Hello all! This will be my inaugural review of Impact Wrestling. Since the show is starting anew on the Pursuit Channel, a channel I actually get, I figured it was a good starting point to get back into Impact Wrestling.
“Back”, you ask? Yes, in fact it is back. Anybody that knows my pro wrestling interests, and certainly anybody that’s shared a message board or podcast with me, knows that I had a big reputation for being a “TNA Fanboy”. While I never truly considered myself a fanboy, reputations are earned. And there was a time when Impact was the only wrestling programming I watched. However, since they moved away from Destination America, it had become difficult for me to watch the show on TV. Now that they’re on a channel I can watch, we’ll see how they do.
But enough with the history lesson, let’s get to the show!
The show opened with a montage from the recent Homecoming PPV. Rich Swann won his first X-Division title by winning an Ultimate X Match. LAX retained the Tag Titles against Pentagon and Fenix. Taya Valkyrie unseated Tessa Blanchard for the Knockouts title. Then in the main event, Johnny Impact retained the Impact Championship over Brian Cage, but got attacked by Killer Cross. Cross also attacked Taya and powerbombed her into the crowd.
Johnny Impact came out for the obligatory show opening promo. His theme music sounds like an instrumental version of Hulk Hogan’s WCW “American Made” theme. He said that he should be happy, but his wife Tara Valkyrie had spent days in the hospital after Cross’s attack. All he thinks about now is making Cross pay for his actions.
Brian Cage’s music then hit as Cage came out for the obligatory opening promo interruption. Cage demanded a rematch, since he had Johnny beat at the PPV. Johnny said this was not the time, since Taya getting attacked was more important. Cage said he didn’t care, he just wants a rematch.
Cross made his way out for the obligatory show opening interruption interruption. Cross then played Wormtongue and stated that Cage technically beat Johnny three times at Homecoming. Since Johnny is still claiming to be a champion, and is showing his true colors. Cross declared that when Taya comes back, she will just be put back in the hospital.
That was the last straw for Johnny, as he dove onto Cross from the ring and started pummeling him. He chased Cross back into the ring and got leveled by a clothesline from Cage. Cross and Cage then eyeballed each other, like they may be forming an alliance. Cross then decked Cage with a clothesline of his own, but Cage got up right away like he felt no effect. Cross decided to leave the ring, and Cage posed with the Impact Championship.
Backstage, Johnny was getting tended to by medical staff. Cage busted in, still demanding a rematch. Johnny got in Cage’s face, and said he will give Cage the next shot, he just needs to take care of Cross first. Cage considered the proposal, and asked if Johnny is giving his word. Johnny replied yes, and Cage left. Which probably means Cage will show back up in the main event.
Josh Mathews and Don Callis plugged the rest of the show. The Main Event will indeed be a No DQ Match between Johnny Impact and Killer Cross. The Lucha Brothers will face The Rascalz. Josh said there will be a Scarlett Bordeaux Strip Show, which instantly got Don’s attention. He acted like he just heard he won a prize. Josh also plugged Tessa Blanchard and new X-Division Champion Rich Swann will appear, and that Sami Callahan and Willie Mack will have a match.
The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. & Fenix) b. The Rascalz (Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier) when Pentagon pinned Dez. A high energy match with a lot of strikes and dives. Several pin breaks and team moves. The Lucha Brothers hit a combination Gory Special/Cutter on Dez to get the pin.
The GWN flashback was the first Ultimate X Match from circa 2003 between Chris Sabin, Michael Shane, & Frankie Kazarian. I get that they want to use old footage to plug their network, but I’m not sure showing a complete match is necessary. It might confuse channel surfers who could be sampling the show. Just one man’s opinion. It was effectively a 9 minute commercial.
Another recap of Homecoming in which Cross cut a backstage promo bragging about attacking Johnny and Taya. Mackenzie Mitchell then interviewed Cross, which allowed Cross to cut another promo. This is effectively Cross’s third promo of the night. In some ways he resembles Kane from Command And Conquer.
Josh Mathews interviewed X-Division Champion Rich Swann in the ring. The crowd chanted “You Deserve It”, which is the latest in the long line of annoying crowd chants. That said, Swann cut a babyface promo putting over the title and the division. He recited the old line “It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits.” Swann added he can now be called the No Limit Soldier. I’m not sure what Master P would think about that.
Sami Callahan made his way to the ring for the obligatory promo interruption. He said that he and Swann have a rich history (no pun intended), and that family is everything. He then offered Swann an OVE T Shirt and told him to come home. I’m not aware that Swann is from Ohio.
Willie Mack ran out to attack Sami, which jumpstarted their match.
Willie Mack p. Sami Callahan with a roll up. A lot of brawling outside the ring, which saw Sami piledrive Mack in the outside. Mack made it in at the 9 count, and started his comeback. One thing about Sami Callahan, I’m not sure he could ever work as a babyface, but that’s not a bad thing. Several fast near falls as the two kept rolling each other up, until Willie finally was able to hold down Sami for the three count.
LAX were sitting backstage drinking Irish Coffee and discussing their title match with Konnan. They poured a clear alcohol into the coffee to make it “more Irish”. I thought Irish Coffee had whiskey, but booze is not my specialty. Konnan said it could have gone sideways, but he was glad it didn’t. The three left presumably to go to the ring.
OVE were backstage tending to Sami. LAX approached, and the two teams had some words for each other. I guess there will be another match down the road.
Scarlett Bordeaux came to the ring and suggestively said she had to get something off her chest. She said that Impact promised to be edgier and she was going to give them a show. However, before she got started, three middle Eastern men came to the ring and tried to get her to stop. I do not recognize them, but they clearly are regulars on the show.
Scott Steiner of all people then came out, and said he wanted to see Impact, and he wanted to see freaks get it on. The three tried to attack him, but he fended them off, and put two of them in a Steiner Recliner.
Scarlett interjected, saying that if Scott wanted a front row seat, all he had to do was ask. He sat down in the chair, and watched Scarlett remove her robe and flash her underwear. Before anybody goes scouring for footage, this was tame by wrestling standards.
In backstage footage from the PPV, Gail Kim cut a promo stating that she was there to do the right thing. She stated that the better woman run, but if Tessa wants to push her, she will strike back.
Tessa Blanchard p. Cali Collins in a squash match with Eat Defeat. Tessa hit a running dropkick to the back. Isn’t it a kick to the back that helped end Paige’s career? Anyway, Tessa hit Eat Defeat for the win., This obviously was a statement to Gail Kim.
McKenzie interviewed Eddie Edwards, who said he was ready to move on from Moose. Eli Drake walked up and asked if he really wants to be a hardcore wrestler. Eddie seemed puzzled by the question.
Su Yung and Dark Allie (get it?) approached a damaged coffin that was used on Rosemary. It had “One More Chance…” written on it.
Josh and Don discussed next week’s matches. Rich Swann will face Trey from The Rascalz, and LAX will face OVE in the battle of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). They also mentioned Eddie Edwards will be in action. Seriously, props to Impact for plugging matches for next week. It’s something that happens much less frequently than it should these days.
Killer Cross s. Impact World Champion Johnny Impact with a Crossjacket in a non-title No DQ Match. Johnny went on the offensive early with punches and stomps, but Cross gained control and took the match to the outside. The crowd chanted “Kill Cross Kill!”. Kevin Steen fans threw bricks through their TVs. Cross brought steel steps around and tried to smash Johnny’s head with a chair on them. Johnny dodged and decked Cross with the chair. He then asked the crowd for chairs, and the crowd obliged. Cross soon found himself covered in chairs. Johnny moonsaulted off the steps onto the chairs. The crowd chanted “This is wrestling!”. OK, whatever. As Johnny moved the steps, Cross rose up out of the chairs like Jason Voorhees coming back from the dead, and chuckled. The two tossed chairs into the ring and resumed their fighting. Johnny climbed the ropes with his chair, possibly for another moonsault. Moose ran out and tossed Johnny through a table. He threw Johnny back into the ring, and Cross applied a Crossjacket. Johnny passed out, and the referee declared Cross the winner. Cross celebrated his win in the ring with Moose to close the show.
I’m actually a little surprised that Cage did not interfere in the match, but that’s not a bad thing. Clearly Cross and Moose are probably going to be thorns in Johnny’s side for a while longer. This was not a blow away show by any means. But there also wasn’t anything mind-blowingly stupid either. The entire show was very watchable from beginning to end. A good first impression for the Pursuit debut.
Check back tomorrow for our review of NXT Takeover Blackpool.