Hello, and welcome to weekly Impact Wrestling coverage on With Spandex. And also welcome to me, LaToya Ferguson, your recapper and friend. Who loves ya, baby? Me, the person who gets down to the nitty and the especially gritty of Impact Wrestling every week — and sometimes twice on WrestleCon weekends — just for you. The nitty and gritty isn’t exactly the case for this particular show though. Instead, consider it a present from me to you. And ICYMI, you can watch it right here.
Now for some good housekeeping: You can follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. And don’t forget to watch Impact Wrestling on Pop at 8 pm on Thursdays so you can read these pieces and share them with the online world. That shouldn’t be too difficult, should it? By the way, thanks to this show, we now know Lucha Underground is back for a fourth season on June 13. There’s an early ACE right there.
ACE: Recorded In Front Of A Live Studio Audience
First of all, I mentioned in my previous recap that I spent a good portion of WrestleMania/WrestleCon weekend watching the Impact Wrestling Twitch stream. And I must say: It was a good choice. Hopefully they do this again next year.
While the “Chief Engineer” is the thing most people kept talking about during the stream, I personally got a huge kick out of The New Adventures Of Old Rosemary. In case you missed it, that “show” stars Rosemary — completely in character and on her way to get her palm read — and a cast of people (also in character, for the most part) she does not want to spend time with. Including her BFF “Bunny,” as Allie is just too chipper that morning for Rosemary to want anything to do with her. Then comes Sienna, who neither woman really wants around … but they just accept. On the other hand, they barely accept Andrew Everett at all, but he just doesn’t care. So before I get into the actual wrestling event, I just have to go through this:
- Allie spends this entire adventure eating the largest bag of Sour Patch Kids I have ever seen. She’s right that blue is the best flavor, but she’s wrong to ask Rosemary if she wants to eat some. Rosemary’s response? “No, Bunny. I will not be eating your sour children.”
- Allie also asks Rosemary if she can fly. There is a demonic Halpert face in response to this.
- Sienna holds her pinky up as they go down the escalator, because Sienna is classy.
- Once Andrew Everett joins them, he proceeds to spend the entire time trying to mack on Rosemary (as well as break the fourth wall).
- They cross paths with Deonna Purrazzo, Marty Scurll, and some other wrestlers … and then Rosemary immediately plays it off about how they just saw a bunch of strangers who “kinda” look like wrestlers, but that can’t be possible.
- We learn that Rosemary’s realm is actually a dry heat, not the humid heat of NOLA.
- Rosemary enters into wrestling canon that the female BIG DOG (or BIG DAWG) is dead. (But fun fact: You can watch her spirit on NXT, only on the WWE Network.) She also points out that’s because she put a hit out on all of these wrestling canines.
- We also learn that Rosemary might be a Horse Girl.
- Rosemary reaches a point where she wishes she could kill both the Bunny and the Skywalker (as she refers to Everett), but the Skunk grows on her during this adventure. Yes, it’s because she and Sienna are both just snarky jerks to Allie and Everett’s annoying positivity throughout.
- “I like everyone,” Allie says. Then Everett insults vegans, and she stops sharing her candy with him.
- Everett also thinks everyone in Detroit has been to jail at least once, so he doesn’t endear himself to Sienna either.
- The only reason Andrew Everett doesn’t eat some organic soap is because he remembers he has to wrestle on the Impact Wrestling versus Lucha Underground show.
- Sienna literally considers making a quick pit stop for booze, only for Rosemary to inform her that she actually has an appointment set up, and they are also technically at work.
- Sienna later just runs away from the group, in a moment that made me think she left to make that pit stop. Instead, she arrived at the palm reading place early for some possibly nefarious reasons.
- Once they’re done, Allie convinces them all to keep the camera they’re streaming with — and not make the hand-off to Josh Mathews — and take it with them to a vegan bakery instead. Simply because Josh Mathews always calls her “an Easter Egg” on commentary. I knew that would come back to bite him in the ass. Sadly, he does intercept them.
Unfortunately, the stream goes wonky when they actually get to the palm reader — I’m still not quite sure where Allie landed on accusing Sienna of foul play — but I can say there are some character-appropriate predictions (including a little more teasing about Rosemary’s love life) from this thing. It wasn’t about the destination anyway, it was about the journey.
EH: Come On, You Guys
Yeah, the whole Impact Wrestling thing (you know, getting people to like it) is kind of still a work in progress, isn’t it?
The sucky thing about this whole Impact Wrestling versus Lucha Underground show is that it’s known that Impact was barely selling any WrestleCon tickets until they announced the joint nature of the show … meaning this audience is definitely mostly here for Lucha Underground. Also meaning it’s surprising we don’t get a “f*ck TNA” chant during this show … but hey, we do get a “f*ck Del Rio” chant, so that’s progress.
EH: Monster Babies, We Make Our Dreams Come True
This match highlights the fact that Matanza isn’t really the big linebacker-esque wrestler he appears on Lucha Underground TV … and that’s pretty disappointing. (Despite the fact that Matt Sydal looks around the ring at one point and realizes everyone is bigger than he is.) Not that he’s not wide, but for any Impact fans that are seeing him for the first time here, he really does not look impressive. The match itself also surprisingly isn’t built completely around everyone Getting Their Sh*t In, so no one looks their most impressive during this match. Not even Jack Evans, whose entire in-ring style is “looking impressive.”
Having seen the man behind Matanza (Jeff Cobb) in other matches this weekend — and just in person, in general — I can also say the camera angles they use in this match/on this show don’t do him any favors. And like I said, it’s disappointing.
ACE: Next Phase, Next Stage, Next Grade, Next Wave (Take Two)
Sadly, Roderick Strong’s current NXT status prevents Impact Wrestling from completing Matt Sydal’s reunion (as in, their fists and feet have reunited) tour with his fellow Generation Next 2.0 members. First Austin Aries, now Jack Evans. I suppose they could reach out to Alex Shelley, but it wouldn’t be the same.
ACE/EH: The Space-Time Continuum Strikes Again
For a good part of this match, all I could think about is that gigantic bag of Sour Patch kids ate earlier in the day.
But once I was done with that, I could see the bones of a pretty good potential feud in Allie versus Taya Valkyrie. Allie’s in confident mode from moment one, but she’s up against Taya’s power and general condescension. There’s also a great moment where Taya just flat-out pretends not to speak English in order to tell the referee she didn’t understand she was breaking rules.
Again, with the crowd predominantly being here for Lucha Underground, the boos come for Allie once she wins — even though she had actually won the crowd over during the match. That’s an unfortunate EH, but the other thing that’s not so great about this is Taya probably shouldn’t be losing pre-Demon’s Dance. But then Allie also shouldn’t be losing, because she’s the champion and has to deal with Su Yung first.
That’s the problem with this technically being a house show but also very clearly having storytelling ramifications for weekly Impact. You can say Taya here is the Taya representing Lucha Underground, not Impact, but that doesn’t quite work. And while the company is smart enough not to end the match on an iffy note — both because of the way the I Quit match ends and the end-of-the-night reveal about Alberto El Patron — that might have been the best option for keeping both women strong.
Literally all I can remember about this match is that Matt Striker calls Josh Mathews “Muggsy Bogues” at some point. Oh, and that Teddy Hart isn’t good enough in the ring anymore to defend having him on your wrestling card.
Watching a DJZ match these days is an experience, because all I can really do is write “please don’t break” in my notes over and over when it all begins. Then I mostly spend the rest of the match crossing my fingers that he will not, in fact, break. Luckily, DJZ finishes this match in one piece. Also luckily, this match is the kind of athletic, flippy goodness we all need and deserve after oVe versus Teddy Hart/Scott Steiner, and the crowd appreciates it. Oh hey, I just remembered Scott Steiner was in that previous match. He had a better in-ring showing than Teddy Hart too.
ACE: Josh Mathews (No, Seriously)
As I just recently wrote:
But he could still be so much better on commentary — which he actually is during said Twitch stream, barring his insistence that Trevor Lee and Marty the Moth are similar — and I already went on last week about the fact that Impact needs to choose either commentator Josh or character Josh.
Despite Josh Mathews’ almost nonstop Twitch live-streaming in the lead-up to this, he’s pretty on his game during commentary for this show. That’s still definitely not perfect, as you can see the Trevor Lee/Marty the Moth comparison that he continued even the following day, but it’s certainly better than his usual performance on the weekly show. By the way, I realized during the stream — right before they went to do commentary for this show — that Mathews’ Big Boy Voice is basically a very bad impression of Striker. He doesn’t do the voice on commentary with Striker though, and now I can see why.
ACE: Mirror Images, I Guess
Yes, I chose the picture where these two men look most alike … but come on, Mathews’ comparison was also about their characters and styles, and that’s just wrong.
I knew it seemed off that they’d booked Trevor Lee against Famous B (as much as I love a good “423-GET-FAME” chant-a-long), but the Marty the Moth reveal was quite the upgrade. Also, like Allie and her Sour Patch Kids, it took a lot for me to think about anything other than the fact that Trevor Lee’s food of choice before this match was shrimp gumbo. I can’t really say anything about the Lucha Underground tapings that happened back in March, but I can say this: A lot more wrestling promotions better start looking to book Marty the Moth soon. This match is just a taste.
The Mack … is the man. I mean, the crowd is hyped for everyone in this match — including LAX, with Diamante! — but The Mack is always just so good at keeping the crowd hyped. And that’s exactly what happens. This match was the point where I realized Impact Wrestling needed this show. Of course, this was before I knew what the Alberto El Patron situation would be. But seriously, this show may not be perfect or even 100 percent weekly television canon, but it’s certainly streets ahead of the typical One Night Only show and the other indy shows they’ve been plopping the Impact label on.
But another problem with this whole joint show, which makes for the EH: There’s no way Killshot and The Mack are winning the Impact Tag Team Championship. There’s no way any Lucha Underground talent is winning a title on this card. The closest person to having that chance was Taya, but that would’ve involved some finagling around with the tapings and all that jazz. That predictability settles things before the bell even rings, and hopefully this time next year, the taping schedule won’t be such a hindrance to things like this.
ACE/EH: What To Do
This match has similar issues to Allie versus Taya, only amplified.
Brian Cage has to win. He’s undefeated (in Impact), and he just beat Lashley twice in a row. He has to win. But Eli Drake just won a second Feast or Fired briefcase. In theory, he should be considered more of a threat, especially after the Moose match. There’s also no build-up now in Cage beating Drake, unlike with Cage/Lashley. But again, Brian Cage has to win.
The ACE is because this is also a really good match. Surprisingly so, because I’ve been curious to see how both men would gel against each other. But like I said, despite this “technically” being another Lucha Underground versus Impact Wrestling match, it can only go with the conclusion that has to happen for Impact Wrestling story purposes. And those purposes kind of make Eli Drake look much less than.
ACE: Happy Death Day
Matt Striker invoking the “Three Faces of Foley” when explaining the Sami Callihan/Jeremiah Crane situation is the best choice in telling this story, as well as the best example of existing inside of both Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling on this card. (Besides King Cuerno, I guess. That they really don’t have to acknowledge, considering how much of El Hijo Del Fantasma’s character was “AAA rules, Impact drools.”)
I actually have no idea what the general consensus is, but I think Don Callis coming in to throw in the towel is a good choice that makes sense. These guys were literally going to kill each other to finish this; and in-story, Callis and company would be negligent to let Callihan (well, Crane) take things even further after what already happened to Eddie Edwards on their watch. Edwards was never going to say “I QUIT,” as that’s just not in his die-hard nature. So Crane was going to have to beat the life out of him to win. And it’s not as though Edwards had more to give back to Crane, so it would really just be a literal murder. Plus, if this match has a definitive end, then that’s it, isn’t it? The feud is done? Come on, son. Redemption is right around the corner.
The crowd is understandably pissed when it ends, but I’d like to say it’s in a good way — the way where Impact left them wanting more. I mean, I know it’s also in a bloodthirsty way, as they literally start chanting “YES” when Crane hits the ref with the bat. But still, good.
ACE: Thanks, Berto
Get this: We actually get a much better main event thanks to Alberto El Patron bailing. Good things happen to good people. (The good people in this case are the loyal audience of me and me alone.) A tag team main event turned into a triple threat match with Austin Aries and the Lucha Bros? It’s literally a WrestleCon miracle. Kind of like the way Austin Aries was able to eventually get up after taking the bros’ deadly double superkick right to the throat. (Based on live reports, he didn’t get up for an additional 10 minutes after the match, having already been lifeless for the entire finish of the match after that.)
I like to believe that anyone reading these recaps is also familiar with Lucha Underground, but if not, this main event does pretty well as a quick primer on how awesome Pentagon and Fenix are. I know everyone loves Penta the most, but I’m a Fenix girl myself — I watched him do some crazy spots on the ropes this WrestleCon weekend, and I’m still thinking I imagined them. They’re both so good at what they do that it’s actually believable that either one of them will actually win over Aries (as it’s not a title match), so it’s great to see it actually happen.
Josh Mathews is right when he says, “Nights like this remind us why we’re fans.” For all the problems with this show — as relatively minor as they are compared to usual Impact Wrestling problems — it still is a solid show from top-to-bottom, with arguably a little something for everyone. Like I said, Impact Wrestling needed this show, all things considered.
Also, the new main event of Redemption is this Triple Threat, only now for the title. One would assume that Aries won’t die via superkick that time around. Otherwise, it was nice having you as champ, dude.
And now, it is your turn. Please don’t forget to share this recap and also comment. Do it for Pentagon and Fenix. Do it for Austin Aries’ superkicked carcass.