In the past year, Rich Swann returned from injury with a renewed focus and a drive to be the top guy in Impact, doing whatever he needed to do to climb that mountain. And if that meant he’s had to suffer injury and pain, he would always pay that price. It’s fitting then, that on Saturday night, on an Impact-Plus special with the name “Sacrifice”, he would finally reach the top, beating Moose to become the undisputed Unified World Champion of Impact Wrestling.
His excellent match against Moose capped off a night of solid action that also saw two other title changes: Ace Austin’s win over TJP for the X-Division Championship, and – in what had to be considered a surprised – the New Japan Pro Wrestling team of FinJuice dethroning the Good Brothers for the Tag Team Championship.
With his win, Swann will now go on to face AEW World Champion Kenny Omega on April 24th at Impact’s Rebellion pay-per-view event.
Match 1: Decay (w/ Rosemary) vs. Reno Scum
One day, Impact+ is going to work correctly and I won’t miss the first five to ten minutes of a monthly show. Alas, today was not that day. So, when I was finally able to find a streaming site, Reno Scum were in control. Luster the Legend was looking to put away Steve, but Rosemary sprayed him in the face with the green mist. And a few seconds later, Crazzy Steve and Taurus double-teamed Thornstowe and pinned him.
This could have been a 7-star match for all I know.
Match 2: Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb vs. Havok and Nevaeh
Tenille and Kaleb started off fine against Nevaeh, but when the powerful Havok came in, she took over, flattening Kaleb with a huge clothesline. He took a beating for a while, but then got a tag to Tenille and she used some good wrestling and some aggressive tactics to regain the edge. They isolated Nevaeh for a while, but eventually Nevaeh was able to spin out of a hold, hit him with a big neckbreaker, and get the hot tag to Havok. She battered both opponents, and tagged in Nevaeh again. In the end, Nevaeh had Tenille rolled up for a three-count, but some distraction allowed Kaleb to come in behind the ref’s back and roll them over so that Tenille was on top, and she held Neveah down for the pin. After the match, Nevaeh looked disappointed in herself for taking the loss.
This was fine, and seems to be continuing the tease for a Havok-Neveah split and feud.
Winners: Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb
Eddie Edwards went into Rich Swann’s locker room to give the champ a pep talk before his match with Moose. Swann was pumped up.
Match 3: Joe Doering and Deaner (w/ Eric Young) vs. James Storm and Chris Sabin (w/ Jake Something)
A lot of this match early on was Storm and Sabin trying to solve the equation of how to take Doering down, but failing. They fared better when Deaner was in there, using double-team moves to great effect, but then he’d tag Doering and the pendulum would swing the other way. After one run-in with Doering, Storm was out on his feet, allowing Violent By Design to double-team him for several minutes.
He finally broke free, and Sabin was on fire. He hit a nice Missile Dropkick on Deaner that looked great. But then he tried something fancy on Doering which backfired, and he got hit like he ran into an oncoming train. Then the match broke apart, with Eric Young and Jake Something getting involved, leading to the ref getting knocked down. Young and Doering looked to end Sabin, but then Rhino hit the ring. But instead of saving Sabin, he hit him with the GORE GORE GORE! A pinfall was purely academic. After the match, Rhino celebrated with Young, apparently the newest member of Violent By Design.
This was good, and having Rhino join the VBD stable adds even more muscle to an already-strong group. It will be interesting to see what happens with Heath, Rhino’s partner, when he returns. But in the meantime, this is a good way to use Rhino.
Winners: Deaner and Joe Doering
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Brian Myers who whined about having being treated poorly since coming to Impact, including being booked in tonight’s No-DQ match against Eddie Edwards. He gave Hernandez some money, so presumably Hernandez will get involved in the match somehow.
Match 4: Brian Myers vs. Eddie Edwards – No Disqualification match
Even the fake crowd noise seems subdued when Brian Myers is wrestling. This was a pretty tame No-DQ match, with really the only weapons used early on being a garbage can lid and a cookie sheet. At one point, Eddie Superplexed Myers onto a bunch of chairs laying on the mat.
Eddie set up a table beside the ring, but before he could put Myers through it, Hernandez ran in and stopped him. He was going to Border Toss Eddie from the ring through the table, but Matt Cardona ran and chased Hernandez away. Eddie then grabbed a Singapore cane, but Myers scrambled under the ring, and when Eddie went to get him, Myers pulled him, so Eddie’s face hit the side of the ring apron. Later, Eddie dropped Myers with a Backpack Stunner off the apron through the table. Back in the ring, Myers tried to load his elbow pad to end things, but Eddie grabbed the weapon, stuffed it in his kneepad, and then hit the Loaded Boston Knee Party for the pin.
This was pretty tame for a No-DQ match. The run-ins were pretty meaningless, and the use of weapons wasn’t particularly inspired. After Eddie’s good deathmatch with Callihan last month, this was a step down. As is anything that involves Myers, frankly.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
Match 5: Jordynne Grace and Jazz vs. Fire N Flava (c) – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The challengers overpowered FNF in the early moments of the match. At one point, Tasha faked an injury, and when Jordynne backed off the attack, Tasha sucker-punched her. The champs double-teamed Jordynne, but she eventually just powered through and carried Tasha over to her corner and tagged in Jazz. Jazz was doing well, but an eye rake blinded her, and she soon fell into some trouble.
Until Tasha tried to exchange punches with her – bad move. Grace got the tag and it looked like she was going to pin Hogan, but Tasha broke up the pin with a nice Splash off the top right onto Grace’s back. FNF then hit a Double-Stomp on Grace for a very near fall. The pace of the match quickened up here, and all four women started fighting it out. In the end, Kiera hit Grace with a Spinning Fisherman’s Buster to get the win, in what has to be seen as an upset.
This was a good match, but it might have been just a bit too busy near the end. The clean win by Fire N Flava was surprising, but it’s good that the champs aren’t being booked like jokes, as is often the case with heels.
Winners, and still Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Fire N Flava
In his locker room, Gia tried to get some words from Moose about his match with Swann, but he wasn’t in a talking mood.
Match 6: TJP vs. Ace Austin (w/ Mad Man Fulton) – for the X-Division Championship
Some nice technical wrestling started off this one, with TJP out-techniquing Austin, having an answer for everything thrown at him. TJP got distracted by Fulton at one point, and Austin capitalized with a beautiful Fosbury Flop. Back in the ring, and Austin followed that up with a Springboard Enziguri that grounded TJP. Austin clamped on a Dragon Sleeper that nearly turned off TJP’s lights, but he was able to find the energy to stay in it.
He found even more energy, enough to hit a Flying DDT on Austin, and then a Flying Dive from the ropes to the floor, and a High Cross Body when Austin got back in the ring. A Tornado DDT nearly got TJP the win, but Austin kicked out. TJP went for an Octopus-like move, but Austin kicked out. Finally, they both went down after throwing simultaneous kicks to the face.
Austin won the race to stand up, and he nearly got the win after a Springboard Famouser. He went for The Fold, but TJP collapsed before Austin could hit the move. Instead of capitalizing on TJP’s grogginess, Austin went for a submission hold, which TJP promptly reversed, forcing Austin to grab the ropes to break it up. They continued to fight, exchanging strikes, with TJP again countering all of TJP’s attempts. TJP went up for a top rope attack, but Austin used the referee as a shield, and TJP had to hesitate. That would be his undoing, because it allowed Austin to hit a Standing Stomp and then The Fold which put TJP down for good.
This was really good, and the match of the night so far – these guys have some really good chemistry together. It would be hard to move TJP much higher up the card – he’s perfectly-suited for the X-Division. So hopefully these two will tangle again, as they can do so much good together.
Winner, and new X-Division Champion: Ace Austin
Tenille and Kaleb walked into Swinger’s Palace while scouting locations to film a Boomerang, whatever that means. Tenille and Alisha started arguing, and Alisha said she was going to ask Scott D’Amore to make the match.
Match 7: ODB vs. Deonna Purrazzo (w/ Kimber Lee and Susan) (c) – for the Knockouts Championship
The story in this one was the clash of styles between Purrazzo’s technical style and ODB’s straight-out brawling. Kimber made her presence known early on, interfering when ODB stalked Purrazzo on the floor, so the referee kicked her and Susan to the back. Purrazzo was upset, but remained focus on the task at hand, immediately going for a series of submissions when the match got back into the ring. But when ODB kept escaping, a desperate Purrazzo went for some uncharacteristic offense, trying to exchange punches with ODB. This didn’t work out so well, and soon she found herself in trouble. But when ODB looked to end things with a flying attack, Purrazzo side-stepped her, and caught her arm. She locked the arm, took ODB down to the mat, and locked on Venus De Milo. ODB had no defense for it, and had no choice but to submit.
This was a strong match, and a really good showcase for Purrazzo, who has to be in the conversation of who’s the best women’s wrestler out there right now. ODB is more of a novelty act, so her losing isn’t a surprise. The big question is who they have who would actually make a convincing opponent for Purrazzo right now. Maybe now’s the time for Thunder Rosa to become part of the AEW-Impact war?
Winner, and still Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo
Alisha and Tenille barged into Scott D’Amore’s office and demanded a match. He said that the two of them would compete on opposite teams on Tuesday in a 12-Knockouts tag team match. He said that they’d have to look up on ImpactWrestling.com who the teams would be. Don’t worry, faithful readers, we’ve got you covered – we’ll post it on our News & Rumours page.
Match 8: FinJuice (David Finlay and Juice Robinson) vs. the Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) (c) – for the Impact Tag Team Championship
The story here was that FinJuice was just that much quicker, but the Good Brothers had the veteran experience to take advantage of any mistakes. Case in point, after a series of quick double-team moves, Finlay was going for a big move off the top, but Anderson swept his leg and Finlay hit his head hard on the top turnbuckle. Then the Good Brothers took over, sending a message to the young challenger with a sustained beating. They were cocky, not going for pins, but instead just laying on the punishment. But finally that backfired on them, and Finlay avoided a move that resulted in Anderson crotch-posting himself and tagged in a fresh Juice. He cleaned house, but missed a big Cannonball, and the Good Brothers regained the upper hand.
They then gave Juice the same treatment they gave Finlay, double-teaming him for a bit. But FinJuice still had fight in them, and they avoided losses, even after a huge Anderson Spinebuster on Juice and a Magic Killer attempt. The challengers got an adrenaline boost, and the pace picked up after that. Soon, all four men were in the ring. FinJuice dispatched of Gallows with a Flying Dive, and then they hit Anderson with a Doomsday Device to get the shocking win. Holy cow, new champs!
This was a terrific match, and both teams played their roles perfectly. The ending was legitimately surprising, but felt totally earned. It will be interesting to see what this may mean for the Good Brothers – are they on their way out the door to AEW? Or will this feud continue?
Winners, and new Impact World Tag Team Champions: FinJuice
Match 9: Moose (TNA World Heavyweight Champion) vs. Rich Swann (Impact World Champion) – Title Unification match
There were some good sequences early on, with Swann using his speed to avoid power moves by Moose, but when he would go for speed-based moves, Moose would try to hit a power move, resetting the cycle. Moose was able to land one finally, though, and he dropped Swann neck-first over the top rope, whiplashing Swann’s neck. He then heaved him halfway across the ring a few times, which looked great. Swann tried to fight back, but a Back Body Drop by Swann had him sent him doing somersaults before crashing hard on the mat.
Moose clamped on a neck crank to punish Swann, and after some trash-talk, slapped Swann hard, and then hit a big Uranage for a close fall.
Moose brought a chair into the ring and wedged it in the corner, but the ref stopped him from using it, lest he get disqualified (it’s a traditional TNA rule that titles can change hands on a disqualification, and the commentators said that was in effect here). So Moose went back to simply beating the heck out of Swann with his bare hands, at one point, making him shriek in pain by using the ringside barrier, and then digging his elbow into Swann’s ribs. Swann tried to fight back, but Moose was just overwhelming.
Moose looked to end things with a Powerbomb off the top, but Swann reversed it into a Hurancarana.
That brought some new life into Swann, and he hit a whirling dervish of kicks to Moose. Moose came back and shoved Swann into the ropes, and then quickly scampered up the steps for a Moonsault, but as he came down, Swann hit a Backflip Cutter – that looked amazing! Swann followed that up with a 450 Splash, but Moose kicked out!
They fought their way to the top turnbuckle, and Swann was able to get the high ground and threw Moose down to the mat. But he was still groggy, and Moose ran up and hit a Fallaway Moonsault Slam, but Swann kicked out at 2-point-nine.
Moose stalked his prey and set him up for Lights Out, but Swann sidestepped him, and Moose hit the cornerpost. He went for another, with the same result. The third time was the same outcome, but this time, Moose hit the chair that he’d set up earlier, and brained himself. Swann was able to capitalize, and rolled up a dazed Moose, stacking him up for the 1-2-3.
This was great. There aren’t many performers like Moose who can really do it all in the ring, and he delivered tonight. Swann looked good in terms of he’s got major heart and will never quit fighting. That’s likely not enough to make him seem like he’s on Omega’s level, but it was a good starting point that they can build upon, as they move towards that match.
Winner, and Unified World Champion: Rich Swann
Impact Wrestling Sacrifice - March 13th, 2021
Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN
A solid show with a couple of great matches, a number of really good ones, and one Brian Myers match to spoil the curve. The Tag Title change was a great surprise, and the X-Division title switch was unexpected too. This event showed why the monthly Impact+ special events are worth watching… Brian Myers and technical difficulties notwithstanding.