SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Final impact – HIT: If there was any doubt that the AEW champion coming to Impact was not a last-minute hot-shot angle, Impact readied a show where they put their best foot forward without sacrificing their plans for Final Resolution or Hard to Kill while keeping their more outlandishness in the closet for the night. But because it’s most buzzworthy thing, without further ado:
•The Interview – HIT: At first, I was worried with how much Don Callis made everything that happened about him. He talked about his history and how everything he’s done has been part of a long running plan. From doing commentary, to booking Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho for New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom, something that he (and Tony Kahn) credits for creating AEW, he took credit for all of it. Don claims that he never took a break from wrestling but instead operated in the shadows. He claims to be the invisible hand behind Kenny Omega. Fortunately, after this set up, Kenny Omega went on and (arrogantly) said how he is responsible for the best matches in various styles and promotions and began listing them as if they were collectibles. Then they said they’ll have a big announcement at Dynamite on Wednesday. My favorite part though, was the end. If you follow AEW, for a long time Kenny Omega has not been doing the “Goodbye and goodnight. Bang” thing, being very lowkey about it. That is, until now, on Impact, almost like a big F-you to the fans of AEW. This has been an interesting, fun development and hopefully not just a one-off. Even if it is, there are ramification that will be felt in Impact as we’ll see with Tommy Dreamer and Rich Swann later on the show.
•Josh Alexander vs. Chris Sabin – HIT: I almost want to give this a MISS since it ended in a WWE-style distraction finish AND it continued to lay the groundwork for what looks like a North break-up (which I hate to see since they’ve been one of my favorite tag teams recently). Ethan Page calling plays to Josh Alexander, led to a distracted Alexander being rolled up by Chris Sabin. It was a good match nonetheless and did lay more groundwork for a split, so overall it works.
•Tony Khan (and Tony Shiavone) on Impact??? – HIT: They aired a “paid advertisement” starring Tony Khan and Tony Shiavone. Yes, Tony Khan is on a wrestling skit, front and center, and it’s not on AEW. What a surreal experience. The two Tonys promoted Wednesday’s AEW show (seriously I can’t BELIEVE I just typed that), and Khan was wonderfully upbeat with a slight undercurrent of passive aggressiveness that was just on-point. What I loved was how the skit felt like an Impact skit that belonged on an Impact show.
•Brian Myers vs. TJP – HIT: Any TJP match is likely going to end up with a HIT from me thanks to his work in the ring and the uncanny body control he has. We got more of that tonight with TJP having to rely on his speed and technical acumen to stay ahead of the much larger and more powerful Brian Myers, but the size disadvantage was too much, and Myers won mostly clean (he did push the referee into TJP to break up a submission at one point). Impact continues on its Brian Myers reclamation project and so far, so good, and I don’t think TJP loses too much either thanks the mocha manimal, Rohit Raju being there to perk TJP up after his loss, furthering their storyline.
•Eric Young vs. Cody Deaner – HIT: A more intense Cody Deaner seeks redemption by facing the man who has repeatedly disrespected him after several beatdowns, Eric Young. In the back he told Cousin Jake that he needs to go at it alone, but Jake wanted to be there to counter Joe Doering who would be at Young’s side. Unfortunately, Jake’s presence led to Cody getting distracted leading to an Eric Young piledriver and a loss. After the match, Young and Doering continued their attack on the Deaners until Rhino hit the ring with a lead pipe. (I hope he’s named the pipe “Heath”).
•They sure like their Dreamer on Impact – HIT: John E. Bravo was upset and trying to get to Larry D for shooting him. Dreamer stopped Bravo and confronted Larry. Larry offered Dreamer a deal. A match at Final Resolution and if Dreamer wins, Larry will turn himself in. If Larry wins, though, he gets to walk away scot-free. Dreamer agreed and an incredulous Larry asked if Dreamer had the power to absolve him of attempted homicide. Dreamer said he did, because he’s Tommy Dreamer, and the match was made. Works for me.
Later, Dreamer approached Scott D’Amore and voiced his concern over the whole Kenny Omega/Don Callis thing, citing his previous experiences in the wrestling business. He feels that they run the risk of poisoning the locker room. D’Amore was wrapped up in all of the buzz and attention that was generated and dismissively assuaged Dreamer. Dreamer though, may appear prophetic. Right before the interview with Kenny Omega, Rich Swann tried to leave but was stopped by security who informed him that the “champ” had blocked access to the parking lot. Swann had assumed it was Moose, the fake TNA Champion behind it, but Josh Mathews walked by Rich Swann and told the security that he was there to interview the “champ” Kenny Omega, ignoring Swann. Swann was rightfully very upset.
•Deonna Purrazzo & Kimber Lee vs. Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary – Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament match – HIT: This was a good match between some of the stronger women on the roster. A misfire by Deonna Purrazzo lead to Kimber Lee getting pinned by Rosemary. Next up for Taya and Rosemary are Tasha Steelz and Kiera Hogan. After the match, Deonna and Kimber ran into Scott D’Amore backstage and complained about having to deal with bot Su Yung and the tag team tournament. Scott wigged out in his inimitable way and booked Deonna to defend her title against Rosemary at Final Resolution.
•Alisha dumps Tenille – PUSH: Don’t know where this is going but Tenille who was actually letting Alisha into her world, got dumped by Alisha since Alisha has gotten involved in Eddie Edwards’s Callihan problem. Tenille and Kaleb with a “K” were not pleased. Too early to tell where this is going.
•Callihan milks the baseball bat – PUSH: Sami Callihan, cuts a promo, one of his better ones in while, but it’s over the controversial “baseball bat” incident where he smashed Eddie Edwards’s face (a legitimate accident they turned into an angle). Sami even called this a sequel and played on the “fight forever” wrestling trope. Alisha Edwards comes out to confront Sami but she was just serving as a distraction so Eddie Edwards could blindside him. Technically proficient segment but it’s a storyline I wish they moved on from.
•Chris Bey & Moose vs. Willie Mack & Rich Swann – HIT: Earlier, Chris Bey approached Moose to discuss their strategy but was completely blown off, being beneath Moose’s notice until and unless Bey won the championship Saturday. This match did a good job of interweaving what’s going on in the championship picture both in the short term, with Chris Bey challenging Rich Swann for the Impact World Championship at Final Resolution, and what will presumably be the Hard to Kill title match, Rich Swann versus Moose. Unfortunately, this meant that poor Willie Mack was getting pummeled into unconsciousness by Moose yet again. Bey took advantage and pinned Mack giving him that mythical momentum heading into Final Resolution.