Impact Wrestling PPVRecaps (PPV/Event)TNA PPV 2018

[PPV Recap] ‘IMPACT Wrestling Slammiversary XVI’ – Aries vs. Moose, Luchas de Apuestas

Date: July 22, 2018
Venue: The Rebel Complex (Toronto, Ontario)
Commentators: Josh Matthews & Don Callis

After five years, Impact Wrestling has finally gone and done it: presented a PPV that looks good enough for me to shell out some money. The 16th annual Slammiversary (feel old yet?) features a big main event as Austin Aries defends the Impact World Championship against a man many see as the future of the company, the former NFL player turned pro wrestler Moose. The rest of the show also has a lot to look forward to, from hardcore matches to hair vs. mask matches, to even an International 4-Way which looks like an excuse to just have a whole lot of high spots. I’m down for it. Will Impact get more of my hard-earned money or is this a one and done? Let’s find out.

Champions

  • IMPACT World Champion: Austin Aries
  • IMPACT X-Division Champion: Matt Sydal
  • IMPACT Knockouts Champion: ‘The Undead Bride’ Su Yung
  • IMPACT World Tag Team Champions: LAX (Santana & Ortiz)

Lineup

  • Johnny Impact vs. Petey Williams vs. Fenix vs. Taiji Ishimori (***1/2)
  • Allie vs. Tessa Blanchard (***3/4)
  • House of Hardcore Match: Tommy Dreamer vs. Eddie Edwards  (**3/4)
  • Matt Sydal [c] vs. Brian Cage for the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
  • Su Yung [c] vs. Madison Rayne for the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/4)
  • 5150 Street Fight: LAX [c] vs. The OGz [c] for the IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
  • Mask vs. Hair: Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan (****1/2)
  • Austin Aries [c] vs. Moose for the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (***)

*****

The opening video goes real dramatic about IMPACT Wrestling, going with Barry Scott and his booming voice.

Cut to the Rebel Complex as Josh Matthews welcomes the home audience. Everybody is standing but that’s by design, makes things look like a rocket concert.

International Four-Way
Johnny Impact vs. ‘The Bone Soldier’ Taiji Ishimori vs. Petey Williams vs. Fenix

Rich Swann was originally scheduled for this match but pulled out due to a concussion just a few hours before the PPV, with Williams taking his place. Williams is an IMPACT legend and a home country boy to boot, so it’s a smart replacement but I’m a little disappointed I won’t lie. Just a little though. IMPACT is putting what looks like will be their best match on first, so we’re wasting no time here. Tornado rules so this is going to be tough to follow, bear with me.

Bell rings and the crowd immediately chants ‘IMPACT WRESTLING!’. Thanks for the reminder, y’all. Forgot what I was watching. Fenix gets the early upper hand until he’s taken out with a springboard hurricanrana from Ishimori, Impact clears Williams from the ring and now we’ve got a showdown between Impact and the BONE SOLDIER. What a cool nickname. Impact sweeps the legs, Ishimori dodges a standing shooting star press, Impact dodges a moonsault but Ishimori lands on his feet and we’ve got us a stand-off. Impact flips over Fenix, who goes full lucha with the flippy flips. Impact catches Fenix with a kick, Fenix picks Impact up onto the middle rope and clears him with a hurricanrana. Fenix celebrates, Williams goes to try his luck and gets a boot to his face after Fenix dodges a dropkick. Williams with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors followed by a dropkick to the back and a side Canadian Legsweep for the 1…2…Fenix kicks out. Williams puts Fenix in a tree of woe for a little ‘OH CANADA’ followed by a superkick. Fenix leaves the ring, Ishimori outspeeds Williams and flattens him with a seated senton. Ishimori goes to cover, Fenix comes off the top almost immediately to stop the attempted lateral press. Oh hey some folks are sitting down after all, my fault. Impact catches a charging Ishimori with a kick but leaves himself open to a hurricanrana on the floor from Williams. Fenix one-ups them with a tope con hilo, leading to a ‘HOLY SHIT’ chant. Ishimori, however, refuses to be outdone and the BONE SOLDIER to flatten all three guys with a springboard corner Asai Moonsault. Nap time.

Ishimori rolls Fenix into the ring, Williams throws him into the barricade followed by a codebreaker on Fenix. He climbs to the top, Impact picks him up in a fireman’s carry and Ishimori sends them to the mat with a tower of doom-ish. Fenix immediately follows up with a missile dropkick and out goes Impact. Ishimori clears Fenix with a multi-revolution tilt-a-whirl headscissors, Williams rolls through a sunset flip attempt and locks in a Sharpshooter. Impact runs in, so Williams breaks the hold and signals for the Canadian Destroyer. Impact counters with a spinning neckbreaker for the 1…2…Fenix breaks it up with a superkick that sorta connects. Fenix pulls Impact into the middle buckle with a headscissors then hits a rolling cutter for the 1…2…Ishimori breaks it up. Ishimori catches Fenix with an inverted atomic drop followed by a dropkick that sends him into the corner. Ishimori with running double knees followed by a double knee gutbuster for the 1…2…Williams breaks it up. Still anybody’s ballgame. SUPERKICKS FROM EVERYBODY and all four men are down once again, the crowd going wild. Impact drapes himself over Williams for the 1…2…NOPE. Ishimori with a hard slam on Impact followed by a 450 Splash, but Williams immediately makes him pay with a Canadian Destroyer then Fenix hits Williams with a springboard double stomp for the 1…2…WILLIAMS KICKS OUT. Impact superkicks Fenix and hits Starship Pain for the 1…2…3!

Johnny Impact defeated Taiji Ishimori, Fenix, & Petey Williams after pinning Fenix with Starship Pain (12:29)

  • A helluva sprint from all four men with loads of fun highspots, enough to make one aggressively mad thinking about how WWE’s Cruiserweight division isn’t allowed to do the same. Impact getting the win makes sense, as it’s his big return post-Survivor and he’s the biggest star of them all. Great way to start a PPV I admittedly was questioning myself for ordering. You got my attention, Impact. Let’s keep it going for the rest of the show. [***1/2]

Stills of Johnny Impact throwing out the opening pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game, then cut to Matthews and Don Callis to segue into a video of The OGz (Hernandez, Homicide, and King) drinking and talking about Konnan’s refusal to hand off the LAX name to them like they deserve. King says Konnan is leading his new LAX to a funeral and they will make sure it’s a closed casket.

Cut to a video highlighting the feud between Allie and Tessa Blanchard. Allie has become a lot tougher since losing her best friend Rosemary to a casket fire (YUP) and getting stuffed in a casket herself. This one’s next!

Allie vs. Tessa Blanchard

Trash talking to start. Blanchard shoves Allie, Allie takes her to the mat with repeated armdrags. Blanchard blocks a third so Allie kicks her to the mat instead followed by a basement crossbody, surprising the third generation wrestler. Blanchard side steps Allie and drills a whole lot of forearms across Allie’s chest as she hangs from the apron. Blanchard misses the follow-up legdrop, Allie heads to the middle buckle and connects with a twisting crossbody. Blanchard fights back, dropping Allie chest-first across the guardrail then quickly rolling in to try and get a countout win. Allie beats the count, Blanchard makes her pay by pummeling her with forearms. Blanchard sorta hits Allie with a running basement dropkick (a glancing blow?) and covers but Allie kicks out at 2. Blanchard connects with a short-arm clothesline, Allie blocks a suplex and hits one of her own, Blanchard’s legs slamming into the buckles. Blanchard bounces back with an Indian Deathlock and some hard-ass right hands. Allie connects with a pair of chops and a bodyscissors that sends Blanchard to the floor…eventually. It takes a second. Allie catches Blanchard and hits the Allie Valley Driver on the floor, knocking both ladies silly. Both break the count at 9 and trade forearms. Allie strings some offense together, culminating in a lung blower for the 1…2…Blanchard manages to kick out. A frustrated Allie loses her focus for a moment, giving Blanchard the chance to side step a corner splash. Allie lifts Blanchard to the middle buckle, Blanchard belts her with forearms and connects with a flying hurricanrana for the 1…the 2…the ALLIE KICKS OUT AND BLANCHARD CAN’T BELIEVE IT.

Blanchard misses a top rope splash, Allie hits a codebreaker and Blanchard rolls out to the floor to avoid being pinned. Allie rolls her back in but Blanchard manages to kick out after getting a brief breather. Allie catches Blanchard with a superkick for the 1…2…BLANCHARD KICKS OUT AND NOW ALLIE IS IN SHOCK. Blanchard escapes the Allie Valley Driver and connects with a hammerlock DDT for the 1…2…3!

Tessa Blanchard defeated Allie via pinfall with a hammerlock DDT (10:57)

  • Good match, Blanchard picks up an impressive win and gains momentum en route to I assume a Knockouts Title run in the future. I don’t know much about earlier Allie, but she showed a lot of fire here and the announcers kept saying how she had a new attitude and fighting spirit so I’ll take their word for it. She kicked ass for sure. [***3/4]

Cut backstage where Alica Atout is standing by with Moose. He vows victory in his World Championship match tonight. Shocking, I know.

A video plays highlighting Eddie Edwards’ descent into madness and near-murder of Sami Callihan until Edwards’ mentor intervened. Edwards didn’t appreciate this one bit and become even more crazed, attacking Dreamer at a House of Hardcore event and accusing him of shtupping his wife. This looks kinda cool, actually. At the very least a lot different than the usual storylines I’ve been seeing in mainstream wrestling.

House of Hardcore Match
‘The Innovator of Violence’ Tommy Dreamer vs. Eddie Edwards

ANYTHING GOES in this one, as it’s Dreamer’s forte and also the gimmick match is named after his own indie promotion. The action immediately goes to the floor, where Dreamer hits Edwards with a suplex and uses a fan’s energy drink (or beer?) to crack him across the skull. Dreamer goes a plunderin’ and introduces Edwards’ head to a cookie sheet. Edwards catches Dreamer off-guard with a kick, Dreamer grabs a trash can and bashes him in the skull when he goes for a tope suicida. Here come the ‘ECW’ chants. Edwards spills back to the floor and sends Dreamer into the steel post. Dreamer rolls in, Edwards pulls a staple gun out from under the ring. WHY WOULD YOU KEEP A STAPLE GUN UNDER THE R-oh right it’s wrestling. My bad. Edwards tries to staple Dreamer’s head, Dreamer blocks it and connects with a right hand. Dreamer grabs the gun and tries to use it himself, Edwards kicks him and goes for a sunset flip. Dreamer almost falls but instead STAPLES EDWARDS IN THE FOREHEAD. Ewwwww. Naturally Edwards is now BUSTED OPEN (available live and on demand on SiriusXM), and Dreamer grabs a fan’s ECW Championship replica for a belt shot to the bloodied forehead of his former friend.

Edwards blocks another staple attempt and hits Dreamer with a tope suicida followed by an atomic drop onto the guardrail. Edwards slides some chairs into the ring then grabs a kendo stick, all natural things you would find under a ring. Edwards hits Dreamer with a couple of shots, Dreamer catches him with a Diamond Cutter outta nowhere and gets control of the kendo stick. Edwards begs Dreamer to hit him again because he’s a crazy person, Dreamer obliges. Instead of going for a cover Dreamer decides to continue the punishment by laying him across an unfolded chair. Dreamer heads to the top, Edwards hits him in the knee with a kendo stick to crotch him. Edwards yells at him for talking to his wife and signals for a hurricanrana. Dreamer with a low blow followed by a SPICOLLI DRIVER THROUGH TWO CHAIRS for the 1…2…Edwards kicks out! Dreamer rolls in a table and LIGHTER FLUID. Oh maaaaaan we’re going full ECW here. He goes to set the table on fire, Edwards stops it with a low blow and a DDT. Aw man. Edwards lays Dreamer on a chair and hits a Boston Knee Party into the steel, and concurrently into Dreamer’s face, for the 1…2…3!

Eddie Edwards defeated Tommy Dreamer via pinfall with the Boston Knee Party (11:09)

  • Dreamer might be up there in age but he can still go in these hardcore matches and I found it super entertaining. I’m a mark for staple guns and nonsense like that. Probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and it definitely could have been more intense, but I approve. [**3/4]

Edwards teases hitting Dreamer with a kendo stick but starts sobbing instead. Dreamer offers his hand, Alicia Edwards comes out and yells at her husband to shake his hand. Edwards does, Dreamer points a kendo stick at him just in case then…hands it to him in a passing of the torch moment. Eddie Edwards is the new Innovator of Violence? Well that’s a character shift I didn’t expect for Eddie Edwards, former ROH World Champion and charisma vacuum. IMPACT BROKE THE CODE.

X-Division Matt Sydal cuts a pre-recorded promo on his opponent for tonight, Brian Cage. Sydal says he can see right through Cage and his muscles because the most powerful muscle in the human body is the butt third-eye. Cue the hype video for this one, highlighting the feud between the two. If you watched that half-hour Slammiversary XVI pre-show you’ve seen this one.

IMPACT X-Division Championship
Matt Sydal [c] vs. ‘The Machine’ Brian Cage

The X-Division has never been about weight limits (except when it was) so I’m all about Cage challenging for the belt despite being made of all of the muscle on God’s green earth. Cage apparently has never been pinned or submitted since coming to IMPACT, and has the distinction of beating Bobby Lashley right out of the company earlier in the year.

Cage shows some hops early, hitting a standing moonsault on Sydal for a two-count and forcing the champ to bail to the floor. Sydal connects with some chops and manages a leaping backdrop to send him to the mat. Cage sends Sydal to the floor and whips him hard into the guardrail followed by a suplex on the apron. PUNY HUMAN. Cage climbs to the top, Sydal dropkicks the legs and the big man spills back into the ring. Sydal follows up with a running kick and Cage falls back to the floor. Sydal measures him and rides Cage to the floor with a pair of double knees, favoring his right knee that was injured earlier in the year. They take too much time on the floor so the ref has to awkwardly not count them out and finally we’re back inside, Sydal in control. Sydal applies a reverse headscissor choke over the top rope until the ref forces a break, then quickly rolls back in and hits a standing moonsault of his own. Cage no-sells it, blocks a kick, and hits some sort of spinning face-slam in a torture rack position. Looked cool. Cage connects with an overhead release German suplex that Sydal takes right on the knees for the 1…2…nope! Sydal tries a headscissors, Cage catches him, Cage goes a hurricanrana of his own (!!!) but Sydal counters with a power bomb for the 1…2…Cage kicks out. Nice. Cage turns Sydal inside out and covers, rather arrogantly, for the 1…2…Sydal won’t go down that easily. Sydal catches Cage with a head kick and follows up with a snap slam for the 1…2…Cage kicks out. Sydal goes for a Shooting Star Press but lands on his feet. Cage makes him pay with a discus clothesline that almost takes the champ’s head off for the 1…2…Sydal still kicks out!

Cage signals for the Drill Claw, Sydal counters with a snap rana for the 1…2…CAGE KICKS OUT and Sydal can’t believe it. Sydal flies at Cage, who catches him IN A SUPLEX POSITION, but Sydal manages to counter THAT into a cradle for the 1…2…CAGE KICKS OUT. Sydal takes flight again and goes for a Shooting Star Press but hits NOTHING BUT MAT AFTER CATCHING HIS FOOT ON THE TOP TURNBUCKLE (he was supposed to hit Cage’s boot I think) and Cage takes advantage with the Drill Claw for the 1…2…3!

Brian Cage defeated Matt Sydal [c] via pinfall with the Drill Claw to win the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (9:48)

  • Jesus, I hope Sydal is okay after that Shooting Star Press. Yet another good match on this show. Cage looked great here and I’m interested to see where his X-Division Title run takes him. He’s unconventional looking for a “usual” champ in the division, could be a good way to transition the belt into a real secondary championship. But seriously…someone check on Sydal. Jesus. [***]

Alicia Atout is standing by with IMPACT World Champion Austin Aries, who stalls her for a second so he can finish a business call. Aries is in his comfort zone as champion and asks Moose what he’s going to do for a third career choice. SH-SH-SH-SHADE.

Cut to a video highlighting the next match between Su Yung and Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Championship. Yung somehow made Rayne attend her own funeral in a vision or some nonsense?!? Yo, someone let me ape their cable TV info so I can watch this stuff on POP.

IMPACT Knockouts Championship
‘The Undead Bride’ Su Yung [c] vs. Madison Rayne

Su Yung has one of the coolest gimmicks I have ever seen in pro wrestling as a whole. I love this Undead Bride supernatural monster stuff. As for Rayne…I’ve never been a fan, even back during Rayne’s heyday as part of The Beautiful People. I’ll keep an open mind though. Apparently Rayne challenged for the Women of Honor Championship at a Ring Of Honor show the night before. All these companies working together, sharing talent. Pro wrestling in 2018 is INSANE.

Speaking of INSANE, Yung is led to the ring in a goddamn casket carried by a horde of undead bridesmaids in similar makeup. Rayne attacks before the bell, taking it to the champ while Yung’s brides remain on the ramp staring blanky and creepy-like. Two of the bridesmaids stumble towards the ring, Rayne clears them from the apron and catches Yung with a kick to the head after escaping the Panic Switch. Rayne hits an A for effort hurricanrana followed by a running forearm on another bridesmaid. Rayne rolls Yung in but only gets a two-count. Yung kicks Rayne’s legs out and catches her with a hanging neckbreaker off the middle buckle, then follows up with haymakers. Yung puts Rayne in a tree of woe and connects with a running dropkick, covering for the 1…2…Rayne gets a shoulder up. A bridesmaid grabs Rayne’s arms but gets accidentally covered in EVIL MIST and Rayne mounts her comeback, hitting a sliding clothesline for the 1…2…Yung kicks out. Rayne is a FIVE TIME Knockouts Champion? That’s insane to me. Yung dazes Rayne with an open hand palm strike and puts on a bloody glove for a bloody mandible claw but Rayne prevents it by catching her FROM OUTTA NOWHERE with a cutter for the 1…2…Yung kicks out once more. Rayne tries for the pin again following the Rayne Drop but once again Yung kicks out and she can’t believe it. Rayne gets Yung in an inverted DDT position, Yung counters with the BLOODY MANIDBLE CLAW and Rayne passes out, giving Yung the win.

Su Yung [c] defeated Madison Rayne via KO with the Mandible Claw to retain the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP (6:45)

  • Fun theatrics from Yung but this was very much overshadowed by Allie and Blanchard earlier in the show. I was never much for Rayne’s in-ring work to begin with and that didn’t change with this, but at least they kept it short. Yung now has a win over one of IMPACT’s most decorated Knockouts and continues her dominance. I hope this Undead Bride thing never ends. [**1/4]

Yung picks up Rayne’s prone body and stuffs her in the coffin she came out in during the entrance. Yung celebrates above the casket as her bridesmaids clutch at her.

Cut to the Tag Team Champs LAX and Konnan going over their game plan for their upcoming 5150 Street Fight against The OGz. Konnan says the streets are watching and that no one can stop a revolution. They take a shot of Tequila (I’m assuming) and head out, ready for war. This leads into the LAX/OGz hype video.

5150 Street Fight
IMPACT Tag Team Championship
LAX (Ortiz & Santana) [c] [w/ Konnan] vs. The OGz (Homicide & Hernandez) [w/ King]

Homicide and Hernandez were the original LAX over a decade ago, and are now being led by King in attempt to destroy Konnan’s new young version of the team. It’s also heavy on the latin gang aesthetic but I’m lily white so I don’t understand it. Also I haven’t watched the TV show in years. That too. The ring has been helpfully decorated with all sorts of plunder to expedite the street fight aspects of the match. That was nice of Impact Wrestling to do. LAX make their entrance through the crowd with a nice light show intro and wearing facepaint straight out of Dead Presidents.

LAX take a swig of whatever they were drinking and charge the ring to attack The OGz. I feel like there was more to that entrance but it didn’t work so they called an audible. Weirdly jarring. Hernandez tries for a Border Toss, LAX clothesline him out to the floor. Homicide climbs the apron, Santana drops him with a springboard dropkick. Santana hits Hernandez with a tope con hilo, Ortiz hits a flying move of his own on Homicide but the camera missed it. LAX set up in tables in opposite corners, Homicide sets up a table of his own against the guardrail. Hernandez no-sells a trash can lid Homicide chokes Ortiz with a chain while Hernandez belts Santana in the gut with the trash can lid. They send LAX out to the floor, Hernandez flattens both a splash and Hernandez celebrates by ripping his undershirt off like Hulk Hogan. Homicide throws a trash can right in Ortiz’s face from the ring, Hernandez belts Santana in the back of the skull with said can’s lid. King throws a BOTTLE OF DRANO into the ring but before Homicide can use it, Santana belts him with a low blow followed by a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Hernandez busts Ortiz open, the action spills to the entrance stage as The OGz work Santana over. Hernandez, bloodied as well, walks off then walks back and gets caught with a superkick. Hernandez backdrops a charging Santana into the ring while Homicide throws a trash can lid at the back of Ortiz’s head. Hernandez goes to grab a chair, Santana counters with a HARD ASS KICK to the chest. Santana launches himself at Hernandez, who catches him and plants him with a sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…kickout.

Ortiz grabs a cookie sheet and belts both OGz members with it, then grabs a ladder that’s been set up on the entrance ramp. LAX lay Hernandez on the ladder and Ortiz hits a senton followed by a moonsault/legdrop combo with Ortiz. Hernandez bails to the floor, favoring the family jewels. Ortiz splashes Homicide in the corner, and LAX hit the Blockbuster/Power Bomb combo for the 1…2…Hernandez pulls the ref out. Ortiz tries to belt him with a tope suicida, Hernandez goozles him and launches him over the guardrail and into the crowd. Santana charges at Hernandez, who POUNCES him to the floor, Homicide follows up with a running somersault THROUGH A TABLE. Ortiz drills Homicide through one of the corner tables with a Death Valley Driver, then goes to do it to the other but Hernandez pulls him off. Hernandez picks Ortiz up and PUTS HIM THROUGH THE TABLE WITH A BORDER TOSS. Santana belts a celebrating Hernandez with a superkick followed by high ass impact corner cannonball. A bloodied Ortiz rubs the blood on his face and SPITS IT AT HOMICIDE. The two trade right hands, Santana dodges a cutter and hits a superkick. Homicide belts Santana with an elbow and sets up for the Vertebreaker. Konnan climbs the apron, Homicide spits in his face and goozles him, throwing something to Santana. Santana SPILLS A BAG OF THUMBTACKS ONTO THE MAT. He SLAMS HOMICIDE ON THE TACKS and follows up with a FROG SPLASH for the 1…2…3!

LAX [c] defeated The OGz to retain the IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Santana pinned Homicide following a frog splash (13:34)

  • Boy was I wrong when I thought I was gonna get my hardcore wrestling fix from Dreamer/Edwards. This was INTENSE from start to finish, an absolute massacre and one of the best matches I have seen this year without a doubt. My GOD, y’all. I’m not into the gang land storyline stuff but holy sh*t I could watch these two teams wreck each other for hours. Match of the night so far, without a doubt. Watch this one. [****]

King attacks LAX from behind, Homicide and Hernandez belt Konnan from behind. King cracks Konnan in the back with a sock full of something (batteries? Hams?) then spray paint LAX’s tag team belts with ‘OG’. The OGz pose with the belts and leave the ring, effectively stealing the titles from their hated rivals.

Sami Callihan cuts a promo vowing victory leading into the hype video for the next match. Oh man there’s still more on this show? I’m almost spent at this point following that LAX/OGz match. GODDAMN these segments look insane.

Mask vs. Hair
Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan

Pentagon with a superkick, Callihan with a pump kick, Pentagon with another superkick and a sling blade. Pentagon chops Callihan but is wearing a protective vest. Callihan opens it and dares Pentagon to hit him, Pentagon obliges and Callihan bails to the floor to zip the vest back up. Somebody made a mistake. Pentagon follows him out and Callihan backs him against the post. Both men dodge chops and hit steel, then trade chops, each one getting harder and more intense. Pentagon goes for the Package Piledriver on the apron but Callihan escapes with right hands. Pentagon kicks Callihan off the apron and goes for a tope suicida but runs right into a chair. No rules in this one, apparently. Fair enough. Crowd wants another chair, Callihan flips them off and instead pulls out STEEL SPIKES. Callihan rips Pentagon’s mask open to expose the flesh, an ‘ASSHOLE’ chant emanating from the crowd. Callihan grabs a spike and buries it into Pentagon’s forehead, digging in to bust the man open.

Callihan ties the back of Pentagon’s mask to the top rope, burying a superkick to the skull. Callihan grabs his trusty aluminum baseball bat, Pentagon kicks him away and unties himself from the top rope before hitting a lung blower. Pentagon grabs the railroad spikes and stabs Callihan in the face with it, using one spike as a hammer to the other. Naturally Callihan is bleeding a stuck pig now. Pentagon grabs the bat and CRACKS CALLIHAN IN THE FACE WITH IT THEN GODDAMN HAMMERS A SPIKE TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD. Both men grab a railroad spike and repeatedly stab each other in the face until they fall to the mat. Pentagon sits Callihan in a chair and sits right across from him. They trade hard ass chops to the chest and face. The duel changes to steel chairs, the steel cascading across each other until they once again fall to the mat. Pentagon drills Callihan with two superkicks followed by a lung blower for the 1…2…Callihan kicks out. Pentagon grabs Callihan’s arm, teasing breaking it like he’s known to do to people as Callihan yells at him to do it but Callihan counters after too much showmanship with a back-kick. Jake and Dave Crist, the other members of oVe, run in and Pentagon clears them from the ring with a chair. Callihan throws powder in the eyes of Pentagon. A blinded Pentagon accidentally grabs the ref and BREAKS HIS GODDAMN ARM. That’s a lawsuit. Callihan goes at Pentagon, Pentagon connects with the Pentagon Driver for the…ref is still selling his broken arm. Callihan with a double eye-poke and a piledriver ON A CHAIR for the…ref is still in pain here, man.

Another ref finally runs in and counts the 1…the 2…the PENTAGON KICKS OUT. Callihan sets up four chairs and picks Pentagon up. Pentagon with the double thumb to the eye and a FEAR FACTOR (Package Piledriver) through the chairs for the 1…2…CALLIHAN KICKS THE F OUT. Callihan yells at Pentagon to hit him, Pentagon accommodates him with three superkicks then BREAKS HIS ARM and hits another Fear Factor for the 1…2…3!

Pentagon Jr. defeated Sami Callihan via pinfall with the Fear Factor (18:09)

  • Just when I thought the LAST match was the pinnacle of violence, here comes Pentagon Jr. and Sami Callihan to throw that match under the bus and get about as vicious and insane as I’ve seen in a match in quite awhile. These two absolutely WRECKED each other, and even started becoming too much for me at points. Hammering railroad spikes into foreheads is something I don’t really want to see again. My GAWD. A vicious display of brutality. I LOVED IT. [****1/2]

Jake and Dave Crist run interference and Callihan tries to escape, but he’s stopped by Pentagon’s brother Fenix and a host of security guards. Pentagon superkicks Callihan and proceeds to sheer the hair off as security holds the Crist brothers at bay and Fenix holds Callihan’s arms back.

Matthews and Callis vamp for a bit while things get cleaned up, then we get the location reveal for this year’s Bound For Glory: The Melrose Ballroom in New York City! Aw man, they spelled Dallas, TX wrong. But hey good for them. Cut to the hype video for the main event, which has to follow ALL THE INSANITY WE HAVE JUST SEEN THESE PAST TWO MATCHES. Good luck, guys.

IMPACT World Championship
Austin Aries [c] vs. Moose

The ring announcer and his goofy sequin jacket introduce Toronto Blue Jays player and multiple-time MLB All-Star Curtis Granderson to be the official ‘titleholder’ of the main event. Neither man gets a particularly interesting entrance, which is a shame. I was hoping for some pomp and circumstance, but I guess I’ll have to wait until Bound For Glory. At least we get the in-ring introductions for that BIG FIGHT FEEL. The story of this one is simple: Moose has worked his whole life to get to this moment, Aries is already at the top and considers this just another successful title defense waiting to happen.

Aries grabs a side headlock, Moose throws him off. Aries cartwheels around a backdrop attempt and lays across the top rope to taunt his challenger. Moose grabs a side headlock of his own, Aries escapes by stomping the foot and counters into one of his own. Aries tries to float over in the corner, Moose catches him but runs into a Japanese armdrag. Moose quickly escapes with a headscissors. Aries escapes with a headstand and connects with a dropkick. Moose nips up with ease, surprising Aries. Moose tells him it’s going to be a long night, Aries slaps him so Moose goozles him and throws him into the corner for a series of chops. Moose whips Aries into the other corner and hits a running chop. Aries bails to the floor and flops as Moose charges. Aries tries to whip Moose into the guardrail but it gets reversed and Aries goes upside down into the steel. Moose breaks the count and charges at Aries, but Aries ducks and the challenger goes flying into the first few rows. The ref tries to check on him but Aries yells at him to get back in the ring to get the countout win. Moose climbs over the guardrail, Aries meets him with a flying axhandle followed by a series of stiff martial arts kicks to the chest. Aries rolls him in and hits a slingshot senton but only gets a one-count. Moose starts no-selling the offense and begging for more. Aries chops as hard as he can, Moose continues no-selling so he pokes him in the eye instead. NOICE. Moose backs Aries into the corner and connects with rapid-fire chops followed by a corner dropkick and a corner basement dropkick for the 1…2…Aries kicks out.

Moose goozles Aries off the middle buckle for the Go to Hell, Aries counters with a hurricanrana. Moose responds with a Lawn Dart and the Go to Hell for the 1…2…Aries kicks out and Moose can’t believe it. Aries drives Moose to the mat with a crucifix bomb, Moose rolls to the floor and Aries goes for a tope suicida but eats a hard ass forearm instead. JEEZ. They fight on the apron, Moose ends up back in the ring, Aries rolls over him and boxes the ears, then runs into a discus clothesline. Moose measures Aries for the spear, but Aries counters with THE LAST CHANCERY in the center of the ring. Moose teases tapping but instead uses his strength to muscle to the ropes. Fight goes back to the apron, Aries tries to pick him up but Moose muscles out easily. They trade forearms, Moose responds with a headbutt. Aries catches a pump kick and hits a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER ON THE APRON. Hot damn. Moose gets to his feet, Aries hits a tope suicida with the speed of a missile. Moose sweeps the legs and Giant Swings Aries into the barricade. Moose runs around the ring and hits a pump kick then rolls Aries into the ring. He measures Aries and goes for the Spear once again but he pulls the ref in between them. Moose puts the breaks, Aries kicks him in the junk and goes for the Brainbuster, the same way he won the World Title from Pentagon Jr. Moose counters with a brainbuster of his own and a Spear for the 1…2…Aries grabs the bottom rope!

Aries crawls up the ramp, done with the match. Moose follows him out and gorilla presses Aries INTO THE CROWD. Not the real crowd, a crowd of dudes who are probably wrestlers themselves, but STILL. Moose almost takes the countout win but realizes what’s up and goes back out to bring Aries into the ring. Moose kicks Aries and goes flying but hits nothing but ramp. Aries measures Moose and belts him in the back of the head with a discus forearm. Aries gets another running head start and hits a running knee to the gut into the post FOLLOWED BY A BRAINBUSTER ON THE FLOOR. Aries rolls in once again to try and win by countout. Moose rolls in at 9 and Aries makes him regret it with a penalty kick. Aries grabs the World Title belt but Granderson takes it back. Moose rolls Aries up for the 1…2…Aries kicks out and hits a Penalty Kick followed by a BRAINBUSTER for the 1…2…3!

Austin Aries [c] defeated Moose via pinfall with the Brainbuster to retain the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (15:48)

  • I didn’t know if they were going to be able to follow LAX/OGz and Pentagon/Callihan but goddamn if this wasn’t a very good main event. Another great performance from Aries and arguably the best match Moose has ever had. It’s a little odd that Aries actually won clean given all the underhanded stuff and attempts to win via countout, but besides that well-done. Moose is ready to be a major pro wrestling star, let’s just hope this version of Impact actually SEES THIS for real and gives him a run. I don’t want to see another squandered opportunity like Monty Brown ever again. [***1/2]

 

Granderson reluctantly hands the title back to Aries, then gets told to leave the ring so the champ can celebrate. Aries quickly bails up the ramp, belt in tow, as the show concludes.

*****

Final Thoughts: NXT TakeOver events aside, Slammiversary XVI is probably the best top to bottom PPV/big event I have seen in a very long time. Every match delivered in one form or another, from the opening spotfest to the THREE blood-heavy hardcore matches to the excellent (if oddly booked winner-wise) main event. I have thrown a lot of shade at Impact since I began covering pro wrestling in 2013, a lot of it I will continue to stand by and justify, but this show is nothing but praise. The Callis/D’Amore regime has done wonders for the company, and if the weekly show wasn’t enough I think Slammiversary XVI is a good example of them finally turning the tide on the longstanding negative fan sentiment that has clouded them for almost ten years (if not longer, honestly). This is the Impact I have been waiting for since the days of FSN; a true alternative that has its own look and feel, and more importantly identity. It’s about goddamn time, TNA. Well-done and I can’t WAIT to see what you crazy bastards do next.

  • Match of the Night: Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan
  • Moment of the Night: Pentagon Jr. uses a baseball bat to hammer a spike into the head of Sami Callihan. Well that’s both moment of the night AND moment that made me most nauseous.

 

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