By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Homecoming
Aired live on pay-per-view and FITE TV
Nashville, Tennessee at the Fairgrounds (a/k/a The Asylum)
A video package aired with classic footage from The Asylum days with new comments from Johnny Impact (this strong video package closed the latest television show)… Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
1. Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel in an Ultimate X match for the vacant X Division Championship. Callis said he felt like a proud papa after inventing the match. The wrestlers met in the middle of the ring, then went to opposite corners and climbed the cables toward the belt. Shockingly, no one pulled it down in the opening minute.
Powell’s POV: It’s an old school Ultimate X setup without the scaffolding over the cables. The roof of the venue is low enough that I’m not even sure if they could put the scaffolding over the cables. Either way, I prefer this approach, and the live crowd is hot early on.
At 10:15, Miguel performed a moonsault off of one of the trusses that holds the cables above the ring and onto Page on the floor. A short time later, Swann took a tombstone piledriver from Crist on the ramp. Crist carried Swann up the ramp and dropped him, then went to the ring and made a play for the belt. Page speared Crist off the cables with a leap from the top rope at 12:20.
Swann returned to the ring and fought with Miguel, who performed a huracanrana of Swann from the ropes. Swann landed on his feet and made a play for the belt. Miguel spotted him and went up the opposite cable to meet him, but Swann pulled the belt down and held it between his legs and fell to the mat with it to win the championship…
Rich Swann defeated Trey Miguel, Ethan Page, and Jake Crist in an Ultimate X match in 13:40 to win the vacant X Division Championship.
Powell’s POV: A good Ultimate X match with lots of crowd pleasing high spots. I like that this creative team has protected the gimmick by saving it rather than going to it too frequently. Hopefully we get to the point where there’s better storytelling going into the match so that it’s more of a feud rather than random wrestlers meeting for a vacant championship.
Callis spoke about jotting down the concept for Ultimate X on a cocktail napkin and said that it was unbelievable to see the match. Mathews ran through the show lineup. Mathews noted that Konnan told LAX they will need to go it alone when they defend the tag titles against Pentagon Jr. and Fenix.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Brian Cage on a backstage set. He spoke about how no one wanted to give him an opportunity, but now he’s challenging for the title. He said he’s winning because he’s LeBron James and Bo Jackson all rolled into one…
A video package set up the women’s tag match and focused on the Undead Realm…
2. Dark Allie and Su Yung vs. Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan. Hogan worked over Yung and had her pinned early, but Allie ran in and broke it up. Late in the match, Grace performed a powerbomb and powerslam combo on the heels for a big pop. A short time later, Yung sprayed red mist into the eyes of Grace, who went to ringside. Allie used Yung’s glove and applied the mandible claw on Hogan for the win.
Dark Allie and Su Yung defeated Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan in 8:50.
After the match, the Undead Maids of Honor brought a coffin onto the stage with the goal of putting Hogan inside it. When the Maids opened the coffin, Rosemary emerged and beat up the the Maids and Young, then turned her focus to Allie and joined her in the ring. Rosemary tried to touch Allie’s head, but she shoved her away and left the ring…
Powell’s POV: Grace was protected even though the focus of the match was to get to Rosemary’s return. Here’s hoping Rosemary brings back normal Allie and they just move on from the Undead Realm silliness once and for all. Rosemary and Su Yung are fun for me when I’m able to view them as characters who use mind games rather than hocus pocus. Don Callis once said the company needed to get rid of things that piss people off. They’ve done a good job of eliminating the things that past regimes have done that pissed people off, now hopefully he and the other creative team members will be self aware enough to eliminate things from their own booking that are pissing people off.
A video package focused on the Moose and Eddie Edwards feud…
3. Moose vs. Eddie Edwards in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Edwards attacked Moose from behind as he was making his entrance to start the match. The wrestlers brawled at ringside and Edwards performed a suicide dive in front of fan wearing an NWA shirt (they had their 70th Anniversary pay-per-view in the same venue). The wrestlers fought into the crowd and it was so dark that the hard camera couldn’t pick up what they were doing.
The lighting improved and a camera followed as Moose and Edwards fought on the stairway leading up to the second level. Edwards ended up leaping over the handrail from the stairway and onto Moose, who was down on the floor. Edwards picked up a trashcan and hit Moose with it as they fought back to ringside at 6:00.
Moose threw a bunch of chairs in the ring. Eddie was bleeding and then Moose bit him. Edwards came back and stacked a bunch of chairs in the ring and then superplexed Moose onto them at 9:10. Both men stood up and Moose chopped Edwards, who tore his shirt open and encouraged him to bring it. The wrestlers exchanged chops and other strikes. Eventually, Edwards backdropped Moose over the top rope and onto a guardrail that was resting against the ring.
Edwards pulled a kendo stick out from underneath the ring and struck Moose’s legs with it to chop him down, then threw upper body strikes. Alisha Edwards ran out and stopped her husband, which received some boos. She took the kendo stick and beat the hell out of Moose with it for loud cheers at 12:50. Fans chanted “she’s hardcore”. Edwards broke the stick over Moose’s head, then performed a DDT and pinned him…
Eddie Edwards beat Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere match in 13:20.
Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing brawl. This wasn’t as epic as what we saw from these two on Impact, but it was good for what appeared to be the blowoff match to their feud given Eddie’s decisive win.
A Sami Callihan video aired from an undisclosed location. He said he figured out people would have learned not to get in his way or OVE’s business. Callihan said he is the draw and he is Impact Wrestling…
4. Sami Callihan (w/Dave Crist) vs. Willie Mack. Mack was the early aggressor and performed a big flip dive onto Callihan and Crist on the floor. Mack went after Crist on the floor but ended up running into a clothesline from Callihan, who then worked him over for a stretch.
Mack came back and performed a nice standing moonsault for a near fall at 6:25. Mack picked up another near fall a minute later with a Sky High. Callihan caught Mack on the ropes with a powerbomb and then blasted him with a knee to the head, prompting Callis to refer to it as a V Trigger. Callihan ran at Mack, who performed a popup punch and a stunner, but Callihan put his food on the bottom rope to break the pin.
Mack went up top. Crist distracted him long enough for Callihan to recover and then perform a Death Valley Driver off the middle rope. Callihan covered Mack, who kicked out at one for a pop. Callihan hit Mack with a lariat clothesline and covered him, but Mack once again kicked out at one. Callihan turned Mack inside out with a clothesline and followed up with a piledriver for the win…
Sami Callihan pinned Willie Mack in 10:15.
Powell’s POV: A fun match. Callihan continues to deliver even though he isn’t in a featured program. It was also a good showing for Mack, who gained something in defeat.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed a blindfolded Eli Drake, who must have won a drawing to make a Bird Box reference during this show. He removed the blindfold and spoke about how everyone wants to take out the king. Mitchell implied that Drake was afraid of the match stipulation, which he denied. Drake said it was monster’s ball, but he’s the man with the monster’s balls… A video package set up the monster’s ball…
5. Abyss vs. Eli Drake in a Monster’s Ball. Drake received arguably the flattest reaction of the night thus far. Ouch. Abyss was well received. Abyss tossed a chair and a trashcan into the ring, and there were tables leaning up against a couple of the ring posts. Abyss used a staple gun on the chest of Drake early on.
Abyss set up the tables next to one another at ringside. Abyss went for a chokeslam, but Drake raked his eyes. They fought into the crowd and took turns running a production cart into one another. Back inside the ring, Drake worked over Abyss with a trashcan and a cookie sheet. Drake charged at Abyss, who flung him over his head and through the two tables at ringside at 5:00.
Abyss pulled the thumbtacks out and spread them in the ring. Drake ended up grabbing a handful and threw them at Abyss, who ducked, and the referee acted like he was blinded. Abyss hit a Blackhole Slam for a visual pinfall. Abyss charged at Drake, who jumped over him, causing Abyss to crash into a chair wedged in the corner. Drake covered Abyss for a two count made by the now one-eyed referee, whose name unfortunately is not Willie.
Ab 8:40, Abyss pulled Janice out from underneath the ring. In a shocking twist, Abyss was unable to use the weapon because Drake jabbed him in the gut with a chair. Drake ended up with Janice and shockingly could not connect with the weapon. Abyss slammed Drake onto the thumbtacks and got a near fall. Drake threw some of the tacks at Abyss.
Drake grabbed a zip tie from ringside and tried to tie the hands of Abyss together before giving up on it and instead beating him with a chair repeatedly. Drake covered Abyss, who kicked out at two. Drake picked up the paddle he brought to the ring and ended up breaking it over the head of Abyss before pinning him…
Eli Drake pinned Abyss in 12:15 in a Monster’s Ball match.
Powell’s POV: Both men took plenty of abuse and worked hard, but I’d be fine if I never saw another Monster’s Ball match again. Here’s hoping Drake can move on from the hardcore stuff and get back into the title picture. He still has an issue with Tommy Dreamer and Raven so I’m guessing his stroll down hardcore memory lane isn’t over yet.
Killer Kross was interviewed backstage and was asked about his intentions. He said he and Johnny Impact are two sides of the same coin. Cage said no one would be talking about Option C at the the night. Instead, they’d be talking about Option X. He said everybody pays the toll in the end…
Survivor winner Nick Wilson and fellow competitor Davie Rickenbacker were shown in the crowd hamming it up for the camera and having a good time… A video package focused on the tag title match…
6. “LAX” Santana and Ortiz vs. Pentagon Jr. and Fenix for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles. Mathews noted that this was expected by many to be the match of the night. Fenix seemed to be moving around fine before the match so hopefully he’s fully recovered from the groin injury that sidelined him from the MLW tapings.
The action was fast packed and there were big dives by the wrestlers early on, which really popped the live crowd. The insane dives continued with Fenix diving from the ring and then being propelled by his brother into LAX. Pentagon followed up with his own flip dive. Pentagon later ran off the back of Ortiz and performed a Canadian Destroyer on Santana for a deserved “this is awesome” chant.
In a rare missed spot, Pentagon had a pin and it was supposed to be broken up by the other LAX member shoving Fenix into the pin, but there was a kickout instead because the other two were late getting there. LAX had a pin, but Fenix broke it up with a double stop. A “fight forever” chant broke out. The fans didn’t get their wish, as the LAX duo hit a series of moves on Fenix and Santana pinned him.
LAX defeated Pentagon Jr. and Fenix in 11:20 to retain the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles.
After the match, Konnan entered the ring while Mathews noted that today was Konnan’s birthday. Konnan said he was wrong. He helped up Pentagon and Fenix. He said he didn’t think they would be able to separate the personal from the professional, but they were able to. He said he was right when he said it would be a historic match and what better place than the historic Asylum…
Powell’s POV: That lived up to very high expectations. I just wish the match had been given at least another five minutes and headlined the show. But hopefully this was merely the first in a series of matches between these talented teams. It will be tough for the last two matches to top this.
Mitchell interviewed Gail Kim, who said she didn’t think she would return to the ring, but Tessa Blanchard’s abuse of authority brought her back. She said she respects Blanchard and Tessa Blanchard. She said she wasn’t going to play favorites and was going to make sure the right woman walked out as Knockouts Champion… A video package set up the match…
7. Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Championship with Gail Kim as special referee. Callis referred to Kim as the greatest Knockout and greatest female wrestler of all-time. Blanchard controlled the early offense. Valkyrie fought back and performed running double knees in the corner before covering Blanchard for two.
Valkyrie performed a nice northern lights suplex at 6:20, then performed a clunky double stomp for a two count. Valkyrie crashed and burned on a moonsault attempt when Blanchard moved. Blanchard speared Valkyrie and got a near fall. Blanchard objected to Kim’s count and acted like she was kicking dirt at her. Blanchard charged Valkyrie, who ducked, causing Blanchard to take out Kim. REF BUMP!!!
Blanchard performed her hammerlock DDT on Valkyrie for a visual pinfall. Blanchard went to ringside and grabbed the Knockouts Title belt and wanted to use it as a weapon. Kim grabbed the belt to stop her, and she eventually pulled it away and it hit Valkyrie. Blanchard covered Valkyrie. Kim reluctantly counted, but Valkyrie kicked out.
Blanchard stood up and shoved Kim twice. Kim shoved her back and Valkyrie rolled up Blanchard for a near fall. A short time later, Blanchard performed a Codebreaker for a near fall. Kim and Blanchard went face to face at 10:00. Blanchard grabbed Kim by the throat. Kim fought her off and performed her Eat Defeat finisher on her, which led to Valkyrie scoring the pin…
Taya Valkyrie defeated Tessa Blanchard in 10:25 to win the Knockouts Championship.
Powell’s POV: I enjoyed the body of the match and even the bickering between Blanchard and Kim, but I’m not a fan of the finish because the focus was more on Blanchard and Kim than making Valkyrie feel like a worthy champion. It could make sense if there’s a Johnny Impact and Taya Valkyrie heel turn coming, but the broadcast team didn’t act bothered by they way she won and instead said Blanchard brought it on herself.
The broadcast team announced that Impact is moving to Pursuit on Friday night and will also be simulcast on Impact’s Twitch channel. Mathews set the goal of having 15,000 subscribers on their Twitch channel by March 1. Mathews was losing his voice…
Powell’s POV: This is very good news for fans who don’t get the Big Buck Hunter network and want to see Impact. The company still needs a lucrative television deal, but at least there are some options for fans keeping up on the show while company officials seek one out.
Mitchell interviewed Johnny Impact, who said he’s a fighting champion. He spoke about some of the men he’s beaten and said tonight is Cage’s chance. He said Cage is a super freak and there’s no one more obsessive than he is when it comes to his diet and training, but it comes down to who has the biggest heart… A video package set up the main event…
Ring entrances for the main event took place. Cage came out wearing a Terminator arm and eye patch. Impact made his standard entrance…
8. Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage for the Impact Wrestling Championship. The ring announcer delivered in-ring introductions for the championship match. Cage stuffed an early takedown attempt and muscled up Impact. Johnny threw a series of kicks to the legs and eventually the head of Cage. At 3:00, Impact went split-legged over the top rope from the apron and then springboarded from the middle rope into Cage. Nice move. Cage caught Impact on the ropes moments later and tripped him up. Cage performed a couple of backbreakers on Impact.
Impact came back with a tornado DDT at 7:20. Impact went up top and performed a corkscrew dive that resulted in a knee to the head of Cage on the floor. Some fans chanted TNA. Mathews labeled it an old school chant. Back inside the ring, Impact got a two count off a running knee to the face. Impact performed a discus forearm, but Cage no-sold it and ended up performing a release German suplex for a two count.
Impact performed a couple of rolling neckbreakers, then kicked Cage in the head and covered him for two. Impact set up for his finisher at 11:50, but Cage stuffed it and performed an F5 for a near fall. Cage performed a buckle bomb and set up for Weapon X, but Impact countered into a rollup for two. Cage came right back with a discus clothesline for two at 13:20.
Impact ducked a clothesline and caught Cage with a kick and then a running knee. Impact threw an extra knee to the head of Cage and then performed Starship Pain for a near fall at 14:50. Impact performed another move (buffering issue on my end) and got a one count. Cage fired up and performed three powerbombs for a near fall at 16:25. Cage had Impact pinned and Impact reached out to put his foot on the bottom rope, but he was a bit short at first and eventually got there. Mathews said his toe may have glanced the rope, which his enough for a rope break.
Cage ended up at ringside next to the Survivor guys Nick and Davie, who started yelling at him like goofs. Cage turned around and shoved Davie. Nick wanted to come over the guardrail, but the referee was there to stop him. Cage performed a Drill Claw inside the ring and had Impact pinned, but the ref was still caught up with the Survivor guys. Cage tried to power up Impact for a move from the middle rope, but Impact countered and ended up rolling up Cage. The referee counted the three count even though it was questionable as to whether Cage kicked out or not.
Johnny Impact defeated Brian Cage in 20:15 to retain the Impact Wrestling Championship.
Cage wasn’t happy afterward and tossed the title at Impact and left. After Cage was backstage, Taya Valkyrie came out and the husband and wife team held up their title belts to a mixed reaction. Johnny celebrated briefly with the Survivor guys before going to the stage and posing with Valkyrie as Mathews was wrapping up the show. Killer Kross attacked Impact from behind. Valkyrie threw punches at Kross, who shoved her down. She got right up and dove at Kross, who powered her up and tossed her onto a group of plants who were standing off the stage. Kross pointed at his watch and the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: The main event had its moments, but they gave us a TNA finish at the TNA Asylum. The Survivor guys playing a part felt like it was more about the company hoping to score more TMZ love than delivering a satisfying finish. And that’s coming from someone who watched Survivor this year and liked both contestants. I can’t even imagine what the fans who didn’t watch the show are thinking. The finish seemed botched or was off, and the referee didn’t help matters by not being definitive with his decision. Kross throwing Taya into the crowd came off as being more crowd pleasing than dastardly for this crowd. Is the idea to turn the husband and wife duo because they are annoying together and both had tainted wins?
Despite my issues with the main event, this was a quality event. The tag title match delivered in a big way, everyone worked hard, and most of the matches had satisfying finishes. I will be talking more about the show in my members’ exclusive audio review coming up later tonight. What did you think of the show? Grade it and vote for the best match in our main page polls.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Will Pruett reviewing the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.