After the holiday slowdown, Impact Wrestling started the new year firing on all cylinders on Tuesday night. With two big shows coming up – this Saturday’s Genesis special, and the Hard to Kill PPV on the 16th – they have a lot of building to do, and as a result, this week’s episode seemed particularly packed.
And that was even before the big main event that saw the continuation of the company’s longest ongoing feud.
Too much? Check out the full recap and judge for yourself.
Match 1: Crazzy Steve vs. Blake Christian vs. KC Navarro vs. Ace Austin w/ Madman Fulton
This one was a bit of a preview for this Saturday’s Super-X Cup tournament, in which all four of these competitors will participate. This was an X-Division style match, so lots of fast moves throughout. Navarro hit a sweet variation of a 619, but instead of just swinging through the middle rope for the kick, he swung himself over the top rope, so the kick came down into Austin’s face – that looked good. A neat sequence saw a parade of flying dives onto opponents on the floor.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 6, 2021
Navarro nearly got the pin after a Running Sliced Bread on Austin, and then Christian hit Austin with a Running Spanish Fly – both moves looked impressive. Later, Steve Death Valley Drove Navarro onto Christian and Austin who were stacked up in the corner, and then ended the match with a Flying DDT on Navarro to get the pin.
This was a fun one and a throwback to the old X-Division days. Christian and Navarro both got some time to shine, which was needed, being that this is the only time most people will have seen them before this Saturday’s special. Steve getting the win here most likely means he won’t win on Saturday.
Winner: Crazzy Steve
Sami Callihan was in his hacker’s den, and he cautioned Eddie Edwards from having Alisha at ringside during their fight tonight.
AEW President Tony Khan and announcer Tony Schiavone did another one of their paid advertising spots. They took some shots at Impact and plugged tomorrow’s episode of AEW Dynamite, called New Year’s Smash Part 1. Snoop Dogg will be in the hiz-ouse. Tony called Kenny Omega and Don Callis “the Winnipeg Mafia,” but hopefully that doesn’t become a thing. They ended with Khan dissing Don Callis and promoting himself as the benevolent benefactor of the wrestling industry.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 6, 2021
AEW Champion Kenny Omega, Impact Tag Team Champs the Good Brothers, and Don Callis were on the bus, and they hyped the Jan 16th match against Impact Champion Rich Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns. They said that they are as tight as family, so will have no problem winning the match.
Cousin Jake and Rhino were in the ring. Jake wanted to repair his relationship with Cody, and implored Cody to rethink his alliance with Eric Young and Joe Doering. This brought out those two, accompanied by Deaner, sporting a shaved head, trimmed beard, and an angry scowl. The new look is great to showcase Deaner’s new attitude.
Match 2: Joe Doering and Cody Deaner w/ Eric Young vs. Cousin Jake and Rhino
Cody immediately went on the attack, viciously pummeling Jake while Young egged him on. Jake also took a beating from Doering who hit a monstrous Running Body Press before the commercial. Back from break, and the destruction of Jake continued, and it looked like he was bleeding from a welt on his forehead. A desperate Jake finally got the tag, and Rhino took over. But he tagged Jake back in way too early, and after some distraction by Young, Jake got turned around and prone for a low blow by Cody that left him helpless and prone for a DeanerDT.
After the match, Cody, Young, and Doering beat down Jake and Rhino, until Tommy Dreamer ran in with a Singapore Cane and chased them off. Dreamer laid down a challenge for an Old School Rules six-man tag match at Hard to Kill on the 16th.
This was pretty much a squash for Cody and Doering, as it needed to be in order to show how evil Cody has become. That said, the too-early tag by Rhino – which even the commentators called out – made Rhino look a bit stupid, so that didn’t do him any favours.
Winners: Cody Deaner and Joe Doering
Backstage, Gia Miller introduced Matthew Palmer, who faces Moose in a 3-minute challenge. Palmer said that he never toiled on the independent circuit for 14 years just to play a security guard on Impact (it was in that role that he angered Moose, leading to tonight’s match), and that tonight he has the chance to show everyone what he can do. Interesting tidbit: Palmer is married in real life to WWE’s Ember Moon.
Backstage, Acey Romero was continuing his investigation into the John E. Bravo shooting. Johnny Swinger suggested he go question some of the Knockouts.
Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo and Kimber Lee came to the ring. Purrazzo talked about her accomplishments, and said that Taya Valkyrie was deluded if she thought she could be Purrazzo at Hard to Kill. This brought out Taya and Rosemary. Taya said that she would regain the championship, and Purrazzo refuted that prediction. Taya got in Purrazzo’s face, and the champ and Lee left.
Backstage, Rohit Raju suggested to Chris Bey that if they can unmask Manik and prove that he’s really TJP, then TJP would be stripped of the X-Division Championship, and the two of them could compete one-on-one for the title at Hard to Kill. They went to Manik’s locker room, and TJP was sitting there. They sarcastically asked him where Manik was, but TJP said he didn’t know. They threw down a challenge for TJP to team with Manik against them tonight, but TJP used the excuse that he doesn’t get along with Manik so wouldn’t team with him. TJP said he’d let Manik know they were looking for him if he ran into him.
Backstage, Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb approached Rosemary, and hinted that Taya’s quest for the Knockouts title may lead to Rosemary being left alone. She suggested the two of them team up, but Rosemary wasn’t having it.
Match 3: Jordynne Grace and Jazz vs. Havok and Nevaeh – Semi-Final match in the Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament
The winners of this match will face Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz in the tournament finals at Hard to Kill. Grace was able to outpower Nevaeh, but didn’t have so much luck against Havok. But Jazz did, outslugging the larger Havok. Jazz and Grace took over for the next bit, isolating Nevaeh in their corner and putting the hurt on her. Nevaeh was finally able to get the tag, and a fresh Havok took control, hitting Grace with a huge Powerbomb that would have ended the match, but Jazz was quick enough to get in and break the count. The match devolved into a short 4-way brawl, and in the end, Havok hit an unconvincing Tombstone Piledriver on Jazz to get the win.
This one had a weird, almost backwards dynamic, as Havok and Nevaeh got the usual babyface match story, despite Grace and Jazz being positioned that way coming in. Not sure if that was the intention, but it just seemed off. Hopefully next week they define the lines a little more clearly for the finals.
Winners: Havok and Nevaeh
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Rich Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns. They told Omega and the Good Brothers that they resented outsiders coming into Impact and trying to claim superiority. They decided to confront them on the tour bus right now. They barged through the security schmuck and stormed to the bus. But Omega and the Good Brothers were laying in wait and attacked them from behind. They laid out the Guns and Swann and got back on the bus to celebrate the beatdown.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 6, 2021
The AEW crossover is still working, and this segment helped continue the storyline that Don Callis and Kenny Omega are able to outsmart everyone. But if they are building towards a larger inter-company program, Rich Swann is going to need to get a convincing victory at some point – or at least not continue to look stupid – in order to be seen as a credible flag-bearer for the company. If not, they’d better find someone else.
Backstage, Grace apologized to Jazz for their loss, given that Jazz postponed her retirement at Grace’s request to team with her. Jazz took the loss in stride and said she appreciated Grace giving her the shot to hang with the young folks. Grace asked her if she wanted one more chance to go with the current generation and offered Jazz a match against her this Saturday. Jazz graciously accepted and they left together.
Elsewhere, Purrazzo and Lee went to talk with Father James Mitchell to see if he’d been able to turn Su Yung back into Susie. He said that he wasn’t able to resurrect Susie, but instead changed Yung into Susan. Susan came out of the room and she looked like she was Daffney playing “The Governor” again – i.e. a Sarah Palin type, but this time with a lot of Karen-esque attitude.
Eddie Edwards was with Alisha in their locker room, as he prepared for his match against Sami Callihan,
Match 4: Moose vs. Matthew Palmer – 3-minute Challenge
Palmer attacked Moose at the bell, but within 10 seconds, Moose ended that noise. For the next 2:30, he beat the heck out of Palmer, throwing him around like a sack of garbage, ground-and-pounding him, and stomping him like he was on fire. With 15 seconds to go, Moose was setting up for the Spear, but got distracted by Willie Mack, who came to the ring as his music played. Moose turned to glare at Willie and didn’t notice the time clock tick down to zero, giving Palmer the win.
This was what it needed to be, in order to serve the I Quit match between Mack and Moose on Saturday.
Winner: Matthew Palmer
Ethan Page was on a couch lamenting about losing ambition after The North lost the Tag Team Championship. His Karate Man character’s voice was heard off-screen, giving him spiritual advice. Eventually, the camera panned out to show Karate Man on a chair beside the couch. Page argued with Karate Man, and threatened to fight him. Karate Man said they would fight at Hard to Kill. The split-screen was well-done. The whole idea of investing PPV time into Karate Man is dubious, but presumably this is something that some people within the company find amusing.
Match 5: Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards
The introductions were cut short as they both tumbled onto the entrance ramp mid-brawl. They duked it out on the floor before the match, with Sami using the ringpost and a steel chair to great use, punishing Edwards. Eddie staggered Sami with a pair of headbutts leading to a commercial. Back from the break, and Eddie was in control, dropping Sami on the ring apron hard. He then hit Sami with a chair, but Sami retaliated with the ring bell and a wrench, and then dropped Eddie on the apron. Sami was cut open by this time, and they hadn’t even got in the ring. Sami whipped a chair into Eddie, and then tried to force-feed his boot into Eddie’s face. Sami set up a chair on the floor and sent Eddie onto it with an Overhead Suplex. The match finally officially started once they got into the ring, and they started off with a hockey fight in the middle of the ring. The ref tried to break it up, but both of them pushed him aside to resume the fighting. He tried to separate them once more, and they shoved him down, so he threw out the match.
That didn’t stop the fight, though, and they continued to battle it out. They exchanged flying dives to the floor, with Eddie getting the better of that exchange. As Sami lay on the floor in pain, Eddie grabbed Sami’s baseball bat. Brandishing the bat, Eddie stalked Sami who retreated up the entrance ramp, begging for mercy. Then, Sami pulled out his phone and hit a button. On the video screen, Alisha was shown trapped in a cell somewhere in the bowels of the building. As Eddie watched his wife struggle to escape, Sami tried to attack him behind. But Eddie saw him and clubbed Sami in the face with the bat before running to the back to rescue Alisha. Eddie ran backstage and into the loading dock area where he saw her trapped. Before he could get to her, though, he was attacked by Ken Shamrock, and the two exchanged a flurry of punches. Sami joined in to help Shamrock beat up Eddie, and the two of them tied Eddie to the cage with barbed wire. Sami then corked Eddie in the head with the bat, knocking him silly. Shamrock and Sami taunted Eddie and left, leaving him KOd while Alisha could only helplessly look on in concern.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 6, 2021
This was a good intense brawl, and the violence was earned and never got goofy, as these things sometimes do, with an overage of weapons. It was announced that Sami and Eddie will face off at Hard to Kill in a Barbed Wire Massacre match – the ring ropes will be replaced with barbed wire strands, and weapons wrapped in barbed wire will be placed around the ring. The post-match angle was a good lead-in to that match – but perhaps it should have been held until next week’s episode, the actual go-home show for the PPV? This one was already pretty packed.
Winner: Double disqualification
Impact Wrestling - January 5th, 2021
Impact Zone - Nashville, TN
With two big shows to build towards, this show already felt crowded before adding in non-essentials like the Karate Man segment and the Su Yung/Susie/Susan saga. The main event, while very good, may have been better-served on another episode. The AEW crossover stuff continues to intrigue, and if this can lead to a longer-term storyline, this could be the start of an interesting year.