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Brace for IMPACT: Kenny Omega returns to IMPACT! (ratings bump not included)

IMPACT Wrestling, in a quest for much needed buzz and eyeballs, brought back Kenny Omega with his manager Don Callis.  Unfortunately as you will see in the ratings analysis, they did not deliver. What Callis and Omega did do was execute a great promo and lay out their plans for Rebellion and the upcoming champion vs champion match vs Rich Swann. Kenny, as smarmy as ever, played the entitled heel. He is coming for the prize that he feels he rightfully owns.

Callis and Omega beat it over the heads of the audience, almost to the point of nausea, that no one has kicked out of the One-Winged Angel, including Swann. They repeated it over and over again, and even played a montage. I get the feeling Swann is kicking out of it at Rebellion.

Rebellion’s PPV buy potential just got better. IMPACT announced that they are moving the show to Sunday Night, April 25th to avoid competing against UFC. Last week I laid out that very scenario, and just how much of a disaster it would be if they stayed against UFC. This PPV has a better chance to draw the most buys in Anthem-owned IMPACT history, and close to some of the top TNA PPVs.


Ratings analysis

One would think that having Omega on the show would jump start the ratings and save IMPACT from their current decline. Well, it was the complete opposite.

IMPACT averaged 116,000 viewers and ranked 146 in the Showbuzz Top 150, which is down from last weeks 146,000 and is by far their lowest ratings of the year.

What does it say about the AEW-IMPACT relationship? The bloom may be off the rose a bit. Tony Khan coming to IMPACT and insulting the audience for watching the show seems to have backfired. But there are likely a multitude of reasons why the ratings since the beginning of March have plummeted. One reason, and a small one, is that Dark Side of the Ring “Confidential” is on Vice and airing opposite IMPACT. Last week the show averaged 81,000 viewers. This week however, they did not chart.


IMPACT Wrestling review

This week’s episode was just okay. Two matches had the opportunity to be great but booking prevented that. IMPACT booking continued their over-reliance on run-ins, distractions, and screw jobs. Thankfully they had a newsworthy segment with Don Callis and Kenny Omega that carried some of the show. The wrestlers are good, but sometimes you can’t out-wrestle the pencil.

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

(You can watch the full episode here.)

Hits

Callis and Omega promo: Seeing Kenny Omega come back to IMPACT is going to get added in the “hit” section automatically. If I had a gripe, it would be the the segment went a little long. Some were complaining that Swann, nor anyone else on the roster came out to confront Omega, but we have plenty of time for that. There is still a month until the PPV and Omega is likely to be on most of the shows.

Rich Swann’s rebuttle: Serious Swann is my favorite Swann. Happy-go-lucky-Swann is nice too, but we need to see him keep up the intensity. Right now no one believes he has a shot against Omega. Including me. It will be up to him and the production staff to make it believable to viewers that he can win.

Eddie Edwards vs Karl Anderson: These two are absolute pros. Both men have a long history in Japan for rival companies, Anderson with NJPW and Edwards with NOAH. This was a really good match that had a screwy ending. Anderson won after Gallows hit Edwards with a chair when the ref was distracted. Could have done without that, but I will let the story play out. After the match, Eddie just disappeared and FinJuice popped up on the big screen. FinJuice talked some trash to the Good Brothers and continued to set up their rematch for Rebellion.

Swinger’s Palace Commercial: Hate me if you want, but I love it. So many good one liners. “Thrills, chills, PIZILLS!” It literally means nothing and adds nothing to the show. But it makes me laugh. So it’s a hit.

Trey Miguel vs Ace Romero: Real solid match from both. Ace is the perfect opponent for many of the smaller guys. He makes them look incredible and his offense is great. After the match, XXXL attacked Trey and Sami Callihan made the save, and then disappeared. Will be interesting to see where this is headed.

Misses

Deonna Purazzo vs Jazz: Purazzo, the champ needed multiple interferences and help form Susie’s shoe to beat Jazz. Jazz actually had Purazzo beat at one point but Susie had to put Purazzo’s foot on the rope. Seriously. I keep hearing that reinforcements are coming for the division and well, they can’t come soon enough. But if I were them and saw this booking, I might rethink where I wanted to wrestle.

Ace Austin vs TJP for the X-Division title: The wrestling was good as usual, but IMPACT decided they wanted to make TJP look like he should still be the champion. TJP actually had Austin beat at one point until Fulton pulled Austin’s foot under the ropes. Yes the same spot that happened in the Purazzo-Jazz match.

The end came when TJP had Austin beat a second time and Fulton just hit the ring for the DQ. I get that Austin is a heel, but he literally just beat TJP with virtually no help just a couple weeks ago. After, Fulton and Austin beat up on TJP and then Josh Alexander made the save.

Rohit Raju vs Fallah Bah: Homeless Fallah Bah who has a gambling addiction just isn’t funny or fun. Maybe it’s because his addiction came from Swinger’s palace and I love it, but I am not into it. Rohit found Fallah sleeping under a makeshift cardboard box. Then the usual “I bumped in to you in a rude way backstage so now we must fight” gimmick that happens every week occurred. They are both good wrestlers, but the setup was a total turn-off for me.


NEWS

  • Hardcore Justice, which is airing on April 10th, the same day as WrestleMania Day One, has been moved up to 3pm EST as first reported by PWInsider and later confirmed by IMPACT. Given that they never added a start time when they originally announced the show tells me they were milking the story. IMPACT had to know the whole time that going opposite Mania would be ridiculous.
  • James Storm will take on Eric Young on the March 30 episode of IMPACT in what will be his 1000th match with the company.
  • On IMPACT, Matt Cardona challenged best friend, former tag team partner, and podcast co-host to a future wrestling match on IMPACT. No date was given, but it sounds like a Rebellion match. This wasn’t a hit or a miss, but its slightly newsworthy.

 

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