Ahead of the revival of Impact Pro Wrestling in New Zealand back in July, all the reigning champions were stripped of their championships – which meant that inaugural Women’s Champion Evie was also dethroned without being beaten for the belt in the ring. It was all quite strange, considering the promotion had only been gone for a few months and all the titleholders were still active competitors, but it seemed that the promotion was hitting the reset button. In July, a 3-way match took place between Evie, Britenay and Olivia Shaw to determine the new Women’s Champion – but the contest ended without a winner after Megan-Kate hit the ring with her trusty baseball bat, leaving a question mark still hanging over the title.
We were promised that the situation over the championship would be sorted out at yesterday’s show – and it was, but it was to the dissatisfaction of both wrestlers and fans alike…
With IPW’s women’s roster in the ring, the promotion’s new Head of Live Events Steve Wrigley – who is also a comedian in the country – explained to each one of them why they were not worthy of holding the belt and cracked a few jokes in the process. In the end, he declared that the title would be awarded to a complete unknown called Emmy Driver.
The reaction to that announcement has been a universal thumbs-down. Evie reacted on Twitter saying “Screw this” and “I’m done”, while Britenay told us that she’s “really hoping this is some cruel joke that I simply don’t get”. Shaw, who was ostensibly told that she wasn’t attractive enough to be champion called the whole situation an “absolute joke”, and Megan-Kate said “You’ve destroyed what we built here. Destroyed.”
There is every chance that this is part of a storyline where the women band together to rescue the division and the title, but it’s a dangerous game that IPW is playing. Fans have been using social media to point out that they didn’t like what’s going on with the title – and it may end up being the wrong kind of heat – not the heat where people pay money to see a satisfactory conclusion, but the kind of heat that sees fans walk away and not come back. It may not get to that point, but it really depends on who this Emmy Driver is.
I’ve been looking around to see if I can find out anything about the new Women’s Champion, but I’ve found nothing so far. Is she a friend of management? Is she a wrester? Is she in training? No clue. Will she ever be made defend the title, considering it was gifted to her in the first place? At a guess, it could be like when Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley held the WWF Women’s Title in 2000, defended it very sporadically, used it as a personal trophy, had help when she was forced to defend it and was eventually vanquished by a wrestler (in this case, Lita) when she ran out of places to hide.
As for Wrigley, he seems to be going down the heel authority figure route, but doing it in such a fashion that he’s trying to do what he thinks is best. NZPWI reports that at the July show, Wrigley inadvertently helped decide the promotion’s new Heavyweight Champion when after the house lights “failed”, he came out with a light to say the match would do on, only for the main lights to return and Vinny Dunn using Wrigley’s light to hit James Shaw over the head and gain the fall in a 4-way match also involving Kingi & Joseph Kinkade.
We’ll see how things play out but at the moment, there are a lot of disgruntled wrestlers and fans. A happy ending may be coming so we’ll keep an eye on what’s going on, and also see if we can get any background on who Emmy Driver is. If you know, get in touch as we would love some insight.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by Impact Pro Wrestling, WWE