By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on PopTV
Taped June 1-2, 2018 in Windsor, Ontario at St. Clair College
The intro teaser recapped LAX winning the tag titles against Z and E, Konnan questioning Kingston’s integrity, Eddie Edwards seeing Sami Callihan in his reflection, Jimmy Jacobs challenging Brian Cage, Killer Cross talking about dive bombing the industry on it’s head, Madison Rayne talking about coming for the Knockouts Championship, and Sami Callihan attacking Pentagon and Fantasma. The Impact intro theme aired…
Josh Mathews introduced the show from Windsor, Ontario, Canada alongside Don Callis. Madison Rayne entered the ring for a promo segment. The microphone sounded a bit low quality but it adjusted a bit. Rayne reiterated her previous promo about coming back to do commentary only to become a wrestler again. The crowd chanted “welcome back”.
John’s Thoughts: The quality seems to have dipped but it’s awesome to see more than ten fans cheering, or simply watching something in the ring.
Rayne talked about how she was going to become a six-time knockouts champion at Slammiversary. Rayne said that Su Yung spooked her last week. Rayne talked about how we never saw Rosemary or Allie since they were put in coffins. Rayne said last night she told her daughter to not be afraid of monsters and there is nothing in the bed or closet. Rayne said what kind of mother would she be if she ran from a monster (what?). Rayne said at Slammiversary Su Yung won’t be getting the stay at home mother, but rather the former five-time Knockouts Champion. Tessa Blanchard made her entrance and did her entrance routine to interrupt.
John’s Thoughts: Wait a sec? Su Yung never challenged Rayne’s motherhood so why is Rayne bringing it up? Logical fallacy. It feels like Impact is missing several chapters to this storyline (which is the case for a lot of their storylines). It also doesn’t help that Madison Rayne hasn’t been a stay at home mom. Rayne has been working Ring of Honor frequently (the same universe where Austin Aries exists as a belt collector).
Tessa was met by boos from the crowd. Tessa said Rayne’s speech sounded like a joke. Tessa stared to make mother jokes in regards to Rayne getting a title shot at slammiversary. Tessa said it’s not 2011 anymore, wake up sweetheart, and Rayne is not the best around here because Tessa is now. Tessa said that the knockouts championship makes you the best. Tessa said she’s a third-generation wrestler and a diamond in professional wrestling. Rayne said she knows who Tessa is (she said it in a sarcastic way). Rayne said Tessa is forgetting one bullet point on Rayne’s resume, that Rayne pinned Tessa at Under Pressure. Tessa said that was a fluke. Rayne said she has no problem giving Tessa a reminder of who Madison Rayne is. Suddenly a sound clip of (presumably) Su Yung doing laughing and shrieking. Because Madison Rayne was distracted, this allowed Tessa Blanchard to lay out Rayne with a forearm to the jaw. Josh Mathews noted that the sound was obviously Su Yung’s presence…
Josh Mathews advertised footage from the House of Hardcore promotion in Philadelphia. Josh also advertised footage from the Los Angeles PCW promotion involving Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr. Josh also said we will “hear from Moose”…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed bag there. The bad stuff mostly lied with Madison Rayne’s story. It’s not the worst story in the world, but as I said earlier they are rushing through it and trying to treat Madison Rayne like she’s the 2018 version of Gail Kim. Rayne also sounded a bit robotic in her monologue. She’s better in a sit-down situation. Tessa was good as usual on the mic (though I would advise her to tone down her blowhard nature just a few notches). Another positive for everyone, Rest in Peace Impact Zone! May they hopefully pack that entire set and Universal Studios lifetime pass inside of a coffin and ship it over to Dixie Carter’s mansion in Nashville. I hope they don’t go back there (sadly, they probably will).
Rich Swann made his entrance next coming out to music sounding very similar to his WWE theme (it’s okay since I understand it might be tough to license his usual Lionel Richie). Rich Swann shaved designs into the front part of his skull (but it looks like he has the world’s worst receding hairline). Trevor Lee made his entrance and Josh Mathews pointed out that Trevor Lee has become known as “a stepping stone in Impact Wrestling”. Don Callis said he disagrees and Lee is more so a contrarian…
1. Rich Swann vs. Trevor Lee. Lee started the match off by showing of his biceps. Swann started off by doing the splits. The crowd chanted “All Night Long” to Swann (God bless the Not-Impact-Zone for doing a chant). Lee wanted a test of strength but this allowed Swann to trick Lee into doing Swann’s signature dance. Swann dropkicked Lee and then faked out Lee with a backflip. [C]
Swann hit Lee with a PK to his back. Lee responded with an elbow block and flapjack into the ropes. Lee worked on Swann for a sequence. Don Callis said that Trevor Lee needs a manager (I agree. Both he and Moose. Can they bring back Shane Helms?). The crowd chanted “you suck” at Lee. Swann came back with some right hands on Lee. Lee came back with a knee to Swann’s face. Lee wasted time to gloat in front of the crowd. This allowed Swann to get a schoolboy attempt. Lee grounded Swann with a lariat and got a nearfall on him. Suddenly a silhouette of a red lady showed up on the screen with the words “coming soon” on it.
John’s Thoughts: Was that for a new wrestler? Or was it a Pop TV ad? I’m going with Pop TV ad for now.
Rich Swann took down Lee with a huracanrana and then followed up with a Triangle Phoenix Senton to the outside of the ring. Swann hit Lee with a jumping back thrust kick and a jumping crossbody. Trevor Lee caught Swann with his signature meteora into a double stomp for a nearfall. Swann countered a suplex with some knees and hit Lee with a backfist combo. Lee struck back at Swann with an uppercut. Swann reversed a power bomb with a huracanrana. Swann hit Lee with a reverse huracanrana. Swann hit Trevor Lee with a second rope Phoenix Splash for the win.
Rich Swann defeated Trevor Lee via pinfall in 8:07 of TV Time.
Josh Mathews hyped up the House of Hardcore footage and PCW footage for later in the show… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A surprisingly good match and more good work from Trevor Lee than I expected Impact to allow him to do (they did make him look dumb with the initial dance spot though). I hope Don Callis’s comments mean they are going to give him a manager and make him more credible, but I’ve been hoping for over two years on that one. Even the great Matt Conway and Dave Lagana team couldn’t get Lee right. Anyway, good debut for Swann. It’s refreshing to see him in a competitive match instead of squashing Drew Gulak or Tony Nese on a weekly basis. Hopefully they keep him away from the title (don’t want to send that former-WWE-guy message), but I think there are a lot of great opportunities to utilize him in feuds where he is the underdog.
Impact cut to the end of some cage match that happened in Los Angeles (I believe PCW happens near Carson, CA. The place where the NFL’s Chargers now play). Pentagon was holding up a title belt and was attacked by Sami Callihan and the Crist Brothers. Callihan hit the referee with a baseball bat. Josh Mathews called Callihan “the most disrespectful man in professional wrestling”. Don Callis said Sami Callihan has long hair and has had it his entire career (that was random?). Callihan milked the crowd a bit and then ripped off the mask from the face of Pentagon. Don Callis called Callihan a jackal and animal…
John’s Thoughts: This was actually good usage of independent footage. They used footage that can be used as an angle and it didn’t look like they were just airing random matches to fill time while writing fan fiction to justify showing random matches. I also mentioned in the past how Pentagon is the most popular wrestler in the Los Angeles county so it is wise to use LA footage to make Penta look good. Don Callis being the head creative guy saying “Sami Callihan has long hair” randomly with no context makes me think he just let a spoiler slip for a potential (and rushed) Luchas De Apuestas Hair vs. Mask match.
Don Callis mentioned how Sami Callihan committed two crimes. One was stealing a luchador’s sacred mask and the other was robbery. Callis wondered if Callihan will burn the mask or sell it to someone else. Callis said this was a capital crime…
Josh Mathews cut to the Global Wrestling Network Flashback Match of the Week. Josh mentioned that it was going to be a classic Slammiversary match. Oh my lord! They actually aired a King of the Mountain Match between AJ Styles, Raven, Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, Monty Brown, and Abyss for the NWA Heavyweight Championship. WWE Referee Rudy Charles was in the ring too. They cut into the match where the wrestlers were putting staples in each other’s dicks. AJ Styles was in the penalty box. Mike Tenay tried to explain the rules of the match. Raven won the ten pounds of gold by hanging the belt at the top of the ladder…
John’s Thoughts: They aired about four minutes of this match. I usually fast forward through these waste of time matches and yes this was a waste of time, but I could use a bit of a laugh from one of the famous “wrestlecrap” moments in wrestlecrap history. They showed the 99 cent store prop extravaganza between Abyss and Sting a few weeks ago. Is Impact trying to drive people away from their network by showing their crappy history that drove so many people away? WWE does a better job at selling GWN by showing only the good stuff from GWN. As for that recap, I felt most bad for Mike Tenay, who had to spend the entire match trying to explain the convoluted rules.
The Desi Hit Squad are finally coming. They were shown doing Indian things and Josh said they were appearing after the break. The singers during the vignette yelled “Punjabi!” heading into the commercial… [C]
Grado was backstage shirtless and wearing sunglasses. Katarina played “guess who” with Grado and Grado joked that it was “The Wildcat” Chris Harris (was that a “Who’s There?… Braden Walker” Joke? I like it!). Katarina sat on Grado’s lap and told Grado that she was having a match next week. Grado was shocked and didn’t know that Katarina was “one of the boys”. Katarina said she’s a two-time knockouts champion and she had a different name back then and it was a different season. Grado said “That was you?”. Grado was proud. He liked that Katarina has so many secrets. Katarina proposed that she and Grado “get to know each other a bit better” (wink…wink…). Grado said she can teach him some of her “wrestling moves”. Grado wanted her to put him in a headscissors or a huracanrana…
John’s Thoughts: Oh my, Grado! This guy has been on a roll and is the best comedy act on the roster. This is also one of the most well written stories on Impact sadly. Sadly, since it’s a comedy one. I like them acknowledging Katarina and Winter (real name Katarina Winters) is the same person. Hopefully she doesn’t turn Grado into a zombie like she did Angelina Love at one point.
Gama Singh was in the ring and he introduced the Desi Hit Squad as the future of Impact Wrestling. The Desi Hit Squad were Rohit Raju and Gursinder Singh. The crowd showered the Indian duo with boos and even gave them middle fingers. Their opponents were Z and E. DJ Z looked like a disco ball that tried too hard (Aerostar would even shake his head at Zema) …
John’s Thoughts: Wait a sec? What did the Desi Hit Squad guys do other than be of Indian heritage? Gama didn’t even cut a heel promo. Do they know them from the independent scene? Trust me, I’m only raising my eyebrow because I’m a proud Asian-American myself. Why would Canada do this to Indian people (and Jinder F’n Mahal is a Canadian-Indian).
2. “The Desi Hit Squad” Rohit Raju and Gursinder Singh vs. “Z and E” DJ Z and Andrew Everett. Raju and Everett stared of with a lockup. Raju took care of Everett with a right hand and shoulder tackle. Everett took control with a headscissors. Everett followed up with a bunch of flips and a dropkick. Z and E hit Raju with a double spinebuster and double dropkick. Don Callis said that Gama Singh is training the Desi Hit Squad by having them hit each other with clubs.
DJ Z went for a plancha but both opponents caught him. They also dodged an Everett baseball slide and used Zema like a battering ram to hit Everett. Singh hit Zema with a dropkick for a nearfall. Zema got both opponents outside and Everett hit everyone with a very impressive and high corkscrew Asai Moonsault. Everett vaulted the ropes in a unique way and hit a high angle slingshot spinning heel kick. Everett used Zema as a battering ram to hit Singh. Everett hit Singh with an X factor. Raju broke up the pin and hit Zema with a low sweep.
Singh and Raju teamed up to hit Everett with a Sky High. Zema and Everett executed a modified version of More Bang for your Buck. Everett hit Singh with a tuck Moonsault. Gama Singh distracted the referee. Singh rolled up Everett with a hand full of tights for the win.
The Desi Hit Squad defeated Z and E via pinfall in 6:41.
Gama and his students celebrated their dirty win. Z and E were disappointed. Josh Mathews hyped that viewers will “hear from Pentagon Jr”. They also showed a clip of Moose playing football… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A really good tag team match and I’m a proponent of the match result because this barren tag division needs to build more tag teams. Cult of Lee doesn’t count because they are the “designated jobbers” for a lack of a better term. Z and E came off their best match last week against LAX and had a great showing against these wrestlers who are new to national TV. Raju continues to shine despite not having much credibility. Andrew Everett is still a potential breakout star in my opinion and I still recommend people check out his push during Matt Conway’s short stint as head of creative (early 2017) where Everett was in a strong program against Shane Helms and Trevor Lee.
It was time for a Pentagon Jr. promo and they were overdoing the audio effects and visual filters again. Pentagon talked about how he has a challenge for Sami Callihan. He said they have to do it the Lucha Libre way. Pentagon proposed a Luchas De Apuestas at Slammiversary, Mask vs. Hair. Pentagon said they have to do this in the ring. Pentagon said if he loses he will have to take off his mask in the center of the ring but if Callihan loses then Pentagon will be able to cut of Sami’s horrendous hair to show the world how hideous he really is (wait? wouldn’t cutting off “horrendous” hair be an upgrade?). Pentagon said you won’t mess with Pentagon Jr “Porque Yo Soy, Pentagon Jr, El Cero Miedo”…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts there. His delivery is fine. The guy is one of the best promos in America for a person who speaks Cero English. The content was a bit confusing though. I understand the “mask vs” stipulation because of how they’ve been building that up, but Sami has never showed that he cared much for his hair. In fact, Don Callis randomly brought that up as a spoiler early in this episode. I mean, if Callihan was willing to put his actual life on the line in a death match against Eddie Edwards, what’s losing “horrendous” hair? Just like most storylines in Impact, this also feels rushed. Very similar to the Madison Rayne push. I like the new creative team’s appeal to logos, but now they need to learn how to carry an episodic story thread. One more reference, check out Lucha Underground last night for that in-ring promo with Pentagon and Brian Cage. No hocus-pocus and simple pro wrestling. Lucha Underground is doing a better job at basic pro wrestling than Impact with Impact Wrestling wrestlers.
Impact Wrestling cut to a documentary video package titled “The Journey – Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka”. Moose said he grew up in a tough neighborhood because there would be gunshots heard at night. Moose said he saw his brother robbed at gunpoint. Moose said his mom was not a fan of sports, but rather a fan of her kids. Moose said she supported her kids’ goals 100%. Moose said Syracuse was the best decision he made in his life because it gave him the ability to sit in front of a camera to tell his lifelong journey. Moose talked about how proud his mom was when his mom watch the NFL Draft and saw him get drafted to the Atlanta Falcons. Moose said it was really fun playing for the Falcons but he started to not like football once he was traded and he had to play for the Colts and Rams.
Moose said he wanted to do Pro Wresting but not sure when. They showed photos of Moose with Okada and AJ Styles in New Japan. Moose talked about how great it was to have everything he needed with the Falcons. Moose said he wanted to be a pro wrestler as a kid and football was something he just stumbled on. Moose said people called him stupid for wanting to be a wrestler. Moose said his ex-wife called him an idiot for giving up on millions in the NFL. Moose said it was great to have the support of his mother. Moose said football wasn’t his true love, pro wrestling is…
John’s Thoughts: Woah. Where was that during Moose’s entire career? That was one of the best Impact vignettes in a long time and the best “anything” ever done for Moose. That was great and it reminded me of how NXT introduces their wrestlers with documentary video packages (Roderick Strong’s two-week documentary was the most memorable). I still think it’s too little, too late with Moose since this guy has been either beat up or kicked in the balls in most of the segments he’s involved in. Similar to what Don Callis talked about with Trevor Lee, I said the exact thing for Moose. That’s why I keep saying they should bring in someone like Stokely Hathaway, Veda Scott, or someone like Taeler Hendrix (just don’t bring in Truth Martini, pro wrestling doesn’t need the Book of Truth ever again).
Josh Mathews and Don Callis talked about Moose promising he will be world champion in 2018. Josh Mathews also advertised Impact’s Mexico Television deal. They both discussed the Callihan and Pentagon Luchas De Apuesta. Don Callis talked about how ugly Sami will look without hair…
They cut to House of Hardcore footage. Eddie Edwards had his mouth open all over the place and was hitting Tommy Dreamer with a kendo stick. Josh Mathews said Eddie Edwards is accusing Tommy Dreamer of having a romantic affair with Alisha Edwards. Edwards caused Dreamer to bleed with pieces of wood to the head. Don Callis called this “rabid paranoia”. Edwards tried to choke out Dreamer like he did to Jake Crist. Edwards stood tall over Dreamer with his mouth open. Seriously, the guy can’t close his mouth for some reason.
Moose followed Eddie Edwards out of the arena. Moose said Eddie is letting Sami “win this F—ing battle”. Moose said that Tommy Dreamer has been on their side the entire time. Eddie yelled back at Moose to “leave me the [bleep] alone!”. Moose left Eddie the [bleep] alone and Eddie Edwards walked off…
John’s Thoughts: This feud has gotten so off the rails that Sami Callihan had decided to do bigger and better things. This is about to become one of those classic TNA wrestlecrap moments. For one, Edwards can’t keep his mouth closed. Put yourself in his acting position. If you were trying to act intense, wouldn’t you grit your teeth? Edwards always looks like he is about to take a bite out of a big burger. And now they’re trying to integrate a random affair storyline into this contrived story that also involves CTE for some reason? This is getting too hokey and can embarrass this company to new casual viewers.
Josh Mathews advertised Madison Rayne vs. Tessa Blanchard as the main event to this show… [C]
It was time for the weekly LAX Clubhouse Cinematic. Eddie Kingston was having a conversation with someone on the phone. Santana and Ortiz entered the clubhouse to shake hands with King. Ortiz thought that King was speaking to “Peaches the stripper” because Ortiz is a huge fan of Peaches (a running joke in these cinematics). King gave boys a couple of Cuban cigars. Ortiz was a bit confused because King didn’t have a Cuban for K-dawg. Speak of the devil, K-Dawg (Konnan) entered the scene and shook hands with Santana and Ortiz. Konnan refused to shake Kingston’s hand and instead bodied King up. Konnan said Kingston not denying shit put him at risk of being exposed. Konnan said that makes Kingston look like a liar. Kingston started to act like a big man and dared Konnan to slap him and make a move right here. Kingston said he reinvigorated Santana and Ortiz while Konnan was stuck in a hospital bed.
Konnan said warfare is predicated on deception. Konnan said he’s playing mind games with King now and King’s just not noticing it. King’s demeanor went to being defensive and he high tailed out of the clubhouse while telling Santana and Ortiz to try to calm down Konnan. Santana said the money is flowing and the titles are here. Konnan tried to tell Santana and Ortiz are getting fooled due to this being orchestrated. Santana also talked about how King was from the block (from “the [neighbor]hood” to translate it for people who don’t understand what that meant). Konnan said he’ll reveal the proof soon. Santana said he had to take a step back to absorb all this. Ortiz needed time to absorb it too.
John’s Thoughts: Just a thought. Can Impact laterally put Scott D’Amore in charge of Talent Relations instead of creative and replace him with Konnan? Why can’t the other storylines on Impact be this well written? I’m assuming Konnan is in charge of his creative based off his interviews and how LAX exists in a pocket-universe. Anyway, this was a fun cinematic and Eddie Kingston showed some nice acting by shifting between confident and guilt-ridden on a dime. Santana and Ortiz don’t look like dopes either because King’s plan to tear them down put them in a position to be blinded by the sudden success and it’s Diamante and Konnan’s view from the outside that causes them not to be blinded by Kingston’s long-term deception. It’s intelligent stories like this why I’m a proponent of the writing in Lucha Underground, NWA, NXT, and even 2016-TNA.
Dezmond Xavier made his entrance to the Impact ring. He was followed by Matt Sydal. The announcer told the crowd to “Open your third eye for Matt Sydal”… [C]
3. Matt Sydal vs. Dezmond Xavier in a non-title match. Josh Mathews said he was impressed by Sydal spending the entire commercial break meditating. Sydal landed an armdrag into a meditation pose. Sydal used his leg strength to get him straight up from the Indian pose. Dezmond Xavier hit a backflip dropkick on Sydal. Sydal blocked a Suicide Dive attempt by hiding under the ring. Sydal went for a sunset flip but Xavier turned it into a rollup attempt. Sydal caught Xavier with a chest chop.
Xavier turned Sydal inside out with a lariat. Xavier hit Sydal with some gut punches. Josh Mathews clarified that this is a non-title match. Sydal hurt Xavier’s knee with a quick dragon screw. Sydal locked Xavier from a Bow and Arrow into a Boston Crab. Sydal broke the hold and Callis noted that the Boston Crab can hurt the hips. Sydal tried to tell Xavier that he can help him and that he believes in Xavier. Xavier turned the tables and went back to the gut punches. Sydal hit a dropkick to the knee of Xavier. Xavier blocked a suplex attempt and used a gut punch to initiate a striking combo. Xavier hit Sydal with a series of uppercuts.
Xavier used a striking combo to set up a snapmare and basement dropkick. Sydal rolled to ringside for respite but Xavier landed a rope clearing Tope Con Hilo on Sydal. Mathews pointed out that Xavier got the worst of the move by tweaking his leg. Xavier struggled to get to the top rope. Sydal shoved the referee into the ropes and grabbed down Xavier. Sydal hit his new ground finisher, the wheelbarrow driver, for the win.
Matt Sydal defeated Dezmond Xavier via pinfall in 6:56.
Don Callis put over hard how intelligent Matt Sydal was. “The Machine” Brian Cage made his entrance. Don Callis noted that Cage was bigger than normal. Cage tried to enter the ring but was dragged by Kongo Kong. Cage started to get momentum but Sydal hit Cage with the title belt. Jacobs and Sydal shared a namaste bow. Kongo Kong hit Cage with a top rope splash. The camera cut to Tessa Blanchard walking in the hallway while Madison Rayne was doing stretches at a different part of the backstage area… [C]
John’s Thoughts: This was one of the better X-Division matches of this year due to the psychology and storytelling. Xavier did a good job selling the knee throughout and Sydal did a good job planting that story. Sydal has been on a roll as of late in the ring as opposed to going through the motions two tapings ago. It would help if Cage got one sentence in (see: My Lucha Underground Review for better usage of Brian Cage), but I liked the simplicity of the Cage beatdown. I’m not too confident that Kong will deliver in the ring based off his past matches, but Cage is a good ring general so he might be able to pull out something from Kong.
Josh Mathews reminded the viewers that Impact was hailing from St. Clair College in Windsor, Canada. Josh cut over to a Sami Callihan camcorder promo. Callihan was with Jake and Dave Crist as usual. Callihan said he didn’t even have to think twice about the challenge and he accepts. He said he’s not afraid. Callihan said Pentagon is fooling everyone that he’s a Mexican Zombie, but Callihan said he knows that Pentagon is a phony. He said Pentagon is a really good professional wrestler who wears a mask. Callihan said his hair has been with him everywhere in every company he’s been in. he said he’s willing to put it on the line to see Pentagon remove his mask in front of his peers, fans, and friends. Sami said Pentagon will then have to walk around Mexico with his head down in shame, shame, shame. Callihan hyped the Luchas De Apuestas and did his thumbs up thumbs down thing…
John’s Thoughts: I know I sometimes draw negative comparisons of Impact to Lucha Underground with usage of the same roster but to Impact’s credit, Sami Callihan is much better in Impact than he is in Lucha. He seems to have more freedom here and he makes the most of his opportunity. Callihan’s a great promo and even hides some of the bad logic of the stories he gets involved it. The Hair vs. Mask stipulation is a good one but again it’s rushed. They never established that Callihan really wants to keep his hair and only started doing that today. Plus, does anyone really think that Pentagon will really give up his mask for Impact Wrestling? Pentagon is expected to win. If Sami wins, it’s not heat on Sami, it’s heat on Impact due to people probably thinking that Pentagon wasted his de-masking on this damaged company.
Josh Mathews advertised Johnny Impact’s return match. It was an X-Division four way (ugh) involving Rich Swann, Johnny Impact, Fenix, and “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori…
John’s Thoughts: Do they not learn? Jeff Jarrett’s team learned and they were doing a great job avoiding this last year. It was the best thing that team did. Why are we back to forgettable X-Division four ways? They threw Cage in one at last PPV. If they really wanted to get more bang for their buck, wouldn’t you book Johnny Impact vs. Rich Swann and Fenix vs. Ishimori? Those are two main event worthy matches and they relegate those talents in a throwaway spotfest. Only in TNA! Always TNA to some extent!
Austin Aries was interviewed by new Impact Wrestling interviewer Alicia Atout. They didn’t mention her by name and Austin Aries called her “new girl”. Aries showed off his Impact title. Aries said the company now has one undisputed champion with one belt. Aries said when you’re on the top of the food chain you are the hunted in contrast to the food chain. Aries said he’s hunted by a Moose. Aries mocked Moose for his sob story and talked about how everyone else has the same sob story (That’s the exact same criticism Jason Powell had when he doing 205 Live reviews). Aries said the difference between him and Moose is Aries didn’t fail at his first career. Aries said Moose is in his second career and he will fail at that too. Aries said everyone has a story and Aries will tell his story. Aries said Aries’ story will end in triumph. Aries said he knows that Moose is desperate and that’s dangerous but Moose is no match for the belt collector. He said Moose can train all he wants but he should be praying…
Tessa Blanchard and Madison Rayne made their entrance for the main event…[C]
4. Madison Rayne vs. Tessa Blanchard. Madison Rayne kicked off the match right out of the gates with a series of aggressive forearms. Rayne then tried two quick pin attempts off the SOS and Jackknife pin. Tessa powered through with a running forearm to Rayne. Tessa whipped Rayne into the second rope and hit a series of running moves to work on Rayne’s chest and back. Josh Mathews advertised Kongo Kong vs. Brian Cage for an X Division title shot next week. Blanchard hit Rayne with a Saito Suplex.
Blanchard dominated Rayne for a period of time. Josh Mathews (the unacknowledged husband of Rayne) pointed out how their daughter “Charlie” was staying past her bedtime to watch this match. Rayne went for another rollup but Tessa caught it. Blanchard hit a delayed vertical suplex on Rayne. Josh Mathews noted that Blanchard’s weakness might be her temper. Rayne surprised Blanchard with an enziguri. Rayne grounded Blanchard with a huracanrana. Callis noted that Rayne was an expert at counter-wrestling. Rayne got a two count after a basement lariat.
Blanchard set up and tried to hit her draping Flatliner on Rayne. Rayne fought her way out but Blanchard used a forearm to set up the move again and hit Rayne with her signature flatliner. Don Callis said he predicts that Moose is going to win the World Championship at Slammiversary. Rayne surprised Blanchard with a spear. Rayne and Blanchard had a strong style forearm battle. Rayne won the battle with a triple forearm. Blanchard blocked a rip cord cutter and kicked Rayne. Blanchard stomped a mudhole in Rayne. Rayne shoved the referee to continue that storyline. Blanchard went for a Full Nelson but Rayne reversed it into a Crucifix Driver to pick up the clean win on Blanchard.
Madison Rayne defeated Tessa Blanchard via pinfall in 8:07.
Blanchard didn’t allow Rayne to celebrate. She did a post-match beatdown on Rayne. Blanchard was about to hit Rayne with a steel chair but she stopped when she heard the music of Su Yung. Su Yung and the undead brides walked to the ring. I heard somewhere that the undead bride in front might be KC Spinelli. Su Yung and the undead brides surrounded the ring which caused Tessa to retreat. Su Yung summoned the Brides to surround and ground and pound Rayne a bit. Su Yung told them to stop as she put on her “bloody” glove. Su Yung went for the Panic Switch but Allie’s theme played. She is no longer possessed as regular Allie ran out to clean house. Impact closed with Allie standing tall with Madison Rayne while Su Yung and the undead brides retreated…
John’s Thoughts: In-ring quality-wise, that was a really good women’s match. Some of the better matches we see from women in any company. I’ve always said it. Rayne is underrated, mostly due to how Impact has treated her as a gatekeeper who never wins for several years (I forgot she has a finisher). What is a bit alarming is while Impact is doing a good job putting together a strong Knockouts Division, they are doing so at the expense of their heels. Taya Valkyrie, Su Yung, and Tessa Blanchard have all received dominating losses from the babyfaces. This was the problem bad-205-Live had with Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, and Ariya Daivari. Throw Sienna randomly getting squashed in the mix too. I defended Rayne’s first win over Tessa because they protected Tessa, but this is a bit too much.
Impact took one huge step in getting better here, and that was by changing their entire look. The MVP of the show was the new location and lack of Impact Zone. As I said, they should bury that Impact Zone set and have Su Yung cremate it so Dixie Carter can mourn on the ashes. That Moose documentary was well done. Too little, too late. They shouldn’t have Moose win the title here (I think Cage vs. Aries would be more suitable for title change at Bound for Glory). LAX is the most consistent and well-written product on this television program. This episode didn’t have a plethora of problems but it did have one overarching problem and that is the problem of rushed storylines. They are rushing turning Madison Rayne into “Super Madison Rayne” by feeding her the fresh heels. They are rushing the Hair vs. Mask stipulation because suddenly Sami Callihan’s hair is important out of nowhere. You saw KM and Fallah Bahh’s payoff last week. Everything seems just, rushed and underdeveloped with the exception of the deep LAX story. At least this episode took a step forward. Make sure to check out Jason Powell later today with his Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net's Will Pruett discussing AEW Full Gear including the polarizing Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega match, what's drawing Will to AEW Dynamite over NXT TV, the appeal of NWA Powerrr, and much more...