By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired May 26, 2020 on AXS TV
A recap aired of last week’s Impact Wrestling show…
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne were on commentary…
1. Ace Austin vs. Shawn Hernandez in a Semi-final match of the Impact Number One Contenders Tournament. Hernandez manhandled Ace early on with tosses and power strikes. Ace managed to roundhouse kick Hernandez to his knee but Hernandez came back with a Military Press. Ace staggered Hernandez with a back kick after Hernandez told him to suck it. Hernandez blocked Ace’s suicide dive and slapped Ace’s ears to throw Ace off balance. Ace snuck in a low blow on Hernandez after the ref was distracted a bit.
Ace worked on Hernandez with methodical holds and quick strikes. Ace’s rally lasted for a few minutes. Madison noted that Ace is trying to exhaust Hernandez. Hernandez turned the tables by hitting Ace with a pounce. Hernandez tossed around Ace. Hernandez wrapped a shirt around Ace’s neck and tossed him. Hernandez hit Ace with a backbreaker for a two count. Ace escaped a Border Toss attempt and gave Hernandez a chop block. Ace escaped another Border Toss. Hernandez “rocked the baby” as Josh Mathews put it. Ace countered with a huracanrana and tights rollup for a two count.
Ace escaped another Border Toss attempt and gave Hernandez a chop block. Ace countered Hernandez again with a spinning reverse DDT. As Hernandez slowly got to his feet, Ace hit Hernandez with The Fold and picked up the pinfall win.
Ace Austin defeated Hernandez via pinfall in 9:42 to advance to the finals in the Impact Number One Contenders Tournament.
Madison Rayne talked about how impressive Ace Austin has been in that he beat two heavyweights en route to advancing to the finals.
John’s Thoughts: A well put together match to boost Ace Austin to the finals of the tournament. Madison Rayne, in particular, was good on commentary in pointing out Ace’s gameplan of gassing out Hernandez and attacking the knee. As I mentioned last week, right now Ace Austin is my favorite to win the tournament.
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in from their commentary set. Josh noted that Ace Austin is now in the finals after being a substitution for Ken Shamrock after Michael Elgin injured Ken before Ken’s match. Josh ran through some of the advertised upcoming segments…
The show cut to cinematic mode where Cody Deaner was sitting next to a random road. He yelled at a random guy on a motorcycle, saying this was no “boneyard” and that the guy must be an “American” that thinks he’s “Badass” (get it?… ok). Cody drove to the “Deaners Compound” on a golf cart…
Johnny Swinger was hyping up Chris Bey backstage about how they are now a team. Swinger gave Bey the exact same speeches he gave to Willie Mack and Disco Inferno about having a roll of quarters, fuji dust, tape gimmicks, and other stuff in his fanny pack. Bey said he just prefers Swinger to come with him to the ring and they figure things out as they go. Swinger said he loves it because it’s old school thinking to “call it in the ring”…[c]
Ethan Page and Josh Alexander were driving over to the Deaner Compound in the back of a limo. Page was over the top in mocking how lame the countryside looked. Alexander pointed out how the Deaner family couldn’t spell “compound” correctly on the sign. Some random nerdy looking guy welcomed The North to the compound, causing Page to laugh out loud. The nerdy guy tried to do a creepy warning. The nerdy guy sprinted away before he could complete his warning. Page commended the guy for looking like a great athlete by the way he sprinted…
Michael Elgin cut a promo backstage about beating Sami Callihan last week as well as other former World Champions to get where he is. Elgin said Trey Miguel has to start taking things seriously now that he’s facing Elgin. Elgin talked about how he will always be number one contender until he’s world champion…
2. Chris Bey (w/Johnny Swinger) vs. Cousin Jake. Bey tried to trash talk Jake, but Jake responded by tossing Bey across the ring. Jake used his weight and wide base to block Bey’s armdrags. Jake hit Bey with a few shortarm lariats. Bey reversed a backbreaker with a flip. Bey did a dance, but Jake ran through him and continued to dominate the offense. Jake gave Bey a body slam for a two count. Bey managed to stagger Jake with an Eddy Gordo kick. Bey knocked down Jake with a springboard dropkick.[c]
Bey dominated Jake with methodical but high impact strikes. Swinger gave Jake a cheap shot right hand while Bey distracted the referee. Jake no-sold Bey’s roundhouse kicks with fighting spirit. Bey gave Jake a kick for a two count. Bey hit Jake with a sweep and stomp combo. Bey crashed and burned on a standing moonsault. Bey and Jake traded punches with Jake getting the strong haymaker in to knock Bey to the mat.
Jake hit Bey with a series of clotheslines. Jake blocked a tornado DDT with a Drill Claw for a two count. Bey punched his way out of a power bomb attempt from Jake. Bey gave Jake a nice spinning knee. Bey reversed a Power Bomb into a Code Red for a two count on Jake. Jake planted Bey with a sitout power bomb. Johnny Swinger distracted Jake and Bey almost tackled Swinger. Jake knocked Swinger off the apron, which allowed Bey to nail Jake with a springboard Fameasser. Bey hit Jake with the “Final Finesse” (Delayed Overhead Roundhouse) for the win.
Chris Bey defeated Cousin Jake via pinfall in 9:50 of on-air TV Time.
Johnny Swinger put the boots to Jake after the match. Bey joined Johnny in the booting. Willie Mack ran out to scare off Chris Bey and Johnny Swinger…
John’s Thoughts: A good match, but it would be good to see Bey get some quicker wins against enhancement times as opposed to being competitive with a virtual enhancement guy in Jake. He has nowhere to go but up though and so far he’s really bringing good work to the ring (though I think the his character work is a little bit too vague. He’s essentially a carbon-copy Shane Strickland, who also has a weird vague gimmick that appeals more to local indie crowds). Speaking of Jake, he’s also very impressive in the ring and solid on the mic from what little we heard. I hope he moves away from Cody Deaner’s undercard comedy act because there is real upside there. He’s kinda like Festus in WWE who would become Doc Gallows after dropping the hillbilly character.
New interviewer Gia Miller interviewed Rohit Raju about no longer having the Desi Hit Squad with him. Raju said the real question is when is he going to get another opportunity? Rohit mocked people who lose their titles only to get a rematch the following week. Rohit said he is considered at the bottom of the barrel and doesn’t get such opportunities. Chase Stevens then walked on set. Rohit talked about how the old TNA guys like Stevens, Suicide, and Rhino are walking around taking away Raju’s spotlight.
Chase Stevens bragged about being a multi-time TNA Tag Team Champion while Rohit’s claim to fame is getting slapped around by Gama Singh. Rohit said that Stevens just crossed the line. Rohit said he’s whooping Chase’s ass next week. Rohit left. Chase talked about not working here, yet having a match next week. Gia Stevens accused Stevens of planning this ahead of time…
Josh Mathews hyped up Jessika Havok vs. Kimber Lee for after the break…[c]
3. Kimber Lee vs. Jessika Havok. Josh noted that Lee uses brass knuckles which she calls her “crown jewels”. Lee and Havok brawled early on with Lee having the upper hand. Havok turned the tables with a chokebomb into the turnbuckle. Lee avoided a Face Wash and gave Havok roundhouse kicks in the corner. Lee got Havok to her knees with three back hook kicks. Lee applied a sleeper hold on Havok. Josh Mathews said he’s distracted because he’s looking to see if Nevaeh is in the crowd.
Havok planed Lee with a spinebuster. Havok gave Lee three bottom rope Face Wash boots. Lee raked Havok’s eyes to escape the Fireman Carry. Kimber Lee grab the brass knuckles from under the apron. Suddenly Nevaeh ran out and attacked Lee for the DQ.
Kimber Lee defeated Jessika Havok via DQ in 3:33.
Nevaeh took away Lee’s knuckles and kicked them out of the ring. Lee was caught between Havok and Nevaeh. Havok and Nevaeh then hit Lee with a double team neckbreaker-Wheelbarrow Slam. Josh said it looks like Nevaeh and Havok are allies.
John’s Thoughts: Havok and Hazard return in Impact? Not the worst thing in the world. That and everything beats being in the Undead Realm. So far I’m liking how the new Knockouts Division is being built. Kimber Lee can gloat about getting two wins so far so she was protected. Havok and Hazard has potential as a tandem and as a feud (I’m curious if they’re thinking of bringing back the Knockouts Tag Team titles after putting Kylie Rae and Su Yung, presumably, together as well as Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steels)
Kylie Rae ran into Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz where they tried to bully and bicker with Rae in the hallway. Susie Yung walked up to them and said what Kiera and Tasha are doing “that’s bad”. Susie told Kiera that Bullying is Bad. Kiera then ordered Tasha to gut punch Kylie, which she did. Tasha and Kiera then beat down Susie and Kylie. Kiera and Tasha left, calling Susie and Kylie “weak asses”. Kylie then tried to help up Susie, but Susie started to twitch. Just in case you didn’t know, the screen started flashing Su Yung’s face in…
John’s Thoughts: What I thought they were leading to, another tag team in the women’s division. We got three now. This also sadly looks like they’re going to keep Kiera Hogan in the “good hand heel” role because I totally expect Impact to be in the business of protecting Kylie Rae. Make Kiera a babyface already. Also, stop insulting the viewers intelligence with the visual effects. It would have had more impact if Susie just twitched and had a tone change. Plus I find it insulting to Susie’s strong acting ability that Impact feels the need to insert an unnecessary visual aid to prop her.
Josh Alexander and Ethan Page approached the Deaner Barn, which was locked. The random nerdy guy unlocked the padlock and then sprinted away (I feel like this joke was ripped off from Napoleon Dynamite or a similar movie. I’m not sure though). Three random hillbilly guys welcomed The North to the Deaner Compound…[c]
Joseph P Ryan was chatting with Jake and Dave Crist. Jake and Dave Crist were dressed in generic OVE T-Shirts as oppposed to their usual gear. Joey talked about how he’s wrestling “Mentally Unwell” Steve. Dave corrected Joey and said it was “Crazzy”. Joey said that is problematic language. Joey told OVE to join Joey at ringside during his match with “Steven” so they can learn how Cancel Culture deals with business. After Joey left, Dave was giddy over Joey possibly being the person to lead them from their losing ways…
John’s Thoughts: I really hope this doesn’t lead to The Crist brothers being presented as jobber ass j-brones, a la WWE’s B-Team tag team. The Crist Brothers are way too talented to being relegated to being comedy losers. Especially Jake, who is still being underutilized after his stellar work as “The Golden Draw” X Division Champion.
Cody Deaner was shown hyping up the hillbilly guys at the ring in his barn. Ethan Page argued that this match is supposed to be two on two. Cody said this was a match between the North vs. Cody and Wheels. Page thought the referee was “Wheels” because he was in a wheel chair. Page also thought Wheels was a lady who rides a tractor. They ended up doing the Earthquake effect to show that Wheels is a big guy who likes toy cars. Wheels told Page to stop throwing around Wheels’s toy cars.
4. “The North” Ethan Page and Josh Alexander vs. “The Deaners” Cody Deaner and Wheels for the Impact Tag Team Championships (Cinematic). The Deaners beat around the north with double team moves while cinematic music was playing in the background. The North regained the advantage after Page threw a bunch of golf clubs at Wheels. Cody was beating up Alexander with a golf club. The brawl carried to the outside where Rock Music started playing.
They brawled to the back of a Semi. The North gave Cody a Razor’s Edge on to a pile of Deaners on the outside. The North were beating down Wheels but Cody managed to hit the North with a crossbody from the top of a trailer to give Cody a two count on Ethan. Throughout the cinematic, the random nerdy guy would pop up and sprint away. Page slammed Wheels through a fense for a two count. The teams brawled to a car. Page hit the window of the car with a crowbar, trying to hit Cody.
Cody and Alexander brawled to the top of the Semi Truck. Alexander gave Cody a DDT on the top of the treailer. Page yelled for Josh to join him in the ring after beating down Wheels. The North ended up giving Wheels a wombo combo combination for a two count. A drone shot showed Cody lying on top of the trailer. The North started picking on the legless referee. The legless referee ended up tossing Alexander out of the ring and setting up Page on the second rope.
The legless referee gave Ethan Page a 619. The legless referee missed a 450 splash. Ref Bump?!? Cody recovered and ended up hitting Josh with a Deander DDT. THe referee was bumpped and couldn’t get the three count. The North recovered and hit Cody with their double team Neutralizer. Wheels recovered and was about to give The North a double choke slam, but he was low blowed by George Menezes, who’s the Destiny Pro Wrestling promoter as well as the energetic ring announcer from the last two North matches. George revealed he was wearing a referee’s shirt as he gave the North a victory with a fast count.
The North defeated Cody Deaner and Wheels via pinfall in 7:15 to retain the Impact Tag Team Championships.
George Menezes raised The North’s hands and called them the champions. The North and George ran away from the army of Deaners…
John’s Thoughts: While we’ve definitely seen better cinematics from other companies, this one was one of Impact’s better cinematics since Jeremy Borash left to do the cinematics with WWE. Not all the humor was for my taste, but I thought this was pretty solid and the closest thing you could get to Broken Universe without JB producing. Like I said, even though it wasn’t exactly my type of humor, it was solid in that nothing really was stupid and illogical. The only thing I could do without is the music being too loud. They probably should turn the volume down on that a bit. That and we’re seeing so many cinematics these days where the gimmick is just wearing thin.
Gia Miller interviewed TJ Perkins and Fallah Bahh about their thought on facing the North eventually for the Tag Team Championships. Perkins said they are on the Northern trail. I think Bahh said something in what I’m guessing is Tagalog. Perkins talked about how he and Bahh beat the entire tag team division in a match a few weeks ago. Zachary Wentz and Dezmond Xavier walked into the interview and talked about how they beat Bahh and and Perkins and XXXL in the ring a few weeks ago too. Perkins challenged The Rascalz to settle the score. The Rascalz acted like goofballs and walked off…[c]
Ugh, it was time for a Rascalz 70s Show ripoff smoke circle with Trey, Dez, and Zach. Trey was in goofy mode as he talked about not wanting to hear about number one contenderships. Moose showed up and gave Trey Miguel sunglasses. Trey joked about Moose’s prop title belt. Moose joked in a plug for AXS. Moose said if Trey could beat Elgin then Trey can become a contender for the world title. Moose said if Trey wins he should go after the TNA title because people like Kurt Angle, Sting, and Moose held the title. The Rascalz all laughed at Moose mentioning himself as champion and said he’s more like a Moose from the Animal Crossing video game. Moose warned the Rascalz to not make fun of him or else he’ll beat them again like the last time they made fun of him (Moose ended up beating all three Rascalz, I think.)…
John’s Thoughts: Not the worst 70s show ripoff segment, but Impact is being very inconsistent in the way they’re presenting Trey Miguel. Outside of these cinematics he’s a plucky inspired babyface who shows good fire. Here he’s a undercard goof that nobody can take seriously. Impact relies too much on cheap laughs that I feel like they can finally put this to rest, especially since some of their other comedy has been pretty decent compared to this.
This week’s Impact Plus Flashback Match of the week was Moose vs. Cody Rhodes for the Impact Grand Championship. This was from a March 2017 episode of Impact Wrestling. Moose retained the championship via split decision since these matches are defended in Rounds. Moose’s ROH theme played to close the segment…
John’s Thoughts: Wasn’t Impact saying that Moose was never a singles champion in the company, yet they showed this match where he defended the singles title he won in the company? I don’t get it. Plus! Hey guys! It’s the AEW Dynamite TNT Champion!
Michael Elgin was shown getting hyped up backstage…[c]
A vignette aired for Deonna Purrazzo. A bunch of math equations were flashing on the screen. Purrazzo was talking about how she’s the Virtuosa (the gimmick she’s been using in NXT). Deonna said she has outstanding technical ability and appreciation for artistic excellence. She said unlike an average person, she decluttered her mind to access space usually ignored. She said she has the equation for success. She then talked retoric about stimulus and technique. She said she’s Deonna Purrazzo The Virtuosa…
John’s Thoughts: Huge get for Impact and I’m really looking forward to seeing Deonna finally presented with an actual push. She’s extremely good in the ring and not a bad talker to boot. That said, I’m not sure about the whole math equation gimmick. This is what she was trying in NXT and it came off as a dud (albeit, NXT also didn’t do her any favors by keeping her as an enhancement wrestler for years). It kinda seems like it was inspired by the movie Limitless. Apprehensions about the math gimmick aside, Purrazzo’s amazing and Impact’s knockouts division is really stacked. They were already better than AEW in terms of talent, but it also looks like they are finally moving away from crappy Undead cinematics too.
Rosemary was hitting on John E Bravo again at the bar. Her shirt said “Satan is my Daddy”. Rosemary talked about almost getting married to a wizard. Rosemary said they had to kill the wizard as a sacrifice. Rosemary said “father” (satan) is heavy handed, while “The shadow” (whatever she was following when she was with Decay) allows her to have “creative freedom”. John E said he can relate because he feels like he sold his soul to Taya Valkyrie. John E started regretting Taya’s treatment of him.
Rosemary offered to have John E’s back as well now that Rosemary is allies with Taya. John E was all up for it. Rosemary said they should meet somewhere else next week because she’s tired of the bar. John E said places these days are closed. Rosemary said nobody says no in terms of opening their doors to Rosemary. John E told Rosemary not to sacrifice him. Rosemary called John E a “slut” for thinking that Rosemary sacrifices people on the first date…
John’s Thoughts: I don’t think this will end in gratifying fashion, but I have to admit that I’m liking the Rosemary bar segments and Rosemary moving away from the hocus pocus in favor of more of being the Decay goth girl. As long as they don’t try to dumb down her act with cheap visual effects I’m good.
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in on commentary. Josh said that John E needs to take his shot. Madison told Josh not to take his shot on her. Josh advertised next week’s matches wich included Rascalz vs. Bahh and Perkins, Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz vs. Kylie Rae and Susie Yung. Crazzy Steve vs. Joey Ryan, Chris Bey on Lockerroom Talk, and the Number One Contender Tournament Final…[c]
5. Michael Elgin vs. Trey Miguel in a semi-final match of the Impact Number One Contenders Tournament. Elgin and Trey had a pretty even stalemate between trading power vs. agility. Trey used two revolutions to land an armdrag on Elgin. Elgin blocked an Old School armdrag, but Trey quickly followed up with a springboard huracanrana. Trey went for a Tiger Feint Huracanrana on Elgin, but Elgin blocked it. Trey got to the apron and kicked Elgin. Elgin blocked a Huracanrana. Trey hit Elgin with a DDT which Josh noted was the first clean hit in the match.
Trey hit Elgin with a split legged Moonsault for a two count. Elgin pulled Miguel off the rope and hit him with a modified codebreaker. Elgin gave Miguel a backbreaker for a two count. Elgin toyed with Trey a bit and called for a fighting spirit strong style exchange. Elgin clocked Miguel with a haymaker. Elgin no sold Trey’s forearms during the strong style exchange. Elgin continued to manhandle Miguel around the ring. Elgin hit Trey with a float over suplex for a two count.
Elgin went back to the strong style forearms on Trey. Trey no sold Elgin’s strong style with Fighting Spirit. Trey hit Elgin with rapid fire forearms. Elgin came back with a kick to the gut. Trey came back with a jawbreaker. Trey escaped an Elgin Bomb attempt and gave Elgin an elbow. Trey hit Elgin with his finisher, the diving meteora, to leave both men lying heading into commercial.[c]
Miguel and Elgin traded strong style forearms. Trey did the Matrix Dodge into a handstand kick for a two count on Elgin. Elgin hit Trey with an innovative rubberband Ace Crusher. Elgin hit Trey with an Impaler DDT for a two count. Elgin hit Trey with stiff short lariats. Trey came back with forearms. Trey and Elgin went back to the NEVER Openweight strong style exchange. Trey nailed Elgin with a myraid of kicks. Elgin no-sold Migue’s Code Red and hit Miguel with a lariat.
Trey reversed Elgin’s hold with a Stun Dog Millionaire. Elgin came back with a lariat to leave both men recovering. Trey got Michael to his knee with his Scorpion Kick combo. Elgon no-sold a double stomp, but Trey got Elgin to the mat with a Come-Up stunner. Elgin blocked it initially, but Miguel ended up hitting Elgin with a Frankensteiner. Elgin recovered and hit Trey with a release German Suplex. Trey kicked out at two. Josh and Madison said this looks like a match of the year for 2020.
John’s Thoughts: In all honestly, this is an amazing match. It doesn’t help when the commentators oversell it as such as it makes the superlative come off as manufactured as opposed to organic (which you would do by giving the superlative a few weeks form now).
Trey escaped an impressive Delayed Superplex attempt from Elgin. Trey hit Elgin with a Super Diving Meteora for a nearfall. Elgin reversed Trey’s dive with a power bomb. Trey kicked out. Elgin followed up with a lariat for a two count. Suddenly, the lights were “hacked” and the “ICU” graphics were flashing on the wall. Elgin started walking around the ring like an idiot, worried about the “hacking”. Trey rolled up Elgin into a Jackknife Pin for the surprise win.
Trey Miguel defeated Michael Elgin via pinfall in 18:02 of on-air TV Time to advance to the finals of the Impact Number One Contenders Tournament.
Trey was loopy at ringside while Josh Mathews called this an upset. Dave Penzer ran away as Michael Elgin tossed around stuff at the timekeepers table. Impact closed with Elgin shoving around barricades…
John’s Thoughts: An amazing match where I have clear mixed thoughts on the finish. First of all, this match really needed a crowd because it could have been a star making moment for Trey Miguel. Tis the world we live in though, sadly we can’t have crowds. Even if there was a crowd, I feel like the finish was overbooked and would have taken some of the heat away from Trey because it was built around Sami. Why didn’t they allow Trey to get a clean jackknife pin on Elgin? The hacking was goofy and took away from Trey’s win.
While I like how Trey was presented in the main event, Impact really needs to pick a lane and stick with it in terms of Trey Miguel’s characterization. He’s really shining when he’s the plucky underdog babyface. Then Impact goes on and undermines his heat by presenting him as a scrub in undercard comedy segments (I’m not the one who came up with the term “Scrub” in terms of how the Rascalz present themselves, that’s something Ortiz came up with during the LAX vs. Rascalz feud). I mean, I hope he doesn’t win the tournament or if he does, hopefully he drops the 70’s show gimmick because it doesn’t mesh with being a main event babyface. He doesn’t have the range of say, Daniel Bryan, at least yet, where he can be goofy but credible. Build him first.
Anyway, I digress. Wonky presentation of Trey Miguel aside, I’ve been liking the past few months of Impact Wrestling. Somehow, someway, Impact Wrestling’s show actually improved during the COVID-19 era, whereas other companies understandably have gotten less impressive. Impact on AXS was just really stale, and after they moved to the no-crowds, their writing has been streamline, their comedy has gotten less cringy, their characters have improved, their roster has been boosted, and their matches are good. I’m not saying they’re as good as they were on Pursuit, but this is the best Impact has been on AXS. Maybe Jason Powell thinks differently, but I thought it was solid. Check out Jason’s Hit List and Audio Review coming soon…