Impact Wrestling, on its national television show, aired its world title being defended in a dimly lit, poorly-attended high school gym. They showed Eli Drake walking through the halls, past the restrooms, on his way to the ring in the “backstage” area before defending the title against Alberto El Patron at a WrestlePro show in New Jersey last month. This was utterly embarrassing.
Impact has made a habit of showing matches from partner promotions featuring Impact talent. Fine. I’m not a fan of it, but fine. But airing a World Title match in that setting de-values the wrestlers and it de-values the title.
That footage should have never aired. If it were two wrestlers without the title at stake, then fine. But showing that your World Title was defended in that environment defines Impact as minor league. For a company that has had several low moments in his history, this has to be a top-five lowest moment in the history of the company.
The bleachers behind the wrestlers on the “hard camera” side were 30 percent full, at best. Not only was it a low-rent indie show, it was a fairly lightly-attended low-rent indie show. That’s not a knock on the show itself, a lot of these shows are run every weekend around the country and the product is just fine. But it’s hard to draw crowds. You would have assumed an Impact World Title match, with a former WWE champion that Impact thinks is a huge draw, would have drawn better, but that clearly was not the case.
Yet, Impact chose to advertise and air the match anyway.
Impact looked low-rent and minor league. Compared to WWE, that’s what it is, but Impact willingly portrayed itself that way. I can’t fathom the stupidity behind it.
(1) TAIJI ISHIMORI def. TREVOR LEE to win the X Division Title
This was a very entertaining match and Ishimori could do some positive things with a title run. Hopefully, this leads to more of a prominent role for Trevor Lee on the show, and I’d be thrilled to see him elevated to more of a upper-midcard level, if not the main event. I’m skeptical, though, given how Impact has used Lee for the past two years. For some reason, they don’t see the things that everyone else appears to see.
If this leads to Lee toiling on the undercard then it’s a total waste. But if this leads to Ishimori and Dezmond Xavier feuding over the X Division Title, and Trevor Lee moving up the card to perhaps contend for the World Title later in the year, then it’s absolutely a net positive.
(2) ECIII beat FALLAH BAHH & MATT SYDAL via decision to retain the Grand Championship
Ugh, what a cluster. There was never any explanation why Bahh was a judge for a title match a few weeks ago, and the triple-threat gimmick doesn’t work when you’re trying to score rounds. I’ll give the wrestlers credit, because they tried to make it work, but they were booked in a lose-lose situation.
Impact seems to have something with Bahh, though. The crowd is suddenly very behind the big man.
(3) DAN LAMBERT beat JAMES STORM in a No DQ match — Storm is forced to leave Impact
Really? This is the way you send out James Storm?
For all that Storm means to the company, they treated him like dirt in this segment. Getting heat on American Top Team is fine, but they played this up like it was just some ordinary wrestling angle. Longtime watchers of pro wrestling would assume that Storm finds a way to get back on TV in a few weeks. This was Storm’s last night in the company. His contract is up, he’s leaving. This should have been treated so much more special.
If I’m James Storm, I view this as a slap in the face. They kicked him to the curb and then rolled into the next segment with little reaction. It’s a shame the way Storm and Gail Kim’s “final matches” were treated by Impact the last two months.
(4) CHANDLER PARK beat JON BOLEN
I still haven’t figured out why Ethan Page has to be Chandler Park. Page was doing very good work on the indie scene and with EVOLVE, and yet he shows up in Impact in a lame gimmick that really has no future past comedy fodder. Page is one of the indie talents Impact should be looking to sign and cultivate. My fear is that this gimmick is a total waste for someone like him.
Aside from that, Bolen looks good. I’m surprised they’re only using him for enhancement talent. He has a unique look and has the essence of an actual ass-kicker.
(5) ELI DRAKE beat ALBERTO EL PATRON to retain the Global Title at WrestlePro
This was … sad.
(6) LAX beat OVE to win the Tag Team Championships
LAX is, by far, the coolest act on Impact Wrestling. Forget the fact that LAX and OVE are the only two tag teams in the company, this feud continues to get better and it’s been the lone highlight on the show for the last several weeks.
Ortiz and Santana have been a breath of fresh air and LAX continues to stand tall despite the absurdity of the nonsense around them, sometimes. As Andrew Soucek pointed out on our PWTorch Livecast this week, it feels like LAX is on a different show sometimes, because they’re so cool, and nothing else on the show touches it right now.