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‘IMPACT WRESTLING’ 06.17.2021 Recap + Review – Callihan/Callis Fallout, Kojima vs. Rhino, Maclin Debuts

VENUE: Skyway Studios (Nashville, TN)
COMMENTATORS: Josh Mathews & D-Lo Brown

With Sami Callihan getting fired at the end of Against All Odds, what does that mean for the planned main event of Slammiversary? The situation will be resolved this week, thanks to a special Anthem rep with two very big announcements. Also on the show Kojima battles Rhino in a singles match with Tag Team Title implications (heh?), Steve Maclin makes his in-ring debut, and much more!

CHAMPIONS

  • IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION: Kenny Omega
  • IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo
  • IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPION: “The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander
  • IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Violent By Design (Rhino, Deaner, & Joe Doering)
  • IMPACT KNOCKOUTS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Fire ‘n Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz)

LINEUP

  • TJP vs. Black Taurus (***)
  • Josh Alexander vs. Madman Fulton (**1/2)
  • Jason Page. Steve Maclin (SQUASH)
  • Rachael Ellering vs. Tenille Dashwood (***)
  • Satoshi Kojima vs. Rhino (**)

*****

-Opening video recaps the Kenny Omega/Don Callis/Sami Callihan story from the past month and change, culminating in Callis FIRING Callihan at the end of Against All Odds this past Saturday.

Gia Miller knocks at the door of Scott D’Amore for an interview but gets no answer. Moose shows up and knocks harder, D’Amore finally answers. Moose says he should get a rematch at Slammiversary after getting screwed on Saturday. D’Amore says he’s not the only one who’s pissed, and the situation is so tense Anthem is sending someone down to help deal with it. D’Amore tells Moose he’s going to have to wait and shuts the door, Moose vows to get him to “make the time” for him.

TJP [w/ Fallah Bahh] vs. Black Taurus [w/ Crazzy Steve]

Taurus controls the start, bringing TJP to his knees with a wristlock. TJP cartwheels out and counters with a headscissors takeover. Taurus counters into a headscissors of his own, TJP escapes with a headstand and connects with a snap basement dropkick, angering the bull. TJP dodges Taurus in the corner and they exchange armdrags and quick pin attempts which ends in a stalemate. Taurus bites TJP’s foot and drops him with a headbutt to the sternum, leading into a pumphandle backbreaker for the 1…2…TJP kicks out, Taurus continues the focus on his lower back. I just realized I don’t actually know what Black Taurus’ finisher is. Huh. I’ll Google it later. TJP escapes a double wristlock with a flipping kick, Taurus runs him over with a clothesline and covers for the 1…2…not yet. Taurus sends TJP to the floor, landing flat on his belly, Taurus doesn’t give him a second to breathe and continues the attack, covering once more for the 1…2…nope. Taurus locks TJP in a Torture Rack-style move, transitioning into a MASSIVE backbreaker for the 1…2…TJP kicks out. TJP catches a charging Taurus with a kick and comes off the middle buckle with a rana, TJP continues the offense string with a springboard clothesline and running corner kick. Taurus shoves TJP away, TJP doesn’t relent and connects with a tornado DDT for the 1…2…Taurus kicks out and rolls to the ground. Taurus, Steve, and Bahh all end up in the same spot and TJP takes them all out with a splash, then TJP finishes Taurus off with a Mamba Splash for the 1…2…3.

TJP defeated Black Taurus via pinfall (6:16)

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Energetic opener, TJP’s speed is UNREAL. Felt like if I blinked I was going to miss something. Not sure what the relationship with Bahh is, looked like Bahh was acting as his lackey and stuff but I thought they used to be a tag team (I’ve caught pieces of episodes over the months). Odd dynamic. (***)

Moose attacks a celebrating TJP and tosses him out of the ring, then introduces a chair into the ring. Moose takes a seat and hijacks the show in an attempt to get Scott D’Amore to talk to him. A trio of security guards come out, Moose threatens them and goes to sit back down but gets attacked by Chris Sabin who cracks the chair across his skull and throws his shoes at him. Sabin challenges Moose to a fight RIGHT HERE AND NOW but Moose bails to the back instead.

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Moose apparently took Sabin out of commission earlier in the year, so this was Sabin’s big return/bid for revenge. Their match is probably going to be great but it’s a BUMMER that Moose is going to get shunted down the card again. 

Ace Austin, Madman Fulton, & Rohit Raju are backstage talking. Raju is protesting this Ultimate X match announced for Slammiversary. Austin “apologizes” for what Fulton did Saturday but also says he had it coming after what Raju & company did to him the previous Thursday. Austin tells Raju they’re the two best X-Division wrestlers on the roster and offers to align with him to take out the others and make it a “fair fight” between the two. Rohit reluctantly agrees and they shake hands, Raju teases that Austin is not the only one with an ace up his sleeve and…commercial.

Gia Miller stops Chris Sabin backstage for an interview, his first appearance since Under Siege. Sabin tells Moose he needs to be open to the possibility that the “real” wrestling god has sent him to humble his ass, and challenges him for Slammiversary

-Mathews & Brown run down tonight’s card, and also mention that Impact turns 19 on Friday. When Impact debuted I was still in high school. I…don’t like being confronted with this.

“The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander vs. Madman Fulton [w/ “Inevitable” Ace Austin]

Alexander’s X-Division Championship isn’t on the line for this one. Fulton ruined the #1 contender’s match at Against All Odds, which somehow led into an Ultimate X match being booked for Slammiversary. Ace Austin helped ruin the match and gets rewarded anyway? Booo.

Alexander grabs a headlock, Fulton backs him into the corner then throws him halfway across the ring. Alexander dodges a big boot and sends Fulton to the floor, hopping over a trip attempt. Fulton traps Alexander and connects with a delayed release suplex throw followed by a headbutt to the ribs. Fulton pulls Alexander out of the ring, throws him into the apron like a lawn dart, then connects with a big boot as the show goes to commercial.

Alexander ducks a clothesline and catches Fulton with a boot, Fulton blocks a suplex and counters with Snake Eyes and an Iron Claw, tripping him to the canvas. Alexander breaks it, Fulton rains down fists as Alexander does his best to cover himself. Fulton distracts the ref, allowing Austin to get involved and weaken his Slammiversary opponent. Alexander catches a kick and kicks out the other leg, trading bombs with the big man. Alexander stuns Fulton with a kick and connects with a flying knee to the back of the head. Fulton pops right back up, Alexander connects with a delayed vertical suplex for the 1…2…Fulton powers out. Alexander goes for the Ankle Lock, Fulton escapes so Alexander hits a double underhook piledriver instead for the 1…2…3.

Josh Alexander defeated Madman Fulton via pinfall (6:03 shown)

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Good match, and a showcase of Alexander’s power which he doesn’t get to do a ton of since he’s the X-Division Champ now. He can really fit in anywhere seamlessly. I feel like maybe I’ve seen Madman Fulton win a match like once but it’s been awhile. (**1/2)

Austin immediately attacks Alexander, out comes Petey Williams who makes the save. Before the Canadian Destroyer can be hit out comes Rohit Raju to make the save, dropping him with a Buzzaw Kick. Trey Miguel runs in and lays Raju’s out…but it’s all for nothing as Shera makes his return, laying everybody out, concluding with a chokeslam backbreaker on the X-Division Champion. 

Deonna Purrazzo dresses Kimber Lee & Susan down for losing at Against All Odds and how their plan hasn’t been working for MONTHS. Susan tells Purrazzo she wouldn’t be champ without them, Lee tries to calm everyone down and Purrazzo walks out, done with the both of them. Lee is upset, Susan is sickened at “degenerate millennial” Purrazzo’s actions.

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: NOOOOOOOOO!

Gia Miller is standing by with W. Morrissey. Morrissey says that everyone in Impact seems to be under the spell of thinking having friends is going to help them succeed. Morrissey says the truth of the matter is they aren’t friends, they will only stab you in the back, a lesson he had to learn the hard way. In this industry, in this LIFE, the only person that Morrissey can trust is himself.

Jason Page vs. Steve Maclin

This is Maclin’s in-ring debut after weeks of ominous/almost edgelord-y vignettes. Maclin apparently refused Mathews & Brown’s attempts to interview him, and talk how the U.S. Veteran keeps to himself. As expected Maclin is all offense here, knocking Page loopy with a back elbow and leaving him hanging across the top rope. Page tries to fight back, Maclin turns him inside out with a lariat, RAINS DOWN elbowstrikes, and finishes him off with a sitout Curtain Call for the 1…2…3.

Steve Maclin defeated Jason Page via pinfall (1:53)

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Dominant debut for Maclin, Page made a good tackling dummy. Wish he wasn’t so SUPER SERIOUS though; why is this the default personality for people when they leave WWE? (SQUASH)

Rachael Ellering tells Jordynne Grace she’d love to have her in the corner for her match tonight. Grace says Ellering doesn’t understand why she’s upset, talking about how everyone thinks Grace only won the Tag Team Titles because of Ellering. Ellering tries to protest but Grace walks off. W. Morrissey has a point, y’all.

Gia Miller knocks on the door of Kenny Omega’s locker room, bringing out Don Callis. Miller asks about the tension between him and Scott D’Amore. Callis says you can love someone and still have disagreements, which sums their relationship up. Callis says they’ve worked well together bringing Impact back from the dead, but D’Amore’s fault is being too passionate about the wrestlers. Callis says that someone has to be the “heavy”, saying he only sees wrestlers as numbers on a spreadsheet, and by firing Sami Callihan he ripped the bandage off that D’Amore was afraid to do. Miller asks if he’s nervous about the Anthem rep coming to sort things out, Callis says they’re probably coming to thank him for getting rid of the “liability” that is Sami Callihan. 

Rachael Ellering vs. Tenille Dashwood [w/ Kaleb with a K]

No Jordynne Grace during Ellering’s entrance. I’m sure she won’t show up later, it’s cool. Dashwood gives Ellering a shirt of her and Kaleb, but she throws it away LIKE A MONSTER. Ellering backs Dashwood into the corner and breaks clean, confident in her ability to keep control. Dashwood and Ellering trade wristlocks, the latter bringing the former to the canvas and transitioning into an armbar. Ellering takes Dashwood back down with a waitlock into a front chancery, Dashwood counters into an armbar. Ellering counters out, connecting with a backdrop slam and hanging onto the arm which adds a ton of pressure to the shoulder. Dashwood traps Ellering in a headscissors, Ellering powers out and counters into a chinlock. Dashwood escapes, Ellering runs her over with a shoulder tackle. Dashwood tries to escape, Ellering pulls her in and hits another shoulder tackle. Ellering tries to get Kaleb to snap a pic of her but he is NOT having it. Good lackey. Dashwood dodges a corner splash and Kaleb grabs the ankle, allowing her to club Ellering to the canvas, covering for the 1…2…nope. Dashwood goes for the corner crossbody but Ellering rolls to the floor to buy her a little time. Dashwood rolls out and chops Ellering, Ellering responds with a forearm to the jaw. Dashwood breaks the count and counters an Irish whip, sending Ellering crashing into the guardrails. Dashwood rolls in and lets the ref count, happy to accept a countout now. 

Unfortunately for her, and despite Kaleb’s trash talk, Ellering beats the count. Dashwood catches Ellering with a top rope crossbody for the 1…2…Ellering kicks out, Dashwood rubs her face in the canvas out of frustration and covers again for the 1…2…Ellering kicks out once again. Ellering blocks a suplex and connects with her own, building momentum as she launches into a string of strikes and a senton for the 1…2…Dashwood kicks out. Dashwood catches Ellering with a knee, Ellering follows her into the ropes with a forearm, Dashwood levels her with a lariat and falls on top for the 1…2…Ellering kicks out again! Ellering spins out of a double underhook and hits a spinebuster, stacking her up for the 1…2…Dashwood manages to find a way out. Dashwood dazes Ellering and connects with a corner crossbody for the 1…2…ELLERING KICKS OUT. Dashwood gets arrogant, Ellering angrily belts her with a series of forearms and a legdrop, Kaleb blinds her with a self RING LIGHT and Dashwood rolls her up with a crucifix for the 1…2…3! HA.

Tenille Dashwood defeated Rachael Ellering via pinfall (11:51)

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: I dug this one a lot, and love that Impact gave them more time than I honestly was expecting (or maybe conditioned to expect). I like the way Grace and Ellering have lost; Grace lost because she got distracted with Ellering getting in her business, Ellering lost ostensibly because Grace wasn’t out there to help. Who’s the REAL weak link now? Love seeing Dashwood get those Ws. (***)

TJP and Fallah Bahh knock at the door of Scott D’Amore (hey I’m a poet). They get interrupted by Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus. Steve says they’re frustrated at the outcome of their last encounter, TJP goes back to knocking with his broom and Steve stops him saying they have unfinished business. Bahh offers to up the ante and make this a clean sweep…which I guess means a tag team match.

Fire ‘n Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) brag about their successful defense at Against All Odds and ask Dan the Janitor who the best Knockouts Tag Team in history is. Dan says he just started today, they ask if he know who they are, he does not. Hogan & Steelz move on from this dullard and confront a dude throwing out trash, asking who the baddest Knockouts team in history is. He replies with “uhhhhh” and they yell at him until Rosemary interrupts. Rosemary stares ‘em down and try to leave but back right into Havok. Rosemary throws Steelz into the wall, Hogan tries to talk her way out of it but gets thrown into the garbage bin. Steelz checks on Hogan, who finds a bag labeled “Mickie”. 

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: James? Mickie James? DID SOMEONE MURDER MICKIE JAMES AND PUT HER IN THE TRASH? Wait no that’s stupid. Stupid Jon. It’s a joke about WWE giving James’ stuff back in a trash bag, right? Probably. Gonna go blast HARDCORE COOOOOUNTRY to get hyped for her possible return!

-IMPACT PLUS FLASHBACK MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Chris Sabin beats Bully Ray to become the TNA World Heavyweight Champion at Destination X

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Chris Sabin getting a brief World Title run was a nice gesture but it really took some of the wind out of the sails of Bully Ray’s title reign. They spent all that time building the Aces & Eights and the potential for a long title reign by Ray only to have him lose it for a month randomly in the summer. Was NOT a fan.

Satoshi Kojima [w/ Eddie Edwards] vs. Rhino [w/ Eric Young, Joe Doering, & Deaner]

Kojima lost to Doering at Against All Odds and is now trying his luck against The Man Beast. If Kojima can beat Rhino then he and Eddie Edwards will win themselves a Tag Team Title shot. From a singles match. Fair enough.

Rhino outmuscles Kojima to start, sending his opponent crashing to the canvas with a shoulder tackle. Kojima fights back with a series of forearms and charges…right into another tackle and down he goes. Oh dip apparently the Anthem representative is coming TONIGHT. I thought they were doing like a multi-week thing. Kojima catches Rhino with a back elbow, Rhino takes a powder as the show goes to commercial.

Back from break and Rhino is in control, working over Kojima in the corner. Rhino drops Kojima with a back elbow and covers for the 1…2…not yet. Kojima dodges a corner splash and it’s SHOTGUN CHOP TIME. Kojima follows up with a flying elbowdrop to the midsection for the 1…2…Rhino kicks out. Rhino connects with a clothesline, Kojima pops back up, Rhino sends him into the corner and hits a mini-Gore. Rhino grabs the waist, Kojima counters into a DDT and both men struggle to regain their momentum. Rhino fights off a Koji Cutter and connects with a belly-to-belly suplex; Kojima dodges a Gore and hits a Koji Cutter but is too out of it to capitalize immediately. Rhino charges, Kojima dodges and connects with the LARIAT for the 1…2…3! Kojima & Edwards challenge VBD for the titles next week!

Satoshi Kojima defeated Rhino via pinfall (7:12 shown)

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: More interesting on paper than it ended up being in execution but still pretty good. I really want to watch Kojima’s stuff from Japan now. (**)

-Mathews and Brown run down next week’s show but get interrupted by Sami Callihan, who holds the show hostage in the ring calling for Don Callis & Kenny Omega.

IN-RING SEGMENT

Back from commercial and Sami Callihan is surrounded by security guards as he threatens them. Scott D’Amore finally comes out, telling Callihan to hold on and getting rid of the security team. D’Amore tells Callihan that for once he’s on his side; what happened at Against All Odds was unfair to him and he’s going to fix it. Anthem has sent a representative and he’s in the building right now, D’Amore begs Callihan to have faith in him for once. Callihan says he’s the soul of Impact and does not like authority but for once they’ll do things his way. Callihan HACKS THE STUDIO and vanishes, Don Callis conveniently showing up now that he’s gone. Callis says there’s no amount of therapy that can fix Sami Callihan. Callis says he overstepped his bounds on Saturday because he did it for D’Amore, who’s too close to the wrestlers. Callis says he sees the wrestlers as the insects they are, tools for them to make money, and D’Amore says he did it to PROTECT his nephew Kenny Omega. 

The argument is interrupted by Tommy Dreamer, who is not here to tell D’Amore he told him so. D’Amore tells Dreamer that Anthem has sent a rep and they don’t have time for this, Dreamer says that HE’S THE ANTHEM REP (aw man, boo). Dreamer announces that Sami Callihan has been reinstated, but that’s not all he’s here to do. Dreamer says Anthem is going to be make a change; effective immediately DON CALLIS IS FIRED FROM IMPACT WRESTLING. Callis loses it, calling Dreamer a Bruce Prichard stooge and angry that he was fired despite being the only one willing to do what needs to be done.

Callis leaves to the back, but gets stopped by Sami Callihan. Callihan says he’s not here to show any violence because that’d be too easy; what he’s going to do is make Callis watch as he bashes the brains in of Kenny Omega. Callihan leaves, Callis mutters “crap”, and that’s the end of the episode.

  • JON’S THOUGHTS: Helluva end to the show as Callis’ power in Impact Wrestling is now all but gone and he can no longer protect Kenny Omega from the position he’s put him in. Callis being fired creates an interesting new dynamic to Omega’s run as World Champion going forward and I’m VERY MUCH into seeing how that all plays out. Great ending to the show. 

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS

Damn good episode of Impact Wrestling this week, with two standout matches, the beginnings of some Slammiversary build, and a great closing angle that now turns the whole “Kenny Omega: Belt Collector” thing on its head. They got me on the hook to see how Omega & Callis try to weasel their way around this new development and how it builds towards Slammiversary. Well-played, Impact. It’s paying off better than I was expecting it to.

  • MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Rachael Ellering vs. Tenille Dashwood
  • MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Tommy Dreamer FIRES Don Callis, Callis throws a tantrum

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