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Brace for IMPACT: News & notes on IMPACT Wrestling

The March 2 episode of IMPACT on AXS TV was a solid albeit unremarkable episode. The show started off hot with an action-packed Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey vs. Black Taurus three-way match to determine the number-one contender for the X-Division title.  After that, there was a dip in the action, followed by some fun skits, strong video packages, and lots of set ups for the Sacrifice pay-per-view. Let’s look at the Highs, Lows, and The In-Betweens from last night.

WATCH LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE

Highs:

Austin vs. Bey vs. Black Taurus: These three had great chemistry together. This was a very fast-paced, fun opener, an attempt to set the pace for the show. The match ended when Austin pinned Bey with a little help from his bodyguard, Madman Fulton. This was one of the matches that Sammy Guevara was supposed to be in. While I think Guevara being in this would have been fun, Taurus was a suitable replacement who offered a unique dynamic to the match. These are three shining stars of the division, and while the Knockouts and tag team division are struggling for momentum, the X-Division has become a strong suit for IMPACT.

Sami Callihan Attacks Trey Miguel’s Wrestling School: Callihan continued his feud with Trey by heading to Toledo, Ohio and barging in to his Skull & Bones Wrestling Academy and beating up his students, and even his coach, “CK3,” who walks with a cane. He accused Miguel of not having passion and letting down his former teammates in the Rascalz (now MSK in NXT).

This is a play on Triple H calling out talents who tried out for NXT but didn’t sign saying they lacked “passion fight for the business.” Many took this as a shot directed at Miguel. His character work was fantastic here. After the segment was over, Callihan grabbed one of Miguel’s students and offered to mentor him.

Swinger’s Palace: I don’t know what it is about these skits, but they get me to laugh every time. This week, TJP was playing roulette with Bravo when in walked Ace Austin to set up their match at Sacrifice. While in there Austin spotted Alisha Edwards in an homage to their feud from a year ago which was a nice touch. Chris Bey walked in ready to fight Austin after getting screwed out of his title shot. Swinger stopped them and said no one fights until they can get odds and take bets, then ordered Bravo to go to the boss and make the match for next week. Yes this is all stupid and no I am not proud of enjoying it.

Moose and Swann video packages: Each video was only about 90 seconds long, but they were effective in building to their IMPACT World Title Match at Sacrifice. IMPACT does an excellent job with these, and Moose in particular is very good at explaining why the match means so much to him. Swan was way better in these than usual because he came across as real here. When he’s the happy-go-lucky guy putting on a fake over-the-top voice, he loses me.

Lows:

Tenille Dashwood and Havok had a very ho-hum match, one that if you skipped you wouldn’t miss anything. Their feud has not been interesting from the beginning, and to be quite honest, Dashwood comes across like she’s bored in the ring when she’s there. She won, which I hoped would end the feud, but Nevaeh, Havok’s partner, attacked Tennile’s photographer “Kaleb with a K.” Unfortunately, the program might continue. And by the way, the skits setting up this match also

Eddie Edwards vs. Brian Meyers w/Special Ref Matt Cardona: This is another thing on the show that just kind of happened. Cardona DQ’d Meyers for using an illegal object. They are teasing a Cardona vs. Meyers feud. Eddie Edwards, their legendary (in IMPACT lore) former champion is essentially a prop between two former job guys from WWE.  Something tells me that Cardona is turning heel and joining forces with Meyers. A feud between two best friends who continue podcasting together just does not make sense. Cardona is the epitome of lukewarm wherever he goes, and his stint in IMPACT has been no different. Maybe a heel turn is just what he needs to get going.

Sami Callihan attacking Trey Miguel’s school, content-wise, was a hit for me. But the editing and the sound mixing was awful. Its almost as if someone found some new effects on their computer and wanted to use all of them. Just bad. The story and acting were great. though.

In-betweens:

The Good Brothers and FinJuice vs. Reno Scum and XXXL: The match was quick and fine for what it was. It was just a quick match designed to get people interested in a Good Brothers vs. FinJuice match at Sacrifice. I think it made me less interested, honestly. The Good Brothers being cool heel tweeners just is not working for me. In IMPACT they come across as mid-card babyfaces and on AEW they are heels in a main event act with Omega. Hope we get a fiery babyface promo from Juice Robinson to build up he match because it already has lost some steam.

The Main Event between Deonna Purazzo, Jordynne Grace, and Kiera Hogan was a nice match, which again was designed to set up matches at Sacrifice. Grace took the pin via roll-up and then afterward, the heels attacked Grace and Jazz. ODB made the save and focused her anger towards Purazzo, who laid her out just last week. This set up a match between Grace and Jazz challenging for the KO Tag Titles against Fire n Flava (Hogan and Tasha Steelz) and a KO Title match between Purazzo and ODB.

Tony Khan’s paid ad was subdued this week due to criticism of his constant burial of IMPACT. The whole thing was funny in the beginning, but IMPACT never retaliated. If IMPACT doesn’t fight back, it just isn’t fun to watch because there really isn’t a point. This week he called for IMPACT, NJPW and AEW to unite against a “common enemy,” and that he is now the leader of that fight. They then previewed this week’s AEW Dynamite and Revolution on pay-per-view.

NEWS:

  • According to Showbuzz Daily, this week’s episode averaged 134,000 viewers and ranked #130 in the top 150, which is way down from last weeks 170,000 and way way down from their 2021 peak two weeks ago of 197,000. There was nothing really that grabbed anyone’s attention this week. Next Tuesday is their go-home episode for Sacrifice, so hopefully for their sake they bounce back.
  • According to the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast, NXT might be moving to Tuesday nights starting April 13, after WrestleMania. If NXT goes head-to-head, they would almost have to move to Thursdays.  The last time NXT went head to head on Tuesday against IMPACT, the show averaged just 89,000 viewers.  Some will say they should stay and fight, but it wouldn’t be a fair fight. The USA channel is in 90 million homes compared with AXS’s 50 million. IMPACT also operates on a shoestring budget in a small studio with no fans. NXT’s has a serious budget and high production quality, plus a beautiful facility that can actually house cage or ladder matches. IMPACT competing with NXT would be like throwing a rock at army battle tank.

  • Xplosion is on “extended hiatus” according to PWInsider. The show typically airs on Mondays on IMPACT Plus and features one match a week, usually, followed by an interview segment and highlights. The show has been essentially replaced by Before the IMPACT, which airs on AXS right before IMPACT and serves as the preview show. Xplosion debuted back in 2002, and just about every wrestler working today that you see on TV has had matches on the show.
  • Jordynne Grace contract watch continues. For those keeping score she lost last night. If she takes the pin at Sacrifice, you already know whats next.
  • Moose was bragging about how much IMPACT pays him and showed off his Mazerati. I can’t tell if that means he finally re-signed or if its another bargaining ploy. Either way it’s a nice ride.

IMPACT Wrestling: Sacrifice 2021 airs next Saturday, March 13 on the IMPACT Plus App at 8:00 p.m. ET. I will have a full preview next week, but here is what the card looks like so far:

IMPACT World Championship (maybe IMPACT vs. TNA title, but not official)

Rich Swann (c) vs Moose

IMPACT Tag Team Championship

The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (c) vs. FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson)

IMPACT Knockouts Championship

Deonna Purazzo (c) vs. ODB

IMPACT X-Division Championship

TJP (c) vs. Ace Austin

IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship

Fire N Flava (c) (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs. Jazz & Jordynne Grace

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