By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped February 7-9 in Las Vegas as Sam’s Town Live
Aired February 25, 2020 on AXS TV
[Hour One] Highlights from the Tessa Blanchard vs. Ace Austin at the Impact-OVW Sacrifice show that aired on Impact Plus this past Saturday. They aired footage from after the match where Ace Austin ran into Scott D’Amore. They exchanged words. Ace asked D’Amore to book him in a “title match” because Ace said he performs well under pressure. D’Amore granted Ace his wish. Ace assumed it was for the World Championship. D’Amore informed Ace that the title match will happen on the next Impact show and instead it will be for Ace Austin’s X Division Championship…
The Impact intro theme aired. Josh Mathews and Don callis were on commentary…
1. Rob Van Dam (w/Katie Forbes) vs. Daga. Rob and Katie shared a kiss before Daga and Rob locked up. Josh Mathews noted the crowd was in favor of RVD due to RVD residing in Las Vegas. After fighting Rob to ringside, Daga hit Rob with a plancha. Rob came back by giving Daga a body slam at ringside. Rob dominated Daga at ringside, and even gave Daga a spin back kick. The camera focused on Katie Forbes yelling at her phone due to what the commentary team assumed was negative social media interaction. Katie Forbes was mic’d up (for television) it seemed.
Rob used his leg scissors rollup for a two count. Rob teased doing a Rolling Thunder, but did his expected fakeout and made out with Katie. Katie and Rob then argued about social media. Callis said, “welcome to the internet”. Daga caught Rob with a dropkick and Dragon Screw. Rob tossed Daga into ringpost. Katie distracted Rob again by complaining about social media. Daga almost got the win after a small package. Suddenly, Katie left ringside.
Daga countered Rob’s rolling monkey flip with a dropkick. Rob came right back with a back kick. Rob was confused and looking for Katie. This allowed Daga to nail him with a Fireman Carry Codebreakrer. Daga got a two count. Daga knocked Rob off the apron with a dropkick. Daga hit Rob with a suicide dive. Rob rolled to ringside when Daga went high risk. Rob then said “I have to find Katie”. He walked up the ramp and went to the back. Don Callis noted that this was a countout victory and the ref called for the bell after the ten count.
Daga defeated Rob Van Dam via countout in 8:54.
Daga got a mild applause (with one female fan cheering loud I assume due to hearing an annoying yelp resonate from the crowd). Josh noted that RVD and Katie taking a powder was odd…
John’s Thoughts: Not much of a match and more of an angle to introduce a layer to Rob and Katie’s heel characters, a social media aspect. Not an aspect that appeals to me because of how forced it was on first impression, but I’m willing to see where it goes once they let this stew in their characters a bit. I’m guessing they’re not looking to elevate Daga yet because he was just a background player in the big picture here. It also hurt that the crowd sat on their hands during Daga’s big moments and cheered for RVD (which Josh noted was due to Vegas being Rob’s home crowd these days).
RVD asked Katie Forbes backstage, what was her problem? Katie said the fans out there are the same fans hating on Rob and Katie online and that they don’t deserve to see Rob and Katie. Rob said even though they are terrible people, they do deserve to see Rob and Katie because they’re paying customers. Joey Ryan approached Rob and Katie. Joey said he understands where Rob and Katie are coming from because the same people who hate on Rob and Katie hate on Joey Ryan. Joey said he has a super penis, Katie has a super ass, and Rob is a super star. Joey said they are targets because of their “gifts”. Joey said this situation can bring the three together. Joey said if Katie and Rob ever need a talk, Joey’s their guy. Joey left and RVD let out a confused “ok?”…[c]
John’s Thoughts: I’m also willing to see where this goes because if these two tag up it might freshen up Joey’s carbon copy penis matches. What is a bit odd about this whole social media based gimmick is Rob, Katie, and Joey don’t come off as evil/hated personalities online. Joey Ryan only really gets hate from old school wrestlers and wrestling purists. Katie hasn’t been on TV long enough to develop into a celebrity. Rob, on the other hand, gets praise for his heel resurgence. I don’t wanna go there, but sadly Tessa Blanchard gets way more negative social media attention than Rob and Katie. It kinda hurts that they can’t really try to fabricate trends because this show is a taped and not live show.
Gabby Loren interviewed Jordynne Grace who announced that she was challenging anyone. Madison Rayne interrupted and bragged about being a former champion. Rayne talked about how Grace is stealing her concept because Rayne introduced the open challenge concept last week. Grace assumed Rayne was accepting the challenge. Rayne refused and said to come back to her when she’s five time champion. Rayne talked about how there’s a lot of young talent that needs a lockerroom leader who wants to come after Grace. Grace left, saying she’s looking for somebody to challenge Grace…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from their commentary table. Callis continued his running joke of comparing Madison Rayne to Bret Hart. Josh Mathews announced they were going to show an off-site taped match from Dayton, OH, which is Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards in the fourth match of their series. Josh also announced the return of [TNA] Gut Check…
Gama Singh handled the Desi Hit Squad introduction for Rohit Raju. Rohit Raju and Mahabali Shera made their entrance. They aired footage of Rohit Raju costing the Rascalz their match against the North at Sacrifice. They then aired a Rohit Raju backstage promo where he said this has nothing to do with helping the North. Rohit said he just wanted to make sure the Rascalz didn’t win because they keep getting opportunities over the other tag teams in the division. Rohit said he and Shera are tearing through the competition, including the Rascalz. Rohit said they are taking what they want and the DHS are the next tag team champions…
John’s Thoughts: While not the greatest promo in the world, that wasn’t a bad promo at all. Rohit can talk. He has a voice. Maybe Impact should consider giving this guy the mic more, especially when Gama is pretty mediocre on the microphone.
2. Rohit Raju (w/Gama Singh, Mahabali Shera) vs. Zachary Wentz (w/Trey Miguel, Dezmond Xavier). The match started off with chain wrestling. Rohit dominated the initial exchange. Wentz returned the favor with an alligator roll. Zach caught Rohit with a headscissors takedown after a running exchange. Zach hit Rohit with a release German Suplex. Rohit caught Zach off guard with a leg sweep and basement knee. [c]
Zach fended off Rohit with a boot. Rohit came right back with a side Russian Legsweep on Zach for a two count. Zach staggered Rohit into the corner with a punch-kick combination. Zach knocked Rohit to the ground and hit him with a PK. Rohit rolled outside, but avoided a suicide dive. Zach blocked Rohit’s dive with a stunner on the ropes. Zach caught Rohit with a side slam for a two count. Zach hit Rohit with elbows and chops. Shera got on the apron for a distraction. Rohit hit Wentz with a knee and Paydirt for a two count.
Rohit worked on Zach on the ground with strikes and biting. Zach hit Rohit with a One Percenter. Zach went to the top rope. Shera tried to distract Zach from the apron, but the other two Rascalz pulled Shera off the apron and gave him stereo kicks. Zach crashed and burned on a Swanton attempt. Josh noted that Zach took too much time after being distracted by Shera. Rohit caught Zach on the back of the neck with a double stomp, leading to a pinfall win.
Rohit Raju defeated Zachary Wentz via pinfall in 7:17 of on-air TV time.
After the match, the Desi Hit Squad theme was interrupted by the ICU hacking graphics and QR Code. Things got back to normal and everyone acted confused…
John’s Thoughts: A fun TV match for the limited time they were given. It’s tough for either guy to really gain traction as a character due to both guys (and teams) lacking any credibility. Sucks for them, because both teams have a lot of talent. Rohit is in the Cameron Grimes role of being a blue chip talent with the jobber presentation. Zachary is trapped in the scrub-ish Rascalz gimmick. All things considered, I have more hope that Rohit might find a way to get elevated because the DHS can be retooled with Mahabali back. The Rascalz can be more credible too, if they just drop the 70s show ripoff act. I was actually disappointed to see Trey Miguel at ringside because he was showing a lot of promise away from the group and in the television main events.
Ace Austin cut a promo backstage. He said he has a problem with having a match against Tessa with his title on the line first. Ace said he already beat Tessa several times and also has “Option C”. Ace said he got a long look at the world championship at Sacrifice. Ace said when he wins tonight he’ll be automatically number one contender. Ace ended his promo by saying he’ll have an ace under his sleeve for tonights match…[c]
It was time for an OVE Camcorder promo, sans Sami Callihan. Dave Crist, Jake Crist, and Madman Fulton were in front of the camera. Dave complained about how OVE has been losing everything every week. Dave said Jake and Fulton were distracted wondering when Sami was coming back. Dave yelled that Sami Callihan is not coming back and is gone. Dave said OVE needs a new leader, implying that he’d make a good leader. Fulton then got in Dave’s face, causing Dave to say that Fulton might make a good leader. Jake then got between them and yelled “We are Ohio strong!”. Jake said OVE was for Ohio, by Ohio, and are going to continue to take over Everything. Jake then led OVE in doing Sami’s thumbs up thing…
John’s Thoughts: Interesting promo. Sami is still the obvious frontrunner for the role of the SCU hacker, but because they are on the nose about it I think it might be a red herring? As for the mystery hacker gimmick, Sami tried it in WWE dark segments but it never made it to NXT TV. Maybe it’ll work? What I’m more intrigued by was Jake Crist taking charge of the camcorder promo. Jake Crist was a big time surprise when he broke out as X Division Champion. While Ace Austin has justified his X Division Champion push, a part of me was always disappointed that Jake Crist quickly faded in the background after losing the title, back to the role of a henchman. Here’s hoping Jake Crist gets storyline focus again because he was showing a lot of growth in terms of credibility and in terms of character work.
3. Jordynne Grace vs. Miranda Alize (w/Madison Rayne) for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Josh noted that Miranda wears a half mask because she’s half Mexican. Miranda managed to back Grace into a corner. Miranda slapped Grace. Grace came back with a slam for a two count. Miranda hit Grace with a few impressive huracanranas and a high knee. Alize toyed with Grace a bit. Grace came back with a forearm and a few kicks. Grace gave Alize double knees and a basement forearm. Grace got a two count after a Vader Bomb. Grace caught Alize with a back elbow.
Alize surprised Grace with a cutter for a two count. Grace escaped a suplex attempt from Alize. Grace hit Alize with a Grace Driver for the victory.
Jordynne Grace defeated Miranda Alize via pinfall in 4:07 to retain the Impact Knockouts Championship.
John’s Thoughts: While it’s not the worst person to have as champion, Jordynne Grace hasn’t really done much to really stand out. It’s odd. She has a great and unique look, but there is a blandness personality-wise with her. She’s starting to remind me of Bobby Lashley during his first WWE run, which isn’t a good thing (not as bland as Daga though, so that’s a plus?). Now on the other side of the ring, Miranda Aliza wasn’t too bad? I wouldn’t mind seeing her more in Impact or another television women’s division. I kinda wish she kept the half mask on because the lore that Josh Mathews explained was interesting in terms of her mixed race. I would also selfishly want to see her team up with someone named Hennessy to form the tag team of Alize and Hennessy. RIP Tupac Shakur.
Gabby Loren congratulated Josh Alexander and Ethan Page for winning a match at Sacrifice and informed them that they are booked in a non-title match against Fallah Bahh and TJ Perkins next week. Page said Gabby doesn’t just have to congratulate them for winning a match, but congratulate them for just being successful in tag team wrestling. Page said The North is the standard barer in Tag Team wrestling. Page said he understands why TJP wants to be like Josh Alexander in terms of technical ability. Page said he also sees Bahh trying to be Ethan Page, fun loving and likable. Page pointed out that Gabby was laughing (Even Page is pointing out that Gabby smiles too much, even when people antagonize her).
Alexander said Bahh and Perkins shouldn’t follow in the North’s steps too long and they should tread lightly. He said if you follow too long, then you run into The North. Alexander said they are the Tag Team standard bearers in the industry. Alexander said The North will soon be the longest tag team champions in Impact history. Alexander said “we are The North”. Page simply said “thanks” to Gabby…[c]
A Chris Bey video package aired…
Jessika Havok was wandering around backstage. Rosemary teleported in. She informed Havok that somehow she got a match booked next week between Su Yung and Jessika Havok…
[Hour Two] Josh Mathews sent it over to a Pro Wrestling Revolver show (a promotion owned by Sami Callihan) for the fourth Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards match. Josh Mathews and D’Lo Brown were on commentary…
4. Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards in the fourth match of their best-of-five series (Elgin leads 2-1). Elgin and Eddie had a pretty even exchange to start. Elgin grounded Eddie with a shoulder block. Elgin then dominated for a stretch. Eddie managed to get an Atomic Drop and Belly to Belly on Elgin. Elgin quickly reentered the ring by doing an impressive slingshot uppercut. Eddie came back with a Fisherman Buster for a two count. Eddie gave Elgin a few chest slaps. Elgin sent Eddie to the mat with an elbow. Elgin came back with a right hand conbination and sliding forearm for a two count.
Elgin and Eddie traded strong style chest chops. Elgin came back with an elevated side slam followed up by a body slam. Eddie gave Elgin a Yakuza kick to stagger Elgin on the top rope. Eddie hit Elgin with a Superplex. Eddie hit Elgin with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count (he never wins with that move). Elgin punched his way out of Eddie’s Backpack Stunner. Elgin did a cartwheel and hit Eddie with a superkick. Eddie came back with a German Suplex that Elgin no-sold. Elgin hit Eddie with a swinging side slam for a two count.[c]
Eddie and Elgin traded boots. Eddie escaped a German Suplex and Samoan Drop attempt. Eddie gave Elgin a superkick. Eddie and Elgin traded fatigued strong style strikes. Eddie planted Elgin with a Tiger Bomb for a two count. Elgin swung Eddie to the corner. Eddie used elbows to fend Elgin off. Eddie crash and burned on a Moonsault attempt because Elgin rolled aside. After trading counters, Elgin planted Eddie with a discus lariat. Eddie crumpled to the mat to avoid an Elgin clothesline. Eddie got a two count after a small package. Elgin blocked more Eddie rollups. Eddie managed to get the win after a matchbox rollup.
Eddie Edwards defeated Michael Elgin via pinfall in 11:27 of on-air TV Time. Series tied 2-2.
John’s Thoughts: An okay match, but probably the most forgettable match of the series. It was fine, but Impact using stock footage again made this match come off as filler, which it is. Impact never really benefits when they use stock footage to fill time, and it doesn’t help when they try to frame it as important. This kinda hurts Elgin, because he lost cleanly to goofy-ass Eddie. Eddie never comes off well because he’s goofy-ass Eddie, a bad cartoon shell of what he used to be.
They cut back to Josh Mathews and Don Callis at Sam’s Town. Josh ran through next week’s advertised matches. They then cut to the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was Ken Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy in a ladder match for Jeff Hardy’s custom TNA Championship at TNA Against All Odds 2010. I fast forwarded through 6 minutes of match footage. Jeff Hardy won his Willow belt back in the end…
John’s Thoughts: Two filler segments in a row? Ok? At least the second filler was six minutes of show I could skip.
Gabby Loren interviewed Scott D’Amore and Petey Williams. Gabby acknowledge that Petey and Scott used to be a part of Team Canada. Petey was extra giddy about this. Petey talked about how the Canadian Destroyer was more amazing back 15 years ago because everyone wasn’t using it as much back then (that’s actually so true). D’Amore hyped up the TNA No Place Like Home show during WrestleMania weekend. D’Amore brought up things from TNA’s past like the Canadian Destroyer, X Division, Ultimate X, King of the Mountain, and Reverse Battle Royal. D’Amore joked about how nobody really knows the rules to King of the Mountain (again, so true).
D’Amore pointed out that Petey was wearing a TN-eh shirt and joked about how they should be still selling that. D’Amore said that Impact management is more competant these days (I mean, I know Dixie’s gone, but uhm? I guess? By comparison). Moose interrupted and said that TNA is dead. Moose said TNA should be left at the graveyard. Moose said they should talk about Impact and Mr. Impact Wrestling. Petey said without TNA, there wouldn’t be a Impact and Impact Wrestling. Moose said it doesn’t matter because Moose would be a star in any era.
Moose then joked about the so-called “stars” of TNA like Amazing Red, Chris Harris, and Suicide (ouch. And Red didn’t deserve to be lumped in that group). Petey said the difference between those guys mentioned and Moose is that Moose was never a champion (wait? What? not true). D’Amore said it’s TNA 1 Moose 0 (But Moose is a two time champion in TNA. I remember this because Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, and Aron Stevens would kick Moose in the balls every week when he was champion. Moose was a hilariously bad babyface and champion)…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Moose is a two time TNA Grand Champion? Anyway, that was a fun segment, but also very odd that Impact is leaning into their laughing stock past. It’s progress that they’re acknowledging the things that drove wrestling fans away from their show, but does that do anything postitively for them? I honestly got a kick out of the self deprecating humor, but is it wise to try to associate this current product with a product that burned bridges?
Johnny Swinger was still trying to convince Willie Mack that they are a team. Swinger said that he felt that Mack being stiff in his punches means that they are getting closer as a unit. Swinger said they have their timing down and will draw serious money. Suddenly, the guy who almost won my Dot Net Best Heel of 2019, Disco Inferno Glenn Gilbertti, joined the conversation. Disco said Mack is obviously not interested in teaming with Swinger. Disco said he knows who can “work” as a person that’s drawn money all around the world, and Mack can “work”. Swinger said he knows how to “wizzork”. Mack walked away from the bickering comedy guys. Disco noted that Mack doesn’t have a gimmick, but Swinger and Disco have gimmicks.
Disco said since Disco needs a superstar with a gimmick, then Mack could use Disco as a tag partner. Swinger questioned Disco trying to become a part of a big tag team. Disco bragged about being a former WCW Television and Cruiserweight champion. Swinger said Disco might be Swinger’s perfect partner. Swinger asked Disco if he actually watches “the TV”. Disco claimed to know what Johnny is talking about. Disco then agreed to tag up and then wondered who he was tagging with, Swinger or Willie…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A bit rough to start, but Disco saved it in the end with the quick witted “who am I tagging with, you or Willie” line. Glad to see Disco back on Impact TV because he really surprised me last year as one of the most entertaining parts of Impact during a strong stretch of their very entertaining shows. Maybe he can help them from their creative funk? Probably not, but at least we’re getting more fun Disco wit. As for Swinger and Mack, Mack still comes off as the dick and Swinger is oddly coming off as lovable. This is really feeling like the Heath Slater and Rhino storyline from a few years ago in WWE. I kinda hope Mack and Pack get similar success because they’re both entertaining.
They aired footage of the new Impact Gut Check concept which looks like some sort of weird contest where a bunch of Scott D’Amore’s students from BCW are competing for an Impact contract. The head “coach” was John E Bravo acting serious. John E berated one guy for getting up the wrong way. I’m honestly fast forwarding the rest of this…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Oh crap. They’re bringing back the crappy ass “Global Forged” show that no one cared about from two years ago. I believe Rohit Raju somehow won that. Hardass John E Bravo? Really? Hontou ni?
Ace Austin and Tessa Blanchard made their entrances with 15 minutes left at the top of the hour…
5. Ace Austin vs. Tessa Blanchard for the Impact X Division Championship. Tessa dominated Ace with a few kicks. Tessa tangled Ace in the turnbuckles and hit him with a codebreaker for a two count. Tessa got a schoolgirl after reversing a suplex. Ace Austin gave Tessa a few backbreakers. Don Callis noted that Ace Austin has really thick thighs. [c]
Austin hit Blanchard with a back heel kick for a two count. Austin then trapped Tessa in a bow and arrow submission. He had it on for about a minute. Ace got a two count on Tessa. Ace then worked on Tessa with methodical offense. Tessa managed to rally back a bit after sidestepping Austin. Tessa caught Ace with a huracanrana followed by a suicide dive. Ace hit Tessa with an impressive side slam gutbuster. Josh noted that it’s interesting that Ace is targeting Tessa’s gut. Ace went back to working on Tessa.
Tessa rallied back with kicks and chops. Ace fought back with his own strikes. Ace hit Tessa with a snapmare and a few kicks. Ace then locked Tessa in a Dragon Sleeper. Tessa landed a few chops and forearms on Ace. Ace blocked a Hammerlock DDT attempt. Tessa ducked a Fold attempt. Tessa rallied back. Tessa planted Ace with a Tornado DDT. Taya Valkyrie ran in and gave Tessa a spear to invoke the DQ.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Ace Austin via apparent DQ in 8:26 of on-air TV time.
Taya pounded at Tessa with axe handle strikes. Ace looked at the camera and noted that it looked pretty hot. Taya then stood tall over the unconscious Tessa. Taya threw down her purple jacket and went back to pounding on Tessa. Taya let out sadistic laughter while beating on Tessa. A good portion of the crowd actually were cheering Taya and giving Taya “Wera Loca” chants to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: I guest that’s one way to get Ace Austin out of losing to Tessa on television. Hopefully they keep those two apart until they can build Tessa vs. Ace as a big money match, maybe at Destination X or whatnot? Taya’s beatdown was pretty impressive, but you would have hoped that the crowd would have booed Taya instead of cheering her. What can you do i guess?
Not sure how I feel about Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Men’s Championship? The matches will be great, but it kinda locks out the men from having any meaningful feuds. I guess the X Division championship is there as a midcard thing, but that always came off as a de facto Cruiserweight Championship. Let’s see where this goes. As for the show? There were good parts, but I felt like there was way more filler than we needed, especially during the second hour. Even the Sacrifice recaps felt like filler. We also got way more Scott D’Amore than we ever needed as tonight’s authority figure. For some reason, that makes him come off as the stubborn creative force backstage; and that’s just a weird hunch I have. Maybe Jason Powell liked it better than I did? You can get his Hit List of the show later on. He’ll also be by with his member’s exclusive Audio Review.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...