Don Callis showing up on AEW Dynamite to help call Kenny Omega’s title match with Jon Moxley was cool. What Callis and Omega then pulled off in swiping the AEW belt off Moxley and showing up with it on IMPACT Wrestling’s show on AXS TV was truly epic. All the big picture implications of All Elite Wrestling partnering with other feds in a symbiotic fashion – not seen since the end of the nationwide territory system – can and will be dissected at length (including here!). But more immediately, AEW’s audience (and wrestling fans in general) have a whole roster of talent that could soon be gracing their screens that they may not know very well. That cross-pollination has only increased after the announcement of Omega’s involvement in the main event of IMPACT’s Hard To Kill PPV coming up on January 16th. The current singles titleholders, Rich Swann and Deonna Purrazzo, are likely familiar to people who’ve been following wrestling in recent years thanks to their respective stints in WWE. However, the rest of the roster is well worth knowing.
I’ve been really impressed with how IMPACT has bounced back to build up their depth of quality superstars and storylines in the last couple years. So, how do I best explain what new fans have to look forward to? By linking some of the most important players to their analogously awesome action movie from the 1980’s, of course! I mean how ELSE would one do it? We all know the beats, the character types, the one-liners that keep those movies on our TVs and so we can understand how a cool wrestler might fit in with them. Without any further ado, on with this very scientific and precise exercise.
Alias: The Ultimate Finesser
Finisher: Bey-mouser (springboard famouser)
Movie Equivalent: Top Gun
Coming off an instant classic with current IMPACT champ Rich Swann at Final Resolution, Bey’s gifts are obvious to anyone with eyeballs as he challenges for X Division championship at Hard to Kill. Much like the ultimate 80’s rebel in Maverick, he more than justifies any outward cockiness he presents. In another similarity, much like Tom Cruise’s role in a bigger (clearly-cocaine-fueled) story it hasn’t always been clear in the moment just why certain things are happening with Bey’s allegiances and major moves. But the parallel remains: when there’s this much high-speed aerial action and charisma radiating everywhere…who cares? The payoff has always been there and you get the feeling, like Maverick and IRL Cruise post-Top Gun, everyone will soon be Bey’s wingmen instead of vice versa.
Alias: The Demon Assassin
Finisher: The Red Wedding
Movie Equivalent: Predator
Now a mainstay in IMPACT’s Women’s (aka “Knockouts”) Division, Rosemary has been involved with storylines in almost every aspect – manager for Decay (Abyss & Crazzy Steve), a participant with them in feuds with the Broken Hardys, and a primary antagonist to other female competitors. Like the titular Predator from the big screen, she often works in the shadows – pulling strings and manipulating – but when she strikes, she can unleash hell like few others. You don’t know when it will hit, but it will be forceful, likely twisted, and all you can do is get to the chopper. Don’t have one ’cause you’re in a wrestling arena? Good luck.
One other cool aspect of Rosemary’s IMPACT career is that, just as the Predator is purely awesome enough to serve as a protagonist in fighting aliens, Rosemary is so compelling on the mic and in the ring that she can credibly get the fans on her side when battling even darker forces (like Father James Mitchell’s minions or Su Yung). No matter what, if you’re in her vicinity, you better keep your head on a swivel.
Alias: Die Hard
Finisher: Boston Knee Party
Movie Equivalent: First Blood
Yeah, a man called “Die Hard” seems to have an obvious and lazy parallel, but turns out I DON’T always roll that way! Who knew? Anyway, Eddie Edwards has endured all forms of craziness during his time in TNA, and later, IMPACT. Like John Rambo, he went through a sickening trauma, in his case having his face (actually IRL) busted by a baseball bat. Fun fact: that bat was swung by none other than Sami Callahan, whom Eddie will face Saturday in a “Barbed Wire Massacre!” After that incident, Edwards came back darker, more hardcore, and made the bastards pay. He lost his mind a bit against Tommy Dreamer but manages to just hang onto the edge most of the time. Eddie doesn’t ask for wars, but he will finish them and deal with the scars after. Those scars take their toll, as our man can be seen talking to his now-signature kendo stick at times, but his flaws just highlight his humanity.
Eddie goes about his business, no unnecessary talk or BS. He’ll stand up for those who need it – even if he’s feuding with them over the IMPACT title – and keep fighting the good fight for the foreseeable future. Just don’t get in his way while he does, or you’ll soon find out that you’re not hunting him, he and trusty “Kenny” are hunting you.
The Good Brothers
Alias: “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson/”Big LG” Doc Gallows
Finisher: The Magic-Killer
Movie Equivalent: Total Recall
Even before their headline-stealing moves to join forces with Kenny Omega for Hard To Kill and jump Jon Moxley on Dynamite, these guys were already stealing shows. IMPACT freed them to be their fast-talkin’, hard-hittin’ selves ever since their in-ring debut in July 2020 and they’ve already captured the Tag Team titles (as they’ve done everywhere else they’ve gone). Like the Mars-bound Arnold classic, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows bring legit action while also keeping things fun along the way. Some of the Bullet Club shoutouts on IMPACT on AXS, and the “Too Sweet Heard ‘Round The World,” proved that their bits get more fun when you’ve heard them before instead of less – just like the rapid fire one-liners that zing throughout Total Recall (“Consider that a divorce!”).
(Author’s Note: If you’re sitting there saying “Total Recall came out in 1990 didn’t it?” Know that 1. It’s still culturally super 80’s and 2. The Good Brothers want you to know you’re a NEERRRRRRD!)
Alias: Thick Mama Pump
Finisher: Grace Driver
Movie Equivalent: Working Girl
Proving “Strong Is Sexy”, Jordynne Grace has become a lynchpin in the Knockouts’ division. She ended Taya Valkyrie’s record-setting reign with that title before gamely fending off challengers. She hung onto the belt until current champion Deonna Purrazzo prevailed against Grace in a classic at this year’s Slammiversary; a match in which she showed out even in defeat. What makes Grace such a natural pairing with Melanie Griffith’s classic ode to girls running the world is what came after. Recently, she has stepped into the X Division which, while not unheard of for a female performer, is still a noteworthy breaking of boundaries. Basically, Jordynne’s got a head for business and a bod for manhandling (no pun intended) anyone, no matter the gender, or who steps in her path. Grace even pinned then-X-Division champion Rohit Raju, though it turned out to be a non-title match. With her skill, muscle, and an industrious attitude worthy of the biggest shoulder pads around, Jordynne Grace will surely be heard from again both in and out of the realm of the Knockouts.
Alias: “All Ego” Ethan Page/”The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander
Finisher: The Northern Assault
Movie Equivalent: Beverly Hills Cop
The most successful team in this iteration of IMPACT, Ethan Page & Josh Alexander have leapt every hurdle in their path at one time or another. They held the Tag Team Championships for a record 383 days, functioning as a fully symbiotic winning machine. Like the pinnacle Eddie Murphy vehicle, Page plays it fast and loose as the situation calls for, while Alexander serves as the Judge Reinhold, backing him up with a straight face at all times even when it’s downright difficult. While The North were conquering as the bad guys rather than bringing them down, the formula still worked. For the same reasons they made 3 BHC movies, you don’t mess with something that successful. The dynamics made them interesting at all times even when the outcomes didn’t change very much.
More recently, they’ve started to show cracks in the wake of them losing the belts. But hey, Axel Foley got locked up from time to time, and Eddie even knew when it was time to move on from him altogether. Whether they switch things up in IMPACT or move on, The North have done more than enough to make sure we follow whatever they do next – just no wrestling 5 versions of themselves in fat suits please!
Alias: World Class Maniac
Finisher: Youngblood (wheelbarrow neckbreaker)
Movie Equivalent: Road House
A mainstay in the original TNA, Eric Young played everything: a valiant babyface, a comedy act afraid of his own
shadow pyro, a villain, you name it. Earlier this year, he strode back into IMPACT knowing exactly who he was: an agent of chaos showing up in town and laying down his laws just like this textbook Patrick Swayze role (RIP). However, overall Young has less in common with John Dalton and more with the flick in which he appears. He’s off-kilter, unpredictable, and liable to go fully off the rails at any freaking second (seriously, watch the second half of Road House again). Will he lay a perfectly organized trap using his smarts and experience, or just full on rip out someone’s internal organ and show it to them? You legitimately don’t know – and that, my friends, makes for compelling and quality television.
Whoever you end up attached to – whether cheering or booing – you now have a better idea of what you’re in for as you dive full-on into the realm of IMPACT Wrestling. They have masterfully reshaped their image and created credible action up and down the card that allows them to evolve from their past while still being comfortable acknowledging and, at the time, homaging it. Take it from someone who quickly became a fan over the course of the last year-plus, and now that I’m plugged in it’s safe to say…
I’ll be back.