Date: July 2, 2017
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Robert Flores, Don West
It’s both a milestone and a farewell as Impact Wrestling is all set to be renamed Global Force Wrestling. While it’s not clear what all that means, tonight is also the anniversary show with a few title unification matches between Impact Wrestling and GFW. Possibly the biggest match on the card though is a battle between announcers. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is about what you would expect: history is awesome and tonight is a big night.
An owl flies into the arena to land on a Slammiversary logo. Sweet chicken wings with a sauce that’s sweet but not too spicy, NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE STUPID OWL!
The bosses of Crash, Noah, AAA and Impact are here for the opener.
Impact Wrestling Tag Team Titles/GFW Tag Team Titles: Laredo Kid/Garza Jr. vs. Drago/El Hijo de Fantasma vs. Naomichi Marufuji/Taiji Ishimori vs. LAX
LAX is defending under lucha rules (going to the floor means the same as a tag) and this is one fall to a finish. Santana and Marufuji start things off with Marufuji flipping out of a wristlock but getting kicked in the face. They flip into a standoff and trade chops until Santana charges into a good looking dropkick.
It’s off to Ishimori and Laredo with Taiji bouncing off the ropes over and over for kicks to the head. Laredo hits the floor so Ortiz comes in for a kick of his own as the fans chant for LAX. Ortiz gets two off a Death Valley Driver and everything breaks down. Garza takes off his pants (as is his custom), allowing Drago to springboard in with a dropkick. Drago and Fantasma take over on Santana and then Ishimori but LAX’s manager Diamante gets in a kick of her own so the champs can take over.
A tandem powerbomb gets two on Ishimori and the Street Sweeper is good for two on Drago. Laredo comes off the top with a clothesline to Ortiz while Garza hits a World’s Strongest Slam on Santana for a sweet looking spot. Things settle down with Ortiz heading up top, shoving Laredo and Garza away, and moonsaulting down onto Drago for two with Marufuji making the save.
Diamante tries to interfere again and gets powerbombed onto LAX. Fantasma hits a modified Tombstone for two with Marufuji making a save. Ishimori eats a suicide dive and Homicide adds (and nearly botches) a Gringo Killer on the apron. Drago sends Ishimori to the floor with a tornado DDT and something like a C4 2000 gets two on Santana. Ortiz is back in with a belly to belly superplex and the Street Sweeper retains the titles at 15:22.
Rating: B. That’s a heck of an opener and they were moving WAY too fast to keep track of everything going on out there. This was a great choice to start the show as they just flew all over the place and didn’t bother with stuff like tagging, which they shouldn’t have in something like this match. You book a match like this for the sake of chaos and entertainment, which is what we got.
Joseph Park has good news for Jeremy Borash: tonight’s tag match is No DQ. JB: “WHAT??? YOU’RE GOING TO GET ME KILLED!” Park says don’t worry.
We recap Moose/DeAngelo Williams vs. Chris Adonis/Eli Drake. Basically Moose has been dealing with a two on one deficit and needed some help so he brought in an NFL buddy. Moose also has NFL player Gary Barnidge and NASCAR driver Austin Dillon with him.
Moose/DeAngelo Williams vs. Eli Drake/Chris Adonis
Moose throws Adonis around to start and hits his always good looking dropkick. It’s off to Williams to roll Drake up and grab an armdrag before handing it back to Moose. That’s probably all he should be doing and there’s nothing wrong with that. Moose’s running dropkick in the corner gets two but Adonis gets in a shot from the apron to take over.
That doesn’t last long as Moose fist pumps himself up and brings Williams back in for a one knee Codebreaker and a near fall of his own. Everything breaks down and Moose hits his bicycle kick to set up back to back sentons. Williams is left alone in the ring to kick both villains through the ropes, followed by Moose moonsaulting out to the floor. It’s table time but Adonis and Drake take Moose down and put him on it instead. Drake poses a bit too long though and gets shoved down. Moose tells DeAngelo to do it and a frog splash (!!!) hits Adonis (doesn’t break the table but the splash looked good) for the pin at 10:50.
Rating: B-. That’s on a bit of a sliding scale as Williams is literally brand new at this but DANG. I was legitimately impressed by what he did out there as I was expecting Dennis Rodman’s stuff from WCW (he does like two basic moves and the announcers act like he’s the best thing ever) but he looked like he was an indy level talent at worst. That might be the best celebrity/athlete performance I’ve ever seen and was a very, very pleasant surprise.
Post match Moose powerbombs Drake through the table to make sure everything is covered.
Ethan Carter III is ready to beat up James Storm because he’s the real man Impact needs.
We recap Carter vs. Storm. Carter lost a #1 contenders match earlier this year and blamed Storm, who he whipped 31 times with a strap. Now it’s a strap match with Carter thinking he belongs here because of his name and Storm out for revenge and blood.
James Storm vs. Ethan Carter III
They’re strapped together and you win by pinfall or submission (thank goodness). Storm unloads with right hands to start and there’s the first strap shot. Carter gets dropped hard onto the apron (which is the hardest part of the ring you know) and sent into the barricade but a strap shot takes over again.
Back in and we hit the choke with the strap but Storm isn’t going to take any more. The comeback is on in a hurry but Carter sends him into the corner for a breather. It’s handcuff time with Storm in trouble, only to pull the old switch and get Carter cuffed instead. Storm gets in thirty two lashes (one more than he gave Storm) and NOW the referee unlocks the cuffs. I’m sure Carter is thrilled with the timing.
A 1%er gives Storm two but Carter sends him into the post for a breather. Carter hits the 1%er as well for the same result and that’s not cool. There’s the Last Call but Storm collapses. Carter gives him a lifting sitout Pedigree (Christopher Daniels’ Angel’s Wings) for the pin at 10:45.
Rating: C. I wasn’t feeling this one as much as the strap shots weren’t the biggest focus, save for that one time in the corner. Storm collapsing is an interesting angle but I’m worried about where it might be going. Carter winning is the right call as there’s a good chance he’s going to be challenging El Patron soon.
Karen Jarrett and Dutch Mantell can’t find Bruce Prichard.
We recap Josh Matthews/Scott Steiner vs. Joseph Park/Jeremy Borash. Matthews is a loudmouthed announcer who brags about his former career. Borash stood up to him and a tag match was set up. This feud has been going on for about three months now and I absolutely cannot stand the thing. It’s basically been the top story for months now and since the commentators are on the show all the time, it’s talked about throughout the shows.
Jeremy Borash/Joseph Park vs. Josh Matthews/Scott Steiner
No DQ and D’Angelo Dinero joins commentary. Josh starts with Park and flips around a bit, followed by a kick to the head. A crossbody doesn’t work so it’s off to Steiner, who looks to be about 50lbs (of muscle) lighter than he was in his regular career. He’s also wearing a shirt, which he would never do given that his character was built around a great physique. Again, there was NO ONE ELSE on the active roster that could play this role?
Borash hands it right back to Park….and they run to the back for a pre-taped segment. Park and Borash grab a fire extinguisher while Steiner and Matthews are in a golf cart. A car with a random fan (I think he was in one of the Final Deletion segments) shows up so Matthews and Steiner steal that to give chase, but they can’t catch an announcer and an out of shape lawyer on foot.
They finally get out of the car (which had cameras inside) and chase after them with Matthews being backdropped into a pool while Steiner throws Park through a wall. With a camera under the water, the Jaws theme starts playing and Shark Boy shows up to bite Matthews. Steiner leaves Park and here’s Father James Mitchell (Abyss’ old manager) to say happy anniversary.
Back inside (and after an unnecessary cameo from celebrity chef Robert Irvine) and Matthews misses a Swanton. Josh spears him down but here’s Steiner for the save. Matthews grabs a hug which is called a Steiner Recliner, only to have Shark Boy come in for the failed save attempt. Now Steiner puts on the Recliner and we’ve got Abyss to get rid of Scott without much effort. The Black Hole Slam onto the tacks crushes Josh and Borash adds a top rope splash to give Abyss the pin at 10:50.
Rating: C. That was as good as it was going to be and the Shark Boy thing made me chuckle a bit. You knew Abyss was going to be in there at some point and there’s nothing wrong with that as it was the only way they could really go. Steiner could have been any heel here though and that’s not a good thing. Again, it looks like the company has no faith in its roster, which is a very bad sign. The wrestling wasn’t the point here of course, but I’m more worried about it continuing until we have a singles match at Bound For Glory. Just let it be over as I don’t think anyone really cared much for this in the first place. Please let it end.
We recap the Eddie Edwards/Alisha Edwards vs. Davey Richards/Angelina Love. The Wolves broke up and Eddie blamed Angelina, but Davey said she just told him to follow his heart. Tonight it’s Full Metal Mayhem (TLC with pins) in what is likely the final fight.
Davey Richards/Angelina Love vs. Eddie Edwards/Alisha Edwards
Full Metal Mayhem with the heels taking over via some early cheap shots. They waste no time in bringing in the weapons with Alisha trash canning Love down. Back in and the good guys take over with Richards and Love having a trash can being put on top of their heads for a double kendo stick shot.
Eddie powerbombs Alisha onto Davey (Flores: That’s in the wedding vows right?) but Love finds a cup of tacks. The tacks are poured into Eddie’s mouth for a kick to the head (straight out of PWG) but Alisha powerbombs Love through a table. Eddie is right there after here and it’s a powerbomb to put Davey through another table for the pin at 8:53.
Rating: C. And this is why you don’t book back to back hardcore matches. We literally saw tacks used less than twenty minutes ago and while the spot here was more intense, it’s still thumb tacks again. The right team won but my goodness I hope that ends the feud. There’s not much left for Richards and Edwards to do but Bound For Glory is always a possibility. Also what was with the REALLY short run time?
We recap Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt. Sonjay finally won the X-Division Title in his native India and Low Ki wants a rematch, which will be 2/3 falls.
X-Division Title: Sonjay Dutt vs. Low Ki
Low Ki is challenging in a two out of three falls match. Feeling out process to start as they fight over a wristlock. They grab a test of strength with Dutt being taken to the mat but bridging up. A knee to the ribs actually breaks the bridge and we hit a standoff. Dutt takes him down in a waistlock, followed by a tornado DDT.
A moonsault misses and Low Ki dropkicks him into the corner for two. Dutt tries a springboard hurricanrana but Low Ki rolls through for a standing Warrior’s Way and the first fall at 7:26. After a brief break they head outside with Dutt being sent into the barricade. A kick to the knee takes Dutt down on the apron but another Warrior’s Way only hurts Low Ki’s ankle.
The ankle slows things down but OF COURSE he’s playing possum and throws the referee into Dutt. A big springboard kick to the head gives Low Ki two. He tries a top rope Warrior’s Way but only hits the steps, followed by Dutt sending him hard into the barricade. Back in and Low Ki hits a quick Warrior’s Way, only to try a choke instead, allowing Dutt to roll him up for the second fall at 13:26.
Dutt gets kicked down again but Low Ki seems to have hurt his hand. It’s fine enough for the Ki Crusher and two. Dutt goes up but gets dropped face first onto the buckle. Low Ki takes too much time going up though and a backdrop sets up the moonsault double stomp (still a scary looking finisher) to retain Dutt’s title at 18:40.
Rating: B. The ending surprised me but it’s nice to have Dutt get a big win like this to make his reign seem less like a fluke. That and Low Ki losing is always a good thing in my eyes as I’ve never cared for the guy. The moonsault double stomp is still insanely cool looking though and it was a great way to wrap the match up, especially after all the times Low Ki was using the Warrior’s Way.
We recap the Women’s Title match, which is Sienna being polished vs. Rosemary being crazy.
Impact Wrestling Knockouts Title/Global Force Wrestling Women’s Title: Rosemary vs. Sienna
Unification match and Gail Kim is at ringside. Rosemary has an army of freaks with her. Rosemary goes right after her and here are Laurel Van Ness and KM for the nearly immediate distraction. Sienna gets thrown out onto them and orders them to the back, leaving us one on one again.
Back in and Sienna hammers away before grabbing a chinlock. Rosemary gets sent hard into the barricade, only to fight out of a Tree of Woe for a German superplex. That doesn’t do much actually as the Red Wedding is broken up and Sienna gets two off the Silencer. The second Red Wedding attempt connects but here’s Van Ness to pull out the ref. Allie comes in for the save but the distraction lets Sienna get in a belt shot for two. The mist is blocked and Sienna rubs it in Rosemary’s eyes, setting up a guillotine to make Rosemary tap at 10:03.
Rating: C-. I’m still not sure why these two are fighting or why I should care about the GFW Women’s Title but that’s the case for the entire “promotion” pretty much since its inception. The match was a good brawl but the overbooking really dragged things down. This story has been going on for months now and it doesn’t seem anywhere close to being finished, even though there’s not much left for them to fight over.
Here’s Jeff Jarrett for a chat. He thanks the fans for helping the Jarrett Family over the years. For fifteen years, the fans have supported this company and he wants to say thank you. He’s ready for the main event and says they’ve got a lot to follow. This was short and classy, which is always nice.
We recap the main event with Lashley’s Impact Wrestling World Title vs. Alberto El Patron’s GFW World Title. Alberto beat Lashley earlier in the year but the level of shenanigans caused the match to be overturned. They’ve built this up very well and the videos have helped a lot.
Impact Wrestling World Title/Global Force Wrestling World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Alberto El Patron
Unification match. Lashley has a bunch of MMA fighters with him while Alberto has his father and brother with him. The fighters, save for King Mo, and Alberto’s brother all leave so it’s just Mo and Dos Caras Sr. They hit the mat to start with Alberto kicking at the legs to set up a standoff.
Lashley looks serious and they head outside with Lashley sending Alberto head first into the table five times in a row. Back in and Lashley charges into some raised boots but grabs a neckbreaker. Alberto is back up with a superplex for no cover and they slug it out from their knees. Some right hands in the corner are countered with a powerbomb to give Lashley two.
Lashley is starting to get cocky as he hammers away in the corner but the armbreaker has him in quick trouble. We get the big power up spot with Lashley powerbombing him down for two more. A middle rope Death Valley Driver of all things gives Lashley another near fall and King Mo grabs a chair.
Lashley is content with slapping Alberto in the face, earning himself a kick to the head for two. Dos Caras stares Mo down, leaving Lashley to grab a cross armbreaker. That goes nowhere so a spear gets two, only to have the second spear eat a dropkick. Alberto sends him into the corner and hits the top rope double stomp for the pin and both titles at 19:29.
Rating: B. That’s about what I expected: good, back and forth match with hard hitting action and little to no emotion to the whole thing. I’m assuming their World Title matches are this way by design but it’s never been my favorite style. The World Title matches often feel like they’re contractually obligated instead of personal, which is certainly an option but I could go for more hated/personal issues in the build. Still though, solid match with the right ending.
Alberto celebrates with the roster to end the show. Of note: the logo says GFW Impact Wrestling.
Overall Rating: B. This was actually a heck of a show, which tends to be the case when the company cuts out all the nonsense (and the horrible commentary, which was a MAJOR upgrade tonight) and stupid stuff that they do so often. If nothing else, the matches here were long enough with the wrestlers working hard throughout. I had a good time with the show and while there are definitely issues that need to be fixed, they had a good night tonight to end/begin an old/new era. Call this a very, very pleasant surprise but nothing you need to get used to, given this company’s track record.
LAX b. Naomichi Marufuji/Taiji Ishmori, Drago/El Hijo de Fantasma and Laredo Kid/Garza Jr. – Street Sweeper to Drago
Moose/DeAngelo Williams b. Chris Adonis/Eli Drake – Frog splash to Adonis
Ethan Carter III b. James Storm – Lifting sitout Pedigree
Joseph Park/Jeremy Borash b. Josh Matthews/Scott Steiner – Top rope splash to Matthews
Eddie Edwards/Alisha Edwards b. Davey Richards/Angelina Love – Powerbomb through a table to Richards
Sonjay Dutt b. Low Ki – Moonsault double stomp
Sienna b. Rosemary – Guillotine
Alberto El Patron b. Lashley – Top rope double stomp
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