Date: January 6, 2019
Venue: The Asylum (Nashville, TN)
Commentators: Josh Matthews & Don Callis
Impact Wrestling returns to The Asylum for Homecoming, their first PPV of 2019, which features Brian Cage cashing in his “Option C” clause to challenge Johnny Impact for the World Championship. Also on the show the title Cage vacated, the X-Division Championship, is on the line in Ultimate X, Eli Drake takes on Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match, and much more!
- IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION: Johnny Impact
- IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Vacant
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Tessa Blanchard
- IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: LAX (Ortiz & Santana)
- ULTIMATE X: Rich Swann vs. Ethan Page vs. Trey Miguel vs. Jake Crist for the vacant IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
- Jordynne Grace & Kiera Hogan vs. Su Yung & Allie (**3/4)
- FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose (***)
- Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan (***1/4)
- MONSTER’S BALL: Abyss vs. Eli Drake (**1/2)
- LAX [c] vs. The Lucha Bros for the IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
- Tessa Blanchard [c] vs. Taya Valkyrie for the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- Johnny Impact [c] vs. Brian Cage for the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (**3/4)
-OPENING VIDEO: Highlights from Impact’s history with The Asylum during their weekly PPV days (something I always want to revisit but stop cold two episodes in because it was REAL BAD for awhile). Johnny Impact narrates the video, which then cuts into current-day happenings leading into tonight’s PPV. It’s a well-produced piece of business.
-We go live to The Asylum as Matthews welcomes the home audience. The ring even has the old red ropes. Nice touch.
Rich Swann vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Trey Miguel vs. Jake Crist for the vacant IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Fun only to me fact: the only weekly PPV I ever watched live had Don Callis’ announcement of the inaugural Ultimate X match. It sounded weird and it was a few years before I actually WATCHED one because PPVs are expensive. Having Callis on commentary for this one is pretty cool.
All four men meet in the middle to, I don’t know, discuss politics? They all quickly break off and start climbing, even Page who is much bigger than everyone else in this one. Swann and Crist fall, Miguel falls and hits a hurricanrana on Swann. Page then falls and hits a hurricanrana of his own on Miguel! Nice. Page and Miguel meet on the buckles, Page picks Miguel up and THROWS him onto Crist and Swann. Page goes climbing, Crist runs in and gets kicked away, Miguel and Swann pull him off and hit a double superkick. SO MANY SUPERKICKS, Page uses Crist to superkick Miguel by swinging his foot. Everybody down and the crowd goes wild. Miguel climbs, Page immediately clubs him from behind and goes for an avalanche belly to back suplex. Miguel slides under and locks Page’s head between the buckle, Miguel and Swann belt him with a double superkick. Swann and Miguel climb the buckles and battle for supremacy, Crist flies in with a forearm of his own. Crist grabs both for a double cutter but gets blocked and sent to the canvas empty-handed. Crist crotches both men on the top rope and this time connects with a double cutter.
Page takes the opportunity to start climbing towards the title, kicking Crist away and then deciding to hit an elbowdrop instead of actually grabbing the belt. Poor decision. Swann with a series of strikes and a back handspring cutter on Page. Miguel backflips over Swann and drives his head into the canvas with a double stomp. Miguel gets close to the title, Page pendulums him into his arms for a backbreaker. NICE. Crist climbs the buckles and shoves Page to the mat, following up with a legdrop and tries to cover out of instinct. Miguel with a rana to Page on the floor, Crist drills Miguel with a slingshot DDT. Swann takes flight and takes everybody out with a corkscrew splash. Nashville is LOVING IT. All four men take awhile to regroup while a ladder is tossed into the ring by a ref (maybe the belt fell?). Swann and Miguel are first up and jockey for position. Miguel shoves Swann off into Page and Crist. Miguel climbs one of the four pillars, does his Rascalz thing, and takes out his opponents with a moonsault. Page belts Miguel with a forearm and tries a Superplex, Miguel blocks it while Crist and Swann come in from behind. Swann and Crist pick Page up on their shoulders, Miguel drives him to the mat with a Meteora. NICE. Swann wants to fly but gets countered with a kick from Crist, who then picks him and gives him a Tombstone on the metal entrance ramp. Crist drops Swann onto the entrance stage to get him far away from the ring, and starts rope climbing his way towards the belt. Page climbs the buckles and takes him down with a spear, TLC-style. Both men roll to the floor, Miguel and Swann roll in. Swann with a hurricanrana to Miguel off the buckles. Miguel tries a hurricanrana of his own, Swann lands on his feet and quickly climbs the ropes and grabs the belt! Nice!
Rich Swann defeated Ethan Page, Trey Miguel, & Dave Crist to win the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (14:05)
- I haven’t seen an Ultimate X match in awhile, and the last one I saw involved someone USING A F*CKING LADDER, so I was glad to see it again and from four guys who have never competed in this match type before. All the highspots were there as expected, which the crowd ate up, but I got to say that Ethan Page really was the star. He’s a lot bigger than the other three but still flew around the ring and delivered some of the cooler moments, including that Edge nod at the end. Entertaining and energetic way to start the show, get the crowd amped up, and crown a new champion. (***1/2)
Swann celebrates, while a dejected Miguel looks on. If only Swann didn’t land on his feet when he hit that hurricanrana and that belt would have been his. Going to take a lot of weed for that one to go down.
-Cut to Matthews and Callis, the latter wearing a cowboy hat over his headset. He’s “embracing” the local culture of Nashville. I thought it was a Jim Ross joke. Callis talks about how proud he was to watch the match he created in action. Hype for the other matches on the show.
–McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Brian Cage. Cage says there’s only outcome tonight: he walks out the Impact World Champion. Cage calls himself “LeBron James and Bo Jackson all rolled up into one” and how he sacrificed everything including their friendship to get to this moment.
-STORYLINE RECAP: Allie is now DARK ALLIE after emerging from the Undead Realm, siding with her former hated enemy Su Yung. Kiera Hogan tries to help her, but she’s too far gone. None of this is metaphorical, she went to the legitimate undead realm or whatever. I appreciate Impact trying to Lucha Underground-style insanity, even if it’s not firing on all cylinders.
Jordynne Grace & Kiera Hogan vs. Su Yung & “Dark” Allie
Grace overpowers Allie right away, flinging her to the mat and connecting with a sliding lariat for an early two-count. Allie runs away and tags out to Yung, while Hogan tags in on her side. Hogan splashes Yung in the corner followed by a hip attack and a sliding kick for the 1…2…Allie breaks it up and drags Yung to her corner so she can tag in. Allie bails from the ring and beckons Hogan to come out and meet her. Allie gets distracted with Grace as the ref holds her back, Hogan climbs the buckles and Yung sends her into the buckles with an ankle trip. That felt weirdly timed but right on. Yung puts Hogan in a tree of woe and kicks her repeatedly in the back followed by a hanging neckbreaker for the 1…2…Hogan kicks out. Allie tags in and whips Yung into Hogan in the corner, then follows up with a running forearm of her own. Yung mule kicks Hogan in the knee and sends her into the buckles with a headscissors. Allie follows up with a lung blower for the 1…2…Hogan kicks out. Both ladies miss their kicks but belt one another with forearms and a backfist/palm strike that send both down.
Grace gets the hot tag and wrecks Allie with UNLIMITED POOOOOWAH. Allie rolls out, Yung sends Grace to the floor. Hogan ducks a clothesline from Yung and hits Allie with a tope suicida. Yung wants to fly too but Grace stops her with a fist, then deadlifts her into a suplex position. Hogan comes off the apron and drives Yung into the ground with a crossbody. Back in the ring Allie rakes the eyes of Grace, Hogan tags back in and blocks the Codebreaker, hitting a spinning fisherman neckbreaker for the 1…2…Yung breaks it up. Grace picks up Allie in a slam position, Hogan puts Yung onto Grace in a power bomb position and Grace CONNECTS WITH BOTH, Hogan covers Allie for the 1…2…Allie kicks out. Allie goozles Hogan, Grace breaks it up. Allie shoves Grace into Yung, who spits EVIL RED MIST in her face. This distracts Hogan and Allie takes advantage with a Codebreaker. Yung hands Allie her bloody glove and she KOs Hogan with the Mandible Claw.
Su Yung & Allie defeated Jordynne Grace & Kiera Hogan via knockout (8:54)
- I can’t help but like a match includes EVIL MIST so that bumps it up from decent to good in my book. I enjoyed this one, Grace doing her POWAH thing was fun to watch as was Hogan’s lightning-quick offense. They make a good team. Su Yung is one of my favorite characters in pro wrestling for reasons I can’t quite explain, and while the whole “Undead Realm” thing with Allie is lame as f*ck it at least works when it comes to the actual wrestling. Also got a kick of Allie overcorrecting her old babyface ways by doing a lot of screaming and showing off of her EVIL TONGUE RING. (**3/4)
Yung and Allie attack Hogan after the bell. Yung beckons to the entrance stage, and her undead bridesmaids bring out a casket. Casket opens and it’s the returning Rosemary, Allie’s best friend who has been missing since Yung took her out the year before. Rosemary fights off the bridesmaids and stalks towards Yung. Yung charges, Rosemary sends her into her bridesmaids. Rosemary makes her way to a terrified (yet still DARK) Allie, rolling into the ring to stare her down. Rosemary tries to put her hand on Allie’s head, Allie shoves it off and quickly leaves the ring, her mind all f*cked up.
-FEUD RECAP: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose; former friends turned HATED ENEMIES. Didn’t even know they were friends until Moose turned heel the year before. Also I’ll never not be confused as to the trajectory of Edwards’ singles career. Hardcore Icon is not where I saw that going during his ROH days.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE
Eddie Edwards vs. Moose
Edwards attacks Moose from behind during his entrance, getting this match going right away. Moose rolls Edwards in to get away from him, Edwards immediately comes back with a plancha. Edwards and Moose trade blows, the latter sends the former into the guardrail. Moose rolls Edwards back in the ring so he can take his vest off, Edwards belts him with a kick to send him back to the floor. Edwards tries to fly again, Moose catches him and breaks the motherf*cker in half with a power bomb on the apron, followed by another for a two-count. Moose balances one of the guardrail, uh, railings against the ring steps and the apron as Edwards recovers in the ring. Edwards counters a power bomb with a hurricanrana, Moose charges and gets sent to the floor and Edwards follows up with a tope suicida. Edwards tosses Moose into the first row and they battle into the crowd and away from any lighting so I have no idea what’s going on. Someone shines a spotlight in their direction, Moose bringing Edwards into the upper deck. Edwards with a chop and right hand, Moose rakes the eyes and retreats back to the ground level, conveniently leaving him open to a plancha from the balcony by Edwards. “THIS IS WRESTLING” chant from the crowd. Thank you yes this is what I’m watching. This crowd is so helpful.
They fight back to ringside, Edwards belting Moose with a plastic trashcan and rolling him back in the squared circle. Moose with a low-blow and a push, sending Edwards head-first into the guardrail. Moose throws three chairs into the ring courtesy of helpful ringside fans and throws Edwards into the steel post. Three more chairs get tossed into the ring (baker’s dozen! Wait no that’s not right), Moose rolls Edwards inside, who is busted open. Moose directs his fists to the wound and event BITES it which is grosssss especially in 2019. Moose covers Edwards with chairs and heads to the top. Edwards quickly gets to his feet and throws two chairs into the skull of his opponent. YIKES. Edwards puts the chairs into a pile and connects with a Superplex onto the steel, hurting both of them in the process. CHOP FIGHT, everybody’s got that fighting spirit! Moose removes his glove and buries another chop into Edwards, Edwards chops back, Moose with a pump kick and a headbutt, Moose charges and Edwards backdrops him THROUGH the guardrail that was set up earlier in the match. Edwards rolls Moose in and grabs “Kenny” (kendo stick) from under the ring and goes a swingin’ on the former NFL player. Alisha Edwards shows up, takes Kenny, and WRECKS MOOSE WITH IT AS WELL. Alisha hands it back and Edwards breaks it over Moose’s head, followed by a DDT for the 1…2…3!
Eddie Edwards defeated Moose via pinfall (13:20)
- Lots of unprotected shots to the head during this one which is definitely a choice to make in 2019, but I’m a jerk so I didn’t mind it in the slightest. Good intense brawl but the poor lighting in the crowd during the brawl was a bummer as was some of the spots feeling way too measured. I didn’t hate it but I was hoping for something a little more violent. Also how come every time I watch an Impact PPV I see Moose lose? DOES IMPACT EVER LET THIS MAN WIN ANYTHING? (***)
–Sami Callihan sends out an “alert” to Willie Mack, his opponent tonight. Callihan tells Mack he’ll be wishing and begging that he had listened to Rich Swann and stayed out of oVe’s way.
Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan [w/ Dave Crist]
Mack got himself involved in Rich Swann’s beef with oVe and now he’s going one-on-one with the Death Machine. Did Callihan really get voted as 2018’s Impact Wrestler of the Year? That’s something.
Mack belts Callihan with a clothesline and drops Dave Crist off the apron with a right hand. Mack with a hurricanrana and an enzuigiri, Callihan rolls to the floor and Mack flattens both oVe members with a senton. Mack rolls Callihan and connects with a driving clothesline. Mack drives a series of knees into Callihan’s spine followed by a seated blockbuster. Mack chases Dave Crist around the ring, running right into a clothesline from Callihan. Smooth move, ex-lax. Callihan wraps Mack in the ring skirt and connects with a pump kick. Callihan spits in his hand, lets it drip back into his mouth, and chops Mack. Be right back I’m gonna go THROW UP.
I’m back y’all, don’t worry. Callihan slows things down with a chinlock, holding on as Mack gets to his feet and tries to escape, driving him back to the canvas. Mack escapes, Callihan tries for a sleeper but it’s immediately countered with a jawbreaker, as all sleepers should be countered. Mack and Callihan trade slaps, Mack with a short forearm and Callihan with a DEEP eye poke. Callihan charges, Mack catches him with a superkick. Dave Crist with another distraction, Callihan rolls him up with a handful of tights for the 1…2…Mack kicks out. Mack with a Samoan drop, kip up, and standing moonsault for the 1…2…Callihan kicks out. Mack with a pump kick in the corner followed by an inverted cannonball. Callihan counters the stunner but does not counter the Sky High and Mack covers for the 1…2…Callihan kicks out once more. Callihan with a power bomb followed by a V Trigger for the 1…2…Mack kicks out! Callihan measures Mack, Mack counters whatever he was going to do with a pop-up forearm followed by the Stunner for the 1…2…Callihan gets the smallest inch of his boot on the rope to break it. Callihan distracts the ref, Dave Crist grabs Mack’s leg while he’s on the buckles. Mack kicks him off, Callihan hits him with a forearm and connects with an avalanche Death Valley Driver for the 1…OH SNAP MACK KICKED OUT AND HE IS ANGRY. Callihan belts Mack with a lariat for the 1…MACK KICKS OUT AGAIN AND HE STILL MAD. Callihan with a series of strikes and ducks a lariat, turning Mack inside out with a lariat followed by the Piledriver for the 1…2…3!
Sami Callihan defeated Willie Mack via pinfall (10:21)
- Callihan gets the decisive win but hot damn Willie Mack looked tremendous in defeat. How is this dude not being given wheelbarrows of money to wrestle everywhere? I enjoyed this one a lot, though Mack kicking out early twice only to then lose anyway was a little deflating. Made him look tough until it didn’t. (***1/4)
-McKenzie Mitchell meets a blindfolded Eli Drake backstage. Drake says it’s a new year and if there’s one guy fit to be the king it’s him. Mitchell says Drake seems afraid of the Monster’s Ball, but Drake laughs it off because he’s going to hit him with a Gravy Train before Abyss can get any of his plunder. Drake is going to sound the death knell on Abyss’ career.
-FEUD RECAP: Eli Drake vs. Abyss. Drake is on a crusade to rid the industry of “hardcore” wrestling or something.
“The Monster” Abyss vs. Eli Drake
Abyss throws some plunder in the ring during his entrance. How this man is still able to walk on his own accord after all the sh*t Impact Wrestling has put him through for over a decade is impressive.
Drake attacks Abyss from behind, Abyss easily fights him off using his UNLIMITED POWAH. Abyss throws his vest in Drake’s face and clotheslines him in the corner, shifting the ring. Abyss grabs a staple gun, Drake blocks it and goes for a sunset flip. Abyss almost falls but instead staples Drake right in the chest! RUDE. Action moves to the floor, Abyss sets up a pair of tables next to one another and throws a chair and trash can into the ring. Abyss goozles Drake, Drake counters with an eye rake but gets sent into the crowd. Another goozle, Drake fights him off again this time with a low-blow. Drake grabs a production case and rolls it into Abyss, then gets in the face of the ref, allowing Abyss to send the rolling case back into him. Abyss wedges a chair in the corner, Drake belts him with a trash can lid and then the trash can as a whole. It takes three to send the big man to his knees. Drake hits Abyss with a cookie sheet. He charges at Abyss, who throws him overhead and through one of the tables. Another “THIS IS WRESTLING” chant; just in time too, I thought I was watching lacrosse for a second.
Abyss rolls Drake in and pours out a bag of thumbtacks on the canvas, taking the time to spread them around to. He’s a monster, sure, but he’s a particular monster. Drake fights Abyss off and grabs a handful of the tacks, Abyss ducks and Drake throws them in the eyes of the ref! HA! Abyss connects with a Black Hole Slam and covers but the ref can’t see. Abyss charges, Drake moves and The Monster runs right into the wedged chair for the 1…2…kickout. Ref is fighting through the pain, clutching at his left eye. Drake readies a chair for Abyss, Abyss pulls Janice (a board covered in nails) out from under the ring which scares his opponent. Drake rams Abyss in the gut with the chair then decides to use Janice himself. Abyss goozles him before it can happen and sends Drake crashing into the thumbtacks with a chokeslam! Drake grabs more tacks and throws them in Abyss’ eyes, then follows up with a chair to the back. Drake grabs zip ties under the ring and ties Abyss’ hands together. Abyss is nice enough to wait around for Drake to finally figure out how zip ties work, then eats a whole lot of chairs to the back. Abyss EASILY breaks out of those zip ties (HAHAHAHA), but Drake continues with the chair shots before covering for the 1…2…Abyss gets a shoulder up. Drake grabs his paddle and breaks it over Abyss’ head for the 1…2…3!
Eli Drake defeated Abyss via pinfall (12:12)
- Abyss might be able to walk on his own accord, but it’s very obvious that the man has seen better days and to put him in a match over 10 minutes at this stage of his career is just plain rude more than anything. Watching him hobble around slowly was just depressing to see and a sobering reminder of how much abuse he’s taken for the past 15 years. That being said Drake did what he could to keep things interesting and took some good bumps, going through tables and into thumbtacks, and I appreciate Drake going from anti-hardcore to SUPER hardcore in order to beat The Monster. Guess his little crusade is a big pile of bullsh*t after all. (**1/2)
-McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Killer Kross, who isn’t scheduled for a match tonight. Kross says he and Johnny Impact are two sides of the same coin and says at the end of tonight no one will be talking about “Option C”; instead they’ll be talking about “Option X”. Kross tells Impact time is running out and sooner or later everybody pays the toll. Tick tock.
–Nick Wilson and Davie Rickenbacker from Survivor are in the crowd to support fellow Survivor contestant Johnny Impact. That would have been ACES if this was like 1999 when Survivor still mattered.
-VIDEO: LAX needs to prove to Konnan, their friends, their family, and themselves that they can win on their own. LAX will be making history at Homecoming.
LAX (Ortiz & Santana) [c] vs. The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. & Fenix) for the IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Dueling chants for both men after the bell rings, they are MOLTEN for this one. Ortiz is wearing a WCW/nWo Revenge beanie so he’s my new favorite wrestler.
Fenix with a takedown on Santana, Pentagon kicks him from behind. DOUBLE SUPERKICK (Zero Fear), Fenix with a tope suicida on Ortiz on the floor, Lucha Bros with a doomsday double stomp and Fenix hits another tope con hilo, Pentagon covers Santana for the 1…2…kickout. Oh man I thought this one was over already, that was a helluva string of offense. Santana sends Pentagon into Fenix on the buckles, who crashes to the mat. Santana with a springboard crossbody, Ortiz with a senton, Santana with a moonsault, Ortiz with a tope con hilo to Fenix on the floor. Pentagon rolls out, Santana with a springboard moonsault. THIS ONE IS HOT FIRE. Ortiz tags in, LAX with a springboard moonsault/legdrop combo for the 1…2…Pentagon kicks out. LAX goes for a double Superplex, Fenix sends them both to the floor and hits a double baseball slide. Pentagon with superkicks from the apron, LAX seated on the floor, Fenix flies, Pentagon throws him into LAX, Pentagon with a tope con hilo of his own.
Back in the ring Pentagon hits a codebreaker on Ortiz and hangs on, Fenix comes off the top with a double stomp and Pentagon covers for the 1…2…not yet. They signal for Fear Factor, Ortiz counters Pentagon with a spinebuster while Santana catches Fenix mid-flight and hits a reverse power bomb, Ortiz comes off with a splash for the 1…2…Pentagon ollies off to break the count and hits Santana with a CANADIAN DESTROYER. Ortiz and Pentagon to their knees, Fenix and Santana roll to opposite sides of the ring. Pentagon taunts “CIERO MIEDO”, Ortiz belts him with a chop. CHOP FIIIIIGHT, Ortiz with a pair of European uppercuts but runs right into a superkick. Pentagon charges and eats a superkick, they both knock each other loopy with a double clothesline. Fenix and Santana back in the ring, trading chops and forearms, knock each other out with kicks while Pentagon and Ortiz do something (I looked down for a second like an IDIOT) and all four men are down. Santana tags in, Pentagon sends him into the buckles and hits a superkick, FEAR FACTOR for the 1…2…Ortiz barrels Fenix onto Pentagon to break it up!
Santana catches a kick, hits Pentagon with an enzuigiri and LAX hit a Street Sweeper for the 1…2…Fenix comes flying in to break the count! “FIGHT FOREVER” chants. Fenix sends Santana into the buckles, Santana comes flying out with a rolling cutter and Ortiz hits a flying codebreaker, LAX with a double inside out suplex for the 1…2…3!
LAX [c] defeated The Lucha Brothers via pinfall to retain the IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (11:28)
- I absolutely did not do this one justice via recap but I’m not even sad about it because HOLY SH*T this match slapped. This was a sprint times infinity, with frenetic double team maneuvers and crazy dives almost from the sound of the bell. Everything rocked, the crowd lost their damn mind for the whole thing, and if you don’t think this incarnation of LAX is one of the best tag teams in pro wrestling you’re a CRAZY PERSON. What an amazing match. Not even 12 minutes either, they got in and got out with all their sh*t and was better for it. (****1/4)
Konnan helps Pentagon Jr. and Fenix to their feet and says he was wrong about both teams being able to keep it professional, but was right about this being a historic meeting. Konnan puts over the match taking place at the legendary Asylum, both teams show respect and love, Konnan raises their hands in victory. EVERYBODY WINS. How sweet.
-McKenzie Mitchell is with Gail Kim, the special guest referee for the Knockouts Championship tonight. Kim says she never thought this would happen as she retired in 2017, but she’s here because Tessa Blanchard keeps breaking the rules. Kim puts over Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie and vows to call it down the line.
-VIDEO: recap of the rise of Tessa Blanchard leading into her feud with Taya Valkyrie, and Gail Kim getting involved because of A SENSE OF JUSTICE or something.
SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: GAIL KIM
Tessa Blanchard [c] vs. Taya Valkyrie for the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Valkyrie has made Blanchard tap before, so she’s proven she can beat the champion. This is also her third shot at the Knockouts Championship, having lost the first match and won via DQ the second time.
Blanchard talks trash and shoves Valkyrie. Valkyrie with a waistlock, standing switch and a takedown by Blanchard. Valkyrie kips up and connects with an armdrag followed by a pair of hamstring kicks. Valkyrie rolls over Blanchard and connects with a tilt-a-whirl armdrag. There is a really annoying member of the crowd yelling “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!” after every move Valkyrie makes and oh man do I want to mute the rest of this match. Valkyrie with a double stomp to the back followed by a punt that sends the champ to the floor. Valkyrie brings Blanchard to the apron, Blanchard dodges a shoulder tackle and drops her throat-first on the middle rope. Blanchard goes on the attack, whipping Valkyrie into the guardrail right in front of Valkyrie’s group of supporters, following up with a missile dropkick to the skull. Back inside Blanchard bends Valkyrie down in the splits and hooks in a wristlock/armbar. Valkyrie almost fights out; Blanchard uses the hair to send her to the mat for a two-count. Blanchard bends Valkyrie over the middle rope until Kim forces her to break it. Blanchard ain’t even worried about it.
Blanchard whips Valkyrie into the corner, Valkyrie kicks her a couple of times and follows up with a pair of clotheslines. Release overhead German suplex for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Valkyrie with a hip attack in the corner followed by the double knees for the 1…2…Blanchard kicks out once again. Blanchard escapes a fireman’s carry and goes for the Buzzsaw DDT but Valkyrie counters with a Northern Lights suplex, rolling through for a double stomp and the 1…2…not yet. Seriously that “YEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!” person is going to drive me to drink. Valkyrie misses a top rope moonsault and Blanchard runs right through her with a spear for the 1…2…Valkyrie kicks out. Blanchard gets in Kim’s face about and “kicks dirt” at her for her officiating. Blanchard goes for a forearm, Valkyrie dodges and she accidentally hits Kim instead. Blanchard totally cool with it though, and hits Valkyrie with the Buzzsaw DDT but Kim is still knocked loopy. Blanchard grabs the Knockouts Championship, Kim stops her from using it. Turns into a tug of war, Blanchard lets go and Kim accidentally hits her with the championship. Blanchard covers and Kim reluctantly starts counting. 1…2…VALKYRIE KICKS OUT. Blanchard shoves Kim, Kim says once again it was a two-count. Blanchard shoves her again, Kim shoves her into Valkyrie, who rolls her up for the 1…2…Blanchard kicks out. Valkyrie tries to climb the buckles, Blanchard kicks her into a seated position for a Magnum codebreaker for the 1…2…Valkyrie kicks out again. Blanchard goozles Kim into the corner, Kim escapes and hits EAT DEFEAT which Valkyrie then follows up with To Valhalla for the 1…2…3!
Taya Valkyrie defeated Tessa Blanchard [c] via pinfall to win the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP (10:41)
- Congrats to Taya Valkyrie for needing the referee to help her win the Knockouts Championship. I enjoyed the match until the dumb finish (and also that super annoying fan), but I guess they wanted to build a “dream match” between Blanchard and Kim and this how Impact decided to do it. Not a fan, especially since Blanchard is without question the best Knockout on that entire roster. Valkyrie had a good showing here though so she’s definitely worthy of holding the strap (I’m sure she really needed me to say this too), it’s just that Blanchard is WAY ABOVE everybody else and it’s glaringly obvious. (***)
Valkyrie tears up as she celebrates with her championship. She and her husband Johnny Impact now hold two of the biggest championships in the company.
-Cut to the announce table where Matthews hypes Impact’s debut on both Pursuit and Twitch on January 11th. No excuses not to watch, unless you just don’t feel like it. Matthews wants 15,000 subscribers on their Twitch channel by March 1st. I’m not sure if they’ve hit it or not, but I don’t think they’ve done 15,000 concurrent viewers for an episode of the show so I’m not confident they’ve hit that mark. Matthews’ voice is shot. Callis predicts that Brian Cage will win the World Championship in the main event.
-McKenzie Mitchell is standing by with World Champ Johnny Impact. Impact says that tonight isn’t about friendship, it’s about who will leave the show as World Champion. Impact goes over the men he’s beaten (Fenix, Killer Kross) since winning the title, and puts over Brian Cage as a “super freak”. Impact says tonight is about who has the biggest heart.
-MAIN EVENT HYPE VIDEO: Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage
–Brian Cage makes his entrance for the main event wearing Terminator-style stuff for he is a MACHINE.
Johnny Impact [c] vs. “The Machine” Brian Cage for the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Impact tries a leg sweep, Cage grabs him and throws him to the mat like nothing. Impact targets Cage’s right leg, which is taped up, Cage fights him off and they reset. Impact with hamstring kicks and a kick to the head, and grabs a waistlock. Impact flips out of a suplex and dodges a superkick. Impact continues outrunning Cage with PARKOUR until Cage catches him mid-flight with a throw/suplex thing for a two-count. Cage clubs Impact with clotheslines in the corner followed by a short-arm clothesline as an exclamation for a two-count. Cage tosses Impact into the corner but Impact speeds around to dodge a splash and hits a split-legged spear for a two-count. Impact belts Cage with a series of forearms into a cross armbreaker. Cage keeps his fingers locked and tries to deadlift him into the corner but it doesn’t go so well. Impact climbs the middle buckle, Cage with an ankle trip that sends the champ crashing into the buckles on the way down. Cage with back-to-back tilt-a-whirl backbreakers, Impact kicks out of the lateral press. Cage gets a Terminator clap going (Kenny Omega is NOT AMUSED) and sends Impact crashing to the mat with a monkey flip out of the corner. Cage hits another, this time Impact doing a full flip sell a la Dolph Ziggler and Cage covers for the 1…2…Impact kicks out and Cage slows it down into a rear chinlock. Impact goes for a moonsault, Cage catches him but Impact escapes. Cage launches Impact into the corner, Impact lands on the middle buckle, Cage folds him in and connects with a superkick followed by an electric chair sit-out faceslam for the 1…2…Impact kicks out again. Back to the chinlock we go.
Impact escapes and counters a tilt-a-whirl with a tornado DDT. Cage rolls to the floor, Impact kips up and hits a 450 knee smash to Cage. Nice of Cage to wait around for the move to happen. “TNA” chant from the crowd, which is now considered an old school chant according to Matthews. I hate the march of time making me feel old. Back in the ring Impact hits a backbreaker followed by a side Russian Legsweep and a running knee for the 1…2…kickout. Cage catches Impact with a corner clothesline, Impact catches Cage with a corner dropkick and a rolling forearm. That just makes Cage angry and he almost takes Impact’s head off with a superkick. Whole lot of strikes and a release German suplex for the 1…2…Impact gets the shoulder up. Impact connects with a swinging neckbreaker and hangs on for a second. Impact measures Cage and belts him with a kick, falling into a lateral press with the leg hooked for the 1…2…Cage isn’t done yet. Both men lay on the mat for a moment, blown up and whatnot. Impact stands Cage on the middle buckle and tries for a Razor’s Edge but Cage fights out. Impact escapes the Drill Claw and connects with a kick followed by a baseball slide German. Impact goes for Starship Pain, but Cage grabs the foot on his way up and connects with an F-5 for the 1…2…Impact kicks out. “NEW CHAMP” chant, Cage is liking that one. Cage connects with a buckle bomp, Impact counters Weapon X with a sunset flip for the 1…2…Cage kicks out. Cage dodges a kick, Impact rolls through a schoolboy. Cage with a pair of kicks and high knee into a discus clothesline for the 1…2…Impact kicks out again! Cage’s fault, he arrogantly covered and counted along with the ref.
Cage catches a kick, Impact dodges a clothesline and hits a spin kick to the shoulder followed by a Disaster Kick and Shining Wizard. Impact connects with another knee and hits STARSHIP PAIN for the 1…2…CAGE GETS HIS SHOULDER UP AND IMPACT CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Both men lay about again, selling the abuse they’ve put one another through. Impact brings Cage to the top and connects with a Spanish Fly but Impact hurts himself on the way down, taking too long to cover for the 1…CAGE KICKS OUT AT 1 AND GETS TO HIS FEET. Willie Mack, yo. Cage with a pop-up power bomb and a spinning sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…IMPACT KICKS OUT. Cage signals for the end and hits Weapon X for the 1…2…Impact gets his foot on the bottom rope! Impact superkicks Cage into the guardrail right in front of those Survivor dorks. Cage shoves Rickenbacker, while the other one distracts the ref. Cage hits Impact with the Drill Claw and covers but the ref is still too busy with the Survivor dorks to make the count. Finally the ref rolls back in and counts the 1…2…Impact kicks out. Cage gets in the ref’s face for being bad at his job, I can respect that. Cage tries to do a deadlift suplex but Impact dead weights him after the third attempt and lands on top for the 1…2…3? Wait 3? What?
Johnny Impact [c] defeated Brian Cage via pinfall to retain the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (19:15)
- What a terrible finish to an otherwise decent match. After LAX/Lucha Bros tore the house down though they needed to step it up and I don’t think they did. It was alright for the most part but it felt like both guys were struggling to keep the energy and action going for the length of time they were given and led to some odd moments of stalling. And again that finish, from the Survivor dorks to whatever the f*ck happened during the suplex attempt, was real bad and took the whole thing down. Damn. (**3/4)
Cage angrily throws the title at Impact and stalks off to the back. Taya Valkyrie rolls into the ring and celebrates with her husband as the crowd boos them. Happiness and a stable relationship are the two biggest heel moves you can make. Impact and Valkyrie celebrate on the entrance stage, Killer Kross attacks them both from behind. Kross picks Valkyrie up and power bombs her into a group of folks in the crowd! “KILL KROSS KILL” chant as the heel (?) Kross celebrates his attack and the show goes off the air.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The first Impact Wrestling PPV of 2019 had its problems, including a botched main event and a Monster’s Ball match that went way too long, but overall I enjoyed myself. The LAX/Lucha Bros match was almost worth the experience just by itself and I implore anyone who hasn’t watched it to check it out. The undercard also had some fun moments too, from Ultimate X to Willie Mack’s freakish athleticism, and a surprise return in Rosemary to continue that weird evil dimension storyline with Su Yung and Allie. I may not watch the TV show regularly, but this is the second PPV I’ve watched from them in the past two years that I’ve left being happy to have sat through so they’re at least doing well in that regard. That main event finish though…big woof. LAX/Lucha Bros should’ve headlined and sent the fans home happy.