At Sunday's Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory pay-per-view, something rather strange happened in the aftermath of the World Heavyweight Title clash between Austin Aries and Johnny Impact...
...something Vince Russo strange.
After a worked match that masqueraded as a shoot, featuring moves one would never see in a real fight, Impact (the performer, probably not the promotion) secured the victory and the championship with that bar room staple: the Starship Pain. Aries climbed to his feet well before his opponent, leaving the ring almost immediately without selling the effects of the match. He spat at Johnny on his way out before gesturing furiously to Executive Vice President Don Callis.
Less facetiously, the (unique) match itself was very well-worked and well-received, not that that matters. This incident overshadowed everything. Impact, which has quietly removed its stigma as a joke league in 2018, leant heavily into the dreaded TNA shock tactics of old here.
Or did it?
One of three things has happened here:
1) Austin Aries legitimately broke kayfabe in a sensational scene, presumably furious at having been booked to lose.
2) Impact Wrestling, high on the mild buzz driven by the worked shoot programme, has indulged Aries and taken inspiration from, of all things, WCW Bash At The Beach 2000, thus ruining suspension of disbelief.
3) Vince Russo has his hand back on the pencil.
Option three is not without precedent, incredibly enough; Russo once worked in a clandestine consultant role kept secret from then-TV partner Spike because they hated his work, felt it was objectively worthless, and wanted nothing to do with him.
Dave Meltzer, on last night's Wrestling Observer Radio, neglected to even mention the post-match scene, much less speculate on its mendacity, from which we can infer that it was all, to quote another old TNA figure in Jeff Jarrett, a big work. But for what purpose? A temporary Twitter trend? Austin Aries Vs. Don Callis?!
In any event, the promotion rehabilitating itself as a serious concern has just brought back old, not particularly great memories.