SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Final impact – HIT: Did I really give every segment of this show HITs? I guess I did. Everything I watched ranged from pleasant to good. It was a very solid show, the menagerie of Impact’s characters showing off their personalities as they interact inside and outside the ring. The matches were good and mostly served their purpose, to move storylines towards their conclusions at Slammiversary. This was an easy, fun watch especially if you are into these characters.
•Disclaimer: I did watch this episode AFTER the execrable WWE Smackdown karaoke segment from July 11, 2020 so that may or may not have impacted some of my scoring here today.
•Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie vs. Susie & Kylie Rae – HIT: This match was solid enough but I like it as an example of how you can put together two entities that are involved in their own separate storylines into a match, and further both stories. In this case Susie & Kylie get a win over two established stars (by pinning one of the division’s most dominant former champions no less), giving those two wrestlers much needed momentum. Meanwhile, the story of Rosemary, Bravo, and Taya’s relationship is furthered when Taya loses due to Bravo not being there to help her cheat since he was tending to a fallen Rosemary. An interesting development for Taya is that while she is dismissive to Bravo in the aftermath, Taya seemed legitimately concerned for Rosemary’s wellbeing.
•The Deaners vs. Reno Scum vs. XXXL vs. TJP & Fallah Bahh – HIT: Albeit sloppy at times, this was a fun if mostly irrelevant eight-man match. The referee barely had any control of the match from the start and eventually TJP, Fallah, Thornstowe, and Luster all brawled to the back to further their feud, leaving the Deaners and XXXL alone in the ring. Cousin Jake scores the win by pinning Larry D. After the match, the camera catches up to Reno Scum, TJP, and Fallah brawling in the back with weapons eventually getting involved. I assume this is to set up some sort of extreme rules match for the future.
•Kimber Lee vs. Jordynne Grace – HIT: We are up to three solid matches with Lee and Grace putting on a good show with lots of mat based wrestling. There was a Michinoku driver spot that had me gasping in alarm for Lee for a moment. Grace wins with the Grace Diver. I think Grace’s been working on her fire since she is wrestling with more emotion than I’m used to seeing from her. After the match Deonna Purrazzo’s music played and Grace got ready for an attack, but it was a swerve and a video of Deonna played instead, claiming that now that she’s got her shot at Slammiversary, Deonna has no desire to mix it up with Grace until then. Now I’m not sure if I interpreted this right, but Deonna did say that she wasn’t the only one who noticed that the Knockout’s division was “ripe for the picking”. Was that supposed to be a tease for another newcomer?
•Impact World Championship Match video package promo – HIT: I really like these packages Impact puts out. This one gives you a snapshot of the current championship picture with snippets of interviews from all the wrestlers involved (except for the mystery opponent of course). While everyone’s part was solid, I want to bring up Trey’s performance. The man was fired up, showing a serious, and at times, almost scary side of his character. It did take one step across the line where his promo becomes almost farcical. He needs to tone it down a smidge.
•Locker Room Talk with guest… sigh… Madison Rayne – HIT: Yup. These segments are still my guilty pleasure. Madison Rayne interviews Madison Rayne and she does the whole changing seat gimmick and everything. Madison Rayne is so great in this role. So, Madison Rayne tells Madison Rayne that she is stepping back into the ring and joining the women’s number one contender gauntlet match to win back her title. Madison Rayne was excited by Madison Rayne’s announcement. At this moment Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz caught Madison playing with herself and mocked her for it. Havok and Nevaeh came in and a fracas ensued as an excited Madison looked on.
•Hernandez arm wrestling – HIT: Don’t know the point of these skits but I’m intrigued. As Hernandez counts his money after defeating his last hapless opponent (and I’m definitely getting a WWE APA vibe from these skits, I’m almost expecting to see Ron Simmons sitting at another table), Rhino appears. We get a hilariously over the top (the phrase this time, not the movie) swell of dramatic music. Hernandez stoically accepts Rhino’s challenge. The two lock hands and begin to push and pull with all of their might. The screen cuts to black. To be continued…
•Willie Mack vs. Swingercide??? – HIT: “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do.” Sit down and buckle up cause this one went on a journey. Chris Bey is upset at Johnny Swinger backstage since Swinger’s antics got him barred from ringside when Bey faces Willie Mack for the X Division championship (and the only reason Bey has tolerated Swinger thus far is Bey thinks Swinger can give him an unfair advantage). Swinger says not to worry and sets off to concoct a plan. Later, going through the locker room, after we get a Super Eric tease, Swinger finds, and steals, Suicide’s get-up. Later, Willie Mack runs into Swinger, now in Suicide’s gear and Willie reminds “Suicide” that they have a match later, a fact Swinger was oblivious to (Willie totally knew it was Swinger pulling a fast one and was screwing with him). The match itself was played for laughs as “Swingercide” tries to mimic the real Suicide’s move set and fails spectacularly. A Stunner puts Swinger out of his misery.
•Tommy Dreamer’s “Apology” – HIT: No inspirational speech from Tommy, that was a nice change of pace. Instead he reads a prepared apology Moose demanded but of course he subverts the apology into further insults. Moose appears and is unhappy, then something miraculous happens. Moose, who gaslighted the TNA Championship into existence gets hoisted on his own petard when Tommy Dreamer gaslights a TNA Championship committee into existence who gives him a title shot against Moose. Moose accepts his challenge telling Dreamer that all he had to do was ask him for a shot, that he didn’t have to make up a committee that didn’t exist. Dreamer replies that neither does TNA as he walks off. This statement is the final evidence that convinces me that we are in for some kind of TNA invasion at Slammiversary.
•Josh Alexander vs. Sami Callihan – HIT: Earlier, Ken Shamrock was looking for Sami Callihan backstage and Sami teleported, or, more appropriately, “hacked” himself into reality behind Shamrock. (I’m starting to think that the “world” of Impact Wrestling is actually a computer-generated recreation of the real world.) The two men agreed to an uneasy alliance against The North and Sami named themselves the World’s Most Dangerous Tag Team (meh, I like my World’s Most Dangerous Men better). The match served to get heat on The North and solidify Shamrock and Callihan as a tag team. Josh dismantled Sami throughout the match. Whenever Sami would stage a comeback Ethan Page would cheat to cut him off. Eventually the ref (with Page’s help) went down and The North took advantage until Shamrock made the save. Sami got the upper hand in the confusion and won with the piledriver.
CATCH UP… IMPACT HITS & MISSES 6/30: Locker Room Talk with Madison Rayne, and guest John E. Bravo is my favorite thing in wrestling this week, Moose vs. Crazzy Steve, Hogan vs. Havok, Scum vs. TJP & Falla Bahh