By John Moore
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in April at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
This week’s Impact Wrestling intro teaser started off with clips from last week’s Funeral for Decay which was hosted by Konnan and LAX. Later on in the video, the GFW Global Championship match had the focus, which included Alberto El Patron’s title win. They then cut to clips from past Ultimate X matches with the TNA narrator guy hyping up the three wrestlers competing in Ultimate X in this episode…
After the owl intro, we cut to the Impact Zone with Josh Mathews introducing Impact Wrestling. The Global Force Wrestling Tag Team titles were on display as Josh informed the viewers that we were getting another GFW Tag Title tournament match next. LAX came out first to their cool entrance. They were followed by Laredo Kid and Garza Jr.
John’s Thoughts: Wait? Aren’t LAX the Impact Tag Champions? And didn’t Garza and Laredo advance in the tournament last week? Maybe, Impact is purposely trying to be vague about the crazy things they do sometimes but that’s not cool! Small note, LAX received a full on babyface reaction. At least I can have some faith in America and Universal Studios. TNA/Impact? Not so much…
1. Santana and Ortiz (w/ Konnan, Homicide, and Diamante) vs. Laredo Kid and Garza Jr. in a GFW Tag Team Tournament Match. The crowd was largely behind LAX to start. Garza and Kid cleaned house with LAX which sent them outside. They then hit stereo moonsaults on LAX on the outside. Kid and Garza did a combo facebuster cutter on Santana. Ortiz managed to separate Garza and Kid to turn things back to a traditional tag team match. Kid utilized his kicks to rally against Ortiz.
Garza made the blind tag unbeknownst to Ortiz to take down Ortiz with a missile dropkick. Santana returned the favor by hitting Garza with a missile dropkick. Santana maintained the advantage with strikes and an elbow drop. Ortiz tagged in and there was this cool sequence where LAX outwitted Garza who tried to use his agility to counter LAX. Ortiz hit Garza with a tope suicida. Santana tagged in for the springboard senton.
Ortiz and Santana isolated Garza in their corner. Garza stopped LAX in their tracks by pulling off his pants like he usually does. Laredo hit Ortiz with a Michinoku Driver. Ortiz managed to recover enough to meet Laredo on the top rope. Garza initiated the Tower of Doom. Santana barely hit a frogsplash on Laredo. Santana and Garza took each other out with clotheslines. [C]
Ortiz had the advantage over Laredo back from break where he was isolated away from Garza who was resting in his corner. Homicide took some cheap shots on Laredo from the outside. Laredo kicked off Ortiz to hit Santana with a tornado DDT. Laredo and Garza did a cool slingshot, superkick, and moonsault combo on Ortiz. Santana recovered and dominated Laredo and Garza with strong strikes. Garza managed to ground Santana with a superkick.
Ortiz ran in to save Santana from the top rope. Garza kicked Ortiz in the back of the head. As Earl Hebner was looking away, Diamante landed an apron huracanrana on Garza to the outside. Santana staggered Laredo Kid with a Canadian Destroyer. LAX then followed up by hitting Laredo with their finisher, the Powerbomb Blockbuster, for the victory.
LAX defeated Laredo Kid and Garza Jr via pinfall in 9:37 to advance in the GFW Tag Team Tournament.
Konnan celebrated with LAX in the ring. The crowd was fully behind LAX, complete with LAX signs and Mexican flags. They cut to Josh Mathews who got distracted at the fans that were booing him. Josh acted excited that none of those fans included Jeremy Borash…
John’s Thoughts: That was a very fun tag team match and it might have been the best tag team match that we’ve seen in Impact in 2017. There was a lack of selling at most points which is the trend of lucha libre wrestlers, but it was counterbalanced by the selling during the isolation sequences. This also wasn’t only lucha as Garza and the LAX guys all have a good mix of styles. Another thing of note, this might be a different day of tapings as this crowd treated LAX like the biggest babyfaces in the world where in the last episode they were positioned as anti-American heels (and the anti-American is stretching it, because the A in LAX is for American).
Magnus walked up to Bruce Prichard backstage to complain about losing the GFW Global Championship. Magnus called booking Magnus in a title defense against Matt Morgan a classic Prichard move and referenced his past failed run as VP of TNA. Prichard correctly countered that claim by pointing out how Alberto El Patron put his title shot on the line in similar fashion against Eli Drake. Prichard talked down to Magnus and said there wasn’t anything he could do because Magnus was out of title contention. Magnus walked away looking mopey, while promising that he will do something if Bruce can’t.
A Laurel Van Ness vignette played which consisted mostly of Laurel and Kongo Kong clips. A crazed Laurel voice was overlaid where she talked about sending Kongo Kong against her enemies. Kongo Kong and Laurel Van Ness made their way to the ring before the break… [C]
2. Kongo Kong (w/ Laurel Van Ness) vs. Braxton Sutter (w/ Allie). Impact still doesn’t allow Allie to do any mic work for some reason. Kongo started off the match aggressively. Sutter managed to escape Kong’s power moves with quick strikes. Kong managed to get a lift in but Sutter slipped out and hit a boot to the chest of Kong. Kongo Kong managed to lock in the bear hug to the belly to belly. Kong worked on Sutter in the corner as Laurel Van Ness continued her Courtney Love act on the ring apron. Laurel wrote a heart on Sutter’s head with lipstick. Kong went for his cannonball but Sutter escaped the corner. Josh Mathews used this moment to hype the “return of live events”.
Sutter dodged Kong and got some clean staggering strikes on him, but couldn’t get Kong off his feet. Kong ran through Stutter with a corner splash. Kongo Kong hit a spike body slam on Sutter to pick up the clean win.
Kongo Kong defeated Braxton Sutter via pinfall in 3:25.
Laurel Van Ness did her usual celebration of circling Kongo Kong. KM and Sienna ran into the ring to put the boots to Braxton Sutter. Suddenly, Mahabali Shera ran out to run off the heels. Josh Mathews, as a heel of course, pointed out how this was odd. Mahabali Shera actually had an upgraded version of his entrance music playing. Braxton Sutter called Allie “booboo” as she helped him up. He then challenged KM and Kongo Kong to a match against Mahabali Shera and himself for next week. Braxton Sutter ended his promo by saying “And that’s no BS” (ugh… he didn’t have to end with that line)… [C]
Matt Sydal was interviewed in a clip after last week’s X Division triple threat. Sutter talked about last week’s match being exactly what he asked for. Sydal thanked the gods of Impact Wrestling for that match. Sydal said Andrew Everett impressed him and he hopes that Everett defeats Low Ki so he can have a one-on-one match against Everett to prove who’s the best in the X Division. Sydal said he was keeping his eyes on Everett. Josh Mathews hyped James Storm vs. EC3 as well as the Ultimate X match.
John’s Thoughts: See, Matt Sydal gets it. If only, Impact Wrestling/TNA after all these years can figure out how one on one matches can do so much for the individuals of the X Division more than homogenous multi-man spotfests.
A vintage TNA X Division video package aired that spotlighted wrestlers like Low Ki, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Jerry Lynn, and others. Low Ki talked about how that era has influenced the current day. Clips of people like Daniels, Chris Sabin, the MCMG, Samoa Joe and several others competing in Ultimate X and winning the X Title. Andrew Everett talked about how those classic matches took his breath away. Clips from Low Ki’s interviews from the past few weeks played. Trevor Lee said the present is fine as long as long as he’s here. Andrew Everett talked about risking his body…
Karen Jarrett was interviewed about the Davey Richards-Eddie Edwards situation. Karen said there was one way to contain this situation. Karen booked a mixed tag between the married couples. Magnus pushed Karen randomly. They showed clips from the brutal and violent belt beatdown of EC3 to James Storm from last week to hype up the upcoming match after the commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That was a pretty good X Division video package. I like what they’re doing so far to spotlight the Division, but this isn’t the first time in the last 10-plus years or so that we’ve been teased with good first steps. I’ll be less apathetic towards the X Division when they finally get things consistently right.
3. Ethan Carter III vs. James Storm. Magnus joined Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero on commentary. Josh Mathews wondered what Magnus’s goal was in scouting this match. Magnus said he was watching this match because it contained top contenders in Impact Wrestling and he went back into complaining about Bruce Prichard. Josh said he thought Prichard was dead. Josh Mathews said he couldn’t believe that Storm is wrestling after 30+ lashes from last week.
James Storm stormed the ring before the bell with a belt. Storm dominated the early portion of the match with a Thesz Press. After dominating the early portion of the match Storm took a rake to the eyes and a scratch to the back from EC3. EC3 tried to rip apart the jaw of Storm. EC3 maintained dominance over storm with a running back elbow. Magnus talked about being a three time champion on commentary (TNA, Global Force, and Ring Ka King).
John’s Thoughts: Just a side note only because Magnus brought it up. The Ring Ka King championship has way more prestige than all the Global Force titles combined; and that’s not an exaggeration. Ring Ka King was actually a solid short term wrestling sub-promotion that had more television success than GFW, albeit in India.
Storm managed to turn the tide with a back body drop. EC3 slowed things down by locking in a sleeper hold. Storm refused to fade away. Magnus accidentally went babyface for a bit on commentary in defending Jeremy Borash. Pope did a good job in questioning Magnus’ heel antics in recent weeks. Josh and Magnus weren’t fully bickering, but they weren’t paying attention to the match. EC3 dominated at this point. Magnus called the fans mouthbreathers and marks. Storm turned the tide by giving EC3 a boot from the apron. James storm took a belt to try to whip EC3 but was pulled aside by Magnus. Bruce Prichard and the referee brigade ran in to pull Magnus away from ringside. [C]
EC3 went back to the chinlocks to slow down the match. EC3 tried to slap the sore back of Storm which he no-sold as if he had an adrenaline rush. Storm grounded EC3 with a running neckbreaker. Storm went high risk but was crotched on the top rope. EC3 soon went after the belt. EC3 hit the referee. REF BUMP!!! EC3 gave the referee the back whipping that was meant for James Storm. The bell rang for the DQ?
James Storm defeated EC3 via disqualification in 11:33.
The referee Brian Stiffler started to show red welts on his back from the belt shots. Storm ran in to give EC3 a backstabber. Magnus pulled Storm outside to beatdown Storm against the steps. Magnus ran in to bicker with Ethan Carter III. Bruce Prichard waddled out again to get between the bickering EC3 and Magnus. Prichard said he wants a main event for Slammiversary so he was booking James Storm vs. Ethan Carter III vs. Magnus to become number one contender to face Lashley at Slammiversary. Prichard talked down to EC3 again by asking him to look in the mirror to find his balls. EC3 then tossed Prichard on the ground for that statement and it actually drew mild cheers. Prichard sold extreme shoulder pain. Josh Mathews said EC3 might not get his match for what he did to Bruce… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Prichard kinda deserved that and then some for talking down to EC3 on a weekly basis. That aside, the match dragged and both wrestlers never got out of first gear and we know they are capable of more. I’m also a bit confused. So we’re not unifying the titles according to Prichard, and his booking of a number one contender’s match for Slammiversary? But they said the GFW champion was facing Lashley at Slammiversary with Magnus’s “Golden Ticket” line.
The weekly Rockstar Spud recovery vignette aired. The pills were back. Spud said similar things as past weeks. inspiring punk rock music played this time. Spud talked about not meaning to pull down the pants of hornswoggle. Spud said the doctors told him he will never wrestle again. Spud said he was defying Doctor’s Orders and was coming for the son of a bitch known as Swoggle. Spud said revenge was his and Swoggle won’t see it coming and “I didn’t mean to pull his pants down”…
4. Sienna (w/ KM) vs. ODB for the Global Force Wrestling Women’s Championship. Well, this unadvertised match was happening (and it was also a rematch from the Hardy Boyz’s Total NonStop Deletion show). ODB did some of her crowd pleasing offense to start. Sienna took the action to the outside. Sienna wipped ODB into the turnbuckle. Sienna gave ODB a splash in the corner. ODB made a clothesline comeback and utilized a discus clothesline. ODB lifted Sienna in fireman’s carry but Sienna escaped. ODB slammed Sienna several times into her vag, which is one of her signature spots. Sienna escaped the corner and managed to hit ODB with the Ode to Monty Brown, The Silencer (a.k.a. The Pounce).
Sienna defeated ODB via pinfall in 2:46 to retain the Global Force Women’s Championship.
KM was at ringside showing his pinky to the fans in honor of his cousin. KM joined Sienna in the ring to hold up his pinky finger. Josh Mathews tried to brag about Jeremy Borash not being here. Suddenly, Jeremy Borash made an entrance complete with a video wall. Borash had a contract in hand which angered Josh. JB said it was fun hanging out with fans the past few weeks. Borash said he was letting Josh Mathews know about how he hired an attorney and the attorney got him reinstated into Impact Wrestling, effective immediately. Josh ranted about wanting to know the attorney. Jeremy Borash revealed that his attorney was Joseph Park (Abyss’s “Brother”). Park received a “welcome Back” chant. Park told Josh that his name was Joseph Park Esq and Jeremy Borash was going to come back as the lead Impact Wrestling announcer.
Impact said Jeremy Borash will never be the lead commentator in this company. Park said no one including Park likes Josh. Josh talked about having a beautiful family and called Park disgusting looking. Josh revealed that he was wearing ripped jeans as he told everyone that Park was Abyss. Park talked about winning wars in the court and in the ring. Park said he beat Bully Ray. Park said Josh makes his insides burn just like his grandma’s famous chili. Park said he wanted to fight Josh. Park proposed that he and Jeremy Borash want to fight Josh Mathews as Slammiversary. Park told Josh to find a partner. Josh ranted and marched off set. Jeremy Borash took his seat next to pope and he hyped Ultimate X… [C]
John’s Thoughts: An unannounced title match for one of the titles from the company that no one knows or cares about. After that, there was a fun return for Joseph Park who was actually the most beloved version of Abyss due to his fun energy and comedy. Josh was solid in his heel role again and it looks like he’s living the wrestling career that he lost once he lost Tough Enough. He has proven, he would have been a better overall choice than Maven. All that said, I hope at Slammiversary this feud will end? The only problem, is we already saw the payoff to this feud only to have Impact retcon it back into existence.
Alberto El Patron recorded a video from an undisclosed location. Impact talked about coming to Impact Wrestling to find a home. El Patron said “This is My House”, which he acknowledged was his fiancé’s catchphrase. El Patron said he has nothing but respect for Magnus who he heard was the top dog here. El Patron called Magnus one of the best wrestlers in the world. Alberto El Patron thanked the fans and said he will continue to great things for them…
John’s Thoughts: Good promo from Alberto, but he was laying it on a bit thick there by calling Magnus one of the best in the world when that track record hasn’t been established to the masses. That was a very Drew Galloway esque promo in that part where you either come off as fake, or the nicest dude in the world. Drew was the nicest dude in the world in Impact at that point. Alberto needs to establish a bit more, but at least Impact is allowing him to show that babyface fire that WWE missed the boat on dramatically.
Jeremy Borash called the Ultimate X “The Highwire Free for All”. Trevor Lee came out first with Shane Helms out there with him. Andrew Everett was out next. Low Ki came out last and he regularly wears the Agent 47 Cosplay to the ring.
John’s Thoughts: I’m starting to gain a little more respect for the Low Ki Hitman cosplay. This might be partially due to me recently watching a Will Osprey match where he attempted the same cosplay but instead he pretended to kill (yes, murder) three guys in his entrance routine hitman/terrorist style. So Low Ki’s is much better in comparison to that one.
5. Low Ki vs. Trevor Lee (w/Shane Helms) vs. Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship. Low Ki kept the suit jacket on in the match and managed to kick away Everett and Lee. Lee tried to slingshot Ki but Ki used that to make a play for the championship hung up on the rope. Lee swatted off Ki. Everett took Lee to the outside. Everett had to take care of Low Ki with a huracanrana. Lee took down Ki with an elbow. Lee and Everett fought on the top rope. Ki pulled the action back to the apron. Lee pushed them off into the barricade. [C]
Trevor Lee made a play for the belt but was dragged down by Everett. Everett and Lee countered each others’ moves until Lee managed to send Everett out with a German suplex. Low Ki was swatted off the top rope with a dropkick from Lee. Everett blocked off Lee from going for the belt. All three men kept each other from climbing the Northwest quadrant. Shane Helms taunted Everett from ringside. Lee bit the hand of Low Ki and followed that off with his apron punt kick to Low Ki. Everett hit a nice shooting star springboard press to the outside on the brawling Low Ki and Trevor Lee.
Low Ki still had a suit on and made it halfway to the title. Everett gave Ki a missile dropkick to take him to the mat. Shane Helms handed Trevor Lee a steel chair and fanned him off. Lee slammed Ki into the barricade. Everett made it half way to the title but Lee threw the chair into Everett’s back which Everett sold like a champ. Lee tossed Everett into the chair. Lee tried to use the chair to get the title somehow. Hitman Low Ki punched the chair into Lee. Dinero mentioned how punching the chair could affect Ki’s climbing ability. Lee kept Ki from getting to the ropes. Everett gave Lee the frankendriver.
Everett went for another Frankendriver but Lee turned it into a powerbomb. Low Ki still had a suit on and did a somersault. Ki gave Lee a double foot stomp. Ki finally threw down the suit jacket. Everett met Ki on the top rope. Ki pushed Everett to the ground but got a bit tangled. Everett put Low Ki in a tree of woe from the scaffolding. Shane Helms met Everett on the top rope and gave him a Super Cutter from the top rope. Helms sold it like he just got stunned. Helms recovered and tried to use his back to carry across Trevor Lee to the center. Low Ki gave then a springboard high kick to foil that plan.
Ki gave Helms a running shotgun dropkick. Low Ki sold the injury from punching the chair earlier on. Low Ki improvised by traveling via the scaffolding. Ki met Lee and Everett at the center where he stomped them down. Low Ki secured the belt.
Low Ki defeated Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X match to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Low Ki held up five fingers with the injured hand on the top of the ropes as he celebrated his victory. Clips aired of some of the high spots and highlights of the match. They also replayed the punch to the chair that caused Low Ki to sell an injury throughout the matchup. When Low Ki made it to the ground he put the title in the ring and struck his Low Ki pose over the title as Impact ended.
John’s Thoughts: Let’s get the negative out of the way. They should have saved this for a PPV or spent more than one week building it. Classic TNA X Division booking for the last 10-plus years. That said, this was a smaller match by wrestler count than usual. I’ll give them that, and as usual all three workers worked hard. I liked the switch of Jeremy Borash for this match at the very least because both he and Pope managed to put the focus on the individual storylines and individuals as opposed to talking about the flips and dives (a partial joke of Randy Orton’s rant, but it’s true in the X Division commentary. Just check out Josh and Pope’s commentary from last week). I liked the story of the hand punching the chair too. I’m starting to like Agent 47 Low Ki and how they are setting him us as the living relic from the OGs of the X Division, just with a new Square Enix paint job. His entrance theme and look match better with the Agent 47 look too as opposed to that goofy sleeved jumpsuit he used to wear.
With two really good bookend matches, solid video packages, and just a minute amount of TNA annoyances, this was a solid show to watch. The things that still irk me are the Global Force things that have no true backstory and the borderline-xenophobe VOW angle that they recapped on the onset. Otherwise, a solid showing by Impact Wrestling standards. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review for later today.