Posted July 21st, 2018 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

With an upcoming vacation on my mind, I recently watched one of my favorite “vacation” movies – “What About Bob?”- starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.  I won’t bore you with details but encourage you to check it out if you’re south of 30. The basic plot is anxiety-ridden Bob Wiley (Murray) obsessively seeking help from renowned psychotherapist Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss), going so far as to follow him on his family vacation, where all sorts of hilarity ensues.  In one of the early scenes of the movie, Dr. Marvin advises Bob to take “baby steps” in dealing with each problem, as they relate to his daily routine.

Um, Predictor – what does this have to do with wrestling?

Great question. I mention this because in many ways, it brings to mind the state of Impact Wrestling, as they head into their annual Slammiversary show, taking place this Sunday night from The Rebel Complex in Toronto, Canada.  While the company still has a long way to go, I have to say that this latest creative regime has presented a product that has its challenges but is slowly but surely finding its way as another alternative for fans who want something else.  At this point, it’s stepping away from the big picture and taking “baby steps” to creating a better show – one week at a time.  And this approach has built some moderate anticipation for this Sunday’s pay-per-view, and I think that’s all you can ask for.  Let’s run down the card!

Impact World Championship Match: Austin Aries defends the Impact World Championship against Moose

Topline Thoughts: This isn’t going to be a mat classic, but this match has two things going for it. First, you have Aries, who should be able to carry Moose to a passable match.  Second, you have the reliance on a solid storyline build.  There were some clunky spots, but you’ve given the fans a chance to get to know Moose and his passion for winning the title, and you’ve given Aries – a great talker in his own right – the opportunity to cement himself as the arrogant heel champion.  They haven’t really done much to give you the idea that Moose is a threat to the title – but again, we’re taking baby steps here.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Austin Aries retains the Impact World Championship

Impact World Tag Team Championship Match / 5150 Street Fight: The Latin American Xchange (Santana and Ortiz) (with Konnan) defend the Impact World Tag Team Championship against The OGz (Hernandez and Homicide) (with King)

Topline Thoughts: If you watched this past week’s Impact television show, you would think that this was the main event, and perhaps it will close the show.  I’ve truly enjoyed the slow build and storytelling behind this match.  And, there are very few holes that creative didn’t look to fill, even taking the time to explain why Homicide and Hernandez turned on Konnan, which I though was a nice touch.  I do think you might have made this a straight-up match before going right to the street fight, but this stipulation will hide any performance limitations.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The OGz win the Impact World Tag Team Championship

Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Su Yung defends the Impact Knockouts Championship against Madison Rayne

Topline Thoughts: With a lack of credible contenders in the Knockouts division, this is a good use of Rayne as a legacy star.  I’ve liked the vignettes that have established her credibility and motivation but haven’t been so high on the “hocus pocus” aspect of Yung’s act. This should be a fine match, used solely to boost Yung’s status as champion.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Su Yung retains the Impact Knockouts Championship Match

Impact X Division Championship Match: Matt Sydal defends the Impact X Division Championship against Brian Cage

Topline Thoughts: I still haven’t figured out why Brian Cage is in the X Division, but I’ll take this over a multi-man match. The company is high on him for sure, and I’m seeing a title win here, but I really think they need to give him a chance to talk and establish his character.  For Sydal, he has something they should work with him to find – though I don’t think the “third eye/namaste” act is quite it.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Brian Cage wins the Impact X Division Championship

House of Hardcore Rules Match: Eddie Edwards meets Tommy Dreamer

Topline Thoughts: I enjoyed the Edwards-Sami Callahan feud and think they’ve done an adequate job presenting Edwards as the babyface who snapped and became the thing he despised. I’m not sure this is the best use of Dreamer at this point in his career.  He’s always a nice nostalgic act, but he’s well past his prime and would be better served in tag team matches.  Also, it seems like Edwards’ heel act is a bit forced and over pronounced, with the open mouth, heavy breathing and grunting.  So, I’ll be interested to see where they go from here, but so far it’s kept me paying attention.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Eddie Edwards defeats Tommy Dreamer

Hair vs. Mask Match: Sami Callahan meets Pentagon Jr.

Topline Thoughts: Sami Callahan is probably the best singles act in Impact Wrestling today.  He’s on a second strong program and they’ve quickly made this a match the fans should look forward to.  The stipulation is a bit strange.  I know it’s popular in Mexico, but if you’re not aware of that, you’re not going to get it.  Plus, while most fans know the sacred meaning behind a Mexican wrestler’s mask, they essentially had to rush job the connection that Sami has to his hair.  Nevertheless, this should be fun.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Pentagon Jr. defeats Sami Callahan

Four Way Match: Featuring Fenix, Johnny Impact, Rich Swann and Taiji Ishimori

Topline Thoughts: It wouldn’t be an Impact pay-per-view without a multi-man match.  This will likely open the show to prime the crowd with a lot of fun high spots.  I’m not expecting here from a character development standpoint but am hoping to see a change of direction for Johnny in the coming months, as his act is a bit stale, when we know that he is capable of more.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Johnny Impact wins the Four Way Match

Knockouts Match: Allie meets Tessa Blanchard

Topline Thoughts: As I’ve said before, Tessa Blanchard is a blue-chipper with so much potential.  I wasn’t a fan of having her lose twice in a row to Madison Rayne, but I’ll forgive it, due to the manners in which she lost and who she lost to.  I’m expecting and hoping a course correct with this match.  Allie has been established, so a win here will her back on the right track.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Tessa Blanchard defeats Allie

Follow me on Twitter: @DonThePredictor

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