By Lewis Carlan @PWSoth
The first set of IMPACT Wrestling TV shows in the post Dixie Carter era has come and gone. So as I am a devoted fan of IMPACT, I have put together a hit and miss list for these first set of “new era” shows. So let’s get to it!
Jeff Jarrett – I have put Jeff Jarrett at the top of the hit list as he has worked extremely hard establishing IMPACT wrestling as a global force. He has negotiated working agreements for IMPACT with Mexico’s AAA, Mexico’s CRASH, Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH, and more recently the UK’s World of Sport Wrestling. In addition, he has brought in plenty of talented new faces to IMPACT Wrestling. The best move Anthem made was bringing back Mr. Jarrett.
New Talent: Fallah Bahh, Mario Bokara, Idris Abraham, Garza Jr., Laredo Kid, Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe (Reno Scum), Kevin Mathews, Kongo Kong, Ortiz and Santana (LAX), Diamante, Ava Storrie, Amanda Rodriguez, MJ Jenkins, and Rachael Ellering. These are all the new faces we have seen during the latest set of shows. I believe that is more new talent than Dixie Carter brought in during her entire tenure as owner of IMPACT. Unlike Dixie, Jarrett isn’t waiting around to see who the WWE has released. The standouts, in my opinion, have been Ortiz and Santana, Fallah Bahh, Mario Bokara, Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid. These guys are fun to watch and have great in ring ability.
EC3’s slow Heel Turn – This has been a huge hit for me. I am completely enjoying this angle of EC3 slowly turning heel. Every segment EC3 has been fun to watch because he takes another step towards becoming a heel again. It’s gotten to a point now that you know the heel turn is, without a doubt coming, you just don’t know when. The suspense of when it’s coming makes for great TV.
Tag Team Division – Under Dixie Carter, there was a time when IMPACT literally had 1 tag team – Decay. Sometimes, I felt that the tag team division was nonexistent. New ownership quickly addressed that by bringing a group of talented tag teams – Reno Scum (Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe), Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid, and LAX’s Santana and Ortiz. They hit a homerun right off the bat. Santana and Ortiz won a terrific 4 team match to become the new IMPACT tag team champions. Those two quickly established themselves as an immensely talented duo. I would love to see The Killer Elite Squad (Lance Hoyt and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) in IMPACT once Hoyt recovers from his injury. The IMPACT tag team division is officially back with lots of potentially good match ups. And I feel this is just the tip of the ice berg.
Cody Rhodes: Cody Rhodes is awesome, plain and simple. Having him on IMPACT is such a bonus even if it’s not every show. Telling his wife Brandi, who was scheduled to wrestle Kayci Quinn, that he was not going to let her wrestle and then offering $45 to Quinn which he said is $20 more than she was getting paid was brilliant. He kept his feud with Moose alive despite Moose being in Japan. It would be great to get Cody on more shows and even give him a run as IMPACT champion. But even if he is on only one or two shows, it’s still a hit for IMPACT.
Make IMPACT Great Segments: Every IMPACT Superstar has gotten a turn at what makes IMPACT great and how they are going to contribute. The segments really give us the impression that the stars of IMPACT feel they are working for a great promotion and that they will do whatever it takes to make IMPACT a success.
Karen Jarrett: Yes, Karen Jarrett’s return was hit. Why? Because she is not smothering us by over appearing in segments. She established herself as an authority figure but has mainly been off TV. She has only shown up when it is absolutely necessary. And that ovation she got when she returned was highly unexpected. I just hope she doesn’t turn into Dixie Carter who just couldn’t seem to keep herself off TV.
Matt Morgan: Matt Morgan is back and he hasn’t missed a beat. Enough said.
The Knockouts Division: With the exception of Rosemary, Diamante and Santana Garrett, the IMPACT Knockouts division is in a terrible state. They brought back ODB and if you read my reviews, you know I am not an ODB fan. Yes, I know they needed an established name but nothing about her character appeals to me. Having her call the Knockouts title the Knocked Up Title has zero humour to it and degrades the Knockouts division. They do have a few new faces in MJ Jenkins, Ava Storrie, and Amanda Rodriguez. But they were introduced in a horrendous gauntlet battle royal and we really couldn’t see what they were capable of. I do hope Gail Kim and Jade will both make returns to IMPACT. Both of them are extremely missed.
Alberto El Patron: With the departures of Drew Galloway and The Hardys, IMPACT needed to bring in a top face to replace the ones they lost. Alberto El Patron was that top face. He debuted on the March 6th edition of IMPACT. During the tapings he received a huge pop when introduced but because of a botch (his name showed up on the entrance screen as Alberto De Patron), they had to film the intro again which got a very weak reaction. The weak reaction intro was the one televised and came across very poorly on TV. He started strong by winning the IMPACT title in controversial fashion only to have it taken away due to that. He then beat EC3 in what was perceived as a #1 contender’s match. But then he disappeared from TV for two weeks. Much of his momentum was completely lost. He did appear after missing two weeks against an unknown jobber which he won quickly. I am not quite sure why their new top face was introduced like a ball of fire only to have his flames quickly doused. Maybe they are using him like the WWE uses Brock Lesnar. One problem is El Patron is not the attraction that Brock Lesnar is. Alberto El Patron has been handled poorly in my opinion.
Josh Mathews vs Jeremy Borash: Announcers are suppose to put over talent not bicker like little schoolchildren during the matches. This got very annoying very fast and we had to endure this constant fighting between the two for a number of weeks. It led to a 4 on 4 match in which Jeremy Borash’s team won and Josh Mathews is no longer an announcer. The only good part is that the feud is seemingly now over.
The continued mishandling of Marshe Rockett: It’s no secret that I am a huge supporter of the incredibly talented Marshe Rockett. He has been used sparingly since he was signed last year and when he has it’s been to put over talent. For goodness sake! Give this guy a push! I have only seen him win 1 match. They are letting this talent waste away and before they know it, his contract will be up and you most likely will see him in NXT.
Suicide: Terrible character and uncertain why he was even brought back. Putting finger guns to head and pulling the trigger is so irresponsible. People struggle with thoughts of suicide everyday and this character is glorifying it.
The Rigged Vote: There was a fan vote to determine the #1 contender between EC3, James Storm, and Matt Morgan. Around April 9th, the IMPACT website put up the poll for the fans to vote between the three. On April 13, Bruce Prichard came out, thanked the fans for voting and announced that the winner of the poll was James Storm. The only small problem with that was the episode was taped March 5th. So on April 9th, IMPACT wrestling asked fans to vote for a new #1 contender that would be revealed on a show that was taped March 5th. On top of that, if you read the spoilers on March 6th then you had already known that James Storm was the winner of the poll. EC3 was correct when he came out to confront Prichard on March 5th and called the vote rigged. Yes, this whole vote was designed to further EC3’s heel turn but couldn’t they just have waited until next week when the show will be live? I mean we are not idiots….