Date: February 15, 2018
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Sonjay Dutt, Josh Matthews
It’s a big night here with Austin Aries defending the World Title against Eli Drake in a rematch from the impromptu title change two weeks ago. While I can’t imagine another title change, I do like the idea of Drake, who was a good champion, getting a regular title match instead of the thirty second version. Let’s get to it.
Austin Aries is ready to show the world the real him tonight. Just in case they’ve forgotten him, he’s the greatest man that ever lived.
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Callihan
Lashley is on him before the bell with a clothesline but gets kicked in the face. That just earns Sami another clothesline before Lashley beats up OVE. The distraction lets Sami get in another shot though and he sends Lashley right back to the floor. A tornado DDT on the floor drops Lashley again and OVE grabs his legs on the way back in. Sami dumps Lashley AGAIN as this is getting a little repetitive in the early going.
Outside again and Sami spits in his hand for a chop against the barricade and Lashley is tossed into the apron. One heck of a spear cuts Sami down though and we take a break. Back with Sami charging into a boot in the corner and getting taken down with a running crossbody. The spear is awkwardly caught in a guillotine but Lashley powers out again. Sami ties him up in the corner for a sitout powerbomb but the kicks to the face just make Lashley mad. A Dominator sets up the spear to give Lashley….two as OVE comes in for the DQ at 14:34.
Rating: D. I know Sami is kind of revered but I’m not sure I get it. He’s a better character than in-ring worker (assuming you go for the shouting promos) and that makes for a bit of a rough sit when the match is fourteen minutes long. It wasn’t the worst but Sami isn’t the best option for a regular match. All of the going outside for OVE interference didn’t help either.
Post match the beatdown is on but Eddie Edwards makes the save.
Eli Drake says he’s still World Champion because this is his first match with Aries. He can’t stop being World Champion and he’s not stopping tonight.
LAX has plans for later.
We look back at Braxton Sutter and Laurel Van Ness’ wedding from last year, which was broken up by Allie. As usual, this showcases a lot of people not even in the company anymore. It might have helped if Sutter had done ANYTHING after this.
Allie arrives, hears a crazy laugh, and finds another note from her secret admirer.
Aries has been around the world collecting titles and he’s not about to lose tonight. Drake better have been getting ready for the last two weeks because he’s not ready for what’s coming for him.
Moose isn’t happy with how last week’s four way went down and it’s Alberto El Patron jumping him to trigger a brawl.
Hania the Huntress vs. Rosemary
Rosemary spears her down to start and slugs away in the corner but Hania wins the battle of right hands. A spinwheel kick gives Hania two but the headscissor choke over the ropes has Hania in trouble. Back in and Hania kicks her down again as the announcers talk about the main event instead of paying attention to the match. Hania hits a high crossbody but Rosemary rolls through for the pin at 4:00.
Rating: D+. Who is Hania? I know she’s a Huntress and has attacked Rosemary, but who is she? Why did she attack Rosemary? I know she’s not the biggest character in the world but a vignette or promo from her explaining ANYTHING about her would be very appreciated. Of course we’re not going to get that because we need more of LAX talking about tequila, but it would help us know a little something about her.
Post match Hania loads up the reverse DDT on the steps but Rosemary bites the arm and seems to like the taste.
Johnny Impact isn’t sure about Matt Sydal’s stretching but it’s what the spiritual adviser recommended.
Tyrus is back to be Ethan Carter III’s mystery partner. I’m not sure that’s how a mystery works.
Allie goes to where the note said to meet the admirer and finds a box of chocolates and a card. The card says LVN and Laurel Van Ness pops out of an anvil case, earning a very quick shot to the head with the chocolates. Allie beats her up a bit and throws Laurel back into the case, which she kicks for good measure.
Ethan Carter III/Tyrus vs. Johnny Impact/Matt Sydal
Matt won’t shake Ethan’s hand to start so it’s off to Johnny without any offense. Sydal comes back in and armbars Ethan down but Tyrus runs everyone over. A good looking flip sends Johnny sailing over Tyrus for a tag to Sydal, who is cut off by a headbutt to the chest. It’s back to Carter for a cravate before Tyrus is back in with a running splash in the corner.
Carter gives up the hot tag though and it’s Johnny coming back in for a bunch of kicks. Sydal loads up the shooting star but dives onto Tyrus instead, getting driven into the barricade for his efforts. Back in and the Flying Chuck is broken up and Carter grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 8:36.
Rating: D+. So Tyrus is back. Uh….does anyone have anything interesting to say about this? He’s the same guy he was before he left and that’s not exactly thrilling news. Tyrus can fill in a spot on the roster and be a tag partner for Carter, but it’s not like this is the biggest deal in the world. The match was nothing great but they didn’t keep them out there too long.
Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong go to Joseph Park’s law offices (Which we established didn’t exist YEARS AGO but now they do again for the sake of the story.). Things are destroyed in the name of bringing Abyss back.
Brian Cage vs. John Cruz
Cage throws him around and a wicked powerbomb into a buckle bomb have Cruz in even more trouble. A Steiner Screwdriver ends Cruz at 1:17. Exactly what it should have been.
The Cult of Lee looks for LAX but find Fallah Bahh eating M&M in a visual that isn’t as funny as TNA thinks it is. Instead they beat up the Mumbai Cats. Remember them? I’m not sure why you would. They’re unmasked to reveal….two random guys.
X-Division Title: Taiji Ishimori vs. El Hijo De Fantasma
Ishimori is defending and we get a long explanation about the champ’s theme song. Feeling out process to start as the announcers talk about Kongo Kong and Jimmy Jacobs demanding the return of Abyss. Fantasma gets two off a big boot and grabs a leglock to send Ishimori crawling over to the ropes. We hit a double arm crank and take a break with the champ in trouble.
Back with Ishimori hitting a springboard seated senton as Josh says who is in which colors. Now why does no one else know to do that? Ishimori hits a big flip dive to the floor but gets caught with some knees to the head. Fantasma hits a suicide dive (which is nowhere near as good as he’s done it before) but Ishimori is right back up with a running hurricanrana down the ramp. Back in and Ishimori drops him on his head, setting up the 450 to retain at 13:02.
Rating: B-. The matches are entertaining and if that’s all you’re looking for out of them, you’re going to be fine. The division has long since given up on the idea of anything interesting in the form of characters or storylines so just sit back and enjoy a bunch of high flying. Anything else is wishful thinking and that’s been the case for a long time.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Austin Aries vs. Eli Drake
Aries is defending and comes out with four titles, including the Defiant Wrestling World Title (and the IPW-UK and World Series Wrestling (Australia) Titles). The fact that Impact Wrestling and What Culture have the same champion and that their title is making it onto national TV is either an amazing success story or a sign of how far this company has fallen. The threat of the Last Chancery sends Drake bailing to the floor in short order and it’s time for a breather.
Aries does his bouncing escape from a headscissors and dropkicks the seated Drake. Back up and Drake takes over with a few right hands, followed by some shoulders in the corner as we take a break. Back with Aries hitting a running elbow drop but charging into an elbow to the face. A neckbreaker gives Drake two and it’s time for the comeback with Aries getting the better of a slugout. Aries gets two off a missile dropkick and smacks Drake around the ears.
Drake is right back up and runs the corner for something like a front facelock superplex for two. An AA gets two and Aries is right back to his feet, sending Drake to the floor. The suicide dive takes Chris Adonis down instead and Aries has to make sure he didn’t kill a fan. Back in and the Gravy Train is reversed into the Last Chancery but Aries has to deck Adonis. Not that it matters as another Gravy Train is reversed into the brainbuster to retain Aries’ title at 16:28.
Rating: B. This was your run of the mill big time Impact main event: completely serviceable but not exactly with any kind of drama. You know they’re not going back to Drake, at least not anytime soon. Aries getting a big and definitive win was a good thing and something his reign needed to get off on the right foot. I’m not sure where Drake goes now but he’s earned the right to stay pretty high up on the card.
Overall Rating: C+. Not bad at all but as usual, the lack of any real fire hurt things a lot. The wrestling was up and down all night and while the main event was good, it’s not a match that I’m going to remember in a day or so. That’s a major problem for this entire company: there’s very little that stands out and I don’t feel like I’m connected to any of these wrestlers. Certainly not a bad show, but it’s stuck in the same bubble it’s been in for a long time now.
Bobby Lashley b. Sami Callihan via DQ when OVE interfered
Rosemary b. Hania the Huntress – Reversed crossbody
Ethan Carter III/Tyrus b. Johnny Impact/Matt Sydal – Rollup with feet on the ropes
Brian Cage b. John Cruz – Steiner Screwdriver
Taiji Ishimori b. El Hijo De Fantasma – 450
Austin Aries b. Eli Drake – Last Chancery
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