By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped November 7-8 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired December 10, 2019 on AXS TV
[Hour One] Higlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired followed by the intro theme…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary. Tommy Dreamer was the referee for the upcoming all ECW match…
1. Rob Van Dam (w/Katie Forbes) vs. Rhino in an “Old School Rules” Match. RVD wore a superhero theme on his spraypaint gear. Don Callis noted that he was in the middle of this match back in ECW 20 years ago when Callis was the manager of Rhino. Both men traded strikes to start the match. Rhino gained the advantage with a tackle. Rhino hit RVD with a back suplex on the apron from ringside. Rhino brought some weapons into play, like a mop and chair. RVD recovered and the brawl continued outside. Rhino jabbed RVD in the gut with a regular steel frame chair.
Rhino crashed and burned into the buckle when RVD sidestepped him. RVD hit Rhino with a clunky looking Rolling Sobat in the ring followed by a leg drop. RVD would go to Katie every once in a while for a kiss. RVD recovered and started choking RVD with the mop. Rhino was body slammed on a chair. Rhino tried to headbutt RVD but RVD rolled aside so Rhino gave the chair a headbutt. Rhino recovered and slammed RVD on a set up chair. Rhino choked RVD with the head of the chair. For some reason, Rhino kept doing Ric Flair “woo’s”.
Rhino went for a hip attack on a prone RVD, but RVD crotched a jumping Rhino with a corner of a chair. RVD teased doing a few of his signature moves but then screwed the fans over by pulling the rug from under them (he ended up doing a running Van Terminator, but he did pull back to screw with the fans). RVD went for a monkey flip but Rhino recovered and power bombed him on a chair.
Rhino ended up giving the crowd what they wanted by bringing a table into the ring. Rhino was then distracted by a kid yelling that he wanted Rhino to put the table on fire. Rhino yelled “that’s how you raise a kid!” for the fun and wholesome moment. This distraction allowed RVD to recover and gain the advantage. RVD catapulted Rhino’s chest into the bottom rope. RVD set up a trash can in one corner. RVD tried to put a chair in another corner but had a hard time. The crowd booed RVD’s screw ups. Josh said RVD looks “conflicted”.
John’s Thoughts: I think RVD may be something more than just “conflicted”, and that state of mind may be due to a totally legal and medicinal plant.
Rhino recovered when RVD took too long setting up a table. Rhino turned the table against the turnbuckle which Josh noted is perfect for a gore. RVD ended up knocking down Rhino in a corner after two roundhouse kicks. RVD missed a split legged moonsault. Rhino then gored RVD through a table. Dreamer went for the three count, but Katie Fobes pulled Dreamer away and gave him a lariat. Wrestler REF BUMP!?!? Rhino then pulled Katie by the hair and dragged her up the apron. RVD pulled Rhino away with a schoolboy. Rhino hit RVD with a belly to belly suplex. Rhino went for another gore, but ran right into a trash can. RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Rhino for the win.
Rob Van Dam defeated Rhino via pinfall in 11:17.
RVD’s crappy TNA music played while RVD writhed on the ground in pain a bit before making out with Katie Forbes in the corner. RVD wanted Dreamer to raise his hand after the match but Dreamer protested before ultimately and begrudgingly gave in. RVD then gave Dreamer a handshake before turning on him by giving Dreamer a thrust kick to the throat. This drew mild boos and claps…
John’s Thoughts: A pretty mediocre match. But hey, it was at least not as boring as the Rhino vs. Elgin walk-and-brawls, so at least it cleared that low expectation from Rhino matches. It was fine for what it was though and it got the job of giving heel RVD a win over. It was still pretty “eh” and I don’t get why Dreamer just counted the pin regularly after his bump when he should have at least did some sort of turnabout fair play psychology move to counter Katie’s interference eariler. Another weird part about RVD matches in 2019 is that he does come off as a wrestling zombie. Anyway, I do like RVD winning though because it hopefully sets him up to give a younger rising star a credible win earlier in addition to boosting the fresh heel RVD.
The show cut to an OVE camcorder promo with Sami Callihan, The Crist Brothers, and Madman Fulton cutting their promo from a random stairwell. Sami talked about how Impact management likes OVE’s segments because they bring the ratings. Sami said Impact viewers can help with that by going on twitter now to get an Impact hash tag trending (good luck with that I guess? But I like the effort). Sami hyped up and said that Jake and Dave were going to win the “Tag team open”. Sami said they were beating the North’s ass at Hard to Kill.
Sami then talked about how he picked the biggest and meanest opponent he could think of for Tessa Blanchard in Madman Fulton who will make sure that Tessa doesn’t make it to Hard to Kill. Sami then hyped up his match with Ken Shamrock as a “dream match” between the World’s Most Dangerous Man vs. [the self-proclaimed] True World’s Most Dangerous Man. Sami then talked about how credible Ken was and how in shape Ken is, but that still isn’t enough to take care of the younger Sami. Sami talked about being good at hurting people. Sami said OVE was going to take over Everything… Everything… Everything… Thumbs up, Thumbs Down…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Is it just me or does Sami Callihan not come off as a world champion? I say this because he’s been champion for a good while already and I feel he’s been lingering around as a background player in recent months. That’s tough given OVE’s cumulative talent and how Sami has been a top-3 player for the company the last two years.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary. Josh Mathews noted that Impact.com has announced that since ODB pinned the Knockouts Champion, the Hard To Kill Knockouts Championship match is now Taya Valkyrie vs. ODB vs. Jordynne Grace in a triple threat. Josh also said the rivalry between Eddie Edwards and Michael Elgin was going to continue because Elgin and Edwards are wrestling at Hard to Kill (wait? They’re feuding? If anything, I thought Elgin was more interested in fighting Rich Swann because that’s logical). Josh then hyped this week’s card…
John’s Thoughts: A nice surprise after ODB’s suprisingly good week last week. It’s a surprise because if ODB was going to do more with Impact, I expected her to be in a television feud with Taya, ultimately putting Taya over before Hard to Kill. This is a nice twist and I hope it leads to a good payday to help ODB with her Food Truck fundraising goal. It also undoubtedly adds star power to the women’s championship match.
Moose made his entrance next. His opponent is former MLW wrestler Ace Romero who’s now going under the name “Acey” Romero. They showed a clip of Acey being pushed from the top of a ladder to a table at ringside by Tessa Blanchard. Josh noted that Acey cried when he signed his contract at an Impact Twitch show called All Glory…
2. Moose vs. Acey Romero. Moose went for a headlock early on but Acey escaped. Moose and Acey were then at a stalemate when Moose ran at him a few times. Acey took down Moose with a shoulder tackle. Moose did a kip up. Acey then manhandled Moose with a few tosses. Acey went for a suicide dive, but Moose blocked it with an uppercut. Acey recovered and this time hit Moose with a suicide dive heading into commercial. [c]
Callis noted that Acey might be close to 500 pounds. Moose tried to suplex Acey, but it ended up hurting Moose’s back. Moose then resorted to strikes and biting the head of Acey. Moose went for a suplex, but Acey reversed with his own vertical suplex. Acey took down Moose with a running crossbody. Acey backdropped Moose followed by a spinebuster for a two count. Acey hit Moose with a corner splash and Moose came back with two high running dropkicks. Acey came back at Moose with a high boot.
Acey went high risk but Moose hit Acey with the Go To Hell. Acey kicked out (Moose’s finishers don’t finish anybody anymore). Moose and Acey then traded strong style chest chops. Acey showed his fighting spirit by asking for a chop, but Moose gave Acey a eye poke. Acey came back with a chop combo. Acey then sent Moose to the mat with a Monty Brown Pounce. Moose went for a spear but Acey turned Moose inside-out with a lariat. Moose was bleeding around the nose. Acey went for a corner splash, but Moose hit Acey with a spear for the victory.
Moose defeated Acey Romero via pinfall in 9:45 of on-air TV Time.
John’s Thoughts: A good big man match. I would have maybe have held back on this super heavyweight matchup, but at the same time I like that they’re continuing to take care of Moose by building him up while Acey can be built up over the long term down the road if they see something in him. Acey was good here. He did solid big man stuff without overdoing the agility stuff. It was also an interesting experiment seeing Moose be the “smaller” wrestler here and having him do most of the selling.
Sinister Minister James Mitchell was continuing to give “Susie” Yung a tour of the backstage area. While Mitchell was giving Susie a speech, speaking like Mufasa did to Simba, he ended up losing Susie who made a detour. For some reason there was a random noose hanging on a door. James found Susie who told James that she ran into a nice lady with a big mouth (presumably Rosemary). Susie told Mitchell that the lady told Susie that the noose was for her (why Rosemary couldn’t just hand this to her is beyond me). Susie grabbed the noose and went into shock. The Impact production decided to go overboard again in doing their Adobe After Effects “memory flash” effects by showing clips of Su Yung getting hung by Jessika Havok. Mitchell said the lady with a big smile isn’t nice and Mitchell is the only person Susie can trust…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Ugh. Definitely my least favorite of the Susie Yung segments and this entertaining story is already showing signs of going all to s–t (and I’ve been a fan of the writing of this story up to this point). The shaky camera movement implies that we’re watching a show with an existant camera person. Then why would this person’s camera have a “memory flash”? That segment would have had more impact if we just saw Susie in pain without the Adobe After Effects. The music actually helped here, but someone is having too much fun with their Adobe software. At the same time. This was the worst storyline part of the story. So they go through all these weeks building up Susie Yung as a character backstage, only to have her go back to being a Zombie that may or may not be speaking in Cambodian? That’s such a TNA thing, build up a good story only to have a dud of a payoff. Maybe they should rip off the Firefly Funhouse because I thought that was what they were doing? Speaking of that, I kinda want Impact to cut Susie now so Susie can become Sister Abagail on Smackdown and do a great job on that show. I just smell too much TNA and Undead Realm here.
Gabby Loren interviewed Michael Elgin about beating Cage and Eddie Edwards last week. Elgin said he beat a former champion and the winner of the “Call your shot battle royal” last week yet has nothing to show for his victories. Elgin said he’s tearing through all the roadblocks that Impact management puts in front of him like Rhino, Naomichi Marufuji (didn’t he ask for Marufuji. Heel logic I guess?), and the referees. Elgin said he’s done playing their games and he’s going to play his own games. Elgin then said that if Eddie Edwards is any kind of man, then Eddie needs to put his trophy for a title shot on the line. Elgin said he’s going to prove at Hard to Kill that Eddie isn’t hard to kill.
Impact is back to allowing Gama Singh to introduce the Desi Hit Squad. He at least put a little more energy this time in introducing his son…
3. Raj Singh (w/Gama Singh, Rohit Raju) vs. Fallah Bahh. Josh Mathews noted that Bahh has lost even more weight than when we last saw him. The bell rang after Bahh knocked Raj to the mat with a shove. Bahh dodged Raj and hit him with a belly to belly. Bahh hit Raj with an Austin Aries like pendulum elbow drop. Bahh kicked Gama’s hand away when Gama tried to interfere. Raj took advantage of the distraction by hitting Bahh with Paydirt. Raj hit Bahh with a series of basement dropkicks followed by a running senton.
Raj hit Bahh with an impressive back suplex. Raj dominated Bahh for a sequence. Bahh Bahh’d up and gave Raj the no-no-no. Bahh rallied with axe handle chops. Raj fended off Bahh with a boot. Bahh came back with a crossbody. Bahh gave Raj another no-no-no and a chest chop. Gama got on the apron for the distraction to allow Rohit to get the cheap shot in on Bahh. Bahh overcame and tossed Rohit in the corner with Raj staggered on the top rope. Bahh gave Rohit a corner splash and then hit Raj with a hit attack. Raj crumpled to the mat which allowed Bahh to hit him with the Banzai Drop for the win.
Fallah Bahh defeated Raj Singh via pinfall in 4:54.
After the match, the DHS blindsided and put the boots to Fallah. TJP’s entrance music played and TJP ran out for the save. Josh noted that TJP is Bahh’s best friend. Perkins used high flying moves to clear the heels from the ring. Bahh and Perkins hugged and Perkins raised Bahh’s hand up in victory. Bahh then called for and got a Mega Powers handshake from Perkins (The Filipino Mega Powers?)…
They cut to some random guy telling Joey Ryan that he’s been summoned to Impact Managment’s office, which was the men’s restroom. Joey went in and Tommy Dreamer was in there wearing a black hooded robe. Dreamer said “You’ve been summoned to Wrestler’s Court”… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good win for Bahh and I really like his focus on improving his body and health. I’m never sure where they’re going with DHS though. They’re back to being jobbers. They’re the Indian version of the “Cult of Trevor Lee” (ironically with Trevor Lee now getting a good upper-midcard push in WWE-NXT). They teased monster pushes with Raj and Mahabali Shera, but they always slingshot back to enhancement. Good return for TJP I guess, but I’m still not sold on TJP as a babyface. This must be leading to Perkins turning on Bahh right? Perkins was sooooo good as an arrogant heel right before the end of his WWE run.
[Hour Two] The show went to cinematic-mode complete with People’s Court music and graphics (does People’s Court not have all that trademarked?). The announcer announced that Johnny Swinger was sueing Joey Ryan for breaking the wrestler’s code and stealing his “rizzats”. They said Swinger wanted two of Ryan’s paychecks, a hand full of “pizzlls”, and old school justice. Tommy Dreamer started the courty by singing the “On this day!” part of Edge’s theme song.
John’s Thoughts: Word is that Edge is medically cleared to wrestle (right?). I’m not serious with this prediction, but you’d think that Impact is building towards an Adam Copeland return with mentioning him a few times in recent weeks.
A low budget camera crew emerged from the stalls. Joey Ryan called out Dreamer and the camera crew for looking low budget and stupid. He called it a “kangaroo court” (to be honest, Joey was a part of Lucha Underground and has been around people who ACTUALLY KNOW how to execute cinematic pro wrestling). Swinger said that kangaroo comment is prejudice against Austrailians. Dreamer said he’s wearing a druid costume, not a Scream costume. Ryan asked if he could at least get an attorney. Dreamer said that the only attorney that Impact has on file is Joseph Park and he’s dead to Impact now so Ryan can’t get a court appointed attorney (Joe Park works for WWE now). Joey asked if they could at least hold the court in a larger room.
Dreamer took credit for Ryan’s idea and said that this is what Impact can do now that they have the AXS money, get a bigger room. Joey and Johnny had plastic trash bins as podiums. Johnny called “Dee Lorian Brown” (D’Lo Brown) to the podium. Ryan was confused over D’Lo being called “Delorean” (Like Doc Brown’s car). Dreamer said D’Lo was sworn in by the holy gospel of the PWI top 500. D’Lo cut a promo about how Impact allows “Wrestler’s Court” while in WWE it would be an HR violation (for some reason this reminds me of a ranty promo D’Lo cut in TNA, can’t remember what exactly though). They then cut to Madison Rayne who argued that Joey Ryan was making Impact not safe for kids to watch. Bob Evans said back in the day the penis used to be a “stretcher job”. Kiera Hogan was put to tears by Joey Ryan’s mustashe. Dreamer dismissed Kiera due to her sadness and asked her to “tell your dad I said hi, brother”. (Ok! That joke got me too! In a fun, and totally non racist way about a non-apologetic racist).
Gama Singh talked about how he’s the most senior man in the locker room. Security guards broke things up. Dreamer then allowed Joey Ryan to talk. Joey talked about how hearing his name dragged in the mud isn’t new to him because he’s heard it from old guys with tennis rackets (Jim Cornette) and tough guys with chips on their shoulders. Joey said those people said that Joey can’t hang back in the day with lollipops and a super penis. Joey said he’s glad he’s not from that era because in the tapes he just sees guys in bad gear taking themselves too seriously. Joey also said their punches looked really goofy (that is actually true in some cases). Joey said wrestling should be fun. Joey said he just wants the old timers to have an open mind. Joey said maybe, just maybe he’s not the reason for all that’s wrong in wrestling.
Swinger yelled “Bull… Shit!”. Dreamer gave Joey the guilty verdict for crimes against the business which got a cheer from the wrestler audience. Dreamer asked if there were any objections. Joey reminded Dreamer that Dreamer is still in wedding mode from the Cage wedding. Dreamer called out Ethan Page for being a “union boy”. Page said he’s fine today because he got a raise and is out of the game now. This angered Josh Alexander a bit who said he never got a raise. Dreamer said that Dreamer once did a stretcher job with his penis. Suddenly some guy that looked like Biff Tannen praised the lord for some broomsticks and duct tape. YOOOO!!! IS THAT KEVIN MATHEWS??? (Impact! Sign that guy and pair him with Fallah Bahh again!). Dreamer sentenced Joey to a match against Acey Romero next week, who just got out of the bathroom. Joey Ryan hung his head and said “I can’t believe I signed with this company”…
John’s Thoughts: I wanted to hate this segment and there was a hand full of things that I did dislike, but ultimately I thought a lot of it was really fun. The part that made it positive for me was Tommy Dreamer’s zingers which looked to have come straight from his WWE Network Edge and Christian Show. I also kinda liked down-to-earth Joey Ryan, which is close to how he comes off in real life. This had enough jokes to pop me, but it also came off as a bit esoteric in that it was only meant to pop a few fans and the boys in the back rather than trying for something innovative. Is it also smart to make Impact/TNA look like a joke even in the present time? That said, I thought it was okay. Also, the best cameo here in my opinon was Biff Tannen cosplay extraordinaire Kevin Matthews. Can Impact bring that guy back because Fallah Bahh and KM were one of Impact’s best creations in recent years.
4. “The Rascalz” Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz vs. “OVE” Jake and Dave Crist vs. “Reno Scum” Adam Thornstowe and Luster The Legend vs. Willie Mack and Rich Swann in a tornado match for a tag title shot at Hard To Kill. Madness ensued. Many dives ensued too. Mack and Swann hit Luster with a modified 3D. Callis brought up how big Luster looks compared to everyone else (his size and solid in-ring is one reason I say the guy is a hidden single’s gem on the indies). Thornstowe took down mack and Swann a bit.
Mack caught Tornstowe during a moonsault attempt and lifted him so Rich could hit him with a modified street sweeper. Mack dove on the pile of people outside. More madness and dives ensued. Swann wanted to regroup with Willie but Mack was selling a knee injuryat ringside. The referee called for the medics. Kayfabe doctor Ariel ran out to check on Mack’s knee.[c]
Swann had to wrestle the next part of the match by himself. Rich Swann used punches to fend off the Reno Scum by himself. Swann hit both Scum members with a Lethal Injection. The Crist Brothers came in and put the boots to Swann. They hit Swann with tandem offense while Jake was gloating. OVE hit Swann with a Spike Tombstone. Wentz broke up the pin. The Rascalz hit their tandem offense on OVE. Thornstowe used Luster’s head as a battering ram against the Rascalz. Scum hit Dave with a German into a Stomp (which looked like it actually hurt) for a two count. Scum took control of Swann and hit him with a Razor’s Edge into Dave Crist who was in the tree of woe.
John’s Thoughts: Wowzers! Reno Scum have looked really good as a tag team in recent weeks. They’re doing better tag work then I’ve seen even in their local indie work. They must be getting used to television.
Wentz and Xavier broke up Scum’s offense with quick running strikes. The Rascalz hit their shove sault finisher. Jake broke up the subsequent pin. Jake hit Dezmond with Savate kicks (which Dezmond sold really well). He also tossed aside Zach. OVE then toyed with Rich who fought them back with punches. Rich Swann hit an amazing fury of fighting spirit strikes. Dave ended the comeback with a snnake eyes on the top rope. Rich Swann reversed OVE’s All Seeing Eye finisher by using a Victory Roll on Dave Crist to roll him up for the victory.
Rich Swann defeated OVE, Reno Scum, and The Rascalz via pinfall in 9:50 of on air TV Time to earn a Tag Team Title shot at Impact’s Hard to Kill PPV.
Josh Mathews put over Rich Swann conquering the odds despite Mack being taken out of the match. They cut to a camera shot of The North watching from the upper deck. Alexander looked a bit flustered, but Ethan Page said he had they were doing things Ethan’s way and that he has a plan (possibly trying to corrupt Willie Mack with jealousy?)… [c]
John’s Thoughts: That was a match that I expected to be a spotfest, but turned out to be a pretty fun overall package. Not your hot Revival-type of match, but I liked the little story bits here. Good work by the tag teams in terms of spots too by not going overboard with the cliche stuff. OVE continues to be amazing despite rarely winning. Reno Scum is coming off two straight strong performances. The Rascalz are always top-tier in-ring. Swann and Mack’s story stuff was the best part. Swann continues, hot off his warrior performance in the gauntlet, to show his spirit of a warrior by showing heart against all odds. Mack is doing some very interesting small things. Last week he shows a hint of jealousy when Ethan Page mentioned Swann’s success and this week they add another layer with a Mack injury. I’m actually intrigued in Willie Mack for the first time in Impact and that is a low key PPV seller if they pay it off there.
Gabby Loren interviewed Taya Valkyrie about losing last week and the Hard to Kill title defense now being a triple threat. Taya ranted about Grace sticking her nose in Taya’s business last week when she shouldn’t have. Taya also mocked ODB and said that ODB was playing a victim with the food truck thing. Taya said this real-life and the person with power in real life is Taya. Taya said she’ll see Grace and ODB at Hard to Kill unless she runs into them before the show…
They cut to the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was ODB vs. Brooke Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim in a triple threat from what looked like a Bound for Glory show based off the graphics? There was a REF BUMP! So you know it was classic TNA (I kid). After fast forwarding five minutes, Gail Kim won the Knockouts Title with help from Lei’D Tapa…
Jimmy Jacobs interviewing Brian Cage on a couch about Cage’s next steps after losing to Tessa. Cage was talking about a mile a minute (which is kinda how he is in real life). He acknowledged how he has been in many losing situations throughout the year, like on the first AXS show, or around his injury time. Cage said he’s not going to make excuses or take away Tessa’s big win. Cage said he’s just waiting for the winner of the Callihan vs. Tessa match. Jacobs noted that Hard To Kill is a long way away. Cage talked about going through most of the roster at one point, but there were a lot of new wrestlers who showed up who he would love to have good matches with.
Jacobs tried to ask more questions but Katie Forbes and Rob Van Dam stumbled to the couch and it looked like they were about to start to have the sex, but no penetration ensued, yet. Rob asked Jimmy “what are you doing here?” and asked if they were alomst done with the interview. Cage told Rob that they weren’t. RVD told Cage to check out anger management. Before leaving RVD went back to cutting his “stealing moves”, this time blaming Cage. RVD then left after joking about that one time Cage lost to a girl (Tessa)…
Ken Shamrock was shadow boxing backstage… [c]
John’s Thoughts: Well, RVD got through an uncut promo for once and it actually worked to build towards a presumed match with Cage. I’m actually intrigued here. Cage vs. Rob can end up being good especially since Cage is a good ring general when he’s in there selling for agile dudes. I think he can carry Rob to a damn good match, as long as Rob doesn’t eat like five edibles before the match or something stupid. I’m assuming RVD’s tolerance is high, which is why I said “five”.
Josh Mathews ran through next week’s card which includes the return of Tenille Dashwood against Jordynne Grace (that’s interesting given that they gave Dashwood that initial unwarranted push)…
5. Tessa Blanchard vs. Madman Fulton in an intergender match. Tessa slapped Fulton in the face with Fulton constantly doing these weird cries (isn’t he supposed to be a monster?). After the last slap, Fulton started to ragdoll Tessa in the corner. Fulton yanked Tessa by the arms into the bottom of the second turnbuckle, face first. Fulton no sold Tessa’s offense. Fulton did Sami’s Thumb thing during a power bomb attempt. Tessa escaped the bomb by rebounding off the rope.
Tessa rained punches on Fulton. Tessa escaped a toss and hit a few dropkicks on Fulton to keep him at bay. Tessa knocked Fulton to the barricade with a suicide dive. Tessa reversed Fulton’s End of Days into a Tornado DDT. Tessa went for The Magnum, but Jake and Dave Crist ran out to knock Tessa off the top rope for the DQ.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Madman Fulton via DQ in 3:10.
Jake Crist hit Tessa with an RKO to leave her lying. Fulton was about to chokeslam Tessa but he was frozen in his tracks while doing Sami’s thumb thing when Ken Shamrock’s music played and he walked to the ring. Shamrock backdropped Jake and knocked out Dave with a punch. Fulton no-sold Shamrock’s gut punches, but Shamrock got him out of the ring with a lariat. Sami ran out to keep Fulton from getting back at Shamrock…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Well, that was a dud in the end. On one hand, Sami’s selection of Fulton makes a lot of sense; but that falls under conflict of booking interest when Impact is trying to book Tessa as superwoman (again, you can argue that Rich Swann outshined Tessa a second time earlier in the night by showing his own fighting spirit). It kinda hurts that this match is not too far removed from Tessa beating Cage clean (which the prior interview reminded us of). Fulton’s lack of aggression also took away some of the realism from this match. It looked like Fulton was sandbagging and that’s one problem that arises from intergender matches, visual sandbagging.
Impact returned with eight minutes left at the top of the hour and both men in the ring…
6. Impact World Champion Sami Callihan vs. Ken Shamrock in a non-title match. Ken Shamrock intimidated Sami early on. Sami was weary in getting in a lockup with the UFC legend. Sami then disrespected Ken by hocking a loogie at him. Ken came right back with a stiff side kick. Ken gave Sami a few punches. Sami tried to jaw with Ken but that only made Ken throw some Muay Thai combos at Sami (including what looked like maybe a light potato or two). Sami retreated after eating a Muay Thai clich knee from Shamrock.
Shamrock no-sold Sami’s chest chops and said “give me all you got bitch!”. Shamrock gave Sami a right hand to the face. Shamrock then gave Sami some precision martial arts strikes. Sami shoved Ken to the corner and hit Ken with his loogie chop. Ken no sold the chop, but sold Sami’s headbutt. Ken no-sold another Sami chop and Callis noted that Sami’s chops haven’t worked all night. Sami slammed Shamrock’s head on the ring bell table. Callis noted that Ken’s chest looks like hamburger meat. Shamrock took down Sami with a stiff lariat. Callihan managed to stagger Shamrock by kicking the ring rope into Shamrock’s knee.
Callihan hit Shamrock with a Death Valley Driver. Sami then spit another loogie into his own mouth again. Shamrock countered a running Sami with a power slam. Shamrock went for a corner splash, but Sami pulled the referee in front of Shamrock for the REF BUMP!!! Shamrock ducked a belt shot and gave Sami a belly-to-belly. Shamrock locked in the Ankle Lock and Sami tapped out, but the referee was bumped. Madman Fulton ran out and helped Sami escape. Fulton then hit Shamrock with a botched version of Baron Corbin’s End of Days (Shamrock failed to get up for the move). Sami put Shamrock in the ankle lock, and Shamrock was already asleep at this point. The referee lifted Shamrock’s hand for consciousness and then called for the bell.
Sami Callihan defeated Ken Shamrock via ref stoppage in 5:39.
Josh noted that Sami just won by ref stoppage. Callis said that was stupid because Sami got the visual tapout. Shamrock staggered around on his knees. Fulton teased following Sami to the back, but Fulton went back in and laid punches on Shamrock. Sami tried to pulle Fulton back but Fulton shoved Sami to the mat. Sami then decided to just let Fulton do his thing. Fulton lifted Shamrock and front suplexed him to ringside (an easier move to take than End of Days for Ken). The referees ran out to check on Shamrock. Fulton was about to attack Shamrock more but Sami got in between and begged Fulton for mercy on behalf of Shamrock. Sami yelled “Please! No More!” and Fulton soon agreed. Sami then dragged Fulton back up the ramp while doing his OVE chants to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: While I do have some minor qualms about this match, like Sami Callihan having to look so weak (as I said, he hasn’t come off as a world champion), I ultimately was entertained by Sami and Shamrock’s performances. It was fun seeing Shamrock in a serious match for once away from dicks and swingers. This was also a different dynamic compared to the Moose match given that Shamrock was the monster this time and Sami had to work from behind. There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing Shamrock in MLW one of these days given that there’s a lot of pure-MMA guys there like Dominik Garrini or even someone like Davey Boy.
While I raised my eyebrow a bit during the Melissa Santos wedding when Sami showed humanity there, I am intrigued at the humanity here. Are they planting seeds for a Sami babyface turn down the road? Intriguing because there are also fun seeds planted for Jake Crist breaking away from OVE which I hope they get back to too? Good stuff there. Mixed thoughts on this show overall though. Coming off of WWE’s Table for 3 TNA special the prior night, I felt like I was watching an episode of TNA Impact tonight, for good and for bad. Good, in that some matches stood out good in terms of story. You also had bad sprinkled in with some TNA dud finishes and booking. I don’t know. Again, it’s really tough to stand out as an alternative given the jam packed WWE-altertative market in 2019 (filled by shows like AEW, MLW, WOW, and even NXT). I feel like this show is middling every week and I feel like they can make a huge positive step if they take away some of the stuff that isn’t working, like the undead realm, bad cinematics, crazy Eddie, and other things that aren’t eliciting responses from non-TNA diehards.