SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Overall – PUSH: Compared to many of the recent AEW and WWE in the empty arena era, I feel like the lack of crowd was especially noticeable to the Impact Wrestling product. To that, add the fact that many of the matches announced for (or were being built towards) Rebellion aren’t happening for travel or health reasons. This led to a mostly underwhelming event. Still, I will give them some credit for cobbling something together at the last minute, making the best out of a bad situation. The North and Eddie Edward sent videos explaining their absence, with the North taking the opportunity continue getting themselves over as heels. It feels wrong to give those two segments a pass or fail grade, so I’ll just mention them here.
OVE vs. Tommy Dreamer & Rhino & Crazzy Steve – MISS: I am not too familiar with Crazzy Steve, but the former member of Decay is Tommy and Rhino’s mystery partner. The match starts with a few mild comedy spots between Tommy and Jake and then kicks into first gear… and pretty much stays there. A ho-hum match won by Rhino’s Gore on Dave Crist.
Michael Elgin interview – PUSH: Of the three competitors involved in the triple threat match for the championship, only Elgin was on site. He, like the North, used the opportunity to further his heel character, by heeling on Eddie Edwards and Tessa Blanchard absence, and claiming that he was walking away as Impact World’s Champion on night two, teasing something is going on with the belt. Either Tessa will be stripped, or he’ll become interim champion or something of the like.
The Rascalz vs. XXXL vs. TJP & Fallah Bahh – HIT: This is a pretty fun match with a baffling spot for a commercial break. Early on, the members of the two legal teams are trying hard to stay away from XXXL’s corner to avoid getting tagged by them, after all, who wants to deal with those two super heavy weights. Inexplicably, especially since this was taped, the tag happens at the commercial break. There is a good mix high flying and big man moves sprinkled throughout the match so overall an enjoyable experience. Dez pins Larry D with a Spiral Tap.
Willie Mack vs. Ace Austin, X Division Championship Match – MISS:Prior to the match Wille is interviewed backstage and we get a Rich Swann cameo. Rich does a good job hyping up Willie and the match, helping carry Willie Mack’s promo. I think this match really suffered from a lack of a crowd. Too many false finishes after signature finishers without a crowd to bite on them dragged the match down for me and robbed the finishing sequence of any real bite. Willie wins with the Six-Star Frog Splash. Rich comes out to celebrate Willie’s title win. In the back, Swinger tries to join in the celebration with his “former tag-team” partner “reminding” Willie that he “promised” Swinger the first shot at the title. Willie and Swann then took off to party together. Sadly, I think this whole angle failed to convey the emotion it should have.
Kiera Hogan vs. Kylie Rae – HIT: An enjoyable match with both ladies taking advantage of the spotlight. It is good, back and forth, quick moving match but the best moment came from Madison Rayne on commentary for berating Josh Mathews for not know Kylie Rae’s STF signature finisher was called the Smile to the Finish. Kylie Rae used the move to defeat Kiera and solidify her spot on the roster.
Sami Callihan vs. Ken Shamrock, Anything Goes Match – HIT: I’m at the point that anything with Sami Callihan does is an automatic hit for me (watch how that statement bites me in the ass in a week or two). The match never makes it to the ring as Sami starts the match hot, diving at Shamrock on the outside. They brawl at ringside for a while until Sami escapes to the back into post-production land (Sami says they are in his world now) with a musical score accompanying the action and most importantly… no Josh Mathews. Sami takes control for most of this part of the match until Shamrock starts making his comeback. Enter OVE to help their “leader” and they beat down Shamrock. Calling Sami over to finish him, Sami does the “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” but attacks OVE with a baseball bat instead, rejecting their help. He comes face to face with Shamrock (as a nice touch, the score changes into a western tune here) and they agree to take the fight outside. Once outside, we enter the third act where Shamrock escapes a sleeper hold, applies his ankle lock, and makes Sami pass out.
So many questions. Where does this leave Sami after Shamrock snuffed out his triumphant return? This has to be leading somewhere right? While it has pretty much apparent that Sami has left OVE behind, now finally faced with that reality, what is OVE going to do next? Why did Sami cut ties with OVE, was it because they are constantly losing? I look forward to finding out.