Impact CrossRoads 3/8/2018

Every championship in Impact is on the line this week. Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries defends against Johnny Impact in a first time ever bout.

Impact Wrestling presents CrossRoads
Date: 3/8/2018
From: Orlando, FL

Earlier today, Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries and the number one contender Johnny Impact arrived to the arena. Impact had four guys holding American flags. I’m not sure why that was necessary.

A hype video promoting the match between Aries and Impact is shown, as well.

Opening Contest: Impact Tag Team Champions LAX (Ortiz & Santana) vs. Caleb Konley & Trevor Lee: LAX quickly goes on the attack early on for the early advantage. I’m noticing the lighting is a little different and you can see more of the crowd, which is nice. Or, I just haven’t paid attention previously. They go to the floor and continue to brawl. Ortiz and Santana hit suplexs on the floor to keep control of the title match. Konley and Lee get control after sending Santana face first onto the steps and double team Santana briefly. Ortiz fights back sending Lee into the steps shoulder first. All four men are getting shots in on the floor at this point before Santana and Konley enter the ring to legally start the match. Konley fights out of the corner but Ortiz tosses Konley to the mat and Santana hits a springboard moonsault while Ortiz hit a leg drop for a two count. We go to commercial.

Lee pulled Ortiz out of the ring during the commercial and along with Konley double teamed Santana for a moment by delivering a knee strike. Santana nails Lee with a yakuza kick and both men are down. Konley gets tagged in as does Ortiz and Ortiz drops Konley with a few clotheslines. Ortiz backdrops Konley and plays to the crowd. Ortiz splashes Konley in the corner and crotches Caleb on the top rope. Ortiz hits a top rope DDT for a two count!

LAX hit a slam/moonsault combo on Lee. Ortiz and Santana both hit dives to the floor to take the challengers out. Konley sends LAX into each other and along with Lee delivers forearm strikes. Santana gets double teamed as Konley hit a Cradle Shock on Santana, but Ortiz shoved Lee into Konley to break the cover. Lee is yanked off the apron by Ortiz landing face first. LAX stop Konley in the corner and Ortiz hits a stunner on Konley. Lee grabs Santana on the top and Konley nearly won with a rollup. Konnan yanks Lee off the apron. LAX hit the Street Sweeper on Caleb to win the match. (**3/4. A decent title match, but the angle was never something I was interested in and I wasn’t looking forward to this. LAX is a fun team, a team I remember watching in Beyond Wrestling a few years ago. They just need some better competition to provide more memorable matches.)

Backstage, Lashley is interviewed regarding Eddie Edwards not being able to wrestle tonight in a tag match against oVe. Lashley says he doesn’t need a tag partner and he’s going out there to shut them up for good.

Backstage, Matt Sydal is confident that he will bring two together as one and will win the Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship.

Second Contest: Impact Grand Champion Matt Sydal vs. Impact X-Division Champion Taiji Ishimori in a title vs. title match: Sydal backs Ishimori against the ropes and gives him the peace sign, twice. The second one Ishimori gives Sydal a high five. Ishimori takes Sydal over with a head scissors and dropkick. Sydal tries to clothesline Taiji but is taken down quickly. Sydal stops Taiji connects with a quick dropkick to gain the advantage and continues to work over Taiji in the corner. Sydal delivers a sliding knee in the corner. Sydal has Taiji on the middle rope but Taiji is able to leap off and hit a Codebreaker of sorts as we go to commercial.

Taiji keeps control with a sleeper but Sydal nearly wins with a standing leg drop. Sydal turns Taiji over with a half Boston Crab but can’t get a submission. Taiji attempts a sunset flip but Sydal counters and begins to work over the left knee for a few moments. Sydal isn’t able to get a submission on Taiji. Taiji is able to kick Sydal on the side of his head. Sydal takes Taiji over with a side Russian leg sweep and has a modified Stretch Muffler. Taiji is able to reach the ropes to break the hold. Sydal kicks Taiji on the legs a few times but Taiji connects with a handspring kick to knock Sydal off his feet. Taiji hits a running double knee strike in the corner and a double stomp out of the corner. Sydal tries for a head scissors but Taiji counters and drops Sydal face first onto the mat for a two count. Sydal takes Taiji off the middle rope with a hurricanrana for a two count. Sydal hits a sliding German suplex for a two count.

Ishimori blocks a standing moonsault by getting his knees up and takes Sydal out on the floor with a springboard moonsault to the floor. Taiji runs down the aisle and takes Sydal over with hurricanrana. They begin to trade pin attempts in the ring with neither man getting a three count. Sydal kicks Ishimori in the corner and goes to the top to deliver a double knee strike for a two count. Sydal drops Taiji with a kick to the head and a knee right on the jaw. Sydal goes to the top looking for the shooting star press but Taiji moves and delivers a double knee gut buster out of a tombstone position. Taiji goes to the top but Sydal cuts him off and attempts a hurricanrana but Taiji blocked it. Taiji attempts a 450 splash but Sydal gets his knees up. Sydal heads to the top and hits the shooting star press for the win. (***1/4. That was an enjoyable match, but it lacked any real drama since Sydal is clearly being positioned as someone Impact is going to build around. They worked well together and this is the kind of X-Division matches I’d like to see on a more regular basis. Sydal has to be turning heel soon. His character is rather unlikeable to me.) After the match, Sydal celebrates being a double champion.

Earlier today, Allie arrived and talks about if she’s ready for the championship match. She thinks she is ready for the opportunity and believes she’s going to win the title. She is dedicating the match to her mentor, Gail Kim.

Third Contest: Impact Knockouts Champion Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie: Allie doesn’t waste any time as she goes right after Van Ness on the aisle way delivering right hands. Van Ness tries for the Un-Prettier but Allie avoids it. Allie works over Van Ness with chops against the apron and they return to the ring. Allie charges the corner with a clothesline and continues to work over the champion. Allie clotheslines Van Ness while sliding to the floor. Van Ness sends Allie into the post while on the apron. Van Ness grabs Allie to hit an elevated DDT over the middle rope for a two count. Van Ness chokes Allie over the middle rope and delivers a running dropkick to Allie’s back for a near fall. Van Ness taunts the fans and continues to work over Allie with strikes in the corner. Van Ness drives Allie down to the mat face first with a flipping bulldog. Allie quickly comes back with a German suplex. Van Ness drops Allie over the middle rope throat first. Van Ness goes to the top rope but misses a double stomp. Allie hits a Codebreaker but both women are down. Allie drops Van Ness with forearms and a few clotheslines. Allie dropkicks Van Ness shoulder first into the middle turnbuckle. Allie continues with a snap suplex into the corner for a near fall. Allie blocks a kick and tosses Van Ness over the top to the floor. Van Ness grabs a chair on the floor and pummels Allie. Van Ness sits Allie on the chair but Allie drives the champ face first onto the chair followed by a running elbow strike.

Van Ness plants Allie with a Un-Prettier on the floor! Allie is struggling to get to her feet but is able to avoid being counted out. Van Ness curb stomps Allie into the bottom turnbuckle a few times. Van Ness delivers another Curb Stomp driving Allie face first onto the mat and nearly wins the match. Van Ness grabs the championship and tries to use it but Allie hits the Death Valley Driver. Allie drops Van Ness with a superkick for the win. (**1/2. I’m glad Allie won the title and she’s the right choice to carry the title now that Van Ness is leaving Impact. The match was fine for what it was and they did enough to keep my interest throughout. Hopefully Impact is able to replace Van Ness with a quality Knockout soon, too.)

Backstage, Allie celebrates her title win with Gail Kim. Kim was waiting for Allie by the gorilla position and tells Allie she is proud of her.

Backstage, Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries is interviewed regarding his match against Johnny Impact. Aries says he has had a great month throughout the world. Aries has many championships on him, as per usual. Aries tells Johnny that tonight won’t be easy. He’s going to take Impact Wrestling to places it has never been. He needs to be champion in order to do that.

Fourth Contest: oVe (Dave & Jake Crist) vs. Lashley: Lashley clotheslines the Crist Brothers on the aisle to start the match and press slams them both into the ring. Callihan hits Lashley on the left knee with a baseball bat. Jake delivers a yakuza kick on Lashley and oVe double team Lashley for a few moments. Dave chokes Lashley with his ring jacket. Jake continues to work over Lashley with strikes and attempts a suplex but Lashley blocks it. Dave comes in and Lashley takes them both over with a suplex. Lashley tosses Jake across the ring but Callihan holds his leg. Jake drops Lashley with a few kicks for a two count as we go to commercial.

Lashley continues be worked over by oVe. Callihan hits Lashley again with a baseball bat to Lashley’s shoulders. Jake focuses his attack on the left knee of Lashley but is kicked to the floor. Dave enters and gets worked over as well. Lashley tosses Jake into Dave in the corner with an overhead suplex. All three men are down when…

Brain Cage makes his way down to ringside and tags himself into the match. Cage cleans house on oVe hitting a backdrop on Jake. Cage kicks Dave into a corner and plants Jake with a slam. Cage slams Dave and powerbombs Jake coming off the top rope for an impressive double power move.

Lashley spears Callihan and Cage finishes off Jake with the Steiner Screwdriver for the win. (**1/2. Cage looked great here and comes across as a beast of a human. The pairing between Lashley and Cage is odd, but this was effective. oVe never seems to manage much momentum for a long period of time. They are really making the baseball bat part of Sami’s character.) After the match, Lashley wants to shake hands, but Cage just walks off. Cage stares down Lashley while walking backstage.

Backstage, Johnny Impact is interviewed regarding his main event match with Aries. Impact says tonight is the first time they meet and he’ll find out just how great Aries really is tonight. Impact admits he’s had more names than Aries has had belts. Impact doesn’t go around calling himself the greatest man to ever live. Impact doesn’t bring titles from other places because he doesn’t want to pay for the extra bag and he’s not insecure. He came to Impact to win the title and tonight is going to be his night.

Next week, Feast of Fired will be returning.

Main Event: Impact Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries vs. Johnny Impact: Impact comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and leg sweep followed by a spinning leg drop. Aries quickly goes to a corner to regroup. They trade a few holds until Aries arm drags Impact a few times only for Impact to get a head scissors. Aries dropkicks a seated Impact to regain control of the match. Aries slingshots over the top and drops Impact throat first over the middle rope. We go to commercial.

Impact clotheslines Aries on the mat for a two count. During the break, Aries hit the post with his forearm. Aries boots Impact in the corner but Impact hits a Samoan Drop and a standing Spiral Tap for a near fall. Impact keeps Aries on the mat with a top wrist lock. Impact hits a backbreaker and a side Russian leg sweep for a two count on Aries. Aries misses a splash in the corner and Impact delivers a kick from the apron. Aries blocks a springboard attempt and trips Impact sending him to the floor.

Aries goes to the top rope and leaps off to deliver an axe handle strike to keep Impact on the floor. Aries nails Impact with a knee strike on the apron. Aries hits a slingshot senton into the ring and an elbow drop for a near fall. Aries elbows Impact in the corner followed by a snapmare and comes off the middle rope to deliver an elbow strike to Impact’s back for a two count. Aries is worked over by Impact in the corner and Impact hits a sliding German suplex as Aries was over the middle rope in the corner. Impact hits a double springboard kick for a two count.

Austin works over Impact with several strikes in the middle of the ring. Impact comes off the ropes with a leg lariat and hits a standing shooting star press for a two count. Aries avoids a shining wizard and nearly pins Impact. Aries gets the Last Chancery locked in but isn’t able to get a submission as Impact reached the ropes with his boot. Aries goes for the brainbuster, but Impact knees out of the hold. Impact forearms Aries on the top turnbuckle. Impact decks Aries with a few right hands before gaining his footing. Impact kicks Aries on the top turnbuckle. Impact plants Aries with a middle rope Spanish Fly but Aries is able to kick out at two. Impact heads to the top but has to roll through as Aries moved and then forearms Impact. Impact dumps Aries to the apron but Aries lands on his feet. Impact kicks Aries but ends up on the apron. They trade strikes until Aries plants Impact with a Death Valley Driver on the apron.

Aries delivers a neckbreaker on the middle rope but is met with a boot in the corner. Impact nearly wins with a rollup. Impact nails Aries with a running knee coming off the ropes. Impact misses Starship Pain and is arm dragged into the corner. Aries hits a running dropkick into the corner. Aries spikes Impact with the brainbuster for the clean win. (***1/4. A good title defense and good job from both men. It’s a big victory for Aries, who really needs to build himself up in my eyes. Since his rather unsuccessful run in WWE, I found myself kind of doubting Aries as a main event guy in Impact. I guess he just has to sell himself to me again. It was a good match, though.)

Alberto El Patron comes out and is clapping for Aries. Aries and Impact showed respect by embracing. Patron is laughing and it appears that he’ll be the next challenge, I’d assume.

Final Thoughts:
Probably the best Impact show I’ve watched this year from top to bottom. Nothing is bad on the show and it flew by. Action wise this delivered big time, but I find myself still not overly invested in any of the angles. Impact will keep my interest as long as their action remains where it was here. Recommended viewing.

Thanks for reading.

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