By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped April 2018 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Before the teaser, Impact started off with an “in memoriam” for Big Van Vader, Leon White. The intro video replayed highlights from Moose vs. Eli Drake at the House of Hardcore event. Moose talked about how he got the match he always wanted at the biggest PPV of the year. The intro video also showed highlights from the rest of last week’s show. The Impact intro theme aired…
LAX opened up the show. Santana, Ortiz, and King made their entrance. Their opponents were DJZ and Andrew Everett…
1. “Z and E” DJZ and Andrew Everett vs. “The Latin American XChange” Santana and Ortiz (w/King) for the Impact Tag Team Championship. Santana and Ortiz gained the upper hand over Z and E before the bell. Josh Mathews and Don Callis talked about Diamante’s suspicions of King. Don Callis said people from the “gang culture” are usually paranoid by default so you should take Diamante’s suspicions with a grain of salt. Once the bell rang, Everett hit Ortiz with a corkscrew Tope Con Hilo. DJZ made a dive outside to take out Santana. Zema took Santana into the ring to work on him in the tradional way. Zema and Andrew utilized tandem offense.
Zema locked in a modified Indian Deathlock on Santana. Santana escaped by punching Zema who was to his side. Everett nailed Santana with a missile dropkick. Ortiz got a blind tag in and hit Everett with a Sunset Flip. LAX hit Everett with a double-team backbreaker. LAX traded really quick tags to keep the pressure on Everett. Everett grounded his opponents by breaking free and hitting both LAX members with a missile dropkick. He tagged in DJZ for the hot tag. Zema hit a double elbow strike on LAX. LAX blocked a double ZDT.
Everett caught Santana with a sunset flip bomb and hit a waterfall kick on Ortiz. Everett caught Ortiz with an X Factor. Zema went for a pin attempt heading into the break. [C]
LAX hit Poetry In Motion on Zema. Santana caught Everett with a crossbody and hit Zema with an assisted bulldog. DJZ hit a tornado DDT on Santana. Z and E hit a series of rapid fire moonsaults on Ortiz for a nearfall. Don Callis talked about how Z and E are reminding him of a younger Young Bucks. Santana pulled Zema under the rope and hit him with a superkick. Andrew Everett missed an ugly red arrow attempt. LAX hit the Streetsweeper on Everett to pick up the win.
The Latin American XChange defeated Z and E via pinfall in 9:28 of TV Time to become the new Impact Tag Team Champions.
Don Callis and Josh Mathews wondered if King was the solution to all of their problems. LAX went into the crowd to celebrate their title win. They actually got the tourists in the upper deck to cheer and dance…
John’s Thoughts: A wonderful tag team match. This was DJZ and Andrew Everett’s best tag team match to date. Andrew Everett in particular showed off some of those mad hops that won me over in his huge X Division push early last year. On the other side of the coin, Santana and Ortiz have been the epitome of consistency. That Z and E tag team reign was pointless and only served to get the belt off of Scott Steiner. At least the LAX redemption story was well done and it’s obviously not over with Diamante being leery of King. To give LAX more credit, they did what no one else was able to do this entire taping, and that was to get some of those Universal Studios tourists (who even wore Universal Studios shirts) in the upper deck to cheer and get into a match on Impact.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis talked about how King was a Godscend to LAX. Josh Mathews then ran through some of the upcoming matches on this episode of Impact. Josh Mathews cut to Jimmy Jacobs cutting a promo while standing in front of Kongo Kong. Jacobs talked about how Brian Cage comes and goes as he pleases in Impact. Jacobs said his usual Jacobs things. He said he wanted to prove that Cage was beatable and that “The Machine” was no match for “the monster”. Josh Mathews hyped that viewers would get to hear from “the mystery hitman” (Kevin Kross)…
John’s Thoughts: If Jacobs wanted to prove that Cage could be beaten, wouldn’t he as Kong’s manager want to have Kong be the guy to gain the heat from defeating The Machine? Cage lost due to technicality last week. Therefore, Kong get’s no heat, Sydal got no heat, and Cage loses a the “undefeated” tool from his toolbox.
A Fallah Bahh and KM video package aired that chronicled their story up to this point. KM was in his ring gear and cut a promo in the ring. KM called out Fallah Bahh and said he showed Bahh how to work out, eat right, dress well and talk to good looking women instead of the “creatures” that Bahh usually talks too. KM talked about how him Impact’s ratings go up when he’s here. He said they need to rename the company to “KMPact Wrestling”. KM said this is all about him and he wanted to make it all about Bahh. KM sand he wanted to give Bahh some tough love and to meet Bahh in the ring one-on-one.
Fallah Bahh made his entrance. Bahh reached in his tights and pulled out a note. Bahh left as KM read the note. The note said “KM You say you friend, Bahh. But you still act bully, Bahh. You need to grow ↑, Bahh. You no fight I. You Fight Wrestler Standby, Bahh. Yes or no no no…”. KM assumed this meant he will fight Richard Justice. KM asked for Richard Justice to get his fat ass out here. Instead he got Scott Steiner…
2. KM vs. Scott Steiner. KM put the boots to Steiner before he could fully get in the ring. Steiner hit a Belly-to-belly on KM. Steiner whipped KM into the ring steps. Josh Mathews noted that KM has been training with America Top Team and Colby Covington. KM tried to beg for mercy in the ring. Steiner picked up and suplexed KM and continued to beat on KM with his slow offense. KM kicked out of a pin attempt by Steiner. Steiner hit KM with a hanging flatliner. KM tapped out to the Steiner Recliner.
Scott Steiner defeated KM via submission in 2:42.
Josh Mathews asked Don Callis should get a World Title shot. Don Callis said he should if he keeps performing like this. Don Callis wondered if a world champion would even want to step in the ring with someone like Steiner. Josh Mathews claimed that Scott Steiner was trending on Twitter… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A very odd payoff to this story. Is this the payoff? So this whole inspirational speaker storyline was to build to a one-off singles match with Babyface Scott Steiner? Why is Steiner playing the legacy babyface all of a sudden? To add more questions. If they were going to use Scott Steiner in a series of ugly singles matches then why did they put the tag belts on Z and E for that pointless title reign?
The show cut to the Real Sports Bar and Grill where the Slammiversary Press Conference was held. Moose shook hands with Don Callis, Scott D’Amore, and Ed Nordholm. Moose talked about how he spent seven years in the NFL, four years in college, and his entire life to get to this moment. Moose talked about how he’s still young in wrestling. Moose said that NFL training camp got him ready for this moment. Moose said he respects Austin Aries but on July 22, the respect goes out the window. Austin Aries took over the conference and announced that he was merging the World and Grand Championships. Aries said he was now the grandest world champion in history. Aries said he does have a busy schedule as “the belt collector” but he couldn’t resist the opportunity to verbally spar with Moose. Aries said that Impact introduced Moose as a “Former NFL Player” because that’s the only thing he has on his resume. Aries compared that to his own which included holding a lot of belts in TNA for many years. The conference cut to Moose and Aries facing off…
John’s Thoughts: There’s something wrong with this scene. Moose doesn’t come off as a star because Impact never built him as such. I’m not sure why they decided to go with Moose vs. Aries at their big show when Eli Drake and Pentagon Jr. would have made better opponents. Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. a few weeks ago was an amazing match and that should have been assurance that those two would deliver in a Slammiversary rematch. I know it would be their third match in a row, but those two can pull off a series.
After a Slammiversary ad, they cut to Josh Mathews and Don Callis in their green screen room. Josh Mathews hyped up a Mexico television deal. He then cut to Eddie Edwards going home to “try to find himself”. The show cut to an Eddie Edwards cinematic. For some reason, Eddie decided to run over his trash cans. He made sure to show off his T-shirt that said “Future Legend”. Eddie banged on the door and called for “Lish” (Alisha) to open the door. Eddie shoulder tackled the door open. No one was home as Eddie rampaged through the house. Eddie decided to drink some Budweiser. Eddie crawled (yes crawled) up the stairs to find Alisha. Eddie ran though his house to find nothing other than emptiness. Eddie looked into the mirror and because this is a cinematic, we could see what he was seeing which was a mental projection of Sami Callihan giving him the thumbs down. The camera fast forwarded to show that Eddie was going crazy. Eddie was yelling at himself due to hearing Alisha’s cries in his head. Eddie threw something into the mirror and yelled at the broken mirror “it’s your fault”. Eddie continued to act “crazy”…
Sami Callihan cut a camcorder promo alongside Jake and Dave Crist. He talked about how he has a new bandage. He said he was tired of people sticking their head in OVE’s business. Callihan talked about how they had “Fantasmo” exactly where they wanted him but Pentagon walked out and stuck his Mexican Mask wearing ass into their business. Callihan said OVE wasn’t scared: “Cero Miedo my ass”. Callihan said Fantasma and Pentagon are going to get their asses kicked tonight because they are for Ohio, by Ohio, and they will take over Everything. Everything. Everything.
Taya Valkyrie made her entrance. Josh Mathews congratulated Taya for her marriage to Johnny Impact. Josh Mathews also advertised that if you buy a Slammiversary VIP ticket, you will get to attend a screening of Johnny Impact’s Boone the Bounty Hunter movie…
3. Taya Valkyrie vs. Madison Rayne. Taya overpowered Madison Rayne early on. Similar to last week, they showed Su Yung watching the match “from the rafters”. Taya gave Rayne a meteora to her back. Taya continued to keep this match one-sided. Madison Rayne gained a moment of respite after hitting Taya with a hanging DDT. Rayne hit Taya with a fist combo. Rayne then followed up with a cutter. Taya blocked a huracanrana with a backbreaker. Taya was bleeped out. Taya hit Rayne with a hip attack and corner meteora. Rayne blocked the Road to Valhalla with a rollup. Taya blocked the Northern Lights with a punch. Taya curb stompped Rayne to get a two count. Taya yelled “Why won’t you just die”. Rayne hit the Cross-Rayne (a.k.a. Cross Rhodes) for the victory.
Madison Rayne defeated Taya Valkryie via pinfall in 5:29.
Josh Mathews hyped up Rayne’s winning streak after beating both Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie…
John’s Thoughts: While I do think this push of Rayne is two years too late, I like Impact putting some effort into building up a credible babyface. It helps that Rayne has gotten good in the ring. I’ve even called her underrated at times. Here’s hoping this can lead to an extended Knockouts classic at Slammiversary. As for Taya, I’m confused as to why they decided to pile on losses to her when she’s done a solid job in in the ring.
Rayne grabbed a microphone and was crying in the ring. Rayne said it is always so exciting to come home to the Impact Zone. She said it’s been an emotional return and whirlwind. Rayne said she had no intention to be an in-ring competitor again. She said everything happens for a reason. She said she’s been creating career moments for herself in recent weeks by defeating the toughest opponents she’s ever faced in Taya and Tessa. Rayne said that Impact management gave her an offer if she could beat Taya. Rayne said this moment is going to be a moment for her daughter and for everyone who stuck with her through the years. Madison Rayne said that at Slammiversary she is going to slay the undead bride and become the six time Knockouts Champion. Suddenly the lights darkened and a blood red moon went on the video wall. There was creepy laughing in the arena. The lights got back to normal and Rayne went up the ramp watching her back…
The show cut to the latest LAX Clubhouse Cinematic. The LAX quartet were celebrating their title win. King was so happy that he wanted to take a selfie like a couple of “white girls”. Santana and Ortiz’s minds were blown as suddenly their OG mentor Konnan returned to the clubhouse. Konnan asked Kingston that they needed to talk… [C]
Back to the clubhouse, Konnan had a private meeting with King. King wanted Konnan to sit but Konnan said he was to beat up to sit. Konnan said a lot of things don’t make sense. Konnan asked King if he knows who attacked him. King said that he doesn’t know but he has scouts in all five burroughs of New York looking out for information. Konnan asked where Homicide was. Konnan also wondered where Homicide was. King said Homicide is fine in New York and is only in contact with King at the moment. Konnan said he was pinning King as a suspect. King acted nervous and tried to gain Konnan’s trust. Konnan said he gave King New York but King’s ambition clouds his judgement sometimes. Konnan said that if King did this, King’s best bet is to jump off the earth’s axis and into the gravitational pull of an alternate universe. King tried to change the subject. Konnan said he’s not in a celebratory mood. King left the scene and Konnan still looked leery…
Josh Mathews wondered if there was tension between Konnan and King. Don Callis claimed that he was from the streets and that there can only be one OG. Callis said there can only be one shot collar “up in here”. Josh Mathews then advertised Su Yung vs. Madison Rayne at Slammiversary…
Kevin Kross, who is now calling himself “Killer Kross”, was interviewed. Kross said fear is a funny thing. It’s meant for the art of survival. Kross said men began to think that fear is something to be embarrassed about. Something that made their ego fragile. Kross said there’s a difference between being courageous and intelligent. Clips of Kross’ beatdowns were shown. Kross said he has a body of work. He said people are asking “why?”. Kross said “why not?”. Kross said there is no continuity in this universe, only mayhem. Kross said he would advise people to exercise a little fear given the circumstances. Kross said he wants to turn this industry upside down and dive bomb it on it’s head. Kross said that’s because he’s the new beginning… [C]
John’s Thoughts: While that promo may be a bit hammy to some, Kross does play the psychotic hitman really well. I’m surprised Lucha Underground didn’t utilize him the last two seasons when he did such a good job in their dark segments coming off as a monster. I haven’t seen what this guy can do on national TV yet, but from what I’ve seen he is a very violent dude.
It was time for the Global Wrestling Network Flashback Moment of the week. It was Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt for the X Division Championship in Mumbai India from last year. They showed about nine minutes of it… [C]
4. “OVE” Dave and Jake Crist (w/Sami Callihan) vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma and Pentagon Jr. The luchador duo dominated OVE early on. Pentagon hit Dave with his signature chest slap shot. Penta and Fantasma toyed around with the Crist brothers. Pentagon replicated his signature chest slap on Jake. Fantasma hit Jake with a running knee that Pentagon set up. Fantasma hit Jake Crist with the Arrow from the Depths of Hell. Penta and Fantasma continued to keep this match one-sided. Jake landed a kickon Fantasma after Fantasma received a cheap shot from Callihan.
Jake Crist turned a deathlock into a half crab. The crowd chanted “chocolate”. Dave Crist tagged in and continued to work on the leg of Fantasma. [C]
Don Callis noted that Fantasma is the weak link of the luchador tag team. Jake and Dave Crist kept Fantasma in their corner. Fantasma hit two tilt a whirl backbreakers. Jake Crist knocked down Pentagon from the apron to continue to keep pressure on Fantasma. Dave went back to the leg of Fantasma with a kneebar. Pentagon managed to get in off the hot tag with a series of Sling Blades. Dave accidentily kicked Jake. Jake staggered Pentagon with a series of hook kicks. Fantasma prevented Jake from hitting Pentagon with a spike piledriver. The Crist Brothers hit an impressive double team super power bomb. Pentagon caused the Crist Brothers to stumble into each other in the end. Pentagon hit Jake with the Pentagon Driver for the win.
El Hijo Del Fantasma and Pentagon Jr. defeated OVE via pinfall in 12:03 of TV time.
Sami Callihan quickly ran into the ring to beat down Pentagon. OVE had the numbers advantage over Pentagon with Sami also getting in bat shots. Pentagon escaped by kicking the balls of Sami. Pentagon took his sweet time in executing his signature arm break spot which allowed Sami Callihan to save Jake. Sami hit Pentagon in the head with the bat (Triple H sledgehammer style). Sami ripped apart Pentagon’s mask before Fantasma ran in with a chair to send OVE into retreat. OVE gave Fantasma and Pentagon a thumbs up and down on their exit.
John’s Thoughts: The match started off a bit slow and a bit to house show-y, but luckily things picked up in the end when Pentagon was involved with the Crist brothers. Jake and Dave Crist continue to show that they are firing on all cylinders in the ring. The only problem with them is they are treated as cannon fodder for Sami Callihan, so they lose more often than not. Fantasma may be the Mexican Trevor Lee. This guy is a money main eventer in the making yet in Impact he’s a generic Luchador. They treat Pentagon as a generic luchador too. Why are OVE going after Luchadores all of a sudden? Pentagon is also out of place because his storyline direction was supposed to be in a rematch with Austin Aries due to Aries getting the dirty win.
To give Impact a bit of credit, they haven’t been unwatchable for a while. They are doing some good things with the Knockouts. LAX is must-watch material. LAX vs. Z and E in fact was a quality match this week, go out of you way to see that. Another good part is the development of “Killer Kross”. The negative criticism I’ll just give is that nothing is really differentiating Impact from other shows out there. They really need to differentiate themselves now more than ever because they do share a roster with several different promotions (and it’s not like they sent their guys out, they are mostly utilizing Lucha Underground talent). Their flaws are emphasized when you see people like Pentagon, Fantasma, Drago, Aerostar, Johnny Impact, and Taya utilized better on that show. Anyway, at least they are trying to be less TNA. Jason Powell will be by later today with his Impact Wrestling Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review.