TNA Impact results (5/16): Moore’s review of the Champions Challenge match, Frankie Kazarian vs. Steve Maclin, Xia Brookside vs. Ash by Elegance, Alan Angels vs. Leon Slater

By John Moore, Staffer (@liljohnm)

TNA Impact (Episode 1,034)
Taped May 4, 2024 in Albany, New York at Albany Armory

Aired May 16, 2024 on AXS TV

Highlights from last week’s TNA Impact aired… Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Jade Chung was the ring announcer…

The show started with Ash By Elegance’s personal concierge (the unnamed George Iceman) did his personal ring introduction for Ash By Elegance. Ash by Elegance made her entrance. Xia Brookside made her entrance next. Tom Hannifan noted that Ash and Xia have a long history training together back in “Orlando” (The WWE Performance Center).

The referee held up the prize for the match, which was a piece of jewelry that Xia Brookside stole. Hannifan noted that attached to the jewelry is brass knuckles. Iceman took off his shirt to show that he had a referee shirt because Ash demanded he be referee. The actual referee kicked him out of the ring…

1. Ash by Elegance (w/George Iceman) vs. Xia Brookside for Ash’s brass knuckle jewelry. Xia quickly rolled up Ash a few times for one counts. Xia used a double leg take down for some ground and pound. Both women traded mounted punches and rolled to ringside. Ash licked her palm and slapped the gut of Xia. Ash started peacocking to the crowd, which allowed Xia to blindside her with punches.

Xia caught Ash with a double axe handle at ringside. Xia then worked on Ash at ringside. Ash turned the tide with a draping neckbreaker. Iceman tripped Xia off a slingshot and caught the attention of Xia. Off the distraction Ash hit Xia with a draping Stunner and Swanton Bomb for the victory.

Ash by Elegance defeated Xia Brookside via pinfall in 4:01 to win back her brass knuckles.

Iceman took the mic and cut off Jade to introduce Ash as the winner. Iceman then demanded that Xia personally hand Ash the knuckles. Xia put on the knuckles and knocked out Ash with them. Xia then dropped the knuckles on Ash and left to her theme. Iceman was hammy in fanning down Ash…

John’s Thoughts: Given the high amount of distraction finishes we see in pro wrestling, I’m a bit numb and roll my eyes to these. At the same time, it works for the Ash character and I don’t think it’s time to have her start racking up losses. Per formula, it protects Xia while keeps Ash with majority wins. I do like Ash’s reinvention, both in-ring and character. Iceman needs to tone things down a bit because his hamminess is stealing the scenery in a negative way.

The show cut to a stylistic Rosemary promo. Rosemary talked about how she finds herself taking sanctuary in the dark depths of her mind (note that Rosemary calls herself by the “we” pronoun to represent Rosemary and Courtney Rush in the same body). Rosemary noted that Havok was attacked for being a freak and now she’s gone. Rosemary said she now has to listen to all the little humans claiming to be the heart and soul of TNA.

Rosemary tossed down black flowers (or an umbrella, I couldn’t tell). Rosemary said there comes a time in life to everyone meant for greatness where they must give up attachments to their heart and soul. Things that are used against you. Things that give you compassion: Havok, Taya Valkyrie, The Bunny (Allie). She said those people were meant to make Rosemary more human.

She said she isn’t human, she doesn’t play by your own rules. Rosemary quoted Tyler Durden from Fight Club in saying “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”…

Tom Hannifan hyped upcoming segments…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Okay okay, a good promo from Rosemary. I get afraid sometimes with Rosemary promos, mostly between 2017 to 2022, where she would seep into cheap magic hocus pocus garbage (complete with cheap looking Adobe After Effects overlays). This Rosemary we got today was the Rosemary we got in 2016, where her dark character is more of a manifestation of the darkness in her soul. More philosophical-realistic, as opposed to “magic”. Curious to see if she’s in for a singles push as this dark Rosemary character.

Director of Authority Santino Marella caught up with Kushida backstage and asked him if he was doing okay after his match with Jonathan Gresham. Kushida said he was sick, but now he’s okay. Santino said he also got sick for a week after dealing with Gresham. Santino asked Kushida if he’s okay for his match on XPlosion and Kushida said he’s good…

John’s Thoughts: Soooooo… Next time Gresham sticks “poison” ink in someone’s mouth that should count as a DQ, right?

Entrances for the next match took place…

2. “The Frontman” Alan Angels vs. Leon Slater. Slater took down Angels with a shoulder tackle. Both men traded rapid rollups. Slater and Angels ended up at an early stalemate. Slater didn’t bite for a handshake and took down Angels with a back enzuigiri, back elbow, and dive at ringside. Angels caught Slater in the apron and hit him with a Tiger Feint Kick.

The referee started convulsing at ringside. Referees ran out to check on the sick referee. Slater hit Angels with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Slater hit Angels with a running kick for a two count. A replacement referee took over for the “sick” referee. Angels hit Slater with a series of suplexes. Slater ducked a kick and hit Angels with a crescent kick. Slater hit Angels with a sweet looking Swanton 450 Splash for the victory.

Leon Slater defeated Alan Angels via pinfall in 4:32.

After the match, Big Kon made his entrance. Kon grabbed Angels and “snapped” his neck. Slater tried to attack Kon but Kon turned the tables. Kon went for a neck snap but Slater slipped away and gave Kon a double boot. Slater hit Kon with a Crescent Kick and dumped Kon to ringside with a lariat.

Security ran out to sent Kon to the back. Kon grabbed one guard and “snapped” his neck as an example. Kon posed at the top of the ramp and walked to the back…

Hannifan plugged upcoming segments…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Minus the weird and goofy sick ref spot, I liked everything else about that segment. While I feel like Angels is way to talented to just be a undercard comedy heel, I like that they used the match and post-match to get over Leon Slater. TNA needs some young and fresh stars and people like Slater could be one of those. Cool to see him outwit Big Kon in the post match. I admit I got a chuckle out of the referee getting sick from Jonathan Gresham’s “ink”, but at the same time it kills a bit of the seriousness of their story universe.

Gabby LaSpisa introduced Jake Something, who made his entrance to the stage. Gabby said she struggled when she tried to ask Ash by Elegance about the origins of her name, but she doesn’t see Jake giving her the same trouble. Gabby asked Jake what “Something” means. The crowd chanted “something”. Jake said it was a little bit of that, but it was also a response to back in the day when people said he won’t be anything.

Jake said he started from the ground up and now he’s “something”. Gabby asked Jake if he feels like “something”. Jake wondered what Gabby was trying to imply? Jake said it looks like Gabby is mocking him. Jake said he’s lost a few matches. Jake said he didn’t even lose the last match, Cody Deaner. Jake noted that he didn’t even ask Cody to be there, but Cody ended up asking “the people”. Queue Cody Deaner, who walked to the stage to confront Jake.

Cody said he sees that Jake is angry at the people. Cody said Jake shouldn’t be mad at the fans. Cody told Gabby that he and Jake are cousins. Cody said the people Jake’s mad at aren’t the fans, but the people in his past who said he wouldn’t amount to anything. Cody noted that Jake proved those people wrong and he amounted to something. Cody said he just wants Jake to know that the people, the fans, are with him. Cody said he’s also with Jake.

Jake noted that Cody turned his back on him and joined Violent by Design. Cody said Jake is justified in being bad at that and he never took the chance to apologize. Cody said he’s going to stand here right now and tell Jake “I’m sorry.” Cody said he was going down a dark path for years and he’s afraid that Jake is going down that path now.

Cody said he wants Jake to know that he’ll always be family to him, always a Deaner. Jake said “To Hell I will!” and then hit Cody with a lariat. Jake soaked in boos to end the segment…

John’s Thoughts: An interesting segment that has me intrigued to see where it goes. I always thought that there was something, no pun intended, there with Jake Something as a top babyface in TNA. I’m very intrigued to see how he does as a monster heel because that’s something we’ve never seen from him in his two stints in TNA. The guy looks like someone who can be a main eventer, and he can talk. Let’s see how he does as a heel. Cody Deaner is a great opponent to go against because Deaner is both extremely talented in the ring, but he can also really draw good sympathy on the mic. Deaner deserves a lot of credit for getting this simple “people’s choice” thing over.

A replay of last week’s tag team main even aired where Speedball Mountain won the match to lead to a match where they’ll face each other for a X Division Title shot…

Gia Miller interviewed Mike Bailey and Trent Seven and asked them how they, as a team, feel about having to face each other next week. Bailey said ever since the abrupt formation of Speedball Mountain, he and Trent have had the same purpose, to represent the peak of professional wrestling. Seven said their performances have led them very close to the summit of TNA.

Seven noted they were in the main event of Under Siege and also beat ABC last week. Seven said they now stand at an abrupt crossroad, Impact next week. Seven noted that next week we’ll get Trent the Seventh and The Ball of Speed (names Matt Hardy gave them) will face each other for the first time. Seven and Bailey bowed to each other to end the interview…

Entrances for the next match took place…

3. Frankie Kazarian vs. Steve Maclin. After the bell, Kazarian yelled to Jade Chung to tell the crowd that he’s the “king of TNA”. Jade Chung announced Kazarian as the King of TNA reluctantly while rolling her eyes. Maclin immediately dumped Kazarian to ringside heading into picture-in-picture.[c]

Kazarian was dominating back form break. Maclin came back with a Uranage. Maclin rallied with clotheslines and a backbreaker. Kazarian slipped to the apron and was dumped to ringside. Maclin hit Kazarian with a suicide dive. Maclin then gave Kazarian a few clotheslines. Maclin put Kazarian in a Tree of Woe. Kazarian did a situp to dodge a spear.

Kazarian and Maclin brawled on the apron. Kazarian raked Maclin’s eyes. Macline scaped a Fade to Black attempt. Kazarian backdroped Maclin to ringside to avoid a underhook DDT. Maclin beat the ten count at ten. Maclin reversed a Chickenwing and hit Kazarian with a Knee Plus. Maclin hit Kazarian with the Jar-Headbutt for a two count. Both men escaped finisher attempts.

Kazarian used a rollup to put Maclin in the Chickenwing. Maclin used a jackknife pun to escape the submission. Kazarian hit Maclin with a leg drop for a two count. Both men traded hands at the top rope. Maclin put Kazarian in the Tree of Woe, but Trey Miguel ran on the apron for the distraction.

While the referee left the ring to eject Trey Miguel, Zachary Wentz ran in from the other side of the ring to spray paint in the face of Maclin. This allowed Kazarian to hit Maclin with Fade to Black (Deadeye) for the victory.

Frankie Kazarian defeated Steve Maclin via pinfall in 11:13.

John’s Thoughts: A good match that puts heat on Kazarian while also continuing Maclin’s feud with his former goons. The crowd was quiet for a lot of the match, not because it was a bad match, but because I think the fans weren’t sure if they should be cheering for Maclin. Maclin rallying the crowd to “come on” and The Rascalz costing him the match tell me that it’s most likely he’s a babyface. Hopefully he gets promo time to reframe his character to the audience and give the fans a reason to cheer him. Maybe one of those surefire Tom Hannifan sit-down interviews.

The show cut to Gail Kim and Gisele Shaw at the nature retreat that Shaw was on. Gail told Shaw that it was only one match, one loss. Gail asked Shaw if Gail hasn’t ever lost a title match? Shaw said Gail has lost title matches, but she’s won the title too. Gail asked Shaw if that would have happened if she quit after every setback. Shaw said “who said I quit?”. Gail asked, what do you call this?

Gail said clearing your mind and refocusing is not worth doing unless you’re going to refocus on something. Gail said she told Shaw that if she needs guidance, she’s here for here. Shaw said Gail told her not to rely on anyone else. Gail said that was as a crutch. Gail said everyone needs a guiding hand from time to time. Shaw asked where Gail was guiding her? Gail said “home”. Shaw took Gail’s hand and the show cut back to Impact…

Tom Hannifan plugged the TNA Champions vs. TNA All Stars match for later in the show…[c]

John’s Thoughts: I like what I’m seeing with this presumed Gisele Shaw reboot. She ran that “Quintessential Diva” to the ground so much that she had so little credibility. She was a pest heel that nobody took seriously (the low point being Shaw’s feud with Deonna Purrazzo over bowls of chili). Again, Shaw really impressed me in that documentary TNA did for her on their YouTube channel where she came off very inspiring and relatable to people who struggle or are marginalized in life. If she can express this in a character, I think it can really work.

The show cut to Part II of Tom Hannifan’s interview with Mike Santana. The interview picked up from last week where Santana said he had to save his own life. Santana said growing up, he’s taking care of others and neglecting himself, not dealing with the things that had to be dealt with. Santana said he dealt with a lot of childhood trauma, and lives his life in survival mode.

He said when you carry the weight of the world for so long, your legs will buckle and back will give out. Santana said by the grace of God, it took a Christmas before he went to rehab, where his daughter wrote a wish list to Santa, and one wish on that list was to “Please, make my dad stop, please” (they showed a screenshot of the written note). Santana said that shit changed his life.

Santana said he replayed that in his head a lot, and was so ashamed because she was giving his daughter the life he swore not to give her. He said after that, if he wasn’t going to change his life, get it together, then nothing will cause him to get it together. He said he’s proud of that day. Hannifan noted that Santana should be proud of himself, being open about being sober; and that is no small accomplishment.

Hannifan switched gears to TNA giving Santana a call as a free agent, and what was the lead up to Rebellion? Santana said it’s been quite a journey, going to rehab, getting sober, getting out. He said one of the things he learned is that if you don’t fight for yourself, nobody is going to fight for you. Santana said if you want to get to where you want to be, you need to be your biggest cheerleader, biggest advocate, and fight for every single thing that you are.

Santana said all that lead to him asking for his release. Santana said if he was able to make it past the last year, what’s stopping him now. Hannifan noted that there’s another man looking for a fight in TNA, former TNA Champion Steve Maclin. Hannifan said it doesn’t look like Maclin is done with Santana. Santana said he has a lot of respect for Maclin, who’s also a fighter. He said he couldn’t pick a better opponent that Steve.

Santana said he is glad Maclin feels the way he feels, because Santana is looking for a fight. Santana said he knew that in order to make a statement, he had to target a guy like Maclin. Santana said he can keep coming. He said that the same way Maclin has a target on Santana’s back, Santana has a target on everyone else’s back. Santana said he’s here to take a spot and no matter anyone likes it or not, Santana is here to go…

John’s Thoughts: This interview was better than last week’s, and last week’s was pretty damn good. Last week gave us a little bit of exposition for Santana while this week gave us the ethos and pathos of Santana, giving us a credible and emotional connection to him. Here he showed why I was so high on him (and Ortiz too) as more than an in ring guy. The guy is a very very underrated promo and we got a good taste of it here. I almost teared up a bit at the moment involving his daughter’s note to Santa. The twisted the knife even harder with the screenshot of the actual note. I’m happy he’s fought past his addiction, and prayers to him that he can flourish as a strong singles wrestler. Good thing is, I know he has the talent, he just needs to be given the TV time to roll. Again, give the assist to Tom Hannifan, the king of pro wrestling sit-down interviews (in terms of getting talent over).

Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table where they talked about the Santana interview a bit. Hannifan and Rehwoldt then ran through upcoming live events…

The show cut to AJ Francis and Rich Swann cutting a promo from the balcony area. AJ introduced himself and Swann as First Class. AJ said they are going to soak in the main event from the luxury box to scout out the competition for TNA championships.

Swann said it doesn’t matter if it’s the Digital Media, X Division, Tag, or World Championship. First Class is scouting for gold. Swann and AJ then said “the more gold, the more, money, money, money”. AJ noted that if you’re not first class, you’re last (quoting Ricky Bobby?)…

Matt Hardy followed by Ryan Nemeth made their entrance heading into break…[c]

Hannifan dubbed this match the “largest tag team match match in TNA history”. The rest of the “All Star” entrances took place. Joe Hendry took a mic for his usual pre-match promo. Hendry said never before did they have all the champions in TNA in the same ring, in the same match, at the same time. He said that was on it’s own exciting. Hendry said it was also concerning.

Hendry said you can take all those stars in a hot building in front of a hot crowd, that to Hendry sounds like a breeding ground for an outbreak of Hendry-Mania. He said he just got off the phone with the surgeon general, and the way to fight the symptoms is to shout “We believe”.

The crowd chanted “we believe”. Hendry then did his usual close to his “we believe in Joe Hendry” promo. The Champions then made their entrance. Hannifan noted that there’s three referees for this match. One referee to call the action between the two wrestlers in the ring. The other two referees were there in each corner to make sure only two wrestlers were in the corners on the apron while the rest stayed at ringside…

4. “The TNA All Stars” Matt Hardy, Ryan Nemeth, Eric Young, Sami Callihan, Joe Hendry, Dani Luna, Jody Threat, and Steph De Lander vs. “The TNA Champions” Moose, Eddie Edwards, Brian Myers, Alisha Edwards, Masha Slamovich, Mustafa Ali, Laredo Kid, and Jordynne Grace. All 16 wrestlers faced off to start the match, jawing with each other. A 16 person brawl ensued. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

Back from break, Dani Luna and Jordynne Grace were no-selling shoulder tackles. The camera showed AJ Francis and Rich Swann reacting to the match from their balcony. Grace managed to take down Luna with a running back elbow. Grace rolled up Luna for a two count. Luna came back with her own two count. Grace refused to tag in Alisha, and tagged in Laredo Kid. Luna caught Kid with a boot and Brainbuster for a two count.

De Lander gave Kid a cheap shot kick to the back. De Lander tagged herself in. Kid took down De Lander with a drop toehold. Masha tagged in. De Lander tagged out to Threat. Treat went right after Alisha on the apron, but Masha took control with snapmares and a two count. Luna worked on Masha in the corner with corner lariats and a Belly to Belly for a two count. Alisha tagged in and worked on Jody in the corner with strikes.

Alisha caught Threat with a Emmamite Sandwich Crossbody for a two count. Jody draped Alisha on the ropes and gave her a meteora followed by a German Suplex for a two count. Jody hit Alisha with a release vertial suplex. Masha tagged in and took down Jody with a clothesline for a two count. Jody and Dani took down Alisha and Slammovich with clotheslines. Hannifan noted that the next commercial will be the last commercial break of the show.[c]

Mustafa Ali was gloating over a fallen Jody Threat. Jody dodged an elbow drop. Ryan Nemeth tagged in and rallied a bit. Ryan took down Ali with a dropkick. Ryan hit Ali with a DDT for a two count. The System distracted Ryan which allowed Ali to hit Ryan with a neckbreaker. Moose tagged in and gave Ryan punches. Moose gave a cheap shot to Matt Hardy. Eddie tagged in and worked on Ryan with methodical offense.

Hardy led the crowd in “Delete” chants. The champions used quick tags to cut the ring in half on Ryan. At one point, Mustafa Ali was pissed at the System not tagging him in. Ali then shoved The System members and walked ot the timekeeper table to get his title. Ali told Rehwoldt that he was “withdrawing from the competition” because he didn’t want to be associated with this. The System continued to cut the ring in half on Ryan.

Hannifan noted that right now it’s a 7 on 8 match in favor of the All Stars. While Myers was doing his signature pose, Ryan caught Myers with a Zig Zag. Moose and Hardy tagged in. Moose caught Hardy with a Yakuza Kick. Hardy came back with a hip toss and Side Effect. Moose kicked out at two. Hardy slammed Moose several times into the buckles. Alisha jumped on Hardy’s back to prevent a Twist of Fate.

Hardy took down Eddie with a modified neckbreaker. Callihan tagged in and rallied a bit. Callihan took Eddie out of the air with a right hand. Eddie tackled callihan to his corner. Callihan took down Eddie and Myers with a double Flatliner. Hendry tagged in and rallied with right hands. Hendry hit Myers with a fallaway slam. Hendry then hit Eddie with a Fallaway Slam. Hendry hit Myers with a pop up power bomb. Hendry’s pin was broke up, leading to another brawl between both teams.

Grace grabbed Sami’s hand during his thumbs up thing and dumped him to ringside with a backfist. Grace hit Callihan with a dive. Young hit Eddie with a dive. Kid hit Young with a Triangle Moonsault. Threat hit the pile of wrestlers at ringside with a cannonball from the top rope. A “this is wrestling” chant ensued.

Hendry fended off both System members with chops. Myers hit Hendry with a spear for a two count. Hendry hit Myers with a Standing Ovation uranage for the victory.

The TNA All Stars defeated The TNA Champions via pinfall in about 21:30 of tv time.

The lights went off for a bit and PCO made his now-usual jumper cable entrance with his “doctors” powering him up. PCO brought a black bag to the ring that the All Stars were standing in. PCO confronted Steph Del Lander. He tossed out random things from the bag, like a staple gun, light bulb cover, a strap. PCO pulled out a black rose to present to Steph De Lander. De Lander accepted the rose looking a bit scared. TNA Impact closed…

John’s Thoughts: A match that was better than expected given how many wrestlers were involved and the potential for it to be a convoluted mess. The key here was giving them over half an hour of time on AXS and allowing glimpses of programs to surface. Not sure what they are going to do with Ali walking out. His political gimmick has already proven to be a dud in multiple companies. The System also continue to stand out as very undercooked as champions.

That’s not to mention Matt Hardy and Sami Callihan also being very undercooked on their return. Callihan I worry less, as long as he can stick with his tried and true Death Machine persona. Matt Hardy is back to “broken” mode, but no context as to why he is suddenly “Broken” again. There were no vignettes, no promos, no cinematics. When he became broken in TNA the first time, there was a whole story and innovative cinematics with high production values. In WWE, he became broken via character development against Bray Wyatt. Now he’s just “broken” for no reason. There’s a good chance that there’s a chunk of current viewers that have no idea of the Broken Universe (yes, it was viral, but it was viral at a different time and not as evergreen and they probably think).

I thought that this was a good and productive episode of TNA Impact. The main event was surprisingly entertaining. I would have had the champions go over to protect the gimmick match (and make it an accomplishment to beat the champs down the road), but I do like that they gave the win to Joe Hendry. Hopefully they find a way to have him elevated past being the “we believe” guy. I liked that a lot of the rest of the show was focused on building up new stars: Mike Santana as a singles, Leon Slater as an upstart, Gisele Shaw’s long awaited reboot, Jake Something as a heel, Xia Brookside even got something. Hopefully we see some of these character development projects flourish.


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.