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Brace For IMPACT: Kenny Omega is a draw

Kenny Omega

Kenny Omega celebrates his IMPACT world title victory

Rebellion

IMPACT Wrestling’s “Rebellion” pay-per-view was a huge hit. Last week in this column, I stated two things about Rebellion that turned out to be true:

1. “Rebellion is set to be one of the most important events in IMPACT history.”

2. “Rebellion could turn out to be IMPACT’s most commercially successful pay-per-view in the last decade. Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle at Lockdown 2008 holds the record at 55,000 buys. I don’t see Rebellion getting close to that.”

You can check out our recap of the show on the Fight Game Media YouTube channelDave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, through his social media, message board, and publication posted some interesting statistics about the success of the show: Traditional cable numbers are estimated to be around 9,300, and streaming numbers are expected to be “much larger than that.” It appears to be the most streamed pay-per-view in company history. The show doubled Hard to Kill, the event headlined by Omega’s first match for the company, and did nine times the numbers of the IMPACT’s annual tent-pole event, Bound For Glory which was headlined by Rich Swann vs. Eric Young.

Meltzer also revealed that the event was the fourth most successful wrestling pay-per-view since last August, the eighth largest overall, and did 38% better than WrestleMania. My prediction going in to Rebellion was that the show would do slightly over 30,000 buys overall and it is trending that way. No matter how you look at it, this was a home run for IMPACT. It should also put to bed any questions about whether or not Kenny Omega is a draw. Just this past February, Omega headlined AEW Revolution,  which had been estimated to have done around 159,000 buys. For someone to come into a company that many will not give the time of day to, then pull numbers like that with their limited reach, is insane. People will try to discredit Omega, or point to other factors, but the truth is that Kenny Omega is a draw.

How does it all end?

That is the big question on the minds of many, but for me, it doesn’t matter. What happens when Omega leaves? The answer isn’t complicated: Business will dip. But who is to say when that will happen? He could lose at Slammiversary or even two years from now. Fans seem to have trouble with waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for IMPACT to blow the deal.  I look at Omega and the way he has been presented on IMPACT, and how hard he worked with Rich Swann, who was either hurt or gassed, and see someone who is on the team. So, instead of worrying about what happens when he loses, or who is next in line, for now, just enjoy the ride.

IMPACT! on AXS TV review

The April 28th episode was one of the better episodes in a long time. Coming off of the hot Rebellion show, the company needed to keep the momentum going and they nailed it. While the entire show was good, Josh Alexander vs  Ace Austin (starts about 40 minutes in) for the X-division title was about as good as any TV match could get. Josh Alexander specifically, is turning himself into a franchise player. He was the “serious guy” in the North with partner Ethan Page for years, but he has cemented his own identity as a singles star. While he hasn’t had much promo time, he has begun to improve that part of his game. I don’t know if he will be the guy to seize the IMPACT gold from Omega when this all comes to ahead, but we better get to see that match one day.

The show also featured the beginning of a mini-tournament to qualify for a spot in a 6-way match at Under Siege on May 15th to name a new number one contender for Omega’s championship.  This weeks matches were Myers vs Cardona, Edwards vs Callihan, and Bey vs Jake Something. It was announced that there was no contractual agreement in place for an immediate rematch between Swann and Omega.

Watch the full episode for FREE here.


HITS

IMPACT leans into fan conspiracies: The fact that many are wondering how this will all end and are expecting there to be a colossal failure looming is not lost on IMPACT management. The long story was around whether Omega would show up as champion, and if he didn’t, he would be stripped of the title. Brilliant. People are already thinking it, so lean in to it.

Josh Alexander vs. Ace Austin: If you’re going to go out of your way to watch one thing from the show, watch this. It was an awesome match and the beginning of what could be a star-making run for Alexander.

Brian Myers vs. Matt Cardona: This was night-and-day from their awful match at Rebellion. They’re likely to have a rubber match, and I hope they get it out of the way quick and go their separate ways.

Chris Bey vs. Jake Something: This was a hit despite Jake Something losing again. Good match from these two, and it was nice to see Bey back in action. Jake Something may need to find himself a new home if this trend continues.

Morrissey squashing Sam Beale: IMPACT does not do these types of matches enough. Morrissey, the former Big Cass in WWE, looked strong despite having a weak promo, which sounded like a mix between Hall and Nash to begin the match. Then he killed Beale with a jackknife power-bomb and raised his fist in the air, like Nash. Morrissey, has a good backstory, and would be so much more effective as a babyface.

Taylor Wilde returning: Wilde returned for the first time in a decade and looked like she didn’t miss a beat. She is a huge upgrade over her opponent Kimber Lee, they didn’t even look in the same league. Wilde is likely to be the next opponent for Purazzo.

Don Callis and Johnny Swinger: This was such a hilarious segment. Swinger’s character is undoubtedly stupid, but it works. Callis playing off of him really well, too. It works so well that I think fans need more. Not every week, but more.

AEW, IMPACT, and NJPW all in one ring: Tony Khan is getting a lot of credit for opening the “Forbidden Door,” but rightfully so. But IMPACT deserves a lot of credit here, too. In the main event, Eddie Edwards vs, Sami Callihan, the Elite (Omega & The Good Brothers) hit the ring and attacked both men. FinJiuce from New Japan made the save to end the show. Edwards and FinJuice vs Omega and The Good Brothers are now booked for a match at Under Seige.

MISSES

Susan’s shoe: In 2021 we have a valet using shoes in matches. Dumb. Can she go back to being Su Yung already? The Susan stuff has run its course.


Ratings analysis

This weeks’ go-home episode averaged 120,000 viewers and scored a 0.05 in the 18–49 demo. The show ranked #112 in the Showbuzz top 150. That is down from last weeks 145,000 viewers and tied the demo of 0.05. While a disappointing overall live number—which was to be expected—the demo held strong. They were going against the NFL draft, which I also watched live. the DVR numbers will likely do very well.The viewership average for the month of April is slightly over 140,000.


NEWS

  • NJPW’s El Phantasmo will make his IMPACT Wrestling debut next week. The back-to-back Super-J Cup winner should be factored into the X-division.
  • Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that W. Morrissey has signed a long term deal here.
  • Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stated that IMPACT will be looking at taping in Las Vegas again once fans are back. The Slammiversary teaser trailer actually shows fans and an image of the Rhyman Auditorium in Nashville, would not suprise me if thats when fans return.

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