By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped January 10, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
The Impact Wrestling signature aired. Impact Wrestling has a new logo without the hexagon. Jeremy Borash and Josh Mathews opened up the show and ran through the card of the show which included “Eli Drake’s Facts of Life presented by Chris Adonis” and EC3 and Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact and Moose. The camera cut to a low angle camera shot which showed a mystery person walking into Universal Studios. You could only see the person from the waist down and Josh Mathews asked “who’s this?” (I’m assuming it’s that guy who was advertised all over the Impact Wrestling site and social media the last few weeks). The intro teaser was a highlight package from the last week’s “Genesis” themed show. The Impact Wrestling opening theme aired with updated graphics…
John’s Thoughts: Okay, fingers crossed that I get to review three great shows this week. More importantly, fingers crossed that Impact Wrestling can become a great show again like it was in 2016. It’s yet another new beginning for Impact and there is at least hope of this show getting better. When they hit the reset button in 2016 things worked so it’s definitely possible, this company just has to stop living in their crap filled past and move towards the future.
Fallah Bahh and Matt Sydal made their entrances for the upcoming match. Borash said with a new champion comes new rules for the Grand Championship matches (which are the regular rules for regular matches). Borash said “good to see you, old friend” in welcoming the four-sided ring back to Impact. Sydal was shown cutting a promo presumably after defeating Ethan Carter III for the Grand Championship. Sydal said he’s not doing all of these great things by himself. He said he has a “spiritual advisor” guiding him and showing him the path. Sydal said “he” was guiding him. Sydal then talked about transcendental things. Sydal said is catchphrase “Tune in, turn on, and take off”. Sydal added the word “namaste” to his catchphrase…
John’s Thoughts: I’m really not sure where Sydal is going with this yoga hippy bit? It’s too oddball to be a babyface yet not annoying enough to generate heel heat. It’s just passive and forgettable.
1. Matt Sydal vs. Fallah Bahh in a regular match for the Impact Grand Championship. Mathews compared Sydal to a politician for changing the Impact Grand Championship rules to standard match rules. Fallah Bahh taunted Sydal early on with his Dikembe Mutombo “no no No” finger wag. Bahh milked out cheers from the fans who loved his personality. Bahh no sold all of Sydal’s strikes. Sydal managed to gain the upper hand with a huracanrana. Bahh regained control after a lariat. Sydal grounded Bahh with a spinning wheel kick.
Sydal treated his offense like he was cutting down a tree with various kicks. Bahh body slammed Sydal and did his bahh chant. Sydal escaped a legdrop and hit a standing moonsault on Bahh for a nearfall. Sydal went back to his precision kicks to stagger Bahh. Sydal hit Bahh with a top rope meteora for a nearfall. Bahh ducked a jumping crane kick and hit Sydal with a running cross body block. Bahh took down Sydal with axe handle chops. Sydal caught Bahh with a boot. Bahh caught a flying Sydal with a Samoan drop. Bahh hit Sydal with his signature steamroller move. Bahh went for the Rikishi Banzai Drop but Sydal kicked Bahh off the top rope sending him falling to ringside.
Bahh stopped Sydal from flying off the top rope. Sydal went for a sunset flip but it was blocked. Sydal dodged a Banzai Drop which put him in position for Sydal’s Air Bourne which Sydal executed to earn the pinfall victory.
Matt Sydal defeated Fallah Bahh via pinfall in 7:36 to retain the Impact Grand Championship.
It was unclear at first, but the unnamed ring announcer verified that this was a Grand Championship match. The replays showed different angles of Sydal’s signature shooting star press. Eli Drake and Chris Adonis were shown walking in the Universal Studios backstage lot. Borash reminded the viewers that we saw another unknown man enter the building at the beginning of the show… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Sad to say, this was not that good of a match. I don’t blame Bahh for this one completely because a few weeks ago he had a really fun match against Ethan Carter III where the viewers got to discover Bahh’s untapped charisma. Matt Sydal in his Impact Wrestling run seems to be running in cruise control and is not really catching on as a character or wrestler. This was evidenced with last week’s Canadian crowd cheering EC3 over him. This match was a bit forgettable and it went about two or three minutes longer than it needed to be.
Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley were shown backstage acting like goofballs. They wore Hawaiian shirts for some reason. Trevor Lee talked about being intelligent. He ended his promo with his cult line of “together we are Trevor”…
John’s Thoughts: Oh lord. They are never going to get it right with this guy even though it would be easy. Now, Lee and Konley are acting like the two bumbling idiot bandits from Home Alone. Lee has Bryan Danielson ability. Given, WWE did have Bryan play the goofball, but as the goofball WWE gave Bryan in-ring credibility as a heel world champion. Trevor Lee hasn’t ever had a credible clean win in Impact to my recollection.
KM made his entrance first. The announcers talked about how KM was here to avenge Dan Lambert from eating a Lashley spear. Lashley came out next and was all smiles. He high-fived the fans in the front row…
2. KM vs. Bobby Lashley. Borash advertised the Global Wrestling Network. Josh Mathews mentioned a bunch of former TNA wrestlers who are now in WWE which you are able to find on the app. Lashley dominated early on with the agility advantage. KM managed to get the upper hand on Lashley with a front suplex. Lashley surprised KM with a flatliner. Mathews said “Biff Tannen is in trouble”. KM sidestepped a spear sending Lashley into the turnbuckle as usual. [C]
Jeremy Borash advertised tickets for “Brace for Impact” which was a WrestlePro event in Rahway, New Jersey which you can also watch on Twitch TV. KM had Lashley in a headlock. Mathews clarified that you can watch “Brace for Impact” next friday. Jeremy Borash then cut to Schitts Creek plugs (a lot of plugging all of a sudden). KM sidestepped Lashley to send him outside. The big man KM hit Lashley with an ugly (but impressive given his size) Tope Con Hilo. KM manhandled Lashley at ringside. Lashley sidestepped a slingshot splash. Lashley took down KM with a lariat and running crossbody. Lashley caught KM with a powerslam. Lashley adjusted his headband and hit KM with a delayed vertical suplex.
KM caught Lashley with a knee during a Lashley spear attempt. KM picked up a nearfall after a swinging side slam. Lashley escaped the pumphandle and then hit KM with a spear for the victory.
Bobby Lashley defeated KM via pinfall in 6:53 of TV time.
Borash noted that Lashley took out American Top Team last week and now he’s taken care of KM. The show cut to highlights from the Kongo Kong vs. Chandler Park match..
John’s Thoughts: A surprisingly refreshing big man match. It’s refreshing to see Lashley mean something again and KM showed off some solid workrate. Lashley does seem miscast as a babyface similar to how Drew Galloway started last year miscast as a heel. That’s not to say that Lashley can’t handle this role, that’s just in relation to how Lashley is one of the strongest heels in pro wrestling. The only downside here was that there was no drama in this match because it seems like KM is back to being that bully who loses all of the time.
Joseph Park was on the phone apologizing to “grandma Jenny”. Park was apologizing for what happened to Chandler Park. Jimmy Jacobs grabbed the cell phone and politely hung up on Jenny. Kongo Kong was standing next to Jacobs. Jacobs said what happened to Chandler didn’t need to happen. Jacobs said he doesn’t want Joseph, he wants Abyss to come out to play with Kongo Kong. Jacob said he’s a princess and he always gets what he wants… [C]
Jeremy Borash went back into advertisement mode as he advertised the Impact Wrestling/WrestleCon live events happening during WrestleMania Weekend in New Orleans. Borash said you would be able to watch this on Twitch…
It was time for the Pluto TV Rewind of the Week. Abyss was shown drowning someone in a fancy pool. I think it was Christian Cage? James Mitchell told Abyss to stop drowning the guy since you can’t win the title from a dead man. Abyss stood up and made his weird Abyss noises…
The show cut to a Lashley interview. Lashley talked about how he has to make a decision about MMA and Pro Wrestling. Lashley said he hasn’t missed a beat. Lashley said he’ll still focus on Professional Wrestling and still focus on Mixed Martial Arts. Lashley said he’ll do whatever the hell he wants. Lashley walked away doing his Lashley pose. Eddie Edwards was right behind Lashley. Edwards tried to ask Lashley “what’s up” but Lashley just walked away…
Drunk Debutante Laurel made her entrance. Jeremy Borash said that Kiera Hogan was making her debut. Kiera Hogan was already in the ring (no relation to Hulk Hogan). Josh Mathews wished his “favorite Knockouts Champion” a happy birthday in reference to Madison Rayne. Laurel wore slightly different ring gear…
3. Laurel Van Ness vs. Kiera Hogan in a non-title match. Laurel woman-handled Hogan with a short-arm yank. Laurel hit Hogan with a blockbuster and slap. Laurel taunted Hogan while beating her up. Borash went back into advertise mode in advertising WrestleCon. The match was one sided for most of the match with Hogan note getting any offense. Hogan managed to gain a little bit of momentum with punches. Hogan surprised Laurel with a takedown and thrust kick. Laurel hit the Rollins curb stomp on Hogan. About three or four fans in the front row were chanting “you’re a hot mess” at Laurel. Allie ran out to distract Laurel. Hogan escaped the Unprettier to pick up the win via rollup.
Kiera Hogan defeated Laurel Van Ness via pinfall in 4:14.
Kiera Hogan suddenly has generic theme music. Jeremy Borash congratulated Kiera Hogan for picking up a big win. Backstage, the camera zoomed in to the mystery man’s black sleeved shoulder. Borash asked “who is this and what is he doing here?”… [C]
John’s Thoughts: When Laurel was doing the jilted bride act, the crowd was getting into it due to Chelsea Green’s strong investment in the character. I don’t see the same fan interaction with the drunk debutante version of the character. So far Laurel has not been a strong choice for Knockouts Champion and at this point it looks like Rosemary would have been a better pick. Allie needs a strong heel to go against and Laurel hasn’t done anything at all in this version of her character to accrue bad girl heat.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Alberto El Patron and (current NXT star) Ethan Carter III. El Patron demanded that he speak first since he’s Alberto El Patron. Patron said he’s the real champion. Patron said as a smart woman, Mitchell needs to call Patron “the pride of Mexico”. Patron cut the same “paper champion” promo that he’s been cutting for several months. EC3 talked about being a Carter and a former world champion. EC3 said that El Patron should follow his lead. Patron said to follow his lead and that EC3 shouldn’t screw things up. EC3 asked for a handshake and El Patron reluctantly accepted…
LAX made their cool and highly produced entrance. LAX waved the Mexico and Puerto Rico flags in the ring. Konnan cut the promo and talked about being back in the cut. The crowd was the loudest it’s been all night in chanting “LAX”. Konnan said that LAX was still compares LAX to a late period and how they are the Viagra of pro wrestling by staying so hard. Konnan said you can stop a revolutionary but you can’t stop a revolution. Konnan gave a shoutout to Latino Nation. Konnan talked about how they got the titles back by beating up those three hoes “The Ovaries”. Konnan gave a shoutout to Sami Callihan and said he looks like a guy who came out of a sex change operation and the doctor said “eh, just leave him like that”. That drew “ooos” from the crowd. Konnan said in return for throwing a fireball in his face he was giving Sami a latin proverb. Konnan said if you want peace be prepared for war. Konnan said LAX is always at defcon five.
Suddenly, OVE’s entrance theme played as all three Ohio Vs. Everything members made their entrance. Sami Callihan led the Crist Brothers to faceoff against LAX. Sami smashed the microphone on his own “Death Machine” hat. Callihan talked about being in the Orlando Impact Zone. Sami said he hates LAX and the crowd because “WE HATE EVERYTHING!!!”. Sami said he does respect LAX at least for the blood, barbed wires, tables and chairs. Callihan said if this doesn’t end one of the teams will end up six feet under. Callihan said they should put this in the trunk because there are bigger fish to fry. Callihan said they will come after the tag team titles and take over EVERYTHING… EVERYTHING… EVERYTHING!!! OVE OUT!!!
OVE walked up the ramp. Konnan said it’s not OVE over Everything, it’s OVE over Nothing because they will get nothing and like it. Konnan said there are no bigger fish to fry because “we’re the whole damn tuna papa”. Randomly, the two goofballs Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley attacked LAX from behind and dominated them with kendo sticks. Homicide and Konnan scared Lee and Konley from the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Don Callis should just turn Impact Wrestling into the Konnan standup show and I’d watch it. I’m semi-kidding there, but Konnan continues to kill it on the microphone with smooth talking and credible lines. At one point he was chewing up OV[ari]Es with his mic work because Dave Crist couldn’t keep up but with a strong talker in Callihan to contrast Konnan these promo segments have went up another level. While the modus operandi behind splitting OVE and LAX was odd, it had to happen because if it went even longer it would jump the shark. Sadly, I’m not looking forward to LAX vs. Cult of Lee. I said it earlier, Lee should mean something more but here he’s just a comedy goof. I just fear that Konnan is going to chew them up on the mic before they end up getting whooped by the cool LAX dudes. Are there seriously no other tag teams out there on the cheap?
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Moose and Johnny Impact. Moose talked about how it was the new year and you were seeing the all-star team of Moose and Johnny Mundo. Moose kept trying to get the word “Mundo” out but was cut off by Mundo several times so he can say the word “Impact”. Johnny said that EC3 and El Patron are “turd cutters and d-bags” (ugh… oh lord). Johnny said they are all starts though. Johnny Impact cut a promo in Spanish where he sounded like a white guy trying to speak Spanish (which I can actually relate to even though I’m not white). Johnny called Alberto a pendejo and how he was taking Alberto to the “Ciudad (city) de Slam Town”.
John’s Thoughts: One segment for the sake of science that I would love to see is a promo battle between Kalisto and John Morrison; and just like Kalisto I think that Johnny would be better served as a silent ass kicking babyface as opposed to cutting these “poopy” promos. What the flying F is a “Turd Cutter”?
The show cut to the Global Wrestling Network Moment of the Week Drew Galloway vs. Ethan Carter III at Destination X 2016. Galloway and Ethan were hitting each other with chairs. Josh Mathews and D’Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke) were on commentary. Dinero talked about how both of these men were friends. EC3 and Galloway brawled to the back where their brawl was broken up by the backstage producers, Mahabali Shera, and Mark Andrews…
John’s Thoughts: I know that wasn’t one of my favorite feuds in 2016 but I did bring back good memories of when this show was the best weekly pro wrestling show. Good times. In an “only in TNA” moment, they dubbed this the GWN moment of the week, but did you know that you cannot find this time period anywhere on that network? They do not have most of 2016 uploaded and most of the stuff before that. I looked it up trying to find some good Spud promos and double checked it now.
Eli Drake and Chris Adonis were chatting backstage. Eli Drake asked Adonis to tell him who is the special guest Adonis has lined up. Adonis said he doesn’t know about a special guest. The two bragged about Eli Drake’s cage match win last week. Eli Drake compared Adonis’s catch to that of an NFL receiver. Adonis said he may have saved Johnny Impact’s life. Eli Drake said it was time to celebrate D-n-A… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Random fact, Chris Masters is a lifesaver. One time, his mother was stuck in a burning house and he ripped a three out of the ground from it’s trunks and used it as a battering ram to smash his mom’s house to save her from a serial killer/arsonist in the house. True story.
A vignette aired showing clips from a post apocalyptic wasteland. They didn’t identify the man but there was a mohawk and lots of muscles. They showed the mans face and it was clearly Lucha Underground’s “They Call Him” Brian Cage. Cage did a roar to end the vignette…
4. Ethan Carter III and Alberto El Patron vs. Moose and Johnny Impact. EC3 and Johnny started off the match. Jeremy Borash advertised the twitch show in New Jersey again. EC3 and Johnny had an early stalemate. Johnny got the takedown which allowed him to tag in Moose. EC3 comically imitated Moose’s Moose punches. Johnny Impact tagged in and both he and Moose hit tandem Moose punches on EC3. Johnny hit EC3 with a capoeira legdrop. In “breaking news”, Jeremy Borash announced that as a result of the surprise win from early on in the night, Kiera Hogan will face Laurel Van Ness for the Knockouts Championship next week.
Alberto El Patron and EC3 cut the ring in half to keep Moose away from Johnny. The crowd was mostly quiet until pockets of them at times wanted to do the Moose dance. Moose managed to end the prolonged isolation sequence with a suplex which allowed him to tag in Johnny Impact for the hot tag who cleaned house with kicks. Johnny caught EC3 with a Spanish Fly for the nearfall. EC3 hit a jawbreaker on Johnny but he ended up eating a flying Chuck. Johnny Impact managed to hit Starship Pain on the legal man, El Patron. As Moose was prematurely celebrating, EC3 pulled Johnny off of the pin attempt. [C]
EC3 prevented a hot tag by pulling off Moose from the apron. EC3 was able to tag himself in to continue the isolation sequence. EC3 hit the TKO on Johnny which led to a two count with Moose breaking the pin. EC3 and El Patron traded tags to isolate Johnny. Johnny escaped a Super back suplex with a crossbody on EC3. This allowed Johnny to tag in Moose. Moose hit a hesitation dropkick on EL Patron, leading to a nearfall. Johnny hit the Moonlight Drive on EC3. El Patron had a rally where he took down both Moose and Johnny with his signature moves. Johnny got a takedown on El Patron. El Patron dodged the Impact Elbow.
El Patron staggered Johnny with roundhouse kicks in the Tree of Woe. El Patron hit his dumb ass double stomp move on Johnny (Alberto should watch Andrade Almas/La Sombra perform that move. He holds his opponent up and makes that move make sense). Moose hit the discus lariat on Alberto to pick up the win.
Moose and Johnny Impact defeated Alberto El Patron and Ethan Carter III via pinfall in 14:53 of TV time.
Jeremy Borash pointed out that Johnny Impact was still knocked out by the El Patron finisher. Moose helped up Johnny to celebrate the win. Eli Drake and Chris Adonis were shown walking to the ring… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A good tag team match that the announcers tried hard to push as an “All Star battle”. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed like the crowd was not hot for the people in the ring. I can’t blame them. Johnny Impact cuts bad promos, Moose is the world’s dumbest babyface for getting beat up all of the time, and Alberto El Patron doesn’t know who he is as a character. The main event picture of this show is in real need of an alt-control-delete here but that’s the downside of not making stars.
Eli Drake and Chris Adonis made their way to the ring for the “Facts of Life” promo. A bunch of fans in the crowd held up “Dummy Section” signs. Chris Adonis said the people are in for a treat because he is proud to host the “Facts of Eli Drake’s Life”. Game show music played and a ’70s style graphic flashed on the video wall. Chris Adonis bragged about Eli Drake defending the championship against Johnny Impact and El Patron. Josh Mathews let out a sarcastic “this is great.” Adonis said it was a fact that Drake is the greatest champion that has ever lived. They cut to a brief Eli Drake highlight package with the commentators questioning Adonis’s validity. Adonis talked about how Drake has good fashion. They cut to a clip of Adonis showing off his suits. Adonis said Drake was the best friend that has ever lived. Chris Adonis in the Turkey Suit was shown with goofy music. Drake and Adonis talked about how the guys backstage messed up. Drake said that it was fine because the pie tasted great and Adonis rocked that suit. Drake said he’s the greatest champion, the best dressed man, and the best friend that’s ever lived (you know where this is going). Eli Drake said he was the greatest man who ever lived, that’s not an insult… That…
Before he could say fact of life, Austin Aries made his entrance to new (and generic) rock music. Austin Aries walked to the ring while munching on his banana. Aries garnered a “welcome back” chant. Aries said he missed everyone too. One fan tried to start a TNA chant to no avail. Aries said he was eating his banana while looking at Drake’s videos. Aries said Drake isn’t the greatest man who ever lived because Aries was. The crowd started an Austin Aries chant. Austin Aries said he has some facts for Drake and Adonis. He said he’s a six time and longest reigning X Division Champion, a tag team champion, a world heavyweight champion, and while Drake is shopping for clothes at the thrift store Aries was winning championships around the world.
Aries said Drake has never beat Aries. Aries issued a challenge for any time and any place. Drake took off his jacket and noted that all of Aries’ accolades were “former”. Drake said the best work Aries has done recently was be a commentator. Drake said Drake can’t stop being E…li…Drake. And he can’t stop being champ. Drake said if Aries wants a challenge now then… no. Aries said that that Eli Drake has no balls. Chris Adonis hit Aries in the back of the head with the title which prompted Drake to start a match.
5. Eli Drake vs. Austin Aries for the Impact Global Championship? Josh Mathews said this was a championship match (for some reason, did I miss something?). Aries kicked out at two. Drake yelled with the referee blaming him for a slow count. Aries dodged Drake and gave Adonis a forearm. Aries hit Drake with a dropkick and brainbuster to pick up the pinfall win.
Austin Aries defeated Eli Drake via pinfall in 0:50 to become the New Impact Global Champion.
Austin Aries celebrated his title win while still in his street clothes. Josh Mathews talked about how exciting it was to see the return of the “Greatest Man Who Ever Lived”…
John’s Thoughts: Not the hottest of title changes and returns, but I’ll take a wait and see approach with this. Eli Drake deserved a better title run than he got but just blame it on the Scott D’Amore creative team for making him out to be such a weak world champ. I’m not a fan of the approach of putting the title on the recent WWE castoff (even though he has history with the company), but I don’t mind bringing in a new champion to mark a new era. Drake was the champion during a weak era of television. Aries is better as a heel, but he’s adequate as a face. He had a surprisingly good run against Neville right before his latest injury.
While I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get the huge reset we were hoping for, it seems like this show still has to purge some of it’s loose sprockets. A lot of the talent you’re seeing on this show is not going to be here in two months. Therefore, this episode was one knee in the old creative pool, and one toe in the new. That’s why I’m wait and see on this and hopeful that we will get the reset once they settle down with the new incoming pieces. Pieces like Austin Aries, Brian Cage, Taya Valkyrie, and maybe some we haven’t seen yet can freshen things up, hopefully. At least we got a great Konnan promo on this show. Maybe Jason Powell was more excited at this new direction? He’ll be by later on today with his Hit List and members’ exclusive audio review.