SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: OVE and Drago and Aerostar were delivering an entertaining match before Eddie Edwards came back for some more revenge. It was an energetic way to start the show. While there’s been some stumbles along the way, Edward vs. Sami Callihan continues to be the most intriguing angle going on in the promotion. The segment did have a couple weak points though. Alisha Edwards couldn’t think of anything else to say but “It’s over Eddie!” approximately 150 times. Also, why did Eddie bring his wife to the arena in the first place if he knew she wasn’t going to be cool with him going after Callihan again? I’m assuming she must have known they weren’t going out to get groceries when she saw a Kendo stick in the backseat!
Sydal vs. Phantasma: The two wrestlers delivered a solid match and it’s nice to see Sydal given some clean wins over his opponents lately. While his character still hasn’t quite caught on, they’re trying to build him up as one of the most dominant X Division wrestlers in some time. When someone eventually dethrones him, it should mean something.
Kingston Returns: The vastly underutilized Eddie Kingston has returned to Impact. This is a good call on management’s part. It was also the right time to move the LAX angle forward after “Where is Konnan? Eh, I don’t know” has been running in circles. Hopefully the group gets their edge back and stops losing every week on TV now. However, I’m still not sure how having Konnan by their side would have prevented LAX from losing due to Caleb Konley holding Santana’s tights. Wrestling logic at its finest!
Callis Returns: It had only been two weeks, but it felt like we were subjected to Josh Mathews going solo on commentary for about a year. Maybe two years. The show is simply better with Don Callis around. He does a great job of providing insight and giving matches a sports-like feel. One example was him noting how Petey Williams constantly going for the Canadian Destroyer is a mistake because his opponents catch onto it. Now, just keep him in the booth and out of storylines.
Pentagon/Aries Hype: A solid video featuring Austin Aries talking about his big loss and setting up his match for next week’s Under Pressure special. Overall, the company has done a nice job of hyping next week’s pay-per-view-like show. The only thing missing here is that it would have been nice to have heard from the actual champion one more time before the showdown.
Allie Possessed: A tepid hit for now. We’ll see how this plays out, but Allie looking into the mirror with Rosemary-like tendencies is an intriguing hook to see how she’ll look and act next week. We’ll have to see, as this could easily fall flat on its face.
The X Mystery: A great way to end the show. Jimmy Jacobs was laid out backstage with the mysterious X symbol placed on top of him and they cut to footage of every other victim so far as well. I’m curious to see who is going to be revealed as the perpetrator and hopefully fans get a nice payoff to the angle.
Xavier vs. Williams: An entertaining match that had something at stake. I’ll take this over a random four man X Division car crash any week. Dezmond Xavier vs. Brian Cage has the potential to be an entertaining match and should give the underutilized Xavier a chance to shine, even in likely defeat.
Overall Show: While there’s quite a few hits here, I’d still say this was not a great effort overall. The show has been wildly inconsistent as of late and hasn’t yet landed in a sweet spot. Still, this was a much better episode than the past two weeks of television. The company delivered in spades with Redemption, so hopefully Under Pressure ends up as another entertaining big event. 6/10
GWN Flashback: I don’t think Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray cutting respectful promos on each other three days before their match at Lockdown would have come to my mind for great TNA moments if I was locked in a room and had to think of nothing but great TNA moments for a month straight. This was weird and had nothing to do with anything. All it did was show that Impact used to have bigger stars and used to have better production values. That time would have been better served letting some of the wrestlers on the roster get some promo time. Give Cage 30 seconds to talk about how he’s ready for Xavier. Let Pentagon cut a promo vowing to retain his title. Really, just about anything would have been better for this. To get across how bizarre and out of place these GWN segments are, imagine if Raw stopped the show to air a seven minute promo hyping Elimination Chamber 2013 with C.M. Punk and The Rock (the month before that Lockdown show aired) cutting promos on each other.
Kong vs. Moose: This just wasn’t a quality main event in 2018. Maybe on Raw in 1993 it would have been passable. There were a few problems in play. The first is that Kongo Kong isn’t that good in the ring. He’s got a great look but the man needs to up his intensity to keep things interesting. He seems like a less mobile version of Umaga. The other issue is that Moose has been so badly damaged as a babyface act he isn’t over enough to close out a show on his own. Another miss is the company has built up Kong as their newest monster and they gave away his first big loss since his renewed push and it didn’t mean anything. The announcers didn’t treat it as a major moment and it’s likely they’ll try to explain it away by saying Jacobs wasn’t by his side. Then they shouldn’t have had Kong pinned at all yet. Make all that build up mean something.