What Rebellion Said About Impact

Last night’s Impact Wrestling Rebellion pay-per-view featured a title vs. title bout, as the AEW world champion Kenny Omega returned to the organization for another main event bout, this time against Impact titleholder, Rich Swann for one of the very rare champion vs. champion matches. As I’ve often said about pay-per-view in the modern era, it becomes much more difficult to sell a show at the traditional price, which is even more difficult now than in the past because the WWE Network, including PPVs and the expanding library on Peacock, is half of the price it was previously or for some customers included free in their cable package. That along with the fact that there’s pro wrestling on television on every week night, there’s always a point where most of the audience will only watch a certain amount of sports entertainment content within a specific time period. That said, this event, almost exclusively because of the main event stipulation, probably had the most buzz of an Impact PPV in the Anthem era.

The show opened with a triple threat X-Division title match, and truth be told, this is the same formula used for most Impact pay-per-views, but it definitely works so it was still a good call. The bout was solid and action packed so it got the broadcast started with a lot of momentum. Too often, with the use of streaming services, sports entertainment has more flexibility with its time frame of events, and sometimes things tend to be too long so the show drags at a certain point. Rebellion had a steady pace that translated to a better viewing experience than a four-hour extravaganza that was booked simply to put a long show on pay-per-view.

Josh Alexander won the title, and hopefully, this is just the first step for him toward a bigger role in the organization. It doesn’t have to be rushed, especially because of the current status of the main event scene in the promotion, but in my opinion, Alexander has the potential to be a main eventer for Impact. He’s solid with everything he does in the ring, he brings a believable intensity to the table, and outside of what he’s done so far in Impact, he has a story that could be used to tell an intriguing narrative for a world title bout, including when he thought his career was over because of a neck injury. Ace Austin has done really well in his role in the past few years, and I’m not sure how far up the card he will go because his style doesn’t necessarily seem to be too adaptable outside of high spot matches, but he has the talent to always be an asset for the organization. TJP is a puzzling case, and I still don’t know why he’s on the Impact roster. He’s known for being difficult to work with, doesn’t do himself any favors on social media, and his in-ring work is a very generic style. Still, this was a good way to start the event, and it will be interesting to see how Alexander progresses within the next few months.

The eight man tag that followed up was fine and got a little clustered, but that’s to be expected in these type of bouts. The former Big Cass, known as W. Morrissey, a reference to his real name, made his debut for the company as a replacement for the injured Eric Young. Cass, who left the WWE under turbulent circumstances and made headlines for all the wrong reasons after problems with substance abuse in recent years, looked to be in great shape. The structure of the match itself was designed to showcase Morrissey, who got the pin on Willie Mack for the finish. While it’s great to see the former Cass doing better health-wise and in the direction of his life, the reality is that he still has a lot left to prove if he wants to remain on the radar of a crowded wrestling landscape. Again, it’s truly good to see someone turn their life around and get a second chance to apply their craft, but as of right now, the only selling point for Morrissey as a performer is that he’s a big athletic guy, which is the same thing he had in WWE before he squandered it. The point being is, he will have to show more than a one-off performance in a multi-person match that was booked to feature him if he wants to have any longevity in the current pro wrestling climate.

Another note from this tag match, I’m hoping that Cass’ association with the Violent By Design stable was just for the initial introduction because if he’s in the faction, it could take away from the presence of Joe Doering, who’s another competitor that has legitimate main event potential if management decides to run with him when the main event scene could use another contender. Particularly, Eric Young, who is such a solid performer, as a manager to cut promos, alongside him for a main event angle could be money.

The Matt Cardona/Brian Myers bout was a physical and very entertaining bout. As much as the lack of a live crowd hinders the presentation, the way these two used the outside of the ring with the guard rail spots made the best of the situation. More than anything, this match showed that these two have the talent and how much they weren’t allowed to show under the WWE banner. That’s not necessarily meant as a criticism toward WWE since every promotion has a mid-card, but more to the point that, if given the chance these two can go in the ring.

I know this might sound petty, but I think one of the only things that hindered this contest is the fact that Cardona and Myers have a very successful podcast and there are clips of them talking as friends on social media literally at the same time as this PPV so it’s hard to sell this as a blood feud. Yes, I understand that kayfabe is forgotten 99% of the time, but I think it’s just too much of a contrast to have a blood feud on one screen and a podcast crew on another screen at the same time. Myers got the victory so I would guess there’s more to be done in this feud.

The Knockouts tag team title match was fine and was something more that you would see on television than PPV, as it went less than 10 minutes for an average match, but that might’ve been how it was booked to pace the card. That being said, Rachael Ellering is a great addition to the roster and she adds depth to the division.

The Last Man Standing match was sloppy, but fine, considering the stipulation. The Last Man Standing gimmick is a tough one because more often than not, it consist of one wrestler standing around while the referee counts to nine before the other wrestler gets to their feet for the match to continue. Sami worked this one well and kept a pace to the contest. Sami is another talent on the roster that is a solid pro and could be plugged into most scenarios to make it work. In an era where high spots often take priority over heat, Callihan can go in the ring, but still works like a heel. As far as Trey Miguel, I’m not sure there’s really anything that sets him a part from another other wrestler that has the X-Division style. Don’t get me wrong, he has great athleticism, but so does the rest of the X-Division and a major portion of those that compete on the national stage so Trey seems like just a generic wrestler by comparison.

Fin Juice vs. The Good Brothers was a decent tag match, nothing epic, but nothing terrible either. Aside from the benefit the New Japan name on the broadcast, which helps the perception of Impact as a company, this is really a scenario where everyone wins because it allows Juice Robinson and David Finlay a more featured spot than they would probably have in Japan right now because New Japan has a stacked roster. Juice and Finlay are very talented, but there are only so many spots at any particular time so this stint in Impact gives them more of a platform to showcase their skills. Fin Juice retained, which is probably a good decision since The Good Brothers are busy enough to stay in the spotlight without the belts.

There’s not much to say about the KO title match because it was basically just an average match used to pace the card before the main event.

The main event was a really good match and it was the first time in years that an Impact pay-per-view had a “big fight” atmosphere. The in-ring work was a level above the rest of the card, which is a credit to how talented both Kenny Omega and Rich Swann are as performers. The only downside, if there was one, was that there wasn’t really a moment where there was any doubt that Omega would be the one to win both championships because it adds to the belt collector gimmick. There wasn’t a moment where a near fall for Swann seemed like it could’ve actually be the finish of the match, which has more to do with the scenario than the in-ring performance.

That said, Omega as a double champion is a very intriguing scenario because it creates questions for both promotions. Theoretically, with Impact’s taping schedule with multiple episodes filmed per taping, it would be possible for Omega to appear regularly for the organization and still work the live AEW broadcast. If he doesn’t then the Impact title gets reduced to a prop on Dynamite,and Impact might end up being in a lesser position than they could’ve been without the working agreement. This is where there’s a really fine line between how this angle is presentation and how it develops in the next few months. If the focus is on individual rivalries that crossover between companies, it’s a way to keep things fresh, but if there’s a direct AEW vs. Impact narrative then eventually Impact will lose and look weak in the process so as unconventional as it might sound, I think the company vs. company aspect should actually be avoided in this situation.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta
E mail drwrestlingallpro@yahoo.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta