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Brace for IMPACT: Don Callis’ shiny toys

Don Callis Warns Rich Swann before Rebellion

This week’s episode from IMPACT Wrestling was highlighted by a great yet polarizing promo from Don Callis.

Rich Swann came to the ring to celebrate his win against Moose after his match on Saturday at Sacrifice, but also to let Kenny Omega know he is ready for their upcoming match at Rebellion. Swann was then interrupted by Callis, who, for the first time, walked the aisle to the tune of “Pachelbel’s Canon.” I found it oddly perfect for the character he portrays. He told Swann that he was proud of him. He then revealed that he was the one who fought to get him signed in IMPACT. It was Callis who called and texted him weekly while he was hurt. It was Callis who wanted him to headline Bound For Glory.

He said that Swann was his shiny toy, but he found a new toy in Omega. Callis called Swann a once in a decade talent while Omega was once in a millennium. “You’re a superstar Rich, but Kenny Omega is a GOD!”

This was an excellent segment; Callis must be positioning himself to win multiple Observer awards next year. The only downside is that Swann looked a little weak by just sitting there and absorbing Callis’ insults. He came off like a kid getting scolded by his parents. The story is that Swann wasn’t happy with Callis, but he had too much respect for the man who helped his career. The story of champion vs. champion was a good enough sell, but now with the added layers of story, I see this becoming even bigger. This promo set the stage for the main event of Rebellion.

Omega was at the tapings this week to begin the build to Rebellion, according to PW Insider. IMPACT is promoting this as one of the most important events in pro wrestling, due to having a champion vs. champion match with all the titles on the line.  While this may big the biggest pay-per-view of the Anthem era of IMPACT, its growth potential took a hit this week. UFC President Dana White announced that UFC 261 featuring a Welterweight championship rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal will be going head to head with Rebellion. This will be live from Jacksonville, Florida and will be in front of a full audience of fans for the first time since the pandemic, which adds more incentive for fans to buy it.

IMPACT should strongly consider moving it to Sunday night. Just being on the same weekend as a big UFC pay-per-view is enough to lose revenue, but going head to head is a death sentence.  This will likely be one of the top pay-per-views for Anthem regardless, but they could sell so many more if they just move it.


IMPACT Wrestling review

The episode overall was really strong. The main event was great. Backstage segments were are pretty good except for one. Most of the matches were good and they continue to build their characters.

Let’s take a look at the hits and misses from this weeks IMPACT.

(You can watch the full episode here.)

Hits

Callis and Swann Promo: Classic storytelling. Go out of your way to watch this.

Sami Callihan vs. Trey Miguel: This was an excellent television match, and it has been my favorite feud in IMPACT recently. I wondered why they didn’t put this on Sacrifice, but that show was loaded already. Sami won the match in about 28 minutes including commercials. This ran the gamut: It had great brawling, technical wrestling, and emotional work all around from both. Sami worked the leg for much of the contest while Trey sold brilliantly. It ended when Sami feigned and injury to cause a distraction, leading to the package piledriver finish. Again, go out of your way to watch this.

FinJuice vs. XXXL: A fun little three minute WCW Saturday Night-esque squash match. Finlay pinned Acey Romero with an acid drop. Afterwards, the Good Brothers came out to complain about losing their titles. It seems as if they finally switched back to being full heels. Karl Anderson stated that since they have been busy working both IMPACT and AEW, and because he has four kids in home-school, they weren’t ready. Gallows then complained of jet-lag due to his long flight from Atlanta to Nashville and that he may have been hungover. If you’re keeping score, that’s a 90-minute flight.

FinJuice offered them a rematch, but said that unfortunately they have to go back to Japan for a “Brother tour.” A brawl ensued, and FinJuice left with the titles. The Good Brothers immediately went to Scott D’Amore to complain, who offered them no sympathy. D’Amore claimed that the titles would be defended in Japan. Then made a rematch official for Rebellion.

12 Knockouts Tag Match: This match featured every knockout signed to IMPACT. 12. With a tag division and a singles division, that’s thin. Either way, this was a good match that over-delivered. Everyone got the chance to hit a big move. Jordynne Grace and Keira hit a dive on to everyone to the outside. Jazz submitted Kimber Lee with the STF. Jazz will now face Purazzo next week.

Rohit vs. Shera: Minor hit, mainly because Rohit got the win. He’s usually clunky in the ring, but Shera looked good here. Before the match, the announcers were building him up as an unstoppable monster, so if the plan was for him to be that, they failed the moment he lost. Rohit won with a rollup and got the feet on the ropes. Shera is getting better, but he is better served as a body guard for someone.

Brian Myers & Matt Cardona Segment: Another minor hit. I’ve been very critical of this story, but I thought this weeks progression worked here. Cardona let Brian know that he wanted to squash the whole thing and be friends. Myers then told him that he has had to deal with Cardona for 18 years and he finally got to be on his own, and then Cardona shows up. IMPACT was supposed to be his thing.

Myers, while coming across as a whiny heel, does have a point. I could see them facing off at either hardcore Justice or Rebellion in a loser leaves town match.

Misses

Heel Knockouts team planning segment: This was bad. Bad writing. Bad comedy. Bad WWE style blocking. Just bad. I felt like I was watching a low budget version of RAW. Tenille wanted their team to be called “Tenille’s Followers. Then Purazzo wanted to be captain. Fire n Flava said they should be captains. Then it was over, but it lasted a lifetime. Just bad.

Rhino vs. Jake Something: Three weeks after Jake main-evented IMPACT against Moose and came off like a star, he is getting squashed by a 50-year-old Rhino in five minutes. Rhino gored Something after a disctraction (of course) from VBD. After the match, VBD laid a beat-down on Something, Storm, and Sabin. They’re likely to add a fourth member to the Beer Guns/Jake Something side, most likely the returning Alex Shelley.

Ratings analysis

IMPACT averaged 146,000 viewers this week according to Showbuzz Daily. The show ranked #135 in the top 150. The number is slightly up from last week’s 144,000. Essentially there was no buzz following the very well received Sacrifice show. The show has been way down the last four weeks.

NEWS

  • As we discussed previously, if Jordynne were to take the pin at Sacrifice, you’d probably know what’s next. Well, she took the pin this past week on Sacrifice, and later confirmed to Dennis Ferrell of the Wrestling Perspective Podcast this week that her contract is up in May and that WWE was her childhood dream. She’s young and talented enough that if she were ever to go, now is the time. As far as whether or not IMPACT is offering up WWE level money for their homegrown talent, she stated:

“I love the opportunity that IMPACT has given me but obviously it’s going to be a lot less money than WWE would give me if I were to go there, and they would give me a lot less input on my character.” (H/T Fightful)

  • George the Iceman, the kayfabe news guy from IMPACT’s pre-game show Before the IMPACT, claimed that some IMPACT talent were headed overseas but didn’t elaborate. The obvious answer is the Good Brothers, but they have been working every Dynamite show already. I’m not sure how they would swing that. NJPW recently lost Hiromu Takahashi for six months (torn pec), so maybe they bring in Chris Bey for a tour? He worked last year’s Super J-Cup (which took place in the US), so I could see that happening.
  • IMPACT announced that their next IMPACT+ special will be Hardcore Justice on April 10. Yes, that is the same day as WrestleMania. According to John Pollock, as of now, the start time is 8:00 p.m., but that other options are being discussed. I could not fathom a reason why any wrestling company would think it would be a good idea to air a a major show head-to-head with ‘Mania. Hopefully it airs a couple hours earlier. The show is being taped this week, and since they own the app, they can literally air it whenever they want.

ICYMI

After Sacrifice, JD Oliva, Jeremy Finestone and myself recorded a podcast exclusively for the Fight Game Media YouTube channel. be sure to like, review, and subscribe!

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