Hello, and welcome to weekly Impact Wrestling — that’s what this is, it probably won’t change again — coverage on With Spandex. And also welcome to me, LaToya Ferguson, your recapper and friend.
Now for some good housekeeping: You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. And don’t forget to watch Impact Wrestling on Pop at 8 pm on Thursdays so you can read these pieces and share them with the online world. I mean, you can still read these pieces and share without watching Impact Wrestling on Pop, but then I feel like you might think I’m making all of the following up. And I am not.
Previously: Moose tried to take on American Top Team. It did not end well. It was pretty funny though.
EH: Recap City
When you’re watching a weekly wrestling show — or even a weekly television show of any sort — you kind of assume that the show will have enough material to justify being a weekly wrestling show. Recaps and replays are a nature of the beast, but presumably, there’s more original in-ring material than that (or the video packages themselves aren’t full of regularly repeated clips). Impact Wrestling seems to think that such a concept is passé. In fact, their strategy appears to be, “Who needs new material when we’ve got things that happened literally two minutes ago?”
That is how we get this week’s episode, which features a short montage of Impact Wrestling wrestlers in Japan (at Pro Wrestling NOAH), only for a later, longer montage — including all the same footage and quotes from the short montage. That is how we get an episode that replays Moose’s entire American Top Team segment from last week, before segueing into the first Moose segment for this week, then later replaying this week’s new moments before segueing into more of the Moose segment. This is how you get 20 (okay, maybe like seven) video packages of all the Impact Wrestling roster talking about how Bound For Glory is a big deal, all becoming monotonous except for the points where:
- Impact Wrestling really thinks bringing Alberto El Patron back is a good idea.
- Taya is the only one who didn’t realize she should probably do her talking head in character.
This is how you get a replay of an entire Rosemary/Taya Valkyrie segment from this episode — including Taya Valkyrie’s full entrance, which already feels like stalling for time when it originally happens here — when the actual Rosemary match is only 30 seconds, from the first strike to the three count. This is how you get Jim Cornette cutting an unnecessary office promo immediately after said recap, where he says, “Everyone knows that Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary have had a recent altercation.” Yes, because we just saw a recap of said recent altercation which also just happened on this same show.
Let me note before I continue: His announcement is simply that they’re having a singles match next week. That’s something commentary could’ve said, especially since, in announcing this, he also calls the company “Global Force Wrestling.” The same amount of time would’ve been taken with a match graphic and Josh Mathews shrieking about it. As usual, no one cares.
Is it wrong to think Impact Wrestling should maybe figure out a way to effectively fill months of episodes if they’re going to film months of episodes at one time? And this isn’t even just the episode tapings at the Impact Zone or wherever they will be from this point on. The only full excursion match we’ve gotten out of the Global Force’s “working relationships” that Scott D’Amore goes on about in this episode is Eli Drake’s AAA title defense against a nobody. (The “title defense” they show Eli Drake in this week is barely five seconds of a match against Cody Hall. I’m sure it wasn’t a barn burner, but they don’t even try.) The rest have been clips of matches the audience expects to see when commentary says things like, “Tonight, you’ll see this match,” or when this show pats itself on the back for having partnerships with all these promotions.
Anthem Sports’ Ed Nordholm explained that footage from other promotions would be part of the shows (and cost-cutting, of course, because this isn’t making money) … but the expectation was that the footage would be full footage. Not fastforward material on the way to the actual content of the show. Not the only thing left instead of actual content on the show.
EH: For The Love of Storytelling God
I guess this week’s show makes it official: The LAX part of the Johnny Impact/Garza Jr. beatdown (post-Eli Drake/Johnny Impact I) meant nothing. It’s been taken out of the non-stop recaps and replays, as has Eli Drake and Chris Adonis’ assault (“bedlam,” as Josh Mathews would call it) on the in-ring officials. So LAX isn’t doing anything interesting, and for once on a wrestling show with Jim Cornette, no one is getting fined.
Now to address the rest of what our opening recap and video package tells us. Because it’s one that has to try to make Johnny Impact versus Garza Jr. and Garza Jr. being in this position in the first place work. The latter definitely doesn’t happen, but the former… Well it starts with a comment from Johnny Impact that doesn’t connect with literally anything that’s been happening in this or any stories in Impact Wrestling:
“I think Jim Cornette is out for Jim Cornette. He’s got his own interests in mind all the time.”
I have regularly voiced my issues with Jim Cornette here — whether they’re specifically with him or how he has to try to parse whatever story Impact Wrestling thinks it’s trying to tell — but I’m going to have to say Johnny Impact really is on a whole other plane of existence if he thinks that’s what’s going on here. It doesn’t help that, after Johnny wins the #1 Contendership in this episode, he’s back to calling Jim Cornette “JC” and remaining completely cordial to him. The only other person who has been regularly arguing that Jim Cornette “has his own interests in mind” is Eli Drake, and he’s specifically addressed that in the form of Johnny being Jim’s “golden boy.” So why is Johnny all of a sudden — only here, mind you — talking about Jim Cornette like this?
If you say, “to frame the story with Garza Jr.,” then I’m afraid I don’t follow there either. He’s not saying that Jim is showing favoritism to Garza Jr., and he doesn’t even go into detail regarding what he means about Jim’s interests. What do Jim’s interests have to do with Johnny earning a title shot, after constantly demanding one? (Remember, Jim Cornette was about to give Johnny Impact a title shot handout — after weeks of promos about not giving title shot handouts — until Low-Ki and LAX interrupted.)
Meanwhile, Jim’s still going with the nonexistent narrative that Eli Drake has pit Johnny Impact and Garza Jr. against each other, even though Johnny himself says here he only even swung at Garza Jr. in the first place because he was just swinging. Jim says he thinks Eli’s, “trying to get into the minds of all of his top challengers, trying to turn ‘em against each other, trying to keep them confused and off-balanced.”
By showing recaps (upon recaps), Impact Wrestling is only reminding the audience that none of what Jim Cornette or Johnny Impact is saying is even true. At least when the recap does that with Eli Drake, it’s because it’s supposed to show what kind of a delusional heel he is. Jim Cornette and Johnny Impact are supposed to be telling the actual story.
Also, there’s probably something wrong if Eli Drake’s only top challengers are Johnny Impact… and Garza Jr. In fact, Garza Jr. really has very little to add to any of this but the white meat babyface talking point of this being a “huge opportunity.” His segments in this episode’s video packages all sell him as this young and hungry up and comer, but the match and story itself want to sell him as on the same level as his competition. The latter doesn’t quite work because the former is obviously true. Like I said last week, lol at the idea of Garza Jr. actually winning the #1 Contendership. But the blame for that “lol” should all fall on Impact Wrestling trying to act like he’s on the same level as Impact Wrestling main eventers when every single promo or segment they feature him on says exactly the opposite.
EH: “It Doesn’t Matter What It Is. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT IT IS!”
For a moment I figured Impact Wrestling was done piping in boos (and cheers), as there was crowd silence for LAX’s entrance. But then they made sure to pipe in cheers for oVe’s entrance, so I guess the new idea is to make the audience appear indifferent to the team that’s over and to make the audience appear to care about the team that’s not. By the way, oVe’s fan club is still very visible in the front row, and they still make sure to talk among themselves during matches.
I should thank Dave Crist for giving me the appropriate quote for this week’s LAX/oVe (in-ring) segment. I should also thank Konnan, for reminding the audience every possible moment that he thinks oVe look like “tweakers.” A lot of the criticism for oVe (outside of the in-ring performance) has been their presentation and amateur look, so anything to draw even more attention to how bad they look — without doing anything to either change it or lean into it — is definitely a good idea. Also: I don’t usually point out sarcasm, but I think I should definitely do that right now.
Anyway, in case you missed that Bound For Glory will have a 5150 Street Fight between these two teams for the tag titles, Impact Wrestling makes sure to replay the entire brawl immediately after. It doesn’t even go to commercial and then replay it. It happens, then it replays again.
EH: Eddie Edwards, The Pride of NOAH
Please know that this EH has nothing to do with Eddie Edwards himself or the way he presents himself in these Japan/Pro Wrestling NOAH video packages. In fact, the only time I’ve ever had a problem with Eddie Edwards since the beginning of these recaps has been that post-Slammiversary limbo of “4th of July season,” and really, all my problems with him here have been a result of how this company “uses” him. Eddie Edwards and his work in NOAH is absolutely an ACE in the correct context.
The thing is, when they show Eddie Edwards here, talking about NOAH, talking about being the GHC Champion, I can’t think of a more humble, appreciative member of the roster. The reverence with which he speaks of the company and the title is a genuine delight to see… but it’s not because of anything Impact Wrestling-related. This makes NOAH look like a good, worthy company and Eddie Edwards look like a bright, shining star there. Impact Wrestling looks like… it’s highlighting how great a talent it barely remembers is part of some half-brained “invasion” angle (from one of its other “partner” promotions) in another wrestling promotion. Seriously, if this were a Pro Wrestling NOAH recap, this would be an Easy ACE, no doubt.
And again, Impact Wrestling shows clips from a match that looks like it would be a great full watch. At this point, it seriously looks like the company is refusing to show better matches from other promotion because of how much more embarrassing it would be for them. There’s no option to watch it on the promotion’s YouTube or the Global Wrestling Network, so… I suppose I should commend them on continuing to make sure other companies look like better alternatives (like they do with MMA).
EH: Scotty, Are You Okay? Scotty, Are You Okay? Are You Okay, Scotty?
“When we get working relationships with groups like Pro Wrestling NOAH and AAA and The Crash, we get an opportunity as part of our product to feature some of the very best out there in other parts of the world.”
Try and tell me that Scott D’Amore talking about the “working relationships” between Impact Wrestling and all the other wrestling promotions in the “Global Force” doesn’t look and sound like he’s being forced to recite the recruitment package from his cult. (God, American Top Team is such a cooler cult than Impact Wrestling. King Mo regularly stops practice just to remind people that Bobby’s back. Remember, I can mention this again, because one of the recaps plays that entire segment in full.)
Also, when you get these working relationships, you apparently end up with members of one of these groups completely disrespecting your company and roster. If this AAA “invasion” is going to continue, shouldn’t the show feature a little less sucking up to other companies and maybe more of the Impact Wrestling authority figures actually addressing how their guests are being disrespectful? The early aspects of American Top Team storyline had more instances of Jeff Jarrett at least trying to get things smoothed out, even as Impact Wrestling kept being subservient to the MMA bros.
By the way: On commentary, during the six-person tag, Jeremy Borash says the Impact Wrestling/AAA problems in this feud go back to TripleMania. This is… You can’t even pretend that’s actually part of this nonsensical feud’s backstory, because there aren’t a half hour of in-show recaps to back that claim up. But since there’s also no evidence that anyone in this company cares about a coherent story, sure, why not?
EH: Revenge of The Nerd
As mentioned, the Knockouts match is only 30 seconds, from the first strike to the three count. I know because I literally went back and counted. Rosemary goes against a new jobber in Hannah Harper, a wrestler who looks kind of like a well-rested Karen Jarrett, shares a name with a pornstar (thanks, Google), and apparently only has this one match under her belt. She also takes the Red Wedding terribly, so the role of “enhancement talent” doesn’t quite work here.
This is the type of “match” that makes me become the worst kind of person and use the phrase “it is what it is.” The EH isn’t the match — though it being the first match and the only match on the show for quite awhile is a problem — but instead, Josh Mathews’ insufferable commentary during and immediately after it. I guess someone once told Josh he’s clever, because he decided to say this about Hannah Harper: “I wonder if she’s from the Marvel Universe.”
Jeremy Borash doesn’t respond, both because it doesn’t dignify any sort of response and because JB doesn’t seem to realize that commentary is supposed to be a partnership, not just saying your own words. But Josh then continues, pointing out all the alliteration (he doesn’t say the word “alliteration”) in Marvel characters, like “J.J. Jameson.” JB continues to ignore him completely. Then some silence, the subject has passed, and he says “Peter Parker.” Nothing else. Just “Peter Parker.” The match ends and nothing of value has come from this show, except for Eddie Edwards’ work in another promotion in another country.
But because Josh Mathews hasn’t proven his nerd cred yet, as Taya comes out to answer Rosemary’s post-match call out — in her full entrance, as you do when you’re coming to cut a promo in a company that has nothing to fill time — Josh calls the Taya/Rosemary feud “Game of Thrones, Star Wars-esque.” Here, let me make it clearer: His exact words are, “This is Game of Thrones, Star Wars-esque.”
“Talk about a trending topic right now.” Please. Someone explain to me how any of this is good, competent commentary.
ACE: Laughing in the Red Mist Bowl
While it’s not worth all the recapping, the Taya/Rosemary segment does actually have one thing of importance in it, and it’s Taya hitting Rosemary with red mist (before Rosemary can use her own poison mist). Later, after a recap, Taya is asked by Percy Pringle interviewer, “Where did you get the mist?!” Taya’s high school theater production answer? Well, first she starts with an evil laugh. Then:
“Well she’s not the only one. That’s unpredictable. I have. A few secrets. Of my own. You’ll have to wait. And see. What happens.”
Naturally, I made sure to include the pauses. For effect.
Who Even Knows At This Point?: The Implication
“I’m still alive, so that means I’m going back.”
Moose, did you originally go to American Top Team with the belief that you could die? That’s messed up.
Um, actually … Did American Top Team kill Richard Justice? I mean, he’s nowhere to be found since he asked them if he could join and they figuratively shoved him a locker (by literally beating the crap out of him).
ACE, But Not For Much Longer: What Goes Around, Goes Around and Around
Impact Wrestling can really only do the same Taryn Terrell/Gail Kim confrontation over and over again before it becomes one of the show’s many EHs. But at least this week has the moment where Taryn Terrell tries to make a point about being a homewrecker and ends up not realizing that Divorce Court is a show that already exists.
Also, it has Gail Kim inadvertently give me hope for something at Bound For Glory when she tells Taryn that she’s “a true believer in karma, and karma will slap [Taryn] in the face before [she does].” Desperate for anything to latch onto in this show, I’ve chosen to believe Gail Kim actually meant Kharma, and Awesome Kong will be making her return at Bound For Glory. It’ll be a one night only return, because, duh — she is the one and only Welfare Queen — but it’ll at least be something.
Then the episode replays this segment, because that’s the show.
EH: What. Will. He. Do?
You might be wondering: Why would Impact Wrestling drop a video package asking what their champion who got suspended for public misconduct is going to do when he returns? Isn’t that a little tasteless? Does this mean there’s a possibility he’ll do the same on live pay-per-view?
What you should be wondering is: What’s the over/under on Alberto El Patron messing up again (or just quitting Impact Wrestling) after they do their next however many months of tapings in Canada?
ACE: McKenzie Mitchell, The True Namer of Dummies
Some people might think that immediately saying something like this —
“Huge but relatively random mixed tag team match set for tonight…”
— is an example of McKenzie Mitchell undermining the nonsensical product of Impact Wrestling, but as McKenzie has proven time and time again, she is the only one here who even watches the product. Meaning, she’s the only one on the Impact Wrestling roster we can trust when it comes to whether or not something is “random.” So when she says that it is, it is.
This segment is the best part of the heel half of the match itself, and it kind of needs to be, since “random” is honestly a pretty tame description for the tag team of Sienna, Texano, and Caleb Konley. Sienna, of course, is the only one who sounds like she should be in charge of anything as she continues the “McKenna”-spiracy. Naturally, McKenzie replies to Sienna’s mic time with a combination of sadness (they never get her name right!) and fear (Sienna could kill her). Then you have Texano’s part of the promo, where he speaks Spanish at first, and McKenzie reacts as though no one told here there would be Spanish.
(I should also address his part of the promo, which is 100% EH. “I’m here just to say one thing: AAA is the most important company in the entire world.” Anyway, is there any explanation why Texano is part of this or any match with (not against) Impact Wrestling talent? Or any reason why neither Sienna nor Caleb Konley, as Impact Wrestling roster members, has a problem with him? Or why he thinks he’s “the only cowboy in this country?”)
Then Caleb Konley does his part, but before he can even say a thing, journalistic savant McKenzie Mitchell asks the real question: “Caleb, where’s Trevor?” This leads to Caleb Konley’s retort of “I’m in this match now,” like that’s an answer. “Trevor, I’m doing this for you, buddy” is adorable (even if there’s still no explanation for how Trevor Lee is a cult leader of young boys), and McKenzie Mitchell is just over all of it by the end of this segment. Poor girl.
ACE: People Like Us
After me addressing the lack of Dezmond Xavier in the X-Division last week, he shows up as the default X-Division babyface this week! No, it doesn’t really discuss him being part of the X-Division contendership picture (despite facing off against Trevor Lee puppet Caleb Konley). And no, this episode actually doesn’t follow up on its grumpy old X-Division men argument from last week. But Dezmond Xavier is here, and the Impact Zone still likes him. At least, everyone but the front row crew who talk among themselves. They only like oVe and Andrew Everett.
This match, for as much of a mess it is, does do well in compiling a team of very over babyfaces though. Obviously there’s Xavier, but then you have James Storm and everyone’s favorite, Allie. The best part of this match, on the babyface side, is James Storm offering Allie a sip of his beer during his entrance, her hesitating and trying to make sure no one sees, them him basically saying “sorry about your damn luck” to her indecisiveness.
The fact that Jerk Boyfriend Braxton Sutter the B.S. Man isn’t here to try to rain on their parades in this match is another missed opportunity.
EH: This Is Impact. There Are No Rules.
This match is announced as a “six-person mixed tag match.” Josh Mathews even makes sure to clarify the rules of a mixed tag match too, specifically that — despite the fact that Sienna pointed out last week she’s totally down for fighting dudes — when a woman tags in, that automatically makes the other woman legal. He makes clear that it’s definitely not an intergender match.
Literally seconds after Josh Mathews explains this, now legal Allie tries to get in to stop the legal Sienna from stomping a mudhole in James Storm, and the nameless referee pushes her back to the corner, deeming it illegal. Commentary says nothing about this, and the rest of the (mess of a) match has no problem with the intergender interactions. The thing is, when Sienna is attacking Storm, the referee yells at her, “you have to let her tag.” Um, no, new guy. Allie’s officially legal now.
Josh does make sure to put extra emphasis on the first time he says “Konley” incorrectly though, so it’s good to know he’s still concerned about trolling above all else.
This Is Surely For Someone
One of these “interns” calls Joseph Park “daddy.” I’m in the Bad Place, I just know it.
ACE: Oh Yeah, Almost Forgot
After not promoting the thing for weeks, Impact Wrestling finally dropped the Global Wrestling Network with zero build-up on October 10. Surprisingly, given their track record, commentary and the rest of the show promotes the Network this week. Good job, guys.
EH: Global Farce
This week’s episode of Global Forged is all about the contestants/students/Scott D’Amore putting over Jon Bolen, a Can-Am Dojo trainer and recent oVe jobber. That’s literally the point of this week’s segment,. That and all the bleeped out f-bombs, which I suppose means he’ll be feuding with LAX any week now.
ACE: Wrestling (Yay)
Johnny Impact and Garza Jr. is a good match that is unfortunately brought down by typical Impact Wrestling factors, which I’ll mention in these next couple of EHs. But I figured I should at least point out that the match itself is an ACE. Maybe in a different world or promotion, this match can happen and the focus can actually be on the match. It’s not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but on a show with barely any wrestling and little to actually say about the wrestling that is there, it’s important to at least point out the good. (Eli Drake watching from Japan — via FaceTime — is not the good.)
Also, let me give a post-match ACE to the Impact Zone chanting “FIRE HIM” re: Chris Adonis. They deserve it.
EH: Ending With A Whisper, Not A Bang
Johnny Impact’s No. 1 Contendership-winning move is a roll-up. Johnny Impact proves he should be main eventing Bound For Glory by barely beating Garza Jr. I understand the idea of trying to make Garza Jr. look strong in defeat (and as that viable main event contender they keep trying to tell us he is), but this is a match for the No. 1 Contendership to Impact Wrestling’s biggest title. And it’s very obvious by the Impact Zone reaction that literally no one believe Garza Jr. is going to win. Unless the match is going to end with shenanigans, the winner — the person who’s supposed to be seen as championship material — should have a decisive win. They should prove that, if they win at Bound For Glory, it won’t be a fluke.
With this finish, Garza Jr. might as well have won. It would at least make sense for where the character is in the pecking order.
EH: The Real Main Event
This week, Impact Wrestling does that thing again where they advertise a particular match as the main event, only to remind everyone that the real main event story in this company is Bobby Lashley and his American Top Team MMA cult. So after all the hyping of Johnny Impact versus Garza Jr. for the No. 1 Contendership, the majority of that match’s commentary is about the reveal of Lashley’s “reinforcements” (they keep saying it, like that) in the form of former UFC dude Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar.
It’s a good thing they say who he is once they start the No. 1 Contendership match (perfect timing, right?), because all I saw in the reveal was another Dan Lambert. And as we’ve already determined that Dan Lambert is a mutated version of Christian Cage and a more sober version of Jeff Jarrett, you can imagine my confusion.
After being made to look like a punk fake fighter by Lashley and American Top Team last week, Moose gets his revenge by… waiting to go back to American Top Team headquarters. After hours. With his own MMA back-up. And lead pipes. Moose’s back-up and answer to the MMA guys’ months of saying that professional wrestling sucks compared to MMA is to get an MMA guy to help him. I understand that Moose’s finisher is bring non-wrestlers to his wrestling show and having them upstage and embarrass wrestlers. I loved DeAngelo Williams at Slammiversary too. But maybe this isn’t the storyline to keep that going?
I also know from my research that Bonnar does some pro wrestling now, but that’s not what Jeremy Borash is salivating over on commentary, now is it?
The other thing is, the mayhem and destruction Moose and Bonnar do to the American Top Team facility? That’s exactly what oVe should have done to LAX’s club in Tijuana. Remember, all they did was get VIP status and enjoy the perks of that. Though, since no one at Impact Wrestling actually watches the product, Moose probably missed out on that that. If he had pulled an oVe, he still would’ve gotten free merch. At least that would explain why the American Top Team receptionist doesn’t call 911 immediately? Personally, I need to call a therapist to talk about this company.
Now it’s your turn. Please don’t forget to share this recap, because otherwise I won’t be able to keep these up. I know that sounds like a good thing, but … Oh yes, I want to at least make it to Bound For Glory. It’s good to set goals.