Matt Sydal, Sonjay Dutt, Abyss, OVE, Jeremy Borash, or really, anyone who has ever won a match in the company. Ever. Of course, this includes Cheex.
Gail The Bad Friend: Much like Eddie Edwards was made to look like a jerk when he never responded to Davey Richards claims that he never came to visit him in the hospital, GFW is now playing the same card with Gail Kim. Taryn Terrell said she went to Kim’s HOF ceremony and kept trying to reach out to her to no avail. Hopefully there’s some sort of explanation this time. Also, I don’t like to harp on attire too much, but over in NXT, Asuka and Ember Moon put on a brilliant match at Takeover and looked like athletes while doing it. Terrell literally looked like she was wearing lingerie to the ring. She also had to cover her top to avoid a wardrobe malfunction on the way out. It felt like a moment from the Russo era. Not sure that’s what GFW should be going for in 2017.
The Big Surprise: GFW, I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but when you give away a surprise, it is therefore no longer a surprise. That’s just kind of how it goes. They delivered a non-surprise, really. Last week Impact ended with a video of Johnny Impact announcing his upcoming arrival. This week they hyped a surprise entrant for the Gauntlet for the Gold. Since Johnny had already been announced, I assumed there was someone else coming. Nope. And in one of the dumbest moments of the year in either WWE or GFW, there was a freaking poster in Jim Cornette’s office of Johnny Impact! Somehow not one of the wrestlers who came into the room bothered to look three feet to their right to see it. The announcers must have decided to close their eyes during these skits as well. It’s the only logical explanation.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: GFW IMPACT HITS & MISSES 8/17: Cornette, Pope, Borash, Eli Drake, Karen screaming, MMA talk, Petey Williams