With Scott D'Amore and Don Callis now taking over the reigns at Impact Wrestling, I thought it might be the ideal time to take a look at the current roster and give my opinions on talents I'd like to see Impact Wrestling get behind in 2018. With TNA legend James Storm recently departing, and rumours circling around that EC3 is considering heading back to the WWE; Impact must take this opportunity to create a company that's not only an alternative to the WWE, but gives it's audience the sort of exciting television show that we were once accustomed to.
2017 felt like a strange year for Rosemary... with the sad demise of much loved Decay, Rosemary unfairly got lost in the mix a little. Decay was undoubtedly one of Impact's most successful and imaginative factions in a long time. It reinvigorated Abyss. Got Crazzy Steve rightfully over after his shambolic time in The Menagerie.... but more than anything it gave a platform for the incredible Courtney Rush to showcase her talents as Rosemary.
It's time for Impact to push Rosemary to the moon in solo competition, as their most over (and more to the point... marketable) female star. With Impact Wrestling starting to bulk up the Knockouts Division with exciting new talent (Taya Valkyrie, Hania The Huntress) and obvious feuds in waiting with her beautiful bunny friend Allie... and Impact Knockout's Champion Laurel Van Ness, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of The Demon Assassin.
It's worth noting at this point, that for all those readers clamouring for Rosemary to go to WWE and play Sister Abigail; I understand why you might feel Courtney Rush deserves a bigger stage. I understand why you feel she's the best person to play that character. But have you ever considered she might not want to go there! Perhaps like Abyss, she wants to show loyalty to the company she's working for? Courtney Rush trained at Scott D'Amore's wrestling school in Ontario so I imagine she's pretty happy with Impact's relocation to Canada...
I've been a big fan of Moose ever since he left ROH and debuted in Impact Wrestling during 2016's Destination X. He quickly managed to get himself over in the Impact Zone with his pumped up entrance and impressive in-ring physicality.... and he just keeps getting better and better. A two time Grand Champion, there's no reason why Moose should not be built up now as a legit contender to the Global Title going forward. The trick with Moose is how to go beyond what we see in the ring... I want to know more about Moose the man, give me some emotional investment with some beautiful video packages... the likes of which the Impact production team are highly capable of doing. Perhaps get Moose involved in a highly personal feud that takes him from being a solid face to one of the most over men in the company. When you look at the Impact Roster, Moose has everything required.. looks, personality and drive to be a true breakout star. In a wrestling world where the answer to every ill seems to be "turn them heel" - here in Impact we have a wrestler that is naturally over as a babyface... let's stick a rocket to his back!
2017 might not have been a stellar year for Impact Wrestling; the GFW/Jeff Jarrett shenanigans were an unwelcome distraction but Anthem did get something right... by putting more focus back on the X-Division. One of the standout new wrestlers to make his debut last year was Dezmond Xavier, who lit up the X-Division with his all-action performances, showing the kind of promise AJ Styles did back when he first started his career in TNA. Xavier may not be the finished article; in particular I'd like to see him focus on improving his promo work... but he's new to television, and the art of character building and presentation takes time to learn. AJ Styles took years honing his craft to become the wrestler he is today. I'm genuinely excited at the prospect of following Xavier's journey. With Impact forming more and more alliances with other wrestling companies through the Global Wrestling Network App... let's see Xavier face the best talent available out there, both in the U.S and internationally... and have him beat them. Impact Wrestling have a raw talent in their hands... let's see if they can look after him.
Sami Callihan joined Impact Wrestling at Bound For Glory, making his debut interfering during oVe's devastating street fight match with LAX. Cutting an impassioned and intense promo after, the likes of which has been sadly missing from Impact during Anthem's reign so far - Callihan immediately became my new favourite wrestler. I know Sami was in NXT as Solomon Crowe, and from interviews I've seen since, he seemed frustrated by his time in WWE. But just like EC3, there's no reason why he can't take his frustration and use it to fuel the fire for him in Impact. Sami seems to have an old school mentality, a belief in his character and creativity... I could well imagine Sami kicking ass in ECW back in the day... there's a realness to him... and he's exactly the kind of talent I'd like to see with Championship gold around his waist this year. There's every reason for Impact to give him plenty of television time, if nothing else we'll get some much-needed edgier content back on screen. Let's be honest with WWE in a creative rut right now... Impact must take a few risks if it's to regain the loyal following it once had. At 30 years old, Callihan is just about to enter the prime of his career, with a ton of wrestling experience already in the tank, and a devastatingly impressive move-set... he's exactly the kind of wrestler Impact should be building the show around.
Who do you think Impact should be pushing in 2018?