Impact Wrestling is Pushing the Envelope

It seems like Impact is getting edgier both in match style and dialogue as the weeks progress ...

In an effort to be different than WWE, it certainly feels like Impact Wrestling is trying to channel some of what ECW did in the mid-90s to differentiate themselves. But, is that strategy going to work in 2018?

Maybe I’m off base here, but I have some evidence.

Last night, the main event of Impact was Eddie Edwards beating Sami Callahan in a hard-hitting, physical match. After the match, Sami Callahan (mistake or not), violently smashed Edwards in the face with a baseball bat that legitmately sent him to the hospital to get his face put back together. On the same show, one wrestler called another a “doucebag” and Rosemary called herself the “Alpha Bitch,” to which Taya Valkyrie said “no, you’re just Taya’s bitch.”

They’re pushing the envelope. 

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About a month ago, Impact aired a Barbed Wire Massacre match on their Twitch channel — Pop TV refused to air it — and the finish came when Dave Crist had kabob skewers jammed and stuck into his forehead. 

Those are things you would never see on WWE television. In recent weeks it feels like the envelope continues to be pushed. Laurel Van Ness pulled out a curb stomp and last night, Kongo Kong choked Abyss with a scarf; similar to the scenario that got Daniel Bryan fired in 2009.

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Tyrus beat Ethan Carter III

Well, we know that ECIII is leaving Impact Wrestling for a return to WWE, and it was pretty evident in this match. ECIII didn’t get much offense in at all on Tyrus, and for the first time in, well, his career, Tyrus finally looked like a big, dominating monster (at least the way he was booked). Tyrus’ offense is still really weak, and it needs to be stronger if he’s going to be perceived as a legitimate threat to anyone. Tyrus reversing ECIII’s One Percenter and then scoring a clean win was a pretty clear indication that ECIII is on his way out — which we know — and that Impact might have some big plans for Tyrus; otherwise, why allow him to get that clean win over ECIII and not someone else?

El Hijo Del Fantasma beat Braxton Sutter

Sonjay Dutt seemed to praise Braxton Sutter as “a brand new Braxton.” Josh Mathews and Dutt speculated why Sutter was acting like a heel — wasn’t he doing this for a few months now? — and Sutter ended up getting the loss despite cheating twice. 

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After the match, Brian Cage came out and destroyed a complaining Sutter in a few seconds with a Drill Claw. R.I.P. Braxton Sutter. … Sure, he cut the promo, but Sutter lost the match despite cheating twice and then was sacrificed for Brian Cage. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. Sutter’s character has been lifeless on Impact for months.

Kongo Kong beat Joseph Park

Kong’s manager, Jimmy Jacobs, got into the ring after the match and said he asked for Abyss. Kong picked up Park and began choking him with a cloth. Jacobs said it didn’t need to be this way, and he asked again if Park was going to bring out Abyss? Jacobs asked again, Park screamed “no!” through being choked. Jacobs said that he was just getting started.

Jacobs has been good in his role as Kong’s manager. The monster vs. monster thing is … well, it’s fine. It’s not great and it’s not bad, either. It’s going to lead to a big match at some point, and I’d expect Kong and Abyss to bring out some violence. 

Rosemary beat Hania

Hania announced shortly after this television taping that she was mutually parting ways with Impact Wrestling … it’s safe to say that mutual decision came prior to this match. Hania had some early offense, but Rosemary picked up a pretty decisive and clean win.

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After the match, Taya Valkyrie returned and confronted Rosemary, attacking her as the segment ended.

Man, was Josh Mathews annoying in this segment. From screaming “is she here?!?!” while Taya’s music and video appeared on the screen, to shouting that Taya Valkyrie was “trending worldwide!” seconds after she appeared on screen. 

Aside from that, it was fun to see Taya return, finally. They brought her in nicely. Is there something going on with their rating, though? Earlier tonight we had Ishimori calling Sydal a “douchebag” and then Rosemary is calling herself the “Alpha Bitch.”

Eddie Edwards beat Sami Callahan

This was one of the more exciting matches in a while on Impact. Both Edwards and Callahan took some big risks. This was the type of match that any promotion would have been proud of. This felt like a hard-hitting ROH style match. For a feud that doesn’t have a ton of heat behind it, because it’s only a few weeks old, this match had a lot of drama to it. 

Edwards was excellent selling the piledriver as well, grabbing and clutching his neck throughout the match. Really well done all around.

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Overall, this show was pretty good. There were some segments that had me rolling my eyes — the LVN segment, for example — but matches like the main event got the show back on track.