Oh hey, I ordered the show last night but didn’t particularly feel like doing a full review, so here’s some thoughts. First up, I ended up fast-forwarding a few matches because I was only interested in some specific stuff, but overall the show seemed OK and pretty entertaining. Having a crowd there, however small, was an immediate improvement over the empty arena studio show that they’ve putting out during the pandemic, so that was good.
The big news was of course the surprises on the show, and they actually went in a different direction than expected, opting for opening the FORBIDDEN DOOR via New Japan and NWA rather than bringing in the usual WWE castoffs. Well, one castoff in the form of Chelsea Green, but that was expected and in fact basically advertised beforehand. Oh, and NO WAY JOSE, who sadly has lost his Jose. The one was not the best surprise to say the least.
Jay White as the big payoff for the night was pretty cool, and FinJuice was pretty cool. White can be a big player so I’m curious if he migrates to AEW or not, but he didn’t do anything here, basically just staring down Omega at the end of the show as it went off the air.
As for the matches, the Ultimate X opener was batshit crazy in a good way, with Petey Williams hitting Canadian Destroyers from all angles, including one on Chris Bey while Bey was on someone’s shoulders. The running gag with Rohit Raju trying to figure out how to grab the belt without actually climbing the cables was tremendous as well. A pretty easy **** opener.
The mixed tag with Green and Cardona was whatever. W. Morrisey beating Eddie Edwards was whatever, showing that Big Cass sure didn’t get any better away from WWE. But he’s tall and you can’t teach that. I sped through the tag title thing as soon as No Way (No Jose) was the big surprise and the Good Brothers are once again the tag champs. I also sped through Sabin v. Moose, which seemed fine but I had no interest. Purrazzo’s big surprise challenger ended up being Thunder Rosa, which is something I would not have seen coming, and as usual Rosa looked good and did the job in the end. I wouldn’t say the match was particularly good, as Deonna was having wardrobe malfunction issues and spent the whole match messing with her top and trying to keep her boob from popping out. I can see where they’d think “They both work on the arm all the time, it should be good” but it just wasn’t. Mickie James also showed up to rep the NWA, and correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t she killed off in a subway station or something last time she was in Impact? Anyway, she wants Deonna to be at the women’s show in August, but Deonna may or may not accept. They’d probably have a hell of a match if she shows up. Anyway, I’d go about **3/4 on the women’s match, not their best work.
And the main event was Kenny defending against Sami Callihan in a no DQ match where you knew that Sami had zero percent chance of winning because Hangman has to be the first one to break up the belt collection. And they decided to do something like a 40 minute garbage match, doing all the gore porn spots with a pizza cutter and fork and thumbtacks and table breaking and all of that. For me, it was too long and way too much of the same thing over and over. It’s one thing if Kenny has a solid storyline to work around, like the Moxley exploding ring match, but this was just hitting each other with stuff while Don Callis has an aneurism on commentary. Don was hilarious, thankfully. His rant about “Referees are the lowest form of life anyway, next to announcers.” and then D-Lo sheepishly noting “Well, I’m more of a color commentator” was good stuff. But by the time they got to the second ref bump I was ready to pack it in and go to bed. Didn’t work for me at all, **. Your mileage may vary, but it needed 20 minutes shaved off it.
Anyway, not my cup of tea, but it was certainly something very different and I can appreciate that.