Impact Wrestling presented one of its best shows in the past year last night, when it ran a special edition of the show titled, Crossroads. Built like a pay-per-view, the show focused on in-ring action and it was heavy on action.
There was only one problem … the crowd.
Honestly, they might as well have been wrestling in an empty building. The audience in Orlando at Universal Studios is dead. A good number of them are just tourists, but that’s even more reason why Impact needs to get out of Orlando.
On top of that, it makes more financial sense, I would think, to tape elsewhere. In Orlando Impact can’t sell tickets, and anywhere else they can. Even if they run a small theatre, like ROH taping at Center Stage in Atlanta, you would think selling 500 tickets is better than zero tickets, right?
Fact is, the atmosphere killed what was a really good wrestling show. When it’s affecting the product, it’s time to move.
LAX defeated Trevor Lee & Caleb Konley to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles
There was a lot of great action in this match, which you would expect between these teams. Despite not a lot of time, they’ve built this story well over the last month or so.
Impact still isn’t using Trevor Lee correctly. He should be a featured singles wrestler on the show, but if they aren’t going to do that, they should at least book Lee and Konley as a more serious team, rather than these goofballs who just can’t seem to get anything right.
LAX is not only the coolest team in Impact, they’re really the only team outside of OVE. It’s still a two-team company, for the most part.
Matt Sydal defeated Taiji Ishimori to win the X-Division Title and retain the Grand Championship
This was an excellent match, and in fact, it was one of the best matches Impact has presented in a while. I’ve become a huge Ishimori fan since his involvement last year, and despite his lack of English, he’s connecting more with the crowd, and it’s because of what he’s able to do in the ring.
These are the types of wrestlers, and this is the type of match, that Impact should be looking to promote. It has to be a variety show, I understand that, but guys like Sydal and Ishimori should be part of the primary focus. Good, athletic wrestling.
It feels like Impact is slowly changing its identity. They’re phasing out guys like ECIII and replacing them with guys like Austin Aries. Brian Cage has the look of a big WWE-level star, but he’s also a skilled performer.
Allie beat Laurel Van Ness to win the Knockouts Title
To borrom a term from Jim Cornette, this went over like a fart in church.
The match result is fine. Laurel Van Ness is on her way out of the company, so moving the belt onto Allie is fine. I would rather see Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie feuding over the title, to be honest.
Allie’s character was over huge last year. She was getting great crowd reaction and it was one of the few things Impact genuinely built on their own under Jeff Jarrett (and the regime before him).
But they made this big moment for Allie feel so bland. Josh Mathews was not good on commentary, which made the moment feel stale. Then Impact not long after the win cut away to go to commercial.
Where’s the fanfare or hype?
The match was good, though. Laurel Van Ness, who was dropping the title on her way out the door, worked hard to get Allie over.
On top of that, I hope the Allie character evolves. She’s the champion now, so booking her as an aloof, gullible teenager isn’t going to work.
Brian Cage & Bobby Lashley defeated OVE (w/ Sami Callahan)
Cage was a surprise partner for Lashley, coming down midway through the match and then picking up the win for his team. After the match, Cage refused to shake Lashley’s hand.
Impact had to do something with Eddie Edwards out for the rest of the tapings after the injury suffered against Callahan.
This will likely be criticized, but I’m OK with Impact and Callahan using the bat shot as a way to get heat on Callahan. It was a dumb move (using the bat on the chair) but it happened, so why not capitalize on it? I don’t think it’s distasteful, especially if Edwards is OK with it.
The only issue here was Cage joining mid-match. Wouldn’t that be a DQ? Lashley seemed surprised he had a partner and the announcers made a point of calling the match a handicap match with Edwards hurt.
Cage refusing the handshake teases a match with Lashley. If Lashley is on his way out of the company — and he was at the end of the taping — then while it might feel rushed, it makes sense for them to put Cage over Lashley on the way out. Ideally this match would happen at Bound for Glory, or something, but given the restraints of Lashley leaving, I’d rather they do it now than not at all.
Austin Aries defeated Johnny Impact to retain the Impact World Title
Wow! A good match with a clean finish! A clean finish! Hooray!
They showed Alberto El Patron arriving at the building prior to the match, and that was terrifying. They were setting up an El Patron run-in but it didn’t happen until after the match. I’m not pleased that they’re going to keep him in the title picture — fool me once, blame on you, fool me twice … — but they seem to think it’s necessary.
El Patron is nothing as a character. He’s a name, but that’s about it, and I’d argue even how much name value he has.