Date: January 4, 2020
Hosts: Josh Matthews, Scott D’Amore
We continue our trip through the year here with the second half of the Best Of 2019. Given that Hard To Kill is in eight days, I would bet on a high concentration of Tessa Blanchard here, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. Last week’s show flew by in a good way so hopefully that continues here. Let’s get to it.
As usual, the matches are going to be clipped on the show but I’ll be putting in the full versions.
Josh and Scott welcome us to the show and are rather happy to have a new year, even if Madison Rayne has said they can’t drink.
From Impact, November 19.
Six people, the winner is the #1 contender. Moose is in at #1 and Daga is in at #2 to get things started. Daga picks up the pace to start and dropkicks the leg, setting up the running Downward Spiral. They head to the floor with Daga hitting a moonsault off the apron, only to have Moose throw him around with ease back inside. The Dominator gives Moose one but Daga sends him back into the corner for a running basement dropkick. The spear cuts Daga in half though and Moose moves on at 5:10.
Rich Swann is in at #3 and looks rather nervous about facing the monster. A running hurricanrana has Moose in trouble but he’s right back with a dropkick to send Swann outside. They switch places with Swann’s running hurricanrana off the apron earning himself a bit of a breather. Moose throws him down again though and Swann has to beat the count back in. This time Swann manages a DDT but gets lawn darted face first into the middle buckle for two.
Swann slips out of a powerbomb though and kicks Moose in the head, setting up the Lethal Injection for a VERY close two (good near fall there). The middle rope 450 hits Moose’s knees though and the middle rope chokebomb gives Moose two of his own. A hot shot makes it even worse but Swann jumps into a crucifix to finish Moose at 15:14.
Michael Elgin is in at #4 and Swann knows he’s in trouble. Elgin hits a slingshot elbow to the face and we take a quick break. Back with Swann hitting a dive and sending Elgin back inside for a low superkick. A whip sitout spinebuster gives Elgin two and Swann gets sent hard into the corner to rock him again. Swann gets caught in the Crossface but a foot on the ropes lets Swann get out to the apron.
Elgin snaps off a half nelson suplex to drop Swann on his head and knock him silly. A twisting Swanton misses back inside though and Swann starts kicking away. Elgin dragon suplexes him though and nails a hard clothesline to drop him on his head. A top rope superplex hits Swann but he pops right back up with a reverse hurricanrana for two. That’s quite the recovery time there. Elgin is back up with an apron superplex into a Falcon Arrow for another near fall. Another clothesline takes Elgin down again and it’s time to hammer away in the corner….before shoving the referee for the DQ to send Swann forward at 31:23.
Elgin isn’t done though and hits the Elgin Bomb, drawing out some more referees to get rid of him. We take a break and it’s Brian Cage in at #5 to continue the destruction. Swann can barely stand but manages to kick Cage in the head anyway. That’s only good for one though and Cage throws him down with ease. Swann’s superkicks set up another kick to the head and a running step onto the head puts Cage down again. The 450 gets two and it’s a cutter into Lethal Injection for a delayed two. The Phoenix Splash misses though and it’s Weapon X to get rid of Swann at 41:14.
Tessa Blanchard is in at #6 to complete the field and, after a break with a house show ad, we’re ready to go. Tessa isn’t scared of the monster so he shoves her into the corner. A powerbomb doesn’t work for Cage so Tessa springboard dropkicks him to the floor. Cage hits the F5 onto the apron though and we take another break. Back again with Tessa dropkicking the leg out and scoring with a tornado DDT for two. Another Cage powerbomb attempt is countered with a hurricanrana into the corner.
A top rope splash gives Tessa two but Cage, bleeding from the lip, knocks her away without much effort. Tessa is rocked but hits a superkick into a cutter, setting up the hammerlock DDT for the big near fall. Another hurricanrana sets up Magnum for a rather close two and Tessa can’t believe the kickout. The second Magnum is countered into a buckle bomb but Weapon X is countered into Code Red for the pin and the title shot at 55:17.
Rating: B. This was the Rich Swann Show as he got to stay out there for a long time and get the fans behind him all over again after getting beaten down time after time. The other big deal here is of course Tessa, which you knew was going to be the ending but it doesn’t make things any less special. This match worked on a variety of levels and never felt long, which is pretty impressive for a nearly hour long match. Good stuff here, with the right people doing the right things.
Wrestlers talk about how 2019 went for themselves and Impact.
Wrestlers talk about their favorite match of the year.
Scott says he wants to treat Josh better in 2020. This includes a kiss on the cheek and Josh announces the North as the Tag Team of the Year.
From Impact, November 12.
Tag Team Titles: Eddie Edwards/Naomichi Marufuji vs. The North
North is defending. Eddie and Alexander lock up to start with Eddie taking him down in a headlock. Marufuji comes in but gets headlocked takeovered for his efforts but it’s off to Eddie to work on Page’s arm in a hurry. Some double chops put Page down until Alexander comes back in to send Marufuji into the corner. Everything breaks down though and Eddie hits a dive onto the champs as we take a break.
Back with Page getting chopped some more but he gets in a cheap shot so Alexander can knock Eddie to the floor. A catapult sends Eddie’s throat into the bottom rope and it’s a Rock Bottom backbreaker into a regular backbreaker from Page. Eddie finally gets in a suplex to take Alexander down and it’s Marufuji coming in to clean some house. A kick to Page’s head gets two but he’s back up to strike it out with Marufuji.
The assisted spinebuster doesn’t work so it’s Eddie hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for two on Alexander. Everything breaks down again until Eddie clotheslines Page for a four way knockdown. Eddie tiger bombs Alexander for two more and the shock on the kickout is real. Page grabs Eddie’s leg so the Boston Knee Party can’t launch. Marufuji gets sent outside and it’s the double Neutralizer for two on Eddie. The assisted spinebuster gives Alexander the retaining pin at 16:43.
Rating: B. This worked, as the North continues to be one of the best things going in Impact, if not the absolute best in the whole company. I don’t remember they didn’t have a very good match, though the problem is they may start running out of opponents. Other than maybe Mack and Swann, who is supposed to challenge them? Maybe we can get a new team eventually, but for now it’s going to be the North for a long time to come.
Scott likes the North.
Wrestlers talk about who had a breakout year.
Tessa Blanchard is the Wrestler of the Year.
Tessa, at home, is very proud to win it and promises to win the World Title.
Gail Kim vs. Tessa Blanchard
They stare each other down until Tessa starts slugging, earning herself a stomping in the corner. Tessa is right back with a running hurricanrana to send Gail outside, setting up the big dive. Gail pulls her into the post but gets caught with a Codebreaker out of the corner for two. A powerslam gives Gail two of her own but the Black Widow is countered into a backbreaker.
The trash talk starts rolling, with Tessa even yelling down at Gail’s husband in the crowd. Gail misses a charge and falls out to the floor, setting up a double posting for a double knockdown. Tessa takes her time getting up and gets caught in the Hartbreaker around the post, which still doesn’t make a ton of sense. Back in and Gail fires off forearms to set up a spinning high crossbody.
With the required YOU STILL GOT IT chant going, Tessa shoves Gail to the ramp, where a spinning full nelson faceplant sends her crashing down to the floor. That’s not quite enough for the countout and Tessa is stunned. The slingshot suplex is countered into Eat Defeat for two so Gail goes up. With Tessa following up, she gets caught in a dragon sleeper so it’s a bite to the elbow for the break.
You don’t see that one everyday, which is also the case with the super gorilla press drop to send Gail right back down. Magnum gets two so it’s off to a cobra clutch Crossface for something new. Gail gets her foot on the ropes but that doesn’t count this time as Tessa rolls into the middle of the ring for the clean tap at 16:03.
Rating: B+. Match of the night here with Tessa getting the signature win and continuing to look like the best female wrestler in the world (and one of the best anywhere). They beat each other up here and thankfully they went with the right ending. Tessa is looking like the next megastar though and hopefully Impact knows it.
Post match they hug, as Tessa might be on her way to a face turn. Gail gets the big sign of respect.
Wrestlers on what to expect in 2020.
Wrestlers pick Tessa Blanchard to beat Sami Callihan at Hard To Kill 6-4.
From Slammiversary in the Match of the Year.
Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard
They both have their own baseball bats. They stare each other down for over a minute before Tessa fires off the forearms to the face. A headscissors puts Sami on the apron and a dropkick sends him to the floor. The suicide dive is countered into a powerbomb though and Sami swings her into the barricade for a thud that made me cringe. A Death Valley Driver on the floor should knock Tessa cold but Sami slams her down instead.
That’s good for an eight count with Sami not even looking at the ring. Back in and Tessa hits a running neckbreaker but Sami runs her over. Tessa rolls up the ramp but she escapes a powerbomb into the crowd. The jumping cutter drops Sami on the ramp and a tornado DDT gives Tessa two back inside.
Sami scores with Get Outta Here and a knee to the face, setting up an STF. Tessa grabs the rope for the break and escapes a super powerbomb, meaning it’s a running Codebreaker out of the corner. The referee gets shoved away though and Sami hits her in the face with the bat for two.
The replacement referee gets knocked down as well and Tessa gets in her own bat shot. Magnum gets two so Tessa switches into a Crossface in the middle of the ring (Callis: “BREAK HIS NECK!”). That’s reversed into a kneeling Tombstone to give Sami two, allowing Tessa to give him thumbs up, thumbs down. The Cactus Special finishes Tessa at 15:01.
Rating: C+. I’m not sure what to think of this one. Tessa didn’t look overwhelmed and her offense was believable against Sami, which was the most important thing. That being said, this wasn’t exactly as epic as the build would have had you believe and it felt weird seeing this in the main event. Tessa fighting men going forward is fine, though they’re going to have to do this carefully to make sure it doesn’t go too far into the unbelievable.
Post match Sami bangs both bats together and hands Tessa hers before leaving.
Tessa promises to win the title at Hard To Kill.
Overall Rating: B+. There’s something interesting about the Match of the Year being the weakest on the show. Anyway, this was almost all about Tessa and that’s what it should have been. The wrestling was the entire point here and that’s what it needed to be. I had a good time watching this and if they can have one awesome go home show, we could be in for a heck of a pay per view next week. Good stuff here as Impact gets to show its better parts, of which there were several last year.
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