By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on Pursuit (simulcast on Twitch TV)
Taped January 7, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee at the Fairgrounds (a.k.a. The Asylum)
A highlight video aired of last Sunday’s Impact Homecoming PPV followed by Impact’s intro theme (with new graphics added)…
Josh Mathews welcomed viewers to “Impact on Pursuit” which was Simulcast on Twitch TV. Johnny Impact made his entrance acting all business. Johnny got a mixed reaction, mostly boos and mild cheers. A replay aired of Killer Kross power bombing Taya Valkyrie into the crowd. The crowd chanted “We want Cage” when Johnny got the mic. Johnny said “this” (The title) is important, but nothing is more important than Taya. Johnny said the end of Homecoming was supposed to be a celebration but instead Taya has been in the hospital after what Kross did to her. Johnny called out Kross and talked about how Kross was speaking “cryptic BS”. Johnny talked about how he can’t think of anything other than what he’ll do to Kross when he gets his hands on him.
Brian Cage interrupted Johnny’s promo and got a positive reaction from the crowd. Cage yelled at John for ignoring what happened between them. Cage said he had Johnny pinned for a ten count and that Johnny’s ass was saved by his Survivor friends. Cage said it doesn’t work like this just because the stupid ref said so. Cage said that Cage, Johnny, and Nashville knows that Cage is the rightful champion. Cage said he want’s his rematch right now. Johnny said now is not the place and time. Johnny brought up Taya again but was cut off by Cage who said he doesn’t give a damn about John’s wife. Cage said Johnny doesn’t care about Cage’s family or sacrifices (he recently became a father to a daughter). Cage said all Cage cares about now is the championship and he wants the rematch right now.
Killer Kross made his entrance to join the promo segment. Josh said that Kross is at the center of all the controversy. Kross called Johnny Impact “The Great Imposter”. Kross reiterated Cage’s point about pinning Johnny for ten seconds. Kross said technically that means that Cage got three pinfall victories on John in one night. Kross said Johnny is just pretending to be a champion now and that Kross was proud of Johnny. Kross told Cage that Johnny doesn’t care about Cage’s daughter or Cage’s fiancé (LU ring announcer Melissa Santos). Kross said that Johnny only cares about his image and he may care about Taya too. Kross said he’ll put Taya back in the hospital once she gets out.
Johnny tried to go at Kross but was held back by Cage because Cage wanted to keep Johnny’s attention. Johnny superkicked Cage and then gave Kross a dive to ringside. Cage gave Johnny a Tornado Claw in the ring when Johnny’s attention was on Kross. Cage and Kross had a quick face-to-face before Kross acted proud after giving Cage a lariat. Cage no-sold the lariat by standing up quickly. Cage pat Kross’s back and then flexed his muscles in front of Kross. Kross walked away and let Cage be. Cage lifted the title and the crowd chanted “Next world champ!”. Cage closed the segment by leaving after he tossed the title belt on Johnny’s prone body… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A very interesting segment with all the people involved acting very logically. Johnny should be worried about his wife in the hospital. Cage should be pissed because he was screwed out of the title shot and Johnny is making excuses. Kross pulled everything together into a nice opening segment. This might have been the best reaction Cage has gotten from an Impact crowd and it looks like he’s finally connecting with them. Johnny wasn’t great and the crowd let him know that. I wonder if that’s leading to a Johnny heel turn. I hope that if Johnny turns heel, he doesn’t bring back “Slamtown Johnny” because even that marginalized him when he worked heel.
Johnny was getting checked up on by trainers but Cage barged in and started to rant in front of Johnny about what happened a few minutes ago. Johnny yelled back that Cage will get his rematch. Johnny said all he needs from Cage is a little time to get his business done with Kross tonight. Johnny said Cage will get the next title shot guaranteed. Cage asked Johnny if he has Johnny’s word. Johnny said yes. Cage got in Johnny’s face and said “don’s screw me, John”…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from ringside. Josh advertised the “Scarlet Bordeaux Strip Show” which got Callis excited. Josh advertised Rich Swann’s championship celebration. Josh also advertised Impact Wrestling’s homecoming PPV which you can buy on DVD for $20 (do people still buy DVD’s actively?). Josh and Don joked about how they’ll get royalties from the DVD. Josh asked the Impact viewers to subscribe to Impact’s Twitch Channel, which costs $5 to get some Impact emojis…
1. “The Lucha Brothers” Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. “The Rascalz” Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz. Trey Miguel was out there for a little bit but then went to the back. Josh Mathews noted that if you have Amazon Prime you can subscribe to Impact’s Twitch for free (unless you used your one free subscription on another content provider). Pentagon led the crowd in “Cero Miedo” chants. Pentagon and Dez stalled to soak in crowd chants. Dezmond blocked Pentagon’s pie face attempt. Pentagon kicked Dezmond and then Dezmond escaped outside.
Wentz prevented a tope with a stunner on the ropes. Wentz then hit Pentagon with a corkscrew crossbody. Fenix tagged in and hit Wentz wiht a rebound Tiger Feint Kick. Dezmond tagged in and then hit Fenix with some innovative flips. Pentagon came in and took down Dezmond with kicks. Dezmond recovered and hit Pentagon with a kick to the back of the head. Wentz hit Pentagon with a Bronco Buster. Fenix caught Wentz and Dezmond with a double rolling cutter. [c]
Wentz had the upper hand over Fenix back from break. With the help of Dezmond roundhouse kicks, Wentz hit Fenix with a double stomp for a nearfall. Fenix used cross kicks to escape the corner. Fenix took down Wentz with a long Tope. Pentagon hit Dezmond with a ringside cannonball. Lucha Brothers hit Dezmond a double superkick and then a wheelbarrow splash. Wentz broke up the subsequent pin attempt. The Rascalz recovered first and hit some corner moves on the LBs. Fenix recovered and hit Wentz with a slicing Sobat. Dezmond caught Fenix with the Waterfall kick.
Wentz prevented Pentagon from hitting Dez with a Pentagon Driver. The Lucha Brothers got the upper hand after hitting their opponents wiht kicks. Pentagon lifted up Dezmond in a pile driver while he had Wentz in the Gory Special. Fenix brought down Wentz in the middle of Pentagon’s pile driver with a cutter to give Pentagon the pinfall win over Dezmond. Josh noted that the Lucha Brothers found a way to fit three moves in just a few seconds.
The Lucha Brothers defeated The Rascalz via pinfall in 8:15 of TV time.
Fenix lifted up Zachary Wentz to hug him for a good match. Pentagon gave them hugs too (I kinda miss edgy a-hole Penta from Lucha Underground)…
Josh Mathews cut to the Global Wrestling Network match of the week. It was the first Ultimate X Match. Time to fast forward…
Josh hyped the strip show for later in the show… [c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m a bit surprised they would feed the Rascalz to the LBs so early in their Impact run. No huge harm done because it led to a fun tag match. Fenix is a star that a company needs to build their company around someday. Hopefully we get one more Lucha Brothers and LAX match right before splitting them apart. Good tag match.
Josh transitioned to a promo that Killer Kross cut after Homecoming. Kross was yelling in the camera about how he sees Johnny showing his true colors. Kross said Johnny is just like Kross except Kross is a bit more awful. Kross brought up how Johnny could have told the referee the truth about Cage being the true champion, but Johnny decided to let his friends from Survivor run interference. Kross said Johnny isn’t the greatest champion in Impact history because he’s carrying around a belt that doesn’t belong to him. Kross yelled even more about being the champ that Impact needs and that Kross should have won at Final Hour…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Killer Kross. McKenzie said she’s speechless after what Kross did to Taya. Kross said that’s good because it’s an authentic reaction. Kross said that Johnny made it clear that he wants to hurt Kross in a no-DQ match. Kross wondered if Johnny really knows how to hurt Kross. Kross said causing pain and hurting someone are two different things. Kross said he’s going to liberate Johnny from Johnny’s shell. Kross ended the promo by saying “it’s over John… Tick Tock…”. Kross walked away while also creeping out McKenzie…
Josh Mathews was in the ring as he introduced Impact X Division Champion Rich Swann who danced to the ring with his new X Division Championship. Josh asked Rich how Rich was feeling. The crowd gave Rich a “You deserve it” chant. Swann said Homecoming was one of the biggest moments of his career. Swann talked about how the X Division was born in the [TNA] Asylum. Swann brought up past champions like Low Ki, Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles. Swann said they changed the business and the entire industry. Swann said he stepped in the ring against three of the top X Division stars of today (well… he wrestled three tag team wrestlers at least). Swann said Ultimate X was scary, but he came out on top. Swann talked about how people say the X Division isn’t about limits, it’s about no limits. Swann said he’s the no-limit soldier of the X Division who’s willing to take on all comers.
Sami Callihan interrupted Swann’s promo. Sami Callihan threatened Josh Mathews and Don Callis. Sami said he might be Announcer of the Year after what he does to Josh. Sami got annoyed at the fans for messing up his promo by booing. Sami said there are a lot of online rumors between Sami and Rich Swann. Sami talked about how he had a long history with Rich (CZW?). Sami said family is “EVERYTHING!!!”. Sami tried to offer Rich Swann an OVE shirt that he said he found at the merchandise stand. Sami told Rich to come home to Ohio. Willie Mack made his entrance and then beat up Callihan. Swann tried to pull Callihan away. Mack went back at Callihan but Swann then pulled away Mack. The referees separated Mack and Callihan… [c]
2. Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan. Early in the match, Callihan and Mack took each other out with pump kicks. Mack and Callihan were pretty much even in the ring. Callihan got Mack trapped in the apron. Mack fought out with a right hook. After a chest chop, Mack gave Callihan a Uranage on the ring apron. Mathews noted that the corner of the apron is where metal and wood meet together. Callihan got a moment of respite after tossing Mack into the ring steps. Callihan entered the ring to try to get the count-out win and to argue with the fans. Mack beat the count and Callihan tossed Mack to ringside.
Mack and Callihan brawled to the top of the stage. Mack teased giving Mack a flatliner off the stage. Callihan gave Mack a thumb in the eyes and planted Mack into the metal with a pile driver. Mack beat the ten count at nine and a half seconds. A “Return of the Mack” chant ensued (a play on the famous song). Mack got Callihan against the ropes with a series of right hands. Mack gave Callihan a series of corkscrew shoulder blocks. Mack then gave Callihan a series of kicks in the corner. Callihan tried to fight back but Mack hit Callihan with a Samoan Drop and standing moonsault.
Mack tried to go for a pile driver but Callihan grabbed Mack’s fingers and then bit them. Callihan planted Mack with a hammerlock lariat. Callihan went for a running lariat but Mack caught Callihan and planted him with Sky High. Callihan pulled Mack off the top rope and hit Mack with a high knee for a two count. Callis said that Callihan’s offense isn’t beautiful but it’s effect. Mack recovered and hit Callihan witn an imploding cannonball. Callihan blocked the Stone Cold Stunner with a rake to the eyes. Mack reversed a pile driver. Mack and Callihan had a rollup exchange. Callihan went for a pile driver but he had to adjust into a sunset flip. Mack adjusted his weight and sat on Callihan for the surprise win.
Willie Mack defeated Sami Callihan via pinfall in 10:40.
The camera stuck on Sami after the match a bit to show him interacting negatively against the fans..
John’s Thoughts: While the feud isn’t the hottest thing in the world (it seemed a bit rushed and odd in the promo exchange), I really liked this match. The PPV match had a lot of high impact spots, but I think I liked this one better due to the energy, clash of styles, and lack of Dave Crist roaming around at ringside. Callis alluded to the clash of styles on commentary by pointing out Callihan’s rough, but efficient offense. I don’t mind Callihan losing here because the fluke protects him. Since these guys do have great chemistry together, I wouldn’t mind seeing this turn into a best of five series.
The show cut to an LAX clubhouse cinematic (their Clubhouse seems to be a bit less cinematic these days). Konnan pointed out that they were drinking “Irish Coffee”. Konnan told Ortiz to make his coffee more “Irish” so Ortiz poured some clear liquid inside of a brown bag bottle that I’m guessing is supposed to represent Vodka. Konnan handed Santana and Ortiz some blunts. Santana bragged about telling Konnan that it was all about respect and family. Konnan said he admits he was wrong and if this were a younger Konnan he would have done the exact same thing. Konnan told LAX that he was just looking out.
Konnan said he’s happy that the match was historic. Konnan said it was off the chain and people are calling it match of the year. Konnan held out his coffee cup for a toast. They toasted to LAX’s catchphrase…
Scarlett Bordeaux was shown getting ready for her strip show in front of a mirror… [c]
Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist were shown arguing in the backstage area. LAX walked into the scene. Konnan laughed at OVE calling them “Ovaries” and “Ohio inbreds”. Callihan tried to act like a tough guy as he yelled in Konnan’s face and he told LAX to “git”. LAX just walked past them…
John’s Thoughts: Going back to LAX vs. OVE wouldn’t be a bad thing either. If they could somehow make OVE seem more credible since they simply don’t win matches. It’s easy to forget that OVE has a finishing move because they don’t finish matches.
Scarlett Bordeaux made her entrance wearing a black robe over what looked like lingerie. Callis said every man in the world was waiting for this. Josh Mathews said he’s feeling uncomfortable. Scarlett repeated her line that she told Alicia Atout when she debuted: “Shut up 5’s, a 10 is talking”. Scarlett said she’ll announce the winner of her talent search next week. She said she also wanted to celebrate. She said she likes Nashville because they like to party and like to be wild. Scarlett said Impact promised to be edgier. Scarlett started a countdown to her taking off her clothes. They zoomed the camera into the face of some bearded fan who yelled “Take it off!!!”…
Right as Scarlett counted to one, The “New” Desi Hit Squad interrupted her. Gama tried to get Scarlett to sit in a chair which Scarlett kicked down. Gama told Scarlett to save showing off her body to just the winner of the talent search and not to the fans. Gama said that the American people have no family values and Scarlett shouldn’t embarrass herself. Gama said nobody wants to see Scarlett naked. Rohit Raju then went to the camera and told Gama that Gama told him that Gama wanted to see Scarlett naked. Gama B-slapped Rohit. Callis said that Rohit was a stooge.
Gama said America doesn’t have to see Scarlett “clothes less” because Scarlett has high standards. Scott Steiner’s sirens started blaring as Scott Steiner walked out. Steiner said he came here to watch the debut of Impact on the Pursuit Channel. Steiner said the Pursuit Channel is known for hunting and fishing in exotic locations. Steiner said he had a limp in his leg because he sprained his groin hunting dear at the Safari Club in downtown Detroit. Callis said he’s been to the Safari Club and he doesn’t think Steiner is talking about real deer.
Steiner said he likes to see freaks get their freak on and Gama Singh ruined that for Steiner and the fans. Gama Singh then started to crumble to the ground like he was having a heart attack (?). Callis sarcastically yelled “get a medic out here”. Steiner was about to announce the strip show but Rohit Raju tried to blindside Steiner to no success. Steiner also took down Raj with right hands. Steiner hit Rohit with a Belly-to-belly and then hit Raj with a Flatliner. Steiner put Rohit and Raj in the Steiner Recliner. Scarlett grabbed the mic and said the strip show was about to start. Steiner grabbed the steel chair and sat in it to receive a preview as to what a lap dance from Scarlett would look like. Scarlett did a bit of a lap dance in red and black lingerie before heading to the back (when you really think of it, Scarlett actually wore more clothes than she usually wears on Impact). Callis said “don’t leave”…
Josh Mathews advertised Tessa Blanchard “in action” after the break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts. Scarlett was good as usual in terms of her presentation and character acting. Steiner was fun as usual and I kinda hoped that he would have spoke more because he’s a riot (they aired the Steiner “Math” promo earlier on twitch). Praise aside for the character work, what was the point of that segment again? They managed to bury Desi Hit Squad even further. Raj Singh has a really good look but they turned him into comedy fodder just like they did with Gursinder. And what was up with the Gama Singh heart attack spot? That was weird, not edgy.
Josh Mathews recapped the Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie match from Homecoming which featured Gail Kim as guest referee. Gail Kim cut a promo backstage. She talked about how she called the match down the middle and she thinks the right woman won in Taya. Gail said this is what Tessa gets for crossing Gail because Gail is not like any other Ref. Gail said she’ll fight back and Tessa got what she deserved…
John’s Thoughts: Taya’s title win might have been a dud, but Gail Kim vs. Tessa Blanchard should be bomb AF. That will be a great match whenever they get to it. Did they get the title off of Tessa so Tessa could take a loss without Gail becoming champion? Or did they just want to say that Impact’s champions are husband and wife?
Tessa Blanchard made her entrance. Josh said that it’s odd to see Tessa not as champion. Her opponent, Cali Collins, was already in the ring. Cali’s face looked so sad that you know she’s going to lose…
John’s Thoughts: Josh is right in terms of how odd it is to see Tessa not as . Was it worth taking the title off of Tessa when they could have established Tessa as a long-term champion to put on a marquee?
3. Tessa Blanchard vs. Cali Collins. Tessa dominated Cali with clubbing blows. Tessa then punched the wind out of Cali. Cali sidestepped Tess and got one boot in but all that earned her was a punch from Tessa. Tessa continued with the clubs to Cali’s back. Tessa grinded Cali on the top rope to cause Cali to scream. Tessa hit Cali with a shotgun dropkick to the second rope. For some reason, Cali kicked out of a pin attempt after taking a beating. Tessa teased doing the Hammerlock DDT but instead hit Cali with Eat Defeat for the victory.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Cali Collins via pinfall in 2:20.
John’s Thoughts: Really good stuff from Tessa here with the nice icing on the cake with the finisher steal. We saw a lot of stolen finishers during the 2000s that it’s become a lost tool in the toolbox to a lot of wrestlers these days. They’re clearly building up to Tessa vs. Gail and I won’t complain about that. Dream match in the making.
McKenzie Mitchell tried to interview Eddie Edwards about his Homecoming match. Eddie took over and said it was time to move on from Moose. Moose said he and “Kenny” are ready to move on. Eli Drake walked into the scene and pointed out that Eddie named his stick “Kenny”. Drake said that Drake’s also gone through changes just like Eddie. Drake brought up Abyss and Tommy Dreamer being “hardcore”. Drake said Edwards should reconsider bearing that flag… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Given how they’ve ruined the Eli Drake character, I can’t say I’m looking forward to this possible Eddie Edwards vs. Eli Drake feud, especially since I have a feeling that it might feature more Tommy Dreamer than we need.
Dark Allie and Su Yung were shown crawling over a casket with red paint splattered on top (FYI, oxidized blood doesn’t look that red, which is why Stage Blood is made with Corn Syrup and not red paint). Dark Allie talked about how “she has come back”. It was hard to hear the rest of the promo because of the bad sound effects. Suddenly some cheap special effects occurred and suddenly there was something written on the casket: “One more chance, rejoin the shadow. -R”…
John’s Thoughts: Ugh… please end this now. I don’t even want to see Rosemary last around in this garbage. I wish that they’d just take Rosemary and Su Yung seriously as opposed to the cartoon version of Su we’ve gotten for the past several months.
Josh Mathews said the message must be from Rosemary. Josh announced Dark Allie vs. Jordynne Grace for next week. Josh also announced Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel and LAX vs. OVE next week (no real build?). Josh said Eddie Edwards will be “in action” next week. Josh noted that Johnny Impact vs. Killer Kross is the first Impact main event on Pursuit…
Killer Kross and Johnny Impact made their entrances. Johnny didn’t do the Bret Hart glasses thing with a fan in the front row and instead tossed his glasses in the crowd (nice touch)… [c]
4. Johnny Impact vs. Killer Kross in a non-title No-DQ match. Kross was wearing street clothes during the match. Kross took down Johnny with a judo toss. Johnny came at Kross with ground and pound. Kross returned the favor with an exploder suplex. Callis said Kross attacking Taya Valkyrie is one of the worst things he’s seen in 30 years (even though he’s an ECW original). Kross put Johnny in the corner and gave Johnny calculated strikes. Kross clotheslined Johnny from the top rope to the floor. Johnny fended off Kross with a superkick and then slammed Kross into the ring barricade.
Johnny used a running knee to sandwich Kross’s head into the guard rail. Johnny pulled out a table from under the ring and set it up. Josh Mathews noted that the crowd was reacting negatively to Johnny earlier. Kross punched a chair into the face of Johnny with his taped hand. Kross then wrapped a chair around the neck of Johnny and then tossed Johnny into the ring post. Kross then grabbed the referee and told him to look. Josh said that reminded him of when Kross forced the timekeeper to help him punch a block into the face of Trevor Lee.
Kross crotched Johnny on the guard rail and then hit Johnny in the back with a chair. The crowd chanted “Kill Kross Kill”. Kross dragged around the steel steps to Johnny. Kross told Johnny that Johnny brought this on himself. Kross tried to give Johnny a Con-chair-to but Johnny rolled away from the stairs. Johnny then beat Kross down with the chair. Johnny asked the fans in the front row to give him a mountain of chairs to pile on Kross. Johnny took one chair and then did a moonsault off the steps and onto Kross with the chair.
It looked like Johnny hit his head during the moonsault on the top of the stairs. Josh pointed that out. Kross stood up from the chair pile with a no sell. Kross then encouraged Johnny to help him toss chairs in the ring. Some people in the crowd chanted “All night long” (Lucha Underground fans?). Johnny had a cut under his eye. Johnny and Kross had a bit of a chair duel but Johnny got rid of the chais and then pummeled Kross with strikes. Johnny hit Kross with rapid short DDTs. Johnny hit Kross with a superkick.
Kross sat in the chair and laughed asking Johnny for more. Johnny threw a (protected) chair at Kross like a dart. Johnny piled more chairs on Kross. Johnny hit Kross with a few con-chair-tos. Johnny went for a chair assisted Starship Pain but Moose ran out and pushed Johnny into a table. Josh noted that Moose and Kross used to run together. Josh wondered if Moose was helping Kross out because they’re friends or because Moose wants to get into the championship picture. Moose put Johnny in the ring and Kross recovered. Kross locked in the Kross Jacket and Johnny passed out.
Killer Kross defeated Johnny Impact via submission in 12:19.
Kross held on to the choke a little longer as he usually does. Moose and Kross shook hands and hugged after the match. Kross and Moose stood tall to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: That was a pretty fun match. It might have been Johnny Impact’s most memorable match. I liked his matches against Aries and Fenix, but this one had Johnny pulling out some stuff we don’t see him do often in Impact. This was very similar to some of his fun hardcore matches in Lucha Underground where he added innovation to the hardcore stuff (and I think some in the crowd picked up on that with the All Night Long chant in reference to his match against Ricochet). Killer Kross took that match to another level. The guy just adds so much with his subtle body language. The only thing I could have done without was Moose being so influential in the finish because it wouldn’t have hurt Kross to look dominant. I do like the picture of Moose being Kross’s stooge as opposed to Kross being a fellow stooge with Moose.
This was a good episode of Impact Wrestling in my opinion. I will add one negative about watching it on Twitch. While the commercials are playing on Pursuit, Twitch would play full on “classic” TNA moments. I got to see Scott Steiner do math, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Elix Skipper, several Ultimate X’s, a Jay Lethal and So Cal Val wedding, Chris Daniels doing stuff, Matt Hardy fighting a kangaroo, and a Koko B’Ware Run in. Complete with overbooked TNA finishes. If you pay $5 dollars to subscribe, it’ll actually make it worse because you’ll get more TNA in place of the Twitch personalized ads. That aside, this was a good show with minimal wastes of time (like whatever the Scarlett thing was supposed to accomplish. Trevor Lee said it best a few months ago: “This has nothing to do with anything”). I do like their main event scene. Despite Johnny Impact starting to lose the crowd the bit, I think it’s helping Brian Cage finally get over with the fans, especially since he’s talking more.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz discussing the formation of All Elite Wrestling and their launch rally.