Preview by Josh Nason
Impact Wrestling returns to The Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee tonight as a World title match between Johnny Impact and Brian Cage headlines Homecoming.
Cage gets the opportunity on tonight's pay-per-view after relinquishing his X Division title in exchange for a World title shot against current champion Impact who has been champion since October.
Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard will look to defend her title against Taya Valkyrie. Hall of Famer and former champion Gail Kim will be the special guest referee.
Also on the show, Impact Tag Team Champions LAX defend their titles against Pentagon Jr. & Fenix, the vacant X Division title will be decided in an Ultimate X match between Jake Crist, Ethan Page, Rich Swann, and Trey Miguel, Eddie Edwards battles Moose in a falls count anywhere match, Sami Callihan takes on Willie Mack, Abyss battles Eli Drake in a Monster's Ball match, and Allie & Su Yung team up to face Jordynne Grace & Kiera Hogan.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Show opens with a video featuring Johnny Impact and old footage from the Asylum years of TNA. Johnny talks about the feeling of excitement that comes memories and making an Impact, no pun intended, in history. Video touched on all the feuds going into tonight's card.
Rich Swann defeated Jake Crist, Trey Miguel, and "All Ego" Ethan Page in an Ultimate X Match to become the new X-Division Champion
This was as crazy as you'd expect. Match started with all 4 men going for the title, which led to a series of hurricanranas as they fell from the ropes. Ethan Page played the power roll in this match, early on he straight up toss Miguel from the top rope to the floor where Swann and Crist found each other. Throughout the match, he was the one stopping people climbing the ropes.
There was a superkick spot with all 4 men trading kicks that led to the first 'Impact Wrestling' chant of the night. Jake Crist hit a double cutter from the rope on Swann and Miguel, leaving Page open to go for the championship, but mid way, he fell on Jake Crist with a falling elbow.Swann recovered and hit a Lethal Injection on Page. Everyone hit dives to the outside, and after recovering, they all started brawling as they climbed one of the corner pillars, leaving Trey Miguel as the sole survivor, who climbed to the top and hit a Moonsault on to everyone.
Back in the ring, Page took a huge powerbomb when everyone joined forces against him. Jake Crist took out Swann with a Tombstone Piledriver on the ramp, allowing Crist to go for the title, but Page recovered soon enough to spear him mid air. Swann and Miguel now started racing for the title from opposite corners, with Swann getting there faster and snatching the championship. Overall a good match, some good spots. Trey Miguel was the most over guy in the match.
Backstage, Brian Cage was interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell. Cage said that no one ever gave him an opportunity, and so, he made his own opportunity with Option C. He said that tonight, all his sacrifices come to fruition.
Su Yung & "Dark" Allie defeated Jordynne Grace & Kiera Hogan
This was a short match, at some points between Su Yung and Kiera Hogan were a bit sloppy, but . The rest of the match was good.
Jordynne Grace and Allie started the match with Grace displaying her dominance. Hogan and Yung went at it next, with Kiera Hogan coming in fired up and also dominating over the heel. There was a weird spot where Yung was going to jump Kiera from behind as Allie distracted her, but Grace and the ref for involved making it long and awkward, but it led to Allie and Su Yung cutting the ring in half on Hogan for a while.
Kiera Hogan was hit with a drapping neck breaker by Su Yung, a backstabber by Allie for a two count. Eventually, Hogan made a comeback against Yung and finally managed to tag in Grace, who came in and easily handled both Yung and Allie. Jordynne had a suspended vertical suplex on Yung and Hogan hit a crossbody on the suspended body of Yung.
Back inside the ring, all four women fought tornado tag style, with Grace hitting a powerbomb and powerslam to Su and Allie respectively at the same time. Finish saw Jordynne Grace got hit by Su Yung's mist, allowing Allie to take her out, hit a codebreker on Kiera Hogan, and finally, the Mandible Claw for the ref stoppage.
After the match, Su Yung and Allie went back to the attack on Kiera Hogan. Su Yung called out her bridesmaids with a coffin to finally bury Hogan. When the coffin opened up, The Demon Assasin Rosemary made her return. Rosemary took out the Undead Bridesmaids, she took out Su Yung, and turned her attention to Allie, who ran away instead.
Eddie Edwards defeated Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
Eddie Edwards jumped Moose during the entrance and the immediatly started brawling outside the ring, and within a minute, Moose hit a really nasty looking set of apron powerbombs. Moose set up a guardrail bed outside the ring and went to powerbomb Eddie into it, but Eddie finally recovered and made a comeback, hitting a Tope Suicida.
Eddie now in control, dragged Moose around the crowd and they proceeded to brawl around the upper decks where Eddie found a balcony to hit a plancha on Moose. As they continued brawling back to the ring area, Moose regained control and started filling the ring with chairs. Eddie, now busted open, took some of the charis and started throwing them at Moose, and hit a a huge superplex onto the pile of chairs. They got into a strike-off that ended with Eddie tossing Moose over the rope into the guardrail bed Moose had set up earlier.
Eddie again in control, broought out his kendo stick and started taking on Moose, which brought out Alisha Edwards, who took out the kendo stick from him and got some shots on Moose herself for a big pop. Eddie hit the final kendo shot and a DDT for the only pin of the match.
Great brawl and hardcore match, the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation didn't really come up since there was only one pin during the whole match.
Backstage, Sami Callhan cut a promo on Willie Mack, telling him to not get in the way of oVe's business, and thus tonight, Mack will learn to listen to Rich Swann's warnings.
Sami Callihan (w/Dave Crist) defeated Willie Mack
Willie Mack jumped Sami before he could get in the ring, hit a few hurricanranas and a Tope Con Giro to start the match. Willie worked over Callihan's neck for a bit until he got distracted with Dave Crist, and Sami capitalized to turn the match around.
Callihan now in control, mostly went for sleepers and chops. Mack made a comeback after reversing a sleeper unto a stunner. Mack, back in the game, hit his signature Smoan Drop and Moonsault, a Running Cannonball, and finally started chasing the Stunner. Callihan hit a huge powerbomb and V-Trigger for a two count. Mack hit a Pop-up Forearm and Stunner for a near fall as Callihan got his leg on the ropes. Callihan hit a top rope DVD after Dave Crist distracted Mack, who kicked out at one. Finish finally saw Callihan hit a piledriver for the pin.
Backstage, Eli Drake is with McKenzie Mitchell. Drake said that this is a trip down memory lane where Abyss was born, but tonight, it's about the future and he is the future. McKenzie made a comment about Eli Drake being afraid, but Drake said Abyss won't even get a chance to touch a weapon tonight.
Eli Drake defeated Abyss in a Monster's Ball Match
Eli Drake jumped Abyss to start the match, but to no avail as Abyss simply turned it around and went for the stapple gun, stappling Drake's chest. Eli Drake rolled out of the ring, and so they started brawling outside the ring towards the crowd.
Back in the ring, Eli regained control as he started hitting Abyss with gargabe cans, but as he went for a big running shot, Abyss tossed him over the top, landing on a couple of tables. Awesome spot.
Abyss brought out the tumbtacks. Abyss went for a chokeslam, but Drake countered out and threw tacs to Abyss, who dodged them, and the ref took a file of tacks to the face. Abyss hit a Black Hole Slam for a clear pin, but the ref was out.
Fans started to chant for Janice, so Abyss brought her out. Eli quickly took her from Abyss and went for the shot, but Abyss stopped him and hit a big chokeslam on to the tacks, but he only got a two count. Eli Drake's back was silver.
Eli threw some tacks to Abyss' face to blind him, and took the advantage to get some zip ties and tie down Abyss, but he couldn't get them and Callis sold it as Abyss broke them, so Eli Drake responded by hitting about 20 chair shots on Abyss for a two count. Eli then broke his wooden paddle over Abyss in a really stiff looking shot and finally gor the 1-2-3 for the win. This was really violent with spots that we've seen be less violent before, but overall a good short weapons match.
Backstage, Killer Kross is with McKenzie Mitchell. Kross said his intentions have always been clear, and not like Johnny who is not clear with his goals. He said that by the end of tonight, no one will be talking about Option C, but rather, Option X.
They showed the winners of Survivor, here to support Johnny Impact.
LAX (Santana & Ortiz) defeated Lucha Bros! (Pentagon Jr & Fenix) to retain the Impact World Tag Team Championships
The big story going in is that Konnan is not here with LAX, and we've seen LAX choke before, when Konnan was not with them.
Santana and Fenix started the match with a series of reversals and counters, until Pentagon got a quick shot in, Fenix gor rid of Ortiz, and the Lucha Bros took complete control of the match. This was already going at 60 mph.
After getting some time to recover, Santana cut off Fenix on the top rope, and now it was time for LAX to hit a series of double team moves on Pentagon and keep Fenix at bay. Pentagon made a comeback, and Fenix hit what I would call a running cannonball from the ring to the ramp.
Back in the ring, all four men are going at it, with tons of action that got a standing ovation from the crowd as Pentagon hits a huge Destroyer on Santana. Pentagon and Ortiz got into a strike-off, later followed by Fenix and Santana, and at end, all men are trading kicks left and right. Fenix and Pentagon hit a Spiked Fear Factor for a two count as Ortiz manages to break the pin. LAX hit the 5150 for another near fall, now Fenix being the one breaking the pin. "Fight Forever" chants.
Finish saw LAX hit a big combination of cutters and kicks, ending with a big double team move for the pin on Fenix. Awesome match, easily the match of the night so far, worth going out of your way to watch.
After the match, Konnan came out. He put both teams over.
Backstage, McKenzie Mitchell interviewd Gail Kim, who said that she didn't think she would need to come back, but that Tessa's actions pushed her to come back and referee this match and make sure that the right woman wins.
Taya Valkyrie defeated Tessa Blanchard to become the NEW Impact Knockout's Champion. Special Guest Referee: Gail Kim.
Taya has changed her look for this match, attire looks great. This was a great back and forward match, but there was a lot of stuff going on with Gail Kim at the end in order to protect Tessa in defeat that may put off some fans.
Match started with a quick lock up, but quickly turned into quick reversals, Taya doing lucha moves, while Tessa going for the power moves. The match spilled outside and Tessa dominated, at one point hitting a missile dropkick on Taya against the guardrail.
Back in the ring, Tessa started working Taya's left arm via a shoulder wrench. Taya came back with some shots and a big deadlift german for a two count. Tessa finally started chasing the Buzzsaw DDT, but Taya countered and hit a Northen Lights and footstomp for another near fall. Taya went for a moonsault, but Tessa moved and hit a spear for a really close two count, that provoked Tessa to get in Gail Kim's face, who got taken out a few seconds later, when Taya dodged a running Tessa.
Tessa got a clear pin on Taya after the Busszaw DDT, but Kim couldn't count. Tessa got the title and when Gail Kim tried to grab it from here, Gail Kim accidentally hit Taya. Tessa forced Gail to coutn her mistake, but Taya managed to kick out at two.
Tessa and Gail once again got face to face, now it was Gail that pushed Tessa, and Taya rolled her, but for another two count. Tessa hit the Magnum Codebreaker, but Taya kept kicking out. This provoked Tessa again, and started going after Kim, who hit an Eat Da Feet and after a Road To Valhalla, Taya wins the Knockout's championship.
Josh Matthews announced that Impact Wrestling is going to start simulcasting on both Pursuit Channel and Twitch starting next Friday. Josh pushed for fans to subscribe to Twitch.
Backstage, Johnny Impact is with McKenzie Mitchell. Johnny said that he wasn't expecing a friendly fight tonight. Johnny said that tonight he proves that he is a fighting champion.
Johnny Impact defeated "The Machine" Brian Cage to retain the Impact World Championship
Brian Cage came out wearing cyborg gear, a lot better than Kenny Omega's if you ask me. This got the big match introduction that Impact world title matches usually get. I didn't get a name on the announcer, but he did a good job. Crowd seems to be mostly behind Cage tonight.
Both are really similar in size, but they played with Johnny's speed against Cage's power. Match initially told the story that Johnny is great at wrestling around Cage, but when Cage manages to snatch him, his offense is devastating. Johnny started going for Cage's limbs that are taped up, while Cage seemed to target Johnny's back and neck.
As Cage was in control, he hit a series of Gorilla Flips for a two count. Impact went for a moonsault, but Cage simply caught him and hit an Cheeky Nando and Flapjack for another two count. Eventually, Johnny reversed Cage into a Tornado DDT to catch a breather and hit the Double Down to the floor, landing knee first on Cage's head.
Back in the ring, Johnny had regain enough momentum to go back and forward with Cage, they started trading big moves and near falls. Johnny went for a Razor's Edge on Cage, but got reversed. Johnny hit a Sliding German and finally went for Starship Pain, but Cage blocked him and hit an F-5 for a two count. Cage hit a Buckle Bomb and went for Weapon X, but Johnny got out. Cage hit a big Discus Clothesline for antoher two count. Johnny hit a few knees, setting up Cage for Starship Pain, this time he connects, but Cage kicked out at 2.99. Out of desperation, Johnny hit a top rope Spanish Fly, but cage kicked out at one and fired up.
Cage hit a huge powerbomb, buckle bomb, rolling powerbomb, but Johnny somehow kicked out at two. Cage hit Weapon X, but Johnny got his foot on the rope in a really close call. Finally, Cage got tossed out the ring, but he got distracted with the Survivor guys, making the referee to go out there and handle the situation; however, inside the ring, Cage had hit the Drill Claw and had a clear pin on Johnny. Cage went for the deadlift suplex, they both stumbled as they came down, Johnny landing and cradling Cage for the pin.
Cage grabs the title and tossed it at Johnny, calling the finish a fluke on Impact's side. Taya came out to celebrate with Johnny as the champion power couple. They posed at the ramp as the closing signature comes up on the screen. Suddenly Killer Kross finally made his presence felt and attacked Johnny and Taya. Kross powerbombed Taya into the crowd. Show went of the air to "Kill Kross Kill" chants.
Overall a really good show by Impact. All matches felt like they had enough time to tell their stories, good wrestling top to bottom. We did get a lot of ref bumps here and there for some matches, which will most likely annoy some fans, but seeing past that, the show delivered.