After last week’s comedy-heavy episode, Impact Wrestling rebounded this week, finding the right balance between strong in-ring action, comedy, personality, and a closing segment for the ages, one that featured Rich Swann delivering one of the strongest dramatic performances in recent history.
Match 1: Heath vs. Moose (c) – for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Winning this match would also earn Heath a spot on the roster. There was a funny commentary moment early on when Josh Matthews was running down Heath’s WWE accomplishment and said he was “a 24/7 champion, whatever that means.” Heath started off aggressively, but when the action spilled outside, Moose whipped Heath into the ringside barriers and the apron to take control.
Heath would not be denied, though, and he fired back with kicks and running attacks, until Moose dropped his throat hard on the top rope. Moose then punished Heath with stomps, kicks, and fists. Heath powered up and regained the momentum with a couple of flying kicks. Heath went for a huge whip, but the referee was in the corner and got flattened. Heath hit the Wake-Up Call on Moose, but the ref was still down so didn’t see Heath cover Moose for what would have been an easy three. Heath went to wake up the ref, but that left him prone to a low blow from behind, putting him down. The ref had regained consciousness by then, and counted the pinfall, giving Moose the win. This was a fun one, and the cheap win really made Heath’s plight more sympathetic, and Moose more of a jerk.
Winner, and still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Moose
Backstage, Gia Miller asked Willie Mack if he had any ideas as to what his best friend Rich Swann would say when he returns to the Impact Zone tonight. Willie said that he didn’t have an idea, but that Swann is upset about having been attacked by Eric Young. But whatever Swann says, Willie will support him.
Another EC3 promo video aired. In this one, he warned Moose that he wanted to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. I know it’s been said before, but man, did WWE waste this guy’s talents.
Jimmy Jacobs conducted an in-ring interview with the Tag Team Champions, the Motor City Machine Guns. The Guns gave each other props for their respective career successes experienced since they last teamed with the company in 2012. But that the time felt right to reunite and come back to the company. They named some of the teams in the division, which brought The North out to the entrance stage. They complained about the preferential treatment that was afforded the Guns by giving them an immediate title shot, while The North had to fight their way to the top. Page blew his top, saying that they weren’t 100% when they fought the Guns, and demanded their rematch. The Guns offered them the match tonight, but The North said they would wait until they were at 100%, which would be at Emergence, the upcoming two-week special airing August 18th and 25th.
Kimber Lee walked into Deonna Purruzzo’s dressing room. She told Deonna that she watched the beatdown that Jordynne Grace gave her last week and if that happens during their match at Emergence, Purrazzo would certainly lose the Knockouts Championship. Lee offered to take out Jordynne if Deonna would give her a title opportunity. Deonna agreed.
Wrestle House Segment
Taya called a house meeting where she gave everyone a personal grooming kit, since she was grossed out by their smells and bad hygiene. Somewhere in there Kylie Rae said she wanted to get back to the Impact Zone as she was still the number one contender for the Knockouts Title. But Rosemary let it slip that they were all trapped in the house until John E. Bravo got the hint. Meanwhile, Alisha Edwards said she would help Susie land a relationship with Cousin Jake, as she noticed the two flirting. Swinger thought the two girls were hitting on him, and their disgust at the thought led to Tommy Dreamer calling for a match.
Wrestle House Match: Johnny Swinger vs. Alisha Edwards and Susie
The girls won in about a minute in a comedy match. Throughout the lead-up segment and in the match, Swinger was pure gold.
Winners: Alisha Edwards and Susie
Back inside the house, Kylie Rae told John E. Bravo about what Rosemary had said, and he said he knew what it was all about and that he could indeed take the hint.
The Flashback Moment of the Week was from the company’s AXS-TV debut, October 29, 2019, when Sami Callihan beat Brian Cage for the Impact World Championship.
Backstage, the Good Brothers found their car doors open and the beers they were saving for later having been opened and half-empty. A couple of Sheriffs came up to them – where were they when the car was being broken into?? – and gave the Good Brothers heck for having open beers in their car. They argued the point, but then Ace Austin entered the scene and threw them under the bus, telling the rent-a-cop that they’re always drinking in the parking lot. This led to a brawl, and during the skirmish, Gallows accidentally hit one of the cops; he got arrested.
A short Brian Myers hype video aired. I wasn’t a fan of either Curt Hawkins or Zack Ryder, but in this case, I think AEW won, in that they got the one that had at least some personality.
Eddie Edwards came out for his open challenge for the Impact World Championship
Sami Callihan was announced as the challenger, but as soon as he came onto the entrance ramp, Rob Van Dam sneaked up behind him and waffled him with a steel chair and assaulted him while Katie Forbes twerked in delight. A couple of security guards tried to take Sami to the back for medical attention, but Sami insisted on competing in the match, despite being severely weakened from the attack.
Match 2: Eddie Edwards (c) vs. Sami Callihan – for the Impact World Championship
The two charged each other at the bell. Edwards immediately hit a Tiger Driver, but Sami kicked out at two and seven eighths. Eddie pummeled Sami, but missed a shoulder tackle in the corner, and then ate a flying elbow by Sami from the ring to the floor. Eddie repaid that with a flying dive of his own. Eddie tried for a Tiger Driver on the apron, but Sami thwarted that with a thumb to the eye and dropped Eddie with a Piledriver on the apron. Sami then slowed things down and laid a beating on Eddie both outside and inside the ring. They exchanged Pump Kicks in the centre of the ring, and then hit simultaneous clotheslines that had both of them reeling. Eddie got the edge in an exchange of fisticuffs – though, I’m not sure how chops to Sami’s chest when he’s wearing a bulletproof vest would really be effective. But Sami regained momentum after a Brain Buster. He hit a Go To Sleep and a big knee to the face, but Edwards refused to be pinned. Eddie hit a few clubbing blows and another Tiger Driver for a near fall. Sami responded with another Piledriver but Eddie was able to get his foot on the ropes or would have been pinned. Sami went outside to get a steel chair, but this gave Eddie the chance to recover. He hit successive Boston Knee Parties to get the win and retain his title. This was a good, hard-hitting battle – these two really work with each other well. I’m not wild about the open challenge concept, though. A title match, and especially a title change, should be the ending point of something – a lengthy feud, even a war of words over a few weeks without contact to build up the anticipation of the actual fight. Something to get people invested in seeing the title match as the climax of the story. With little exception, having a one-off match with no build doesn’t feel as special.
Winner, and still Impact World Champion: Eddie Edwards
Kylie Rae watched John E. Bravo leave the house. Taya and Rosemary confronted Kylie about his whereabouts, and she admitted that she told him about what Rosemary said about taking the hint. An infuriated Rosemary demanded that Dreamer make the match.
Wrestle House Match: Kylie Rae vs. Rosemary (w/ special referee Taya)
Rosemary viciously pummeled Kylie to start. Kylie used traditional wrestling to gain control, but Taya made a deliberate slow count. This was better than most of the Wrestle House matches in that there was actual wrestling and it wasn’t all about comedy. Rosemary hit a huge Spear but couldn’t hold Kylie down for three, despite Taya’s fast count. Bravo started cheering loudly for Rosemary, which flustered the demon. As she gushed, Kylie hit her with a big Superkick and got the pin.
Winner: Kylie Rae
After the match, Bravo checked on Rosemary, and the two of them talked. He told Rosemary that he’s conflicted because Taya has done a lot for him, and he wouldn’t want to hurt her by acting on his feelings for Rosemary. She suggested they keep their relationship a secret from Taya, but before he could answer, Taya interrupted and demanded he get back to being her stooge.
Backstage, Karl Anderson was talking to Gallows and promised to get their lawyer on the case. Austin found hm and started trash-talking, so Anderson clocked him. Mad Man Fulton came to Austin’s defense, and the two of them left Anderson laying.
Elsewhere, Hernandez hired Reno Scum to get his money back from Rhino.
Match 3: Chris Bey and Rohit Raju vs. TJP and Fallah Bahh
The commentary on this one was like the Jerry Lawler commentary on old WWE video games – some forced and corny one-liners and exchanges. Bey and TJP started off and they had some neat interactions (certainly more smoother than Josh and Madison). After some nifty exchanges, TJP and Bahh sent both of their opponents to the floor. Bey and Raju got their bearings after the commercial break, and they used some dirty moves to take control over TJP. He used some flippy-doo moves to escape and tagged in the big man Bahh, who was a human wrecking ball. Until he wasn’t, thanks to a big dropkick by Rohit. In the end, Rohit and Bey were going for some double-team chicanery, but Bahh pulled Rohit out of the ring. Bey had gone for a blind flying move, but with Raju out of the picture, TJP was free to catch Bey in the attempt and lock on an Armbreaker for the submission win. This was good, and hopefully will lead to a Bey-TJP singles feud – a series of matches between these two would be a heck of a lot of fun… maybe a best of 7 series, Impact Wrestling match-makers?
They announced that next week, Neveah and Havok face Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz in a no-DQ match. Also, Jordynne Grace faces Kimber Lee, and Eddie Edwards will once again put on an open challenge.
Rich Swann, on crutches and with his leg in a boot – made his way to the ring. As he did, they replayed the events from Slammiversary when Swann returned after recovering from his injury, only to have Eric Young destroy Swann’s foot with a couple of Pillmanizers. An emotional Swann talked about his first recovery and how his heart and drive pushed him to come back from what doctors said would be a career-ender. But after coming back, Eric’s actions has put him back at Square One. This time, the doctors have told him that he risked permanent damage to his leg if he tried to wrestle again. As a result, Rich said he has no choice but to retire. He thanked his fans for supporting him, and the roster and crew for their support and for giving their all for the company. He said after 15 years, he hoped he would be remembered for making an impact in the business. After he was finished, all the babyfaces came down and surrounded the ring in a show of support. They pounded the apron and applauded as they helped a crying Swann out of the ring. As he reached the top of the entrance ramp, he turned around one last time. Only to get blind-sided by Eric Young who waylaid him, and then smashed his foot with one of Swann’s own crutches, until Swann’s friends chased him off. The show ended with Swann down and his friends calling for the doctors. Swann was stellar in this segment from beginning to end. This is one of those rare moments in wrestling when it seemed like what he was saying was for real, and even after the attack, you still have doubts that it’s not.
Impact Zone, Nashville TN
A huge step up from last week’s episode. Rich Swann deserves an Emmy for the closing segment. Combine that with some really good matches (Eddie/Sami) and one that has you wanting more (Bey and TJP), and the right amount of comedy, this was a really strong outing.