By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped November 7-8 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired December 17, 2019 on AXS TV
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired followed by the Impact Wrestling intro theme…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
1. Jordynne Grace vs. Tenille Dashwood. Jordynne Grace now has new graphics for her entrance video. The match started out in a stalemate with basic chain wrestling. Both women did this thing where they kept trading waistlocks in a tornado (a bit indy-riffic, but fun I guess). Dashwood countered with a hammerlock. Grace escaped and hit Dashwood with a shoulder block. Grace blocked a leaping Dashwood and folded around Dashwood into a deadlift suplex. Dashwood was selling a knee injury and Josh Mathews cut to footage showing that Dashwood’s foot hit the bottom rope.
Dashwood recovered, hit Grace with a few moves, and got a nearfall. Dashwood locked Grace in the Dill-Emma. Dashwood reversed a DDT into a forearm slam. Grace reversed The Spotlight with a rollup for a two count. Grace planted Dashwood with a spinebuster for a two count. Grace ended up getting a few more nearfalls. Dashwood dodged a meteora in the corner and hit Grace with the Emmamite Sandwich. Dashwood hit Grace with a butterfly suplex for a two count. Dashwood hit Grace’s leg wtih a basement dropkick. Dashwood went for La Magistral, but mid-way through the move Grace pushed her weight down on Dashwood, putting Dashwood’s shoulder’s on the mat and giving Grace the pinfall.
Jordynne Grace defeated Tenille Dashwood via pinfall in 7:50.
Dashwood accepted Grace’s handshake after the match and held Grace’s arm up in victory in a show of sportsmanship. Taya Valkyrie ran in and beat up Grace a bit, but the number’s game was in the side of the Babyfaces. Dashwood and Grace overwhelmed Taya. Grace hit Taya with an Exploder Suplex and Callis said it looked like Taya landed on her head. Taya crawled up the ramp in retreat…
John’s Thoughts: I was afraid a bit last week when Jason Powell brought up the possibility of Dashwood being put in the Knockout’s Championship match at Hard to Kill. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case because they gave Grace the clean win (though they can always try to justify putting Dashwood in through Taya’s post match attack, which would be stupid). Anyway, the match we got tonight wasn’t too much to write home about, but at least Grace got a win. Tenille Dashwood has been very bland and cold in her Impact run. I think the best thing for her would be a complete character “repackage”. All she is now is “Emma from NXT” and she likes to point at her ass because it says “me me me”.
The show cut to Rhino and Moose crossing paths backstage. Moose was wearing a suit, fedora, and gold chains and just got off the elevator. Moose mocked Rhino for losing to RVD because Moose beat RVD at Slammiversary. Moose also bragged about how the Spear did what the Gore couldn’t do. Moose walked away, but soon after Rhino hit Moose with a Gore. Rhino stood up, put his arms up, and said “who’s the man!” (now that was a bit goofy)…[c]
Willie Mack was sitting by himself in a stairwell next to his luggage (maybe he was just contemplating life or something? I don’t know!). He was approached by Ethan Page and Josh Alexander, The North. Page calmed down the argument between Alexander and Mack. Page said The North was only here to talk because if they were here to fight Mack would be laid out due to the numbers. Mack said he’s willing to take on both of the North. Alexander reiterated Page’s number’s advantage argument and wondered where Rich Swann was at.
Page said he wanted to speak to Mack without Rich around. Page said he knows what it’s like to have a brother on the road that loves him. Page said that he sees that Rich Swann is a star in the making and it may be best for Mack to leave Swann if he loves Swann because Mack may be holding Swann back. Rich Swann got in between The North and Mack and told them to bounce. Alexander said they’re only here to help. Swann said Alexander can help by taking his ass to the ring so Swann can whoop dat ass all over the ring. Swann told them to bounce again, and the North left. Mack and Swann shook hands while Mack continued to look conflicted…
John’s Thoughts: Ohhhh, I really like this storyline. It was smart to have Page try to stir the pot by saying that Mack can help Swann by breaking up his tag team. It’s not as direct as to make it obvious that Page wants Mack and Swann at odds. Swann is doing a good job with his recent push. Kudos to Mack for showing some subtle acting ability by doing a good job looking genuinely conflicted in the background. While framed as a mid-card feud, Rich Swann and Willie Mack’s story may be my favorite story in Impact at the moment.
Don Callis and Josh Mathews checked in on commentary. They talked about it being obvious that Page is trying to break up Swann and Mack’s friendship. Josh Mathews announced that Sami Callihan will “reveal the truth” about Tessa Blanchard later on in this show. Josh also ran through some matches happing later in the show…
TJP and Fallah Bahh made their entrance next for TJP’s singles match. Both men did their Filipino Mega Powers handshake. TJ’s opponent was Daga. Josh Mathews said that TJP and Daga are the future of Impact Wrestling…
John’s Thoughts: Well, if TJ turns heel I can see him as the future of Impact. When he does turn heel the guy has Austin Aries like upside given the strong heel work he was doing at the end of his 205 Live run. Daga on the other hand, they’ve been saying this guy is the next big thing since 2015 and he’s just been so bland and outshined by other luchadores getting pushes around him. To me, he’s like what Bobby Lashley used to be given how he’s like a mannequin on the microphone. But hey, if bland Bobby Lashley can become a main event talker, there might be some hope for Daga yet.
2. TJ Perkins (w/Fallah Bahh) vs. Daga. The crowd was mostly behind TJP. TJP and Daga started the match with a Code of Honor handshake. Callis said that TJP has the technical and high flying advantage while Daga may be a better brawler. TJP started the match with his signature submissions and chain wrestling. Both men traded escapes, but TJ nailed Daga with a dropkick. Josh Mathews noted that TJ was both a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion and Impact X Division champion (I forget if he won that as Suicide, Manik, or TJP? I know it wasn’t as Puma).
Callis said he understands the relationship between Bahh and Perkins due to their Filipino heritage. Callis said that Perkins is helping Bahh embrace who he is despite Bahh’s body type. Josh talked about how Daga is one of Konnan’s protege’s. Callis said that Daga may be Konnan’s best protege (uhm.. no? Rey Mysterio, Fenix, Penta, Fantasma, Flamita, Santana, Ortiz, Drago, Aerostar, et cetera). Callis noted that Daga knows Japanese Strong Style. TJP escaped Daga’s armbar and used his twisting headscissors to get Daga in a headscissors submission. Daga tried to bridge out, but Perkins corkscrewed his feet to keep Daga under control. Daga used a cartwheel to escape. Perkins and Daga had a traditional cruiserweight stalemate sequence before the commercial. [c]
Perkins did a handstand in the corner. Callis yelled “Punch him!!!”. Daga hesitated and ate a huracanrana from Perkins (nice touch by Callis on commentary). Perkins hit Daga with his signature wrecking ball dropkick at ringside. Perkins hit Daga with a slingshot swanton for a nearfall. Perkins locked Daga in a headlock with an armtrap. The commentators talked bout TJ’s strong submission ability. Perkins hit Daga with the Sacrifice Arm Breaker. Perkins then hyperextended Daga’s shoulder a few times. TJ worked on Daga a bit.
Daga hit Perkins with an ugly but effective huracanrana. Daga punched TJ in the back, ran up the ramp, down the ramp, hit TJ with a slingshot sunset flip and double stomp for the nearfall. Daga hit Perkins with a basement boot and running nearfall for another nearfall. TJP escaped a Tiger bomb attempt. TJ reversed a pin into a rear naked choke attempt. TJP ate Daga’s kick but then responded with a Rolling Sobat to leave both men lying. The crowd was cheering on TJP. Both men got to their feet to trade fatigued strikes.
Perkins ended up turning a huracanrana into a cross armbreaker on Daga. Daga escaped the armbar and then locked TJP in an abdominal stretch. TJP escaped and locked Daga in an octopus hold. Daga escaped and locked Perkins in a deep Half Crab. Perkins got a two count on Daga after a small package. Both men took each other out with a lariat. Daga used a kick combination to get a nearfall on Perkins. Both men brawled to the top rope. Perkins hit Daga with a Superplex followed by a Detonation Kick. Daga kicked out of TJP’s finisher. TJ converted the pin into a heel hook. Daga almost got the rope break but Perkins converted the move into a modified STF to pick up the tapout win.
TJ Perkins defeated Daga via submission in 13:11 of on-air TV Time.
Rohit Raju and Raj Singh ran in to beat up TJ Perkins and Fallah Bahh. Daga got in the ring and fought back Raj and Rohit. He hit both opponents with a shotgun dropkick. Big and jacked Mahabali Shera made his big return from his”spiritual journey” (which is where Gama said he was). Shera planted Daga with a chokeslam. Shera did an American Salute as Gama Singh joined the rest of Desi Hit Squad in the ring to congratulate them on a job well done…
John’s Thoughts: A bit of a surprising finish given that Impact really likes to protect Daga in the mid-card. A good match though (and I was a bigger fan of this TJP match compared to TJP’s match again Brian Pillman Jr. a few days ago on MLW). I’m guessing this is leading to a Daga, TJP, and Fallah Bahh match against Shera, Rohit, and Raj chash down the road? I guess we’re supposed to take Desi Hit Squad seriously again? I can’t say that clash excites me much.
Brian Cage was walking around backstage and about to enter a room, but he was run into by Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes continuing their neverending makeout session. Smoke was coming out of the room and RVD told Cage not to go in there to smoke because he and Katie just aired out the room from their smoke session. RVD wished Cage good luck for their match at Hard to Kill. RVD then bragged about it being an easy match for him since he knows how to counter his own moves. Katie and Rob continued to makeout around the backstage area…[c]
Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes made their entrance to Rob’s crappy TNA theme. Katie continued to twerk and hang all over Rob on their way to the ring. Katie gave Rob the same introduction as last week. Katie also called Rob “the sinner of my universe and the man of my dreams that makes me scream”. Katie and Rob continue to slap tongues while the crowd chanted RVD. RVD cut the same promo as he’s been cutting for months about people stealing his moves and whatnot. There was a mixed reaction to RVD and Katie’s makeout spots.
RVD said that Cage and RVD’s match is considered by many to be a “dream match”. RVD said it must be a dream for Cage because Cage is the biggest RVD mark in the world. As usual, RVD’s promo was cut off via an entrance, this time by Brian Cage. Cage got in the ring and shoved RVD. The two men brawled. RVD hit Cage with a few kicks but Cage came back with a Tornado Claw. Katie gave Cage a low blow. RVD hit Cage with a top rope guillotine leg drop. Callis said “she’s so helpful”. RVD teased hitting Cage with a Coast-to-coast Van Terminator, but then drew boos from the fan by not giving the crowd what they wanted. RVD instead gave Cage a shorter Shotgun Van Terminator…
John’s Thoughts: RVD still tends to ramble which is a huge deterrant of his promos. At least the content of this one was somewhat coherent, albeit repetitive since it’s the same promo he’s been cutting since his return to Impact. You can tell that Impact isn’t confident in allowing Rob to cut a promo because they always send someout out there to cut off his promos. Last time it was Tommy Dreamer and this week it was Cage. One good thing, RVD’s a solid heel at least with the PDA and heel in-ring work. The best part was him teasing the Van Terminator and then pulling the rug from the fans.
It was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was The Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelly and Chris Sabin, vs. Generation Me, Max Buck and Nick Buck, in a Full Metal Mayhem match (which was TNA’s non-copyright infringement name for a TLC match). I think it was from TNA Final Resolution based off the graphics? Generation Me are now known as The Young Bucks and are AEW’s executive vice presidents. Alex Shelly won after I fast forwarded 3 or 4 minutes…
Susie Yung was wandering around backstage where she ran into Rosemary who wondered if she lost someone. Susie said she lost her friend “James [Mitchell]”. Rosemary brought up to Susie that James may be keeping something from her. she was referring to the noose that Havok used to murder Susie once (ugh. gawd). Mitchell got in between Rosemary and Susie saying that the woman with the big smile isn’t Susie’s friend (then why does James keep bringing her to the wrestling shows?). Mitchell yelled at Rosemary for getting in Mitchell’s business. Jessika Havok ran in and started to strangle Rosemary against a wall. Mitchell yelled at Havok to stop. Susie looked like she was having those flashbacks again (and done much better because we didn’t get an Adobe After Effect this time… Well? I spoke too soon). Then Susie Yung yelled shooting what I’m guessing is a paralyzing sound wave which stunned Havok and James (I’m assuming it’s a magic wave because they decided to overdoo it with the Adobe After Effects again). After the yell, Susie went back into innocent mode by looking like a doll…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m starting to lose faith in this story, and I was a huge fan before too. Now it’s starting to not make sense. If Mitchell is afraid of Susie getting corrupted by Rosemary, then why does he keep bringing her back to the Impact shows to do nothing other than wander backstage? Shouldn’t he just keep her in hell, his church, or the back of his white van or whatever? I don’t like where this is going because all I see is this ending up with Su Yung becoming a zombie bride again, and all of these skits were just pointless time filler and no characters were developed. Square one! Also, why do they shoot these scenes like it’s one series of continuous events? As in, last week’s scene looking like it happened right before this week’s scene.
[Hour Two] Taya Valkyrie was hanging out with Kiera Hogan and Madison Rayne backstage. Taya argued about having to deal with Jordynne Grace, ODB, and Tenille Dashwood in recent weeks. Rayne said that’s Taya’s problem not theirs. Kiera asked Taya “what’s in it for us” if they decide to assist Taya. Taya said “good karma”. Kiera wasn’t buying it. Taya agreed to give one of them a title shot for assistance. They didn’t accept the offer. Taya agreed to give them both title shots after Hard to Kill if they successfully help Taya. Kiera said they’d think about it…
The North made their entrance for Ethan Page’s single’s match. The North were wearing Total Nonstop Action themed shirts. Rich Swann and Willie Mack made their entrance next. Mack still dances, but he wore less colorful gear than usual and instead just wore a leather jacket over his ring gear…
3. All-Ego Ethan Page (w/Josh Alexander) vs. Rich Swann (w/Willie Mack). Josh laid it on thick by talking about how Page is trying to break up Rich Swann and Willie Mack. Page and Swann had an agility exchange with Swann landing the dropkick on Page. Swann worked on Page a bit. The commentators noted that Mack was limping around at ringside, stemming from last week’s Tornado Tag match. Josh Alexander held Rich Swann’s legs right in front of the referee. Ethan Page then poked the eye of Swann while the referee was yelling at Alexander.
John’s Thoughts: So, Josh Alexander makes contact with Rich Swann with an offensive maneuver and he doesn’t get DQ’d? Yes, holding/tripping is an offensive move, that’s what wrestlers do in regular tag matches.
Willie Mack got on the apron to argue with the ref, which allowed Josh Alexander to help Page hit Swann with an assisted Impaler DDT. Page worked on Swann a bit, but Swann countered Page into a small package. Page came back with a back elbow and went back to working on Swann. Alexander said Page is a throwback. Callis said Page reminds him of Ted Dibiase (good comparison). Swann got a window of opportunity in the match by nailing Page with a rolling and flying lariat. Swann hit Page with a neckbreaker and running back kick for a two count.
Swann hit Page with a Rolling Thunder moonsault for a two count. Josh Alexander got on the apron to distract Swann on the top rope, allowing Page to hit him with a punch, straitjacket slam, and Neutralizer for the nearfall. Josh noted that The North use the Neutralizer as a finisher. Swann escaped a Razor’s Edge and then knocked down Page with his signature backfist and kick combo. Page avoided Swann’s Phoenix Splash attempt and then turned a running Swann inside out with a shoulder block. Page and Swann brawled to the top rope.
Page hit Swann with a Super Body Slam and Swanton Bomb for a good nearfall. Swann staggered Page with a gamengiri and hit Page with a Frankensteiner. Alexander took a bullet for the team by shoving Page out of the way and eating a Tope Con Hilo from Rich. Page walked up to Mack and sucker punched him at ringside. Mack entered the ring and returned the favor by clocking Page with a right hand right in front of the referee. Page wins via DQ.
All-Ego Ethan Page defeated Rich Swann via DQ in 10:03.
Mack tried to argue that he was just attacking Page for attacking him. Ethan Page was grinning and laughing up his victory. Mack rolled to ringside to apologize to Swann for costing him the match. Swann hung his head and showed frustration for the loss that was out of his hands…
Moose and Rhino started another brawl backstage. D’Lo Brown and a bunch of indie wrestlers broke up the brawl…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good match and smartly booked finish. As I said, this is my favorite set of stories in Impact right now. Everyone’s great. The match was fun too and Rich Swann can elevate just about anyone with good in-ring storytelling. It’s the little things about this story I like the most though. Like Mack’s subtle shows of jealousy, Ethan Page’s exaggerated snideness, and even Swann selling the agony of defeat in the end. Good stuff.
Joey Ryan and Acey Romero made their entrance for their upcoming match against each other. Johnny Swinger joined the commentary table and Don Callis said he invited Swinger to provide some 90’s-era commentary. Swinger gave Callis and Mathews his special handshake…
4. Joey Ryan vs. Acey Romero. Joey Ryan started the match like he starts out every match, by sticking his lollipop in his trunks. Joey asked Acey to participate in his dick suplex, but Acey didn’t accept. Acey went for an Atomic Drop but sold it like his leg got hurt from the drop due to the stiffness of Joey’s penis (or he could just be wearing a cup. More wrestlers should be wearing dick cups). They cut the camera to Swinger who said that Joey Ryan is scaring off all the “rizzats”. Acey hit Joey with a flying crossbody. Acey yelled that he’s not touching Joey’s dick.
Acey hit Joey with a spinebuster for a two count. Joey staggered Acey with a knockout blow, which Acey sold by staggering and falling his head on Joey’s dick area. Acey sold the worst of it and Joey popped up and showed fighting spirit. Callis wondered if Joey had a metal cup tucked in there (Callis and I are on the same page). Joey Ryan took his dick lollipop out and tried to put it in Acey’s mouth. Acey pushed it away and put it in the referee’s mouth. The child referee sold it like he was shot. REF BUMP?!?! Joey then put Acey’s hand on his penis in position for his penis plex.
Johnny Swinger pryed away Acey’s hand off of Joey’s dick and put it on his fanny pack. Johnny tried to Fanny Pack Plex Acey, but Acey no sold it (as you should). Acey twisted Swinger’s fanny pack which Swinger sold with pain. Acey then gave Swinger a lariat. Joey Ryan recovered and put Acey’s hand back on his dick for the dick suplex. Joey it Acey with the penis plex. Joey Ryan pulled out another penis lollipop, shoved it in Acey’s mouth, and hit Acey with a superkick. Mathews called it the Sweet-tooth Chin Music and it gave Ryan the suprise win.
Joey Ryan defeated Acey Romero via pinfall in 4:00.
John’s Thoughts: That match confused me a bit. I had the feeling based off his entrance video that Acey Romero was going to be pushed somewhat as a badass enforcer-type. Instead, he sells all of Joey F’n Ryan’s penis offense and takes the clean loss? Ok? I also really hope they find a way to not run Joey Ryan’s penis joke into the ground because it’s been overplayed for about five years straight. If you’ve been to ANY indie show, Joey Ryan has probably wrestled there several times and has done this exact match. I keep going to Joey Ryan vs. Ricky Reyes in an LAPD match as an example of Joey Ryan being able to surprise with a strong main event match. While I’ve seen this match probably 50-100 times from Ryan, I did laugh at the Johnny Swinger stuff. Swinger continues to be a really good comedy figure.
Gabby Loren interviewed Tessa Blanchard about Sami “exposing the truth” about Tessa. Tessa said she’s not worried about these mind games because she’s been dealing with him for months. Tessa said Sami’s the one who’s worried. Tessa said she’s going to make history at Hard to Kill, not because of her gender but because she’s going to take the title from the most vile and shameless champion in the history of this company. Gabby wondered if Tessa will be watching Sami’s promo. Tessa said she’s not going anywhere…[c]
5. Impact X Division Champion Ace Austin vs. Petey Williams in a non-title match. Josh noted that something Ace said last week fired up Trey Miguel. Petey took down Ace with a shoulder block. Petey dodged a disaster kick and hit Ace with a huracanrana. Ace caught Petey off the top rope with an armdrag. Petey caught Ace with a slingshot codebreaker and then hit Ace with a hesitation dropkick. Petey caught Ace outside with a nice plancha into a huracanrana. Ace hit Petey with a handstand into a back kick. [c]
John’s Thoughts: By the way, it’s fun (not-fun) having to write “Ace” a ton of times after reviewing a match involving a guy named “Acey”.
Ace hit Petey with a Trouble in Paradise and got a two count. Ace hit Petey with a trip into basement roundhouse. Pete avoided Ace’s signature paper cut spot. Petey hit Ace with a German Suplex. Petey hit Ace with his signature leg scissors to a legsweep. Ace avoided Petey’s telegraphed Destroyer attempt. Ace hit Petey with the Bang-a-rama (twisting flapjack slam). Callis called out Petey for telegraphing his Canadian Destroyer all the time. Petey dodged a Fold attempt. Ace carried Petey to the corner to prevent a Destroyer.
The commentators talked about Ace’s thick legs giving him a kicking advantage. Petey blocked a Superplex attempt. Ace blocked a Super Destroyer attempt into a stomp. Petey power bombed Ace in the next exchange. Ace rolled up Petey and followed up with The Fold (running blockbuster) for the win.
Ace Austin defeated Petey Williams via pinfall in 6:26.
After the match, Ace Austin cut a promo saying that he dedicated this victory to “The sexiest woman alive, Mrs. Miguel”. Ace Austin ended the promo with the Rascal’s hand wafe. Callis said that Ace is so dirty that Callis may need a bath now…
They showed Sami Callihan walking down the stairwell for his main event promo segment…[c]
Trey Miguel yelled at Ace Austin in the stairwell to not mention his mom ever again in a dirty light. Ace Austin responded by saying that he was just surprised to find out that Mama Miguel wasn’t a spitter. This ticked off Trey. The Reno Scum duo of Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe were ready to break Trey away and Trey was pulled away from the scene by the security guards…
John’s Thoughts: More of that from Trey and the Rascalz please. Just more of things that don’t involve That 70’s Show ripoff with bad screen filters.
Josh Mathews and Don callis checked in on commentary. Josh Mathews said that Austin is living rent free in Trey’s head. Josh Mathews then ran through the Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill card which included the following matches: Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard for the Impact Championship, The North vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack, Taya vs. Grace vs. ODB for the Knockouts Championship, Rhino vs. Moose, Ken Shamrock vs. Madman Fulton, and RVD vs. Brian Cage…
Sami Callihan made his entrance for the advertised promo segment. He said he was going to expose Tessa Blanchard for being a fake and phony like every person in the Melrose Ballroom and everyone watching on TV. The crowd gave Sami a “Tessa’s better” chant. Sami talked about how Hard to Kill is going to be history with a man vs. a woman for a world championship. Sami said the crowd are trying to make this about gender and about equality. Sami said he’s just treating everyone equally and will just pile drive Tessa like he would any man in the back. The crowd cheered this and they cut to camera shots of people agreeing with Sami.
Sami said that the crowd should see Sami as more relatable than Tessa. Sami said Tessa is a spoiled brat who was handed everything. Sami said her generation thinks they deserve everything. Sami said being related to Tully Blanchard and raised by Magnum TA allowd Tessa to get handed everything to succeed. Sami said he fought and clawed his way to becoming the Impact World Champion. Sami said he did that by himself. They cut to camera shots of all the fans giving Sami an ovation (odd production move?). Sami said he beats people’s ass by himself and didn’t need daddy to call people to get her a tryout.
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Are they trying to turn Sami babyface? No, but odd production moves by the cameraman.
Sami’s promo was cut off by Tessa Blanchard marching to the ring. Madman Fulton blindsided Tessa and the two OVE guys overpowered Tessa. Sami punched Tessa in the gut while Fulton held her in place. Ken Shamrock ran out for the rescue, or at least to even the numbers. The two sets of wrestlers brawled. Fulton clubbed on Shamrock on the top rope.
The camera cut to Sami and Tessa brawling to the parking lot. Sami accidentally hit a “fan” at one point. There was a bunch of bleeped out cursing. Sami then tried to lawn dart Tessa into a production truck, but it was more like a snake eyes to the truck. Tessa then continued to club on Sami. Both Sami and Tessa were even brawling in the streets. Sami tried to choke out Tessa at several points. Tessa escaped one of the chokes by jamming her nails in Sami’s face. This allowed Tessa to gain the advantage in the brawl. Tessa got to the back of a Semi and gave Sami a crossbody. Fans outside chanted “holy shit”. Sami tried to run across the street but Tessa stayed in pursuit to keep the brawl going to the end of the show…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts on the promo, but the brawl was simple and well done. As far as Sami’s promo was concerned, it pretty much was a promo any babyface Knockout would have cut on heel Tessa heading into a Knockouts Championship match at the beginning of the year. Sami went for heat early on, but then turned the tables on Tessa by painting her out to be the spoiled brat. The funny thing is, during the first third of the year, Tessa’s whole character was that she was a whiney and spoiled brat. She was good at playing that. Very odd promo direction, and even odder of Impact showing Sami turn the crowd in his favor by showing camera shots of the fans giving Sami an ovation.
When things got to the brawl, now that made Tessa look badass. It was simple stuff, but also believable. The Madman Fulton (and prior Brian Cage match) encounter made it look like the larger wrestlers were sandbagging Tessa in terms of holding back. Sami being smaller then Tessa helps here as he can go all out on her and it come off as realistic. It’s also easy heat for a man to attack a woman so it worked on that front too. Hopefully they get some more heat behind this feud because the booking to Hard to Kill has been odd, and Rich Swann’s natural rise on the card is dwarfing Tessa’s somewhat-manufactured storyline. That said, I’m still looking forward to Tessa vs. Sami and if done right that can be an early Match of the Year contender. Anyway, decent Impact, but the same story as last week, it’s tough to stand out with so much good wrestling around. NWA and MLW are making it harder to stand out too and not just the bigger companies. Jason Powell should be by later today with his hit list and member’s exclusive audio review. So be on the lookout for that.