Impact is debuting Matt Striker & D'lo Brown as the new commentary team. Also, they're debuting fake crowd noise.
Brian Myers vs. Josh Alexander - 7/10
Being the only match in the pre-show, so they got a good amount of time. This was for the most part back and forward, Myers had some heel heat, and once Alexander seemed to be heading for the win, Myers pulled down Alexander's headgear down and hit the lariat for the win.
Kaleb With A K & Tenille Dashwood vs. Crazzy Steve & Rosemary - 5.5/10
This was ok, I really enjoyed Crazzy Steve's work and the antics between Dashwood and Kaleb, but beyond that, it was on the weaker side. We did get inter-gender stuff and it was good.
Finish Steve and Rosemary hit Dashwood and Kaleb with the green mist respectively, leading to Steve hitting the second rope DDT for the win.
Old School Rules Six Man Tag Team Match
Violent By Design (Cody Deaner, Eric Young & Joe Doering) vs. Cousin Jake, Rhino & Tommy Dreamer - 6.5/10
VBD looked awesome coming out, they had matching gear, but they still had their own personal entrance gear.
This match had two purposes. To gives us the Deaner vs Jake and Rhino vs Doering confrontations that they built for the last month, but also, to showcase and build Joe Doering as a MONSTER. Doering was a guy that only touched the floor after a Gore from Rhino at the very end of the match, other than that, he took chair shots, dives, everything, and he never went down. EY took the win with a piledriver on Cousin Jake.
Swann/Sabin/Moose Meeting - We got a segment with Swann and Sabin meeting Moose. Swann told Moose that he didn't trust him, he said that it should be Willie Mack instead, but Moose had injured him. Moose explained that he hates them both, but when it comes to Impact, he bleeds Impact and he won't allow any outside to come in and disrespect them promotion. Moose was amazing, total babyface.
Impact Knockouts Tag Team Title Tournament Finals
Havok & Nevaeh vs. Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz - 6/10
This was a speed vs power match. Somewhat weird that Havok was the babyface in peril, but Hogan and Steelz' work as a team does kinda overcome Havok's side. They really made the match, they're just fantastic, and for that matter, they were the right team to win this, they've been consistently the best tag team in the division for the last year since Steelz debuted.
I think that the tournament could had been built so that Hogan and Steelz would had wrestled another team in the finals before winning. Grace and Jazz would had been perfect, but Havok and Nevaeh having being a team for so long, they probably felt like they had to had then as the more established team, in addition to having the size advantage for the tease.
Post-match - Gail Kim & Madison Rayne presented the titles to the winners.
Ace Austin Promo - Austin came out to complain that he was not in the show, he asked to get added to the X Division match, but instead, D'Amore had someone else for him.
Matt Cardona vs Ace Austin (w/ Madman Fulton) - 5/10
This could had been better, but it was only given about 4 minutes. It was back and forward, fast paced, but at the end when Cardona seemed to come close to hitting his signature move, Fulton jumped in, attacked Cardona for the DQ and saved Austin.
Post-match - Cardona cleared the ring. Third promotion I've seen this man in, and I still don't care about him.
Impact X-Division Title Three Way Match
Manik (c) vs. Rohit Raju vs. Chris Bey - 9/10
This was awesome. Commentary sold this perfectly, explaining that this was a brawler vs technician vs flyer match. Raju and Bey never pretended to be on the same side, they’ve worked together against TJP before, but have never been friends. The story of the match instead was Bey and Raju racing each other to get their hands on Manik, which led to some great 3 person spots.
At the end, all three men traded near falls, constantly stealing them from each other. They had a throwback to how Raju once stole the title from both men. It would be Manik that would get the win with a snap pin on Raju after he had done the work on Bey.
At one point, they tried to do a Desperado unmasking spot, but it wasn't as good because we all know that TJP is under the Manik mask.
Impact Knockouts Title Match
Deonna Purrazzo (w/Kimber Lee & Susan) (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie (w/Decay) - 8/10
The match, really early on, broke down into a brawl with Rosemary and Kimber Lee wrestling each other outside the ring, Crazzy Steve and Susan arguing, and so the referee sent everyone to the back, leaving only the wrestlers.
Once everyone left, the match got good, but it was too short. Purrazzo works in a Japanese style, in the sense that she slowly builds her matches focusing on a limb and works it until the comeback and into the back and forward finish. It takes time to build stuff like that, and in this match, they had to do it all in half of the time. They got everything in, Purrazzo worked on Taya's arm, building towards Venus de Milo, but also worked on her knee to stop Taya from hitting Road To Valhalla. At the end, Purrazzo hit a Mistica into Fujiwara armbar into the Venus de Milo and verbally submitted Taya. It was just total dominance by Purrazzo, that makes me think that Taya is on her way out now that her contract is done.
Romero/Bravo Meeting - We got a comedy skit with Acey Romero and John E. Bravo about the whole shooting thing that I thought had been forgotten. Romero discovered that Larry D had been framed by one of the Knockouts.
Ethan Page vs. The Karate Man - Dud, worst thing ever.
This was nothing, just Ethan Page doing a bunch of kicks and punches like 1992 Mortal Kombat, including Karate Man ripping Page's heart out. This was terrible, they broke up The North for this.
For anyone that has never been into cinematic matches or the Undead Realm, don’t watch this. This was Ethan Page figuring out how to use a green screen and double exposure. If anything else, this was the break that the Impact team needed to set up Barbed Wire Massacre.
Moose and Don Callis Meeting - Don Callis met with Moose. Callis put Moose over and brought up his contract saying they have a big future together, but that it will be terrible if something happens with Omega tonight and they get sued and they can’t keep contractual obligations. Moose told Callis that no matter who he teams with, he plays to win. Once he is done with Omega, he’ll win Swann’s title, and maybe he’ll show up on AEW and take Omega’s title too. Total babyface!
Barbed Wire Massacre Match
Eddie Edwards vs. Sami Callihan - 9/10
For a barbed wire match, this was great and perfectly themed. Ring was surrounded by barbed wire, barbed wire weapons, one side of the ring has a cage wall wrapped in barbed wire, bringing me back to old CZW. Callihan used an N64 controller wrapped in barbed wired, while Edwards used a chair, also wrapped in barbed wire. At one point, both men tried to make this a Taipei Deathmatch, by wrapping their fists in barbed wire. Finish was a We had a callback to the eye accident but wrapped in barbed wire, only for Edwards to block it with a low blow, hit the BKP and the Emerald Flowsion for the win. Barbed Wire!
Story of the match was that Edwards was wrestling angry and hot headed, and that led him to wreckless risks that the calmer Callihan would take advantage of. Edwards was playing in Callihan’s sandbox, and if he wanted to win, had to either turn this into a wrestling match, or go down to Callihan’s level.
Chris Sabin, Moose & Rich Swann vs. The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) & Kenny Omega (w/ Don Callis) - 9/10
This was originally supposed to be Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns, but at the last minute, Shelley announced that he would not be able to travel to Nashville for the match, and thus Impact offices have replaced him with Moose, who is the no. 1 contender to Swann’s World title.
Moose looks like a million dollars tonight. Good Brothers and Omega came out with Bullet Club gear, they pointed to the logo on several occasions. Don Callis made Omega’s special introduction.
This match delivered 100%. Moose was easily the MVP of the match and the show overall, he was just on fire, but everyone really did look great. Swann's performance was that of a world champion, and even without Shelley, Sabin was able to look strong in the match. Match layout saw both Sabin and Swann be babyfaces in peril at points, with Swann and Moose getting hot tags. Each run in between had a bunch of crazy spots with dives and triple team moves.
At the end, it came down to Swann vs Omega. Swann got a couple of good near falls, one with his 450, but it was Omega that took the win after a Magic Killer and the One Winged Angel. Swann never hit the Phoenix Splash. Swann was perfectly protected, not only taking the big signature double team from the tag champs, but also the signature from the AEW World Champion to lose. Moose also had a lot of work with Omega, including a big near fall too.
This obviously will build to Omega vs Swann at one point, making me wonder how they'll work around the Moose vs Swann stuff.
Bell to bell, this was a great show. Karate Man aside, the worst thing in the show was at least 'ok', and we had several matches with high ratings. Every match featured had a storyline reason to exist and paid off in a way.
I have to mention that commentary and fake crowd noise was a great change to the show. Striker, even in his most Striker-ness, definitely has more emotion than Matthews and definitely says more than Matthews in between calling moves. D'lo was good, you could tell he needs to get in gear, but he had good commentary.<