The SmarK Rant for Impact Wrestling – 12.08.20
Man, they are going ALL OUT with getting this episode out there for anyone who wants to watch it. I wasn’t sure if we got Impact in Canada or not, but then it was a moot point as they did a good job of promoting the episode on their Twitch channel, as well as then uploading it to YouTube immediately after, in addition to their Facebook channel. Plus, it showed up on Impact Plus right away, which is where I’m watching it. And I went out of my way to make sure I watched and reviewed this episode, so they got me for one week, now let’s see if the product can compel me to stick around.
And they immediately hit us with the AEW connection, showing a recap of Kenny winning the AEW title and running to Impact.
Taped from Nashville, TN
Your hosts are Josh Matthews and Madison Rayne
Josh Alexander v. Chris Sabin
So it looks like this is full on empty arena wrestling, but then that’s par for the course for Impact, historically speaking. Sabin trades armdrags with Alexander, but Alexander catches him with a Regal roll and stomps him down to take over. Alexander with a backbreaker for two and they trade chops in the corner, but Alexander puts him down again and drops a knee for two. Snap suplex and Alexander goes to a chinlock, but Sabin rolls him up for two. I like that the announcers are assuming that large amounts of the viewership is going to be new here, and are explaining the storylines and characters in detail for us. Sabin comes back with a cradle for two and chases Alexander to the floor, then follows with a dive up the ramp. Back in, Sabin tries a rana but Alexander blocks it with a powerbomb onto his own knee, and that gets two. Sabin comes back with an enzuigiri, but Alexander catches him with a northern lights suplex and both are down. Sabin recovers first with a missile dropkick and shining wizard, but Alexander catches him with a ripcord elbow to put him down again. Alexander goes in for the kill at the urging of his partner, but Sabin pins him with a jackknife cradle at 9:14. Good opener. **3/4
Meanwhile, the announcers discuss the Omega situation and can’t even figure out what is life.
Meanwhile, Chris Bey annoys Moose in the dressing room.
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY ALL ELITE WRESTLING!
Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone have paid for an ad to advertise their “Dynamite” show, making fun of Impact while TK teases buying Impact. “You had a cup of coffee in Impact, didn’t you Tony?” “Yeah. One night and then I quit the business for 18 years.” BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
TJP v. Brian Myers
Hey, these are guys I know! Myers overpowers TJP, but gets dropkicked to the apron while Josh shills for Impact on Cameo. I wonder if that counts against their downside guarantees? TJP evades Myers and takes him down for a Sharpshooter attempt before turning it into a bridge while Myers makes the ropes. Myers sends him into the corner, but TJP does a headstand in the corner and then takes Myers to the floor with a headscissors and follows with a dive. Back in, TJP goes up and gets crotched by Myers, and we take a break. Back with TJP coming back with a tornado DDT and a rolling series of double underhook suplexes. TJP goes up and misses a splash, and Myers hits a Flatliner for two. He sets up for a lariat out of the corner, but TJP counters him into an anklelock, and Myers makes the ropes. TJP with a back suplex and he goes up for the flying splash, but Myers gets the knees up and cradles for two. TJP with a sunset flip for two and transitions into a kneebar, but Myers throws the ref into TJP to break it up, hits a spinebuster, and finishes with a running clothesline at 10:03. Another completely decent match. **1/2
Eric Young v. Cody Deaner
Eric beats on Cody with elbows in the corner, but Cody makes a comeback and stomps EY down in the corner before missing a charge and hitting the post. Young with a death valley driver for two, but Deaner gets a sunset flip for two. Young slaps him around, but Cody gets all fired up and makes the comeback. He goes up after instructing his cousin not to help him, but his flying splash misses and Young finishes him with the piledriver at 3:44. With the match over, Cousin Jake decides to come in and interfere now, but Young and Joe Doring beat on him as well, until Rhino makes the save with a lead pipe.
Meanwhile, Tommy Dreamer sits down with Scott D’Amore and he’s concerned about Kenny Omega being here. “Even Lance Storm thinks this is a good thing and he’s never happy about anything!”
Knockouts tag team title tournament: Kimber Lee & Deonna Purrazo v. Taya Valkryie & Rosemary
Deonna goes for Rosemary’s arm right away and tries for the armbar, but she escapes and brings Taya in against Kimber Lee. Purrazo and Lee double-team her in the corner and Lee gets a bodyscissors on the mat, but Taya puts her down with a clothesline and Lee drags her back to the corner again. Double suplex gets two for Purrazo, but Taya makes a comeback on Lee and they’re both down. Taya manages to fight over for a hot tag to Rosemary, who gets a northern lights suplex on Deonna for two. But then Deonna gets a flatliner and Lee adds a neckbreaker, but Rosemary does a zombie situp and they all slug it out. We get a cute spot with Taya and Kimber Lee doing dueling splits, but Rosemary finishes Lee with a wing clipper at 7:00. This was kind of dull and messy. *
Meanwhile, Deonna complains to Scott D’Amore about having too much on her plate, so Scott books her against Rosemary at the PPV on Saturday so she can be more focused on her title.
Sami Callihan joins us to recap his Impact career, and shows us the famous clip of when he hit Eddie Edwards in the face with a baseball bat. He also wants to show Ken Shamrock getting hit in the face, but Alisha interrupts and distracts Sami so that Eddie Edwards can attack him from behind, chasing him out of the ring.
Meanwhile, Eddie Edwards is still fired up over stealing the baseball bat from Sami, but Alisha has another job for him.
Chris Bey & Moose v. Rich Swann & Willie Mack
Rich Swann is the current Impact World champion, and Moose is carrying around the TNA World title, although the announcers make sure to point out that it’s just a prop and he’s not actually a champion. Bey trades gymnastics with Swann and we take a break. Back with Mack hitting Moose with boots in the corner, but Moose shrugs him off and hits a uranage, then hauls his own partner Chris Bey into the ring and powerbombs him onto Mack for two. Moose slugs Mack down and Bey comes in with a legdrop for two. But that’s not good enough for Moose, who tags himself back in and beats on Mack some more himself. Mack fights back with a pair of stunners and Swann gets the hot tag. But he tries a rana and gets powerbombed by Moose to end that rally. Bey comes in and misses a blind charge, and Swann gets him a rana onto Moose for two. Willie Mack comes in and misses a frog splash, and Bey hits a leg lariat on Swann. Moose beats on Mack with elbows on the mat , and Bey pins him at 10:33. Not much to this one. **
Meanwhile, Rich Swann tries to get to the parking lot, but even the Impact World champion isn’t on the list to see Kenny Omega.
Josh Matthews stops by Kenny’s trailer, where Kenny and Don are changing the name plate on the AEW belt over to “Kenny Omega”. Callis says that he’s been preparing for this moment for 27 years, when he first met Kenny. Apparently he didn’t leave a successful business career to be a COLOR COMMENTATOR. As if. In fact, it was all part of their plan to get the AEW title. So now the greatest wrestler in the world is YOUR AEW World champion, as it should be. Some people make matches, they make history. Josh wonders if their legacy is tarnished, and Don freaks out, and then Kenny points out that Moxley took a shot at Callis first, so that violated their gentlemen’s agreement and he decided to do whatever he needed to win. Kenny getting more unhinged and paranoid as the interview goes on is pretty great. If you though thought the Lex Express was great, just wait until tomorrow night, he notes. And then he bids us adieu and good night and we’re out.
So overall, a decent show that started with a lot of hype but sadly just kept losing steam as it went. They needed to do a lot better job of explaining the characters and storylines (or even putting graphics for names on screen at times!) and we didn’t even get a rundown of what was coming up later in the show, which made it hard to hold my interest outside of the Kenny interview. I honestly don’t think this product is going to do it for the AEW fanbase tuning in for the first time, but it was a pleasant enough use of two hours and I could watch it again in a pinch. I was hoping for a lot more out of it, though.