By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped October 25-26 in Windsor, Ontario at St. Clair College
Aired November 19, 2019 on AXS TV
[Hour One] A “previously on…” cold open aired to start off Impact Wrestling followed by the intro theme…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary. Entrances for the opening tag team match took place. Interesting enough, the ring announcer introduced the Desi Hit Squad for like the third or fourth time in a row. Did they finally figure out that Gama was detracting from the act with his bored promos and would probably most effective as an ominous mentor (similar to what Paul Ellering was doing with Authors of Pain in WWE)…
John’s Thoughts: Huh. I just had an interesting thought. Seriously, if Impact treated these four teams in particular as not necessarily serious, but more meaningful acts as opposed to comedy filler, then Impact would be able to throw themselves into the argument for best tag team division in pro wrestling (even contending with AEW). That’s including the Deaners because the Deaners and Desi Hit Squad had a damn stellar tag team match a few months ago. Sadly, someone backstage gets a kick out of yuk yuk comedy as much as Vince McMahon does and it’s muk muking up their quality product (I mean seriously. I think Jeff Jarrett had things right when he saw Dezmond as a potential future world champion).
1. “The Rascalz” Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz vs. “The Desi Hit Squad” Rohit Raju and Raj Singh vs. “The Deaners” Cody Deaner and Cousin Jake vs. “Reno Scum” Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe. The camera focused on “Trey Miguel’s Mom” who was in the front row standing next to a guy wearing an Aleister Black shirt (I’m assuming she doesn’t stay out to watch the rest of the show). Don Callis made fun of Josh Mathews for sounding like a dork ass dork. Adam and Zachary started out the match with a little bit of a stalemate. Wentz tagged Xavier in and the two Rascalz hit Adam with a plethora of kicks.
Luster managed to tag in and use Adam as a battering ram to knock down Dez. Luster got a two count out of the move. Adam tagged in and shoved Dez into Luster’s armpit for one of their signature spots. Madness ensued ending with Rohit and Cody tagging in. DHS hit Cody with a simultaneous backbreaker Shining Wizard. Raj hit Cody with a fireman neckbreaker for a two count. Jake tagged in and cleaned house wiht both DHS guys. Jake hit Rohit with a shoulder tackle in the corner. Rohit came back with a double stomp to Jake’s back. Rohit went for a tackle but Jake caught him and hit a sitout power bomb for a two count.
The other teams broke up the count and madness ensued. The Deaners were left alone in the ring. Cody put his hat on. Cody hit the other teams on the outside with a Tope SUicidia. Adam Thornstowe wasn’t a part of that pile and tried to get the advantage over Jake, but Jake suplexed Adam onto the pile of humanity outside. Jake hit the pile of wrestlers outside with a top rope clearing dive. Rohit teased a dive but did a fun heel move by pulling back. Wentz kicked Rohit to his knees and used him to hit the pile of people outside with a Poetry in Motion dive. Dezmond hit the pile of people with a Tiger Drop dive. Your obligatory indie “This is awesome” chant ensued.
Dez tried to throw Zach at Jake but Jake dodged. DHS hit Dez with an assisted hangman DDT. The Deaners tossed Raj out. The Deaners hit Rohit with an assisted side slam. Luster hit Jake with a kick and went for their double team double stomp finisher but the other teams broke that up. The Rascalz hit Jake with stereo super kicks followed by their finisher, the Shooting Star by Wentz after getting shoved by Dez (they need a name for that move). The Rascalz picked up the win.
The Rascalz defeated The Deaners, Desi Hit Squad, and The Reno Scum via pinfall in 8:46.
Momma Miguel was pleased and was clapping at her son’s friends victory. Reno Scum beat down Dezmond and Zach. Trey Miguel ran out for the save and nailed both Reno Scum members with a missile dropkick. Trey did a kip up afterwards. Ace Austin came up from behind and nailed Trey with the X Division Title. Ace loaded up his hand brace with a piece of metal and then hit Trey with a backfist via the loaded brace. Momma Miguel tried her best to act shocked at all this. Reno Scum and Ace Austin stood tall in the ring over Trey while Dezmond and Zach covered him up to prevent the Scum from going after him more…
John’s Thoughts: This was a well wrestled match with four quality tag teams. A weakness of this match was probably the middle portion where the guys did their cliche indie dives sparking a cliche “this is awesome” chant. That said all four of these teams are very damaged. The Rascalz might as well be 70s show cosplayers without cosplay. The DHS are the new “Cult of Trevor Lee” where they are a conduit comedy aimed at 12 year old boys. The Deaners suffer from Cody’s carryover jobber classification from TNA. The Reno Scum, in my opinion, I think would make great singles acts. I said my thoughts on the tag division before this match and that sticks. The best part of this whole picture is still Ace Austin, who continues to shine ever since he got the gimmick where he goes after married women.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from their commentary table at ringside. Josh Mathews hyped the number one contender’s elimination six way for the main event. Josh then went into shilling for the 2019 Bound for Glory DVD (that sure beats the times where he was obligated to shill Dixie Carter’s twitter page around this time every episode back in the TNA days). Josh noted that St. Clairs College was “sold out”…
Taya Valkyrie and John E Bravo made their entrance for their handicap match against Jordynne Grace. Josh called Johnny, “Johnny Bowling Alley”. Don Callis said he was mistaken last time about the name of Taya’s toy dog which he called “Hennigan”. Callis said that the toy dog’s name is actually “Mundo” and he has his own twitter page (another reference to Taya’s husband who goes by the name Johnny Mundo when he works AAA and Lucha Underground)… [c]
2. Taya Valkyrie and John E. Bravo vs. Jordynne Grace in a handicap match. Callis said that Grace is calling herself the “Hossette”. Callis then went on to try to explain what a “hoss” was to the confused Josh Mathews. Grace easily tossed Taya and John E out of the ring. Taya got out of the way so that John E would end up eating the suicide dive from Grace. Grace dragged John E into the ring and beat on him while Taya tried to stay away from the action. Taya tried to trip up Grace but Grace tried to power Taya in the ring. This was enough of a distraction to allow John E to hold Grace in place for a few chest slaps.
John E and Taya then took turns running into Grace in the corner. Grace fought her way out of the corner with strikes. Grace used a missile dropkick to cause Taya to DDT her teammate. Grace then went back to beating up John E. Grace hit John E with a few shortarm boots. Callis said “she’s gonna kill this kid”. Grace hit John E with a running Senton. John E wanted the tag but Taya cowered to the back saying she didn’t want any part of this. John E then grabbed “Mundo” and Grace punted “Mundo” like he was Baxter in the Anchorman movie. Grace put John E in the corner and hit him with a meteora to the back, diving back shoulder block, and a Vader Bomb for the win.
Jordynne Grace defeated Taya Valkyrie and John E Bravo via pinfall in 4:24.
Taya backtracked up the ramp acting like a diva while also carressing her title like it was her precious…
Gama Singh yelled at Raj and Rohit, calling them losers. Gama said that Raj and Rohit better start producing results. Raj and Rohit then found Fallah Bahh eating a snack in the stairwell (why are all of Impact’s skits in the last few weeks filmed at this one singular stairwell?). Raj and Rohit then yelled at Bahh, saying that he was eavesdropping on them. They then went on to call him fat and talked about Bahh calling them losers. The DHS put Bahh on a roadie case and then slammed his head into the wall (oof, I hope they didn’t actually did, but they might have accidentally have done so). Then they took the safer approach of slamming his butt into the opposite wall (which looked just the opposite where that couldn’t hurt). The DHS continued to yell at Bahh, saying that they aren’t losers… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good and standard usage of this type of handicap match situation. The handicap ended up in Grace’s favor because John E was moreso a liability. While Grace still needs to be built up a bit, I like the simple build towards Taya and Grace so far. Impact is really suffering from lack of serious character pieces, a technique that Jeremy Borash has taken over to NXT and NXT is benefiting from. After the match, was this the first time we actually saw the Desi Hit Squad perform some sort of “hit” on someone? Anyway, it should be a positive that they are taking things seriously for once, but I’m not holding my breath because every time it seems like they are going to make these guys meaningful, they just end up regressing to hee-haw enhancment guys in about three or four weeks.
Rob Van Dam was shown cutting a selfie promo poolside. RVD noted that he advertised last week that he and Katie Forbes were making their Impact return this week. RVD said “oops” and noted that he made that hype before he knew how much partying they were going to do last night. RVD said in that situation the universe doesn’t want RVD to show up to work in that condition. RVD said Impact also booked him for an 11am flight and he said “who wakes up that early”. RVD said he deserves the same 10 to 12 hour sleep as everyone else. RVD said you don’t have to worry because you’ll still see the influence of RVD all over the program because other wrestlers will be paying tribute by doing his moves. RVD then talked to Katie Forbes off camera and said she can’t be on television naked. RVD then said “oh, nevermind…”…
John’s Thoughts: I’ll really give Impact props here. Again, this is clever and what I like the most is they turned a negative into positive. They took RVD’s rambling, nonsense, and stoned promos and then made them into pretty damn good heel promos. And it’s simple, they took footage and edited out the “bad parts”. I wish that Impact would be clever and creative with the rest of their creative. Impact Wrestling really needs to put together a “Quality Assurance” department. Just pay some college $10 per person (people would do it) to watch the show and pass over honest critiques. And don’t bring in “Wrestling fans”, bring in television fans.
Susie Yung was shown strolling around backstage. James Mitchell walked up to Susie and said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing with his two eyes. Susie Yung said “Hi, I’m Susie”. The Sinister Minister introduced himself as James and asked Susie what a nice girl like her was doing in a place like this. Susie acted innocent and bewildered and said something draws her here. Susie was making doll-like manerisms and said that everyone was acting really nice. Mitchell said this place is like a shark tank and it’s hard to accumulate friends.
James Mitchell offered to take Susie on a ride so they can talk about the situation she’s in. Susie simply said “ok” in cute fashion and then walked out the door. Mitchell then rubbed his hands together like he was either pleased or was having dirty thoughts (I’m not quite sure with him sometimes. I kid). Anyway, Impact decided to flash some bad Adobe After Effects “teleportion effect” or something like that to show that Rosemary was teleporting in (ugh). Rosemary brought Mitchell a bic lighter and said it was because he likes playing with fire. Rosemary said she knows that Mitchell is trying to suppress the undead bride (isn’t that a good thing?).
Rosemary said Susie is “his” (Satan’s) undead bride. Rosemary then claimed that Satan was her father and Mitchell’s boss (what? When did Rosemary become Gawd Damn Kane? I’m more accepting of Tegan Nox as Lady Kane). Rosemary said that “he” won’t be happy and that she thinks it would be fun to unleash Su Yung’s full potential back on the world and on Mitchell (Stop Rosemary!!! Why? What? I’m actually really liking this Susie Yung Storyline and don’t want any of that crap ass undead realm sh-t anywhere near this thing. Ew! Keep that away! Ugh… Sorry readers, I’ve reviewed too much TNA). Rosemary said she’s going to make sure that Su Yung returning to her old self comes to pass…
John’s Thoughts: Yo! Rich Swann! Go collect yo wife because I wouldn’t trust her in the care of creepy ol’ James Mitchell. I kid. Anyway, I really like the Susie Yung storyline and James Mitchell being added to it really intrigues me because he’s a great promo and would do a very good job tying things together. I still have my fears though. I lived through the well written Nick Aldis vs. James Storm Storyline only to have Mickie James get run over by a train! I lived through many Mahabali Shera pushes! I lived through the Undead F’n Realm! And then Impact goes on and loses me with their crap ass Adobe After Effects “magic” and they have Rosemary spew out disconnected and pretentious lines when before D’Amore and Callis showed up, her lines were intelligent with hints of philosophy and nihilism (Killer Kross has sorta taken that style and run with it). Ugh. Again, I like this storyline but I’m afraid that they’re going to F it up by taking us back to the Undead F’n Realm.
It was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. This was some Cody Rhodes vs. Eddie Edwards match for the TNA Championship from a few years ago. It was probably a good match, but I don’t think it’s a must watch. Time to fast forward… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Wait a sec? Is Impact really trying to make people watch AEW Dynamite instead of their show? I mean, why else spotlight their Executive Vice President and top star?
It was time for this week’s Rascalz ode to That 70s Show, complete with their Adobe After Effects smoke that looks brown for some reason. Trey acted exhausted. They three Rascalz talked about getting their asses kicked. Trey said he understands because he’s challenging for the X Division Championship. Zachary said that Reno Scum might be jealous of Dez’s abs. They then agreed to beat these foo’s. Suddenly cheesy TV sitcom music played to show that Momma Miguel entered the smoke circle. Zach and Dezmond acted horny. Trey’s mom acted like a TV sitcom mom and said she’s worry for Trey because the wrestling guys are dangerous. Trey said he was going to kick their ass. Trey’s mom berated Trey for swearing. Trey then said “butt” instead. Trey’s mom said Zach and Dezmond need to call their mothers. Zach left and Dez didn’t because he was implying he had a boner. (Bad segment, but I did get a bit of a chuckle out of Trey’s mom’s sitcom mom act)…
Johnny Swinger made his enrance and Josh used Johnny’s throwback gimmick to hype up next week’s Impact Thanksgiving Special, a throwback episode. Johnny’s opponent was an obvious jobber named “Buck Gunderson” (ok. that’s a great Jobber name and his twitter name in the graphic is “BuckWrestles”)…
3. Johnny Swinger vs. Buck Gunderson. The legless referee was the referee for the match. Buck wanted a handshake but Johnny went on the offense. Johnny dominated Buck. He hit Buck with a corkscrew trust fall. Johnny used Buck’s singlet to choke him. Johnny then went back to the dominating. Buck Gunderson managed to hit a few dropkicks but Swinger quickly regained control by nailing Gunderson with a Half Nelson Swinging Neckbreaker for the win.
Johnny Swinger defeated Buck Gunderson via pinfall in 2:20.
Josh Mathews hyped up next week’s throwback episode and said he was happy they weren’t doing the [Eli Drake] Turkey Trot again. Callis agreed. Ken Shamrock made his entrance and marched seriously to the ring. Josh acted dumb for a second and then recapped Swinger accidently crapping in Shamrock’s luggage when he was trying to crap in Petey Williams’ bag. Shamrock dragged Swinger by the jaw. Swinger tried to get a kick in but Shamrock hit Swinger with a dragon screw and some precision ground a pound.
Callis said this is what Johnny should get for crapping in someone’s luggage. Shamrock hit Swinger with a quick and stiff uranage. Swinger thent tapped out to the Ankle Lock while making goofy faces. Shamrock eventually let go. Callis said he hopes that Josh didn’t leave Josh’s luggage open in the back because Callis had chili for lunch… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Johnny Swinger has been awesome and harmless fun. I really like the time capsule character. That’s comedy done right and not overbearing. Shamrock has been fine too. I do agree with Jason Powell though in terms of Shamrock’s booking. This is similar to what they were doing with Scarlett Bordeaux for months (have her in the “comedy” division). You expect them to take Shamrock seriously, yet for some reason he’s having programs with comedy figures…
Johnny Swinger was shown limping around backstage where he ran into Joey Ryan. Johnny asked Ryan where Shamrock was because he owes Shamrock a receipt. Swinger then asked Ryan for some tips to wrestle Shamrock since Ryan wrestled Shamrock before. Ryan told Swinger to make sure to not let him touch his dick…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary where Josh sent the action over to “Joseppi Skepelli” (or something like that) and “Sexton Hardcastle” (wasn’t that Adam Copeland’s name before Edge?). This was an ad for next week’s throwback episode. We saw a preview at some of the gimmicks, like Sami Callihan as Jim Cornette, Madison Rayne as a jazzersise lady, Josh Alexander as Tim Burr the evil Lumberjack (a classic Disco Inferno creation), Brian Cage as Petey Williams (?), and Johnny Swinger as Johnny Swinger…
John’s Thoughts: Somewhere between NWA Powerrrr and Southpaw Regional Wrestling is where Impact’s Throwback Night is going to have to stand out as different. That said, I have a real curiosity for this weird ass gimmick show. I talk about a lot of wrestlers being damaged on this show, so I’m curious to see them all under a full-on repackage all across the board. And hey! No Turkey Suit! (Maybe Jeremy Borash took that to NXT with him too and Triple H burned it).
[Hour Two] It looks like they’re going to go with the six way elimination match for the entire second hour? Moose and Daga made their entrances to start out the match. This match was actually a King of the Hill style Gauntlet Match…
4. The Six Person Gauntlet Match for a shot at the Impact World Heavyweight Championship. Moose got Daga in the corner and hit him with a chop. Daga then ran circles around Moose while also stopping on a dime. Daga reversed a suplex into a dropkick but didn’t get Moose off his feet. Daga then dropkicked Moose’s knee to get him kneeling. Daga then hit Moose with a Busaiku Kick and basement Paydirt to knock him down. Moose rolled to ringside. Daga then hit Moose with his cool looking hesitation corkscrew plancha. Moose returned the favor with a chop. Daga came back with a single leg mule kick and moonsault from the apron.
Moose used a drop toehold to get Daga’s face smashed on the bottom turnbuckle. Moose hit Daga with a nice slicing chop. Don Callis said that Moose could really use a manager to get more focused. Moose hit Daga with a power Irish Whip. Moose dominated Daga with methodical power offense. Daga ducked under Mose’s arm and hit him with two Superman Forearms. Daga gave Moose a boot. Daga countered Moose’s Go To Hell with a huracanrana and then followed up with a hesitation dropkick in the corner. Moose snake eyed Daga on the top rope and gave Daga a flip Spear (Moose does a Lashley like spear where he does a judo flip during the spear) for the pinfall elimination.
Moose eliminated Daga via pinfall about 5:00 into the hour.
The next opponent was Rich Swann show danced a little bit. Josh Mathews said that Rich Swann likes to party. This match started about 5:30 into the hour. Swann tried to run around MOose but Moose got his hands on Swann. Swann countered Moose into two huracanranas and a double stomp. Callis said Rich Swann is more of a complete wrestler than Daga. Moose did a Kip Up and ate a dropkick from Swann. Moose no sold the kick and returned the favor with an Okada-like dropkick. Moose worked on Swann at ringside. Moose teased tossing Swann in the crowd but then threw Rich back in the ring to not excite the fans.
Rich Swann recovered and tried to hit Moose with a Liger Kick from the apron but Moose caught him. Rich then adjusted and hit Moose with a huracanrana. Back in the ring, Rich went high risk but Moose swatted Swann off the top rope with one of his signature high dropkicks. Rich Swann milked and beat the ten count. Rich went for another huracanrana but Moose adjusted Rich Swann into a vicious looking lawn dart toss into the second rope which Swann sold well. Moose then went back to the methodical offense. Rich Swann escaped Moose’s Razor’s Edge attempt.
Moose then took Rich’s backfist combo and roundhouse. Moose returned with a pump kick and top rope dive but he dove right into a Rich Swann RKO (shades of Randy Orton vs. Christian). Rich Swann hit Moose with a Spike Lethal Injection for a nearfall. Swann went for a 450, but right into Moose’s knees. Moose hit Rich with the Go 2 Hell for a nearfall (Moose really needs to add credibility to that finisher because everyone is kicking out of that). Moose went for a speark but Rich Swann superkicked him. Moose went for another spear, but Rich Swann countered with a Crucifix Driver into a Jackknife Pin for the elimination.
Rich Swann elimnated Moose via pinfall 14:20 into the hour.
John’s Thoughts: Really looking forward to Swann and Elgin. If you haven’t been watching Impact on Pursuit, I would totally recommend new viewers seek out the episode where Rich Swann defended his X Division Title against Michael Elgin (which ironically, you can’t find via Pursuit becuase for some reason Pursuit decided to play a commercial during the entire match). Rich Swann vs. Michael Elgin was a Match of the Year candidate and my front runner for best television match (I think Rich Swann vs. Rey Fenix happened last year).
The crowd gave Moose the “na na na na goodbye” song. Sirens rang, which means that Michael Elgin was the next opponent. Rich Swann sold Elgin’s entrance with an “are you kidding me?” expression. Rich Swann sidestepped Elgin to send him ringside. Elgin came back with a slingshot blockbuster heading into commercial. [c]
Swann managed to nail Elin with kicks while also dodging Elgin’s kick. Elgin countered Swann with a delayed sitout spinebuster for a two count. A mild “let’s go Swann” chant ensued. Elgin gave Swann a few stiff lariats in the corner, the last one jolting Swann to the ground. Josh noted that Rich was into the 20 minute mark of the total match. Swann managed to escaped the top rope when Elgin went up with him. Swann hit Elgin with a kick and Super Schoolboy Bomb. Swann dominated Elgin with boxing punches. Elgin blocked a huracanrana into a Buckle Bomb. Swann reversed the Elgin Bomb into a Jackknife pin which Elgin reversed into a crossface.
Swann adjusted his body enough to get a foot on the bottom rope for the break. Swann gave Elgin a gamengiri on the apron. Elgin hit Swann with a nasty and sweet looking Half Nelson Suplex. Elgin went for a corkscrew moonsault but hit only mat because Swann dodged. Elgin dodged a Frog Splash. Elgin hit Swann with a kick combo. Rich Swann then reversed all of Elgin’s moves. Swann hit Elgin with a cross kick but Elgin came back with a high knee and pump kick. Elgin hit Swann with a Full Nelson Suplex and Clothesline from hell for a two count. Rich Swann started spitting out blood. Josh noted that it may be a cut in his mouth or internal bleeding (Nice attention to detail).
Elgin dragged Swann to the top rope and hit Swann with a superplex. Elgin went for a seemless transition but Swann countered with a huracanrana. Swann then hit Elgin with a poison rana, cross kick, and a second poison rana for a nearfall. Rich Swann then hyped up the crowd with blood hanging out of his mouth. Elgin stopped Swann’s top rope ascent with a staggering forearm. Elgin then hit Swann with a Deadlift Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. This caused Callis to yell “holy shit” (it was bleeped). Swann blocked a Burning Hammer by holding to the rope.
Elgin almost accidentily hit the referee twice. Swann hit Elgin with a kick. Swann came back with a follow-through lariat. Josh noted that the Elgin acknowledes that the referee was getting in Elgin’s way. Elgin pummeled Swann to a pulp in the corner. The referee tried to give Swann the mandatory break from the punches, but Elgin ended up brushing him off. Elgin then shoved the referee to the floor. This caused the referee to call for the DQ elimination.
Rich Swann eliminated Michael Elgin via DQ 31:08 into the hour.
Josh Mathews clarified that Michael Elgin has been disqualified. Elgin picked up Swann and gave Swann a KO punch. Elgin continued to get his heat back by giving Swann an Elgin Bomb. Swann was bubbling “blood” from his mouth.
John’s Thoughts: Not as great as their TV singles match, but these two still have wonderful chemistry. If Rich Swann can finally drop the Lionel Richie “All Night Long” gimmick and show his serious side, I feel like an Elgin vs. Swann feud can be up there for a pro wrestling feud of the year. I like the credibility Swann has built up here. He has two DQ victories over Elgin. Elgin gets DQ’d for having a hot head and Swann looks strong too by just being so damn resilient in a battle between two warriors. This is an example of two people coming out of the match stronger than when they started (because Elgin still does a great off being simply badass).
Rich Swann was strugging to stand, but roaring out of fighting spirit. Swann was still spitting out blood. Josh Mathews noted that Swann was in the ring for over 30 minutes. Next up was Brian Cage. Swann sold this match with a “what the hell?” look too. Cage allowed Swann to try to collect himself but Swann struggled to get to his two feet. Swann punched Cage, hit him with an armbreaker, and then a 450 for a one count. Both men traded counters with Cage on top with a German Suplex. Swann fought off Cage after Cage did his terminator claps.
Swann nailed Cage with the Cross Kick combo. Swann escaped Cage’s pumphandle move. Swann hit Cage with his running back kick. Rich Swann hit Cage with another 450 for a two count. Callis said that it’s shocking that Swann got two and a half out of that. Mathews said Rich should win out of courage alone. Cage reversed Swann’s Lethal Injection with a suplex. Swann reversed the F5 with a cutter (I’m surprised Randy Orton hasn’t done this counter). Swann caught Cage with an enzuigiri. Swann hit Cage with a Lethal Injection. Swann got a two count on Cage with the commentators really rooting for Swann to win. Swann crashed and burned on a Phoenix Splash because Cage rolled away. Cage hit Rich Swann with Weapon X for the elimination.
Brian Cage eliminated Rich Swann via pinfall 41:36 into the hour.
The crowd cheered for Rich Swann, but they were also tired at this point. The last opponent in the elimination match was Tessa Blanchard… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A strong run by Rich Swann and I really liked how the commentators really put over his ironman effort. If Impact really wants to do this, and I think they should, they should take this effort into later stories and use that to elevate Swann to the main event. Swann and Elgin are arguably the best wrestlers in Impact with Brian Cage and Tessa not too far behind. That’s a good big four. Again, if they want to elevate Swann, Swann needs to really drop the house show hype act and start acting like a meaningful pro wrestler.
The Tessa and Cage match started with 14 minutes left at the top of the hour. Cage was being respectful and a gentleman while Tessa tried to dare Cage not to Tessa used her quickness to get around cage. Cage used his strength to block armdrags. More power vs quickness counters ensued. Tessa tripped Cage off the apron with a dropkick. Tessa hit Cage with a suicide dive but couldn’t get him off his feet. Tessa used a second dive to get him to one knee. Tessa went for a third but it led to Cage catching her and hitting her with an F5 on the apron. [c]
Tessa fought Cage out of the corner. Cage caught Tessa off a cross body attempt. Cage then did bicep curls with Tessa’s body. Tessa escaped and hit Cage with a series of jump kicks. Cage went for a suplex but Tessa hit Cage with a DD-TJ for the two count. Cage reversed the Hammerlock into a flapjack. Tessa countered Cage’s buckle bomb with a huracanrana. Tessa yelled “Screw You Brian!” and ran at him. Both wrestlers countered each other with Cage ending up in position for Tessa’s corner trap DDT. Josh wondered if Cage was taking Tessa too lightly. Tessa hit a clunky looking splash on Cage for a two count. Cage countered Tessa and hit her with a popup power slam.
Callis noted that Cage is bleeding from the mouth from a previous injury. Cage hit Tessa with his signature deadlift Suplex for a two count. Cage missed a Tornado Claw. Tessa hit Cage with her finisher, the Hammerlock DDT and got a two count. The commentators focused on Cage’s bleeding mouth and said that it might make it hard to bleed and focus. Cage lifted Tessa and hit her with an Alabama Slam. Tessa kicked out at two. Callis noted that Tessa was biting her own arm to fight off the pain. Cage went for a Super Razor’s Edge which Tessa countered into a Frankensteiner. Tessa hit Cage with The Magnum. Cage kicked out at two. Good nearfall. Tessa went for another Magnum but Cage caught her into a Buckle Bomb. Tessa countered Weapon X into a Code Red rollup for the win with Cage kicking out after the three.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Brian Cage via pinfall 58:40 after the hour to become number one contender to the Impact World Championship.
Tessa sold her win with shock. There were a handful of fans that were really excited for this. They then showed the camera and some fans looked very exhausted (complete with the camera showing one man focusing on his cell phone). Not quite the emotional crowd reaction to a big moment that Impact would have hoped. Josh closed the show by hyping the latest Tessa vs. Sami Callihan match, but this time for the world championship.
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts with the finish but ultimately this was a very strong gauntlet with a bit of a underwhelming ending. I don’t blame the wrestlers or the booking fully, but the problem with the visual in the end is that the crowd was exhausted by the end of the match, taking away from what was supposed to be Tessa’s big moment. In fact, the person who was truly elevated from this match was Rich Swann who got to tell a great story throughout the hour. I remember attending Lucha Underground tapings (and I’m assuming other tapings would do this too) and if they wanted to capture a strong energetic ending, then they should have taped the gauntlet earlier in the taping and then edit it to be the end of their St. Clairs Run. This was a solid episode of Impact carried by the gauntlet series of matches. The first hour consisted of some of the things that scare me, like the Rascalz Smoke Circle and the tease of an undead realm.
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