wrestling / Columns

ZeeWI: A Grand Impact Triple Threat

December 21, 2017 | Posted by Dino Zee
Impact Jan 4 Impact Wrestling

Note from the Author: This will be a tad shorter than our usual pieces, as yours truly is battling a ridiculous bug. Apologies, and clearly, I just don’t love the business.

This past Thursday night was the last true Impact of the year, as the promotion will spend the next two weeks looking back at its best moments of 2017. While this is always a great time to look back, this columnist wanted to look forward. That’s because it was announced on Thursday as well that, when Impact wrestling returns on January 4th, the first ever three-way Grand Championship match will take place!

Featuring Champion Ethan Carter, III, Fallah Bahh, and Matt Sydal, Impact looks to shake things up in this columnist’s favorite division with this never-before-done contest!

After a not-so-clean victory over Bahh and a draw with Sydal, Carter finds himself having to run it back against the top two contenders in the Grand Championship Division (per the latest rankings), with the very real possibility that he loses the belt without actually being defeated.

Carter seemed to be anything but rattled by the announcement, confident that he has what it takes to beat Bahh, and confident that Sydal has already lost since, as he basically put it, this is a big match, and Matt Sydal loses big matches.

And frankly, wouldn’t we be shocked if he wasn’t totally confident in his ability to win? That’s been his calling card from day one, whether he entered the match as the favorite, or as the loudmouthed kid in way over his head. EC3 has never doubted himself, and, facing two guys who failed to defeat him previously, I don’t see why he’d start now.

For Carter to keep his belt, he’s got a pretty straightforward road to take. Avoid double-teams from the challengers, do your best to stir up some heat between them, pick your spots, and when the moment is right, strike and take the win. With Sydal’s propensity to fly in the air, Carter should look for opportunities to push the aerialist off the turnbuckles, which could effectively remove Sydal from the match.

Dealing with Fallah Bahh is a bit more difficult, but still doable. Carter knows he can pin the man if they’re close enough to the ropes, and that little bit of knowledge, he won’t be so overwhelmed by his bigger foe. Still, he must absolutely avoid the high-impact (pardon me for that) attacks of Bahh, or he will find himself quickly squashed, and without a championship belt.

When it comes to Matt Sydal’s chances in this match, it’s clear that he needs to employ the grandest version of a stick-and-move strategy, so as not to succumb to his bigger opponents. Sure, EC3 isn’t some gladiator, but he’s still bigger and stronger than Sydal.

Sydal should look to use springboards, other turnbuckle attacks, and running strikes to keep both men on their heels. He’d also do well to take a breather any time Bahh and Carter are locking up, instead of trying to insert himself in the mix for some attacks.

However, what stuck out to me the most was what seemed to be an odd mindset from Sydal. In the promotional video, he says that “making this match a three-way just convolutes the convoluted rules already. It strips away the pureness of the Grand Championship and adds a bunch of extra elements in.”

Convoluted rules?! In the Grand Championship Divison?! Absolutely not!

What bothered me about the quote is that Sydal doesn’t seem to be completely focused on the task at hand. Instead, he seems to want to focus on what could be seen as an injustice to him, where instead of getting a (deserved) rematch with EC3 in a one-on-one encounter, he’s instead forced to compete in a three way dance with someone who was actually pinned.

He shouldn’t be worried about the different rules – he should be focused on the fact that a simple pin or submission will grant him the championship – just like most any other title match. If he’s trying to play for another decision, then it’s on him if it doesn’t go his way. We’ve seen it in boxing, we’ve seen it in MMA, and we’ve seen it in the Grand Championship Division: Do NOT let it go to the judges!

Sydal’s the one that’s been called out as the choke artist. It’s actually a nice flip from last year, where it was EC3 being labeled the choke artist by our beloved Global Champion, E_Li_Drake. Now, having rebounded with quite the 2017, Carter is looking to push some of that Tough Love Magic onto Sydal.

If Sydal wants to shake these accusations, he needs to come up big on January 4th. I don’t mean he needs to wow the fans, or put on a performance that we’ll talk about for years to come. I mean he needs to be announced as the NEW Grand Champion, or he will have proven EC3 right. Again. And he probably won’t get another chance at the belt for a while after that.

It’s odd to say, but this is one of those rare championship matches where there’s more on the line for the challenger than the champion.

That leaves us with the final combatant in this match, Fallah Bahh. And, from where this columnist sits, Bahh has to be considered the wildcard in this match.

The questions, for me at least, as they pertain to Fallah Bahh have to do with whether he actually wants to unseat EC3 as champion. He’s the reason that Carter kept his title against Sydal, with Bahh recording the Round 3 Draw judgement that rendered the whole bout more or less meaningless. Did he do that to protect Carter? Did he do that to screw with Sydal? Or did he do that because he wants to be the one to unseat EC3, and if that meant some collateral damage in the form of Matt Sydal’s ego, then so be it.

The problem is, we just don’t know.

IF Bahh is still angry about the way he lost to Carter, and IF Bahh made sure that Carter kept the belt so that HE could be the one to take it away, then he’s done a great job in setting this all up. He’s managed to involve Matt Sydal, who can play the distraction to Carter while Bahh goes for the win.

It’s just too hard to figure out the motivations of Bahh. I honestly don’t understand why he called the 3rd round between Carter and Sydal the way he did, unless he honestly felt that way? And why exactly was Bahh appointed as a judge so closely after he competed for the belt?

Something stinks here. Something stinks like collusion. Has EC3 managed to get Bahh into the fold? Is Bahh playing him for a sucker? Is this columnist reading far too much into some weird coincidences?

Too many questions, not enough answers. Luckily for us, January 4th is right around the corner, and we’ll find out everything we need to know. Well, besides why we’re having a three-way dance for this title in the first place, I guess.