The network disclaimer before Impact Wrestling’s weekly show is “The following program may not be suitable for all viewers.” Truer words were never spoken. Because Thursday night’s episode was unlike any other wrestling show you’ve ever seen, or probably will ever see again. No, this was a two-hour high-concept episode that saw a number of stars go back to Wrestle House for a Thanksgiving holiday special.
For those not familiar with Wrestle House, it was Impact’s cinematic reality TV show parody that ran last year. Basically, a number of the roster members lived in the house, and every week, a couple of TV segments would be dedicated to their shenanigans. The climax was a cinematic comedy match that wrapped up the various storylines that were introduced during the show. The house also begat other long-term storylines, including the attempted murder of John E. Bravo and the resulting criminal investigation and trial.
While some people liked the creative and fun elements of the show – Johnny Swinger’s comedy being a definite highlight -, purists would undoubtedly have hated every minute of it.
We won’t debate it here – instead, this recap will simply describe what unfolded in the two-hour edition of Wrestle House and let you be the judge.
The episode started off with a narration by the “Sinister Minister” Father James Mitchell, who poetically recapped the last season of Wrestle House which led to the shooting of John E. Bravo during his wedding to Rosemary, which led to the trial of Larry D and the opening – and subsequent closing – of Swinger’s Palace. That paragraph alone is enough to give Jim Cornette an aneurysm.
After the opening segment, the show jumped to immediately after last week’s teleportation of the new Wrestle House cast, with the title card counting it down as “7 days til Thanksgiving.”
The guests have arrived at Wrestle House!#IMPACTonAXSTV @WeAreRosemary @JohnEBravo1st @MadisonRayne @swinger_johnny @kalebKonley @SuperMexCTM @steveofcrazzy @FearHavok pic.twitter.com/R3OXf6Ea3X
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 26, 2021
7 Days Til Thanksgiving
The cast members – Johnny Swinger, Hernandez, John E. Bravo, all of Decay, Alisha, Madison Rayne and Kaleb, and the Swingerellas – had a wide range of reactions to their situation, with Johnny Swinger in particular having a meltdown.
Everyone questioned why they were there, and Rosemary informed them that they would be there until Swinger was happy and thankful again. Then they revealed an additional cast member: Chris Sabin, who entered in a cloud of steam wearing only a towel, which had Havok all flustered and turned on. Sabin said hello to Riley, one of the Swingerellas, and then he reminded everyone to find themselves a room. After everyone cleared out, Bravo and Rosemary had a private conversation and it was revealed that there was another agenda behind this trip – one that would cost Bravo his soul.
6 Days Til Thanksgiving
The housemates speculated on what would make Swinger happy. Meanwhile, Kaleb – who was the only one there excited to be on a reality show – started hitting on Riley, but she only had eyes for Sabin who again was strutting around in a towel. Kaleb was angry and he challenged Sabin to a match, and everyone got teleported to a studio with a ring in it.
Match 1: Kaleb vs. Chris Sabin
They had a commentary table with Mitchell, Sinn Bodhi (formerly WWE’s Kizarny), and Impact’s in-house medic Dr. Ross, but they could only be heard when they were shown on camera. This was an atypical match for Wrestle House, which is to say that they actually did moves and didn’t stuff it full of lame comedy. Until they did. Sabin hit the Cradle Shock to win the match in under two minutes.
Winner: Chris Sabin
5 Days to Thanksgiving
Madison was freaking out about still being in the house, so she told everyone to stop enjoying their stay and start working on a way to make Swinger happy so they could all leave. Rosemary angered her further by telling her that anyone with a match at Turning Point – which was taking place that night – would be able to leave the house temporarily to compete at the show.
Alisha and Madison came up with a plan, inspired by the T-shirt Kaleb loaned to Chris Sabin, which was of Downtown Daddy Brown – aka Willie Mack’s persona during Impact’s other concept show, the IPWF. Apparently, Brown and Swinger were old pals, so they figured if they could get Brown there for a reunion, that would please Swinger.
They got Rosemary to teleport Brown into the House. But instead of a happy reunion, Swinger and Brown immediately started yelling at one another over a historical dispute, and the match was booked for the next day.
4 Days Til Thanksgiving
Match 2: Downtown Daddy Brown vs. Johnny Swinger
This was a typical Wrestle House match. After some comedy spots, Swinger threw Brown into the ref (Bravo), and then clobbered Brown with his own cane – but Brown kicked out at two. Swinger tried to get a weapon from his fanny pack, but Brown caught him with a headbutt and a big elbow to get the pin.
Winner: Downtown Daddy Brown
After the match, the other Swingerella checked on Swinger’s condition before everyone got teleported back to the house.
Once there, Swinger yelled at Bravo over his officiating. Alisha tried to calm Swinger down, telling him that he has to be happy and thankful so everyone can get out of there. Swinger said that, out of spite, he would never cheer up or be thankful, and stormed off.
After that, Bravo and Rosemary again hinted that there was more to the story than everyone thought, but nobody else picked up on this, though Hernandez did have some suspicion.
The tensions between Madison and Rosemary escalated, and thinking that she could renegotiate the deal with Rosemary’s “father” and try to win their freedom, Madison told everyone to pick a side: whether they wanted to stay or to leave. When the majority chose to stay, Madison said that it wasn’t a vote that would decide, but a match. But to make the teams even, Alisha petitioned to have her husband Eddie Edwards be allowed to enter the house and be on her team. Rosemary agreed, Eddie appeared, and everyone got teleported to the ring.
Match 3: Chris Sabin and Decay (Rosemary, Havok, Crazzy Steve, and Black Taurus) vs. Madison Rayne, Kaleb, Hernandez, Alisha Edwards, and Eddie Edwards
This was a lot of comedy, including Sabin doing crazy zombie walks to fit in with Decay. Some of it was good, though, mostly the stuff involving Black Taurus, but that was, unfortunately, minimal. They exchanged 5-person vertical suplex attempts, and after that failed, Rosemary speared Alisha to get the pin.
Winners: Chris Sabin and Decay
After the match, Kaleb hit on Riley some more. And then everyone got teleported back to the house. Madison said that she was angry about losing and would make everyone’s lives miserable as long as they were there.
Alisha tried to explain to Eddie what was going on, and again Hernandez he had a hunch that something was up between Rosemary and Bravo.
Rosemary then told the Swingerella that had the crush on Swinger that she should make Swinger jealous and that might make him fall for her. Rosemary took the Swingerella away to enact the plan.
3 Days Til Thanksgiving
They went to see the Lord of the Manor’s room. The door opened, and they went inside.
Cut to the billiards room where everyone else was hanging out. Rosemary and the Swingerellas joined them, and when Swinger walked in to grab a breakfast beer, Rosemary told the Swingerella to put her plan in action. She introduced her “boyfriend” – really, a ruse to try to make Swinger jealous. And it was none other than Lawrence D! His arrival angered Bravo – Lawrence D was the guy who shot him after all. Despite the attempt, Swinger wasn’t jealous at all.
Madison was dismayed by this, since it meant that they were still stuck there. But Steve said he had an idea.
Cut to an episode of Locker Room Talk with Madison Rayne and her co-host Swinger. Madison tried to cheer up Swinger’s mood by introducing their guest, Gene Simmons (who was really The Demon). Swinger marked out for him, thinking he was really Simmons. The Demon played along and convinced Swinger that he should try to find true love to be happy. Swinger said he’d try, and that pleased Madison since it meant she’s one step closer to returning home.
Nobody tell @swinger_johnny that's not the real Gene Simmons. #IMPACTonAXSTV @MadisonRayne pic.twitter.com/91bRx5I6pl
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 26, 2021
2 Days Til Thanksgiving
Kaleb was torn between staying in the house, where he could be a reality TV star and also maybe hit on Riley, and doing what Madison wants, which is to leave the house.
Swinger then strutted into the room, and said that he was taking Gene Simmons’ advice, and he declared his love for the Swingerella. But this angered Lawrence D who had actually fallen in love with her. And the match was on.
Match 4: Johnny Swinger vs. Lawrence D
This was mostly comedy. Lawrence D sprayed Ring Rust into Swinger’s eyes, but the ref figured it out because of the odour. But he didn’t seem to notice the salt in the air after Swinger Fuji’d Lawrence and then pinned him.
Winner: Johnny Swinger
After the match, Swinger called the Swingerella into the ring and proposed. She accepted, and they kissed.
Everyone was happy, except Rosemary. She said that nobody was going home until they were actually at the altar.
1 Day Til Thanksgiving
Alisha was fretting over the wedding plans, and trying to make sure that Eddie didn’t embarrass her like he did at an earlier wedding when Ace Austin got him drunk. He agreed, but then immediately rescinded when he asked Hernandez – who Swinger asked to be his Best Man – to make sure there was tequila at the bachelor party.
Hernandez was still feeling a bit wary about Rosemary and Bravo, but Alisha told him to not obsess about it and find a suit to wear at the wedding.
The Swingerellas were talking, and Riley said that she was going to the wedding with Kaleb.
Hernandez was getting changed, and he overhead Rosemary and Bravo talking. Bravo told her to send everyone home now that Swinger was happy and thankful. But Rosemary said that the ritual had to be completed and the person who would be there to do that wasn’t arriving until the next day. Bravo said something about being only “a transaction” in Rosemary’s eyes. Hernandez busted in and said that he wouldn’t let Rosemary steal Bravo’s soul. He tried to lead Bravo away, but Bravo refused to go with him.
Rosemary teleported Hernandez away and into a match.
Match 5: Hernandez vs. Black Taurus
Before the match, Hernandez tried to find out why Bravo would agree to be killed, but Bravo told him it was complicated. Hernandez tried to leave the ring, but Taurus wouldn’t let him. Taurus attacked him from behind and put the boots to Hernandez.
The match wasn’t bad with some hard-hitting action. Taurus escaped the Border Toss, and when Hernandez was distracted by Decay on the floor, Taurus clipped him from behind and then rolled him up for the win.
Black Taurus just ripped right through @SuperMexCTM!#IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/LyZeLqSrtj
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 26, 2021
Winner: Black Taurus
After the match, Rosemary cast a spell on Hernandez and screwed up his brain.
Back at the house, Alisha told the addle-minded Hernandez to get a new suit, since his was torn during the match. Then, after a quick talk with Alisha, Bravo cryptically acknowledged that everything about this Wrestle House was all because of him.
Bravo warned Rosemary that everything might not go down the way she thinks it will go. It turns out that he had promised Rosemary his virginal blood if she would make Swinger happy and thankful. And that would happen as soon as Swinger and his Swingerella bride kissed at the wedding. Eddie Edwards was in the next room and overhead everything and then ran in to confront Rosemary. He said he’d stooge on Rosemary, so she cast a spell on him that made him drunk.
Kaleb went to get Riley to take her to the wedding. But Madison showed up and he toadied off with her. Chris Sabin came in and he offered to be Riley’s date as a friend. She agreed.
Hernandez went to Bravo to get a new suit.
Cut to the wedding where he was in the infamous TNA/Impact Turkey costume.
The wedding was on, and Bravo was visibly upset and Rosemary was cocky that her plan was coming to fruition.
Father James Mitchell teleported in to conduct the ceremony. Enter Swinger and the Swingerella for the ceremony.
Swinger said his vows, basically forgoing the life of a Swing-Man to settle down with the Swingerella, whose name was revealed to be Brunhilda.
She started her vows talking about regrets, when suddenly a drunken Eddie stumbled in, and knocked over Bravo.
Rosemary called Decay to escort Eddie out while he tried to explain what was going on. Somehow, Hernandez remembered everything and he told everyone that Rosemary was trying to kill Bravo, that that was the deal that had been made. That Bravo was prepared to sacrifice his own life to see Swinger happy again.
Rosemary admitted it was all true, but that since Bravo had voluntarily agreed to the plan, it was valid and legally binding.
Bravo then dropped the bomb on Rosemary, telling her that he was no longer a virgin. He gloated that he had tricked Rosemary into making Swinger happy.
But then Brunhilda said that wasn’t necessarily the case, since Swinger might not want to marry her after she told him a secret she’d been keeping from him: that she was the one who was sleeping with Bravo.
Swinger was surprised. But said that he was happy. Because the second rule of professional wrestling was to never fall for a rizzat. He left, elated that he was free.
Rosemary said that no kiss was had at the altar, so the deal wasn’t completed, so nobody could leave.
Bravo told Brunhilda that he knew what it felt like to feel pain. So he said that if the two of them, who were both damaged and alone, could make it work together, then maybe they could be happy. He proposed to Brunhilda, and she said yes. Father Mitchell pronounced them as married, and everyone celebrated their new matrimonial bliss.
They cut to a Thanksgiving feast with the housemates, as Mitchell read out the closing narration.
Swinger made a toast to the happy couple and said that he was happy and thankful to not be married.
What could be better than Thanksgiving dinner with the cast of Wrestle House 2?#IMPACTonAXSTV @WeAreRosemary @FearHavok @steveofcrazzy @SuperChrisSabin @MadisonRayne @kalebKonley @SuperMexCTM @MrsAIPAlisha @TheEddieEdwards @swinger_johnny @Willie_Mack pic.twitter.com/kITmSW4rfx
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 26, 2021
Everyone else was happy – well, maybe not Decay, but they agreed to send everyone back home once the feast was over.
The last scene saw Santa Claus (Downtown Daddy Brown in a costume) show up to the feast as everyone celebrated the holidays in good spirts and good health.
Impact Wrestling (Wrestle House Special) - November 25th, 2021
Wrestle House - Parts Unknown
There’s no real way to rate this show as a pro wrestling show. You were either entertained or you weren’t. Johnny Swinger is always fun, and there were a lot of funny inside references.
As a one-off Thanksgiving special, it worked. Doing this as a stand-alone episode, as opposed to trying to insert clips into the show each week was the right idea. But if you don’t like the idea of Wrestle House, you would not have liked this at all.