I liked Saturday night’s offering of Salute to the Troops, and on any other Saturday I wouldn’t of had to go back and re-watch portions of it. Why did I have to? Well, both Bellator and UFC had big events with highly contested bouts that I was not going to miss. I can still feel Michael Page cringing as Douglas Lima kicked Page’s leg out from underneath him. I’ve never seen a man more aware of what was coming than Page in that moment.
The point I’m making is that competition was fierce on Saturday night, and with this show being pre-taped three-odd weeks ago, with shotty house audio to boot, you gotta do better than this on a crowded night.
The show has a weird ‘brand vs. brand’/ ‘IMPACT reunion’ show vibe. Former talents were in all but two matches, with Caleb Konley, Chris Melendez, Bram, The War Kings, and Crazy Steve wrestling. Only the the Rascalz handicap math with Moose and the women’s match didn’t feature a former contracted IMPACT talent. To be fair, Madison Rayne should still probably be a ‘former’ talent, but that’s an article for another day.
There was a lot of good, like Ace Austin and Rich Swann sowing seeds for a future X-Division championship match at Slammiversary XVII, the Moose handicap match was the highlight of the night, and it was even fun to see The War Kings and Melendez again. I’m also well aware this show was either done at cost, or at a lost, as the show was meant to be a ‘thank you’ of sorts to the spouses and children of deployed military veterans. Families of stationed soldiers on base got to go to the event for free, which was most of the live gate.
Kudos for The War King’s Crimson for setting this whole thing up. Yet I feel like they missed out on a better card, without even needing to send anyone home or bring anyone else in. Mostly, I think the two army vets – Melendez and Crimson – should of had the show built around them. They should of been in the main event.
Here’s the original lineup;
- X-Division Championship Match
Rich Swann(c) vs. Ace Austin vs. Caleb Konley vs. Jeremiah Plunkett
- Chris Melendez vs. Sami Callihan
- Moose vs. The Rascalz (Wentz/Trey)
- Eddie Edwards vs. Bram
- Jake Crist vs. Brian Cage
- Cali Young vs. Madison Rayne
- oVe (Dave Crist and Madman Fulton) vs. The War kings
- Crazzy Steve vs. Johnny Impact
It’s not a bad show at all, it’s just wonky. IMPACT books these shows with very little in the way of promo or interviews, like they’re essentially house shows. I’m not sure how much more expensive it’d be to do a promo but if my local regional could do it for a handful of live fans, you can do so for thousands on Twitch.
So what I’d do is start the show with a Crimson promo where he thanks everyone for coming out and welcomes the fans to the show. All four members of oVe would come out and get in his face next. Then Jax Dane and Chris Melendez come in to make the save, followed lastly by Brian Cage. The main event is then announced by Crimson (as he’s the promoter for the evening) and it’s all four of oVe vs. Brian Cage, The War Kings and Chris Melendez.
The show was about two hours and thirty-some-odd minutes. So you have time you need to fill. You have twenty-one wrestlers to work with and I just put eight in the main event. Tying my hand behind my back already, aren’t I?
So we still have Rich Swann, Caleb Konley, Ace Austin, Jeremiah Plunkett, Moose, Trey, Wentz, Madison Rayne, Cali Young, Eddie Edwards, Bram, Crazzy Steve and Johnny Impact. When working with a light roster, you should focus on the top matches and book down. We’ll keep in mind top guys who need to go over and not burying the Tried-In-True crew of wrestlers either.
Firstly, let’s deconstruct the X-Division Championship match. You don’t need four guys. The X-Division Championship has been rebuilt well over the last few years, but it could still use some glamor-touch up’s. So we’re going to book Johnny Impact for the title match, in the 2nd to last slot. Impact wins by cheating in the real main event, so he can lose by DQ or something similar in the semi-main event without sending fans home mad.
Next, we need an opener. With an opener you want to set the pace of the show. That means usually a big brawl or an exciting fast paced match. We have two to pick from, but we’re going to change things up a bit I think. We’re going to go with Bram vs. Crazzy Steve in the opener in the same type of match up we got with Bram and Eddie. Instead of Eddie however, we’ll go with Steve getting jumped by Bram, which goes to a DQ and then Crimson comes out and declares that’s not how it is tonight and then we get a Falls Count Anywhere brawl to open the show in earnest.
Then to steady things, we’ll do the Rayne/Cali match here. Rayne isn’t a great athlete and despite how hard IMPACT tries to sell her as a ‘legend’, she’s not. Not really. It’s like baseball writers trying to sell Tori Hunter as a Hall of Famer. Just because he was the best player on some average Twins teams don’t meant jack.
Then we’re going to do the Ace Austin bout. Considering Austin’s speed, and Jeremiah Plunkett’s size, we can probably get something uniquely fun out of this bout. The match would be done to highlight Austin’s unique style, and since Plunkett is a relatively unknown, a loss won’t affect him much.
As much as having Wentz or Trey free would be helpful, the handicap match was just too damn good not to do on this re-booking. We’ll keep it intact but put it fourth on the card. The bout stays the exact same way; funny as hell.
Fifth will be Eddie Edwards returning to his submission roots as he takes on Caleb Konley in a submission only match. You can also do a Catch-As-Catch-Can match; where you can’t leave the ring at all. Either way you should put it here to give a unique vibe to every match. This one would feature superior grappling and submission work, something I believe Caleb to be talented enough in to keep with Edwards.
You go from eight to seven matches, but the last three could all go twenty minutes apiece. That’s an hour alone, and the main should really go thirty. That’s an hour-ten. That means you have an hour ten and some change to play around with the undercard. Moose/The Rascalz can get another 15-20, same with Bram and Crazzy Steve. That’s nearly two hours right there with entrances.
You can easily get two hours and change out of this revised card. Here’s how the card lays out.
Falls Count Anywhere
Bram vs. Crazzy Steve
Cali Young vs. Madison Rayne
Ace Austin vs. Jeremiah Plunkett
Moose vs. The Rascalz (Wentz/Trey)
Eddie Edwards vs. Caleb Konley
X-Division Championship Match
Johnny Impact vs. Rich Swann
Ohio Versus Everything vs. The War Kings, Chris Melendez and Brian Cage.
Show breaks down rather easily. Crazzy Steve goes over in the opener, hopefully after a table spot but on these types of shows you never know what you have to use. I think Eddie used one, but who remembers. I do remember chairs with Bram and Eddie, so maybe do something similar to that. Either way Steve goes over. I’d have Cali Young beat Rayne, as this is the rubber match and Rayne isn’t the star Josh Mathews (her husband) thinks she is.
Ace Austin goes over Plunkett after something really daring. Moose and the Rascals go as it did before, with Moose going over. Edwards would make Konley tap in some kind of Boston Crab. Swann would retain his X-Division Championship after Johnny Impact walks out of the match. Then in the main event, Chris Melendez and Crimson hit Sami Callihan with a double team move, and Melendez pins Callihan to send the fans home happy.
And there you have it. That’s how I’d book this card.