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Kenny Omega AEW vs IMPACT

KENNY OMEGA is set to defend his AEW title in IMPACT

The big news from this week’s IMPACT was not only will the Moose vs. Rich Swann match at this week’s Sacrifice be a title unification bout, the winner will now go on to Rebellion to face Kenny Omega in a title for title main event.  If you are wondering why IMPACT would make this match in storyline, there are a few.

  1. Kenny Omega pinned Rich Swann at Hard to Kill
  2. Both Swann and Moose would like to be AEW Champion and think they can beat Omega.
  3. IMPACT has confidence in their competitors.
  4. EVP Don Callis manipulated the situation and used his carny tricks to fuel his own self-interest.
  5. IMPACT management likely believes that it will be a big event and will get to reap the awards.

This is the best thing that could happen for IMPACT. They are a small company looking for a foothold in the marketplace and if Omega wins, it means they get more Omega appearances. More Omega means more viewers, app subscriptions, and pay-per-view buys.

What does AEW get out of this? They are looking to create an all-time legendary champion in Omega. Some hardcore insiders do not hold the IMPACT and TNA titles in high regard, but the visual of Omega coming out on television carrying four world title belts, including AAA Mega title, will leave a lasting impression on the audience. I still remember seeing Ultimo Dragon on WCW TV coming out with 9 title belts. Maybe one or two of those meant anything, but it made me think he was a superstar and grabbed my attention.

Will it pop ratings for AEW in the short-term? It’s not likely to, but it could build equity in the Omega “belt collector” character. It typically takes five to six years on television to be a character that essentially becomes bulletproof. So unless you have a bizarre hatred for small companies that you don’t watch, this really is a win-win for both; that’s why they’re building Omega.


IMPACT Wrestling review

The “go-home” edition of IMPACT was a fun two hours of good storytelling, promos, and an excellent television contest and got the people talking after it was over. You can’t ask for much more than that. Each segment was designed to build to this Saturday’s Sacrifice special on IMPACT Plus.

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

(You can watch the full episode here.)

Hits

Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey: This was outstanding. These two young guys can really go, and I suspect we will see this again on pay-per-view soon, and then eventually WWE and AEW will come calling for them. Hopefully for IMPACT’s sake they offer them big contracts and keep them around, because they could build the whole company around these guys.

The story of the match was that Bey wanted a fair shot at Austin without outside interference from Madman Fulton. Austin obliged and ordered Fulton not to interfere. These guys hit every move and counter-move in the book and had excellent chemistry together. My only complaint is that Bey won when TJP agitated Fulton and caused the Madman to chase him, which distracted Austin and led to the pin.

Austin is getting a shot at the X-Division title this Saturday. I get what they are trying to do. If Austin wins, they have a ready-made challenger in Bey, but I am totally against someone losing 4 days before a title shot. That said, it was a great. If you watch one thing from this episode, make it this one.

Jazz vs. Tasha Steelz: This was a really good five minute contest. Tasha played the cocky young champion underestimating the grizzled legend Jazz. Jazz hit some big moves, great near falls, and finally got the win with a STF submission. This was a set up for the Fire ‘N’ Flava vs Grace/Jazz tag team title bout this weekend. I’m cool with Jazz getting the victory here. I assume that Fire N Flava are winning at Sacrifice. Also, Jazz still has it. She looks great.

James Storm and Chris Sabin vs Rohit Raju and Shera: I was legitimately worried about this  when it was announced, because Shera, while improved, is dreadful. That said, they played to his strengths and it was good. Shera looked his best when he and Storm did their big man stuff, with power moves and heavy strikes. Rohit looked great with both Sabin and Storm and is really an unsung hero of IMPACT.

This served as a blow off to their impromptu feud that started when Storm smashed a bottle over Raju’s head. This also is the end of the short-lived return of the Desi Hit Squad. Rohit took the pin after an altercation with Shera, where he accused Shera of stealing his thunder a bit and Sabin hit a Cradle Shock. Looks like they are building Shera up as a monster and he will be going his own way. Hopefully this sets up the debut of Karam, Rohit’s partner on the indies for their tag team “Hustle and Muscle.”

Good Brothers and FinJuice contract signing: Up until this moment there was no real heat for the upcoming inter-promotional bout. IMPACT was building it based off the fact that FinJuice is from New Japan and the two teams used to be friends. After taking several shots of whiskey, the teams finally signed the contracts. When the ink was dry, FinJuice suggested another shot. Shots were poured, Good Brothers kicked theirs back first. Then FinJuice tossed the whiskey in to the faces of the Good Brothers and a brawl ensued, being complimented by cheap background music out of nowhere. There’s finally a reason to watch this besides the fact its NJPW vs. IMPACT.

Sami and Trey Miguel Saga: This is my favorite feud on the show. The character work has been great. Trey’s understudy Sam Beale, who looks like the illegitimate child of Dr. D David Schultz, is now being manipulated by Sami. Beale challenged Trey, claiming he had no passion. Trey accepted and won in 30 seconds with a heel hook. After the bell, Sami attacked Beale and hit a package piledriver.

Sacrifice main event announcement: This was really well done and made Sacrifice feel like a huge event. If D’Amore didn’t add the news about Omega, this whole thing would have fallen flat. The TNA title has only been recognized for two weeks, and has been defended once. So the title vs title stipulation doesn’t mean much. But the stipulation that the winner gets a shot at the AEW title in the main event of Rebellion, which will be the biggest match either wrestler has ever been in, is a huge deal and a reason to watch.

Misses

ODB vs. Susan: I  like ODB, I really do. She is a fun character, but she in no way needs to be in a title feud with Deonna Purazzo. This was a quick comedy segment that I was thankful I was when it was over. ODB works well in front of a crowd but her skills are not really transferable to empty arena wrestling.

Decay—Reno Scum Segment: This whole thing was just awkward. Why are they fighting? They just said some random sentences and now they suddenly have a match.

Sami’s Hocus Pocus: The scene as a whole was a hit, but Sami disappearing was a turn off.

Silly background music: I don’t know who at IMPACT thinks it’s a great idea but they sure do love it. We had random background music in at least three different segments. While the action music in the Good Brother—FinJuice segment wasn’t too bad, the VBD and Decay eery music just didn’t work for me.


Ratings analysis

IMPACT averaged 144,000 viewers this week according to Showbuzz Daily. The show ranked #117 in the top 150. The number is slightly up from last week’s 137,000, but still way down from February’s average of around 160,000. Hopefully for them, they are able to generate some buzz after Sacrifice.


Sacrifice preview

On paper, this is a stacked card and has the potential to be the biggest event in the short history of the app. Since November, these events have been free due to an error while migrating servers. Many subscribers have had their accounts deleted and instead of fixing it and charging people, they have simply quit trying to sell subs and are giving the monthly specials away for free. If they were going to start charging for events, this would be the one. If I knew I couldn’t get it for free I would definitely be re-subscribing.

IMPACT Wrestling: Sacrifice 2021 airs this Saturday, March 13 on the IMPACT Plus App at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT

IMPACT World Title Unification

IMPACT Champion Rich Swann (c) vs TNA Moose

The main event has huge stakes and could be without a doubt the best main event in IMPACT Plus history. The winner will get to challenge for the AEW title at Rebellion against Kenny Omega. While I think the bigger match is Moose vs Omega, I think they save that. Swann was pinned by Omega at Hard to Kill and will be looking for revenge. Prediction: Swann Wins

IMPACT Tag Team Championship

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

This is the first big match in the new relationship between New Japan and IMPACT. We will see just how serious the partnership is right here. Is New Japan ok with their guys taking a pin here? I suspect that they would be. Will it be clean? Good Brothers are tweener heels, so they will likely cheat a little. I’m intrigued as to how this will go down. Prediction: Good Brothers retain

IMPACT Knockouts Championship

Deonna Purazzo (c) vs. ODB

Please, please let this be five minutes or less. As must as I like both wrestlers, I am not really into this. ODB being in this match is a referendum on the Knockouts division as a whole. Prediction: Deonna Purazzo stays Knockouts Champion

IMPACT X-Division Championship

TJP (c) vs. Ace Austin

This has the opportunity to be a show stealer. TJP kind of seemed like he wasn’t taking this seriously and is primed for a heel turn. In my opinion, Ace Austin is the guys to build this division around. Prediction: Ace Austin is the new X-Division Champ

IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship

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

This match should really surprise people. Fire ‘N’ Flava had a series of matches with Havoc and Nevaeh that fell flat. Jazz and Grace are a huge upgrade. With that said, I don’t think its time for a title change just yet. Prediction: Fire ‘N’ Flava stay Knocouts Tag Team champs

No DQ “Hold Harmless Rules” Fight

Eddie Edwards vs Brian Meyers

This match is actually titled a “Hold Harmless” match. The talents involved are great and because of that, I think this will be a good match. However, I am not at all interested in the feud. Could this be where Cardona shows his true colors and turns on Eddie? Prediction: Brian Meyers eeks out a victory

Tag Team match

Violent by Design (Deaner & Doering) vs. James Storm and Chris Sabin

The build for this was just one backstage segment and a promo. I think they are heading for a Eric Young and James Storm feud, which should be good. Prediction: Storm & Sabin keep rolling

Tag Team match

Decay vs. Reno Scum

Again, no build. Just a weird backstage segment. No way in hell Decay loses. Watch out for Taurus mixing it up with Adam Thornestowe. Prediction: Decay wins, but Taurus and Thornestowe impress

Inter-gender Tag Team match

Tenille and Kaleb vs. Havoc and Nevaeh Prediction: Havoc and Nevaeh pick up a quick and easy victory

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