Impact Wrestling returns from Nashville, TN for tonight’s episode, which features the second half of the World Title #1 contendership tournament’s first round matches. Ace Austin replaces the injured Ken Shamrock to take on Rhino, and Sami Callihan will take on Michael Elgin.
Opening video was a recap of last week’s tournament matches, with Hernandez defeating Madman Fulton, and Trey Miguel getting the win over Rohit Raju. We also got a recap of Elgin attacking Shamrock, as well as the Moose vs Suicide main event.
Ace Austin defeated Rhino in a World Championship #1 contender first round match
Rhino had the early advantage power-wise, forcing Ace to stall outside the ring on several occasions, at one point dodging an early Gore.
Eventually, Rhino chased after Ace to the floor where he dropped him with a suplex and went for a chair. The referee was there, however, to stop Rhino. The distraction allowed Ace to recover, catch Rhino with a couple of kicks (including the headstand kick) then rammed him into the ring post.
Rhino made it back at nine, but Ace was ready to attack him and started to work on him. Rhino had some comeback spots, however Ace cut him off to regain control.
Eventually, Rhino managed to connect a clothesline counter as both men went down. Rhino went wild with clotheslines and elbows on Ace and hit a mini-Gore, but Ace still caught him with a jumping leg lariat for a two count.
Ace went to the top rope, but Rhino stopped him, hitting a superplex for a two count. Ace went for the chair, but the referee distracted him. Rhino took the chair, but once again the referee took the chair, which allowed Ace to hit Rhino with his Gambit stick and hit The Fold for the win. Okay match.
We got an interview between Josh Matthews and Moose, where the former asked the latter when he’ll end his delusions of being the TNA World Champion. Moose said that when he loses the title, he will let it go. Moose brought up the referee making it an official title match when he raised it over his head.
Matthews brought up that Suicide had a visual pin over him. Moose said Suicide didn’t win. Moose said that he’ll give Suicide a rematch to show that he’s a fighting champion.
Tasha Steelz was backstage when she was approached by Kiera Hogan. She told Steelz that she was impressed and offered to guide Steelz, who agreed to partner up.
Josh Matthews and Madison Rayne ran down the card for tonight.
Crazzy Steve defeated Dave Crist (with oVe)
Crist tried to jump Steve, but got caught with a leg sweep, took a couple of strikes, and a cannonball before escaping to the floor. Steve landed a pescado, wiping him out. Unfortunately for Steve, when he went back to the ring through the ropes, Dave kicked the ropes into Steve’s groin and cut him off.
Joseph P. Ryan came down to the ramp to observe and make notes on the match.
Dave Crist worked on Crazzy Steve for a couple of minutes, getting several two counts and a submission tease with a Kimura. Crazzy Steve would try to kick Dave away, but it wasn’t enough, and when things got bad, someone from oVe would distract the referee, allowing the rest of oVe to attack.
Eventually, Crazzy Steve got an opening to hit a jumping DDT from the second rope to pick up the win. This was like a reverse squash; Dave did all the work, then lost to one move.
After the match, Fulton berated Dave Crist. Jake tried to stop him. Madman Fulton said he was done with oVe. Jake Crist tried to stop him, but Fulton choked both men and ripped apart his oVe shirt.
Out in the bar, Rosemary was talking to Mr. Mundo when John E. Bravo approached them. Rosemary hit on Bravo, but he was disgusted and weirded out.
Fallah Bahh & TJP defeated XXXL (Acey Romero & Larry D)
Bahh and Acey started the match, a clash of hosses. They went for the lock up, but neither could get the better of the other, so they relied on shoulder tackles and body blocks.
TJP and Larry D tagged in, with the latter having the easy power advantage, tossing around TJP, but TJP had the speed to dodge and get some strikes on Larry. At one point, Larry went for a sit down pin, but TJP dodged, and followed with a low crossbody for a one count. TJP and Bahh hit the stacked splash, successfully cutting off Larry D.
TJP and Bahh worked over Larry D with quick tags and double team moves, but eventually Acey Romero got a blind tag on D and saved him.
Back from commercial, Acey and Larry D have cut off TJP and hit a double running splash for a two count. Now in control, Larry D worked over TJP, getting a two count with a huge spinebuster. TJP hit a jumping DDT (jumping off Acey Romero), and dropped Larry D to get the tag to Bahh.
Fallah Bahh came in and took out Acey Romero with a shoulder tackle, sending him to the floor. Bahh continued with a rossbody on Larry D and tried to follow that up with a belly-to-belly, but Larry blocked and allowed Acey to return with a pounce for a two count, broken up by TJP.
XXXL went to double team Bahh, but were caught by a crossbody. Bahh hit the belly-to-belly on Larry D for a two count. Bahh set up the Banzai Drop, but was stopped by Acey Romero, who then dropped TJP with a body slam. Larry D went to the top rope, but Bahh stopped him, hit a Samoan drop and followed that with a bMamba Splash for the win. Good match, Larry D is somewhat underrated.
Self-Proclaimed TNA World Champion Moose defeated Suicide to retain his title.
Once again, Moose forced ring announcer David Penzer to make the proper title match introductions.
Match started with Suicide dodging some of Moose’s attacks and hitting a rana, but Moose recovered and blocked Suicide’s attacks. Suicide faked Moose to the floor and hit a pescado, but Moose caught him. However, he managed to ram Moose to the ring post.
Back in the ring, Suicide hit a springboard rana and followed with an octopus stretch, transitioning to a pin for a two count. Suicide hit a low dropkick to send Moose out again, but when he went for a rolling senton, Moose caught him and swung him to the guard rail like a ragdoll.
In the ring, Moose worked over Suicide with chokes and strikes, but he kept distracting himself with the referee. He tossed around Suicide from corner to corner; he legit did this about 10 times before he started talking trash to Suicide. This provoked a comeback from Suicide, with him hitting some clotheslines. Eventually, the fourth clothesline had enough power to spin Moose around.
Suicide dodged Moose’s rushes and hit a couple of running dropkicks, a rolling fireman's carry slam and a lionsault for a near fall. Moose came back and rammed Suicide to the corner followed by stomps, but distracted himself with the referee once again. In a bit of deja vu from last week, the referee almost got taken out, but they both stopped themselves.
Continuing his offense, Suicide hit a codebreaker and superkick on Moose. He landed three more superkicks and finally went to the top rope for a crossbody, but Moose rolled over with the momentum and pinned Suicide. Good match, but not as good as their match from last week.
Michael Elgin cut a promo where he talked trash about people waiting for their participation trophies while he puts in the work, then talked about being hated for being the best, like Ali and McGregor once were. But in due time, everyone will appreciate Elgin’s greatness.
Backstage, Chris Bey approached Swinger and told him that if he can’t win, he may as well take out Mack and consider that as a win. Swinger was sure he was winning tonight.
X-Division Champion Willie Mack defeated Johnny Swinger to retain his title
Swinger jumped Mack to start the match, choked him around and started working over him with strikes, clotheslines, and some dirty tricks. Swinger dropped several elbows for a two count.
Mack eventually tried to start a comeback with a big body slam and leg drop. Mack hit a running splash and went for the Samoan drop, but Swinger blocked and hit a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall.
Swinger thought he had won. He grabbed the title and celebrated early, but the distraction was enough for Mack to recover, hit the Samoan drop and moonsault combo for the win.
After the match, Swinger wouldn’t let go of the title, so Mack had to rip it apart from his hands. Swinger afterwards jumped Mack from behind. He was joined by Chris Bey as both of them laid out Mack.
We got a promo by The North from the Battlearts Academy. Page said he rented the dojo for a month, but Alexander wasn’t excited for another match. Page said there was no more competition when suddenly Cody Deaner walked in and told them he wanted a title shot. Deaner made the challenge for a match at the Deaner compound. Deaner has a mystery partner for that match.
Also next week, we will have the semifinals of the #1 contenders Tournament.
Michael Elgin defeated Sami Callihan in a World Championship #1 contender first round match
This is a main event in any arena. Callihan walked in limping after the work that Shamrock did on his ankle at Rebellion.
Elgin had the early advantage in both power and health. He knew that Callihan had a bullseye on his ankle and went after it immediately. Callihan tried to give himself space, but Elgin blocked him and went after his leg again.
Callihan went for the eyes and went for a Cactus special, but Elgin blocked him and went for the leg again. Callihan, however, managed to hit a draping DDT for a two count. Callihan then sent Elgin out with two bicycle kicks.
They brawled for a bit outside the ring, ramming each other to the guardrail and ring post. Callihan started working on Elgin’s arm, but when he went for an apron bomb, Elgin swept him, and once again rammed Callihan’s leg into the apron and guard rail. Elgin tortured Sami’s leg against the ring post but at the very end, Callihan managed to pull Elgin arm first into the ring post.
Back in the ring, Elgin once again kicked off Callihan’s leg and kept him at bay with kicks. Callihan tried to get into a strike off with Elgin, but was easily taken out. Elgin went for a diving clothesline, but Sami reversed into a crucifix pin for a two count.
They traded strikes and kicks until Sami landed a big clothesline to finally bring Elgin off his feet. Callihan side-stepped Elgin to the floor and hit a suicide dive.
Once again in the ring, Callihan got a two count with a suplex. Sami went for another Cactus special, but Elgin reversed into a knee breaker followed by a couple of running clotheslines, then set up Callihan’s knee for a low dropkick.
Elgin dropped Sami on his knee, then followed with a sliding lariat to the back for a two count. Elgin then transitioned to a single leg Boston crab, hinting that Sami would pass out like he did in Rebellion, but Callihan managed to make the ropes instead.
Elgin went for the Buckle-Bomb, but Sami’s knee buckled. Instead, Elgin hit a couple of lariats with Callihan mocking Elgin while he did it. Elgin went for one final lariat, but Callihan collapsed. Elgin lifted Sami, then out of nowhere Sami hit a desperation backplex and a running elbow for a two count.
Sami went for the Cactus special, but Elgin reversed, hitting a Deadlift buckle bomb. Sami came back with a Lariat. Elgin responded with a backfist, but Sami escaped the second buckle bomb. Elgin then hit a second backfist and the Elgin bomb for the win. Great match, this felt like a Japanese match.
Final Thoughts --
Good show by Impact, it was heavily focused on in-ring action. Three matches that are worth going out of your way to check out.