With the “Under Siege” event taking place in just over a week, Thursday night’s episode of Impact was full of matches that served to help flesh out that card. In particular, the show continued the Number One Contender qualifying series, culminating with the destruction of James Storm by an intense Moose to grab the final spot in next week’s six-man scramble. But as dark as that match felt, there was also a strong flash of brightness with the strong debut of El Phantasmo.


Match 1: Chris Sabin (w/ James Storm) vs. Rhino (w/ VBD) – Number One Contender Qualifying Match

Matt Striker made an apt comparison in this one, saying that the size difference between Sabin and Rhino was like Bruce Lee facing much larger opponents that, visually, would look like they’d destroy the smaller star. VBD made their presence known early on, tripping Sabin from the outside, allowing Rhino to take control. Sabin was able to recover first after they collided heads, and he hit Rhino with a dive and a missile dropkick for a near fall. Deaner hopped up on the apron, and when the ref admonished him, Rhino poked Sabin in the eye to take control once again. Rhino hit a Superplex, but Sabin kicked out. Rhino then went for a GORE GORE GORE, but Sabin side-stepped him and rolled up Rhino for the pin.

This was fine. Putting Rhino in the 6-way title match might have been a refreshing shake-up, but Sabin in there will likely result in a better match, because his style will mesh better with some of the others in there.

Winner: Chris Sabin

Backstage, Brian Myers was pitching a fit because he had to face Matt Cardona again. Rosemary appeared in front of him and gave him a tarot reading and gave him some cryptic warnings. Myers yelled at her angrily, and he got flattened by a charging Black Taurus. Decay laughed at a fallen Myers and walked away.

In their locker room, Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers were celebrating their beatdown of Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan, and FinJuice at the end of last week’s show. But Don Callis was a bit worried because the Good Brothers were partying too much lately and not winning their matches against FinJuice. Omega said that he would be in the corner for Doc Gallows’ match later tonight.


Match 2: Susan (w/ Kimber Lee) vs. Taylor Wilde

Wilde outclassed Susan early on, even able to thwart Kimber’s attempts to interfere. She rocked Susan both inside and out of the ring, including with a nice Hurancarana off the apron.


Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb came to the ring, and prevented Lee from interfering, as they are still trying to court Wilde into teaming with Dashwood. As the ref tried to separate Kaleb and Lee, Dashwood dropped Susan with a Rope-Assisted Spinning Neckbreaker. This made Susan easy pickings for a German Suplex into a Bridge Pin by Wilde. After the match, Dashwood tried to endear herself to Wilde who wanted no part of it.

This was more of an angle than a match. There are a few ways they can go with this Dashwood-Wilde thing, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out and what this does for Wilde’s pursuit of the Knockouts Championship.

Winner: Taylor Wilde

In the back, Gia Miller asked Deonna Purrazzo why she wasn’t at ringside for Susan’s match or Lee’s match against Wilde last week. Purrazzo said that she wasn’t trying to avoid Wilde. Decay interrupted her and said that Purrazzo was afraid of Wilde. Purrazzo tried to leave, but ran into Havok. Havok noted that Purrazzo was a champion without a challenger. Before Havok could challenge her, Purrazzo said she would talk to Scott D’Amore and propose that Havok and Rosemary face off, with the winner getting a title shot. She slinked away, and Rosemary and Havok stared menacingly at each other.

A W. Morrissey hype video aired. He said he wasn’t a goofy, fun-loving guy, or “one half of a catchphrase.” He said that he blamed the fans and every other talent for turning their backs on him when he was at his lowest point. And he was going to make everyone pay, starting with Willie Mack at Under Siege. This was effective.


Match 3: Rohit Raju (w/ Shera) vs. Trey Miguel – Number One Contender Qualifier Match

The story of this one was that Rohit tried to keep the match at a slow pace so he could use his strong ground game, while Trey looked to use his speed and aerial attacks. Raju was doing better at dictating the pace heading into the commercial break. Trey came back, but Raju doused the flame with a Spinning DDT, and then rolled Trey to the floor where Shera hit some cheap shots.


Raju hit a huge Arm Wringer and then worked over Trey’s arm. Raju planted Rey and then went up top, but Trey rolled out of the way of Air Raju, buying himself some separation. Things went back and forth after this and the action became too quick to call, with both guys landing a series of moves, submissions, counters, and reversals. After a nice sequence, Trey got on the Hourglass Submission, forcing Raju to tap out.

As Trey headed to the back, Jake Something made his way down the entrance ramp. He attacked Shera, and then hit the ring to go after Raju. He took out both of them, getting revenge for their interference that cost him his qualifier match last week.

The match was really good, especially the last half where things really heated up. The post-match stuff could have been skipped over and nobody would have minded.

Winner: Trey Miguel

At Swinger’s Palace, Alisha lost all her money. At first, Swinger threatened to kick her out, but said that he may have a job for her. Trey Miguel walked in, and started jawing with Sabin and Chris Bey, who also won their qualifying matches for the Number One Contender match. Storm said that he would beat Moose later tonight to qualify. Bey tried to stir up trouble between Storm and Sabin, suggesting that Storm needed Sabin’s help to win. Storm said that he would go out to his match alone tonight, and then left to prepare for his match.


Match 4: Doc Gallows (w/ Karl Anderson, Kenny Omega, and Don Callis) vs. Juice Robinson (w/ David Finlay)

Omega didn’t bring his titles to the ring, and the commentators said that he was going to make people pay to see them. Cue the next angry tweet from Bully Ray. Gallows used some dirty tactics early on to take control. Robinson fired up, and he gave Gallows some corner punches, a big clothesline, and a Cannonball in the corner. Gallows evened things up with a big Crescent Kick that knocked Juice off the top rope and all the way to the floor.


He then pummeled Juice with big punches, and then worked over his head and neck with cranks, stomps, and elbows. Juice finally escaped after avoiding a big elbow, and then charged Gallows with some speedy attacks. He was looking to put Gallows down, but the big man’s buddies all ran interference, and Robinson turned his attention to them. This allowed Gallows to drop him with a Necktie Bomb, and then a huge Pump Kick to the chest that sent Juice flying hard into the corner. Gallows put him away with a Choke Bomb to end the match. After the matchj, Omega and the Good Brothers put the boots to FinJuice until Eddie Edwards ran down for the save, only to fall to the numbers as well.

Winner: Doc Gallows

Gia Miller found Deonna Purrazzo to see if she had talked with Scott D’Amore. Purrazzo tried to duck the question and leave the building with Kimber and Susan rather than answer, but D’Amore walked up to her before she could exit. He told her that he’d heard about her idea, and said that the winner of Havok and Rosemary next week would face Purrazzo for the Knockouts Title at Under Siege. Purrazzo was not happy with this news.


Match 5: VSK vs. El Phantasmo

If you don’t know, El Phantasmo is a big name in New Japan Pro-Wrestling and is part of the Bullet Club. He’s also Canadian, so he’s got that going for him as well. This is his Impact debut, against VSK who has been making a good name for himself in the independents.

VSK actually got the better of El Phantasmo early on, nearly getting a quick upset pin. But some dirty tactics by El Phantasmo turned things around. He raked VSK’s back, and then pulled a page out of Petey Williams’ book, tying VSK into the Tree of Woe and then giving him a Standing Gas Pedal. VSK tried to make it a contest, though, and fired back with some hard shots, nearly getting the upset win after a Death Valley BackBreaker. But a Double Purple Nerple stopped VSK cold, and a kick to the gut doubled him over. As the ref checked on VSK, El Phantasmo stomped the mat repeatedly, apparently trying to activate his loaded boot. He then hit VSK with a Superkick that dropped VSK like a rock. A pinfall was merely a formality after that.

This was a good showcase for both guys, and it was fun while it lasted. El Phantasmo has some unique stuff and has an interesting style, so it will be interesting to see how he jells with the rest of the roster. VSK probably should be brought back too after this performance.

Winner: El Phantasmo


Match 6: Kiera Hogan (w/ Tasha Steelz) vs. Rachael Ellering (w/ Jordynne Grace)

From the get-go, Steelz did what she could to distract Ellering, leading to Kiera taking the early advantage, running Rachael’s head into every corner, and then driving her head hard into the mat. Ellering eventually powered her way free, and she took over, delivering some big hits, including a Running Senton Splash that rocked Hogan. The match shifted into higher gear with some speediness by Kiera. But she was soon caught by the stronger Ellering who planted her with a Spinning Black Hole Slam that kept Kiera down for the win.


This was good while it lasted. Hogan showed some good offense, and Ellering impressed with her power. The clash of styles between these teams – both in terms of look, style, and personality – makes for a fun feud.

Winner: Rachael Ellering

Moose was in the back psyching himself up for his match against James Storm. Don Callis came up to him and tried to flatter Moose, suggesting that he shouldn’t even have to compete to qualify for a title match. Moose wasn’t buying what Callis was selling, and told Callis that he was going to send a message  – presumably to all of the other qualifiers and Kenny Omega – through his match, and walked off.

In the back, Fire N Flava were beefing about Grace and Ellering, who happened to walk in on the ranting. They mocked Fire N Flava for losing their titles to them. Steelz trash-talked Grace who challenged her to a match next week.

Matt Striker and D-Lo Brown ran down the announced matches for next week: Steelz vs. Grace; Rosemary vs. Havok for the chance to challenge Deonna Purrazzo at Under Siege; Karl Anderson vs. David Finlay; and a Six-Man Scramble featuring Petey Williams, Rohit Raju, Ace Austin, TJP, Acey Romero, and El Phantasmo,  with the winner challenging Josh Alexander for the X-Division Championship at Under Siege. Also, the 6 winners of the qualifying matches will have a match to determine who faces Kenny Omega at Under Siege. Those winners are: Trey Miguel, Sami Callihan, Chris Sabin, Chris Bey, Matt Cardona, and the winner of the next match.


Match 7: Moose vs. James Storm – Number One Contender Qualifier match

The two big hosses slugged it out in the opening seconds, and a big boot by Storm put Moose to the floor, sending us to a commercial break. When the action resumed, it was more of the same – just a big brawling fight. Storm hit a big Discus Clothesline, but then Moose blocked a kick by Storm and then yanked Storm’s leg over the top rope, hurting Storm’s knee. Moose then went to town on Storm’s knee, stomping on it repeatedly on the floor, and battering it against the ringside barrier.

Storm tried to fight back with some big punches, but Moose kept dropping him by targeting Storm’s weakened knee, hitting it from multiple angles. After several minutes, Storm removed his own boot to try to relieve the pressure from the sustained beating. Moose tried to capitalize on Storm’s weakness, but Storm got some blood flowing back into his leg and the adrenaline allowed him to mount a comeback, including dropping Moose with a Codebreaker, and then hitting a desperation Tornado DDT.

Storm looked to be coming back, but Moose chopblocked Storm’s bad knee and then locked on a Half Crab, amping up the hurt on Storm. Storm avoided a Spear, and then Superkicked Moose – but the pain that put on his own knee made it impossible for him to crawl over and cover Moose.


Both men struggled to his feet, but Moose got up first, and hit Storm with the Spear to get the pinfall win.

After the match, Moose got a chair and Pillmanized Storm’s leg. Chris Sabin ran in and Moose left, but the damage was already done.

This was really good, with them telling a simple story in an effective way. It was much slower paced than many Impact matches, but they both did enough to get the story across. This looks like a way to write Storm off of TV for a while, so perhaps his contract is up, or he is going to take a brief hiatus. After this one, Moose looks to be the favourite to win next week’s match. Though, him vs. Kenny would seem to warrant being held at a PPV instead of simply an Impact Plus special like Under Siege.

Winner: Moose



Impact Wrestling - May 6, 2021

Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN

Some people will undoubtedly think the main event was too slow, but in terms of storytelling, it was very well done. There was a lot of flash elsewhere on the show, including in the strong El Phantasmo debut. Overall, the show did well in moving the pieces along in a smart way to get the board set up for Under Siege.