By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Nashville, Tennessee at Skyway Studios
Aired May 13, 2021 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired, followed by the Impact intro theme…
Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown were on commentary…
1. Rosemary (w/Crazzy Steve, Black Taurus) vs. Jessika Havok in a match to become number one contender to the Impact Knockouts Championship. Rosemary and Havok started the match with a show of sportmanship in the form of a handshake. Havok and Rosemary no sold each other’s shoves. Rosemary and Havok then each went for power moves, which didn’t hit due to the other woman’s counters. Havok got the first clean move in with an STO into the 2nd buckle.
Havok hit Rosemary with a face wash kick into the bottom buckle. Striker noted how Havok had to redefine herself due to her tag partner disappearing. Havok dominated Rosemary for a stretch. Rosemary managed to recover and lock in a tarantula on Havok. Rosemary hit Havok with a missile dropkick. Rosemary struggled to do it at first, but then took advantage of Havok’s running to plant Havok with a Fisherman Suplex for a two count. Rosemary hit Havok with a spear for a two count.
Rosemary went for another suplex, but Havok’s size allowed her to easily counter the move into her own Pile Driver for the win.
Havok defeated Rosemary via pinfall in 6:06 to become number one contender to the Impact Knockouts Championship.
Striker noted that Havok’s counter to Rosemary’s hold might be something she can do to counter Deonna Purrazzo’s Fujiwara Armbar. On queue, Deonna Purrazzo ran out and attempted to attack Havok. In an oddly impressive feat, Deonna had the upper hand while fighting in street clothes and flip flops.
She eventually had to ditch the flip flops, but that also allowed Havok to get the upper hand with a right hand. Deonna tried to bail, but she backed up into Rosemary, who tossed her back in the ring. Steve and Taurus scared off Susan and Kimber Lee. Havok left Deonna lying after a pile driver…
John’s Thoughts: A well worked number one contenders match that I wish had better build to it other than a quick Scott D’Amore segment. The pacing was a bit slow and lethargic, but every move done made sense and it was fun to see Rosemary attempt to counter Havok’s power with Havok’s power winning out in the end. I mention the rushed build because it’s felt like a long long time since Deonna Purrazzo has been active in any sort of feud. She’s been involved in quickly built matches, but otherwise she’s mostly just ducking out potential opponents under the radar.
Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown checked in from their commentary set. The commentary team ran through advertised segments for this week’s Impact as well as the Under Siege show…
Gia Miller interviewed Karl Anderson who had Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows, and Don Callis with him. Miller talked about how the former Bullet Club members got a bit of momentum back on their side by beating Juice Robinson and asked Anderson if he was going to continue that momentum by beating Dave Finlay. Anderson said they never lost their momentum. Gallows claimed that people call him “Dr. Dangly” and said he has all the confidence all the time.
Omega interrupted and noted that the Good Brothers have been losing momentum for weeks and only got back on track once Omega started getting involved in their matters. Omega said he is a difference maker, game changer, cleaner, and belt collector. Omega claimed that Karl Anderson lost the finals of the 2012 G-1 Climax to Kazuchika Okada was because Omega wasn’t in his corner. Omega said he has no problem supporting the Good Brothers and Callis because they always have Omega’s back during Omega’s big matches.
Anderson took control of the promo and hyped himself, Gallows, and Omega. The trio did a too sweet. Gia Miller tried to Too Sweet Omega, who told her it takes a long time to become a part of the Elite and that she isn’t allowed to Too Sweet them. Anderson cut off Omega because he was taking too long explaining the skills you need to join the Elite…
John’s Thoughts: More good mic work from Omega and crew who continue to get lots of meaningful mic time on Impact compared to Dynamite. I really like the added angle of Omega berating the Good Brothers for their string of losses after losing the tag titles. It gives them a lot of storyline possibilities, including a potential breakup down the road if they want to turn Gallows and Anderson back to babyface.
Petey Williams made his entrance for the X Division number one contender match. Striker talked about Petey being a pioneer in the X Division. D’Lo Brown claimed that the Canadian Destroyer is the most influential move in pro wrestling…[c]
More entrances took place for the next match…
2. Petey Williams vs. Ace Austin (w/Madman Fulton) vs. Acey Romero (w/Larry D) vs. TJ P vs. Rohit Raju (w/Mahabali Shera) vs. El Phantasmo in a match to become number one contender to the Impact X Division Championship. The wrestlers all teamed up to dump Acey Romero to ringside first. Acey ended up draging wrestlers to ringside to hit them with power moves. The commentary team stressed Aceys power advantage. TJP ended Acey’s momentum with a wrecking ball kick, followed by a huracanrana on ELP.
Phantasmo did an impressive tightrope on the ropes while having a wristlock on Perkins. Phantasmo hit an even more impressive Death Valley Driver on a Ace Austin from the tightrope onto the pile of wrestlers at ringside.[c]
Rohit Raju hit TJ with a kick and cannonball for a two count. Acey hit Raju with a steam roll and senton for a two count. Petey Williams hit Phantasmo with a single leg codebreaker followed by his finisher, the Canadian Destroyer. Perkins broke up Petey’s pin attempt. Ace ended up catching Phantasmo with a Disaster Kick. Perkins countered Ace’s Fold with a suplex. Ace hit Acey with a Fosbury Flop. Larry D and Madman Fulton got into a shoving match at ringside. Acey hit Rohit Raju with the Monty Brown Pounce.
TJ caught Acey with a dropkick. TJ countered Petey’s Destroyer with a Detonation Kick. Perkins went for a Mamba Splash on Petey but Petey rolled out of the way. El Phantasmo came out of nowhere and hit TJ with a Splash of his own for a nearfall that Petey broke up. Phantasmo countered Petey’s Destroyer and hit Petey with a double underhook body slam (which he calls the Canadian Revolution II) for the victory.
El Phantasmo defeated Petey Williams, Acey Romero, TJP, Rohit Raju, and Ace Austin via pinfall in 6:46 to become number one contender to the Impact X Division Championship.
The commentary team hyped Josh Alexander vs. El Phantasmo for the X Division Championship at Under Siege…
John’s Thoughts: I was never a fan of Impact randomly throwing out X Division multi man number one contender matches out of the blue, but this match stood out in a really good way with each wrestler standing out as unique. No one got lost in the shuffle. Acey went into this match as a loser in the tag division, but he looked very credible being the super heavyweight in a cruiserweight match. I think even Rohit Raju had a good showing here and it helped that he wasn’t involved in the finish to continue his road to becoming a star in Imapct. El Phantasmo has only been in Impact for two weeks and already looks like a star above the rest. Impact deserves some credit for this simple and effective build of El Phantasmo. It’s interestng though. Josh Alexander just became X Division champion and now he has to go against Impact’s New Japan sensation in El P. I feel like Impact will really attempt to protect both guys who they definitely should be protecting.
Scott D’Amore was having a meeting with Susan and Kimber Lee. D’Amore asked Susan why a camera was necessary? Susan showed D’Amore footage on her phone and noted that Tenille Dashwood interfered in her match against Taylor Wilde. D’Amore assumed Susan wanted a match against Tenille Dashwood for revenge. Susan said that Kimber Lee needs to be in the match because Wilde and Dashwood are in cahoots.
Kimber Lee kept trying to tell Susan that she didn’t necessarily want this match. D’Amore was going to book Susan and Kimber vs. Tenille and Taylor for next week’s impact but Susan wanted the match sooner. D’Amore agreed to book the match for Under Siege which Susan said she would tolerate. D’Amore said it was simply a win because he managed to get Susan out of his office…
The Impact Plus flashback match of the week was Gail Kim vs. Jessika Havok for the Knockouts Championship from an Impact Wrestling episode back in October 2014. Havok ended up winning the title after chokeslamming Gail Kim…
A Violent By Design promo aired where Eric Young addressed the group’s recent losses in recent matches. Young noted that he could blame placed on he or any of the VBD members, but Young said he blames “the sickness” which can infect everyone and everything. Young said he was starting a new, more violent, plan. Young talked about change and said that change is the only thing you can trust. Young said from now on you are about to see a lot more from Violent By Design…[c]
An ad aired for Saturday’s Under Siege show…
This week’s Swinger’s Palace segment aired. Alisha Edwards was dressed up and working as one of Swinger’s assistants for some reason. TJ Perkins, Ace Austin, Madman Fulton, Larry D, Acey Romero, Rohit Raju, and Mahabali Shera walked in to stake their claims for going after the Tag Team titles.
Johnny Swinger asked John E Bravo to go find Jack Tunney to get this argument booked into a match. TJP told everyone to quiet down and he said he found a tag team partner himself in “Pinoy Pump” (So Petey is Filipino now?). Petey Williams was about to do the Steiner Math promo while wearing chain mail, but nobody wanted to hear it…
Sam Beale made his entrance. Striker noted that people call Beale “green” but Striker thinks that being “green” only means that you’re growing like a plant…
3. Willie Mack vs. Sam Beale. Mack hit Beale with his signature body slam and moonsault sequence for a two count to start the match. Beale made a comeback and rallied against Mack with a bunch of strikes. Mack hit Beale with a leaping punch and then dominated Beale with a series of punches. Beale made a bit of a comeback with shortarm knees, but Mack quickly came back with stiff lariats.
Mack knocked out Beale with a pop up punch. Mack hit Beale with the Six Star Frog Splash for the victory.
Willie Mack defeated Sam Beale via pinfall in 3:20.
As expect, W Morrissey attacked Willie Mack. Striker noted that Morrissey is blaming all of his personal problems on everyone else, which is why Morrissey has been on a rampage. Morrissey stood tall (really tall) over the fallen Willie Mack, who he left lying after a big boot. On a side note, given Morrisey’s hair and beard, I can’t help but seem him as a taller Adam Copeland…
John’s Thoughts: A good tune up match to set up Mack for his 100% expected future beatdown, courtesy of W. Morrissey. Impact does a great job keeping Mack credible despite Mack being the designated gatekeeper of the mid card. Sam Beale was utilized really well as a “developmental” type and potential future star. I wouldn’t mind Impact taking advantage of their partnerships with companies like Border City, Revolver, Future Stars, and others and taking the NXT approach of utilizing up-and-comers as cannon fodder for their established talent. It’s win-win in giving wrestlers TV time and exposure, while protecting their own talent.
Gia Miller interviewed Dave Finlay, Juice Robinson, and Eddie Edwards backstage about Finlay’s upcoming match against Karl Anderson. Finlay said the Good Brothers handled last week’s Gallows vs. Robinson match like cowards in regards to the interference from Callis, Omega, and Anderson. Finlay said he’s going to prove for the third time in a row that he’s a better wrestler than Karl Anderson.
Robinson talked about having Eddie Edwards in their corner to counter Omega and Gallows. Eddie Edwards noted that even though he was around to help last week, the Good Brothers and Omega still came up on top. Eddie said he understands that Kenny Omega is the difference in terms of the success of the Good Brothers. Eddie said he was bringing a “Kenny” of his own, (ugh) Kenny the Kendo Stick…[c]
John’s Thoughts: The interview was actually good until Eddie Edwards brought out Kenny the Kendo Stick. Does Eddie not see this as the 2021 version of Perry Saturn’s moppy? Impact constantly gives “Crazy Eddie” TV time, and he continues to look lame and low budget. There’s a part of me that hopes that Impact can pull Davey Richards out of retirement if only to give Eddie some different ring gear and return him to his American Wolf Eddie Edwards persona. Right now he’s just a guy cosplaying as a hobo.
A Slammiversary 2021 teaser aired, which continued to tease former Impact Wrestlers appearing, wrestlers from New Japan and WWE’s recent talent cuts…
The show cut to Tenille Dashwood’s “All About Me” talk show, which was filmed on the set of Madison Rayne’s old Locker Room Talk show. Taylor Wilde interrupted the introductions. Wilde called out Dashwood for helping her cheat in last week’s match and noted that Wilde doesn’t roll that way in terms of cheating. Wilde also tried to stress that she’s not friends with Dashwood.
Wilde said the only reason she’s agreeing to team with Dashwood at Under Siege is to get to her ultimate goal of becoming Knockouts Champion. Dashwood interrupted Wilde during the “Knockouts Champion” part, thinking that she meant “tag team champion”. Wilde left, saying that she’s still not on the same page as Dashwood. Dashwood handled the outro to her segment.
John’s Thoughts: I get that there is supposed to be a level of ironic cringe to Dashwood’s talk show segments, but her anti-charisma takes her segments down to another level of boring. Can Impact just rip off NXT and revert Dashwood back to her ditzy Emma character? We’re kinda seeing on-air while WWE pulled the plug on both the Evil Emma and Emmalina characters quickly. This is just like Sami Callihan running around out there proving WWE right for pulling the plug on Hacker Sami.
Entrances for the next match took place….
4. “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson (w/Don Callis, Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows) vs. Impact Tag Team Champion Dave Finlay (w/Eddie Edwards, Juice Robinson). Anderson dominated the match early on with a face rake. Finlay came right back with forearms and a European Uppercut. Omega and Gallows tripped up Finlay when the referee was distracted. Robinson tripped up Anderson when Finlay distracted the referee. Gallows and Omega continued to provide more distractions and cheap shots when Anderson distracted the referee.
Striker and Brown talked about how Bullet Club introduced interference and dirty tactics to Japanese pro wrestling. Anderson worked on Finlay with methodical heel offense, with Gallows and Omega continuing to get cheap shots in when the ref gets distracted. Finlay managed to escape a chinlock by hitting Anderson with a back suplex. Gallows tripped up Finlay again, but instead of going after Anderson, Finlay hit Omega and Gallows with a plancha. Finlay hit Anderson with a backbreaker slam for a two count.
Finlay locked Anderson in a modified Indian Deathlock. Matt Striker continued to joke that Dave’s offense takes a lot of moves from his father Fit. Kenny Omega ran in and broke up the hold for the DQ.
Dave Finlay defeated Karl Anderson via apparent DQ in 5:42.
A brawl between both teams took place. Eddie Edwards got the upper hand by hitting everyone with Kenny the Kendo Stick. The segment ended with Eddie Edwards’ theme playing while the faces stood tall in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: A really good use of the overuse of ringside interference. If you’ve watched Bullet Club matches over the years, you might get tired of the shameless amounts of outside interferences which has been going on since the Prince Devitt days to mimic the Kliq’s overuse of interference. We haven’t seen Bullet Club’s MO in Impact to the point where it did a good job here characterizing Gallows, Anderson, and Omega while continuing to tell the trio’s story.
Chris Sabin cut a promo backstage talking about how he felt guilty for not being able to be at ringside at James Storm’s match last week, but he understands that Storm wanted to fight this battle by himself. Sabin said that it was disgusting the way Moose injured Storm’s leg after the match by stomping a chair into it. Sabin said that he might do something just as dirty to Moose during the six way match later in the show…
An Impact Plus ad aired followed by an Impact Under Siege ad…
Footage aired from the “Before the Impact” show aired where Tasha Steelz beat Jordynne Grace after Kiera Hogan prevented Grace from hitting her Kinniku Buster on Steelz and Steelz pinning Grace with a Crucifix Driver…
Jordynne Grace and Rachael Ellering were chatting backstage. Grace talked about feeling a bit guilty for losing to Tasha Steelz. Ellering cheered up Grace and said that she really likes Grace for her dedication. Ellering said that Grace needs to bottle up all her hate so she can bust that bottle over the heads of Kiera and Tasha at Under Siege…
5. Crazzy Steve (w/Black Taurus, Rosemary) vs. Brian Myers. Steve bit Brian’s hand and hit Brian with a sweep kick. Striker noted that the bite reminds him of Tiger Mask. Steve hit Brian with a legscissors neck snap. Myers backed into Black Taurus at ringside and flopped to the ground in fear (or strategy). The referee saw Myers on the ground and ejected Taurus from ringside. The commentary team noted that Taurus didn’t actually get involved. The show cut to commercial with Steve beating up Myers at ringside. [c]
The commentary team noted that Myers was dominating during the break. Myers continued to dominate for a stretch of time. An obviously overdubbed and cheap sounding cut-in happened where Matt Striker plugged AXS’s Invicta MMA show. Steve went for a move in the corner but Myers rolled him up. Myers picked up the dirty leverage pin after putting a foot and arm on the bottom rope.
Brian Myers defeated Crazzy Steve via pinfall in 2:45 of on-air time.
Myers did a victory lap around the ring while gloating in front of Rosemary and Steve. Taurus ran back and then blindsided Myers with a spear. Rosemary put a tarot card on the chest of Myers and D’Lo said he thinks she put the “Death” card on him…
John’s Thoughts: If Myers gained anything from the feud with “Zack Ryder” Matt Cardona, is that he earned a bit of sympathy, at least from me, for being a hard worker who’s really busting his ass to redefine himself against the odds. As a viewer, I can’t help but root for the guy even when he does use dirty heel tactics. I’m intrigued at where they go with Myers once he’s done all he’s can in the mid-card? I wouldn’t mind seeing this guy main event a Bound for Glory either a year or two from now once the memories of Curt Hawkins are finally truly put to rest.
Gia Miller asked Don Callis about his reaction to the Finlay vs. Anderson post-match segment. Callis said the inmates are running the asylum and they need to be corralled. Scott D’Amore showed up. Callis said that D’Amore needs to handle the talent matters a bit better because that’s D’Amore’s forte and Callis’s VP duties don’t involve him working with the talent. D’Amore noted that Callis was trying to work with talent last week when he was attempting to manipulate Moose. Callis said he was just mentoring Moose.
D’Amore said that Callis’s manipulation put Moose in the mental state to injure James Storm and put Storm on the shelf. Callis joked with D’Amore that they both agreed that they wanted to get rid of Storm anyway. Callis said he did a good thing in firing up Moose. D’Amore said Callis eventually has to make a choice between being a part of Kenny Omega’s family or being an Impact Wrestling Executive. Callis said that he and D’Amore need to do more zoom calls to keep in touch.
D’Amore said he’s been calling Don’s cell, but Don said he has a new number. Don Callis said that Impact has a lot of success when the “Golden Bookers” are on the same page. Scott said a good start to this success would be if the Golden Bookers were in the same book…
John’s Thoughts: Hey, that was actually a fun and layered segment. I like the mental layers in play and good performances of the Callis and D’Amore characters. Callis, despite me missing his very good color commentary (save us from Striker please? I kid, partially), Callis has been vital in adding depth to the Kenny Omega character while also being a manipulative force on the show. What makes the story intelligent is how Callis is so manipulative and completely unwilling to give up his VP powers because his VP powers allow him to manipulate things in favor of his surrogate son Kenny. D’Amore has surprised me and risen as one of the better on-air authority figures in the last couple of years and him not fully buying into Callis’s carny games is making for a thought provoking storyline. I’m happy to see where this goes.
Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown checked in from their commentary backdrop. The following matches were advertised for Under Siege on Impact Plus this Saturday: Kimber Lee and Susan vs. Wilde and Dashwood, W. Morrissey vs. Willie Mack, Ace Austin and Madman Fulton vs. TJP and Petey Williams vs. XXXL vs. Raju and Shera in a contenders match for a future tag title shot, Grace and Ellering vs. Fire and Flava, Josh Alexander vs. El Phantasmo for the X Title, The Six Way match for a title shot against Kenny Omega, and Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers vs. Eddie Edwards and FinJuice…
Entrances for the main event tag match took place…[c]
Striker noted that this week’s Impact main event is a preview for Saturday’s six person number one contenders match. Striker said he thinks that Chris Sabin would have the best chances to beat Kenny Omega (uhm? How can you say that with a straight face when Quinn “Moose” Ojinaka is out there looking ripped and having great matches?). D’Lo said Sabin has speed and experience in his favor against Omega if they went against each other…
6. Chris Sabin, “Always Ready” Matt Cardona, and Trey Miguel vs. Moose, Chris Bey, and Sami Callihan. Sabin got a crucifix rollup on Callihan for a two count. Sabin tackled Callihan to his corner to tag in Cardona and initiate tandem offense. Callihan tackled Cardona to his corner and tagged in Chris Bey who dominated Cardona for a bit. Bey mocked Cardona’s woo woo woo catchphrase. The show cut to a picture-in-picture showing Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers watching the match from the back.
Cardona turned the tables with a flapjack and backdrop. Trey tagged in and did a leapfrog senton over Cardona onto Bey for a two count. Bey hit Trey with an armdrag but Trey came back wiht a double stomp and cradle pendulum. Bey rolled to ringside to avoid a stomp. Bey and Trey traded counters, but Moose took out Trey with a big boot from the apron.[c]
Moose, Callihan, and Bey traded tags and cut the ring in half on Trey Miguel. D’Lo said he thinks Trey Miguel and Kenny Omega would be a great matchup because it reminds him of the 1960’s Spiderman Meme where two Spidermen are pointing at each other (ok, that might have been D’Lo Brown’s first legitamately great line on commentary). This advantage lasted for a few minutes. Striker noted that it might be an honor for Trey Miguel to receive so much attention from his opponents.
Trey got a window of opportunity after nailing Callihan with a Scorpion Kick and both men took each other down with a clothesline. Bey and Cardona tagged in with Cardona cleaning house. Cardona hit Bey with a Broski Boot in the corner. Sabin tagged in and hit Bey with a Missile Dropkick for a two count. Cardona and Sabin took out Moose with stereo superkicks. Trey tried to hit Moose with a flip dive at ringside, but Moose caught him out of the air. Trey countered Moose with a huracanrana into the ringpost.
Bey and Callihan double teamed Sabin. Sabin escaped Callihan’s pile driver because Callihan decided to waste time doing his thumbs up thing. Sabin hit Callihan with a Dragon screw. Bey planted Sabin with a spinebuster. Cardona hit Bey with a Ruff Ryder. Bey hit Ryder with a Pump Kick. Trey hit Moose with a Missile Dropkick. Trey hit Callihan with a high knee and Striker noted the history between both men. Callihan blocked a huracanrana and planted Trey with a Death Valley Driver.
Sabin caught Callihan with a Shining Wizard. Callihan countered Sabin’s hold with a rake to the eyes. Callihan hit Sabin with a Package Piledriver for the win.
Sami Callihan, Moose, and Chris Bey defeated Chris Sabin, Trey Miguel, and Matt Cardona via pinfall in 11:12 of on-air time.
Callihan’s theme played. Callihan got up against the camera and claimed that he was going to become the next number one contender. Callihan said that Kenny Omega will “have a date with the Death Machine, Bitch!”. Moose and Callihan jawed a bit before Callihan did more posing. The show cut to Don Callis at a backstage waiting room watching Sami’s win on the television as the show closed…
John’s Thoughts: While this match was your usual cookie-cutter PPV preview multi-man match, I felt like it was both wrestled well and added to the intrigue of Saturday’s number one contender match. Sami Callihan gains something from winning here. The guy has been flipping back and forth between Death Machine and lame-ass hacker and middling in the mid-card. Death Machine Sami is money and a face of Impact Wrestling. It helps when they can take steps towards making him a main eventer again. The rest of the match served as a good preview for Saturday too without giving too much away.
Impact is really starting to click over the past few months and it’s not solely due to Kenny Omega being a part of their roster (for the time being of course). Impact is still struggling to produce homegrown stars, but at least they are putting on a fun week-to-week television show, and I will credit their entertaining TV show to several factors like good storytelling and longer term booking. Because of how good their in-ring stories are, I’m starting to prefer Impact’s more story focused matches better than AEW Dynamite’s more indie-style matches (Storm vs. Moose last week was a dark horse gem).