I've consistently stated that the product of Impact Wrestling has been the most enjoyable one for me since the pandemic tilted the business in March 2020. Again, for me (just my opinion as I know how wrestling fans can be) that still remains true. Impact is a product that is easy to watch, easy to follow, easy to get through, and easy to let your imagination grab a hold of - something very much missing in the WWE's product.
I find myself always falling behind (since I don't get AXS TV on my cable provider), yet, due to IMPACT+, I binge-watch shows to get caught up to speed. With the HUGE Omega vs. Swann main event, I found myself about five episodes behind and frantically getting caught up because I wanted to be in on the craziness for this pay-per-view.
As we've come to appreciate as of late with Impact PPV's, this event was enjoyable. Impact Wrestling really has found a weird and unique way to present their product without fans in attendance (as best as can be), and still manage to channel energy, connect viewers, and progress storylines.
And of course, they made everything about the Omega vs. Swann match carry that big fight feel.
With that said, here are some quick thoughts on the big night that was Impact Rebellion 2021:
- The opening was really cool. Also, not enough credit (at least from what I've seen) has been given to the hype videos for both Swann and Omega on their ways to win narrated by Mauro Ronallo - who needs to come back for main events.
Matt Striker and D'Lo Brown have been a nice change of pace from Josh Matthews and Madison Rayne, and even Don Callis. Not better or worse in any way, it's just a different voice, a different pace, and a different perspective. I know it's not for everyone, but I do like Striker's ability to use sport-related analogies for various situations. I also enjoy his ability to emphasize the lost art of kayfabe into the product. It can be cheesy, but it's rather refreshing when considering the confusing blend of suspension of reality and well...reality, that pro wrestling has relied on for too long for shock value.
Also, D'Lo's cheesiness can be funny at times - intentional or not.
- Much props to the Impact crew for the look and presentation of the Impact Zone (is that just Orlando, or wherever Impact is?). There was a time when the old regime didn't pay attention to the details of ring aprons, entrance sets feel, turnbuckles, and various other things that made an event in the same space feel different than the weekly shows.
Also, if you take the super amazingness that is the "Thunder Dome" produced by the WWE machine out of the picture, Impact has really carved itself out a very good presentation that is workable and still appealing.
- What's more traditional for Impact than having an X-Division match kick off their pay-per-view? This one was good as all three competitors of Ace Austin, TJP, and Josh Alexander have been doing great work. This was a really good match and I like the idea of going with Alexander carrying the belt. I think he'll bring a different dynamic to the X-Division to the championship that is very much needed.
- The big news coming out of the six-man tag match is the return of the former Big Caz, now W. Morrisey. His issues have been well stated and his prior professionalism well documented - but this is pro wrestling, and those issues are always part of the beast. Some never shake it - Morrisey carries too much potential not to give it a try. After all, the pro wrestling industry needs to give Impact its due on what it's strength during this time has been - getting the most of talent and restoring damaged perceptions of talent. Morrisey can be just another challenge of a reclamation project.
I'm also glad Eric Young will be sticking around to lead Violent By Design after his injury. He really is so undervalued in his range for performance.
- I've loved Myers' ability to transform himself as of late - I find the whole "Most Professional" gimmick to have just begun to find it'ss groove as of late. The "Roster Cut" finishing move (and name) just adds to the sly arrogance of the guy who claims to be "professional".
With that said, I find an issue with his counterpart in Matt Cardona, who I'm still struggling to connect with. I'm not sure I understand the idea of "Always Ready" as well as the crazy outfits. It's cool, but I'm just not sure what the end game is or what the overall personality or character is supposed to be. This feud built around the idea of Cardona "following" Myers was interesting, but the "best friends gone bad" storyline, as old as pro wrestling exists, just felt really forced here.
I won't be mad if they continue this one - I don't hate it, but I don't think it's anywhere near as hot as it could be. I want more definition from Cardona, and some reliance on the scumbag Myers has become. Either make this personal or don't give me best friends fighting over workplace selections.
- Am I the only one who finds Tony Khan to be highly entertaining? Maybe. His role in this whole "forbidden door" ordeal and playing up being above Impact has been enjoyable. I found the "considering your family history" line toward Brian Hebner to be funny...albeit, when will we ever let Montreal go?
- I'm a huge fan of Fire N' Flava. They have an element and presentation that is VERY unique in pro wrestling right now. You can clearly tell they are starting to run with the characters. This was a good match and for me, as I was shocked to see the result with the new debuting Rachel Ellering and Jordynne Grace pick up the straps. But, it does make sense considering the closing storyline revolving around Jazz's retirement.
Ellering looked really impressive, and Grace as always is solid.
- BTW - hasn't Impact done a nice job of utilizing some talent who haven't been given a proper send-off in the industry? Makes for great content in the archive.
- Samil Callahan continues to be a rock for Impact Wrestling - always takes a program and finds a way to make something out of it. This feud was a perfect one with Trey Miguel revolving around the real-life scenario of "passion" and the comments from Triple H. Again, it's been a well-done storyline.
I would be interested to see this continue in some form or fashion with Callahan continuing to push Miguel passed passion into a more sinister realm like himself. The passion element hasn't felt forced, and it really has been progressed well, especially as Miguel has transformed his body with the program - good stuff around. Maybe having this push the boundaries of "passion" by doing an "I Quit" match for the next big encounter? "Real passion doesn't quit!!, I can hear Callahan saying. Just tossing out ideas...
Nonetheless, Miguel is enjoyable and can be a big player for Impact if he plans on sticking around now that the grass isn't greener on the other side.
- I wasn't a fan of the ending of the Tag-Team Match. Also, maybe I'm the only one, but I haven't found the obsession with FinJuice as of yet. Them retaining the tag team titles can play into some fun stuff regarding Impact's titles being outside of the company. I have some ideas in a few...
- I've come to really enjoy Purrazzo's matches. I could have done without all of the extra-curricular shenanigans on the outside, especially when some of it felt a little sloppy, but eh, whatevs. Purrazzo rules!
- The Taylor Wilde return was fun. She looks just as impressive as she was in her initial run with the company. She was full of potential then, and in many ways, that still remains. If she has a great run, it'll be quite the story in pro wrestling. That bounce and those drop kicks are still there.
I have to ask, who is convincing these talents to return?! Is it Scott D'Amore? Callis? Gail Kim? Like how do those phone calls even go?! Hey, let's revisit things before the company went off course - come back, we got you. We'll do it right this time. From Chris Harris, James Storm's 1000th match, the return of Eric Young, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, ODB, and so much more - it's amazing to think this company is at the point in history where it can have these nostalgic moments in a truly organic fashion.
- Speaking of returns, we've got the hype video for the world-changing again. I don't know what his status is, but if they can return Samoa Joe back home, I'll be a VERY happy fan. Joe returning to the X-Division to face Alexander after Alexander plays up the new style of the division would be a great encounter.
Also, if they can land Okada - um...wow! But that's a long shot.
- Omega vs. Swann was awesome. From the two refs, the executives looking on, the camps being ringside, and the inclusion of Mauro Monallo, it all felt special.
The match was really good and told a tremendous story. In a beautiful way, the match left so much on the table for the imagination that you have to wonder where the next few weeks will go. Maybe I'm in the minority, but this match was terrific.
I loved the story of Swann fighting, but just being out-bested in the end. You feel for Swann, because he looked tough as hell, but at the same time, it sets Omega up as what he should be, the best. Solidifying his spot as the "Best Bout Machine". You also immediately wonder where Swann goes beyond this? Here you have this prideful character who has gone through so much to get to this point and now has now lost it all? How does he rebound? Are we in for a heel turn? Do we get a darker Swann?
One thing is for sure, Swann cemented himself as one of the best in pro wrestling right now. The dude is believable on the mic, is different and unique in his feel and presence, and he's so entertaining between the ropes.
Then, of course, there is Omega carrying all of these belts. It's going to be interesting - will Impact stars show up on Dynamite to chase him? It's also going to be nice to have Omega being in the Impact world now - at the very least for big fights revolving around the championship. And of course, who challenges him, and what matches do we get?
I know the end game often discussed is Moose chasing him down and returning it home, but I'm all for a long build to Bound For Glory where that happens. I would like to see a few challengers against Omega for the championship with the purpose of getting a few highly anticipated matches, and to slowly burn and build the aspect of Moose bringing the belt back home - which in itself would launch even more scenarios for the ego of Moose as Mr. Impact Wrestling.
And finally, I'll pitch this idea, for the summer - why not have Josh Alexander elevate the X-Division championship? He could be the guy who blames Scott D'Amore for having all of the major titles being in the hands of non-Impact stars and play up the idea that his title is the one that means the most because he's here defending it each week.
Maybe Against All Odds could be a scenario of Alexander defending the X-Division championship against a guy like PAC, Jungle Boy, or another mid-car young talent AEW would like to have get some diverse exposure?
Either way, Scott D'Amore's character has to come into play here for allowing so many titles to walk out the door, as well as becoming an adversary for Callis' character who orchestrated the heist. The segment with Tommy Dreamer saying to D'Amore, "I hope you know what you're doing", resonates so well now.
Nonetheless, Rebellion was a good pay-per-view that launches Impact into the summer, and also sets up its business for live touring which I'm sure is on the horizon. I don't find it at all accidental that they've announced all of their major shows heading into Slammiversary.
Sooooooooooo many options - again, which is why Impact continues to be so much fun.
**All photos credited to impactwrestling.com