Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

IMPACT Wrestling Report: Rebellion Review

Last night was Rebellion! We got the historic main event featuring AEW World Champion Kenny Omega in a Title vs. Title Match against IMPACT World Champion Rich Swann, as well as a slew of additional bouts that resulted in a fast-paced and, ultimately, satisfying show that I rank among some of the greatest wrestling PPVs I’ve ever seen.

May 3, 2019 is the day when I officially became a fan of IMPACT Wrestling again. I attended a TV taping at the 2300 Arena and fell in love with the company again, after not watching since around 2012. Following this, I bought a ticket to see the House of Hardcore and IMPACT Plus special, A Night You Can’t Mist, which took place on June 8. These two shows sealed the deal for me with IMPACT Wrestling: I was fully on board. Fast forward a couple years, and I’m writing two books about the history of the company. You could say that when I fell for IMPACT, I fell hard.

One of the events that will be a focal point of my second book is last night’s Rebellion, as it was the company’s biggest PPV in recent memory. Did it deliver? Yes! I loved almost every match. Let’s dive in and take a look!

Ever since David Sahadi joined TNA/IMPACT Wrestling back in 2004 and produced the opening package for the company’s first ever monthly PPV, Victory Road, the promotion has been known for epic production value when it comes to storytelling. Rebellion was no different, with an impactful opening narrated by wrestler Jamin Olivencia. It set the tone for what was to come and let the world know that IMPACT means business.

X-Division Champion Ace Austin w/ Madman Fulton vs. TJP vs Josh Alexander – X-Division Championship

The opening bout was for the X-Division Championship, and it was a barn burner. These three men — Ace Austin, TJP, and Josh Alexander — put on a clinic that simultaneously paid tribute to the rich history of this division while also making it clear that they are the future of it. In the end, Josh Alexander walked away with the gold and deservedly so. This guys came to bring it, and brought it they did. A fantastic way to get the night started.

Violent By Design (Joe Doering, Deaner & Rhino & W Morrissey) w/ Eric Young vs. Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack, James Storm & Chris Sabin

W. Morrissey — best known as Big Cass in WWE — made his debut last night at Rebellion, replacing Eric Young in the Violent By Design match against Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack, James Storm, and Chris Sabin. All of the dirt sheets predicted this debut and his recent appearance on an IMPACT-related show made this debut expected. Nevertheless, it was nice to see him back in action and he physically looks great. His facial expressions made me think of Edge, which is a good thing. I’m interested to see where he goes from here. If I have one recommendation, it’s that they drop the W from his name and simply call him Morrissey. That has a much better ring to it.

Brian Myers vs. Matt Cardona

In the next match best friends collided, as Matt Cardona and Brian Myers did battle in the squared circle. I find both of these guys entertaining, and they went above and beyond for this match. The highlight for me was seeing Matt level Brian with Chelsea Green’s finisher, to which Matt Striker exclaimed, “The Hot Mess!” It was a cool moment that Chelsea even marked out for on Twitter.

Knockouts Tag Team Champions Fire ‘N Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Jordynne Grace & Rachael Ellering w/ Jazz – Knockouts Tag Team Championship

I interviewed Jordynne Grace for my books about the history of IMPACT Wrestling one day before the debut of her mystery tag team partner, Rachel Ellering, on IMPACT Wrestling this past Thursday. When I spoke with Jordynne, she didn’t spill the beans and I didn’t expect the news to break until the PPV, but I guess they wanted to build more hype for Rebellion. I got the impression from Jordynne during our discussion that she isn’t going to stay with IMPACT Wrestling when her contract is up in May. However, Jordynne and Rachel walking away with the gold in this excellent tag team match has me wondering if I’m wrong. I sure hope so because Jordynne is top-tier talent that will shine best in IMPACT, not AEW or WWE.

Sami Callihan vs. Trey Miguel – Last Man Standing

Sami Callihan is an absolute master when it comes to psychological warfare in wrestling. He’s the Jake “The Snake” Roberts of the modern era . . . but better. I’m continually impressed by what he brings to the table when it comes to promos and in-ring ability. He’s not afraid to put it all on the line, and Sami always gives 110%. Trey Miguel is also exceptional. Since breaking away from The Rascalz, he has shown his true potential. I couldn’t be happier for him. This Last Man Standing Match was a great moment for both men. However, as I noted in a tweet, those tables they were using looked to be harder than cement. They should definitely avoid buying that brand in the future, as I felt the wrestlers pain when they attempted to break through them and struggled to do so. In the end, both Sami and Trey came out looking incredible. Two of the absolute best in IMPACT Wrestling!

World Tag Team Champions FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs. The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) – World Tag Team Championship

As I alluded to during my recent appearance on the Talking Nonsense About IMPACT Wrestling Podcast, The Good Brothers are boring. Last year, they came in as the next big thing, yet they’ve failed to deliver anything that’s truly compelling. Seeing them every week on TV with Don Callis has gotten old fast, and I won’t be heartbroken if they leave the company when their contract is up, as they’ve failed to evolve in the slightest since their arrival. With this in mind, I was thrilled to see the much more talented FinJuice retain the IMPACT World Tag Team Championship. These guys are a hell of a lot more entertaining than The Good Brothers and deserve the recognition.

Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo w/ Kimber Lee & Susan vs. Tenille Dashwood w/ Kaleb With a K – Knockouts Championship

Up until this point, Tenille Dashwood has been portrayed as a comedy character. Thankfully, through her current feud with Deonna Purrazzo, she’s had the opportunity to spread her wings and flex her technical wrestling muscle. Both ladies impressed me last night with an array of moves that were believable and well executed. By the end, Taylor Wilde, the underrated former Knockouts Champion, made her return to IMPACT Wrestling, dazzling viewers with her athleticism.

We were then treated to a teaser for Slammiversary that looks incredible. According to this video, it appears as though Samoa Joe, Chelsea Green, Mickie James, The Great Muta, and others, are going to return at this summer PPV. Will all of this come to fruition at what has become one of IMPACT’s hottest shows of the year? I sure hope so! The only way to find out is to tune in, and tune in I shall.

IMPACT World Champion Rich Swann w/ Eddie Edwards & Willie Mack vs. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega w/ Don Callis & The Good Brothers – Title vs. Title

The main event the world was waiting for was a solid match overall, and the ending, with Kenny delivering countless knees to the face of Rich Swann, was brutal. Hearing Mauro Ranallo as part of the commentary team was a real treat, but I’m happy to say that Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown brought that big fight feel all on their own throughout the night. Other than Rich Swann botching a couple moves, this was an enjoyable bout. However, it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the main event from Hard To Kill, and it’s the one finish I disagreed with at Rebellion. I get the idea that this is the beginning or middle of this storyline, but IMPACT has been made to look weak the entire time the two companies have collaborated. From the lousy TV ads starring Tony Khan that no one likes (including people who work for AEW) to the constant degradation of Rich Swann and anything associated with IMPACT. Add to that the fact that AEW has done absolutely nothing to promote IMPACT or this main event on its programming, and you can understand why many IMPACT fans are bitter about this collaboration and eager for it to either evolve or dissipate. In the end, Kenny won the IMPACT World Championship, which, to me, completely sucked the air and energy out of the proverbial room that was Rebellion. I know many people try to justify this ending, but Kenny Omega and AEW didn’t bring more buys to Hard To Kill than last year’s Slammiversary, and TV ratings haven’t been great either. From what I understand, last night’s PPV sold well. But it’s more important that IMPACT comes out of this storyline looking strong. After all, they’ve spent the past few years trying to rebuild their reputation as a company that was weak and dying. The last thing they need is to pay AEW for the privilege of leaving them in worse condition than when they found them. I certainly hope this ends well . . . for my sake, their sake, and the fan’s sake.

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