By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped February 7-8 in Las Vegas as Sam’s Town Live
Aired March 24, 2020 on AXS TV
[Hour One] This week’s Impact recap video focused on Impact announcing Ken Shamrock as the next member of the Impact Hall of Fame as well as the reveal of the ICU hacker, Sami Callihan. The Impact intro theme aired…
Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary…
1. Willie Mack vs. Chris Bey vs. Acey Romero vs. Daga vs. Rohit Raju vs. Jake Crist vs. Cousin Jake vs. Trey Miguel for a future X Division Championship title shot. Multi-person madness ensued. Acey Romero was tossing everyone around, including Willie Mack. Bey and Miguel used dropkicks to take Romero out of the ring. Bey and Miguel showed off agility to each other, leading to a indie style stalemate. Bey refused Miguel’s handshake and then kicked him out of the ring. Bey hit Raju with a strike combination.
Raju hit Bey with a Rolling Cutter into a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Jake came in and tackled Raju into the turnbuckle. Jake hit Raju with a power bomb. Jake then caught Jake Crist’s (dammit, there’s two Jakes) kick. Jake Crist got Cousin Jake out of the ring. Mack hit Crist with his signature moonsault combo. Mack then hit the Jakes with a flip dive. Daga took down Miguel with a punch and then hit Bey with a Dragon Screw.
Daga hit Bey with a power bomb with Raju breaking up the subsequent pin. Daga tried to body slam Acey Romero, but he was too heavy. Romero gave Daga a body slam instead. Acey tried to go high risk. Everyone other than Raju and Daga did a Tower of Doom spot in the corner. Daga did a dive and tried to take the pin on Romero but Raju broke it up. All the men took turns hitting each other with signature moves. Raju broke up a Muta Lock-Suplex cobinaiton that Miguel had on Bey and Jake Crist. Cousin hit Raju with a Drill Claw.
Daga broke up a pin attempt Mack went for. Daga caught a flying Mack into an Exploder Suplex. Miguel tossed Daga outside and hit him with a Lowpe. Bey and Raju dove outside to hit Daga and Miguel. Jake hit the pile of people with a Undertaker dive. Jake Crist used his Savate kicks to prevent Acey Romero from diving. Acey hit Christ with a Pounce. Acey hit the pile of people outside with a diving crossbody. Cousin Jake hit Jake Crist with a sitout Uranage. Mack broke up the pin by giving Cousin Jake’s legs a Six Star Frog Splash. This was enough to give Mack the pinfall.
Willie Mack defeated Cousin Jake, Jake Crist, Acey Romero, Chris Bey, Rohit Raju, Daga, and Trey Miguel via pinfall in 10:43 to earn a future X Division Championship title shot.
The show quickly cut to the AXS commercials…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts. There were a handful of good moments. The wrestlers are all top tier talents. That said, I think this match was a bit too cluttered. Did we really need Chris Bey, Cousin Jake, Acey Romero, and Daga in there? This match just had too many people to really tell a good story. What made things even worse, is Impact telegraphed the hell out of Willie Mack being the next guy to face Ace Austin so this match sorta felt pointless. On top of that, this match had a bit too many cute indie spots.
The show cut to the latest OVE camcorder promo. Dave Crist was trying to hype up Madman Fulton by slapping him and telling him that they have to end their losing streak. Dave said Jake is already out there now trying to win a match (and obviously failed unbeknownst to Dave at the moment). Jake Crist ran in and was yelling that they need to get on a winning streak. Dave assumed Jake won. Jake said it’s all about getting Sami back.
Dave said Sami hasn’t talked to them since he returned. Jake assumed Sami is testing OVE. Dave said “testing” doesn’t make sense because they’re family, for Ohio, and by Ohio. Dave yelled that Jake and OVE are falling apart. Jake said Sami is his best friends and they need to do this for him. Jake calmed them down and said they were for Ohio, by Ohio, and will take over everything. Fulton tried to lead them in Sami’s thumb thing, but Jake stopped him and said they wait for family…
John’s Thoughts: Well then? That might have been one of the better promo segments we’ve gotten on Impact Wrestling in months. Very intriguing stuff and the Crist Brothers in particular have grown a lot in terms of characters since the days where Konnan used to riff on them on-air for being a terrible act (when OVE feuded with LAX initially). Jake is the guy to look out for because that guy showed main event level potential during his run as X Division champ. Again, this company has let me down many time with false hope, but there’s potential here for something good.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis checked in from the commentary table. Josh said he was a bit confused that even OVE doesn’t understands what Sami Callihan is up to. Josh ran through upcoming segments including, God help us, the Undead F’ing Realm match…
2. Moose vs. “The Natural” Chase Stevens. Moose went for an early spear, but Stevens dodged it and suplexed Moose. Stevens hit Moose with a Bicycle Kick. Stevens then hit Moose with a power slam for a two count. Moose recovered and then hit Stevens with a spear for the quick win.
Moose defeated Chase Stevens via pinfall in 1:14.
Moose kept attacking Chase Stevens after the match. Moose attacked Stevens with a chair too. Moose was about to con-chair-to Stevens, but he was stopped by Scott D’Amore, who’s out there for more TV time and a promo. D’Amore said he knows that Moose hates TNA and if he wants a piece of TNA he just has to turn around. Moose turned around and got dropkicked by the main character of the TNA Playstation 2 video game, the latest return of Suicide (who was TJ Perkins for years). Suicide now has a darker, less cartoony look. Suicide hit Moose with a crossbody at ringside to leave him lying…
John’s Thoughts: I really liked the match composition. Moose won after one move. That’s how you put someone over strong. What was terrible is the latest return of the main character from the TNA Playstation 2 Video Game, Suicide! This gimmick just won’t die. Like TNA! I’m guessing this isn’t TJ Perkins in the mask. TJ was in the role for the longest time, but it’s also been played by people like Austin Aries, Chris Daniels, Kazarian, Low Ki, and Caleb Konley. I mean, is Moose really the bad guy here? I see him as a straight up hero, trying to drive the knife into the chest of TNA once and for all. Maybe somebody should give Moose the giant ass knight sword that Daga once used.
Rosemary was shown at a bar, ranting about her last two years in undead realm storylines, trying to get revenge. Rosemary said she feels empty inside. Someone off camera said “Two years? That’s it?”. Rosemary thought it was a random guy at the bar but then walked further and saw that it was Raven. Raven compared two years to a simple headlock. Raven talked about how things get brighter and bigger when you get to about 20 years of revenge. Raven was referencing his feud with Tommy Dreamer.
Rosemary asked Raven if he wants to break free from the feud. Raven said he doesn’t because it’s orgasmic. Raven said it’s going to be glorious when he and Dreamer are both seniors in an old folks home and Raven gets to constantly try to sabotage Dreamer’s IV bag. Raven said he should be a psychiatrist. Rosemary then “teleported” away…
John’s Thoughts: Somebody in Impact really can’t resist putting their crappy Adobe After Effects into otherwise great vignettes. They did this last week with Rosemary sucking Beautiful Brenda’s “soul”. Moving along, that was actually a fun segment. Rosemary is so much better when she’s allowed to be the awesome punk rock goth chick she was so good at doing when in Decay. Her rant was almost emblematic in that sense. It was also pretty fun to see Raven return. Yes, it’s another ECW return, but I was just happy to see the guy looking healthy and happy. Good stuff from these two.
Ace Austin met with Willie Mack backstage and was flanked by Adam F’n Thornstowe and Luster the Legend. Austin congratulated Mack on being the next in line for the X Division Championship. Mack said he’s been seeing Ace Austin playing mind games for a while (mostly by trying to sleep with a woman in all his recent feuds). Mack said Ace is the same guy who’s trying to go after people’s wives while Mack is out there winning title shots. Mack said he’s going to take the title from Austin. Austin said he was just trying to be nice and Mack should learn how to take a complement.
After Ace left Johnny Swinger showed up, saying that with Mack going after the X Division Championship, the Mack and Pack connection is seemingly over. Swinger said he thought they could have made a great tag team and he means that “from the heart of my bottom”. Swinger then said he really is rooting for Mack to pick up the X Division title so they can have a Mack vs. Pack dream match. Swinger said the X Division title would get Swinger more “rizzats” than ever…
John’s Thoughts: There’s a part of me that’s disappointed that they dropped the ball on Mack and Pack. For one, Swinger was really entertaining in the botched buildup. They also spent so much time into building the two only to scrap the tag team last minute. A Mack and Pack vs. North feud would have been so nice, especially since we know The North have good chemistry with Mack.
3. “Reno Scum” Luster the Legend and Adam Thornstowe vs. “The Rascalz” Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz. Reno Scum attacked both Rascalz as the Rascalz were entering the ring. Thornstowe hit Dezmond with a Death Valley Driver for a two count. The Las Vegas crowd then started chanting “Reno Sucks” to the Scum duo. Reno Scum gave Dezmond clubbing blows, while Dez still had his hoodie on. Reno Scum then cut the ring in half on Dezmond with methodical heel offense.
Dezmond got a window of opportunity after hitting Adam with his signature CQC combo. Zach tagged in for the hot tag. He hit Luster with a kick combination. Wentz hit Luster with a snapmare into a PK for a two count. The Rascalz used their signature kick flurry on Luster to give Dezmond a two count. Thornstowe tripped Wentz off the top rope. Reno Scum hit Dezmond with a double team Spike Curb Stomp to give Thornstowe the victory.
Reno Scum defeated The Rascalz via pinfall 4:39.
After the match, the camera showed Su Yung twitching backstage while carrying a knife. Cut to the Bono commercial…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good tag match with a solid result. The Rascalz have been wheel-spinning for months so a win would have been wasted on them. Reno Scum have finally started to click ever since they were partnered up with Ace Austin. This is a credibility boosting win for the two All Pro Wrestling alums.
They aired the same Tenille Dashwood vignette as last week, complete with the same quote from last week: “Sometimes good things fall apart, so BETTER THINGS can fall together”…
It was time for the Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week. It was Hector Guerrero’s version of LAX vs. AJ Styles and “Super” Eric Young. at TNA Sacrifice 2008. Homicide and Hernandez won the vacant TNA Tag Team Championships after they aired about six minutes of match…
A video package aired that was narrated by Joseph P Ryan, about the Cancel Culture goals. Joseph said that the ring needs to be a safe space. After a bit of promo, he said that Cancel Culture were coming after The Deaners first…
The Deaners then cut a promo from “Their farm”. Cody Deaner joked about all his favorite pre 90s shows that got cancelled. They then made BO jokes. After more jokes, Cody ended the promo by saying he’s going to beat Joey because Cody’s going to “Give-r”…[c]
[Hour Two] Josh Mathews tried to hype up upcoming segments, but his segment was “hacked” by Sami Callihan. Sami was on his keyboard in a dark room and the camera was digitally distorted, to represent Sami’s new hacker motiff. Sami said he’s in isolation right now and he kinda likes it (I mean, aren’t we all in Isolation these days?). Sami said the world is full of false prophets. Sami said people accept anything said on the internet without any proof.
Sami said people wants answers about his attack on Shamrock, but that’s just a part of a bigger picture. Sami said that Impact thinks they’re punishing Sami by putting him in a match against Shamrock at Rebellion. Sami said he has a big plan, to take over everything. Sami said after what he does to Shamrock, the blood will be on Impact Management’s hands. Sami said Sami is now the world’s dangerous man based off his track record in the last two years. Sami said “I see you” (get it? ICU). He then did his thumb catchphrase…
John’s Thoughts: It’s good to have Sami Callihan back on Impact television because he was arguably Impact’s most talented talker and wrestler before they decided to take him of TV for months. I’m actually not down on Sami bringing back his NXT Solomon Crowe gimmick. To tell the truth, we never saw “Hacker” Solomon Crowe on NXT TV even though they were teasing vignettes for him. I have trust in Sami that he’ll make this work. He usually does.
4. Madman Fulton and Dave Crist vs. Rhino and Sabu (w/The Super Genie) in an “Old School Rules” match. Josh said this match was happening under old school rules, because they can’t contain Sabu. Sabu and Dave started the match. Sabu went for early leg takedowns, but Dave landed the first leg takedown. Sabu came back with punches and a lariat. Rhino and Fulton tagged in. Josh hyped up next week’s TNA special. Rhino struggled at first, but Rhino regained control and sent Fulton outside with a backdrop.
Rhino tossed Dave on Fulton and then gave him a baseball slide. Fulton brawled with Sabu while Rhino brawled with Dave Crist. Super Genie gave Sabu a chair so he could jab Fulton in the leg. The ECW guys took control of the walk and brawl. Fulton and Rhino then managed to go to the isolation sequence on Rhino in their corner. Rhino turned the tables and tagged in Sabu. Fulton no sold a punch from Sabu. Dave dragged Sabu to the mat for the two count.
Fulton gave Dave a press slam onto Sabu. That got a two count, which caused Dave to complain for a bit. Sabu recovered and gave Dave a neckbreaker. Rhino cleaned house. He hit Dave with a spinebuster for a two count. Sabu hit Fulton with a chair a few times and tossed it at Fulton’s head. Sabu then hit a scary looking Poetry in Motion dive on Fulton at ringside. Dave gave Rhino a low blow. Dave then shoved the referee. Josh said you can do a low blow in a old school rules match, but not shove the referee. What?
Dave then got into a shouting match with the referee. The referee took the chair from Dave. The referee ducked a clothesline from Dave which allowed Rhino to nail Dave with the Gore for the victory.
Rhino and Sabu defeated Madman Fulton and Dave Crist via pinfall in 8:11.
Rhino, Sabu, and Super Genie posed in the ring. Josh Mathews argued about Dave Crist attacking the referee and said that Dave’s paycheck is going to be lighter this week for doing something like that…
John’s Thoughts: That match moved at a snails pace. That’s usually how Rhino matches are these days, walk and brawls, but Fulton and Dave aren’t really energy guys either. The worst part was Josh Mathews assuming that everybody understands what “Old Shcool Rules” means? What is it? Is this an ECW or old school reference that I’m missing? Is this TNA again? TNA was infamous for that kind of s–t. I am okay with the finish though because Impact is trying (?) to tell a story with OVE on a losing streak. Those don’t always go well, but there’s potential.
Josh sent things over to “The Undead Realm”. Su Yung climbed into the black wooden box that transports you to the Undead Realm (A year ago they were using actual caskets, but I guess they have less of a budget these days). Su Yung closed the lid and she teleported via the power of an acid trip montage…[c]
Su Yung met up with Father James Mitchell and Jessika Havok in what I’m assuming is Mitchell’s S&M Sex Dungeon (not to be confused with Vampiro’s sex dungeon from Lucha Underground). I mean seriously, there were kink machines, paddles, chains, handcuffs, you get the picture. Mitchell said someone has to go, and it has to be Su. Su and Havok then have a staged sword fight while alternative slow music played in the background. Havok had a crowbar while Su Yung pulled a machete out of her ass.
John’s Thoughts: I know Impact wants to be Lucha Underground, but this worse than a high school play. Don’t they have Taya around to tell them this sucks? She had an amazing sword fight where she used Daga’s giant ass knight sword to decapitate Luchasaurus.
They got to the point where they were choking each other. Su Yung also pulled a rope out of nowhere. A big man in one of the kink machines broke free and beat up Su Yung with a bat. This big man was beating up Su Yung with a crowbar and bat. Su Yung then “slashed” the big dude’s throat. Ugh. I’m not going to recap this fight. More choking happened. Eventually James Mitchell called for a time out, saying that Su Yung proved that Su was the better woman while Havok is a disgrace.
Mitchell said both women are more trouble than they were worth. Mitchell then summoned his “minions” to take away Su and Havok. The minions were the Undead Bridesmaids and the revived big man. Su Yung and Jessika Havok were then teleported to a random beach (Jack Sparrow’s beach from Pirates 3?). The camera paned back to end the segment…
John’s Thoughts: So? Does this mean Havok and Su can join The Bunny in AEW? I hope so. I’m happy that Rosemary found a way out of this crap too. Seriously, elementary school level plays have better quality control than this. And those plays are way less pretentious.
Josh Mathews said the main event was happening next, but we were also going to get more Undead Realm before the show was over…
Entrances for the main event took place…[c]
5. Michael Elgin and Taya Valkyrie (w/John E Bravo) vs. Eddie Edwards and Tessa Blanchard in an intergender tag team match. Elgin and Eddie had a stalemate early on. Eddie wanted a strong style exchange. Tessa asked to be tagged in. Elgin decided to tag in Taya. Tessa took down Taya with a huracanrana. Taya came back with a spear. Elgin tagged in. Elgin no sold Tessa’s forearms. Tessa came back with a basement dropkick which Callis noted was on Elgin’s injured knee.
Eddie tagged in. Elgin kept Eddie under control with a back elbow. Eddie came back with an atomic drop. Elgin kept a low center of gravity to block a suplex. Eddie hit Elgin with a huracanrana. Taya blindsided Eddie with a kick to the back. John E got on the apron. Taya pulled Tessa away from her corner. Elgin hit Eddie with a pop up power slam for a one count.[c]
Taya put the boots to Eddie back from the break. Josh said that this is what Impact is like in 2020, where women can fight men. Josh then hyped next week’s TNA special on AXS. Eddie and Elgin then had their NEVER Openweight exchange in the center of the ring with no sold strikes. Eddie ended up planting Elgin with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Taya and Tessa tagged in. Tessa hit Taya with an Ace Crusher for a nearfall.
Many reversals ensued. Taya got Tessa in the corner and hit Tessa with her signature double knees. Tessa reversed a Super Elgin Bomb with a nice looking Frankensteiner. Tessa hit Taya with a Samoan Drop. Eddie tagged in and hit Elgin with his Kobashi chest slaps. Elgin came back with a enzuigiri. Eddie came back with a belly-to-belly Suplex. Taya stood in the way to block an Eddie Suicide Dive. Tessa hit Taya with a Poetry in Motion Superman Forearm. Tessa and Eddie kicked John E off the apron.
Tessa and Eddie hit their opponents with a suicide dive. Eddie used a gamengiri to stagger Elgin on the top rope. Eddie tripped off. Tessa ended up trapping Elgin in the corner and hitting him with a codebreaker. Taya broke up Eddie’s pin on Elgin after an Eddie Tiger Driver. Eddie gave Taya a big boot, which drew boos. Tessa was going for Magnum. Elgin tripped up Tessa.
Tessa went for the Magnum on Elgin, but Elgin caught Tessa and then power bombed her into Eddie. Tessa ended up hitting Elgin with a Poisonrana and Tornado DDT. Elgin didn’t want to, but ended up accidentally giving Tessa a lariat. Eddie clocked Elgin wtih a forearm. Elgin came back with a nice knife fist. Taya gave Tessa a crossbody at ringside. Elgin hit Eddie with an Elgin Bomb for the victory.
Michael Elgin and Taya Valkryie defeated Eddie Edwards and Tessa Blanchard via pinfall in 13:46 of on-air TV Time.
Josh Mathews noted that Michael Elgin has beaten Eddie five times after an Elgin Bomb (They had three matches before the best of five, where Elgin won two)…
John’s Thoughts: A bit clunky at points, but the end result made sense. It looks like they’re doing a better job these days of having logical finishes. That said the Impact main event scene has gone very stale ever since Tessa Blanchard became champion. It’s not her fault, Impact just doesn’t know how to book her. It doesn’t help that Eddie Edwards still looks and acts a bit like a confused cartoon character.
They cut back to Jack Sparrow’s beach, where Su Yung and Jessika Havok were wandering. Rosemary “teleported” in and called this place “The Undead Wasteland”. Rosemary said she’s here because “father” (satan not James?) allows her to enter here freely. Rosemary offered to help Havok and Su get revenge on James Mitchell. She then led them in a Team Friendship hands-in-the-center moment. Through the power of frendship, they teleported out of the wasteland. Rosemary then put on sunglasses and said her work was done, and now she’s off back to the party (Thank goodness!).
Havok and Su then entered Mitchell’s sex dungeon where Mitchell tried to beg for mercy. Havok prevented Su from stabbing Mitchell. Mitchell thought Havok was on his side, but Havok then stabbed James. James comically had his mouth open. After a heavenly montage, Mitchell woke up presumably in “heaven”. There he saw a cute kitten and his son Chris “Abyss” Parks trying to hand him a bag of tacks. In the line that encapsulates this entire story, Mitchell went “Who books this shit?”. Impact closed…
John’s Thoughts: I’m not kidding. I’ll give them this one. I don’t know why they dragged this out for years, but at least there’s some acknowledgement that they’ve been wasting people’s time with horrendeous writing. I’m actually a huge fan of cinematic pro wrestling. I reviewed Lucha Underground during it’s entire run and Undead Realm should not even be compared because they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of quality. I was afraid when Rosemary used the power of friendship to teleport the monsters back, but then they did some clever self-depricating humor by saying that Rosemary is off to have better stories with Taya. Fingers crossed that this is the end of “this shit!” as James Mitchell would put it.
Anyway, the last two weeks of Sam’s Town tapings have been better than the previous set of shows we were getting. The writing is still no where as crisp as it was during points of the Pursuit TV run, but I looks like they are at least setting up a few good stories like Mack vs. Ace, Taya and Rosemary, The Crist Brothers, Tenille Dashwood, and Solomon Crowe. The TNA smell in the air still gives me a feeling that they will screw it all up, but I’ve also reviewed this show for years and have grown numb to crappy booking at this point (Except 2016, they finally got things right in 2016 and Dixie Carter took that good TNA away from us!)
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...