wrestling / Columns

Johnny Impact Sets the Trap

March 9, 2019 | Posted by Dino Zee
Johnny Impact Impact Wrestling

It was supposed to be pretty simple. In order to give Brian Cage the rematch he deserved, Johnny Impact had laid out the path: team with Johnny, help him defeat Killer Kross and Moose, and then they’d be able to have that rematch without any fear of interference by the two monstrous men.

Cage had agreed, and all the pieces were in place for the two to finally vanquish the newfound threat in their lives. Clearly the talk that Johnny escaped Brian Cage at Homecoming was starting to irk the normally confident champion, and he appeared to be more than happy to finally bring this entire saga to an end.

Unfortunately, as is often the case in wrestling, the best laid plans sometimes do not come to fruition. While attempting his breakdance elbow drop – a move he’s performed successfully on numerous occasions – Johnny would land awkwardly, apparently tweaking his neck. This injury would cast a shadow over the rest of the entire match, as he was unable to continue, and Kross and Moose would go on to win when Kross choked Cage unconscious.

And like that, in a sad twist, Brian Cage’s guaranteed rematch went up in smoke. Just as it was designed, in my opinion.

I’ve made it clear from the start that I don’t trust this Johnny Impact that we’ve seen in recent months. This is a man who has always – always – done what’s best for himself first, and everyone else can hope for leftover scraps. The man that’s been in Impact Wrestling to this point – the man looking to be the fighting champion, who wants the universal adoration of the fans – is not the man I’ve watched prior in WWE or Lucha Underground. Something about it all has felt so fake, so forced, as if Johnny’s been playing everyone for a sucker.

Recently though, he’s taken to simply playing Brian Cage as the sucker. And the man continually falls for it. He continually takes Johnny at his word, with the belief that Johnny Impact is a man that one should ever take at his word.

As long as Cage allows it, why wouldn’t Johnny continue to string him along? He knows that The Machine represents the stiffest challenge to his championship, and he knows that Cage isn’t going to go anywhere. So, he has his friends sit ringside and interfere at Homecoming. He forces Cage into a tag match with large promises, knowing he doesn’t intend to deliver – because he won’t have to.

Cage is too focused on the gold to see the bigger trap being set here. That’s what Johnny counted on – Cage’s singular mindset not allowing for complex thoughts. There’s a good chance that, even though it would appear that they’re working together, that Kross and Moose are nothing more than pawns in Johnny’s grand scheme, large bodies capable of slowing Cage down while Johnny continues to pull everyone’s strings.

If, however, Kross and Moose have formed an actual alliance with Johnny, then things are very bleak indeed for Mr. GMSI. If those three have become a cohesive unit, all with the goal of keeping Brian Cage away from Impact’s World Championship, then there’s a very good chance that the trio will achieve that goal.

In order to avoid succumbing to the scam, Cage has to realize two important things: First off, he’s being played by Johnny. He may not want to say it to his face, he may want to play nice to preserve a shot at the belt, but the fact is Johnny’s avoiding him, and no matter how nicely Cage plays, it’s never going to pay off. Secondly, the man has to swallow some pride and reach out to some other superstars for an assist. He may not trust people very easily, and he may not want to admit he needs help, but the facts of the situation state that he cannot get this done alone. Not against three people the caliber of Johnny, Moose, and Kross.

Until that happens – until Johnny is actually called out for his shenanigans – I completely expect this all to continue as is. Impact Management certainly doesn’t want to disrupt the Golden Couple of Johnny and Taya, so they have free reign. Johnny Impact isn’t going to admit to being terrified of Cage, and Cage probably isn’t going to stop chasing the dangling carrot.

If Cage can see the light, the path of destruction he leaves behind will be incredible. But if Cage can’t figure this out, then he’s going to be a very sizable feather in the cap of Johnny Impact, and will go down not as one of the greats, but one of the greatest what ifs in Impact Wrestling history.

Considering the beating Cage took this past Friday as Johnny pretended (in my opinion) to be injured, he’s not going to be able to withstand too many more situations like that. Machine or not, everything breaks. It’s only a matter of time.