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, ODB returned, and managed to pin Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie.
Now without further ado, here’s the Knockout Report for December 10, 2019:
Suzie Is Tempted By Dark Thoughts
They’re really taking their time with this Suzie storyline. I don’t mean that she should revert back to Scary Su anytime soon. Quite the opposite. They’re just doing these super-short vignettes that barely give us anything about what Suzie is or how she works, and I’m at this point I’m ready for her to have a match, and see what Suzie’s move set looks like. Anyway, this week she’s triggered by a noose and has flashbacks to being Su Yung, and Reverend James Mitchell tells her not to trust anyone but him, and especially not Rosemary. Rosemary, who doesn’t seem to have actually been around for this taping, since Suzie claims to have encountered her just off screen.
Taya Valkyrie Is Not Here For This Disrespect
I don’t know about the stuffed dog. I like how ridiculous and over the top Taya has become, transcending cocky heel to basically perceive herself as the queen of the world at this point. I like that she has a weird henchment to attend to her every need, and it makes sense that he’d carry around her little purse-sized dog. But the fact that the dog in question is clearly from a toy store instead of a pet store may be the thing that pushes the entire gimmick over the top into the realm of cartoon. Or maybe this is a complicated story about the heights of Taya’s delusions. Time will tell, I suppose.
On the subject of Taya’s delusion, I love that she’s concern-trolling Jordynne Grace for letting ODB join their title match to make it a triple threat, saying that a three-person match makes Jordynne’s odds of winning even slimmer. That Steiner-school math almost works, except that Taya’s ignoring the obvious fact that now all Jordynne has to do to become champion is knock Taya out of the ring for long enough to pin ODB, which kind of seems like an easier proposition than beating Taya one-on-one.
Tessa Blanchard defeated Mad Man Fulton by Disqualification
So the deal here was that Tessa and Sami Callihan got to choose each other’s opponents this week. Tessa, who has great respect for wrestling’s past, puts Sami up against Ken Shamrock. Sami, a bully, just sends the biggest guy he knows after Tessa. And then when it started to look like she might be able to take the big man down, the Crists attacked her too, handing her the DQ win but threatening to damage her chances in next month’s title match. Then Shamrock made the save, because he respects Tessa back.
I continue to be impressed with the needle Impact is threading with this angle. They’re setting up Tessa as an underdog without making it about gender. Obviously the size difference between her and Fulton is profound, but she was clearly ready to give it her all, and I was ready to believe she might beat him with the right combination of speed, skill, and luck.
Sami also had a promo in this episode, and he’s doing an especially good job of really, really hating Tessa without seeming like her gender has anything to do with it. RVD didn’t come off so well in a backstage segment when he made fun of Brian Cage for losing to a girl, but he’s clearly the butt of his own joke, and in fact coming off poorly seems to be his current gimmick. The only person who stood out to me in this episode as not being entirely on board is Don Callis, which is ironic since he obviously played a role in picking Tessa for this spot. On commentary, though, he just couldn’t stop talking about how outmatched poor little Tessa seemed to be, which is not what you want.
Meanwhile, in Guyville…
RVD defeated Rhino
Gosh, you’re thinking to yourself, this RVD/Rhino match sure seems like a tired ’90s throwback, right down to Rob’s scantily clad girlfriend/valet, who obviously isn’t from that era but she sure looks the part. And just when you’re wondering what this relic of a match is doing on wrestling TV in 2019, Tommy Dreamer does a run-in, because of course he does.
Moose defeated Acey Romero
This was a fun match. I don’t know Acey Romero well, but I like everything I’ve seen so far. Looking forward to his match next week too.
Fallah Bahh defeated Raj Singh
That the Desi Hit Squad is still a thing is one of the disappointments of coming back to Impact after months. Although Mathews keeps calling them “the Daisy Hit Squad” which is not a joke I get. Anyway, Fallah Bahh is easily to like and this wasn’t too bad.
Okay, this is amazing. Just watch it, seriously. I don’t think Impact needs to be this meta all the time, but in this instance it’s genius. This segment addresses all the things people were saying when Joey Ryan signed with Impact, and gives them exactly the level of respect they deserve (which is essentially none). I think I finally get Johnny Swinger’s gimmick, which is that he’s a parody of a veteran wrestler who’s become a parody of himself. Tommy Dreamer is perfect as the judge, and Madison Rayne is equally well cast as Helen Lovejoy. Also Tommy Dreamer saying to Kiera Hogan, “Tell your dad I said ‘hello, brother,'” is a really funny joke that would be ruined if it was played with any less subtlety and restraint. So props for that too. Also that the court is treated as this huge deal and then the sentence is absurdly slight gives the whole thing a perfect shaggy-dog quality. This is great stuff.
Rich Swann and Willie Mack defeated oVe, the Rascalz, and Reno Scum
The drama of this match revolved around Mack getting hurt and Swann having to fight on his own and still managing to win. I’m pretty sure they’re moving toward a Swann/Mack split and rivalry, which honestly it feels like about time for.
Sami Callihan defeated Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock has a great scary old man face these days, and for that matter a scary muscular old man body to match. Of course the last thing Sami Callihan was interested in was a fair contest with Shamrock, and this match went down in the OVE fashion. The ref took a bump, Sami tapped out to the ankle lock with nobody to call it, Mad Man Fulton suplexed Shamrock, the ref got up, and Sami made Shamrock tap out to his ankle lock. Tessa Blanchard is the main protagonist of this storyline of course, but it’s hard to believe Shamrock won’t find an opportunity for revenge along the way.
That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Join me next week when Joey Ryan has his court-mandated match against Acey Romero.