By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped April 23, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios.
The intro teaser was a video package of last week’s Redemption PPV. The teaser contained highlights in cinematic camera angles as well as sound bites from Josh Mathews and Don Callis from the event. After the teaser, Austin Aries was standing in the bleachers in front of the entire Impact roster in what looked like a townhall meeting. Aries said he wasn’t going go make excuses and then went on to what looked like he was making excuses about losing the Impact Championship.
Aries threw in the joke about how his odds of him reduced to 33% in reference to the infamous Scott Steiner promo about Samoa Joe. Aries said he wasn’t going to let Impact get to the state it was before he got here. Aries said because he’s the belt collector he came prepared with a reserve, the Impact Grand Championship belt. Aries said “it’s all good now” because he still has authority. Moose was cracking up on the side. Aries said he wasn’t going to make excuses and then went on to make excuses about having to wrestle two brothers who don’t speak English. Moose called out Aries for making excuses. Aries noted that Moose calls himself “Mr. Impact” now and said that like in the NFL, grunts like him need to protect Aries the star Quarterback. Moose told Aries to screw himself and then walked off. Everyone followed suit and left Aries hanging. Aries told everyone that they should check out Catering because there are good vegan options today. The Impact theme aired (a few new clips were in the montage with the new Champions)…
John’s Thoughts: Okay, that was the best character work that Austin Aries has done so far in his return to Impact. As the proud babyface, Aries was a dud, but the guy is a natural heel. Aries was a good babyface in WWE by the end of his 205 Live run, but that’s because he integrated some of his prickish characteristics to that babyface act. Here’s hoping that either Aries is turning heel or we see the Aries that was the star of 205 Live (he and Neville were the two real good things on that show, don’t see this as a slight against him). Another positive, Moose came off looking cool for once. I still think he needs a manager but at least he had one cool moment.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary. Mathews noted that it was the era of “Zero Fear” (Cero Miedo). Josh Mathews noted that Callis was the “Golden Announcer”…
1. Trevor Lee (w/Caleb Konley) vs. Brian Cage. Don Callis explained Cage’s “GMSI” catchphrase. He used the PG version which was “Get my [stuff] in” and pointed out that it means he wants to show everyone everything he can do athletically in his matches. Cage dominated the early strength exchange which caused Lee to retreat to Konley at ringside. Cage hit Lee with a forearm and enzuigiri combo. Cage did bicep curls with the body of Lee. Lee managed to get Cage on the apron but Cage fought back. Lee escaped the grasp of Cage by biting Cage’s hand. Lee hit a double stomp on Cage on top of the apron.
Trevor Lee hit Cage with a deadlift German Suplex. Lee distracted the referee which allowed Konley to get some cheap shots in. Callis said this was Lee showing off his “cult like tendencies” (what?). Cage no-sold Lee and then hit rapid fire clotheslines on Lee in the corner. Cage yelled “who’s better than cage” (another PG version of a Cage catchphrase “who’s the F–king Machine?”). Cage hit Lee with an Argentine Olympic Slam. Lee fended off Cage with a boot but Cage responded with a power slam. Konley distracted cage enough to allow Lee to escape a moonsault. Cage regained control by tripping Lee and giving Konley a discus lariat. Mathews noted that Cage was calling the move “the tornado claw” (another X-Men wolverine reference). Cage hit Lee with his signature deadlift suplex. Cage hit the drill claw for the victory.
Brian Cage defeated Trevor Lee via pinfall in 5:17.
Callis gave Cage credit for running through Konley and Lee at the same time essentially. Josh Mathews hyped the main event of this show which is going to be LAX vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner. Mathews ran through the card and hyped that Eddie Edwards “was on his way”… [C]
John’s Thoughts: It’s a bit surreal for me to essentially be reviewing a Lucha Underground reality show. Anyway, this was a solid win for Cage yet again. This was the match that I was hoping to see at Redemption because even though these two guys look different, they have very similar wrestling styles with deadlifts and burst of agility. I would argue that Cage has the superior agility and Lee has the superior power wrestling based on seeing them work other places. Lee’s still damaged to all hell. I kinda hope he gets released because he’s essentially in that Rockstar Spud role of Impact not allowing this guy to shine. As for Cage, they really need to run a backstage vignette for him. The only thing we ever saw him do backstage was eat cereal. Lucha Underground gave this guy a bunch of cinematics which included blowing up the head of Lorenzo Lamas (Impact shouldn’t go that far, but you know what I mean!).
Eddie Edwards arrived at the Impact Zone and was stopped in the studio lot area by Tommy Dreamer who was wearing a Lucha Underground shirt (Season 4 Spoilers? haha). Dreamer tried to prevent Edwards from entering the Impact Zone stage area and told him to go back to the hospital to stay with his wife. Edwards kept saying that Alisha was fine and he needed to be here since OVE was here. Dreamer said Edwards doesn’t have to be here. They cut to Josh Mathews and Don Callis in their commentary area. Josh Mathews and Don Callis agreed that Edwards was being irrational and should be taking care of his wife. Callis said Edwards is blinded with revenge. Callis said you must be going too far when the King of Hardcore is telling you to stop…
John’s Thoughts: This is a bit of an oddball storyline that I think is going to get even more odd. I can’t help but laugh though. Edwards comes off as dumb, but not dumbass dumb like Moose. Edwards at least is a good fighter who can take care of himself.
Eddie Edwards made his entrance to the Impact Zone with his music. Edwards said he put Sami Callihan in the hospital where he belongs. Edwards said he’s not finished because OVE is not in the hospital yet (wait? What did Jake and Dave Crist ever do to Eddie?). Eddie talked about how he left his wife in the hospital and wants Jake and Dave to show up. Eddie Edwards threatened to drive back to Ohio and put the wives of Jake and Dave in the hospital.
John’s Thoughts: Again, at least Eddie can defend himself, unlike Moose (sorry for the picking on Moose, but that’s just the way Moose is in Impact), but Edwards is the world’s worst serial stalker in telling the Crist Brothers of his plan to beat up some women. Plus, how bad does Edwards look for saying that he’s willing to drive hundreds of miles to beat up women? Again, what did Jake and Dave ever do to Eddie? This is an odd story but also a bit humorous due to how oddball it is.
Eddie Edwards ended up nailing both Jake and Dave Crist with a suicide dive after OVE made their entrance. Edwards went for the ground and pound on Jake. Dave and Jake ended up winning the numbers game and put the boots to Eddie. Eddie managed to regain control by sidestepping Dave and giving Jake a powerful lariat. Edwards took his sweet time milking the moment and bringing out a kendo stick. Suddenly a cinematic played on the video screen (yes, it was a cinematic with cinematic camera angles and stock horror sound effects). Suddenly a man with two balloons in front of his face and a cheap bouquet of flowers rolled up to the hospital bed of Alisha Edwards. With some bad acting, Alisha told the unseen man, “Sorry, this isn’t your room.” I’ll assume the bad acting is due to the kayfabe painkillers. The man grabbed scissors to cut the balloon and reveal that it was Sami Callihan. Callihan told Alisha “I just want to talk”. After seeing the cinematic, Eddie Edwards ran out of the Impact Zone presumably to go check on Alisha. Jake and Dave did random pointing and held up their hands in victory…
John’s Thoughts: Okay, Edwards is a bit dumb. He’s only not as bad as Moose because as I said the guy does win and can defend himself. He just cut a promo saying that he knew Callihan was in a local hospital. And again, Jake and Dave never did anything to him. They are also making Edwards out to be the heel and Callihan out to be sympathetic. I sure hope they aren’t thinking of doing a double-turn here. Callihan would be fine since he can play a good babyface but why shift him with all the heat he has accrued. I also wouldn’t risk legit-nice-guy Eddie Edwards flopping as a heel.
A video package aired which spotlighted the Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix vs. Austin Aries match at Redemption. The started with Pentagon saying his “yo soy Pentagon Jr, El Cero Miedo” catchphrase. Josh Mathews hyped that Pentagon Jr will appear later. Josh Mathews also hyped up Scott Steiner for later on in this show and used this to segue to the Global Wrestling Network Flashback moment of the week which was Bully Ray and Devon Dudley vs. Scott and Rick Steiner. I think this was the match that succeeded Scott’s infamous “fat asses” promo with Ray and Devon being the “fat asses”.
John’s Thoughts: You know what’s better than the GWN Flashback Match of the week? Scott Steiner talking about “Fat Asses”. This wasn’t too bad and didn’t take up too much time. It also made more sense than randomly showing Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe or whatever they showed last week.
Back to Impact, Josh Mathews recapped some upcoming matches… [C]
After the break they cut to the DJ Z video package where he talked about surviving a near fatal injury. Pictures were shown of Zema’s scars and the tubes that the doctors put inside of his body. Zema talked about how they pumped him full of antibiotics and medication. Zema said he felt fine and was released from the hospital. Zema said on the ride home the roadbumps made him start feeling strange again. Zema talked about how he passed out inside of his bathroom after getting home and found out that he had some internal bleeding. Zema said going back to the hospital was tough on him and gave him a lot of anxiety. He talked about how he wants to prove the critics wrong that said he should quit wrestling for being injury prone. Zema said his style of wrestling makes him injury prone. Zema said his career should have ended that night in Mexico and it has him thinking why he is still here. DJ Z said he still has something to do in pro wrestling.
John’s Thoughts: Very inspiring, but also very worrying. I’m rooting for the guy, but after hearing that, I sure hope he’s at least taken steps to make sure that any of those injuries don’t reaggravate themselves. He did point out that he is injury prone, but that’s also due to being in the hospital for many life-threatening situations, not just bone or muscle injuries. Jason Powell conducted an interview with DJ Zema Ion about his medical life-threatening scares during his run as regular Zema Ion (which you can find HERE). If he does really want to wrestle, I really hope that he tones down his high-risk style because what’s the point of risking your life in front of small crowds that probably won’t give a damn (I’m talking about the Impact Zone in that jab,)
2. Braxton Sutter vs. Moose. Don Callis was over the top in saying that he was sick of hearing Moose call himself “Mr. Impact”. Sutter slapped Moose early on which caused Moose to corner him and give him a plethora of strikes. Sutter was on the top rope and got caught by Moose’s high standing dropkick. Sutter sidestepped Moose which sent Moose into the steps. Moose beat the ten count. Sutter gave Moose a pump kick and suplex into the turnbuckle. Moose fired himself up and gave Moose a headbutt. Moose ran at Sutter several times in the corner and ending the flurry with a hesitation dropkick. Moose hit Sutter with a darting spear and picked up the pinfall.
Moose defeated Braxton Sutter via pinfall in 3:30.
The camera focused on that guy in the front row at most Impact Zone shows who really likes to do the Moose dance. They then showed the crowd giving Moose a Happy Birthday chant. Moose said he’ll be the first person to congratulate Pentagon. Moose said he was going to get something 100% straight. Moose said Pentagon may be the Impact Champion but Moose is Mr. Impact Wrestling. Moose said he’s going to take the title from Pentagon. Moose left and led the crowd in his Moose dance…
John’s Thoughts: It’s cool to see Sutter out of the Knockouts Division because that thing wasn’t any good. Sutter also looked really good against Moose, better than he has in recent matches. Sadly, as he announced on Twitter, he’s gone from the company so this is either his last or one of his last matches with the company (Sutter is back to using his old Pepper Parks name). As for Moose, the win is fine, but it’s too similar to what they are trying to do with Brian Cage. Add on the fact that Moose has little credibility as a singles wrestler. I still say they should give the guy a mouthpiece. Bring back Veda Scott or Stokely Hathaway and frame it similar to how WWE did for Andrade Almas.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Matt Sydal backstage about retaining the championship without Josh Mathews. Sydal said Mathews told Sydal to look within himself. Sydal said he opened his third eye and Mitchell should. Sydal said his turn on and tune in catchphrase. The camera person then moved away to some commotion where a guy with a red x on his chest was beat up? [C]
It was time for an LAX cinematic. Ortiz was walking back and forth worried about stuff. Santana was worried about Homicide. Santana talked about how Homicide was sent to Mexico to expand business and stack chedda (make money), but he hasn’t been heard from. Ortiz tried to tell Santana not to think of Homicide betraying them because Homicide is family. Ortiz yelled at Santana to not cause this situation to fall apart and their first goal should be taking back the championship titles. Santana noted that “King” hasn’t got back to them yet. Ortiz said the first step should be to get the titles back. Ortiz said after they take care of business with the titles they can find out who took out K-dawg…
John’s Thoughts: No Konnan this episode. I sure hope that Impact hasn’t lost Konnan since he has been the best talker in the company bar none. Maybe it’s because he’s recovering from recent hip surgery, but I hope he isn’t separated from LAX because he really enhances the act with his promo work. With that said, Santana and Ortiz were really good here at acting like regular people with regular worries. It’s cool to see their drug and ho empire in despair because it does put the babyfaces in a position of working from behind.
Taya Valkyrie made her entrance. Josh Mathews noted that Taya become number one contender by beating Kiera Hogan (really? I guess the commentators were paying so little attention to the match to announce that at the PPV)…
3. Allie vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Taya womanhandled Allie after Allie tried to put some bunny ears on the child referee guy. Taya dominated Allie with kicks and legdrops. Josh and Don were putting Taya over as the “strongest” of the Knockouts. Allie managed to flatliner Taya into the turnbuckle but Taya quickly recovered and regained control. Allie fired up and hit a series of clotheslines on Taya. Allie yelled “I’m Allie” and then hit Taya with a side Russian Legsweep for a nearfall. Taya shoved Allie away and then hit a Saito Suplex on Allie. Allie adjusted her weight to block the Road to Valhalla and then hit her superkick and codebreaker finisher on Taya to pick up the win.
Allie defeated Taya Valkyrie via pinfall in 4:19.
After the match some epic evil music played as red moon flashed on the video wall. No, it wasn’t Ember Moon. Suddenly a series of Zombie women walked out. Yes, zombie women. The zombie women brought a coffin to the ringside. Allie was about to check out the coffin but the lights turned off. The lights came back on and Su Yung attacked Allie from behind. Su Yung hit a hanging Pedigree on Allie. Su Yung tried to put Allie in the coffin but the lights went out again. Suddenly Rosemary appeared and was fired up. She had cool looking casual clothing on. The lights went out again and Su Yung was gone after the lights came back on. Rosemary went to check up on her bunny friend heading into commercial… [C]
John’s Thoughts: There was a lot of bad in that segment and I’ll get that out of the way first; but the really good thing was really good. Why Squash Taya here when they invested so much time and effort into building her up for about half a year? I know she expected more! What was also bad was this segment didn’t have to happen the way it did. They used a Knockouts title squash match to set up Rosemary vs. Su Yung. They could have had Yung attack Allie sans the unnecessary squash and get the same effect. There we go bad out of the way, but they really shouldn’t be damaging their characters like this. What was really good was the Su Yung and Rosemary standoff. A bit redundant that the best parts of the division are two Halloween characters, but these women play their Halloween characters really well. I liked the visual of the zombie brides carrying the coffin. It reminded me of when Mil Muertes in Lucha Underground would summon similar Dia De Los Muertos specters. This has the potential to be something really cool if they are willing to put in the cinematics and take their time with this.
Josh Mathews recapped the last series of events involving Allie, Su Yung, and Rosemary. Fallah Bahh was walking backstage making random “ohhh” noises. KM walked in and gave an insincere apology to Bahh which Bahh wasn’t buying. KM said “It’s okay to be fat”. Bahh did the Dikembe Mutombo wag. KM said next week he and Bahh are tag teaming and he’ll prove himself to Bahh. Bahh ended the segment with a “wha?”…
John’s Thoughts: Random tangent, how amazing would it be if Fallah Bahh and Otis Dozovic from Heavy Machinery became a tag team? Steaks and Lumpias baby!
It was time for the horror movie cinematic at the hospital. Eddie Edwards rushed into the hospital halls. Edwards ran into Alisha Edwards’s room. Edwards yelled “Where is he?” in regards to Sami Callihan. Alisha said Callihan did nothing wrong and only wanted to talk. Edwards tossed the flowers aside. Alisha comically let out a tepid “why did you leave me here” to Eddie. Eddie rushed out the room saying “I’m going to f–king kill him” (the F–king was bleeped). Eddie Edwards randomly tossed around two medical workers looking for Callihan. Edwards took their clipboards and found the room Callihan was in. Suddenly Edwards pounced on Callihan like a frog and then started to beat up the near-vegetative Callihan. Eddie did not just ground and pound but then went on to try to choke Sami with the IV chord. Eddie took it a step further by trying to smother Sami with a pillow. The medical staff pulled Eddie off of Sami and told him that the police were here heading into break…[C]
John’s Thoughts: Oh well then. I don’t know if that was really good, or more so so bad it was hilarious. I’ll go with the latter. So Eddie leave his wife alone so he can go to the Impact Zone to threaten two other wives of guys who literally did nothing to him (it was all Sami). Then Sami apologizes like a nice person. He could be full of shit, but Eddie came off like a piece of shit by trying to “f–king kill” Callihan. Again, a double-turn? Why?
Josh Mathews and Don Callis recapped Eddie Edwards doing his evil things. Josh Mathews announced Su Yung vs. Rosemary (ugh… no patience?). Josh Mathews also announced the Lucha Underground trio of Fantasma, Drago, and Aerostar vs. DJ Z, Andrew Everett, and Dezmond Xavier. A different variation of last week’s Jimmy Jacobs interviews aired. This time the video included the clips of Kongo Kong messing up the face of Johnny Impact…
Scott Steiner cut an in-ring promo before the next title match. Steiner called the crowd “white trash and red necks”. Steiner bragged about trending #6 worldwide because he’s “world famous, bitch…”. Steiner said Konnan didn’t make it to the match because Taco Bell has a discount on burritos and Konnan showed where his priorities lie. LAX then made their entrance and are still using the Konnan version of their theme…
4. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner vs. “The Latin American XChange” Santana and Ortiz. Steiner and Drake stalled to start the match. Ortiz rained down punches on Drake. Drake took advantage of the referee separation. Ortiz regained control with a dropkick. Santana tagged in and Drake showed off some unexpected agility. Santana caught Drake with a dropkick and standing Shooting Star. Steiner drew the attention of LAX with a middle finger. Santana then worked on the back of Eli Drake. Drake shoved Santana to ringside which allowed Steiner to toss him into the ring steps. [C]
Steiner tagged in and hit a decent Belly to Belly suplex on Santana. the Drake tagged in and had the help of Steiner with some cheap shot boots. Steiner hit a Super Belly to Belly suplex on Santana (I was worried for Steiner). Drake tagged in as both heels hit a double elbow on Santana.
John’s Thoughts: Steiner is slow as hell and moves like an old dude, but the guy can work a decent match for a guy his age. Ricky Steamboat was a lot better in-ring at age 55 than Steiner (but Steamboat is a lot more lean, Steiner is too muscular). Well… This beats last years main events which included 67-Year-Old Dos Caras and his clumsy son Hijo De la Dos Caras.
Josh Mathews noted that Eddie Edwards got arrested (LOL). Ortiz tagged in and worked on Drake with the hot tag momentum. Santana kicked Steiner off the apron. Santana hit Drake with a poetry in motion cannonball. Ortiz hit a Death Valley Driver on Drake and got a nearfall. LAX went for their finisher but Drake made an impressive reversal by hitting Santana with a Super Power Slam off the blockbuster attempt and he got a clean win over Santana.
Eli Drake and Scott Steiner defeated Santana and Ortiz via pinfall in 6:20 of TV Time to retain the Impact Tag Team Championships.
The replays went over Drake’s cool counter to the LAX Blockbuster finisher.
John’s Thoughts: One thing that’s really cool to see is Eli Drake is finally winning matches clean. Why couldn’t he do this during his World Title reign? Drake has also carried a huge in-ring workload his last two matches and done a superb job. Those accolades aside, this Steiner and Drake team has run its course. For some reason, I’m reminded of the team of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in the amount of apathy I have for this team now.
Drake said it was time to talk to ya. Drake said this wasn’t a fluke. He said the titles are going nowhere. Drake called Steiner the greatest tag team wrestler of all time. Drake called himself the big bad gravy daddy. Drake went into Rock-mode. Drake bragged about his [not-] Money In the Bank briefcase. Drake teased cashing in. A small group of kids tried to chant something but it was hard to hear them. Drake yelled at the kids and told them it was past their bedtime. Drake went over some of his catchphrases. Generic rock music played as Austin Aries made his entrance. Aries came to the ring with his title belts in one hand and a sling in the other arm… [C]
Scott Steiner helped Aries enter the ring because of his injury. Aries said it was too heavy and only held up his Grand Championship. Aries talked about how the Grand Championship is the biggest title in Impact because Aries is holding it. Aries told Drake that Drake has never beat him. Aries also talked about how he was going to get back his “other” world title. Aries and Drake tried to play around with the kids in the crowd but they weren’t focused and the rest of the Impact Zone was the Impact Zone. Dead-like. My word. Drake and Aries are wasting a lot of time here to them. Drake taunted Aries about potentially facing Aries for the World Title.
Pentagon Jr’s theme played as Pentagon made his entrance. Pentagon had his credo on the video wall of Cero Miedo. Josh Mathews talked about how the ring was filled with champions. Pentagon said to listen to him “pero yo so Pentagon Jr, el Cero Miedo”. Drake and slow ass Steiner put the boots to Pentagon and Aries. Pentagon and Aries easily disposed of the tag champs. Aries held on to the world title for a light game of tug-of-war with Pentagon. The two men then held up their respective titles at each other, the world and grand titles. Drake and Steiner walked up the ramp. Pentagon held up the title to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: That was a strange closing segment. Aries and Drake were all over the place. Not 100 percent their fault, they were trying to play off the Impact Zone and you’re setting yourself for disaster playing off of that group of random people and tourists. The random tourist experiment this week is the tourist group of children from the Boys and Girls club (note the children with the blue shirts). That made their portion unfocused. They dropped the ball with Pentagon’s first night as champion. I know he doesn’t speak English but they could have done several things. They could have done a pre-tape on the video wall and do subtitles. They could have also let him loose on the mic and in the ring without subtitles because this guy is just so damn charismatic. There’s a reason he’s the most popular wrestler arguably in Southern California and extremely popular everywhere else. I actually felt bad for Pentagon here with that Impact Zone crowd. Dammit, Impact Zone!
This recommendation is strange. The only truly good thing on this show was the Su Yung zombie thingy featuring Rosemary. The Eddie Edwards shenanigans fell under the so bad, it’s good category, but I can also see it under the so bad it’s bad for some people. I’d recommend viewers go out of their way to see this and judge for themselves. Edwards threatened to murder a nearly vegetative guy and beat up two women in Ohio. You don’t see that on television every day. Other than that, this was not that good of an episode. If we’re going by the “TNA Curve”, at least there weren’t a bunch of illogical things happening in the ring. No ref bumps or Crash TV stuff. The Eddie Edwards things counts as a Lucha Underground parody in my opinion. Jason Powell is covering the Greatest Royal Rumble so I’ll be by later today with my Audio Review for the show for Dot Net Members.