By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired May 5, 2020 on AXS TV
Highlights from the last two weeks of Rebellion shows aired…
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne were on commentary. As the Impact intro theme was playing, it was cut off by Sami Callihan’s entrance theme. Sami Callihan made his entrance. Sami said “I see you, AXS, Twitch, and everything”. Sami talked about having the fight for his life against Shamrock, but it’s going to take a lot more to keep Sami Callihan down. Sami talked about the referee stopping the match, but Sami didn’t need help. Sami said OVE tried to interfere too and Sami didn’t want that. Sami then called out Ken Shamrock to finish their business.
Ken Shamrock made his entrance in casual clothes. Shamrock told Sami to calm down. Shamrock talked about fighting a lot of guys in the past. Shamrock said most of his opponents tapped out instead of getting knocked out. Shamrock said Sami didn’t tap out. Shamrock then listed people in his past that tapped out like Big Show or The Rock. Shamrock said they can now either finish business outside or shake hands to put this behind them and go after the championship.
Before Sami can accept the handshake, Michael Elgin made his entrance. Elgin said that “Big Mike” is the only person that deserves the title. Elgin bragged about the fans reacting when there are fans in the arena and how they go to social media afterwards. Elgin said he doesn’t need weapons, unlike Sami in his garbage matches. Elgin called himself the rightful number one contender. Shamrock cut off Elgin and called Elgin all-talk. Elgin talked about how he was about to beat Tessa and Eddie and how the line starts behind him for the world title. Callihan said that all Elgin does is choke. Elgin punched Callihan to the ground. Shamrock managed to land an armdrag on Elgin. Callihan was about to pile drive Elgin, but Elgin escaped because Callihan tried to do his thumbs up thing. Sami and Ken were on the same page in the end. Sami then pressed on his smartphone to “teleport” away…
A Chris Bey promo aired where he talked about finessing his way to become the “Finesse” Division Champion…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A solid opening promo. Elgin, Shamrock, and Callihan look like a better world title picure than the makeshift Elgin, Hernandez, and Moose title picture we saw last week. Shamrock is doing some of the best pro wrestling work of his career and it’s just by being simple and efficient with what he does. I do still hope we see Sami tweak his character a bit because he’s supposed to be a “new” Sami, yet he does all the old Sami OVE schitick, complete with people escaping his moves due to him needing to do his thumb thing.
A Willie Mack promo aired where he addressed Chris Bey challenging him for the X Division Title. Mack ended his promo by saying he’s going to finesse his foot all up in Chris Bey’s ass…
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in at the commentary table and hyped upcoming segments…
1.”OVE” Jake Crist and Madman Fulton (w/Dave Crist) vs. “XXXL” Acey Romero and Larry D. Fulton and Larry started out the match. Both men were even during the collar and elbow. The OVE guys kept chanting “OVE”. Fulton managed to get Larry to the mat with a shoulder tackle. Larry returned the favor with a shoulder tackle and body slam. Acey tagged in and hit Fulton with a running senton. Jake Crist tagged himself in and was manhandled by Acey Romero. Larry tagged in, hit Jake with an elbow and got a two count. Larry started beating up Jake. Josh Mathews noted that both XXXL guys weigh 802 lbs combined.[c]
Fulton had the upper hand over Acey back from break, with Dave Crist getting cheap shots in. Fulton somehow ended up hitting Acey with a Fireman Carry Senton for a two count. Fulton hit Acey in the back with a crossbody. Fulton then continued to work over Acey. Ace made a comeback wiht a few right hands. Jake tagged in and the heels cut the ring in half on Acey. Acey got a window of opportunity to tag his partner after a backdrop and spinebuster on Fulton. Larry D got the hot tag and cleaned house after Jake tagged in. Larry hit Jake with a release suplex and splash for a two count.
Jake staggered Larry with his savate kicks. Larry backdropped Jake to the outside. Larry hit Jake with a suicide dive. Fulton and Jake hit Larry with a Power Bomb/Neckbreaker combo. Acey caught Fulton with a pounce. Dave failed at holding down Larry and ate a knockout punch. Jake also ate a knockout punch for the loss.
XXXL defeated OVE via pinfall in about 11:00 of on-air TV time.
John’s Thoughts: A decent enough tag team match showcasing the XXXL team in a positive light. The outcome was a foregone conclusion given that OVE should be expected to lose all their matches given the losing streak storyline they’re in. The way Josh Mathews is selling it, it looks like they’re looking for a new leader. Personally, I would like to see Jake Crist step up in that role given that he has proven himself to be a “draw” when he was the X Division Champion.
The Impact Plus Flashback Match of the Week was Kurt Angle vs. Mick Foley from TNA Victory Road 2009. They aired about a minute with Kurt Angle winning…
Madison Rayne introduced her Locker Room Talk talk show, with Johnny Swinger as her co host. Swinger said that Locker Room Talk is the number one show in the time slot. Rayne introduced Jessika Havok as her guest. Rayne asked Havok how she felt after losing to Rosemary. Havok threatened to attack Rayne for getting under her skin. Rayne continued to say “I know who she is” in regards to Neveah. Havok said she didn’t know why Neveah was there.
Rayne said she had another surprise person from Havok’s past to reveal. Swinger acted shocked in his fun cartoony way. Rayne introduced Kimber Lee as her surprise guest. Kimber Lee said she’s new around here but Havok knows exactly who she is. Kimber said that it’s time for the crown jewel to rise to the top. Swinger told the rizza…he means… ladies to calm down because there’s plenty of Swinger to go around. Havok tossed Swinger aside. Havok said she knows exactly who Kimber Lee is but Kimber Lee knows exactly who Havok is. Madison Rayne did an outtro to the show to end the segment…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Kimber Lee is former NXT wrestler Abbey Laith. I wonder if she’ll do better in Impact than NXT (if this isn’t just a one-off setup for Neveah). WWE gave Kimber Lee several decent pushes and women’s title shots, but she never really clicked. They billed her as the “protege of Mae Young”, which was a generic babyface. Back to the segment, what’s up with Impact constantly saying “I know who [fill in the blank] is!” in regards to Kimber Lee and Neveah. The audience doesn’t know? I knew who Neveah was but didn’t know she was Neveah because I know her as Hazard! Odd. What isn’t odd is the Rayne and Swinger show. They have good chemistry and the show is doing a good job pushing storylines.
A Cody Deener “In Kwarantine” vignette aired. It was just Cody Deaner’s quarantine exploits. He talked about how he stayed away from the Deaner compound and instead decided to stay at his trailer…
John’s Thoughts: Personally, I liked the LA Park quarantine cooking show from MLW better. I do respect the effort wrestlers are putting in to provide COVID-19 quarantine content.
2. Johnny Swinger vs. Suicide. Swinger got the early advantage because he protested to the referee that Suicide might be hiding stuff in his body suit. Josh mocked Swinger for trying to eyepoke and back rake a person with armor around those parts. Suicide tossed Swinger outside. Suicide hit Swinger with a plancha. Swinger crotched Suicide on the top rope and then worked over Suicide a bit. Suicide dodged a low blow headbutt and then gave Swinger a palm strike combo. Swinger tried to call time out and then hit Suicide in the eyes.
Suicide came back with a codebreaker. Suicide hit Swinger with a Swanton Bomb for a three count.
Suicide defeated Johnny Swinger via pinfall in 3:39.
John’s Thoughts: Not only was the TNA video game pretty average, but it was also a bargain bin title on the Playstation 2. The PS2 was so long ago! I never really understand why Impact keeps bringing back Suicide. Can somebody call Moose over to spear Suicide into oblivion?
Ace Austin cut a backstage promo. He called Chris Bey a “Brazen son of a bitch” for trying to skip ahead of the line for an X Division title shot. Ace said Bey hasn’t beaten anyone while Ace has beaten wrestlers like Petey Williams, Eddie Edwards, Tommy Dreamer, and Tessa Blanchard. Ace said that the X Division Championship match later in this show is now a triple threat. Ace said he’s going to become champion, even if he has to pin the new guy, Bey…[c]
Josh Mathews conducted a sitdown interview with “Former NFL Star” Moose. Moose was in a suit and was holding on to the TNA Heavyweight Championship belt. Josh recapped last week’s main event promo segment where Moose proclaimed himself as the “real” TNA Champion. Moose said he didn’t agree with Elgin calling himself champion just because his two opponents couldn’t make it to the show (Tessa and Eddie). Moose bragged about beating former TNA Champions like Ken Shamrock, Rhino, and Rob Van Dam (wasn’t he feuding with ECW for the latter two?). Moose said beating those guys makes him the real world champion, especially since the Impact champion is on vacation in Mexico.
Josh Mathews talked about how the TNA belt was locked up in the TNA warehouse and was only brought out for the TNA AXS special. Josh wondered how Moose got his hands on the physical belt. Moose said it doesn’t matter how he got the belt, but it matters that Moose is standing here as the TNA and “Real” world champion. Josh Mathews then introduced a tournament bracket for a number one contendership tournament (why are Trey Miguel and Madman Fulton in this tournament if all they do is lose?).
Josh asked Moose what he thought about his chances of winning the tournament. Moose said he was announcing that he was pulling out of the tournament because the Impact Championship is a second class championship compared to the TNA Championship. Josh reiterated that Moose didn’t win the title. Moose said he won the title when he beat RVD, Rhino, Ken Shamrock, and most of TNA. Josh reiterated that Moose didn’t win the championship. Moose said he was leaving so he wouldn’t have to put his hands on Josh…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Why do we have to watch a tournament when Michael Elgin is present, still number one contender, and a victim of circumstance? I get trying to fill TV time without a world champion, but it looks like they overthought this into being illogical. I was more looking forward to a title picture with Elgin, Callihan, and Shamrock but now they have to drag out a tournament for no good reason.
3. Joseph P Ryan vs. Cousin Jake. Joey was wearing plaid. Joey stalled early on, running away form Jake. Jake managed to clock Joey with a right hand. This allowed Jake to rally against Joey. Jake hit Joey with a flying lariat. Joey managed to hyperextend Jake’s arm, but Jake came right back with punches and shortarm lariats. Joey dropkicked Jake. Jake came back and hit Joey with a chokebomb. For some reason there was this slippery mat at ringside, which caused Jake to constantly slip.
Joey hit Jake with a side Russian Legsweep. Joey then worked on Jake with methodical offense. Jake got a moment of respite after hitting Joey with an elevated Uranage. Jake countered a Joey punch and then came back with a clothesline. Jake hit Joey with a sitout power bomb for a two count. Joey hit Jake with a superkick for a two count. Jake boulder tossed Ryan across the ring. Joey got an eye poke on Jake after using the ref as a human shield. Joey then rolled up Jake with a hand full of tights for the dirty win.
Joseph P Ryan defeated Cousin Jake via pinfall in 8:44.
Josh Mathews hyped Ethan Page and Josh Alexander defending the tag titles after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A match between two talented wrestlers who are stuck with horrible gimmicks. I was never sure why Impact needed to rehash the Deaner gimmick, same question I ask about Suicide. Joey’s just not putting his all into this new character. It doesn’t help that he’s leading a stable that isn’t able to be there or cut promos. Officer Joey Ryan was better than Joseph P Ryan. Maybe he finds a way to make this work?
A Kiera Hogan vignette aired. Kiera talked about wrestling for five years and being 25 years old. She said she grew up in one place her whole life, Atlanta, GA. She was shown walking in front of various locations like the Olympics statue. Kiera said getting into the business was scary, but she followed people who wanted to guide her in the right direction. Kiera ended the promo by saying “I’m Kiera Hogan, and I’m the girl on Fire”…
John’s Thoughts: Next to some of the Ken Shamrock video packages, this was the best character-profile vignette we’ve seen in Impact in a long time. I don’t understand why Impact goes overboard with the esoteric comedy segments, when there is intrigue to be had in intriguing characters (as opposed to yuk-yuk hee-haws). This also reminded me of Kiera’s cinematic profile pieces from Women of Wrestling where she stood out in a good way there too. Fingers crossed, that they turn a corner on Kiera because you can argue that Kiera is one of pro wrestling’s best kept secrets. She’s excelled at everything tasked to her and has shown that she has Becky Lynch-like top babyface potential.
The show cut to footage from the Battle Arts Academy Don Kolov Arena in Mississauga, Canada. There was this over enthusiastic in the ring hyping things up (I think it’s the owner of Destiny Pro Wrestling, whom we’ve seen several times on this show). He talked about it being sold out as the camera cut to fake dummy props in the crowd. They even aired canned “Impact Wrestling” chants.
Josh Alexander and Ethan Page made their entrance. Josh was playing things straight, while Page was acting goofy. Page cut a promo about being on Vacation in Canada. Josh talked about wanting to compete and cause pain. Josh Alexander said he wants to face Kurt Angle. Page told Josh to keep it kayfabe because Angle’s 90 day non compete isn’t up yet. “The Creeps” made their entrance. They were too jobber guys who had French entrance music. Page yelled at one of the guys for disrespecting comic book characters and Al Snow’s Avatar gimmick. The North then defended their titles after a montage aired…[c]
Josh Mathews called the prior segment “one of the stangest and most entertaining things we’ve seen in some time”…
Rosemary was at the bar again. She was talking to a dark bunny doll while also reading tarot cards. Impact snuck in one of their weird distortion effects (that add nothing to the show). Rosemary joked about preferring the bunny doll to the old bunny (Allie) because the doll is quieter. Rosemary then tried to predict her future according to the major arcana of the tarot deck. Rosemary ended the segment explaining the “lovers” arcana, saying that she’s looking to manipulate and seduce someone in the bar…
John’s Thoughts: Aside from the now-obligatory bad-CG effect that we get in every Rosemary segment, I do like Rosemary when she’s more grounded to reality. She plays the goth girl really well, but Impact lost their way and made her some sort of magician (You’d think this was Vince McMahon booking Bray Wyatt). Rosemary’s reboot over the past few months has been solid and I hope they don’t fall into bad habits in regards to “supernatural” stuff.
Rohit Raju cut a serious promo about taking Moose’s spot in the number one contender tournament. Raju talked about being treated badly the last three years only because he put the Hit Squad first. Raju said he was the first Desi here and will be the last. Raju said nobody is here to put him on a path and he’s taking his own path now. Raju said he’s here to take his seat at the table. Raju said he’s going to be the world champion. Raju said that people may write him off, but everyone is going to recognize that his mother calls him “Sun” because he shines like the sun…
John’s Thoughts: Is the Desi Job Squad finally dead? If so, good riddance. Impact never really treated them more than comedy enhancement guys. Rohit Raju was a bit “too” intense, but it’s a huge plus compared to him being the intense-goofball (a la Trevor Lee). I still don’t see the need for a tournament (Because Michael Elgin never lost his contendership), but I’m all for a rising-star storyline involving Rohit Raju.
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in from the commentary table. They showed an updated graphic that replaced Moose with Rohit Raju. Josh advertised Hernandez vs. Madman Fulton in a tournament match next week (I’m assuming Hernandez wins because OVE never wins). Josh also advertised Jessika Havok vs. Kimber Lee and Moose vs. Suicide for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Josh talked about Suicide coming from the TNA video game and how he’s a TNA Original…
4. Willie Mack vs. Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey for the Impact X Division Championship. Ace tried to hit Mack with a belt shot bu Mack dodged the shot and hit both of his opponents with a lariat heading into commercial.[c]
Mack hit Bey and Ace at the same time with his Samoan Drop and Moonsault combo. Ace and Bey huddled up at ringside, teasing an alliance, but Ace quickly tossed Bey into the ring post to end that. Mack gave Ace a right hand and then worked on Ace with strikes. Ace hit Mack with a kick combination. Ace then gave Mack his signature paper cut spot.
Bey pulled Ace away and tossed Ace into the ring post. Bey ran right into an uppercut from Mack. Bey caught Mack with a handstand roundhouse. Bey hit Mack with a huracanrana. Ace and Bey brawled at ringside. Mack hit both opponents with a Tope Con Hilo heading into commercial. [c]
Bey nailed Mack with a missile dropkick. Bey then put the elevated boots to Ace. Ace hit Bey with a snap suplex to get a two count. Ace worked on Bey’s gut with knees and elbows. Bey came back with a boot choke after Ace got distracted by Mack. Chris Bey hit Ace Austin with a back suplex for a two count. Bey dragged Mack’s face on the top rope and gave Mack an uppercut. Ace got a two count on Bey after a rollup.
Ace kicked Mack off the apron. Ace hit Bey with strikes in the corner followed by a body slam. Ace hit Bey with a leg drop for a two count. Ace and Chris took each other out with stereo high kicks. All three men traded hand strikes. Ace dominated once he threw out kicks. Mack hit Ace with a rising palm to regain control. Back then tackled both opponents into the turnbuckle several times. Mack hit Ace with the imploding cannonball. He hit Bey with an Exploder.
Ace gave Mack a gamengiri in on the top rope. Mack and Ace brawled at the top rope. Bey jumped on Ace’s back to help him execute the Tower of Doom. Mack sat on Bey’s shoulders for a two count. Bey blocked it initially, but Mack managed to hit Bey with the Stone Cold Stunner. Ace gave Mack a Frankensteiner to stop him from hitting the Six Star Frog Splash. Ace hit Mack with The Fold. Bey broke up the pin. Bey hit Ace with a lift kick. Ace surprised Bey with The Fold.
Mack broke up the subsequent pin. Josh and Madison said that it looked like it might have been a three count. Ace baseball slid Bey to the outside. Mack shoved Ace away during Ace’s Frankensteiner attempt. Mack hit Ace with the Six Star Frog Splash for the victory.
Willie Mack defeated Ace Austin and Chris Bey via pinfall in about 13:45 of on-air TV Time to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Mack posed with the title belt to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: An excellent X Division match to close the show. This is my preferred type of Cruiserweight style match where it’s more hybrid-arts (as opposed to the “cute” segments you see at a lot of indie shows). The ending sequences were really fun and I liked Ace having visual pins over his opponents after hitting them with The Fold, only to have the third man foil him. I think that protects him somewhat. I get that Chris Bey was here to be the stand-in third man, but I would have had someone else in that spot to save Bey for a bigger match (and not homogenize him as “just another X Division guy”). But no huge harm done.
This was an okay episode of Impact. I felt like that a few of their storylines are a bit out of whack, but that’s due to the circumstances of COVID-19 being a thing. I actually thought there were pluses and negatives to the production. Plus in that they got to try out new segments and vignettes. I personally want to see more of the character-profile pieces, like the one we saw for Kiera Hogan, utilized for more wrestlers on the roster (Jeremy Borash does this for NXT and it really does a good job giving the wrestlers a reason for you to what to care about them). What I’m not liking is this company’s sudden love for TNA again. TNA is what burned this company’s bridges with casual and hardcore wrestling fans. Now they’re wearing crappy-TNA like a badge of honor?