COMMENTATORS: Matt Striker & D-Lo Brown
If you thought the AEW/Impact crossover was going to cool down after Hard to Kill then you thought wrong, as this week’s episode features a whole lot more of that in the form of Private Party, a decidedly put together carny Matt Hardy, and…Tony Khan himself? Weird. Also on the show Rich Swann confronts Moose, Brain Myers picks a fight with Fallah Bahh, and Taya Valkyrie says goodbye. Sort-of.
- IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION: Rich Swann
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo
- IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Manik/TJP
- IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson)
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Fire ‘n Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz)
- Rhino vs. Eric Young (*1/2)
- Jordynne Grace & Jazz vs. Kimber Lee & Susan (*3/4)
- Fallah Bahh vs. Brian Myers (*3/4)
- #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH: Chris Sabin & James Storm vs. Private Party (**3/4)
-After a Hard to Kill highlight reel, we cut to backstage after the PPV where Don Callis celebrated with Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers. Before leaving Callis teased his next move but it would take some time and he was going to be on hiatus while he and Omega took care of business down in Jacksonville.
- Omega wasn’t going to stick around forever; as Impact likes to repeat over and over he is the AEW World Champion and eventually he would need to, you know, be more involved in that company. Fun little run though, Callis’ promo did a good job teasing future involvement while making Omega a looming threat. They got me on the hook, I’m not going to lie to you.
Eric Young [w/ Deaner & Joe Doering] defeated Rhino [w/ Cousin Jake] via submission (4:03)
Violent by Design were victorious at Hard to Kill, defeating Rhino, Jake, and Tommy Dreamer in an Old School Rules match. Dreamer was busy closing the case on an attempted murder investigation (we’ll get there) so he wasn’t out to back his friend, but Rhino did have the “Call Your Shot” trophy with him to remind everyone that he does indeed hold a ticket to some sort of title shot in the future. Felt out of the blue but hey it was a nice reminder. Match itself was fine, Young countering a slam of the buckles with a REAL DEEP thumb to the eye was pretty cool and I bet Ric Flair is kicking himself that he never thought of it. End came when Doering rammed Rhino’s ankle into the post and Young slapped on a devastating heel hook to get the tapout victory.
- FINAL RATING: *1/2
The chaos continued after the match, Deaner making Jake watch as Doering pillmanized Rhino’s ankle. I don’t think the cousins are making up anytime soon.
-After a video played of Moose attacking Rich Swann following the Hard to Kill main event, the show cut to comments from Swann who challenged Moose to meet him tonight.
–Acey Romero and John E. Bravo caught up with Tommy Dreamer backstage. Romero brought his proof that his XXXL partner Larry D was set up for Bravo’s attempted murder: a bottle of Ring Rust cologne. Romero’s theory: someone sprayed Larry D with the cologne, turning him into Lawrence D who then shot Bravo for…reasons, I guess. Dreamer didn’t buy it until Romero mentioned that the fingerprints on the bottle matched the fingerprints found on the gun and DUN DUN DUN the case has been solved…but we’ll get to that later.
–The Good Brothers made their way to the ring to gloat about Saturday, calling themselves the draw of the entire wrestling world. Chris Sabin interrupted and reminded The Good Brothers that neither he nor Alex Shelley were pinned by The Good Brothers so they never really lost the titles (uhh yeah you did, dude). Doc Gallows mocked Sabin for not having a partner, but Sabin brought backup in the form of “Cowboy” James Storm. Storm talked some trash but then was interrupted by Matt Hardy & Private Party. Hardy said he brought Private Party here for a warmup match before tomorrow’s big six-man tag on Dynamite and bragged about being able to get 50% of Private Party’s money because this counted as a third-party appearance. Sabin & Storm naturally objected, The Good Brothers said they should fight it out for a title shot which Hardy agreed to on behalf of his charges.
- Genuinely surprising moment here, never expected Private Party (or anyone besides Omega on the AEW roster, really) to show up in Impact. Matt Hardy was on fire here as the sleazy manager, even throwing shade at the fact he and his brother never lost the Tag Team Titles for real since they were taken from him in a teleportation angle. Broken Universe sucks, you can’t change my mind. Cool way to establish tonight’s main event but it’s hard not to be sad that Shelley couldn’t be there because MCMG/Private Party would have been a MUCH BIGGER match.
–Gia Miller interviewed Matt Cardona (aka Zack Ryder), who debuted in Impact at Hard to Kill. Cardona said he’s not here to prove anyone wrong, he’s here to prove his fans and himself right.
–Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz tried to sell “packages” to next week’s Fire ‘n Flava Festival (GET IT) to Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb with a K who were not interested. Johnny Swinger showed up to be sleezy, Fallah Bahh showed up and accused him of stealing the mythical Wad of Cash from the Knockouts Tag Team Champs who had stolen it from him. Brian Myers accidentally stumbled into the scene and was NOT HAVING IT, but got into Bahh’s face leading to a match later in the night.
Kimber Lee & Susan [w/ “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo] defeated Jordynne Grace & Jazz via pinfall (6:18 shown)
This was the in-ring debut of Su Yung’s third personality, the smarmy Susan who wrestled in a pants suit and bright yellow sneakers. She wrestled much differently than her other two alter-egos, taking on a more heel approach and she talked up ALL the trash which was entertaining. Grace & Jazz I thought were just created for the Knockouts Tag Team Title tournament but they showed up color-coordinated like a good tag team does so maybe there’s some gas in the tank there still. Lee & Yung got the win when Purrazzo hit Jazz in the back of the head with her title. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling.
- FINAL RATING: *3/4
–Gia Miller’s interview with Taya Valkyrie was interrupted by John E. Bravo who accused her of being the one who sprayed Larry D with Ring Rust to turn him into Lawrence D. Tommy Dreamer and Acey Romero joined Bravo, and VALKYRIE CONFESSED TO IT ALL, only regretting that Bravo didn’t die from the whole thing. A couple of “police officers” then showed up to drag a protesting Valkyrie away, Dreamer saying she was going to be jailed either in Jacksonville or Stamford, with Romero hoping she didn’t go to Baltimore. You’re on the internet, you get the joke.
-Before Valkyrie could be whisked off to whatever future is in store for her, Rosemary scared away the police officers and asked why she did it. Valkyrie said that she couldn’t let her end up with Bravo, then said one of her biggest accomplishments was being Rosemary’s best friend. Rosemary pulled Valkyrie in for a hug then the “police” carted her away, Crazzy Steve showing up to console his Decay friend.
- Props to Taya Valkyrie for leaving Impact Wrestling without being murdered on the way out like others have before her. A goofy way to say goodbye to the longest-reigning Knockouts Champion in history but it fit in with what she’s been doing for the past year, and her little moment with Rosemary was actually kind of sweet.
-This week’s AEW Paid Announcement featured Tony Schiavone in the “Control Center” and Tony Khan on location with AEW Official/former X-Division Champion Jerry Lynn. Tomorrow’s Dynamite was hyped as expected as well as tonight’s main event which Khan said he orchestrated by personally sending Hardy & Private Party there to out-carny Don Callis. At the very end Khan and Lynn revealed they were AT SKYWAY STUDIOS and would be watching the main event in person!
- Tony Khan getting to live his best “Vince in Memphis” life, which is what I would be doing every second of every day if I was super rich and owned a wrestling company with some clout. The reveal at the end was great, the MIDWEEK WARS continues.
–Rich Swann made his way out to the ring and said that since Hard to Kill was behind him he now had a clear schedule and called out Moose. Moose obliged, wearing one hell of a suit, and told Swann that their beef wouldn’t be settled until he got his Impact World Title shot. Swann offered it to him right now, Moose said it would happen when he wanted because Swann was on his time. Swann responded by attacking Moose, ripping his suit, and hitting a Phoenix Splash to send him packing.
- Good segment to further set up the Impact World Title match I very much want to see. It’s a feud worth giving the spotlight to but with the continued AEW presence I’m scared it’s going to be shuffled into the background like it ended up being tonight.
–Rohit Raju confronted Scott D’Amore backstage about getting an opportunity. In waltzed TJP, no longer hiding his identity, which upset Raju but D’Amore was fine with it because everyone already knew who was under the Manik mask/facepaint. D’Amore gives Raju a match with TJP two weeks from now but Raju left before D’Amore mentioned it was non-title.
- YOU! ABUSE OF POWER! FIRE ME! I’M ALREADY FIRED!
–Havok & Nevaeh confronted Fire ‘n Flava as they continued trying to sell packages to their Festival for next week. Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz told them off, saying they could watch from home, not wanting anything to do with them.
“The Most Professional Wrestler” Brian Myers defeated Fallah Bahh via pinfall (4:13)
I think this version of Brian Myers is the first version I’ve been actively into. I just love the way he carries himself as a “super serious” pro wrestler that keeps ending up in comedic situations. Bahh had the match in control until accidentally poking Myers in the eye (Myers leaned into it), distracting the ref so Myers could sneak in a low blow and hit a lariat for the victory. A win is a win is a win.
- FINAL RATING: *3/4
–Gia Miller interviewed Ace Austin & Madman Fulton. Austin once again bemoaned his place on the Hard to Kill card, first being stuck talking about Josh Alexander in the kickoff and later getting stuck in a match with Matt Cardona. Josh Alexander took exception to Austin’s slander but got attacked from behind by Fulton. Matt Cardona showed up to make it even, and next week the two teams will do battle.
- Feels like Impact doesn’t really know what to do with Josh Alexander now that The North is done and his former tag team partner got murdered by his karate alter-ego. I guess this is a start but I hope Alexander gets some sort of spotlight in the future because that dude can GO.
-After a photo collage of Barbed Wire Mayhem IV from this past Saturday the show cut to Eddie Edwards being checked on by the Impact doctor. Brian Myers busted in and demanded the doc look at his eye, Edwards got mad and challenged him for next week. Myers told Edwards he’s lucky he’s not cleared to compete right now.
#1 CONTENDER’S MATCH
Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) [w/ Matt Hardy] defeated Chris Sabin & James Storm via pinfall (10:40 shown)
As promised Tony Khan and Jerry Lynn showed up mid-match to watch, Khan even taking notes in his tiny Star Trek notebook. As with all Private Party matches this one was fast-paced and much credit should go to James Storm for working his ass to keep up with them. It was obvious he was shoehorned in but he made the most of it. Private Party didn’t slouch here either, pulling off some fun double-team moves and Quen giving the sell of the night to Storm’s lung blower. Private Party stole the win with Gin ‘n Juice on Sabin thanks to Lynn, who decided to interfere in the match while Hardy distracted the referee, Khan’s plan for revenge against Callis coming to fruition. I would’ve gone for the Impact World Championship personally, go eye for eye, but this make sense too; get the belts off of Omega’s best friends (and Callis’ employees) to really dig the knife in.
- FINAL RATING: **3/4
The Good Brothers came out to stare Private Party down, Storm and Sabin attacked and all three teams brawled as the episode concluded.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A breezy Impact Wrestling this week that focused more on storybuilding than in-ring action. The matches presented were fine but the real draw was the various backstage segments as well as Khan and Lynn imposing their will because they could in the main event. This episode also marked the final appearance of Taya Valkyrie, an integral part of their roster over the past few years, and it’ll be sad to see her go. The AEW cross-promotion continues on and found a new avenue outside of the World Title scene, but I am a bit nervous it’s going to keep overshadowing the company’s actual feuds. Swann/Moose deserve the spotlight, not Private Party and Tony Khan.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Chris Sabin & James Storm vs. Private Party
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Rosemary hugs Taya Valkyrie before she’s taken away and put in jail FOREVER (or until she returns to the company, whichever happens first)