Hello Impact fans and curious rubberneckers! I’m Elle Collins, and this is the Knockout Report. I’ll fill you in on everything that happens in Impact Wrestling, but I’m always going to start with the Knockouts, because they deserve it. You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. You can watch Impact Wrestling on AXS TV every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Then you can read this column and share it with everyone you know.
Last time on Impact, Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard fought in traffic, and Taya Valkyrie recruited allies.
Now without further ado, here’s the Knockout Report for January 7, 2020:
Born To Make History
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 8, 2020
We don’t get any Sami Versus Tessa action this week, which isn’t too surprising. Their title match is this Sunday at Hard To Kill, and on the last show before the holidays they were basically throwing each other into oncoming traffic so there’s not much escalating they can do from there. Instead, we get a really strong video package about contrasting how Callihan and Blanchard grew up, and what their thoughts are heading into the match.
There have been a few hiccups along the way, but this feud has been really strong and it feels like time for the payoff. Everything points toward Tessa winning on Sunday, and it will be pretty disappointing if she doesn’t. It’s less about the “history making” at this point (although that’s valid and important too). It’s just that the story they’ve spent all this time telling is ultimately weaker if the underdog doesn’t triumph when it counts.
Havok (with the Reverend James Mitchell) defeated Rosemary
Havok and Rosemary are always worth watching, but this match is primarily a backdrop for the confused adventures of Suzie, who wanders out to the ring and briefly sits at commentary before Mitchell gets upset that she’s escaped from the closet he locked her in attempts to drag her backstage, which also serves as a distraction that helps Havok get the upper hand on Rosemary.
Suzie leaving the more surreal world of Backstage-At-Impact for the arena raises some potentially uncomfortable questions. Are we supposed to think of Suzie as a real person? Because if she can sit down at commentary and interact with Don Callis, I have a hard time not wondering why nobody can stop James Mitchell from holding her captive, controlling who she interacts with, and literally locking her in closets. I’m sure it’s all building up to Rosemary and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Suzie Yung, but I hope we get there soon enough that the overall story still seems fun.
ODB, Jordynne Grace, and Tenille Dashwood defeated Taya Valkyrie, Kiera Hogan, and Madison Rayne
Did Taya really promise Kiera and Madison future title shots just so they’d help her in this go-home match of no real consequences? I mean don’t get me wrong, it was a fun time, and I’m always happy to see Tenille Dashwood doing stuff, but Taya’s giving away opportunities and not even getting a win in return.
The real story here is ODB stealing Jordynne’s pin, creating a third axis of drama for Sunday’s Triple Threat for the Knockouts Title. And narratively the implication seems to be that the tension between Grace and ODB is good for Taya, but I’m pretty sure that just like in WWE, Jordynne could pin ODB and become Knockouts Champion. I doubt that will happen, since it would be an ignominious end to Taya’s long reign, although it would be less embarrassing then actually losing to ODB, and it would set up one hell of a high-stakes rematch. So who knows?
But I’m not here to predict what will happen on Sunday. And as for what happened on Tuesday night, it was entertaining and did a good job building to the big show. Also, Tenille Dashwood breaking up a fight is the most insincere she’s ever seemed. If there’s one thing Tenille loves, it’s fighting.
Meanwhile, in Guyville…
Michael Elgin defeated Eddie Edwards
I still don’t really care for Elgin, but I like Eddie Edwards a lot, and I have to say this was a solid match. It started right at the top and went on a for a while, which is a nice contrast with WWE’s shows which tend to do the same thing but with talking instead of wrestling.
Desi Hit Squad defeated Fallah Bahh, Daga, and TJP
With everything that changed during my hiatus from Impact last year, I still can’t believe that not only is Desi Hit Squad still a thing, but so is the “abusive coach Gama Singh” narrative around them. At this point I guess it’s not even really a story. It’s just a character trait by way of a racist stereotype. Anyway, they won this week, hooray?
Johnny Swinger Drugged Himself
Johnny Swinger was going to drug Joey Ryan’s water bottle to put him in “soma coma,” but Tommy Dreamer made him drink it himself, so then later in the show Swinger was just laying unconscious backstage. There are definitely worse ways to use that guy.
Brian Cage and Rhino defeated Moose and RVD (with Katie Forbes)
This was a solid tag match that built simultaneously to two of Sunday’s midcard singles matches. I’m rooting for Cage to knock some sense into RVD, but I’d just as soon see Moose spear the shit out of Rhino. I don’t care if you’re a face or a heel, a muscleman or a mighty horned beast, I’ll pretty much be rooting for the younger guy to topple the old timer.
That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Join me next week for Impact Hard To Kill and its aftermath.