Date: January 4, 2018
Location: Aberdeen Pavilion, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Jeremy Borash, Josh Matthews
We’re back to the regular shows after two weeks of Best of 2017 episodes drew higher audiences than the standard ones. This is a big week as well with multiple title matches, including Eli Drake defending the World Title against Alberto El Patron in a match which might be taped from a WrestlePro event. Let’s get to it.
Dan Lambert tells the American Top Team guys that he has this tonight.
We preview tonight’s big tag match and four title matches. This is a stacked show but it really, really needs to draw.
X-Division Title: Taiji Ishimori vs. Trevor Lee
Lee is defending and has Caleb Konley in his corner. They fight over arm control to start because that’s the kind of exciting stuff this division is built on. Giving this match the level of attention it has earned, the announcers talk about every other big match taking place tonight. Ishimori dropkicks him out to the floor and moonsaults into a pose. Konley trips him up though and the champ takes over with a running kick on the apron.
Back in and a whip into the corner gets two more as the announcers are now going with silence instead of talking about something else. Uh…improvement? Ishimori comes back with running knees in the corner and takes his shirt off. Not quite TAKING OFF HIS PANTS but close enough. A handspring into a crossbody looks to take Lee down but he flips it over into a belly to belly for a sweet counter as we take a break.
Back with Ishimori scoring off a handspring kick to the face but missing the 450. Like a finisher is going to hit on the first attempt. Lee backslides him down but picks Ishimori up into a sitout powerbomb for two instead. Destino (Tetsuya Naito’s finisher) gives Ishimori two and the 450 is enough to get the title off of Lee at 13:16.
Rating: C+. There’s no secret that Ishimori is the best in the division but that’s not exactly saying much. The division barely means anything around here anymore and Ishimori isn’t going to be able to do anything on his own. It also doesn’t help that there’s not much setting the division apart. Ishimori has a good looking 450 but most of the division isn’t exactly known for flying around the ring. Give us something that makes them stand out aside from the label of being in the X-Division.
Alberto and Eli are ready to fight at WrestlePro. I know they need more content but this always feels like it’s cheap.
Dezmond Xavier wants a shot at Ishimori’s title. Makes sense after the Super X Cup and it’s better than nothing else.
LAX isn’t happy.
James Storm says tonight is a little different because he’s standing up for Impact Wrestling. I’m a big Storm fan but his “I’ve been here since the beginning” promo is getting old.
Grand Championship: Ethan Carter III vs. Fallah Bahh vs. Matt Sydal
Carter is defending and this is under the same round and scoring system as a standard one on one match. Yes they’re finding new ways to make this title stupid. Everyone brawls to start until Bahh clotheslines both of them down and slams Matt onto Eli. Bahh rolls onto both of them to break up a cover and chops the heck out of Carter in the corner. Carter gets run over again but he rolls away before a Banzai Drop. The first round ends and of course goes to Bahh.
Round two starts after a break with Bahh getting double teamed and knocked out to the floor. Sydal kicks Carter down for two but Eli gorilla presses him onto Bahh. Josh thinks Carter should try to win the match. Keep it up Josh and you’ll get up to Byron Saxton territory in no time. Carter throws Drake into the corner to end the round.
As you might expect, Carter wins the second round but Bahh runs them both over to start round three. Bahh sits on Carter’s chest for two with Sydal having to make a save. The TK3 plants Sydal and Carter breaks up another Bonzai Drop attempt. Bahh is back up and slows down the shooting star press, which Sydal hits just as time expires at 9:00. Carter wins round three and retains the title.
Rating: B-. As usual, the more fun I have with this match, the less interest I have in the whole concept. You could do the exact same thing with a ten minute time limit, which at least makes more sense than a nine minute time limit. I know I harp on these same issues over and over but sweet goodness they just do not learn with this thing. I’m not sure what they see in the whole concept but I don’t think anyone would be complaining if it was just dropped already.
Video on Johnny Impact. He really needs a fresh feud after all this stuff with Alberto, who hasn’t done much for Johnny’s status around here.
KM arrived and jumped Moose. Somehow, this has been quite the upgrade for him as of late.
Allie can’t believe she’s here but Gail Kim (take a freaking shot) told her she’d be here. Crazy Laurel Van Ness attacks her from behind.
Dan Lambert vs. James Storm
Loser leaves town and no holds barred. Lambert talks a lot of trash and here are the American Top Team guys for the beatdown. Lashley’s spinebuster gets two but Storm manages to Last Call everyone down. He hadn’t taken much damage but sweet goodness that’s quite the comeback. KM comes in with a beer bottle to Storm’s head for two. Lashley holds Lambert back, allowing a double beer bottle shot to put Storm away at 3:36.
Rating: F. And that’s it for Storm, who has been one of the longest standing stars of Impact for years now. It does kind of seem appropriate that he goes out putting someone else over, which is always the case for Storm. I could go for him putting over WRESTLERS on his way out but this American Top Team thing is out of hand at this point. It really would have been nice for Storm to get in any kind of important offense but this is how Impact is going to let someone go, because that’s what matters to them.
Post break, Storm gets an ovation from the locker room. Storm calls his family to say he’s coming home and you can barely hear him over the LAX chants while the other match is being taped at the same time. So he gets squashed and beaten down by non-wrestlers and then you can’t even hear his goodbye speech. As mentioned: such is life in Impact.
Video on the debut of Joseph Park, who started off looking for his brother Abyss. I was actually surprised that he was Abyss as I never would have recognized him. The fact that he looks like Penn Jillette made things more complicated.
We see the last few minutes of Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray from Slammiversary 2012.
Chandler Park vs. Jon Bolen
Park is indy mainstay Ethan Page. Bolen drops Park to start and runs him over with a shoulder for two. Josh plugs the upcoming Orlando tapings which will feature a miniature golf tournament. Well it’s better than a match from 2012. Joseph manages to get some cheers going and Bolen misses a charge in the corner. Chandler celebrates a bit too long though and gets the ropes kicked between his legs. For some reason Jon decides to insult Joseph’s Grandma Jenny and gets knocked into a rollup for the pin at 2:39. Park has a good look but this slip on a banana peel winning isn’t going to work for very long.
So to recap: they aired a video package which showed that they’re basically repeating the same idea with one of the participants being the same just five years later. Am I missing something here?
Sydal wants Carter one on one and says tonight’s defeat felt like a victory. He has a radical idea: a REGULAR MATCH for the title. I could certainly go for that idea, which is why I think they’ll manage to botch the thing.
Video on Alberto vs. Eli. Alberto is still mad about being abandoned by the company and makes threats in Spanish. Drake is a paper champion of course but says that the only paper involved with his title is all the paper money he makes. As usual, Eli is the best promo in this company.
From Rahway, New Jersey this past Saturday at a WrestlePro event.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron
Eli is defending and it’s a brawl before the bell. Jeremy tries to explain the low attendance on the horrible snowstorm over the weekend, even though this was taped nearly a month ago. Alberto gets an early two off a dropkick to the back and sends him into the barricade a few times. Drake is rammed into the buckles over and over but we’re clipped (on a show with a MATCH FROM NEARLY SIX YEARS AGO) to Drake choking on the ramp.
They take turns sending each other into the barricade with Drake getting the better of it for two inside. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Alberto gets the cross armbreaker over the ropes. Clipped again to the Gravy Train giving Drake two. Drake misses a belt shot and gets faceplanted onto the title for two more. The ref gets bumped though and a belt shot retains the title at 6:19.
Rating: D-. Oh sweet goodness no. In addition to the lack of the time (six minutes for a World Title match is almost inexcusable in the first place), the clipping of the match (maybe they could only air so much of it) and the REALLY lame ending, there’s the fact that it wasn’t even held under their own brand. If the match being under the WrestlePro banner necessitated the clipping, maybe don’t have the thing under another banner and tape the match at your own tapings. Why is this stuff so freaking complicated for just this company? I’ve seen indy promotions that run once every month that are put together WAY better than this.
Here’s a clip from a Team Canada match in case you had gotten enough of this modern stuff.
Drake brags about his win and says the belt shot was a receipt for the DDT onto the title belt a few weeks back.
Tag Team Titles: LAX vs. OVE
OVE is defending and this is titles vs. careers. The champs jump LAX during the entrances and the weapons beatdown is on. If this is anything goes, there was no announcement saying such in the arena. The lights finally come up and we get an opening bell with Santana getting superkicked down for two.
We settle down to Dave choking Santana in the corner before it’s off to Jake to choke on the ropes. Santana fights back up but has no partner, meaning Jake can kick him back down for two. The stomping and choking based offense continues with Santana’s right hands having little effect as we take a break. Back with Santana still on his own but managing a cutter on Dave. Ortiz finally manages to get back to the ring, only to be knocked down to the floor again.
Santana has to slap his way to freedom as Ortiz is up on the apron. A DDT finally gets Santana over to the corner for the hot tag so Ortiz can Death Valley Drive Jake into Dave in the corner. Ortiz heads up top for a superplex but Dave reverses it into the Street Sweeper (stealing the finisher) for two more. Santana breaks up the All Seeing Eye and looks for something off the top onto Dave, only to dive into a cutter from Jake in a sweet looking visual. Jake and Ortiz are left to slug it out with Ortiz getting the better of it, setting up the Street Sweeper for the pin and the titles at 14:42.
Rating: B. The story was solid here as you have LAX winning when all the interference goes away despite OVE getting an early advantage. They did this the way they needed to but hokey smoke it’s time for some fresh challengers. I know there aren’t a lot of teams to go around this company but these four can’t feud together much longer, just for the sake of people getting burned out on the match.
Overall Rating: C+. This one depends on how you look at it. The good wrestling outweighed the bad wrestling but egads why can’t this company get the most basic stuff down? I know I mentioned it multiple times but they aired part of a match from 2012 and clipped the World Title match (which aired in another promotion). This is their big return show with FOUR title matches on one show and a gimmick match and it felt like they stumbled to the ground and then crawled over the finish line.
This company doesn’t seem to understand the basics and those major issues are making it very difficult to make any real progress. They built up Alberto vs. Drake and for whatever reason it’s taking place in a small arena in front of a lot of empty bleachers and we don’t even get to see the whole thing. That makes this company seem low level and makes the casual viewers go to another promotion. You need to knock something out of the park once in awhile but I don’t remember the last time they even hit a stand up triple. This was a watchable show but it should have been so much more, which is the case way too often.
Taiji Ishimori b. Trevor Lee – 450 splash
Ethan Carter III b. Matt Sydal and Fallah Bahh via judges’ decision
Dan Lambert b. James Storm – Double beer bottle to the head
Chandler Park b. Jon Bolen – Rollup
Eli Drake b. Alberto El Patron – Title shot to the head
LAX b. OVE – Street Sweeper to Jake
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