I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who watched last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling and felt substantially unfulfilled at the outcome of the main event, where we found Fallah Bah lose his Impact World Championship opportunity to Austin Aries after two hours of enthusiastically building him up. It was disappointing on a major scale, but was that the master plan all along?
Fallah Bah and his frenemy of sorts, KM, have been treated more like a source of pure entertainment on Impact Wrestling programming rather than serious performers. While that’s never drawn a complaint from me, because Fallah and KM work fabulously together and always make for some light-hearted segments, you would really never imagine it resulting in a championship match for either of them, especially not the Impact World Championship.
Yet, on the September 13th episode of Impact, that’s exactly what we got. KM and Fallah walked themselves right out into the ring to confront Austin Aries, and Aries granted Fallah a championship as the main event of the night. It was out of left-field, but I bet, somewhere in your heart or hearts, something about this match felt just so right about this match.
That’s on account of a good reason – Fallah Bah has been slowly but surely creeping his way to the top babyface spot on the Impact roster. There’s never an instance where he offers his signature “no, no, no” or “bah, bah, bah” chants where the audiences aren’t consistently chanting along. He hasn’t been booked thus far to be at the main-event face caliber as say Moose was before Slammiversary, but it’s seldom you’d ever find someone who had a bad thing to say about Fallah.
So there we were, watching the main even of the evening, finding ourselves biting our nails and holding our breaths waiting to see if somehow, someway, Fallah could pull this off. The entire roster had lent him their support, and after a few big slams and a Samoan Drop, everyone watching was thinking “holy cow, I think he’s gonna do it!”
Then, after all that hype, all that excitement, Aries finally gets Fallah to tap out to a Last Chancery, and his cronies Moose and Killer Kross being attacking KM at ringside. Fallah and KM just became another notch in the belt of Austin Aries, just another set of schmucks the Aries crew laid to waste…
…and there we were, squinting at our screens thinking, “well then what the HELL was that for?”
At first it seemed like a tremendous waist of time, and a very big misstep on the part of Impact booking to spend the entirety of an episode building a story (and a compelling one at that) only to drop it on it’s head by the end of the episode. No ground seemed to have been gained in any respects; we didn’t need to see Aries Crew pummel poor Fallah and KM to know they’re the big guys around town, especially having just done the same to Johnny Impact the week before.
… or did we?
Aries, Kross, and Moose are really not meant to be seen as imposing or truly scary; they’re meant to be seen as bullies, exactly what they are. They’re meant to piss us off, not to be cheered, as so many people often cheer the heels regardless of their status.
What’s bound to get us more riled up then making us feel like we wasted our time? You could consider it a fourth-wall-breaking method of getting heat, masterfully done in context. What, to the naked eye, comes off as bad storytelling, really could just be the most pointed shot at the audience Impact could have taken on us.
While I would love for this match to be kept in play on Impact programming (I mean, ideally ending in a Cinderella win for Fallah and KM), I doubt it will. In its highs and in its lows, this two-hour-long tease was all on purpose, with the point that we should really be annoyed with Aries, Kross, and Moose.
Instead, Impact planned on making this plot line personal. Austin Aries doesn’t care about Johnny Impact, KM, Fallah Bah, not even you, and he doesn’t care if you suspended your disbelief for two hours for him to show you how much better he is.
That is a testament to Impact’s booking ability and how immersive it actually can be, for better, for worse, or both in the same episode.