Sometimes, there’s a moment on a TV show that’s so good that you forget everything else about the episode. Think the “Red Wedding” on Game of Thrones. Or the Dority-Turner brawl on Deadwood. Or, hey, anyone remember who the other guests were on the night the Beatles’ appeared on Ed Sullivan? The Fire & Flava Fest on this week’s episode of Impact was the complete opposite of that.

It’s too bad, because that segment’s pure awfulness overshadowed the good stuff on the show, including the welcome return of Trey Miguel.

Impact World Champion Rich Swann made his way to the ring to start the show. He said that he has a number of challengers gunning for him, but rather than deal with that right now, he wanted to invite Tommy Dreamer to the ring. He offered Tommy Dreamer a title shot at No Surrender on February 13, which is also Tommy’s 50th birthday.

This brought out Sami Callihan who said that he deserved the title shot. Chris Bey followed and said that February 13 was also his birthday – his 25th – so he should get the title shot. Moose then joined the parade, and reminded Swann that he was promised a title shot, and he wanted the one Swann offered Dreamer. A brawl naturally followed, with Willie Mack running down to also join the fray.

Swann, Mack, and Dreamer cleared the ring, and watched the others head up the ramp. Then, Sami’s graphic hit the video screen and the lights went out. When they came on again seconds later, Ken Shamrock was in the ring behind the heroes, and he attacked. This led to an extended 4-on-3 beatdown that laid out Swann and his buddies.

This was an atypical opening segment for Impact, and it seemed like it came right out of WWE’s TV playbook. It was fine, just a break from their normal formula.

Backstage, Moose, Dreamer, and Mack went to Scott D’Amore’s office and demanded a match. D’Amore told them that they needed a fourth partner, and had them come into his office where he had a surprise partner waiting. They were all excited to see whoever the mystery person was.


Match 1: Matt Cardona and Josh Matthews vs. Ace Austin and Mad Man Fulton

Matthews and Cardona worked well together early on, with the two of them even using some double-team tactics that saw Alexander flip Cardona from the ring to the floor on top of Austin and Fulton within the first couple of minutes of the match. But Fulton’s power was hard to overcome and soon he and Austin were dominating, isolating Alexander in their corner. Alexander was able to escape after a while, and a fresh Cardona cleaned house, nearly getting the win after a Slingshot Splash on Austin.

The match broke down and all four started brawling in the ring. Out of nowhere, Alexander lifted Cardona for an Assisted Ruff-Ryder onto Fulton, and Alexander locked up Austin so that he couldn’t break up the pinfall.

This was fine, though the refereeing wasn’t great – at one point, Alexander was in the ring illegally, and was there for about 30 seconds fighting Fulton. It’s curious to see Alexander in a tag team so quickly after the North split up. Keeping him with Cardona for a while may be a good temporary situation, since the upper card in the singles division is pretty crowded right now. But hopefully he will get a singles push at some point.

Winners: Josh Alexander and Matt Cardona

The Flashback Moment of the Week was from Genesis 2011, when Matt Hardy made his debut for the company as the surprise opponent for Rob Van Dam.

Backstage, Rohit Raju was talking to someone whose back was to the camera, telling the person that he needed their help to get back the X-Division Championship.

AEW owner Tony Khan and announcer Tony Schiavone appeared in another paid ad. Khan said that Impact was like his very own wrestling fantasy league (wait, but isn’t that AEW’s mission statement?) and laughed about Private Party becoming the number one contenders for the Impact Tag Team titles. He noted that the Good Brothers will be appearing on Dynamite tomorrow night, teaming up with the Young Bucks against the Dark Order. They ran down the rest of tomorrow’s show as well, and then plugged Beach Break on February 3rd, where the Good Brothers will also be competing.

Brian Myers ran into Matt Cardona and Josh Alexander backstage, but stayed just long enough to insult Cardona and brush them off.


Match 2: Brian Myers vs. Eddie Edwards

Edwards out-wrestled Myers up front, and then hit him with a flying dive from the ring to the entrance ramp that looked really good. But then Myers snapped Eddie’s arm on the top rope and whipped him to the floor. When Eddie got back in the ring, Myers went after Eddie’s arm, which was injured last weekend during Barbed Wire Massacre. Myers worked over Eddie’s arm for a while. Eddie finally fought back, dropping Myers with a Backpack Stunner. But when Eddie tried to finish things up, Myers hit a big enziguri and a Flapjack for a near fall. Myers went for a running attack, but Eddie snapped. He grabbed Myers by the face and shoved his thumb into Myers’ eye, eventually pushing Myers’ head into the mat and holding him down by the eye, before switching it up to biting Myers’ face, drawing blood.

The ref had no choice but to call for the disqualification, as commentators Matt Striker and D-Lo Brown speculated that Eddie’s mind had snapped.

This was good while it lasted. Myers isn’t the most exciting or entertaining or charismatic wrestler, but he can tell a serviceable story in a match. The ending, and Eddie’s split came a bit out of nowhere, so that was a bit more strange than shocking. But it will be interesting to see where this leads.

Winner, by disqualification: Brian Myers

Backstage, Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz were lamenting that the tickets to their Fire & Flava Fest, celebrating their Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament win, were not going well, and that the few ticket purchasers were all ugly. Tasha suggested they make it a masquerade party to solve that problem. The other problem – catering the function – was also in question, but Kiera got inspired when she saw Johnny Swinger walk by with three ladies.

Elsewhere, Matt Hardy took credit for leading Private Party to victory last week, and said that on February 13, the same thing would happen. He then plugged Beach Break where Private Party will be in a tag team battle royal to earn a title shot against the Young Bucks at AEW’s next PPV, Revolution (currently scheduled for March 7). He said he needed them to be winners.


Match 3: Tenille Dashwood w/ Kaleb vs. Rosemary w/ Crazzy Steve

Tenille charged Rosemary at the bell, which was questionable strategy. But it was a ploy, as Kaleb was able to sneak Tenille his camera bag. Kaleb and Steve got into it on the floor, and when the ref turned around to deal with that, Tenille clobbered Rosemary with the loaded camera bag. But Rosemary kicked out! Tenille had the advantage, though, and put the boots to Rosemary, with Kaleb continuing to assist when he could get away with it. Rosemary demoned up  and came back, eventually dropping Tenille with As Above So Below to get the definitive win.

This was a good showcase for Rosemary, and her move away from the comedy and back into the darker character is a good way to put her back into title contention.

Winner: Rosemary

Backstage, Larry D told Acey that he was angry with Rosemary for causing the chain of events that led to him being framed for John E. Bravo’s attempted murder. Rosemary and Steve walked in and they got in each other’s faces, with Larry slugging Steve before XXXL left.

Steelz and Hogan walked into the room where Swinger was throwing a party, complete with gambling and the aforementioned three ladies. They told him to bring the women and John E. Bravo, but Fallah Bahh was denied a comped ticket and couldn’t afford to buy one.

Meanwhile, Deonna Purrazzo, Kimber Lee, and Susan were celebrating Purrazzo’s win over Taya Valkyrie at Hard to Kill and the fact that Taya was gone. Lee and Susan mentioned how they beat Jordynne Grace and Jazz last week, and guess who walked in? Susan challenged Jordynne to a match next week.


Fire & Flava Fest

Alisha welcomed everyone – well, Swinger, Bravo, and referee Brandon Tolle – to Fire & Flava Fest. Swinger’s women were there, and there was a table with a few Styrofoam food containers and some champagne bottles on it. She introduced Steelz and Hogan, who made their way to the ring, and obnoxiously welcomed everyone.

The food was served, and it was sorely lacking in both quantity and quality, just like at the real Fyre Festival, which this was supposed to be parodying. Even the champagne was lousy. Everyone complained, and Steelz and Hogan got mad.

They saw someone dressed up in a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man costume, and assumed it was Fallah Bahh trying to crash the party. They ripped the mask off, and it was actually Nevaeah. In their shock, they didn’t see Havok come into the ring from behind. Havok threw both of them out of the ring, and then threw the food containers at them.

At one point during the segment, referee Brandon Tolle used the words “Dumpster Fire.” Truer words were never spoken. This was like they took the worst of WWE’s playbook, and then tried to make it even worse. This was amateurishly bad, and should be remembered when it comes time for this year’s Worst of the Year awards.

Chris Sabin was in a hotel bar and “Cowboy” James Storm joined him. They said that despite what Matt Hardy said earlier, Private Party wasn’t done with them. And neither were the Good Brothers. They said they would keep their team going to go after the Tag Team Championships, and then Storm tried to teach Sabin how to drink shots of Jack Daniels.

Backstage, Tolle demanded a refund from Steelz and Hogan for his Fire & Flava Fest ticket. They refused.


Match 4: Joe Doering (w/ Eric Young and Deaner) vs. Cousin Jake

Jake tried to take it to Doering, but a big Push-Kick to the gut made him rethink that in a big way. Doering waylaid Jake for a while, but then Jake ducked a high cross body, and Doering rolled to the floor. Jake tried for a running dive to the floor, but Joe absorbed it and Jake landed hard on his ankle.

Jake tried to do anything, but Doering just beat the pulp out of him, ending things with a huge Short-Arm Lariat for the definitive win. After the match, Violent by Design beat down Jake. They were going to Pillmanize Jake’s leg, but Young stopped them. He put a VBD towel on Jake’s chest, seemingly as an offer to join the cult, and they left.

This was exactly what it needed to be: a showcase for the monster Doering. He has such a different look, presentation, and style from anyone else on the roster, and they’ve used him perfectly since he came in.

Winner: Joe Doering

They announced the following for next week: Josh Alexander vs. Mad Man Fulton; Susan vs. Jordynne Grace; Tasha Steelz vs. Havok; TJP defends the X-Division Championship against Rohit Raju (teasing his mystery corner-person will be there); and Matt Hardy and Private Party will be appearing.


Match 5: Moose, Chris Bey, Sami Callihan, and Ken Shamrock vs. Rich Swann, Tommy Dreamer, Willie Mack, and Trey Miguel

After a few weeks away, Miguel made his return to the company, now Rascalz-less. Swann and Dreamers, who will be opponents in a couple of weeks, worked well together early on, hitting Bey with some double-team moves, leading into a commercial.

Back from the break, and Bey was swapped out for Sami Callihan on the take-a-beating ride. Until he caught Willie Mack going up top, and swept his legs from under him, sending the big man down hard. Mack was then punished by all four opponents who isolated him in their corner. Mack finally broke loose and got the tag to Miguel, who was quicker than ever and showed a more aggressive side than in the past.

The match turned into a pier-6 brawl, with everyone hitting finishers in sequence. Sami was last in the order, and went for the Package Piledriver on Miguel, who blocked the move and rolled up Sami for the pin.

Sami and Shamrock protested the count, and then Shamrock lost it, hitting referee Brandon Tolle and clamping on an Ankle Lock until other referees ran out to stop him. This will probably end up with Shamrock being suspended again, so they can write him off of TV, presumably to save the number of appearances he’s contracted for.

The match was a bit short and somewhat rushed (it seemed even shorter than the Fire & Flava Fest debacle), so it didn’t really give anyone a chance to shine. Even Miguel’s pin, which should have been a big moment, seemed a bit awkward, leading to an anti-climactic feeling.

Winners: Rich Swann, Willie Mack, Tommy Dreamer, and Trey Miguel





Impact - January 26th, 2021

Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN

Unfortunately, the many positives of this week’s show – Trey Miguel’s return, Joe Doering’s squash of Cousin Jake, and the course correction of Rosemary back to her dark side – were offset by the embarrassment that was the Fire & Flava Fest segment.