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Impact 2/15/2018

This week on Impact, Sami Callihan takes on Bobby Lashley in singles action. Plus, Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries defends the title against former champion, Eli Drake.

Impact Wrestling presents Impact
Date: 2/15/2018
From: Orlando, FL

A video promoting the main event between Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries and Eli Drake is aired. Aries has all his tricks to still use. He’s going to remind people what he’s all about.

Opening Contest: Sami Callihan vs. Lashley: Callihan and his oVe buddies attacked Lashley in the parking lot and put him in the truck of a car. Lashley clotheslines Callihan to start the match. Sami kicks Lashley on the apron but Lashley clotheslines Callihan on a springboard attempt. Lashley tags the Crist Brothers out on the floor and Sami delivers a kick from the apron to get control of the match. Lashley misses a clothesline on the floor and is kicked by Sami followed by a tornado DDT on the outside. Lashley barely gets back into the ring before the count of ten. Lashley drives Callihan down to the match with a vertical suplex. Lashley gets distracted and Sami dumps Lashley to the floor. Sami sends Lashley chest first into the guard railing. Sami spits on his hand and chops Lashley against the railing. Sami keeps the advantage by sending Lashley chest first into the railing. Sami tosses the ring announce on the floor and sits Lashley on a chair before delivering a few chops. Callihan runs around ringside and is met with a spear from Lashley on the outside. We go to commercial.

Back in the ring, they are trading right hands with both men staggering. Lashley back elbows Sami and follows with a clothesline. Lashley spears Sami in the corner but misses an attack. Callihan comes off the ropes but is met with a crossbody and spinebuster from Lashley. Sami gets a choke hold on Lashley to counter a running spear. Lashley is able to get up and plants Callihan with a running powerslam. Lashley puts Sami on the top turnbuckle but Sami looks for a powerbomb. Sami instead traps Lashley on the top turnbuckle to hit a superkick and a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Sami delivers a boot coming off the ropes, but that appears to wake Lashley up. Lashley drops Sami with a Dominator and waits for the spear. Lashley hits a spear but the Crist Brothers jump into the ring to make the save. (**1/4. A rather simple match with an expected DQ finish. I thought perhaps Sami would win by pin since the guys on commentary made it seem like Sami would be a top-level guy if he won. Especially considering Lashley is on the way out, I would have thought Callihan winning here would have been the direction. Nothing great here and it was an average match at best.) After the match, Eddie Edwards runs down to the ring and makes the save for Lashley.

Backstage, Eli Drake is interviewed regarding his match against Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries. Drake says he’s the real champion and he’ll prove that tonight.

LAX is hanging out in their clubhouse and they are focusing on Trevor Lee & Caleb Konley. Konnan thinks it is time to expand their business operations.

A video highlighting how Allie and Braxton Sutter became an on-air couple is shown. Sutter had a failed wedding ceremony with Laurel Van Ness.

Backstage, Allie has arrived to the building and she’s hearing weird voices. She’ll be meeting her secret admirer tonight. There’s a note saying to meet her at tunnel 22.

Backstage, Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries cuts a promo about collecting gold all over the country. Aries thinks there has been a rebirth in Impact Wrestling. He can only make a difference if he’s the man on top.

Backstage, Moose is interviewed regarding the fatal four way match from the other week. Alberto El Patron runs into the scene and attacks Moose.

Second Contest: Hania vs. Rosemary: Rosemary goes right after Hania to start off the contest with several strikes. Hania avoids a splash in the corner but is met with a forearm strike. Rosemary misses a spear in the corner hitting the middle turnbuckle. Hania connects with a spinning heel kick for a near fall. Rosemary elbows Hania in the corner and locks in the Upside Down in the corner but has to break the hold. Rosemary misses a missile dropkick. Hania has Rosemary in the corner hitting a wheelbarrow facebuster. Hania attempts a reverse DDT but Rosemary breaks free only to get kicked over the back. Hania hits a top rope crossbody only for Rosemary to roll through and she wins. (*1/2. Nothing much of a match for the most part.) After the match, Hania tosses Rosemary to the floor. Rosemary is able to reverse a DDT attempt and bites Hania. Hania breaks free and ducks a clothesline managing to escape ringside.

Backstage, Impact Global Champion Matt Sydal and Johnny Impact are stretching before their tag team match.

Backstage, Ethan Carter III reveals that Tyrus is back in Impact and will be his partner tonight.

Backstage, Allie is at the tunnel and she sees a box of chocolates with a card for her. Allie reads the card and we see Laurel Van Ness sneaking out of a box. Allie proceeds to attack Laurel and puts her back into the box she came out of. Allie storms off.

Third Contest: Impact Global Champion Matt Sydal & Johnny Impact vs. Ethan Carter III & Tyrus: Carter and Impact start the contest with Carter getting a rollup for a two count. Carter shoulder blocks Impact and delivers a boot to the midsection. Impact armdrags Carter a few times to keep control of the match. Sydal comes off the top with a double stomp to Carter’s left arm. Carter fights both Impact and Sydal off but runs into a double dropkick. Tyrus gets tagged in and delivers a double clothesline. Impact kicks Tyrus from the apron and springboards over Tyrus to tag in Sydal. Sydal dropkicks Tyrus on the leg and delivers a few kicks. Sydal hits a standing moonsault onto Tyrus. Tyrus just tosses Sydal away and uses his head to hit Sydal in midair on a springboard attempt. Tyrus drops Sydal with a heart punch. Carter and Tyrus work over Sydal to keep control of the match. Sydal tries to fight Carter off but Carter drives Sydal down with a delayed vertical suplex. Tyrus gets tagged back in and hammers away on Sydal.

Sydal fights back with a few kicks but Tyrus tosses Sydal overhead with a suplex. Tyrus splashes Sydal in the corner Tyrus misses a middle rope splash and Sydal nails Carter with a kick. Impact gets the tag and clotheslines Carter several times followed by a leg lariat. Impact dropkicks Tyrus on the floor. Carter ducks a shining wizard, but Impact hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Carter clotheslines Impact to the floor and Sydal drops Carter after a few kicks. Sydal goes to the top rope but gets caught by Tyrus on the floor. Tyrus drives Sydal into the apron. Carter misses a splash in the corner and Impact works over Carter. Impact sends Carter into the corner but is yanked off the ropes by Tyrus. Carter pins Impact with his feet on the ropes and wins the match. (*1/2. There wasn’t anything exciting or compelling throughout this match. The victory is good for Carter since he hasn’t had a lot of momentum in recent weeks. Tyrus returning was not a big deal to me. He isn’t an entertaining wrestler or character.)

A video promoting Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong trying to get Abyss to appear is shown. They recently went to Joseph Parks office and Jacobs says it is just a matter of time before Abyss comes out. Kong destroys the office.

Fourth Contest: Brian Cage vs. John Cruz: Brian Cage makes his Impact Wrestling debut this week. I’m a fan of his and I’m looking forward to seeing him compete on television on a regular basis. Cage wins the match with a Steiner Screwdriver.

Backstage, Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley talk about only caring about the Impact Tag Team Championships. They open the door and find Fallah Bah eating candy. They attack two masked guys thinking they are LAX, but it isn’t.

Fifth Contest: Impact X-Division Champion Taiji Ishimori vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma: Neither man can get the early advantage as they trade mat wrestling holds and pins. Ishimori fakes a dive to the floor and plays to the crowd. Fantasma nails Ishimori with a kick to the face for a near fall. Fantasma clotheslines Ishimori in the corner and focuses his offense on the left arm with a kick for a near fall. Fantasma drops Ishimori over the top rope throat first. Fantasma keeps control of Ishimori on the mat with a leg lock but doesn’t get a submission. Fantasma hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker for a two count. Fantasma keeps control of Ishimori on the mat as we go to commercial.

Ishimori hits a springboard Thez Press and Fantasma bails to the floor. Ishimori takes Fantasma out with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Ishimori delivers a double knee and double stomp for a two count. Ishimori is kicked to the floor by Fantasma. Fantasma takes Ishimori out with a suicide dive, which the commentators hyped as the best thing, and it was kinda sloppy. Ishimori runs up the ramp and hits a running hurricanrana on the floor! Fantasma gets kicked by Ishimori on the apron and Ishimori hits a moonsault to the outside. Fantasma kicks Ishimori from the apron and heads to the top to hit a crossbody for a near fall. Ishimori knees his way out of a tombstone and delivers a double knee gut buster. Ishimori hits a 450 splash and wins the match. (**3/4. A solid match with a few good highspots, but they really need to let the X-Division work a faster more athletic match. They shouldn’t be doing mat wrestling and boring action. The second half portion of this match is what I want to see from the X-Division.)

Main Event: Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries vs. Eli Drake: Drake starts the match taunting Aries after a go-behind. Aries takes Drake down to the mat and gets a couple of two counts. Drake avoids Last Chancery and bails to the floor where he regroups. Drake comes back in and hammers away on Aries but Aries armdrags Drake a few times. Aries gets out of a head scissors to dropkick a seated Drake. Aries works over Drake with strikes in the corner with forearm strikes. Drake works over Aries in the corner with a series of strikes. Aries fights back with left hands but Drake drives the champ into the corner several more times. Aries works over Drake with several shoulder rams as we go to commercial.

Aries comes off the ropes to deliver an elbow drop. Aries continues to beat on Drake in the corner with kicks to the midsection followed by strikes. Aries hits a running elbow strike and delivers an uppercut to the back of Drake for a two count. Drake and Aries begin to trade strikes until Drake stops Aries with a boot. Drake continues to beat on Aries with elbow strikes. Drake leg drops Aries over the middle rope from the apron for a two count. Aries fights back with a few kicks to stop Drake but misses a splash in the corner. Drake drops Aries with a neckbreaker for a two count. Drake chokes Aries over the bottom rope and catapults Aries throat first into the middle rope. Aries stops Drake with a jawbreaker but Drake plants Aries with a quick powerslam. Drake misses a knee drop and Aries slowly gets to his feet. Drake drops Aries with a back elbow strike. Drake misses a springboard moonsault, which I wasn’t expecting.

Drake and Aries trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Aries works over Drake with chops but gets dumped to the middle rope. Aries connects with a neckbreaker over the middle rope. Aries heads to the top rope and nails Drake with a missile dropkick for a two count. Aries attempts a brainbuster but Drake is able to avoid it. Aries gets a rollup on Drake but Eli kicks out at two. Aries goes to the apron and punches Drake. Aries gets stopped on the top as Eli hits an overhead suplex and follows up with a slam for a near fall. Drake misses a spear in the corner hitting the post. Aries delivers a running dropkick and attempts a brainbuster but Drake tosses Aries with a front slam. Aries tosses Drake over the top to the floor. Aries takes Chris Adonis out with a suicide drive on the floor. Drake drives Aries back first onto the apron. Drake signals for the Gravy Train. Aries counters the move with a rollup but switches to the Last Chancery. Aries breaks the hold to deck Adonis and Drake nearly steals the match with a rollup. Aries decks Drake with a forearm followed by the brainbuster for the win. (***1/4. A good main event and I was quite impressed by Drake in this match more so than I was with Aries. Drake is a very good talent and can both entertain in the ring and but also on the microphone. This match left me wanting to see more of Eli Drake, honestly.)

Final Thoughts:
Aside from the main event, there isn’t much going on this week on Impact. I will say that the lifeless crowd hurts the viewing experience. I’d much rather have the Impact Zone crowd from 2005/2006. That can drastically impact a viewing experience. I’d consider it an average episode as there wasn’t anything all that bad. Main event delivered and I’m excited to see Brian Cage in Impact.

Thanks for reading.

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