Impact Wrestling – December 27, 2018 (Best of 2018 Part 2)

Impact Wrestling
Date: December 27, 2018
Host: Josh Matthews

It’s the second half of the Best of 2018 after last week’s show was about as easy of a sit as you could find. There’s enough stuff from the year to fill in four hours but I didn’t see anything all that great last week. There’s enough solid stuff to fill out the card though and that’s enough for something like this. Let’s get to it.

As usual I’ll be posting the full versions of the matches.

Opening sequence.

Josh welcomes us to the show and promised the top matches of the year tonight, as voted on by the fans.

Fenix talks about being considered the best in the world and how he can’t wait to face LAX at Homecoming.

From Impact, July 5.

Rich Swann vs. Fenix

This could be good. Feeling out process to start with Swann doing about eight nipups in a row to get out of a wristlock. That’s fine with Fenix who bounces on the top rope to send Swann outside. You wouldn’t be able to do that. The fans chant for both these guys as they miss kicks and trade forearms for a standoff. Swann gets kicked to the floor but avoids a dive, setting up a dropkick off the apron to put Fenix down.

Back in and Fenix gets caught on top, banging up his knee in the process. The knee is fine enough to moonsault into an armdrag though as these two just don’t stop. There’s the big flip dive to the floor but Fenix misses a moonsault back inside. Of course he keeps backflipping though and cutters Swann for another close two.

Fenix’s Lethal Injection is countered with Swann standing on his hands (of course) so Fenix has to try it again, this time connecting for a double knockdown. Back from a break with a chop off until Swann gets two off a fisherman’s buster and a middle rope 450. Fenix is right back with an over the shoulder sitout Tombstone for two of his own, followed by a Muscle Buster spinning into a driver for the pin at 13:30.

Rating: B. Well that was awesome. They didn’t try to do anything else here other than taking two high fliers and have them throw out one cool move after another. Fenix is as good as anyone right now and Swann could hang with him, making this a very entertaining match. The four way at Slammiversary should be a blast.

Video on LAX vs. the OGz.

LAX can’t believe how far they went against each in the street fight.

From Impact, August 16.

LAX and the OGz meet in the actual streets (or maybe a parking lot) with a bunch of people behind both teams. Konnan and King agree that just the wrestlers themselves fight and the OGz lay the belts down. Since this isn’t an actual match, I’m assuming the belts aren’t on the line. Hernandez gets sent into a fence and beaten with a plastic sign by Ortiz but King sends one of the unnamed goons in with a fork.

Homicide and Santana fight with the fork but Santana gets out of a Gringo Killer on the concrete. Ortiz breaks a broom over Hernandez’s back and Santana hits Homicide with something King accidentally throws him. Hernandez comes back in with what might have been a bottle and Border Tosses Santana onto the pile of people.

King throws in a rope to hang Ortiz but Santana is back in with some kind of club and LAX takes their belts back. With the OGz down, King gets in Konnan’s face and shouts that he’s leading LAX down the wrong path. He yells about Konnan doing something to him fifteen years ago and begs Konnan to knock him out. Konnan swears and does exactly what King requests to end the show.

Tessa Blanchard isn’t taking anything else from Taya Valkyrie. Taya may be a lot of things, but she’s nothing more than Johnny Impact’s wife.

Now we get to the Top 5 Matches of the year with #5 from Bound For Glory.

Knockouts Title: Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie

Taya is challenging and has new gear, making her look like an old school Natalya cosplayer. Tessa works on a wristlock to start and the fans are behind the champ. A headscissors takes Tessa down and Taya kicks her in the head in the corner. Taya gets in a not great spear to put Tessa on the floor but a neckbreaker onto the apron has Taya in trouble. Back in and a Codebreaker out of the corner gives Tessa two but it’s way too early for the Buzzsaw DDT.

Taya is right back with some Spanish shouting and running knees in the corner. A guillotine choke with a bodyscissors has to be broken up by a Tessa dead lift and the fans chant something in Spanish that is completely ignored. They slug it out and the Buzzsaw DDT is broken up again but Taya can’t hit Road to Valhalla. Instead Taya chokeslams her down to set up a moonsault.

A stomp sets up the STF but Tessa is too close to the ropes. The referee stops to FIX THE RING SKIRT, meaning there’s no count off the Road to Valhalla. It’s a delayed two, meaning Tessa is right back up with the Buzzsaw DDT for two of her own. Taya is back up again so Tessa sends her face first into the middle buckle, setting up Magnum to retain the title at 10:44.

Rating: C+. Nice power brawl here with Tessa finally having someone who can go move for move with her. The ending was the only way to go as Taya hasn’t been around in the better part of six months so changing the title was almost out of the question. Now you can build someone else up to challenge Tessa for the title, because the division has been all but cleaned out at the moment.

#4. From Redemption.

Impact Wrestling World Title: Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix

Aries is defending. We hit the trash talk to start (well duh) and it’s Aries starting fast with a bunch of chops all around. Remembering that they’re brothers, Fenix and Pentagon send him outside but Pentagon is right back up with a Sling Blade. Aries is back in and getting kicked in the face soon thereafter, followed by a jumping cutter to Pentagon.

A smart Aries steals the near fall and grabs the Last Chancery, only to have Fenix springboard in with a missile dropkick for the save. Pentagon heads outside and it’s Fenix chopping the heck out of Aries. For a change of pace, Aries chops the head out of Fenix. Aries gets two off a forearm as it sounds like one of the announcers is opening a can. Pentagon comes back in and gets bulldogged for two, followed by the Last Chancery with Fenix making another fast save.

That sends Pentagon outside so Fenix throws Aries at him, earning his brother a hurricanrana. Fenix isn’t about to be shown up though and busts out a corkscrew plancha to the floor to drop them both again. Back in again and Fenix drops a Swanton for two on Pentagon, who pops up to German suplex both guys. He can’t quite break Aries’ arm though as Fenix makes a save. Now why wouldn’t he want the World Champion taken out?

Pentagon beaks up Aries’ running corner dropkick and Backstabs his brother for two. This time it’s Fenix getting back up with a superkick to Aries but Pentagon’s Fear Factor (package piledriver) gets two with Aries making another save. Pentagon is fine enough to block a suicide dive so Aries sends him into the crowd instead.

Back in (again) and the 450 hits both challengers, including Pentagon taking some hard knees. That’s enough for the two of them and it’s time for the brother double teaming, including a double superkick. Pentagon lays Fenix out though and snaps Aries’ arm. The Fear Factor gives Pentagon the pin on Aries and the title at 16:15.

Rating: B. Good match here and that’s all you can ask for in a big time main event. The surprise title change isn’t shocking enough to be too far and you can probably pencil in Pentagon dropping it no later than Slammiversary. That being said, it’s really cool to see Pentagon getting some more exposure like this as he’s been a gem to watch down in Lucha Underground. Strong main event here.

LAX wants to go back to the hallowed grounds for Homecoming to face the Lucha Bros.

#3. From Slammiversary.

Tag Team Titles: OGz vs. LAX

Street fight and LAX is defending, though I thought this was non-title. LAX comes through the crowd and Konnan meets them on the ramp to say go to it. Hernandez shrugs off the beating but can’t hit the Border Toss to the floor. Instead Santana dropkicks Homicide off the apron and it’s some dives (with the camera missing one) to drop the OGz. A pair of tables are set up in the corner while Homicide puts up one on the floor against the barricade.

Hernandez starts cleaning house and Ortiz gets choked with a chain. The big dive over the top has Santana rocked as Hernandez flashes back to the SuperMex days. More metal shots to the head put Hernandez down and Homicide actually walks into a suplex. Yes that was in fact a wrestling move. The OGz take over again without much effort but Santana superkicks his way out of trouble.

Back in and Hernandez pulls Santana out of the air, followed by a heck of a sitout powerbomb for two. Ortiz is back up with the trashcan lids to the head and it’s ladder time. A flip dive into a Lionsault onto Hernandez onto the ladder has Hernandez down and the Street Sweeper gets two on Homicide. Santana hits a big flip dive to put Homicide through a table at ringside but they’re not done.

Back in and a running Death Valley Driver puts Homicide through a table. It works so well that Ortiz loads it up but Hernandez gives him a Border Toss through the other table. Santana is back up this time with a superkick as Konnan goes after King. Homicide loads up the Gringo Killer but stops to spit at Konnan. The distraction lets Konnan throw a bag of tacks to Santana, who THROWS THEM AT HOMICIDE for what could be a terrifying result. A slam and frog splash put Homicide away at 13:55.

Rating: B. This was exactly the kind of match it should have been, meaning it was barely wrestling and was instead the wild weapons brawl that showed off the violent hatred. You can almost guarantee a rematch and the OGz getting the titles at one point, as they certainly should. I liked the match a lot, though it didn’t hit the level I was hoping it would reach.

Johnny Impact wants to beat up Brian Cage in Nashville. As usual, this company doesn’t know how to make World Title matches personal.

#2. From Bound For Glory.

Impact Wrestling World Title: Johnny Impact vs. Austin Aries

Aries is defending, Taya, Moose (in the King outfit again) and Killer Kross are here and we get Big Match Intros. Johnny goes for a takedown but gets caught in a guillotine choke with Aries grabbing the ropes for some illogical reason. Aries gets taken down by a choke as well and the fans chant 205. Impact changes plans by slugging away and knocks him to the floor with a dive to follow.

Back up and Aries tries to whip him into the barricade but Johnny jumps up with one foot on the barricade and the other on the apron for a moonsault. You know, because he can just do that. They head back in with Aries pounding away and glaring over at Taya. That earns him a rolling slap to the face but Aries knocks him down again and lays on the top rope. Some hard knees in the corner look to set up the Flying Chuck, only to have Aries knock him out to the floor. A springboard corkscrew crossbody gives Impact two but Aries is right back up with a Last Chancery attempt.

That doesn’t work either so Impact hits the Flying Chuck for two more. Impact takes him up top but gets shoved down, setting up a middle rope hurricanrana. The neckbreaker over the middle rope connects but Aries takes way too long going up (out of character for him) and gets caught in a super Spanish Fly.

The Countdown to Impact misses (Does it ever hit?) so they fight to the apron with Aries hitting a Death Valley Driver for a sick crash. Aries’ 450 gets two so it’s time to yell at the ref. A superkick sets up Starship Pain for two as Aries has to grab the rope. The roaring elbow sets up the corner dropkick and the brainbuster to knock Impact silly but he’s still fine enough to get a boot on the ropes.

Taya celebrates so Aries yells at her, allowing Impact to grab a backslide for two. The Last Chancery is broken up and they slug it out until Aries hits a suicide dive to send Taya into the barricade. That’s too far and Impact kicks Aries in the head (with the camera on Moose laughing) and gives him a brainbuster of his own. Starship Pain is good for the pin and the title at 21:00.

Rating: B. The ending was the right call and they beat the heck out of each other, making this a rather strong main event. Now the problem here is the Taya stuff, which while making it feel personal, came off as forced. It was like they didn’t have enough in the story to make it work so they wedged that in there at the last second, almost like Aries’ heel turn against Jeff Hardy in 2012. It worked for the match, but it would have been better as part of the build over a few weeks, not a few days.

Sami Callihan knew his match would be #1 and then he’ll do it again at Homecoming.

#1. From Slammiversary.

Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr.

After some yelling, they get to the kicking each other in the face. Pentagon scores with a Sling Blade for the first real offense and it’s time for the chops. Sami opens his vest and wants the best shot. The ensuing chop brings Callihan to his knees and a face that says how bad of an idea that was. He’s fine enough to take it outside for a water bottle to the head but they both chop the post.

Pentagon slaps him down as the announcers mention that this has relaxed rules. I know that’s expected and understood, but it’s nice to be officially told. Callihan posts out some spikes of all things and starts gouging at the head, drawing some much needed blood (just kind of necessary in a match like this). That’s fine with Pentagon, who knocks a spike back into Callihan’s head. With nothing else working, both guys grab a chair and beat the fire out of each other, earning a FIGHT FOREVER chant.

There is blood everywhere and Pentagon chairs him down again. The armbreaker is broken up so Pentagon chairs him down for the second time in a few seconds. Cue the Crists to take a shot each, allowing Callihan to throw some powder. Pentagon breaks the ref’s arm instead so there’s no one to count the Pentagon Driver.

The Cactus Driver onto a chair gets the same result for Callihan and he’s not sure what to do. Callihan loads up some chairs, which go nowhere as Pentagon hits the Fear Factor…for two? Well that was surprising. Ever defiant, Callihan spits in his face, which you just don’t do. Pentagon superkicks him down, breaks his arm and hits another Fear Factor for the pin at 17:58.

Rating: B-. This needed to be a few minutes shorter but it also needed to be a little away from the previous match as having two violent brawls in a row wasn’t the best idea. Pentagon winning was really the only call here given how big of a star he is on the indy scene at the moment so it’s hard to argue with the ending. Give Sami something to bring him back to earth and OVE can go insane again.

Overall Rating: B. That was #1? Really? The match wasn’t all that great and the fans think that it’s the best of the year? There were some odd choices on this show but there’s only so much complaining you can do about something like this. The wrestling was good and the LAX vs. OGz stuff is as good as it got all year and the Homecoming card looks great. Hopefully they can get in a good go home show, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they don’t quite make it. Anyway, good 2018, though it wasn’t as good as it could have been.

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