By Jason Powell
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in February in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
[Q1] After the Impact Wrestling opening aired, they cut rut to the ring and the opening match got underway… The broadcast team was Jeremy Borash, Josh Mathews, and “Pope” D’Angelo Dinero…
1. Eli Drake (w/Tyrus) vs. Caleb Konley. Drake got an early two count off a suplex. Borash called the match and Dinero provided color commentary while Mathews chimed in with heelish comments. Mathews said Konley reminds him of someone, but he can’t quite put his finger on it (Suicide). Konley came back with a nice uranage for a two count. Drake caught Konley on the ropes and superplexed him. Drake followed up with his finisher for the win…
Eli Drake beat Caleb Konley in 4:15.
Powell’s POV: It was nice to see a pro wrestling show actually open with a pro wrestling match rather than a long talking segment. I’d like to see them take it one step further by hyping a particular match a week out and all week long on social media as opening the show. This match was fine, but completely random in that there’s no history between the two.
At ringside, Mathews echoed my comments from above when he spoke about opening a wrestling show with a wrestling match. Borash and Mathews bickered. Mathews said his wife knows more than Borash does about what happens inside the ring. Borash, who could be heard by the live crowd, said this might be the night he knocks Mathews out. They continued to bicker.
Bruce Prichard came out and told them to get in the ring now. Borash told Prichard he had all the respect for him in the world, but you can’t compare Mathews to Jim Ross or even Bob Ross. Mathews told Prichard that he’s sorry he said he wished he was dead. “We are sick of it,” Prichard said. He said they both think they are the best and know everything there is to know. Prichard said it was time to find out.
Prichard said Borash would pick a team and Mathews would pick a team and then their two teams would meet next week. “Once and for all, we’ll find out who really knows what the hell they are talking about,” Prichard said. Borash said that in order to pick four people, Mathews would have to have four friends in the company. Prichard ordered them to shake hands. They complied and had a staredown and took turns pulling one another close… [C]
Powell’s POV: So this is finally going somewhere. There was no mention of the loser leaving the broadcast team, but perhaps that will be added. There’s still no explanation for what role Prichard plays. It’s been established that he’s an authority figure, but does he rank higher or lower than Karen Jarrett or Dutch Mantell? The whole thing is pretty odd and I hope they clear it up at the next set of tapings.
[Q2] Davey Richards and Angelina Love were shown arriving at the building earlier in the day. They stopped and made out in front of the camera…
2. Knockouts Gauntlet Battle Royal to become No. 1 contender to the Knockouts Championship. Ava Storie and Madison Rayne started the match. Mathews stood up and applauded for his wife Rayne. Borash noted that Jay Lethal trained Storie. Rebel was the third entrant. Borash noted that the final two women in the match will work toward a pinfall or a submission in order to win the match. Amanda Rodriguez was the fourth entrant.
The fifth entrant was MJ Jenkins, who performed a springboard dropkick on Rodriguez to enter the match. She knocked down Rebel in a comically awkward moment. The sixth entrant was Diamante of LAX. ODB was the seventh entrant. There was an awkward moment as Storie wound up to punch ODB and then waited for ODB to punch her. ODB eliminated Storie at 6:20 for the first elimination.
Brandi Rhodes was the eighth and final entrant. Diamante was eliminated by Rhodes. Jenkins eliminated Rebel (very safely, perhaps because Rebel was previously injured in a battle royal). Jenkins was eliminated by ODB and Brandi. Moments later, Madison eliminated Brandi. The match came down to ODB and Madison with Rayne playing the heel role by mocking ODB and raking her eyes. ODB hit the TKO and scored the pin to win the match…
ODB won a gauntlet battle royal in 9:45 to become the number one contender to the Knockouts Championship.
Eddie Edwards was shown arriving backstage… [C]
Powell’s POV: You can’t tell the Knockouts without a program at this point. This was an odd way to introduce the some of the new faces. It’s fine if they are just bodies and the company doesn’t have any real plans for them, but quite strange otherwise. This wasn’t pretty in terms of the ring work and there wasn’t much to the match that started once it was down to the final two. All of that said, the match held my interest due to all of the new faces.
[Q3] James Storm made his entrance while Borash hyped Slammiversary for July 2. Mathews said he won the coin toss and would have the first pick when he and Borash pick their teams later in the show. Storm told viewers not to adjust their sets, he said the Cowboy was back (noting the change from his DCC demeanor). Storm said he saw his son at home wearing one of his cowboy hats. Storm said he asked what he was doing. He said his son told him that he was him. Storm said he is the Cowboy and he’s proud of it.
Storm said the highest rated edition of Impact was when he won the championship. He said he’s going to do whatever it takes to get win it again. He was about to wrap up the promo when the DCC music interrupted him. Bram and Kingston headed to the ring dressed in their DCC attire. Kingston told them to cut the hillbilly music. Kingston called Storm a liar.
Kingston said Storm told him to wear the mask. He dropped it on the mat and stomped on it. He said Storm told him to wear the jacket. Kingston said he doesn’t care about Storm’s bastard son. “You are nothing more than a carny liar,” Kingston said. Storm recalled Kingston out back begging for a job and that’s when he brought him in. Storm said he bought the suits and they had an agreement that they would win the tag titles and he would win the world title. Storm said it went off point somewhere, but he’s still on point because he wants to be the champion.
Kingston took offense to Storm touching him and told him if he did it again he would drop him where he stands. Kingston said Storm became a selfish little bitch again just like people said he would. Storm mocked Kingston for stomping the plastic mask, saying it took a real man to do that. He said he was looking for real men when he put the group together and he could have found bitches on Tinder.
Kingston spat in the face of Storm, who responded with a Last Call superkick. Bram was about to hit Storm with a chair, but he stopped. Bram lowered the chair. Storm offered him a handshake. Bram swung the chair at Storm, who ducked and then superkicked Bram. Storm told them that he is the Cowboy and closed with the sorry about your damn luck line… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good segment with Kingston showing good fire and mic skills. Obviously, the segment was all about Storm, who is at his best as the babyface Cowboy character. Most importantly, the horrible DCC gimmick is finished. Here’s hoping creative comes up with something for Bram. For that matter, Kingston was good enough on the mic that he may have turned some heads backstage.
Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Andrew Everett, who said he had Trevor Lee beat last week and he knows it. He said Gregory Shane Helms was the problem. Helms and Lee showed up.
[Q4] Helms said that if Everett won a Triple Threat then he would possibly be a step closer to facing Lee… A video package focussed on Lee, Everett, and DJ Z…
3. Andrew Everett vs. Marshe Rockett vs. Suicide in a Triple Threat. Borash said he had some surprises for his team. Mathews said his was locked and loaded and none of those people liked Borash. Pope intervened and pointed out that the match was underway. Mathews told Borash he looked tan from being in Orlando and trying to get autographs “from all the superstars that were down there.”
Powell’s POV: Aren’t they supposed to be in Orlando now?
Suicide performed a trust fall onto both opponents off the apron. Rockett worked over Everett in the ring while Suicide sold at ringside briefly. Everett performed a springboard at Rockett, who caught him and powerslammed him. Suicide reentered the match with a springboard dropkick.
Later, Everett knocked Suicide off the apron with a kick and then performed a shooting star press onto Rockett for the win…
Andrew Everett defeated Marshe Rockett and Suicide in 6:25.
A graphic and the broadcast team hyped Richards vs. Edwards as coming up next… [C]
Powell’s POV: A solid match with the broadcast team dedicating most of the time teasing their draft picks. So if the idea is that Helms is making Everett jump through hoops to earn a title shot, does that mean he and Lee choose the challengers? I really hope creative explains things like this at the next tapings because it’s been hard to follow. Are we going to hear from Richards and Lee before their match or are they just going right to it?
[Q5] 4. Davey Richards (w/Angelina Love) vs. Eddie Edwards in a Last Man Standing match. Love came out with Richards and kissed him on the ramp. Edwards ran out and attacked Richards from behind to start the match. The wrestlers fought into the crowd. Back in the ring, Edwards powerbombed Richards onto two chairs at 4:55. Edwards went to ringside and grabbed another chair, which he slammed over the back of Richards.
At 6:15, Edwards stacked a little over a handful of chairs in the middle of the ring. Edwards went up top, but Richards tossed a ladder at him to slow him down. Richards delivered headbutts on Richards and then superplexed him onto the chairs in the ring. Richards got to his feet first and then stopped the referee from counting Edwards down. Eddie’s wife Alisha Edwards was shown in the front row. Love pulled out a chain and tossed it to Richards. [C]
[Q6] Richards choked Edwards with the chain and then told the referee to count. Richards sat in the corner and then Love climbed up behind him on the apron. Edwards got to his feet while his wife shouted encouragement from the front row. Edwards broke the count and then blocked a kick from Richards before hitting him with rapid fire chops in the corner. Richards charged at Edwards, who performed an overhead suplex in the corner.
Edwards put Richards’ head in a chair that was set up in the ring and then double stomped him off the top rope. Love ran in and hopped on the back of Edwards, which brought Alisha into the ring. Alisha took Love to ringside and threw punches at her and then took off her belt and whipped Love with it briefly. Love got the belt and choked Alisha.
In the ring, Richards slammed a chair into a chair that Edwards was winding up to use. Alisha was down at ringside. Love held Edwards while Richards wrapped the chain around his foot. Richards looked at Edwards and then looked at the crowd. Love stood up and put his hand on her chest and kissed him. “Do it for me,” Love said. Richards blasted Edwards with a kick with the chain on his boot and got the win… [C]
Davey Richards defeated Eddie Edwards in 23:15 in a Last Man Standing match.
Powell’s POV: A good match. This is what has been missing from some of the recent episodes of Impact Wrestling. I’m not sure why it didn’t close the show, but it was on in a key spot in terms of airing at the top of the second hour. This is the best thing we’ve seen from the current batch of tapings.
A vignette aired that featured George W Bush announcing war in 2003 (just minutes after reports came out tonight of the U.S. firing missiles at Syria). This led to a tease for “Veterans of War” who appear to be two wrestlers. One of them may have been Crimson, but it was hard to tell…
[Q7] A Jeremy Borash “Make Impact Great” video aired and he spoke about finding likeminded people to go to war with on behalf of the company. He said for those who never stopped believing in the company, thank you and we are one in the same…
Borash narrated highlights of LAX winning the tag titles last week. Footage aired from the LAX victory party that was held in Orlando. They played to fans in a ring and then were shown toasting their title win…
A graphic hyped Mathews and Borash picking their team. Borash hyped a former world champion that they haven’t seen in some time. They also recapped James Storm taking out his former DCC teammates… A video aired with Storm hanging out with Bucky Covington and Dale Oliver and Bigg Vinny Mack. They spoke about making his “Longnecks and Rednecks” theme song. Borash said more footage is available on the Impact website… Alberto El Patron was hyped as being in action after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: LAX continues to look like the coolest act in Impact Wrestling thanks to their off-site videos and Konnan’s mic work. We haven’t seen much of El Patron lately and they really should have made a big fuss over his match before now.
5. Alberto El Patron vs. John Polk(?). El Patron dominated the match and won with the cross arm breaker. After the match, Alberto called out Lashley. Alberto’s music played and they simply cut to a backstage interview…
Alberto El Patron defeated John Polk(?).
Backstage, Mitchell interviewed Allie and Braxton Sutter. They were quickly interrupted by KM and Sienna, who accused Allie of being a snitch. Karen Jarrett showed up and stood between them, even pushing KM back. She booked them in a mixed tag match for next week… A graphic hyped Mathews and Borash picking their teams…
Powell’s POV: I’m guessing on the name because I believe Pope said it once, but I couldn’t make it out. It was odd to see them just cut away when El Patron called out Lashley.
[Q8] [C] A video aired for Fury Unleashed, which happens next week…
Bruce Prichard moderated the Mathews and Borash team selection. Mathews had first pick and selected Lashley, who came to the ring. He presented him with goat shirts, explaining his team will be the greatest of all time. Borash said Lashley would not have been his first pick, rather it was Alberto El Patron. Josh’s second pick was a guy who had his ass kicked earlier – Bram. Borash said he wanted to off the roster to throw off Mathews.
Borash’s second pick was Chris Adonis (Chris Masters). Josh’s third pick was Eli Drake. Tyrus walked out too. Prichard said he didn’t hear Tyrus’s name. Tyrus said he goes where Drake goes. Prichard said he didn’t want trouble, but it was just team members. “Get ’em, boys,” Mathews yelled. The heels attacked the two babyfaces.
Matt Morgan ran out as Borash’s third pick. Morgan hit a big boot, a double clothesline, and slam on the heels. The crowd chanted for Morgan, who had a staredown with Lashley. The fourth man was shown exiting a limo backstage and entering the studio. Pope questioned who the man was, as they didn’t show his face. Pope said they were out of time but would keep the cameras rolling…
Powell’s POV: A good final segment to set the stage for next week’s match. Morgan received a nice reaction and showed good fire in taking out three of the heels. The mystery fourth man gimmick at the end was a nice hook for next week. Overall, this was the best show of the new era thanks to the final segment and the Richards vs. Edwards match. I will have more to say about the show in my member exclusive audio review. Check back on Friday for John Moore’s Impact Wrestling Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...