SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Final impact – PUSH: I knew there was going to be somewhat of a decline as Impact seeks to right the ship in the wake of so many high-profile departures. I think Moose’s storyline has suffered since I believe, and this is pure speculation on my part, that EC3 was scheduled to be Moose’s opponent for Slammiversary, but with Michael Elgin being pulled out of the Impact World Championship match (who I believe was going to win), EC3 is now in that spot leaving a much, much, much, much less desirable match-up for Moose. To Impact’s credit, they did succeed in their build to The North vs. The World’s Most Dangerous Men, and in making Trey look like an actual threat in the championship match (and there was the one skit I absolutely loved, but your mileage may vary.) For everything else though… meh. This is one of those “just catch the highlights” shows.
Chris Bey vs. Suicide – PUSH: There isn’t really much to say about this one. Bey and Suicide had a good match, there was some interference from Swinger at ringside to help Bey secure the win. Very standard stuff to give Bey that oh so important momentum heading into his X Division championship match with Willie Mack. After the match, Swinger is gloating about cheating the referees, when, as is requisite in these situations, a ref was standing right behind him. This got Swinger banned from ringside when Bey meets Mack at Slammiversary.
Reno Scum vs. TJP & Fallah Bahh – PUSH: I really like the pairing of TJP and Fallah Bahh. They compliment each other so well. Unfortunately, they’ve gone from presumptive challengers for the tag team championship to setting a petty grievance with Reno Scum. I totally understand that Shamrock and Callihan provide more star power at Slammiversary (more on that in a bit), but hopefully, their trajectory can get back on track. TJP and Fallah win.
Locker Room Talk with guest John E. Bravo – MY FAVORITE THING IN WRESTLING THIS WEEK: So, Locker Room Talk is a guilty pleasure for me. Madison Rayne plays the part of a gossipy shit-stirrer perfectly. Jonny Swinger is delightfully inappropriate and self-absorbed. Add to this mix an oblivious John E. Bravo, the otherworldly fish-out-water Rosemary, and the strangely endearing egotist Taya Valkyrie and you have my favorite segment of the night. All of the people involved in the segment are playing characters with extreme personalities that they’ve mastered and watching them play off each other is a pure joy. Is it good a “wrestling show” segment? I don’t know, but I find it entertaining as hell. It also led to Rosemary agreeing to tag with Taya.
The North in-ring promo – HIT: The North, Ethan Page and Josh Alexander, addresses the attack they perpetrated on Ken Shamrock last week. They hammer the point that Shamrock has rage issues and is insane and therefore has no friends, and that the fact that Page and Alexander ARE friends, making them more dangerous than Shamrock. The ICU hack happens, and Sami Callihan appears on the screen stating, “Who needs friends, when you got an enemy.” Callihan appears in the ring and helps Shamrock clear the ring, then vanishes from whence he came. Afterwards, backstage, Page and Alexander run into Scott D’Amore who’s in the back on the phone (teasing signing Gallows and Anderson) and Page hypocritically rages at Scott for what just happened to them in the ring. Scott responds by playing along at first but then swerving them by booking them into a championship match with Callihan and Shamrock much to Page’s chagrin. One other detail I like about this angle is that part of Sami’s motivation in his feud with Shamrock was that he wanted the “World’s Most Dangerous” moniker for himself. With the North calling themselves the “most dangerous”, it adds more to Sami’s motivation for coming to help Shamrock. I don’t care if it’s made official or not, I’m officially calling the Callihan and Shamrock team the World’s Most Dangerous Men.
Crazzy Steve vs. Moose, TNA World Heavyweight Championship match? – PUSH: Earlier, Moose cut a middle of the road promo hyping his “championship” match with Crazzy Steve. Moose dominated Steve throughout the match, causing internal injuries (Steve was bleeding from the mouth). Steve got a few hope spots in but to no avail as Moose speared him in two. After the match Moose continued assaulting Crazzy Steve when Tommy Dreamer, accompanied medical assistance, backed Moose off. As they attended to Steve, Moose attacked Dreamer. Afterward, Dreamer cut an impassioned promo, putting over Moose’s talents but eviscerating his work ethic. Dreamer’s promos remind me of Bill Pullman’s speech in Independence Day (1996) or maybe one of those rah-rah speeches given in sport movies, which is fine, if we didn’t get one of these on every other appearance by him. Add to that the fact that Dreamer vs. Moose is not a compelling match for me, and I’m left feeling blasé over the whole thing. Later, Moose responded to Dreamer’s accusation accusing him of slander and threatening to sue (yup, just what I want to hear) unless Dreamer apologizes to him in-ring.
Deaners and Hernandez backstage skit – PUSH: The Deaners and Hernandez arm wrestle for money in what I think is an Over the Top (1987) parody with Cody Deaner in the Sylvester Stallone role. Mildly humorous, but I don’t know what the purpose of this was. Either this establishes a new reoccurring skit for Hernandez, or it establishes a friendship between the Deaners and Hernandez to be paid off down the line.
Kiera Hogan vs. Jessicka Havok – MISS: I’m not into this feud at all. I haven’t gotten the characters of Tasha Steelz and Nevaeh yet. Havok hasn’t grown much beyond “The Kaiju Queen” now that she’s been divorced from Father James Mitchell, and Kiera Hogan, who has seen a lot of improvement in her time with Impact, doesn’t seem have the yet chops to carry the character work for all four women in this feud. It doesn’t help that there are no stakes involved and instead this is just four women sorting out a petty grievance (two of these feuds in one show). Perhaps Impact seeks to bring back the Knockouts Tag Team Championship now that there are many women pairing off?
Madman Fulton vs. Trey Miguel – HIT: Earlier, Trey cut a rather impassioned, no nonsense promo I rather liked, except that for it getting a bit ramble-ly at parts. It was nice to see this serious side of him. It was also nice to see him coming after Fulton (and the accompanying Ace Austin) like a man and leaving the “Rascalz Trey” behind for this. Eventually, when he was in trouble, Trey got Austin’s magic stick and smashed Fulton, getting Trey disqualified. He then fished out a chair and worked over Austin and Fulton. While I’m not thrilled at the idea of the babyface getting himself intentionally disqualified when he’s in peril, this succeeded in getting Trey over as a serious threat in the championship match at Slammiversary when previously he was just a footnote.
RECOMMENDED: IMPACT WRESTLING HITS & MISSES 6/23: Final PPV with wrestlers who are no longer with company, Eddie Edwards vs. Madman Fulton, Tasha Steelz vs. Nevaeh, Moose backstage skit, Purazzo vs. Edwards, more