Hello, and welcome to weekly Impact Wrestling coverage on With Spandex. And also welcome to me, LaToya Ferguson, your recapper and friend. You know what doesn’t make weekly Impact Wrestling coverage easier? Coming down with the flu and watching this show in (more of) a state of delirium. But that’s what you’re getting here!
Now for some good housekeeping: You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. And don’t forget to watch Impact Wrestling on Pop at 8 pm on Thursdays so you can read these pieces and share them with the online world.
Previously: The previous show was the inaugural Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot, but in terms of what actually matters, we must go back the week before that. Petey Williams challenged Eli Drake to the Impact Global Championship and came close … but also came up short. Also, James Storm was too good for this company. But you already knew that.
ACE: The Flossy Flossy
Madison Rayne returning to Impact Wrestling like she never stopped being the Killer Queen is a beautiful (people) thing. (I was very happy she returned with the actual theme and not just the music she had when she was Generic Babyface Knockout before she left.) As Jeremy Borash talks about the Knockouts Championship Tournament, Madison and Sienna spend their screentime already trying to one-up each other. Madison does her royal wave in front if Sienna’s face, then the two of them battle over the royal wave vs. pinky. So Madison finally changes her hand so she’s not waving in front of Sienna … but then gets upsets when Sienna puts her pinky up again. You know, because there can only be one classy Knockout around these parts.
EH: How Could This Happen To Me?
I’ve only seen one other person address what I noticed as soon as I watched this episode, so that’s comforting. Literally no one is watching this.
By the way, the announced match for the show (and the one that actually happens) is the one with the Knockouts pictures, not written. And this mistake is still included on the Youtube clip.
EH: She’s Supposed To Be A Killer Queen, Josh!
It’s kind of cute the way Josh mentions Madison on commentary, since they’re husband and wife and all. But considering she’s in full Killer Queen mode, now is not the time. Also, when he says that Madison’s “recently made headlines with what she’s doing in her life,” is he talking about her WWE tryout? Because why would he mention this?
ACE: The People Actually Announced To Be In This Match
Oh, KC Spinelli. Impact Wrestling still hasn’t done anything to explain who you are and why you’re in this tournament — other than some “two scoops” thing Josh says and JB ignores or the fact you’re the only other available Knockout — but I can tell you’ve got something going for you. But you gotta know not to mess with Laurel Van Ness’ ensemble. You don’t steal any woman’s jacket, but you especially don’t steal the jacket of this … let’s say, “out there.” You don’t steal the jacket of this “out there” woman.
Luckily, KC gets to look good — and intimidating — in this match, despite obviously not being the victor. She really lays her moves in, which is unfortunately a little bit of an issue for Madison Rayne here. (I’m just saying, if you’re going to use your knees, at least make them look like they connect, Madison.) There’s a great early spot with Laurel Van Ness as the “voice of reason” and the match is pretty much built around her bouts of lucidity. Unsurprisingly, she wins this match and gets her jacket back. (The second triple threat in this tournament is stacked.)
EH: “Laurel Vaness”
No, the ring announcer in Ontario hasn’t gotten any better or more familiar with the product. Why do you ask? He also announces Johnny Impact as 205 pounds, which is definitely not true.
ACE: Well This inspires Confidence
Impact Wrestling makes sure to show the individual arrivals of both Alberto El Patron and Johnny Impact. Alberto looks fine — which is not how I would describe how he sounds when he actually talks, just a heads up — but Johnny is limping his way to the venue. He’s probably wheezing, even. He’s not great, Bob. This isn’t just me piling on the guy either: This comes into play in the main event.
So I’m pretty sure not even one other person noticed this one, but I’ve got to ask about it: Why do we need to know Josh Mathews is “Vice President of Digital Media?” Following up, why don’t we also get a job description for Jeremy Borash then? Following up for a later portion of the show, why do they make a big deal of Alberto taking his frustrations with the company out on JB when Josh is the one with a clear title of power? Why?
ACE: The Aftermath
Two weeks ago, the Cult of Lee randomly tagged with Taiji Ishimori. The reasons for the match were nonexistent, but it did lead to some tension, specifically in the form of Caleb Konley ruining everything and then blaming Ishimori for it. Instead of getting upset with his disciple, it appears Trevor Lee has also decided to blame Ishimori for the loss. So now you’ve got that X-Division feud, which at least has more of an explanation than the actual Cult of Lee.
EH: Tough Enough?
Hakim Zane, for some reason, plays the powerhouse against Ishimori in this match. Zane has got a few inches on him — neither of these men are “tall” — and a few pounds on him, but to look at either men, Ishimori’s jacked enough to look like he’s got the power advantage. Especially once he takes the shirt off. (Stop keeping the shirt on, Ishimori.) So watching Zane play the “bigger guy” in this match, especially with the obvious conclusion to the match, isn’t all that entertaining. Also, Hakim is probably going to look back at his pre-match “I’M THE GLOBAL FORGED WINNER!” declaration and cringe. Because Global Forged is still not a thing, as much as Impact Wrestling trying to pretend it is.
Also, Josh says “Taiji Ishimori” at least 50 times in this match, perhaps to prove that he and JB do realize Japanese wrestlers don’t just have last names. It’s not better.
ACE: Pop TV Bleeping Out “Mother F’ing”
According to James Storm, “cold beer, hot women, and fast cars” are what’s “wrestling’s all about.” Obviously, the “cold beer” thing is 100% part of the deal for James Storm. (And there may have been some other wrestlers in the past who drink beer. I dunno, that doesn’t sound right.) The “hot women” thing might technically count as sexual harassment toward McKenzie Mitchell, but we’ve definitely seen harassment toward McKenzie and I’m going to say this was more the type of charming chat you get from The Cowboy. And there are hot women (and men) in wrestling. That’s just a fact. As for “fast cars,” all I’ve got for that is ol’ Spark Plug and main event Kofi. Oh, and some NWA TNA.
ACE?: Casual Murder Plots
This week in the Clubhouse, LAX just talks all about how they’re going to come for “that white boy” Sami Callihan with “Clorox down the throat” and a “chainsaw.” They actually mention other tools to “take it to the street,” but I kind of went into a “Is this actually happening?” fugue state at Clorox.
ACE: Oh Nice, DEFY Wrestling
DEFY Wrestling will be on the Global Wrestling Network soon, which is a thumbs up.
EH: And Now For The Thumbs Down
Not only is it a return to not airing a full match at all — there is absolutely nothing close to a “flow” in what airs here — the commentary doesn’t even try to talk about this match or why it’s happening. It just flashes from spot to spot, basically making an indy match even more “indy,” if that’s at all possible. This is the type of inserted match where someone flipping channels is either going to watch this and wonder why the rest of the show’s not filmed like this or going to watch this and be confused why it’s not a real match.
EH: He’s A Man Such A Man
McKenzie interviews Alberto El Patron, who sounds like Johnny Impact looked walking into the venue. He talks a lot — a lot — about Johnny Impact being a “little kid,” while Alberto El Patron is of course a “man.” (And Eli Drake is a “paper champion.”) He’s definitely gotten a deeper voice in his absence. Impact Wrestling for some reason wants to record all of Alberto’s latest breakdown, so this promo has them airing him saying that before he got here “nobody was watching this show” as well as awkwardly wrapping McKenzie’s mic with his scarf.
EH: What A Loser
The awkward Alberto El Patron segment turns right into a crazed KM segment. “Is that enough,” he shrieks, after beating up a couple of nobodies. So, just how pathetic is it that KM is this obsessed with joining American Top Team?
The thing is, the reason why this is an EH, I don’t think we’re supposed to think KM is a loser because of this. Typically, that would be the case with a wrestler weaselly defecting to what they think the winning side is — in WWE, that’s what The Zo Train basically is — but if months of American Top Team has taught us anything, we know they are the winning side.
If it’s not Josh Mathews’ masturbatory commentary of them (and this episode makes 100% clear he’s not longer a heel either), it’s Dan Lambert’s own masturbatory promos. There’s a lot of masturbation here. Oh, and the fact that they keep winning and being right. So KM doing these things to “prove” himself to ATT doesn’t make him look intimidating. It makes he look like a guy obsessed with joining the popular guys and doing every stupid thing he can to do so.
And then you have ATT arriving (because the story is that Impact Wrestling just gave up on trying to keep them out, I guess?) and KM Scrappy-Doo’ing his way over to them. “I took out two guys! … Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!”
ACE: Cowboy Vs. Cowboy
I’ll be honest: I still find Texano extremely boring, and it was hard for me to hold my attention during this match because of that. Well, that and the flu medicine kicking in. But commentary and the match itself actually tell a really good story about the similarities between these two cowboys. And it’s not just because they’re wearing matching gear. It’s a good match. May it never happen again.
Texano should never touch James Storm’s hat again though. That’s worse than KC Spinelli taking Laurel Van Ness’ jacket.
The worst part of the match is JB going on about “international implications” and how “the war between AAA and Impact continues.” No more of this. Please. Please.
The worst part of the post-match is Dan Lambert cutting another promo about how terrible professional wrestling and Impact Wrestling is a “circus” (sorry, WrestleCircus) … and how that is what “gets old pretty quick.” That and him setting up tag team match for next week: Moose and James Storm vs. Lashley and Dan Lambert (not Colby Covington, as he clearly assumes). Missing is the part of the segment where supposed GOAT-level “manager” Dan Lambert says or does anything to put Lashley over in this storyline.
I’ll give an ACE to the little guy in American Top Team, John Hartnett. Apparently he’s the team manager, and he’s also a liar (in addition to a human crash test dummy). No, John — your mother doesn’t watch this show.
ACE: Save_Us EGO
Joseph Park: “Hey, that’s our name.” Chandler Park: “Well, we’re related.”
Joseph Park is still around, but now he’s paired with the opposite of Grado: “All Ego” Ethan Page as his cousin, Chandler Park. Ethan Page is a Canadian wrestler, but I think it’s important to note he’s not “just another Canadian wrestler” in Impact Wrestling. Despite being a regular at EVOLVE (which he just left), Page is one of those indy guys who’s most known for his character and mic work — so this is the perfect role for him in Impact Wrestling.
As for this Park Park and Park ad, it’s got a real 423-GET-FAME ring to it and thankfully not in a subpar form. Right down to the 615-492-4883 number being a real number to call. So call it, nerds. (I was actually going to call this ACE “423-GET-EGO,” but obviously that’s missing a number. This is not a 916-CALL-TURK situation. Also, I decided to just title the recap that.)
ACE: Like Son, Like Father
Because I have to make my own fun, I actually wrote in my notes here: “He puts the straps back up to bring ‘em back down, like his son Jason Jordan!”
The rest of my notes for this segment were the usual “Joe should’ve won,” “I miss this TNA crowd,” etc.
ACE: The Grandest Locker Room Leader Of Them All
Matt Sydal and Tyson Dux have a match this week, and that’s … I don’t have to soften the blow of Tyson Dux not being all that exciting either, do I? I mean, I’m still upset Impact Wrestling completely screwed him and Ishimori over at Bound For Glory, but far as we’ve seen of him here on the show, he’s just enhancement talent without a character. At least Hakim Zane has the obnoxious Global Forged thing to go with him.
The key to this match is EC3 on guest commentary. He doesn’t even take away from the match, as he calls the action and puts both men over. He calls Tyson Dux a “journeyman wrestler,” but the point of his commentary is to call out the difference between himself and Matt Sydal. EC3, “The Grandest Champion of Them All,” explains why he called out Sydal in the first place: “Somebody has to be accountable for this roster.” That’s … true, actually. Not in an authority way but in a locker room leader capacity, which is what EC3 of course believes himself to be.
So he critiques his fellow roster member, saying Sydal doesn’t have “it” and that he chokes when it counts. The latter is obviously true. Surprisingly, they even bring up the Sony 6 trophy win back in India, but another good point is how Sydal didn’t capitalize on that.
Also, EC3 promises to kick out if Matt Sydal hits the Shooting Star Press on him. So we’ll see how that goes with next week’s Grand Championship match.
EH: Josh Trying To Get Something Over
In case you missed it, Josh Mathews is trying to get “exotic smash mouth” over with regards to Matt Sydal’s style of wrestling. No thank you. It was lame when he first said it and I thought it was something he actually came up with himself. Now that I know the football origin of it, it’s even lamer.
Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact is a brutal main event. It’s really unpleasant to watch for most of it, it’s that gnarly. One of the scariest spots — the double stomp onto the stairs onto Johnny — is only played as a “during the commercial” replay. Alberto breaks a pair of Johnny’s glasses … after taking the glasses away from a fan Johnny gave them to in the first place.
Josh Mathews is calling Alberto “a bitter man” and a “son of a bitch” throughout the match. It’s … Like I said, it’s unpleasant to watch. It’s good — especially when it has the label of a “grudge match,” as you’re not seeing a technical masterpiece — but a struggle to get through. But Johnny plays the never-say-die superhero role perfectly, while Alberto is a perfect bitter son of a bitch.
Then Johnny surprisingly wins, and we get the post-match chaos. It starts with Eli Drake coming around toward the end of the match, obviously distracting Alberto but pulling the old “I’m not touching you.” Earlier in the night, Drake made clear he hasn’t forgotten about how Alberto busted him open at Bound For Glory or how Johnny Impact is still gunning for his title. So of course he shows up here. And ends up getting punched out by Alberto. Then eventually he and Chris Adonis end up jumping Johnny Impact. Then Canadian hero Petey Williams saves the day, hits a Canadian Destroyer on the champ, and sends everyone home happy.
It really is strange to have such a happy ending after such a brutal match, but I suppose it’s kind of necessary. Now let’s go watch The Devil’s Advocate. It’s up next, so that should be a light follow-up.
Now it’s your turn. Please don’t forget to share this recap, because otherwise I won’t be able to keep these up. I know it all seems repetitive — after all, this show advertised Keanu in The Devil’s Advocate again, which I’m pretty sure I was writing about weekly when I first started these recaps — but we’re already at a new reboot for the promotion!