By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped in January 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
The intro teaser focused on the Alberto El Patron and Austin Aries press conference from a few weeks ago which was taped right before the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event. The latter part of the teaser noted that El Patron no-showed his main event at the subsequent Impact vs. Lucha show. The footage had sound bites from Matt Striker which attempted to flush out some of the Pentagon Jr. and some of the Fenix character where Striker tried to explain the Cero Miedo (zero fear) catchphrase while also dubbing Fenix “The Man of a thousand lives”. They aired some of the Austin Aries quotes from last week where he criticized Alberto El Patron for not being a professional. Aries talked about how he partied like a champ, but at least he showed up for work. They also showed Aries booking the main event for Redemption at the House of Hardcore show the following day. The Impact intro theme aired…
John’s Thoughts: A good teaser and it gave me a thought. One thing that would help Impact a lot on Sunday’s PPV is if they can bring in Matt Striker for play-by-play. Striker can be annoying sometimes, but when he’s good he’s good. He’s also probably the most knowledgeable English-Speaking commentator in the United States aside from Vampiro who knows all the details of the Lucha Underground talent. Them bringing up Fenix’s nickname also gave me another thought. Why not bring in Judas Mesias again to be the son of James Mitchell? The guy is much improved from his first Impact run and he might arguably be Lucha Underground’s best talent.
Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt checked in on commentary as Braxton Sutter made his entrance. Sutter gave a formal introduction for “The Undead Bride” Su Yung. Their opponents were Fallah Bahh and Kiera Hogan (I wonder who’s going to win?). The commentators were calling Hogan “The Girl on Fire”…
1. Braxton Sutter and Su Yung vs. Fallah Bahh and Kiera Hogan in an intergender tag team match. The child referee guy rewarded the heels for jumping the gun by calling for the bell after Yung and Sutter blindsided the babyfaces during their entrance routine. Bahh and Hogan responded by hitting their opponents with stereo crossbodies. Bahh caught Sutter into a belly to belly. Bahh hit the human steamroller on Sutter. Hogan hit Yung with a crossbody and dominated her. Sutter tagged in and was hit by a Hogan drop toehold and step up legdrop.
Bahh tagged in and missed a standing Banzai Drop. Yung tagged in and choked Bahh with her boot. Yung tagged in Sutter who worked on the grounded Bahh. Su Yung hit Bahh with a cannonball from the apron while the ref was distracted. The heels isolated Bahh. Bahh used palm strikes to escape a ground move. Sutter regained control after biting the head of Bahh. Bahh came right back with a Samoan Drop. Su Yung tagged in and Hogan tagged in for the hot tag sequence. Hogan hit consecutive tackles and dropkicks on Yung. Yung went for the helicopter driver but Hogan escaped and gave Yung a suplex. Braxton Sutter broke up a Hogan move but was slapped by Hogan.
Sutter used the child referee as a meat shield to block Bahh. Su Yung tried to hit Bahh with a kendo stick but he no sold the shot and responded with the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag. Sutter tossed away Bahh and ran into the foot of Hogan. Hogan hit Sutter with a tornado DDT. Su Yung hit Hogan with a rising palm and Panic Switch (Helicopter Michinoku Driver) for the win.
Su Yung and Braxton Sutter defeated Kiera Hogan and Fallah Bahh via pinfall in 6:20.
Josh Mathews said Yung is the face of fear and may be the new face of the Knockouts…
John’s Thoughts: There was a lot to like in that intergender tag match, but I also felt like this was the wrong place for this type of match heading into the PPV. Bahh continues to impress with his charisma and connection with the audience. Give the guy a medal for getting the dead ass Impact Zone to at least care a little bit. Hogan had a much better performance on offense compared to an ugly effort against Laurel Van Ness a few months ago. Hogan has the potential to become Impact’s signature babyface if creative is willing to invest some time into her. Another good part was Su Yung’s character work. In particular, she was in full on character even when waiting on the apron. What I didn’t like was Su Yung should have been in a squash match or at least not look so weak heading into the PPV. The babyfaces got too much offense and it was Sutter’s cheating that gave them the advantage. This would have been better if they had Su Yung beat up Sutter in a Squash Match or even Amber Nova again.
Allie blindsided Su Yung as she was heading to the back. Sutter held back Allie which allowed Yung to get the advantage. Allie and Yung brawled on the ground until the referees broke it up. Sonjay Dutt said we saw a side of Allie that we haven’t seen before. Sutter grabbed Su Yung and dragged her to the back away from Allie. Josh Mathews advertised Johnny Impact vs. Kongo Kong for later in this episode… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That was a pretty good post-match thing. They should have done that instead of the competitive match.
It was time for an LAX cinematic. Ortiz was wondering how they were supposed to handle the Big Bad Booty Daddy. Santana said Steiner’s eyes show that he might not have a soul. Konnan said he was in the NWO with Steiner. Konnan said Steiner has so soul, brains, compassion, or friends. Konnan called Steiner “Baby nuts”. Konnan said Drake probably wants to weaponize Steiner due to his loose cannon nature but that might end up backfiring on Drake. Konnan said Steiner might not show up to the match, show up late, be eating at an all you can eat buffet, stuck at the gym, or even may show up to beat up Eli Drake. Konnan said Steiner is a wild card but LAX are the champs. Konnan closed with his Hasta La Muerte Y Despues line…
Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt were shown from their blue screen studio. Dutt reminded the viewers that they were going to show the full Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix match from WrestleCon…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Jimmy Jacobs who had Kongo Kong with him. Jacobs got distracted and said that McKenzie Mitchell was pretty. Jacobs used that quote to say that people like McKenzie or Johnny are handed things their entire life because of how they look. Jacobs said that Mitchell and Johnny live in a bubble. Jacobs said he understands that they don’t know better. Jacobs said Kong is going to rip Johnny out of the bubble, mangle his body, shatter his cheekbones, and gouge out one of those eyes. Jacobs said he wants Johnny to look in the mirror and see a monster staring back at him. Jacobs said he’s a princess and always gets what he wants… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Yeah, the Jimmy Jacobs character is a dud at this point. I feel bad saying that because I remember this guy being great in the Age of the Fall and extremely entertaining as Tyler Black’s “sensitive” tag team partner. I almost feel like he’s dragging Kongo Kong down as the Jeff Jarrett creative team I thought was on the verge of something good when he was squashing dudes and partnered up with Laurel Van Ness. They ruined it later by having him feud with people like Grado, Mahabali Shera, and Tyrus but at least the initial build was solid.
A video package aired that recapped the events involving Sami Callihan, OVE, and Eddie Edwards which led to the House of Hardcore Match. Josh Mathews then cut to the “Global Wrestling Network Flashback Match of the Week”. They showed about 8 minutes of Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle from some random Bound for Glory. Mike Tenay clarified that this was the year they started to use the “Bound for Glory series”. The finish was odd. Kurt Angle defended his title with his hand on the ropes, but it didn’t matter since Roode didn’t attempt to kick out anyway after the Angle Slam… [C]
KM made his way to the ring for a promo. KM said people know him as one thing. The crowd chanted “liar”. KM said he’s an innovator. KM said he’s going to innovate a one of a kind match today. KM said he was holding the “KM open Challenge”. KM said he doesn’t want people like Moose or Fallah Bahh. KM said he wants people like Duane Gill, Brooklyn Brawler, and others. KM named off a list of famous jobbers. Suddenly, Brian Cage entered the Impact Zone. KM started to talk nervously. KM said he and Cage are boys. KM wanted a fist bump. KM told Cage to go back to Gold’s Gym while he just walks way. Cage pulled KM back to the ring. KM tried to get a cheap shot in but to no avail…
2. KM vs. Brian Cage. Cage destroyed KM at the onset of the match with a bunch of power moves. Cage easily tossed KM with a German Suplex. Cage hit KM with his signature Deadlift Suplex and followed up with a top rope elbow drop. Cage hit the Discus Lariat and then “another new move” as Josh Mathews put it. He hit KM with an F5 for the victory.
Brian Cage defeated KM via pinfall in 1:32.
Josh Mathews said Cage hit a move that was “almost like an F5” (wait? It was an F’n F5). Josh Mathews also noted that it was impressive due to KM being a big guy. They showed clips of Johnny Impact doing handstands in preparation for his match against Kongo Kong… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Another good squash for Cage and the crowd was better by their standards in reaction to this Cage performance. This is what they should have done with Su Yung earlier in preparation for her title match on Sunday. Of all the people Impact has been pushing, it’s odd that they don’t have Cage in a meaningful match on Sunday. Sadly, Impact might be doing one of their vintage “Only in TNA” things by feeding Cage the entire X Division.
Josh Mathews ran though some of the Redemption matches including the new Lucha Underground match announced between Drago and Aerostar…
A Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong cinematic video package aired. Jacobs talked about being born just shoots you into the world like that against your will. Jacobs said you have to make something out of life because one day you’ll go back to the ground just like that. Clips of cityscape and clouds aired. Jacobs said it is up to you to figure out what to do between the moment of creation and the moment of destruction. Jacobs said you have to make the most out of it. Jacobs said he met Kongo Kong 18 years ago and life is funny. Jacobs said things came full circle amongst the chaos. Jacobs said people speak about Abyss with fear and Abyss has a fun legacy. Clips of Kong torturing his opponents were shown. Jacobs said Johnny Impact is a hung that people love to look at. Jacobs said Johnny is a bunch of pretty that Kong is about to take away. Jacobs talked about how Kong is about to mutilate some of that beauty. Jacobs said Kong’s actions are going to do the speaking for him and there will only be on monster in the end in Impact Wrestling…
John’s Thoughts: There we go. That was the first time in Impact where I can remember a good Jimmy Jacobs promo. We still don’t fully know his Modus Operandi but he was able to express himself better in the cinematic setting. The video package also fixed that problem a bit of making Kong seem more like a threat.
3. Kongo Kong (w/ Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Johnny Impact. Johnny wanted to start the match with a test of strength but used it to get a shot in on Kong. Kong then overpowered Johnny to ringside. Johnny used a few low kicks to try to chop down the tree. Johnny also used his agility to dodged Kong. Kong turned Johnny inside out and 360 with a lariat. Kong used a Belly to Belly to manhandle Johnny followed by a cannonball senton. Johnny sidestepped Kong and hit a few ground and pound moves on Kong. Johnny then hit a leg drop. Kong recovered and hit Johnny with a headbutt. Johnny tried to punch the gut of Kong but Kong no-sold the shots. Johnny showed off some parkour dodges but got caught midair and tossed.
Johnny was tossed but landed on his feet like a cat. Kong ran through Johnny and Johnny rolled to the outside. Kong whipped Johnny into the steps but Johnny used parkour to jump across the steps. Kong still overpowered Johnny by just shoving him. Kong grabbed the referee and tossed him into the barricade. REF BUMP!!! Shouldn’t this lead to the DQ. Josh and Sonjay noted the match was over. Kongo Kong tossed Johnny Impact into the steel steps like a lawn dart.
Johnny Impact vs. Kongo Kong ended in an apparent no-contest in 7:10.
Johnny was bleeding from the mouth after the match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: I saw Johnny Impact work a very similar match a few weeks ago which is why I was so confident he would get a good match out of the monster Kong. Johnny did a great job making Kong look strong. It would help in Impact once in a while to have a heel go over clean. We still don’t ever have that happening, but this was the closest thing possible. This has me looking forward to their Redemption match, but wait, they don’t have a Redemption match set do they?
Josh Mathews figured that Jacobs and Kong didn’t want a match, but rather they wanted to send a message. Johnny was shown getting tended to by the paramedics. An Allie, Su Yung, and Braxton Sutter video package aired. They also aired a Petey Williams and Matt Sydal video package… [C]
An Eli Drake video package aired where he made Moose look like a dumbass. This led to the LAX vs. Steiner and Drake video package. After they cut to McKenzie Mitchell interviewing Eli Drake. Drake cut one of his Rock-like promos. He said he’s the first man in the company to be “double feasting”. He said one man is gold and that is E..li..Drake… Scott Steiner walked in and said he liked Drake’s style. Steiner said Konnan just carried his bags and is a bitch…
The commentators ran through the Redemption card yet again. They cut to Melissa Santos at the Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground show. They replaced the Mathews and Striker commentary with Mathews and Dutt. The commentators tried to fill in some of the missing details of the Lucha brothers like the Cero Miedo catchphrase or the fact that they are real life brothers…
4. Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix in a non-title Triple Threat match from WrestleCon. I already reviewed this match when it took place on the Friday of WrestleMania weekend and you can find my recap HERE.
Some added details are a handful of better camera angles, some commercial breaks, and commentary where Sonjay Dutt attempted to exposit some of their Lucha Underground backstory. Also note that Pentagon and Fenix are allowed to use their AAA names which for the past two years they have been threatened by lawsuits from AAA against using. Pentagon Jr. wins by hitting Fenix with his 3-up 3-down driver while Austin Aries was knocked out at ringside.
Pentagon Jr. defeated Fenix and Austin Aries via pinfall.
After the match, a trailer for the Redemption PPV aired. It was a good one and it closed out Impact…
John’s Thoughts: I tried to put myself in solely an Impact viewer rather than a person who analyzes both shows and I think Impact did as good a job as they could have to try to get the viewers up to speed as to why you should care about the Lucha Brothers. I still question replaying the match they are asking viewers to pay for on Sunday, but the added camera angles and the abrupt finish did a decent job at making me want to see the match on Sunday more. If they are partnering up with Lucha Underground, then why not show a Fenix vs. Pentagon match from there? I still think I might be higher on this than most people because when it’s all said and done, I know what these two Lucha Brothers can deliver, but not a lot of people do. At WrestleCon, that was a Lucha Underground audience. I’m afraid to see what the Impact Zone will do to this match. If I were in Florida, I’d definitely go out of my way to get those free tickets for what is essentially a subpar, but still pretty good Lucha Underground show.
Overall, this was a skippable episode when it comes down to it, but Impact did the best that they could in a bad situation. I could only think that they had some good things planned for the El Patron vs. Aries match because the backstage skits leading up to this event actually impressed me. Instead, they tried to have Sonjay Dutt and Josh Mathews fill in time by repeating the card over and over, they had a long flashback match, they had a few filler segments, and this show was ultimately mostly video packages. If they trimmed out the filler, this would make a good “pre-show”. As for the PPV, I still can’t give a full recommendation given how we got a similar card a few weeks ago with WrestleCon and that was not only free, but it had the guaranteed show stealer with LAX vs. Shane Strickland and Willie Mack. I don’t see the clear show stealer in this card unless Matt Sydal brings one of his good matches. Jason Powell will be by later today with his Impact Wrestling Hit List and Member’s Exclusive Audio Review.