wrestling / Columns

ZeeWI: Man vs. Machine – A Tale of Two Returns

March 1, 2018 | Posted by Dino Zee
Machine Impact Wrestling Brian Cage Lucha Underground

As you know, a big talent recently returned to Impact Wrestling. It was seen as a bit of a surprise to some, but was still met with optimism. This man had, in his time away from Impact, gotten some decent screen time in another promotion, and while things didn’t go exactly the way he may have wanted them to go, he was still able to increase his star power, and he’d now be able to use that to help bring Impact to new heights!

Along with his star power, however, was a set of moves that always impresses the crowd. He can do things that may seem impossible, and he does them in a way that makes you think it’s not even a little difficult.

He’s Brian Cage, the other guy that returned to Impact Wrestling. You know, the one that wasn’t given free reign to go and call out the Global Champion with no actual claim at a title shot, and who was allowed to keep his belt once the entire mockery of a match had a taken place.

Maybe Cage should eat a banana or something?

My not-at-all biased whining aside, there is something interesting to the differences in how Cage and Austin Aries returned to Impact, is there not? While Austin Aries left and failed in his quest to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship repeatedly, Brian Cage traveled to the vaunted Lucha Underground Temple, and did battle with some of the scariest competitors available.

Wars with Matanza, Willie Mack, Jeremiah Crane, and Mil Muertes (amongst many others) only sharpened the steel of The Machine, and we’ve all watched him improve exponentially along the way. I’ve even been lucky enough to catch him at a Hoodslam event or two, where he’s clearly looking to find the hungriest up-and-comers to battle, so he never gets complacent.

While Cage did all of this to impress and improve, it appears that those in control of Impact either didn’t notice, or want to pretend that what we’ve all seen isn’t real. It’s almost the same treatment the man received from the company over five years ago, when he first appeared during the company’s Gut Check segments.

Cage would, of course, not get the nod here, as those in charge (Taz, Al Snow, and Bruce Prichard) decided to go with Jay Bradley, instead. I remember at the time being quite shocked that they didn’t go with Cage, and that’s coming from a fan of Bradley. Cage seemed to be perfect, at the time, for Impact. Strong, incredible agility, with jaw-dropping moves. He would have fit in against heavyweights or the X Division wrestlers, and provided a fresh new talent for the company.

Instead, they played it safe, and took the big brawler. The big brawler who, for the record, never really panned out, either. Cage was the easy choice then, and they just didn’t see it when it was right in front of them.

Seeing that same type of “meh” attitude towards him today is, quite frankly, infuriating. Brian Cage comes in and they have him show off all he’s got by manhandling… Jon Cruz?! And then we’ll follow that up by having him smash the incomparable Hunter Law?? All this, while Austin Aries gets to waltz back in and get an instant shot at the Global Championship?

It’s baffling, quite honestly. Wins over people we don’t know aren’t impressive, especially when they come at the expense of guys who don’t appear to be any threat in the first place. I was more impressed with Hunter Law for lasting a minute than I was with the beating that Cage put on him.

Imagine if it was Cage who had gotten the opportunity that Aries received. Imagine if Cage’s re-debut with the company was marked by him answering the claim of E_Li_Drake that there was nobody left for him to beat. Imagine if Cage, instead of getting knocked out, intimidated Chris Adonis into leaving, and forced Drake to defend not only his championship, but his vaunted kavorka as well! And imagine if Cage steamrolled Drake, flattened him with his version of the Steiner Screwdriver, and became the new Impact Champion.

Aries could still return, and it would have gotten some fanfare because Aries is of course a big deal around here. Aries could still do everything he’s done to this point, including possibly challenging Cage for the belt. And like that, Impact would have two main eventers that are new to their current scene, instead of just one.

But for some reason, Cage isn’t viewed in that light. He’s seen as someone that needs to be brought along slowly, against competitors who – skilled as they may be – have no business standing across the ring as Cage’s opponent.

In the opinion of this columnist, it’s only a matter of time before Impact’s plan backfires, and in a disastrous manner. Cage isn’t built for this type of treatment. He thrives on proving that there is no one better, and he has to know that his two matches back have done very little to prove anything. At some point, he’s going to look for a bigger kill, and it could end up costing Impact a beloved wrestler or two, if the devastation is as bad as it has the potential to be.

There’s people he’s familiar with – a Johnny Impact, an Alberto El Patrón, even Hijo de Fantasma – who would all make for a better statement win than the appetizers on which he’s feasted thus far. There’s also the unknowns – a Moose, an EC3, a Lashley – who would make not only the fans – but Impact management themselves – take note of the destructive force that he is.

And, of course, there’s always Austin Aries. There’s no way I’m the only one that’s noticed the incredible difference in the way the company treated their returns. If I’m Cage, I have to know that the best way to show this company the mistaken nature of their ideas would be to smash Aries in the center of the ring, and taking his championship away from him. And if I’m Cage, I’m quite sure that there’s no amount of Last Chanceries, Pendulum Elbows, or Brainbusters that are going to keep me down. Not even with that potassium boost!

For now, Impact appears to be okay. Cage hasn’t decided that he’s had enough with the crushing of cans. Everything’s okay. For now.

Eventually though, he’s going to get fed up with the way some people are treated, with the opportunities some people are unjustly handed, and that’s when, I believe, that some people are going to pay a very ultimate price.

When it’s all said and done, there’s a very good chance that Brian Cage will be standing tall over the wreckage, reigning proud as the Global Heavyweight Champion. And when that happens, you’ve gotta wonder who will be the one to stop him.

article topics :

Cage, Impact Wrestling, Dino Zee