4/22 Powell’s Impact Wrestling Redemption live review: Austin Aries vs. Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. for the Impact World Championship, LAX vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner for the Impact Tag Titles, Allie vs. Su Yung for the Knockouts Title

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

Impact Wrestling Redemption 2018
Aired live on pay-per-view and on FITE TV
Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios

A video opened the show. We got three more replays of Sami Callihan striking Eddie Edwards with the baseball bat along with a lot of other clips and brief comments from various wrestlers…. Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…

1. Drago vs. Aerostar. Mathews noted the premiere date for the upcoming season of Lucha Underground on El Rey Network. Drago performed an early flip dive. Aerostar came back with a great springboard plancha. Drago performing a hangman’s DDT for a two count at 7:45. Aeroestar performed a tope and the fans sang “ole”. Aerostar performed a cutter at 11:10, then slipped as he was going for a move off the ropes, but he landed on his feet. He came back with a springboard Codebreaker and got the pin…

Aerostar defeated Drago in 11:45.

Powell’s POV: A decent opening match with some botched moves down the stretch. Callis tried to cover for some of the botches by questioning whether Aerostar tweaked a knee ligament. It’s hard to tell whether the live crowd was familiar with the talent, but they got into the action quickly and chanted “lucha” and “this is awesome” multiple times. The crowd on the floor seems a lot livelier than what we saw during the tail end of the last batch of marathon television tapings. By the way, it’s great to have Callis on color commentary. He does a terrific job for New Japan Pro Wrestling with a good mix of straight commentary during key matches and good humor that keeps the undercards interesting.

Mathews and Callis were shown at their desk on the stage. Mathews called Callis “the golden announcer” and then Callis said fans have been begging for him to be in this role. Callis predicted that LAX would retain the tag titles because they are a team facing two singles wrestlers…

Mathews threw to a video package on the tag title match, but footage of him ending his partnership with Matt Sydal aired. Both men agreed that Sydal could do it on his own. They cut back to Mathews, who said he didn’t know that was taped. Callis called Mathews disingenuous after watching the footage. Mathews set up the tag title match video package, which aired this time…

Powell’s POV: The Mathews and Sydal pairing wasn’t working so I’m happy they pulled the plug on it. I still believe Mathews has something to offer as a manager for the right wrestler, but it seems like they are pulling him from this role to focus on the play-by-play. He’s damaged in terms of being a credible voice for the company because of his multiple heel runs, but the addition of Callis to the booth means Mathews should be playing it straight going forward.

Footage aired from the LAX clubhouse with Santana and Ortiz playing dominoes. Santana took a seat in Konnan’s chair since he wasn’t there. Santana got a phone call. After some buffering issues (on my end via FITE TV), it was evident that Konnan would not be at ringside for the tag title match…

2. “LAX” Santana and Ortiz vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles. The broadcast team played up the question of who attacked Konnan and prevented him from being at ringside.

Drake did the early selling and Steiner checked in for small spurts of offense, including a top rope Frankensteiner at 6:10. Callis said Steiner hadn’t performed the move in over five years.

Steiner put Santana in the Steiner Recliner, but Ortiz broke it up with a kick. Drake went for a superplex on Santana, who blocked it. Santana dove onto Steiner on the floor. In the ring, Drake hit the Gravy Train on Ortiz and pinned him clean…

Eli Drake and Scott Steiner beat LAX in 6:55 to win the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: Callis told the story that Santana made the mistake of going for top rope glory via his dive on Steiner rather than going for the win. He questioned whether it occurred due to Konnan not being there to call shots for his team. The match was smart in terms of Drake doing the work for his team and keeping Steiner’s involvement limited to short spurts. I can’t say that the tag title change does anything for me, but we’ll see if Drake and Steiner get out of the tapings with the tag belts.

Pentagon Jr. checked in (more buffering issues on my end)…

3. Taiji Ishimori vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma vs. Brian Cage vs. DJZ vs. Trevor Lee in a six-way match. Mathews noted that two men were legal and the match was being fought under lucha rules, meaning if one of the legal wrestlers went to ringside then another wrestler could replace him. A graphic and Mathews touted the season premiere of Lucha Underground for June 13.

Cage checked into the match for the first time roughly six minutes in and worked over Lee. Cage came up with a bloody nose after working over Lee. He worked over the other men and then went for a second rope moonsault and slipped. Cage got up and hit the move on Fantasma for a two count. The other wrestlers got the better of cage by ganging up on him. He returned to the ring and set up Xavier for his finisher and just held him there until Fantasma kicked him.

Cage had Xavier on his shoulders when Fantasma leapt off the ropes at him. Cage caught Fantasma and performed a fallaway slam with Xavier on his shoulders. Later, Z performed a top rope huracanrana on Fantasma and covered him, but Lee broke it up. AT 12:25, Cage performed a discus clothesline on Lee, who got tangled up with him while trying to sell that he was turned inside out. Moments later, Cage hit his finisher on Xavier and pinned him…

Cage defeated Taiji Ishimori, Dezmond Xavier, El Hijo Del Fantasma, DJZ, and Trevor Lee in a six-way in 12:45.

Powell’s POV: Good athleticism and all, but this didn’t work for me. It was hard to take anything seriously when Cage wasn’t in the ring because it was so obvious that he was going to win this match.

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Allie on the interview set. She spoke about proving herself and doing it again when she beats Su Yung. She said she thought she could trust Braxton Sutter, but he only cares about himself. Allie said she is fighting for herself and to keep her Knockouts Championship…

An ad aired for a Gail Kim Collection that the company is selling…

4. Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan. Mathews asked Callis who needs the win more. Callis said Valkyrie was coming off a tough match and this is her get right match. Tessa Blanchard walked out during the match and joined the broadcast team. She said the women in the ring were good, but they’re not as good as her.

Mathews asked Blanchard about fans being bothered by her personality on social media. She just spoke more about being the best and added that Impact needs her. Valkyrie dominated the offense while Blanchard said she is the real royalty, not Valkyrie, who bills herself as Lucha Royalty. Hogan came back and got a two count. Valkyrie came back and hit the Road to Valhalla for the win…

Taya Valkyrie defeated Kiera Hogan in 8:05.

Powell’s POV: A solid match that was overshadowed by Blanchard on commentary. Blanchard is an interesting addition. She’s talented and stood out in a good way in the Mae Young Classic tournament, but there are obviously reasons that WWE has opted against signing her. It’s a chance for her to improve her reputation and I hope she makes the most of it.

Backstage, Mitchell interviewed Petey Williams, who spoke about cashing in his Feast or Fired briefcase for the X Division Title shot… A video package set up the X Division Title match…

5. Matt Sydal vs. Petey Williams for the X Division Championship. At 8:00, Williams applied a Sharpshooter, but Williams grabbed the bottom rope to break the hold. Sydal came back with a Shooting Star Press, but Williams put his knees up. Williams followed up at 10:00 with a Canadian Destroyer. Sydal rolled to ringside after taking the move while the broadcast team spoke about how that saved him from being pinned. Williams rolled Sydal back inside the ring and tried to hit the Canadian Destroyer from the ropes, but Sydal held on to the ropes. Williams avoided a shooting star press, but Sydal came back moments later and scored the clean pin…

Matt Sydal defeated Petey Williams in 11:35 to retain the X Division Championship.

Powell’s POV: Good work from the wrestlers, but the fans were very quiet. There are plenty of times when Impact Zone crowd come off as overexposed and quieter than other crowds might be, it was hard to blame them in this case. The wrestlers worked hard and all. The issue is that neither character has any momentum. The push of Williams has been inconsistent, and Sydal’s new age character is more of a turnoff than something that will actually generate heat.

Mitchell interviewed Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Tommy Dreamer backstage. Edwards started to talk, but Moose cut him off and said all 3,000 of his NFL plays were like a hardcore match. Dreamer spoke about being united in the love of pro wrestling. He said OVE stands for everything he hates. Dreamer said Edwards will have his redemption… A video package set up the six-man tag match…

6. Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Tommy Dreamer vs. Sami Callihan, Jake Cryst, and Dave Cryst in a House of Hardcore rules match. The broadcast team explained that HOH rules are essentially that there are no rules. The crowd came to life and chanted for Dreamer. Tables and chairs were introduced early on along with a trashcan, a kendo stick, and other weapons. The heel trio took offensive control and set up two tables on the floor.

There was a wild spot where Dave put Edwards on his shoulders, then Callihan put Jake on his shoulders, which led to Jake performing a cutter on Edwards onto some chairs. At 7:20, Dreamer performed a Death Valley Driver that put Callihan through a table that was leaned up against the barricade. Dave poured a bag of thumbtacks in one corner of the ring and set up Edwards for a superplex. Moose broke it up and put Dave on his shoulders, then Edwards performed a Boston Knee Party, which drove Dave onto the tacks in the ring.

Later, Callihan gouged the eyes of Edwards in the ring and ended up getting a near fall. Callihan introduced a baseball bat, then Dreamer introduced a barbwire bat. Callihan low-blowed and pinned Dreamer to win the match for his team…

Sami Callihan, Jake Cryst, and Dave Cryst defeated Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Tommy Dreamer in a House of Hardcore rules match in 11:00.

Afterward, Edwards taped Callihan to the top rope. Callihan spat in his face, then Edwards kicked him low and then struck him several times with a kendo stick. The referee tried to get involved, but Edwards struck him too. Dreamer tried to talk to Edwards, who shoved him and then hit Callihan again. Eddie’s wife Alisha ran out and grabbed his arm. Edwards spun around and hit his wife with the kendo stick, then immediately sold dismay. The medical team entered the ring to treat Alisha. Callihan was shown hanging from the ropes and was a bloody mess…

Powell’s POV: It lived up to the hype of being a big hardcore brawl and they definitely woke up the crowd. The finish keeps the heat on the heels, and the post match angle led to Edwards getting some measure of revenge before his character accidentally struck his own wife. It seems like they are trying to double down on the shock value after the accidental spot with Edwards taking a baseball bat to the face at the tapings in January led to the getting TMZ love.

A pre-taped promo with Fenix speaking in English and saying he would become the new world champion… A Global Wrestling Network ad aired…

Mitchell interviewed Austin Aries on the interview set. He spoke about facing two of the most well respected wrestlers in the world. He said he got a taste of what they are all about in New Orleans and they are world class, but they are not world champions. Aries held up the title and said the power is in his hands and he wasn’t going to let them take it from him. Aries mentioned that he could lose the title without being pinned or submitted. He said it’s especially concerning given that his opponents are brothers…

A video package set up the Knockouts Championship match…

7. Allie vs. Su Yung (w/Braxton Sutter) for the Knockouts Championship. Sutter and Allie bickered before the bell, and Yung used the distraction to cheap shot Allie to start the match. Yung dominated the opening minutes and then took out and put on a blood covered rubber glove. Allie caught her with a codebreaker. They gave each other running uppercuts in the corner, then Allie performed a DDT that drove Yung’s face into the middle turnbuckle.

Allie superkicked Yung at 6:40, but Sutter distracted the referee from making the count. Allie punched Sutter off the apron. Yung hit Allie from behind and set up for her Panic Switch finisher, but Allie countered into a rollup for the win…

Allie defeated Su Yung in 7:15 to retain the Knockouts Championship.

After the match, Sutter took the mic and said it was bad, but he could fix it. Sutter got down on his knees and told Yung that he loved her and then asked her to marry him. Fans chanted “no” and Yung carressed his face before spraying mist into his eyes. Yung used the glove she pulled out earlier to apply a mandible claw on Sutter…

Powell’s POV: I hope the company has some plan to put some heat on the heels in the Knockouts division. Taya Valkyrie lost clean to Rosemary on television recently, and now Yung was pinned clean very early in her run. Are they banking on Tessa Blanchard as the top heel? Granted, Yung and Valkyrie are not damaged beyond repair or anything. It just seemed odd to have a character like Yung lose clean so soon, especially before her inevitable feud with Rosemary.

The broadcast team recapped some of the previous match results. Mathews set up a video package that hyped the Slammiversary pay-per-view for July 22 in Toronto, Ontario at the Rebel Complex… A video package set up the main event…

Powell’s POV: The video for Slammiversary looked really cool. I hope they can actually do some of the lighting and production work in this venue and it’s not just the usual approach.

8. Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix in a Triple Threat for the Impact World Championship. The wrestlers made their entrances and then McKenzie Mitchell delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The referee held up the new Impact World Championship belt (all of the belts are new, and it appears the awful Grand Championship is history).

With Aries down at ringside, Fenix sold rib pain when Pentagon tried to pick him up. Fenix sprang to life and worked over Pentagon and performed a nice sit-out muscle buster for a two count at 11:15. Aries returned a minute later and blasted Pentagon with a rolling elbow. They fought on the ring apron. Aries ended up back in the ring and performed a neckbreaker through the ropes at 13:05.

Fenix ran and leapt off the steps, but his brother caught him with a kick. Aries went for a suicide dive, but Pentagon caught him. Moments later, Aries launched Pentagon into the front row. Aries rolled both men back inside the ring and then performed a 450 splash onto both men, which led to a two count at 14:20.

Aries performed running dropkicks on both opponents, who were in opposite corners. Aries went for a brainbuster on Fenix, who slipped out. Aries took superkicks from both opponents. Pentagon hit Fenix with a superkick and then put him in a Gory special before picking up Aires and performing a package piledriver while also slamming his brother. Pentagon followed up by wrenching on the arm of Aries and “snapping” it before hitting him with a Pentagon Driver and pinning him…

Pentagon Jr. defeated Austin Aries and Fenix in 16:20 to win the Impact World Championship.

Afterward, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix hugged. The broadcast team recapped highlights from the match to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A surprising finish with Impact going with a guy who has very little exposure on their television show. It ended Redemption on a high note and it was refreshing to see the company go against the grain. Furthermore, it was good to see a title match end with a clean finish rather than the all too typical nonsense we’ve seen on far too many Impact pay-per-views over the years. The main event was highly entertaining and it was nice to end the show in a way that shakes things up in an unexpected manner going into the next set of television tapings. It felt like the main event would make or break the show and it delivered, so overall I came away giving this show a favorable grade. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review tonight, and John Moore will be by with the Redemption Hit List on Monday. Thanks for watching along with me.

Readers Comments (5)

  1. Callis is a MAJOR improvement!

  2. RE: Not taking the Cage match seriously. That’s ok, I never take Roman Reigns matches seriously because I know eventually, he’ll win everything anyway. At least Cage showed some grit.

  3. PENTAGON! Awesome! No fear to shake things up. THAT’S how you make a new star!

    Props to Impact for trying something different.

  4. Impact showed tonight they are A) listening to what the fans want B) willing to do the unconventional and C)improving the product with every televised event.

    Some of the problems were way too many super kicks and code breakers. A poor showing by the Knockouts tonight, whose champion comes off as a unmedicated autistic. Allie is a little too precious and awkward to be champion.

    Petey Williams/Sydal didn’t have the crowd in part due to the majority of fans either being massive Lucha followers or bored Americans. Coming out in full Canadian gimmick isn’t going to inspire many people. Sydal looks like 1/2 of a stoned Rock N’Roll Express. He needs a good manager.

    Rosemary missing the show due to injury really hurt things. It’s clear the rest of the knockouts aren’t even close to being as fully realized as her character. Does Impact really need TWO zombie characters, especially one also using a bride gimmick we just saw on another female wrestler?

    Drake and Steiner was a nice surprise. Obviously, Steiner isn’t going to have a long reign, but it does break up the LAX/OVE back and forth that had run its course. Impact desperately needs two more tag teams.

    I would strongly suggest moving Edwards, OVE, Callihan and Moose in entirely different directions.

    I like most of Impact’s theme music. However, Moose’s is awful. I feel like I’m watching an old episode of the AWF when he comes out.

    Braxton Sutter needs to go altogether.

    I’m sure fans will simply piss on Impact. However, there are signs of growth and improvement. They’re never going to get a fair shake because the majority of wrestling fans feel like Impact has the same resources as WWE. It’s just not so.

  5. I didn’t watch the show. I just couldn’t justify the price tag.
    However I’m happily surprised over pentagon jr becoming the champ.this is a guy I’ve been marking out over for awhile now. Dude is impressive. I actually was shocked when I read he won as I was fully expecting Aries to retain. Good job impact.

    I was also expecting lax to retain considering I can’t see Steiner sustaining any sort of meaningful run with the titles. The good thing here is e-li drake has gold around his waste again. I suspect this will lead to some in-fighting between the tag champs.
    Maybe Steiner can form a team with Nicholas where their gimmick is simply standing on the apron.

    I hope impact does something to elevate Trevor Lee pronto.

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