Impact Wrestling is hot off of a spectacular first pay-per-view event of the year in Homecoming, and have followed it up with their debut on Pursuit Channel that was simulcast on Twitch. It’s the start of a new era for Impact Wrestling, and 2019 is already looking special.
Impact Wrestling continued their habit of presenting high quality pay-per-view events by starting the year with Homecoming. While not a perfect show, Homecoming had some truly special matches and helped set up the landscape for Impact moving forward. Now with their debut on Pursuit Channel and Twitch, the tone is set and 2019 could be their best year yet.
Knockouts On Display
One of the biggest strengths of Impact Wrestling in 2018 was the talent in the Knockouts Division, and they’ve already kept that strength rolling into 2019. At Homecoming, we saw two women who are likely to be future Knockouts Champions, Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan, taking on the supernatural pair of Allie and Su Yung.
While it was a great match for all involved, the buzz coming out of Homecoming was the return of Rosemary. After the match, Rosemary emerged from a coffin originally intended to house the beaten down Kiera Hogan. “The Demon Assassin” quickly took out Su Yung and sent her former friend Allie fleeing from the scene.
This week, we saw Dark Allie and Su Yung laboring over the coffin Rosemary emerged from trying to understand how she could have come back. Dark Allie just continues to get better, rattling off about how Rosemary “left her bunny” but now wants it back. Allie insisted she doesn’t “need the shadow.”
Rosemary’s ominous message on the casket has made it clear that Allie has one more chance to come back home to her once beloved demon. It looks like we could be headed back to The Undead Realm one more time, and there’s no telling what that could mean for these two.
We also saw former Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard in action against newcomer Cali Collins. Unfortunately for Collins, she felt the wrath and disdain that’s built up in Blanchard since losing her title. To put an exclamation point on things, Tessa finished off Collins with Eat Defeat, the finishing move of Gail Kim.
Tessa Blanchard may not be champion, but she’s still a cornerstone of the Knockouts Division. Her issues with Gail Kim are clearly far from over, and we could be on our way to seeing the Hall of Famer step out of retirement to take on Blanchard.
Let’s Get Edgy
When fans tend to clamor for the old days of the Attitude Era, one of the reasons for that is WWE’s shift to producing a PG rated product. In the late 90s, both WWF and WCW were pushing the envelope on what they could show on television. With that in mind, Impact Wrestling looks like they’re ready to recreate that edge.
One of the most forward ways they’re doing this is with the “talent search” by Scarlett Bordeaux. Since arriving in Impact Wrestling, Bordeaux has used her looks and charm to keep both fans and wrestlers focused on her. This week, she celebrated Impact’s debut on Pursuit with “the whole smokeshow.”
Things looked in jeopardy due to the arrival of the Desi Hit Squad, but “The Big Bad Booty Daddy” Scott Steiner suddenly appeared and cleared them out of the ring. Bordeaux followed it up with a striptease that Steiner had a front row seat for.
Impact seems to be trying to recapture the sex appeal of an era that didn’t focus on women’s wrestling while also heavily featuring the Knockouts Division. It’s a bold choice, but they’ve struck a fair balance with it so far.
The edginess also extends to in-ring competition, as Impact Wrestling has shown themselves to be no stranger to hardcore wrestling. The spirit of ECW lives on with appearances in 2018 by hardcore legends Tommy Dreamer and Raven, but a new era of hardcore has come to Impact Wrestling.
At Homecoming, Eddie Edwards and his good friend Kenny the Kendo Stick took the fight to Moose. It was a brutal contest, and the brutal win by Edwards has only made him more manic and more dangerous.
This week on Impact, that hardcore nature found its way into the main event scene as Johnny Impact looked for revenge against Killer Kross in a non-title No Disqualification Match. Johnny was ready to fight and brought the carnage to Kross, even hitting a breathtaking moonsault that brought a handful of chairs along for the ride.
The Impact World Champion put up a great fight, but an assist by Moose helped Kross lock in the Kross Jacket submission hold. Killer Kross choked out the champion to pick up a huge win that puts him in line for a future championship shot.
Storytelling is Key
While fans may most remember Killer Kross and Moose standing over Johnny Impact to end the night, it was all of the little moments that led to this that truly made it a special way to wrap up Impact’s debut on Pursuit and Twitch.
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The night began with Johnny Impact making it clear that he was looking for revenge against Killer Kross. At Homecoming, Kross attacked after Johnny retained the title over Brian Cage. Not only did Kross attack Johnny, but he sent Johnny’s wife Taya Valkyrie into the third row with a huge powerbomb off the stage.
As Johnny made clear his concern for his wife, things were interrupted by the man who almost defeated him at Homecoming. “The Machine” Brian Cage made his way down to the ring, grabbed a microphone, and got straight to the point.
While Johnny Impact was the eventual winner at Homecoming, Brian Cage had Johnny pinned for a solid count of ten while the referee was distracted by Johnny’s Survivor castmates at ringside. Because of that, Cage believes himself to be the rightful champion.
It wasn’t long before Killer Kross was out and he sent Johnny over the edge with a few choice words. The ensuing brawl helped set up a spectacular main event between Kross and Impact, but more importantly it has outlined the World Title hunt moving forward.
Cage’s near victory at Homecoming and Kross’s non-title win over Johnny this week make them both valid contenders for the Impact World Championship. We could be headed to a Triple Threat Match with the championship on the line, and that has the potential to be an instant classic.
We also saw the continued evolution of several storylines throughout the night. While the Impact World Championship took center stage this week, “The Draw” Sami Callihan helped add another chapter to this developing story between him and Rich Swann.
While Callihan seemed to confirm a lengthy history between him and Swann, he refused to elaborate on it. Instead, he implored the newly crowned X-Division Champion to make “the right choice” because “family is everything.”
The command came with Callihan giving Swann an oVe t-shirt, but Willie Mack made his way to the ring before Swann could really answer Sami’s demands. A brawl between the three saw Swann struggle to keep them apart, and ultimately gave us a rematch from Homecoming.
Once again, Sami Callihan took on Willie Mack in a top notch contest. Fresh off stealing the show at Homecoming, Sami and Willie went to the limit once again, but this time it was Willie Mack who came out with the win.
We even saw a short backstage clash between LAX and oVe, reigniting a heated rivalry from last year as the two teams will face off next week on Impact. Meanwhile, The Lucha Bros picked up a win over The Rascalz and keep themselves in the hunt with hopes of another shot at tag team gold.
All in all, Impact Wrestling has made a statement with their debut on Pursuit and Twitch. They’ve set the tone for what could be a truly special year. Perhaps this statement is best illustrated with the words of 2018’s Impact Wrestler of the Year from our interview with him earlier this week.
“You want an alternative? You want another professional wrestling program to really thrive and be able to sustain itself? Then watch the show and see what Impact Wrestling is all about right now.” – “The Draw” Sami Callihan
If Impact Wrestling can carry the momentum of this debut and Homecoming forward into 2019, their future looks truly bright. One thing is clear: it’s a great time to be a wrestling fan.