Wrestling Review: Impact Wrestling Rebellion (2021)

Two competing champions, the heads of two competing wrestling promotions, will collide at Impact Wrestling Rebellion. The Impact Wrestling Champion, Rich Swann, will have the toughest task of the night as he faces the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Champion, “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega, in an historic match where both titles are the line, and the winner will leave as the head honcho of both Impact Wrestling and AEW. The Impact Knockouts Champion will also be defended, as “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo faces Tenille Dashwood, and the Impact Tag Team Championships will be on the line as current champions, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) face the best friends of Kenny Omega, The Good Brothers (DOC Gallows & Karl Anderson) for the gold.

The X-Division Champion, Ace Austin, must contend with two of his toughest challengers, as he faces not only the “Fil-Am Flash” TJP but also “The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander in a triple threat, and the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships are on the line as the defending champions Fire N Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) face the makeshift but impressive duo of Jordynne Grace and Rachael Ellering. Former best friends also collide, when Brian Myers and Matt Cardona wrestle one on one, and Sami Callihan looks to see if Trey Miguel has the passion to be an Impact star, when the two face off in a Last Man Standing Match. Finally, eight of Impacts top stars will battle it out in four versus four tag team action as the team of Violent By Design (Eric Young, Rhyno, Deaner & Joe Doering) face off with the team of James Storm, Chris Sabin, Eddie Edwards & Willie Mack. All of the wrestling action will be called by Matt Striker and D-Lo Brown, with special guest Mauro Renallo joining the booth for the historic Title Versus Title match event.

+ Kenny Omega (AEW World Champion) (w/ Don Callis) vs Rich Swann (Impact World Champion) (Title for Title Match): generally speaking, this was very, very good. There was one or two smaller errors, but I can safely put that down to Omega wanting to work at a pace most of his opponents just can’t keep up with, and this being arguably the biggest match of Rich Swann’s career to date. I don’t think anybody ever thought Swann stood much of a chance, but this match may still surprise you in some ways, even if the commentary wasn’t giving Swann much of a chance either. This was still an excellent match which lived up to all of the hype, and it makes for some really good stories going forward
+ Deonna Purrazzo (c) (with Kimber Lee and Susan) vs Tenille Dashwood (w/ Kaleb with a K) (Knockouts Championship): y’all know I’m a sucker for anything Tenille Dashwood related, but dammit I love The Virtuosa as well. Kimber Lee and Susan both played into the match in believable ways, but it never felt as overdone like many of the Bullet Club/WWE style interference. Dashwood looked fantastic in many moments, but Purrazzo is the top champion in the Knockouts division for a good reason. If anything, this was just too short and could have taken at least a few minutes from that Last Man Standing
+ Fire N Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) (c) Jordynne Grace & Rachael Ellering (Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships): I really like Jordynne Grace, and truly believe she should be in a bigger position than she is (albeit, that is as a part of a top tag team with Rachael Ellering, of all people). I don’t much care for Ellering one way or the other, and Hogan is better than Steelz as a performer, but neither of them will be topping any Best Of lists, either. Still, this was better than most other western women’s wrestling tag matches
+ Violent By Design (Eric Young, Rhyno, Deaner & Joe Doering) vs James Storm, Chris Sabin, Eddie Edwards & Willie Mack: due to injury, Eric Young had a replacement and frankly I was okay with it. The replacement looked really good in their role, and it has made me want to see more of them. The rest of the match itself was fine if nothing special at all, despite my enjoyment of Rhyno, Sabin, and Willie Mack in particular (between you and me, I’d have put Willie Mack in that main event against Omega)
+ Ace Austin (c) (w/ Madman Fulton) vs Josh Alexander vs TJP (X-Division Championship): this was fantastic, I’ve been a big fan of Josh Alexander for a long time, and both Austin and TJP are very good professional wrestlers. Impact’s X-Division is a consistent bright spot on the wrestling world, and this opening match on arguably one of their biggest PPV events in a long time was a great way to kick things off

Sami Callihan vs Trey Miguel (Last Man Standing Match): this did nothing for me. I’ve made my love of Sami Callihan known, and Trey Miguel is arguably the best of the former Rascalz trio. But Last Man Standing matches are a challenge for anybody, especially in the era of no live crowds. This should have been a simple No Disqualifications/No Holds Barred match, and we could have avoided all of the seemingly never ending 9-counts which invariably sucked all momentum out of the match
FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs The Good Brothers (DOC Gallows & Karl Anderson) (Impact Tag Team Championships): I feel almost bad saying it, but this was a dud. Juice works so well in front of a live crowd, and after his New Japan Cup run, I imagine Finlay would more now than ever. The Good Brothers are also a great team, and their chemistry is off the charts for good reason. Still, I never once felt invested in this match, I didn’t see any standout performance from any of the four, and I never once questioned the outcome which eventually came
Brian Myers vs Matt Cardona: Matt Strike on commentary could not get these two’s names right, and consistently called them Curt Hawkins or Zack Ryder, respectively. I’m not really sure what the story was meant to be here, but it came across as awkward and poorly done
– throughout the early portion of the show there was some really horrible sound mixing, as the commentary was at times either far too loud or entirely drowned out by the in-ring sounds. I don’t know how many fans were in the audience, and/or people were at ringside, but they were also either far too loud or dead silent for a lot of the matches

Should you watch this event: I won’t say that there was anything on this show to avoid like the plague, but only the matches listed as positives above will be remembered any time into the near future. From a meta standpoint, this was the first major show with proper Impact, AEW and NJPW talent on it, and it was overall a success. That said, I hope the future holds even bigger and better moments overall.

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