In the past few weeks, one professional wrestling company had a show where the ring was surrounded by zombies . Another company’s show included a match with no less than five different location sets, a cast of dozens of extras, and stunt sequences choreographed by Hollywood experts.
But it was Impact Wrestling that delivered one of the best wrestling matches of the year – and possibly in the past few years – simply because of the efforts of two wrestlers who went into the ring, gave it their all for over an hour, and simply wrestled. That’s what happened in tonight’s 60-Minute Iron Man match between X-Division Champion Josh Alexander and challenger TJP. And it was simply tremendous.
NOTE: This recap is going to be a bit different than most of the Impact reports. In most weeks, we don’t generally go into so much detail of a match, but rather try to give some highlights and encapsulate the overall story of the match in a couple of paragraphs. But this one was so much of a roller-coaster ride, so much of a good story throughout, that there’s no way to really summarize it succinctly. It would be like trying to re-write an epic poem as a five-line limerick. So, please indulge us just this once – because this match is worth it.
Match 1: Josh Alexander (w/ Petey Williams) (c) vs. TJP (w/ Fallah Bahh) – 60-Minute Iron Man match for the X-Division Championship
They started off with some technical, mat-based wrestling, exchanging holds and counters. The commentators used the term “wrestling clinic,” and this wasn’t just hyperbole, as they exchanged submission attempts. TJP hit the first “big” move of the match about 10 minutes in, hitting a Springboard Dropkick when Josh went to the floor to gather his thoughts and rethink his strategy.
The pace quickened after that, and the level of intensity of moves did as well, including Alexander hitting a nice Dragon Screw, and TJP retaliating with a hard-looking Leg Wrench Driver. How good was this match? A minute-long sequence saw TJP trying to handstand his way out of a Leg Scissors, with Alexander trying to defend his advantage, and it was absolutely captivating. Then, after some leglock exchanges, Alexander dropped TJP with some German Suplexes to turn things up a notch even more heading into an ad break.
Back from the commercials, and the pace had really picked up. A series of pinfall attempts ended when Alexander rolled on top of TJP and was able to hold his shoulders down for the pin, making the score 1-0 for Alexander with about 40 minutes left to go.
After that fall, the two cranked up the intensity another notch, with both of them using nifty rope-based submission moves to inflict pain. Alexander got the better of things, and then just bullied TJP for a while, fully in control at the halfway point of the match.
Behind in the count, a fired up TJP got even more fervent to tie things up, at one point just basically ground-and-pounding Alexander in an attempt to wear him down. But an awesome minute-long delayed vertical Suplex by Alexander slowed TJP down again, and after another great sequence of pinfall and submission attempts and reversals, Alexander hit another big move that saw TJP get dropped face-first onto the top turnbuckle.
But TJP recovered, and when the show returned from the last commercial break, with 15 minutes left in the match, TJP was in another gear, hitting Alexander from all angles both inside and out of the ring. He hit a big flying dive, and tried for a Spinning DDT on the floor, but Alexander blocked it and instead dropped TJP on the apron with a Suplex. Alexander looked to end things with a Piledriver on the top of the entrance ramp, but Chris Sabin and Trey Miguel came out and scolded him for the lack of sportsmanship. As he argued with them, TJP capitalized and slammed Alexander on the ramp instead, driving the air and energy out of Alexander and leaving him laying flat. TJP crawled back into the ring, and Alexander followed, just barely making it in before being counted out.
About this time, the locker room trickled out to watch the rest of the match in the arena. And they were in for a show, as the adrenaline started flowing in TJP and he got turbo-charged. He hit a groggy Alexander with a Running Knee Strike in the corner, but Josh moved out of the way of a Mamba Splash and TJP crashed hard. Alexander tried for a Moonsault, but a desperate TJP pushed him down, and Alexander fell into the Tree of Woe. In a neat moment, the two exchanged fists, with TJP raining them into Josh’s face in the corner, while an upside-down Josh fired back with his own. TJP then removed Josh’s headgear and laid into his head with kicks.
As BTI ended and the match spilled over into Impact, it was all TJP, as he hit Alexander with a Springboard Flying DDT and then a Reverse Codebreaker for near falls, earning a big ovation from the locker room, who were all cheering them on.
With six minutes to go, TJP was firmly in control, hitting move after move to try to tie things up. But Alexander would just not stay down – not even for a Mamba Splash! With three minutes to go, TJP went for the Detonation Kick, but Alexander countered it perfectly by holding on to TJP’s ankle to try for a submission.
In the last couple of minutes, Alexander cranked on an ankle lock. Every time TJP tried to get to the ropes, Alexander would pull him back towards the centre of the ring and cinch on the hold even tighter. TJP looked like he was going to tap out a few times, but refused to succumb to the pain. With under ten seconds to go, TJP bent over backward into a bridge, with Alexander underneath. TJP put all his weight on Alexander’s shoulders, and got the pin with only one second remaining, tying up the match at 1 fall apiece to send the match into sudden death overtime, with the winner being the first one to get a fall.
During the overtime period, the two slugged it out in the centre of the ring, just giving it all to try to knock out their opponent with punches and strikes. TJP dropped Alexander, but crashed on a Standing Phoenix Splash.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 4, 2021
Alexander hit a Moonsault, but TJP’s fighting spirit wouldn’t be denied, and he kicked out. After a Powerbomb Backbreaker, TJP kicked out yet again! But a Double Underhook Piledriver was too much to bear, and Alexander finally put him down for the three-count to successfully retain the title.
This match was great. Just a pure wrestling master class. This is a match that these guys will be remembered for no matter what else they do in their careers.
Winner, and still X-Division Champion: Josh Alexander
In their dressing room, Don Callis was conspiring with the Good Brothers about possibly getting involved in the match between Moose and Sami Callihan, but they saw the camera filming them and cut the discussion short to confront the camera, which cut away to commercial.
Backstage, Alexander was talking about his Iron Man match with Petey Williams. Eddie Edwards came up to him and congratulated him on the match. TJP, accompanied by Fallah Bahh, then approached him as well, and tipped his hat in respect, thanking Josh for the match and shaking his hand. Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore came up to them and thanked them both for their efforts. Alexander said that since he was the only Impact title-holder who is a full-time Impact roster member, that he should be considered as the King of the Mountain. He said that he was ready and willing to defend the title any time. After Josh left, Chris Bey ran in and asked Scott for a title match next week. But Petey said that Josh had promised him a match first. This brought out Ace Austin and Trey Miguel, and everyone argued. D’Amore told them to figure it out between them, and left.
Match 2: Rohit Raju vs. Jake Something – Tables Match
This was a surprising even match. The story early on was that Raju was scrambling to try to avoid contact with Jake. But whenever Jake did get him in his clutches. Raju would use some kind of craftiness to get the advantage. At one point, Raju brought in some chairs and worked over Jake’s arm and body with them. Jake fought back, but when he tried to Powerbomb Raju off the apron through a table on the floor, Raju reversed it, and Jake ended up hitting Jake with a Double Stomp, putting him face-first through two chairs.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 4, 2021
Raju then looked to ram Something through a table propped up in the corner, but Jake caught him and hit him with two Black Hole Slams. A desperate Raju picked up a chair and threw it at Jake’s head, but it just bounced off and did nothing but anger Jake. Who responded by angrily charging and driving Raju through the table in the corner to get the win.
This was fine for what it was. Throwing a chair at someone’s head isn’t recommended, but the way they did it looked relatively safe, so at least there’s that.
Winner: Jake Something
Backstage, W. Morrissey went to D’Amore and demanded a match with Rich Swann. D’Amore said that Swann had actually asked for the same thing, so the match was on.
Rosemary cut a promo, telling Deonna Purrazzo that she will bring the Knockouts Championship to the darkness at Against All Odds. Havok approached her and said that she wanted the title. Rosemary said that if Havok wanted a title shot, she would have to take it from Rosemary.
Match 3: W. Morrissey vs. Rich Swann
Morrissey attacked Swann from behind when Swann was making his entrance, and threw him into some ringside chairs before throwing him into the ring. There, he continued to beat down Swann, hitting him with a huge Push Kick and knocking Swann silly. He was going to inflict more damage, but a security team ran in. He attacked one of them and they all tried to stop him. Finally, Willie Mack ran in and bashed Morrissey with a chair. Morrissey wasn’t fazed by it, and was going to go after Mack but the security guys formed a human wall to prevent it. Morrissey walked away, staring daggers at Swann and Mack while he made his way up the ramp.
This was more of an angle than anything. Morrissey is being booked like an unstoppable monster. That’s good, but perhaps it’s a bit too similar to the way they’re also booking Joe Doering? They probably need to do something different with Willie Mack. If you hit someone with a chair from behind, and you’re still the one that needs saving? That’s not good.
Winner: N/A – the match never got started
Backstage, Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb came up to Rachael Ellering who was prepping for her Knockouts Tag Team Title match. They buttered her up, and tried to recruit Rachel as a partner, when Jordynne Grace – Rachel’s actual partner – walked in. Awkwardness ensued.
They showed a video vignette called “How to be a Professional” starting Brian Myers. In Episode One: Presentation, he was teaching Sam Beale how to up his appearance and ring entrance. This was better than most things involving Brian Myers, as there was a couple of funny moments, and we didn’t have to see him wrestle.
Gia Miller interviewed Deonna Purrazzo, and let her know that if Havok beats Rosemary next week, then Havok will be added to the Deonna-Rosemary match at AAO. Purrazzo was not thrilled with this news, but said that she would walk out as champion regardless of whether she had to beat Rosemary alone or Rosemary and Havok in a Triple Threat match.
Match 4: Fire N Flava (c) vs. Rachael Ellering and Jordynne Grace – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship
Early on, the challengers’ used their power advantage to isolate Tasha Steelz. They dominated her for a bit, but Steelz took down Rachel by yanking her headband, and Rachael’s head hit the canvas hard. This allowed the champs to take over. Eventually, Ellering got the hot tag to Grace, who nearly ended things with a Gut Wrench Powerbomb on Kiera, and followed that up with some running low elbows and a Grace Bomb. Fire N Flava did some sneaky double-teaming to regain the edge, almost getting the win with an Assisted Stomp. But once again the challengers were able to come back. Things picked up and the ref lost control as the action spilled over both in and out of the ring. Steelz dropped Rachael with a DDT on the floor. In the ring, Kiera had Grace in a Big Squeeze, but Grace jumped back and landed right on top of Kiera. But Kiera held on, and Steelz hit a Superfly Splash onto an unsuspecting Grace, and that was enough to get the pin.
This was a bit sloppy at times, and the ending sequence just made the referee look incompetent, as Fire N Flava were both in the ring for far too long and the ref did nothing about it. But, with Grace taking the loss, it continues the ongoing story of her frustration and self-doubt, leading to a potential split.
Winners, and still Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Fire N Flava
Sami Callihan was cutting a promo on Moose, when Don Callis interrupted him. Callis told Sami that he wanted Sami to beat Moose tonight, but nobody thinks Sami can do it. After he called Sami a “journeyman” Sami kicked him out of his dressing room. And then went back to his promo, saying he was going to kick Moose’s butt.
Satoshi Kojima was in the back preparing for his Impact debut, and Eddie Edwards came in to say hello and wish him luck.
A video clip aired of someone drinking Jamesons Irish whiskey. His name is Maclin (formerly known as Steve Cutler in WWE), and it looks like he will be coming to Impact soon.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 4, 2021
Fire N Flava went to D’Amore’s office and gloated about their win, saying that they had beaten every other team on the roster and they had no competition. D’Amore surprised them by showing them that Kimber Lee and Susan were in his office, and booked the title match for AAO. So, are we supposed to cheer for Fire N Flava now? Because a few minutes ago, they were heels.
Match 5: Deaner (w/ Violent By Design) vs. Satoshi Kojima
Kojima outpowered Deaner early on, but dirty tactics let Deaner take control. Kojima came back, and then did the Japanese “strong style” deal of chopping someone a few dozen times and they’re in so much pain that they can’t do anything to block it or escape.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 4, 2021
Kojima then hit a Flying Elbow for a two-count, and a Brain Buster for another near-fall. VBD jumped up on the apron, and it looked like Doering was going to get involved in the match, but Eddie Edwards ran down to the ring and pulled him off the apron and then threatened him with a Singapore cane. Kojima then hit Deaner with the Cutter, but instead of pinning Deaner, he let him stand up, and then ran through him with a Lariat to get the pin.
If you’re a fan of Kojima and his style, you might have liked this match. If not, you might have been underwhelmed.
Winner: Satoshi Kojima
Moose was cutting a promo on Sami Callihan, when Don Callis interrupted him. Callis said that he wanted Moose to beat Sami. Moose knew that Callis was trying to play mind games and shut that noise down.
Violent By Design cut a promo on Eddie Edwards, blaming him for Deaner’s loss to Kojima. Black Taurus and Crazzy Steve interrupted, and mocked VBD and Young’s leadership. Steve challenged Deaner and Rhino to a Tag Team Title match at AAO, and Eric Young accepted on his team’s behalf.
Match 6: Moose vs. Sami Callihan
Callihan hit a big Running Kick right at the bell, taking Moose by surprise, but also angering him. The fight spilled to the floor early on, where Moose dumped Sami hard onto the apron with a Powerbomb. Sami dove out of the way to avoid a charging Moose, and Moose hit the barricade hard, allowing Sami to take over.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 4, 2021
Sami used an arm submission on the floor and instead of counting them out, the ref ran outside to try to break them apart for some reason, leading to a commercial.
Back from break, the match was in the ring and Sami was in control, nearly getting the win after dropping Moose with a Death Valley Driver. Moose avoided a Cactus Special, and dropped Sami with a Superplex, despite his weakened arm. Moose hit Sami with a big Dropkick and then a Go To Hell for a near-fall, but Sami kicked out. He went for a Spear, but Sami sidestepped him and Moose ran into the corner. But he was still strong enough to kick out after a Piledriver.
Sami was going for the Cactus Special, but the Good Brothers ran to the ring and clobbered him from behind, and the referee called for the bell. They dropped Sami with the Magic Killer, and then started putting the boots to Moose. With both of them down, this brought out Don Callis and the Impact World Champion Kenny Omega. Omega and the Good Brothers continued to pummel both Moose and Callihan with kicks and stomps while Callis watched in glee.
This was good while it lasted. But the heel-heel dynamic makes this entire feud really messy. Particularly since they’re competing to get a match against yet another heel. Can’t someone else be added into this mix so that we actually have someone to root for against Omega?
Winner, by disqualification: Sami Callihan
Team Omega were celebrating backstage, when they ran into Scott D’Amore who asked for a one-on-one Executive discussion with Callis. He told Callis that since Callihan had won the match by disqualification, when the Good Brothers attacked him, then he had beaten the number one contender. As such, it was appropriate that he be added to the Moose-Omega title match at AAO. Callis protested, saying that AEW owner Tony Khan would object if Omega, who is his company’s champion, would be in the ring with Callihan. D’Amore said that he’s already spoken with Tony Khan and that he would be coming to Impact next week to discuss it. Callis voiced his dismay as the show came to a close.
Impact Wrestling - June 3rd, 2021
Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN
The rating is a bit of an average for the Before the Impact and Impact shows. BTI was pretty perfect, being that it was mainly comprised of the Iron Man match, after a quick opening segment.
Impact was strong, focusing entirely on the matches and the build towards the upcoming Against All Odds show. The blurring of the face-heel dynamic in the title programs is getting a bit too muddy, though.