This week, TNA continues to deal with Jeff Jarret’s fight for his world title shot. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn continue to deal with the issues of their partnership, especially after last week. Malice of the New Church will try to make a sacrifice of Don Harris, and Truth will get the opportunity to make history. Let’s see how they do.
The montage is back. We start backstage where The Dupps, Apolo, and Goldilocks are backstage. We start with our first match
Spanish Announce Team (Amazing Red, Joel Maximo, Jose Maximo) vs Flying Elvises (Estrada, Siaki, and Yang)
Spanish Announce Team, and yes, that is their name, is out to little reaction. Elivises are out to little reaction as well and we’re off.
This was a really good match. Amazing Red and his friends put on a good show, but the Elvises were absolutely dominate. Unfortunately, this was more of a spot show than a wrestling match. The ongoing storyline of trouble in the Elvises continued as Siaki seems to think he’s too good for the gimmick and his partners. Unfortunately, that bit him in the ass as Estrada and Yang got sick of his nonsense and bailed out, leaving him to face the SATs (no, I’m not kidding) by himself. Siaki held his own, but still refused help from Yang when Yang came back to help him.
The match completely breaks down when Estrada and Yang come to Siaki’s rescue. Estrada and Yang would take out Red, but Siaki would come in and steal the pin. Estrada and Yang are not happy about this and the issues in the Flying Elvises continue.
Winner: Flying Elvises by pinfall.
Comment: This match went from okay to bad by the end of it. Not a lot of actual wrestling, just spots.
Tenay gives us the match breakdown: Jarrett and Apolo, who are both considered top contenders for the NWA Title will face off, a triple threat match for the X Division title, and Truth will face Ken Shamrock for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Tenay had an interview Apolo, who is not want for opening formalities, much to Tenay’s annoyance, he wants to get to the point of the interview: The fact that, despite being undefeated in TNA, he was passed over for a title shot against Shamrock for the NWA World Title. Apolo seemed to have taken Steamboat’s decision more personally than it was meant to be and implies that Steamboat’s decision was based on corruption, rather than Steamboat offering an opportunity to someone who seemed just as deserving. Tenay is incensed at the accusation but Apolo is just as incensed about Truth getting his spot. Apolo then says that he’s going to make Steamboat look him in the eye and tell him why he was passed over.
Backstage, Goldilocks is there as Apolo tries to confront Steamboat, who has no idea what is going on. He tells Apolo that he’s extremely busy and he’ll talk to Apolo when he’s ready, so Apolo shouldn’t come to him with ‘NOW’ crap.
Now that some gasoline has been added to the pissed off Apolo fire, the Dupps follow Steamboat, with a reluctant Goldilocks in tow, they’ve been waiting in their church clothes for hours to talk to Steamboat, but before we can find out what Dupps are up to, Lynn and Styles come crashing into the room in the middle of a huge fight. Guess Lynn is still mad about last week. The fight goes all over, including the handicap bathroom.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ken Shamrock vs Ron Killings
Steamboat is introduced as the NWA representative for the match, but he’s accosted by the badly dressed Dupps, who just want to talk to Steamboat about something. Steamboat isn’t interested in hearing their idea, he just tells them to do whatever they want (oh, god). The Dupps are happy about this and leave.
Truth is out first to an okay pop. Talking seems to be over, he’s all business. Shamrock gets a good pop and he’s all business as usual. At first glance, this seems like a piece of cake for Shamrock given his extensive experience in the ring. However, Truth is a wily competitor and refuses to back down. Of the three title defenses that Shamrock’s had since TNA started, this has been the best, to be honest. Truth and Shamrock seemed to really click in the ring and worked really well together.
Unfortunately, this really good match has a few too many cooks working on it. Watching this match are the New Church and Monty Brown. Don Harris is there as head of security. Unfortunately, Harris is only one man, and Brown, Apolo, and the New Church run in and cause havoc. The match keeps going, even after Apolo misses with a savant kick and nails Shamrock. Steamboat gets Shamrock back into the ring and goes after Apolo. Apolo’s kick does the trick, Truth hits a running cutter and it’s all over.
Winner: Truth by pinfall. NEW NWA Heavyweight Champion. Ron Killings is the first African-American man to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship*. Truth can’t believe this is happening and neither can anyone else.
Comment: That was a really good match, I just wish they hadn’t felt the need to have all the run ins and have Truth get the win with help.
*TECHNICALLY, the first African-American man to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was Bobo Brazil, however his win over Buddy Rogers was because Rogers refused to do the match, claiming illness, and the NWA never acknowledged that Bobo had won and Bobo refused to accept a title he hadn’t won in the ring. Ron Simmons’ victory was for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship after WCW had severed ties with the NWA.
Steamboat comes back and is NOT happy with what happened. He tells Apolo to get his butt out there and face him like a man. Steamboat admits that leapfrogging Truth over Apolo might’ve been a mistake but that Apolo has been running around like a madman and that’s not going to fly, however he’s going to give Apolo the title shot he’s owed.
At this point, Jarrett interrupts and renews his claims that he’s still owed a title shot and is livid at the statement that Apolo ‘earned’ his title shot, while Jarrett has been waiting patiently for his chance (and yes, he said that with a straight face). Jarrett says that the answer to why he keeps getting passed is as white as his skin (Oh sweet Jesus, please don’t go there), and it isn’t because he’s been acting like a brat and insulted the people who make the decisions in the NWA. No, Jarrett says that he’s being passed over because of reverse discrimination.
(Oh, God, we’re actually going down this rabbit hole)
Steamboat is NOT having it and says that this bullshit (YES, Steamboat swore!) is going to stop tonight! Steamboat then tells Apolo that if he beats Jarrett in their match tonight, he’ll get his title shot and if Jarrett beats Apolo, he’ll get a title shot. On top of that, Steamboat is going to be the referee, to make sure everything is on the up and up.
Jarrett, who seems to have forgotten that Steamboat being referee means that he’s untouchable, says that he’ll see both of them in the ring and that Steamboat is fair game.
After all that, it’s time for Jive Talkin’, only the set has definitely been downsized from ‘Stuff we found at a yard sale’ to ‘Stuff that we found on site’. Disco isn’t happy about this and then the Dupps come out, just to make this more of a mess. The Dupps introduce themselves as Stan ‘Blond’ Dupp and Bo ‘Hat’ Dupp. The Dupps have some exciting news for us, they’re announcing the first Dupp Cup Invitational, whatever the hell that is.
Apparently, the Cup has been passed down through the generations of Dupps (there’s a joke in there, but I won’t deal in stereotypes, easy as they’re making it). Okay, apparently, the Dupp Cup is the spittoon, that everyone drank whisky, and God only knows what else, out of (EW!). Disco stops the description before we get into the TRULY gross things that happen with this ‘Cup’ and asks what the point is. Hat says that ‘Steamship’ said that they could do what they want, so they’re going to make the Dupp Cup the new hardcore division. Hardcore division of what, I’m not sure I want to know.
There are actual rules to this thing and they are as follows:
10 Points to win
- Put your opponent through a table = 2 ½ points
- Put your opponent through a flaming table = 5 points
- Put your opponent’s head in the toilet = 2 ½ points
- You get 3 ½ points if the toilet has poop in it when you put your opponent’s head in it.
- Goose a woman = 2 ½ points
- Goose a man = 3 ½ points (for the danger of getting the crap kicked out of you by the man, I guess)
- Nail Jeremy Borash = 2 ½ points
- Nail the old lady who sells the tickets = 2 ½ points
- Use a farm animal = 2 ½ points (is 2 ½ the highest they can count?)
- Spank opponent with horse manure = 2 ½ points, no extra points if they like it.
- Introduce opponent to Jay, whoever that is, = 2 ½ points
- Cry like a p**y = -5 points
- Put opponent’s head in cotton candy machine for one full rotation = 10 points (wouldn’t that be murder?)
- Hit opponent with fan brought weapon = 1 point.
When asked about an opponent, Blond says that he saw what Disco did to his ‘girlfriend’, Goldilocks. Disco is completely unrepentant and refers to Goldilocks as a ‘dumb bitch’, which doesn’t make Blond very happy. Blond then says that he has something to show Goldilocks and after stripping down to his boxers, reveals that he’s wearing an undershirt with Goldilocks’ face on it (okay, I’m officially creeped out).
Disco again asks about an opponent and discovers that Blond wants to take him on. Disco refuses, citing that he’s a talk show host. As he’s talking, the big blonde that attacked Goldilocks last week comes out. Disco introduces her as Paulina from Tough Enough and says that she doesn’t want him to wrestle tonight (my neutered cat has bigger balls than this guy)..
Blond is not intimidated and refers to Paulina as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, however, it looks like Disco isn’t going to be wrestling. When asked about the winner’s purse, the Dupps reveal that the purse is the $.64 they have between them. So they up the ante to: The winner gets one night with Fluff Dupp and Blond and Hat get to watch (Sweet Jesus!).
The Dupps vs Ed Ferrara
That brings in Ed Ferrara, who can’t resist the urge to be a creep. He’s willing to do this for the chance to have sex with Fluff while the Dupps watch. He agrees to do it and just get things going, nails punches poor Jeremy Borash in the face, so he’s already got 2 ½ points. He then gooses Don West, so that’s six points.
The Dupps don’t seem particularly thrilled that Ed is more than halfway through getting a night with Fluff . Jeremy Borash pissed off at being sucker punched, attacks Ferrara from behind and gets thrown over the railing, which I THINK brings the total up to 8 ½ points. By this point, the Dupps have decided that Ferrara isn’t going to get a night with Fluff and jump into the ring. Ferrara actually comes quite close to winning this thing, but he comes out on the short end of this trainwreck.
Winner: The Dupps
Comment: My IQ just dropped a few points after this.
Well, after that, we see another pre-recorded interview, this time between Tenay and Monty Brown. Brown is proud to talk about his background, which is pretty impressive. When asked about politics, Brown admitted that politics in football affected his career, but when he proved himself to the Bills and the Patriots, the politics didn’t matter. When asked about Truth’s rantings about ‘They’ and ‘Them’, Brown states that he doesn’t like Truth and doesn’t buy his complaints because he feels Truth didn’t make his opportunities like he himself did, which comes across as a little tone deaf, but before he can go much further, he’s attacked by Elix Skipper, who douses him with yellow paint and tells him to shut up and that he has no idea what Skipper and Truth went through because he (Brown) was too busy kissing the behinds of the people in the back. There’s a lot of ranting about learning on the streets and that Skipper considers Brown a chicken.
First Blood Match: Malice (with James Mitchell) vs Don Harris
Malice and Mitchell get a small pop, Harris gets a better one. This match was brutal and nasty, as you would expect for a First Blood match, not a lot of wrestling, but a lot of ass kicking.
Harris has his hands full because dealing with one member of the New Church brings the rest of them out. At one point, Mitchell gets a taste of his own medicine and gets some blood on his face. Harris is the first to bleed, but it’s really hard to see how due to a poorly executed blading job. To add insult to injury, Malice and Slash continue to pummel Harris, but he’s not subjected to the baptism.
Comment: That was an okay match, not a barn burner.
Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get an interview with the de-throned Miss TNA, Taylor Vaughn, when she’s interrupted by Sonny Siaki, who is looking for Ricky Steamboat. After finally getting rid of him, she then interrupted by Bruce, who takes her microphone and storms into the locker room where Vaughn is and taunts her. Vaughn is NOT happy and shoves him into the corner, using a sexual slur in the process. Things get ugly before they’re broken up by the other women in the locker room. Vaughn challenges Bruce to an Evening Gown match to get her crown back. After Bruce leaves, Lo Ki and Styles come flying in, continuing the fight that Styles and Lynn had earlier in the night.
Apolo vs Jeff Jarrett
Special Ref Steamboat is out to little reaction, the audience seems bored with the show. Apolo doesn’t get a reaction. Jarrett actually gets a reaction. True to his word, Steamboat calls it down the middle. This was a really good match, Apolo still isn’t the best in-ring performer, but he looked really good out there with Jarrett.
Jarrett looked like a first rate heel out there, despite having some support from the audience. The problem was that Steamboat’s insistence on following the NWA’s rules hampered the match, at least to me. Even Flair got away with more underhanded stuff than Jarrett did in this match.
We get a false finish where it looked like Apolo had won, but Jarrett got his foot on the ropes in time. Apolo hit a German suplex on Jarrett but still lost as Jarrett was able to get his shoulder up a split second before a double pin, giving him the victory. Apolo is livid, not realizing that his shoulders were both on the mat too and accosts Steamboat, who tells him that he’ll talk to him in the back and that the decision was not based on any issue Steamboat had with him. Apolo is still angry and says that Jarrett stole the match, but he’s finally taken into the back by security.
With Apolo out of his hair, Steamboat turns his attention to the still celebrating Jarrett and makes a little announcement: Yes, Jarrett won the match, and Steamboat is a man of his word, HOWEVER, Jarrett will not be facing Truth for the NWA Title, Jarrett and Truth will be tag team partners next week in a match against Styles and Lynn next week for the Tag Team Titles. Steamboat’s justification is that while he promised Jarrett he’d get Truth and A title shot, he never said it would be for the NWA Title.
Not surprisingly, Jarrett is livid over the double cross, and the crowd, and myself, don’t blame him. He goes to attack Steamboat, but Steamboat hides behind security. Jarrett yells at Tenay and West, like they have any say over what just happened.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett by pinfall.
Comment: That was a good match, but the swerve just didn’t work for me.
Evening Gown Match: Taylor Vaughn vs Bruce
Again, I won’t be covering this due to the sheer stupidity of the whole thing. I will say that Bruce comes out in a lovely red sequined number and a not horrible blond wig, though his orange wrestling boots clash with the dress. And after this trainwreck, Bruce stripped down to reveal that he was wearing lingerie, which is still apparently unthinkable in Tennessee, even though Goldust shattered that ceiling in WWE years before.
Comment: Can this storyline be over now?
West gives his over the top hyping for next week’s show and the merchandise stand. He’s no Billy Mays or Anthony Sullivan, but it’s not awful.
X Division Championship Match: AJ Styles vs Lo Ki vs Jerry Lynn
Lo Ki is out first, and the crowd seems to have woken up a little bit. Lynn gets a good reaction. Styles gets almost no reaction and he’s got a slightly new look. This was a good match, but there were points where it felt like Lo Ki was the third wheel because someone didn’t want to have Lynn and Styles face off yet. There were some pretty insane spots, but Styles and Lynn stuck to wrestling and all three guys tore the place down. Unfortunately, Lo Ki took out the ref, which resulted in absolute chaos.
Styles’ was definitely the heel in this match, but it was more the obnoxious kid that’s too big for his britches kind of heel, than an actual bad guy. It cost him tonight when taking the time to mock Lo Ki, ended with Lo Ki getting the pin and the title.
Winner: Lo Ki by pinfall.
Comment: I liked this match, but it felt like Lo Ki, who had already had a shot at the title and lost, was put in because Creative didn’t want Lynn vs Styles to be for the X Division Title just yet.
Backstage, Jarrett and Truth, who are going to be partners next week are facing off, Jarrett demanding his title shot NOW. Back in the ring, Styles and Lynn are going at it. Jarrett and Truth come out, still arguing and Jarrett is still demanding his title shot
So, was TNA Episode 8 an improvement over last week. Yes, it was, but the bar was set so low, that’s no much of an accomplishment. This show was a lot better than last week’s disaster, the presentation was much more streamlined, the promos didn’t go on forever, and most of the storylines were meaningfully advanced.
The Jarrett situation annoyed me because Jarrett seemed to be making strides in establishing himself as the top heel in TNA, only to almost have to start all over again with this swerve of Steamboat double crossing him over the title shot. It just feels like instead of building Jarrett up as a heel, Russo, or whoever is calling the shots, is determined to recreate Austin vs McMahon with Jarrett and Steamboat, and while Steamboat is certainly more equipped than the NWA officials to play a character, he’s not a great heel.
The issue with the way women are treated is still there, but someone must’ve made Russo tone it down. There were still PLENTY of issues to be had, but it wasn’t nearly as bad a last week.
The Truth/Brown/Skipper situation is starting to take an interesting turn, because it does reflect real life issues for African-Americans. It’s still uncomfortable, but the pieces are starting to fall into a picture that somewhat makes sense as a storyline.
I hate the NWA-TNA version of Heel!Styles. I was already annoyed with him and he never said a word. He was an annoying little punk.
Stinkers: Dupps vs Ed Ferrara. I swear my IQ dropped.
Snoozers: Flying Elvises vs Spanish Announce Team. It was just boring.
Match of the Night: Jarrett vs Apolo.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this show more than I did last week’s and I hope next week’s show improves on this one.
Chairshot Classics: Impact Wrestling Homecoming 2019
Harry takes us on a few, more recent Impact Wrestling classics. He lends his experience to this new look Homecoming PPV! How does it stack up?
Harry takes us on a few, more recent Impact Wrestling classics. He lends his experience to this new look Homecoming PPV! How does it stack up?
Welcome back into ‘What I Watched’, everyone. As you all know, Rebellion has come and gone from Impact Wrestling. Andrew does an excellent job of covering the show, which you can see (HERE). The idea for ‘What I Watched’ was to cover the PPV prior to Rebellion as a way to get everyone hyped for the show. Thankfully, the United We Stand review going up when it did basically served that purpose. Now, I get the chance to take my time and give Homecoming a fair and honest shake as opposed to the rush job that would have had to happen to get it up in time. As far as where ‘What I Watched’ goes from here…obviously back to PROGRESS for Chapters 6 and going forward. Chapter 5 is already in the queue as discussed before. Having subscribed to IWTV (Independent Wrestling TV) for the time being at least, I now have access to new CHIKARA, Glory Pro, Black Label Pro and much more. Plus classic independent wrestling shows as well. The Club WWN thing is still in the planning stages as well, though that may be a tougher nut to crack.
That brings us to why we’re here today. As mentioned, Impact Wrestling had the Rebellion PPV on the 28th of April. As has been the tradition of ‘What I Watched’, I usually look at the PPV before it to see what they need to improve and what stood out from the prior show. I honestly don’t remember anything about the card for Homecoming since I’ve been focusing on looking at the build to Rebellion as well as my coverage of ‘United We Stand’. All this said, it’s into the way back machine where we head to January 6th, 2019 as ‘What I Watched’ presents Impact Wrestling’s ‘Homecoming’ 2019.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. If you are interested in reading any of my previous reviews here at the Chairshot, feel free to click my name at the top of this article to go to my archive of posted material.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
Impact Wrestling: ‘Homecoming’
From: The Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee
Date: January 6th, 2019
Run Time: 2:50:01 (Impact Plus (the new GWN)
*GENERAL NOTES: The nostalgia is strong with this show. I can remember watching some of the early TNA weekly PPVs, so for them to be back where it all started almost seventeen years later is quite the feat. Looking forward to see how much of the history of the building comes into play and if they bring in any blasts from TNA/Impact’s past…the building looks really well set up and most importantly, full.
*COLD OPEN: Narrated by Johnny Impact. It’s not bad. I think I liked the Bound for Glory narrated by LAX more but part of that is LAX comes off as more themselves, where as Impact comes off as playing a character most of the time. Still a nice way to look back at days of TNA past. It does a pretty good job of letting us know a good portion of the card for tonight.
*Match #1: ‘Ultimate X’ for the vacant ‘X Division’ Championship- Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel vs. Ethan Page vs. Jake Crist
The Who: Rich Swann is the former WWE Cruiserweight champion, After personal issues, he left the WWE and ended up in Impact where his wife also is. He defeated Dave Crist to get into this match. Trey Miguel (just Miguel in Impact) got here by beating Trevor Lee. He’s one third of the Rascalz as Wentz (Zachery) and Dez (Dezmond Xavier) came out to the stage with him but then went to the back. Ethan Page beat his mentor (and the man he teamed with back at Bound for Glory) Matt Sydal to qualify here. Still doing the ‘Third Eye’ gimmick here, he has thankfully since dropped that and gone back to the much more familiar ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page. Jake Crist got here by beating Willie Mack. He’s one half of Irish Airborne and (at this point) was one third of oVe (Ohio Versus Everything) with his brother Dave and the leader of the group who we will probably see later in Sami Callihan.
The Why: Brian Cage was the X Division champion, however he cashed in that belt for this opportunity at the Heavyweight title later tonight. On the road here, the four men listed above had the qualifying matches where they advanced to compete for the title in ‘Ultimate X’. I believe they used the same format back in 2012 when Austin Aries cashed in his X Division title for a shot at Robert Roode’s heavyweight title and I want to say that DJ Z (Zema Ion) won the title in that ‘Ultimate X’ match.
The Match: Having just watched the one at ‘United We Stand’, I’ll be curious to see how it compares. I know I’m not supposed to compare one match to another, but it’s human and reviewer nature to do so…opening bell goes here…Ethan is a little big by X Division standards. Doesn’t really wrestle the X Division style either. But I like him as a character and a performer so I wouldn’t have been opposed to him winning here…opening sequence is everyone rushing the belt and then dropping off into frankensteiner when they can’t get to it. Different way to start, I suppose…well, that’ll work. Page body slams Miguel off the top onto Swann and Jake…admittedly choreographed sequence with all the kicks, but the fans liked it…Josh announces that the X Division title went into abeyance when Brian Cage got his opportunity at Johnny Impact later. Man, they sign all the former WWE people…double cutter by Jake to take down Swann and Miguel…showstopper elbow off the cables by Page. Damn, son. Prove me wrong why don’t you…Swann catches Page with a beautiful handspring cutter. His reward for doing so is a double stomp to the back of the head by Trey…so, one cool thing about this match is the guys using the cables to amp up their moves. Does it make a bit of sense? No. But it’s visually impressive and that’s also part of the point of wrestling too…someone needs a Heel Section sign in that crowd…did someone just grab a ladder? That seems moderately unsporting in this match…Trey uses Swann as a projectile off the Ultimate X holder and does a moonsault off it himself. Again, visually impressive and took out all three opponents…different take on the Tower of Doom…just noticed that the ref is ‘Kid Ref’ Kris Levin…Tombstone on the floor. Fuck that noise…Crist tries going across the cables and Ethan spears him off. The one at United We Stand looked better though…leap of faith (Jigsaw) style ’rana by Swann. Miguel tries to return the favor but Swann lands on his feet and races to the other side. He travels down the cable and right as Trey tries to reach out to him, Swann grabs the belt to win the match at 14:01…well, as I said, it’ll be hard not to compare this to the ‘Ultimate X’ match we had at United We Stand. While I thought that match was a better athletic display, I think this one tells a better story with all four men being first time competitors in this match type. Ethan Page impressed me the most with the way he adapted his style to the ‘Ultimate X’ playground. However, I can’t be mad at Swann getting the win here as he’s one of the better Jr. Heavyweight or Cruiserweight wrestlers in the world. Call this one GOOD but a slight step below the ‘Ultimate X’ from ‘United We Stand’, in my opinion.
*Announcers run down the card. Don Callis attempts in vain to keep his cowboy hat in place. The card itself looks pretty good. There isn’t a match here that looks like it’ll be bad. Impact has had two good PPVs prior to this so they seem to be in good shape to keep that run up…we then go backstage to a Brian Cage interview with McKenzie Mitchell. Cage isn’t the best promo but when you look like he does, you don’t have to be. Mitchell isn’t a bad interviewer, but this would have been a good opportunity to go into the Impact past and bring back someone like Goldilocks here.
*Match #2: Allie/Su Yung vs. Jordynne Grace/Kiera Hogan
The Who: Allie is the former Cherry Bomb on the indies and is a former Impact Knockouts champion. Su Yung is a former champion as well, having lost the title in between the Slammiversary and Bound for Glory PPVs last year. Jordynne Grace is making her Impact PPV debut here, but had been on quite the roll in the company up to this point having not lost. At this point in time, she may be the most sought after female talent on the indies. Kiera Hogan, I honestly don’t know much about. I’m starting to go back and watch some of the SHIMMER and SHINE shows, but she’s the wild card here to me.
The Why: Allie was feuding with Su in an attempt to save her friend Kiera, even traveling to the Undead Realm to rescue Kiera when Su abducted her (it‘s Lucha Underground rules at Impact these days). However when she did, she made a deal with Father James Mitchell to get into the Realm at the expense of her soul. A darker and more vicious Allie began to emerge and she eventually sided with Su against her former friend. That led to Jordynne making the save for Kiera during a two on one attack and thus bringing us to this tag match.
The Match: Knowing what we know now (Allie has since left Impact Wrestling and signed with AEW), I feel like Jordynne pinning Allie would have been a good way to announce Jordynne’s arrival into the upper tier of the Knockouts division. As they say though, hindsight is twenty-twenty, so let’s see what did happen…what the sam hill is Kiera wearing? Did she steal Natalya’s side gig as a dominatrix?…Josh: ‘Is Jordynne Grace the most powerful Knockout you’ve ever seen?’ Me: ‘Not in a world where Awesome Kong existed. But she might be second’…I like Jordynne. I am happy to report that she would eventually take her place in said top tier of Knockouts, getting the title shot at the next PPV. Su is a strong character but I’m not sold on her in-ring work. Allie, I like and I always have. But she’s now part of AEW, so I guess that’s irrelevant around Impact these days…opening bell goes here…Grace goes for a powerbomb to open the match. Yeah, I got nothing for that…a snapmare into a sliding clothesline is a much more appropriate opening spot however…tags made on both sides…Kiera’s dropkick does not look good…the hip attack and sliding kick do look better though…lengthy distraction sequence leads to Su pulling Kiera into the buckle…Dark Allie and Su take over at this point…man, Allie has quite the ass (I’m a guy, sue me)…tree of whoa neckbreaker by Su looks really nice. She’s gotten better in the ring in the several years she’s been doing this…good double team work by Allie and Su with the Arachnidrana into a lungblower…neither Kiera nor Su throws a good looking strike. Even the forearms look like they wouldn’t break a piece of paper…Jordynne’s strikes look much better…I actually think Kiera’s gear may be actually be a Harlem Heat tribute. Just saw the flames on the back. Wonder if she broke into the business at Reality of Wrestling…double team suplex and cross body to the floor. Give Su credit, that is a hell of a bump, even with the mats…Allie goes to the eyes and Kiera tags herself in. Allie takes advantage of that, but Kiera catches a swinging fisherman’s suplex…Jordynne with a fall-forward slam to Allie at the same time as she powerbombs Su…Su mists Jordynne sending her to the floor. Allie catches Kiera with a Codebreaker. Instead of going for the cover, she crawls over to Su and gets the glove that Su has used for the Mandible Claw in the past. Allie then applies the Mandible Claw herself on Kiera and the referee notes that Kiera is out, calling for the bell at 8:52…better then I thought it would be, but it wasn’t anything you need to see either. Su is much more sizzle then steak and while Allie isn’t a bad worker, she’s nothing to write home about either. Jordynne has the potential to be something special down the line and while Kiera is getting better, she’s by far the lowest of the four on the totem pole. Again, knowing that Allie would soon be gone, I think I’d have given the win to Jordynne and Kiera here, but all in all, it’s an AVERAGE match with a strong finish due to the mind games that Su has worked on Allie.
*Post match- the attack on Kiera continues and it leads to the Undead Bridesmaids bringing a casket onto the stage, much the same way Madison Rayne found herself inside of it at Slammiversary…Su grabs Kiera and sends her toward the casket, calling for it to be opened. When it is opened, Rosemary pops out. It would be the first time we’ve seen Rosemary at ringside since she tore her ACL back in early 2018…Rosemary lays out a few of the Undead Bridesmaids before throwing a charging Su into the pack…Rosemary and Allie come face to face and Rosemary goes for the ‘bunny pat’ but Allie slaps her hand away and escapes the ring.
*Match #3: ‘Falls Count Anywhere’- Moose vs. Eddie Edwards
The Who: Moose is a former NFL player who has made the transition to wrestling, first stopping at ROH on his way to Impact. Eddie Edwards is, well at this point, a crazy person. He’s also one of the few who can claim they are an Impact ‘Grand Slam’ champion, having held the Heavyweight, X Division, Tag and Grand Championships for the company.
The Why: This match was supposed to happen at Bound for Glory, but Killer Kross got involved at ringside and the match got turned into a tag match between Kross and Moose against Edwards and Tommy Dreamer. That didn’t settle the score and Impact management has given them a ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ match here to hopefully settle their differences once and for all.
The Match: Video package before as is the norm and man, that powerbomb onto the ramp had to hurt like hell. Screw that noise…they put Eddie in a mental asylum. The irony of that is there have been times where Impact’s booking has made me feel like I should be in one of those myself…Raven being used in the build makes sense though, given that they are in the Asylum for this show…Moose makes his entrance and Eddie jumps him in the aisle way, giving us our opening bell…Josh calls Eddie a ‘loose cannon’. Let’s not go throwing that around so flippantly, shall we?…that plancha looked really awkward…the suicide dive catch into the apron powerbomb looks a lot better…and that’s a double your pleasure moment…Moose uses the ring steps (one piece ring steps) to bridge a guardrail off the side of the ring. This probably ends poorly for someone…if at first you don’t succeed, suicide dive again…weekly PPV flashback time as they begin to brawl all around the Asylum…start my own ‘I can’t see shit’ chant at this point…we finally catch up as they make it to what used to be Raven’s Nest…plancha out of the Nest by Edwards. Nice move…Josh points out that ‘Anarchy Rules’ in the Asylum. Don’s microphone goes silent for a bit as I assume that popped him…Edwards is on those ‘red equals green’ types. For the second time in a big singles match at a PPV I’ve covered, he’s busted open…Edwards chair chucks at Moose twice, hitting him in the head both times. Sabu wouldn’t show back up until ‘United We Stand’, so someone had too…superplex into a chair stack…strike exchange and it actually looks good. Both guys are very believable strikers…and Moose goes through the guardrail. Well, it is Wrestling 101. ‘He who sets it up usually goes through it’. Usually works for tables, but I guess guardrails bridged like a table works much the same…it’s Falls Count Anywhere, Eddie. Just pin him there…kendo stick shots to the quad. That’s such a jerk move…Eddie’s wife Alisha comes down and pulls the kendo stick from him, yelling that it’s enough. She then proceeds to beat Moose with the stick herself. When in Rome, I suppose…Edwards gets in one last shot himself that splinters the cane. Eddie follows up with a double arm DDT and that’s three at 13:20…so, I’m a little torn here. The match itself was very good. Exactly what it needed to be with the physicality and Edwards finally able to overcome the size disadvantage to stand tall. I don’t care for the ending. I get that Moose has been mean to Alisha as well as Eddie, but her going off on Moose with the cane seemed like she took Eddie’s moment to me. I’m still going with a GOOD rating here, but I think it’s higher if Alisha isn’t involved.
*Sami Callihan promo to get us to the next match, which will be Callihan vs. Willie Mack. Callihan delivers his usual strong promo here, but for as much as I like Willie Mack, I can’t help but feel like Sami is underutilized here.
*Match #4: Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan
The Who: Willie Mack made his Impact debut right around Bound for Glory last year, where he teamed with Rich Swann to beat Ethan Page and Matt Sydal. Sami Callihan had my best match of 2018 in Impact with Pentagon Jr. at Slammiversary. Sami was also voted Impact Wrestler of the Year and for those more into the WWE, was briefly known as Solomon Crowe in NXT.
The Why: Guessing it goes back to Jake Crist beating Willie Mack to get into the ‘Ultimate X’ match. Willie wasn’t cool with that after Sami cost him the match and went after Sami, despite Rich Swann telling Willie that Sami isn’t a war worth fighting.
The Match: Sami makes friends with everyone around ringside before eventually yelling at Don Callis. Who does he think he is, Austin Aries?…as soon as Sami gets into the ring, Willie charges in with a clothesline and an opening bell…Willie with a tope con hilo and lands on his feet. I’ll point out at this time that if you aren’t familiar with Willie, he also weighs about three hundred pounds. That’s insane agility for a guy his size…weird to see Mack controlling the opening part of this match. I do like he’s getting the chance to showcase some of his moveset…Willie decides to go after Dave and it turns the tables to put Sami in control…bicycle knee while Mack is trapped in the apron. Unique offense…that’s just fucking gross, Sami…pretty lengthy rest hold here. Not what you’d expect from these two…jaw-jacker by Willie to escape another sleeper. Not the Stunner he was using back in Lucha Underground though…that Samoan Drop->nip-up->standing moonsault combo by Willie always impresses me. An incredible blend of strength and athleticism…jesus, that cannonball…Stunner attempts gets countered but Mack catches the Sky-High (called such by Matthews) for a close two…speaking of bicycle knees. (Callis cant help but call it the ‘V Trigger’)…Mack does get the Stunner but Callihan is able to get a foot on the rope. Mack to the top but while Sami has the ref, Dave Crist distracts Mack long enough for Sami to get over and bring Willie down with an avalanche DVD…for a ONE COUNT! DISRESPECTFUL!…burning lariat gets another one count…fans rally behind Willie as Sami lays in strikes. Willie tries a lariat of his own, but it’s ducked and Sami turns him inside out with another burning lariat. Callihan then catches Mack with a piledriver (Memphis style) for the three count at 10:20…there we go. Leave it to Sami to once again deliver. I’m not going to say excellent, because I don’t think it’s long enough to justify that. That being said, it’s one of the better ten minute matches I’ve seen. I’ll go with a VERY GOOD here and these Impact PPVs just keep killing it.
*Eli Drake interview with McKenzie Mitchell here about Monster’s Ball up next…forget the promo for a second here…how did Impact let this guy fall so far? Yes, he’s not exactly great in the ring, but the guy has the kind of promo skills that can carry a company. For the longest time, he did carry the company. I get the whole ‘he was fired because of disparaging remarks about Impact’ thing. At the same time, his character at this time is anti-Impact Wrestling management. There’s nothing there that couldn’t have been worked out. Honestly, I would not be surprised to see him signing with AEW or the WWE by the time people are reading this if not shortly thereafter.
*Match #5: Monster’s Ball- Eli Drake vs. Abyss
The Who: Eli Drake, I talked about just above. Former Impact world champion and while he’s not anything special in the ring, he can talk them into the building. Abyss is the most homecoming of all the people at this show as he broke out as Abyss here in the Asylum in the early (ish) days of TNA. He was even on the first weekly PPV for TNA as Prince Justice (though that wasn’t here in the Asylum. That was in the Von Braun Center, I believe)
The Why: Eli has been speaking out against hardcore wrestling. Who better in TNA/Impact world to defend it then Abyss? There was also the whole Abyss put Eli through a table with a Chokeslam at Bound for Glory situation too.
The Match: Eli brings out what looks to be an ore as weapon. Why the hell not?…and yet again, another jumpstart as Eli attacks Abyss before the opening bell at…Abyss throws his jacket at Eli and misses, but Eli catches it in time for continue what they had planned. That’s a professional…Abyss has a staple gun. Eli tries a sunset flip. This goes about as well as you would expect for Eli…we’re almost two minutes in and Eli still hasn’t gotten his ring jacket off…Abyss sets up tables and goes for a Chokeslam but Eli goes to the eyes…they then begin brawling into the crowd which would have been a lot more effective if Eddie and Moose hadn’t done it less then an hour ago…traveling case as a weapon. That works…Eli calls himself the ‘last of a dying breed’. Well, he break into TNA with Eddie Kingston…JESUS! Overhead belly to belly from the ring to the floor through the tables! That’s a dummy no for Eli…and Abyss has the thumbtacks…Abyss calls for the Chokeslam but Eli escapes. Drake gets a handful of tacks, but Abyss ducks and Kid Ref takes them in the face. With Levin being attended to, Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam, but there’s no zebra to count, despite the crowd’s best attempt…corner charge attempt by Abyss meets a chair that was placed there I think at the start…Eli has a chair. Abyss has Janice. Eli proceeds to beg before a gut shot with the chair. Eli tries to use Janice but Abyss catches Eli in a goozle and this time, it is the Chokeslam into the tacks complete with full ‘FML’ face from Eli…jesus christ, his back is a pincushion…face full of tacks to Abyss this time and Eli tries to use zip ties. That does not work, so instead it’s a series of chair shots. I lost count around 10…it was an attempt at the Rock-Austin Mania X7 finish but Abyss out at two…Eli grabs the paddle (the thing I thought was an ore) and breaks it over Abyss’ head. That’s your three count at 12:12…by Monster’s Ball standards, it was a little tame. Having the Falls Count Anywhere match earlier in the show may have taken some of the shine off it as well. That said, I enjoyed the match. I thought Eli looked really good here and for as long as it’s been for Abyss to be a regular competitor in Impact, he more then held his own. Eli getting the win here made sense too because you could use it to springboard him back up the card (which they kind of were going to with Eddie Edwards before Drake got fired). Neither one of these guys is still with the company, but it was an ABOVE AVERAGE match to go out on.
*Killer Kross promo backstage with McKenzie Mitchell…and his promo ain’t make a damn bit of sense. He seemed to still be channeling his Lucha Underground Rabbit Tribe gimmick then anything that checks inside of Impact. He does call out Johnny Impact and hopefully, that’s not foreshadowing his involvement in the main event.
*Match #6: Impact Tag Team titles- LAX © vs. Lucha Brothers (Fenix and Pentagon Jr.)
The Who: LAX (Ortiz and Santana) come into this match after having successfully defended their tag belts at Bound for Glory in the ‘Concrete Jungle’ match, teaming with Konnan to beat the original LAX of Hernandez and Homicide along with Eddie Kingston. Lucha Brothers come into this on a PPV losing streak for Fenix, as he dropped the fall in the four way at Slammiversary and alongside Brian Cage and Pentagon Jr., they were bested by the Crist brothers and Sami Callihan at Bound for Glory.
The Why: LAX wanted to know if they could beat the Lucha Brothers. Sometimes, you don’t need a complicated story. Just a battle for respect.
The Match: I really didn’t feel the need to the talk about the who much here. I’m actually debating dropping that going forward. I can talk about people here on the match section and for some of these people, the who becomes very redundant…having watched Rebellion live, I know what they did in the match that followed this. I’m curious to see how this goes without the stipulation to guide it…then again, Pentagon Jr. might just have been the hottest wrestler in the world at this point not named Becky Lynch…Josh and Don do bring up a valid point going into this match as LAX is not accompanied by Konnan. The last time they had a PPV title defense not with Konnan, they lost the tag belts. Though Josh and Don don’t name who, the answer is Eli Drake and Scott Steiner…there is a sign at ringside they keep showing that does make sense. “LAX vs. Lucha Brothers. Los Ganadores: Nosotros”. Despite my limited knowledge of Spanish, the sign translates to “LAX vs. Lucha Bros. The winners: All of us” or something similar…opening bell here…and the opening double team starts just about a minute into the match. If I’m the referee here, it’s Lucha rules. Let them go balls to the wall. Everyone wants to see it, why the hell not?…double stomp powerbomb combo lands Santana square on the back of his head. Oops…man, Fenix eats shit to the floor…once Santana is able to cause shit-eating, LAX brings the double teams. I go back to what I’ve said before. I think LAX is one of the top three best tag teams in the world when it comes to double team work. I’d also put the Lucha Brothers either in the top five or really close to it…Ortiz with a tope con hilo of his own and almost eats it into the barricade. The adrenaline is flowing for all four guys to start this one…top rope Asai Moonsault by Santana. Yep, balls to the wall…I don’t even know how to describe some of the double team work in this match…what the hell was that? Like an overhead throw assisted suicide dive by the Lucha Brothers. That’s a new one for me…you get a tope, you get a tope, you get a tope. Everyone gets a tope…your referee is Brandon Toll. Or as he’s known for this match: ‘that poor bastard’…360 kick by Fenix sets up a Codebreaker with double stomp combo…that’s it. I’m out. I got nothing. Top rope splash by Ortiz on Fenix. He goes the cover which Pentagon Jr. breaks up with a double stomp. Pentagon Jr. goes forward from that double stomp into a Canadian Destroyer on Santana as well…and a near standing ovation breaks out from it…that whole exchange looks cool but comes off really choreographed…double stomp Fear Factor lands this time but Ortiz throws Fenix into Pentagon to break up the count…Fenix is the man of 1000 double stomps. This one breaks up the cover after the Street Sweeper. He came from completely out of camera range to hit it, which did make for a nice visual…shortly after the breakup, Pentagon Jr. rolls out to the floor, leaving Ortiz and Fenix in the ring. Santana gets the tag and a series of moves that I don’t try to describe leads to a double team chicken wing into a facebuster that gets the three count at 11:31…exactly what I wanted from this match. I’d put it as good as the ‘Full Metal Mayhem’ match they’d go on to have at Rebellion. This match here though had none of the toys to work with that match had. Instead it was just four dudes going out there and busting their asses to entertain the fans in attendance and the paying audience at home. A VERY GOOD match here but given the four, that’s probably not that much of a surprise.
*Post-match: Konnan comes out and puts over all four guys as well as the building itself. Josh wants to see more and we would.
*McKenzie Mitchell is now backstage with Gail Kim, who has quite the little referee outfit on. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Gail may have had some work done…Gail mentions everything that’s been going on with Tessa and says that she’s here to call it down the middle to make sure the right women is the Knockout’s champion.
*Match #7: Impact Knockouts title- Tessa Blanchard © vs. Taya Valkyrie with Gail Kim as the special guest referee
The Who: Tessa Blanchard is the current champion and is a third generation wrestler (Grandfather is Joe, father is Tully). Taya Valkyrie is still relatively new to Impact at this point but was a key player in Lucha Underground. Gail Kim is the most celebrated Knockout in TNA/Impact history. However, she’s been retired from wrestling (as a competitor) since Bound for Glory 2017.
The Why: Tessa beat Taya at Bound for Glory, albeit under some controversial circumstances with a referee paying more attention to a ring apron than to Taya’s pin after the Road to Valhalla. Taya was granted the rematch and Tessa began disrespecting everyone, referees and staff alike at Impact to the point where Gail Kim stepped up and said she’d be the referee for the rematch here at Homecoming.
The Match: Let me first say that I don’t dislike Taya. I’m just not a huge fan of hers. If I had to sum it up with one word, it would probably be indifference. That’s not a good thing. My adoration of Tessa is well documented by this point and I don’t wish to expand…the cameraman for Gail’s entrance is getting fired…crowd seems pretty evenly split here though…Gail and Tessa get into a verbal spat before the opening bell. Let’s go ahead and telegraph this one way out in front, why don’t we…opening bell here…and the opening collar and elbow looks awkward. Not a great start…most of the Lucha sequence that follows looks good, until a mess is made of a tilt-a-whirl head scissors attempt. Not on the same page at the start of this one…it has been the night of the double stomp. Taya with a standing one to Tessa’s back…DDT onto the apron turns the table, though…the Survivor schmucks they showed earlier (I did not make mention of it) have a “Dicks Out 4 Taya” sign. The fuck is wrong with you morons?…basement dropkick into the guardrail by Tessa. Looked vicious…well, that’s quite the arm bar…looked like a Zig Zag with the hair there by Tessa…Gail and Tessa goes nose to nose. It leads to Taya fighting back for a brief moment before Tessa regains control…release German by Taya looks good…charging hip attack by Taya leads to the double knees in the corner…Buzzsaw DDT attempt by Tessa is countered nicely into a northern lights suplex by Taya. Tip toe bridge too until Taya rolls back and hits another double stomp, this time to a flattened Tessa…Taya goes for and misses a moonsault leading to a Tessa spear for two…Taya ducks and Tessa drills Gail. Accidentally, but I don’t think Tessa cared. Tessa gets the Buzzsaw DDT, but Gail is down so there’s no count. Turnabout being fair play from the referee at Bound for Glory…Tessa grabs the belt, but by the time she tries to use it, Gail tries to pull it away from her. A tug of war leads to Gail smacking Taya with the belt as Taya smirks. Tessa demands a count and Gail does, not even looking at the shoulders for two…Tessa shoves Gail. Tessa with a second shove and Gail shoves back into a roll-up for two by Taya. Glad that wasn’t the finish…Taya also gets out of the corner trap chestblower. Tessa grabs Gail by the throat, forcing her into the buckle. Tessa takes a swing at Gail. Gail ducks and catches Tessa with Eat Defeat. Tessa stumbles forward towards Taya, who lifts Tessa up and plants her with Road to Valhalla. With no ring apron distraction this time, it’s a three count at 10:41…definitely had it’s ups and downs. The booking of the match made sense with the story they are trying to tell so I won’t be too upset about that. Unfortunately, there was a lot of other moments here and there where they didn’t seem to be on the same page that hurt the flow of the match. For as relatively good as I thought their match was at Bound for Glory, this is a bit of a disappointment to me. Call it AVERAGE, but slightly better then the tag match that went on second on this show.
*Post-match, Taya seems to be genuinely happy that she’s won the belt. I can’t hate that. Tessa looks furious and the stage is set for a Rebellion…we then go to Josh and Don who run down everything that’s happened before giving us the Impact to Twitch announcement. The announcers then set the stage for Johnny Impact and Brian Cage.
*Johnny Impact promo, once again with McKenzie. I still say they missed an opportunity with not using old Impact interviewers since they were back in the Asylum…Impact has become a little better at promos but he’s still not great.
*Match #8: Impact Heavyweight title- Johnny Impact © vs. Brian Cage
The Who: Johnny Impact is the former John Morrison, of course. He’s been the champion since Bound for Glory when he beat Austin Aries. At this point, he was still a baby face as well. Brian Cage was also loved by fans here (and still is). Bound for Glory was not so kind to him as he suffered his first loss in Impact when he was pinned in that previously mentioned six-man tag by Sami Callihan.
The Why: This is an ‘Option C’ match up, where Brian Cage cashed in his Impact X Division title for a shot at Johnny Impact and the Heavyweight title. To this point, I don’t believe Cage had been beaten in a singles match either.
The Match: Cage comes out looking like he found the Gauntlet from Lucha Underground…Josh puts over Johnny during his entrance. Callis then puts over Cage. I think we know who is siding with who here…I feel like Johnny’s and Survivor don’t mix. Whatever you do, don’t bring back Fairplay…opening bell here…Cage snuffs a single leg attempt and it ends up as a stalemate…Impact teases a test of strength before clocking Cage with a kick. Obviously, Impact is going to have to use stamina and intellect here…that was kind of a northern lights. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be but I’m guessing that’s not it…fans seem to be leaning Cage but Impact catches a pretty good looking springboard spear gets two for Impact…well, that’s one way to turn the match. Cage sweeps the leg and Impact goes back into the buckle before face into the mat…Cage’s strength does allow him to combine offense like few can…monkey flip. Because of course Cage does a monkey flip…Impact escapes a power slam attempt and sends Cage into the cover. Leverage is also going to be key for Impact here…Cheeky Nandos! And Callis gives credit to Will Ospreay on the call. Never change, Don! It sets up a really nice looking electric chair facebuster too…Cage going for more of a grounded match then I thought he would. It’s like he’s intentionally trying to throw Impact off his game…Impact with a big dive to the floor and flushes Cage in the face with his knee! Jesus, Johnny. Fans chant ‘TNA’ too, so they have been hit with the knee as well…that definitely turns the tide as Impact takes over…Johnny Impact with a discus forearm. He’s never been a strike guy though, so Cage takes over almost immediately thereafter…apparently Josh has forgotten that the neckbreaker is called ‘Moonlight Drive’…Impact goes for the Razor’s Edge Urinage but Cage escapes. Cage goes for the Drill Claw, but Impact escapes. Impact catches some, but not nearly all, of the rope-hang German suplex. Sometimes, I think Johnny’s offense is too fancy just for the sake of being fancy…that was a pathetic looking kickout…they are just trading bombs at this point…Impact out of the discus lariat which I believe was one of Cage’s primary finishers in Lucha Underground…Impact catches Starship Pain but it’s a clean kickout by Cage. I’m trying to remember if Aries kicked out of it at Bound for Glory. I think he did, but I’m not sure…Impact with a top-rope Spanish Fly. For one. Because of course…Cage looking for Weapon X and this time gets it, but Impact gets the rope at the last split second. Maybe even just after what would have been the three. Given what we know now, that moment makes a lot more sense in hindsight…and Cage launches a Survivor douche three rows deep with a shove. Hahahahaha!…Drill Claw but there’s no referee as he’s dealing with the Survivor schmucks. Referee finally in and it’s a last second kickout from Impact. Cage looks for the Cesaro superplex but Impact counters it twice. Impact finally swings around and it’s a sort of powerbomb kinda that just barely gets a three count (again, what we know now) at 19:12…the finish was blown to an extent but they recovered it enough to make it work for where it was going. In addition, I could have done without the involvement of the dumb asses from Survivor as well. As far as Impact and Cage alone go, the match was GOOD but never anything above just because it came off kinda clunky. Neither one of these guys is known as a match leader and it showed here as they battled some miscommunications. Middle of the pack match for the title, sad to say.
*Cage is fuming after the way the match ends, grabbing the belt from referee Johnny Bravo. Cage debates what to do before throwing the belt at Impact and storming off. Seems to be a theme around here…Impact slowly makes his way back up as Taya makes her way out to the ring. Fans are booing and I saw a couple water bottles chucked, but the final thing we see are Impact and Valkyrie celebrating their wins and titles…right as I type that Killer Kross jumps Impact. Valkyrie tries to defend Impact and Kross powerbombs her off the ramp into the crowd onto black shirt security (hey, a throwback) and Killer Kross celebrates as the last thing we actually see.
Match #1: ‘Ultimate X’ for the vacant X Division title- Rich Swann wins 4 way by grabbing X Division title @ 14:01 in a match that also included Ethan Page, Jake Crist and Trey Miguel (GOOD)
Match #2: Allie/Su Yung def. Jordynne Grace/Kiera Hogan, referee stoppage when Allie has Mandible Claw on Hogan @ 8:52 (AVERAGE)
Match #3: Falls Count Anywhere- Eddie Edwards pins Moose, double-arm DDT @ 13:20 (GOOD)
Match #4: Sami Callihan pins Willie Mack, piledriver @ 10:20 (VERY GOOD)
Match #5: Monster’s Ball- Eli Drake pins Abyss, series of paddle shots to head @ 12:12 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #6: Impact Tag Team titles- LAX (Ortiz/Santana) © defeat Lucha Brothers, Santana pins Fenix after a double team facebuster @ 11:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Impact Knockouts title- Taya Valkyrie pins Tessa Blanchard ©, Road to Valhalla after Eat Defeat @ 10:41 to win the title (AVERAGE)
Match #8: Impact Heavyweight title- Johnny Impact © pins Brian Cage, quasi avalanche powerbomb @ 19:12 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Another Impact PPV, another banger of a show to me. Was it to the level of Slammiversary or Bound for Glory? No. But to expect that on a consistent basis is to set yourself up for disappointment. There are two really good matches that are well worth your time (Sami-Willie and the tag titles) and two others that are almost to that level (Ultimate X and Eddie-Moose). That’s half the PPV at GOOD to VERY GOOD or above. You can’t argue quality like that.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Whoever made the decision to let the Lucha Brothers and LAX go out there and just bust ass. The match itself, officially. But honorable mention to that guy (probably Scott D’Amore). You da real MVP.
Worst match/moment: Dark Allie and Su Yung vs. Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan. Wasn’t a bad match but was the worst thing on the show. The booking in the main event is the runner up.
MVP: They call him ‘The Draw’ for a reason. When I saw that Sami Callihan was facing Willie Mack, I was disappointed. I like Willie but Sami has been the best thing in Impact for close to a year now. The match itself was a ton of fun though.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
The next time I come at you guys with a review will be when I cover “All In” right before the ‘Double or Nothing’ offering from AEW. After that, my next review that comes to you guys will be PROGRESS Chapter 5, “For Those About to Fight”. Hopefully, I’ll get some more shows into the archive for you guys as well. I would also hope that you guys will check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down the important news and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network.
Chairshot Classics: Impact Wrestling United We Stand 2019
With Rebellion on the horizon, Harry brings us Impact’s WrestleMania week show! Is it time to start buying in to the company again?
With Rebellion on the horizon, Harry brings us Impact’s WrestleMania week show! Is it time to start buying in to the company again?
Hello everyone and welcome back to ‘What I Watched’, now under the ‘Chairshot Classics’ banner. This will be the eighth review here for me. PROGRESS Chapters 1-4 as well as Slammiversary and Bound for Glory 2018 from Impact Wrestling are already posted on the site and are available in my archive, which you can reach by clicking my name at the top of this article. To update everyone on future plans for ‘What I Watched’, Chapter 5 of PROGRESS is currently in the queue. I’ll be getting to Chapter 6 soon to help keep those rolling. In addition, there are definite plans to get to both CHIKARA and AAW in the future here on the reviews as well. We’ve also tossed around the idea of getting Club WWN, which could lead to reviews of companies such as EVOLVE and SHINE down the road. I have yet to review the ‘Homecoming’ pay-per-view for Impact from January of 2019, but the plan for that remains that it’ll be done once we get closer to ‘Rebellion’ later in the month of April.
That brings us to why we’re here today. Impact Wrestling finally decided that as a wrestling company, they should probably be involved in the biggest weekend of the wrestling calendar year. That of course being WrestleMania weekend. This will be there contribution to the festivities that took place. The main event is Rob Van Dam and Sabu returning to Impact to face the current Impact tag team champions of the Lucha Brothers, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix. In addition we have ‘Ultimate X’ announced, Tessa Blanchard takes on Joey Ryan and much more I’m sure. With that said, it’s into the slightly back machine, as we head to April 4th, 2019 as ‘What I Watched’ presents Impact Wrestling’s ‘United We Stand’.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
Impact Wrestling: ‘United We Stand’
From: Rahway Rec Center in Rahway, New Jersey
Date: April 4th, 2019
Run Time: 2:31:00 (Fite TV)
Total Run Time: 3:08:15
*GENERAL NOTES: The setup actually looks pretty cool. Rahway Rec is a pretty good building for wrestling. ROH has run here before and if memory serves, it was the home of a company called JAPW (Jersey All Pro Wrestling), which long time independent wrestling fans should know. Building is pretty full as well. I wouldn’t call it a sellout or anything, but it’s definitely not as empty as some of the old Impact shows could be.
*There was a pre-show on Twitch. Honestly, if you don’t watch it, you don’t miss much. One of the referees commandeers what looks to be a GoPro and goes around showing various people. Otherwise, there doesn’t appear to be much of significance, at least until we actually get a pre-show match…
*Match #1: (Pre-Show) WrestlePro Tag Titles: New Heavenly Bodies (Desirable Dustin/Gigolo Justin) vs. KM/Fallah Bahh vs. Team Espana (Jos A/Jos B) ©
The Who: This is sadly going to come off uncultured here, but I can’t say I’m super familiar with any of the six. Desirable Dustin and Gigolo Justin are doing the old Jimmy Del Rey and Tom Prichard deal from Smoky Mountain which later moved into the WWF in 1994. They were apparently known as Dustin and Justin Corino before they became the new Heavenly Bodies. I can not confirm any ties to Steve Corino however. Team Espana (pronounced ‘Hose A’ and ‘Hose B’ respectively) are the WrestlePro Tag champs and it comes off to me as a Hispanic soccer stereotype gimmick. KM and Fallah Bahh are the team I am most familiar with here. I’ve seen them in bits and pieces when I did watch the Impact TV show on Pop, but in the two PPVs I’ve covered here on the Chairshot, neither has appeared thus far.
The Why: It’s a pre-show match to get the fans hyped up before the show went live on Fite TV.
The Match: Let’s see if these six can impress me in my first time seeing this. Plus, this is a match that had the chance to secure a couple last minute buys for the show on Fite, so we’ll see if they put their best foot forward…opening bell here…KM calls the GoPro holder ‘Kid Ref’ (Kris Levin) and has to at the last second censor calling him ‘baby dick’. Oops…Fallah does move well for a heavyweight…wouldn’t that double splash that KM and Fallah do hurt Fallah more then the opponent?…watching this move through a GoPro makes you really appreciate the hard work that the camera crews do…KM chops the bejesus out of Jos B. One way to tag someone into a match, I suppose…hey! No New Age Outlaw finishes!…Black Hole Slam by Fallah. Abyss just left, man…the teamwork for the NHB is impressive. They don’t stand out on personality, but the ring work is not bad…Rocket Launcher by the NHB. I always appreciate the classics…moonsault attempt off the second rope by Jos B almost nails referee Brandon Toll. Yeah, that could have been very bad…KM gets a tag late and goes to town on all four opponents. Some of it more realistic then others. A comedy steamroller spot sets up the big man Bahh going Lucha with a tope to take down the other four on the floor. Jos A gets rolled back in and KM greets him with the ‘Ego Driver’ (powerbomb into a backcracker a la ‘Project Ciampa’) and that gets the three count at 9:58…Much better then I personally expected it to be. KM and Fallah have become quite the team, even if they don’t always get the opportunity to show it. For as generic as the gimmick is, Team Espana held their own here. I was honestly the most impressed by the teamwork of the New Heavenly Bodies. I seem to recall them being on Impact before and I do think they would make for a strong addition to the tag division on a permanent basis for the company. All told, given my expectations and the performances, I’m going with a GOOD rating here. Well played, boys. (GOOD)
*Cold Open is here and it’s not bad, but it’s nothing blow away either. As I said above, I do like the setup for the show and it looks like we’ll open with ‘Ultimate X’ for a future title match against the X Division champion.
*Match #2: ‘Ultimate X’ for future X Division Title match- Jake Crist vs. Dante (AR) Fox vs. Pat Buck vs. Ace Austin (replacing Jack Evans) vs. Johnny Impact
The Who: Jake Crist is one half of the Crist brothers alongside Dave. They are currently members of oVe (Ohio Versus Everything) which is led by Sami Callihan. They also previously made up the tag team known as Irish Airborne. Dante (AR) Fox has made waves across the US independent scene in companies such as CZW and DG-USA. He’s coming off his first major national exposure in Lucha Underground and would make an excellent (IMO) addition to Impact. Pat Buck: yeah, I can’t help you guys here. Apparently a star for WrestlePro (who runs at the building they are running in. Upon a bit of research, he also owns WrestlePro. Which makes this make a lot more sense. Ace Austin has been on Impact a bit recently. I’ve not seen much of him, but what I have seen has been impressive. That being said, he hardly seems like a fair replacement for one of the best high flyers in wrestling in Jack Evans. Johnny Impact is the current Impact Wrestling Heavyweight champion, having beaten Austin Aries for that title at Bound for Glory in 2018 (review available in archive). Johnny recently turned heel on an episode of Impact and decided that he didn’t wish to be a part of Team Impact later in the show, thus he put himself into this match instead.
The Why: In addition to putting one of the biggest spectacle matches Impact has on a major scale, Impact is also using this match as a way to crown a ‘Money in the Bank’ style eventual challenger for the X Division title down the road.
The Match: Kotto Brazil of MLW was also advertised for this match but ended up not being here for it. Tried to look into this, but couldn’t find anything of relevance to share here…opening bell goes here…near miss sequence to open leads to everyone down but Impact. Cute but a little gimmicky…Impact and Fox renewing acquaintances reminds me how much I miss Lucha Underground…camera crew misses a pair of dives during the dive sequence that almost always happens in X Division matches. Not sure if that’s on the boys or on production, but it shouldn’t happen…good thing I don’t do play by play anymore. A lot of stuff going on early here…hiptoss on the apron to Ace Austin. Why?…and the audio issues hit again in full force as the chase to the X begins. You are literally a television company, Anthem. The fuck, guys?…Austin reaches out and gets the ‘X’. Buck grabs him and tries to pull Ace down. Austin loses his grip and ends up landing square on the side of his face. Yee-ouch…nice looking superplex there by Jake…and now it’s every indie match ever with the Tower of Doom spot…splash mountain bomb (Razor’s Edge) lift into a urinage by Johnny Impact. Alright, that was new…match of the powerbomb. That was like the fourth or fifth one already…imploding shooting star plancha by Dante Fox. I see you, Dante. Get that contract…and that was just fucking stupid, Ace. I hope he’s okay…thankfully, it looks like he is….Jake and Pat recreate the Edge-Jeff TLC spear spot. Not bad but not quite as impressive with the height difference…the Crist and Austin cutter off the cables looks a lot cooler. Ace is clearing showing the most of the men in this match…and mere seconds after I write that, Impact grabs the ‘X’ to win the match @ 13:03…Lots of effort from all five guys here, all of whom bumped their asses off to sell the danger of the match. Not much of a story but in a car crash such as this, there doesn’t really have to be. A special shout out to Ace Austin, who as I mentioned above impressed me the most. (GOOD)
*Backstage: Eddie Edwards, Moose and Brian Cage discuss the upcoming Impact vs. LU match. I’d tell you what I think, but the sound went out during it so I couldn’t hear anything anyone was saying…
*Match #3: Team Lucha Underground (Aerostar/Daga/Drago/Marty ‘the Moth’ Martinez) vs. Team Impact Wrestling (Brian Cage/Eddie Edwards/Moose/Tommy Dreamer)
The Who: Team Lucha Underground has several people most will be familiar with. Daga has appeared in Impact before but I don’t believe he’s been used regularly in a while. Aerostar and Drago were two third of the Lucha Underground Trios champions at one point with I want to say Fenix. Marty Martinez, known as Martin Causas on the Tough Enough re-launch a few years back, really came into his own as a singles competitor on Lucha Underground. He’s someone I genuinely hope Impact gives a shot, much more then any of the rest of the team (okay, Drago’s pretty cool too). Team Impact has people you’ll know from my previous reviews. Cage is the current number one contender, scheduled to face Johnny Impact for the title at Rebellion. Eddie Edwards on TV is currently teaming with Eli Drake (who recently got himself fired for comments made during an interview). Moose is kind of in limbo but he’s grown on me quite a bit over the years. Tommy Dreamer…well if you don’t know who Tommy is by now, I can’t help you.
The Why: Much the same way they did last year before WrestleMania, Impact and Lucha Underground are facing each other here. I wouldn’t mind if this became an ongoing theme on the Impact TV show as well since Lucha Underground is probably not getting a season five.
The Match: It was originally played up as a four on three advantage to Team L.U. since Johnny Impact decided he was out. He is replaced with Tommy Dreamer, as you saw above…opening bell goes here…I like Tommy more then most, but he should not be a regular wrestler in 2019. For the sake of this show and it’s location, it at least makes some sense here…fun exchange by Edwards and Aerostar to get us going. Matthews (for as much crap as I’ve given him in the past) is really good at putting over Edwards’ credentials…Martinez is definitely more sizzle then steak, but sizzle is something I think Impact could use more off…Cage battles Daga and I’m guessing these two are really familiar. It sure flows like they are…Cage busts out the Cesaro apron superplex on Drago to the floor onto everyone…that was fucking gross, Eddie. I’m with Don here…we’ve already seem some of the old Lucha Underground elements sneaking into Impact. I would not mind a full on roster vs. roster invasion battle playing out on Impact TV…don’t care for Daga and Drago’s double-team work. Comes off really clunky. Aerostar and Drago work much better together…add the diamond cutter to the superkick and enzugiri on my list of most spammed indie moves…and Moose lays out Cage with a spear, one assumes to set himself up as a title contender should Cage beat Impact at Rebellion…match breaks down with in-fighting from the Impact team. Tommy cracks Moose with Kenny the Kendo Stick after the spear and Edwards dives onto Moose once Moose goes to the floor. In the ring, it leaves Dreamer open to a butterfly implant DDT from Martinez and that’s a three count at 10:22…solid but not great. Effective for the finishing angle but leaves the rest of the match feeling inconsequential as a result. I like Marty, but not sure this is enough to get him a spot with Impact. Call the match itself ABOVE AVERAGE, which has to be a disappointment given the talent involved. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Taya Valkyrie promo…yeah, I’m still not sold on her. I know she’s a big deal in Mexico, but I feel there are better performers in Impact to carry the crown.
*Match #4: Impact Knockouts Title: Taya Valkyrie © vs. Rosemary vs. Katie Forbes vs. Jordynne Grace
The Who: Taya Valkyrie is Mrs. Johnny Impact and the current champion, having won the title from Tessa Blanchard back at Homecoming (sumbitch). While I’m may not be sold, I will say that she does carry herself like a star. I’m sure there are other factors at play in terms of her elevated status, she portrays herself as the biggest deal in this match. Rosemary has recently returned from an injury and lost her best friend in Impact when Allie got killed off by Su Yung and the Undead Brides. Katie Forbes is making her Impact debut, one assumes because of the relationship with Rob Van Dam (who returns to the company himself later). Her ring entrance does proceed to set the women’s revolution back about a decade and a half. Jordynne Grace has really been a breakout star in Impact over the last six months or so. I think she has a new hair style here and it looks good on her. A much more dignified entrance too.
The Why: It’s for the Knockouts title. Pretty self explanatory for this one.
The Match: Production issues in full force for Rosemary’s entrance. You can’t hear a word Josh or Don are saying because of how cranked up the music is. I like Rosemary’s music but some may not be as forgiving…opening bell goes here…Rosemary gets sent to the floor and it sets up a triple knuckle-lock eventually leading to a series of roll-ups. I do like that they incorporate more then two into the opening sequence…running hip attack square to the jaw followed by a double knees in the corner. Forbes literally taking it on the chin in this match…Rosemary is by far the best character in this match. Certainly the best developed of the four. I’d say that Jordynne and Taya are both better workers, though…Forbes looks clunky in the ring. But I don’t think she’s been active that long. A quick Google search tells me three years, which really doesn’t surprise me. Her timing and fluidity is not even close to the level of the other three…car crash spot puts all four down. It looked good though…the ‘Upside Down’ by Rosemary. Touch on the nose with the name there but it looks visually impressive. Reminds me of Candice Michelle’s old rope choke…Forbes goes for a double Samoan Drop but loses Rosemary. So Grace missile dropkicks Forbes into a Samoan on Taya. Good save…looks like Rosemary has put on a little weight during her downtime. I’m sure it’s a factor of not being back in the ring regularly…Su Yung shows up and it draws Rosemary’s attention, leading to them brawling (somewhat poorly) to the back. Forbes lifts Grace up onto her shoulders and proceeds to squat with her. That seems a bit gimmick infringing there, Katie…not sure what Katie is going for but Grace escapes and plants her with a Grace Driver (Matt Sydal’s old Here It Is Driver). That would be a three count for Jordynne but Valkyrie tags with a single foot dropkick to the mush and takes the pin herself at 9:00…had it’s moments but the result was never in doubt with the TV already taped and the Knockouts title match for Rebellion of Taya vs. Grace already being set. Unsurprisingly, Forbes eats the pinfall which protects everyone else. The story to tell coming out of this though is that Grace had the match won with the Grace Driver until Taya stole the pin. AVERAGE match but a good finishing sequence helps. (AVERAGE)
*Tessa Blanchard promo: Tessa comes off like the biggest star in the division hands down and I think you could make the argument for the biggest star in the company. Seamlessly transitions from talking about want her title back to how she’ll make sure Gail Kim gets what’s coming to her at Rebellion to making Joey Ryan famous for being Tessa Blanchard’s bitch tonight. Very well done.
*Hype video here for the LAX vs. Ricky Martinez and LowKi match. LowKi’s voice sounds so dignified. It’s really too bad that the guy behind the voice is such a massive asshole.
*Match #5: LAX (Santana and Ortiz) vs. Promociones Dorado (Golden Promotions) (LowKi and Ricky Martinez)
The Who: LAX has been arguably the best thing going on Impact since I started reviewing these show. The ‘5150 Street Fight’ at Slammiversary and the ‘Concrete Jungle’ match at Bound for Glory were both amazing performances for Santana and Ortiz. Promociones Dorado, I don’t as much about since I don’t really watch MLW. Ricky Martinez is a new name for me. Can’t say I know much about him other then he was on an episode of 205 Live a while back in a losing effort to Lio Rush. LowKi is someone who has been everywhere. WWE, ROH, TNA, New Japan, Zero-1. You name it, he’s probably worked for them before.
The Why: There’s a bit of history between LowKi and LAX, which is addressed in the hype video that airs before this match. Ricky Martinez and LowKi came together in MLW to form the Promociones Dorado team and in this instance, that gives a challenge to the former multiple time Impact Tag Team champions.
The Match: Instrumental version of ‘The Truth’ by Beanie Sigel brings out LowKi and Martinez. Quasi shout out to another one of LowKi’s former tag team partners in Homicide, with whom LowKi formed the Strong Style Thugs…if the tag title match for Rebellion wasn’t already set, I’d be more expecting of a LAX loss here. Now, I don’t see it…I question why LowKi thought the Irwin R Schyster school of ring gear was a good decision. Yes, I get the whole ‘Hitman 47’ character but still seems like it would be a pain in the ass to wrestle in…opening bell goes here…Josh kissing corporate ass by talking about the Impact and MLW relationship. Don Callis takes the chance to put over “Joey Ryan’s Penis Party” (things I’d never thought I’d type)…took almost two full minutes for the first physical interaction. Crowd’s invested though…LowKi is still so sudden almost two decades in. I’ve never doubted his in ring ability. His attitude sucks most of the time though…cross armed northern lights suplex by Ortiz. That’s a new one for me…double team wheelbarrow X-Factor by LAX. I’d say they are top three in the world in terms of their tag work. Them, the Young Bucks and the Revival for me…and now a little double teamwork from Martinez and Ki. Kitchen sink knee lift into a basement dropkick…Martinez busts out the skullfucker. Throwback to an old X Division rival of LowKi’s in Alex Shelley…corner kangaroo kick by LowKi. Almost a tip-up version of the Warrior’s Way/Ghetto Stomp (take your pick)…one way to get into a hot tag, I suppose…Ortiz just clocks LowKi with a missile dropkick. That looked super snug…action is way too fast here to call it all. Another LAX double team (superkick assisted Tower of London) gets broken up by a Swanton from LowKi…Doomsday gamengiri by Promociones. Good looking move. A clean kickout by Ortiz tells me it’s not their finisher though…Santana sends LowKi face first into the post. In the ring, Ortiz counters Martinez and lifts him up into a Death Valley Driver, which is enough for the three count at 12:39…GOOD but the anti-climatic nature of the finish hurts it from going any higher. When you get double team after double team during the course of the match, you come to have a certain expectation for finishing sequence. Especially when LAX has one of the best double team finishes in pro wrestling with the ‘Street Sweeper’. Match was strong up to that point though despite the slow start, so I can’t knock it too bad overall. I wouldn’t be against more of LowKi and Ricky as a team in Impact but we’ll have to see there. (GOOD)
*Sami Callihan promo: the cult leader type persona that Callihan has with oVe fits him so well. He’s one of the better promo guys on the indies. I’m actually really looking forward to the Monster’s Ball match a little later on the show…
*Match #6: Tessa Blanchard vs. Joey Ryan
The Who: Tessa Blanchard is in my opinion one of the five best women’s wrestlers in the United States currently. She is the complete package as she can talk, she has a presence about her, she’s a strong worker and she has the ability to get a crowd to react to her. Joey Ryan is a bit of a mixed bag. While I think Joey is a competent wrestler, his current persona does absolutely nothing for me.
The Why: I can truthfully say I have no clue.
The Match: So, I’m coming into this match with a bad bias and I’ll be the first to admit such. Having seen as much PWG as I have, I’m very well aware of what a focused Joey Ryan is capable of. His current shtick (and it’s a lot of shtick) does nothing for me. I don’t really have an interest in this match because with Tessa having the match with Gail Kim coming up, any efforts that Impact may have put into making Tessa a viable threat to Gail will be damaged by the shenanigans that will occur here…then again, Joey’s selling a shit ton of merch, so what do I know?…Callis pops Josh (and myself) by approving of Joey’s Speedo…that blow pop spot with the fan. Pretty sure that’s how you get herpes…the ‘you sick fuck’ chant towards the fan is well deserved. Couldn’t pay me enough to do that…opening bell goes here…and Joey tries to go with the ‘touch it’ penis spot early. Tessa naturally responds the national bird of the USA, the middle one…Callis keeping popping Josh on commentary. He used to do that all the time to Joey Styles in ECW and Kevin Kelly in New Japan. I don’t think Don gets nearly enough credit for how good he is at the comic relief aspect of his color commentary duties…corner trap chestblower by Tessa looks really good…see, that’s the Joey Ryan I know. The ‘Technical Lizard’ Joey Ryan. For all the sizzle he currently uses, there’s a lot of steak there. He just doesn’t show it enough…top rope senton and a beauty by Tessa…pumphandle suplex by Ryan just launches Tessa in retaliation…Blanchard is so smooth in the ring. It’s too bad her attitude is what it is because could easily be the biggest star in women’s wrestling if it wasn’t…Callis is at least making the Ryan shenanigans more entertaining then usual…match is making Tessa look resilient at least…Ryan goes for a superplex. Tessa fights it off and tries a tornado DDT which Ryan counters by putting Tessa back on the top rope. A palm strike to the boob (I think, bad camera angle) sets up another try at the superplex. Tessa knocks Ryan back into the ring and then comes flying in with ‘Magnum’ (she’ll be sponsored by Trojan soon) which gets the three count at 10:46…better then I expected but not what it could have been due to the antics involved. Tessa came out of this looking much better then I feared she would and Joey kept it to a greatest hits of the sleaze department while still working a reasonable match. I’ll call it AVERAGE+, which is as good as possible given the circumstances. (AVERAGE+)
*Quick plug for the Rebellion PPV and the impending title match between Johnny Impact and Brian Cage. I believe (if memory serves) they went one on one at Homecoming as well. That’ll be my next review here on the site to get everyone ready for the Rebellion show on April 28th.
*Match #7: X Division Title Match: Rich Swann © vs. Flamita (representing AAA)
The Who: Rich Swann is the defending champion here and has re-established himself as one of the better Jr. Heavyweight workers in the world since he arrived in Impact in June of last year. Flamita is someone I know almost nothing about. I don’t watch a ton of legitimate Lucha Libre so Triple A isn’t on my view list. Upon some research, I find out he’s 24 with about a decade of experience, having debuted at the age of just fifteen in his native Mexico. He’s also worked with Dragon Gate in Japan and is a former Tag Team and Jr. Heavyweight champion there.
The Why: For Swann’s X division title. This is actually a replacement match as Rich Swann was originally supposed to defend the title against Dragon Gate’s YAMATO.
The Match: Little disappointed that we aren’t getting YAMATO here, but I’ve heard good things about Flamita…opening bell sends us on our way…amazing athleticism in this match early. These are the kind of matches the X Division was based around back when TNA started in 2002…once we go back to the ring after Swann’s dive, pace is a lot slower though…Flamita comes out with a tope of his own. I think Swann was fancier but Flamita’s was smoother…tiger bomb into a lungblower by Flamita. The innovation on this show in general has been quite impressive…Swann with a Buzzsaw kick, ala Tajiri. Wonder what he’s up to these days. Last we saw him was briefly in NXT…Flamita reminds me of 2 Cold Scorpio in the way he strings high impact offense. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not…breaks down in a strike exchange. Not what you’d expect from these two…the Tyler Bate style fake out by Flamita was nice. It was immediately undone by a Rich Swann handspring ace crusher, but still appreciated…leap of faith (Jigsaw from CHIKARA style) frankensteiner by Swann pulls Flamita from the buckle. Once Flamita is down, Swann goes up to the second rope, where a Phoenix Splash (impressive from the second as far as timing goes) equals a three count at 7:46…I get that it was super late by this time and I’m guessing the building had a curfew. That being said, that is just tragically short given what these guys are probably capable of doing with another four or five minutes. What we did get was entertaining, but ultimately the brevity holds it back from being anything super memorable. Call it GOOD but a little disappointing given what it could have been capable of. (GOOD)
*Van Dam and Sabu promo: Van Dam does most of the talking, which really isn’t a surprise. Hearing Sabu actually talk is still something I’m not sure I can wrap my head around…it’s not that I dislike Van Dam and Sabu because I don’t. A match like this shows that Impact still hasn’t quite gotten that they need to focus on their own talent rather then relying on stars of the past. That has always been TNA’s mistake in the past and it seems like those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it…
*Match #8: ‘Monster’s Ball’: Jimmy Havoc vs. Sami Callihan
The Who: Jimmy Havoc has been a focal point of my PROGRESS reviews, so I’m quite familiar with him. There’s actually a lot of similar between he and Sami . Both are kind of death match hybrid wrestlers in that they can work basically anything style without being too far out of their element. Sami Callihan is the bigger deal in Impact since Jimmy rarely comes over to the US. Callihan was involved in my pick for the 2018 Impact match of the year as well with his brutal war with Pentagon Jr. back at Slammiversary in the ‘Mask vs. Hair’ match.
The Why: Well, frankly, because why not? I don’t think there was anything specific that set this match up but it should be good all the same.
The Match: No music for Jimmy that I can hear. Either it’s muted on the feed or someone at the venue screwed up. Either are likely, truthfully…and Callihan assaults Don with his hat. What is with wrestlers picking on announcers these days…opening bell goes here…Callis laments being the poor official in this contest and I couldn’t agree more…thumbs up by Sami is countered with Jimmy figuring out the national bird of the US as well followed by a short right that gets us going…staple gun to the vest. Sounds good but probably not very painful. The follow up one to the balls is most likely a little more effective…crowd chants ‘you sick fuck’. Josh wonders if they are talking to Callihan or Havoc. In unison, Callis and I say both…Sami lawn darts a chair at Jimmy and Jimmy comes up bleeding…chain in the mouth choke. That checks…fake out by Jimmy leads to a chop to the back. What a jerk!…that trash can almost went into the crowd like it was a ladder at an ROH show…not sure what the hell happened there, the camera missed it…running eye poke by Jimmy. Effective, I suppose…Cactus Driver on the apron and he stuck him with it. Dangerous as all hell spot but very visually appealing…sunset flip attempt is countered with a stapler. Well, of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be?…and Sami kicks Jimmy clean in the dingus…ECW staple of the frying pan gets introduced. Using it to the back doesn’t sound as good as the head shots did, but probably safer…lemon juice in the cut. I’m gonna be sick…baseball swing with the trash can by Havoc…paper cuts are now a weapon. Those damn things hurt…Sami needs a shower…as if lemon juice wasn’t enough, now its time for salt…he’s biting the bare foot. Now I really am going to be sick. I don’t do feet stuff…death valley driver into the trash can…colorful building blocks…piledriver onto said building blocks gets a one count. DISREPECTFUL!…Sami grabs the baseball bat and smacks Jimmy in the side of the face with it. A pair of chairs get set up facing each other and Callihan delivers a piledriver onto the standing chairs. That’s your three count at 13:50…not as bloody as the old Abyss ‘Monster’s Ball’ matches used to be but I’d say that’s a good thing. Some innovative spots here and there but ultimately not nearly what these two are capable of. As a death match, I’ve seen both of these guys involved in far more gruesome matches. For the needs of this show though, it worked. The fans were invested, the guys busted their butts to give the fans their money’s worth and all in all, its not a bad way to spend about fourteen minutes. Call it a GOOD rating, but know they are capable of much worse if you are into that kind of thing. (GOOD)
*We recap everything that has happened thus far. Josh then plugs the Rebellion PPV and we see the same hype video we saw earlier promoting the Cage and Impact title match. After that, it’s a hype package for the main event, which is next.
*Match #9: Lucha Brothers (Fenix/Pentagon Jr.) vs. Rob Van Dam/Sabu
The Who: Fenix and Pentagon Jr. are one of the hottest acts in the US independent scene right now. Both were incredibly successful during the Lucha Underground series and as such, have been catching promoter eyes all around the country. Rob Van Dam is a former multiple division champion in TNA who is just now making his return to the company. He’s also signed a deal that will keep him around for a while going forward. Sabu at one point was considered to be the best high flyer in the world. Father time has not been kind to him recently but he’s hoping to at least capture the magic one more time while teaming with former ECW Tag Team championship partner Van Dam.
The Why: Some would say it’s a dream match. Personally, I’m not one of those people but I am a fan of three of the four men in this match. Specifically Van Dam, who I’ve always said is either in my top five for favorite wrestlers or just outside of it (Jericho, Punk, Hero, Daniels and Quackenbush are the other usual suspects).
The Match: I appreciate everything Sabu has done for the sport of professional wrestling, but at some point you have to know when to let go. That time for come for him but he insists on sticking around. Hopefully, the rest of the guys in this match can help him make his way through…not sure why the Lucha Brothers entrance video went full screen as long as it did but it does look cool…Pentagon Jr. is someone who could easily be a main event player in Impact. I don’t know if I could say the same about Fenix though…Hulka Blues knock off is about a pretty good rip. It’s not quite to the level of Harry Slash and the Slashtones but it’s close…Sabu comes out with a woman who I’m not sure I’ve seen before. To the Google, I go…and Google is of no help. Maybe Josh will tell us her name…Van Dam has his old TNA theme song. Still doesn’t make a damn lick of sense. Van Dam is still in pretty good shape for his age. We’ll see if it translate in ring…production has to get better to justify the cost of these shows. Josh spends a good minute putting over Van Dam’s accolades and you can barely hear them over the music…Don almost calls Josh ‘Joey’. As in Styles. That’s just blasphemous, sir…opening bell here…Sabu does look to be in good shape here. Given that he was bedridden in a hospital recently, that’s a good thing I guess…once again, almost two minutes before the first physicality…breaks down into a brawl at ringside real quick…Van Dam almost brains Fenix with a leg lariat and clips Sabu with the kick as well…Van Dam doesn’t get anywhere close to any of Rolling Thunder. Sabu’s flipping legdrop did look good though…Van Dam makes up for it with a huge monkey flip on Fenix…rope springboard 360 kick by Fenix. That looked nice…Sabu just eats a double superkick…excellent double team work by the Lucha Brothers with the wheelbarrow splash…Josh plugs the Van Dam documentary called ‘Head Strong’. Gee, I wonder why…that is not a good looking table…alright, the old school double legdrop through the table does bring bit a nice bit of nostalgia…Van Dam looks for the Five-Star and eats chair from Pentagon Jr., which sends Van Dam spilling to the floor. A double kick puts Sabu down and once Sabu is grabbed up by Pentagon Jr., the double team Fear Factor (double stomp assisted package piledriver) spells the three count for a Lucha Brothers victory at 8:03…kept short for obvious reasons, but fun enough while it lasted. Van Dam and Sabu aren’t going to be able to put on the fifteen to twenty minute wars that they used to, so it made sense to use them for the name value to pop the crowd and to give your tag champions a big win. This match was too short to tell if Van Dam will add anything to the Impact roster, but I will give credit to Sabu who looked a lot better then I thought he would here. Call the match AVERAGE but that’s actually higher then what I anticipated. (AVERAGE)
*Show of sportsmanship mid-ring post match, as Josh hyperbolically states that it’s a night we’ll never forget. That is how we go off the air for United We Stand.
Match #1: WrestlePro Tag Titles- Fallah Bahh/KM defeated Team Espana © and the New Heavenly Bodies, KM pins Jos A with the ‘Ego Driver’ @ 9:58 (GOOD) (Pre-Show)
Match #2: Ultimate X for #1 Contendership to X Division title- Johnny Impact grabs ‘X’ to win match @ 13:03 (Match also involved: Ace Austin, Dante (AR) Fox, Jake Crist and Pat Buck) (GOOD)
Match #3: Team Lucha Underground (Aerostar/Daga/Drago/Marty Martinez) defeat Team Impact (Brian Cage/Eddie Edwards/Moose/Tommy Dreamer), Martinez pins Dreamer after a butterfly implant DDT @ 10:22 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Impact Wrestling Knockouts Title- Taya Valkyrie © wins 4 way, pinning Katie Forbes after stealing the pin from Jordynne Grace following the Grace Driver @ 9:00 (Match also involved: Rosemary) (AVERAGE)
Match #5: LAX (Santana/Ortiz) defeat Promociones Dorado (LowKi/Ricky Martinez), Ortiz pins Martinez after a Death Valley Driver @ 12:39 (GOOD)
Match #6: Tessa Blanchard pins Joey Ryan, ‘Magnum’ @ 10:46 (AVERAGE+)
Match #7: Impact X Division Title- Rich Swann © pins Flamita with a 2nd rope Phoenix Splash to retain @ 7:46 (GOOD)
Match #8: Monster’s Ball- Sami Callihan pins Jimmy Havoc with a piledriver through a pair of open chairs @ 13:50 (GOOD)
Match #9: Lucha Brothers (Fenix/Pentagon Jr.) defeat Rob Van Dam/Sabu, Pentagon Jr. pins Sabu after a springboard double assisted Fear Factor @ 8:03 (AVERAGE)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
It’s a mixed bag to me. There are things that are definitely worth your time to check out. ‘Ultimate X’ and ‘Monster’s Ball’ are both fun matches. But there’s some stuff that will leave you scratching your head as well. I get why they put Katie Forbes into the Knockouts title match but she definitely brought it down. Wasting Tessa Blanchard on Joey Ryan pisses me off. The eight man tag match basically turning into just a storyline development tool does no favors to any of the men in that match. It’s not all good, it’s not all bad. But there is quite a bit of both.
So where does this leave us? It leaves me getting ready to type the preview and introductions for Homecoming since that show is just five days away at the time I finish this (see, I can math Andrew). It leaves you guys hopefully continuing to check these reviews out here on the Chairshot. Finally, it leaves me on my way to the fridge to get something to drink. Not hungry yet but I will be by the time I get Homecoming started, I’m sure.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: I’m going to go with ‘Ultimate X’ here and specifically Ace Austin’s performance therein.
Worst match/moment: The whole Joey Ryan and Tessa Blanchard debacle. I don’t put that on the performers though. I blame the match making committee for this one.
MVP: Don Callis for being super entertaining throughout the show. No one individual effort stood out to me so I’ll give it to Don.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10
My next review that isn’t with PROGRESS will be Impact Wrestling’s Homecoming 2019 to get everyone ready for Rebellion. In addition, check out PROGRESS Chapter 4, which is available now in the archives. Chapter 5 should be out soon and once I finish Homecoming, I’ll begin work on Chapter 6. I would also hope that you guys will check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down the important news and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network.