By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on Pursuit (simulcast on Twitch TV)
Taped July 14 in Toronto, Ontario at Don Kolov Arena
Josh Mathews and Don Callis started off the show in the center of the ring. Josh introduced viewers to the “Mash Up” episode of Impact. JOsh noted that this is a tag team tournament where the tag teams consisted of singles wrestlers who hate each other. Josh noted that the winners of the tournament will face each other in a match against each other at an upcoming show dubbed “Unbreakable” for number one contendership of to the Impact World Championship. The first advertised team was Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard…
John’s Thoughts: Interesting concept. Last week they made it seem like they were doing the “Joker’s Wild” thing. Anyway, I don’t know when this was taped or if there’s prominent spoilers roaming around out there; but given the ending of Slammiversary and how much they’ve been advertising the Sami and Tessa feud, who here doesn’t expect Tessa and Sami to win? Let’s see if this tournament can make me suspend my disbelief by telling good stories with good nearfalls.
A Sami and Tessa video package aired. Sami talked about respecting Tessa while Tessa thought that this pairing was a joke by Impact management. Each person stated their case as to why they are the leader of the team…
The Impact Wrestling intro theme aired…
1. Moose and Eddie Edwards vs. Rohit Raju and Cody Deaner (w/Raj Singh) in a first round match of the Mash-Up Tournament. Eddie carried a towel with the words #ThankYouKenny on it. Moose and Rohit started off the match. Rohit teased mixing it up with Moose but he quickly tagged in Cody Deaner. Moose had the higher ground over Cody which allowed him to lock in headlocks. Deaner fought off Moose with telegraphed punched. Moose countered with an eye poke. Deaner came back with a Theaz Press. Eddie came in and right into Deaner’s telegraphed punches. Moose distracted Deaner with a knee to the back. This allowed Eddie to hit Deaner with a belly to belly.
Rohit tagged in and walked right into an Eddie belly to belly. Rohit got Eddie to the mat and hit him with a basement dropkick. Rohit put the boots to Eddie in the corner. Eddie started a rally and hit Rohit with a atomic drop. Rohit came back with an eye poke and knee lift. Moose saved Eddie from eating a double suplex. Don Callis said you may not want to tag a deaner since they supposedly don’t use toilet paper. Moose and Eddie got on the same page and were doing tandem offense. Eddie went on Moose’s back like a Voltron. They hit Deaner with a boot and Rohit with a double Senton.
Deaner came back at Eddie with a power slam. Rohit stole Deaner’s hat and started walking around like a goof. Moose attacked both dysfunctional parthers. Eddie hit Rohit with the Boston Knee Party for the victory.
Moose and Eddie Edwards defeated Rohit Raju and Cody Deaner via pinfall in 5:14 to advance in the Mash Up Tournament.
Josh said that Moose and Eddie may be the favorites (at this point, nope). The Deaners and The Desi Hit Squad were shown arguing in the ring after Eddie and Moose left. A brawl ensued. The DHS got the upper hand by double teaming Cody. Jake was fine and he chased off the heels…
John’s Thoughts: A positive to be gained from this tournament is Impact can hopefully test run a few matchups for upcoming feuds. This was a fine tag match so far and it made sense for the two comedy teams to break down the way they did.
Jimmy Jacobs was the interviewer for this show and he interviewed Ace Austin and Aiden Prince (hey, that guy showed up on Impact twice). Jimmy noted that these guys have the least experience compared to the other teams. Aiden tried to cut a promo, but Austin cut off Aiden. Austin said he’s a star because he works here, in Impact. Austin said that this should just be seen as an opporutnity for Austin. Austin said he didn’t even want Aiden here. Aiden walked off and left Austin on his own. Jimmy Jacobs told Austin that he needs to find someone who wants to team with him… [c]
John’s Thoughts: So, the confusion begins. To extrapolate a positive, I do like that Ace Austin is on a good roll in terms of getting his heel persona over in the promos. Jimmy Jacobs also looks a bit better as the normal guy as opposed to whatever a “Zombie Princess” is supposed to be.
A video package aired which was focused on women’s wrestling. The video consisted of still images of the women of Impact wrestling matches while Tessa said inspirational quotes…
An ad aired for the Impact End of Summer Tour. Impact was having matches in Santa Ana, Hollywood, and Port Hueneme, CA…
John’s Thoughts: This is more like a SoCal tour. I would have totally attended maybe all those shows if I were not busy this month, but I currently live in NorCal and that’s a 300 mile trip for me. Can we get some more NorCal Impact shows please? I believe I’ll actually be attending an APW show that weekend featuring Jacob Fatu defending his APW world championship.
Eddie Edwards and Moose were on the same page backstage hyping each other up. Moose then told Eddie to not screw this up…
2. Rich Swann and Madman Fulton vs. Wentz and Jake Crist in a first round match of the Mash-Up Tournament. Rich Swann gave Madman Fulton a few slaps to start the match which Josh noted wasn’t hatred but rather the way that Sami motivates Fulton. Wentz and Fulton started off the match with Fulton having the power advantage, not getting off his feet. Swann tagged in. Both men landed huracanranas on each other at different times but both men landed on their feet. Jake tagged in and sent Swann to the mat with his savate kicks. [c]
Swann got a two count after a sunset flip. A bit later in the match Rich and Jake were at a stalemate. Rich got a window of opportunity to tag his partner after hitting Jake with a Lethal Injection. Fulton wasn’t tagged in but he knocked Wentz off the apron. Fulton hesitated to attack Jake. Jake did the thumbs up and this somehow caused Fulton to attack his tag parther. Fulton hit Swann with a series of chokeslams. Jake hit Rich with a Fisherman Buster for the win.
Jake Crist and Wentz defeated Rich Swann and Madman Fulton via pinfall in 5:50 of TV Time.
Fulton held up Jake’s hand in victory while Jake did the Thumbs Up thing that Sami does. An updated bracket aired…
John’s Thoughts: This whole tournament is a bit awkward with the whole enemy thing, but I do like that they covered that up a bit by saying that they’re fighting for a world title shot. Fulton turning on Swann made sense here because he doesn’t care about title shots but rather he’s brainwashed by Sami’s Clockwork Orange contraption.
Josh said that Ace Austin is still looking for a tag partner. Ace was shown trying to ask Madison Rayne to be his partner. He tried to impress her with a card flourish. Rayne talked about being Royal while Austin is a court jester and therefore Austin is beneith her. Suddenly that Indiana Jones cosplayer who showed up on one Impact Wrestling episode before swung in on a rope and agreed to be Ace Austin’s tag partner. He was talking in an “adventurous” voice…
3. Michael Elgin and Willie Mack vs. Ace Austin and Stone Rockwell in a first round match of the Mash-Up Tournament. Mack dominated Austin early on in the match. Austin got Mack on his knees and hit Mack wiht a few basement kick variations. Austin hit Mack with a modified disaster kick. Rockwell wanted the tag but Austin gave Rockwell a card. This allowed Mack to recover and hit Austin with his Samoan Drop-Moonsault combo. Mack power slammed Austin and tagged in Elgin who hit Austin with a slingshot splash. Elgin used his own agility to dodge Austin’s kick and land a few kicks of his own.
Austin escaped an Alabama Slam and tagged in Rockwell. Rockwell countered Elgin’s suplex with his own suplex. Elgin no-sold the suplex while Rockwell was gloating. Elgin roared and hit Rockwell with a lariat. Elgin hit Rockwell with the Buckle and Elgin Bomb for the win.
Michael Elgin and Willie Mack defeated Ace Austin and Stone Rockwell via pinfall.
John’s Thoughts: I was afraid they were going to have Elgin sell for Rockwell after Rockwell blocked the suplex, so good on Elgin for just no-selling and easily dispatching the comedy wrestler who appeared on Impact once about a year ago.
An OVE camcorder promo aired. Sami talked about having a match of the year type match at Slammiversary. Dave and Sami argued over a watch for some reason. Sami went back to the promo and talked about how they have a gameplan in this tournament as evidenced by Fulton helping Jake Crist moving forward. Sami said when he wrestles Dave Crist and Trey Miguel they are going to do the classic WCW Fingerpoke of Doom. Sami talked about how OVE was taking over everything… Everything… EVERYTHING!!! Dave Crist didn’t look happy about the potential Fingerpoke of Doom…
Jimmy Jacobs interviwed Taya Valkyrie who had John E Bravo with her and he wondered if Taya’s upcoming triple threat match on this episode was going to be for the Knockouts Title. Taya reiterated the 30 day rule that she’s been hiding and talked about how that clock reset two weeks ago at Slammiversary. Taya said she thinks that Rayne and Havok might have a shrine about Taya. Jimmy asked about “Johnny”. John E said he’s not married with Taya yet, but “we’re kind of an item”. That caused Taya to gag and say “ew”…
OVE’s entrance theme played again, TWICE…
John’s Thoughts: We’ve gotten the OVE theme so many times tonight? There’s only so many times I can listen to hearing “OVE! Ohio vs. Everything!” in the cookie monster voice.
4. Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard vs. Dave Crist and Trey Miguel in a first round match of the Mash-Up Tournament. Trey was dressed up as Sami Callihan, complete with a steel bat (honestly, that’s a good look for him). Dave and Sami started off the match and Sami wanted to do the fingerpoke of doom. Dave was reluctant as he shoved Sami in the chest. Dave finally agreed to do the poke. Trey Miguel broke up the pin and mocked Sami’s mannerisms. Dave figured out that they weren’t getting a fingerpoke in so a match ensued.
Trey hit Sami with a Rey Fenix tightrope armdrag. Trey missed a suicide dive which allowed Sami to get a punch in. Next Trey hit Sami and Dave with a Flip Dive. Sami got a thumb to Trey’s eyes while Trey was acting like Sami. Trey blocked Sami’s loogie slap with a superkick. Trey then started to throw up after trying to replicate the loogie slap. This allowed Sami to kick Trey and regain control. Sami teased tagging in Tessa but Sami gave Tessa a middle finger.
John’s Thoughts: By the way, Trey does the “mini draw” act better than Jake Crist does.
Trey recovered and hit Sami with a kick combination. Sami reversed a tornado DDT with a lariat. Tessa tagged herself in and Sami body slammed Tessa on Trey. Josh noted that was a tag team move. Tessa hit Trey with a basement lariat and jump kick whild Trey was draped on the ropes. Sami tagged himself in and Tessa returned the favor with a body slam on Sami onto Trey. Don Callis noted that Tessa Blanchard was voted most popular wrestler in Impact, beating out Brian Cage. Trey got Sami in Cheeky Nando position and hit Sami with a 619.
Trey missed a double stomp and tweaked his knee. Dave and Tessa tagged in. Tessa hit Dave with a cutter. Tessa trapped Dave in the corner, kicked him, and hit him with a Codebreaker for a two count. Dave dodged a Magnum attempt. Dave hit Tessa with a neckbreaker. Trey tagged in but he argued with Dave. Tessa fought off Trey and Dave. Trey hit Tessa with a scorpion kick into Dave’s twisting DDT for a two count. Tessa reversed Trey going for Sami’s pile driver finisher. Sami tagged in. Trey hit Sami with Sami’s signature pump kicks. Sami reversed the pile driver with the thumbs up. Tessa tagged herself in and hit Trey with the Magnum. Tessa hurt her knee off the magnum. Sami tagged in and hit Trey with a pile drive for the win.
Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard defeated Dave Crist and Trey Miguel via pinfall in 11:26.
Josh said that Sami stole the win from Tessa (not necessarily, that just seemed like good tag team strategy given how Tessa looked to be injured and would have allowed Trey to tag in Dave if not kept in check). Tessa and Sami bickered after the match… [c]
John’s Thoughts: The one annoying part about tournaments like this is you REALLY have to suspend your disbelief as to why these wrestlers can’t put their differences aside, or in this case figure out how to loophole the system to benefit their real friends. Once you get past that, this was probably the most entertaining match of the tournament so far. Sami and Tessa were creative in their reluctant tag partner act. They say Jake’s underrated, but I feel that Dave Crist has improved a lot since debuting and is more of a complete act than Jake. Not to mention Dave’s underrated. I also really got a kick out of Trey Miguel doing a great job copying Sami Callihan to a T. To be honest, Trey as Sami Miguellahan has been the best Trey has looked in Impact so far in terms of major league look (I mean, the 70s Show stoner act is just low budget as hell).
Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard continued to argue backstage…
The Impact Plus Moment of the Week was Tommy Dreamer,Eddie Edwards, and Moose vs. OVE from the Redemption PPV in 2018…
Entrances for the Knockouts Triple Threat took place. Don Callis said he has no idea why Madison Rayne calls herself a “B” and wondered if it was the animal bee or if Madison’s name is secretly Brenda. Callis also talked about how referees may be the lowest form of life and how a lowlife like John E is now hanging out with one of most beautiful women in the world… [c]
5. Taya Valkyrie (w/John E Bravo) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Jessika Havok in a non-title match. This was a three heel match. Taya and Madison agreed to double team the much larger Havok. Havok shoved down Taya. Rayne tried to stand up to Havok with chops, but Havok sent her to the mat too after the no-sells. Taya recovered and managed to overpower Havok to the corner. Rayne was already in the corner so she ate a Taya hip attack. Taya then gave Havok her signature corner meteora. Rayne hit Taya with an enzuigiri and neckbreaker combination.
Taya got a nearfall after a bit of an exchange because Havok broke things up and got involved. Callis noted that Taya is usually the strongest woman in the ring so it’s rare to see her manhandled by a stronger woman. John E Bravo distracted the referee so Taya could get the eye poke in. Callis said that as a former senior referee, John E may be giving the younger referee advise. Taya gave Rayne a spear. Havok gave Taya a superkick. Once the three women got up they all traded fatigued punches. Havok was the least fatigued so she dominated both women. Havok hit Taya and Rayne with a simulataneous Samoan Drop and Fallaway Slam. Callis noted the great hip strength of Havok. John E pulled Taya to ringside to protect her from Havok. Rayne hit Havok with a flying crossbody. The commentators noted that John E was taking Taya to the back before the match was over. Havok got the win after hitting Rayne with a Pile Driver.
Jessika Havok beat Madison Rayne and Taya Valkyrie via pinfall in 5:35.
John’s Thoughts: Odd decision to put three heels against each other, fresh off of Madison Rayne’s heel turn from the Slammiversary TV Taping match. That said, I’m cool with it. I think we’ve gotten several months of no Undead Realm so far. Of course my guard is still up. I’ve covered this company for years. I know to expect the worst to happen at any moment.
Jimmy Jacobs interviewed Michael Elgin about his thoughts on the tournament. Elgin focused on the name “unbreakable” for the next big Impact event, because that’s his moniker. Elgin said he shouldn’t have to go through hoops like this tournament. Elgin called Cage a coward and said that Cage was lucky at Slammiversary. Elgin said while jumping through hoops, at least he’ll have fun doing so. Elgin said he has the chance to put six people in the hospital, maybe even seven…
John’s Thoughts: Side note from Twitch. Jimmy Jacobs is probably doing interviews because Melissa couldn’t make the Mashup show. Melissa is at the latest set of tapings as shown during the commercial breaks, so I’m assuming she’s back to her duties for the next episode. Another side note, Melissa has just been playing Fortnite with other Impact Wrestlers for some reason.
Eddie Edwards and Moose made their separate entrances… [c]
Sami Callihan made his entrance. Other teams were already in the ring so this is suddenly a four way? Oh, that’s what Elgin meant…
John’s Thoughts: OVE! OHIO VS. EVERY THING! da… da da da daaaaaaa… da da da daaaaaa…. (Well at least we didn’t have to hear that theme like six more times or something). Seriously though, that theme has gotten a lot of use tonight.
6. Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard vs. Moose and Eddie Edwards vs. Jake Crist and Zachary Wentz vs. Michael Elgin and Willie Mack in an elimination match in the finals of the Mash Up Tournament. Sami and Tessa fought over posing for the hard camera during Tessa’s entrance. This was one of those matches where only two people are legal and you have to avoid the corners. The match couldn’t start because Eddie was ok, but Tessa and Sami kept tagging each other in and out. Eddie finally landed some punches on Sami to properly start the match. Moose tagged in and did his Moose Punches on Sami. Moose gave Sami double birds and went for the gamebreaker (which he never hits on anybody, because it’s a slow ass discus lariat).
Sami took advantage of Moose turning around by grabbing a hand full of Moose balls. Moose countered with a DDT and kip up. Moose tagged in Eddie so his balls could recover. Eddie dominated Sami with preision strikes. Eddie and Sami were pretty much even for a sequence. Elgin got a chance to tag out Sami and tag in himself. Sami sidestepped the legal Elgin and hit Sami with a suicide dive. All the other wrestlers made their way to the ramp to start a brawl. Eddie and Elgin got back in the ring and Eddie sent Elgin right back out. For some reason Moose teased power bombing Eddie Edwards but Callis noted that it was strategy because he threw Eddie on all his opponents. [c]
Eddie and Elgin were back to brawling. Moose ended the brawl by giving Eddie a Monty Brown pounce. The Mack gave everyone outside a flip dive. Elgin hit Eddie Edwards with his Elgin Bomb combination for the elimination. Wentz outran Elgin and hit Elgin with a corkscrew crossbody for the nearfall. Jake and Mack tagged in. Jake got his knees up on Mack’s signature moonsault combo to get the upper hand. Sami called for it and Jake Crist tagged in Sami Callihan, obviously for “the greater good”. Once Mack recovered he landed his moonsault combo on Sami for the nearfall.
After bodies were left lying. Michael Elgin and Tessa Blanchard had a standoff. Sami shoved Tessa away out of pride (?). Josh noted that Sami may be saving Tessa. Elgin slammed Sami to the mat. Elgin turned around and gave Mack a follow through lariat (oh! That’s the seven!). Elgin brushed off the match and then walked up the ramp. Sami gave Mack a pile driver to eliminate Mack. The two remaining teams faced off. Josh noted that it was odd seeing both enemy teams in sync. Both teams traded stereo superkicks. Wentz gave Sami a cutter. Tessa gave Wentz a hammerlock DDT. Jake gave Tessa a Savate Combo and Death Valley Driver. Sami broke up Jake’s pinfall attempt. Josh noted that Sami hit his OVE brother. Once both men got up, Jake agreed to do the fingerpoke of doom, but he used it to play possum as he tried to small package Sami. Sami kicked out of course.
John’s Thoughts: Not a bad potential future feud. That said, I’m not 100% sold on Jake as a singles act if they ever go this round say a year from now, or maybe never. Jake was actually the one I saw initially as the most talented Crist Brother due to his Fenix-like innovation. Over the course of the last couple of years though, his brother Dave has won me over by his simple but effective moveset and solid acting work in terms of character.
Jake and Sami traded pump kicks. Jake dominated with his Savate kicks. Tessa tagged in. Sami gave Jake a pile driver. Tessa gave Jake The Magnum for the final elimination.
Tessa Blanchard and Sami Callihan defeated Jake Crist and Zachary Wentz, Michael Elgin and Willie Mack, and Moose and Eddie Edwards in 12:07 to earn themselves a match against each other for number one contendership of the Impact World Title at the “Unbreakable” show.
Tessa’s theme played (Thank god we didn’t have to hear OVE’s theme. It’s a good theme, but we’ve heard it all night in repetition). Sami and Tessa lightly fought over who would get their hand raised. The two bickering and shoving each other closed the show…
John’s Thoughts: A fun match with some good little storylines thrown in. I liked Elgin calling his shot but also it’s tough to figure out why he would give up his potential title match to start a feud with Mack. Isn’t he supposed to feud with “The Midnight Rhyno”? Is the Midnight Rhyno free to show his face on TV yet? Anyway, good stuff from everyone. Given the large nature of the match, Zachary Wentz was the man who was left out of the spotlight. He’ll have his day someday. All that said, after the announced the match last week and before they even had this show in the can, given how they’ve been pushing things, they foreshadowed Sami and Tessa winning this impromptu “One Night Only” like thing a mile away. That mile even going back to the Sami vs. Tessa placement on the Slammiversary card.
I would recommend that if you are a Dot Net Member, go check out the two part Impact Wrestling roster evaluation for some insight Jason Powell and I give on the current roster. The reason I’m bringing it up is because Jason Powell brought up how all signs point towards Impact going for the publicity in making Tessa Impact’s first female world champion with Don Callis even laying on that foreshadowing very thick. I’m all for it if it comes up naturally, but right now it’s coming off as a bit forced? Especially given the random hatred that Sami got for women all of a sudden. Maybe they subvert expectations, but given that Tessa lost at Slammiversary, they’re probably going to give Tessa her win back at Unbreakable to maybe set her up for a match against Cage. To be honest, Cage is great at selling but is that isn’t always a great thing (See: Jordynne Grace eliminating Cage at All In in the battle royal).