There is no doubt a lot going on in the world of pro wrestling. And Impact Wrestling is proving more and more it should be part of the conversation. You're talking about an organization that has made tremendous strides in the last year to create a more solid foundation through consistency. One thing the company has regularly lacked.
Through partnerships they've begin producing additional live shows beyond television tapings, which are now run outside of Orlando and into other markets. They've worked hard to develop new content and utilize its tools for interaction with audiences by way of Twitch. Viewers connect in a different way than just social media. The company also announced Impact Plus is coming May 1 and a live show May 5 called Code Red. A new streaming platform, appearing to be the next evolution of the soon-to-be replaced Global Wrestling Network (GWN).
They may not be on the biggest television outlet, but sometimes you have a to take steps back in order to move forward,
Impact does have other positives going for it at the moment. Among them a dedicated roster that was on full display during Impact's latest Pay-Per-View/FITE TV streamed offering Rebellion. You feel a sense of optimism and infectious energy reverberating from a hungry stable of talent putting everything into bringing new eyes to the product. And it has been an uphill battle, bringing with it added pressure knowing one bad show could give haters more fuel. Rebellion overall was a solid show and a lot of matches ranging from good to great.
Rebellion is the perfect name for an event emanating from The Rebel Complex, a Toronto venue that gives the presentation a cool look for television and PPV. Every time Impact has run there seems to bring a great crowd that genuinely digs the product chanting, "This is Impact." That can be an important intangible to engage viewers and help turn a corner. Here are my thoughts and observations from watching Rebellion via FITE TV.
Tag Team Main Event
Impact made the decision to go with LAX (Santana and Ortiz) and the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Fenix) in the main event. It's always good when tag team wrestling is shown some love, especially when it's worthy like in this occasion. These two teams are known for their stellar matches. However, to headline an event like Rebellion that contained a card where the crowd had seen pretty much everything, there comes the arduous task of keeping fans invested. LAX and the Lucha Brothers closed out a tremendous show with a simply spectacular war. The risks taken and bodies sacrificed can't be understated. If you haven't, go out of your way to watch this show. This match in particular is well worth your time. The tables, the chairs, the ladders, the thumbtacks, the fork, the carnage. It's all there with some insane sequences that leaves you thinking these four will be hurting in the morning. LAX will go down as one of the most decorated and successful tag teams in Impact history.
After a series of matches, Brian Cage finally scored the win over Johnny Impact to become the Impact Wrestling champion. There is a trend of overbooking and outside interference prevalent in heavyweight title matches. Given this particular story, it made sense with Impact putting every obstacle in Cage's way to overcome. With the Canadian setting, it was a good touch putting Lance Storm in there to serve as special referee. I popped for the Storm super kick. Cage could be a great representative for the company from a look and ability standpoint. A hybrid athlete that can go when the bell rings. The only challenge I'm sure the new champ is up for is being able to step it up on the mic and be that leader to get the promotion to another level. He certainly has the tools to carry the gold with the right challengers lined up. One of those appears to be Michael Elgin, who made his presence known to interrupt the Cage championship celebration. Elgin is a polarizing figure, so it will be interesting to see how his time with the company pans out. News came out Cage was rushed to the emergency room after the title match. Here's hoping it's not serious, and he is able to officially begin his reign.
The Knockouts Rule
The big story was Gail Kim coming out of retirement to teach some respect to Tessa Blanchard. Giving this match an even bigger feel is having Blanchard's Hall of Fame father Tully and Kim's husband Robert Irvine ringside. Kim and Blanchard definitely lived up to the hype in a clash of two eras in women's wrestling coming together. It's a shame Kim chose to lace up the boots full-time as she can still hang with the best. Blanchard defeating Kim felt like a passing of the torch. Impact has a true diamond on their hands, and she is only getting better. Crazy she is this good so early in her career. I selfishly want to see Blanchard face Charlotte Flair one day. That would be money.
Taya Valkyrie changed up her look and fully embraced being the bad girl ruling the Knockouts division. Jordynne Grace is a true powerhouse who may have lost, but definitely left her mark. Graces time will come no doubt. There can be more done to extend this rivalry., so it will mean even more when the title does change hands. Until then Valkyrie has the feather in her cap as the first person to defeat Grace to use to advance the story. Valkyrie and Grace worked well against one another. I'm looking forward to future matches. The Knockouts division overall is really starting to fill up and finds its groove.
Intergender Smoke Show
I give credit to Impact for the way they've presented Scarlett Bordeaux as something special on its programming. She comes off as a star. Her match against Glenn Gilbertti made sense given the weeks of build. However, I'm not for putting on intergender matches for the sake of it. I think the story needs to make sense. That said, Bordeaux really had a strong outing against Rohit Raju, especially for a match thrown on the show. Bordeaux is indeed more than a pretty face. One can see her in a future prominent spot within the Knockout's division when the time comes.
The North (Ethan Page and Josh Alexander) and Moose versus The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel) really turned heads. Outstanding. New signing Alexander is impressive alongside Page and gets points for bringing the Rick Steiner amateur headgear back. Moose may not be in the main event picture at the moment, but he clearly remains motivated helping elevate the young guns and human highlight reels known as The Rascalz.
Good Friends, Better Enemies
Rich Swann has shown a more serious side in his personal feud with Sami Callihan. The scene outside of the oVe leader's house in particular really drove that home. Callihan has really mastered the no disqualification, hardcore style battles. This one against Swann was no different seeing the stapler gun, security railings, chair, garbage can, etc. There were several standout spots from the cutter on the entrance way, as well as the pile driver on the guardrail and hurricanrana from the top rope to a bed of Legos. Tag on the fact he can deliver in promos. If Callhan isn't an Impact heavyweight champion when it's all said and done, something is wrong.
The Pay-Per-View started out hot with a six-man scramble featuring Petey Williams, Jake Crist, Aiden Prince, Ace Austin, Cousin Jake and Eddie Edwards. A nice mix of talent involving established names and new faces. Just long enough for each to get some time to shine. You can definitely see some true potential for Austin and Crist as champions in the X Division. For Williams, it's always nice to see one of the originals in his element and getting a Canadian Destroyer in.