Date: May 19, 2020
Location: Skyway Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Madison Rayne, Josh Matthews
Things are getting interesting around here as the tournament is starting to pick up. That’s going to continue this week and we’re also going to be seeing more of the TNA World Title, as Moose gets to show us more of his relative insanity. To cap it off though, Johnny Swinger gets his X-Division Title shot and they wouldn’t be that insane, right? Let’s get to it.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Ace Austin vs. Rhino
Austin is Ken Shamrock’s replacement after Shamrock was attacked last week. Madison brings up a good point: Ace just got off a big X-Division Title reign and he wasn’t one of the top eight people in the company? Throw in Moose, Tessa Blanchard and Willie Mack and he’s not even in the top eleven. But Rhino and Hernandez are? Anyway, Rhino powers him to the floor to start as we need an early breather.
Back in and Rhino’s headlock doesn’t last long so the threat of a clothesline puts Austin on the floor again. They try it again and this time Rhino loads up a Gore to scare Austin outside for the third time. Rhino follows him this time but gets sent into the barricade. That’s one upped with a backdrop over the barricade but Austin posts him to get an extended breather.
Rhino dives in to beat the count so Austin pounds away and hits a springboard kick to the face for two. We hit the chinlock but Rhino is right back up for a double clothesline. It’s Rhino up first with some right hands to the head but Austin drops him again. Ace heads up top, only to get superplexed back down for two. Austin finds a well placed chair in the corner but Rhino takes it away, only to have the referee take it away again. That lets Ace get in a shot with the baton and the Fold is good for the pin at 10:43.
Rating: C. It’s kind of amazing how much easier it is to sit through just Rhino as opposed to Rhino and the ECW goons. Here he was just someone out there to put Austin over and that’s not a bad thing. Austin is someone with a potential future around here and having Rhino put him over might be a nice little boost. They had a decent power vs. speed match going too so it works well all around.
Earlier today, Moose and Josh sat down with Josh saying Moose is walking around with a worthless title. Moose says this ends when someone beats him but Josh says you can’t just decide a match is for a title. That does not sit well with Moose, and Josh bringing up Suicide having Moose pinned last week makes it even worse. Moose is willing to give Suicide a rematch and that’s it.
Kiera Hogan offers to mentor Tasha Steelz. Her way of saying it: “If I like you, I’ll snatch a b**** for you. If not, you get snatched by that b****.” Steelz is in.
Here what else is coming.
Dave Crist vs. Crazzy Steve
The rest of OVE is here with Dave. Steve elbows him into the corner to start and there’s a dropkick to the knee to take Dave off the apron. Cue Joseph P. Ryan to watch as Dave takes Steve down and pounds away back inside. Some knees to the head keep Steve down and Dave grabs an armbar. OVE adds some choking from the floor and Dave grabs a Falcon Arrow for two. Steve is right back up with a middle rope DDT for the fast pin at 4:07.
Rating: C-. The OVE losing streak continues and I’m almost worried to think about who is going to be the new leader to turn the tide. No one is really standing out and that means there are so many possibilities, some of which might not be the best moves. Steve is a strange choice to bring back but there are far worse choices.
Post match Steve leaves so Fulton yells at both Crists. Fulton says he’s done and chokes both of them for questioning them. Makes sense actually.
Rosemary talks to Taya Valkyrie’s stuffed dog and implies that Taya is gone. John E. Bravo comes in to complain and Rosemary seems to apologize and almost flirt a bit. That….kind of works actually.
XXXL vs. Fallah Bahh/TJP
Bahh and Acey start things off and it’s time for the power lockup. Acey misses a running dropkick and gets splashed, allowing the early tag off to TJP. Larry comes in as well and shoves TJP around without much effort. The right hands in the corner don’t do much damage to Larry so it’s time to take off the legs. A low crossbody gives TJP two and Bahh comes back in to pound Larry down.
TJP starts working on the arm before Bahh goes simple with the corner splash. Acey makes a blind tag from the apron though and drops TJP with one shot as we take a break. Back with Larry chinlocking TJP before switching to a bearhug. Those go nowhere so it’s a spinebuster for two instead. The waistlock keeps TJP in trouble for a bit but Acey knocks Bahh off the apron.
As tends to be the case, the hot tag goes through just a few seconds later, meaning Bahh gets to clean house. Acey Pounces Bahh to break up the belly to belly and TJP is sent outside. Now Acey gets knocked outside as well and the belly to belly gets two on Larry. The Banzai drop is broken up but Bahh drops Larry. TJP adds a frog splash for the pin on Larry at 13:38.
Rating: D+. This was longer than it needed to be and I didn’t get into the whole thing. XXXL might already be hitting their ceiling as you can only get so far with the two big guys doing big guy things. TJP and Bahh have a good chemistry together and hopefully they can get a nice push in the future. Then again they already had the big title shot and came up short, so their time might already be over.
TNA World Title: Moose vs. Suicide
Moose is defending and there’s something interesting about Josh being fine with Suicide being from a video game but has a problem with Moose picking up the title in a warehouse. As per Moose’s request, we get the Big Match Intros and now we’re ready to go. Josh brings up that Suicide almost won the title last week so Madison says that the Cleveland Indians ALMOST won the World Series. Well she’s off the good list now.
Moose misses the spear as Suicide runs the ropes early on, including hanging in the ropes to make Moose miss a charge to the floor. Back in and Suicide grabs something like an Octopus hold, followed by a basement dropkick to the side of the head. They head outside with Moose picking him up for some swings into the barricade. Suicide has to dive back in, prompting Josh to say “and the match rolls on.” That time with WWE really did rub off on him.
Back in and Moose throws Suicide down without much effort, followed by a heck of a whip into the corner. There’s another throw as the total dominance is on. Some clotheslines bounce off Moose and he wants to know if that’s all Suicide has. A fourth clothesline drops Moose though and he misses some charges into the corner.
Suicide hits a few running corner dropkicks and a Lionsault gets two. That’s enough for Moose as he gets serious and stomps Suicide down in the corner. Suicide is right back with the Codebreaker and some low superkicks, meaning it’s time to go up. The high crossbody connects but Moose rolls through and grabs the tights to retain at 11:07.
Rating: C+. Aside from bringing up the horrors of the 2016 World Series, I had a good time with this as they have the chemistry to make something like this work. There was no reason to believe that the title was going to change hands but Suicide gave it a go here and they had a pretty good match. Moose being all delusional works for him and it seems to have some staying power.
Michael Elgin talks about how people might not like him now but they will appreciate what he is. Ken Shamrock came in and talked about being the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Then he got knocked out by someone tough. Elgin has promised to be World Champion and what he says will happen happens.
Chris Bey gives Johnny Swinger a pep talk. Swinger: “Thanks for being a brother, brother.” The first round at the Landing Strip is on him after he wins the title.
X-Division Title: Johnny Swinger vs. Willie Mack
Mack is defending and Swinger jumps him from behind to start. Some rams into the corner set up an elbow drop for two as Josh thinks Swinger winning could open the door for a Simon Diamond return. Mack grabs the swinging slam (that’s gimmick infringement) and drops a leg for two. The Swinger Neckbreaker gets two but Swinger celebrates anyway. That just earns him a Samoan drop into the standing moonsault to retain at 3:18.
Rating: D+. That’s all it needed to be as Mack is a star and Swinger is an entertaining joke. They didn’t need to do anything more than have a quick match here with Mack not really breaking much of a sweat. It worked well here and Swinger continues to be perfectly amusing in his role.
Post match Swinger won’t let go of the title and chop blocks Mack. Cue Chris Bey for the double beatdown.
The North is still in Canada because Ethan Page has rented the arena for a month. The referee comes in so here’s Cody Deaner of all people to say he’ll team with the referee to challenge for the titles. They’ll do it next week at the Deaner Compound. The North is in but the referee says he can’t do this. Cody says he has another Deaner to be his real partner.
Preview of next week’s show.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Michael Elgin vs. Sami Callihan
Sami has a bad ankle coming in thanks to Ken Shamrock at Rebellion so Elgin drives him into the corner and points at the ankle to start. Sami’s chops just annoy Elgin so he kicks the ankle out. That just earns him a rake to the eyes but Elgin is back to the ankle, sending Sami outside for a breather. Back in and a quick DDT gives Sami two, followed by a pump kick to the floor.
Sami wraps the arm around the barricade so Elgin drops him leg first onto the same barricade. Elgin sends the leg into the post for a bonus but Sami pulls him face first into the post for a breather. Back from a break with Sami in major trouble so Elgin holds out his face to give Sami a free shot. A rollup gives Sami two and they slug it out until Elgin blasts him with a clothesline. Sami knocks him to the floor though and there’s a suicide dive. Back in and Sami gets two off a suplex but Elgin crushes the leg all over again.
A running shot to the knee in the corner gets two, followed by the half crab to make things even worse. That’s broken up but Sami collapses before the big clothesline connects. Sami manages a German suplex and a clothesline of his own gets two. The Cactus Special is countered but Elgin blasts him with a spinning backfist. The Elgin Bomb sends Elgin to the next round at 18:48.
Rating: B. As much as I’m not wild on turning Sami face, I can go with the idea of Sami fighting through the ankle injury to survive against the monster. They told a nice story here and that’s hard to do in a situation with such a clear winner. Elgin was always going to win this, but it’s not like Sami is heavily damaged when he’s fighting on one leg.
Here are the updated brackets:
Overall Rating: C+. As usual, tournaments have a tendency to serve as a solid anchor for a show like this and it worked well here. Elgin would seem to be the odds on favorite to win the whole thing but we could be in for some interesting showdowns on the way there. Other than that, the show wasn’t exactly must see but the company is still improving and feels steady, which is the best thing that can be said about a company like Impact.
Ace Austin b. Rhino – Fold
Crazzy Steve b. Dave Crist – Middle rope DDT
TJP/Fallah Bahh b. XXXL – Frog splash to Larry
Moose b. Suicide – Rollup with tights
Michael Elgin b. Sami Callihan – Elgin Bomb
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