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 emphasize 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.
Eight months ago on Impact, Allie died in Rosemary’s arms (but she’d soon be reincarnated into AEW). This was soon after Impact had moved to a channel nobody gets, and watching it was rapidly becoming harder and less worth the effort.
First Let’s Get Something Straight
I don’t usually get involved in the comments section here on With Spandex, but now and then in the last eight months, I’ve seen some odd ideas and even conspiracy theories about a “gag order” or similar rule against covering Impact, because of people who currently work there or for other reasons.
Now it’s true, there are some members of the Impact Wrestling roster that I personally don’t like very much for outside-the-ring reasons. And that, combined with the show moving to the Pursuit Channel and becoming really hard for me to watch, led me to stop recapping Impact back in April. But that’s literally all that happened. There was no site-wide decree, no gag order. I just personally stopped watching Impact, and nobody else on our tiny staff had the time or interest to pick up the recaps.
But now Impact has moved to AXS TV, a channel I do get. They’re also pushing Tessa Blanchard, one of my favorite wrestlers, to the main event scene, which — not to steal WWE’s women’s wrestling rhetoric — might just make history. So I’ve decided to return to Impact, and to these recaps. And what could be a better episode to pick up with than this wild Holiday week throwback special.
Now without further ado, here’s the Knockout Report for November 26, 2019:
Welcome to Impact Provincial Wrestling Federation
Remember when WWE did Southpaw Regional Wrestling, and fans were all like “You should do this with actual matches?” but they thought that was too silly, or maybe KFC just didn’t want to sponsor it, so they never did? Well, once against Impact has picked up a torch WWE dropped, because this episode is literally Southpaw with matches. But wait, I can hear you asking, didn’t NWA Powerrr get there first? Well, not exactly. Powerrr is a pastiche of mid-80s wrestling TV, but they’re not pretending to be anything but a 2019 wrestling product. This episode, like Southpaw, is a parody that’s at least nominally set in the ’80s. Everybody has silly made-up names, including commentary, with Josh Mathews playing Giuseppe Scovelli Jr, the promoter’s son, and Don Callis as former champion Sexton Hardcastle. Things stay this goofy all the way through.
The Hard Workers defeat Excessive Force
The Hard Workers are the Deaners playing one of those wrestling tag teams where the whole gimmick is that they’re fancy hot guys and women love them, but of course those teams were never actually hot or fancy. It was always just two burly rednecks who weren’t particularly handsome, which is what makes the Deaners perfect for the role. They have a really funny promo video where they dance in front of various green screen images.
Their opponents for tonight, Excessive Force, are introduced via an in studio interview with “the Iceman,” and they’re equally perfect. Aping the face-painted monster tag teams of the past are Plunder (Fallah Bahh) and Pummel (D’Lo Brown). Plunder does most of the talking, which is funny since Fallah doesn’t usually talk at all, but he proves here that he can if he needs to.
The match is fine, if unremarkable, but the best part of the whole thing is after the Hard Workers win, when Excessive Force attacks them and deliberately squishes their top hats. That’s some real heel shit if I’ve ever seen it.
Frank The Butcher Calls Out Seth Rollins
Okay, this is actually amazing, especially coming at this moment in wrestling history. Back in Southpaw Regional Wrestling, Rhino and Seth Rollins played a tag team called the Butchers, with Seth as “Dry-Rub Doug” and Rhino as “Frantic Frank.” So in this promo, Frank the Butcher announces his arrival in IPWF, and he literally says “Doug, when you’re done playing in the minor leagues, come over here and we can be IPWF Tag Team Champions.” Simultaneously creating a unified world of fake 1980s territorial wrestling while also making fun of the obnoxious stuff Seth Rollins says on Twitter? I love it!
Jazzy Fitbody defeats Agnes Beerheart
Jazzy Fitbody is Madison Rayne dressed up like Delilah Doom. Madison’s really having fun here, constantly running in place and doing aerobic moves in and out of the ring. Her opponent Agnes Beerheart is Alisha Edwards, looking surlier than usual in a generic leotard and questionable makeup. Agnes doesn’t stand a chance against the healthier living of Jazzy, and loses to one of the worst frog splashes I’ve ever seen. I think it’s an intentional joke about the quality of women’s wrestling in decades past, but Velvet McIntyre would beg to differ. Anyway, the real story here is about Sebastian Baker, the Hit Maker.
Baker is an evil manager who looks suspiciously like Jimmy Jacobs with his hair shellacked and a white fur coat, and he’s been aggressively pursuing Jazzy Goodbody to become his next client. He appears at ringside during the match, to Jazzy’s chagrin, and afterwards he climbs into the ring with a mic and tries to sweet talk Jazzy into signing his contract. Leave it to Jimmy Jacobs to create a 1980s wrestling manager who’s also literally Mephistopheles.
When Jazzy takes the contract to sign it, she doesn’t seem like she wants to work with Baker, she just seems like she’s doing that thing the culture trains women to do (and even moreso in the ’80s) where you give in to what the man wants just to avoid making a fuss. But then, after signing, she kicks Sebastian Baker in the balls, grabs the contract back, rips it up and stomps on it. Jazzy Fitbody is pretty cool.
The Rough Riders defeat Tim Burr, Jim Nasium, Bill Ding, and Ray Strack
The Rough Riders, on the other hand, are the absolute coolest. Who better than Tessa Blanchard to lead a female version of the original Four Horsemen? Well, I guess there’s one other contender, but she’s busy getting green mist sprayed in her face twice a week. Here Tessa’s going by Blanche Ardmore, with Jordynne Grace as Georgia Cobb, Alexia Nicole as Mildred Moore, and Jessicka Havok as Lady Bird Johnston. There’s no real reason that all those fake names needed to be in this recap. I just had to include them because they’re delightful.
This promo is full of sexual innuendo, but what makes it great is that it’s not the kind of sultry innuendo that women in wrestling have often been saddled with (or enthusiastically embraced, in Scarlett Bordeaux’s case), it aggressive in the manner that was traditionally reserved for men, including Lady Bird talking up her own version of Ric Flair’s Space Mountain, which she calls the Tunnel of Love.
But the best part is the beginning of the promo, when Blanche announces, “We are the Rough Riders, and we’re gonna come on you like no one’s ever come on you before.” Great stuff.
For their match, the Rough Riders take on these four respectable gentlemen with occupational gimmicks:
The names are a little on the nose, and they look a bit like Josh Alexander and the Rascalz, but they really dedicate themselves to these characters. The match begins with Blanche Ardmore absolutely dominating Bill Ding (Trey Miguel). We’re well outside the realm of what could really happen in mid-80s wrestling (not to mention everybody has way too many tattoos), but Tessa always makes it believable. Ray Strack (Zachary Wentz) is the only real threat on the male team, and proves to be simply too fast for Georgia Cobb. Jim Nasium (Dezmond Xavier) just does gym teacher stuff until Mildred Moore gets fed up and hurricanranas him into her own drop kick. Then the two hosses get tagged in, and Tim Burr (Josh Alexander) almost manages to get the pin on Lady Bird Johnston with a double ax handle off the second rope, but she kicks out. At that point Ray gets tagged back in and just goes wild on the Rough Riders, until Blanche manages to catch and pin him, proving once again what Kofi Kingston and Brock Lesnar already know, that speed is no match for strength.
She actually finishes him off with a DDT, and commentary makes a big deal out of the fact that they’ve never seen one of those before (since Jake Roberts hadn’t invented it yet).
The Body Slam Challenge Continues
It’s been a long time since I watched any of Archibald Peck’s work in Chikara, and I’d forgotten just how great RD Evans is. Here he’s known as the $300,000 Man, and Kongo Kong’s manager. He’s offering $3,000, in a duffel bag no less, to anyone who can body slam Kong. Mister Atlantis tries and fails, but then Canada’s great hero enters: Muscles McGhee (Brian Cage). The $300,000 Man points out that the money’s no longer on offer, because there’s only one challenge a week and Atlantis was it, but Muscles isn’t here for the money, he’s here for the people.
Of course he still proves that he can slam Kong, beating up the monster and throwing Evans out of the ring too. Muscles McGhee is such a great old-school white meat babyface, and Cage plays him so perfectly, that I’m just a bit sad he didn’t get a full match or promo. Maybe next Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, On A Definitely Real Plane
There’s a really funny flashback to last week, in which Captain Joystick (Joey Ryan) and DJ 2Much (Moose) both manage to frame each other for illegal chairshots, which leads directly into what seems to be a regular segment with Joystick and his sidekick Miss Mile High (Kiera Hogan) in front of a very flimsy green screen airplane background.
Captain Joystick welcomes DJ 2Much as their guest, and Miss Mile High (proving Kiera Hogan’s dedication to playing a character) is immediately smitten. The interview is briefly friendly, but Joystick can’t resist expressing his opinion that rap is crap, and the inevitable brawl somehow shorts out the background and reveals the three of them in front of a sad backstage green screen. In the ’80s it probably would have been blue, but for that matter Miss Mile High would have most likely had relaxed hair, and you know what, let’s not fall into this trap.
Cowboy Colt McCoy defeats Gama Singh (with Dada Singh) in a Blindfold Match
A bandaged up Cowboy Colt McCoy (Eddie Edwards) cuts a promo about how Gama Singh shot a fireball into his eyes last month, and the doctors say he has a 70% chance of permanent vision damage, but Colt’s determined to get back in the ring and get his revenge, so they’re having a Blindfold Match.
I like the very Territorial choice of a ridiculous gimmick match, and it’s pretty fun that Gama Singh is actually in the ring on this show (old guys were always a feature of old wrestling), but this match is not funny enough to be worth all the time they spend staggering around the ring, striking and clutching at the air as they fail to find each other. Naturally Gama peeks out of the blindfold while Dada distracts the ref, but Cowboy Colt manages to win anyway.
Then, perhaps inevitably, the Soviets attack. These particular Soviets appear to be Michael Elgin and Madman Fulton, and they layout not only Cowboy Colt but Promoter Giuseppe Scovelli Sr (Scott D’Amore) as well. “I guess I’ll have to take over the promotion,” says a resigned Giuseppe Jr on commentary. He’s saved from that fate, however, as his father makes a quick recovery and announces that next week he’s returning to the ring to team with Cowboy Colt against the Soviets. Hopefully Colt’s eyes are better by then.
Downtown Daddy Brown defeats Julian Cumberbund (with Sonny Sanders) in a Loser Leaves Town Match for the International Commonwealth Television Championship
Oh my god, I literally said aloud, that’s Sami Callahan dressed as Jim Cornette. But he’s actually the tennis-racket-wielding Sonny Sanders, Manager to the Stars, accompanying Julian Cumberband (Ethan Page), the International Commonwealth Television Champion, who’s defending the title in the main event against the working man Downtown Daddy Brown (Willie Mack). In their promo early in the show, Cumberband and Sanders declare that after beating Brown, they’re going to go get hamburgers. With pickles. “The pickles aren’t for you,” says Cumberbund to a booing crowd, “the pickles are for me and Sonny only.”
Naturally, Downtown Daddy Brown (damn, what a great name) interrupts the promo, a brawl ensues, and he literally pulls Julian Cumberbund’s pants all the way off.
Their main event match is a lot of fun. At one point Julian hides in the crowd, going as far as putting somebody else’s hat on and cheering for Brown so he’ll blend in. Naturally Sonny gets involved in every heel-manager way possible. He attacks Brown himself. He passes Julian the tennis racket while the ref is distracted. He puts Julian’s foot on the rope just when it looks like Downtown Daddy Brown has the pin. But ultimately the heroic working man overcomes the odds and pins the champ with a schoolboy rollup. Then the whole men’s locker room empties out for a celebration with the new champ. If we got to see what happens next week, I’m almost certain this would become a Dusty Finish, but tonight we just get the triumph.
Other Stuff On This Episode
Rapid Delivery Pete (Rich Swann) defeated Rip Rayzer (Ace Austin) in the first match of the night. This was a short match without a lot of heat, but the show felt so authentic at this point that when Pete started doing Swann’s quick, high-flying moves, it felt like some sort of time travel miracle.
Johnny Swinger defeated Buck Gunderson, while I googled trying to figure out who was playing Johnny Swinger, only to learn that he’s an actual veteran wrestler named Johnny Swinger. Hey, I’m doing my best!
Tommy Dreamer cut a promo in which he refers to himself as Tommy Dreamer. Tommy Dreamer is eternal, and can only ever be Tommy Dreamer. This tracks.
The Crist Brothers played a surfer tag team promoting their arrival next week, and I tried really hard to let their amusing surfer voices distract me from thinking about Dave’s tattoo of a movie that came out in 1993.
That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Join me next week, when we see how things are going back in 2019.