MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT (2/1): The Callis/D’Amore era begins, KM vs. Lashley, ECIII & El Patron vs. Impact & Moose

BY MIKE MCMAHON, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
Feb. 1, 2018
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 or email impactlivecast@gmail.com


— The Impact Global signature aired.

— Jeremy Borash ran down what would come up on tonight’s show.

— Backstage, someone was shown arriving at the Impact Zone in a Lexus, but we only saw his feet.

— Highlights from last week’s show were shown.

(1) MATT SYDAL vs. FALLAH BAHH — Impact Grand Championship match

This is the first match in the new four-sided ring. There are no rounds or judges anymore for the Grand Championship. Bahh hit Sydal with a headbutt after Sydal tried elbows. Sydal threw kicks to Bahh’s chest but Bahh answered with a clothesline. Sydal dropped a knee on Bahh’s ankle. Bahh hit a cross body block. Bahh charged Sydal in the corner but Sydal lifted his boot. Bahh followed that up with a samoan drop. Bahh rolled across Sydal for a two count. Bahh went to the second rope but Sydal kicked him from the ground, and Bahh went over the top rope to the outside. Bahh missed a Bonzai Drop and Sydal followed that with a shooting star press for the win.

WINNER: Matt Sydal retains in 8:00.

After the match, Sydal celebrated in the ring while Borash threw to replays.

McMahon: The crowd is into Fallah Bahh. That was a common theme during the tapings, but it did translate. The building seemed to be lit better, however it’s hard to tell if the lighting is better or if the new ring, having more square footage on the canvas, just reflected the light better to make the building appear brighter.

As for the match, Bahh taking the bump off the second rope to the outside was an impressive visual. Keeping the title on Sydal is the right move, particularly as they introduce the new rules with that championship. If the Grand Championship simply becomes Impact’s secondary title, without any gimmick rules attached to it, then it’s fine.

— Eli Drake and Chris Adonis were shown arriving at the Impact Zone.

— Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley were backstage. Lee said that he had big plans for Trevor, and “we are Trevor.”

(2) KM vs. BOBBY LASHLEY

Borash plugged the GWN at the start of the match. Lashley and KM traded punches. Lashley hit punches on KM in the corner. KM threw Lashley to the ground after blocking a suplex attempt.

[c]

Back from the break, KM went from a cover but only got a two count. Borash hyped the WrestlePro event that will be taped for Impact’s Twitch Channel (it will air Feb. 9). KM had Lashley in a side headlock. Lashley broke free and got thrown through the ropes. KM dove over the top rope onto Lashley on the outside. Lashley hit a clothesline in the ring. Lashley powerslammed KM for a two count. Lashley hit KM with a vertical suplex. KM countered a spear attempt with a knee to Lashley’s face and then hit a full nelson slam for a two count. Lashley could eventually hit the spear for the win.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley via pinfall in 12:00.

McMahon: The KM dive over the top was damn impressive. It certainly wasn’t as crisp as an X-Division wrestler making the same move, but there aren’t many people KM’s size who would be willing to go for a move like that. This was also a very good showing by KM. He’s been absent from TV for some stretches, but even in this loss, he looked like a legitimate opponent for Lashley, and that elevates KM. The announcers did a decent job explaining that, but I do wish they would have pumped up KM’s performance a little more, especially when he countered the spear with the knee. That should be a big moment and they could have used that to praise KM for “how prepared he was,” or “how smart he is.” 

Even though he got the win, if this was Lashley’s last taping, this match did elevate KM and that’s a good thing.

— Joseph Park was on the phone trying to check on Chandler Park. Jimmy Jacobs grabbed his phone. Kongo Kong walked into the picture. Jacobs said that Chandler didn’t need to get hurt. Jacobs said that they will go as far as they need to go. Jacobs said he wants Park’s monster. Jacobs said he wanted his monster to face Park’s monster next week.

— Laurel Van Ness was shown arriving at the Impact Zone.

[c]

— Borash plugged Impact’s WrestleCon show, which will air live on Twitch.

— The Pluto rewind aired. Abyss was drowning Christian Cage in a pool.

— Backstage, Lashley said that he was going to focus on MMA and pro wrestling, just like he has been, and he was going to focus on whatever the hell he wants to. Eddie Edwards said hello and Lashley walked away.

(3) KIERA HOGAN vs. LAUREL VAN NESS

LVN put the title belt on the steps, as she did last week when she used it to beat Allie. Kiera did not get a ring entrance. LVN slapped Hogan for a two count. LVN choked Hogan in the ropes. LVN landed huge forearms on Hogan in the corner. LVN threw Hogan into the corner on all three turnbuckles and then dragged Hogan to the center for another two count. Hogan made a comeback after LVN missed in the corner. Hogan landed a sidekick for a two count. Hogan went to the top rope but LVN caught her with a forearm and then threw Hogan off the top. LVN hit a vicious-looking curb stomp. LVN tried for an Unprettier but Allie made the distraction and Hogan rolled up LVN for the win.

WINNER: Kiera Hogan in 4:00.

McMahon: You knew the match wasn’t ending after the curb stomp thanks to JB and Mathews telling us that the match was over. They must have some big plans for Hogan, giving her a win over the KO Champion, even if she took the heat for most of the match and then scored a rollup win.

— The mystery person was shown walking into the Impact Zone.

[c]

— McKenzie Mitchell interviewed ECIII and Alberto El Patron backstage.

— LAX came to the ring, as we’re told they’re going to react to Barbed Wire Massacre from two weeks ago. Konnan had the mic and he began his promo as the crowd chanted, “LAX! LAX!” … Konnan said that LAX is still here and no one can stop their revolution. Konnan called OVE the “ovaries.” Konnan said LAX is always ready for a fight, after taking jabs at Sami Callahan.

OVE’s music hit and then stormed to the ring. Callahan said that OVE hates LAX and they hate everyone in the building. Callahan said that they hate everything. OVE said they hate LAX, but they respect them. Callahan said that one of them will end up dead if they don’t put an end to their feud. Callahan said that OVE and LAX need to tie up their feud for now. Callahan said later in 2018, they would come for their titles, and then Callahan dropped the mic and OVE left. Konnan followed OVE up the ramp and said that OVE will get nothing and like it. LAX said there are no bigger fish for OVE to fry. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley attacked LAX in the ring with metal pipes.

— A promo aired for Impact’s WrestlePro event.

— McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Moose and Johnny Impact. Impact used the turd-cutter line again (seriously).

— The GWN Moment of the Week aired (ECIII vs. Drew McIntyre)

— Eli Drake spoke to Chris Adonis backstage. Drake said he doesn’t like surprises, but he trusts Adonis tonight for his celebration. Drake asked who the special guest was? Adonis said he doesn’t know anything about a special guest. Drake thanked Adonis for “saving” Impact last week when he tried to get out of the cage.

[c]

— A vignetted aired on Brian Cage. He didn’t speak and there were no words in the vignette, just images of explosions and skulls, as well as Cage posing.

(4) ECIII & ALBERTO EL PATRON vs. MOOSE & JOHNNY IMPACT

Impact and ECIII began the match but Moose tags in rather quickly and ECIII caught him with some jabs. El Patron tagged in and dropkicked Moose in the back of the neck. ECIII smashed Moose’s head onto the apron and tagged in El Patron. The heels hit a double suplex for a two count. The heels continued to have Moose caught in their corner. Moose hit a reverse suplex and he tried crawling for the hot tag, finally reaching Impact at the 8:00 mark. Impact went for Starship Pain but ECIII rolled out of the way. ECIII missed a dive in the corner and Impact hit a boot to the face. El Patron tagged in, Impact kicked him and hit Starship Pain on El Patron but he was pulled out of the ring at two by ECIII.

[c]

Back from the break, Impact lifted El Patron over the to rope to the floor. ECIII prevent Impact from making the tag by pulling Moose off the apron. ECIII tagged in and whipped Impact to the buckle before hitting a TK3 for a two count. Impact was driven into the corner by ECIII and then El Patron tagged in. ECIII tied for a superplex but Impact reversed it in mid air and both guys were down. Moose hit El Patron with a headbutt after both ECII and Impact tagged at the same time. Moose hit a hesitation dropkick on El Patron in the corner for a two count when ECIII broke up the pin. El Patron threw Moose into the corner. Impact hit dropped El Patron and then tried for a move off the top. El Patron threw stiff kicks in the corner. El Patron hit his (really stupid) stomp finisher in the corner. Moose hit El Patron with a spear and picked up the win.

WINNER: Moose and Johnny Impact via pinfall in 20:00.

McMahon: We’ve given WWE a hard time for Sami Zayn’s music being so upbeat for a heel … I kind of feel like El Patron is in the same category. So let’s break this down for a second with El Patron … he’s had a sketchy history as far as out-of-the-ring incidents. His music isn’t great. His finisher (stomp in the corner) might be the dumbest move in all of pro wrestling. What’s the upside with El Patron? He was in WWE so he has name value?

This was a really fun match, though. There was some good action and the heels played their roles well, cutting off tags and breaking up pins. I was a little surprised (but not upset) to see El Patron take the pin here, even though ECIII is leaving the company. Perhaps that’s a sign that they will de-emphasize El Patron as a main-eventer on the show. We can only hope!

Impact will have some real issues if Impact and El Patron are positioned as the top stars in the company. El Patron is not a likable human being, even if he is a heel. Impact is such a cornball, I can’t see him being a babyface that a mature audience will accept. 

[c]

— Eli Drake and Chris Adonis came to the ring.

Adonis told Drake to relax, and he told the crowd they were in for a treat tonight. Adonis said he was going to present the “Facts of Eli Drake’s Life,” a celebration of all things Eli. Adonis was going to celebrate Drake for beating Impact and El Patron last week in a cage match.

Adonis: “Fact, you are the greatest champion who has ever lived.”

A video highlight of Drake as champion was then shown. None of it were matches, it was all Drake walking to the ring with the belt and raising the belt.

Adonis: “Fact, you are the greatest wrestler that’s ever lived.”

Another video highlight of Drake, again with no matches being shown. Just Drake in suits holding the belt.

Adonis: “Fact, you are the greatest friend who has ever lived.”

Highlights of Drake accidentally hitting Adonis were shown, as well as Adonis in the turkey suit. Adonis objected and said this was not his video.

Drake said he’s the best-dressed man to ever live. Drake said he’s also the best friend that ever lived. Drake said that he’s the greatest man to ever live. He said that no one on earth can touch him, and he was about to say his catchphrase but he was interrupted by Austin Aries.

Aries took a mic and said that Drake is listing his facts. Aries said that he has some facts.

“Fact, I am a six-time and longest-reigning X Division Champion in this company’s history. Fact, I am a World Tag Team Champion in this company. Fact, I am a former World Hvt. Champion of this company. Fact, while you have been running your mouth and buying scarves, I’ve been going around the world collecting championships. And there’s one more fact … you and me, Eli, have never mixed it up in this ring. Before you call yourself the greatest champion that ever lived, you need to beat me.”

Aries issued the challenge for any time, any place. Aries said you need to beat the greatest if you want to be the greatest. Drake took off his jacket and scarf and told Aries that everything he was talking about was former. Drake said the best work Aries did was sitting behind a desk, talking about wrestling. Drake declined the challenge. Aries said Drake doesn’t have a set of balls, and then Adonis attacked Aries with the belt. Drake said OK, and called for a ref.

(5) AUSTIN ARIES vs. ELI DRAKE — Impact Global Title match

Drake covered Aries but he kicked out. Drake looked shocked. Drake missed a dive in the corner. Aries hit a dropkick and hit the brainbuster for the win.

WINNER: Austin Aries wins the Impact Global Title in 1:00.

McMahon: There was a loud “welcome back!” chant for Aries after the music stopped, but for some reason, you couldn’t hear any reaction when his music hit and he came out onto the stage. This has been an ongoing thing with Impact. They need to figure that out. This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard no reaction on television, and then someone in the building says it was better.

Aries as champion is probably the right move. I’m a fan of Eli Drake, but that move to him (after El Patron’s suspension) felt very rushed. They needed to do more before Drake could get to that level. Once again, Jeremy Borash wasn’t good. A new voice is going to be a welcome addition to the show. But the setup of that segment was really dumb. Out of nowhere there was a title match? Just like that? OK, I guess. Maybe that’s why they spoiled it, because they needed to advertise it somehow. 

4 Comments on MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT (2/1): The Callis/D’Amore era begins, KM vs. Lashley, ECIII & El Patron vs. Impact & Moose

  1. Considering what we know now about Borash, it makes sense he was dogging it recently.

    Del Rio is holding up the complete progression of Impact from the old mistakes to a fresh future. Also, Del Rio’s recent comments about wanting to be in WWE for 2019 should cause any current boss of his to future endeavor him now. Want to be in WWE? Then you don’t need to be working for Impact.

  2. I have never been a Borash fan. I’m sure he’s a good dude, loves the business and has a great deal of knowledge. I just don’t think he’s a great announcer. He’s a lot closer to David Crockett than he is to Gordon Solie, if you get my drift. His departure is a great opportunity for Impact, as it opens the door for Kevin Kelly, Joey Styles, bringing back Mike Tenay, maybe even Tony Schiavone. The role of the announcer is to put over what the viewer is seeing on the screen. It’s no coincidence that the Impact product is not what it was or perceived to be since Mike Tenay left. Josh Mathews is clearly not the answer either.

    • I agree with you on the announcing team. I do not dislike Borash or Matthews, but they need to bring in some fresh voices. How cool would it be for Schiavone to come back? I have no idea if there is a chance of that or not, but he seems to know more about the sport than most of the announcers out there. The WWE crews are pretty bad. Coachman coming back should help them quite a bit.

  3. This is the first time in a long time that I have agreed with almost the entire review of the show. I don’t get El Patron’s appeal either. Overall, he is just bland and boring. I feel the same way about Randy Orton, btw.

    I disagree about Johnny Impact. He was a huge start before Impact in Lucha Underground is extremely over with the crowd. I don’t like a couple of his catch phrases, but I am not offended by them as I don’t fall into that demographic. Other than that, he is a good wrestler, borderline great. He is far better than most of the WWE wrestlers who just seem like cookie cutter or clones of each other.

    For the first show of this new “era’, this was pretty good. There have been so many restarts though, I would guess a good percentage of the audience might be tired of that. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the future.

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