By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on Pursuit (simulcast on Twitch TV)
Taped May 3-4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
A recap video aired of last week’s Impact Wrestling episode…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary. Sami Callihan and the Crist Brothers made their entrance for the opening match…
1. Sami Callihan (w/Jake Crist, Dave Crist) vs. Fallah Bahh (w/Scarlett Bordeaux). Callihan went at Bahh early on but Bahh countered with a crossbody and gained the advantage. Bahh manhandled Callihan all over the ring and even pummeled Callihan with clubbing blows in the corner. Bahh was more aggressive than usual. Callihan challenged Bahh with running forearms but Bahh countered with a body slam which fired up the crowd. Callihan kicked out of the subsequent pin attempt at two. Callis noted that Bahh has lost 30 pounds and is much faster these days.
Callihan caught Bahh’s foot and bit it (since Bahh wrestles barefoot). Callihan rolled to ringside for a moment of respite. Callihan did his signature loogie chop to Bahh’s chest. Bahh turned the table and did a loogie chop of his own to callihan after no-seling callihan. Callihan knocked Bahh to the ground which caused Scarlett to go check on him in worry. Once Bahh reentered the ring, callihan worked joint manipulation on Bahh’s foot. Mathews and Callis noted that this is Bahh’s fault for wrestling barefoot, it gives him an obvious weakness.
Bahh recovered and had a rally exchange with Bahh but Callihan won the exchange by stepping on Bahh’s exposed toe. Callihan worked on Bahh for a bit while also mocking the crowd’s rallying behind Bahh. Bahh hulked up against Callihan in his own Fallah Bahh way. Bahh no sold a barefoot stomp after the nonono. Bahh hit a flurry of offense topped off with a belly to belly. Bahh planted Callihan with a side slam for a two count. Bahh was bleeding from the mouth for some reason. Bahh planted Callihan with a Samoan Drop. Bahh went for a Banzai drop but The Crist Brothers distracted the referee and Scarlett.
The Crist Brothers actually grabbed Scarlett. Scarlett dodged Jake’s superkick and gave OVE a cannonball. Bahh planted Callihan with a side slam and ended up with a really good nearfall on Bahh. Scarlet fired up Bahh and Bahh hit Callihan with a suicide dive. Callian hit Bahh with a hanging Pile Driver and picked up the dirty win with the ropes as leverage.
Sami Callihan defeated Fallah Bahh via pinfall in 10:48.
Scarlett entered the ring to check on Bahh while OVE rolled to ringside. Sami Callihan hocked a loogie at Scarlett from ringside…
John Thoughts: An interesting battle between Bahh and Callihan. I’m not the biggest fan of Scarlett replacing Kevin Mathews as Bahh’s Rocket Racoon, but at least Bahh’s innate charisma is still shining. The best part of this match, Bahh got his hope spots and the cliche comeback after the conquering of OVE’s interference, but even after all that Callihan’s superior fighting ability got him the win in the end. OVE’s interference reinforces their heelness.
Tommy Dreamer was cutting one of his inspired promos. Dreamer talked about facing RVD back in the ECW days. Dreamer talked about how RVD came from Japan and inspired Dreamer. Dreamer then talked about how he and RVD unified the Hardcore and Intercontinental titles in WWE at Madison Square Garden. Dreamer then talked about the Hard Justice event in TNA. Dreamer said he has a deep friendship with Rob Van Dam and Philadelphia is the best place to show that friendship. Dreamer talked about getting some of his biggest scars from Rob Van Dam. Dreamer said he and RVD are going to go “To the Extreme”… [c]
Highlights from The Great Muta were shown to hype “A Night You can’t Mist”…
Melissa Santos interviewed Johnny Impact who had John E Bravo with him. Melissa talked about how odd it was to see Johnny help Michael Elgin. Johnny blew that off and was calling Elgin names like “giant meathead”. Suddenly, Michael Elgin creeped up behind Johnny unbeknownst to Johnny. Johnny bragged about winning a future X Division title shot. Johnny said that he might become champion if Elgin puts Swann in the hospital.
Johnny finally realized Elgin was behind him. Elgin said he agrees with Johnny on the point about putting people in the hospital. Johnny proposed that Elgin help him beat up the “turdcutters” Rich Swann and Willie Mack. Elgin said he doesn’t want to send just Mack and Swann to the hospital, but everybody (insinuating that he wants to put Johnny in too). Elgin condescendingly slapped Johnny on the back. Johnny said the slap was stiff…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary questioning how far Elgin and Johnny are willing to work with each other. Josh ran through some of the advertised matches for this episode…
2. Taya Valkyrie vs. Madison Rayne for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Taya ran a lap around the ring to avoid Rayne. Rayne caught up to Taya and went to the ground and pound. Rayne took down Taya with an enzuigiri. Rayne was dominating Taya 100% at this point. Rayne prevented a Taya comeback with a boot. Rayne got a nearfall off of Taya with a crossbody. [c]
Rayne continued to dominate Taya and got another nearfall after a neckbreaker. Taya rolled to ringside to rest and fume. Taya caught Rayne off a baseball slid and kicked Rayne in the hamstring. Rayne mocked the Lucha Libre “Otra” chant while targeting Rayne’s hamstring. Callis noted that this method of attack works well alongside Rayne’s size advantage. Mathews noted that Taya is a former AAA Queen of Queens champion (Vampiro screwing up this title reign is a sore spot for her, and I agree that AAA was in the wrong).
Callis noted that Taya is married to a wrestler while Rayne is married to a non-wrestler (without naming Mathews). Rayne continued her onslaught with a focus on Rayne’s legs. Taya also made sure to mock the crowd’s chanting between moves. Callis said that it’s tough for Rayne to put power behind her punches with only one leg healthy. Rayne went for a Rayne Drop but Rayne’s leg gave up on her to continue Taya’s dominance. Taya continued to target Rayne’s leg with a single leg Boston Crab and a kick to the hamstrings for more pain inflicting. Taya’s onslaught continued.
Taya got a nearfall after a swinging side slam. Taya went for her signature corner meteora but Rayne got out of the way. Rayne executed a few kicks but Rayne’s knees continued to give up on her. Rayne pulled out a despiration tornado DDT on Taya for a two count. Taya pulled the referee in front of her to block Rayne’s moment of advantage. Taya regained control after a cheap chop block which she earned from pulling the referee in the way.
Rayne floated around and rolled up Taya for a nearfall. Rayne locked Taya in a single leg crab which Josh noted gave Rayne a win before (due to Taya quickly tapping out of a meaningless match). Rayne countered a Road to Valhalla. Taya countered a Cross Rayne by grabbing the referee by the shirt to pull herself away. This allowed Taya to successfully hit the Road to Valhalla on a shaken up Rayne for the victory.
Taya Valkyrie defeated Madison Rayne via pinfall in 10:35 of TV time to retain the Impact Knockouts Championship.
Josh recapped Taya using the referee to help her retain her title. Suddenly, Rosemary’s entrance theme played. Rosemary dragged Su Yung by the “demon collar”. Rosemary tied Su Yung’s chain leash to the ringpost. Rosemary then entered the ring, licked her hand, and rubbed her hand on Taya’s belt to freak Taya out into retreat. Rosemary stood tall in the ring to close the segment.
John’s Thoughts: A well worked match. I liked the story being built around Taya finding an opening with the dirty tactic of targeting Rayne’s hamstring while also utilizing the bumbling referee to her advantage. Personally, I would have made Taya looked a bit stronger in her win, but I do like that she does have some added craftiness to her. This was good usage of using Rayne’s built-up credibility to put over Taya. Rayne maintains her credibility because Taya took shortcuts to retain her title. As for the post-match, I’m REALLY REALLY happy if Rosemary coming out means that the Undead Realm is as good as dead. This would COMPLETELY COMPLETELY suck if they are dragging Taya into the crapfest known as the Undead Realm.
It was time for a Deaner’s skit. Jake and Cody Deaner were eating at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia. Cody was hyping up a future match that the Deaners where going to have against the Desi Hit Squad. Cody complained about not getting a win or not getting enough beer. Jake advised Cody that Cody needs to eat more calories to increase his size, so it’s not easy to toss him around. Cody said Jake was right as he asked the waiter to get him some beer. Jake said that this place only serves cheesesteaks. This pissed Cody off. Jake told Cody “I gotchu” as he revealed that he smuggled two beers into the restaurant. This pleased Cody… [c]
Ugh… Dammit! I smell a Undead Realm skit…
Rosemary was dragging Su Yung around backstage with her dog collar as the lights were tinted blue. Sinister Minister James Mitchell clapped and applauded Rosemary. Mitchell said he always saw Rosemary as a part of his family since Rosemary took care of Abyss while Abyss was a part of Decay. Mitchell said Rosemary revived Abyss’s career (this in fact is true. Decay Abyss was awesome). Mitchell said Rosemary is stealing bridesmaids from his harem and making him look like a cuckold.
Mitchell said he’s going to ask politely for Rosemary to give him back Su Yung. Rosemary said “the shadow” is tired of Mitchell’s voice. Rosemary said “they” got what “they” wanted, Su Yung, and a new mission, the Knockouts title. Rosemary said that Su Yung’s dress is the dress she killed in and will be the dress she dies in.
John’s Thoughts: I still really, really hope that they don’t drag Taya into this Undead crap. That said, Mitchell as usual was good on the mic and I liked his references to Decay and talking of being made to look like a cuckold. So the promo was good. I just hope they pull away from the flop of the Undead Realm.
Josh Mathews hyped some upcoming Impact Wrestling live shows including “A night you can’t mist”…
This week’s Impact Plus Match of the Week was Raven vs. Sandman from NWA-TNA’s weekly PPV in February 2003…
An Eddie Edwards promo aired. Eddie was holding his broken kendo stick. Eddie talked about his career having ups and downs (clips of Eddie winning the World Title and Sami callihan smashing his eye were shown). Eddie said the one constant in his life is “Kenny” (ok?). Eddie said he understands that Kenny is a kendo stick, but Kenny was there when he fought in the ring, when his wife left him, and when Moose betrayed Eddie. Edwards said that Kross took away the one constant in his life. Eddie said that next week in front of the most bloodthirsty fans in the world, he’s going to give the fans theirs money’s worth. Eddie said that Kross broke Kenny in half and Eddie is going to break Kross in half. Eddie said he was doing it for Kenny… [c]
It was time for the latest Rascalz Smoke Circle without the fake smoke. Dez noted that they were training and have stopped smoking. Dez thought Fung Shui was called “fuchsia”. Wentz said it was time to change things. The fake smoke returned after sound effects of taking bong hits played. This caused Trey to want chicken. They then cut to a training montage (that was slightly more serious than last week’s, but still lighthearted)…
3. “The Latin American XChange” Santana and Ortiz (w/Konnan) vs. “The North” Josh Alxander and All-Ego Ethan Page for the Impact Tag Team Championships. Alexander and Santana started off the match. Alexander overpowered Santana in the chain wrestling. Alexander even through in a few cheap shots during the moments of separation. Ortiz tagged in and took down Alexander with a shotgun dropkick. LAX took down Page with a Shining Wizard, senton, and assisted moonsault combo.
Page caught Santana during a suicide dive attempt. Alexander took down Santana and also took down Ortiz with a rolling fireman carry senton. Page and Alexander traded quick tags and cut the ring in half on Ortiz. Alexander hit Ortiz with an assisted Impaler DDT for a nearfall. Ortiz used a jawbreaker and neckbreaker to escape Page’s cravate. Alexander knocked Santana off the apron to prevent the hot tag. This allowed Page to apply a sleeper on Ortiz.
Ortiz countered with a power slam to get a slight window of opportunity for the hot tag. Santana tagged in for the hot tag. Santana cleaned house. Santana hit Alexander with a Yakuza Kick and hit Page with a suicide dropkick. LAX hit Page with a double enzuigiri. Ortiz rolled up Alexander into a high knee from Santana for a nearfall. Alexander escaped the Reverse Thunder Valley. Page and Alexander hit some quick offense on Santana for a nearfall.
After clearing Santana away. The North hit Ortiz with the Reverse Thunder Valley (which is what LAX has been winning matches with). The North pinned Ortiz and Santana barely got in for the breakup, but it looked as if the ref might have counted to three? Callis said that Alexander is justified in his anger because it looked like he got a three count. Santana pulled Oage away from a double team move. Alexander kicked out of a rollup attempt. Alexander clocked Ortiz with a right hand. Santana rolled Alexander into rapid fire offense on Alexander. LAX hit Alexander with their reverse Thunder Valley for the pinfall.
LAX defeated The North via pinfall in 8:22 to retain the Impact Tag Team Championships.
Josh said that they’re going to have to go back and look at the replay because it looked as if The North picked up the clean pinfall over LAX earlier… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good match with the North looking really strong in defeat. I’m not the biggest fan of the screwy kickout from LAX. That spot was put in there to protect The North, but what made it hurt was the referee did count to three and had to call it off. I know that it was meant to look screwy but the limited window of opportunity really hurt the visual effect.
The Disco Inferno, Glenn Gilbertti, made his entrance for an “exhibition match”. Disco took the mic and was cutting his anti-women’s wrestling promo. He was showered by overpowering “asshole” chants from the crowd. Disco said that Don and Josh need to stay quiet for the upcoming match because he’s going to be providing live commentary from in the ring. Disco called Josh and Don schmucks and told the production truck to mute them.
Disco said he found a young woman to have a match next and that she’s one of the greatest women wrestlers of all time. Some lady named Ashley Vox made her entrance. Disco said he wasn’t familiar with his opponent and asked her for her name, which she revealed. Disco asked her how long she’s been wrestling. She said four years. Disco joked that four years ago was when Ashley got fired from Hooters. This drew a pouty face from Ashley.
Callis yelled “WHAT?!?”. Disco said he was kidding and then went on to ask Ashley who is Ashley dating in the Impact locker room. Disco said times have changed because back in his day the women were kept in the back because they were dating the wrestlers. Disco said this wasn’t a match, but rather an exhibition. Disco said that even so, the referee should still count the pinfall.
4. “The Disco Inferno” Glenn Gilbertti vs. Ashley Vox in an exhibition match. Disco landed a cheap shot on Ashley with a kick to the gut before the bell even rang. Callis said that Disco is a scumbag. Disco kept the mic in hand. Disco said that Ashley must be on match.com and therefore needs her face matched up with a turnbuckle. Disco slammed Ashley into the turnbuckle. Disco said Ashley should have swiped left. “You still suck” chants ensued from the crowd.
Disco fought Ashley with one hand and locked Ashley in a side headlock. In the headlock, Disco called the fans marks and noted that Ashley wasn’t doing well in the side headlock. Disco said he’s surprised that the marks aren’t giving him “this is awesome” chants yet (great line). Disco put the mic next to Ashley’s mouth to amplify her cries of pain. Disco said now’s the right time for the fans to chant “you deserve it”. Disco said this was not a five star match and not Disco’s fault that it’s not five stars.
Disco distracted the referee and then gave Ashley a thumb to the throat. Disco then gave Ashley a hip toss. Disco said this is professional wrestling and there has never been a woman better than Disco. Ashley rolled up Disco for a two count. Disco called the referee an idiot for counting and the referee reminded Disco that Disco told him to count the pinfalls. Disco told the referee to hold the mic. Ashley gave Disco a drop toehold and Shotgun Dropkicks.
The crowd rallied behind Ashley. Callis yelled “kick his ass!!!”. Disco slapped Ashley midair off a top rope front dropkick. Disco pulled Ashley’s hair and nailed her with the Stunner. Disco said “now count!!!”. The ref counted to two but Disco pulled Ashley’s hand up at two and sarcastically yelled “she kicked out of my finish!”. Disco said he just needs to give her another finisher. Disco lifted up Ashley’s dead weight. Suddenly Tessa Blanchard ran in to clear Disco from the ring.
Disco Inferno vs. Ashley Vox ended in an apparent no-contest in about 3:30.
Disco escaped the ring unscathed and said the exhibition was over. Callis yelled at Disco, calling him a chicken. Callis said Tessa is ready to kick Disco’s ass. Josh recapped the segment and also hyped RVD vs. Dreamer… [c]
John’s Thoughts: An uncomfortable match in a really good storyline progressing way. Disco Inferno was really good here. He used every trick in the book to draw heat off the female opponent and his jabs to the stereotypical “internet marks” was great stuff. The nice icing on the cake was Disco’s in-ring commentary (a technique I praised TJ Perkins for using in a few of his matches about a year ago). This was a great exhibition at a meta level when you think of it and it has me actually looking forward to Tessa kicking Disco’s ass. It’s predictable, but Disco is making predictable must-see.
Gama Singh was in the ring cutting one of his bored ass introductions for Rohit Raju…
5. Rohit Raju (w/Gama Singh) vs. Petey Williams vs. Ace Austin vs. Dez. Four way spotfest madness ensued. Petey dominated all of his opponents early on. Austin broke up Petey’s Destroyer attempt on Rohit. Austin gave Petey a papercut on Petey’s hand webbing. Dez sent Austin away. Dez then hit Rohit with a CQC combo. Austin nailed Petey and Dez with a Tiger Drop. Austin took down Dez and Rohit with Savate Kicks.
Austin hit Petey with a PK. Petey fought through and hit Austin with the Canadian Destroyer. Rohit prevented Petey from hitting Dez with a Destroyer by nailing Petey in the back of the neck with a double stomp. Rohit hit Petey with a cannonball. Dez nailed Rohit with a Eddy Gordo waterfall kick to pick up the pinfall win.
Dezmond Xavier defeated Rohit Raju, Petey Williams, and Ace Austin via pinfall in 3:38.
Josh said he thinks the commentary team should hang out with the Rascalz. Petey and Dez shook hands after the match… [c]
John’s Thoughts: We saw a similar match to this a few weeks ago. I’m guessing that since they’ve been presenting Rich Swann as a main eventer on the show, that they’re forgetting he’s A Division Champion? Swann’s off in his own world while the rest of the cruiserweights in Impact are back to having pointless multi-man matches. In particular, I think that this match hurt Ace Austin and Dezmond Xavier the most because of how it looked like the company was high on those two at one point.
Josh and Don did an Impact Plus plug…
Josh Mathews announced Johnny Impact and Michael Elgin vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack, Eddie Edwards vs. Killer Kross in a street fight, and Tessa Blanchard vs. Disco Inferno for next week…
Tommy Dreamer made his entrance first. Josh and Don talked about how much Dreamer loves Pro Wrestling. Rob Van Dam’s crappy ass entrance music played as the camera stuck on EC3 Jacket Guy doing the RVD thumb point to the crap theme. RVD made his entrance… [c]
6. Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam in a hardcore match? Dreamer and RVD soaked in dueling chants. The chant then turned into EC-Dub chants. RVD started off the match with his signature body scissors. Dreamer escaped and the two men struck the stalemate pose. The fans chanted “you still got it” to RVD (which is a bit surreal given how RVD’s wrestling full-time Impact wrestler Tommy Dreamer). Dreamer comedicly pushed RVD’s hand away during RVD’s test of strength attempt.
Callis noted that Dreamer is wearing red shoes that Dreamer retired a few years ago. Dreamer nailed RVD with a suplex despite RVD trying to employ agility. Dreamer and RVD shared a high five in respect. RVD missed a leg drop. Dreamer missed an elbow drop. Dreamer and RVD then held back their punches on yet another stalemate sequence.
John’s Thoughts: That’s one stalemate too many.
Dreamer tried to roll up RVD for a two count. RVD used a kick to block Dreamer’s Bionic Elbow attempt. Dreamer grabbed water and spit it in the face of RVD. Dreamer then hit RVD in the head with a water bottle. RVD hit Dreamer with an apron leg drop. RVD introduced a chair in the ring. RVD hit Dreamer with a running dropkick.
Dreamer hit RVD with an Irish Whip. Dreamer then put RVD in a Tree of Woe. Dreamer put the chair on the face of RVD and used the chair to hit RVD with a basement dropkick. RVD used a judo shove to escape Dreamer’s DDT attempt. RVD missed a Rolling Thunder attempt. Dreamer then DDT’s RVD on the chair. A “get the tables” chant ensued, because ECW. RVD used his dead weight to reverse a pile driver. Dreamer countered RVD’s kick and then nailed his Pile Driver.
RVD kicked out at two. Dreamer accidentally elbow dropped a steel chair because RVD got out of the way. RVD hit Dreamer with a drop toehold on the chair. Dreamer was 3 quarters away from the buckle but RVD managed to nail Dreamer over the long distance with a five star frog splash for the pinfall win.
Rob Van Dam defeated Tommy Dreamer via pinfall in 9:21.
Callis said RVD winning is making it feel like 1999 again. RVD pat Dreamer on the back and congratulated Dreamer for a good match. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander ran out to put the boots to Dreamer and RVD. Dreamer ended that onslaught with a double clothesline on The North. RVD and Dreamer then dominated The North. Moose ran out to give the heels a numbers advantage.
Moose was about to hit RVD with a spear but the lights went out and went on to reveal Sabu. Sabu threw a chair at Moose so RVD could hit him with a Van Daminator. Impact closed with The ECW Originals posing to RVD’s crappy music to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: While personally I saw a lot of disappointment in that match, I can’t help but say that the real star of the last half hour was the ECW nostalgia fans. RVD really has lost a step is seems when it was Tommy Dreamer carrying him through the match. While it may be flying under the radar, Dreamer is having an in-ring renaissance by having really good matches with people like the Crist Brothers, Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, and others. Dreamer was good. RVD seemed slow and was doing his greatest hits.
Criticisms aside, the fans seemed to eat up all the ECW nostalgia, so at least that worked. If this wasn’t in Philadelphia, I might have given Tommy Dreamer the win to boast him because he wrestles regularly for Impact. It would have been good for the gatekeeper. Overall another solid show. Not as hot as last week, but last week had a match of the year candidate. I also think that Anthem-Impact did a much better job than Dixie-Impact in the ECW throwback because they did the right amount of nostalgia without making Impact out to have an inferiority complex to WWE like they did during the Dixie days.