By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped February 7-8 in Las Vegas as Sam’s Town Live
Aired March 10, 2020 on AXS TV
[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie match aired followed by the Impact intro theme…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
1. Madman Fulton (w/Jake Crist, Dave Crist) vs. Rhino. Dave Crist tried to distract Rhino early on. This caused the referee to eject the Crist Brothers a few seconds after the bell. Rhino dominated the open of the match with punches and tackles. Rhino then did his signature walk and brawl at ringside. Fulton turned the tables by slamming Rhino into the ringpost. Fulton got a two count on Rhino after a splash. Rhino tried to make a comeback but he was choked on the second rope and then thrown into the corner turnbuckle. Fulton went into methodical offense mode.
John’s Thoughts: This feels like the NXT dream match nobody asked for. I only say that because Fulton and Rhino were in NXT at the same time. And yes, old Rhino had a run in NXT. It was a pretty fun run.
Rhino rallied back with strikes but he hate a elbow shot from Fulton. Fulton went back into methodical heel offense mode. Fulton crash and burned on a top rope headbutt attempt. This allowed Rhino to get a bit of respite, especially after Rhino pushed Fulton into the second turnbuckle. Rhino had a shoulder tackle rally. Fulton blocked the Gore with two big boots for a two count. Fulton missed a top rope lariat and walked into a Gore. Rhino picked up the clean pinfall win over OVE’s monster. What?
Rhino defeated Madman Fulton via pinfall in 8:03.
Jake and Dave Crist quickly ran out after Rhino’s win. The Crist Brothers put the boots to Rhino. Suddenly, the lights went out. Callis wondered if it was the ICU hacking glitch again. The lights came back on and Sabu (w/Super Genie) appeared. The Crist Brothers were cleared from the ring by having a chair thrown at them. Fulton had Sabu by the throat. Sabu countered the chokeslam and DDT’d Fulton into a chair. Rhino, Sabu, and Super Genie stood tall in the ring… [c]
John’s Thoughts: What the hell was that? Rhino? Clean win? 2020? Over supposed top heels? Over the monster of the big heel group? Rhino took care of OVE easier than it took him to deal with Moose. Not only that, but 50+ year old Sabu (who looks amazing and ageless for 50+) single handedly dispatches all three heels. On top of that he dispatched their “monster” without a weapon? What is up with Impact booking? EC-Dub? TNA!? TNA!? Only in TNA I guess, they are doing an anniversary show, so I guess the bad booking is some warped homage. At least that’s how I’m going to rationalize it.
A hype video aired for Chris Bey’s (re-) debut. He’s appearing next week…
Tessa Blanchard was interviewed about her thoughts on the Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin match. Tessa talked about having a target on her back. She ran through her successful title defenses. Tessa ended the promo by saying that it doesn’t matter who wins the best of 5 series because at Rebellion, Tessa is walking out as World Champion…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from the commentary table. Josh ran through upcoming segments. Josh then cut to three indie wrestlers standing in front of a trailer. He said the “Security” were there to prevent the Impact show from getting hacked. Callis joked about hoping the hackers kidnap David Sahadi (former Impact video producer, currently working with MLW I think?)…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? I know it’s possible to “hack” something by having physical access to the actual computer, but given how hacking is portrayed in media and the nature of the hacks that happened on this show, don’t you think this “hacker” would hack their computers via wi-fi, or the inter net. Maybe the kayfabe is that Anthem can’t afford McAfee Anti-virus or a fire wall.
Gama Singh cut his usual intro promo for his guys…
2. “The Desi Hit Squad” Rohit Raju and Mahabali Shera (w/Gama Singh) vs. “The Rascalz” Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz. No Trey Miguel at ringside (good for him). Josh noted that Callis called Singh the “Bill Belichick” of pro wrestling (Huh? I thought Callis used that tag for Konnan? Gama is more like the Jeff Fisher or Hue Jackson of pro wrestling given how ineffective he is as a coach). Rohit acted like a cartoon early on, as he’s apt to do. He even dominated Dezmond a bit. Dezmond turned the tide a bit by tripping Rohit. Dezmond took down Rohit with a moonsault. Wentz tagged in and hit Rohit with a dive for a nearfall.
Dezmond tagged back in. Rohit regained control after a single leg takedown on Dezmond. Shera tagged in and hit Dezmond with a palm strike. Shera hit Dezmond with power strikes. Rohit tagged in. Shera hit Dezmond with a power move combination, with help from Rohit. Rohit got a two count on Dez. Dezmond leapfrogged out of the corner to tag in Wentz. Wentz hit a strike combo on Rohit. Wentz did a rolling snapmare into a PK for a two count. Shera stopped the Rascalz from hitting their finisher on Rohit. Shera choke slammed Dezmond on his knee folled by a Daniel Bryan Knee from Rohit (nice finisher sequence). Shera then forgot he was the legal man and walked away.
After figuring it out, Shera got back in the ring and got a two count on Dezmond. Dezmond escaped a rip cord hold from Shera and hit Rohit with a back kick. Dezmond hit Shera (barely) with a back kick which Shera no-sold. Both Rascalz then took down Shera with rapid fire roundhouse kicks. shera then rolled to one corner so Zack could Swanton him. Then Shera rolled into position (dammit Shera!) so that Dezmond can easily Spiral Tap him. Both Rascalz jumpped on Shera for the pinfall win.
The Rascalz defeated The Desi Hit Squad via pinfall in 5:57.
John’s Thoughts: A lot of weirdness there. The first two-thirds of the match was good, then the botching happened. That spot after the DHS hit a cool looking double team move was weird. Also, what is up with heel monsters on Impact? Losing cleanly all over the place? And to the scrub, only by presentation and somewhat comedy, tag team? Is Jeff Jarrett somehow secretly booking this? The heels are getting no heat. Someone call Dutch Mantel! I feel like he’d do a better job. Hell, Don Callis is good, but it looks like he may be burned out.
Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes were chatting backstage. Katie was wearing a cowboy hat and see through t-shirt (with star pasties to block the nipples). Katie talked about liking to show off her body, and how the internet trolls are saying nasty things about her online. Katie threw away some random piece of clothing. Cody Deaner (who was with Cousin Jake) then told Katie that he thinks Katie looked nice in that clothes that she threw away. Joey Ryan then walked up to Cody, defending Katie and saying that Cody was giving an unsolicitated opinion to Katie.
Joey said Cody is like the internet trolls who objectify Katie. Jake said Joey is just twisting Cody’s words out of context. Joey said he’s not going to argue about this like he was in the YouTube comment section. Joey challenged the Deaners to a match next week. Cody said “You want the Deaners eh? You got the Deaners”. The Deaners left after Jake said “Give’er”. Joey told Rob “We got this”. It took Rob a second to figure out that Joey was setting themselves up as a team. RVD accepted with a fist bump…[c]
A Tenille Dashwood vignette aired showing Tenille walking outside and being fashionable. She might have been in Vegas, but she also might be in front of LA Live (which is an AXS property). The vignette ended with a graphic saying “Dare to live the LIFE you’ve always wanted”…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Emmalina? I mean it was a pretty good vignette, but the last time Tenille was acting like an Instagram fashionista, it didn’t end too well.
Jordynne Grace made her entrance. Madison Rayne cut a promo at the top of the ramp and hyped up her challenger for Grace’s title. She announced Grace’s opponent as Lacey Ryan. Lacey may or may not have been the woman who stood up to Kiera Hogan last week. Josh noted that Ryan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota which Callis pointed out means she’s a Golden Gopher…
3. Jordynne Grace vs. Lacey Ryan (w/Madison Rayne) for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Ryan actually is taller than Grace and managed to fend off Grace’s initial tackles. Grace grounded Ryan with a shoulder tackle. Ryan kicked out of Grace’s rollup. Ryan shoved Grace to the corner. Grace gave Ryan a toss from the top rope followed by a nearfall. Ryan hit Grace with a PK and slingshot elbow for a two count. Ryan the hit Grace with some ground and pound. Ryan hit Grace with a STO into a Juji Gatame. Grace escaped with a rollup attempt. Grace slammed Ryan in the corner and hit her with a meteora and diving lariat combination.
Grace hit Ryan with a Vader Bomb. Ryan kicked out at two with Grace counting along with the fans during the pin attempt. Grace gave Ryan clubbing blows. Ryan came back with a kick and shining wizard combination for a two count. Grace caught Ryan on the top rope with a palm strike. Ryan blocked a Superplex attempt form Grace. Grace cane back with a right hand and planted Ryan with a Kinniku Buster. Ryan kicked out at two. Josh Mathews called out Grace for constantly counting along with the fans and not focusing on the pin.
Josh noted that Grace looks like she wants to pose for the poster shot during her victories. Lacey no sold Grace’s body slams and responded with forearms. Lacey hit Grace with a rolling Samoan Drop. Ryan hit Grace with a Frog Splash for a two count. Grace ate a back elbow from Ryan. Ryan missed a crossbody. After both women traded counters, Grace hit Ryan with the Grace Driver for the win.
Jordynne Grace defeated Lacey Ryan via pinfall in 7:06 to retain the Impact Knockouts Championship.
Josh Mathews talked about Lacey Ryan looking very impressive. Josh then hyped Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards as the main event. The show then cut to commercial, featuring Eddie Money yet again…[c]
John’s Thoughts: This is a strangely booked episode of Impact so far. The first two matches had monster heels take clean losses to babyfaces who could have taken losses. Now their monster babyface knockouts champion gets womanhandled by a virtual enhancement talent? No knock on Lacey Ryan, she was impressive, but does anyone expect Lacey Ryan to stick around after the Sam’s Town tapings given how we usually get “temporary guest wrestlers” from Impact’s touring rotation? Maybe this is some sort of deep and warped homage to TNA and TNA’s historic bad booking? Can we get Dave Lagana, Matt Conway, and Billy Corgan back on the books? Can we at least get 2019 Don Callis back?
An ad aired to hype up the March 31 TNA on AXS TV throwback special. The ad featured mostly wrestlers currently associated with WWE…
Fallah Bahh looked nervous backstage while TJ Perkins was laying on a couch, watching his cell phone. Bahh speaks in English these days, and he contemplated that he and Perkins can be the first Filipino Tag Team Champions. Bahh slapped the couch to get TJ’s attention because TJ was distracted on his phone. Bahh reiterated that they can be the first Filipino champions and said that some people were watching (I think he used some Tagalog words that I’m unfamiliar with). Perkins then said he heard “First ever Filipino world tag team champions”. Perkins then left, saying “we got this”..
John’s Thoughts: Is this just the Filipino version of Team Canada? Team Philippines? Team [fill in the country]? Can somebody call Kevin Mathews back to tag team with Fallah Bahh? Save me from this weird TNA show.
Speaking of TNA, it was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was actually just about a minute of some random Ultimate X match from 2004. They didn’t really show who was wrestling other than the fact that Chris Sabin won the X Division Championship…
It turns out that the previous segment was a segue for the next segment. Gabby Loren interviewed Chris Sabin, who was wearing a plaid shirt. Gabby pointed out that Chris Sabin works backstage for Impact. Sabin said, home is where the heart is. He talked about proudly representing the city of Detroit, Michigan. He said he’s going to be moving back on TV by being a guest referee at the TNA No Place Like Home show (the WrestleMania weekend show). Sabin said he’s refereeing a World Title King of the Mountain Match (Oh god!). Moose interrupted.
Moose said Sabin’s services aren’t needed for a ladder match. Moose talked about one day climbing the ladder in King of the Mountain and winning the title. Sabin informed Moose that to win the title in KOTM, you have to hang the title on the hook instead of unhooking it. Moose then corrected himself by saying he’ll climb up and hang the title. Sabin then corrected Moose by running through the convoluted rules of the King of the Mountain match (which involved pinfalls, penalty boxes, and a guy walking around the ring, who used to be Jeremy Borash, holding the title). Moose corrected himself again. Sabin then explained the penalty box rule. Moose said this match is stupid. Sabin said since Moose thinks it’s stupid he’ll fit right in…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Huh? What show am I reviewing tonight? I get self deprecating humor, but they are taking this so far, that when you combine it with their mediocre booking in recent months, it makes it look like this company is in psychotic denial. Maybe D’Amore and Callis saw the actual ratings this show is getting on AXS (because we don’t have access to that data) and it put them in shock? I don’t know. I feel bad for Sabin. That and Moose is the biggest babyface on the show as the anti-crap-ass-TNA guy.
A video package aired, hyping Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin…
[Hour Two] Taya Valkyrie was at some hotel bar, and she was sobbing about random trivial things like not finding matching purses and stuff. She was freaking out a random guy at the bar. Taya talked about how this bad day just won’t end (I totally understand Taya. She’s probably watching this episode of Impact too). Taya kept asking for more booze. Rosemary was also sobbing and ranting about having a bad day. Rosemary talked about not being happy even though she got what she wanted, her enemies fighting each other. Rosemary started smoking a cigarette out of nowhere.
Taya calmly took the cigarette away saying that cigarettes are bad for you. Rosemary then asked the bartender for five drinks that kill the liver instead of the sticks that kill the lungs. Taya then cried about missing out on Bloomingdales discounts as well as losing her shot at the World title. Rosemary then had a epiphany after hearing that Taya lost everything. Rosemary said she lost everything too and that’s the common ground they have. Rosemary then quoted Fight Club in saying “once you lost everything, that you’re free to do anything”. Rosemary said this is a call for a celebration. Taya then wonders if it’s like a party and she wanted it to be a themed party…
John’s Thoughts: Thank you Taya and Rosemary! That was actually a really good segment that actually pushed forward character development. I think that might have been Rosemary’s most coherent and compelling mic work in over a year, after being stuck for the longest time spewing out pretentious rhetoric. Taya was her usual good Taya self and it was nice to see her character evolve into a bit of a psychotic. Impact has let me down recently with compelling storylines (like the Susie Yung story, or Jake Crist), but I think this Rosemary and Taya babyface pairing has the potential to be very good. I hope this is what saves Rosemary from the motion-less Undead Realm division. Poor Havok and Su. Impact better not be messing with me and go the other route by dragging Taya into the Undead Realm division. I don’t think that’s the case and I’m really looking forward to getting old Rosemary back.
4. “The Disco Inferno” Glenn Gilbertti and Johnny Swinger vs. Willie Mack in a Handicap Match. Josh Mathews went into somber voice and said that you should ignore Impact’s social media right now (Will do Josh! I’m pretty sure a ton of non-fanboys are ignoring Impact social media too). The referee took away the brass knuckles tucked in Swinger’s singlet. Swinger accidentally knocked Disco off the apron. Disco tagged in and took a hip toss from Mack. Mack then followed up with an armdrag. Swinger tagged in and took a hip toss. Mack gave Swinger an Atomic Drop and dropkick for a two count. The heels then got on teh same page and worked on Mack.
Disco used the roll of quarters again. Disco and Swinger gave Mack a lariat for a two count. Mack and Swinger then traded quick tags for double team offense on Mack. The Disco balls dominated Mack for a few minutes. Callis said Disco knows about three moves, one being the Village People’s elbow. Suddenly Ace Austin ran to Mack’s corner to be his tag partner I guess? Is he just allowed to do that? Only in TNA I guess. Mack got a window of opportunity after hitting Disco with a Stunner. Mack got the hot tag to Ace Austin.
Ace hit Disco with a kick and twisting senton. Swinger broke up the pin. Ace and Mack Irish Whipped the Disco Balls into each other. Ace helped Mack hit Disco with his Samoan Drop and Moonsault Combo. Ace tagged in and hit Disco with the Fold. Mack tagged in, and hit Disco with the Six Star Frog Splash for the victory.
Willie Mack and Ace Austin defeated Disco Inferno and Johnny Swinger via pinfall in 7:52.
Mack had leery facial expressions at Ace Austin’s sudden alliance with him…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts that are mixed only due to the immense amount of overbooking here. I mean, I do like the potential Ace Austin vs. Willie Mack title feud that this is presumably building towards. I usually trust Impact to treat Ace right and that’s the logical route you take with Ace hiding behind one of his potential top contenders. What has me a bit baffled is not only did the Willie Mack and Johnny Swinger potential pairing seem like something that could have been fun, but they also spend all this TV time building up Mack and Swinger as a tag team, only to drop the story at a drop of a hat?
Jessika Havok was roaming around backstage for some reason. Su Yung showed up and a brawl ensued, complete with noose choking and crappy stock action music. This lasted about a minute, and Su Yung managed to put Jessika Havok in her giant black box, and then closed it…[c]
Disco Inferno and Johnny Swinger were bickering backstage. Disco called Johnny a bum for losing all the time. Disco said he’s firing Johnny’s ass. Johnny said he’s the leader of the Swinging Disco Balls. Disco said the Swinging Disco Balls suck. Disco walked away saying he quit. Swinger was disappointed because he ordered a bunch of Disco Balls t-shirts to be printed…
John’s Thoughts: Welp, this run from Disco Inferno was a disappointment. Which is a shame too, because Disco Inferno was one of the highlights in pro wrestling of 2019 in my opinion. No clue why they didn’t give him mic time and cinematics this time around, but Impact seems to be in a creative funk on AXS.
It was time for this week’s Impact Gut Check segment. They aired clips from past “episodes” which included John E Bravo being a hard ass and Scott D’Amore looking like he’s reading generic coach words off a teleprompter. They ended up showing some of the Gut Check wrestlers wrestle at an indie show, with Josh Mathews and Scott D’Amore on commentary. Not sure who won, don’t care. Josh said you can see the rest of this episode on Impact Plus…
John’s Thoughts: Yep, this is a dud. You wanna know something better you can watch on Impact Plus? TNA British Bootcamp, which was a better version of this. Not only does it feature the NXT UK roster, but you also had Samoa Joe, Gail Kim, and Al Snow as the judges. You got some great matches involving wresters like Nikki Cross, Mark Andrews, Noam Dar, and others. You also got ths focus being on the wrestlers. All this version of the show focuses on is John E Bravo being a hard ass and Scott D’Amore being confused.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in on commentary. Josh said next week they are going to announce the winner of Impact Gut Check. Josh was interrupted by the ICU hacker QR Code again. Someone off screen gave Josh an ICU flyer. Josh Mathews announced Ken Shamrock returning next week to Impact. All the while, Don Callis looked depressed and introspective…
John’s Thougths: Are we watching the Impact creative team go through the five stages of grief on-air? Scott D’Amore seems to be in the denial phase while Callis looks to have moved on to the depression-acceptance bridge. I’m partially joking, but is that far from reality given the depressing state of Impact Wrestling ever since the move to AXS? Seriously, Impact somehow found a way to get worse moving away from the buck hunting channel and onto the rock music channel.
Entrances for the main event took place. But before the match starts, they went right to the Eddie Money commercial…[c]
Eddie Edwards carried his cheap trophy to the ring. The one where he taped a smiley face to it…
5. Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards in match number 5 of the Best-of-Five series (Series tied 2-2). Elgin aggressively pummeled Eddie with power moves early on, getting a two count on him. Elgin hit Eddie with a Death Valley Driver on the ramp, leading to a nearfall in the ring. Eddie shifted his weight to the mat to block an Elgin Bomb attempt. Elgin gave Eddie some Japanese Strong Style forearms. Eddie ducked Elgin’s bare forearm and hit Elgin with a Blue Thunder Bomb. This allowed Eddie to recover a bit.
Elgin used an axe handle strike to stagger Eddie on the top rope. Eddie held the ropes to block a Superple from Elgin. Elgin staggered Eddie with a gamengiri. Eddie countered an Air Raid Crash into a Sunset Bomb.[c]
Eddie and Elgin traded strong style strikes in the ring. Elgin reversed Elgin’s Tiger Bomb with a backdrop, sending Eddie to ringside. Eddie recovered and gave Elgin forearms. Elgin let out Fighting Spirit roars, while no selling Eddie’s forearms. Eddie kicked Elgin off the apron. Eddie hit Elgin with a flip dive. Eddie dragged Elgin back in the ring. Elgin dodged Eddie’s double stomp. Elgin ended up hitting Eddie with a Falcon Arrow and DDT for a two count. Elgin gave Eddie a neckbreaker, heading into the latest Eddie Money commercial.[c]
Elgin continued to dominated Eddie with his methodical power offense. Elgin and Eddie had another Never Openweight forearm exchange in the center of the ring. Eddie ended up landing a rally of strikes over the staggered Elgin. Eddie hit Elgin with a belly to belly. Elgin ended Eddie’s momentum with a Uranage. Eddie caught Elgin off the top rope with a Super Belly To Belly Suplex. Eddie ended up hitting Elign with the Backpack Stunner for a two count.
Elgin hit Eddie with a basement forearm. Elgin hit Eddie with an Electric Chair Suplex for the two count after a bridge. Elgin hit Eddie with a Super Dragon Suplex for a nearfall. Elgin hit Eddie with a buckle bomb which Eddie no sold into a lariat. Elgin followed up on Eddie with a German Suplex, which Eddie landed on his feet on. Elgin escaped a Butterfly Suplex. Eddie kicked Elgin and gave Elgin a Tiger Bomb for a two count.
Elgin reversed a Boston Knee Party into a Spinebuster. Elgin turned Eddie inside out with a lariat for a two count. Elgin hit Eddie with a Buckle and Elgin Bomb. Eddie kicked out at two. The crowd let out a tired “this is awesome” chant (can’t blame them, is this the end of the tapings?). Eddie escaped Elgin’s Burning Hammer Attempt. Elgin accidentally gave the referee a lariat. REF BUMP!!!
John’s Thoughts: Oh, Good god! TNA! TNA! (now where’s Jeff Jarrett and his guitar?).
Eddie hit Elgin with a Boston Knee Party. Elgin kicked out at two because it took a little while for the second referee to make it to the ring. Elgin countered Eddie and hit Eddie with a Thrill of the Kill. Elgin then locked Eddie in a Crossface. Eddie rolled Elgin to his shoulders and then tapped out after the three count.
Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards ends in a classic TNA overbooked draw? In 18:20 of on-air TV Time.
Each referee raised a wrestler’s hand to say they were the winner. Callis wondered which has higher priority in wrestling, a tapout or pinfall? (Good presndence to set). A third referee ran out to argue with the other two referees. You can’t have a classic TNA overbooked finish without Scott D’Amore wanting TV time, he ran out to argue with referees.
Tessa Blanchard then made her entrance with a mic. She said she’s settling the controversy by facing both Elgin and Eddie at Rebellion. Tessa then held up her title to close the show before leaving. Callis said the confusion still stands in that there was no clear winner to the match. Josh Mathews closed the show hyping up the Rebellion PPV…
John’s Thoughts: So I’m not going to take this away from Eddie Edwards and Michael Elgin. Those two had a really good Never Openweight style of match that would have been great on a NXT Takeover or New Japan PPV. It’s the crappy ass return of TNA booking that sabotaged the effort both wrestlers put here. Not only do they go with a overbooked copout finish, they copped out on the best of five series, and they copped out on giving Tessa Blanchard a singles match at the PPV. I’m guessing they just got cold feet on Tessa Blanchard vs. Michael Elgin. The triple threat just makes it seem like we’re getting another Eddie vs. Elgin match with Tessa hiding in the background to hit a few moves and get the pinfall win.
I’m guessing this was the last show in the latest set of Impact tapings because not only did the crowd seem exhausted by the end, but we also saw all the bad crappy TNA booking all contained in one two-hour show. We not only got a Ref Bump, but we also got a copout overbooked TNA finish. We even had Chris Sabin book a King of the Mountain match. This brought back bad memories of the shows I used to review early in my Dot Net run, the only thing missing is Bro Mans, and I sadly have to deal with that on my NXT reviews now. I wouldn’t mind hearing from a few TNA defenders on why this show is good for them. That’s always a source of entertainment. Maybe I’m wrong and Jason Powell liked the show better than I did. Probably not, because we both agree that the AXS run has been disappointing. Anyway, I’m done with kinda-TNA this week and I’m already ready to review the never-frustrating NXT show this week.