United We Stand
Date: April 4, 2019
Location: Rahway Recreation Center, Rahway, New Jersey
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Don Callis
It’s nice that Impact has finally realized that they should be running a show over Wrestlemania weekend. How that eluded them for so long isn’t clear but I think we can go with general reasons of “It’s Impact.” The main event here is Rob Van Dam(recently signed)/Sabu vs. the Lucha Bros in a match that isn’t likely to be as epic as the company expects. Let’s get to it.
Earlier today, Rob Van Dam showed up!
The opening video talks about how five companies (Impact, Lucha Underground, AAA, MLW, WrestlePro, MLW) are coming together for one show that shows what can happen when you unite.
Johnny Impact vs. Jake Crist vs. Dante Fox vs. Jack Evans vs. Pat Buck
Ultimate X (four structures with cables crossing over the ring and an X hanging in the middle) and the winner gets a future X-Division Title shot. Everyone goes to the floor to start with Johnny being smart enough to go straight for the X. Buck makes a save and handstands his way out of an RKO attempt, because Impact is known for his RKO’s. Austin comes back in and kicks Fox to the floor but gets pulled outside by Crist.
The camera misses a Crist dive and it’s Buck cutting Austin off and hiptossing him to the floor. Nearly everyone goes for a climb and the audio starts cutting in and out. Never change Impact. Fox pulls Impact off and Crist hits a superplex on Impact for a bonus. Buck gets pulled off and it’s a massive knockdown. Buck is up first but can’t get very far as the audio goes out again.
A Tower of Doom brings everyone down and Impact hits a spinning Razor’s Edge slam. Fox goes with a Coast to Coast instead of going up for the X and then hits an imploding moonsault. Austin one ups him with a dive OFF THE TOP OF THE STRUCTURE onto everyone for the huge knockdown. Back in and Buck spears Crist off the cables and Impact hits a Spanish Fly on Fox. Austin climbs up and hangs upside down, leaving Crist to hit a diving cutter. Impact uses the knockdown to pull down the X for the win at 13:01.
Rating: C+. It’s a bunch of people doing a bunch of dives and flips off a bunch of high structures. What else can you really expect here? Well perhaps not having the World Champion getting a title shot against the midcard champion? Impact vs. Swann should be a good match, though there might be better choices to pick from.
Moose yells at Eddie Edwards in the back and the audio is so bad that you can’t make out a word. Cage comes in and tells them to get on the same page. I’m sure you can figure out the story, but you should be able to hear the story as well.
Video on last year’s Impact vs. Lucha Underground show with varying levels of audio.
Team Impact vs. Team Lucha Underground
Impact: Brian Cage, Moose, Eddie Edwards
Lucha Underground: Drago, Daga, Marty the Moth Martinez, Aerostar
Impact is down 4-3 to start but there’s a replacement for….someone Impact isn’t exactly making clear. You know who the replacement is going to be. Who else could it be? OF COURSE IT’S TOMMY DREAMER BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS TOMMY DREAMER!!! Eddie and Aerostar start things off with Aerostar snapping off a hurricanrana and Eddie rolling around into a standoff.
Marty and Tommy come in and it’s Martinez going to the ample gut. Drago comes in and snaps off most of a headscissors to Dreamer so it’s Cage coming in for a change of pace. Daga’s running headscissors just annoys Cage, who is right back with a backbreaker to take over. Moose and Cage get in an argument though and Daga takes over with some shots to Moose’s knees.
Cage comes back in to clear out most of the luchadors until Daga and Drago combine to kick him in the face. Everyone gets set outside for the dives and it’s Dreamer teasing a dive before going outside for more punching. He doesn’t dive because he’s old and fat you see. Dreamer spits water at them and we settle back down to Aerostar getting two off a cutter to Eddie.
Drago and Daga start taking turns on Eddie until he dropkicks Daga in the face. The tag brings Cage in and the power goes up in a hurry. Everything breaks down (you knew that was coming) and we go to the parade of secondary finishers. Cage loads up Daga for the F5 but Moose spears his partner, leaving Dreamer to cane Moose in the head. Marty’s double arm DDT finishes Dreamer at 10:22.
Rating: C-. Much like the opener, what are you expecting here? This was a bunch of people in one match, getting in as much stuff as they could at once. Dreamer taking the fall was a relief, but more than that I’m rather sad to see Lucha Underground being such an afterthought. The show is done and it’s sad that they’re trying to throw themselves out here like this with nothing to go on to next. At least they won though. That’s something right?
Taya Valkyrie is in a four way tonight but just like Johnny Impact, she’ll overcome the odds and win.
Knockouts Title: Rosemary vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Katie Forbes vs. Taya Valkyrie
Taya is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Forbes dances and gyrates a lot with very big hair. Everyone goes after Rosemary, which is kind of a weird choice when Grace is right there. We go to the early exchange of rollups that have no chance of working and no one buys them as real near falls. Taya kicks at Katie in the corner and hits a running hip attack. Rosemary comes back in and shouts Taya down but Grace sends Rosemary shoulder first into the post.
A Vader Bomb gets two and a spinning Samoan drop plants Rosemary again. Forbes comes in with a bicycle kick for two on Grace but a collision puts all four down. Rosemary does her upside down triangle choke on Grace until Katie breaks it up. Grace’s missile dropkicks takes down Katie and Taya and it’s Grace slamming everyone in sight. Rosemary spears Taya but here’s Su Yung to draw Rosemary up the ramp. Forbes manages to fireman’s carry Grace for some squats but gets reversed into the Grace Driver. Not that it matters as Taya runs over and steals the pin to retain at 9:00.
Rating: D. They really missed here as there was no flow or structure to the match with a bunch of spots coming one after another. Taya stealing the win isn’t surprising as this isn’t going to be the kind of show where anything significant is going to happen. Not a good match and it really didn’t work, mainly due to trying to do too much.
Tessa Blanchard isn’t interested in what is between Joey Ryan’s legs.
Konnan is tired of disrespect from Low Ki and Ricky Martinez.
Low Ki/Ricky Martinez vs. LAX
It’s interesting how much less I care about Low Ki and Martinez without Salina de la Renta. Konnan is here with LAX though. Low Ki is back in the Hitman attire, which still doesn’t work. Ortiz and Martinez start things off and there’s no contact in the first minute. Make that two minutes and it’s off to Low Ki before anything happens. Santana and Low Ki finally lock up…and do it again…and a third time as they’re not exactly cranking up the work here. Ki puts on an armbreaker over the ropes to get in the first significant offense but everything breaks down for a standoff.
Martinez kicks Ortiz in the head at the five minute mark but a northern lights suplex gives Ortiz two. An assisted sitout flapjack plants Martinez for two but it’s Ki coming in off a blind tag to take over. Martinez comes back in for the Madison Rayne face thrusts into the mat and it’s Ki cranking on the neck. Santana finally avoids a charge and it’s off to Ortiz as the pace picks up.
A middle rope dropkick sends Ki down as the camera keeps cutting so much that it’s hard to get a clear shot of some of these moves. Martinez gets caught in the corner for a superkick into a Tower of London but Ki dives off the top for the save. Ortiz gets caught in an electric chair with Ki adding a Disaster Kick for a near fall of their own. Santana posts Ki though and a Death Valley Driver finishes Martinez at 12:38.
Rating: C-. Ki and Martinez weren’t exactly on fire here and as great as LAX are, they can only do so much. It’s not like the match is terrible or anything close to it, but it’s also not something I ever got into. The lack of Salina really does lower the interest levels in Martinez and Ki, but it could have been a lot worse.
Sami Callihan is ready to show Jimmy Havoc what Ohio violence is all about.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Joey Ryan
Before the match, Joey does his lollipop and baby oil deals. Joey offers to let Tessa touch it but she flips him off instead. A waistlock doesn’t get Tessa anywhere as Joey tries to make her touch it. Hang on though as Joey shouts something….and I can barely hear it. Whatever Joey asked, he gets tossed across the ring by the chest hair instead. Magnum gives Tessa two but Joey sends her outside for a posting. The arm is banged up and Joey makes it worse by bending it around the barricade. Back in and the arm work continues as Ryan can do a standard enough match if he’s willing to try.
Tessa comes back with a hurricanrana to send him outside, setting up a suicide dive. Back in and Tessa gets two off a Cannonball but he’s right back with an arm trap suplex. The Fujiwara armbar goes on but Tessa is back up with a springboard tornado DDT. A German suplex, meaning Joey grabs her by the chest for a suplex, followed by Tessa grabbing his crotch for the flip, gets two. The lollipop from the trunks goes into Tessa’s mouth for the near fall out of the superkick but Tessa breaks up a superplex. Magnum finishes Ryan at 10:48.
Rating: D-. Nope. I don’t find it funny and it’s so out of place three days before a women’s match is going to main event Wrestlemania. Tessa winning is the only call they could make but Joey’s act is old and played out. He’s been doing that same stuff for a long time now and I roll my eyes every time I hear about it because I don’t find it entertaining. It didn’t fit here but he got it in anyway because….well what else was he going to do?
X-Division Title: Rich Swann vs. Flamita
Swann is defending and we get a handshake. An exchange of shoulders doesn’t work so Swann knocks him outside for the big flip dive. Back in and Swann’s stepover kick to the back of the head gets two and it’s time for the slow form stomping. Swann chops away in the corner but misses a charge and takes the 619 in the corner.
A missile dropkick sends Swann outside and it’s a Backstabber for two on the champ back inside. More kicks to Flamita’s head set up a missed Phoenix splash and Flamita grabs the Spanish Fly. A 450 gets two and Flamita is frustrated. He hammers away at the champ until a Lethal Injection cuts him off. Now the Phoenix splash retains the title at 7:46.
Rating: C. Quick yet entertaining match here and that’s about all you could have asked them to do. Both guys can do so much more but what else can you do given less than eight minutes? Swann has become one of the better talents around and you don’t really ever see him have bad matches. That’s a pretty good role to play and he does it very well.
Rob Van Dam and Sabu say (yes Sabu talks) that they’re Rob Van Dam and Sabu.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Sami Callihan
Monster’s Ball, meaning a street fight. They both bring weapons to the ring but Sami goes back to get some extras. You wouldn’t want to be unprepared. Jimmy pokes him in the eyes to start and it’s already time for a staple gun to Sami’s chest. Another staple to the crotch has Sami in trouble until he gets in a bell shot to the face. More weapons are thrown in and Jimmy is already bleeding.
The spit chop only hits the post but Sami’s hand is fine enough to run into….I have no idea actually as the camera missed it. Havoc stops for some water so Sami chairs him in the face and it’s time for a fight on the apron. Sami gets out of a piledriver and hits one of his own on the apron to really take over. Well as much as you’re going to take over in a hardcore match. Sami staples his way out of a sunset flip and then staples pieces of newspaper to different parts of Havoc.
Some frying pan shots to the head let Sami take a bow and we bust out the lemon juice into the open wound. Havoc gets caught in a trashcan and beaten with a chair but fights back anyway and manages to get the better of it. A paper cut to the mouth has Sami in trouble and it’s time to take off Sami’s shoes. That means another paper cut to the toes with actual salt being poured into the wound. A Death Valley Driver into the trashcan gets two and it’s time for the Legos. The Cactus Piledriver onto the Legos gives Sami one but another one onto some open chairs finishes Havoc at 13:51.
Rating: C-. Picture any hardcore match you’ve seen in recent years, though minute the barbed wire. I can only get so much into these things because there just isn’t much to the things. Both guys are best known for their violent stuff and when you see it so often, it kind of loses whatever impact it can have. As has been the case all night: it could have been worse, but it’s nothing that got my attention.
The announcers recap the show so far.
Rob Van Dam/Sabu vs. Lucha Bros
Non title and it’s anything goes. We start with CERO MIEDO vs. ROB VAN DAM so the fans deem it awesome before any contact is made. Sabu finally starts punching and we’re at a standoff after two minutes. They head outside and it makes a lot more sense to go with the brawling instead of making the mistake of trying to have a match. Sabu stumbles through the Arabian press and Rob hits the spinning legdrop for two.
Pentagon kicks them both down and Sabu gets kicked a second time to make it even worse. The wheelbarrow splash gets two on Rob and it’s already time for a table. Sabu gets in a DDT on Pentagon and the Bros are put on the table for the Five Star/top rope legdrop as they try to turn back the clock again. Fenix chairs Rob to the floor and it’s a double superkick into the spike Fear Factor for the pin at 8:05.
Rating: D. Well what else were you expecting here? Van Dam and Sabu are both up there in years (Sabu is the older of the two at 54) and you’re not going to get much else out of them. Their one big spot looked good enough but this was all about the Lucha Bros doing what they could to cover up the rest of the match. It was fine for a nice little nostalgia moment, and thankfully that’s really all it’s going to be.
The lights go out as they shake hands and pose to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. And that’s being generous. Between the production issues (audio cutting out earlier in the night, theme music being so loud you could barely hear commentary and the music cutting off instead of fading out), the lack of anything significant happening, most of the matches not being very good and the incredibly dim lighting that made it look like they were in the dark most of the night, it came off like a pretty amateurish show, which isn’t a good sign for a promotion as big (and old) as Impact. Not a disaster, but more pedestrian stuff that isn’t going to draw anyone back in.
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