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31 Days of Wrestling (12/28/17): Lashley vs. El Patron (And The Failed Merger)


Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.

It's been a strange, strange year for Impact Wrestling and Global Force Wrestling.

First, news of a merger between the former TNA and Jeff Jarrett's upstart-but-never-really-got-off-the-ground Global Force Wrestling was announced in April. Despite Jarrett ending up all having to come back all along to the company he was exiled from in order to save it, many thought it was the best way to rejuvenate the failing brand. After all, it was in danger of folding in 2017 due to Dixie Carter's financial mismanagement.

So Global Force attempted to take over the company and rebrand it under its own name, like some sort of Zerg infestation. Because Global Force already had its own set of championships (despite not having a televised show or consistent indy shows), naturally that meant the two separate top titles (as well as the women's titles) had to be unified. That unification match happened at Impact's 15th anniversary, which was, uh, this year's Slammiversary event back in July. Impact's World Champion Bobby Lashley took on GFW Global Champion Alberto El Patron.


The match itself was nothing to write home about. Despite the involvement of El Patron's father Dos Caras, brother El Hijo del Dos Caras, and Lashley's America Top Team associate King Mo, the bout suffered from being a small-time PPV event, an unclear delineation of who's the face and the heel, and Lashley's crippling lack of personality. The Walking Armageddon and Mexico's (self-proclaimed) Greatest Export were crisp, but nothing really stood out save for a ridiculous finish which saw Lashley improbably set himself up on the middle rope for El Patron's top-rope stomp for the win.

No, the real story here is Impact/GFW's continued bumbling despite managing to generate some sort of hype. In an ideal world, El Patron would be magnetic enough to carry a company given the right set of players for him to bounce off of. Unfortunately, his championship reign was marred not even two weeks later by the real-life factor of his domestic issues with current WWE superstar Paige, which led to his suspension and eventual strippage of the title a month later. It was out of Impact's hands, really.

Now here at the end of the year, the attempted merger between the two companies would be thrown out the window due to Impact sacking Jeff Jarrett and terminating the partnership with GFW. Impact would then go on its current attempt to rebuild the brand, putting what's now the Impact Global Championship on Eli Drake to try and cash in on a young, up-and-coming star. Honestly, though, if they barely survived 2017, we don't expect them to last that long in 2018.


*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017.

Read our previous entries:

1. The Okada/Omega Trilogy
2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)
3. The Mae Young Classic Finals
4. Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon (Wrevolution X 2017)
5. WarGames
6. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres)
7. Fatal Four Way for the WWE Universal Championship (SummerSlam 2017)
8. Manami Toyota's Retirement
9. Jinder Mahal Wins the WWE Championship
10. Roman Reigns Tries To Take The Torch (No Mercy 2017)
11. Hanzello Shilva vs. Aldrin Richards (MWF Balikbayan 2017)
12. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Finals)
13. The Implosion of #DIY
14. Ubusan ng Lahi (PWR Vendetta 2017)
15. The First (and Second) Women's Money in the Bank
16. Cody Rhodes Wins the Ring of Honor World Championship
17. The Beginning of the Zo Train Era
18. Killshot vs. Dante Fox, Hell Of War (Ultima Lucha Tres)
19. The 16-Time Champ is Here
20. Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Special)
21. Kurt Angle Joins The Shield for the TLC Main Event
22. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (NXT Takeover: Chicago)
23. The Festival of Friendship
24. Christopher Daniels Wins His First World Title (At 47)
25. John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown Live!)
26. Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata (Sakura Genesis)

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