By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired January 5, 2021 on AXS TV
Highlights from three weeks ago aired followed by the Impact intro theme…
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne were on commentary…
1. Ace Austin (w/Madman Fulton) vs. Blake Christian vs. KC Navarro vs. Crazzy Steve. Mathews noted that all these wrestlers would be wrestling at the Genesis show this Saturday on Impact plus. Christian and Navarro brawled in the ring after Ace pulled Steve to ringside. Ace ended up pulling Navarro to ringside to put the boots to him. Ace kicked Christian in the gut after Christian got distracted with Fulton. Christian hit Ace with a boot and a few kicks.
Ace caught Christian with a back kick and boots in the corner. Christian was dumped to ringside. Steve locked Ace in the Upside Down. Navarro hit Ace with a drop toehold and wrecking ball kick. Christian shoved Navarro off the top rope. Ace staggered Christian on the top rope. Ace had to fight Steve back. Christian flipped away and hit Ace’s back with a enzuigiri. Christian hit Navarro with a Tope Con Hilo.
Navarro recovered and hit Christian with a suicide dive. Ace hit Navarro and Christian with a Fosbury Flop. Ace hit Steve with a modified Final Cut for a two count. Navarro hit Ace with a modified Sliced Bread for a two count. Christian caught Navarro with a feint kick to the gut. Christian hit Ace with a Spanish Fly and Frog Splash. Steve broke up Christian’s pin on Ace. Steve trapped Christian and Ace in the corner. Navarro drove Steve into the other two opponents with a Death Valley Driver in the corner. Steve recovered and hit Navarro with a Spike Tornado DDT for the victory.
Crazzy Steve defeated KC Navarro, Ace Austin, and Blake Christian via pinfall in 7:08.
John’s Thoughts: As much as I dislike it when Impact throws in random indie wrestlers in X-Division filler match, this was on the better side of those Impact time filler matches and Christian and Navarro looked pretty good. Christian has good in-ring and Navarro seems to have some charisma from what little we saw of him. That said, it’s a bit perplexing they gave Steve the win, given that he seemed to be the guy most set to take the pin here. You don’t pin Ace in this situation because Ace is a situational main eventer in the Impact realm. Why not put Ace over to heat him back up in the singles division. Or more than that, why not give Navarro or Christian the win heading into Saturday’s Impact Plus tournament. Impact has done this in the past many times with their random indie wrestlers that show up. Having them be inconsequential and having them take an initial loss out of the gate automatically brands them as a scrub. I get paying dues and whatnot, but Impact shouldn’t be shooting themselves in the foot by sacrificing their television creative in favor or behind-the-scenes training.
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in from their commentary set. Josh hyped up the upcoming Genesis and Hard to Kill shows. Josh told viewers that Kenny Omega’s bus is on-site again and this has been the norm for the last three first-run shows. Madison Rayne hyped up Jordynne Grace and Jazz vs. Havok and Nevaeh in the last semi final match of the Knockouts Tag Team Tournament…
Sami Callihan cut a promo from an undisclosed location. He was supposedly “hacking”. Sami said Eddie Edwards wants to show the world that everything is possible and that the good guys win in the end. Sami said Sami is all about ruling the world by Chaos. Sami said bad guys win in the end. Sami advised Eddie to not bring Alisha to ringside because “Anything is Possible”…[c]
This week’s AEW “Paid advertisement” aired with Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone. They were wearing New Years party favors to signify the new year. Khan said AEW was here to help out the less fortunate, and the “less fortunate” in this case is Impact Wrestling. Khan talked about tomorrow’s New Years Smash show being a huge event in pro wrestling.
Schiavone ran through the card which featured Snoop Dogg as a special guest along with Jon Moxley’s return. Khan hyped up Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix for the world title as being the must see match of the show (and I would have to agree. Omega and Fenix have been putting on good matches in AAA over Omega’s Mega Title and it’s always a specticle to watch a Fenix singles match). Khan said that Don Callis is trying to take partial credit for starting AEW, but it is Khan who funds the show, sets up TV deals, hire the talent, and even books the show.
Khan said the only thing he doesn’t do is wrestle and that’s something people like Moxley and Omega provide given their world-class status. Khan said Callis is a parasite to wrestling while Khan is a patron. Khan said because he has some more money to spend from his grandma giving him $100 in a Christmas Card, he’s going to buy another paid advertisement next week. Schiavone wished Impact a happy new year…
John’s Thoughts: These weekly “paid advertisements” are a nice treat and usually pretty fun. The best parts are the Tony’s taking jabs at the expense of TNA’s shoddy history (which to a lot of returning Impact viewers are 100% justified, especially when Impact tries to flaunt things like “Wrestle House” as innovative). As entertaining as these Tony and Tony paid ads have been, I don’t see AEW really giving back to Impact at the moment. It gives AEW a small boost to plug their card for the next day’s show. Would it hurt to maybe get a Don Callis and Scott D’Amore counter ad on Dynamite?
Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows were shown in Omega’s tour bus rubbing each other’s title belts. Callis said he felt a bit out of place without a belt. Callis then showed off his picture with Golden Shiek. Callis hyped up Omega’s upcoming match at the Hard to Kill with his team against Rich Swann’s team. Omega said there is no way Impact Champion Swann and the legendary Machine Guns can touch Omega, Gallows, and Anderson. Omega said they were family and Bullet Club for life. Callis said maybe he can show up with Rich’s belt next time. Gallows said the Impact title isn’t that big, but at least it’s shiny…
Cousin Jake and Rhino entered the ring in ring gear. Jake cut a promo begging Cody Deaner to come out so they can fix things. Jake then called out Joe Doering for a fight. Eric Young and Joe Doering made their entrance. Slowly after they made it to stage, Cody Deaner showed up. He now has a buzzcut and wears a leather jacket. Young said Cody no longer answers to Jake but rather he answers to EY. EY said that he showed Cody the truth. Young said Rhino and Jake are looking at the truth and design and that’s something that Jake and Rhino aren’t.
Doering, Young, and Deaner entered the ring to confront the babyface duo. A referee showed up to turn this into a match…
2. Rhino and Cousin Jake vs. Joe Doering and Cody Deaner (w/Eric Young). Jake tried to plead to Cody to come to his senses. Cody ignored Jake’s pleas and then pummeled Jake. Cody showed a mean streak by keeping the upper hand over Jake. Doering tagged in and used his size to overpower Jake. Doering caught Jake with a running crossbody.[c]
Cody continued to dominate Jake back from the break. Jake fliped out of a suplex and tagged in Rhino for the hot tag. Josh noted that this was Rhino’s first action in the match. Rhino hit Cody with a Belly to Belly. Rhino tagged in Jake. Josh said that he doesn’t think that was wise because Jake has been working the bulk of the match and only got less than a minute to catch his breath. Jake went back to pleading with Cody. Joe gave Rhino a clothesline at ringside. Cody hit Jake with a low blow while Eric Young distracted the referee. Deaner hit Jake with the Deaner DDT for the win.
Cody Deaner and Joe Doering defeated Cousin Jake and Rhino via pinfall in 4:20 of on-air time.
Young, Doering, and Cody put the boots to Jake after the match, with Young also making sure to keep Rhino down. Because Cody Deaner is a new heel, and every heel needs to wrestle Tommy Dreamer when they start out, queue Tommy Dreamer running out to clear Young, Cody, and Joe from the ring. Dreamer and Rhino used Kendo Sticks to hold fort.
Dreamer took a mic and proposed a trios match between the two teams at Hard to Kill. Dreamer said he doesn’t want this to be a hardcore match, but rather an “Old School Rules” match (which is the same thing as hardcore match). Josh Mathews said it looked like Eric Young accepted the match on behalf of his team…
John’s Thoughts: It was a bit odd seeing Cody Deaner with a new look after all these years dating back to the early 2010s of the guy being the Larry the Cable Guy tribute; but his dramatic shift in in-ring style quickly acclimated him to his new entranced character. Cody was really good and was wrestling like he was a pitbull. This was a good progression on Eric Young and Joe Doering’s rampage. Here’s hoping that Cousin Jake ends up seeing some form of “evolution”. Jake has the in-ring and charisma. First thing the guy needs to do is getting a new name and look.
Gia Miller welcomed Matthew Palmer to Impact Wrestling. Palmer is the indie security guard that tore a piece of Moose’s suit a few weeks ago during the pull-apart brawl. Gia asked Palmer why a security guard would accept Moose’s three minute challenge. Palmer said he didn’t mean to rip Moose’s suit but he also didn’t travel all these miles just to be a security guard. He said he did the travel to get his foot into the door because he’s a pro wrestler. He said he could go home like a coward and hang his head in shame, or he can get beat by Moose and hold his head high at home. Gia said Palmer might be able to last three minutes. Palmer said the world might end up knowing who Matthew Palmer is…[c]
Acey Romero met up with Johnny Swinger in a random office room. Johnny had Hernandez’s wad of cash with him. Swinger told Acey that he was already proven to be innocent via Wrestler’s Court. Acey noted that Crazzy Steve said that Swinger might know something as to who framed Larry D. Swinger said Acey needs to question a Knockout because this sounds like the work of a “brizzod”. Swinger said he barges in the women’s locker room all the time and they shouldn’t mind Acey showing up…
Deonna Purrazzo and Kimber Lee made their entrances in street clothes. Deonna said she doesn’t understand what Taya Valkyrie is doing by constantly coming after her and Lee after taking a few losses to the both of them. Deonna then hyped herself up as the virtuosa and the first ever ironwoman of Impact. Deonna said Taya can accept reality or contiue to fall in a spiral of delusion and denial.
Taya Valkryie and Rosemary made their entrance. Rosemary had an angry grin. Taya reminded Deonna that she’s the longest reigning Knockouts Champion in Impact history. Taya said she sees that Deonna thinks that Taya was distracted with things like Wrestle House, the Bravo wedding, murder trial, and tag tournament. Taya said despite all that, she’s still focused on getting the Knockouts title back. Deonna noted that Taya lost to Jordynne Grace, who Deonna beat for the title. Deonna said Taya’s husband (John Morrison) isn’t here and John E Bravo wants nothing to do with Taya.
Deonna said it’ll be a matter of time before Rosemary leaves Taya. Deonna said she’s changed the Knockouts Division into the “Age of the Virtuosa”. Deonna then mocked Taya’s Valley Girl accent in saying that Taya is clinging to being the longest knockouts champion of all time. Deonna said once she breaks Taya’s arm, that last accolade won’t matter any more for Taya. Taya shoved Lee to the mat. Taya said she was hoping for a more creative insult from Deonna than a jab at Taya’s husband. Taya said Deonna is just afraid that Taya will humiliate Deonna in front of everybody. Taya said she’s not just going to become two time champion, but she’s going to end the age of the virtuosa. Taya said she’ll welcome the “Era de la Wera”…
John’s Thoughts: A really good promo segment to heat up what felt initially like an impromptu feud. Taya Valkyrie is really good and one of the best female wrestlers in the world across all wrestling companies; and they do point out that they’ve kept her hidden on the sidelines in their goofy low-budget cinematic skits. Impact should let wrestlers do what they do best, and that’s pro wrestling. An aspect of pro wrestling, is delivering face-to-face promos and we saw two really strong promo deliverers today. Good stuff.
Rohit Raju ran into Chris Bey backstage. Raju said his New Years Resolution is forgiveness. Raju said in being the bigger man he forgives Bey for weaseling his way into the X Division title match at Hard to Kill. Raju said they’re even now. Bey said they’re only even when Bey wins the title back. Raju said he’s here for peace and that they have a common enemy. Raju said they should continue with their initial plan to unmask Manik and reveal TJP under the mask. Bey said that sounds like a good idea and Raju should lead him to TJ.
They cut to Bey and Raju sitting next to TJP on a couch. They kept trying to insinuate that Perkins is Manik. TJ said he doesn’t know where Manik is. Bey and Raju proposed that they face Manik and TJP in a tag team match. Perkins said he and Manik don’t get along, but he’ll let Manik know that Bey and Raju want a match when he sees Manik backstage. Perkins walked away. Bey said he knows that TJ is Manik because they have the same tatoos…[c]
Tenille Dashwood confronted Rosemary backstage. The area was in a red tint for some reason. Dashwood said she understands how hit feels to break up with a partner. Kaleb Konley was afraid that it was him, but then wondered if it was Jordynne Grace or Madison Rayne. Dashwood said it was the “little person” (Alisha Edwards). Dashwood tried to vague propose an alliance with Rosemary. Rosemary knocked Kaleb on the head and told the both of them to be gone…
3. Jordynne Grace and Jazz vs. Jessika Havok and Naveah in a semi-final match of the Knockouts Tag Team Championship Tournament. Naveah and Grace started off the match with a lockup. Grace got a few one counts from a side headlock. Grace took down Naveah with a shoulder tackle. Havok tagged in. Havok no sold Grace’s shoulder tackles. Jazz tagged in. Jazz gave Havok a slap. Havok and Jazz then traded forearms. Jazz gained momentum with a flurry of forearms.
Havok came back with a corner splash. Naveah tagged in and worked with Havok to cut the ring in half on Grace. Grace broke up the pin. Jazz tagged in Grace. Grace got a two count after a lariat. Jazz tagged in and got a two count after a underhook suplex on Naveah. Grace and Jazz traded quick tags to keep Havok under control. Jazz and Grace dominated for a few minutes. Naveah got a moment of respite after hitting Jazz with a swinging neckbreaker. Havok and Grace tagged in.
Havok took down Grace with a boot and a Face Wash in the corner. Havok hit Grace with a sitout Power Bomb. Jazz broke up the pin. Jazz hit Naveah with a series of punches. Jazz knocked Havok with a punch to give Grace a two count on Havok. Havok gave Jazz a punt to the chest and gave Grace a chokeslam. Havok gave Jazz a Tombstone pile driver to pick up the win.
Jessika Havok and Naveah defeated Jazz and Jordynne Grace via pinfall in 9:41 to advance to the finals of the Knockouts Championship Tag Team Tournament.
John’s Thoughts: Havok’s last offensive sequence was the strongest she’s looked in Impact in a long time. This finish was pretty good and it gives Havok and Naveah a bit of a boost to eliminate Jazz on her presumed retirement tour. This does set up an interesting final. What makes it interesting is Havok and Naveah have been oddly booked ever since they brought their tag team to Impact, in that these two never beat anybody despite being the monster tag team of the division. Most of those losses come from the smaller Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz tag team. Will they take yet another loss to Steelz and Hogan? That would usually be fine, it’s just odd that they never book the monster tag team as monsters. We’ve seen then booked as monsters in WOW when they were known as Havok and Hazard.
Gia Miller interviewed Rich Swann, Chris Sabin, and Alex Shelley about their match against Omega, Gallows, and Anderson at Hard to Kill. Sabin talked about how Impact was built on teams like the Machine Guns and wrestlers like Rich Swann. Sabin said Omega, Gallows, and Anderson better be ready. Swann said he’s repping the Machine Guns at Hard to Kill. Swann said the Guns are one of the greatest tag teams of all time in all of pro wrestling. Swann then said he’s the Impact champion and he’s not letting another champion from another promotion walk here and act like he owns the place.
Swann said he’s not letting Omega do that after all the pain he went through to become world champion. Swann said pain is temporary but pride is forever. Swann said he’s going to give Omega the heat. Shelley said they got their asses beat last time, but they’re not afraid of getting their asses kicked every once in a while. Shelley proposed that they go kick Omega and the Good Brothers’ asses in their “boujee ass camper”. Shelley, Sabin, and Swann walked away…[c]
The random security guard tried to stop Swann, Shelley, and Sabin from entering Omega’s private parking lot, but they just ignored the doorman. Swann, Sabin, and Shelley started banging the door of Omega’s tour bus. They were then blindsided by Omega and The Good Brothers. Omega and the Good Brothers left the babyface trio lying. Omega said “these babyfaces were easy to kill”. Omega gave Swann, Shelley, and Sabin some more cheap shots before entering his tour bus to leave…
John’s Thoughts: Swann, Shelley, and Sabin look a bit weak there, but at the same time they’re the babyface team and babyfaces should look to be vulnerable to draw sympathy. That doesn’t hurt that the match at Hard to Kill should be really good given the immense talent level between all six men.
Jordynne Grace apologized to Jazz backstage for leaving Jazz to lose. Grace said she’s disappointed that she put Jazz’s retirement on hold for this loss. Jazz asked Grace not to worry because it was an honor to wrestle with the new generation. Grace said that Jazz hasn’t missed a beat and fit in well with the new Generation. Grace said it would be a bigger honor for her to face Jazz in a singles match at Genesis. Jazz bumped forearms with Grace and accepted the challenge…
John’s Thoughts: Now that’s a match that can boost a card, but why put it on a show that isn’t considered must-see by the general wrestling audience? I only say this because Impact is really wasting unnecessary booking energy for shows that don’t help their company grow because of how unnecessary Impact Plus feels. Impact really had a good thing going when they would have their PPV shows be themed versions of Impact. They were ahead of the curve in that technique and you see companies like NXT and AEW doing that this week and those companies always boost their viewership via those themed shows. I just think that Impact should be focusing on growing and not pissing off the viewers as opposed to stretching themselves so thin.
Deonna Purrazzo and Kimber Lee asked James Mitchell if Su Yung was Susie now. James said it was done, but she’s not Susie. Su Yung walked out of the room, now looking like a secretary. She said her name was “Susan” now…
John’s Thoughts: Oh god! I smell bad Impact comedy coming. Maybe I’m wrong with this because Su Yung has done such a good job with the Zombie and little-girl characters. I just don’t trust Impact’s quirky creative to know how to utilize Su Yung’s talent.
Eddie Edwards was shown taping up his fists while Alisha Edwards was next to him…
4. Moose vs. Matthew Palmer in a 3 Minute Challenge. A 3 minute timer showed up on the video wall. Moose no-sold Palmers punches and gave Palmer a few Uranages. Moose dominated Palmer and no sold Palmer’s punches. Josh Mathews pointed out that Moose should take this match more seriously because Palmer is still in the match with 30 seconds left.
Moose gave Palmer a boot and Jackknife Power Bomb. Mathews continued to point out that Moose is wasting time. Willie Mack made his entrance to jaw at Moose. Moose was then counted out because he was distracted yelling at Mack.
Matthew Palmer defeated Moose by surviving for 3 minutes.
Mack and Matt walked up the ramp while Matt’s generic entrance theme played…
John’s Thoughts: While they should be booking Moose stronger to wipe away all the goofy stuff he’s been doing over the years, this made sense as it was Mack who ultimately was trying to get one over on Moose. Credit to Matthew Palmer for being the new random guy to show up and get a win in Impact, unike guys like those two random guys in the opening X Division match.
They showed Ethan Page sitting on a couch talking to someone (his own voice) off screen in a psychological therapy session. Page ultimately lost his cool and said that “This company” doesn’t care about him. Page said everybody else must be crazy. The camera cut to a wide shot to show he was talking to “The Karate Man” (which is himself with a red headband and through the power of post-edit camera tricks). Karate Man called Ethan Page “a bitch”. Page said Karate Man is talking to one of the best wrestlers in the industry. Page said he wants to beat the crap out of Karate Man. Karate Man said he’s not a street fighter, but he fights in kumates. Karate Man challenged Page to a match at Hard to Kill…[c]
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in on commentary. They ran through the followng segments happening on the Impact Plus Genesis show: The Super X Cup, Jazz vs. Jordynne Grace, and Moose vs. Mack in an I Quit match. Josh then announced Rich Swann vs. Karl Anderson on Impact next week in a non-title match with both men’s tag partners banned from ringside. Josh then noted that Impact was having a few special recap shows and crossover shows on AXS next week…
While Eddie Edwards was making his entrance to the ring, he was already in the process of beating up Sami Callihan. Eddie and Sami brawled at ringside for a few minutes…[c]
Eddie and Sami continued to brawl at ringside and Josh noted that the match hasn’t started yet due to both men brawling at ringside still. Sami and Eddie continued their hardcore brawl at ringside. Sami trash talked Eddie after chucking a chair at him. Sami then dominated Eddie for a stretch of time. Eddie rallied back after putting Sami on a chair after headbutts. Sami caught Eddie with a T-Bone suplex on top of the chair. The referee rang the bell after both men entered the ring and Sami yelled at the ref to ring the bell…
5. Eddie Edwards vs. Sami Callihan. Sami and Eddie traded punches in the center of the ring. Sami got the upper hand. Sami and Eddie tossed aside the referee after the referee tried to stop both men from endless punches in the corner. Sami and Eddie then put thumbs in each others eyes. Sami and Eddie both shoved the referee to the ground when he tried to break it up. REF BUMP!! Not your usual ref bump though, because this referee quickly got to his feet and called for the double DQ.
Eddie Edwards vs. Sami Callihan ended in a double-DQ in 1:15.
The referee yelled “I’m done!” as he walked away and left Eddie and Sami to continue to brawl. Sami caught Eddie with a suicide dive shoulder block. Eddie recovered and hit Sami with a suicide dive. Eddie grabbed Sami Callihan’s baseball bat and threatened to hit Sami while Sami begged for mercy. Sami then pulled out his smartphone and “hacked” into the lights, to cause his hacker graphics to flash on the video wall. The video wall then showed that Alisha Edwards was trapped behind a gate backstage.
Eddie Edwards ran backstage and the show went into Impact’s low-budget cinematic-mode (complete with their weird and loud background music). Eddie found Alisha but was then blindsided by Ken Shamrock. By the way, while the gate was blocked off at the top by Barbed Wire, you can clearly see that the other side of the gate could be easily climbed over (Couldn’t we have trapped Alisha in a random office or something?). After putting barbed wire on Eddie, Sami hit Eddie with a bat shot to the face. Shamrock said this was Eddie’s fault that this happened. Impact then closed with Sami and Shamrock walking away and Alisha checking on Eddie…
John’s Thoughts: The brawl was fine for the most part and the double-DQ was unique. Impact just can’t help themselves when it comes to their low-budget cinematics with loud generic trailer music. This Sami vs. Eddie feud also feels like a mediocre version of their feud from a few years ago. This version seems thrown together. It doesn’t help that nobody takes cartoony Eddie seriously and Sami has been a shell of his former self ever since he took on the hokey teleporting hacker gimmick.
This was a somewhat positive show to start off the year in that there was a lot of really good stuff on the show, but you can argue that some of the goofy stuff that Impact does ends up counterbalancing it. It doesn’t help that you have Tony Khan on the show clowning the show and Impact living up to the clowning by doing their clown things. When you do look around the crap, there is a good wrestling show here, and hopefully Impact sticks to what they’re good at and that’s putting on a straightforward wrestling show. Criticisms aside, they still have the benefit of having Kenny Omega’s star power (and career resurgence) on the show. Hopefully they get their act together and it’s totally possible they can because they were playing things straight during week-one of the AEW-Impact partnership.