Impacts 2-night Rebellion special has come to a close after two straight weeks and the results were interesting to say the least. Before I get started I should say that I will absolutely be grading on a curve here. Impact taped Rebellion on a closed set at Skyway Studios in Nashville with no fans in attendance. As we reported earlier, several talents who were expected to perform at the would be PPV originally slated to emanate from Terminal 5 in NYC were either unable to travel due to government restrictions or opted not to come due to safety issues in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Impact Champ Tessa Blanchard, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, The North, and Taya Valkyrie were all no-shows for the tapings which required some gymnastics on the part of Impact management.
Lets start With The Positives
Bottom Line Up Front: Both nights were pretty good with Night 1 being quite a bit better than Night 2. Due to the closed set, I dont thinks its fair to give out star ratings so I will provide thoughts and ideas on the overall show. I won’t be going in sequence of Night 1 and 2 and I will just treat it like one big show.
Production Was Great
The look of the show was very good. Impact did a great job shooting it without fans although I wish they would have taken a page out of the AEW playbook and had talents spread out around ringside to make some noise.
The Return of the TNA Heavyweight Championship
Due to Tessa Blanchard being stuck in Mexico (actually California) and Eddie Edwards opting not to travel, The original scheduled main event for the Impact World Championship was cancelled leaving Michale Elgin without opponents. Elgin tried naming himself the new champ but out came Moose with the TNA Heavyweight Belt. Moose proclaimed himself the TNA Heavyweight Champ and challenged Elgin.
Then for some reason, Hernandez who was never TNA or Impact champ and hasnt been a main eventer in over a decade came out and next thing you know a match is starting. I really like Hernandez and I hope he sticks around but he was really put of place here. Moose and Elgin were several steps above him in work and star power and he was obviously here to take the pin. I think Rhino would have been a better option here as he is a star, is main event caliber, and a former TNA champ. But it was what it was. The match was good, albeit they had two unnecessary ref bumps ala TNA past. Moose got the pin on Hernandez and thus leaving open an Elgin-Moose match down the line that woke internet fans will love.
I must say, that belt is a thing of beauty and while I dont think TNA should return for more than just a special here and there, if they can get the TNA letters off the belt, this title should absolutely return full time.
Big Takeaway: Moose is a Star. Im not sure what Tessas status will be and rumor has it her contract is up in July. If the plan is to keep the title on Moose til Tessa comes back and then merge the titles, Id have Moose as the unified champ, regardless of whether she re-signs or not. Moose is the guy here folks. He is great in the ring, looks like a star, acts like a star, can get publicity through sports media, and cuts great promos. He has without a doubt the best entrance in the company. The moment he steps through the curtain he oozes charisma and captivates your attention. No one has improved more in the last year than Moose. Its his time now.
Sami Callihan vs Ken Shamrock
This was a strong performance by both guys and I really liked the touch of the background music and the cinematic filming once they went backstage. They furthered the story of Sami distancing himself from OVE as he attacked them for trying to help him. Shamrock made Sami pass out with an ankle lock. Thats the only issue I had with the match. Ive seen Sami take tons more abuse than that and unless he was gushing blood there was no real reason for that. I know why they did it, they wanted Shamrock to win while protecting Sami. They look to be turning Sami babyface with that finish as he was too brave and proud to tap. Im good with Shamrock winning here as he is their Goldberg or Bruno Sammartino and should be protected.
Willie Mack: New X Division Champ
All I can about this is: About Time. Willie is great and has deserved a spot like this for a long time. You Ace Austin was a really good champ and will hold the title again someday. This match as far as in ring work goes was the best of both nights. My only issue with it was the damn no-sell of the stunner. Im a child of the attitude era and I absolutely cringe at the disrespect of that move. after the match Rich Swann came out to congratulate Willie and it was good to see Rich back in the fold. Could either one of these guys be turning to begin a feud for the title? I hope so. Ace Austin clearly has a bright future, but if the rumors are true and he has been in the Suicide costume, he’s been doing a great job with that and Id like to see that character stick around. But can he continue to do both? Or will Ace go away awhile? I hope not, he is a great slimy heel and has upped his game since becoming the champ.
Knockouts Division Continues to be Strong
Both knockouts matches, Kiera Hogan vs Kylie Rae and The Full(ish) Metal Mayhem Match between Rosemary and Jessica Havoc were real good. They have something in Kylie, she is excellent and Hogan continues to get better and better. Rosemary may never make it in Hollywood as an actress and is limited in the ring due to injuries, but what she does she does well and is a fantastic character. Havoc is a beast. The Metal Mayhem match was originally supposed to be Grace vs Taya vs Rosemary vs Havoc, which is a match Im sure we have seen before and is a “lets get everyone on the show” booking crutch. But the matches always work and Im sure it would have been fun to watch but nonetheless, Rosemary and Havoc put on a real solid affair. The only downfall was it came off as just another hardcore match.
Future is Bright for the X-Division
Although I am confused as to what the X-Division means nowadays, as the “no limits” style has extended in to the Impact World Title picture and with veteran Willie Mack as the champ it is not really the title for up and coming young guys either. Newcomer Chris Bey, Suicide, Trey Miguel, and Rohit Raju put on a real fun show that I think would have worked so much better in front of a live audience. Chris Bey took the victory and should be in line for a title shot. I dont think he wins it anytime soon though as I still see a Mack-Swann feud on the horizon. But when you add Ace Austin, Daga, TJP, and others to the list, the X-Division, while not clearly defined, has a very bright future.
Now For the Negatives…..
I really wish they just aired this as a separate 3 hr AXS or even Impact Plus App special as opposed to making it just 2 more weeks of TV. I try not to be too negative on here so I wont bring the mood down too much about an event I really liked but….
OVE Losing Streak Continues
Impact hit the “ECW” button once again and paired Rhino and Tommy Dreamer and a mystery partner against OVE (Fulton and the Crist Bros). The mystery ended up being the returning favorite Crazzy Steve and announcer Josh Matthews could not have given a shit less. They built it up for a week and then he just appeared and Matthews in all his glory treated it like he was just another guy. the match itself was fun but in the end OVE took another L which is sad. I really think Madman Fulton could be a star for them but this losing streak is doing him no favors. Now that Sami has turned on OVE I could see a feud here with a new mentor for OVE leading the charge and hopefully the new path includes some wins.
3-Way Tag Match
XXXL, TJP and Fallah Bah, and The Rascals had a “lets get everyone on the show match” that had already happened a couple weeks prior (a 4-way with Reno Scum). The match was solid but having a match for the sake of having a match for no reason on a big show seems pointless. TJP and Fallah Bah were primed for a tag title shot previous to this but the Rascals picked up the victory here and it just does not make sense to me. Maybe it will down the road.
Ryan vs Cousin Jake
These two guys worked real hard but having no crowd did them no favors. The Joseph P. Ryan “Cancel Culture” gimmick is spinning its wheels with RVD currently out of the picture. This could have been an Xplosion match.