Tonight on Impact, James Storm puts his career on the line against Dan Lambert. Impact Grand Champion Ethan Carter III defends against Fallah Bahh & Matt Sydal. Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake defended against Alberto El Patron in Rahway, New Jersey. Also, LAX puts their careers on the line to get another shot at Impact Tag Team Champions OvE. All this and more!
Impact Wrestling presents Impact
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Outside the arena, Dan Lambert tells his crew of guys that he has this under control. He also tells Bobby Lashley that he doesn’t need him tonight because James Storm “is just a professional wrestler”.
Opening Contest: Impact X-Division Champion Trevor Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori: Caleb Konley is at ringside with Lee for the title defense. Lee quickly takes Taiji down to the mat but that doesn’t last long. Taiji gets control of the left arm of Lee but Lee counters after a few moments. They have a standoff with Lee going to the corner complaining of a hair pull. Lee misses a clothesline and Taiji hits a head scissors and dropkick to send Lee to the floor. Taiji fakes out Lee on a dive and plays to the crowd. Lee gets back in the ring but misses a clothesline and is kicked. Taiji shoulder rams Lee from the apron but Caleb yanks Taiji off the apron causing him to hit the apron face first. Lee delivers a running kick to knock Taiji down on the floor. Caleb gets a few cheap shots in as the referee was distracted. Lee rubs his elbow into the eye of Taiji to keep control of the title match. Lee sends Taiji hard back first into the corner for a two count. Lee clotheslines Taiji and taunts the crowd. Konley is rooting on Lee to put Taiji away. Lee misses a splash in the corner and Taiji hits a springboard Thez Press. Taiji delivers a double knee strike in the corner followed by a slam and a double stomp for a two count. Taiji attempts a slam but Lee counters. Taiji knocks Caleb off the apron and is stopped by Lee with an uppercut. Taiji goes for a handspring cross body on Lee, but Lee counters with a slam in midair as the show goes to commercial.
Lee attempts a suplex but Taiji delivers a knee. Lee attempts a German suplex but Taiji lands on his feet and nails Lee with a handspring kick for a two count. Lee avoids Taiji and is nearly pinned with a rollup. Taiji attempts a slam but Lee counters with a backslide and switches to a sit down powerbomb for a near fall. Taiji kicks Lee in the midsection and hits a standing flip neck breaker for a near fall. Taiji drops Lee over his knees gut first and goes to the top rope. Taiji hits a 450 splash and wins the match cleanly. (*1/2. There wasn’t much excitement to the action here. Lee didn’t do anything that stood out to me. Taiji was explosive, but his moves were kind of repetitive. A clean finish to start 2018 and with a title change is pretty cool.)
A video promoting a title match between Alberto El Patron and Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake is aired. There match took place in Rahway, New Jersey for WrestlePro and will be aired later on in the night.
Backstage, Taiji is celebrating his title win when Desmond Xavier bumps into him and basically tells him he’s going to win the title the next time they square off.
Konnan cuts a promo on Sami Callihan throwing a fireball into his face. He’s going to throw Sami’s balls into a fire. Konnan feels like he wants to kill someone.
Backstage, James Storm is interviewed regarding his match with Dan Lambert. Storm knows he’s usually the happy go lucky guy but tonight is a little different. Storm says he is the company and has been with the company since June 2002. Storm has given the company everything and they have returned it to him. Storm puts over how he helps the young guys. Tonight, Lambert is fighting him and everyone else in the backstage area.
Second Contest: Impact Grand Champion Ethan Carter III vs. Matt Sydal vs. Fallah Bahh: This is the first time there has been a triple threat match for the Grand Championship. There are three rounds with a three minute time limit.
Carter goes right after Bahh with a right hand while Sydal tries to rollup Carter for a near fall. Sydal and Carter are met with a clothesline from Bahh. Bahh scoop slams Carter and the same goes for Sydal. Bahh scoop slams Carter and scoop slams Sydal onto Carter. Bahh misses a splash in the corner and Sydal gets a two count on Carter after a hurricanrana. Bahh breaks up the cover with a rolling body attack. Bahh works over Carter in the corner with strikes. Carter boots Bahh in the corner followed by chops. Bahh counters with a few chops of his own. Sydal gets tossed to the floor by Bahh. Bahh leg drops Carter and continues with a hip toss. Bahh knocks Carter down to the mat and goes to the middle rope. Carter is able to escape by rolling to the floor. Sydal strikes Bahh on the middle rope, but the first round has ended. Bahh won the first round.
Sydal kicks Bahh and Carter delivers a knee strike. Sydal kicks Bahh to the floor and Carter decks Sydal with a right hand. Sydal kicks Carter a few times to knock the champion down for a two count. Carter comes out of the corner to clothesline Sydal. Carter press slams Sydal over the top and he lands onto Bahh. Carter goes to the floor and sends Sydal into the ring post face first. Carter plants Bahh with a DDT on the floor. Carter rolls Sydal into the ring and Sydal gets a two count following a spinning heel kick. Carter hits a leg trapped overhead suplex on Sydal. Carter splashes Sydal in the corner and kicks Bahh to the floor. Carter dominated the round and wins the second round.
Carter works over Sydal to start the round while Bahh is up against the ropes. Carter has a vertical suplex on Sydal, but Bahh takes Carter out with a cross body. Bahh counters a sunset flip by Carter with a sit down splash for a two count. Bahh goes for a Samoan Drop but Sydal kicks him away and hits a double knee strike off the top for a two count. Sydal starts to kick both men until Carter hit the TK3. Bahh drives Carter down with a Samoan Drop. Bahh splashes Sydal in the corner and attempts the Bonsai Drop. Carter dumps Bahh over the top and Bahh hit the ring steps. Sydal stops Carter with a kick and goes to the top rope but Bahh is able to stop Sydal. Sydal regains his footing to hit the shooting star press, but time expires. The fans are chanting for one more round. Ethan Carter III won the third round and thus retains the title. Sydal is livid. (**1/4. Well, the action was pretty solid and I was expecting each man to win one round, but instead, Carter won two of the three. Bahh appears to be getting over with the crowd but the focus here is on Sydal/Carter. I’d expect a singles match between them soon enough.)
A video promoting Johnny Impact is aired. He knows he’s been called the Golden Boy, but he can’t control what people call him on commentary. Impact thinks he’s better than any of the top guys in Impact.
Backstage, Allie is interviewed about being the number one contender for the Impact Knockout Championship. Allie never would have thought she’d be in the position she’s in right now. Allie says that Gail Kim was right when she said it’s her time right now. Allie promises… well we don’t know because Laurel Von Ness runs into the picture and attacks Allie. She’s a lunatic.
Third Contest: James Storm vs. Dan Lambert in a career vs. career match: Lambert taunts Storm but suckers Storm into getting in the corner. All of Dan’s guys come in and cheap shot Storm, including King Mo. This match is a no disqualification match so they can do this. Lashley plants Storm with a spine buster but Lambert only gets a two count. Storm gets up and cleans house with clotheslines and a super kick. Storm slowly turns around and sees Lambert. Lambert is begging off in the corner telling Storm to take it easy. KM smashes a beer bottle over the head of Storm but Storm doesn’t stay down on the cover attempt. Storm stumbles to his feet and Lashley holds Lambert back. Storm gets two more beer bottles to the head and Lambert gets the pin. (DUD. This was garbage and not enjoyable at all. Impact was kind enough to allow Storm go down with a fight, but this lacked emotion or care. Lambert did literally nothing. This was probably the worse career vs. career match I’ve ever watched.) After the match, there’s a brief “Thank you, Storm” chant as Impact goes to commercial.
Backstage, James Storm embraces with the Impact wrestlers who are clapping for him as his run has come to an end. He gets on the phone and tells his family he’s coming home.
A video promoting the character Joseph Park is aired. Joseph was looking for his brother, Abyss. They use footage involving guys like Eric Young, Gunner and Bully Ray. They show footage from Slammiversary where Bully Ray wrestled Joseph Park. This was back when they had a four sided ring. Mike Tenay and Tazz are on commentary, too.
Fourth Contest: Chandler Parks vs. Jon Bolen: Chandler Parks is played by independent wrestler Ethan Page. Bolen works over Chandler at the start of the match with strikes. Bolen continues his offense with a power slam. Chandler battles back with a backdrop and plays to the crowd. Chandler thinks he’s won and celebrates but gets the middle rope kicked against his groin. Bolen insults Joseph on the floor and gets punched. Chandler gets a rollup and wins the match. (DUD. I don’t really care about this angle. Chandler (Ethan Page) is just going to be wasted as a comedy guy if this is their direction for him.)
Backstage, Matt Sydal cuts a promo about Ethan Carter III managing to find a way to escape with the Impact Grand Championship. Sydal has the courage to continue to chase after Carter. Sydal wants to eliminate the judges and rounds. There are changes in Impact Wrestling and he is the change.
Fifth Contest: Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron: Patron knocks Drake off the apron and delivers a dropkick to a seated Drake for a near fall early into the match. Patron sends Drake into the guard railing chest first a few times. Patron drops Drake with a DDT on the aisle way. Patron sends Drake several times into the corners to keep control of the match. Oh, it’s going to be clipped. Later on, Drake plants Patron with a DDT on the aisle way just as he and suffered earlier in the match. Drake chokes Patron on the floor. They continue to brawl into the crowd where Drake works over Patron in the bleachers, which are rather empty. They trade several strikes in the bleachers. Patron hits Drake with a trash can. They make their way back towards ringside where Drake rams Patron face first into the guard railing. Drake chokes Patron with the ring apron before getting a two count in the ring. Patron fights back with right hands on Drake. Drake puts Patron on the top turnbuckle and delivers a few right hands. Patron gets a cross arm breaker over the top rope. Drake shows great agility by hitting a springboard superplex and the Gravy Train for a two count. Drake enters the ring with the Impact Heavyweight Championship and looks to hit Patron with it. Drake misses a shot with it and Patron drives Drake face first onto the championship for a two count. Drake sends Patron into the referee and nails Patron with the championship to get a three count. (NR. The match was clipped and that was a huge bummer for me. They kept it rather basic throughout with the crowd brawling. I like Drake and I’m curious to see how his 2018 goes. I’ve never cared about Patron and this match did nothing to change that opinion. I really wish this was a full match and not just a cheap clipped match.)
Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake cut a promo about winning his match earlier against Patron. Drake recalls getting stitches and says he owes Patron for that DDT onto the championship from several weeks ago.
Main Event: Impact Tag Team Champions OvE (Dave & Jake Crist) vs. LAX (Santana & Ortiz): If LAX fails to win the titles then they are gone from Impact forever, Crist Brothers and Sami Callihan attack LAX during their entrance with trash can lids. Homicide and Konnan try helping out but that doesn’t workout very well. Santana gets super kicked by both Dave and Jake a couple of times but kicks out on the cover. Dave and Santana are the legal men for the start of the match. Santana tries to fight off Jake but is stopped in the corner quickly. Santana fights back with right hands and comes off the ropes but a big boot stops him for a two count. Dave tags back in and continues to work over Dave with strikes. Ortiz has been laid out since the beginning of the match. Jake continues to work over Santana with shoulder rams in the corner.
Santana backdrops Jake to the floor and nails Dave with a rolling ace crusher. Santana tries to tag out but Ortiz isn’t in the corner for the tag. Jake kicks Santana on the apron and Dave connects with a DDT for a near fall. Santana forearms Jake a few times but is dropped with a right hand giving Jake a two count. Santana fights his way out of the corner but is stopped with a boot from Jake. Santana plants Jake with a tornado DDT and tags in Ortiz. Ortiz big boots Dave and hammers away on Jake. Ortiz splashes Dave and Jake splashes Dave on accident. Ortiz hits a Death Valley Driver on Jake sending him into Dave in the corner for a two count. Ortiz runs into a boot but has Jake on the top rope. Dave has Ortiz and they hit a powerbomb/blockbuster combo for a two count. Dave has Ortiz on his shoulders but Ortiz drives Dave down with a Death Valley Driver. Santana leaps off the top but Jake was on another corner and hit an ace crusher in midair for a two count. Ortiz and Jake trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Ortiz hammers away on Jake several times. Santana super kicks Dave on the floor. Ortiz and Santana hit their powerbomb/blockbuster on Jake and win the titles. (**. It was a bad usage of the career stipulation since there was already a match with the stipulation on the show. I don’t think it fits the angle very well judging by the hype videos and stuff. There were a few good high spots, but aside from that, there wasn’t much going on here. It was a flat ending and not an overly strong main event to close the show. I’d rather the FULL match between Drake/Patron, or given these guys more time without the career-threatening stipulation.)
This show was billed as a big Impact with several title matches and a career vs. career match. The X-Division Championship match was a letdown as was the main event. Sure, two title changes are cool, but the matches just didn’t deliver much on the entertainment side of things. I’m really annoyed that they didn’t give the full match between Drake and Patron on TV. I understand the match was probably 15+ minutes, but I’d much rather have that on the show than the Chandler Parks match. Speaking of which, Ethan Page is capable of good wrestling and seems to not get the opportunity to do so for many promotions.
Dan Lambert segment with James Storm was by far the worse of the show. I’m not sure why they’d use Lambert in the spot instead of Bobby Lashley. This was a struggle of a show to get through. I think the only positive I can think of is the eventual singles match between Carter and Sydal taking place. Aside from that, Impact failed to deliver a good show to kickoff 2018.
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