Friday’s episode of Impact Wrestling was the latest from the tapings at Fronton Mexico in Mexico City.
The program began with a retrospective on LAX, Santana, and Ortiz, ahead of their farewell match for the company tonight. It was a great video and set the tone for the dominant focus of the show. Throughout the show, they aired highlights of their time in Impact Wrestling.
SAMI CALLIHAN, MADMAN FULTON, JAKE & DAVE CRIST VS TESSA BLANCHARD, RHINO, ROB VAN DAM & TOMMY DREAMER
Josh Mathews compared the ECW crew with Tessa Blanchard as “The Avengers” and asked if it would be oVe’s “Endgame”?
Blanchard hit Jake Crist with Magnum off the turnbuckle and followed with a suicide dive. It led to a showdown between Rhino and Fulton with Rhino attacking with strikes until he was tripped by Jake from the floor. Jake was sent to the floor with a back body drop and laid out the opposite team along with Callihan. Dreamer climbed and hit a rough-looking high cross to the floor.
Van Dam hit a dive and left Blanchard and Callihan alone. Blanchard was in control until Dave Crist stopped and took her to the floor with a superplex on everyone.
Fulton military pressed Blanchard as Jake came off the top with a cutter that looked insane and Van Dam saved.
Dreamer and Rhino brought a table in, leading to an “ECW” chant but Callihan hit low blows from behind, Dreamer used the groin claw on Callihan and Rhino gored Jake through the table with Van Dam hitting the five-star frog splash. Blanchard applied a crossface using a kendo stick as Jake tapped.
WINNERS: Tessa Blanchard (submitted Jake Crist), Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Rob Van Dam at 9:47
This was a fun street fight, and everyone had their opportunity to shine. It was structured around Blanchard as the one to get the match-ending submission and hang with everyone. She has tremendous fire and the ECW unit played great support understanding the role they are playing.
Alisha Edwards was backstage with Ace Austin in a neck brace and sling but said he wouldn’t miss Alisha’s match tonight. He is playing homewrecker and trying to create problems asking where Eddie Edwards is.
Jimmy Jacobs interviewed The North, who were wearing party hats because LAX is leaving. Josh Alexander didn’t want to wear the hat and Ethan Page has a pinata for LAX for a “fiesta” tonight. It wasn’t acknowledged but Friday was also Page’s birthday.
TAYA VALKYRIE VS ALISHA IN A NON-TITLE MATCH
Mathews emphasized that Valkyrie has “shattered” the record for longest-reigning Knockout’s champion, which would be accurate if Rosemary and Taryn Terrell’s reigns were shorter. Both Rosemary and Terrell won their titles at television tapings where the episode didn’t air for several weeks, so they are going with the length of the title reign beginning when it aired and not when the match took place.
Ace Austin was brought down the ramp on his wheelchair.
Johnny Bravo yanked Alisha to the floor, Ace Austin popped up, did a handstand on the apron and attacked Bravo while Alisha was down and missed it. Austin returned to the chair and pretended to be hurt.
Valkyrie hit Road to Valhalla and won.
WINNER: Taya Valkyrie in 3:23
Austin dramatically fell out of the chair as Alisha called for help. Mathews asked if anyone will smarten up Alisha and tell her what’s going on. Callis asked if Mathews is a stooge.
It was short and story-driven with the emphasis on Austin faking an injury for sympathy and is trying to sleep with Alisha, even though she is married. At least it’s believable that Alisha probably doesn’t get the Pursuit Channel and therefore, will not see what happened while she was knocked down.
The North was looking for people to part and celebrate LAX’s departure and ran into Rob Van Dam and Rhino. Rhino got pissed and destroyed and the pinata. Van Dam wanted to party, and Rhino said he just wanted the “f—ing candy”.
MAHABALI SHERA VS CODY DEANER
Shera returned on last week’s episode and joined the Desi Hit Squad as Gama Singh introduced them.
Deaner hit the Desi Hit Squad with a suicide dive and then came off the top and was hit with a chokeslam. Shera lifted him for the World’s Strongest Slam and pinned Deaner.
WINNER: Mahabali Shera at 2:47
While he’s still very limited in the ring, Shera appears to have a lot more poise from the last time he was here and if kept in short matches can be protected.
THE RASCALZ VS AUSTRALIAN SUICIDE, AREZ & TOXIN
The Rascalz were posing on the ropes during their entrance and hit simultaneous moonsaults onto the three to begin the match.
Wentz landed a tornillo off the middle rope onto Toxin. Arez did the Ricochet moonsault kicking off the post onto the floor and was caught by The Rascalz followed by Australian Suicide landing a shooting star press off the top to everyone.
Trey hit the Meteora from the top and Australian Suicide was dropped with Dez shoving Wentz for the standing shooting star press and the victory.
WINNER: The Rascalz at 4:39
It was all action in the brief allotment they were given. If anything, you wish this could have had more time to breathe and build as you had a lot of talent thrown into the match and less than five-minutes didn’t allow it to be much more than a throwaway match for television.
Moose on the streets of Mexico and called it one of the most dangerous places in the world and he’s looking for trouble. He attacked a bunch of guys on the street and yelled that he was the world’s most dangerous man and asked if Ken Shamrock could see that.
There were highlights of Brian Cage’s bachelor party with Tommy Dreamer and Rich Swann.
Jimmy Jacobs had a sit-down interview with Tenille Dashwood, who said she is here to win the Knockout’s title and discussed her history with Taya Valkyrie and beating her in the past and “everything is all about me”.
JESSICKA HAVOK VS SU YUNG IN A NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
The weapons were introduced immediately. On the floor, Yung did The Undertaker’s “Old School” on the guardrail but got stopped and dropped onto the rail face first.
The two used a staple gun on each other inside the ring. Yung hit a senton from the apron to the floor and brought out the bloody glove. Havok kicked at her and hit a tombstone on Yung for the win.
WINNER: Jessicka Havok at 6:07
Yung immediately sat up after the match ended and used the mandible claw with the bloody glove. They fought onto the stage and then went backstage and fought all over the place. After going up a flight of stairs, Havok placed a noose around Yung’ s neck and hung her from the stairwell. There were people assisting Yung from underneath as Havok let go of the rope.
This appears to be leading to a major stipulation match for the blow-off despite a clear cut win for Havok in the match.
The hanging was done for shock, which these characters can get away with especially for Yung who is the supernatural character where angles involving death are fair game. Mathews came back after the break and said Yung was in their thoughts before throwing to the next segment, which always makes these angles feel silly.
Next, was highlights from the bachelorette party for Melissa Santos with most of the Knockouts division. Taya Valkyrie made a toast for herself and everyone argued with her.
Joey Ryan appeared as a cop but was hired as a stripper. Taya was repulsed and she was very entertaining throughout this.
We cut to the bachelor party, Cage had said he is going to cheat, and we are given the impression he is getting a blow job with Dreamer and Swann watching. But he’s eating donuts and it’s his “cheat meal”. This was their attempt to get as many sex jokes into a one-minute video.
A vignette aired for Johnny Swinger, who is playing every ‘80s stereotype of a wrestler. He seems to be a knockoff of the Sex Ferguson character that Luke Gallows did.
WILLIE MACK & RICH SWANN VS SANTANA & ORTIZ
The announcers asked what Konnan will do after LAX leaves and compared to what Bill Belichick would do if Tom Brady left the New England Patriots. They brought up Daga’s name.
It is worth noting that on the broadcast, this is the only match they broke up with a commercial break with the rest airing uninterrupted.
Swann had the advantage on Ortiz, Mack came in and nailed Santana to prevent the tag in the corner.
To their credit, they kept referencing Su Yung and said they would have an update by the end of the broadcast.
Santana was tagged, and they began to double-team Swann including a set up like the Magic Killer into a backbreaker across the knee.
Mack caught Santana, placed on his back and Swann came off with a blockbuster for a two-count.
Ortiz hit Swann with a sit-out powerbomb, then shifted Swann into a powerbomb from Santana. Swann came back with a big ‘rana to Santana followed by Mack’s six-star frog splash, he couldn’t cover Santana and Swann could only get a two-count.
It ended after Ortiz was sent to the floor, Santana ate a bunch of strikes and took a stunner, a Phoenix splash, and six-star frog splash with Mack pinning Santana.
WINNERS: Willie Mack (pinned Santana) & Rich Swann
Mathews said on behalf of everyone in the company, he thanked LAX and this was a strong a send-off as you could imagine, even bigger than the one Dean Ambrose received back in April.
The locker room came out to celebrate with LAX and was a great scene. The audience applauded as LAX’s music played and they held them up.
It cut to a video of Su Yung at the hospital flatlining with doctors tending to her and giving her CPR. They stopped and assumed she was dead and left. The final shot saw Yung open her eyes and gasp.
The LAX send-off was excellent and you couldn’t have a more tonally different presentation than their goodbye in the ring to Su Yung appearing to die and come back from the dead to close the show.
The main event was a strong tag match, you could tell the crowd was into it but didn’t sound like a typical hot crowd if that makes sense and didn’t enhance the match much. The four worked great and it was a great finishing sequence from Swann and Mack. The way they handled LAX is rare these days and I thought Impact came off very classy for going to that length to thank them on the way out rather than just beat them and forget about it.
The street fight was presented well with Tessa Blanchard coming off as the top star in the company, at the moment.
The build for Bound for Glory was minimal on this show with four-weeks to go.
Next week’s show is the start of the tapings from Las Vegas and they promoted the wedding between Brian Cage and Melissa Santos all throughout the show.
I would give this show a solid B. I don’t get bent out of shape over the Su Yung stuff because they have established the boundaries where that character can go, but if you’re not a fan of such over-the-top angles that include death, that angle would drag down your opinion of the show significantly.