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BRACE For IMPACT: Rich Swann’s Redemption

Rich Swann Stands Tall

Swann, Edwards, and Mack celebrate victory

Listen to the latest episode of Brace for IMPACT on Fight Game Media: “The SCUM depart”


It was all about the main event on this week’s episode of IMPACT! on AXS TV, or their return to Thursday night broadcasts.

For the first time ever, AEW World Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega wrestled on IMPACT television. The main event featured Omega and the Good Brothers vs. IMPACT Champion Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, and Willie Mack. The match was designed to accomplish one thing: give fans a reason to believe that Swann is a formidable opponent for Omega.

Did they succeed? In their own kayfabe universe, I would say yes. At one point during the match, Swann hit Omega with his finisher, the 450 splash, and had Omega beaten. The referee was about to make a three count until Don Callis put Omega’s foot on the ropes. It’s an old school tactic that planted seeds of doubt on Omega’s invincibility. Later in the match, Swann hit the Phoenix Splash on Karl Anderson to earn the victory for his team.

Now, outside of their kayfabe universe, does anyone believe that Swann is winning? Not likely. Fans are too plugged in to the inside world of wrestling, but I do suspect that there are viewers of IMPACT! on AXS TV who, while understanding what wrestling is, do not pay attention to insiders or social media, they just watch the shows, and those people might be a bit more confident in Swann’s chances. If that’s the case, then the main event was a win.


IMPACT! on AXS TV review

The April 8 episode was a solid show with an excellent main event that also featured a fantastic video package for Jazz. The show was neither good or bad, more middle of the road. Had the main event not been so great and effective the show would be a thumbs down. There were points where it really dragged and I was very thankful that I was watching on IMPACT Plus without commercials.

(Watch the full episode here.)

HITS

Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, and Willie Mack vs. Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows: This was an absolutely great match that told an important story leading into Rebellion. Rich Swann was made to look strong, which he really needed. When Swann and Omega were in the ring together it felt special and they left me wanting to see the pay-per-view more. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see Omega and Edwards go at it more, but that was likely by design. Home run match, though, and a great way to close the show.

Jazz video package: Jazz puts her career on the line for a shot ad Deonna Purazzo’s title this Saturday at Hardcore Justice, and to be quite honest, up until I saw this video, I really didn’t care. They did such a great job in three minutes telling the story of Jazz’s career and making her in to a legendary, sympathetic babyface. I now want to see this match. Jazz has looked a little rough in her last couple matches, but since the stakes are so high, I’m pretty confident these two ladies will deliver, and Jazz will ride off into the sunset.

Chris Sabin vs. Deaner: The match was pretty good, but it felt secondary to the follow-up angle. Chris Sabin came to the ring with Storm, while Chris Harris stayed back at Swinger’s palace. Deaner came to the ring alone at the direction of Eric Young. Deaner is growing in to his new role of the maniacal, brainwashed villain. Chris Sabin got the victory and afterwards, Eric Young was on the screen.

Young and Joe Doering attacked Harris back at the Palace. Young proclaimed to Storm that “Harris’ blood was on Storm’s hands.” Unfortunately, Harris didn’t bleed. I’m nitpicking, but if you bring up blood, let’s see some blood. Young had a chair as Harris was pinned down by Doering and the camera cut out while Young was about to smash him. Great angle, but give us the blood.

MISSES

Can they coexist?: Last week, IMPACT used the tired trope of tag team partners that can’t coexist with TJP and Josh Alexander. This week, it was Sami Callihan and Trey Miguel, as they took on XXXL. They tagged each other too hard at times to show that they don’t like each other. They also tagged in at times where their partners were not expecting or wanting them to. Riveting stuff. I still like the Sami-Trey storyline though.

Too much Tommy: Tommy Dreamer was all over this show telling one bad joke after another while he pieced together his Hardcore Justice card. This was one of the rare times where not having commercials did a disservice to the show because we had Tommy in back-to-back segments with no break in between. I love Tommy, but less is more.

Misuse of Jake Something: Just a few weeks ago, Jake Something was on the cusp of a main event push. He had a great match with Moose, and was being positioned as a top babyface. Since that match however he has continually been downgraded to playing second fiddle in feuds involving VDB and Beer Guns, and starting last night, he is “the other guy” in the Cardona-Myers saga.

Something and Cardona had a decent match but the focus was entirely on the Major bros feud. The match ended when Myers attacked both men for the no-contest. Afterwards, Myers accepted Cardona’s challenge for Rebellion. Then Tommy Dreamer booked a blindfold match at Hardcore Justice between Jake and Myers. Not only will the match be terrible, it is just another instance of IMPACT not knowing what to do with the ultra-talented Jake Something.

Ratings analysis

This weeks episode averaged 168,000 viewers with a 0.06 in the 18–49 demo. That’s up from last week’s average of 148,000, and way better than their average of 116,000 two weeks ago. IMPACT! on AXS TV averaged 160,000 per week from December through February, so they must be back to their regular audience.

The rating has to be considered a success for AXS. The show was not only going up against NXT Takeover: Night 2, but they were also head-to-head with Bloodsport on FITE.tv, which featured Jon Moxley vs. Josh Barnett in the main event. Kenny Omega wrestling for the first time on their show gave them a boost, clearly. One has to wonder just how good the rating would have been had they ran unopposed.


NEWS

  • Reno SCUM announced via Adam Thornstowe’s Twitter that they are no longer with the company. Not sure what happened, but they are popular locker room guys and received a ton of support from the talent after the announcement. I’ll never understand why IMPACT never got behind these guys. They have a great look and have pretty good matches. Plus, the company isn’t exactly loaded with tag teams right now.
  • Doc Gallows was interviewed by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful and spoke about Big Cass’ (CazXL) return to the ring. He said that he has been talking to companies about bringing Cass and said that he is ready for another shot. If I’m IMPACT, I’d jump at the chance. As far as Enzo, though, I’m not so sure.
  • PWInsider reported that Davy Richards is close to signing a deal with Global Syndicate Wrestling for a match. GSW is an independent promotion. This leaked for a reason, and I’m guessing Richards wants the top promotions to know he is available. With America’s Most Wanted and the Motor City Machine Guns having reunions on IMPACT recently, it only makes sense that we would get an American Wolves reunion too.
  • Dark Side of the Ring, the Vice documentary series that covers the shady underworld of pro wrestling, has decided to move their show from Tuesdays to Thursdays as well. The new season will debut on May 6, which could cut directly in to the IMPACT’s audience.
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