In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
MCMAHON’S GFW IMPACT REPORT
August 24, 2017
Taped from Orlando, Fla. (Universal Studios)
Aired on Pop TV
Announcers: Josh Mathews & Jeremy Borash
Immediately following tonight’s Impact Wrestling, tune in to the PWTorch Livecast. Mike McMahon and Andrew Soucek will discuss tonight’s show with callers. Listen at www.pwtorchlivecast.com and call the show at 515-605-9345
— A new GFW signature aired, showing all the networks around the world where Impact airs.
— A recap aired of last week’s live episode, including the message from Johnny Impact, the debut of Jim Cornette, as well as Lashley vs. Sydal. Clips of the Super X Cup finals were shown, as well as Sonjay Dutt retaining the X Division Championship over Trevor Lee.
— Clips were shown backstage after the show last week. Dan Lambert was screaming at Jeff Jarrett that he was there as a favor for him, and Lashley shouldn’t even be wrestling. Lashley was trying to step between Lambert and Jarrett, as Lambert yelled that even Lashley was there as a favor. Jarrett yelled, “are you going to pay him the money I’m paying him?” Scott D’Amore and Lashley were trying to break up Lambert and Jarrett. James Storm came into the shot and was screaming obscenities at American Top Team, yelling for them to “get the F out!” Lambert told Lashley, “this is on you.”
— Earlier today, Lambert and Lashley were shown arriving with American Top Team. Jarrett tried to shake Lambert’s hand but Lambert refused. Jarrett told Lashley to come see him, but Lashley walked off with Lambert.
— Jim Cornette was shown earlier today. He was holding a talent meeting near the ring. Cornette said that the roster needed to have the drive and determination to be stars. Cornette said he’s heard every excuse in the book, and it’s not happening in GFW. Cornette said no one would have their personal life plastered all over TMZ and no one would get a paycheck for a vacation. Cornette said Lashley was late, so he was fining him, and Cornette also said he has a mystery entrant.
— The Impact opened aired.
(1) oVe vs. THE HEAT SEEKERS
oVe delivered offense early, including a double dive to the outside of the ring just 20 seconds into the match. oVe started a chant, and again they seemed to come across as babyfaces. We didn’t get names on The Heat Seekers but one of them threw an elbow, only to eat a Death Valley Driver seconds later. Mathews said he couldn’t want to see Reno Scum back together after recovering from injury. oVe hit their finisher for the win.
WINNER: oVe in 3:00
McMahon: This was booked much better than their debut last week. oVe was much more dominant in this match, they barely had to sell at all. This is what their debut should have felt like if they want to get them over as soon-to-be title challengers to LAX. It makes sense for oVe to be slotted as babyfaces if they are going to challenge the heels for the title, although it doesn’t feel like a natural fit, especially after their vignettes came across heelish. Regardless, this was a big step in the right direction for oVe after a lackluster debut last week.
— Cornette was on the phone telling someone he fined Lashley $5,000 for being late. Eli Drake walked into the office with Chris Adonis. Drake said he may have offended Cornette last week and he wanted to apologize. Drake said he didn’t mean he was No. 1 in the gauntlet when he said No. 1 guy. He just meant he was good. Cornette asked Drake if he would leave him alone if he gave him a different number? Cornette said instead of No. 1, Drake could be No. 2. Drake looked unamused. Drake said that No. 2 is the same as No. 1. Drake yelled that Cornette would regret this as he walked out of the office.
— A video aired on Gail Kim vs. Sienna from last week, including the return of Taryn Terrell, who attacked Gail Kim and cost her the match.
— In-arena: Taryn Terrell made her entrance dressed in lingerie, coming out to a new theme song. Jeremy Borash was in the ring to interview her. Terrell said she and Gail used to be best friends. Taryn said she was there for Gail when she went into the Hall of Fame and Gail never called to say thank you. Taryn said that Gail doesn’t even follow her on Twitter. Taryn said Gail is going all around the country opening up restaurants with her husband, and all she would do to him is cheat and leave him high and dry, like she did the Knockouts Division. Gail Kim came out and Taryn ran, holding up her top as to avoid a wardrobe malfunction.
— Josh Mathews and Jeremy Borash recapped at the announce table. Borash threw to a video of GFW’s tour in the northeast.
— A video aired featuring Low Ki walking backstage. He said since 2002, he has had his championship match lined up and now 19 other people get a turn? ECIII was shown walking backstage saying that he would win the gauntlet because no one else was even in the match that deserved to be. Moose said he would win because that’s what the people want. Eddie Edwards said that he was going to win because he’s had the taste of gold before. Chris Adonis said he would win because he’s a specimen. KM said that he was the only person in GFW that was undefeated. Braxton Sutter said that he would win the title. Drake said that he had a silver tongue and a golden voice. Lashley said him winning the title was inevitable.
— Lambert and Lashley walked into Cornette’s office. Cornette said that he gives American Top Team respect, and he expects respect in return and told him that they better not interfere in his matches and touch his referees. Lambert said Lashley was giving up a lot in MMA to work for this company and Cornette should be thanking his lucky stars that Lashley is even still here. Cornette told Lashley that he had to go out and earn the title tonight. Lambert told Lashley that he does have a choice to make, and he’s been telling him that for months.
McMahon: The show has been heavy on video packages throughout the first 40 minutes, but it hasn’t been bad. The meeting Cornette held at ringside and the backstage segment here were both strong and made sense, telling more chapters of the story. It’s a little concerning that they’ve adopted the “invisible camera” approach that WWE often uses.
— A vignette aired for Taya Valkyrie, who will be debuting soon.
— A video aired on the Grado saga, where he might get deported.
— Grado made his ring entrance with Joseph Park. Grado took the mic and said that he promised himself that he wouldn’t get emotional, but when he saw the fans, it was hard not to get emotional. Grado said he was being deported from the U.S. despite doing everything he can do. Grado said he tried to get married but it didn’t work, and he took great advice from Joseph Park.
Park apologized to Grado that Park, Park & Park couldn’t do more for him. Park said that he loves Grado, and the people love Grado. Park told Grado to cheer up. Park said that Uncle Leo always told him that as long as he’s there, there you go. Grado said he would miss so much about the U.S., such as the macaroni and cheese, the hot dogs, the boneless wings, the wings with the bones, the cheese fries, the chili cheese friends and the chili cheese fries with sour cream. Grado said that he would miss the fans the most. Grado said his time is up. Grado said goodbye, and he said cheerio to Scotland. Park started a slow clap as Grado stood in the ring. Grado took a final bow. … Buuuuuut, Laurel Van Ness walked out. Laurel was no longer a crazy person. She was out of the wedding dress and looked … cleaned up? I guess that’s the way to describe it.
Laurel came to the ring and took Grado’s mic. She said that these past few weeks have been the happiest of her life, and she’s a changed woman because of him. Laurel said Grado was the peanut butter to her jelly. The whipped cream to her Twinkie. The BBQ sauce to her ribs. There was just one small thing she wanted to ask him. Laurel then got down on one knee and asked Grado to marry her, and she opened a ring. Park screamed, “Oh my God!” Grado looked overjoyed and said, “Aye! I mean, yes!” Laurel then dipped Grado over her knee and planted him with a huge kiss.
Kongo Kong’s music played and he walked out on stage. Laurel did not look happy and rolled her eyes. Mahabali Shera suddenly showed up and stood in the aisle to prevent Kong from getting to the ring. Where did he come from? Kong backed off and walked to the back. Laurel looked surprised.
— Backstage: Eddie Edwards was in Jim Cornette’s office. Cornette said that the numbers were drawn at random, and he knows that Edwards has a crummy entrance number. But Cornette said that Anthem would be proud, and he would be proud, if Edwards was the Global Champion.
— LAX was at their hangout. Konnan asked about the beer and tequila sales, and someone said they jacked up the prices. Konnan asked Diamante about the girls, and she said that she “has the hoes in check and they’re making us a lot of money.” Konnan said that Homicide wasn’t with him, because he was handling stuff down near the border.
McMahon: I like LAX … but Diamante is a pimp now? This is another example of GFW taking the WWE approach of invisible cameras. I don’t like it on Raw and SmackDown, and I don’t like it here. If LAX were actually a criminal organization, do you think they would talk about their illegal beer smuggling and an apparent brothel they run on camera? Things like this aren’t realistic, and there are ways to tell stories without pretending the cameras don’t exist.
— The referees walked to the ring with the GFW Global Title exactly as the second hour begins. Borash said we’re going to the main event right now.
(2) 20-man Gauntlet Battle Royal — GFW Global Championship match
(1) EDDIE EDWARDS
Edwards walked out first with a full ring entrance and music.
(2) ELI DRAKE
Drake made his ring entrance with music, climbing to the ropes in the corner. The bell rang and Edwards and Drake had a stare down in the middle of the ring before the action began. Mathews predicted Drake will be champion before the end of the year. Drake grabbed Edwards in a side headlock. Edwards tried to lift Drake over the top but he was holding on.
(3) MARIO BOKARA
Bokara lifted Edwards away from Drake and hit him with a suplex. Edwards hit Bokara with some elbows as Drake sat in the corner.
Kingston makes his return. Borash said Kingston hasn’t been seen in months, as he hit Drake with a suplex. Edwards nearly eliminated Bokara but he hung on. Kingston tried to eliminate Edwards in the corner. Kingston threw right hands at Edwards and then choked him with his knee in the corner.
(5) BRAXTON SUTTER
Sutter powerslammed Kingston but was dropped over the top rope by Drake. Bokara suplexed Drake. Borash plugged Cornette’s “surprise” entrant, who still hasn’t been revealed.
(6) “STANDBY WRESTLER” RICHARD JUSTICE
Justice is the guy who has been beat up in recent weeks while doing small workouts backstage. Justice tried to help Sutter eliminate Drake in the corner.
(7) ETHAN CARTER III
ECIII ran down the aisle and hit the ring, squaring off with Richard Justice. After faking an alliance, ECIII kicked Justice with a low blow and tossed him over the top (Richard Justice).
Back from the brea, Bokara was nearly eliminated.
(8) KONGO KONG
Kong walked to the ring slowly. Borash said he was a favorite to win the match on size alone. Kong eliminated Mario Bokara (Mario Bokara). Everyone in the ring ganged up on Kong in an effort to soften him up and make him less of a threat.
Suicide immediately went to the top rope and took out everyone. Suicide ran around the ring and took out most of the competitors. He went after Kong with a chop and was then crushed against the ropes and choked by Kong’s foot. Drake rolled out the bottom rope.
(10) MAHABALI SHERA
Most of the competitors were against the ropes, clearing the way for Shera and Kong to toe-to-toe for a few moments. Kong charged Shera but Shera pulled down the rope and Kong fell over the top (Kongo Kong). Shera clotheslined Drake over the top but he held on.
(11) CHRIS ADONIS
Adonis immediately tried to help Drake and he eliminated Shera (Mahabali Shera). Adonis and Drake hit double back elbows on Edwards. Adonis chopped Sutter.
(12) EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA
Borash noted he was near the World Title situation in AAA for the last few months.
(13) JOHNNY IMPACT
Impact makes his official debut after appearing on video last week. Borash said that this was Cornette’s surprise entrant. Borash said no one was preparing for Johnny Impact
McMahon: How is this a surprise entrant when they literally ran a video last week where Johnny Impact said he would be on Impact next week? No one was preparing for Impact? So no one was watching the show last week, I guess. Ugh.
Impact eliminated Adonis (Chris Adonis). Impact then flipped Suicide over the top (Suicide).
(14) GARZA JR.
Garza Jr. dropped Impact with a dropkick from the top rope. Garza Jr. eliminated Braxton Sutter (Braxton Sutter). Garza Jr. tried to eliminate Edwards in the corner while Impact and ECIII were also tied up in a corner.
(15) FALLAH BAHH
Borash asked how Bahh could be thrown over the top rope, who they claim is 400 pounds. Bahh hit the ring and threw shoulder blocks, including sending Johnny Impact spinning out of control. Impact tried to lift Bahh alone but he couldn’t. Fantasma and Garza Jr. tried to help. The babyfaces asked ECIII and Drake for help, but they refused. Bahh then fought back on the babyfaces.
KM went over Impact and Bahh before getting chopped by Edwards. Impact tried to suplex ECIII over the top but he held on the apron. Mathews noted that ECIII and Impact seem to be finding each other a lot in the match.
(17) TAIJI ISHIMORI
Fantasma and Impact were locked in the ropes. KM had Ishimori tied up on the ropes. Drake and Edwards, who started the match, are still in it. Impact kicked KM.
(18) BOBBY LASHLEY
Lashley jogged to the ring and began by demolishing KM (KM). Lashley threw Bahh over the top by himself (Fallah Bahh). Ishimori dropped Lashley with a springboard dropkick but Lashley then tossed him out (Taiji Ishimori). Drake and Lashley began fighting in the corner.
Moose walked slowly to the ring, doing his Moose pulldowns with the audience. Moose hit Fantasma with a head butt and then splashed ECIII. Garza Jr. ripped his pants off and kicked Moose, but Moose came back with a powerbomb over the top (Garza Jr.).
(20) LOW KI
Back from the break, Low Ki is in the ring. Impact and Low Ki squared off and traded some moves. ECIII nearly eliminated Fantasma. Fantasma kicked Edwards near the ropes and was then eliminated by ECIII (Fantasma). ECIII was eliminated by Moose and Edwards after a double kick (Moose). We’re down to Lashley, Low Ki, Eddie Edwards, Johnny Impact, Moose and Eli Drake. Lashley eliminated Low Ki (Low Ki).
Back from the break, Borash said Lashley was unstoppable. Moose missed Lashley with a clothesline and then Lashley hit a spear on Moose. Impact kicked Moose in the head and Drake hit Impact with a fallaway slam. Moose kicked Impact in the face and Moose hit Drake with a pop-up powerbomb. Moose hit a senton on Drake and tried to splash Lashley but Lashley hit a back elbow. Lashley took a dropkick from Moose and fell over the top (Lashley). Edwards, Drake and Impact ganged up on Moose briefly but Moose came back with a powerbomb attempt but Edwards grabbed Moose with his feet and eliminated him over the top (Moose). Lashley was shown on the outside in front of American Top Team. Someone could be heard saying, “See man, you can’t do both.” Drake kicked Impact. Drake was nearly eliminated by Impact, but he had his feet tangled in the rope and just his head hit the floor. Impact was nearly eliminated. Drake dove through the middle rope, but was not eliminated. Then, from the outside, Drake pulled Impact off the apron (Johnny Impact).
(3) ELI DRAKE vs. EDDIE EDWARDS — Global Championship match
Drake was almost rolled up. Edwards hit a Thunder bomb for a two count. Drake rolled up Edwards for a two count. Edwards hit Drake with a back elbow. Edwards went to the top rope but Drake tried to cut him off. Edwards threw Drake off and hit a cross body but Drake caught him. Drake got to his feet and hit his finisher for the win.
WINNER: Eli Drake to become GFW Champion in 4:00.
As Drake celebrated, American Top Team had grabbed Earl Hebner and were beating him up after pulling him over the railing. Lashley again yelled for people to calm down. Colby Covington started it, according to Mathews. ATT jumped the rails. Lambert shoved Scott D’Amore. Drake was then shown celebrating in the ring. Chris Adonis joined Drake in the ring. Borash said American Top Team can’t be invited to Impact anymore.