IMPACT WRESTLING HITS & MISSES 1/14: Tessa Blanchard’s celebration interview, Willie Mack responds to North loss, Joey Ryan vs. Johnny Swinger, RVD celebrates, Shamrock reflects, Hard to Kill PPV fallout

By Javier Machado, PWTorch contributor



Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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Overall – PUSH: This episode is eminently skippable as it is mostly a Hard to Kill PPV recap and fallout show, with some “b-side” matches mixed in to round things out. The highlight is the Tessa Blanchard interview that promises new chapters in the Tessa and Sami Callihan feud. Everything else is supplementary material.

The Rascalz vs. Desi Hit Squad vs. Reno Scum vs. TJP & Daga – HIT: The match is fought under lucha rules which normally means that there are two legal wrestlers in the ring at any time. When one wrestler leaves the ring, any other wrestler from the other teams can come in and become legal without need of a tag. In practice it means there are no rules and it is just an excuse to just throw together a bunch of wrestlers doing highspots. It doesn’t necessarily make for compelling in-ring storytelling, but you do get a nice exhibition of acrobatics and nice tandem team moves. This exciting match ends with Mahabali Shera of the Desi Hit Squad pinning Dezmond Xavier of The Rascalz after a Skyhigh powerbomb.

Hard to Kill fallout: Willie Mack – HIT: After his match at Hard to Kill, Willie Mack was beating himself up for not being able to beat the North. His self-doubt on full display, Rich Swann does his best to raise Mack’s spirits and does a great job at putting Mack over. I liked this interaction.

Michael Elgin in Japan video package – HIT: Michael Elgin talks about his recent work in Japan and we get to see a more human side of him. He talks about his goals and what they mean to him.  Usually (with a few exceptions) humanizing a character, whether a heel or a babyface, allows someone to better identify with and understand where they are coming from. This gets you more invested in those characters and they did a good job with Elgin here.

Hard to Kill fallout: RVD celebration – PUSH: This is RVD, Katie Forbes, and the finally named Jennifer (previously known as RVD’s girlfriend’s girlfriend) at their most obnoxious. RVD is great at being a smarmy prick but this version of Edge and Lita’s Live Sex Celebration was a bit too over the top. I don’t object to the content, just the volume. Definitely NSFW.

Hard to Kill fallout: Ken Shamrock – HIT: Ken Shamrock is interviewed after his match with Madman Fulton and I quite liked it. He approached it from an MMA, sports-like perspective, talking about strategy and techniques Shamrock employed, and putting over Fulton’s strengths in the process. He did a great job getting Fulton over as a threat whose biggest weakness was being manipulated by Sami Callihan who feeds his anger which makes him reckless. Good stuff.

***WARNING*** Joey Ryan sighting ***WARNING***

Joey Ryan vs. Johnny Swinger – HIT: The feud between Joey Ryan and Johnny Swinger finally comes to a head… Yes, I am a little ashamed I typed that. This match was a clinic of old school psychology, where the babyface wrestler keeps trying to apply his crowd-favorite signature maneuver and the heel wrestler keeps getting out of it garnering heat from the crowd. Eventually Joey gets Swinger to “touch it” but not before Swinger grabs hold of the referee and Joey ends up flipping them both. Swinger, who never learns, keeps assaulting Joey’s genitalia only succeeding in hurting himself in the process. Eventually Joey hits the Sweet Tooth Music for the win.

*** END OF WARNING ***

X Division Championship match: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose vs. Fallah Bahh vs. Ace Austin – PUSH: A fine match but nothing to write home about. I like Ace Austin’s development in Impact Wrestling. He seems confident in the ring and right at home with the three wrestlers he faced. In the end, however, this was a house show style match and did nothing to further any of the wrestlers’ stories. Ace wins with a Super Fold on Fallah Bahh.

Hard to Kill fallout: Tessa Blanchard celebration and interview – HIT: We are shown the celebration that happened after Tessa Blanchard won the Impact World Championship and Hard to Kill went off the air. Her family celebrated in the ring with her and she was met on the stage by Impact agents and wrestlers including Gail Kim. D’Lo and her fiancé, Daga, carried her on their shoulders. In the back Scott D’Amore had some encouraging words for her. All real good, feelgood stuff.

Later in the studio, Josh Mathews conducts a sit-down interview with Tessa. It’s what you’d expect from one of these things with the requisite “what does this mean to you?” and “what’s next?” questions when the TV behind them turns on, and we get a Sami Callihan promo.

Now, I can’t put over enough what a stupendous heel Sami is. He is a truly despicable human being. He claims that he is the one who saved Impact Wrestling from its darkest hour (and what is most frustrating is… he’s not entirely wrong). Tessa tells him that she’ll fight him anyplace, anytime, and Sami reveals that he is in the studio control center. She goes after him, but he’s gone and left her an ominous message. He decides the when and where, and she’ll never see him coming.


CATCH UP… IMPACT WRESTLING HITS & MISSES 1/10: OVW vs. Swann & Mack & Cage & Blanchard, Joey Ryan vs. Michael Elgin, Rhyno vs. Shera, RVD vs. Edwards, Valkyre vs. Grace

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