This week on Impact, Impact Grand Champion Matt Sydal battles Fallah Bahh, Alberto El Patron teams with ECIII in tag team action against Johnny Impact & Moose. Plus, a former Impact Heavyweight Champion makes his return leading to a showdown with Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake!
Impact Wrestling presents Impact
From: Orlando, FL
This is the first episode of Impact under the new direction of Don Callis and Scott D’Amore. Impact has also returned to using a four sided ring.
Outside, a mystery man steps out of a car and walks into the ring. We don’t know who it is since the camera is focused on his legs only.
Last week, Matt Sydal says he has a new spiritual advisor helping him and he won the Impact Grand Championship with his help. He doesn’t reveal the advisor or anything. Grand Championship matches are just singles matches now, too.
Opening Contest: Impact Grand Champion Matt Sydal vs. Fallah Bahh: Bahh tosses Sydal to the canvas to start the match and they taunt each other early on in the match. Sydal kicks the legs of Bahh a few times but Bahh delivers a right hand and taunts Sydal before getting a few forearms to the face. Bahh knocks Sydal down with a headbutt. Bahh backdrops Sydal dropping him to the mat but Sydal takes Bahh over with a head scissors and a dropkick to the knee. Sydal goes back to work over Bahh with a kick to the chest but Bahh cuts Sydal off with a quick clothesline. Bahh drives Sydal face first into the corner and attempts a slam but Sydal breaks free and connects with a spinning heel kick. Sydal works over the left leg of Bahh with a knee drop. Bahh scoop slams Sydal and comes off the ropes missing a leg drop. Sydal kicks Bahh followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Sydal continues to deliver kicks to the legs of Bahh before delivering a kick to Bahh’s face. Sydal leaps off the top to deliver a double knee strike to the chest for a two count. Sydal misses a kick and Bahh comes off the ropes with a crossbody. Bahh chops Sydal down to the mat several times to keep control of the match. Bahh waits for Sydal to get up in the corner but runs into a boot. Sydal gets caught coming off the middle rope and Bahh drives the champ down with a Samoan Drop. Bahh comes off the ropes and rolls over Sydal for a two count. Sydal kicks Bahh off the middle rope and Fallah crashes to the floor. Sydal rolls Bahh into the ring but Bahh cuts Sydal off on the top turnbuckle. Sydal attempts a sunset flip powerbomb, but Bahh avoids it and misses a Bonsai Drop. Sydal heads to the top again and finishes Bahh off with the Shooting Star Press for the win. (*1/2. This lacked any kind of heat and I don’t think this was a good first challenge for Sydal. Sydal would have worked better with someone similar to his style. I think I’m having a hard time buying into Sydal as someone that should be pushed on national television, too.)
Backstage, Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake and Chris Adonis have arrived to the building and they are happy.
Backstage, Caleb Konley is disappointed that Trevor Lee isn’t the Impact X-Division Champion anymore. Lee calms Konley down but says they are still looking good. Konley says that Lee is known for his glorious hair, and rock hard body. Lee tells Konley he’s also good at thinking. Lee has a lot in store for them. “Together, we are Trevor, Caleb.”
Second Contest: KM vs. Lashley: KM shoves Lashley and is met with strikes for doing so. Lashley spears KM in the corner and continues to work over KM with right hands. Lashley clotheslines KM, but KM doesn’t go down. KM drops Lashley with a front slam but Lashley battles back with a Flatliner. Lashley goes for a spear but misses and hits the post instead. We go to commercial as KM taunts the crowd.
KM scoop slams Lashley followed by an elbow drop. KM keeps Lashley on the mat with a chin lock. Lashley fights out of the hold and crashes to the floor after missing another spear. Matthews takes Lashley out with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. KM sends Lashley shoulder first into the ring steps to keep control of the match. KM misses a slingshot big splash from the apron back into the ring. Lashley clotheslines KM after getting out of a neckbreaker. Lashley gets a one count after a crossbody. KM elbows Lashley but runs into a snap powerslam for a two count. Lashley drives KM down to the mat with a vertical suplex and goes to a corner waiting for KM to get up. KM knee lifts Lashley followed by a full nelson slam for a two count. KM attempts a pump handle slam but Lashley wiggles free and hits a spear for the win. (*3/4. Another lifeless match, for the most part. There were a few decent moments for KM, but aside from a couple of spots, the match was rather boring to me. This also seemed like a suitable time to give KM a victory over someone whose is long rumored to have been leaving the company.)
Backstage, Joseph Park is on the phone with his grandmother checking on Chandler Parks. Jimmy Jacobs comes over and ends the conversation. He says that they didn’t need to make things go so far with Chandler Parks. Jacobs wants Abyss to come out and play with Kongo Kong. He wants Abyss next week. Jacobs tells Joseph that he’s a princess and always gets what he wants.
Backstage, Lashley talks about being forced to pick between wrestling and MMA. He says he’s still going to focus on wrestling and MMA. He’s going to still do whatever he wants. He turns around and walks into Eddie Edwards, but doesn’t acknowledge him.
Third Contest: Impact Knockouts Champion Laurel Van Ness vs. Kiera Hogan in a non-title match: Van Ness keeps Hogan on the mat with a wrist lock to get the early control. Van Ness continues with a slap to Hogan’s face for a two count. Van Ness chokes Hogan over the middle rope and taunts the crowd. Van Ness casually kicks Hogan to keep her on the canvas. Van Ness splashes Hogan in the corner for a two count. Van Ness drives Hogan face first into the bottom turnbuckle for a two count. Hogan avoids a splash in the corner and fights back with strikes. Hogan kicks Van Ness for a near fall. Van Ness stops Hogan on the top and tosses her to the canvas. Van Ness comes off the ropes to hit a Curb Stomp and attempts the Un-Prettier but Allie comes out to cause a distraction. Hogan gets a rollup and pins Van Ness for the upset. (*. There has been a trend on this show with matches taking place that didn’t grab my interest. This was another one.)
Backstage, Alberto El Patron and ECIII are interviewed. El Patron thinks he is the real champion and believes he makes the product important. He doesn’t have to prepare himself for anything because he’s great. He hasn’t forgotten about Eli Drake, either. ECIII chimes in and says that he’s important his last name is Carter. He tells El Patron to follow his lead and they’ll be heavyweight champion. They shake hands and Carter walks off.
Impact Tag Team Champions LAX, Konnan and Homicide make their way down to the ring for an interview segment. Konnan has a microphone and says they are as serious as a late period. You can’t stop a revolution. He talks about being oVe in barbed wire match. Konnan says that Sami Callihan had a sex change and midway through the doctor said just leave him. They are always ready for a fight. That brings out oVe to join the segment. oVe enter the ring and have a stare down with oVe. Callihan says they hate everything. However, he does say they respect for four men in LAX. Callihan thinks that if they don’t end it then they’ll be six feet under. So, for now they want to put an end on their issues. Callihan says they are going to be coming after the tag titles and then they will takeover everything. They proceed to leave the ring and head backstage. Konnan goes to the floor and says that oVe will get nothing and they will like it. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley enter the ring and attack LAX from behind. Konley hits LAX with a kendo stick several times. They steal the Mexican flags to end the segment.
Backstage, Moose and Johnny Impact are interviewed. Moose says that it may be a new year with a new ring, but it’s the same Impact. Johnny puts over both El Patron and ECIII as being guys who can compete in the ring despite what fans say about them in the ring.
Outside, Eli Drake tells Chris Adonis that he doesn’t like surprises but he trusts Adonis. Drake wants to know who the special guest that Adonis brought. Adonis doesn’t know anything about a special guest. Adonis puts over Drake and is going to have a list of facts for Eli tonight. Adonis claims he caught Johnny Impact in the cage match because he didn’t want to see Impact fall to his death.
A promo video promoting the debut of Brian Cage is aired.
Fourth Contest: Moose & Johnny Impact vs. Alberto El Patron & ECIII: Carter and Impact start the match with Carter backing Impact into a corner but cleanly breaks away. Impact takes Carter down to the mat with a wrist lock and tags in Moose. Carter knee lifts Moose and follows up with several jabs while taunting Moose. Moose cuts Carter off with a standing dropkick. Impact gets tagged in and jabs Carter several times alongside Moose. Moose hits a senton splash and Impact delivers a leg drop for a two count on Carter. Moose works over Carter with several more strikes before coming off the ropes where El Patron decks Moose. Carter stops Moose with a knee lift and El Patron tags in to work over Moose with kicks in the corner. Patron gets a cross arm bar on Moos over the top rope but doesn’t get a submission. Impact tries to get his hands on Patron but fails. Carter gets tagged in and drops Moose with a forearm strike. Carter comes off the ropes with a splash for a one count. Carter dumps Moose to the floor where Patron sends Moose chest first into the guard railing. Carter slams Moose chest first over the apron. Moose continues to be double teamed as he is taken over with a double suplex. Patron plants Moose with a DDT for a two count.
Carter tags in and tries to slam Moose but isn’t able to take him over. Moose connects with a snap suplex on Carter. Moose rolls to the corner and tags in Impact. Impact hammers away on Carter followed by a heel kick. Impact knocks Patron off the apron. Carter knee lifts Impact, but Impact hits a standing Spanish Fly for a two count. Impact goes to the corner and looks for Starship Pain, but Carter rolls out of the way. Carter hits a jaw breaker but misses a splash. Impact hits a springboard kick. Patron enters and is kicked by both Moose and Impact. Impact hits Starship Pain for a two count. Carter sends Impact shoulder first into the post as the show goes to commercial.
Patron has kept control on Impact sending him into the corner. During the commercial, Carter hit a suplex on the floor while Patron hit a DDT on the ramp. Why that was kept off the show and just used as a highlight is confusing to me. Carter pulls Moose off the apron to prevent Impact from tagging out. Carter tags in legally and sends Impact into his corner. Carter hits the TK3 but Impact kicks out at two, though Moose broke up the cover too. Carter drives Impact into a corner where Patron tosses Impact to the mat. Patron heads to the top rope and delivers a strike to the back of Impact’s head for a near fall. Patron drives Impact down with a back suplex. Carter puts Impact on the top turnbuckle and attempts a back suplex, but Impact counters landing on top. Patron and Moose get tagged in withMoose splashing and dropkicking Patron in the corner. Impact takes Carter down with a neckbreaker. Patron stops Impact with a jawbreaker and a kick. Moose misses a clothesline and Patron hits a backstabber. Patron sends Moose into the ring post shoulder first. Impact hits a side Russian leg sweep on Patron and goes to the top rope. Impact misses a 450 splash and soon gets stuck in a tree of woe. Patron delivers several kicks and hits a double stomp on Impact. Moose clotheslines Patron out of the corner for the clean win. (**1/2. Aside from the closing sequence, I thought this was just an average tag team match. It was mostly just a formula tag match and didn’t have much excitement behind it, really. I’d say this was a huge pin victory for Moose and could lead to a bigger singles push for him.)
Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake and Chris Adonis make their way down to the ring for the Facts of Life celebration. Adonis gets a microphone and says that the fans are in for a treat tonight. Adonis presents the facts of Eli Drake’s life. This is a celebration for all things Eli Drake. Adonis puts over Drake for being the greatest champion that has ever lived. There is a video highlighting his reign as champion is shown. Adonis also says that Drake is the greatest dresser and shows a video of his attire. Adonis also considers Drake to be the greatest friend that has ever lived. A video showing Adonis in a turkey suit and a pie getting thrown into Eli’s face is shown instead. Adonis is pissed off about that video being shown. Drake says the pie was delicious and Adonis wore the hell out of the turkey suit that night. Drake believes he is the greatest champion and greatest man to ever live. He is the only man to be considered the greatest man to ever life. That is just a fact of life… But…
Austin Aries makes his way out making his return to Impact Wrestling. Aries gets in the ring and Drake wants to shake his hand but Aries isn’t interested in that. Aries starts off saying that he missed the fans too. Aries says he couldn’t help but hear Drake claim he’s the greatest man to ever live. That is simply impossible because that title belongs to him. Aries lists some of the facts he has and that includes being a six time X-Division Champion, a former Tag Team Champion and former Heavyweight Champion. He was also the longest X-Division Champion in history of the company. Aries has been traveling the world claiming titles. Aries says they have never wrestled and thus he issues a challenge to Drake for Drake to earn the right to call himself the greatest. Drake takes off his jacket and asks if Aries is going to stop him. Drake says the best work that Aries did was behind a commentary table talking about the matches. He can’t stop being the champion and can’t stop being Eli Drake. Drake tells Aries that he won’t wrestle him tonight. Aries says that Drake doesn’t have a set of balls. Adonis nails Aries from behind with the championship. Drake wants a referee to come out for a match.
Main Event: Impact Heavyweight Champion Eli Drake vs. Austin Aries: Drake has a cover on Aries, but Aries kick out at two. A bell has sounded and this is a title match. Drake argues with the referee and waits for Aries to get up. Drake misses a spear in the corner. Adonis gets knocked off the apron. Aries hits a running dropkick in the corner and plants Drake with a brain buster for the win! (NR. I can’t possibly rate that. However, I will say that I don’t like the booking. Yes, Aries is an accomplished wrestler and was the top guy in Impact previously. However, his most recent stuff was on 205 Live where he couldn’t beat Neville. In the biggest wrestling company, he was presented as a failed Cruiserweight. This is something that Impact has always done. They put the title on guys fresh off a WWE run. It felt like it was done for simple shock and I don’t like it. Eli Drake was doing well in his heel role and there were many other directions they could have gone in. I understand they put themselves in a corner with Drake not having many challengers, but I would have preferred a proper buildup of the match leading to a title change. Hopefully Drake remains in the main event picture.)
The first episode for the new era of Impact Wrestling was a rather disappointment for me. The undercard matches were rather lifeless and dull. I don’t really care about Caleb Konley and Trevor Lee challenging LAX for the tag titles. Austin Aries returning to Impact is cool and all, but the title change was just misguided to me. I’m hoping that they have better shows in the coming weeks otherwise I’ll be worried for Impact moving forward.
Thanks for reading.