By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired January 12, 2021 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling aired…
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne were on commentary…
1. Taya Valkyrie (w/Rosemary) vs. Kimber Lee (w/Deonna Purrazzo). Lee overpowered Taya to start the match, pressuring Taya against the corners with strikes. Taya got control after a double leg takedown followed by flailing blows. Taya worked on Kimber with methodical offense. Kimber retreated to ringside to rest. Taya went for a dive, but Kimber caught Taya with a gamengiri. This allowed Kimber to get some ground and pound on Taya.
Kimber got a two count off a suplex. Kimber worked on Taya with submissions. Taya kicked out of a barrel roll. Kimber went right back into the methodical offense. Taya hit Kimber with the Axe and Smash for a two count. Kimber hit Taya with a big boot for a two count. After taking more strikes, Taya kicked out at two again. Kimber hit Taya with a sidewalk slam. Taya blocked Kimber’s Swanton by getting the knees up.
Taya rallied against Kimber with lariats and chops. Kimber kicked out at two after Taya hit her with a spear. Taya avoided Kimber’s offense and hit Kimber with a shortarm curb stomp. Kimber Lee hit Taya with a bridged German after the distraction from Deonna. Taya whipped Kimber to the corner and hit her with a running meteora. Deonna put Kimber’s hand on the rope for the rope break. Deonna backtracked to the ramp. All of a sudden, “Susan” Yung walked down the ramp to confront Rosemary. Deonna and “Susan” beat up Rosemary at ringside.
Kimber escaped a Road to Valhalla, but ate a forearm. Taya was distracted by Susan and Deonna holding Rosemary in place. Kimber rolled up Taya with a matchbook pin for the victory.
Kimber Lee defeated Taya Valkyrie via pinfall in 9:20.
John’s Thoughts: An okay enough match, but I still can’t help that Impact is underutilizing someone who was the centerpiece and anchor of their women’s division for about a year in Taya Valkyrie. It’s almost giving that feeling, similar to the Rascalz, of Taya having one foot already out of the door (I’m not speculating anything, I just have that gut feeling). I groaned when I saw the “Susan” character show up last week, because Impact really sucks when it comes to intelligent comedy, but I might give this secretary Su Yung character a shot. What I would get a kick out of, is if Susan ends up playing the role of a “Karen” while doing this Susan persona. Given Su’s talent, I actually trust that she’s can pull this off if Impact creative doesn’t try to make her recite their bad comedy (I honestly think her comedy would be better).
The show cut to Kenny Omega, Don Callis, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson in Omega’s tour bus. Anderson gave Omega a Talk n’ Shop hat. Callis said that he’s putting his neck on the line in two companies now and hopes that Omega’s team can get some momentum with Anderson beating Rich Swann in the main event of this show. Anderson said he’ll handle Swann even though his tag partners are banned from ringside. The four men shared handshakes to close the show…[c]
It was time for this week’s Tony and Tony AEW Paid Advertisement with Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone. Khan bragged about helping Impact generate some revenue due to him paying for these ads. Khan said he also allowed Omega to bring the best title in all of sports on the Impact show. Schiavone ran through the following day’s Dynamite card.
In regards to the Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage main event, Khan asked Schiavone if he knew that Cage was a former Impact champion. Schiavone said he knew. Khan said he was genuinely surprised that Schiavone knew that fact. Khan then thanked Impact Wrestling for allowing the Good Brothers and their internet following to watch Dynamite via the Good Brothers appearing on Dynamite last week. Schiavone then closed the promo by saying that Impact should tune in to a “real” network like TNT (as opposed to the lower budget AXS channel)…
John’s Thoughts: Tony and Tony did tone down the roasting a bit this week, which takes the segment down for me because I personally get a kick out of their clever and truthful roasting of TNA/Impact. The Tony and Tony roast ads are still a highlight for me though. That said, I still also think that Impact shows too much ass during these segments and we don’t see anything on Dyanmite that can give Impact viewers something to rally behind.
They cut to Sami Callihan in his hacking lair, or whatever you want to call it. Sami held some barbed wire in front of him. Sami said this feud was three years in the making. Sami said this was a battle between The Draw and The Heart and Soul of Impact Wrestling (Huh? For some reason, I still remember Eddie more fondly for his Wolves and ROH years). Sami said this is going to be in Impact’s most violent match, Barbed Wire Massacre.
They replayed the closing segment from last week’s show. Sami talked about wrestling in a Barbed Wire match before. Eddie was shown holding a barbed wire, making his hand bleed. Sami ended the promo by doing his usual thumbs up thing…
John’s Thoughts: This version of the Eddie vs. Sami feud feels so rushed. I get that their initial booking plans for a lot of people got thrown out of whack after Kenny Omega started appearing on Impact, but even then this feels like we’re getting the mediocre version of the great feud they had about a year ago. Part of what hurts this feud is we are currently watching Eddie and Sami at the lowest points of their career in terms of intrigue. Eddie has toned down the cartoon-crazy stuff a bit, but he still hasn’t repackaged himself. Sami is walking around as the hacker with teleportation magic. Ok?
Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne checked in from their commentary set. Madison Rayne reminded viewers that Sami Callihan wrestled in a Barbed Wire match on Impact before, LAX vs. OVE, and how it was too violent for television (even though they showed it on Twitch and Twitch has stricter content restrictions). The commentators ran through the advertised card of this show and Hard to Kill…
2. Chris Bey and Rohit Raju vs. Manik and Suicide. Rohit and Chris singled out Manik first. Suicide broke up the beatdown and took down Bey with a big boot. Suicide hit Rohit with a electric chair slam. Manik and Suicide took front kicks from the heels. They then ended up dumping the heels to ringside. Rohit and Chris pulled their opponents to ringside. Manik and Suicide avoided a dive by hiding under the ring. Manik and Suicide dumped Chris and Rohit to ringside and then they hit their opponents with stereo planchas heading into commercial.[c]
Bey and Raju double teamed Suicide in the center of the ring. Bey ended up working on Manik at ringside. Bey tagged in and continued the advantage over Suicide. Bey and Raju kept control over Suicide by taging in and out. Suicide fended off Bey with a palm strike combination followed by a Shotgun Dropkick. Suicide locked Bey in an Octopus Hold. Rohit escaped Manik’s abdominal stretch by pulling Bey towards him to also break Suicide’s hold.
All four men traded quick strikes. After a bit of back-and-forth, Bey hit Manik with a jumping knee. Rohit then tried to pull off Manik’s mask. Suicide fended off Rohit with a thrust kick. Bey hit Suicide with a springboard cutter to get the win over Suicide.
Chris Bey and Rohit Raju defeated Manik and Suicide via pinfall in 8:04 of on-air time.
John’s Thoughts: So far, Rohit Raju continues to be the highlight of these X Division segments with his evolving heel character. I do pray that they don’t treat Rohit Raju the same way they treated Jake Crist coming of Jake’s really hot X-Division Championship run. Crist was red hot coming off that run, but ended up as an enhancement wrestler that lost every match, right to the point where they stopped using Jake.
Rosemary and Taya were recollecting about Taya’s loss earlier. Rosemary said they have to pay attention to the “Susan” situation during Taya’s match at Hard to Kill. Rosemary asked for Taya to rest up and stay away from Rosemary’s match later because Taya needs to prepare for her title match at the PPV. Rosemary implied that she has a plan to take care of interference in her upcoming match…[c]
Cody Deaner, Eric Young, and Joe Doering made their entrance. Cody Deaner is now from “Parts unknown” and his name is now just “Deaner”…
John’s Thoughts: Let me just throw this out there, and say that goofy ass Cody Deaner pulled off the crazy badass transformation way better than Eddie Edwards ever has. It’s more than just the look, Deaner really killed it that week he delivered an inspired promo and he has made positive steps towards a new character ever sense. “Deaner” is a bit of a wonky name for a badass though. Maybe it’ll grow on me. And look! We’re getting Deaner vs. Dreamer today! (this is going to be a pain to type).
3. Deaner (w/Joe Doering, Eric Young) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Rhino, Cousin Jake). Deaner bit Dreamer’s head to start the match. Deaner then put the boots to Dreamer. Doering tripped up Dreamer and Rhino tripped up Deaner. This caused the referee to eject Rhino and Doering. Deaner no-sold Dreamer’s offense and manhandled Dreamer around the ring. Young got a cheap shot on Dreamer when the referee was distracted with Deaner. Deaner kicked Dreamer when Dreamer went for the Dusty Bionic Elbow.
Dreamer escaped Deaner’s DDT and hit Deaner with a forearm. Deaner slammed Dreamer to the mat. Deaner went for a dive but Dreamer got a foot up, causing Deaner to roll to ringside. Jake then tried to talk some sense into Deaner, but that caused Deaner to slap Jake in the face several times. When Deaner was about to enter the ring, Jake undercut Deaner’s legs with a lariat to cause the ref to call for a DQ.
Deaner beat Tommy Dreamer via DQ in 3:31.
Eric Young landed a few cheap shots on Dreamer. Deaner and Young put the boots to Jake and Dreamer. Rhino shoved Deaner and Young aside. Rhino was about to hit Deaner with a Gore, but he froze in place when Joe Doering slowly walked to the ring. Joe and and Rhino stood face-to-face. Joe no sold Rhino’s punches and took him down with a single clothesline. Deaner hit Jake with the Deaner DDT. Young hit Dreamer with the Pile Driver…
John’s Thoughts: Solid stuff from Deaner, who is doing a good job changing up his moveset to fit his entranced character. I like Jake being a focal point of this feud because out of everyone I still hope this leads to this very impressive athlete getting a repackage to fit hit potential. If they can give goofy as Cody a makeover, why not Jake? While we’re handing out repackages, can someone repackage Tommy Dreamer. His hyperbolic babyface act is way past it’s expiration date.
A highlight package aired to spotlight the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship Tournament. This was to hype up the finals at Hard to Kill…
The show cut to a conference room where Scott D’Amoore was moderating the contract signing for the Knockouts Tag Team Title Match at Hard to Kill between Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz vs. Jessika Havok and Nevaeh. Kiera and Tasha wouldn’t stop trash talking their opponents. They stopped talking when Havok and Nevaeh held them against the wall by the throat. Havok handled the talking and said that they will walk out of Hard to Kill as the new Tag Team Champions.
Kiera Hogan continued to rant after Havok and Nevaeh left. Brian Myers showed up and asked Scott D’Amore for more opportunities after beating a handful of opponents. Myers claimed that he “ended Tommy Dreamer’s career, even though he keeps wrestling”. Myers kept naming off a list of wrestlers he beat, including Josh Alexander, who conveniently showed up to claim that his loss to Myers as via DQ.
D’Amore proposed Myers and Alexander do some sort of no-DQ match to iron out their issues. D’Amore then was rambling as he walked away. Myers addressed D’Amore as “Team Canada” and said he smells some Canadian collusion between D’Amore and Alexander…
Kaleb Konley (Kaleb with a K) handled the ring introduction for his client, Tenille Dashwood…
4. Rosemary vs. Tenille Dashwood (w/Kaleb Konley). Dashwood continued to try to pitch a potential tag team with Rosemary. Rosemary faked a handshake and turned it into a mercy hold. Rosemary womanhandled Dashwood around the ring. Rosemary hit Dashwood with a sidewalk slam for a two count. Kaleb held Rosemary’s leg, which caused Rosemary to try to pull him in the ring.
Kaleb sprayed hairspray in Rosemary’s face, which allowed Dashwood to get a two count. Dashwood went for several pin attempts after the distraction. Rosemary fended off Dashwood with shoulder blocks. Tenille drop toeheld Rosemary into the second rope, followed by a draping neckbreaker. Dashwood hit Rosemary with an Emma Mite Sandwich for a two count. Rosemary took herself and Dashwood out with a clothesline.
Rosemary hit Dashwood with a series of lariats and a sling blade. Rosemary stretched Dashwood with the Upside Down. After an exchange, Dashwood hit Rosemary with an awkward looking underhook DDT (which Mathews acknowledged). Rosemary kicked out at two. Rosemary blocked a Spotlight Kick and gave Dashwood a clothesline. Kaleb got on the apron to try to distract Rosemary, but he was dragged down by Crazzy Steve, who emerged from under the ring.
Steve chased Kaleb around the ring. While the referee was distracted by the action at ringside, Rosemary was able to block getting hairsprayed again. Rosemary sprayed hair spray in Tenille’s face. Rosemary hit Dashwood with a spear for the victory.
Rosemary defeated Tenille Dashwood via pinfall in 8:48.
Steve held up Rosemary’s hand in victory after the match…
John’s Thoughts: Ah, don’t tease me Impact! Oh… This can be so good, but I’m not getting my hopes up because I know Impact is also likely to do dumb stuff too even after teasing the awesome. Please! Can we get badass Crazzy Steve and badass Rosemary back as their kickass Decay personas? It sure beats the marginalized and cartoony versions of their characters that they are currently playing! Fingers crossed, but I can also see Impact doing some dumb ass Undead Realm or Menagerie stuff with these two too.
Rich Swann cut a promo backstage about his match against Karl Anderson. He talked about how he and the guns are about to “whoop all over dat ass” at Hard to Kill over Anderson, Omega, and Gallows. Swann then went on to hype his singles match where all the tag partners are banned from ringside…
A video package aired, spotlighting the birth of Ethan Page’s “Karate Man” persona in Impact…
Moose made his entrance to the Skyway arena. Josh Mathews noted that Moose lost to Willie Mack on Saturday, but because he voluntarily gave up as a bargain with Rich Swann. Josh noted that Moose was beating the life out of Mack and that Rich Swann ran out and offered to give Moose a future world title shot if he would stop beating down Mack. This led to Moose saying “I quit” and getting a future title shot.
Moose’s opponent this week is Matthew Palmer, the security guard that survived the 3 minute challenge last week…
5. Moose vs. Matthew Palmer. Moose no-sold running dropkicks from Palmer, asking Palmer to give them to him. Moose took down Palmer with a single chop. Moose then went on to toy with Palmer. Josh reiterated that Moose is the self-proclaimed TNA Champion. Josh also noted that Moose was in the condition to be a current NFL player. A few minutes into the match, Palmer managed to land a few diving knees, but couldn’t get Moose off his feet.
Moose reversed one of the knees into a series of Uranages. Moose then mounted Palmer and gave Palmer elbows to the temple. Palmer was unconscious, causing the ref to call for the bell.
Moose defeated Matthew Palmer via ref stoppage in 4:29.
John’s Thoughts: The TNA toy belt still does nothing for me, but I do like me a relentless ref stoppage finish. Moose looked really good here and he continues to look really good when you extricate some of the vestiges of his quirky comedy persona away. Don Callis, before the pandemic, teased that they were going to pair a manager with him. I think that would be a good step in his ascension to the main event. What they do have to continue to do is make him look vicious. Hopefully they ditch the toy belt too, because it makes him come off as a loser in denial.
A highlight package aired which focused on Don Callis and Kenny Omega’s recent run in Impact Wrestling…
Entrances for the main event aired. The camera showed Omega, Callis, and Gallows in the tour bus while Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin were in a random break room (which kinda looked like the break room where Madison Rayne’s Locker room talk is filmed)…[c]
6. Impact World Champion Rich Swann vs. Impact Tag Team Champion “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson in a non-title match. Anderson had the upperhand back from the commercial. They aired picture-in-picture’s of the camera feed of both men’s teammates watching the match. Swann got an armbar on Anderson, but Anderson slammed Swann on the buckle and put the boots to him. Rich Swann tried to rally back with punches, but Anderson ended that by tossing Swann into the buckle.[c]
Anderson continued to manhandle Swann back from the break. Anderson slammed Swann’s shoulder and hand into the mat and against the ringpost. Anderson got a two count in the ring. Anderson continued to work on the injured left arm of Swann. Swann and Anderson traded punches. Swann then fended off Anderson’s running strikes. Swann caught Anderson with a rolling lariat.
Swann hit Anderson with a backfist combination, while selling the left shoulder. Swann hit Anderson with a leaping back heel kick for a two count. Anderson caught Swann with a Claymore Kick for a two count. Anderson teased going for a Gun Stun, but Swann rolled up Anderson for the win.
Rich Swann defeated Karl Anderson via pinfall in 13:54 of on-air time.
The referee handed Swann his title belt when Swann retreated to the top of the stage. Swann gloated about his win. They cut to the two picture-in-picture’s showing that The Guns were still in their waiting room, while Omega, Gallows, and Callis have left the tour bus. After Swann headed to the back they cut to the Machine Guns in their waiting room.
Omega and Gallows entered and the two sets of teams brawled. Swann and Anderson joined the brawl in the break room. The show closed with the two teams still brawling…
A teaser ad aired to hype Hard to Kill (presumably the Hard to Kill cold open)…
John’s Thoughts: A decent enough taste of what Sunday’s match is going to look like. If I were booking this feud, I would have probably have gone with Karl Anderson vs. Chris Sabin to make the match outcome a little less predictable in the case of a clean win. Plus, Sabin or Anderson would have gained momentum heading into Hard to Kill (I would assume they wouldn’t use Alex Shelley due to him coming off a neck injury).
Impact did a pretty decent job with the go-home show, but the sad thing is that despite the AEW involvement over the past few weeks, this Hard to Kill doesn’t feel like a must-see PPV. Impact had to ditch a lot of of their pre-planned storylines to align things for their cross-promotion trios match. At the same time, that match even feels marginalized due to Anderson and Gallows showing up on Dynamite and teasing something there. I guess Kenny Omega is a hook, but you can also see him on Wednesdays on a mainstream network having world title matches against top-tier talent like Rey Fenix or Jon Moxley. Low expectations aside, Impact has been consistently putting out good PPVs, so in that case that’s something I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see.