With a couple of big returns and some teases for new, interesting feuds, this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling didn’t feel like it was the same thing over and over again. In other words, it didn’t feel like Groundhog Day.


Match 1: Tasha Steelz (w/ Kiera Hogan) vs. Havok (w/ Nevaeh

This was a classic David vs. Goliath contest. Tasha clipped Havok’s knee early on to ground the larger Havok. But when Havok was able to get to her feet, she hammered Steelz with knees and smashes. Havok looked to end things, but Kiera grabbed her leg from under the ropes. Steelz looked to capitalize, but Nevaeh tripped her up. When Steelz got up, Havok was waiting, and planted her with a Tombstone.

This was fine, and it seems that this title program will continue.

Winner: Havok

They showed us footage from after the cameras turned off last week, when Ken Shamrock had snapped and was beating up referee Brandon Tolle. Sami Callihan stopped Ken and tried to talk some sense into him, and Shamrck slugged him. A bunch of security guys ran in, and Shamrock hit all of them as well. While he was doing this, Sami headed to the back in disgust.

Cut to tonight, and Sami was in Scott D’Amore’s office, where D’Amore was apoplectic about Shamrock’s actions. He suspended Shamrock indefinitely, and Sami – who said he was angry with Shamrock for hitting him – agreed.

Backstage, Tommy Dreamer and Rich Swann were a mutual admiration society. Swann told Dreamer to let him handle Chris Bey and Moose in their match tonight, because he wanted Dreamer to stay at 100% for their match at No Surrender. Dreamer seemed a bit offended by the implication that he couldn’t still go in the ring, but they left together on the same page.

The Good Brothers were backstage, putting themselves over. They hyped their match on tomorrow night’s AEW Dynamite. They noted that Private Party were there tonight. James Storm and Chris Sabin walked up to them, wanting a title match. The Good Brothers said there was no reason to give them a title shot. Sabin and Storm insulted them, and the match was made for next week.


Match 2: Mad Man Fulton (w/ Ace Austin) vs. Josh Alexander

Alexander tried to do some traditional wrestling, but Fulton was too strong, and he powered out of every one of Alexander’s attempts. Alexander was relentless, and he was finally able to take Fulton down with a big German Suplex. He tried for the Ankle Lock, but Fulton used his leg strength to kick Alexander to the floor. He followed Alexander outside, and hit a Chokeslam on the apron, and then another one in the ring, for a two-count. Fulton tried for a Superplex, but Alexander escaped, and dropped him with a Powerbomb. He then hit a bit Rolling Elbow and a Double Underhook Piledriver to put Fulton down for the count.

This was a strong win for Alexander, and was exactly the right way to showcase him. This was a hundred times more effective than the mis-step that was his match against Brian Myers at Hard to Kill. If they get behind him, Alexander should be a big singles star.

Winner: Josh Alexander

Brian Myers came to the ring, still wearing his eyepatch. He threw some shade at Eddie Edwards, calling him a backyarder and a garbage wrestler. He said he would want to face Edwards in a match at No Surrender, but he wasn’t medically cleared, pulling out a doctor’s note. Edwards hit the ring and assaulted Myers, but then Hernandez hit the ring and attacked Edwards from behind. Myers told Edwards that Hernandez would be his opponent instead. They were going to double-team Eddie, when Matt Cardona ran in for the save and chased them away.

Johnny Swinger was making the rounds, collecting the winnings from his locker room casino and adding it to his huge roll of cash. Alisha Edwards and Fallah Bahh were upset that Swinger is paying John E. Bravo less than minimum wage as a BlackJack dealer. Even the reliable Swinger couldn’t save this one. At least this was short. Maybe this will go somewhere, and hopefully not lead to six more weeks of lame comedy.

Backstage, Eddie thanked Matt Cardona for saving him earlier. He suggested he and Matt team up against Myers and Hernandez at No Surrender.


Match 3: Crazzy Steve (w/ Rosemary) vs. Larry D (w/ Acey Romero)

Steve was in control when Acey got involved from the outside, and after that, Larry D took over. He flattened Steve with a big Belly-to-Belly Suplex, and then pummeled him with a flurry of punches to various parts of the body. Larry hit a couple of Short-arm Clotheslines, but when he went for a third, Steve broke it up by biting Larry. Steve went up for a Slingshot attack, but Larry caught him with a Knockout Punch that knocked him out of the air and down for the count. After the match, Rosemary glared evilly at XXXL until they left, apparently spooked out.

This was a curious outcome. Steve had been gaining some momentum, so to have him lose to a tag team guy is a bit odd. The post-match stuff made it seem like they’re building to a tag match between Decay and XXXL, which sounds interesting on paper.

Winner: Larry D

Gia Miller interviewed Trey Miguel, who returned last week. He seemed bitter, alluding to his former Rascalz partners as being “crutches,” and said he wants to show everyone what he can do by himself. Sami Callihan’s graphic appeared, and he crashed the interview. Sami told Trey that he is missing some key ingredients for success in Impact, and questioned his passion. Trey got angry, and Sami said that Trey should think about who he wants to be. He left, and Trey looked angry but also maybe a bit intrigued.

Gia then interviewed XXXL, who denied any fear of Rosemary, saying that they would never hit a woman. Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb interrupted them and said that he would hit Rosemary on their behalf. XXXL and Tenille challenged Decay to find someone as crazy as they were to team up with at No Surrender.


Match 4: Susan (w/ Deonna Purrazzo and Kimber Lee) vs. Jordynne Grace (w/ Jazz)

Susan stalled to avoid getting beaten up, but Jordynne had enough, and went on the offence. Susan pulled the referee in front of her to use him as a human shield, and then poked Grace in the eye to turn things around. Susan tried to instigate something with Jazz, and when the ref tried to deal with that, Purrazzo and Lee got some cheap shots in on Grace. Things broke down on the outside, and while Jazz took care of things there, Grace took back control in the ring, planting Susan with big slams that nearly got her the win. Some more shenanigans happened on the floor, and then Grace hit a Grace Driver for the definitive pin.

After the match, everyone rushed into the ring. It became a 3-on-2 beatdown, until ODB made her return to the company, running in to save Grace and Jazz.

This was fine, though the Susan character is supposed to be awkward in the ring, so the match necessarily seemed a bit choppy at times. ODB is a bit of a one-note character, but her return could lead to some fresh matchups at least, and that’s always welcome.

Winner: Jordynne Grace

Backstage, Private Party were upset that Sabin and Storm were getting a title shot against the Good Brothers, but Matt Hardy talked them down, reminding them that they were guaranteed a title shot at No Surrender, regardless if the Good Brothers lost the titles or not. He told them to focus on tomorrow night’s tag team battle royal, and said if they win that match, they could be in line to be champions in both companies.

AEW owner Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone were there for another paid ad. Khan hyped up tomorrow’s Beach Break show. He said that ticking off Impact fans has rejuvenated him, and so he’s made other big decisions, like letting Jon Moxley compete in New Japan Pro Wrestling again. They ran down tomorrow’s card, which features the Good Brothers teaming up against Kenny Omega. Khan warned Impact that tomorrow night, their “game” was on hold.

In the back, Jordynne Grace and Jazz celebrated ODB’s return. They asked if she was back full-time, and ODB was coy but didn’t rule it out.


Match 5: Rohit Raju vs. TJP

Rohit was frustrated that TJP had gotten one over on him with the whole Manik game, and that he wasn’t getting a title shot. His anger had him blindly charging at TJP, who would dodge the attack and counter, making Raju look silly. But TJP got hung up in the ropes during one such deke, and Raju blasted him. Raju took over, hitting TJP with a high Flatliner, and a big Sheik Suplex for near-falls. TJP recovered, hitting a Hurancarana and a Reverse DDT. He looked to end things with a Mamba Splash, but Raju rolled out of the way, and followed that up with kicks and a Cannonball in the corner. Raju looked to end things, but TJP rolled outside and then went under the ring, for his oft-used strategy of coming out the other side to surprise his opponent. But instead, he was dragged out by a returning Mahabali Shera, who Chokeslammed TJP on the apron behind the referee’s back. Raju capitalized with a big running knee and got the pin.

This was a good match, and the return of Shera should help take things to the next level. Raju has been impressive on the mic, so should be a good mouthpiece for Shera, who needs it (lest we return to the days of the Shera Shuffle). Perhaps he can get some of the other Desi Hit Squad back to make this a new powerful faction.

Winner:  Rohit Raju

A Violent By Design promo video aired. Eric Young said that not everyone can join VBD, but that they have offered an invitation to Cousin Jake. The choice is his.

After that, Gia Miller asked Jake for his thoughts. He said that he would give VBD his answer next week.


Match 6: Moose and Chris Bey vs. Tommy Dreamer and Rich Swann

Bey out-sped Dreamer early on and was in control about a minute into the match before they went to a commercial. Moose was beating up Dreamer when the show returned, but then avoided a corner charge and casually tagged in Swann. Moose then put the hurt on Swann right away. This was really strange and awkward pacing. Bey came in and Swann recovered, and then Swann and Dreamer hit a clumsy-looking Demolition-style elbow, like if Ax and Smash were too drunk to wrestle. Moose hit Swann from the apron, and then he and Bey isolated Swann, taking turns beating him up. Swann finally got the tag to Dreamer, who fared better as the match went on. He hit Bey with a DDT and then tagged in Swann to land the final blow, neither of them realizing that Moose had already blind-tagged himself in. As they tried to finish off Bey, Moose charged Dreamer for a Spear. Dreamer dodged it, and instead Moose drove right through Swann, and pinned him.

After the match, Moose attacked Dreamer, and hit him with a Spear as well.

This wasn’t great. The commentators lay it on too thick about Tommy’s age and declining abilities, and in doing so, shone too bright a spotlight on the flaws of the match. Highlighting his weaknesses so much, instead of positioning him as a legend whose experience gives him a good chance of winning the title, actually makes their No Surrender match feel less compelling. Hopefully they can course-correct on next week’s go-home show.

Winners: Moose and Chris Bey


Impact Wrestling - February 2nd, 2021

Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN

The matches were good tonight, and there were a few good surprises. With only one more show between now and the No Surrender special, they’ll have time to do some damage control over the Dreamer-Swann main event, as the challenger’s performance tonight was a bit of a stumble. They still have time to turn it into a Rocky Balboa storyline, but after tonight, it just seems rocky.