IMPACT HITS & MISSES 11/19: Rob Van Dam promo, Rascalz treehouse skit, Gauntlet Match for No. 1 contendership main event, Johnny Swinger

By Javier Machado, PWTorch contributor



KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
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Overall – HIT: This was a good episode of Impact Wrestling whose strong main event made up for a lack-luster start. The main event elevated Rich Swann in my eyes as he withstood a hellacious beating, never giving up, never surrendering, only losing when his body gave up. While the end of the match was a forgone conclusion, as Tessa Blanchard vs. Sami Callihan was already announced for the Hard to Kill pay-per-view, it’s still a worthy watch.

The Rascalz vs. The Desi Hit Squad vs. The Deaners vs. Reno Scum – MISS: This match opened the episode. Attention was brought by commentary to Trey Miguel’s mom being in the audience, cheering on the Rascalz. The start of the match was boring, only picking up when Cousin Jake of The Deaners chucked Adam Thornstowe of Reno Scum over the top rope with an overhead release suplex onto a waiting crowd of wrestlers. It started raining men (Hallelujah) as Cody Deaner, then Dez, dove onto the crowd eliciting a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Zachary Wentz pinned Cousin Jake for the win. After the match, Reno Scum attack the Rascalz until Trey runs in for the save. Ace Austin comes out and lays Trey out with the belt. Ace loads up a wrist brace he had on with a piece of metal and knocks Trey out with a backfist to the face. Meanwhile, Trey’s mother looked on with “concern”. I put “concern” in quotes because it was one of the worst acting jobs I’ve seen in wrestling in a while. So far this Trey vs Ace feud isn’t doing it for me.

Taya Valkyrie & John E. Bravo vs. Jordynne Grace – HIT: Last week Jordynne challenged Taya and Bravo to a handicap match. Taya wants nothing to do with Grace during the match, only getting involved once she has Grace at a disadvantage. Great heel work from Taya. Grace, for her part impresses with her power as she destroys Bravo, pinning him after hitting a Vader Bomb. Entertaining work from all three participants.

Desi Hit Squad skit – MISS: Backstage, Gama Singh is berating Rohit Raju and Raj Singh for not winning their match… again. I guess this ongoing bit is supposed to be funny, but I just find it annoying. After Gama leaves, Rohit and Raj run into Fallah Bahh and decide to take out their frustrations on him. If this means the Desi Hit Squad is turning a corner and are going to be a force to be reckoned with, then I’ll revisit my opinion of this moment. Right now, I just see two enhancement guys easily take out a fan-favorite babyface that has plenty future potential.

Rob Van Dam promo – HIT: Last week RVD promised that he and Katie were returning to Impact this week. Instead, he sends in a promo that excuses their absence by explaining that they partied too hard the night before and wanted to sleep in, instead of making an early flight (early being 11:00 AM). I can relate. My favorite line was that his influence would be all over the show since everyone will be doing his moves anyway. Good stuff from RVD.

The Undead Realm Chronicles, “Suzie” Saga – HIT: Suzie is wandering the halls until she is approached by my father Father James Mitchell. Father Mitchell befriends Suzie, promising to take her under his wing and to protect her from ne’er do wells. After sending Suzie off to await him in his Cadillac, my Queen Rosemary teleports in, behind Father Mitchell, and reveals that she knows what he is up to. Father Mitchell is attempting to prevent the Undead Bride, Su Yung, from reemerging, putting him at odds with “Him”, who is Rosemary’s father and Father James Mitchell’s boss. Rosemary promises to unleash the Undead Bride and set her on Father Mitchell. If you like the supernatural aspect of wrestling, this was a spot-on performance from Rosemary and Father James Mitchell, and I’m exited to see who ultimately gains control of the Undead Bride.

The Rascalz Treehouse skit – MISS: Another Treehouse miss. The Rascalz discuss their problems with Ace Austin and Reno Scum, when they are interrupted by Trey’s mom. She says that she’ll be joining the Rascalz in New York to have a talk with Reno Scum and Ace Austin. There were some lines that elicited a mild chuckle but nothing of real substance.

Johnny Swinger vs. Buck Gunderson – MISS: This was an enhancement match for Johnny Swinger, just there to lead to the post-match “receipt” Ken Shamrock would deliver Johnny. Not more to say here. Let’s hope we move on. Afterward, there was a brief interaction between Joey Ryan and Swinger backstage that was mildly humourous.

Elimination Challenge Match for the #1 Contender for the Impact World Championship – HIT: Moose and Daga are the first two wrestlers to start off the Elimination Challenge. Moose dominates the majority of this match slowing it to a, frankly, boring, pace. The problem with Daga is that he is devoid of character despite being a good wrestler, so it’s hard to get invested in him. Moose eliminates him with a No-Jackhammer-Needed Spear.

The next person in is Rich Swann. Swann lays into Moose, but eventually Moose regains control and dominates Swann for most of the match, including hitting Swann with a brutal looking lawn-dart into the corner. Swann looks done for but manages to counter Moose’s spear with a rollover Crucifix cover for the elimination. Swann began to win me over during the match by doing a great job selling the damage Moose inflicted.

Dejection sets into Swann once Michael Elgin’s music plays. What Elgin puts Swann through makes what Swann went through with Moose look like a walk in the park. Despite getting in some hope spots, Elgin brutalizes Swann, including hitting a sick-looking one-armed dragon suplex on the apron. Eventually Swann begins to spit up blood from the beating he was receiving. It was a very effective visual. Toward the end of this match segment, the referee finds himself in Elgin’s way, much to Elgin’s displeasure. Elgin works over Swann in the corner but refuses to break on the referee’s five count, leading to a disqualification after Elgin pushes the referee away. An incensed Elgin continues his assault on Swann, including hitting an Elgin Bomb and giving himself a visual three-count. Elgin was at his absolute best, remorseless heel self, and your heart can’t help but go out to Swann. This was, by far, the best part of the main event.

The referees give Swann a few moments to recover before his next opponent, Brian Cage, comes to the ring. Cage hesitates, telling Swann something (I assume asking him to give up), but Swann isn’t hearing anything of the sort and goes on the offensive. Now, at this point I thought Cage sold way too much for a depleted Swann to the point where it started to feel a bit unbelievable. Eventually Cage hits Weapon X for the elimination. The crowd was understandably split on this one with Swann having won them over but falling short at the end.

Finally, we have our last combatant, Tessa Blanchard. Just like with Swann, Cage was hesitant to mix it up with Tessa, but Tessa made him fight her. Cage was able to counter her early offense with shear power, but she was able to get the better of him through speed and agility. When Cage tries to hit Weapon X, Tessa flipped him over for the final elimination pin fall, and the victory. While this match segment was good, there were too many power spots that Tessa was able to recover too quickly from. There were two moves in particular, an F5 onto the apron and a superplex that someone of Tessa’s size should’ve been down much longer for. Still a good end to a great match.

NEXT WEEK: Next week is Impact Wrestling’s Thanksgiving Day special. This year they are forgoing the Turkey Trot and are instead running a parody “vintage” episode with characters like Bill Ding the evil architect, and Jim Nasium. Should be a fun time.


RECOMMENDED: 11/19 IMPACT WRESTLING REPORT: Thomas’s report on hour-long Gauntlet Match with Moose, Tessa Blanchard, Brian Cage, Michael Elgin, Rich Swann, Daga

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