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 lead with the Knockouts Division, because they deserve it. You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. You can watch Impact Wrestling on Pop every Thursday at 10 p.m. Then on Fridays, read this column and share it with everyone you know.
Two weeks ago, Taya Valkyrie challenged Tessa Blanchard to a rematch for the Knockouts Title at Homecoming, and Brian Cage traded in the X-Division Championship for a chance to fight Johnny Impact for the World Championship.
Last Week On Thanksgiving
Literally the only thing that happened on the Thanksgiving show was the 2nd Annual Eli Drake Gravy Train Turkey Trot, a five-on-five gimmick match where whoever gets pinned has to wear a silly turkey costume. The team captains were Eli Drake and Fallah Bahh, and they each drew their teams from a spinning drum. Somehow, Drake still only drew heels and Fallah drew faces—how bizarre! Fallah’s team was KM, Dezmond Xavier, Alisha Edwards, and visiting Japanese comedy wrestling legend Kikutaro. Drake’s team was Katarina, Rohit Raju, Jake Crist, and visiting not-much-of-a-legend Disco Inferno. Scarlett Bordeaux came out in a sexy Pilgrim costume and watched the match from the stage, because she’s still doing her “talent search.”
There were some fun spots in the match, but nothing you’re going to be sad you missed if you’d fallen asleep early from eating so much turkey. And by the way, word got out early that Disco Inferno was at this taping, and a lot of people were very “LOL TNA” about it, but let’s be real. Guesting on a holiday show, taking the pin in a silly gimmick match, and dressing up like a turkey is exactly what Disco Inferno should be doing in wrestling these days. He even got some additional humiliation from Scarlett, because, as we’ve discussed, she’s the devil.
Now without further ado, here’s the full Knockout Report for November 29, 2018.
Jordynne Grace Defeated Katarina
Jordynne Grace continues to be amazing, but I don’t really know why we needed this match. Katarina was never going to win, even though she gets a little more offense in here, and Jordynne ultimately won with the same bear hug as last time. I know there’s not a lot of active Knockouts right now who aren’t heavily involved in either the title scene or the Drag Me To Hell storyline, but I’d rather see Jordynne squash a local jobber or two than fight the same opponent to the same ending in her first two matches on Impact. Hopefully this is the end of this, and now they can move on to finding a way to get Jordynne on the Homecoming card. Obviously she’s such a powerhouse that they don’t want to rush her to the top until there’s room for her to have a real program, but I can’t help being impatient just because she’s so cool.
Taya Valkyrie Defeated Ray Lyn
Taya’s a face these days, but she looked a whole lot like a heel here as she brutalized Ray Lyn (just two weeks after Tessa did the same), and finished her off with a submission hold that looked like it could have snapped the tinier girl in twain. But of course poor Ray was never the point. Taya may be fighting her at the moment, and Tessa may have had a backstage confrontation with Brandon Tolle (the referee she punched in the face), but all of this is about Taya and Tessa’s desire to defeat each other. So it was no surprise when Tessa ran in and attacked Taya after the match. And of course when Tolle tried to stop the fight, Tessa attacked and nearly strangled him. When all the other officials were just standing there begging her to let him go and not doing anything else, it really blurred the line between “men are reluctant to get physical with a woman” and “everybody’s terrified Tessa will kill them with her bare hands.” Then something happened that I didn’t see coming.
Gail Kim, Impact Hall of Famer and Producer who officially retired from wrestling last year, ran in and physically pulled Tessa Blanchard off of Brandon Tolle, hurling her across the ring and publicly shaming her for her recent behavior. Taya then attacked Tessa again, and the Knockouts Champion slinked away with her belt like she always does when threatened. I don’t know where any of this is going, but I feel good about it. Considering the Tolle angle, I could imagine Gail being the special referee for the Valkyrie/Blanchard match at Homecoming, which would add a fun element. For that matter, no more than retirement ever means in wrestling, we could be headed directly to a Tessa Blanchard/Gail Kim match, which would be great too. Gail Kim being back on screen can only lead somewhere fun.
Kiera Hogan Just Wants Allie Back
This promo isn’t much, and obviously they’re teasing us by delaying the real payoff to Allie’s turn. Nevertheless, Kiera really sells the emotion as she begs Allie to come back. Kiera has so much promise as a performer, so I love how this story has led to her being the spotlighted protagonist, now that everyone else is trapped in hell or corrupted by it. Of course, we all know Allie is going to come back, but it probably won’t be good news for Kiera when she gets here.
Meanwhile, In Guyville
The Lucha Bros Defeated Rich Swann and Willie Mack
I don’t have to tell you that this was a fun match; you can tell that just by seeing who was in it. Willie Mack continues to be a welcome presence on Impact, and the Lucha Bros are great as ever. Pentagon Jr. and Fenix have been on Impact for long enough now that they no longer feel like novelties, or like guest stars from Lucha Underground. They’re regular roster members, and that makes the things they can do all the more impressive. So even without the hints we’ve seen for these last few weeks, it made sense when LAX came out after the match and invited them to have a title shot at Homecoming in January.
This made Konnan mad, because he doesn’t want friends to become enemies, something he’s seen all too often in his centuries-long career. In making that point, he name-dropped half the Latino wrestlers of the last thirty years, but honestly that’s fair, because he did know all of them. Konnan’s concern adds some drama to this face-versus-face matchup, with Konnan expecting the worst and encouraging us viewers to do the same.
The Rascalz Defeated Chris Bay and Mike Sydal
The Rascalz are a new trio of goofy weed-loving wrestlers, consisting of Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, and Trey Miguel. Xavier and Wentz were in the ring for this match, and they introduced a wild-looking tag team finisher where Zachary did a standing moonsault and Dez shoved him sideways in midair to land on their opponent (Matt Sydal’s little brother Mike, in this case). I don’t think it quite went right, because he landed on Mike’s face and had to scramble to his torso to get the pin, but it’s definitely worth trying again. This new team is really promising, and I’m curious to see what’s in store for them.
Eddie Edwards is All Drugged Up
Alisha did indeed have Eddie committed to an institution two weeks ago, to keep him from being arrested for attacking Moose backstage. Now he’s in a drugged stupor, but the doctor insists he’ll be okay. After Alisha leaves, Moose shows up and does his “quiet menace” thing while Eddie continues to be mostly unresponsive. There is a shot as Moose gets up (after promising to check in on Alisha) where Eddie starts to look like he knows what’s going on. I’m rooting for him to escape. The less time we spend in this weird dated portrayal of mental healthcare the better, and Eddie doing whatever he wants no matter who tries to stop him is where the fun is with this character and angle.
Eli Drake Defeated Tommy Dreamer
I spend a lot of my time defending Impact against people who think it must still be bad just because it was bad for years and years. It doesn’t help me in that effort when they put Tommy Dreamer in a 20-minute main event match in 2018. I’ve had good things to say about Dreamer’s presence on Impact in the past, because I think he makes a great surrogate father figure to younger wrestlers, and certainly works as a mentor for Eddie Edwards.
I even defended his previous “skinny jeans millennial” promo on Eli Drake, because Dreamer is an older Generation X guy, and Drake really is a millennial who wears skinny jeans. But he came back before the match on this episode and doubled down on his anti-millennial rhetoric, which made it seem way more tired and hackneyed. Then he and Drake had a garbage match that ended with Eli putting Tommy’s head through a chair and then whacking him with an oar. So he put over the younger full-time worker, which makes this still better than most WWE legend spots, but it wasn’t great TV, and it certainly wasn’t great wrestling (even at his best, Tommy Dreamer was never known for that). Now that he’s been roundly beaten by Drake, I hope Tommy goes back to the House of Hardcore for a while and leaves Impact alone.
That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Join me next time, when Willie Mack takes on Jake Crist, and we find out if Tessa Blanchard faces any consequences for her actions.