Ten days before Impact World Champion Rich Swann and AEW World Champion put up their respective gold in a Title vs. Title match, the two of them went face-to-face – and then toe-to-toe – as their press conference escalated into a violent brawl to close Thursday night’s episode of “Impact” which was one of the best episodes in recent memory full of highlights from beginning to end.
Match 1: TJP vs. Josh Alexander
These two paired off really well, with their similar styles allowing for some great scientific wrestling exchanges. They were very even with TJP holding a bit of the speed edge, and Alexander just a bit more powerful, but coming up even in terms of technical skills, leading to a stalemate several times. A good sequence that highlighted their even-ness saw TJP escape a Gory Special and go for a Springboard Kick, but Josh was able to block it. Later on, there were a few sequences where thy exchanged submission attempts. In the end, after more reversals and counters, Alexander tapped into his power, and put TJP down with Divine Intervention (a Double-Underhook Piledriver) for the pin.
.@Walking_Weapon turns the Mamba Splash into an Ankle Lock! #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/7rK9ZUXmDD
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 16, 2021
This was stellar. The in-ring chemistry between these two is amazing. Nothing silly, no flippy nonsense – just good classic wrestling that told a great story. These are the types of matches that makes doing the recaps fun.
Winner: Josh Alexander
A short video aired promoting Taylor Wilde’s upcoming return. She ended it with her catchphrase “Let’s get Wilde.”
Match 2: Crazzy Steve (w/ Rosemary and Black Taurus) vs. Karl Anderson (w/ Doc Gallows)
Anderson tried to go aggressively up front, but got freaked out by the bizarreness that is Crazzy Steve and rolled out of the ring to regroup, leading to a quick commercial break. When we returned, Anderson was in control (and in a rarity for impact, they showed what had happened during the commercial break to turn things around – no restaurant-quality picture in picture required). Steve fired up and came back with a frenzy of offense. He had Anderson in trouble with a Crossface, but a distraction by Gallows from the outside made him break it. Steve turned his attention towards Gallows and when he turned back towards Anderson, he was caught and planted with a Spinebuster for the count.
This was fine for what it was: simply a way to keep the Good Brothers’ momentum rolling into the PPV on April 25.
Winner: Karl Anderson
Ace Austin and Mad Man Fulton wandered into Swinger’s Palace to get the odds on him keeping the X-Division Championship at Rebellion in the three-way match against TJP and Josh Alexander. They both came in next, followed by Petey Williams who recreated the infamous Scott Steiner “math” promo with Alexander cited as the odds-on favourite. This was #ForTheLulz, as the kids say.
Steiner Math will live forever. #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/wZtGOCcNWU
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) April 16, 2021
Eddie Edwards and Willie Mack were in the ring. They were angry with Violent By Design for attacking Tommy Dreamer before their match at last Saturday’s Hardcore Justice and taking him out of the main event. They challenged VBD to come out for a fight.
This brought out Eric Young and his VBD cult. On the way to the ring, Young denied having anything to do with Dreamer’s attack, but notwithstanding, if Eddie wanted a fight, a fight he shall have. VBD were going to pounce 4-on-2, but then Chris Sabin and James Storm ran in to the ring and the brawl was on. With the odds evened, VBD high-tailed it out of the ring. Storm challenged VBD to an 8-man tag team match at Rebellion.
Deonna Purrazzo was checking in with Susan to make sure she was still in her own head after the re-emergence of Su Yung this past weekend, but Susan apparently had no recollection of what had happened. Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore came up to them and warned them not to ruin Jazz’s retirement ceremony.
All About Me segment with Tenille Dashwood (w/ Kaleb)
The premise here is that Tenille is hosting a talk show where everyone is supposed to ask her questions so she can talk about herself. Gia Miller was her guest, and started to ask about Tenille becoming the number one contender to the Knockouts Championship, when Tenille interrupted to put herself over. She said she was good at everything in life, but especially wrestling. She said she started the women’s revolution in wrestling, and will prove that when she beats Purrazzo like she has several times outside of Impact. Everyone played their part well here – Gia had some good comedic reactions in particular.
Jazz’s retirement ceremony
Jazz, accompanied by Jordynne Grace, came to the ring. Jazz said that she had hoped to have one more title run before retiring, but credited Deonna Purrazzo as being the present and the future of women’s wrestling. She thanked Grace for teaming with her in the Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament, and thanked Impact for letting her have a good last run.
.@Phenom_Jazz thinks the future of the Knockouts division is bright with the likes of @DeonnaPurrazzo and @JordynneGrace leading the way. #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/EtC3iygPNP
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 16, 2021
Fire N Flava’s music hit and they came to the entrance ramp, mocking and insulting Jazz. Grace got mad at them and told them to either shut up or get into the ring. They opted to keep trash-talking, until a referee came out and told them that D’Amore had decreed that the two teams would be having a match right now (apparently, since Jazz never formally said she’d retired, she was still an active roster member, despite the retirement being the stipulation of her match on Saturday).
The two teams brawled around the ring, and then Jazz and Grace threw them into the ring where the ref called for the bell.
Match 3: Fire N Flava vs. Jordynne Grace and Jazz
Grace and Jazz continued the beat-down, and completely dominated. After a short beatdown of both opponents, Jazz hit a Jazz Driver on Hogan to end the match.
This was a fun squash match, and a nice feel-good moment.
Winners: Jordynne Grace and Jazz
After the match, Jazz formally announced her retirement. She thanked the fans for their love and support through the years. As she spoke the locker room – heels and babyfaces alike – came out to the ring and surrounded the ring, giving her a sustained ovation when she was done. This was a classy moment, and a nice send-off. #ThankYouJAzz
Backstage, D’Amore was blowing up at Fire N Flava for disrespecting Jazz’s special moment. He told them they would need to face Grace and Jazz at Rebellion. After Fire N Flava left, Grace and Jazz approached Scott and he told them about the match. Jazz said that she was respecting the retirement stipulation, and said that she knew of the perfect person to team up with Grace at that match.
Pick Your Poison series
In this segment, Brian Myers and Matt Cardona, who will be facing each other at Rebellion each get to pick opponents for each other tonight, the idea being to hurt the other guy before their match. Wouldn’t this make more sense to do this next week, just two nights before the PPV? Better question: wouldn’t this make more sense to not have Cardona and Myers on TV at all, ever?
Match 4: Brian Myers vs. Jake Something (as picked by Matt Cardona)
Something beat Myers last weekend, so Cardona said he was the perfect opponent for Myers. Something used his power to pummel Myers for several minutes. Myers changed gears, running in and out of the ring and letting Jake chase him. Finally when Jake was coming into the ring, Myers hit him with a Roster Cut and got the pin.
This didn’t do Jake any favours, since he lost simply by being outsmarted. Nothing gets over like a stupid babyface. Counter-productive.
Winner: Brian Myers
After the match, Myers told Cardona that it’s hard to see with an eyepatch on, but harder to see in the dark. Cue the arena lights turning off and on and Sami Callihan’s hacker logo appearing on screen. The lights turned back on and Sami was standing behind Cardona on the entrance ramp and attacked him from behind, sending him tumbling down the ramp as the show went to break. When the show returned, Sami bashed Cardona around the ringside area, then threw him into the ring and the referee called for the bell.
Match 5: Matt Cardona vs. Sami Callihan
Cardona was still hurting from the pre-match attack, so even though he hit Sam with Radio Silence immediately after the bell, it wasn’t hit with enough power to pin Sami. This was a pretty good fight, with Cardona showing a lot more aggression than usual. The match went to and from the ring and floor a few times, with them exchanging hard shots in both areas, including Cardona whipping Sami into the ringside barrier and later, Sami hitting a big Overhead Suplex on the floor. After the break (again, showing what happened), Sami was in control, using some power to keep Cardona grounded. But he got too cocky and took his eye off Cardona, and paid for it by eating a Missile Dropkick, a Bootski Facewash, and a Twisting Backslam. But Sami caught Sami in a couple of Radio Silence attempts, and the tide turned again. Sami went up top but got Hurancarana’d for his troubles. Cardona went for Radio Silence again, but Sami used the referee as a human shield to halt Cardona. With the ref scrambling out of the way, he missed a blatant eye gouge by Sami that blinded Cardona and left him vulnerable to the Cactus Special that put him down for three.
This was good and easily Cardona’s best match since coming to Impact and probably for a few years before that too.
Winner: Sami Callihan
After the match, Sami grabbed the mic and called out Trey Miguel, who angrily made his way to the ring. Miguel looked like he was itching to fight. But Sami said that he just wanted to tell Trey that he was proud of him for proving at Hardcore Justice that he still had passion.
Trey told him that he didn’t need Sami’s validation and that he did what he did on Saturday because it was the right thing to do. And that he only teamed up with Sami last week because he had his own beef with XXXL. Sami suggested that Trey was really just tapping into his inner anger, and said that he could help Trey channel that anger to become successful. He told Trey to shake his hand and join him. Trey refused.
He tried to walk away, but then Sami told him that he was the one who took Tommy Dreamer out on Saturday, just so Trey could get the spot in the main event. Trey charged at Sami, but Sami hit him with a low blow and clotheslined him out of his boots. Trey refused to stay down, so Sami grabbed a chair from under the ring and nailed him with it. In a great shot, as Trey rolled around in the ring, Sami threw the chair into the air and after a very high arc, it came down right on Trey’s head as he was laying in the ring. That looked incredible. After that, Sami set up the chair and then Suplexed Trey into the upright chair, which looked gross.
.@TheSamiCallihan has made @TheTreyMiguel SUFFER for turning him down. #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/nAK7sdPAm2
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 16, 2021
Sami walked away, and at the top of the ramp looked back to see a defiant Trey fighting his way back to his feet, which seemed to earn him some of Sami’s respect. That was an intense segment, and the best segment Trey has been part of since he came back to the company.
Impact World Tag Team Champions FinJuice sent a video from Japan where they’re on tour with NJPW, basically telling the Good Brothers that they’ve accomplished and surpassed everything the Good Brothers had ever done while in Japan. They said at Rebellion they would prove they’re the better team.
Rebellion Press Conference
They staged this like a traditional press conference, with Josh Mathews hosting at a podium flanked on either side by the two champions competing in a Title vs. Title match at Rebellion, Impact World Champion Rich Swann (w/ D’Amore) and AEW World Champion Kenny Omega (w/ AEW owner Tony Khan and Jerry Lynn).
Except that Omega wasn’t there at the beginning. So Josh simply said they’d proceed with the questions received from the media for Swann.
In giving his answers, Swann was humble but confident about his chances against Swann. In giving his, Khan was less hyper than he is normally, and played it very straight, unlike during the paid ads that he had been doing in recent weeks in which he came off really badly.
D’Amore was respectful of Khan and AEW, and vice-versa, and they all but guaranteed that there would be no screwy ending to the match, and that there would be a definitive winner, and the winner would be expected to fulfill the contractual obligations of being the champion for both companies.
After a few questions had been answered, Omega finally showed up along with Don Callis. Callis was irritated by a question about him playing both sides, and refused to answer, opting to take over the podium. Sadly, he only cut a brief promo (which was great while it lasted) before handing the podium over to Kenny Omega.
Omega cut a very good promo, albeit in his annoying breathy sing-song voice. After insulting Swann, he faked a handshake but instead slapped Swann in the face, leading to a pull-apart brawl to end the show.
Impact - April 15, 2021
Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN
The stellar first match set the bar for the rest of the show – and for the most part, everything else delivered. The Jazz retirement ceremony was a great segment, the closing press conference was presented perfectly. And pretty much everyone stepped up their matches and moments throughout. This might have been the best wrestling show on TV this week.