By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Chris Sabin vs. Frankie Kazarian: This one is worth going out of your way to see. The top notch match that one would expect from these two. It was a strange call to run this in the main event slot on the go-home show for tonight’s Against All Odds since it didn’t really play into the Impact Plus show in any way. Even so, Impact closed with an excellent pro wrestling match involving two true pros, so no complaints from me. It was also nice to see Kazarian’s wife Traci Brooks and their son in the front row again following their appearance at Slammiversary.
Ace Austin vs. Alex Zayne: A quality match with Chris Bey’s interference setting up Austin’ win. Zayne is a talented wrestler, but I have yet to see any company he’s worked in truly establish who he is or what makes him tick. It would be interesting to see if Zayne could emerge as a player for Impact or any company that invests in his character development.
Trey Miguel vs. Steve Maclin vs. Chris Bey vs. Laredo Kid in a four-way for a shot at the X Division Title: An action packed opening match that set up Miguel with a shot at Mike Bailey’s X Division Title at Against All Odd. I’m mildly surprised that they didn’t go with a different match with the goal of saving Bailey defending against Miguel for a bigger show.
Chris Harris returning to the ring: A mild Hit for the story that was told around Harris. They went a little too heavy by having James Storm repeatedly remind Harris of the promise that he made to him and his family that he would not return to the ring. It actually felt a little awkward when Storm ended up endorsing the idea so easily. But Harris is a sympathetic figure in Impact and I hope that he gets a bit of closure with this match. If nothing else, the company found away to give a hook to the latest Honor No More ten-man tag team match. I still contend that the HNM wrestlers would be more valuable to the company as individuals than they are in repeating their monthly cycle of building up to ten-man tag matches with no consequences.
Gisele Shaw vs. Rosemary: A nice competitive match before the weak distraction finish. Shaw is apparently aligned with Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood now. It will be interesting to see if this is a short-term union, if the plan is for Shaw to replace Rayne and Dashwood long term, or if they are forming a faction. Meanwhile, it’s always nice to see the criminally underutilized Jim Mitchell pop up on Impact television, but it’s a shame that he’s always involved in the nonsensical teleportation and undead realm nonsense that Impact just won’t move on from.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace vs. Savannah Evans in a non-title match: The match was solid and gave Grace a chance to show off her strength with the impressive Muscle Buster finisher. But as good a the booking of Impact has been since Scott D’Amore and his team took over, they do have a bad habit of sacrificing heaters for no good reason. Case in point, Madman Fulton could have been a strong heater for Ace Austin, but he lost countless matches to the point that there was no reason to take him seriously as Austin’s muscle. Evans losing clean in this match felt too similar. If they wanted to showcase Grace, then why not have her beat someone else? For that matter, Tasha Steelz actually needed a showcase win more than Grace heading into their title match tonight.
Joe Doering: The video package on Doering’s history was a good piece of production that was simply too little too late. Doering and Josh Alexander should have a killer match tonight, but Impact did a lousy job of building up Doering as a threat to win the championship. He has played the mostly silent second fiddle in Violent By Design since he arrived in Impact and didn’t get a series of momentum building singles wins or any type of singles push. Sure, the broadcast team tells us that he’s unbeaten in singles competition in Impact, but I can’t think of any signature wins off the top of my head. The sad thing is that this could have felt like a showdown match with the proper build. Here’s hoping that Impact gives themselves time to do this right by going with a finish that creates the need for a rematch rather than simply putting Alexander over strong tonight.