wrestling / Columns

ZWI: Brian’s Caged as Johnny Impact is Krossed by a Killer

January 17, 2019 | Posted by Dino Zee
Johnny Impact Impact Wrestling

Coming out of Homecoming, there should have only been one thing on the mind of Impact World Champion, Johnny Impact. There should have been one thing he wanted to address, one thing he hoped to clarify, one thing he needed to make better.

So when he walked out this past Friday night on Impact and immediately started talking about how angry he was at the actions of one Killer Kross following the main event collision between Johnny and Brian Cage, I felt like the champion was having a case of selective memory. After the slimy way that he managed to hold onto his championship, it was disgraceful that Johnny seemed to want to discuss anything but the match itself.

It appeared that Brian Cage was also thinking the exact things that this columnist was thinking. For those who missed it – the closing moments of the World Championship match between Cage and Johnny would see Cage hit the Drill Claw and cover the champion. However, the referee was outside, distracted by some of Johnny’s Survivor buddies, who decided that they were going to jump the guardrail and get involved after a mini-altercation with Cage a couple minutes prior.

Instead of officiating the match and letting security do its job, the Impact official would miss the cover – which was good for at least a ten count, though one could argue that Johnny simply wasn’t trying to get up because he didn’t hear a referee counting. When he finally decided to get back to doing the job for which he’s paid, he could only register a two count before the champion kicked out.

A few moments later, and Cage was his with a surprise roll-up that sapped his will to live, and he found himself unable to kick out. While I know I tend to be one of the more cynical voices when it comes to Impact management, this felt like a total set up to make sure that Brian Cage remained on the outside looking in. We’ve seen them do this before with E_Li_Drake, and it’s clear that the guy carrying the company name as his surname is a favorite in the boardroom. It’s not out of the realm to think that they’d instruct an official to find a convenient time and reason to be distracted, and the Survivor shenanigans perfectly provided both.

So, to see Johnny want to instead discuss the attack on his wife Taya at the hands of Killer Kross was, at the very least, supremely disappointing. To this point, Johnny has been a pretty straight up guy, and was definitely a nice breath of fresh air from the manipulative ways of the man he unseated to become champion, Austin Aries. I’d expect Aries to be more than ready to move on to the next one after a more-than-questionable decision like the one seen at Homecoming, but Johnny seemed intent on further distancing himself from his slimier days as Johnny Mundo, or even John Morrison.

Championship Pride takes a backseat to personal grudges, though. As Cage laid out his case to Johnny for an instant rematch, he would be told that it wasn’t the “right time” for that, because he needed to first make Killer Kross pay.

Before Cage could respond, Kross would come out and promise to hurt Taya again and talk more trash to Johnny, which would prompt a pretty sick tope from the champion in response. Lost in all this? Brian Cage was pushed to the side in favor of a guy who has no legitimate claim to a match against the champion – with the title on the line or not – simply because he attacked his wife.

To be fair, we’d see that Cage and Johnny would have a chat backstage, where Johnny would promise Cage the very next shot at the championship, once he was done with Kross.

Normally, when there’s a highly controversial ending to the main event of a huge show, someone besides the loser will see the need to run it back, so we can reach a satisfactory conclusion. Yet not one person in Impact Wrestling saw fit to interrupt the proceedings and tell Kross he’d have to wait his turn. No one saw fit to point out that Johnny’s win at Homecoming was embarrassing. Not one person saw fit to come out and state the obvious: Brian Cage deserves another opportunity to wrestle against Johnny Impact, with the Impact Wrestling World Championship on the line.

In my opinion, Johnny Impact wants nothing to do with Brian Cage. He knows that he was a beaten man at Homecoming, and that he most likely won’t have his C-List friends at ringside if they wrestle again. So instead of facing the challenge head-on, he’s going to take the easy way out. He’s going to “defend the honor of his wife,” which is clearly a position few people would challenge. Most of us would be just as angry at Killer Kross as Johnny were Kross to powerbomb our beloved off of a stage. It’s a reasonable thing to do.

Which is why I think it’s such a perfect escape route from a rematch. Johnny promised that Cage’s next shot would come once he was done with Kross. Well, what if it’s never over? What if Johnny just doesn’t feel like he’s ever truly got his revenge? He can drag this out as long as he wants to, and he can always play the “this is for my wife!” card. It’s so sleazily perfect, I’m actually envious of the will to turn such a horrible moment for his family into something that benefits him.

Now, to be fair, this is of course all speculation. Perhaps in the next week or two, we’ll see Cage get that rematch. But I have a sneaking suspicion that, following his loss to Kross last week in the non-title affair, that Johnny “isn’t done yet.” And I suspect that, due to the interference from Moose that cost him the match, that Moose is now on the “let me get this guy back before I give you the rematch!” list, just like Kross.

And Johnny can just keep adding more names to the list, as long as he can make it about “defending his wife,” instead of “defending his championship.”

The man who got a big assist to win gets to move on to the next one. The man that assaults wives gets the biggest opportunity of career. And the man that mowed through the X Division, cashed in his title for a shot at the highest prize, and had the champion beat? He gets to sit and wait. For someone who has a love for getting his shit in, I don’t feel like he’s going to wait for very long.