By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling on Pursuit (simulcast on Twitch TV)
Taped July 19-20 in Windsor, Ontario at St. Clair College
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling episode aired…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary. The OVE entrance theme played as Jake Crist made his entrance for the opening X Division title match…
John’s Thoughts: It’s not a bad theme, but I do roll my eyes a bit at OVE’s theme these days. It’s not due to quality, it’s just after that “Mash-Up” episode where the theme played about every ten minutes, I’m just OVE’d out. It also goes to show you that with Jake Crist now as a singles wrestler, we get OVE all over most episodes now. Glad to see each OVE member get to stand out in a good way.
1. Jake Crist vs. Aiden Prince for the Impact X Division Championship. It’s interesting to note that Jake Crist came out by himself which is so odd to see when you think of it. Child referee was the referee for the match. The crowd really went crazy for Aiden Prince so I’m guessing he’s a well known local guy. Prince and Jake were even early on. Prince knocked Jake outside with a backflip dropkick. Jake blocked a Prince suicide dive with a back heel kick. Jake planted Prince with a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron. Jake Crist locked Prince in a unique modified Koji Clutch with a butterfly.
Prince escaped, but Jake grounded Prince with a thrust kick for a two count. Jake smothered Prince in the corner with his forearm. Jake planted Prince with a back suplex. The local crowd chanted Prince’s name to fire him up. Again, he comes off as a local hero. Jake clocked Prince with three savate kicks to the head. Prince made a bit of a comeback with a few strikes leading to a Tornado Paydirt for the nearfall. Prince went for a 450, but Jake got the knees up and rolled up Prince for the nearfall. Prince managed to flip away from Jake and he planted him with a reverse Frankendriver.
Jake went for the savate kicks again but Prince dodged the kicks. Jake instead gave Prince a sweet power slam into the bottom turnbuckle. Prince rolled out side for some recovery time. Prince bated Jake outside and gave Jake a huracanrana. Prince then hit Jake with a suicide dive. Prince went for an axe handle strike but Jake nailed Prince with a nasty looking superkick. Nasty to Prince, because Jake executed beautifully. Prince beat the ten count but he walked right into La Magistral. Prince kicked out. Jake hit Prince with a Superplex. Prince no sold the plex into a brainbuster. Jake kicked out. Prince went for a splash but Jake caught Prince mid-air into an RKO (a la Randy Orton to Christian a bunch of times). Jake picked up the win.
Jake Crist defeated Aiden Prince via pinfall in 10:57 to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
John’s Thoughts: I could have done without the generic local guy no-selling Jake’s superplex, but aside from that this was a good showcase for Jake Crist and good first step in rebuilding his in-ring credibility. Prince being generic helped in this case because it allowed you to focus on what Jake was doing while the other guy doesn’t take his shine. It was smart to have Jake dominate 85% of the match because we rarely see the Crist Brothers dominate so it came off as him redefining himself.
Impact cut to an LAX backstage skit. Konnan was chatting with Daga in Spanish. Konnan started speaking in English where he talked about how Santana being in the hospital and how Ortiz is just angry because his brother-figure is in the hospital. Konnan assured Daga that Ortiz’s rage is stemming from his pure heart and that it would take time to get to know a stranger like Daga. Ortiz walked into the scene drinking his censored alcohol. Yes! The alcohol was censor blurred again! Ortiz was calm. Daga said Ortiz doesn’t need to apologize because what he needs from Ortiz is Ortiz’s help in winning the tag titles in the main event of this show. Ortiz bit off the bottle caps of two censored beer bottles (It looked like Coronas) as he had a cheers with Daga over beer. Konnan liked the show of unity… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Some “Only in TNA” things annoy me, but some of them crack me up, like the censored beer. This just reminded me of that one time Impact had Marty Elias on the show and had to censor blur the referee. Anyway aside from that, Daga continues to be very wooden in promos and backstage segments and this has been going on for years. I root for the guy because he’s great in the ring, but many companies have tried everything with him and nothing ever clicked. Lucha Underground gave him a giant ass sword and the guy didn’t know what to do with the sword. In MLW, the guy just keeps getting beat up by Low Ki every week. I bet if he were in MLW now, he would accidently run into Low Ki’s elbow and fall asleep given the story they’re telling with Low Ki at the moment. Maybe Impact can be the one company to figure out what to do with Daga. That would be great.
Taya Valkyrie and John E Bravo exited the Impact Management office. John E had a neckbrace. Jimmy Jacobs approached Taya and wondered what Taya was doing in the office. Taya reiterated her 30-day title defense stipulation and argued about Impact trying to make her defend the title. Taya said that Impact told her that she walked out of her last match and need to book her in a match sooner because that didn’t count against the 30-days. Taya walked away disgusted…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from the commentary table. Josh said Impact management was justified because Taya walked out of her last match. Josh hyped The North vs. Ortiz and Daga. Josh also advertised an interview with Melissa Santos. Callis said Melissa “didn’t want to be a part of ‘the story’ but it happened” (interesting wording)…
2. Ace Austin vs. Eddie Edwards. Eddie hit Ace with a axe handle strike and then followed up with a plancha to the outside. Ace hit Eddie with a drunken boot and a PK (which Eddie sold well with a spit spray in the air). Edwards hit Austin with a backbreaker and face plant on the ring apron. Eddie took the action back in the ring heading into commercial. [c]
John’s Thoughts: By the way, what ever happened to TJP? Is this because TJP is going to start work with New Japan soon?
Eddie Edwards nailed Ace Austin with a suicide dive. The referee separated Eddie from the corner which allowed Ace Austin to pull out his extendable staff and nail Eddie with it while the referee was recovering from Eddie’s shove. Eddie kicked out at two. Don Callis noted that Eddie’s weak spot is his injured eye (via Sami Callihan). Austin hit Edwards with his paper cut spot. Austin went for “The Fold” but Eddie countered with a flapjack and power bomb. Callis said Eddie is “the everyman” (okay?). Austin begged for mercy a bit then got on Eddie’s nerves by saying “what about Alicia?”. Eddie hit Austin with a Boston Knee Party. Eddie then pounded on Austin. The referee tried to separate Eddie off of Austin but Eddie shoved the ref prompting the apparent DQ.
Ace Austin defeated Eddie Edwards via an apparent DQ in 6:27.
Alisha Edwards ran to the ring, and guess what she did? Of course, she did what she always does. She yelled at Eddie Edwards non-stop. This prompted a Jerry Springer chant. Eddie then walked away from the ring and the crowd wasn’t sure how to react.
John’s Thoughts: Impact really needs to pull the plug on Crazy Eddie. They are all over the place with him and this always comes off as him “acting” as opposed to magnifying the “real Eddie”. In fact, every subsequent feud he’s had after his feud with Sami Callihan has seen his character regress as opposed to develop. On the other side of this feud, I think Ace Austin is doing a real good job establishing himself as a pest heel. Impact has finally allowed him to speak and get his character over and I think that’s translating well to television.
Highlights from Tessa Blanchard vs. Sami Callihan from the Unbreakable Show aired. Tessa had Sami in the Koji Clutch at one point but Sami escaped and Jake Crist ran out for the distraction. Tessa did kick out of a belt shot to the head. Tessa was talking up her match in separate clips. Sami hit Tessa with a pile driver to pick up the three count and number one contendership. Tessa cut an emotional promo after and said she’s coming for Sami… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Strong babyface fire from Tessa in the promo she gave. Hopefully its a promo like that, that gives Impact confidence to allow Tessa to cut babyface promos in front of a live crowd.
Fallah Bahh and Moose were in catering. Moose made fun of Bahh for losing weight and eating salad because Moose thought that salads look nasty. Moose talked about how Impact might replace Bahh if he gets too skinny. Moose called Bahh a fat joke. Bahh attacked Moose and the two brawled around the catering area. Bahh was tossing around Moose until Moose gained by tossing a drink and tossing the salad (hehhehheh) at Bahh. Moose shoved a chocolate cake in Bahh’s face and left him lying. Moose called Bahh a fat boy…
Kiera Hogan made her entrance for commentary of the next match…
3. Madison Rayne vs. Alexia Nicole. Josh noted that Alexia was trained by Taylor Wilde (that’s a nice blast from the past name drop. Wilde was always one of my favorite plucky babyfaces). Josh put over Madison and Kiera being frenemies. Alexia managed to hit Madison with a shotgun dropkick. Rayne bated in Nicole and hit her with a boot. Nicole hit Rayne with a snapmare and meteora for at two count. Rayne slammed Nicole to the mat and got a two count.
John’s Thoughts: Wait? This just dawned on me. Is Alexia Nicole that random lady from the Kiera Hogan and Madison Rayne skit last week? What a strange way to introduce someone. I’m guessing she doesn’t stick around past these tapings.
Rayne locked Nicole in a octopus hold. Josh asked Kiera how long she’s been wrestling because Don asked Kiera how old she was earlier. Don joked that Josh just asked an inapproriate question towards a woman. Don also called Josh a jackass. Nicole escaped by slamming Rayne into the second turnbuckle. Nicole hit Rayne with a backstabber for a two count. Rayne kicked Nicole and hit her with a ripcord cutter. Rayne hit Nicole with the Cross Rayne (Cross Rhodes) for the win.
Madison Rayne defeated Alexia Nicole via pinfall in 4:15.
Kiera clapped and gave herself credit for coaching Rayne on the win. Kiera then entered the ring to bicker. Both women the kicked at Nicole. Nicole tried to fight off the heels until Kiera dominated Nicole. Callis noted taht having a common enemy put Kiera and Madison on the same page. Madison went for Cross Rayne on Nicole but Jordynne Grace ran out to clear the heels from the ring…
Josh hyped The North vs. “Makeshift” LAX for the main event of this show… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Not much here other than Impact doing a solid job establishing this frenemy relationship between Kiera Hogan and Madison Rayne in their quest to take down Jordynne Grace. Very logical. And we have multiple women’s programs in Impact. All solid stories. And no Undead Realm in sight…
It was time for a Rascalz 70s show smoke skit. Dez and Trey were depressed at not winning the titles. Wentz said that sucked but Wentz was happy that he got to listen to the song “3000” and how they still live underwater (I bet that someones great great granddaughter is still doing fine. I like Wentz’s taste in music!). The Rascalz then talked about how “someone” can roll joints with dollar bills in seconds, have thc farts, smoke his armpit stuff, and sweat cbd oil. Suddenly holy music started playing and RVD teleported into the circle to wow the Rascalz. RVD said all those rumors the Rascalz were saying about him were all true. RVD’s crappy TNA entrance music started playing while the Rascalz all tried to do RVD’s thumb thing. The Rascalz then comically brawled while doing RVD’s moves. RVD joked “what the fu-k? This s–t supposed to mellow you out?”…
John’s Thoughts: Like I said, the Rascalz still come off as low budget and this fake 70s show ripoff is a huge part of it. That said, I thought this was one of the better 70s show segments mostly because stoned-ass RVD managed to fit in perfectly. Impact has had a few decently written iterations of this skit in recent memory. Hopefully they try to move away from this because all three Rascalz have shown upper-mid-card to main event potential in Impact. I say this because they should be elevated if LAX is leaving the company as expected.
4. Taya Valkyrie (w/ John E Bravo) vs. Jessika Havok for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Taya used some quickness to elude Havok early on. Taya then landed a few clubbing blows on Havok. Havok grounded Taya with a stiff arm lariat. John E Bravo distracted Havok by holding Havok’s leg. this allowed Taya to put Havok on the bottom rope and hit her with a running meteroa. Taya tried to huracanrana Havok but Havok turned it into a power bomb. Josh noted that Taya is usually the stronger woman in her matches.
Taya tried to do the splits to evade Havok but Havok saw it and gave her a boot. Taya reversed a uranage into a victory roll. Havok hit Taya with a backbreaker and chokeslam combo. Havok then had a visual pinfall on Taya but Su Yung’s entrance started playing and for some reason Havok decided to let go of the pinfall. Su Yung was making a full ring entrance.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Jessika Havok ended in an apparent no contest in under 4 minutes.
The referee left and Josh said “Havoc should be champion but she’s in a trance!!!” (Oh lord. And it’s made worse by Josh Mathews saying it). In addition to the regular undead bridesmaids, a child zombie joined the bridesmaids (did UDMOH shrink in the washing machine?). Callis said “that’s a child”. Josh said it was disturbing (Callis should tell Josh that he experienced mini-Kushida. Now THAT’S disturbing). Su Yung and Havok faced off. Havok tried to give Su a chokeslam but Su Yung gave Havok a mandible claw. Su Yung got Havok to her knees. Havok escaped. Su Yung hit Havok with a palm strike. Su palm struck Havok off the apron and then Havok let out a roar and backtracked up the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: I’m sorry. That was dumb. I mean really dumb in terms of logic. I’ll applaud Su Yung being cool again. I like the old Su Yung over Undead Realm Su Yung any day. But what the hell was that finish? A trance? What? That came off moreso as the commentators not really knowing how to sell it, but I can’t blame them if that’s the case because how do you sell this? This was one of those “Only in TNA” finishes, and I haven’t really seen one of those in a while so I guess we had to get one of those again someday. Also, is Havok a babyface now? I personally think that Su Yung is a better character and it looked like they were building up Su to be the babyface from the previous feud, but the last two weeks have presented Havok in a positive light. Now we have a feud between two heels that the crowd doesn’t have any real reason to invest time in caring.
Jimmy Jacobs interviewed Melissa Santos in a park in Chico, California. Jacobs started the interview by asking Melissa about her relationship with Cage. Jacobs also talked about how Melissa brought that to light when she protected Cage from Michael Elgin trying to end Cage’s career. Melissa said she didn’t really want to make her relationship public. Melissa said Cage’s career is everything to him and she had to do something to protect Cage, especially after Cage was not himself after being sent to the hospital earlier in the year. Melissa said she loved cage. Throughout this promo they did these weird camera cuts.
Jacobs wondered when Cage would be ready for action. Melissa said she wants to give an answer but that’s in the hands of the doctors who haven’t really given a time frame yet. Jacobs asked Melissa what would happen if Cage can’t defend the world championship (again, more awkwardness because we just got done with Taya who is putting the 30-day rule front-and-center on television). Melissa said she doesn’t know but there might be things more important to Cage than championships and money now… [c]
John’s Thoughts: That was a strangely edited segment. First I thought it was my computer buffering wrong, but no. I checked other sources and replayed the thing and they really badly cut that segment. I don’t get what they were going for with the random camera cuts? If the segment had to be heavily trimmed, there would have been better ways to go about it. Were they trying to be stylish? Because it just came off as a bad cut.
The show cut to the Deaners drinking in a bar. They were attacked by the Desi Hit Squad where Rohit Raju stood over them after they were fallen and talked about the Deaners being lower than the DHS…
Cody and Jake Deaner were then hanging out in a random foresty area. Jake was cutting a yelling promo about the previous attack. They talked about being blue collar. Cody challenged the Desi Hit Squad to a match next week…
5. Stone Rockwell vs. Nate Madsen. Rockwell dominated Madsen and did some of his cheesy poses. Madsen took advantage of the posing and then landed a bunch of strikes on Rockwell. Rockwell caught a flying Madsen and hit him with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Madsen hit Rockwell with the protect yo neck. Suddenly, Rhino entered the ring and gave Madsen a Gore.
Stone Rockwell vs. Nate Madsen ended in an apparent no contest in 0:50.
Rhino was wearing a Fight Network T-Shirt. Rockwell tried to stop Rhino by trying to feed him some sort of vegetable. Rockwell yelled “hungry fella?”. Rhino gave Rockwell a Gore (Rockwell should have fed him a cracker with cheese wiz). Rhino grabbed a mic and called out Michael Elgin. Elgin made his entrance and stood at the top of the ramp. Elgin commended Rhino for not attacking him from behind this time. Elgin said Rhino is just trying to make himself relevant by attacking Big Mike. Elgin talked about how he sent everyone in front of him to the hospital. Elgin said that Elgin does things on his terms not when somebody else demands it. Rhino said he’ll just come up the ramp to beat the crap out of Elgin. Elgin and Rhino then brawled, complete with indie security guards separating the two. Rhino tried to use a chair but there security and referees managed to control Rhino and Elgin…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Hmmm… More mixed thoughts. Elgin continues to shine in promos. He’s really getting over this hospital gimmick he’s promoting with solid mic moments. Rhino’s okay, but did we really need an ECW Rhino vs. Michael Elgin feud heading into Impact’s version of WrestleMania? I also think they’re trying to present Rhino as edgy and rebellious (given how he poked at WWE last week), yet the guy comes off as such a company guy when he wears the company shirts two weeks in a row?
Ace Austin was bragging about his win against Eddie Edwards to people backstage. One of the random guys pointed out that it was a DQ despite Austin claming it was a 1-2-3 victory. Austin shrugged it off. One guy said that Austin got his ass kicked. Austin claimed to have really gotten to Edwards. Austin said he has a plan for Eddie. “I’m gonna bang his wife” Austin said…
Josh Mathews hyped Impact tapings for Sams Town Casino September 5-6 (This means there’s more Disco Inferno right?)…
It was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was Abyss vs. Rhino vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sabu in a Monster’s Ball Match…
The Desi Hit Squad were talking backstage where they accepted the Deaners challenge. They also talked about making the Deaners their servants… [c]
Impact cut to this week’s OVE camcorder promo. Jake was jumping the gun without Sami by bragging about being the Golden Draw. Sami walked in and said “are you guys really going to start this promo without me?”. Madman Fulton escaped his cage and aggressively pat Dave and Sami on the back. Sami wondered why the cage wasn’t locked and Dave said that Fulton was not a monster. Sami said Fulton is a monster and that’s why they keep him in the damn cage. Sami then reset the OVE segment. Sami recapped his win over Tessa Blanchard and status as number one contender. Jake continued to rub his own title win in Sami’s face.
Sami said once he wins OVE will control this company. Sami challenged Tessa Blanchard and Tommy Dreamer to a match against himself and Dave Crist. Sami said he was going to pick Fulton but Fulton’s acting too crazy at the moment. Sami said that OVE will take over everything… Everything… EVERYTHING!!! Thumbs up, thumbs down…
Josh Mathews advertised some segments for next week. Josh noted that the losing team between the Deaners and Desi Hit Squad will have to be the servants of the winning team… [c]
6. “The North” Josh Alexander and All-Ego Ethan Page vs. Ortiz and Daga (w/Konnan) for the Impact Wrestling Tag Team Championships. Josh noted that The North won the championships on Impact Plus. Ortiz started off the match by pummeling Page with clubbing blows. Ortiz gave Page a few armdrags and dominated for a sequence. Josh compared Daga filling in for Santana to Aaron Rodgers filling in for Brett Favre. Callis said he’s been hearing for a year that Daga is the next big thing coming out of Mexico (Not to say this again, but I’ve been hearing this for 4 years. Still haven’t seen it). Daga tagged in and hit a double armdrag on Page. Ortiz hit Page with a dropkick. Daga followed up with a Standing Twisted Bliss.
Alexander tagged in and Daga gave him kicks. Daga gave Alexander a huracanrana and dropkick. Daga hit The North with a no-touch Tope Con Hilo. Alexander hit Daga with a rolling Fireman Carry. Daga hit Alexander with a huracanrana for a nearfall. Alexander and Daga then traded strong style chops to the chest. Callis said this was El Strong Style. Alexander hit Daga with an assisted draping DDT for a two count. Page and Alexander isolated Daga in their corner. During the sequence, Alexander hit Daga with a suplex into a ground and pound. Daga got a window of opportunity after giving Page a German Suplex. Ortiz and Alexander got tagged in with Ortiz having the hot hand.
Ortiz laid rapid punches on Alexander followed by a shotgun dropkick. Ortiz hit Alexander with a slingshot springbaord DDT. Daga tagged in. Daga hit Alexander with a double stomp right before Ortiz hit him with a DVD. Alexander brought Daga to his corner to execute some of The North’s offense. Page hit Daga with an elbow drop followed by an Alexander moonsault. Daga kicked out of Page’s pin. Daga escaped the North’s finisher. Daga gave Alexander a thrust kick to the head to lead to a two count. Not-LAX went for a Street Sweeper but The North broke it up. Ortiz hit Page with a baseball slide on the outside. Alexander shoved Daga outside. Ortiz went for the rollup but Alexander kicked out. Alexander clocked Ortiz in the face which allowed The North to hit Ortiz with a seamless Burning Hammer Spinebuster combo to give Ethan Page the pinfall win.
The North defeated Ortiz and Daga via pinfall in 10:34 to retain the Impact Tag Team Championships.
After the North left up the ramp, Konnan, Ortiz, and Daga were in the ring. Ortiz gave Daga a handshake. Konnan, Daga, and Konnan all shook hands to close the segment and show…
John’s Thoughts: No where as crazy good of a match as last week’s main event was, but it was still a good clean win to put steam behind The North. The North have really come through in terms of in-ring over the past two weeks with stellar matches on their end. Daga and Ortiz as a team really didn’t stand out, but that was good. Similar to the first match, it allowed the showcase team to be showcased. It also gives an out for LAX in their loss in that this is not the natural LAX team.
This match was a few steps down from last week. This match had some strange production decisions. It also had a dumb TNA finish to the Knockouts Championship match. It’s kinda weird that Impact put out a middle of the road show this week, while last week was one of their best shows of the year only to have a lot of their audience watching some show they were running at the same time.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...