Thursday, November 15th
RESULTS: Tessa Blanchard over Ray Lyn in a non-title match, LAX over KM & Fallah Bahh in a non-title match, Johnny Impact over Matt Sydal in a non-title match, Su Yung over Heather Monroe, Brian Cage over Sami Callihan to retain the X division title
-This was the first episode from the recent tapings at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas from this past week.
-The main event saw Brian Cage retain the X division title over Sami Callihan, essentially bringing that feud to a close as each appears to be going different directions. Cage announced he was invoking Option C to cash in his title at Homecoming for a title shot against Johnny Impact. The atmosphere wasn’t great from the crowd at Sam’s Town and didn’t help any of the matches, which was my criticism throughout the show.
-The show was heavily built around setting up the main matches for Homecoming with Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage, a rematch between Tessa Blanchard and Taya, LAX taking on Pentagon Jr. & Fenix for the tag titles, and Moose and Eddie Edwards having another match.
-There was a segment involving Eli Drake cutting a promo on the state of the business and referring to himself dozens of times as “the last of a dying breed”. He announced he was dropping the lawsuit, so that went nowhere, maybe they’re hopeful Jeff Jarrett will do the same. He railed on Abyss for his hardcore style and what he’s done to his body and that led to Tommy Dreamer appearing to confront Drake. Dreamer cut a classic babyface promo with a lot of conviction defending those that were deemed “hardcore” and that it wasn’t about light tubes or weapons but a work ethic. When Dreamer has a subject to sink his teeth into for a promo, he’s great and Drake is a phenomenal promo, so this segment worked. Dreamer’s main ammunition was Drake’s skinny jeans but didn’t mention avocados or wing-tipped shoes.
-Allie has officially gone to the dark side. Su Yung defeated Heather Monroe and was saved after the match by Kiera Hogan, leading to Allie coming out with a bed sheet over her head and revealed face paint and a new look. I think Su Yung is a very good character if you used sparingly, Allie is a great performer, and Hogan is a strong babyface, but this type of storytelling stretches the degree of believability beyond thin and its proven fans don’t respond to this. That said, Impact is at a place where fans are either sticking with the product or have left and no one program is bringing people back or turning them off. Success is relative, they have their audience and if creative wants to experiment in this direction there’s nothing stopping it. But, the erosion of Lucha Underground’s audience from Season 3 to Season 4 should be something to learn from and not copy.
-They aired a segment with Dezmond Xavier, Trey Miguel, and Zachary Wentz (The Rascalz) as a spoof on the stoner scenes from That 70’s Show. If I described this segment to you, it would sound horrid and I give full credit to these three that they pulled it off in a manner that it worked. Beyond the segment, this a strong addition for the X division and gives Xavier a solid role within Impact that he’s been lacking since being brought in.
-Eddie Edwards attacked Moose and was hauled off by three men in blue scrubs as they explained Edwards is getting help from mental health experts. This sounds terrible, it came off terrible, and the ensuing segments could be a big turn off if they make mental health a comedy subject with the wacky Eddie Edwards character. Somehow this will lead to a rematch between Edwards and Moose, I guess when Edwards is discharged.
-Tessa Blanchard defeated Ray Lyn, who did well in a short match to start the show. Blanchard won with the hammerlock DDT and then cut a promo on Taya. This prompted Taya to come and announce that Impact has made a title match for the Homecoming event in January. The two had a great match at Bound for Glory, both work off the other very effectively and this is a program that is connecting. Blanchard is a great performer and has her character down, going to Impact has been a great benefit to Blanchard as she’s been placed in a strong role and developed a lot of confidence and presence over the past year.
-I would say this was an average show, there were not any matches I’d highly recommend as I felt Cage vs. Callihan and Johnny Impact vs. Matt Sydal would have been better in front of a hotter crowd. This was a storyline-heavy show getting the key programs in place for the January 6th pay-per-view. Next week’s show is the Thanksgiving episode and could be the least-watched episode in Impact’s history. It will feature the Eli Drake Thanksgiving Turkey Trot match.