Friday, 24 November 2017

Impact Wrestling 697 Review // Team Eddie Edwards vs. Team Chris Adonis // Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot

Bound For Glory 2017 Review // Johnny Impact vs. Eli Drake
Impact Wrestling 695 Review // Alberto El Patron and Johnny Impact Brawl

Impact Wrestling 696 Review // Petey Williams vs. Eli Drake

It was Thanksgiving on 23rd November, so Impact Wrestling treated us to a Turkey based episode. Yeah. Taped at the Aberdeen Pavillion in Ottawa, Ontario, the show featured just one original match, pitting Team Eddie Edwards against Team Chris Adonis. Throughout the show names were drawn, taking up an outstanding near twenty five minutes, leading to Fallah Bahh, Garza Jr., Richard Justice and Allie joining Edwards' team and Adonis' team consisting off KM, El Hijo del Fantasma, Caleb Konley and Laurel Van Ness. The show also featured a number of flash back matches from Thanksgivings gone by including Rhino, Alex Shelley & Sheik Abdul Bashir battling it out in a three way from 2008. But was it any good? Let's take a look. (SPOILER - IT WASN'T GOOD. NOT GOOD AT ALL)

Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot // Team Eddie Edwards (Eddie Edwards, Allie [Cherry Bomb], Richard Justice [Dick Justice], Garza Jr. & Fallah Bahh [Franciz]) def. Team Chris Adonis (Chris Adonis [Chris Masters], El Hijo del Fantasma, Caleb Konley, Laurel van Ness [Chelsea Green] & KM [Kevin Matthews]) // Pinfall

*If the following paragraph seems repetitive, drawn out and entirely unnecessary, then I've made my point. It's also good to remember it took up 25 minutes* 

Robert Irvine prepared a Thanksgiving meal, whilst Jeremy Borash fannied around with a tumbler...Borash did some more fannying around with a tumbler...Eli Drake told a story to Borash about his Dad's creamy mashed potatoes. They also drew the first team captain for the newly rechristened Gravy Train Turkey Trot, Eddie Edwards...Edwards told McKenzie Mitchell that tonight he'd be ticking an item off his bucket list by competing in the match...Borash drew El Hijo Del Fantasma as the first member of Team two, whilst Drake stole his bread roll...Fantasma told Mitchell that they don't have Thankgiving in Mexico... Borash let us know that they'd be drawing more names later on... Eli Drake gave his thoughts on Johnny Impact vs. Alberto El Patron happening next week, which didn't amount to a whole lot...Borash finally drew the next member of Eddie Edwards' team, Allie...Allie actually seemed pretty excited about the prospect of dressing as a turkey...Borash let us know that they'd be drawing more names later on...Caleb Konley was drawn as the next member of Team Two by Borash...Trevor Lee told Konley that he'd better not lose the match, in another Mitchell interview...Drake pulled Richard Justice as Edwards' next team member...Justice was buzzing for the opportunity when he spoke to Mitchell... Borash drew KM as the next entrant into the Gravy Train Turkey Trot...KM told Mitchell that all he cared about was impressing American Top Team later on...Laurel Van Ness was the next name out of Borash's tumbler... van Ness danced around like a turkey in her interview with Mitchell...Drake asked Chris Adonis "would you?" with Adonis replying "I would stuff that turkey" seemingly in regards to van Ness...Borash pulled another name out of his tumbler, Fallah Bahh...Bahh spoke to Mitchell, saying only the words "Bahh" and "Gobble Gobble"...Borash and Drake spoke about Bahh's weight and then drew Garza Jr.'s name out of the tumbler...Garza Jr. told a Mitchell that a Mexican wrestler never gives up or something...The team captain for the second team was revealed as Chris Adonis, with Drake attempting to put the name back in the tumbler, Adonis seemed furious about the possibility...Adonis gave Caleb Konley, Fantasma and KM a pep talk, whilst van Ness danced around like a turkey...Edwards gave Allie, Justice, Garza and Bahh a team talk, with Justice more interested in the fact that there would be food around the ring...Before the match began Drake made Borash read an oath to the competitors, making them promise to wear the Turkey suit if they were pinned in the match, whilst standing around tables full of Thanksgiving treats... 

Yeah. Well, the match certainly was something. It wasn't completely terrible, but it was pretty terrible. My highlights included Justice attacking Konley with a bread roll, van Ness riding around on Justice's back for a bit, Josh Mathews continuously corpsing on commentary, Bahh and Justice teaming up on KM and a comedy dive spot where Justice pulled his straps down and then fell off the apron, getting caught by the majority of the match, before Allie came flying off the top to knock everyone down. Undoubtedly, the comedy from Justice was the best part of the whole thing, which says more about the use of the likes of Edwards, Garza, Fantasma and Konley, than it does Justice's skills. Then there was the other stuff. Oh dear the other stuff. The commentary making jokes about Bahh and Justice being larger gentleman, KM hitting some of the weakest strikes you ever did see, Garza once again wrestling with an obviously injured arm, Adonis knocking Edwards off the apron to distract the referee and then simply kicking Garza a bit, the referee dropping Garza's hand to the mat multiple times when in an Adonis waistlock and then doing NOTHING about it, followed by Garza eventually escaping and then going straight to the hot tag with absolute no build or struggle. Just a general lack of psychology or common sense in the structure of the bout, with it appearing at multiple times like no one had discussed anything about the match at any point. After Adonis shouting "Masterlock" like a fucking teat, Edwards escaped quickly and got a roll up win in a sloppy finish. After twenty five minutes of mindless build-up segments, the match was over in under half that time and I felt like I'd lost at least three years of my life and many, many brain cells.

You thought this was over? Oh no, my naive friend. There was still ten minutes left of the show. How did they fill those ten minutes? Well, Adonis had to get in the turkey suit, of course. This was much more interesting than the match, but that's not saying much at all. It went like so; Eli Drake said Adonis didn't have to wear the costume, Jeremy Borash said he did, Adonis tried to leave, security stopped him, Adonis tried to leave again, security stopped him again, Borash said if Adonis didn't wear the suit then Drake would have to wear it and then in the best moment of the show, Drake motioned for security to take Adonis back to the ring, whilst saying otherwise on the mic, then Adonis wore the turkey suit. It wasn't high class television and went on for an excruciating long time, but there were moments of relief, mostly enjoying the depth of Drake's performance. The show concluded with a food fight, including Garza Jr. lobbing an entire turkey at Eddie Edwards (his own captain) and Edwards ducking a cherry pie attack from Adonis, leaving Drake covered in pie as the show went off the air.

Turkey Bowl // "The War Machine" Rhino def. Alex Shelley and Sheik Abdul Bashir [Shawn Daivari] // Pinfall 

This bout originally aired on iMPACT 231 (broadcast in November 2008, taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida) and was certainly not a classic. That being said it was probably the best of the three archive bouts, with Shelley and Bashir teaming up to tackle the more powerful Rhino, only for the War Machine to come flying back and pin Shelley with a Gore.

After the match, Mick Foley forced Alex Shelley to wear the Turkey Suit, in an over-the-top promo, threatening to fire the Motor City Machine Guns member. This segment was not entertaining the first time, it really didn't need to be re-aired.

Eli Drake, Dezmond Xavier, Petey Williams, Trevor Lee, Bobby Lashley and Allie let us know their favourite Thanksgiving memories...Drake, Sami Callihan, Alberto El Patron, Williams, KC Spinelli, Johnny Impact and Matt Sydal let us know what their favourite Thanksgiving food was...Drake, Sienna, Ethan Carter III, Impact, Sydal and Allie let us know what they were thankful for...Drake, Willliams and Eddie Edwards (who looked quite ill) told us about their Thanksgiving Traditions... 

Turkey Bowl // Eric Young def. Robbie E // Pinfall

This was a baffling encounter from Impact Wrestling 385 (aired November 2011, taped at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida), with my enjoyment coming from Taz relentless taking the piss out of the whole thing on commentary. Referee Rudy Charles was for some reason positioned as the star of the contest, using the turkey suit to count pinfalls and also randomly breaking out into a chicken dance at various points, before Young picked up the win with a jumping Piledriver.

After the match, Eric Young and referee Rudy Charles made Rob Terry wear the turkey suit.

Turkey Suit Challenge // Robbie E def. Grado // Pinfall 

From Impact Wrestling 645 (aired in November 2016, taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida) we had this bout that was straight up comedy wrestling, as well as having Aiden O'Shea [Jay Bradley] on the outside as some kind of enforcer. Nipple twists, both being terrified of the turkey suit for reasons that weren't explained and Grado pulling out Robbie E's arse were amongst the "highlights", en route to Robbie E earning the victory after blocking a sunset flip.

After the match, Grado put on the turkey suit and rather enjoyed it, beginning to cut some shapes in the suit, whilst Robbie E also pranced round like a fool, whilst Aiden O'Shea looked on for some reason.

Sienna, Madison Rayne, Rosemary and Allie spoke about the upcoming tournament for the vacant Knockout's Championship

The Pluto TV rewind of the week was Diamond Dallas Page given Raven a Diamond Cutter in a match against Monty Brown, taken from Impact 24 (aired November 2004, taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida)

This may have been the worst episode of any professional wrestling show that has aired in 2017. 25 minutes of drawing names out of tumblers and bad jokes, ten minutes of talking heads discussing Thanksgiving traditions without a single interesting story, one original match that if you were kind you would call "not awful" and three previous Turkey Bowl matches, that ranged from short unoriginal comedy to bizarre referee dominated action to a three way that was certainly a match that happened at one point. Also, does anyone want to watch two Robbie E matches on the same show? After a killer episode last week, Impact Wrestling let themselves down on Thanksgiving and episode 697 deserves to be burned in a bin.

Review by James Marston (@IAmNotAlanDale)

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