Kenny Omega added to his belt collection, beating Rich Swann in the main event of Impact Wrestling’s “Rebellion” pay-per-view on Sunday, to become the Impact World Champion. The match was a stellar capper on show that was solid from top to bottom. And also opens the door to interesting new possibilities in terms of what Impact will do to get the title back around the waist of one of their own competitors.
There was a big-fight feel to this match that helped reinforce its promotion as the biggest match in the company’s nearly 20-year history. Legendary combat sports announces Mauro Ranallo was brought in to join Matt Striker and D-Lo Brown behind the commentary desk, adding to that vibe. In addition, AEW owner Tony Khan was seated at ringside to watch the events unfold.
Don Callis – whose use of Canon in D for entrance music is perfect in its obnoxious pretension – took the microphone from David Penzer in order to make the ring introduction for Kenny Omega. And Penzer finished introducing Swann, a referee from each promotion – Impact’s Brian Hebner and AEW’s Aubrey Edwards – each held up the title belonging to their respective company’s champion before Hebner called for the opening bell.
Omega isn’t the largest wrestler, but he actually had the size and power edge in this one. He cockily used it to bully Swann early on. But Swann was able to regroup, and outspeed Omega, sending him to the floor where Swann dropped him with a flying Phoenix Splash from the top to the floor, stunning Omega.
Back in the ring, Swann looked to press his speed advantage, but Omega put his knees up when Swann went for a Somersault Splash and Swann crashed hard. Omega then took the fight to the floor where he dumped Swann right on his head on the apron. Omega followed that up with a Buckle Bomb and a big Neckbreaker that nearly put Swann down for good.
Omega continued to put the hurt on Swann, working over his neck and back, alternating between nerve locks and powerful strikes.
Swann finally fired up, and the match got more intense, leading to a spot where Omega was sent crashing from the top, but he was able to kick out after a Frog Splash by Swann. But Swann was still hurting and Omega continued to deliver big moves like a Doctor Bomb and a V-Trigger.
Swann escaped from a One-Winged Angel attempt, sliding off of Omega’s shoulders, which bought him some time. But he still was hit with another V-Trigger, and then Omega tried to set up a One-Winged Angel off the top, but Swann luckily escaped.
Omega continued his assault, hitting yet another V-Trigger and a pair of Snapdragon Suplexes. But Swann was desperate and hit a Cutter to save himself. He went for a Springboard Cutter, but Omeega pulled Brian Hebner in the way and he was laid out. As Swann was discombobulated, Omega hit him with a huge Lariat.
He grabbed a chair to end Swann, but Aubrey Edwards pulled it away from him, refusing to allow Omega to cheat simply out of brand loyalty.
They went back and forth with finishing moves, with Swann finally getting the better of things, dropping Kenny with a kick to the face. He went for the Phoenix Splash, but Omega rolled out of the way, and when Swann got up, he got blasted with another V-Trigger. A J-Driller Piledriver was next, but Swann refused to stay down.
Omega had enough of Swann’s tenacity and looked to finish him, lowering his kneepad and blasting Swann with a trio of V-Triggers that dazed Swann and nearly knocked him unconscious.
Running on fumes, Swann was able to hit a Vertical Suplex. But missed a Phoenix Splash, and ate one final V-Trigger. That left him powerless to block the One-Winged Angel, which Omega finally hit. And like everybody else, that was enough to keep Swann down for the count.
After the match, Omega celebrated with Callis and his friends the Good Brothers, and the show ended with the image of him being draped in gold as both the Impact and the AEW World Champion.
It was a great match that worked not only to further the storyline of Omega’s dominance and the unbeatable aura of the One-Winged Angel. But it also proved to Swann’s doubters and detractors that he is indeed a legitimate star who has the ability to credibly hang with top talents around the world, regardless of the company name on the marquee.
Rebellion – Full Results
Match 1: TJP vs. Josh Alexander vs. Ace Austin (w/ Mad Man Fulton) (c) – for the X-Division Championship
This one started off with some fast action and never let up, harkening back to some of the classic X-Division matches of yesteryear. The action was too quick to call for much of it, but everything made sense and looked crisp.
Austin hit the first big move of the night, landing a big Fosbury Flop onto both his opponents on the floor. Later, he went for his Paper Cut of Doom on TJP, but the referee took his playing card away. As Austin protested, Alexander came up behind him and nearly got the pin after a trio of German Suplexes.
Later, Alexander showed off his power game, taking both of his opponents down hard when he thwarted a Superplex attempt by Austin on TJP. After that, Alexander dispatched of Austin, but when he went to finish TJP, he got Back Body Dropped very high to the outside. TJP then flattened Austin, and looked to finish things with the Mamba Splash, but Alexander broke up the cover by grabbing TJP’s leg and cranking on an Ankle Lock.
He would do that move later on to Austin, but in a neat visual, as he had Austin trapped, TJP locked one on Alexander, and then transitioned that into an Octopus-like move.
Fulton finally made his presence known when he sneakily tripped TJP from the outside by Fulton, sending him hard to the mat. Alexander then caught Austin who went for The Fold, and dumped him. Alexander nearly had it won with a Divine Intervention on TJP, but Austin made the last-second save.
Later, Austin went for a top rope move on Alexander, but Alexander sat down, and locked on an Ankle Lock. TJP Mamba Splashed Alexander, but Fulton pulled him off of Alexander to save the match for Austin.
In the end, TJP went to the floor to take care out Fulton, leaving Alexander alone in the ring with Austin. He dropped Austin with Divine Intervention to get the win and capture the X-Division Championship.
This was stellar. An exciting fast-paced match with a strong finish that solidified Alexander as a singles star.
Winner, and new X-Division Champion: Josh Alexander
Match 2: James Storm, Chris Sabin, Eddie Edwards, and Willie Mack vs. Violent By Design (Deaner, Joe Doering, and Rhino) (w/ Eric Young)
Young is dealing with an ACL injury, so he was unable to compete in the match. Instead, he recruited W. Morrissey (formerly WWE’s Big Cass) to take his place.
Despite sharing the name with a wussy singer, this Morrissey looked bigger and stronger than during his WWE days, and had the look of an absolute beast. And he lived up to that look, making his presence felt early on when he kicked James Storm off the top rope with a boot to the face, and with a running charge into the corner, sent all of Storm’s teammates down to the ground to join him.
Doering and Rhino continued the beatdown on Storm, who finally was able to get away and make the tag to Willie Mack.
The action got fast and furious after that, with bodies flying all over the place, and all eight men fighting it out in the ring, including one sequence where Deaner got hit by a parade of finishers. Fortunately for him, Morrissey was able to break up the pin.
The action spilled in and out of the ring until the big move of the match happened when Sabin hit a big Superplex on Deaner, but this one was to the outside on top of all of the other men who were fighting on the floor (they were clearly waiting for this, but it still looked impressive).
When the bodies were sorted, Morrissey and Mack were left standing in the ring. Shortly thereafter, Morrissey hit the East River Crossing (a Spinning Sidewalk Slam) and pinned Mack. After the match, Morrissey beat down Mack a bit more, before celebrating his win. Interestingly, he celebrated apart from VBD, so it looks like he’s being positioned as a lone wolf hired gun as opposed to being a new member of VBD.
This was a good brawl. Morrissey looked awesome and had an intensity that really fit with his monstrous size. Great debut for him, and it was good that he got the definitive win.
Winners: VBD and Morrissey
Match 3: Brian Myers vs. Matt Cardona
Myers was aggressive and took things to the floor in the opening seconds. But he didn’t fare too well, and Cardona dropped him with a Neckbreaker. Cardona chased Myers around the floor, but the cowardly Myers used a cameraman as a human shield, and then cheap-shotted Myers into the ringside barrier to take control.
Back in the ring, Myers pressed his advantage, but Cardona finally had enough and took over, dropping Myers with a series of Clotheslines and a Chin Buster. He had Myers in position for a Reboot (aka a Broski Boot), but Myers rolled to the floor. Cardona wasn’t having any of that, though, and followed Myers outside and dropped him with Radio Silence (Ruff Ryder) on the ramp.
Cardona threw Myers in the ring, but Myers kept running away, and when Cardona chased him, Myers hit him with a driving Spear.
They exchanged big moves – Myers with a flying elbow drop, and Cardona with a Hot Mess (Unprettier), but neither of them would stay down.
In the end, Cardona leapfrogged Myers, but landed awkwardly and wrenched his knee. The referee called for a pause in the action while he and other refs checked on Cardona. Myers looked like he would comply and actually helped up Cardona, perhaps out of concern for his friend. But then he dropped Cardona with a sucker Short-Arm Clothesline, and ended things with a big Roster Cut that put a hurting Cardona down.
This feud has not been good. The match was serviceable, but the ending was too obviously contrived to be convincing. Sadly, this likely means that this dull feud will continue. At least by putting them against one another, they’ll limit this to one TV segment per show, instead of clogging up airtime by putting them in different ones.
Winner: Brian Myers
Gia Miller introduced AEW owner Tony Khan who was flanked by announcer Tony Schiavone, the always great Jerry Lynn, and referee Aubrey Edwards who he said would be refereeing the main event. Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore came in and said that Impact referee Brian Hebner would be the official for the match. But when Khan protested, saying that Hebner couldn’t be trusted, D’Amore conceded to having two refs for the match.
Match 4: Fire N Flava (c) vs. Jordynne Grace and Rachel Ellering (w/ Jazz) – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship
Fire N Flava weren’t happy to see Jazz accompany the challengers, but apparently Jazz had obtained a manager’s license, so they would have to live with it.
Ellering and Grace showed off their power early on, dominating Kiera, until some chicanery by Tasha on the outside helped level the playing field. They isolated Grace and swarmed her with kicks and stomps in the corner. Grace was able to evade a running kick by Hogan who hit her own partner, and tag in Ellering who took control, nearly ending things with a Springboard Spinning Legdrop on Hogan.
Steelz saved her partner at one point, breaking up a pin attempt after Ellering and Grace hit Hogan with a double-team move. And after some razzle-dazzle, the champs dropped their opponents with stereo Missile Dropkicks.
Steelz looked to end things with a running attack, but she got Back Body Dropped over the rope and hit the corner of the apron in the ugliest way possible, almost Back Breaking herself on the landing. Things got worse for her when Grace landed hard on her right afterwards with a flying dive. But Grace then got hit with a retaliatory flying move as Hogan dove onto her and Ellering from the top rope to the floor.
Jazz helped her team recover, and the battle resumed. Though not for long, as Ellering isolated Hogan in the ring, and hit her with a Front Fisherman Plunge out of nowhere, which was enough to get the pin.
This was fine, though there were some ugly spots here and there. Ellering looked fine in her debut, and giving her the big win in her debut certainly positions her as a big threat. Not sure that Fire N Flava should have dropped the titles so soon – they were really fun as champions. And it might have been a good shake-up to the women’s roster to have Ellering compete as a singles competitor. But we’ll see where this goes.
Winners, and new Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Jordynne Grace and Rachel Ellering
Match 5: Sami Callihan vs. Trey Miguel – Last Man Standing match
Miguel was a house of fire at the bell, but Sami doused that fire by picking him up and pitching him right over the rope and hard to the floor. Ouch.
Miguel was able to get up, and when Sami looked to resume the attack on the outside, Trey dropped him with a Sliced Bread on the ground and followed that up with a Hurancarana that sent Sami face-first into the ringside barrier. Miguel looked to end things with a flying dive, but Sami moved and Trey went sailing right into the barrier where Sami had been only seconds earlier.
The fight continue on the floor, where Sami used a production box as a weapon, first Bombing Trey on top of it, and then using its contents to punish Trey, like using a wrench to squeeze and pull Trey’s cheek – gross. Sami then whipped a chair at Trey and while the ref made his count, Sami threw a table and some chairs into the ring.
Sami tried to shatter Trey’s skull with the wrench, but Trey avoided the blow, and dropped Sami on the chairs. Trey opened up the legs of an upside-down table so they were sticking up in the air. After each blocked a Suplex attempt, Sami was able to slam Trey down so that his back landed hard on the support frame of the upright legs. Gross.
Sami then set the table up, put Trey on the top rope, and hit a Cactus Special on Trey – but the table didn’t break! That was ugly.
Trey rolled to the floor to break the ref’s 10-count, so Sami decided to up the violence, setting up a table on the floor right beside the ring. Sami tried to use the ring steps as a launching pad to send Trey flying through the table, but when it was blocked, Sami simply hit Trey with a Piledriver on the steps. He then shoved Trey under the metal ring steps and stood on top of them, thinking he had Trey trapped.
But he wasn’t. Trey sneaked out, went under the ring, and popped back out, charged Sami, and hit him with a Flying Cutter, crashing Sami face-first through the table that he’d set up earlier.
Both men were down as the ref started his 10-count. At 7, Trey was able to make his way to the ringside barrier and use it as leverage to pull himself back up. Sami was still lying in the middle of the broken table, and tried to pull himself up, but slid back down into a heap as the ref finished his ten-count.
This was an okay brawl, but wasn’t as violent as it could have been. It did show another side of Miguel, which was a bit refreshing, but it felt like they could have gone even further. This could be the blow-off given the way it finished, but it would also not be surprising if the feud continued a while longer.
Winner: Trey Miguel
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Rich Swann who said that Don Callis’ mind games wouldn’t work on him. He said that he was focused on beating Omega, that he had the home-field advantage, and that he was going to take the fight to Omega.
Match 7: the Good Brothers vs. FinJuice (c) – for the World Tag Team Championship
FinJuice out-techniqued the Good Brothers, nullifying the challengers’ strength advantage by keeping them grounded. But what the Brothers lacked in technique, they made up for in dirty tactics, and they exploited that edge to take over, trapping David Finlay in their corner where they blasted him with power shots and wear-down moves.
Finlay found his second wind, and was able to get a leaping tag to tag in a fresh Juice Robinson who came in at lighting speed. FinJuice hit a number of double-team moves, nearly getting the win on a couple of occasions.
But the Brothers went back to their power game, stopping FinJuice’s comeback and taking over. They looked to end things with a Magic Killer on Juice, but Finlay broke it up. He and Anderson tangled up and fell to the floor. And when Gallows turned his attention to Juice, he got rolled up in a Small Package and Juice held him down for the shocking pin out of nowhere.
This was classic tag team storytelling. Nothing mindblowing, but it was very good and it was played straight and solid throughout. Hopefully FinJuice will actually defend the titles on Impact now, instead of taking the titles back to Japan – otherwise, it somewhat puts a damper on the division.
Winners, and still World Tag Team Champions: FinJuice
Gia tried to interview Kenny Omega, but Don Callis said Omega was busy, and he was going to speak for Omega instead. He said that made sense, since it was he, the Invisible Hand, who put the events in motion that led to tonight’s main event. He said that Swann doesn’t have to worry about Callis being in his head – but he should worry about losing to Omega who was going to make history with the win tonight. As always, Callis was tremendous here.
Match 8: Tenille Dashwood (w/ Kaleb) vs. Deonna Purrazzo (w/ Kimber Lee and Susan) (c) – for the Knockouts Championship
Like with most of Deonna’s matches, the story of this one was her targeting her opponent’s limbs in order to lock on a submission hold, while her opponent did what she could to avoid being tied up in the Venus De Milo or the Fujiwara Armbar.
Unlike some of Purrazzo’s other recent opponents, though, Dashwood made this one very competitive, and nearly got the win several times, including after a High Cross Body, a Running Low Cross Body Splash in the corner, and later with a Muta Lock that might have submitted the champ if not for her friends interfering.
After some brawling between Susan and Lee and Kaleb on the floor, Purrazzo ended things with a Queen’s Gambit that put Dashwood down for good.
After the match, Lee and Susan joined Purrazzo in delivering a post-match beatdown on Dashwood, until Taylor Wilde ran in for the save. Wilde looked like she hasn’t lost a step as she emptied the ring, and she stood tall while Purrazzo and her friends skedaddled.
Dashwood hasn’t been really impressive in her Impact run, so this match was better than expected. But not as good as what Purrazzo is capable of. The heel vs. heel dynamic didn’t help matters, and the brawl between Lee and Susan and Kaleb felt odd and somewhat more obligatory than organic to the match. The returning Wilde could be a good opponent for Purrazzo, but hopefully they don’t rush it – she should have to go through the others before getting a title shot to re-establish her as a contender. Should be fun.
Winner, and still Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo
Match 9: Rich Swann (Impact World Champion) (w/ Eddie Edwards and Willie Mack) vs. Kenny Omega (AEW World Champion) (w/ Don Callis and the Good Brothers – Title vs. Title match
Winner, still AEW World Champion, and new Impact World Champion: Kenny Omega
Impact Wrestling: Rebellion - April 25th, 2021
Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN
This was a great PPV and exactly what Impact needed to deliver. The main event match was stellar, and definitely lived up to the hype. And pretty much everything else was high-quality, with no real duds to take the shine off the show. The fallout from this show has the potential to make the next few months of Impact really interesting. Overall, an excellent thumbs-way-up show.