A pair of promo segments highlighted an eventful edition of Impact Wrestling on Thursday night, including a viscious attack from ECIII on James Storm and LAX holding a “funeral” for Decay.
The beginning of the ECIII promo was horrible, but it completely turned around in the end.
With ECIII, he can’t be too entertaining. Not as a heel. It’s a trap they fell into the last time he was a heel. He was too entertaining, and the fans weren’t interested in booing him. Here, he came out dressed as a cowboy, complete with cowboy hat and cheap-looking vest. He talked in a southern accent and just made fun of James Storm. But the crowd wasn’t booing him. In fact, it was the opposite. You could hear people in the audience laughing. They were essentially laughing at James Storm, the guy you’re trying to get over as your babyface.
So the first part of the promo didn’t do it for me, and if they continue to do things like that with ECIII, it’s going to hurt his chances to get over as a major heel. The crowd shouldn’t want to cheer anything this guy does.
That being said, the end of this segment is EXACTLY what a heel ECIII should be doing. After James Storm came out and interrupted ECIII, they brawled briefly. ECIII then took out handcuffs, handcuffed Storm to the ropes, took off his belt and whipped him at least 20 times across the back with it. It was incredibly intense. It put sympathy on Storm, as you were watching his back welting up and turning bright red. It put heat on ECIII, who also whipped someone at ringside and showed not a single ounce of mercy.
The aggressiveness of ECIII is what fans will ultimately remember about this segment, but the tacky comedy stuff from the start of it needs to be left alone. Let ECIII be a new, aggressive, vengeful ECIII.
Then there’s the LAX funeral.
This started off as a good promo by LAX, talking about how they buried Decay. It was good to see a gimmick like Decay actually get written off television, instead of just being disbanded and ignored. I’m interested where this leaves Rosemary, though. If she plays the same character, it would have made sense for to either interrupt or interfere somewhere in this segment. It led to Konnan berating a fan at ringside who had an enormous American flag. He shoved the fan, and that brought of the Veterans of War for a brawl.
The end of this segment felt like something Vince McMahon would roll a tear for. “It’s America, pal! They’re defending America!”
The VOW have a good look. Immediately pushing them to the top of the tag team division is OK too, especially with Reno Scum on the shelf with an injury and Decay out of the company. Laredo Kid and Garza Jr. is a good feud for LAX, but letting it simmer for now before going there late in the summer or early-fall might be better for both teams.
1. Andrew Everett beat Caleb Konley, Dezmond Xavier and Matt Sydall in a four-way match
It’s good to see Impact putting some steam back behind Everett. For a while, it looked like they were building towards a one-on-one X Division Title match, where Everett would challenge Trevor Lee. But, some new additions to the division — Sydall and Low Ki in particular — seemed to derail those plans. That’s OK, because the latter are certainly bigger names, but it’s a good sign that Impact is using some of that star power to build up someone like Everett. They need to find a way to get Trevor Lee back into the fold, and next week’s Ultimate X match (you’ll see more about this later) should do that. Konley was lost a little bit in this match, but once again Dezmond Xavier had a good showing and there’s something about him that will make him a key player in the X Division down the road.
KM bullied a pizza guy into not paying for a pizza he didn’t order
If you remember the KM video they aired last week, this was very similar. Just KM being a big, bad bully to people. This was set in his apartment, and he took pizza for someone named, “Billy,” and then as he was eating it, told the pizza guy to scram because he didn’t order pizza, so he wasn’t going to pay for it. It’s good to see Impact putting some character behind KM. When he debuted he looked like a muscled-up guy with a mohawk, and it’s easy to get lost in a background role. Here, they’re letting him show some character and that will get the audience invested.
Laredo Kid & Garza Jr. beat Hakim Zane & Idris Abraham
This match was to determine who was going to be entered into the GFW tag title tournament. For some reason, we’re having a GFW tag title tournament. If it’s just to unify belts with the Impact Titles with the GFW Titles, I don’t know why they don’t just mention that the GFW Tag Titles were vacated, and just forget this nonsense.
Laurel Van Ness beat Ava Storie
It’s a guilty pleasure, but Laurel Van Ness, still in the same wedding dressed and smushed makeup for the last three months, is highly entertaining. As my PWTorch Livecast co-host Andrew Soucek pointed out on our show last night, “has she not washed her face?” It was fun to see this character work a match in the ring, too.
Moose beat Marshe Rockett via pin in the second round to retain the Impact Grand Championship
The real story of this match came after the pin, when Eli Drake and Tyrus attacked Moose. Chris Adonis joined them, and applied an Adonis Lock.
Eli Drake is going to be a breakout star for Impact. Earlier, I mentioned ECIII’s promo being too entertaining. Well that’s something that was happening with Drake towards the end of last year. It’s why the gimmick where he couldn’t speak worked really well. It also forced him to add a few more layers to his character. He has the potential to be a really good heel, and I also think that when they finally turn him babyface, hopefully well down the road, he’s going to be someone that the fans really get behind because he is so entertaining when he talks.
Alisha Edwards beat Angelina Love via DQ when Love used a chain
Once again, the heels get over on the babyfaces. Impact is going with a nice, slow burn when it comes to this Edwards-Richards feud. In almost every single interaction, Richards has gotten the better of Edwards. This week, Edwards was on crutches after Richards wrapped a chair around his leg on the railing last week.
As much as I like the fact that Impact doesn’t put every wrestler on every show, they’re losing some steam with this feud not having it featured every week. Back in March, I believe they went two or even three weeks at one point without much mention of Richards or Edwards. They need to walk a fine line as to not totally bury Edwards, but even if it’s just a backstage promo with Edwards to get himself back over a little bit, I think it would help. If they’re going for really heated personal hatred between these two guys — and they are — I think you lose a little when you’re not reinforcing that with the audience every week.
Alberto El Patron beat Magnus to win the GFW Global Title
Good match, for what it was. Again, why does the GFW Title matter? They haven’t explained that yet. Does it mean El Patron gets a title shot at Slammiversary and they’re going to unify the titles? Probably, but they haven’t mentioned that on TV yet.
If Jeff Jarrett wants to tell a story where the GFW Titles mean something, then fine. But it needs to be explained better. In the Impact Universe, these titles could mean a lot, but no one has mentioned that they do, or why they do.
Ultimately, they can’t exist. The GFW and Impact Titles can’t co-exist in the same universe, on the same brand, with just one two-hour show. There’s way too many titles.
WWE runs three programs, totaling six hours per week of television, and the shows feature a total of nine championships. Impact runs one program, totaling two hours per week of television, and the show features a total of eight championships. It’s way too many championships!