Am I wrong in thinking that the Mexico City Impact Wrestling TV tapings (September 13th & 14th) aren’t quite getting the attention that they deserve from the “wrestling media” and fans? I concede that this two-day taping set would have maybe gotten more buzz if Impact would have announced it a bit further ahead of time. That being said, it seems like hardly anyone is talking about how significant it is that Impact is taping these shows in Mexico with AAA talents set to appear. To me, this historic set of Impact events is a really big deal. As far as I can tell, Impact (or TNA back in the day) has not held its own house show or live event in Mexico ever before. Obviously they have never shot Impact episodes down there. I hope that people haven’t got to the point where they are taking for granted the fact that Impact has rebounded so quickly in 2018. Last year, it would have been extremely bold to prognosticate that they would even be capable of holding regular events all over North America like this. I would have never predicted this kind of progress just 12 months ago as it seems now like they are way ahead of schedule on some of this touring and live show stuff, which is fantastic. However, if this current situation of shooting Impact in Canada, Mexico and in cities all over the U.S. is the new norm, then sign me up! I’m just not going to forget how far they’ve actually come to get to this point.
If you take a snap shot of 2017, especially before Don Callis and Scott D’Amore took control, there wasn’t a lot of true optimism going on surrounding the company. The show was stuck at the Impact Zone in Orlando for the most part and it seemed like it would be many more years before that situation would change. Yes, there were the India episodes but that felt like a complete anomaly back then. And yes, Bound For Glory 2017 and the post-BFG tapings were held in Ottawa but, again, that seemed like a one-off type of thing at the time. You should really take a minute to consider that Impact is now touring constantly. It would be a giant step backwards to retreat to Orlando at this point, but I suppose a short, temporary run there sometime next year would be acceptable if absolutely necessary. In the meantime, it’s awesome that Bound For Glory and two subsequent days of tapings will take place in NYC this October followed by three days of tapings in Vegas this November. Impact also just dipped their toe back into the very important U.K. market with their participation in the Wrestling MediaCon held in Manchester. Then there’s the Jericho cruise coming up too! Some exciting times are ahead.
When these September Mexico TV tapings were announced, I found this quote from Ed Nordholm interesting:
“We are excited about this historic trip to Mexico as we continue to expand our live event schedule globally,” said IMPACT Wrestling president Ed Nordholm. “We look forward to working closely with our promotional partners at Lucha Libre AAA and our broadcast partner 52MX to bring an unforgettable experience to our passionate fan base in Mexico heading into the final stretch for Bound for Glory this October.”
I’m very intrigued to see which AAA talents will be included on these shows. There are a lot of really cool possibilities. After all, these will be the go-home episodes of Impact leading into Bound For Glory. Of course, there are already a few Mexican wrestlers on Impact Wrestling’s roster such as Pentagon Jr., Fenix, and until recently El Hijo Del Fantasma. All three men were also just featured on AAA’s Triplemania which was a big time event. Other Impact performers who appeared on that marquee show included the team of Z and E (DJ Z and Andrew Everett), Brian Cage, Rich Swann and Killer Kross. Drago and Aerostar have both worked on Impact this year and they were on that card. Also at Triplemania were Pagano, El Texano Jr., Laredo Kid, and others who have appeared on Impact in the last couple of years. It’s anyone’s guess as to who may appear on Impact at these events but it’s fair to say that there is already plenty of crossover between the two promotions.
Lucha Underground has also been a great partner for Impact. So many wrestlers have appeared for both companies this year. Remember also that AAA has a slice of ownership in LU. The Mexican fans in attendance should be familiar with a lot of the Impact wrestlers as many of them have worked AAA shows over the years. Luchadores like Dr. Wagner Jr., Psycho Clown and L.A. Park are all very popular AAA names that have been thrown out there as possibilities to show up. All of the main AAA stars have real drawing power in Mexico and if the right talents are used at these tapings, it should help attendance tremendously. The timing with a somewhat late announcement might be a tough obstacle to overcome but I would imagine that they will end up having good, solid crowds both nights. It might not be realistic to expect sell-outs but you never know what can happen in a wrestling hotbed like Mexico City.
Konnan is a legend in Mexico and is heavily involved with AAA again. He will surprisingly make his in-ring return in the “Final War” at BFG in a six man tag match. Obviously with his physical limitations and age he’s not going to be the same wrestler that he was in the 90’s but it will still be fun and nostalgic to see him mixing it up for the first time in several years. Now this feud will be escalated south of the border as Ortiz and Santana of LAX should factor heavily into things in Mexico City as will King, Hernandez and Homicide. The LAX Vs OGz storyline is going to the next level in “Breaking Bad” like fashion. I had envisioned this angle getting a lot of attention in Mexico and I still think it will. However, things did play out a bit differently on Impact than I had anticipated. The “mob/cartel bosses” segment shot in Toronto where those older leaders helped to mediate things between King and Konnan was a bit of a curveball. I was assuming that whatever mysterious upper leadership figures would be involved here might be revealed in Mexico with some big names from AAA possibly playing those roles. Some type of plot twist along those lines may still be coming but we’ll see.
It’s no secret that the underlying theme behind this feud is that drugs and other goods are being trafficked by these gangs. This is why some of us have compared the angle to “Breaking Bad” because Mexican drug cartels were a central part of that ultra-popular TV show which still has a current presence with the successful prequel series, “Better Call Saul”. Is it completely insane to think that perhaps Rey Mysterio or El Patron could also get involved here somehow in Mexico? Part of me thinks that Impact wants to create some controversy heading into BFG with at least one more big name being added to the card. Maybe that name is Chris Jericho? I may be wrong, but I would bet money that some popular AAA wrestlers will be included in the plans for BFG in some capacity. Even if their involvement isn’t with the LAX vs OGz feud. If not, it’s a missed opportunity in my opinion. If these AAA talents are going to be involved in the Mexico tapings, it only makes sense to book them in an angle somehow. Regardless, there should be at least some involvement from AAA at Bound For Glory.
The remainder of the year is shaping up to be very edgy and promising for Impact Wrestling as an overall product. They are on the right path to success, I am convinced of that despite the naysayers. I know when I see a quality pro wrestling show and Impact is killing it right now. I’ve said it a million times, no pro wrestling company is perfect. Of course there’s tons of room for growth and Impact Wrestling can and will continue to get better and better. A big part of that progress will involve utilizing all of North America as they are currently doing. There are many possibilities with great Mexican wrestlers that Impact can tap into. Now is their time to really shine as these guys return to their home country. Couple that with all of the high-quality wrestlers that are already being pushed right now. Aries, Moose and Kross should get major heat in Mexico as will oVe. Tessa, Cage, Johnny Impact, Eli Drake, Matt Sydal and others will come across as huge American stars down there. These Mexico tapings are another important step towards Impact regaining the respect of the pro wrestling industry and more fans giving the product a chance again.