Wrestling Review: Impact Wrestling Rebellion (Night 1) (2020)

For the first time ever, Rebellion is too big for just one night, as it will air across successive weeks in lieu of a standard pay per view. Night one will see the heated blood feud between the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Ken Shamrock and this new, obsessive version of Sami Callihan come to a head, as the two face off in a match officially unsanctioned by Impact Wrestling management. The X Division Championship will also be decided, as Ace Austin defends against Willie Mack, and Keira Hogan finally gets a chance to show the world why Kylie Ray is no great addition to the Knockouts Division. A triple threat tag team bout with Tag Team Title implications will also take place, as will a huge 6-man tag team match between oVe’s Jake Crist, Dave Crist and Madman Fulton, against ECW originals Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno and a mystery partner of their choosing.

+ Sami Callihan vs Ken Shamrock (Unsanctioned Match): I really enjoyed this. It’s no secret I believe Callihan can do no wrong in the world of wrestling, but this meshed the best bits of all its various parts perfectly: it was a brawl, a legend’s comeback match and the growing-in-popularity ‘cinematic match’ all in one, and it excelled in each because unlike that horrible Gargano/Ciampa match from NXT a few weeks ago, this didn’t outstay its welcome. The ending was a little bit funny, and perhaps a bit anticlimactic, but it was something different and I enjoyed this overall
+ Ace Austin (c) vs Willie Mack (Impact X Division Championship): this was great, and the best match on the show. I always forget, and think that the X Division is meant to be for smaller guys, akin to WWE’s Cruiserweights, or NJPW’s Junior Heavyweights, but with Willie Mack in the title scene will have to get that out of my head. Austin is a really good bad-guy, to the point where he manages to make me hate him through the screen. Mack is a long time favourite, from PWG to Lucha Underground, and I always admire his work; for a guy his size, he does things with such fluidity it it is hard not to get excited to see him wrestle
+ The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs XXXL (Acey Romero & Larry D) vs TJP & Fallah Bahh: I really like the Rascalz as a unit, including Trey, who will be in action on Night 2. Acey Romero is a specimen like no other, and I can’t stand TJP but he’a great wrestler, and Bahh is a lot of fun for his skill level and experience. The Rascalz were the clear standouts here, even if I do love me some XXXL big bois, and this was a really good match, second only to the X Division Championship

Keira Hogan vs Kylie Ray: I remember Hogan coming into Impact wrestling, and at that time gosh she was not good. Thankfully, she is at least now somewhat passable, and at least had the fact she is the bad guy to fall back on in these matches. I know Kylie Ray from a lot of different places and she is certainly better than many other currently active women. Funnily enough, this was the only match where the lack of crowd was mentioned by an in-ring talent. This was not great, and I am listing it as a negative for a was-to-be PPV match, but it’s not the worst thing you’ll ever see
Ohio Versus Everything (Jake Crist, Dave Crist & Madman Fulton) vs Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno & a mystery partner: this was a fine way to open the show, but I have to say that mystery partner was a bit of a let down, and hardly promoted well at all by announcer Josh Matthews upon their entrance. The oVe boys are great, and I lump them with Sami Callihan in a group that only ever put out gold. Rhyno is probably a low-key favourote of mine, and still putting on great showings after such an extended career. Dreamer, however, is somewhat lost without gratuitous weapons and violence, and was probably the weakest link in this match. Still, it was fine, but hardly PPV quality

> Josh Matthew called the action as announcer alongside his real life wife, Madison Rayne. They were kind of cute together, but gosh Rayne is clearly not a commentator by trade

Should you watch this event: At a crisp 90 minutes, this was a lot of fun. The three big matches were all great, and even the two listed as negatives above were hardly bad enough to recommend skipping them. Callihan, The Rascalz, Willie Mack and Ace Austin were all fantastic. Impact is once again putting on great shows, and deserves your attention.

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