3/8 Powell’s Impact Wrestling TV Live Review: Austin Aries vs. Johnny Impact for the Impact World Championship, Taiji Ishimori vs. Matt Sydal for the X Division and Global Championships, Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie for the Knockouts Championship

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped January 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios

Hour One: Footage aired of Austin Aries arriving at the building “earlier today”. They cut to a shot of Johnny Impact walking toward the building. For some odd reason, he had five guys with him who were holding up American flags… The broadcast team was Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt… A video package aired on the Aries vs. Impact match… The Impact opening video aired…

Mathews and Dutt checked in from the studio and ran through the previously advertised matches and welcomed viewers to the Crossroads themed edition. Dutt said nights like this are special and don’t come often. Mathews asked Dutt what the wrestlers are feeling. He spoke about them having butterflies because careers will be defined… A video package set up the tag title match…

Powell’s POV: Greetings. John Moore’s review of Impact is typically available on Friday mornings, but we swapped roles this week so he will be by on Friday with the Impact Wrestling Hit List. The broadcast team laid it on a little thick, but I like the effort the company has made to make this edition of Impact feel important and I’m curious to see whether that will help them in the viewership numbers once they are available tomorrow around 3CT/4ET.

1. “LAX” Santana and Ortiz (w/Konnan) vs. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles. Lee and Konley jawed at Konnan and were then attacked from behind by LAX. For some reason, the referee rewarded the sneak attack by calling for the bell to start the match. LAX was dominating the match heading into the first commercial break. [C]

Santana performed a big flip dive on Lee shortly after Ortiz performed a suicide dive on Konley. Later, Santana performed a swanton on Konley. Konnan tripped Lee off the apron and then LAX hit their Doomsday Blockbuster on Konley and picked up the pinfall win…

LAX defeated Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley in 13:10 to retain the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: Good action in the show opener. Whew, I was so worried that LAX wouldn’t get their precious bandanas back. We can all sleep well tonight. Anyway, here’s hoping that Impact will do more with Lee at the next taping or at least give the Lee and Konley team character makeovers so that they are no longer presented as goofball comedy heels.

Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Lashley, who spoke about facing OVE in a handicap match due to Eddie Edwards suffering an injury. Lashley said he doesn’t need a partner and will shut up OVE for good…

The Global Wrestling Network Flashback match featured Christian Cage vs. Monty Brown…

A shot aired of Alberto El Patron walking backstage earlier in the day. Mathews said El Patron wasn’t scheduled to be there. What the hell is El Patron doing at Crossroads?” Mathews asked… [C]

Powell’s POV: Why do they think showing a few minutes of a classic match that includes the finish would inspire anyone to order their streaming service? Where’s the hook?

A video package set up the title vs. title match… Backstage, Matt Sydal was kneeling on a encouraged viewers to keep a close eye on him and he would open their third eye…

2. X Division Champion Taiji Ishimori vs. Grand Champion Matt Sydal in a title vs. title match. The broadcast team questioned who Sydal’s spiritual advisor is. Mathews said Sydal seemed more focussed, centered, and more dangerous than ever. Ishimori leaped off the second rope and drove Sydal’s face into his knee a couple minutes into the match. [C]

Sydal was in offensive control and targeting the knee of Ishimori coming out of the break. Later, Ishimori ran down the entrance ramp and performed a huracanrana. Sydal came back with a double knee press off the ropes for a near fall. Late in the match, Ishimori went for his 450 splash, but Sydal put his knees up. Sydal followed up with his shooting star press and scored the clean pin…

Matt Sydal defeated Taiji Ishimori in 16:50 to win the X Division Championship.

Mathews hyped the remaining matches heading into a break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The few fans who bothered to chant were fairly split for Sydal and Ishimori, but the wrestlers worked hard and didn’t get the type of crowd reaction they deserved. In fairness to the fans, though, it was basically a battle of babyfaces. It looks like Sydal is turning based on some of his promos and Ishimori referring to him as a douchebag last week, but most of his oddball promos have occurred backstage and I doubt the fans in the studio saw those until the shows aired on television.

An interview from “earlier today” featured Allie saying she would not have been ready for her title match a few months ago, but now she is. She dedicated the match to her mentor Gail Kim… A video set up the Knockouts Title match…

Hour Two: Laurel Van Ness and Allie brawled at ringside before their match.

3. Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie for the Knockouts Championship. The same referee from the first match called for the opening bell the moment the women entered the ring, so at least he’s consistent? Allie performed a nice German suplex early. Van Ness came right back, but Allie avoided her top rope double stomp. Allie caught her with a Codebreaker.

Van Ness came back with a nice Unprettier at ringside. Allie returned to the ring just in time to beat the ref’s ten count. Allie came back with a Death Valley Driver and a superkick and scored the pin… [C]

Allie defeated Laurel Van Ness in 8:40 to win the Knockouts Championship.

Powell’s POV: A good match. Van Ness has already left the company, so the title change should not surprise anyone. Van Ness went out as a pro in terms of her hard work in this match. It will be interesting to see who Allie works with going forward since Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie are feuding with each other. I’m also curious to see how the Allie character evolves now that she’s champion.

Backstage, Gail Kim was waiting for Allie. Kim hugged Allie and told her that she’s proud of her…

On the interview set, Mitchell interviewed Austin Aries, who said his back hurts from carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He said he’s had a great month in Impact and around the world. Aries said he would be facing the man who has had so many last names that he’s lost count. He noted that it was their first match against one another. Aries said facing him isn’t a night off for Impact, and he doesn’t think Impact is willing to get as mean and nasty as he is. He said Impact would have to show a side of himself that he’s never shown if he wants to take his title from him…

A video package aired on Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards. Footage was shown of Callihan mistakenly hitting Edwards with a baseball bat and of Edwards telling the camera that he was going to the hospital. He said he’d be back for Callihan…

4. Lashley vs. “OVE” Dave Crist and Jake Crist (w/Sami Callihan). Lashley clotheslined the Crists at ringside as he made his entrance and then threw them in the ring. Callihan hit the back of Lashley’s leg with a baseball bat while the referee’s back was turned. The broadcast team spoke about Edwards being at home recovering and how his wife had to take take care of him. Lashley battled back with a double suplex, but Callihan held his leg as he was setting up for a spear, which allowed OVE to regain offensive control. [C]

Callihan continued to interfere from ringside while the referee was distracted. Lashley performed an overhead suplex that threw Jake into Dave in the corner. Brian Cage’s music played and he headed to the ring and tagged Lashley’s hand. Cage worked over both OVE wrestlers while Lashley sat in the corner. Callihan tried to interfere, but Lashley speared him. Cage performed the Drill Claw on Jake and pinned him…

Brian Cage and Lashley defeated OVE.

After the match, Lashley looked miffed and had the referee raise Cage’s hand. Then Lashley offered Cage a handshake, but Cage left the ring without shaking his hand…

Powell’s POV: Well, that made no sense. The referee didn’t seem to care that Cage joined the match as Lashley’s partner even though Lashley didn’t seem to even want a partner. The post match with Cage blowing off the handshake offer was well done and one can only assume they are working toward a battle of the big men, which is a wise move since Lashley also left the company after these tapings.

Backstage, Mitchell interviewed Johnny Impact, who said he’s heard everyone talk about how great Aries is and now he’ll find out exactly how great he is. He said he heard what Aries had to say about him and a lot of it’s true. He said it’s true that he’s had more names than even Aries has had titles. He said he doesn’t call himself the greatest man that ever lived and doesn’t walk around with a bunch of titles from other promotions. Impact said he’s not worried because the only thing that matters to him is winning the Impact World Championship and this would be his night…

Powell’s POV: A solid promo from Impact. It’s rare that I praise his promos because they are frequently quirky and filled with oddball references to Slam Town, but this was pretty straight forward.

The broadcast team checked in from the studio and announced that the Feast or Fired match will take place next week. They explained the rules of the match and played up that three wrestlers will earn title shots and one wrestler will be fired depending on which briefcase they pull down. They also set up the main event…

Powell’s POV: As much as I find Feast or Fired to be a ridiculous concept, it’s a wise move to follow up the Crossroads themed show with it. Ideally, the Crossroads theme will bring in extra viewers and they are giving those viewers some incentive to watch next week.

5. Austin Aries vs. Johnny Impact for the Impact World Championship. Impact entered to a flat reaction. Aries received a slightly better reaction. Ouch. Flat crowd. Once the match started, there was a Johnny chant. They cut to an early break. [C]

Impact performed a nice double springboard enzuigiri for a two count at 12:30. There was a small “this is awesome” chant. At 13:40, Aries applied the Last Chancery, but Impact reached the ropes to break the hold. Aries went for the brainbuster, but Impact stuffed it. Impact placed Aries on the top rope. Aries ended up shoving Impact off the ropes, but Impact flipped onto his feet and then delivered a kick.

Impact performed a Spanish Fly for a two count at 15:30. Aries came back with a nice forearm. Aries went for a neckbreaker, but Impact avoided it. They fought on the apron and Aries ended up performing a Death Valley Driver. Back in the ring, Impact caught a charging Aries with a kick in the corner and got a two count. Aries performed a deep arm drag that laucnhed Impact into the corner and then performed a running dropkick in the corner. Aries performed a brainbuster and scored the pin…

Austin Aries defeated Johnny Impact in 18:05 to retain the Impact World Championship.

After the match, Aries helped Impact up and shook his hand. Alberto El Patron walked onto the stage and clapped. Aries held up his title and pionted at it, then bowed and said thank you. El Patron unbuttoned his shirt and then went back to clapping and smiling as the broadcast team hyped their Last Chancery Twitch TV special for Friday night…

Powell’s POV: A good match with a nice clean finish. The atmosphere left a lot to be desired. The Impact Zone is already back to coming off as being completely overexposed and unenthusiastic. I was fearful that El Patron was going to interfere in the match when they showed him backstage, so the clean finish was actually a pleasant surprise. There wasn’t much to the post match angle with El Patron, who continues to feel ice cold as a character.

Overall, this was a quality show with clean finishes in each of the title matches. It was also the second week in a row that the company didn’t include any heavily edited matches from independent events. Here’s hoping they are moving away from that approach completely. John Moore will be by on Friday with his Impact Wrestling Hit List, and I’ll also be by with an audio review of the show.

Join me for live coverage of the ROH 16th Anniversary pay-per-view on Friday and the WWE Fastlane event on Sunday.


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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Paying people to cheer is starting not to look like such a bad idea, eh?

  2. The OVE, Lashley match was originally billed as a tag team match. Obviously Eddie Edwards got taken out . The match wasn’t signed to be a handicap match so technically it was still a tag match. Lashley just didn’t have a partner. Cage went to the corner and legally tag himself in. It made sense to me. You see it all the time.

    I thought this was a good Clash of the champions type tv special. I enjoyed it !

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