By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on Pursuit (simulcast on Twitch TV)
Taped February 15-17, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Casino
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling aired followed by the Impact Wrestling intro theme… Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
Moose made his entrance first. By Moose standards, Moose was wearing somewhat normal, but shiny, ring gear. In fact, it looks like Moose gave “EC3 Jacket Guy” his sharpie’d bath robe from a few weeks ago. Moose’s opponent was Trey Miguel…
John’s Thoughts: Hey! No Rich Swann opening match this week. I guess they’re actually giving him a main event instead of his really entertaining openers.
1. Moose vs. Trey Miguel. Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz quickly went to the back once the match started. Josh Mathews noted that this match was stemming from last week’s smoke circle segment and how the Rascalz made fun of Moose for striking out on Melissa Santos. Callis compared Moose to a baseball player and said that since Moose is a volume guy he asks thousands of women out on dates which means statistically he’s bound to strike out on a percentage by default.
John’s Thoughts: That, was actually sound logic by Callis on how to pick up chicks. If you want to be a playa, you simply ask out a ton of women and hope to get with around 30% of them (I’m kidding folks).
Trey targeted Moose’s hamstrings with low kicks to start the match. Trey went for a huracanrana but Moose’s tall frame blocked the move. Trey did a handstand and managed to get Moose out side with a huracanrana. Moose prevented a dive from Miguel by punching Miguel. Moose struck a tranquilo pose on the ring apron and mocked the Rascalz hand thing (honestly, I would do the same thing to mock that move). Trey hit Moose with a baseball slide. Trey managed to hit Moose with a series of Suicide Dives but Moose stood his ground. Trey went for a Tope Con Hilo, but during the Hilo, Moose caught him mid-air (that was sweet).
Moose then hit Trey with an apron bomb. This won over the crowd, deserving so. Callis talked about how other sports have weight divisions because a big man at the same skill level as a little man should be able to beat the little man. Callis also talked about how Moose was an NFL starter for seven years. Trey tried another series of dives on Moose to no avail. Moose then caught Trey (awkwardly) off a Tiger Feint and then slammed him into the steps via a swing. The crowd chanted “one more time” in favor of Moose.
John’s Thoughts: This might be the best babyface reaction Moose has gotten in Impact.
Josh said the referee should be stopping the match since Trey seems knocked out. Moose hit Trey with rapid fire precision strikes. Moose hit a series of running strikes in the corner on Trey. Trey tried to fend off Moose in the corner. Trey tried to counter the Go to Hell but Moose blocked it. Trey instead countered into a sunset flip rollup for a nearfall. Oh my goodness, Moose finally hit someone with his discus lariat. Moose attempted a Superplex but Trey slipped out and hit Moose with a superkick.
Trey side stepped Moose to send Moose face first into the second turnbuckle. Trey then ran circles around Moose to trip up Moose in the corner. Trey grounded Moose with a missile dropkick. Trey took down Moose with a clunky but effective Flip Dive. Trey hit Moose with a Frog Splash, but Moose kicked out of the subsequent pin in one. Moose caught Trey with a popup power bomb to get a two count off of the bomb. Moose lifted Trey off the ground with his jaw. Trey tried to fight his way out with punches to little success. Moose went for the Game Changer but Trey blocked it with a super kick (Moose never ever hits that move).
Moose came back with a pump kick. Trey and Moose traded fatigued kicks. Trey used a matrix dodge to elude a lariat and he followed up on Moose with a Pele kick. Trey hit Moose with a reverse Frankendriver and double stomp for a nearfall on Moose. Josh Mathews was audibly rooting for Trey to pull out an upset. Moose dodged a meteora and a codebreaker attempt from Trey. Moose softened up Trey by throwing Trey into the corner several times. Moose then hit Trey with his signature flip spear for the victory.
Moose defeated Trey Miguel via pinfall in 9:22.
Josh said there is about a hundred pound weight differential between Trey and Moose. Josh said that Moose has avenged his embarrassment at the hands of the Rascalz and their smoke circle bit…
John’s Thoughts: Wow. That was a great match. Hands down Trey’s best singles match in Impact while Moose continues to put together a string of good matches when he’s in the ring with a good opponent. This was a really well told big man vs. little man story. Moose came out looking really strong and kudos to Trey for being Moose’s crash test dummy in that sense. Also credit to Trey for utilizing his speed and agility in creative fashion.
It was time for an OVE camcorder promo. Sami essentially cut the same promo that he’s been cutting every week about how Rich Swann shouldn’t turn his back on family. The only difference here is Sami said he’s going to become the new X Division Champion. Jake Crist was acting like a creepy weirdo behind Sami while Dave continued to act confused at his brother acting so strangely (I’m guessing Dave’s the older brother based off of how this comes off?). OVE ended their promo the same way they always do by talking about how they are for Ohio, by Ohio, and the are taking over Everything! Everything!!! EVERYTHING!!!
Josh Mathews advertised a Johnny Impact appearance later on where he’ll explain his actions and betrayal from last week against Brian Cage… [c]
Melissa Santos interviewed Tessa Blanchard about getting attacked by Gail Kim last week and Gail Kim getting suspended by Scott D’Amore. Melissa asked Tessa if Tessa feels vindicated now that Impact management stepped in on Tessa’s behalf. Tessa said she’s only getting started. Tessa said she has lawyers and that Impact management is responsible for Gail Kim’s action. Tessa said that Impact needs to comply to her demands to presumably avoid a lawsuit. Tessa said Gail Kim needs to issue a public apology and Impact needs to outright fire Gail from mangement because Gail is no longer welcome in Impact…
John’s Thoughts: We’ve seen the lawsuit storyline many times before, but Tessa Blanchard did a really good job here articulating the premise of this story while also making this cliche feel very fresh. I like the attention to detail. D’Amore bent over backwards for Tessa because of a lawsuit threat. That’s an honest reason to feel bullied, or blackmailed. Part of what makes this work is Tessa’s great acting ability.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from ringside. Josh said that Tessa’s demand to get Gail Kim fired seems a bit unreasonable. Callis said that Tessa is just making the same demands that any irate person would make. Josh Mathews then announced Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage for the Impact World Championship at the Rebellion PPV…
Fallah Bahh and KM made their entrance next and their opponents were the odd couple tag team of Eddie Edwards and Eli Drake…
2. Fallah Bahh and KM vs. Eddie Edwards and Eli Drake. Josh talked about he watched the “old Eddie” become world champion on the Global Wrestling Network. Drake and Bahh started off the match. Bahh did a shoulder tackle to Drake followed by the Mutombo finger wag. Drake tried to body slam Bahh but that just led to Bahh squashing Drake with his body girth. Bahh then hit Drake with a alligator roll. KM tagged in but this allowed Edwards to tag in and gain the advantage. Drake and Eddie traded quick tags to overpower KM. KM and Bahh turned the tables by doing the same game plan. Drake and Eddie were then on the same page with many combo moves.
Drake put KM on the top rope and went for a superplex that KM blocked. Drake staggered KM with an enzuigiri and then followed up with a superplex. Bahh hit Drake with a crossbody. Edwards tossed Bahh outside and slammed him with a suicide dive. Eddie went into cartoon mode as he opened his mouth and picked up “Kenny”. Eddie then distracted the referee who tried to reprimand Eddie for using a foreign object. This allowed Eddie to pass the stick to KM and smash KM over the head with the stick. Drake quickly hid the evidence under the ring as Eddie followed up on KM with a Boston Knee Party for the victory.
Eddie Edwards and Eli Drake defeated KM and Fallah Bahh via pinfall in 5:06
Josh noted that Eddie just ended Bahh and KM’s winning streak. Josh said that Eddie Edwards trusts Drake so much that he’s allowing Drake to “get close to Kenny”. Callis said this win might put Drake and Edwards into consideration for the tag belts. Josh said that it looks like Eli Drake might be beginning to be won over by the hardcore style.
John’s Thoughts: While “Crazy Eddie” is still a huge turnoff, this was actually a smart approach to take with the Eddie and Eli team if they are going to roll with the duo as a tag team. One positive I can roll with is Eli Drake looking like he’s back to being meaningful again as opposed to playing Dwayne Johnson in a bunch of unfunny comedy skits. While this wasn’t much of a match, this did a good job establishing the tag team’s cane toss finisher. Of course, KM and Bahh are protected since Eddie cheats now.
Johnny Impact and Taya Valkyrie were shown heading into the Sam’s Town Casino with their respective title belts. They were jumped for an interview by Rolando Melendez. Rolando asked Johnny for an answer regarding his actions against Brian Cage and said the world wants to know. Johnny laughed and said that Rolando finally asked an actual question. Taya grabbed Rolando by the tie and pinned him to the wall saying, “what’s your problem?”. Johnny told Rolando to buy a ticket to find out the answer with the rest of the marks… [c]
Josh Mathews ran through the updated United We Stand card. Impact added Taya Valkyrie vs. Rosemary vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Katie Forbes for the Knockouts Title and Tessa Blanchard vs. Joey Ryan to the card. As Drake put out on his social media, he explained why he refused to wrestle in an intergender match. Josh also plugged Impact Rebellion and subsequent TV tapings. Josh then advertised May 3rd and 4th TV tapings at the old ECW arena…
It was time for the Global Wrestling Network Flashback Match of the Week. This week’s match was Brian Cage vs. Fenix for the X Division Title August 30, 2018 on the weekly Impact show. Cage won. They aired close to ten minutes…
Rolando Menendez (his name is Menendez now) was banging on Johnny Impact’s dressing room awaiting an interview. Taya Valkyrie emerged and shoved Rolando into a plastic trash bucket…
Josh said that somebody needs to get Rolando Melendez out of a trash can (so his name is back to Melendez). Josh also hyped Ace Austin “in action” after the break… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Is this an intentional running joke? Rolando’s last name changed twice within the time span of 30 seconds.
Rich Swann was shown taking off his shirt and putting on ski goggles while sitting next to Willie Mack. The glare from a portrait behind them showed that they were watching Impact Wrestling because Don Callis and Josh Mathews were shown on the monitor. Swann talked about taking care of business after everything Sami Callihan has been doing over the past few months. Mack reassured Swann that he’ll be around to take care of the Crist Brothers. “All Ego” Ethan Page sat on the couch with them to talk to Mack about their upcoming match together. Page said he’s also been thinking about Rich Swann’s title belt ever since Ultimate X. Page left and told the duo to have fun tonight. Mack said he planned to only clap together some Crist Brothers tonight but now he has to add Page to the clappin’ list…
Ace Austin walked out wearing his Gambit coat. He now has a hand sign where he makes an Ace with his hands. Josh Mathews said that Ace’s finisher is called “the fold”. Ace pulled a signed ace out of his sleeves…
John’s Thoughts: As a person who performed magic shows around two years ago before I slowed down on that front, I wonder if Ace actually knows any magic tricks or real flourishes? If anything, I’d think it would be cool for him to learn card throwing and implement that somehow into his wrestling, especially since he has the whole Gambit thing going on. Ace and Brian Cage must be big friends backstage because of their huge love for X-Men.
3. Ace Austin vs. Damian Hyde. Josh noted that Damian is a local wrestler. Josh and Callis discussed Austin’s haircut a bit. Ace hit Damian with a plethora of kicks while also stopping on a dime with his running. Ace hit a nice and stiff leg lariat on Damian from the ring apron. Ace made a seamless transition from a wrecking ball kick to a stance in the ring. Ace hit Damian with a Tiger Flop. Ace yelled at Callis and Josh in order to show a bit of bravado. Ace got Damian on his knees and hit him with shoot fighting roundhouse kicks. Ace hit Damian with a Flying Chuck. Ace followed up with a twisting Swanton. Ace hit Hyde with a series of Savate kicks and followed up with a clunky meteora takedown. Ace yelled “Ace’s Up!” and hit Hyde with “The Fold” (a running Blockbuster into a rollup) for the win.
Ace Austin defeated Damian Hyde via pinfall in 3:10.
Callis said he likes Ace’s finisher. Josh said that Ace’s offense may impress Chris Angel or Penn and Teller. Don Callis said that Ace might even impress the Amazing James Randi (Nice reference!)…
John’s Thoughts: A much better showing from Ace Austin compared to his competitive match against Jake Atlas. There’s something there with this new fighter. Ace did a great job establishing that he has really educated feet. Similar to Jake Crist, Ace’s Savate style allows him to do moves we don’t see often from pro wrestlers due to Savate being an unorthodox martial art to most people. Looking forward to see what Ace brings in the near future and Impact might have a future X Division contender on their hands.
Taya Valkyrie and Johnny Impact were shown heading to the ring… [c]
Right after the break, a single shot vignette was shown of a woman sitting on a bench, getting up, and jogging in the direction of the stationary camera. The focus and hoodie hid the identity of the woman. A graphic aired saying “2 weeks”. The graphic also consisted of bee graphics…
John’s Thoughts: Because of the “Queen Bee” moniker, I’m assuming the bee graphics mean that this woman is the returning Madison Rayne. Moreso, I hope it’s Madison Rayne doing a serious veteran character. My fear was that she might come back as a lame zombie because the last time we saw her she was sent to the “Undead Realm”.
A highlight package aired of the Sami Callihan and Rich Swann feud…
Josh Mathews was in the ring for an interview with Johnny Impact and Taya Valkyrie. Don Callis was doing solo commentary with some awkward sound mixing (which makes it sound like he’s recording from his home computer as opposed to a studio). Callis laid it on thick by talking about how he’s really disgusted with Johnny’s actions after Johnny threw away his integrity after establishing himself as a fighting champion. Callis said he wants Josh to ask the question “Why? Johnny? Why?”. Callis said Taya and Johnny were two pieces of garbage.
Josh asked the expected “why?” question. Johnny said the news, TMZ, and Jeff Probst were waiting outside his home asking the same thing. Johnny said it’s because of people like the fans and Josh, “internet smart marks”. Johnny talked about he was the most fighting champion in Impact history. Johnny said people watch Impact the same reason they watch Nascar, to see crashes. Johnny said the fans only cheer for carnage.
John’s Thoughts: Hmmm… I’m not 100% sure of this, but I’m pretty sure I heard this promo before. So much that the “carnage” line was a common line used to describe the bloodthirsty fans in that Downtown Los Angeles warehouse that Johnny also wrestles in.
Johnny said the fans turned on him when a jacked up meathead walks down the ramp at homecoming. Johnny said the fans were making Cage the victim all over social media. Johnny also mocked Brian Cage’s eating and retweeting habits. Johnny said that Cage is too dumb to understand that the fans don’t really care about Cage. Johnny said some sort of joke that the mic didn’t catch. Johnny said that the fans shouldn’t expect Johnny to be loyal when the fans weren’t loyal to him. Johnny said he cheated on the fans with himself and he loved it.
Josh moved on to interview Taya about her upcoming title defense against Jordynne Grace. Taya mocked Grace for being short. Taya called the fans “marky” for wanting to dictate what happens around here. Taya said the fans left Johnny hanging dry. Taya said she’ll decide later on when and where her title defenses happen because she and Johnny have the power and they make the rules now. Josh moved back to Johnny about his title defense against Cage at Rebellion and asked Josh if he was actually going to keep his word and give Cage the one-on-one title match.
Johnny talked about how he’s keeping his word and is giving Cage a title shot at the biggest stage of them all (that is such a Vince McMahon line). Johnny said he’s going to shut Cage’s meat head mouth. Johnny said he’s ready for war. Johnny said that Cage’s scary offense puts him at risk. Johnny sarcastically said that he hopes that Cage stays healthy, insinuating that he’s seeking to injure Cage. Johnny said he honestly used to care about the fans but now the only things that matter to him are his wife and title belt. Johnny and Taya started making out in the ring. Don Callis continued to lay it on think as to how disgusted he is at Johnny for Johnny’s betrayal. Callis said Cage is also at home with a concussion…
John’s Thoughts: Johnny still is awkward at points in his delivery, but as I mentioned when he was babyface, it works for him when he leans into it as opposed to masking it with canned catchphrases. No question, this feud and promo was ripped straight out of Lucha Underground. I would know. That’s not a bad thing. Johnny did a good job here with the best part talking about how he feels betrayed by the fans and he’s not just suddenly rudo for the sake of being rudo. Taya has had a great night tonight establishing so much of her famous Wera Loca character tonight more than what we’ve gotten since she returned.
It was time for this week’s Undead Realm segment. James Mitchell was looking in the distance while Rosemary creeped up behind him to initiate a discussion. Mitchell gloated about Rosemary winning the battle but losing the war. Rosemary blamed Mitchell for not holding his end of the bargain by handing over a “soulless meat suit” instead of Allie with a soul. Rosemary demanded the location of Allie’s soul (again, at the PPV she saw Allie’s “soul” who was sitting in a corner wearing a wedding suit). Mitchell said he gave Rosemary exactly what he promised. Mitchell said that if Rosemary takes issue with that then she can take her grievances to “him” (Satan).
Rosemary said “we” (the hive) are not afraid of “him”. Mitchell said he can’t let Rosemary go after Satan since he’s Satan’s right hand man. Rosemary said “we” don’t care about what James has to say. Rosemary said “we” are going to the undead realm to get the Bunny’s soul back (kill me now). Rosemary said she’s going to talk to “him”. Rosemary teleported away with the power of TV static… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Soooooooo, Allie is gone, right? This thing has to die right? Since we saw Madison Rayne jogging, Madison is not a undead zombie right? Brace yourself folks.
“All Ego” Ethan Page made his entrance, presumably to lose to Willie Mack…
4. “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Willie Mack. Page blindsided Mack to start the match. Callis said Mack needs the win more since Mack has higher expectations and potential than Page (wow. What does that say about Page?). Mack gained the upper hand with a Samoan Drop, Kip Up, and standing moonsault. Page retreated to ringside and sidestepped to avoid a dive from Mack. Mack followed Page and hit a right hand on Page. Page came back with a thrust kick to ground Mack.
Page hit Mack with a basement uppercut for a two count. Mack rallied on Page with hand strikes but Page ran through Mack with a shoulder block. Page locked Mack in a headlock while mocking the fans for cheering Mack. Mack escaped and hit Page with corner strikes. Page used a boot to escape the corner. Mack came back with two atomic drops. Mack then hit Page with a shotgun dropkick. Mack hit Page with what Callis dubbed the “Whole lotta ass”.
Mack hit Page with a spike DDT for a two count. Josh talked about how Mack grew up in South Central LA. Page punched Mack off the top rope and then hit an elbow drop on Mack for a two count. Page went for a suplex but Mack adjusted his weight to block the suplex. Page missed a spin kick on Mack. Mack came back with a Black Mass like kick. Mack then hit Page with the Stone Cold Stunner, did some Stone Cold mannerisms, and picked up the pinfall win.
Willie Mack defeated Ethan Page via pinfall in 6:00.
John’s Thoughts: All ego remains all loser in Impact Wrestling, but I guess Impact has him in the designated jobber role out of necessity to build up other people. It wouldn’t hurt to give him a little cred at least because that was a pretty decent match, but his nearfalls don’t click. What is a positive is it finally looking like Impact is considering getting behind Mack a bit. Just a hunch, but he’s looked better in recent weeks as opposed to when he was in similar shoes as Page early in his Impact run.
Rolando [whatever his name is] tried to jump Johnny and Taya again for an interview. Johnny said that Rolando smells like hot garbage. Taya said that Rolando stinks. Killer Kross was shown in frame with his arms crossed. Kross chuckled and told Johnny “bravo” for joining the dark side. Kross then whispered something off mic into Johnny’s left ear. Johnny smiled and told Kross that his day keeps getting better and better. Kross did his focused stare into the distance after Johnny and Taya left… [c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m guessing this is telegraphing a Kross and Johnny alliance. I also wonder if we might be seeing Johnny reform some iteration of The Worldwide Underground in Impact Wrestling. They can’t get PJ Black and Joey Mercury in due to ROH contracts, but Jack Evans is around and Angelico might be a good replacement for PJ. Heck, Angelico is South African just like PJ too!
A video package aired hyping the Disco Inferno vs. Scarlett Bordeaux match…
Rolando Menendez found Disco Inferno knocking back shots at a bar. Disco said he’s wrestling a girl and therefore he doesn’t have to take this seriously. Rolando said based off the video packages, Scarlett is training hard for this. Disco said Scarlett better be taking this seriously. Disco then mocked the Meltzer rating system a bit by saying that Disco is six stars while Scarlett is negative five stars which adds up to at best a one star match when you put the metrics together.
Disco said one star would make that the highest rated women’s match in wrestling history. Disco said the Women’s Revolution is a hoax, illogical, and nonsensical. Disco said it’s ridiculous for women to think they can compete with men. Disco said next week he’s teaching Scarlett the most important fact of life that a woman cannot be “The Man” (Becky Lynch reference?). Rolando ended the segment by saying that Disco was unbelievable…
John’s Thoughts: I’m going to miss Disco when Impact starts taping away from Vegas because the guy has been a guilty pleasure and a highlight of the show right behind the main event scene. Praise for Disco’s solid work aside, even more praise should go to the storytelling. I don’t know the spoilers on this one, but I’m assuming me and the rest of the audience see the result of this match being a foregone conclusion. That doesn’t matter because the journey to get to the destination has been so fun and captivating. This is how you book a mid-card feud and hopefully Impact creative tries to utilize such tender love and care to their undercard stories as much as they did here.
Melissa Santos interviewed Gail Kim outside of the “Impact Management” office about her response to Tessa’s two demands. Gail acted disappointed and said that Tessa’s lawyers are making things tough for her and Impact management. Melissa wondered if Gail was going to give in to the demands. Gail said she’s going to do what she has to do. The camera panned over to show that in the hallway, The Lucha Bros and LAX were brawling. A random indie wrestler tried to run in and stop things, but he just got chewed up by the brawl. After a minute or two of brawling, more indie wrestlers showed up, led by Konnan, and broke up the fight. Konnan yelled at Lucha Brothers and yelled that Lucha Brothers asked for this beatdown and that LAX still wants a rematch… [c]
Willie Mack was shown entering the waiting room (in a scene oddly similar to what we saw a few months ago). Commotion could be heard from the room. Instead of the Crist Brothers emerging, Willie Mack walked away unscathed and with a steel chair in hand. Mack put a code in the keypad of the door to lock the Crist Brothers in the room. Mack ended with the fun B-Movie line of “this place needs better security” (Ey, if I can get some comparable Lucha Underground content in my Impact Wrestling, I’m not complaining)…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in again from ringside. Josh talked about how Mack and Swann thwarted the Crist Brothers. Josh asked Callis if the pressure for Gail to cave in is coming from either Impact management or Tessa’s lawyers. Don Callis said Impact Management can be gutless sometimes so it may just be a little bit of both forces. Josh ran through matches for the Against All Odds show next week which include Brian Cage vs. Killer Kross and Taya defending her title against Jordynne Grace. Josh also advertised “The Return to the Undead Realm” to get Allie’s soul back (Brace yourselves folks!)…
Sami Callihan and Rich Swann made their entrances for the main event. Interesting enough, Rich Swann was all serious and did not dance to the ring this time…
5. Rich Swann vs. Sami Callihan for the Impact X Division Championship. Josh said that OVE is locked in a closet and therefore unable to flank Callihan. Swann and Callihan traded blows. Swann had the upper hand after a rolling cutter and corkscrew plancha on Callihan. Callihan got a shot in by slamming Swann into the steps. Callihan hocked a loogie into his hand and chopped Swann. Swann blocked a front suplex on the steps. Callihan raked Swann’s eyes and went for a pile driver on the steps. Swann did a backflip away and caught Callihan with a superkick. Swann hit Callihan with a running lariat. Callihan sidestepped a 450 and then planted Swann in the mat with an Exploder Suplex. [c]
Back from the break, Callihan had Swann locked in a headlock. Mathews reminded viewers that the Crist Brothers are trapped in a closet (Is it too soon to make an R.Kelly joke?). Callihan hit Rich with a modified catapult into the bottom rope. Callihan hocked a loogie into his hand and put it back into his mouth. Callihan then used the loogie hand to chop Swann. Callihan locked a chinlock on Rich. Callis assured Josh that the chinlock was legal as long as Callihan doesn’t palm the lower jaw of Swann. Callihan used a Muay Thai knee to keep Swann on the mat. Swann ended Callihan’s momentum a bit with a jawbreaker.
Swann fended up Sami with boots. Swann then initiated a rally after a backfist. Swann hit Callihan with a huracanrana as well as some back kicks. Swann got a nearfall after a Frankensteiner. Callihan powered through Swann with three power moves leading to his finisher, the Get out of Here. Josh gave away the non-finish with his cliche Vince McMahon false finish call. Callis explained that Swannused Callihan’s momentum against him to cause Callihan to break his own pinfall. Callihan took off his wrist tape.
Sami did his thumb thing before a pile driver which allowed Rich to escape. Both men tradedkicks. Rich Swann hit a 4-hit kick combo. Swann hit Callihan with a 450 for a two count. Callihan traded kicks on the top rope. Callihan blocked a frankensteiner with a Super Power Bomb. Callihan floated through a pin attempt into a crossface. callihan turned the move into an STF. Callihan adjusted his foot to get to the bottom rope. Sami hocked one of his signature loogies into the face of Swann. This fired up Swann who came back at Rich with a series of rapid fire punches. Rich returned the favor to Sami with a loogie of his own to Sami’s face. Rich hit Sami with the Lethal Injection. Sami kicked out at two.
Rich crashed and burned on a Phoenix Splash. Sami (stupidly) did his thumbs up thing at this point, which allowed Rich to roll under him. Rich rolled up Sami for the pinfall.
Rich Swann defeated Sami Callihan via pinfall in 13:00 of TV Time to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Callihan tackled Rich Swann quickly after the match before Swann could celebrate. Callihan tried to come into the ring with a chair but Swann caught Sami with a Trouble in Paradise. Sami started to beg for mercy (as a distraction) which allowed a giant man to enter the ring. The giant man is former NXT Sanity member Sawyer Fulton. Fulton was wearing his Sanity/Death Machine gear. Fulton no-sold chair shots to the chest.
Swann was slammed to the mat and Fulton lifted up Swann one handed and chokeslammed him. Josh dubbed Fulton as, “Madman” Fulton. Fulton pet Sami on the head and revealed he was wearing an OVE shirt. Willie Mack tried to run in for the save but Fulton no-sold Mack’s punches. Fulton hit Mack with Baron Corbin’s End of Days. Josh pointed out that Fulton is one of Sami Callihan’s minions. Fulton held up Swann. Callihan kissed Swann, said “I love you”, and hit him with a bat shot to the head (the safe Triple H sledgehammer style). Sami Callihan and Sawyer Fulton stood tall to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts leaning on positive here. Everything was good. The match was slow at points and not as compelling as Moose vs. Trey Miguel was from earlier (you could tell by the crowd comparison). It was a fun match though and cool to see Rich Swann pull out less high flying and more striking. The skepticism comes in Sawyer Fulton. I like Fulton and thought that WWE really should have given him a bigger look after he changed his look for the better. That said, I’m not sure I completely understand why they are starting to bring Sami’s Death Machine faction into Impact. Before I judge things further I’ll wait and see, but my fear is that this would lead to The Crist Brothers either disappearing from Television or being cemented as Sami’s meat shields. The Crists are a world class tag team that deserves better than that.
A solid episode of Impact. This episode more than others reminded me of both NXT and Lucha Underground in a positive way because there was a lot of deja vu for me. I’m not complaining because the parts utilized were good (they even had Melissa Santos play the Cathy Kelley role during the Gail Kim interview). If you do have time, I definitely recommend you go check out Moose vs. Trey Miguel in a really fun Big Man vs. Little Man war. Peak Twitch Viewership: Around 4,850 (4,500 throughout the first hour and climbing to 4,800 during the second hour).
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Eric Bischoff discussing whether there are similarities in Vince McMahon’s WWE booking and Verne Gagne’s booking of the AWA during its dying days, a network shakeup that could potentially be an issue for All Elite Wrestling, Eric’s upcoming shows with Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson in Chicago and New York, and much more.