By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in January 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Impact Wrestling started off with a teaser of the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event featuring Austin Aries and Alberto El Patron. Aries said he was going to give his thoughts on Alberto not being able to make it to the show (despite him being at WrestleCon right before the event for a press conference). They cut to clips of Alberto El Patron at WrestleCon walking winded as he left the mini-brawl at the press conference. El Patron said he doesn’t care about Lucha Underground and is about to kick the ass of Aries later. Aries noted that El Patron tried to say with a straight face at the press conference that this was El Patron’s company. A clip aired of an Austin Aries promo from the House of Hardcore show the following day where Aries wanted to challenge Pentagon Jr. and Fenix in a triple threat for the world title since Pentagon picked up the win with a 3-up 3-down driver on Fenix (wait? That doesn’t make sense). Clips from the rest of the show were shown in the teaser.
Matt Striker said that the world is trying to divide us and something like pro wrestling can bring people together. Willie Mack had similar thoughts. Tommy Dreamer also agreed. DJ Z talked about how he wrestled for the first time in Impact in over a year. Aries talked about how he’s fighting for unity too. The Impact Wrestling intro theme aired. Clips of Pentagon Jr. and Fenix were shown in the intro theme (as of last week, they were using the “Fenix” and “Pentagon Jr.” names which AAA took away from them for a stretch). Su Yung was also added to the intro theme…
John’s Thoughts: As much as Impact made a huge mistake and deserve any backlash from their stupidity in pushing El Patron as an overrated main eventer, I praise the company for acting swiftly on the matter and thus preventing any further consequences from this toxic relationship. Anyways, that’s behind us and they did get an upgrade in the main event with two of the best wrestlers in the world. What’s going to be tough is that they are barely going to have time to promote this emergency retcon, and many Impact viewers are probably not familiar with real-life brothers Pentagon and Fenix. To recommend a solution for the later problem, I’d recommend Impact fans go to Netflix and watch the Lucha Underground series. You’ll get a better appreciation for these two world class talents and maybe even find out why people are so hyped up at El Hijo Del Fantasma.
Josh Mathews opened up the show addressing the change in the Redemption main event due to Alberto El Patron’s suspension. Sonjay Dutt was the color commentator. Eli Drake made his entrance with his world title and tag team [not-] Money in the Banks. Drake talked about how a lot of people are saying his name, but that doesn’t make people cool. Drake said he admits he was wrong. The few in the crowd that cared gave Drake the “what?” treatment. Drake said he didn’t care about the tag title at first because Chris Adonis tucked tail and left. Drake said when he makes a deal he makes a deal. Drake called Moose a dummy and noted how he got the briefcase from him. Drake noted that Aries was a dummy looking like a fan who buys replica title belts online. This caused Sonjay Dutt to get annoying and laugh all over the microphone. Weird.
Drake’s promo was cut off by the LAX theme music. Santana, Ortiz, and Konnan entered the ring with their Mexican and Puerto Rican flags. Drake cleared the ring and retreated up the ramp. Dutt noted that there are three gangstas in the ring. Konnan talked about how LAX was back in the cut and serious like a late period. Konnan asked where the Latino Nation was at and he got a few people to cheer (damn Impact Zone!). Konnan said Drake is the president, VP, and treasurer of his own fan club and he doesn’t trust Drake. Konnan wanted to know who trusted Drake enough to tag with him last minute. Konnan said Drake was a ho. Drake said he knows a lot of guys in the back can’t be trusted included Drake. Drake said his partner is someone that Konnan has run with. Drake said this man is the greatest tag team wrestler on this earth and a former world champion.
The sirens played. Drake said this wasn’t la policia or la migra. Scott Steiner slowly walked on stage. Josh Mathews noted that Steiner looked great at WrestleCon… [C]
Back from the break, Steiner told everyone to shut up. Steiner called Konnan “K-Dawg” while he called the crowd White Trash and Red Necks. Steiner said he’s one half of “the best tag team in the history is business”. Sonjay Dutt got annoying again with random laughing. Steiner said he was the most dominant champion in the NWO. Steiner told the millennials to look him up on YouTube because he’s world famous bitch. Steiner told people to mark the April 22 date down. Steiner said three things gonna happen, LAX will lose the title, get their ass kicked, and find out why Steiner is the man with the shortest fuse and largest arms in pro wrestling. Konnan said he’s not sure what language Steiner is speaking because there is a lot of linguistic menstruation going around there. Konnan said you don’t disrespect the Latino nation.
Konnan noted that Steiner’s modus operandi is mind games and trash talk. Konnan warned Drake that Steiner might not show up, show up late for the match, or maybe kick Drake’s ass before the match. Konnan wondered if Steiner still has it. Konnan started an LAX chant and said that they might tell Steiner he still has it. Konnan said he was going to keep it 100 and he doesn’t think Steiner has it because Steiner looks like he can’t tear up a chicken and a luau. Drake called Konnan “Old man Konnan”. Konnan said Drake looks like Brody from Showtime’s Homeland series. Drake called Konnan a wedge which is a useless tool. Drake hyped up himself as the big bad gravy daddy. Drake’s theme started playing at the end of the promo but Konnan cut it off saying that the current champions dictate the music cues. LAX’s theme played to close out the segment instead. Steiner started to yell out curse words…
John’s Thoughts: A fairly long promo segment that covered up most of the first half hour, but it was a fun one given all of the players involved. Drake and Konnan are strong promos. The best part of this segment was probably the return of Scott Steiner, who is intentionally so bad as a promo that he’s entertaining. If OVE vs. Steiner and Teddy Hart was any indication, LAX vs. Steiner and Drake is probably not going to be that good, but it might be entertaining if they allow a microphone to pick up some of the crazy stuff Steiner yells. By the way, Sonjay Dutt was terrible in that segment with his random laughter. After hearing Impact vs. Lucha Underground (and Dutt’s been good since he’s debut as an announcer), I wouldn’t mind a Matt Striker and Josh Mathews commentary team because that last Friday they weren’t bad. That said, both can be annoying at times.
Sonjay Dutt and Josh Mathews were shown in their commentary studio. Josh Mathews talked about his experience with Scott Steiner as a tag partner last year. The commentators ran through some upcoming matches. Mathews advertised the new Redemption main event, Austin Aries vs. Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. Josh and Dutt also talked about the Demon’s dance for later in this show. Josh Mathews “left the studio” to go wrestle Petey Williams. Sonjay Dutt cut to the GWN Flashback Match of the Week. They showed the ending of the Jade vs. Rosemary Six Sides of Steel Match from last year. They started off with the part of the match where Jade (Mia Yim) jumped off the top of the cage onto Rosemary. Rosemary won the match after hitting a mist and Red Wedding on Jade. This was back when Dave Lagana, Billy Corgan, and Matt Conway was running things. You could tell Corgan was involved because Rosemary had the Marilyn Manson nobodies theme…
John’s Thoughts: Remember when Impact was really good all year? Good times… Good times…
Sami Callihan made his entrance. Callihan sent Jake and Dave Crist to the back. Sonjay Dutt noted that Callihan was billed from Anonymous, Ohio. Moose came out doing his Moose dance…
1. Sami Callihan vs. Moose. Sonjay Dutt was on solo commentary. Moose started off the match with a pump kick. Callihan returned the favor with a pump kick of his own but Moose responded with a headbutt and hesitation dropkick. Dutt tried to stress the point that Callihan is attacking Moose to play into the promise he made to Eddie Edwards to attack the friends and family of Edwards. In an odd moment, what little of the crowd was cheering, was cheering for Sami Callihan.
Callihan hit a lariat and a tope to Moose to rally on Moose. Moose caught a Callihan pump kick and turned it into an Apron Bomb. Moose gave Callihan a second bomb at the request of the fan who shows up regularly to really get into the Moose dance. Moose no-sold a Callihan pump kick and returned the favor with his own pump kick. Callihan blocked the referee’s vision and gave Moose a low blow. [C]
The pump kicks continued coming back from the break. Moose nosold Callihan’s punches and chops with his Moose dance. Moose fired up and hit Callihan with a high dropkick. Callihan tripped Moose into the second turnbuckle. Moose caught Callihan with a popup powerbomb and running senton. Moose hit Callihan with the Go to Hell finisher. Callihan kicked out at two.
John’s Thoughts: Do any of Moose’s finishers work anymore?
Moose gave Callihan a few punches and slaps on the top rope. Callihan bit Moose’s ear to block a superplex. Moose blocked a Sunset Flip bomb. Callihan hit a superkick on Moose’s face between the legs. Callihan hit a sitout bomb on Moose. Moose hit a discus lariat on Callihan for a two count. Callihan grabbed onto the bat and hit Moose in the face with it (Triple H’s style).
Moose defeated Sami Callihan via DQ in 10:10.
Moose was getting his ass kicked by Sami, Jake, and Dave. As usual, Eddie Edwards runs out to save Moose because he always gets beat up by gangs. Edwards managed to dominate the trio but it was the bat that gave OVE control. Jake and Dave tried to hold Eddie into place to replicate the botched chair spot but Alisha Edwards ran in to draw Callihan’s attention. Callihan threatened Alisha with the bat. The lights turned off and on to reveal ECW legend Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer beat up the Ohioans with a Kendo Stick and hit Callihan with a pile driver. Dreamer said he’s been fighting a war his entire career. He said he likes to go extreme and likes revolution. Dreamer said Callihan wants to start a revolution but Dreamer has a soldier in Moose and a man who had his face busted in front of his wife in Edwards. Dreamer proposed a Trios match in the first ever “House of Hardcore” match at Redemption. Josh Mathews and Matt Sydal were meditating backstage while Sydal wore his Spirit Animal mask…
John’s Thoughts: That was a really good singles match before the DQ. Callihan has gotten a chance to really show off what he could do in singles matches in the Impact Zone and has delivered every time with main event quality performances. Moose had one of his better matches in a while. Moose is still scripted to be a dope and the dumbest guy in pro wrestling who needs to be saved by the nicest guy in wrestling Edwards and his latest guest celebrity friend in Dreamer. Maybe he needs a Zelina Vega-like reboot? Maybe bring in Veda Scott or even Taeler Hendrix? While I like the Dreamer guest appearance, the guy is showing up randomly everywhere, I’m not a huge fan of the latest random TNA-like gimmick match? They are really rushing with this Redemption build and I have to say that I don’t think that this PPV is worth it’s $40+ price tag unless you’re willing to donate your money into the TNA charity fund.
Josh Mathews now has calming Yoga music with the word Namaste on the video wall. Sonjay Dutt was overacting on the headset. That front row of regular fans chanted “Fire Josh”. Josh Mathews blamed Petey Williams for costing him the Grand Championship which he thought he fought 17 years for. Mathews said the “net nerds” called Mathews’ title reign “Arquette esque”. Mathews called Aries a “stupid vegan”. Oh Canada played as Petey Williams walked out with the Canadian flag on his head and the briefcase that he never really needed.
2. Petey Williams vs. Josh Mathews. Sonjay Dutt noted that the last time he cashed in the Feast or Fired, he beat Jay Lethal for the X Division Championship. Josh Mathews stalled during the beginning of the match with Yoga stretches. The front row of regular fans chanted “Josh can’t wrestle” as Josh continued the yoga stretching. Josh tried to get a cheap shot on Josh after a distraction but Petey was unfazed as he chased down Josh who screamed like a girl. Petey fell for Sydal’s distraction like a dope which allowed Mathews to pound Petey into the ground with punches. Josh was excited to try the Canadian Destroyer but Petey reversed into a sharpshooter attempt. Petey was distracted by Sydal again. Williams went for a Canadian Destroyer on Sydal but Mathews broke it up. Williams went for the Destroyer on Mathews but Sydal broke that up for the DQ.
Petey Williams defeated Josh Mathews via DQ in 3:58.
Sydal used his knees to take down Williams. Dutt noted that Sydal was “more aggressive” than usual. Sydal used his jacket to trap and choke Williams. Sydal struck a Yoga pose on top of Williams… [C]
John’s Thoughts: To give them a little credit, the antics of Mathews during the middle of that match were a bit funny, like the Destroyer attempt, but otherwise that match was an undercard comedy show that dragged down Williams. Williams looks like a dope for falling for Sydal’s distractions several times. The comedy makes Sydal an undercard comedy heel. This pairing is not working. Dave Lagana and crew are running a similar angle with Josephus and his spiritual advisor and are doing a much more compelling job at it. In Impact, this act looks like it’s only there to pop some of the boys in the back.
Sonjay Dutt talked about how Brian Cage beat Lashley two times in a row. They cut to McKenzie Mitchell interviewing Johnny Impact. Johnny talked about how Kongo Kong and Jimmy Jacobs keep popping up everywhere. Johnny started to cut bad jokes about the makeup of Jacobs and Kong. Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong walked in to interrupt the interview. Johnny called Jacobs “emo Kramer”. Jacobs brought up Johnny’s protective bubble again and called him “Johnny Gorgeous”. Jacobs said Kong will pop the bubble and Johnny will see the real world. Johnny said he’s not amused because they keep interrupting his interviews and jumping him after matches. Johnny said “next week, I’ll be in the ring, waiting, consider yourselves invited”. Johnny and Kong stood face-to-face. Dutt said Johnny Impact just challenged Kongo Kong. They then ran a recap of KM’s fat shaming segment with Brodus Clay running in for the save… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Another awkward promo by Johnny Impact, and Jimmy Jacobs has been a disappointment so far as well. I remember Jacobs being much better than this in ROH and WSX. I applaud Johnny for trying to tone down the corny stuff, but he still sounds very nervous when he’s trying to deliver a long promo. The best part of the promo was when he said “next week, I’ll be in the ring, waiting, consider yourselves invited” and it would have been a stronger promo segment if that’s the only words he said. I keep thinking that he should speak less and let his actions do the talking. NXT is doing a good job with a similar bad promo in Ricochet by limiting him to short sound bites and cocky one liners. Johnny should take a similar “less is more” approach.
3. KM, Trevor Lee, and Caleb Konley vs. Tyrus, Richard Justice, and Fallah Bahh. This looks like the enhancement wrestler six-man match. Josh Mathews rejoined the commentary booth. Bahh and Lee started the match off. Bahh dropped Lee and did his Motombo finger wag. Bahh hit Lee with his human steamroller move. Richard Justice tagged in and took down Lee and Konley with punches. KM tagged in after Justice took off the straps. Justice took down KM with punches. Lee and KM used tandem kicks to take over control of the match over Justice. The heels isolated Justice in their corner.
Tyrus tagged in and hit KM with a T-Bone suplex. Josh Mathews did his weekly advertisement for Tyrus’ Fox News segment. The babyface team took down the heels. Justice hit a salute fall on the Cult of Lee. Tyrus grabbed KM by the jaw and put him in position for Bahh to hit the Banzai Drop on KM for the pinfall victory.
Tyrus, Richard Justice, and Fallah Bahh defeated KM, Trevor Lee, and Caleb Konley via pinfall in 5:36.
Tyrus took down the stretch and started a pose off with his partners. They cut to Rosemary who was shown doing her Rosemary things backstage… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That was quick and ultimately pointless. The heels not only left with zero heat but they left with less heat than they came in with. Aside from Tyrus, who has been off of TV for a while, the other five men come off as enhancement wrestlers. I feel like they did a better job with the bullying and comedy storyline a few years ago when they had Grado involved. This felt rushed and thrown out there.
4. Taya Valkyrie vs. Rosemary in a Demon’s Dance Match. Taya dominated the early part of the match with rapid punches. Taya and Rosemary traded ground and pound. Josh said they were like ying and yang, polar opposites (are they?). Taya attempted to nail Rosemary with Road to Valhalla on the ramp again as she’s done in the past. They blocked each other’s finishers on the ramp. Josh Mathews noted that Rosemary has learned how to counter Taya’s finisher after taking it several times. Taya took the action to ringside and hit Rosemary with a front suplex on the guardrail in front of the Rosemary fan club. Taya put a pile of chairs in the ring.
A Josh Mathews voiceover cut in and reminded viewers that the Redemption main event is changed. Taya stomped a mudhole into Rosemary with a chair. Taya hit Rosemary with a corner meteora. Taya hammer and chiseled a chair into Rosemary’s crotch, she’s done this spot in Lucha Underground before if I remember correctly. Taya did her Guera Loca (Crazy white chick) roar. Rosemary recovered and hit Taya with a Sling Blade on top of a chair. Rosemary blocked an Irish whip into a corner ladder and hit a forearm on Taya. Taya blocked a fisherman suplex and hit Taya with a snap suplex. Taya kicked Rosemary on the ground and Rosemary did her version of the undertaker sit up. Rosemary used a hip toss to send Taya into the corner ladder. Rosemary brought out a table.
Taya sidestepped Rosemary sending her head into a chair in the corner. Taya put Rosemary on a table but Rosemary was able to reach Taya to prevent Taya from hitting a high-risk move. After some brawling, Taya went for a Super Road for Valhalla. Rosemary went for a Super Red Wedding. Rosemary won the battle with a Super Pile Driver into the table to pick up the win.
Rosemary defeated Taya Valkyrie in a Demon’s Dance in 10:17.
Josh Mathews talked about how the match could have gone either way during the point of the match where they brawled on the top rope. Rosemary did a full body mount and celebrated her win. Rosemary went to ringside to celebrate with her fan club. Josh Mathews hyped up an Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground recap video package after the commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Match quality wise, that was what I expected. It was a really fun and well wrestled hardcore match by two women who excel in hardcore brawls. Several things baffle me though. This was really good! So why not save this match for the PPV? The ending also baffles me. I complained last week at Impact vs. LU that it was odd to see Taya dominate a match only to have Allie pick up a win over the undefeated Taya. I conceded that the LU show was non-canonical, but this Impact show is canon. I think it would have been better to have Taya cheat somehow to pull out a victory if their purpose was to protect Rosemary. Rosemary is a Jeff Hardy-like rockstar and can absorb losses (she’s absorbed a ton so far). They were heating up Taya so well, but now they are letting the steam out with this loss.
An Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground video package aired. The first part of this video was the exact thing they played at the beginning of the show. The next part of the video had Sonjay Dutt talking about the dream matches. They showed clips of Lucha Underground wrestlers with Matt Striker talking about how great they were. Clips were shown of the Eddie Edwards vs. Jeremiah Crane match where Don Callis made an appearance. Matt Striker talked about how heartwarming it was to see a fan with a Lucha Underground shirt sit next to a fan with an Impact shirt. They showed more of the wrestlers talking about their experience.
The end of the segment focused on the main event which Alberto El Patron no-showed. They showed the Alberto El Patron and Austin Aries press conference brawl that was shown at the beginning of the show. Aries said one thing he doesn’t do is bullshit people. An Impact Wrestling tweet was shown that announced Alberto El Patron’s release. The segment cut to Austin Aries booking the three-way main event of Redemption. Josh Mathews advertised the re-airing of Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix in next week’s Impact Show to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: That was strange? The video package was nice, and I understand that they were put in a tough position by Alberto El Patron’s stupidity, but this is an “Only in TNA” Hallmark where they air the PPV match before the PPV and thus making the PPV less attractive. Unless El Rey Network is being stubborn, why not air some Pentagon Jr. or Fenix video packages. To Impact viewers, they don’t know that Pentagon Jr. is a skeleton ninja who trains under bushido art. They don’t know that Fenix is the babyface heart and soul of Lucha Underground with the supernatural power of being able to rise from the dead. They don’t know that Pentagon collects the souls of his victims by breaking arms to present to his maestro and that he lives by the credo of “Cero Miedo”. They don’t know that Fenix, with his high flying-strong style hybrid style of wrestling, is one of the best wrestlers in the world. They don’t know why Pentagon Jr. has become the Stone Cold Steve Austin of Los Angeles and how he can steal the show with a promo without speaking a lick of English. My best recommendation is to tell you to go to Netflix and find out why the Lucha Brothers are so hype. I’m not saying this to hype up Lucha Underground, I’m trying to get you informed as to why this Redemption main event is considered a “dream match”.
This was a strange show to cover. There was some good. The show was disjointed, but I understand that had to be due to Alberto El Patron screwing up. That said, we got two DQ finishes, repeat video packages, and odd booking even without the Del Rio problems. They paid off two storylines tonight. The best positives were the match quality of the Sami Callihan vs. Moose match and the Taya vs. Rosemary hardcore match. Konnan, Eli Drake, and Scott Steiner added some sweet flavor to the show too. I don’t want to keep bringing it up, but they did with the GWN moment of the week. 2016 had such great storytelling. 2017 just sucked, let’s be honest. 2018, I give them credit for not being illogical, but now they are truly just WWE-lite. NXT is more of a WWE alternative than this show and even 205 Live is putting out a more impressive product than Impact with comparable roster sizes. I understand, tough shit, shit happens, but whose fault is that? Anyway, here’s hoping they find a way to be compelling during the go-home show. I wouldn’t mind a Fenix independent wrestling footage match so as long as they don’t do it in an arena with broken ropes. What ever happened to their AAA relationship? Anyway, written rant over. Jason Powell will be by later on today with an Audio Review and Hit List. Maybe he is less annoyed than 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)...