SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Overall – HIT: The wrestling takes center stage on this episode of Impact Wrestling. Every single match was good to excellent, or otherwise served to further a storyline. Only one atrocious WWE style “we need to protect the wrestlers involved so let’s make a distraction finish so no one gets over” marred an otherwise good night of wrestling.
Ace Austin vs. Hernandez, Impact Wrestling World Championship Number One Contender Tournament match – HIT: Hernandez finally falls in the tournament when he faces Ace Austin in a solid match. Good back and forth and a strong clean win for Austin with The Fold. Hernandez had been pretty protected in his last few outings, so Austin gains a lot with this win.
Chris Bey vs. Cousin Jake – HIT: This is a showcase match for Chris Bey, not to show off his in-ring ability, but to show of his character and personality. Arrogant and smug and constantly mugging to the camera in the early goings, I really wanted to punch him, so great heel work. Eventually his showboating nearly cost him but a timely distraction from Swinger let Bey swing the outcome in his favor. Bey wins with the Final Finesse. After the match Swinger and Bey beat down Cousin Jake but Willie Mack shows up and Bey and Swinger skedaddle.
Rohit Raju backstage interview – PUSH: While being interviewed backstage, Rohit is interrupted by Chase Stevens. Rohit, incensed at the TNA originals taking up his spot on the card, challenged Chase to a match next week. Chase feigned worry since doesn’t even work there but has a very important match next week, implying with a literal nod to the camera that getting a match was his plan all along.
Kimber Lee vs. Havok – HIT: We finally get the answer to Nevaeh’s alignment during this match. At one point, Kimber Lee raked Havok’s eyes to distract the ref so she could retrieve her brass knuckles (she calls them her Crown Jewel) like she did in their last match, but this time Nevaeh hits the ring and interferes. Havok gets disqualified but her and Nevaeh got the last laugh and delivered a beating.
Kylie, Kiera, Tasha, and “Susie” backstage – HIT: Why, for the name of all that is holy (or should I say, unholy), would you want to mess with “Susie” considering everything Kiera Hogan experienced with Su Yung. But mess with her they did as Tasha Steelz and Kiera write their own death warrant by bullying Kylie Rae and “Susie” backstage. In the aftermath… Su Yung stirred.
Joseph P. Ryan and OVE backstage – PUSH: Ryan tracks down the Crist brothers and asks them to be at ringside when he faces “Mentally Unwell” Steve next week. OVE eagerly accept teasing that this might be their chance to find a new leader and join up with Ryan.
The North vs. Cody Deaner & Wheels – STOOPID!: When someone says something is “stoopid” you’ll either react with, “this is too dumb to exist” or “Hell, It might be fun”, basically you’ll either like it or hate it. Compared to all of these post-produced “matches” we’ve been getting lately throughout the various wrestling promotions these days, this one falls squarely in the middle of the pack for me. Some of the gags didn’t really land but their use of the environment and sound was great. The North wins after they take out the ref and their crooked ref counts for them. It was good, not great, which is a bit of a let down after the last three weeks of gold from The North; the bar was too damned high.
The Rascalz Treehouse – HIT: TJP and Fallah Bahh were being interviewed over their prospective match against The North when they were interrupted by Wentz and Dez who reminded TJP that the Rascalz had a win over them. TJP proposed a match for next week. Over at the treehouse, Trey was freaking out over his match with Elgin when Moose appeared, and the comedy started. This worked for me because Moose has good delivery and has a firm grasp of his character. Good treehouse episode for once.
Deonna Purrazzo video promo– HIT: And the Impact Wrestling women’s roster keep building itself up with the addition of Deonna Purrazzo. While I believe she might not be under contract, if they can work things out, well, that’s some potential to get excited about. Her promo was good but like a Bray Wyatt promo, it seemed like she was trying too hard to sound smarter than everyone else. Hopefully, they can tone that down a bit.
The Seduction of John E. Bravo by one Rosemary – HIT: I mean… I want to look away… but I can’t… It’s like a telenovela and Buffy the Vampire Slayer roled up into one. Okay, so maybe that Venn diagram overlaps a lot… but you get what I’m saying.
Michael Elgin vs. Trey, Impact Wrestling World Championship Number One Contender Tournament match – HIT: I have no doubt that this match in front of a live audience would have been a star making moment for Trey Miguel. I originally went into this match not expecting much, the pairing wasn’t really exciting to me, but they blew my expectations out of the water. The psychology of the match was great. Trey would go for a high flying move only to be caught by Elgin’s power. Just as Elgin prepared to follow up with a power move, Trey would counter with his speed. Back and forth they went until Elgin finally hit a power move on the outside. After that they went back and forth with flurries of offense until Elgin got the better of Trey. When it was time for his comeback Trey showed great fire. I have to hand it to Elgin; he uncorked his best and made Trey look exceptional. The match reminded me of the Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston segment in the 2019 Elimination Chamber Match that resulted in Kofi’s rise to eventual WWE champion, with Trey in Kofi’s role. Only one thing marred it which is why I want to give it its own entry…
Elgin vs. Trey Match Finish – FUMBLE: Great match with a finish that royally pissed me off. As we come to the crescendo of the match for the final flurry before the finish, the screen is taken over by the ICU logo and the lights in the arena go off. Elgin is distracted and Trey rolls him up for the pin. Why? By not letting Trey win clean you’ve robbed the tournament of any meaning. Trey now lucks into the finals instead of earning his spot thanks to a distraction finish. If you wanted to build towards a Sami and Elgin rematch and keep Elgin strong so he can continue complaining about never “really” losing, Trey could’ve won with a surprise wrestling pin and Elgin could’ve lost his mind and THEN you can reintroduce Sami into the Elgin equation. Very disappointed in the ending, making the all the previous action seem moot, turning a match I would’ve ranked four stars (and I’m a harsh grader), three instead.
Bonus: Impact World Championship Number One Contender Tournament
Huzzah and hurray, I finally got one night right, never mind the details. Ace did not cheat to defeat Hernandez and it was Sami that caused Elgin the victory, although I really wish I would’ve been wrong as that finish hurt what was a stellar match.
So going into the finals, Trey has the “I didn’t REALLY beat Elgin” stink to rub off of him while Ace is riding high from his win. Ace, and Tessa have history, and this doesn’t seem like the same Ace Austin that faced her a while back, so there can be a new dimension there. Tessa and Trey, babyface vs. babyface is intriguing though, plus Ace has had Trey’s number for a while now. Trey winning can be the culmination of a journey for him. Still, I think I’m going Austin.