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    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    Tales from the Impact Zone (7/5/18): LAX is Fine

    Stables in pro wrestling have a long shelf life. From the time of the Four Horsemen, we've had the likes of the nWo, Nation of Domination, D-Generation X, and the Bullet Club dominate a promotion (or promotions) for a certain period. Even lesser formidable factions like Evolution and Aces & Eights have left their mark in wrestling lore.

    In this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the focus was on the Latin American Xchange and their ongoing Mexican telenovela. King and Konnan's confrontation in the ring to end the show did not produce much proof (we will get to more of that later) of the latter accusing the former of putting a hit on the LAX senior. In a trope taken from mafia storylines, the elderly top dog reminded the upstart that it was him who built the young pup up to what he is now. King then rebutted Konnan, telling the latter that his time is done.

    The man also known as Eddie Kingston then tried to recruit Impact Tag Team Champions Ortiz and Santana to his side, but his Jedi mind tricks did not work on them as they rebuffed him with a pair of blurred finger salutes. With the three closing down on King, Hernandez and Homicide attacked their former mates from behind to conclude the program and to draw the battle lines. Aside from the obvious three-on-three feud, what is next for Impact's long-standing stable? Stay tuned for more. 

    As I've said previously, the LAX and their promos can be a show of their own. Someone who has been weaned on WWE programming could find this a breath of fresh air. These are more than just a throwaway backstage skit shot in an unoccupied room in the stadium. They have production value even if the setup is just a dimly lit studio with dominos, a vice of their choice, and the tag team belts placed on a table, as well as the Puerto Rican and Mexican flags hanging in the background.

    A slight nitpick, but this is more of me highlighting an unintentional comedy moment. While King was with Ortiz and Santana earlier in the show, he was ranting on the supposed proof Konnan was going to reveal later. His lines of "We're talking about proof" and "Show me the proof" had me, for a split second, thinking of Allen Iverson and Jerry Maguire.

    I want proof! You can't handle the proof!

    Take that for proof!

    OK, I'm fine now.

    One more thing as I close the LAX part of this review. These guys like talking on the phone. Sure, it's not our business to know who is on the other end of the line, but throwing us a little bone could help. I mean, you have a camera shoved in their face. I guess this is a wrinkle in your usual talk-to-the-fourth-wall promo.

    Major Impact Moments

    As for the matches themselves, they were not bad at all. As Barney Stinson said, your playlist should be all rise – and this is what Impact has been doing, starting shows with a bang.

    For the second straight week, Rich Swann jerked the curtain, this time going up against fellow Slammiversary international four-way combatant Fénix. As expected, the bout was fast-paced. What is noticeable is that Swann had more liberty in his movement compared to his WWE stint. This is what happens when you are not constrained to five-minute spots on the card and when your moveset is not hindered by company-enforced limitations. The Fénix cutter after Swann evaded the luchador's moonsault was the spot of the night for me.

    Based on the action on the ring and the reaction it garnered, this is what 205 Live should be. It is organic, and one cannot claim that they are studio plants—an old criticism back when the promotion was exclusively taping shows at Universal Studios in Florida—as they taped the episode at St. Clair College in Canada.

    Still, the fight was not as squeaky clean, with Swann unsure on what to do on the rope before Fénix landed his muscle buster-like finish.

    The Crists then invaded the ring, and what first appeared to be a swerve, Sami Callihan revealed himself under Pentagón Jr's mask before the real Pentagón made the save. This sets up a six-man tag match between oVe and the Mexican siblings along with the Impact newcomer.

    The main event between Kongo Kong and Brian Cage was the next best bout of the evening, with the two behemoths moving like X Division wrestlers. Some highlights include Cage's somersault plancha to the outside and a Kong hurricarana reversing a Cage powerbomb attempt. Brian Cage remains undefeated on Impact with an F5 for a pin.

    Other Impactful Moments

    - The pair of Knockout matches in the middle of the card were not bad, but it was difficult to not tune them out.
    - The payoff for one of those was that Joe Hendry was able to slot himself in a conversation between a victorious Katarina and boyfriend/escort Grado. I guess it's not only the FIFA World Cup (and NXT UK) experiencing British good fortune as of late.
    - A confident and less awkward Allie is a good Allie.
    - Fallah Bahh was fed to debuting Killer Kross in a no-sell match. KM at ringside gently reminds us of the Bahh-KM fat shaming angle and KM-pact Wrestling from weeks back. Considering how these have become afterthoughts, I am not optimistic that this would progress outside of a reference here and there.
    - Oh, was this about Kross? His physique is something out of Vince McMahon's wet dream, but with KM and Brian Cage having the same build as him, Kross is somewhat lost in the shuffle for me.
    - Segueing from Kross, it was a throwaway comment by Don Callis pertaining to the debutant when he said that "Impact Wrestling does not discriminate on people's pasts" in order to build up their latest monster. But it also reminded me of Rich Swann's situation when the reason he was future endeavored by the WWE in the first place was pointed out to me.
    - It is my personal philosophy that I give individuals accused of such with a considerable leash, unless damning evidence is presented (e.g., Ray Rice, Anthony Weiner) or they are egregious/repeat offenders (e.g., Adam Blampied, Bill Cosby). That said, there are certain individuals who were able to sweep the skeletons in their closet under the rug (e.g., "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Jason Kidd). References to consensual penises aside, it is my opinion that what WWE did to Swann was a business move and I cannot fault either party for that. But the fact that real-life couple Richard Swann and Vannarah Riggs are working in the same promotion might mean that everything is a-OK?!

    Not-so-Deep Impact Moments

    - A Petey Williams-with-a-steel-chair cameo. More of him next time, please. I forgot to mention him in my TNA/Impact retrospect last week. Up to now, I still mark out to his Canadian Destroyer finisher.
    - Grado tripped on the apron on his way down the ring. Could be accidental, but can also be a work. It's so in-character of him to do that.
    - Two Desi Hit Squad segments, a pep talk and a training montage, were squeezed in. It has not reached Roman Reigns-level of overexposure yet, though. That said, I am still lukewarm toward this Indian/Punjab stable. I would like to give them a chance, but please, do not overdo it.
    - Who is this Pokémon, I mean Knockout? Forgive me, I do not do dirt sheets and spoilers. I wiki and visit the Impact website for fact checking purposes, but that's it. I promise.
    - Not sure if Sami Callihan was reading his promo offcam. With him looking down almost the entire time, it felt like it.
    - Austin Aries gave the XFL a shoutout. No way he went there.

    Lest I forget, Eddie Edwards and Tommy Dreamer will figure in a House of Hardcore match at Slammiversary. As for the episode, there was nothing I marked out or popped for in particular. Maybe I should pay more attention. But for now, a grade of B would suffice. This is me pushing the product to do better.

    What to expect next week:
    • oVe vs Pentagón Jr, Fénix, Rich Swann
    • DeAngelo Williams returns for Moose
    Images and video courtesy of Impact Wrestling


    JP Abcede, CIS, has an ongoing love-hate relationship with the WWE, depending on what Bret Hart's mood for the day is. A financial adviser and Certified Investment Solicitor (that is what the CIS stands for after his name) by profession, he catches up on his weekly dose of pro wrestling by streaming shows and using them as background noise while he is doing something else. This way, he is able to zone out the boring parts while remaining productive.
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    Item Reviewed: Tales from the Impact Zone (7/5/18): LAX is Fine Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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