SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Overall – HIT: I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Good in-ring action, and new plots and storyline developments abound. Quite frankly, the only glaring issue I see (relatively speaking) is the lack of star power even for Impact’s standards without the presence from the likes of Taya Valkyrie and Tessa Blanchard. Still, I have liked what they’ve done with the parts they have been using from the talent available.
•Ace Austin vs. Rhino, Impact Wrestling World Championship Number One Contender Tournament match – PUSH: Due to Michael Elgin’s brutal attack on him last week, Ken Shamrock was replaced in the tournament by Ace Austin. He and Rhino had a good match with Ace winning with the Fold after hitting Rhino with his magic stick while the ref wasn’t looking. So, Ace advances to meet Hernandez next week.
•Moose Interview – HIT: We get some more character work from Moose in this segment as Josh Mathews tries (unsuccessfully) to press him on the fact that he is carrying around a defunct championship that doesn’t mean anything. Good work by Mathews here, it is a role he is well suited to play.
•Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz backstage – HIT: Kiera approaches Tasha backstage and proposes an alliance, offering to take Tasha under her wing. Tasha accepted. Hogan delivered her offer in a way that made it seem that she was being manipulative, so I’m interested to see where this goes.
•OVE vs. Crazzy Steve – HIT: I liked this match, there was some mat-based wrestling I enjoyed, particularly some nasty looking knees to Steve’s head when he was down. Joseph P. Ryan came out and took notes of the proceedings for unknown reasons. Steve wins with a flying DDT. After the match, Madman Fulton, frustrated with losing, quits OVE. With OVE fracturing at the moment, I wonder if Ryan is seeking to recruit any of them?
•Rosemary at the bar – HIT: Rosemary is trying to seduce John E. Bravo. Yup… this is going to be something.
•XXXL vs. TJP and Fallah Bahh – HIT: I wonder how much TJP enjoys these matches where he is half the size of all his competitors and with how he flies or gets thrown all over the ring. I know it is fun for me to watch. TJP and Fallah win, pretty much cementing getting a shot at The North’s titles eventually.
•Suicide vs. Moose, TNA World Heavyweight Championship match? – HIT: It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a match from a purely psychological and in-ring story telling perspective. Suicide got worked over most of the match, slowly digging his way out of the hole he got into early, only for Moose to counter a dive into a pin using a handful of tights. Commentary detracted from this one as Mathews and Raynes spend the entirety of the match arguing over the validity of Moose’s championship. While it’s good that your lead commentary questions the heels action, spend a few seconds on it, then move on.
•Johnny Swinger vs. Willie Mack, X Division Championship match – HIT: Before the match, Chris Bey continues his manipulation of Swinger by telling him that winning the championship is not the only way to send Willie a message, essentially using Swinger to weaken Mack to make him easier prey for Bey. I like the machinations of Bey and how he’s being set up as a “mastermind” type of heel. I wasn’t expecting much from the match, ending with a Mack victory, but after the match, Swinger took Bey’s advice and attacked Willie. Bey ran in and brutally attacked Willie too. For a moment, Swinger seemed like he was having second thoughts, maybe coming to the realization that he’d been played by Bey. Bey, sensing this, acknowledged Swinger, acknowledgement being the only thing Swinger ever really wanted. With this, Swinger enthusiastically joined Bey. I kinda feel bad for the simple-minded Swinger as he falls prey to Bey who knows exactly how to manipulate him.
•The North in the north – HIT: Cody Deaner comes out of “kwaranteen” and outmaneuvers, outthinks, and outright outplays The North which is the craziest thing I’ve seen in 2020. My favorite part of the skit is when an incredulous Ethan Page asks Cody how he found them, and Cody drops the “Cody Deaner” character demeanor for a second and reminds The North that they’ve been on TV for the last two weeks. I continue to love these skits with The North.
•Michael Elgin vs. Sami Callihan, Impact Wrestling World Championship Number One Contender Tournament match – HIT: Prior to the match Elgin cut a prerecorded promo that was one of his better ones to basically establish his character and motivations. It was good. I have been looking forward to this match since the tournament was announced to see what happens when the top two heels in Impact face each other. Although, in Sami’s case, are we beginning to get a slow face turn? He came to the match still hurt from his match with Shamrock at Rebellion and Elgin took advantage of it throughout the entire match concentrating all of his offence on the leg. Sami would not give up, continuously pushing though everything Elgin threw at him until the injury finally caught up to him and Elgin wins with an Elgin Bomb.
Bonus: Impact World Championship Number One Contender Tournament
So, this tournament has proven to me just how bad I can be at picking winners. Sigh. Nothing left to do but get up, dust myself off, and power on through.
With Ace Austin added to the tournament in Ken Shamrock’s stead, we have another credible candidate for Tessa Blanchard to face from this group. I don’t see Hernandez winning and Ace can cheat to win in that match. I think Elgin gets taken out by a vengeful Shamrock, costing Elgin the tournament. This leaves Trey Miguel and Ace who have history with each other with Ace going over and getting another crack at Tessa. The only other finals option is Hernandez vs. Elgin and that just isn’t exciting to me at all. In that case Elgin win and is Tessa’s opponent.
CATCH UP… IMPACT WRESTLING HITS & MISSES 5/12: Locker Room Talk with Ken Shamrock, Sami Callihan promo, Madman Fulton vs. Hernandez, Kylie Ray vs. Tasha Steelz, Cody Deaner in Kwaranteen, Moose vs. Suicide, Rosemary at the Bar