Last night, Impact Wrestling aired it’s Hardcore Justice episode. The element of danger was present throughout the night. One match with the potential to be absolutely brutal pitted Drew Galloway against Low Ki, with a steel pipe suspended on a pole above the ring. Up until this point, Galloway’s The Rising and Low Ki’s Beat Down Clan have been trading shots and things have been getting extremely ugly. When Galloway made his debut for TNA, he used a steel pipe to clear the Beat Down Clan away from a beat down victim and in the process split Ki open. Now was Ki’s opportunity at revenge and, even better, a chance to put Galloway in his place.
Low Ki is a guy I have a bit of familiarity with but not near as much as your typical indy diehard. Mostly I think this is because I came onto the scene when Low Ki was in the wilderness, as it were, on bad terms with ROH and not working TNA, on and off in Japan for his most visibility. That said I’ve seen his stuff and always thought he was good, a vicious take-no-prisoners martial arts style. What I like about him is he takes the martial arts thing seriously, not simply as a bit of flash to add to his act. Drew Galloway is a guy that I feel like I’m waiting to be impressed by but it never happens. There are others, like Alberto Del Rio, who I think are great but haven’t put that into a classic that I’ve seen. Galloway, on the other hand, I feel is always just about to hit his next tier. Some guys have really reinvented after hitting the indies but I haven’t seen much of that from Galloway. That said, he’s always able to channel a lot of fire when needed and that’s always useful in a weapons match like this.
Steel Pipe on a Pole
DREW GALLOWAY vs LOW KI
Given their history it isn’t surprising that Low Ki started things off quickly. He found he’d bitten off more than he could chew when Galloway responded with strikes of his own and sent him over the top with a lariat. One of the main conflicts in this match revolveda round the size difference between Galloway and Low Ki but, perhaps because of time, it doesn’t get played with much more than the sort of attacks they use. Really, the match goes fairly back and forth, each guy escalating their assault, using a chair if the other guy just used one, and so on. The battle takes them from the floor back into the ring and they struggle over the pipe. Galloway gets it but Low Ki intercepts him and steals the pipe. Low Ki then tries to use it like a club (would have been nice to see something different with it given Ki’s style) but Galloway ducks, boots him, and hits the Futureshock DDT to get the pinfall.
An obvious problem here, from a slavering thrall of bloodlust’s point of view, is that they never actually use the steel pipe. In general I’m not bothered by not having weapon use, but in a match where the pipe is in the billing, I feel as though it should be decisive. Instead, it meant nothing. It didn’t even make Low Ki wary, which would be understandable given his history on the wrong end of it. But the bigger issue is really that they didn’t try to do much of anything. Drew Galloway came into the match with injured ribs but they never stopped Galloway short or gave Low Ki a real opportunity to get an advantage. The one time he does specifically attack the ribs as a counter doesn’t buy him any more time than if Galloway had been fine. There’s no sense that Low Ki is having trouble with Galloway’s strength or that Galloway can’t handle Low Ki’s speed or striking. It feels very much like a game of rock em sock em robots: you keep hitting until someone falls down finally.
Performance-wise, both guys were fine. I’ve seen better stuff from Low Ki so, not seeing him recently, I’d say this was more an off night from him. I think he could have given a little more to Drew in terms of selling but I don’t really feel that the match was built in such a way that it hurt things. Drew Galloway I feel needs to do a lot of studying. He wrestles basically the same as he did in WWE and the problem is that he did not have an eyecatching style there. TNA will stay behind him because he’s alright in the ring and he’s a former WWE Intercontinental Champion. However, just like TNA hasn’t really defined Ken Anderson or Jeff Hardy or Kurt Angle, it won’t do anything to increase Galloway’s stock. If Galloway’s intent on not being defined by his WWE career he’s going to need to start getting his game together.
An argument can be made that you can’t do a lot in seven minutes, which is about how long they ran (it’s possible that it was cut down for TV but I didn’t notice anything). However, I’d rather see a less cluttered match with more arc to take up that seven minutes than guys trying to cram 15-20 minutes worth of violence into half that time.
Bottom Line: This is a TV match. To some extent you lower your expectations for it. However, it was also the semi-main on a name episode of Impact. I mean, at least use the steel pipe.