Don Callis officially OUT as EVP
Art imitated real life this week when Don Callis was fired in storyline as EVP on the latest IMPACT! on AXS. Callis had been transitioning to AEW full time for the last few months and is no longer a member of the executive or creative staff. Going forward, he will only be an on-air talent as long as Kenny Omega remains with the company. The storyline reason for his firing was the Anthem board members, represented by Tommy Dreamer, felt he prioritized his relationship with Omega over his duties as EVP.
Best wishes to Don West
Don West, the legendary color commentator for TNA, announced that he has been diagnosed with brain lymphoma this week. To the surprise of no one he was in good spirits and plans on fighting the disease. West had an infectious energy that just can’t be taught. He made every match and moment he called far more important. I sincerely hope IMPACT makes every effort to add the duo to the hall of fame this year. They may have been waiting for the 20th anniversary, which is next year, but the time is now. Keep fighting Don.
Moose signs two-year deal
Hopefully Sean Ross Sapp’s report from Fightful Select that Moose signed a two-year deal with IMPACT ends the speculation about his future. The deal is reportedly a significant upgrade over the last one, with the big plans in the works for Moose in the future. The finish at Against All Odds, where he was protected by having the Young Bucks cost him his match against Omega, makes much more sense now.
My theory is this: IMPACT does not like screw-job finishes on pay-per-views, so they had the match during an IMPACT Plus special instead; they’re not ready to take the title off Omega, so Callihan headlines Slammiversary. Eventually, I see Omega’s reign being ended by Moose.
IMPACT! on AXS TV review
The June 17 show was a big improvement over last week’s. The ongoing story between Callis, D’Amore, and Callihan is captivating, and all three are doing an excellent job trying to get this story over.
The show also featured Steve Maclin’s debut and a solid match in Kojima vs. Rhino, plus Josh Alexander’s continuing rise in stock.
Don Callis firing segment: This was mostly a hit, but not all the way. Callis was absolutely fantastic when Tommy Dreamer announced that the Anthem board reinstated Callihan and fired Callis. He had the line of the night when he referred to Dreamer as a “Bruce Prichard stooge.”
Josh Alexander vs. Madman Fulton: Alexander showed off his versatility in a pretty good match with Fulton. He hit his signature power moves on the big man, which was incredibly impressive. After the match was over, his opponents in the Ultimate X match at Slammiversary hit the ring one-by-one. Eventually, Shera representing Rohit Raju attacked Alexander, seemingly to set up a match. They are going to really test him with that one.
Kojima vs. Rhino: I may be grading on a curve here, as this match was nothing special, but I liked seeing them both, so for me, this was a hit. Kojima won with the Cozy Lariat, which sets up his tag team title match with Eddie Edwards against Violent By Design next week.
Steve Maclin’s debut: Maclin made his debut against Jason Page, who was recently on AEW Dark. There wasn’t much to the match; it was a squash. Maclin has a great look, cool moves, and came off like a badass here. Looking forward to seeing more of him.
Fire ‘n’ Flava segment: Keira Hogan and Tasha Steelz were in the middle of trashing the rest of the Knockouts division when Havok and Rosemary interrupted. They attacked Fire ‘n’ Flava and tossed them into a garbage receptacle. When they got out, Steelz picked up a garbage bag with Mickie James’ name taped to it. Loved that.
Tommy Dreamer as Anthem representative: This is in no way a knock on Dreamer, but IMPACT made the audience believe that a surprise was coming in the form of an Anthem board member. This may not have been intentional, but the ads and the lead up made people think a new character was coming in. Then, they under-delivered with Dreamer, who was fashioned in a sport coat and ponytail, to deliver the news that Callis had been fired.
- Josh Alexander made his NJPW Strong with a victory over Alex Coughlin this week. It was a really solid match worth checking out. People are finding out what we’ve been saying all year, that Alexander is a star.
- According to Geoff from the Talking Nonsense About IMPACT Wrestling podcast, fans will be allowed into Skyway Studios during tapings after Slammiversary. IMPACT’s empty-arena era may finally come to an end next month.
- Samoa Joe returned to NXT, thus removing him from consideration for Slammiversary. It appears Joe may not be cleared to wrestle and going forward will be in a non-wrestling capacity for the company.
- Kenny Omega is dealing with multiple nagging injuries and will be only wrestling in important matches for awhile. “They’re not wasting Kenny Omega matches, he’s too banged up,” Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio. “He’s only wrestling important matches.”
- 19 years ago today, NWA-TNA debuted on pay-per-view, and IMPACT uploaded the entire show for free. If you missed that era, it was chaotic, sleazy, and wild. Most of it doesn’t hold up very well, but it’s fun to look back on.
Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics reported that the June 17 episode averaged 111,000 total viewers with a 0.03 rating in the 18–49 demo. That is down from the previous week where they averaged 124,000 with a 0.05. This was their lowest rating since May 13. Next week should see a rise since Dark Side of the Ring is on a break until September.
IMPACT Ratings 2021
- 1/5: 148,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 1/12: 161,000 viewers with a 0.05 rating
- 1/19: 147,000 viewers with a 0.03 rating
- 1/26: 186,000 viewers with a 0.05 rating
- 1/2: 173,000 viewers with a 0.05 rating
- 2/9: 153,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 2/16: 197,000 viewers with a 0.06 rating (FinJuice debut)
- 2/23: 170,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 3/2: 134,000 viewers with a 0.03 rating
- 3/9: 144,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 3/16: 146,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 3/23: 116,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 3/30: 148,512 viewers with a 0.04 rating (final Tuesday night episode)
- 4/8: 168,000 viewers with a 0.06 (Thursday night debut, head-to-head w/NXT)
- 4/15: 132,000 viewers with a 0.04 rating
- 4/22: 145,000 with a 0.05 rating
- 4/29: 120,000 with a 0.05 rating (head-to-head with NFL Draft)
- 5/6: 123,000 with a 0.04 rating
- 5/13: 112,000 with a 0.03 rating
- 5/20: 109,000 with a 0.04 rating
- 5/27: 140,000 with a 0.06 rating
- 6/3: 143,000 with a 0.04 rating
- 6/10: 124,000 with a 0.05 rating
Listen to the latest episode of the Brace for Impact Podcast on the Fight Game Media Network. It’s available in the first tier for $2.99 a month.