By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped February 7-9 in Las Vegas as Sam’s Town Live
Aired February 18, 2020 on AXS TV
[Hour One] After the Viewers Discretion is Advised warning flashed on the screen, they aired the Impact Wrestling “previously on…” video. The Impact Wrestling intro theme aired…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
1. Josh Alexander (w/All Ego Ethan Page) vs. TJ Perkins (w/Fallah Bahh). Josh noted that if TJP wins that he and Bahh will be put in the Tag Team Title picture. The match started off with grounded chain wrestling. Alexander dominated the initial exchange before the reset. Perkins managed to get his own takedowns from a legscissors and dropkick. Alexander came right back with a Yakuza Kick. Alexander worked on Perkins with methodical offense. Mathews and Callis traded Valentines Day jabs.
Callis noted that Bahh was like Rain Man because he didn’t know any language at one point and now he’s speaking many languages like English and Tagalog. Perkins tried to go for a huracanrana into an octopus hold, but Alexander twisted Perkins around into a backbreaker for a two count. Perkins countered a Samoan Driver into a crucifix pin, Alexander kicked out. Alexander went back to the methodical offense. Callis noted that Alexander and Perkins both specialize in technical wrestling. Perkins slammed Alexander with a Super Juji Gatame. Alexander got out of the submission and Alexander kicked out of the subsequent pin. Perkins caught Alexander with a corkscrew plancha.
Perkins caught Alexander with a wrecking ball dropkick. Perkins followed up wtih a missed Swanton. Alexander caught Perkins with a backbreaiker. Perkins came back with a rollup, kickout. Alexander hit Perkins with a Giant Swing sleeper. Perkins came right back with a back suplex. Alexander spun Perkins to the mat with an Argentine Toss for a two count. Perkins fought Alexander with a kick combination which was topped off with a Rolling Sobat. Alexander came right back with a German Suplex. Perkins hit Alexander with a huracanrana into a Juji Gatame. Alexander powered through the submission and gave Perkins a power bomb backbreaker on the knee. Perkins kicked out at two.
Alexander carried Perkins to the top rope. Perkins escaped. Callis noted it was odd to see Josh on teh top rope. Perkins hit Alexander with a (somewhat botched) Super Ushigoroshi. Perkins locked Alexander in an Octopus hold. Perkins converted the move to a more snug heel hook. Alexander got to the rope for a break. Bahh led the crowd in a “Kuya” chant (which through the power of the Google, I found out means “older brother” in Tagalog). Alexander used a right hand to fend off Perkins. Alexander countered a Detonation Kick into a Fireman Carry. Perkins ripped off the turnbuckle pad. Alexander locked Perkins in a sleeper, but Perkins got Alexander’s shoulders to the mat for the pinfall.
TJ Perkins defeated Josh Alexander via pinfall in 14:51.
Josh noted that The North continue their losing streak and are limping into the Sacrifice show (do they even have a match there?)…
John’s Thoughts: While there were a few botched moves in there, that was a really entertaining match with good storytelling. This was the best TJ Perkins match I remember watching in a long while and what helped that was Josh Alexander matching the technical style of Perkins. Alexander added nice power while Perkins added nice agility to the technical wrestling. It was also a 15 minute match that didn’t feel like a drag. That’s always a success.
Willie Mack was chatting with a random guy backstage, who was checking up on Rich Swann. Johnny Swinger got in between Mack and the random guy and joked a question about them being a trios now? Swinger told the “Mizark” to take a hike. Swinger noted that the Mack and Pack connection had quite the auspicious start. Swinger said they need more “rizzeps” (reps) in the ring to improve their tag team chemistry. Mack passive-aggressively blew off Swinger by saying that he is going to get those reps by wrestling in the ring now. Mack left. Swinger bragged about smelling chemistry finally…[c]
An ad aired for the Impact Plus Sacrifice show with OVW…
Michael Elgin cut a sitdown promo. He talked about thinking he was similar to Edwards, but he discovered that Eddie took a different path to get here. Elgin recapped some of Eddie’s past feuds like Sami Callihan smashing Eddie’s eye with a bat or Ace Austin trying to sleep with Alisha Edwards. Elgin noted that from those events, Eddie learned how to exact revenge. Elgin noted that the revenge allows Eddie to sleep at night. Elgin said what keeps Elgin up at night is absolutely nothing, which is why he can do his actions without hesitation. Elgin said he’s going to beat Eddie 3-0 and call his shot at Rebellion for the Impact World Championship…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? When did this series become for Eddie’s cheap ass participation trophy? Or is this for number one contendership?
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from ringside. Josh said that Elgin is claiming that he’s going to challenge Tessa Blanchard for the World Championship. Josh also told viewers to go to the Impact Twitter to see what the Rascalz are talking about. Josh also advertised Jordynne Grace giving her first words as Knockouts Champion…
2. Willie Mack vs. Johnny Swinger. Josh Mathews said he wonders what the Rascalz think about this match. Josh noted that a Impact Wrestler is going to take over Impact’s twitter every week now. Swinger asked for a handshake early on. Mack accepted and failed at getting the kick in. Mack hit Swinger with two atomic drops. Swinger ran to the ropes for the separation. Swinger complained that Mack tried to punch him in the face. Swinger landed a few punches and Mack came back with his own punches. Mack caught Swinger with a high dropkick.
Swinger gave Mack a few axe handle strikes. Swinger yelled “I’m the big one daddy”. Swinger gave Mack a headbutt to Mack’s abdomen. Mack dodged a diving axe handle and rallied at Swinger with strikes. mack hit Swinger with a swinging body slam. Mack hit his signature Samoan Drop-Moonsault combo. Swinger avoided a corner suplex. Mack surprised Swinger with the Stone Cold Stunner. Mack hit Swinger with the Six Star Frog Splash for the victory.
The Mack defeated Johnny Swinger via pinfall in 4:19.
Mack celebrated his win heading into commercial…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A fun comedy match. Swinger’s exaggerated offense is a bit goofy, but he finds a way to make it work. As much as they’re trying to make Swinger out to be a dork, he’s coming off as an endearing dork. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mack and Pack unite and get a run chasing the Tag Titles. Sorta in a Heath Slater and Rhino type of way.
A highlight video aired, spotlighting Jordynne Grace winning the Knockouts Championship…
Madison Rayne was cutting a promo in the ring, giving sarcastic praise to Jordynne Grace’s championship win. Rayne bragged about winning the title five times. Rayne said she’s not here to talk about Grace, but rather Madison Rayne. Ranye said she was starting an open challenge tonight…
3. Madison Rayne vs. Maserati. Maserati came out to generic music, as expected. Josh noted that she’s a popular local wrestler. Rayne acted condescending, giving Maserati a pie face. Maserati gave Rayne a few rollups and a dropkick. Rayne came back with a liver punch. Don Callis continued his running joke of comparing Rayne to Bret Hart. Rayne hit Maserati with cravate knees. Maserati came back with a jawbreaker and forearms. Rayne came back with a ripcord cutter for a two count. Maserati hit Rayne with a back kick (It kinda hit). Rayne crotched Maserati on the second rope and then followed up with Cross Rayne (Cross Rhodes) for the victory.
Madison Rayne defeated Maserati via pinfall in 3:15.
John’s Thoughts: Is it just me or is Rayne’s heel work since turning come off as very stale? Which sucks too because I thought she was a standout when she was the heel knockouts champion back in the TNA days. This match was fine, but I didn’t need Rayne going 50-50 against an enhancement wrestler to tell me that Rayne is playing the role of a delusional scrub. They kinda established that with her recent losing streak to meaningful opponents.
Josh sent things over to Gabby Loren who was interviewing Jordynne Grace about becoming Knockouts Champion after 10 years of wrestling. Grace said she cried last week about this moment. Grace said this is the pinnacle of her career. Grace said she got to beat a bratty queen in Taya Valkyrie. Grace said Taya was a cowardly champion which Grace isn’t going to be. Grace said she’s going to be a fighting champion and starting that off against Jessika Havok at Sacrifice. Grace said she knows Havok is undefeated, but as new champion she’s not running for anybody. Gabby
Loren tried to close the interview after Grace left, but John E Bravo and his toy dog Mr. Mundo ran in and started ranting. Gabby held on to her awkward smiley face. Bravo sung the praises of Taya. Johnny noted that Taya is not talking to him now but he had the production truck put together a video package for Taya. A Taya Valkyrie positive video package aired. It also featured John E Bravo highlights. John E said he hopes Taya liked it…[c]
John’s Thoughts: While there’s still some work for Grace to do on the mic, she did show more confidence than usual, which is a plus. I’m not a huge fan of Impact trying to integrate their Impact Plus show into the promos when they come off as non-canon house shows. On one hand, no one expects Jessika Havok to win. On the other hand, if a title change does occur, it will come off as a lost opportunity and a waste of time.
John E Bravo left Taya’s dressing room disappointed, saying “she loved it”. Taya emerged for a bit saying “I’m going to get that title”…
It was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was Ken Anderson vs. D’Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke) for a future TNA Title Shot. This match happened at the TNA Against All Odds PPV 2010. Burke won after hitting Anderson with the Elijah Express…
They cut to Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes backstage. Katie complained about people hating on her on Social Media. RVD said those aren’t “people”. RVD told Katie to not get worked up. RVD ensured Katie that those trolls online are subhuman and may live in sewers. RVD said they want Katie’s attention. Katie was calmed down, saying she didn’t want to be basic. RVD then saw Daga backstage and joked about how nobody is talking about Daga and how RVD beat Daga easily at Hard to Kill. Daga approached RVD and lightly mumbled that he wanted to start a fight with RVD now. RVD then challenged Daga to a match next week, and he even translated it to Spanish…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Maybe Daga needs a mouthpiece? One thing I always wonder is Konnan has always pushed Daga to the moon, but we never see Konnan stand next to Daga as his representation. We’ve seen Konnan next to LAX, Lucha Bros, and other acts. Here (and in other promotions), they just tell you that he’s Konnan’s protege. I say that, but Lucha Underground tried to give Daga a huge ass knight sword and Thunder Rosa as his mouthpiece, and that somehow bombed (and not Rosa’s fault, because Rosa is a good talker).
[Hour Two] Gabby Loren interviewed Tommy Dreamer and Trey Miguel. Tommy Dreamer cut one of his sappy inspirational promos, talking about how Trey Miguel reminds him of a young Rey Mysterio. Tessa Blanchard was also in this interview too. Dreamer noted that Tessa helped changed the business today. Dreamer hyped up the advertised trios match. Miguel overacted in gagging when Dreamer said Ace Austin wanted to bang Trey’s mom. Gabby Loren continued to do her weird giggle face. Tessa then hyped up Tessa Blanchard vs. Ace Austin for Impact Sacrifice. Tessa said “may the better man win, and the better man may just be a wo man”…
4. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards in the third match of their best of five series. Don Callis noted that it’s rare in professional sports for a sports team to come back from a 2-0 deficit. Callis also noted that Elgin was dominant in all their matches together. Elgin gave Eddie some strong style forearms. Eddie came back with a huracanrana and suicide dive. Josh Mathews noted that this match will be uninterrupted by commercials. Eddie hit Elgin with a Tiger Driver for a two count. Elgin countered Eddie and hit Eddie with a release German. Elgin followed up with a basement lariat.
Callis noted that as big as Edwards was in Japan, Callis got to call Elgin vs. Omega in NJPW’s first Ladder match as well as watching Elgin dominate Kazuchika Okada. Elgin gave Edwards an Attitude Adjustment on the ring apron. Callis wondered how it would look if Tessa Blanchard got planted like that by Elgin. Elgin went to methodical offense for a sequence. Eddie showed a bit of fighting spirit with a forearm, but Elgin came back with a forearm and loud trash talk. Elgin and Edwards had a fighting spirit exchange with Elgin asking for the old Eddie Edwards to come back.
John’s Thoughts: See! Michael Elgin is even sick of Crazy Cartoon Eddie too! Good for Elgin. (Funny note, is Michael Elgin was so popular in Japan, that they turned him into a meaningful anime character in their Tiger Mask W show).
Elgin absorbed Eddie’s chest chops. Eddie crumpled after an Elgin right forearm. Elgin continued to fend off Eddie’s comebacks. Eddie managed to get Elgin to his knee after a Yakuza Kick off the apron. Elgin blocked a suicide dive with a right hand. Callis noted that Elgin probably could win via countout now, but his pride won’t let him. Callis noted Eddie was out of it. Callis also questioned if it was smart for Elgin to not go for the countout. Eddie countered an Elgin Bomb with a huracanrana. Eddie nailed Elgin with a Boston Knee Party. Callis noted that it might hurt worse due to Eddie having the high ground on the ramp. Eddie and Elgin beat the ten count.
John’s Thoughts: I notice that the Sam’s Town Casino crowd isn’t giving this match as much energy as these wrestlers would have hoped. So much that Elgin is going into his New Japan bag of tricks in trying to get the crowd to react to the match one way or another by overacting (this is something wrestlers usually do for Asian crowds due to the quiet respect that tends to happen at sporting events in Asia).
Eddie hit Elgin with a double stomp to the back of Elgin’s neck, leading to a two count. Elgin got Eddie back to the mat with a lariat. Elgin hit Eddie with a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Elgin hit Eddie with a Northern Basement Forearm. Elgin hit Eddie with the Buckle Bomb. Eddie countered the Elgin Bomb into a Victory Roll for a two count. Eddie blocked a Crossface. Eddie came back with a Shining Wizard, leaving both men to recover. Elgin planed Eddie with a series of stiff lariats for a nearfall. Eddie fought out of Elgin’s Burning Hammer attempt. Eddie’s back gave out on him during a dive attempt. Eddie staggered Elgin on the top rope.
Elgin blocked Eddie’s Frankensteiner with a Super Elgin Bomb. Callis yelled that it wasn’t smart for Elgin to not go for the pin. Eddie countered Elgin’s second Bomb attempt into a small package for the victory.
Eddie Edwards defeated Michael Elgin via pinfall in 12:53. Michael Elgin leads the series 2-1.
The crowd finally woke up for the Eddie Edwards victory and gave a loud enough cheer. Elgin sold a bit of shock. Michael Elgin went to the commentary table and yelled at Don Callis. Callis cowered with Josh Mathews into the corner while Mathews tried to recap the segment…[c]
John’s Thoughts: It’s tough to come up with fresh material after having six straight matches with each other, but I really liked the story they came up with here. Don Callis was great on commentary in telling the story of Eddie’s despiration. I also liked Callis calling Elgin out for being cocky and costing himself the victory at several points during the match. Impact has done a great job establishing Elgin’s weakness as being a prideful hothead, which cost him clean wins against Brian Cage and Rich Swann in the past. In a way, it protects Elgin’s “unbreakable” persona while giving his opponents seemingly insurmountable victories.
Moose made his entrance wearing all black and a suit. He joined the commentary table for the upcoming match. The Crist Brothers made their entrance first. Rhino made his entrance asking almost every fan in the front row “who’s the man” (is Rhino a pokemon now or something? In that he can only say one sentence)…
5. Dave Crist (w/Jake Crist) vs. Rhino. Moose said he doesn’t care about the Crist brothers and is moreso here to scout his Sacrifice opponent. Moose bragged about kicking Rhino’s ass for weeks. Mathews wanted thoughts on Moose’s rivalry with Rhino. Moose said this wasn’t a rivalry because Rhino hasn’t beaten Moose at all. Dave dominated early on. Jake landed a cheap shot while Dave was distracting the referee. Dave dominated Rhino with methodical heel offense. Josh Mathews referenced Don Callis leading Rhino to winning the World Championship in ECW as Rhino’s manager.
Rhino went for a Gore at one point, but Jake tripped Rhino in the corner. Rhino managed to outwit the Crist brothers with a bit of running. Rhino then hit Dave Crist with the Gore for the victory.
Rhino defeated Dave Crist via pinfall in 2:28.
Moose got in Josh’s face and yelled that Dave Crist is nothing compared to Moose. Don Callis tried to rush Moose away from the booth. Moose called Callis biased for being Rhino’s former manager. Josh Mathews hyped Moose vs. Rhino for Sacrifice…
John’s Thoughts: Even though I don’t know why this feud is still going, the storytelling is a bit easier in the US than in Mexico where Moose and Rhino had that weird “animal” feud involving Taurus. I think Moose and Rhino might be able to get an entertaining match out there. What I’m more worried about is OVE in recent months. All three (Including Fulton) have been relegated to being enhancement fodder. We saw with Jake Crist when he was X Division Champion, that there was main eventer potential (surprising potential) in the OVE guys. Jake in particular showed a lot of growth, moving far away from when Konnan used to call them “meth addicts” in OVE’s initial promos. I’m guessing OVE is relegated to being enhancement talent, while Sami Callihan is off presumably being the “Reality is lost” hacker.
Jessika Havok was walking around backstage as some stock music violins could be heard. Innocent “Susie” Yung “teleported” in through the power of bad screen filters. They then teleported away. Havok then got nervous after seeing “Ur Time Has Come” written in lipstick (?) on a black locker…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Who am I to complain when Impact wants to come off as low rent stoner community theater? Let them be them.
A vignette aired saying that Chris Bey is “Coming Soon”…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in at ringside. Josh said that Chris Bey is making his Impact debut soon (even though we see him lose matches every time they come to Sam’s Town?). Josh Mathews ran through the Sacrifice card. Callis noted that Ace Austin is his favorite wrestler in Impact at the moment. Gabby Loren was shown being giddy. Her hype was interrupted by the “Reality is Lost” hacking. Josh Mathews noted that someone has been “infiltrating” their broadcast. Don Callis talked about how he thinks his phone is hacked due to the time being wrong…
John’s Thoughts: Impact isn’t doing a good job these days with their vignettes. They’ve already threw it out there, through the Hard to Kill fallout show, that Sami Callihan is out there reliving his “hacker” days from WWE. If he isn’t the hacker, then I don’t think an unknown guy with a hacker gimmick will work. Maybe Killer Kross could have pulled this off, but he’s in WWE now. I think the only other person that this could work for is someone like Austin Aries.
The main event entrances and commercial breaks took about 12 minutes of tv time leaving 15 minutes left at the top of the hour…[c]
6. Ace Austin and “Reno Scum” Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe vs. Tommy Dreamer, Tessa Blanchard, and Trey Miguel. Trey Miguel started the match off with Adam F’n Thornstowe. Trey dominated Adam with dropkicks and armdrags. Tessa tagged in. Trey assisted Tessa in hitting Adam with a huracanrana. Dreamer tagged in and gave Adam’s wrist an axe handle. Trey tagged in and gave Adam’s wrist a double stomp. The faces cut the ring in half on Adam for a bit.
Adam managed to tag in Luster who manhandled Trey into the face corner. Luster distracted Tommy enough for the heels to blindside him. The faces regained control. The face tream hit the heels with stereo Bionic Elbows. The faces then all hit a knelt Luster with bionic elbows.[c]
Reno Scum double teamed Dreamer back from the break. Dreamer kicked out at one during a Luster pin attempt. The heels cut the ring in half on Dreamer with quick tags. Thornstowe did his signature arm pit rub on Dreamer. The quick tags continued. Trey managed to tag in, turn the tide, and hit Austin with a diving meteora. Thornstowe broke up the pin. Thornstowe ducked two Feint Kicks and then tossed around Trey a bit. The heels went back to quick tags and isolation on Trey.
Josh noted that it was a bit odd and refreshing to see Ace Austin and Reno Scum not to have to cheat. Callis noted that the trio has good friendship chemistry. Trey got a window of opportunity after hitting Luster in the back with a double stomp. Tessa got the hot tag and cleaned house on the heels. Tessa hit Adam with two dropkicks. Tessa then dominated Luster with punches. Tessa used Adam to help her hit Luster with a DDT. Tessa then planted Adam with a Samoan Drop. Tessa reversed Austin into a sleeper. Trey got the blind back tag in. Tessa and Trey hit Austin with wombo combo kicks.
Trey gave Austin a scorpion kick which allowed tessa to hit Ace with an Ace Crusher. Luster broke up Trey’s pin on Ace. Dreamer gave Luster a diamond cutter. Dreamer gave Luster a diving lariat from the apron. Adam gave Trey a gamengiri. Tessa hit Adam with a dropkick and suicide dive. Austin gave Tessa a nasty PK from the apron. Trey knocked Ace off the apron. Trey hit the pile of people outside with a corkscrew Tope Con Hilo. While Trey was fired up, the referee missed Ace Austin giving Trey a low blow. Ace Austin give Trey “The Fold” for the victory.
Ace Austin and Reno Scum defeated Trey Miguel, Tessa Blanchard, and Tommy Dreamer via pinfall in 12:18 of on-air TV Time.
The victorious heels celebrated while retreating up the ramp to close the show. Josh Mathews’s hype for Sacrifice was cut off by the show “Rock Legends” starting…
John’s Thoughts: A really good paint-by-numbers main event with some good little pieces of development sprinkled in. I really like the heel trio of Reno Scum and Ace Austin. Ace continues to show immense upward mobility. Adam Thornstowe is doing a good job as the Reno Scum sell guy. I still think there’s a lot you guys haven’t seen from Luster the Legend who I’ve seen stand out in the Northern California independents, having great matches against people like Willie Mack, Rich Swann, Brian Cage, and Jeff Cobb. Dreamer and Tessa continue to play their babyface roles well. The brightest spot I’m starting to see from the babyfaces is Trey Miguel. It looks like Impact is trying to separate him from the dorky-ass Rascalz act and he’s doing a real good job shining as his own man. I actually like him taking a lot of losses as it’s putting him on a journey while also establishing Ace Austin’s fold as a credible finisher.
This was one of the better Impact Wrestling episodes I’ve seen in a long while, but I’m guessing that’s due to the episodes in Mexico not really clicking. Back in the USA they’re allowed to go back to telling stories without the handicap of playing in front of an oblivious crowd (due to the language barrier). That said, Sam’s Town Casino doesn’t project sound well or look like a huge crowd. That handicap really stood out in the Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin match where Elgin was treating the match like he was competing in front of a quiet/respectful Asian crowd. The meaningless hype for sacrifice also came off as shoehorned as opposed to them trying to make Impact Plus seem more important. Criticisms aside, I still enjoyed this show. Sorry about the lateness too. As opposed to when Impact was on Fridays, these shows now lead into my work days the next day.