MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT (2/8): No. 1 contender 4-way, Austin Aries speaks, Hania vs. Nova, Fantasma & Raju vs. Sydal & Ishimori

BY MIKE MCMAHON, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT
Feb. 8, 2018
Taped from Orlando, Fla. (Universal Studios)
Aired on Pop TV

Announcers: Josh Mathews & Sonjay Dutt


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.

— Highlights from last week aired.

McMahon: There’s no better indication for why Impact needed a new voice than Jeremy Borash in that opening highlight montage. There was no excitement. No passion behind his voice calling the fact that there was a new World Champion.

— ECIII, Moose Alberto El Patron and Johnny Impact were shown arriving.

(1) EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA & ROHIT RAJU vs. MATT SYDAL & TAIJI ISHIMORI

The four wrestlers shook hands to begin the match. Ishimori and Fantasma wrestled an interesting mix of styles to begin the match. Sydal and Raju tag in.

[c]

Back from the break, Ishimori hit a moonsault on everyone on the outside (including his own partner). Roju and Ishimori were legal and they ended up back in the ring. Roju countered a tilt-a-whirl into an arm bar submission but Ishimori rolled off and made a tag. Fantasma broke up a pin attempt with a boot to Sydal’s face. Sydal charged Fantasma but he countered with a boot. Fantasma chopped Sydal on the ropes. Sydal hit a shooting star press on Roju for the win.

WINNERS: Matt Sydal & Taiji Ishimori in 16:00.

After the match, the wrestlers shook hands.

McMahon: I hope this isn’t the new full-time announce team, because I don’t think this is the overhaul as far as a change in voice that Impact needs, but Dutt was OK here. Pointing out Ishimori’s history in Dragon Gate was good and he was very well-educated as far as everyone’s background. I also think it helped having a wrestler there, because Mathews was able to bounce off some questions like, “Have you ever slowed down in a match?” and it made it feel more conversational. Josh was able to ask Sonjay if someone should go for the tag or try for more offense. It felt like MMA commentary when you have a former fighter on commentary. A respected former wrestler in the seat brings the viewer closer to the match and into the psychology of it, rather than just moves.

[c]

— Clips of Austin Aries’ press scrum aired. He was asked several questions in front of an Impact banner as media (not seen on camera) were yelling questions and photo flashes went off.

Eli Drake barged in and he began arguing with Aries but security broke them apart. Drake demanded a rematch and Aries said he would give it to him and he wouldn’t cheap shot him like Drake.

Mathews announced Drake vs. Aries for the World Title next week.

McMahon: I liked this. It was a mix of TMZ and a media scrum at someone’s locker after an NFL game. It didn’t go too long and they utilized it to set up a title match next week. They should do more of this. It was well done.

— Clips were shown of Aries beating Bobby Roode for his first World Title win.

[c]

(2) TREVOR LEE & CALEB KONLEY vs. MONROE & REID

Cult of Lee had the control for most of the match. Konley powerbombed Reid for a two count. Lee and Konley showcased some strong double-team moves and then mocked LAX with a spike piledriver for the win.

WINNERS: Lee & Konley in 4:00.

Lee was wearing a Dominican bandana and Konley and Lee also threw up the LAX hand signal to mock the team.

LAX appeared on the video board. Konnan said that Lee and Konley were nothing. Konnan said that they would about to be acquainted with the world “failure.” Konnan said that time is clicking, “ish” got real, and LAX is coming for them. LAX’s music hit and Lee and Konley looked scared in the ring before walking to the back.

— Backstage, Allie told Kiera Hogan that she looked great last week when she beat Laurel Van Ness. Allie told Hogan that she would be watching her match. Allie said she had Hogan’s back. An enormous oversized card was delivered to Allie. She opened the envelope and it was a giant Valentine’s Day card. Allie said someone wanted her to meet her at the Impact Zone next week, and it was a secret admirer. Hogan said “good luck with that” and walked off.

[c]

— McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Moose.

(3) KIERA HOGAN vs. LAUREL VAN NESS — Impact Knockouts Title match

Hogan landed an early dropkick and covered for a two count. Laurel worked over Hogan and then pulled her up by her hair. Hogan rolled up LVN for a two count. LVN landed a HUGE front kick to Hogan’s face. Hogan came off the second rope with a crossbody. Hogan covered LVN for a two count. LVN whipped Hogan into the second rope and then hit an Unprettier for the win.

WINNER: Laurel Van Ness in 5:00.

McMahon’s Laurel’s crazy character continues to be a guilty pleasure. I’m usually not one for over-the-top ridiculousness, but she does it so well. … That match was crazy physical at times. LVN’s front kick was vicious and the whip into the second rope to setup the finisher looked really good as well.

Josh brought up having to buy his wife (Madison Rayne) a Valentine’s Day present and he wished her a happy birthday last week … is he in the dog house at home?

After the match, LVN celebrated while Josh talked about how impressive she was. LVN then attacked Hogan and shoved the referee away. LVN stomped Hogan in the corner. Allie ran down from the back and clotheslined LVN. Allie hit a codebreaker and then then grabbed the Knockouts Title.

— OVE was stalking someone that looked like Bobby Lashley but his back was turned.

[c]

— A promo aired for Brian Cage making his debut next week. It said, “The weapon will be unleashed.”

— McKenzie Mitchell interviewed ECIII.

— A backstage promo aired with Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong, where Jacobs said he asked for Joseph Park to bring his monster, Abyss.

— A backstage interviewed aired with Sydal and Ishimori.

— Back in a parking lot, OVE was attacking someone with a bat … it did turn out to be Lashley. They threw Lashley in the back of a car and slammed the trunk closed. Sami Callahan and OVE appeared and said “thumbs up, thumbs down.”

[c]

(4) HANIA vs. AMBER NOVA

Nova asked for a handshake but Hania shoved her face. Mathews said that Nova was from “the garage.” Hania hit a crucifix about 15 seconds into the match. Hania threw a sweeping kick in the corner. Sonjay announced he has a torn Achilles. Hania choked Nova on the second rope. Nova turned Hania around and threw kicks herself. Hania went for two covers but Nova kicked out. Nova reversed a powerbomb into a two count. Nova hit a dropkick. Hania hit a HUGE powerbomb for the win.

WINNER: Hania in 3:00.

After the match, Rosemary hit the ring and attacked Hania, getting revenge for the attack Hania made on her two weeks ago. Rosemary tried for Red Wedding but Hania escaped.

[c]

(5) ECIII vs. MOOSE vs. JOHNNY IMPACT vs. ALBERTO EL PATRON

Mathews said that Moose wants to be the face of Impact Wrestling. The bell rang and the match almost immediately spilled to the outside. ECIII and El Patron were working together early in the match. ECIII held Moose for a shot from Patron off the top rope. The match broke down quickly, though. El Patron and ECIII each broke up pins by the other and then they brawled. Impact came in with a kick off the top to both wrestlers. Moose hit a pop-up powerbomb on Impact.

[c]

Back from the break, the match was in the crowd. Moose was getting medical attention while Impact hit El Patron with crutches. El Patron threw Impact in the trash. El Patron hit Impact with a DDT in the ring. Moose made it back in the ring and limped but hit a double powerbomb the same time as Impact. Moose landed a clothesline on El Patron. Moose missed a Go to Hell on Impact. ECIII hit Moose with a One Percenter. Impact pinned ECIII for a two count. Patron had control all of a sudden, hitting clotheslines and a back cracker. El Patron tried for the cross armbreaker on ECIII and he locked it in but Moose broke it up. Moose tried a baseball slide to the outside but El Patron kicked him in the knee. Impact pinned ECIII for the win.

WINNER: Johnny Impact in 20:00

McMahon: Fun match that had periods where it broke down but also some good action inside and outside of the ring. The story with Moose getting hurt was a good one to tell as well.

Overall, this was a fine episode. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. It was fine. The matches were good but the show still feels like it’s lacking serious emotion. The commentary was better, but it still needs an overhaul. Dutt was still lightyears better than Jeremy Borash. The media scrum was a good way to introduce conflict between Drake and Aries. The match lengths — at least on the big matches — are getting longer as well. 

The commentary needs an overhaul, but the crowd needs to have some more life as well. At this point, I think the show needs to focus on bringing in good wrestlers with good stories, which will get people more emotionally involved. It’s not just an Orlando problem anymore, either. The crowd was kind of dead for the tapings in Ottawa as well.

2 Comments on MCMAHON’S IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT (2/8): No. 1 contender 4-way, Austin Aries speaks, Hania vs. Nova, Fantasma & Raju vs. Sydal & Ishimori

  1. I would like to see the crowd get more involved, but I would rather have a crowd similar to New Japan than the WWE smarks who chant “you deserve it” and “this is awesome” every 2 minutes.

  2. I thought the Matthews-Dutt combo was very good, except Dutt went a little overboard on the technical stuff. I wonder how long it took Impact to remove the Borash commentary and replace it with Dutt and Matthews? I liked the show overall. Was better than the Ottawa tapings,although Allie needs to stop acting like an 80’s Valley Girl!!!

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