Eli Drake def. Caleb Konley
While I'm happy they opened with a match and not a long, drawn-out talking segment as they (and every other wrestling company) tend to do, this was extremely random. Neither man even received a televised entrance, and although I'm all for switching up the formula of the show, why not open the evening with a match that actually matters? It was fine for what it was and I'm glad Drake scored the win, but I'm not sure what purpose it served other than giving Drake a win before being added to Team Josh later in the show.
Bruce Prichard announced Team Josh vs. Team JB For Next Week
I really, really wish this trash wouldn't take center stage on the show because the bickering between Borash and Mathews has been unbearable to listen to over the last month. On the bright side, at least this "feud" is headed somewhere, and thus this set up the segment in the main event slot where they selected who would be representing them next week. No mention was made of the loser being removed from commentary, but I surely hope that's where this is going.
ODB Won a Knockouts Championship No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Battle Royal
This match merely exposed the Knockouts division for being as weak and as thin as it is at the moment. I appreciate the surplus of fresh faces, but none of them appeared to be terribly experienced (other than the chick with LAX), and in addition to ODB and Rebel returning the mix, this match was complete throwaway with more than a handful of awful-looking spots. ODB was the only person who made sense to win this, but I can't say I'm excited to see her challenge for the championship.
James Storm Attacked The DCC
Personally, I've always been a big fan of Storm as a babyface and thought he had plenty of untapped potential in the role years ago. He fell under the radar for a while and the most recent DCC experiment was a total failure. Thankfully, he has moved on from that and solidified the split here. He cut a good, fired-up promo on his former stablemates and Kingston surprised me with his mic work as well. Bram has been wasted for years, but I hope they do something with Kingston coming out of this.
Andrew Everett def. Suicice and Marshe Rockett in a 3-Way Match
Usually, I would complain about three random X-Division guys being thrown into a multi-man match for no reason, but I liked the backstage confrontation between Everett, Shane Helms and Trevor Lee that preceded this where Helms and Lee said they would consider giving Everett a title shot if he won. The in-ring work was fun, even if we know next to nothing about either Rockett or Suicide. It was a good win for Everett to allow him to continue building momentum heading into his title rematch with Lee.
Davey Richards def. Eddie Edwards in a Last Man Standing Match
The feud between Wolves seemed to lose a little steam since the start of the new tapings because they haven't been on the show all that much, but this was an excellent effort from them. They were given a ton of time and maximized every minute with their extra aggression and utilizing the extreme environment nicely. The storytelling was stellar and I especially loved when Richards was hesitant about putting Edwards away only to immediately attack him once Angelina Love encouraged him to do it for her. Hopefully we haven't seen the end of this ruthless rivalry.
Alberto El Patron def. John Bolin
Of course, El Patron's debut in Impact Wrestling was heavily hyped as a major happening one month ago, but he has already begun to feel like just another member of the roster because officials have failed to make him out to be a special attraction. This was a quick squash match and his post-match mic work was kept short and sweet, but again, nothing about this screamed special whatsoever.
Jeremy Borash and Josh Mathews Revealed Their Teams
I guess this answered the question as to why the Last Man Standing match didn't close out the show. Mathews' team consisting of Lashley, Bram, Drake and Tyrus was pretty predictable, but Borash had a slew of stars return for his squad including Chris Masters/Adonis, Matt Morgan, and Magnus (who was revealed in a separate video on Impact Wrestling's website afterward, so that was a cool hook). I'm not sure if all three are with the company full-time, but it will be interesting to see how they're used going forward. This all but confirms the babyface team is winning next week.
The direction of the company on the whole has taken a turn for the better in the last month and I find myself more engaged in several stories than I thought I would be. Sure, the announce team bickering has been a bother and the Knockouts division needs all the help it can get, but the various returns recently have kept things newsworthy and Richards and Edwards had the best match of the "new era" on this episode, so it's worth seeking out for that alone.
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