By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired January 19, 2021 on AXS TV
[Hour One] Highlights from Impact Wrestling’s Hard to Kill PPV aired…
The show cut to the post-match celebration of Don Callis, Kenny Omega, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Callis led the guys out of the room to go celebrate outside of Skyway. The Impact intro theme aired…
Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown were the commentary team…
1. Eric Young (w/Deaner, Joe Doering) vs. Rhino (w/Cousin Jake). Rhino carried his Call Your Shot trophy to ringside. Striker noted that Rhino plans to turn in the trophy for a Tag Team Title shot once Heath Slater is recovered. Rhino dominated early on with Jake making sure Young couldn’t go to ringside to retreat. Young misdirected the referee and gained the advantage after giving Rhino a low blow and eye rake.
Young worked on Rhino with a cravate. Rhino got a moment of respite after Young missed a diving senton. Rhino tossed Young with a Belly to Belly. Deaner distracted Brian Hebner, which alowed Doering to trip Rhino and toss Rhino’s leg into the ringpost. Young locked in a heel hook on Rhino for the submission win.
Eric Young defeated Rhino via submission in 4:02.
Eric Young wouldn’t let go of the hold after the match. Deaner and Doering beat down Jake, making him watch Doering pilmanize Rhino’s leg with a chair. Striker noted that he assumes wrestlers from the back aren’t running out because they fear what Violent by Design would do to them…
Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown checked in from their commentary set (Is this still Josh Mathews’ living room? I kid I Kid). Striker sent the show over to Gia Miller interviewing Moose and Rich Swann after their loss at Hard to Kill. Instead of giving Gia some thoughts, Moose tossed Rich into the door. Moose told Swann that he kept his promise in teaming up with Swann and that the Impact World Title will be his soon…
The show cut to Rich Swann cutting a promo where he said he was giving Moose an opportunity at the world title tonight…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good match and good usage of the veteran Rhino in helping get over Eric Young and the Violent by Design faction. Rhino has been way better in the ring in recent months and he’s gotten more dynamic since Heath joined the company (Heath brings the best out of Rhino I guess even with Heath out with an injury now. Rhino is better as a fun-loving babyface as opposed to a bland muscle man).
Acey Romero is still playing detective. He and John E Bravo walked up to Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer asked for his hat back. Romero claimed that someone shot cologne at Larry D which magically turned him into “Lawrence D” to shoot John E Bravo. Acey claimed that he has finger print evidence as to who used the cologne…
Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows made their entrance. The Brothers bragged about their Hard to Kill win. Gallows said they were going to hold the titles as long as they please. Gallows said their formula is a Magic Killer, 1-2-3, and Too Sweet. Gallows and Anderson were interrupted by Chris Sabin who walked to the stage in street clothes. Sabin said the belts belong to the Machine Guns because they weren’t pinned when they lost the titles. Sabin demanded a rematch.
Gallows pointed out that Sabin can’t have a rematch because Alex Shelly isn’t here. Sabin said he has a tag team partner who knows tag team wrestling. Queue James Storm making his entrance. Storm ran through Sabin’s accolades as Tag Team and World Champion. Storm cut his James Mutha F’n Storm catchphrase. Storm said it’s time for the Good Brothers to put up or shut up. Storm’s promo was cut off by Big Money Matt Hardy and Private Party.
Big Money Matt introduced his clients Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen. Hardy talked about how Private Party have a big match tomorrow, but he brought Private Party to Impact for a warm up match. Storm cut off Hardy for cutting in between the business between he and Sabin and the Good Brothers. Hardy took credit for carrying Impact Wrestling the last time he was here (as Broken Matt).
Hardy asked for a tag title match between Private Party and Good Brothers. Hardy noted that He and Jeff never lost the titles the last time they were in Impact and they were stripped of the titles in a “Stupid teleportation angle” (Impact’s stupid teleportation angles are stupid. I agree). Gallows proposed a Private Party vs. Storm and Sabin match for number one contendership. Matt Hardy ended up accepting…
Gia Miller interviewed the artist formerly known as Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona, about joining Impact Wrestling. Cardona said he’s been busting his ass for opportunities for years. Cardona said he’s not here with a chip on his shoulder he’s here to prove to himself and the fans that their faith in him is valid…[c]
John’s Thoughts: As much of a TNA legend as Storm is, his many short-term returns have diminished the impact of his Impact appearances. What was huge, was Matt Hardy returning to Impact Wrestling television. That’s bigger news than Private Party showing up given Hardy’s sour exit from Impact back in 2017. To those who don’t remember, Anthem had a long legal battle with Matt over the rights to the Broken Matt gimmick (which is why he was going by “Woken” for the longest time). For now, this segment freshens things up in terms of the AEW-Impact partnership being meaningful again.
Matt Striker advertised James Storm and Chris Sabin vs. Private Party (w/Matt Hardy) for later in the show…
A highlight package aired spotlighting the Knockouts Tag Team Title match at Hard to Kill…
Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz gloated about their title wins in front of Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb Konley (Kaleb with a K). Johnny Swinger then showed up and asked to party with Kiera and Tasha. Fallah Bahh showed up and pointed out that Swinger stole the wad of cash from Tasha and Kiera and the wad of cash is supposed to be Fallah’s. Brian Myers showed up to confront Fallah. Fallah told Myers that he would see him in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Can we finally put to rest this story about Hernandez’s “Wad of cash”? It’s storylines like this that make me miss that one year, 2016, where Dave Lagana and Billy Corgan were putting on good and intelligent television. This stupid TNA stuff is stupid.
2. Kimber Lee and Susan Yung (w/Deonna Purrazzo) vs. Jordynne Grace and Jazz. Grace and Jazz womanhandled Susan and Kimber. Jazz got a few pin attempts along with a lot of hard hitting offense. Jazz and Grace traded tags to isolate Susan from her partner. Striker and D’Lo talked about how intelligent of a wrestler “Susan” is compared to Su and Susie. What?[c]
John’s Thoughts: Susan’s barely wrestled in Impact and her character is supposed to have been “born” just a few weeks ago. How do D’Lo and Striker have a scouting report on her wrestling ability? Striker can be a great announcer, but that guy needs a filter (and what made him and Vampiro so great was Vampiro calling Striker out on his BS calls, along with Striker carrying Vampiro).
Lee had Grace in a body scissors. Susan and Lee isolated Grace with methodical offense and tags. Susan blocked Grace’s Kinniku Buster, and the heels continued to dominate Grace. Grace gained momentum after catching Lee with a back elbow and shortarm lariat. This allowed Jazz to get the hot tag. Jazz gave Susan punches. Grace gave Susan a meteora and basement elbow. Grace hit Susan with a Vader Bomb. Jazz hit Susan with a DDT.
Lee broke up the pin. With the ref distracted, Deonna hit Jazz with the title belt. Susan rolled up Jazz for the win.
Susan Yung and Kimber Lee defeated Jazz and Jordynne Grace via pinfall in 6:15 of on-air time.
John’s Thoughts: I would have thought that Jazz was going to retire after losing in the Women’s Tag Title tournament but it’s been a welcome surprise to see her continuing to stick around a bit, especially with her looking like she hasn’t missed a step. This result made sense to introduce Susan to the audience in credible fashion. By the way, Impact needs to totally do a skit where Susan goes to a Trader Joe’s and complains to the manager about not wanting to wear a mask. Susan is supposed to be a Karen right? I kid, I kid.
Gia Miller tried to interview Taya Valkyrie but John E Bravo showed up to yell at her for spraying the ring rust at Larry D. Taya admitted to the “crime” and said she wishes John E were actually dead. The security guards dragged Taya away. Tommy joked that the best case scenario is that Taya end up in a jail in “Jacksonville” but she can also end up at a jail in “Stamford, CT” which would involve a bunch of strange contract terms.
Before Taya was dragged out of the building, Taya told Rosemary that her greatest moment in Impact was having Rosemary in her corner. Taya was dragged away. Crazzy Steve showed up and Rosemary told him, “this is why we don’t have friends”…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Is this how they write out Taya Valkyrie from Impact. It was a bit fun, but the “Who Shot John E Bravo” storyline was just so bad. On the bright side? I hope this leads to Crazzy Steve and Rosemary reverting back to their old and more realistic personas. What would be horrible is if Rosemary and Steve continue their roles in Impact’s horrible “supernatural” comedy. As for Taya leaving, I salute Taya for having a very memorable run in Impact, even carrying that division when she was Knockouts Champion. She’s one of the hardest working women in the entire wrestling industry and I hope that she ends up getting that money in one of the big promotions.
Tony Schiavone checked in from the control room for this week’s Tony and Tony paid ad. Schiavone sent the ad over to Tony Khan and Jerry Lynn. Khan hyped up Private Party vs. James Storm and Chris Sabin. Tony Schiavone then ran through Wednesday’s Dynamite card. Khan said he sent Big Money Matt over as a response to what the Good Brothers have been doing on Dynamite. Khan noted that Hardy is the biggest carny in pro wrestling. Khan and Lynn then revealed that they were at Skyway Studios. Khan continued to joke that he’s helping to fund Impact through these paid ads…
[Hour Two] Rich Swann danced to the ring for a promo. Swann pointed out that he, Sabin, and Moose worked hard on Saturday to defend the honor of Impact Wrestling. Swann then talked about how he still had trust issues with Moose given how Moose has been terrorizing him and Willie Mack prior to that match. Swann then pointed out that Kenny Omega wasn’t at Skyway tonight which means Swann’s schedule is open. Swann then called out Moose.
Moose made his entrance. Striker said that it’s controversal that Moose carries the TNA title with him, but it looks good on him. Moose said he understands that Swann is angry, but there are things that make Moose angry too. Moose said that Swann can ask Mack how it feels when Moose is angry. Moose said this dispute won’t be settled unless Swann gives Moose a title shot. Swann wanted a match right now with the title on the line. Moose said it doesn’t work like that because Swann is on Moose’s time.
Swann said he’s not here to talk. Swann punched Moose a few times. Moose backed Swann into a corner. Swann launched a few kicks and Moose. Swann sidestepped Moose and tossed Moose into the buckle. Swann hit Moose with a Phoenix Splash. Swann ended the segment holding the World and TNA belts in his hand…
Rohit Raju barged into Scott D’Amore’s office. D’Amore introduced TJP into the room where Perkins walked into the room with the X Division title belt. Raju said Perkins is not supposed to be champion due to the stipulation that TJP can’t challenge for the title as long as Raju was champ. D’Amore said it was okay because Manik winning the title was a loophole. D’Amore then gave Raju a match against TJP for later. After Raju left happy, Perkins and D’Amore chuckled to each other about the match being non-title…[c]
John’s Thoughts: As much as I think Impact needs to rebuild Moose in terms of making people take him seriously, I’m okay with Rich Swann manhandling him around in this iteration of his character because Swann needs to be built up as a strong world champion on his end. That was a believable sequence by Swann, who used speed and technique to outwit Moose. What Impact needs to do now is build up some contenders for Swann’s title. Where do you go after Moose?
Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz were chatting with Alisha Edwards backstage. Alicia agreed to be their personal MC. Kiera and Tasha then bragged in front of one of the referees. While Kiera and Tasha were ranting, Jessika Havok and Neveah showed up to confront the tag champs. Kiera told Havok and Neveah to watch their celebration from home. Kiera and Tasha walked off…
3. Brian Myers vs. Fallah Bahh. Bahh no sold Brian’s early offense. Bahh hit Myers with a Body Slam. Bahh then followed up with a leg drop. Bahh hit Myers with a running splash for a two count. Myers fended off Bahh with a boot. Bahh came back with a Belly to Belly for a two count. Myers hit Bahh with a flying forearm for a two count. Myers worked on Bahh with methodical strikes. Bahh recovered and hit Myers with a few clotheslines.
Bahh hit Myers with a hip attack in the corner. Bahh hit Myers with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Bahh no sold Brian’s punches. Bahh was doing his Motumbo finger wag, but Myers leaned into it to cause the referee to get distracted, thinking that Bahh did an illegal move. Myers then hit Bahh with a low blow kick and lariat for the victory.
Brian Myers defeated Fallah Bahh via pinfall in 4:12.
Gia Miller interviewed Ace Austin and Madman Fulton about Austin’s loss at Hard to Kill. Austin said last sunday was a “tragedy”. Austin said you would think that Impact would want to put their best foot forward on PPV night, but they forced Ace to watch a bad Josh Alexander match while he was on a pre-show panel. Ace then said he tried to force himself on the show in the X Division title match. Austin said Matt Cardona got in the way. Austin said people pay Cardona to stay off TV while people pay Austin to be on TV.
Josh Alexander showed up and brought up how people think of Ace Austin as a top prospect. Alexander said things are earned in this business and Alexander is here to make sure Austin never reaches his potential. Alexander then threw a punch at Austin, but was held in place by Madman Fulton. Austin punched Alexander a few times. Matt Cardona ran in and the heels ran off…[c]
John’s Thoughts: The match was a bit slow, but it served it’s good purpose of continuing to give Brian Myers momentum. Myers might be considered as one of the most improved pro wrestlers perception-wise of 2020.
They showed black and white still shots from the Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan match at Hard to Kill…
A doctor was checking up on Eddie Edwards backstage. Brian Myers showed up, saying that he really needs his eye checked out by the doctor. Eddie challenged Myers to a match in the future…
Matt Striker and D’Lo checked in on commentary announced the following segments for next week: Joe Doering vs. Cousin Jake, Tennile Dashwood and Kaleb vs. Rosemary and Crazzy Steve, Matt Cardona and Josh Alexander vs. Ace Austin and Madman Fulton, and the Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz championship celebration…
Entrances for the main event took place…
John’s Thoughts: A lot of people say that the highlight of Matt Hardy’s career was his time as “Broken” Matt Hardy back in 2016, but I would argue that Matt Hardy’s best character work in his career and 2016, was when he came up with the Big Money Matt character during the first quarter of that year (which was an evolution of his cocky heel persona from Ring of Honor). A lot of people forget that Hardy was doing some strong work before Broken Matt was invented. I preferred his Big Money character because he was so good at it and it was grounded in reality.
4. “Private Party” Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen (w/Big Money Matt Hardy) vs. James Storm and Chris Sabin in a number one contenders match for the Impact Tag Titles. Kassidy and Sabin were doing chain wrestling to start the match. Striker noted that Private Party were trained at Amazing Red’s school. Kassidy and Sabin ended the sequence in a stalemate and handshake. Matt Hardy yelled at Kassidy for being respectful.
Quen and Kassidy then traded quick tags for their agile tandem offense. Sabin jumped out of the corner and tagged in Storm. Storm caught Quen with a Sling Blade. Kassidy skinned the cat off of Quen’s back and then slammed Storm to the mat. Private Party kicked Storm off the apron. Jerry Lynn and Tony Khan showed up and sat behind the barricade in the crowd-less crowd area. Striker said “the enemies are inside the walls and Impact Wrestling is fighting for its life”.[c]
John’s Thoughts: As I said, I like Striker’s commentary when he’s grounded with an alpha color commentator. This D’Lo and Striker team is bringing out the worse in Striker given how timid D’Lo comes off as which makes Striker go into super-hyperbolic mode. I honestly think Striker can work out as Play-by-play in a better way than Josh, but I think they need someone similar to Vampiro to bring Striker back down to earth. Don Callis is someone I can see being a good complement to Striker given how alpha he is on commentary.
Private Party isolated James Storm in their corner. D’Lo noted that this Jerry Lynn is not the TNA legend, but rather the enemy because he’s with AEW now. Storm backdropped Kassidy which allowed Sabin to catch the hot tag. Sabin ran off of Quen and hit Kassidy with a Tornado DDT. Sabin hit Quen with a missile dropkick to the back of the head. Sabin ran off Storm’s chest to hit Quen with a Tornado DDT for a two count. Storm gave Kassidy with a big boot at ringside. Storm hit Quen with a lungblower to give Sabin a two count.
Quen hit Sabin with an Eddy Gordo kick. Storm hit Quen with a bulldog. Kassidy hit Storm with a enzuigiri. Sabin revesred Kassidy with a Brainbuster. Quen hit Sabin with a Pele Kick. Quen splashed Sabin into Kassidy’s knees for a two count. Quen caught Storm at ringside with a Fosbury Flop. Jerry Lynn grabbed Sabin’s foot in the corner. Striker noted that money changes people like wholesome Jerry Lynn. Private Party hit Chris Sabin with Gin and Juice for the victory.
Private Party defeated James Storm and Chris Sabin via pinfall in 10:31 to become number one contenders to the Impact Tag Team Championships.
Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows made their entrance to confront Private Party. James Storm broke up the face off. Storm and Sabin the fought off Private Party and Good Brothers. The show closed with Matt Striker claiming the scales in pro wrestling are shifting…
John’s Thoughts: A really good tag team match that ended up being one of the better Private Party matches that I’ve watched. That’s probably because a lot of Dynamite’s tag team matches happen at that breakneck pace, to the point where you get numb to it. This was a bit more methodical and it allowed Quen and Kassidy’s innovative moves to really stand out. I also give a lot of credit these days to Chris Sabin who was seemingly gone from pro wrestling, only to show up late 2020 and become one of Impact’s television workhorses, working way more matches after Alex Shelley’s multiple injuries.
This week’s Impact was really solid and the highlight being Matt Hardy’s return to Impact along with Private Party crossing over for the night. There’s more to come from this now that Private Party are number one contenders. By the way, is it just me or does Heel Tony Khan look like Dario Cueto from Lucha Underground. Maybe it’s just me, but they are going with Khan as the “evil heel” in this AEW-Impact crossover. I know a lot of wrestling fans will get bad Dixie Carter memories, but let’s see where this goes. Unlike Carter, Khan is a student of the game. Not to mention, his weekly Tony and Tony roast sessions of Impact’s past sins have become a highlight of the show.