VENUE: Skyway Studios (Nashville, TN)
COMMENTATORS: Matt Striker & D-Lo Brown
Impact Wrestling this week features the return of Christian Cage to the Impact Zone after nine years, riding high after unseating Kenny Omega as Impact World Champion. Also on the show Melina makes her in-ring debut for Impact, Jake Something demolishes Kaleb with a K to prove a point to Josh Alexander, and much more.
- IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION: Christian Cage
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo
- IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPION: “The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander
- IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson)
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: “The Demon Assassin” Rosemary & Havok
- Sami Callihan & Chris Sabin vs. Moose & Ace Austin (**1/2)
- Matt Cardona vs. Shera (**)
- Melina vs. Brandi Lauren (NR)
- Jake Something vs. Kaleb with a K (NR)
- Doc Gallows vs. Joe Doering (***)
-LAST FRIDAY: Christian Cage beats Kenny Omega to win the Impact World Championship on the first-ever episode of AEW Rampage.
–Josh Mathews and Gia Miller open the show inside the ring and immediately go into discussing Cage’s title win on Friday. Their spiel gets interrupted by a brawl between Eddie Edwards and W. Morrissey. Edwards connects with a tope suicida, Morrissey drops Edwards with a big boot, Striker & Brown hype tonight’s show on commentary. Morrissey goes to finish Edwards off but gets attacked by Sami Callihan of all people. He and Edwards work together and clear Morrisey from the ring, Impact security finally deciding to do their job and put an end to the brawl. Edwards tells Callihan he didn’t ask for the help and leaves the ring, Callihan grabs a mic and tells him he can thank him later. Callihan has a match tonight and doesn’t feel like waiting, calling out his opponent so they can start the damn show. Cue WE OWN THE NIGHT, WHOA OH WHOA OH.
Sami Callihan & Chris Sabin vs. Moose & “Inevitable” Ace Austin [w/ Madman Fulton]
Oh I guess it’s a tag team match we’re starting with. All four of these men compete tomorrow at Emergence to decide who gets the next shot at the Impact World Championship. Will they end up facing Christian Cage or Brian Myers? Tune in tomorrow to find out (probably Christian Cage, though).
Austin shows off to start, nipping up after an armdrag. Callihan responds with a right hand and a shoulder tackle, Austin tries a leapfrog but gets caught into a Death Valley Driver for his troubles. Callihan connects with a short-arm clothesline, takes a bow, and makes a tag to Sabin who connects with a big ol’ kick to the spine. Callihan tags in and kicks the spine as well, shushing the crowd so they can hear the, LOL, impact! I’M SO GOOD. Sabin tags in and one-ups Callihan with a penalty kick to the spine followed by count along rights in the corner. Austin escapes a Cradle Shock, Sabin slides under Moose’s legs and pulls him off the canvas, Austin catches him on the way back in with a dropkick for a two-count as the show goes to commercial.
Moose is in control as Impact Wrestling returns, shushing the crowd so he can crack Sabin with a knife-edged chop. Crowd chants “ONE MORE TIME”, Moose plays into it then rakes the eyes instead to piss off the crowd. Awesome. Sabin fights back with rapid-fire rights, Austin distracts the ref and Fulton runs over to drop him with a big boot. Sabin hops over Austin and rolls him up with a sunset flip for the 1…2…Austin kicks out, Sabin rolls under a clothesline and makes the tag to Callihan. Callihan knocks Moose off the apron and stomps Austin into a puddle in the corner followed by a lariat that turns Austin inside out. Moose clears Callihan with a shoulder tackle, Sabin clears Moose from the ring, Austin clears Sabin, Callihan counters a rana with a sit-out powerbomb for the 1…2…Austin kicks out! Callihan revs up, Sabin tags himself in and hits the Cradle Shock for the 1…2…3!
Sami Callihan & Chris Sabin defeated Moose & Ace Austin via pinfall (7:15 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Loved the ending with Sabin tagging himself in to get the pin and the momentum leading into tomorrow. Match was fun, nice preview for Emergence. Babyface Sami is weird. Too much bowing. (**1/2)
Callihan raises Sabin’s hand in victory then drills him with a Piledriver and celebrates WITH MORE BOWING.
-Striker & Brown hype tonight’s show as well tomorrow’s Emergence special. Good thing they don’t have a potential return of one of pro wrestling’s biggest stars to go up against tomorrow night or anything.
-LAST SATURDAY: The Good Brothers defeat Jon Moxley & Yuji Nagata at NJPW Resurgence and are confronted after the match by the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa). Good Brothers bail instead of doing battle.
–The Good Brothers brag about their win last Saturday and doing their favorite thing (beating up Jon Moxley). Karl Anderson wonders if GoD even knows what they’re starting, Doc Gallows hype tonight’s big main event match against Joe Doering as well as the triple threat match tomorrow. They like their chances.
–Sami Callihan talks about his attack on Chris Sabin after the match, saying he became fair game once the match was over. He takes credit for helping rid Kenny Omega from Impact Wrestling for some reason, Eddie Edwards shows up and tells Callihan he didn’t need his help and there won’t be a next time. Noted.
“Alwayz Ready” Matt Cardona [w/ Chelsea Green] vs. Shera [w/ Rohit Raju]
Cardona gets his hands on Raju tomorrow at Emergence, but first he needs to get through Raju’s big boy best friend Shera. Another week, another moment of me struggling to believe this is the same guy that used to pal around with Grado.
Shera throws Cardona to the canvas, Cardona comes back with a knee and a side headlock. Shera escapes and drops Cardona with a pair of shoulder tackles. Shera measures Cardona, Cardona sends him to the floor and follows up with a baseball slide through the ropes and a senton. Heading into commercial though it’s Shera who’s in control, clearing Cardona from the ring with a big boot.
Shera continues to dominate as the show returns, hammer throwing Cardona and sending him crashing to the canvas. Shera drops an elbow and covers, leg hooked, for the 1…2…Cardona kicks out, Shera immediately slaps on a rear-chinlock. Shera distracts the ref, Raju gets in a cheapshot and Green immediately gets in his face forcing the ref to intervene and letting Shera choke Cardona at will. Cardona stuns Shera with a jawbreaker and follows up with a series of forearms, Shera puts a stop to that with a knee. Cardona counters a backdrop with a faceslam and follows up with a missile dropkick from the middle buckle. Cardona clotheslines Shera in the corner, Shera shrugs it off and connects with a chokeslam backbreaker followed by a powerslam for the 1…2…Cardona kicks out! Cardona dodges Shera in the corner and measures for the Re-Boot, Raju climbs the apron and Green pulls him off for a slap. Cardona catches Shera with a pair of boots and connects with a Radio Silence off the second buckle for the 1…2…3!
Matt Cardona defeated Shera via pinfall (6:18 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Good match and win for Cardona. Might be the longest Shera match I’ve ever seen. Props to Cardona & Green getting to make money and hang out as a couple. (**)
-iMPACT PLUS FLASHBACK MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Christian Cage beats Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 2006. Okay so Impact Plus is still in play, why are they also doing a YouTube subscription thing? (I have both so that’s probably why)
LOCKER ROOM TALK
Madison Rayne welcomes everyone back to Locker Room Talk alongside her creepy co-host Johnny Swinger. Swinger talks about his illegal casino, Rayne says it’s better than being on trial for shooting someone which is very true. Rayne introduces her guests Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb with a K via satellite from the set of HER talk show “All About Me”. Dashwood says she’s been looking for the perfect partner for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship and has chosen Rayne. They bring up teaming before and coming up short, Rayne says it’s kismet. Dashwood reads a poem to celebrate their new team, Kaleb think it’s beautiful. Rayne reminds everyone she’s a 5x Knockouts Champ and 2x Knockouts Tag Team Champs and together she and Dashwood are THE INFLUENCE. Swinger mocks Kaleb for getting JOBBBBBBBED by the barking guy from Team Canada (Scott D’Amore). He and Kaleb trade barbs, Kaleb blocks him on social media and calls him boomer, Swinger threatens to put Kaleb’s head in the toilet like Dick Slater. Rayne and Dashwood tell Kaleb to stand up for himself, and he leaves to go give D’Amore a piece of his mind. They conclude their respective shows and Rayne vows victory over Taylor Wilde at Emergence tomorrow.
–Gia Miller interviews Josh Alexander about his Emergence opponent Jake Something. Something appears so Alexander can tell him to his face: he doesn’t care how big and strong he is he’s not concerned. Something tells Alexander he’s not paying attention so he’ll give him a reason; Something walks over to Kaleb with a K and Scott D’Amore who are mid-conversation. Kaleb wants to fight and says he’s cleared, Something demands a match and D’Amore KNOWS JUST THE GUY.
CHRISTIAN CAGE RETURNS TO THE IMPACT ZONE
New Impact World Champion Christian Cage makes his way out to address the Impact crowd, both belts in tow. Cage says it’s damn good to be in the Impact Zone again after nine years away, the nostalgia hitting him like a brick wall. Cage says that although he wrestles for AEW it’s an honor to have brought the Impact & TNA World Titles off Kenny Omega and back home. He goes on to talk about leaving the WWE in 2005 and how Impact took a chance on him, allowing him to up his stock and value and giving him championship opportunities. Cage has had some conversations with Impact executives and has decided to “respectfully” retire the TNA World Heavyweight Championship as it’s about the future and the future is the Impact World Championship.
Before Cage can move onto his next point he’s interrupted by Emergence opponent Brian Myers and Myers’ lackey Sam Beale. Myers says this is truly nostalgic, asking where D-Ray 3000 is. GOOD QUESTION MAN WHERE THE F*CK IS D-RAY GIMME D-RAY. Myers talks about how much he’s been killing over the past year in Impact and the World Title Cage has around his waist belongs to “The Most Professional Wrestler”. Cage tells Myers he’s glad he finally crawled out from Matt Cardona’s shadow and congratulates him for finally reaching his potential. Cage tells Myers he may have won the battle royale but he hasn’t really WON anything yet. Myers may be the “Most” Professional Wrestler but Cage is the “BEST” Professional Wrestler and the two argue off-mic. Myers teases leaving and shoves Beale into Cage, who drops him. Cage tries to get a shot in on Myers, but Myers bails from the ring and Cage’s music hits.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Glad Impact is dropping that TNA World Title thing, that was played out even before Omega took the title from Moose. Having Cage retire it is kind of cool but I don’t think he ever won THAT version of the belt? I thought he was only NWA Champ. Splitting hairs though, good establishing promo from the new champ and some brief hype for his first title defense. I don’t expect that Myers will get the win but I’m glad he’s getting the shot because he has indeed had a pretty good year in the company and deserves a serious match.
–Melina briefly talks with Trey Miguel, who asks her if she can still do the splits. He didn’t watch last week’s show.
-The NWA gets some brief airtime to hype its big two-night PPV weekend at the legendary Chase: the all-female event Empowerrr on August 28th and the NWA 73 on Sunday August 29th. Forbidden Doors are for suckers.
-VIDEO: Deonna Purazzo defeats Faby Apache at TripleMania over the weekend to win the AAA Reina de Reinas Title, becoming a double champion.
Melina vs. Brandi Lauren
Melina will challenge Deonna Purrazzo for the KO Title at Empowerrr on August 28th. Lauren had a cup of coffee in Impact a few years back under the name Ava Storie and recently got released by WWE after a few months in the NXT system.
Melina dominates the match, connecting with a snapmare DDT and winning via submission with an inverted Muta Lock.
Melina defeated Brandi Lauren via submission (2:05)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Dominant win for Melina, Impact was smart to keep it short though. Melina’s finisher isn’t bad though. (NR)
Deonna Purrazzo attacks Melina after the match, Matthew Rehwoldt coming in to help until Trey Miguel runs out to even the odds. Purrazzo tash talks Miguel, Melina takes advantage and clears her from the ring, leaving her to celebrate with new best friend Miguel.
–Gia Miller interviews John Skyler, who won his debut match last week over Matt Cardona thanks to an “assist” by Rohit Raju. Skyler says it wasn’t Rohit who rolled him up for the win…but his interview is cut short by TAN GUY clutching his knee and OTHER GUY calling for help. I have no f*cking idea who either of these guys are, my bad.
-Clips of Jordynne Grace competing in a powerlifting event, saying she’s going to compete for the World Title in November. Rachael Ellering, her best friend and tag team partner, was there as well to cheer her on. Nice. Best of luck to Grace, I have no doubt she can powerlift the sh*t out of some weights.
Jake Something vs. Kaleb with a K
Jake Something dominates as expected, almost putting Kaleb through the ring with a sit-out powerbomb and setting up a table in the corner. Kaleb charges, Something bodies him then puts him through the table with a spear for the 1…2…3.
Jake Something defeated Kaleb with a K via pinfall (2:04)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Alexander vs. Something is going to f*cking rule, man. Kaleb is a great tackling dummy. Not sure why there was a No-DQ rule, is that for all Impact matches now? (NR)
Josh Alexander interrupts Something’s celebration to stare him down.
–SPOOKY Kimber Lee tells “mother” Su Yung that she has collected her first soul but it won’t be her last. Tubular.
-Striker announces a new match for Emergence: Trey Miguel & Melina vs. Matthew Rehwoldt & Deonna Purrazzo. WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN THIS? Striker & Brown run down the rest of the Emergence card which looks pretty nice on paper.
“The Big LG” Doc Gallows [w/ “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson] vs. Joe Doering [w/ Eric Young, Rhino, & Deaner]
Gallows and Doering trade stiff shots, they collide and Doering clotheslines him to the floor. Gallows pulls Doering out and goes on the offensive as the show goes to commercial.
Impact Wrestling returns with Gallows still in control, dropping Doering with a running back elbow for a two-count. Gallows connects with a big ol’ spin kick to the side of the head; Gallows goes for a splash but Doering CATCHES HIM and throws him to the canvas with a suplex. Gallows & Doering collide with double clotheslines, Gallows connects with a kick and runs right into a forearm that takes him down to one knee. Doering follows up with a DELAYED vertical suplex, the biggest bump I’ve seen Gallows take in an Impact ring since their return. Gallows bails to the floor and catches Doering with a side kick, Doering responds with a kick of his own, Gallows connects with a right and tosses him into the guardrail. Doering fights back, Gallows throws a chair at him to stop the comeback while the ref (Brian Hebner) lets it all just kinda happen. Rules don’t apply to hosses, which is fair. Back in the ring Doering ducks a boot, Gallows ducks a lariat, and they collide so hard both spill out to opposite ends of the ring. Gallows throws some stuff around ringside in frustration and trades heavy rights with Doering. Gallows & Doering brawl to the entrance stage, Gallows ducks a clothesline and connects with a Sky High, PUTTING THEM BOTH THROUGH THE STAGE. Officials and medical personnel check on both men, Scott D’Amore coming out as well to survey the situation in an executive capacity. Security help Gallows out of the hole first, Gallows shoves them away and crawls towards the ring. Doering comes to and refuses help as he emerges from the crater to limp his way back to the ring. They get to their feet, Gallows catches Doering with a big boot and comes off the buckles right into a LARIAT from Doering who lands on top for the 1…2…3!
Joe Doering defeated Doc Gallows via pinfall (10:32 shown)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Match kicked way more ass than expected, Gallows came to work and work he did. Great bombs thrown by both men, loved the stage spot and their staredown at the tail end of the match. Simple pro wrestling sh*t done well. (***)
After a replay of the big moments it’s Doering who is the one standing, celebrating with his Violent By Design compatriots as the episode concludes.
Good episode this week, Impact using its time wisely to push tomorrow’s Emergence event. I didn’t know much about that show going into this, but after tonight I feel like I’ve got a good idea of what to expect and that’s a sign of a job well done. I really dug Gallows vs. Doering as well, just two burly dudes punch fighting and going through stages. Can’t ask for much more.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Doc Gallows vs. Joe Doering
- FAVORITE MOMENT: Gallows & Doering crawling to their feet and staring one another down after going through the stage. Love sh*t like that.