SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Grand Championship Match: Imagine that, Impact ditches the silly and convoluted Grand Championship rules for the night and the division produces its best match ever. That’s still not even saying much! EC III was an unbearable bully who finally got his and Sydal came out of the match looking better than ever in the promotion. The match took awhile to get going but it ended on the right note. Except there was something holding it back, which we’ll get to in a bit…
The Main Event: A minor hit here. There were too many illogical spots for Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact vs. Eli Drake to have been considered a great match, but the three ended the night with a solid brawl and a creative finish. It was also likely the last six-sides of steel match we’ll ever see in the promotion. That may be a question someday at your local pub for trivia night. Okay. Probably not not.
Overall Show: For the first time in what feels like months, this episode of Impact gets a thumbs up (despite having more misses than hits here). It wasn’t mind-blowing, or filled with fantastic matches or promos that you’ll remember years from now, but it delivered a night of solid wrestling and was perhaps the best way this most recent, amazingly awful era could go out. No goofy comedy, no drawn-out promos, just a lot of in-ring action. More of this in 2018.
ATT Dissolves Way Too Quick: I feel I missed a month or so of storylines with the way the end of Moose and Bobby Lashley played out. Bobby had given Dan Lambert a couple of glances the past couple weeks during promos, but there was no real tension between them. A big reason for that is because Bobby hasn’t talked at length in months! Then out of nowhere he speared his manager through a table, became friendly with Moose, and even did his arm pump. It was comical how abruptly things changed and the turn lacked any sense of emotional punch because of it.
Allie vs. Laurel Van Ness: I’m sad to see Van Ness leave the promotion from a character standpoint, as she was one of the most entertaining acts on the show at times. However, she just isn’t good enough in the ring to be the focal point of the Knockouts Division. Once again she delivered a decent match, but it was far below what you’ve seen from the best women athletes in WWE. It’s also a bit disheartening to see Allie come up short again. She has become Impact’s version of Bayley, who ran out of steam far before she should have. The doubters are continually right about both characters, which means fans eventually stop caring. This may lead to the return of the Cherry Bomb gimmick, but the Allie character should have never sunk this far in the first place.
The X-Division Match: Showing only part of a match will never make it feel important. As good as the action may have been, it was impossible to care when half of it was edited out.
Everyone Is Dumb: Eli Drake, Johnny Impact, and El Patron all looked like gigantic morons in the cage match. El Patron could have easily won when he was on top of the cage, but he tried to hit his mornonic double stomp move from the top instead. The daredevil Johnny Impact also looked foolish for not dropping down when he was at the top of the cage too. He chose to climb down slowly and then Chris Adonis caught him. It was creative, but executed poorly. And I could be mistaken, but I don’t recall TNA/Impact matches ending with someone walking out of the cage. It seems they’ve taken on WWE’s absurd rule now. JUST WALK OUT THE DOOR! Everyone who doesn’t fight by the door is stupid, as another competitor could easily sprint out at anytime.
Obligatory Commentary Miss: Jeremy Borash continues to be awful. I’m sure I’ve used that word to describe him multiple times. I think I’m running out of words to use to describe how bad he is. Hold on, let me check a thesaurus…he was ghastly! Downright ghastly! His work during the X-Division Title match was lousy and he failed to make Matt Sydal’s win seem like a major moment. Is he actually capable of showing human emotion? He feels like a game show host who has been doing the same job five days a week for 30 years and doesn’t give a damn anymore. He just wants to get through work, go home, turn on the TV, and fall asleep on his favorite chair. In the worst call of the night, when Bobby Lashley turned on Dan Lambert and speared him through a table, Borash merely said “are you kidding me?” Not “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” He can’t act shocked. He can’t act. He can’t do play-by-play. I’d rate this show a 6 out of 10 overall, but a more engaged announcer could have easily brought it to a 7 or higher.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: IMPACT HITS & MISSES 1/18: Another dreadful episode, good hype for main event that didn’t air, Chandler Park, Ishimori vs. Xavier