By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped January 11, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Right after the Impact Wrestling signature, the cameras showed Ethan Carter III and Tyrus walking through the backstage area. Johnny Impact was shown in the passenger seat of a golf cart while rolling his luggage. The opening teaser aired with highlights from last week’s Impact. The Impact intro theme aired…
Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt checked in on commentary as LAX made their full entrance. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley made their entrance while acting like goofballs and mocking LAX…
1. Santana and Ortiz (w/ Konnan) vs. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley in a non-title match. LAX started off the match, before the bell, with stereo dives to the outside. Dutt and Mathews stressed the point that this was a non-title match. The two teams traded momentum on the outside. Josh Mathews told the viewers that later on in this show the viewers were going to get independent wrestling footage from Las Vegas and Toronto. Damn.
John’s Thoughts: What the F-ing F Impact? While the current set of tapings hasn’t been mindblowing, the best part of the tapings is the lack of low budget not-processed-for-tv outside footage. I thought they were going to relegate that to Twitch, which I’d be all for. To Jeff Jarrett and crew’s credit, they would show places like Noah or AAA, and limit the indie footage to music video highlights. This approach to things has a real Local Access feel to it I’m sorry to say.
The bell rang to start the match. Ortiz had the upper hand on Lee to start off the match. Konley tagged in and ate a knee and basement clothesline from Ortiz. Konley managed to shrug off a few shots and show some evasive agility but he slipped due to an LAX double low sweep. Ortiz strangled Konley with Konley’s bandana. Dutt noted that move was illegal but the referee was distracted by Lee’s arguing. Konley landed a nice Saito Suplex on Ortiz while Lee kept Santana at bay with an apron PK.
Dutt tried to put over how Lee has the qualities of an actual cult leader. Dutt talked about how Lee’s using his southern mind control on Konley. Santana chopped his way out of the corner. Konley hit a low sweep and impressive hesitation senton. Lee tagged in and cut the ring half again in the favor of the heel team. [C]
Ortiz fought off Konley and Lee and tagged in Santana for the hot tag. Santana hit a rolling cutter on Lee. Santana put Konley on Lee’s shoulders and hit a draping DDT on him. Lee kicked out at two. Lee tried to deadlift Santana but Santana weighed himself down. Santana hit Lee with a facebuster while Ortiz hit Lee with a cutter. Konley pushed Ortiz into Santana to break up a pin attempt. LAX called for their blockbuster powerbomb. Konley shoved Santana off the top rope. Lee really grabbed a hand full of Ortiz’s shorts to pick up the dirty win.
Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley defeated LAX via pinfall in 8:48.
Josh Mathews pointed out that he didn’t just grab the tights he dragged them all the way down. Mathews advertised Moose vs. Alberto El Patron in Las Vegas. Mathews also hyped Petey Williams vs. Matt Sydal in Toronto…
John’s Thoughts: A really good tag team match with a oddly booked finish. Lee has never had a clean pin over anyone on the roster to my recollection. When OVE feuded with LAX, what made OVE and Sami believable heels was how they would get moments of dominance over LAX at points. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley have been presented as enhancement wrestler goobs since day one. Konley should be an X Division star. Lee should be a badass world title contender. Instead these guys are made to look ass-bad.
2. Brian Cage vs. Hunter Law. Josh Mathews stressed that Brian Cage’s new finisher is called “The Drill Claw” (another X-Men Wolverine reference since his other finisher is called the “Weapon X”). Cage hit a dropkick on Hunter and used him to do some bicep curls. Cage hit a Gorilla Press into a Power Slam. Cage hit his signature discus lariat and then the “Drill Claw” for the win.
Brian Cage defeated Hunter Law in 1:10.
John’s Thoughts: Another simple and effective squash for Cage. I have to remember that I’ve already seen him move past this point on the Netflix Lucha Underground show. He’s back to step one to a lot of new viewers on Impact so they have to just have him chew up and spit out a few cannon fodder victims. I do like that he hasn’t whipped out the huracanranas and shooting star presses, which he’s cleanly capable of and it looks like they are saving that for future matches which is a smart decision.
Eddie Edwards and Lashley were chatting in the locker room. Eddie Edwards talked about how he’s Lashley’s enemy but they have a common enemy in OVE. Eddie Edwards said he has had enough of OVE (wait wut?). Eddie Edwards said they have a common goal and should go out there to stop this problem. Lashley agreed and gave Edwards a fist bump.
John’s Thoughts: Did I miss something here? I’ve covered every single weekly episode of Impact for a while and what did OVE ever do to Eddie Edwards that was so bad, let alone do anything at all to Eddie Edwards. Wasn’t Eddie gone for most of the year in Japan with the few times that he popped up to attack the AAA guys? I don’t think it’s the case, but it feels like they forgot to air some Impacts or segments. Weird.
3. Matt Sydal vs. Petey Williams from Mississauga, Ontario for the Impact Grand Championship. Josh Mathews said this match was supposedly in Toronto (I used the power of The Google to make sure that Mississauga is a different city and it is). Maybe it’s like how the Los Angeles Angels actually play in Anaheim? Josh Mathews also brought out how Matt Sydal is a different person due to his new “spiritual advisor”. Mathews and Dutt talked about Destiny Wrestling which was the promotion we were watching.
Sydal and Williams did some initial chain wrestling. Williams landed one of his signature huracanranas on Sydal followed by a top rope hurracanrana. Williams landed a hesitation dropkick to the back of Sydal. There was a camera cut. Sydal locked Williams in a reverse Muta Lock. Williams went for a rally of strikes but Sydal hit a low sweep and shooting star press. They made another rough cut.
Josh Mathews noted that the only person who has ever kicked out of the Canadian Destroyer is Eli Drake. Sydal hit Williams with a bridged German Suplex which the announcers accredited to his proficient yoga skills. Williams hit Sydal with a codebreaker and went for the Destroyer. Williams instead had to roll through and land a Sharpshooter. Mathews said this was pandering to the Canadian fans. Mathews stressed that this is a different Sydal. Dutt said the change might have came from EC3 calling him a choke artist. Sydal caught Williams off the top rope with a jumping frankensteiner. Williams dodged Air Bourne. Sydal countered the Destroyer into a modified package piledriver to pick up the win on Williams.
Matt Sydal defeated Petey Williams via pinfall to retain the Impact Grand Championship (no time logged due to heavy editing).
The old lady and man in the front row didn’t like Matt Sydal winning. Sydal cut a promo afterward. Sydal showed that he received a “scroll” before the match (it was a rolled-up piece of printer). Sydal said the “proclamation” came from his spiritual advisor who Sydal told us was a man (so it’s not Josephus’ female advisor). Sydal said some transcendental things which (purposefully) confused the crowd. The paper also had a challenge to Taiji Ishimori for the X Division Championship.
John’s Thoughts: While I’m still a bit irked at the low-resolution camera and would prefer to see this needless footage relegated to their Twitch channel so people aren’t forced to consume it on their TVs, I did think that this was one of the better quality independent wrestling matches we’ve seen on this show. The camera angles were nice and the match was worked at a higher lever than your traditional indy circuit show. The post-match challenge looked low budget, but I do like the idea of streamlining their convoluted GFW belt situation by consolidating the X Division and Grand belts.
The show cut to Jimmy Jacobs cutting a promo. Jacobs said he didn’t want to take it to far but Joseph Park forced him to take it far. The sound was not great and I couldn’t hear most of the promo. I think he still wants to fight Abyss for some reason… [C]
Josh Mathews hyped up the WrestleMania weekend WrestleCon events. Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong made his entrance. Jacobs said, “the princess is here”. Jacobs said he doesn’t care what everyone thinks. Jacobs said he’s not a bad guy, he’s a good guy (who would think Jacobs is a bad guy. Jacobs didn’t do anything bad yet? Chandler Park kinda deserved to get beat up for being annoying). Jacobs said he was talking to Abyss now. “Where are you?” Jacobs asked. Suddenly, some old lady walked to the ring. She kinda looks like my Chinese aunt. She also looks younger than Abyss with a Mrs. Santa Claus wig.
Jenny called Jacobs and Kong “sissies”. Jenny said Joseph is more of a son to her. Jenny told Jacobs to stop his habit “or else”. Jacobs couldn’t take this seriously. Jacobs said he’ll give Jenny credit for having more guts than Abyss. Jacobs said he asked for Abyss and not some old hag. “Jenny” slapped Jacobs. Jacobs directed Kong towards Jenny. Joseph Park walked to the ring slowly (which Dutt pointed out). Park defended his grandma and said her thanksgiving dinner was delicious.
Jacobs reiterated his initial point of wanting Abyss instead of Joseph Park. Park reiterated that Abyss was never coming back which he promised his family, grandma, and Chandler would be buried in his heart. Jacobs said Chandler was the beginning but he would hate it if something happened to Grandma Jenny. Joe said Jenny taught him not to lay hands on another man but for Jacobs he would make an exception. Joe put his hands on Jacobs which made Kong give Joe clubbing blows. Jacobs yelled to bring out Abyss “or else”… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I really wanted to like this segment and I usually get a kick out of Joseph Park’s strong humor, but this was some low rent community theater BS. Kong and Jacobs don’t seem intimidating, Konnan did a better job doing what Jacobs is trying to do and was more convincing. I was a huge fan of Shelton Benjamin’s momma. Grandma Jenny hit that right spot of both being bad and only mildly funny for being so bad. Maybe someone got a kick out of this but not me, and I’m usually the quirky guy who likes this stuff.
Josh Mathews recapped the Kong attack on Abyss. Matt Sydal was shown talking on his smartphone. He was talking to his “Spirit guide”. Sydal confirmed to the advisor that he said the proclamation. Sydal talked about winning the X Division Championship at the “Crossroads” themed show. He told the advisor yes and namaste. Josh Mathews asked “who is he talking to”?
The Global Wrestling Network Moment of the Week was the debut of Moose. Josh Mathews kept saying “That’s Moose” while Elijah Burke kept saying “no!”. Josh Mathews called Moose “the hottest free agent in pro wrestling”. Moose went to the ring to save Mike Bennett from Eddie Edwards and Booby Lashley. Bennett helped Moose beat Lashley by giving Lashley a low blow…
John’s Thoughts: Now, on the show they say you can go to the GWN, but check it out yourself. You don’t have to pay since they put padlock symbols over their paywall content. They still haven’t uploaded a lot of Impact episodes including January to September in 2016 when this show was good. They don’t even have 2015 up (and I even was about to recommend this to friends of mine to show them some of that amazing Drake Maverick work from 2015). Only in TNA! Only on the Global Wrestling Network.
4. Moose vs. Alberto El Patron in a No-DQ match from Las Vegas, Nevada. This was for the Future Stars of Wrestling promotion in Nevada. Alberto had the upper hand over Moose early on. Moose gained momentum after Alberto tried to pander to the crowd. Alberto went to ringside while the crowd did the Moose dance. Patron took a sip of water and spat it in the face of Moose to gain the upper hand over Moose with punches and kicks.
Alberto tossed around Moose on the outside against swap meet vinyl signs on the outside. Moose whipped El Patron and did his Moose dance. Moose hit a pump kick on El Patron against the ring barricade. Alberto El Patron backtossed Moose into some empty seats into the front row. El Patron tossed Moose around the crowd area after an edit. El Patron was about to toss Moose outside but Moose came back after blocking a plastic trash can shot. Back at ringside, El Patron hit Moose several times with the plastic trash can. Moose kicked out of a pin and there was another edit.
Moose went for a discus lariat but El Patron ducked it and gave Moose a low blow. El Patron did a mild version of the Eddie Guerrero shimmy which allowed Moose to land a pump kick on him. After another edit Moose put El Patron on the top rope. El Patron hit his dumb foot stomp finisher on El Patron to pick up the win. [C]
Alberto El Patron defeated Moose via pinfall.
John’s Thoughts: The most I got out of this match was that I can call this phone number that was around the ring to buy a slab of table granite for $300. This is no slight against the FSW promotion. I’m familiar with their work and they do put on some good matches as a local west coast independent promotion. I believe local Bay Area Tag Team, Reno Scum, perform there as their tag team champions. That doesn’t mean I want to be forced to watch independent shows with no real importance. I’d be totally fine with them relegating this to Twitch.
This week’s Pluto TV TNA rewind of the week was Brian Urlacher hitting a Gorilla Press Slam on that guy that co-hosts the Prowrestling Dot Net Weekly show sometimes with Jason Powell (and he also was a contestant on the Survivor show). They cut to a Hania and Rosemary video package…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Ethan Carter III and Tyrus. EC3 said their team was like the Avengers. Ethan said that Tyrus was like the Hulk while he was a combination of Iron Man and Captain America. Tyrus said EC3 shouldn’t sell himself short because he’s also like Thor. EC3 said when a relationship goes wrong “you get back together” which he and Tyrus said in stereo. Tyrus said that the “Crossroads” number one contendership is on the line tonight. EC3 said the new number one contender will be the true number one contender, EC3. Tyrus said “nuff said”…
John’s Thoughts: The last set of tapings and throughout most of 2017, EC3 seemed out of it and missing a step. EC3 these past two weeks has cut some of the best promos than he’s done in a long while. He must really be excited of the new NXT gig? I’m kidding about the NXT thing, but it is a shame that the Jarrett and subsequent D’Amore couldn’t utilize such a strong talent in Ethan Carter III… [C]
5. Jake and Dave Crist (w/Sami Callihan) vs. Eddie Edwards and Bobby Lashley. Sami Callihan had a baseball hat with him. Lashley dominated Dave Crist by no-selling his punch. Mathews noted all of the championship experience behind Lashley and Edwards. Lashley hit Dave Crist with a delayed vertical suplex. Eddie Edwards tagged in to continue the dominance with precision strikes. OVE managed to get momentum when Dave fought his way to Jake. Jake got the referee distracted by Lashley so that he and Dave could double team Eddie.
Sami Callihan got involved with a distraction to allow Jake to hit a high thrust kick on Eddie. The Crist brothers isolated Edwards in their corner with boots. Jake distracted the referee so Sami Callihan could give Eddie a back suplex on the ring apron. Eddie Edwards ended the isolation sequence by hitting OVE with a double top rope dropkick. Eddie tagged in Lashley for the hot tag. Lashley backtossed Jake with ease. Lashley hit Jake with the Dominator power slam. Dave broke up the pin attempt. Dave landed some clean kicks on Lashley but Lashley fought back with a lariat.
Lashley tagged in Eddie and led him to a Suicide Dive on OVE. Eddie Edwards went for the Boston Knee party but was held down by Sami Callihan. Lashley nailed Sami with a spear. Edwards hit the Boston Knee Party on Jake for the victory.
Eddie Edwards and Lashley defeated OVE via pinfall in 8:08.
Lashley and Edwards held up their hands in victory after the match. The show cut to an Austin Aries and Eli Drake video package. Eli Drake cut a promo about Austin Aries getting two fluke victories over him. Drake proclaimed that he was still coming after the title. Ethan Carter III and Tyrus were dancing backstage while Johnny Impact was doing capoeira kicks… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Solid tag team action but that’s it? OVE can’t beat Eddie and Lashley? I’m feeling like we’re missing a chapter in this story. I was a huge proponent of OVE and LAX splitting to elevate other teams but it looks like the current creative team isn’t utilizing their immense talents to their fullest. Where’s my Lucha Underground pocket universe that was so great when OVE and LAX were paired? Instead of showing low res independent footage from Twitch.tv, why not air some OVE cinematics?
Josh Mathews advertised Cult of Lee vs. LAX for the Crossroads show in two weeks. Mathews advertised Callihan vs. Edwards for next week as well as Kongo Kong vs. Joe Park. Mathews said Laurel Van Ness is about to get “committed” to the Knockouts title next week. Edwards also hyped up Hania vs. Rosemary in a No-DQ match next week. Ethan Carter III made their entrance. Josh Mathews advertised the Saturday Fox News segment featuring Tyrus…
5. Johnny Impact vs. Ethan Carter III for Johnny Impact’s Crossroads Impact World Championship title shot. Tyrus took the pair of Johnny Mundo glasses that Johnny Impact gave to “Amber” in the front row and smashed them. Dutt wondered how he knew the fan was named “Amber”? Johnny Impact went for a schoolboy early on but EC3 rolled out of the ring. EC3 and Johnny traded waist holds. The two men had a stalemate in the subsequent chain wrestling sequence. EC3 escaped a crucifix pin attempt. Johnny initiate a series of amateur wrestling ground holds. Ethan countered with a chinlock. EC3 gave Johnny a body slam.
Johnny dodged an EC3 elbow drop. EC3 escaped a standing La Magistral. Johnny hit a capoeira legdrop on EC3. Johnny did some parkour on the ropes to avoid EC3’s offense. EC3 slowed things down and gave Johnny a knee lift. [C]
Tyrus gave Johnny a cheap shot from the outside. EC3 gave Johnny clubbing blows against the apron. Johnny tried to fight back with fatigued punches. EC3 grounded Tyrus with a two consecutive power whips. Josh Mathews noted that EC3 had a 700+ day unpinned streak at one point. Dutt noted that EC3 was put in a number of both submission and pinning situations in the past few weeks so he has a chip on his shoulder. After a resthold sequence, Johnny fought out. EC3 came back with a snap DDT which Johnny rebounded into a kick.
Johnny hit EC3 with a series of stiff punches and a stiff lariat. Johnny went to the strong style strikes followed by a standing Shooting Star. Dutt wanted to talk about Laurel Van Ness for some reason. EC3 dodged a starship pain and gave Johnny a deadlift powerbomb. Ethan went for a TKO but Johnny nailed EC3 with a standing Spanish Fly. Johnny went for the Impact Elbow but EC3 made it to his feet for a Superplex attempt. Johnny gave EC3 forearms and tried to super plex him to ringside. EC3 fought out. EC3 gave Johnny a Super TKO. Josh Mathews did the classic Vince McMahon “we have a new champion” false finish call.
Johnny escaped a One Percenter with a shove. Tyrus tripped Johnny from the Flying Chuck. EC3 tried to get a leverage pin but Johnny kicked out. EC3 landed a Paydirt on Johnny Impact. EC3 trashed talked Johnny but johnny came back with a flurry of punches and kicks. They looked mean. Johnny hit his signature middle rope German Suplex. Tyrus grabbed the split leg of Johnny during the Starship Pain. Dutt questioned why referee “Johnny Bravo” didn’t DQ EC3.
John’s Thoughts: Wait? The ref’s name is Johnny Bravo? That’s the best name ever!
EC3 hit the One Percenter on Johnny Impact. Johnny kicked out of EC3’s finisher. Ethan Carter III decided to go to ringside to shove Tyrus. Tyrus shoved back and walked away. Tyrus gave the crowd deuces. EC3 entered the ring and went for another One Percenter. Johnny hit EC3 with the Moonlight Drive. Johnny hit the Starship Pin for the victory.
Johnny Impact defeated Ethan Carter III via pinfall in 14:00 of TV Time to retain his World Title shot at the Crossroads themed show.
Dutt noted that the perfect moment to nail the Starship Pain was right after Tyrus left. Austin Aries made his entrance eating a banana and holding his “World” title. Aries held up his title in front of Johnny while also offering a handshake. Johnny accepted as the two had a respectful faceoff…
John’s Thoughts: That was one hell of a match and the best match I’ve seen from both men in a while. The last standout match I remember from Johnny was his match against Low Ki which went too short and I don’t remember a truly memorable EC3 match in a long while. I liked the added aggression that Johnny showed which he showed when he had flashes of being a main eventer late in his WWE run and in his Lucha Underground run. The other added layer I liked from Johnny was him using more MMA striking as opposed to the flashy wushu flips he tends to coast on. EC3 handled his end well and has looked great in the last few weeks. It’s sad to see the guy eat so many loses when he was their most protected wrestler and it’s also sad to see him winding down his time in the company that made him a worldwide superstar. I am looking forward to covering this guy in NXT and he’s going to headline a WrestleMania in no time (unless WWE finds a way to screw it up, it’s truly possible).
Mixed feelings on this episode and the main event saved it for me. This week’s episode was very disjointed, but thankfully the main event left a better taste in my mouth so I would at least recommend you check that out. Johnny Impact is starting to look good now and it’s also helping that he’s not cutting promos. Make him a stoic badass, that works for him. Hopefully they stop showing independent wrestling footage, fix LAX and OVE, and start making this show look new. What is Impact offering pro wrestling fans that you can’t get from NXT, Ring of Honor, New Japan, Lucha Underground, or other promotions. Hell, some of the independent promotions featured have ways you can follow them online better than the disjointed show Impact Wrestling. Maybe Jason Powell is liking the latest set of tapings better than me. At least I’m not typing “Only in TNA” regularly so there’s a win there. Another win is we aren’t getting REF BUMPS!!! Thank the lord. Powell will be by later today with his Hit List and members’ audio review.
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