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.
Last week, the new Dark Allie wrestled for the first time, and Taya Valkyrie and Johnny Impact defeated Tessa Blanchard and Moose in a mixed tag main event. Now without further ado, here’s the Knockout Report for December 13, 2018.
Taya Valkyrie And Tessa Blanchard Came Face To Face
I didn’t know until late in this episode that Impact is taking two weeks off for Christmas, so I’ve been confused by how quickly everything’s building to the Homecoming PPV on January 6. This, for example, was one of those segments where they just bring the champion and the contender into the ring and make them stare at each other until something happens, like a contract signing with no contracts or signatures. Still, anytime Taya and Tessa to cut promos face-to-face and then have a stare down, it’s going to be worth watching.
Tessa loves to bring up Johnny Impact when she’s running down Taya. Making it about the husband/boyfriend is my least favorite trope in women’s wrestling, but for some reason it bothers me less here than when they do it every couple of months or so in WWE. Maybe that’s because it’s rarer in Impact. Maybe it’s because Tessa never seems to imply that being with Johnny helped Taya advance her career; she just seems to look down on Taya for feeling the need to be married at all, to anyone, because to Tessa the need for human connection is a weakness. Or maybe it’s just that I like Tessa Blanchard so much that I’m finding excuses to give her promos a pass.
The other big thing here is the official announcement that Gail Kim is the special referee for the Knockouts Championship Match at Homecoming. Tessa is livid at having a ref she can’t bully or manipulate (or just beat up), and that’s going to make the match all the more fun and give it a different dynamic from the Blanchard/Valkyrie matches we’ve seen before.
Allie And Su Yung Are Very Close Now
Dark Allie is an evil delight. I love at the end of this promo, when she seems a little confused about what she’s saying but powers through it. It reveals that she’s still kind of the same bubbly, flighty Allie she’s always been, she’s just soulless and evil now. She’s also very much under Su Yung’s power, as we see by the way the Undead Bride spends the whole promo focused on Allie, and Allie’s gaze in turn keeps being drawn back to her. After such a small amount of screen time Dark Allie has already evolved into a more interesting heel character than I honestly expected her to be, and I hope she’s not cured too terrible soon.
Jordynne Grace Defeated Ruby Raze
Ruby Raze, handpicked by Katarina (who I guess is an evil mastermind now), is the perfect second opponent for Jordynne Grace. The first thing you notice about Grace is her size and build, which makes her intimidating to just about any opponent, so naturally Katarina found a woman who’s taller, broader, and thicker than Jordynne, making the powerhouse into an underdog.
That just gave Jordynne a chance to show how much heart she has, not to mention how good she is at the technical aspects of wrestling. Basically, we learn for certain that being big isn’t the only thing that makes Jordynne Grace good, and that means that someone like Ruby Raze isn’t automatically better than her just because she’s bigger. Not only that, Grace also has to deal with Katarina’s interference, but that’s no match for her either. Hopefully when she Vader Bombs Katarina and Ruby simultaneously, that marks the end of Katarina thinking she has a chance at getting the better of this newcomer.
Meanwhile, In Guyville
Rich Swann Defeated Dave Crist To Qualify For The Ultimate X Match
Obviously Rich Swann was always going to win this match. There’s already one Crist brother in Ultimate X, and a match like that is a perfect vehicle for Swann’s athleticism. What’s surprising is after the match, when the Crists start to attack Rich, and Sami Callihan stops them. Then Willie Mack runs in to attack Callihan, and Rich stops him. Backstage afterwards, Swann claims he just doesn’t want to get into a feud with oVe, but it seems more and more like he and Sami have some kind of secret understanding that their friends don’t know about.
Trey Miguel Defeated Trevor Lee To Qualify For The Ultimate X Match
Honestly, I was just glad to see Impact remember that Trevor Lee exists one last time before he heads off to NXT or wherever. Losing a qualifier for Ultimate X feels like a fitting final match for him, after a year of Impact consistently failing to give him much to do. I genuinely hope he fares better elsewhere. As for Trey Miguel of the Rascalz, he’s a whole lot of fun in the ring, and should be an excellent addition to Ultimate X, and to the X-Division in general.
Fenix Defeated Santana
What a great match! These one-on-one matches between members of feuding tag teams often feel so rote in the run-up to a PPV, but both of these guys are amazing in the ring, and they were all about proving it with this match. Konnan remains convinced that LAX fighting the Lucha Bros is a bad idea, but the two teams continue to be friendly and respectful. Maybe Konnan’s the one who’s about to turn heel?
Eli Drake Visited Raven
I suppose this segment served the purpose of letting us know that Eddie Edwards had already escaped, but it mostly seemed like they’d gone to the trouble of pulling together an asylum set and bringing in Raven, so they wanted one more scene before letting it all go. In any case, Eli Drake wants Raven to watch his Monster’s Ball Match with Abyss at Homecoming, just to make a point about hardcore wrestling and how Eli hates it but is also the best at it when he has to be.
Moose Versus Brian Cage Ended When Eddie Edwards Attacked Moose
Moose seemed to have the upper hand for most of this match, which was surprising. It’s kind of what they both need on the road to Homecoming, though. Cage seems more vulnerable as he challenges Johnny Impact for the World Championship, and Moose looks more dangerous on the way to his Falls Count Anywhere match with Eddie Edwards. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because the latter match isn’t officially set up until Eddie Edwards runs in, still wearing his hospital gown, and attacks Moose with everything he’s got (including his flip flop). Now that Edwards has escaped from the institution, does he have to worry about getting dragged back there? I feel like in Wrestling Reality, escaping means you’re no longer committed, but time will tell.
That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Impact is running two weeks of “best of” episodes while they take the holidays off, and then we’ll be back in January for the Impact Homecoming go home show.