Sunday, 11 February 2018

Impact Wrestling Review // 8th February 2018


This week's Impact Wrestling was main event by a Four-Way bout to earn a shot at the Impact World Championship, as Johnny Impact, Alberto El Patron, EC3 and Moose collided in the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida, whilst following Austin Aries' World title victory over Eli Drake last week Impact aired a replay of Aries winning the TNA World Heavyweight title from Bobby Roode at Destination X 2012. But how did it all go down? Lets take a look! 

Impact World Championship #1 Contendership // Johnny Impact def. Alberto El Patron and EC3 and Moose // Pinfall



Johnny Impact earned himself another shot at the Impact World Championship, pinning EC3 after escaping the One Percenter and using a Bridging O'Connor roll to get the three count, at the conclusion of a sprawling Four way match also involving Alberto El Patron and Moose. This was an exciting and varied main event, featuring four of the companies top heavyweights, featuring some good storytelling, fun brawling in the crowd and an exciting stretch of action that saw all four guys working hard. The story of El Patron and EC3 teaming up and doing anything they could to get an upperhand, using the steels and ringpost to keep Impact and Moose down was the driving force throughout the first ten minutes or so, with the action spilling into the crowd and culminating with Moose appearing to suffer a knee injury after being rammed into a wall. The scrap in the audience also featured some fun spots involving a wheelie bin and Impact wailing away on El Patron with a pair of crutches. 

Of course, the second act of the match included Moose coming back into the match to even the odds for the good guys, aiding Impact in hitting a pair of powerbombs to El Patron & EC3. Moose sold spectacularly here, limping for the rest of the match and varying his offence because of the injury, whilst Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt on commentary did a good job of pointing out the differences in Moose's movements and attacks. It would be the knee that would eventually take Moose out of the match after the OMG missed a baseball slide and El Patron kicked the injured leg from underneath him, before nailing a superkick to his kneeling opponent. The finishing stretch was full of big moves and near falls, making the most of the bodies to keep the momentum swinging as Impact came close with a Moonlight Drive and Moose made the save for EC3, nailing a senton on El Patron to break up a Cross Armbreaker. This was a great way to close the show, whilst also setting up a potential showdown between Impact and Austin Aries, which has the potential to be a real barn-burner in the right setting.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship // Austin Aries def. Bobby Roode (C) // Pinfall [TNA Destination X 2012]



I'm usually not a fan of Impact airing old matches on their first-run programming, because it seems like a cheap way to fill time without the effort of having to advance stories and to be quite honest, the match choices can often be baffling. However, I'm not going to complain about the company pulling out one its best matches of the last decade, especially when it actually served a purpose. After Aries had won the Impact World Championship last week, this week we were treated to Aries winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Bobby Roode back at Destination X in 2012. Oh man, if you've never seen this match its well worth seeking out, because it features one of the most electric TNA audiences in history, desperate for the valiant babyface challenger to take the companies top prize for the over-bearing champion. The in-ring action matches the crowd's enthusiasm, with tonnes of twists and turns, near falls and dramatic devices to create a compelling main event and one of the best TNA title matches in history. Back in 2018, we saw Aries fielding a press conference which included the revelation that he isn't signed with Impact and will be continuing in his attempt to win championships all over the World. Aries defends the Impact World Championship against Eli Drake next week. 

Taiji Ishimori & Matt Sydal def. El Hijo del Fantasma & Rojit Raju // Pinfall




This week's X-Division action kicked off the show, with Impact Grand Champion Matt Sydal pinning Rohit Raju (the repackaged Hakim Zane) after a Shooting Star Press, giving Sydal and X-Division Champion Taiji Ishimori the victory over El Hijo del Fantasma & Raju. Just like the main event was a great showcase for the heavyweights in Impact at the moment, this was the same for the X-Division as the foursome put on a fast-paced tag jaunt, full of exciting back and forth sequences, flips and just generally good wrestling stuff. Raju impressed with a couple of lovely sequences with Sydal, where the two traded a series of near misses, whilst also combining well with Fantasma for an impressive near fall off a double team GTS situation. However, it was Fantasma who ended up really shining in this one, with a lovely opening exchange with Ishimori, as well as a fiery hot tag after a period of dominance from Sydal & Ishimori. Oooh, Ishimori hit a delicious Superstar Quebrada as well. More shows should open like this.

Impact Knockout's Championship // Laurel Van Ness (C) def. Kiera Hogan // Pinfall 



After picking up a surprise victory over Knockout's Champion Laurel Van Ness last week, Kiera Hogan received her shot at the belt this week, coming up short as Van Ness got the win with a sloppy looking Unprettier to make it two defences of the title. Beyond the sloppiness of the Unprettier, the match was alright for the most, highlighted by some strong character work by Van Ness and a call back to the finish of last week's match. Van Ness seems to have put some real work in when creating this crazed version of the character and I enjoyed the different in-ring style that she employs as shes varies her offence to suit the character, whilst some of her facial expressions when unable to get the pin were brilliant here. I would've liked to have seen more from Hogan as the match felt more one-sided than it perhaps needed to be and a little more fire from the newcomer would've lifted the contest to the next level. After the match, Allie made the save for Hogan, sending Van Ness packing after she attempted to attack Hogan further. We also found out earlier on the episode that Allie has a secret admirer and we'd be meeting them next week.


Trevor Lee & Caleb Konley def. Monroe & Read // Pinfall



One area of Impact that's needed improvement for a while is the tag team division and therefore it's pleasing to see The Cult of Lee, consisting of Trevor Lee & Caleb Konley getting put into the ranks and entering a feud with Impact Tag Team Champions Santana & Ortiz, LAX. This week we saw Lee & Konley in a surprisingly competitive match with the debuting Monroe (FEST Wrestling) & Read (REAL Pro Wrestling), known collectively as TECH, before Lee pinned Read after a Spike Piledriver. I wasn't massively into the gimmick that Lee & Konley had stolen LAX's bandannas and therefore now say stereotypical Mexican things, but the wrestling in the tag match was solid, with both of TECH impressing with some nice strikes as they bumped well for the Cult of Lee. The highlight came from a cute double team Gutwrench Powerbomb from Lee and Konley, that involved Konley hitting a running punt to the head just as Lee brought the opponent up into the air for the powerbomb. After the match, LAX's Homicide, Konnan, Ortiz & Santana appeared on the screen, with Konnan cutting one his trademark energetic promos threatening the Cult of Lee that they would not tolerate the impersonation. A Tag title match with Ortiz & Santana against Lee & Konley could be wonderful if given the right time. 

Hania the Huntress def. Amber Nova // Pinfall 




Hania the Huntress made her Impact debut this week, picking up a victory over Amber Nova with a weak reverse DDT. It was a shame that the finish ended up looking so lame, because the rest of the match had been a fun extended squash, that saw Nova get a good opportunity to show off some of her pacier offence, whilst Huntress was able to showcase some of her power game. Whilst Nova's headscissors into the top turnbuckle looked cool, it was Nova leaping up for a rana only to be caught by a get-the-fuck-down powerbomb from Huntress that stands out as the strongest part of the match and worked as a microcosm of the match as a whole. Following the match, Rosemary attacked Huntress, attempting to get some revenge for an attack last week, but Huntress was able to escape before Rosemary could hit Red Wedding. 


Also this week


- In a weird hand-held video, it appeared that oVe's Sami Callihan, Jake Crist & Dave Crist had kidnapped Lashley.

- Dark promo from Jimmy Jacobs alongside Kongo Kong, threatening to bring the monster out of Joseph Park.

- Pluto TV rewind of the week was Chris Harris diving off a steel cage to nail Death Sentence with America's Most Wanted partner James Storm on Elix Skipper (teaming with Christopher Daniels as Triple X) from NWA Total Nonstop Action from June 2003.

- Pro Wrestling NOAH star Brian Cage returns to Impact next week, after last being seen in July 2014.

ATPW Scale Rating // 6.00/10 


Written by James Marston // @IAmNotAlanDale

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