Impact Wrestling returned last night (Nov. 8) with their Final Hour special, emanating from the Melrose Ballroom in Queen, New York.
The Lucha Bros def. the OGz
After the match backstage, Konnan came up to the Brothers and congratulated them. LAX seemed a bit taken back by that.
This match felt like a bit of a mess. One that never really found its footing. There were a couple moments of entertainment but it never seemed to click.
Part of that is the OGz. Honestly, I just don’t care for them. And not in the “They’re heels so I don’t like them” kind of way but more in that “They’re not really entertaining” kind of way. That’s especially in the ring. King can do his work for their promos, but he can’t save their matches. Homicide still shows flashes of having it, but Hernandez just does not.
The Lucha Bros are very entertaining and they helped brighten this match up. But the chemistry just wasn’t there. Given the lack of crowd noise much of the match, I’m not alone in that either. (This is also the last part of the third night in a row of tapings, so the crowd in general may be worn out.)
The good news is that this feels like it may have been the transition to get the Lucha Brothers to LAX, and that could be a very good program.
Jordynne Grace def. Katarina via bear hug submission
This was our first look at Grace, and she has a great look. She’s not tall, but she’s strong. Don Callis compared her to Rhyno (meant to be a complete compliment), and I can see that. Rhyno was not the tallest but he was a powerhouse. It’s more unique to see that in a women’s wrestler which makes Jordynne feel special.
Katarina was a good choice for her first opponent as she’s not someone high up on the roster now but has the accolade of holding the Knockouts championship in the past. Plus she’s a vet who can give the debuting Grace a challenge. Unfortunately, I think it was too much of a challenge. Not that this should have been a squash, but outside bear hug that Jordynne used to finish her off, we didn’t get that display of power. This was Grace’s introduction match. Let’s see a bit more of her offense.
On the subject of Katarina, what ever happened with her issues with Joe Hendry and Grado? Last we saw anything of it was in Mexico where she used Murder Clown to get a measure of revenge against those two. And that’s been it. We haven’t see Grado or Hendry since. Did Katarina win that feud? Impact is usually good transitioning out of their stories, but that one ended up being a drop.
Brian Cage def. Sami Callihan via disqualification in an X Division title match at Rockstar Pro in Chicago.
The match ends when the Crists attack him. He takes them out and then multiple members of the locker room who try their luck. But six men are able to hold Brian Cage as Sami Callihan hits him in the head with the title. Then they all deliver the boots to him.
I discussed in my preview that these off site matches work as long as they are part of the story. And this fit into that.
Brian Cage went deep into enemy territory to face Sami Callihan and paid for it.
I love how they present Ohio as a Mad Max style apocalypse with Callihan the leader of the local gang of madmen. They succeeded making it feel dangerous to go there when Eddie Edwards did so earlier this year. It was the same for Cage.
The big man held his own when it was just one on one. But eventually, the entire locker room emptied to attack the X Division champion. They made sure to present him as dominant at first, fending off everything that was thrown at him. But even the Machine can’t take on ten guys at once.
It took six (SIX!) men to hold him for Sami to hit him in the skull with the title. But that opened the flood gates for Cage to take a major beating.
Brian Cage has never been this vulnerable since debuting. It’s about time we got there. Yes, it took a multitude, but it also added some major stakes in this feud. Cage has never had to rebound from such adversity. An angry Cage is going to be a blast to watch. On the other side, Sami looks threatening since he was the one to orchestrate the attack. The cult leader aspect makes him dangerous.
This segment took this feud up a level.
Moose def. Eddie Edwards via spear
Alisha Edwards tends to her husband post match.
This match took a bit of time to get going. In fact, there was an extended brawl prior to the match even beginning. But when it finally found its stride, it ended up delivering.
The issue coming into this match is the Moose/Edwards feud just isn’t clicking. There’s just not heat to it.
Much of that is because we don’t know who Moose is right now. When he turned heel, I felt that’d be the change he needed to find himself, but that hasn’t yet happened. His character is all over the place. He’s a flashy heel who dresses fancy and who Don Callis described as enjoying the high life. But at the same time he’s kidnapping Eddie Edwards’ wife and being a creeper every time she’s around. He’s hanging out with the sadistic Killer Kross, who doesn’t fit his style at all. It’s all discombobulated and has hurt the focus of the feud.
That’s why the match needed to really heat up for it to grab my attention. The early portions of the fight didn’t have the backing of a strong feud. Matches are always better when there’s a good story behind it. Without that, it’s lacking.
Luckily they were able to put on a show between the ropes. By the time Moose powerbombed Eddie Edwards from the ring onto the ramp, business had picked up. (That was quite the spot.) That brought out Eddie’s estranged wife to check on him and gave Moose a chance to back her off in intimidating fashion.
Moose tried to spear Eddie back into the ring, but Edwards dodged it and landed a kick. However, Moose recovered to deliver a spear inside the ring for the win.
The match ended up making up for the lack of interest from this feud. From here, they can either build on this and focus Moose’s character or they can go their separate ways.
Eli Drake comes out with Joseph Park to discuss their class action suit against Impact for an unsafe working environment. Drake claims he’s the last of a dying breed, one that fights with their hands, not with weapons looking to get attention.
Joseph Park takes the mic and gives examples of the unsafe working environment. He discusses the OGz/LAX match at Bound for Glory. He mentions his “brother Abyss” who put Drake through a table. When he’s about to introduce other members of the locker room who will be joining the case (something Drake apparently told him about prior), Eli delivers a low blow and beats the hell out of him. As he does this, Eli claims Park (as Abyss) is one of the guys who helped kill this business with his excessively violent matches.
Apparently, the lawsuit was just a long term revenge goal from Eli Drake after the attack at Bound for Glory. Eli staged this entire lawsuit to set this trap for Joseph Park and then sprung it last night.
I’m so glad that it didn’t actually go to a lawsuit angle. Instead, what at the time felt like a throwaway moment at Bound for Glory slowly led to an Abyss/Drake feud in creative fashion. It’s clever story telling that point us in one direction and then took us another.
Drake’s viciousness made him feel like a big deal. The “Last of a dying breed” moniker is one that works well with Eli. He has an old school vibe. He doesn’t participate in brutally violent matches nor does he work an indie style. (He’s still a really good worker.) This could add another layer to a man who already has superstar potential.
When he eventually does fight Abyss, he’ll surely go over given he’s a full time talent and Abyss is a hall of famer who mainly puts people over.
Johnny Impact def. Killer Kross with Starship Pain to retain the Impact world championship
The more I see of Killer Kross, the more I’m impressed with him. His Natural Born Killers style psychopath is a great character that he is completely committed to. With his movements and facial expressions, he gives the impression that he’s sadistic and dangerous. With more time, he’ll just get better and could be the one winning the title.
But tonight the belt stayed with Johnny, which isn’t surprising. This match was designed to showcase Impact as a fighting champ while framing Kross as a threat.
They head to Vegas and Johnny Impact likely finds a new challenger. Kross will move onto a new feud, though against whom remains to be seen.
- Taya Valkyrie cut a backstage promo making it known she’s not done with Tessa Blanchard. She will get what she wants.
- KM & Fallah Bahh are still trying to convince Scarlett Bordeaux to take them on. Fallah even tried to dance for. She told them if they win something for her in Vegas next week, she’ll consider it. I’m not entirely sure what that means.
- Allie was walking backstage with Kiera Hogan when Father Jim Mitchell appeared. He reminded her she owed him a debt and suggested giving into the darkness. She ended up walking off with Su Yung and Mitchell, despite Kiera’s pleas. Allie said she didn’t want to but she had to in order to protect her friends. This segment was again too cheesy for my tastes. The mystical parts are best alluded to. Not straight up shown.
Pros of the Show:
- The X Division title feud benefitted from a trip to Ohio
- Moose and Eddie Edwards had a fun match
- Eli Drake’s master plan
- Kross is a great character
Cons of the Show:
- Moose and Eddie’s feud coming into their match has left much to be desired
- The segment with Allie, Jim Mitchell, and Su Yung was again too cheesy
- Watching the OGz wrestle
This was a pretty good show. My biggest issue with Impact right now is they’re missing a hook. Most of the stuff on TV isn’t bad. Some of it you can classify as pretty good. But there aren’t any really hot angles that have me looking forward to tuning into Impact every week. I usually enjoy it when I tune in, but I’m not dying to tune in prior. They need to find something to take it to that level of programming.
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