The Knockout Report: Impact Homecoming

Impact Wrestling

Hello Impact fans and curious rubberneckers! I’m Elle Collins, and this is the Knockout Report for the Impact Homecoming pay-per-view, which was live from the original Impact Asylum in Nashville. Since this is such big show, I’m not splitting the divisions up like I usually do, and instead doing my best to give all the matches equal weight.

You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. The weekly Impact Wrestling show is moving to Friday nights at 10pm on the Pursuit Channel, but don’t worry if you don’t get that channel, because the episodes will also be free on Impact’s Twitch channel. Then on Mondays, read the regular edition of this column and share it with everyone you know (do that with this one too).

Without further ado, here’s the Knockout Report for Impact Homecoming.

Rich Swann Defeated Ethan Page, Trey Miguel, and Jake Crist in an Ultimate X Match For The X-Division Championship

This was a fast paced match from the very beginning, as Ultimate X should be. Rich Swann was no surprise as the winner. He’s got that post-WWE name recognition that Impact isn’t as obsessed with as TNA once was, but they sure don’t mind it. He’s also just a fun and engaging performer, and he can probably carry the belt into his ongoing storyline with Willie Mack and oVe.

The real stars in this match, however, were Ethan Page and Trey Miguel. Page looked huge in the ring with these three cruiserweights, but he proved he could hold his own, despite his relative lack of grace. What he lacks in flight he makes up for with might. Trey Miguel, the newcomer among the weed-loving Rascalz faction, looked like a million bucks here. To start with

Su Yung and Allie Defeated Kiera Hogan and Jordynne Grace

Su Yung is pure evil, and so’s Allie these days, but the last surviving hero of this story, Kiera Hogan, has legit superstrong superhero Jordynne Grace on her side. One thing I liked about this match was how little respect Su and Allie have for the rules of wrestling. They mostly just both attacked pretty much whoever they wanted when they wanted, regardless of who was legal, and the ref just had to deal with it or not. The forces of Hell care nothing for the rules of human wrestling, nor should they.

Kiera Hogan looked great, starting with how her black gear made her fiery hair stand out. She and Jordynne are both stars of the future, and even in defeat they came out of this match looking resolute and strong. In fact Jordynne was only defeated because Su sprayed her with red mist, leaving the outnumbered Kiera to be neutralized by a Mandible Claw from Allie wearing Su’s disgusting glove.

It looked like Kiera was going to get coffined again, but when the Undead Bridesmaids opened the coffin, out popped Rosemary! The Demon Assassin is officially back, and Dark Allie looks terrified. Did Rosemary bring Allie’s soul back from the Undead Realm? How many matches will that take? It can be several, and I’ll happily watch all of them. Rosemary’s new facepaint is a great midpoint between her previous heel and face looks, and her new gear that resembles Allie is perfect. This is a return everyone’s been excited about, and it was as rewarding as it needs to be.

Eddie Edwards Defeated Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere Match

Going into this match, I felt pretty much done with Eddie and Moose’s rivalry, but the extremity of this match made it pretty fun. They brawled into the crowd. They climbed the stairs to the mezzanine and then Eddie inevitably jumped off of them onto Moose on the floor. Moose propped up a guard rail on its side outside the ring, and inevitably fell through it himself, in a spot that was truly rough-looking in a good way.

They did return to the ring for the finish, which seemed odd for a Falls Count Anywhere match. Then Alisha Edwards ran in, and we all thought she was going to go full “Every Boxer’s Girlfriend” again and try to stop the fight, but instead she took the kendo stick for herself and beat Moose with it before Eddie DDTs him and gets the pin. So now Eddie and Alisha are happy together again, and they’re in a poly relationship with a kendo stick.

Sami Callihan Defeated Willie Mack

This was a star-making match for Willie Mack, even though he lost. He’s been having fun with Rich Swann, but this match demonstrated his potential as a singles wrestler at Impact. Sami is great (and hateable) as always, although his hair is less than great right now (he should keep shaving it, frankly). As great as it would have been to watch the Mack win, this is the time for a heel victory, to move us on to the next chapter of Mack versus oVe, and what new X-Division Champion Rich Swann has to do with it.

Eli Drake Defeated Abyss In A Monster’s Ball Match

This was the second hardcore match of the show, and it held its own. Being a Monster’s Ball, there was debris strewn everywhere as the match began, rather than Eli and Abyss having to retrieve it from under the ring themselves. Eli went through two tables outside the ring early on, which definitely set the tone for what was to come. Abyss retrieved Janice (his medieval-looking nailboard), but Drake attempted to use it against him, to no avail. The Monster also filled the ring with thumbtacks, a disturbing amount of which inevitably ended up embedded in the flesh of Eli Drake’s back.

Impact Wrestling

Some of those thumbtacks also got thrown into the referee’s face, which kept him from seeing what should have been a victory by Abyss, when he pinned Eli with nobody there to count. Eventually the match pretty much became Abyss taking a series of unprotected head shots (unless that mask counts as protection), culminating in Eli breaking his canoe paddle against Abyss’s face. Say what you will about a guy like Abyss, but when he returns from semi-retirement for a match against a current guy, he puts his opponent over big.

LAX Defeated The Lucha Bros To Retain The Impact Tag Team Championships

This was easily the match of the night, which I think we all saw coming. When you have four guys who can move like Fenix, Pentagon, Santana, and Ortiz can move, you don’t need thumbtacks or kendo sticks or demon assassins popping out of coffins. You can just have a high-flying championship match between two babyface tag teams that keeps the whole audience deeply invested throughout. After the long slog of that OGz feud, this match felt like LAX arriving as the fully-formed champions that they should be. They proved themselves against the two of the most famous luchadors in the world, and not only held their own as competitors, but showed that they have the support of fans even when facing a team more well-known than themselves.

I’m not going to attempt to recap this fast-paced match step by step, but suffice it to say that it had everything: tower spots, tandem tag team offense, plenty of flying to the outside, and a moment of mutual respect at the end, where all the guys hugged and shook hands and held each other’s hands up together. Konnan even came back to admit he was wrong to discourage this match, declare it a history-making success, and proclaim that there was nowhere better it could have happened than “the Asylum in Knoxville, Tennessee.”

Taya Valkyrie Defeated Tessa Blanchard For The Impact Knockouts Championship (Gail Kim as Special Referee)

Gail Kim threatened to steal the show during this match in her decidedly nonregulation referee outfit. Actually, everyone’s look here was on point, with Taya Valkyrie finally figuring out her babyface aesthetic with a side-shave and curls in place of her previous unfortunate box braid pigtails, and new graffiti gear in place of the solid pink she’s been wearing too often lately. Tessa on the other hand had perfect heel hair, piled high and pushed back. In short, everyone was flawless.

As a human being, however, Tessa Blanchard is still deeply flawed, and it was only a matter of time before she both ran out of patience for Gail, and ran Gail out of patience for her. It started with an “accidental” forearm to the ref, which gave Tessa time to think she could attack Taya with the title belt, only for Gail to pull it out of Tessa’s grasp and accidentally hit Taya with it herself. When Tessa tried to get the pin out of Gail’s mistake, the Special Ref moved extra slow, which suddenly made Tessa’s annoyance feel much more justified. Things escalated from there, and when Taya eventually pinned Tessa to win the belt, it genuinely didn’t feel fair to Tessa, even though Taya didn’t feel undeserving either.

One thing they attempted to conceal on TV is that the live crowd cheered loudly for Tessa when she got up after Taya and Gail left. Tessa Blanchard has no interest in a face turn, however, and basically told us all to shove it. Still, when Tessa demands a rematch with Taya and a chance to take out her frustrations in the ring again Gail, she’ll be right. She legitimately deserves both, no matter how nasty a person she might be.

Johnny Impact Defeated Brian Cage To Retain The Impact World Championship

This was a good match overall, as you’d expect from two guys this talented. Unfortunately it was marred by a confusing ending. Cage should have won with a 3-count, but the referee was outside the ring dealing with some guys in the crowd trying to jump the barricade. Apparently they were friends of Johnny’s from Survivor, and obviously the whole thing was a work, but it was still confusing, not to mention frustrating to see the same absent ref spot for the third time on this show. Then Johnny and Cage attempted a Sunset Flip off the ropes that was a total botch, but Johnny still got a too-quick three count to retain that was so sloppy looking that Commentary wasn’t even sure the match was over at first.

Brian Cage tossed the title at Johnny and stalked away, understandably angry about the whole experience. Like Tessa Blanchard, he’ll also demand a rematch, and also be correct. But unlike Tessa Cage is a face, which is going to make it that much harder for Johnny Impact not to see like a heel. In the meantime, Taya Valkyrie came out to celebrate with her husband, as Impact’s new Championship Power Couple, but they were interrupted by Killer Kross, who attacked Johnny from behind. Taya attacked Kross in turn, so he powerbombed her off the stage into the crowd. It was a perfect setup for the feud to come, and an excellent distraction from the shoddy ending of the main event.

That’s all for this week’s Knockout Report. Join me next week for all the Homecoming fallout, as we discuss the first Impact Wrestling of the Post-Pop Era.