Petey Williams in the Opener: It was cool to see Impact capitalize on the major ovation Petey Williams received at Bound For Glory. Watching him in the opening segment challenging Eli Drake was a nice change of pace and provided for a fresh matchup. Even better is that the match was hyped at the beginning of the episode and won’t take place until the main event of the following week. Somehow it’s incredibly rare for WWE or Impact to promote matches a single week out. It’s an easy way to give fans something to look forward to, yet has become a lost art. However, it would have been nice had the company actually given Petey some wins over the past couple months to actually justify his title shot!
Sydal vs. Dutt: A long TV match featuring only two X Division competitors (compared to the usual four or six) and a clean finish. It was also smart to move EC III onto a feud with Matt Sydal. It gets Carter away from the awful AAA storyline (which thankfully appears to be dead with Eddie Edwards and El Hijo del Fantasma embracing post-match) and finally features Sydal in a meaningful role once again after his win against Bobby Lashley a few months ago.
OVE vs. Jobbers: A good, high energy squash match. The addition of Sami Callihan has livened up OVE and a switch back to the heel side (I think… maybe?) seems like a better fit for the group. I’ve been incredibly down on the Crist brothers since they’ve joined Impact, but for the first time ever, they didn’t come across as a pair of dorks.
Backstage Brawls: Brawls backstage in wrestling are often very wild, so it’s surprising that other wrestlers don’t occasionally just get caught in the crossfire. Poor Braxton Sutter and Caleb Konley got beat up this week because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time! Johnny Impact and Alberto El Patron put on a wild, chaotic, and entertaining brawl that was a great way to end the show. It reminded me of the Roddy Piper fistfight in They Live. The more ridiculously long it went on, the more fun it became.
Overall Show: Huge improvement over the past month of TV. Of course, the past few weeks of Impact were all sorts of awful and illogical, but this was actually quite a bit of fun. It was easily one of the top five episodes of the year. I’d also put it above Raw and Smackdown for overall most entertaining wrestling show of the week. It’s best not to get too excited about this promotion, but if the new creative team can produce a few months worth of shows like this (yes, months!) then they may finally be able to win back some of the many, many fans who have given up on the product.
GWN Flashbacks: Usually promotional flashbacks of past matches are short, not a couple minutes long. To hype the GWN, they showed footage from an old TNA pay-per-view. It went on way too long. They even aired a reverse chinlock! Take my $7.99! There was some good action, but it was so random I was wondering what the point of it all was. When I saw Scott D’Amore in the footage, it all seemed to make sense. Call me a conspiracy theorist but he always finds a way to work himself into a show!
BCW Match: The show was going well until they went to this dark, amateurish footage once more. Well played Scott D’Amore. Jeff Jarrett got Anthem to buy his dead GFW brand and bring it to TV, now D’Amore gets to show matches from his minor league promotion on Impact. It may benefit his company (maybe) but it looks bad on national TV and basically stopped the show’s momentum completely
Camera Angles: I don’t know if this was a new Canadian camera guy who was hired, but whoever was assigned to shoot wrestlers coming down the entrance way did a truly bizarre job. They kept running in back-and-forth and tilting the camera left and right randomly. I don’t recall ever seeing such weird, shoddy work. Hopefully after seeing this in post, the team decides “drunken cameraman” isn’t a good visual style to pursue.
Josh and J.B.: New creative direction, same lousy announce team. Josh Mathews was putting over Jimmy Jacobs, then moments later made fun of him. Why? Why would you book your buzzworthy new free agent to be talked down to by an overbearing, unfunny, unpopular color commentator? Meanwhile, Jeremy Borash showed a complete lack of interest in El Patron trying to break Johnny Impact’s arm. He had the enthusiasm and passion of reading over his grocery list out loud. Par for the course for this duo who somehow, someway become worse by the week.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: IMPACT BOUND FOR GLORY PPV HITS & MISSES 11/5: Alberto’s return, Eli retains, Jimmy Jacobs debuts, Atmosphere, Abyss-Grado, Commentary