Tonight is one of the biggest events of the year for Impact Wrestling, and it promises to be full of surprises. In my opinion, Impact has done what they do best recently, and that is continuing to fly under the radar. Last year, Impact took advantage of WWE lightening the load by bringing in some fresh talent like the Good Brothers and Eric Young. Later in the year, Matt Cardona and Brian Myers would join the fold, but either way they've benefited the most from the WWE releases. The biggest question is now who is next for Impact, or will they leave the former WWE stars alone and fill the surprises from elsewhere. Don't forget, Impact has reconciled with New Japan and still is working with AEW!!
Odds are though former WWE stars will appear tonight at Slammiversary it's just a matter of who will it be, and I think one of them will likely be the former Laurel Van Ness as her husband Matt Cardona is in need of a partner for a mixed tag match tonight. The only difference this time around will be that she might not reprise her old gimmick and might reappear as Chelsea Green instead. Another name that is possible is the former Kalisto for many reasons, but the main reason is that Impact is always looking for ways to improve the X-Division and Kalisto would absolutely help create depth for and improve the X-Division.
I would be remiss not to mention some of the rumors I've been hearing about New Japan stars possibly appearing tonight. Dave Finlay Jr and Juice Robinson helped reopen the door everyone thought was permanently closed, so it's possible current New Japan talent could come over for the night. I also heard a slight rumor of us seeing Great Muta, but I'm not sure the validity of the rumors, it just shows the amount of buzz that has been created around tonight's event. Impact has impressed this year and may not defy expectations as they will likely do what they do best and that is keep flying under the radar of wrestling fans.
Omega just won the Impact World Championship at Rebellion at the end of April last month changing the business. A sight we haven't seen since the territory era when one man held the World Title in two different promotions. Actually Vader held the World Title in three different continents covering Europe, Asia, and United States. Vader worked with New Japan, Catch Wrestling Association in Germany, and World Championship Wrestling. Omega holds the World Championship in AEW, Impact, and AAA in Mexico covering three different promotions across North America.
The main issue with Kenny holding the World Championship in different promotions is that Tony Khan stepping in to stop Kenny from losing in other companies before he loses his World Title in AEW. It was a risk that he forfeited some aspect of booking to his champion and a risk of him possibly getting injured during a match. Omega is one of the few wrestlers around getting a ton of heat right now from the audience due to his entitled attitude forcing people to hate him.
Similarly to Roman Reigns, Kenny is on a hot streak and is in the prime of his career as a heel. I think that all the companies will benefit from keeping the title on Kenny for the time being, but they need to be aware that something will be needed to strike fire back into this hot run. At this point, though they should have an idea who he will be dropping the gold to don't need to know when just who. There have been rumors of El Idolo (Formerly Andrade) winning the AAA World Title at Triplemania from Omega, but other than that nothing is really known, and it's too early to tell.
In my opinion, any working agreement in wrestling can't work if it's too one-sided favoring one promotion over the other. Thus far the agreement with AEW and Impact has been completely one-sided in favor of AEW for the most part, but could shift in the future. Although it is obvious that AEW is a bigger company then Impact that doesn't mean AEW should always beat Impact's top stars. The only way this experiment will be a success is if Omega can help make a new star or someone a bigger draw for Impact then they were before this working agreement came to pass.
Impact has been fighting for their spot at the table for their entire time in business, and they've never given up. The wrestling world was turned upside down when it became clear that Impact Wrestling had formed a working agreement with All Elite Wrestling and Kenny Omega was appearing on Impact. A World Champion from a top wrestling company is appearing on Impact Wrestling while still being under contract to another company. Don Callis has finally started using his friendships with wrestlers that he has formed over the last three decades in wrestling to help Impact. Callis and D'Amore have done so much good for Impact Wrestling it is impossible to state how much good these two have done for Impact.
Rich has been World Champion leading the charge for Impact since last October, and most fans may not look at Swann as someone who isn't on Omega's level which is true. Swann doesn't have the same credibility as a draw like Omega who has helped draw sell out crowds in the Tokyo Dome. Omega worked to become a box office draw and Swann is one of Impact's biggest draws and stable presence in the company. Impact Wrestling has struggled, but finally found their identity and AEW is still attempting to find their identity. Omega is a proven commodity in Japan not in America or not yet in America, but winning or losing this will raise his stock within wrestling.
I've been watching Impact Wrestling since 2004, even though I've given up on the company from time to time I always seem to come back and give them another chance. I've never seen Impact Wrestling invest so much into the promotion of one match. This company is investing so much into this match and making this card mean more than any card or event that they promoted. Rebellion will definitely not be a one match show and has the makings to be the biggest event in Impact history. I have a question for long time Impact Wrestling fans when was the last time you saw Impact put together a press conference to promote a match. I've watched Impact for 15 years at this point and have never seen them do a press conference to hype an event.
On April 25, Impact Wrestling Rebellion will be held and the biggest match outside WWE will happen when Rich Swann takes on Kenny Omega championship vs championship. This is the biggest contest ever booked, because of the first time two top North American wrestling companies will have their World Champions compete and one World Champion will come out of the match. In the past it was just billed as champion vs champion never actually being designed to crown one World Champion. Rich Swann has done wonders for Impact since being crowned as World Champion last October. For once Impact has a champion they made into a box office draw much like Kenny has become in AEW.
One change has made Kenny Omega into a superstar like everyone thought he would be when he made the move from Japan back to the United States. One feud made Rich Swann into a star, and it was his rivalry with Eric Young last year which started at Slammiversary last year off one injury. Swann was on the cusps of retirement last year and became Impact World Champion.
Impact Wrestling has pulled former WWE announcer Mauro Ranallo into the hype for the match to everything seem all the more important. Impact has never drawn much mainstream attention unless they were getting laughed at by the media or fans, but now they have changed the perception. Mauro elevates any card or match that he is a part of based on his imagine and notoriety from WWE and his time on Showtime. The best wrestling announcers brings believability to the program, because if he invests emotionally then it's easier for you to do it. Mauro brings that exactly to the every match he's a part of and will do that again for this match on April 25. It doesn't matter if it's a one shot deal or something more consistent either way April 25 is Impact's moment in the sun.
With NXT officially moving to Tuesday nights following Wrestlemania this brought up a question if Impact who had been on Tuesdays for around a year or so would have a new running mate. Our question was answered quickly when we found out that Impact was moving back to Thursday nights with there first edition of Impact back on Thursday being last week head lined by a huge six man tag match. Kenny Omega was back to team with the Good Brothers against Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, and Willie Mack. For the first time since he debuted back in January on Impact, Kenny Omega suffered a loss and even he didn't get pinned his team did lose with Karl Anderson getting pinned by the Impact Undisputed Champion.
The train is now going full speed down the tracks to April 24 and the next big event for Impact Wrestling that being Rebellion. In my opinion, this event is the most anticipated wrestling card since Impact moved to Canada a few years ago after Anthem purchased the promotion. The AEW partnership with Impact has unquestionably allowed for more eyes to pay attention to Impact wrestling, but it is still not only one sided, but very early on in the partnership.
On April 24 we will get our answer if the "Belt Collector" will add another world title to his collection or if Rich Swann can shock the world. If Omega does win though it would be then when Impact stars should begin to invade Dynamite and do what AEW has been doing to them since January. Names like Matt Hardy, Kenny Omega, Private Party and even Tony Khan himself have appeared on Impact, but the same can't be said for Impact stars appearing on Dynamite. Come April 24, if Omega does win the Impact World title that needs to change and we would need to start seeing Impact stars making their presence known on AEW's programming to return the favor and trying to get their World Title back.
It is rare to see an official unification match take place, but Impact Wrestling is officially back to having one championship. Swann has been leading the charge for Impact bringing some stability to the brand finally and it was unexpected, but Swann has been a great World Champion for Impact. Moose has unquestionably improved a ton over the last year and added more layers to his gimmick including crowning himself the World Champion instead of actually winning the title. To avoid both giving away a match between Moose and Omega and the idea that if Kenny won then the new champion would've lost the title only a few months after winning the title Impact made the smart decision to go with Swann. Also Swann is the flag bearer for Impact and clearly the top star in the company next to Eddie Edwards so pretty much the only fitting person to be put in this spot with Kenny Omega at Rebellion.
On another note, the Good Brothers dropped the tag titles to the debuting FinnJuice which was expected, but at the same time unexpected. However, Anderson & Gallows have been booked super strong since they debuted in Impact last year so them getting a rare loss isn't a major deal. Considering the fact that Juice and Dave Finlay Jr are both under contract with New Japan this could be a good sign about a working agreement coming up with Impact and New Japan. You have to wonder if Impact and AEW's partnership has helped open the door once again with New Japan. A new partnership with New Japan would be nothing, but beneficial for Impact continuing to move forward. The interest level for wrestling will keep growing especially with the upcoming title vs title match with Omega and Swann set for April's Rebellion event.
First off it has been announced that at the upcoming Sacrifice special event set for Saturday March 13 on the Impact Plus app. For the longest time Rich Swann has been the leader of Impact Wrestling as World Champion since defeating Eric Young last year. Soon after Swann was crowned champion Moose dug up the old TNA World Heavyweight Title which before two weeks ago was considered an unsanctioned championship. But just as the championship was made an official title it was announced by VP Scott D'Amore that we will see Rich Swann vs Moose in a Unification match to crown one official World Champion for Impact.
Following the crowning of one official champion they will have a tough defense at Impact Wrestling Rebellion on April 24 against current AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. The Invisible Hand had played his part to make it happen with his friend Kenny returning to Impact for his chance at the Impact World Title. Before this announcement I wasn't sure if Impact and AEW were still working together, but they were waiting for the right time to come back together and it seems like they may have a long term plan. Almost forgot it will not just be Omega challenging for the Impact title, but it will also be Swann or Moose challenging for the AEW World Title.
Retracing history programming started turning in the right direction was first making the move to give the book to Scott D'Amore and Don Callis. The next best move they could make was shifting to more of a long term booking approach as a way to form a foundation. One name that the company built around was Eddie Edwards and building his long term story from start to finish. Seeing his evolution from week to week was something that fans got invested in this way they saw everything from start to finish. The shocking start to his feud with Sami Callihan and then including Tommy Dreamer in the blood feud made for an interesting twist as Eddie went insane.
It was also during Eddie's journey that we saw the start of Ace Austin's development as a future star in Impact. Austin would help push Eddie's decent into madness with Ace pushing the envelop of friendship with Eddie's wife. Much like with the development of Eddie as a top star Impact didn't rush moving Ace into an upper position before he was ready for it. Impact knew they didn't need to rush, because they took that approach it allowed Ace to develop with fellow X-Divison star Trey Miguel bringing the feud up the card with them as well.
These two are just a small sample size of the strides in the right direction that Impact has made in recent years as they started to right the ship. Without the addition of Don Callis I don't see the working agreement with All Elite Wrestling coming to fruition like it has in recent months. In a period of time where instant gratification takes center stage I think that Impact proves fans still want to be able to invest in the ascension of talent over the long haul. I have enjoyed watching these stories come together as I have always been a major supporter for long term booking.
Go back in time TNA Wrestling had a working agreement with the biggest promotion in Japan and would be the gateway for talent in Japan to get in the states. New Japan had the connection in Mexico with CMLL and were looking for a stateside connection they found it with TNA. Think about this though Kazuchika Okada ended up in Impact on his excursion and was made a jobber/green lantern rip off which angered New Japan and would lead to that door closing. Impact's misuse of the future "Ace" of New Japan was one of many steps that plague the company back a decade ago.
After a few years, Impact came to a new agreement with Wrestle-One in Japan which was ran by Keiji Mutoh aka The Great Muta. The promotion and working agreement weren't built to last partially due to Impact finally hitting the wall and having to focus on things at home. From there the company has really set the last few year aside focusing on rebuilding the brand and setting a foundation for the company. Recently, with Don Callis assumingly opening the door to work with All Elite Wrestling you have to wonder if the door finally reopened with New Japan.
The main reason I ask this question is that promo package played following No Surrender promoting the arrival of former IWGP Tag Team Champions Dave Finlay Jr. and Juice Robinson. Take a look below at the video as this is and interesting turn of events:
One thing that WWE never let happen in while these veterans were a part of the promotion was a feud between the former tag team champions. Both Matt Cardona and Brian Myers joined Impact Wrestling soon after Bound For Glory last year and were among the names that WWE released from the company in April. Brian and Matt have worked together for the better part of twenty years at this point both men getting their starts in New York Wrestling Connection back in 2004. Both men were trained by Mikey Whipwreck and came up in the big company in Connecticut together starting in developmental and making the main roster as a tag team.
Point is these men have a long history together and have always had chemistry with one another. Based on the ending of the tag match at No Surrender it's clear that something could be building between the former teammates. Myers has secured protection from Super Mex the Impact veteran again recently and it seems like Impact has plans for Myers, but Cardona has been moving around since his departure from WWE and it's unclear if he will remain in Impact long term or if a feud with his friend could be on a short list of things for him to do in Impact.
In my opinion, Myers and Cardona will not have center stage for their much deserved rivalry and it will be heated as they have a ton of history to draw on. The fact is though this will not lead to them getting a World Title shot as they are still to new to Impact to have this build to that type of result. I don't mean that Myers and Cardona can't or wont be in the Main Event, but they need to get this feud done first of all. Giving underrated talent the chance in the spotlight is what Impact has become known for since the arrival of Don Callis and Scott D'Amore in Impact. Cardona and Myers were two stars that never were given a shot in WWE and were sent packing much to the surprise of fans. With two months between these events it'll be surprising to not see a match between Matt & Brian at Rebellion in April.
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