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EditorialImpact Profiles: Faces In The Crowd

Impact Profiles: Faces In The Crowd

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Hey everyone! I know it’s been a hot minute since our last Impact Profiles, and I apologize. Got some of that Turkey Day pumpkin pie in me, two family birthdays and, well… you know.

Either way I’m back, and it’s time for our final installment (for now) in Impact Profiles: The Crowd. First, shameless plug time: Check out parts 1, 2, 3 and 4! Now, on with the show!

Every promotion needs them. They’re the guys & girls who fill out your card. Some of them might be midcarders. Some of them might be jobbers. Quite a few of them leave you wondering ‘WTF is this guy doing?’ And some of them might fill very specific roles that are necessary for every promotion to be a success.

Now, as opposed to our previous Impact Profiles, where I devoted a section to each performer, this installment will be lumped in by performer type, I guess you could say. First up, The Titled Vets.

The Titled Vets

Every promotion needs them. These are wrestlers who have a history with the fans, and who have a few titles to their name. Now, for whatever reason (age, injuries, or just being outshined by newer talents) they’re not going to be headlining cards for you often. But they’re strong vets, and they lend weight to any match they’re in.

Eddie Edwards

Eddie, Eddie… just how do we do an Impact Profile on you? You’re a former Top 10 in the PWI 100. You came into Impact in 2014 as part of The Wolves with Davey Richards, and immediately had a huge presence. The Wolves were a huge tag team, and The Wolves won 5 Tag Team championships. And during Davey’s injuries, you had a good run with both the X Division and the TNA World Championship, making you only the eighth Impact Triple Crown Champion.

The old Eddie Edwards

But all that sort of went off the rails on February 9th, 2017, where Davey turned on Eddie in one of the weirdest family feud angles of the year. Whether it was Davey and Angelina Love doing some sort of creepy, Natural Born Killers-esque deal to the fact that we were somehow supposed to believe Alisha Edwards was anything but a liability in the feud, the whole thing just didn’t click.

Just as Eddie was recovering from that, Eddie caught some bad luck via a baseball bat in the eye from Sami Callihan. For a review on that, check Part 1 of Impact Profiles, where I have video of the botch.

Since coming back though, Eddie’s… well, dropped off a notch. Eddie’s no longer the high flying scientific Boston Strong guy. He’s a lunatic who talks to his kendo stick. He’s lost his wife, gained her back, alienated her again, got her back (I think), and during it all gone through too many pairs of skinny jeans.

Now Eddie’s sort of there. He’ll come out, raise some hell, swing a kendo stick, do some scientific brawling, but loses more feuds than he wins. I’m not sure if it’s injuries, or the result of 17 years in the ring, but since Eddie & Davey broke up, he’s lost a step. Where’s the former ROH World Champ, the former TNA World Champ?

I don’t know how he doesn’t get splinters doing that

I don’t know. But Eddie’s a ring vet who knows how to bring out the best in his opponents. He guided Killer Kross to his best matches in Impact, and brought Ace Austin from just another face to the X-Division championship and the depths of scummery.

Still, I keep hoping to see the old Eddie once in a while.

Petey Williams

Petey’s a TNA Original. Pretty much the last one, too. If you’re a longtime viewer of TNA (back to the Spike Days), you saw Petey as part of Team Canada, standing on his opponent’s junk while singing ‘Oh Canada.’ And of course, you saw the flipping piledriver known as The Canadian Destroyer. Now, maybe Petey did create the move as he claims. Maybe he didn’t. But what I do know is he made it famous, and now everyone from Pentagon Jr. to Adam Cole uses a variation.

Oh Canada!

Petey’s gone through a few gimmick changes, from being a pure high flyer to his ‘Lil Petey Pump’ partnership with Scott Steiner. Just due to that, he’ll live forever in wrestling Internet history by being in the background of the greatest math-based promo of all time.

Currently though, Petey’s an amalgamation. He’s still doing the hard rock ‘Oh Canada’ theme song, he’ll still doing some high flying. But he’s still got the Petey Pump tights, although he’s lost the chainmail headgear (Thank God). And he’s mostly a babyface when he’s needed.

But Petey’s not a top contender anymore. This makes sense, in that he’s also a backstage producer for Impact. He doesn’t need to be on the top of the card any longer. His in-ring role nowadays is to be a good match for any opponent. He’ll pick up a win now and then, but don’t expect him to win any more belts.

Ken Shamrock

Ken friggin’ Shamrock. Of all the Impact Profiles, he just might be the most famous. Go ask your average man on the street who Sami Callihan or Tessa Blanchard is, and they might not know unless they’re a wrestling fan. You ask people who Ken Shamrock is, and people remember. Whether it’s his Attitude Era fame or his UFC fame, a lot of people know who ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ is.

But in Impact, Ken’s not done so much. Part of it is that he just signed. He’s had two matches, a loss against Moose, and a win against Joey Ryan. There seems to be a program developing between him and Johnny Swinger (mentioned later), but right now Shammy’s… well, Shammy.

On the plus side, Shamrock’s in shape. Shit, I can only pray I look half as good as he does when I’m 55 years old. And he still gets the fans into his matches, even if it’s mostly a nostalgia pop.

Say your prayers, take your vitamins… or something like that.

On the negative side… Shamrock’s 55 years old. A pioneer of the crossover MMA/pro wrestling style in North America, he’s spent most of the past fifteen years almost exclusively in MMA. That hasn’t been good to his body, and during his matches with Moose and Joey Ryan, you could tell both men were carrying Shamrock at times. He’s just not as strong, explosive, or sharp as he used to be. Guess having Tito Ortiz punch you in the head all those times takes it out of you.

Still, Shammy seems to need Impact to help cross-promote his new Valor Bare Knuckle fighting promotion. So who knows? Maybe we’ll get a few more matches out of him. Or, knowing Shamrock, he’s just as likely to wander off your screen and you won’t see him again. I won’t be surprised either way.

The ECW Crew

A subset of the above, The ECW Crew are all aged vets who appear on Impact, mainly during the New York and Las Vegas tapings. They’re all in the twilight of their careers in-ring wise, but since they put young talents over or mess with each other, it doesn’t really hurt things.

You’ve got a job to do… time to do it.

Tommy Dreamer

Tommy Dreamer is truly a man who loves pro wrestling. Not only is he a producer and creative writer for Impact, he also owns his own promotion, House of Hardcore. And you can find him popping up all over the indy scene to support random promotions. Tommy’s been in pro wrestling since 1989, and of course made his name as the ‘heart and soul’ of ECW.

Tommy’s a true professional in every sense of the word. Willing to make anyone shine, he’s helped Tessa Blanchard, Moose, Eddie Edwards, Killer Kross, and others try and get over. In his other indy work, he’s helped Brian Pillman Jr. and more.

So Tommy knows his role. A true pro, when he finally hangs up those Dusty Rhodes inspired pants of his, it will be the true end of an era. But I suspect that as long as Tommy draws breath, he’ll be trying to help pro wrestlers and pro wrestling.

Rhyno

Another man who’s in the twilight of his career, Rhyno came to Impact after a roughly 4 year long mostly comedic run in WWE. Seriously, his most famous spot was eating chips in the background of vignettes. For a man who used to be famous for his intensity and ripping people in half with his finisher, it was quite a change.

Now Rhyno’s back to his old self mostly. He’s still helping younger talents when not working with the other ECW guys, but he’s intense again. His ever expanding velvet singlet is a miracle of modern tailoring, but Rhyno’s still able to contribute as his ring days seem to be fading.

Rob Van Dam

The oldest of the ‘active’ ECW vets, Rob’s calendar years are vastly different than his physical years. Maybe it’s his in ring style, or his lifelong use of stretching. Maybe it’s his… ah… supplementation routine. Either way, Rob moves a lot better than most guys on the cusp of their 49th birthday.

Still, Rob’s slowing down, and it’s showing. After a recent heel turn, his character’s very different. He does a lot more talking now, blaming the younger generation for ‘stealing his moves,’ and claiming that without RVD, there’d be no modern style of wrestling.

That’s up for debate. What isn’t is that Rob seems to be doing what pro wrestlers do best, turning their trainwreck personal lives into on screen fodder. After finalizing a divorce in 2018, Rob’s now in his so-called ‘post-divorce tour’ with both his ‘wife’ Katie Forbes and his/her ‘girlfriend’ Jennifer Barlow. I’m not one to judge morality. But Rob just comes off as, well, that aging guy who’s desperate to relive the glory days of his youth and is willing to sell his self respect to do so. Pretty good heel persona, to be honest.

I don’t know if it’s all an act, all real, or the line’s blurred somewhere in between. I’ll leave that to you to decide.

Sabu

Sabu’s the least active of the ECW Vets in Impact, so I’ve saved his Impact Profile for last. Homicidal, Genocidal, and Geriatric, Sabu’s 54 year old body is a road map on what not to do to yourself. Scars, broken bones, an elbow that won’t even fully extend any longer… Sabu pretty much makes Mick Foley look normal.

I won’t do a career retrospective on Sabu. I don’t have the words or the extensive knowledge of his career to do it justice. All I can do is an Impact Profile on him, and say that his appearances are few, far between, and constrained to working with the other ECW Vets. Which, considering his limited in-ring abilities now and his penchant for getting into social media trouble, is honestly probably the best for Impact.

The Comedy Acts

From the days of pro wrestling being a carnival side show act, pro wrestling’s had clowns. And despite decades of attempts to make it look serious and ‘real,’ comedy acts have a place in pro wrestling. Usually jobbers or just random dudes, the following duo will lose more than win, but in at least one case, the fans love them anyway.

Johnny Swinger

I admit that Johnny just might belong in another category. You see, he’s actually an ECW Vet, having wrestled there in the last year of ECW’s existence. He even formed a tag team with Simon Diamond, and during his first run with TNA all the way back in 2003 they won the tag team belts.

But I put Johnny here because, well, he just doesn’t fit with the other ECW guys. First off, he’s a bit younger than the others at ‘only’ 44. Also, he isn’t a legend of the business like the others.

Johnny’s current schtick is basically someone caught in a time warp. Whether that time warp’s twenty years ago, thirty, or forty is sort of unclear. He drops a lot of ‘iz’ carny words in his speech like someone backstage in the seventies, wears enough bandannas around his lower legs to make me think he’s ribbing the Rock N’ Roll Express, and… well, shit in Ken Shamrock’s bag. Thanks, Randy Orton.

No pics of Ken Shamrock’s bag were available.

Oh, and his in-ring style is a 30 year old throwback as well. Double axe handles, old school heel tactics, the ‘Swinger Neckbreaker’ are all meant to have you laughing at him. In limited doses, perhaps it’ll be effective long term. Wrestling does seem to be having a bit of a nostalgia kick right now, and someone poking fun at that is a good thing. Is Johnny Swinger the guy to do it? I don’t know quite yet.

Joey Ryan

Joey Ryan’s perhaps the most polarizing act in pro wrestling. If you can appreciate what the twenty year pro’s doing, you get a laugh out of any guy who’s sponsored by YouPorn and who uses his penis as a finishing maneuver (not that way, for those of you who don’t know him). His Magnum, PI inspired look, sleazy act, baby oil and more are funny. And you gotta respect a man who’s willing to drop a wet lollipop down his trunks only to fish it out again to stick in his mouth (or his opponent’s mouth) during a match.

Not the time to do this, Joey

If you’re a purist, or Jim Cornette, you hate him. He makes a mockery of everything pro wrestling stands for. Again, he uses his penis as his persona. He’s the King of Dong Style.

But from a certain point of view, Joey’s always been a pro. He’ll wrestle anyone, or anything. He’s probably capable of going out there with Ric Flair’s proverbial broomstick and putting on an entertaining match. He’d even work in some sort of gag comparing his dick to the broomstick.

Joey knows his role. He can wrestle, and has worked with lots of big names in his career. He can do good matches, and if Impact needs him to, he can be a title contender. But he’s best as what he is, a comedic guy who can always be called upon to get someone over. Best of all, he can get both men and women over as fans love when a female wrestler stands up to his sleazy machismo.

Just a word of advice. Don’t grab his junk. You’ll end up going for a ride.

The Superheavyweight

Wrestling’s always been about larger than life, hasn’t it? Larger than life personalities, larger than life abilities. In this case, we’ve got a pair of larger than life men. Now, twenty or thirty years ago men this size were constrained to Big Daddy-esque or Earthquake matches. No sell people’s offense, ram your gut or butt into them a few times, and call it a day.

No longer. The evolution of wrestling means that this guy can move pretty damn well. He might not be doing 450s off the top rope, but he’s a good worker. (BTW, I almost included another name here, but I held off as you’ll see why later)

Fallah Bahh

Bahh? Bahh! No, no, no!

Okay, there’s more to Fallah Bahh’s Impact Profile than that. Give me a little bit of credit. Fallah Bahh (real name Francis Flores) spent twelve years on the New Jersey indy scene before getting signed by Impact back in 2017. For the first year of his run, he was mostly a tag team specialist, working with KM. It wasn’t until Scarlett Bordeaux sort of ‘motivated’ Fallah that he’s broken out on his own.

Motivation!

At first, I thought of listing Fallah as a comedy act. I mean, the man only started using real English within the past month. And it’s hard to understand a Fillipino guy who wears Japanese sumo-inspired trunks while having a Chinese panda on the side. During a recent backstage beatdown by the Desi Hit Squad, they rammed him rear end first into the wall a bunch of times. How’s that supposed to hurt a guy with an ass like that?

But Fallah’s more than a comedy act. For one, Francis has lightened up. A lot. Debuting at roughly 450 pounds (bigger than some tag teams), Fallah’s down at least 75 pounds in the past year. It shows, too. His endurance, his agility, and his overall ability to perform in the ring have all skyrocketed.

As such, Impact seems to be giving him more to work with as well. I don’t know if he’ll ever get a title over his shoulder. But fans love Fallah. He just needs the right run to get over the top.

The Rest

It’s hard to write about everyone in Impact. Not because I don’t watch, but because Impact’s still a ‘super-indy’ promotion. A guy shows up for one set of tapings, and then poof, gone. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s confusing. Notable names like TJP and Acey Romero have done stuff in Impact, but for whatever reason drop off the screen as fast as they show up. It’s why I didn’t do a full Impact Profile on Acey. How do evaluate a guy who’s had one match, even if he does have the ‘Holy Shit’ moment of the year?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nBw2QHywp4]

This booking style does give Impact some unexpected anticipation, but at the same time it’s hard to do an Impact Profile on folks who’re there for little more than a cup of coffee.

 

So there you have it! At this point, if you’ve read our other Impact Profiles articles, you’ve got yourself a good handle on the players and names in Impact. With the Hard To Kill PPV coming up on January 12th, expect a lot of twists and unique turns. Look for a preview after the first of the year. Take care, folks!

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