Date: April 25, 2021
Location: Skyway Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: D’Lo Brown, Matt Striker
Rich Swann vs. Kenny Omega, title for title. I would talk about the rest of the show but none of it matters in the slightest, which you would know if you have been watching the TV shows. Nothing else has gotten any significant attention in the build, which does make some sense. Hopefully it lives up to the considerable hype. Let’s get to it.
The opening sequence focuses on Omega vs. Swann, with Omega talking about how being the best goes so far beyond being the best in the ring. The rest of the card gets far less attention.
X-Division Title: TJP vs. Ace Austin vs. Josh Alexander
Austin, with Madman Fulton, is defending. Alexander and TJP go after the champ to start with Austin kicking Alexander in the head. TJP gets taken down so Alexander goes for the ankle lock on Austin. That’s broken up so Alexander gets caught in TJP’s Octopus hold. With that not lasting long either, TJP sends them both outside where Austin bails out of a Lionsault. Striker goes into a speech about how Ace Austin isn’t in the new Micro Brawler series while TJP is, which will have Austin wondering why a kid is playing with TJP and not him. Brown: “Actually Austin is in the series too.” And we move on.
With Alexander on the floor, Ace loads up the (special edition) playing card on TJP’s hand but the referee takes it away. Alexander comes back in and captures Austin’s arm for something close to a German suplex as Striker talks about how we don’t need two referees. Everyone is back in and Austin monkey flips TJP into Alexander’s powerbomb but kicks Alexander in the ribs, allowing TJP to snap off a hurricanrana instead.
TJP is back up with a running boot to Austin in the corner, setting up a superplex/Russian legsweep combination to put everyone down at the same time. Back up and Alexander goes for the ankle lock on Austin but gets pulled into TJP’s kneebar. That’s fine with Alexander, who grabs an ankle lock on Austin at the same time.
Everyone escapes as I try to get my head around the odds of holds like that only happening in TJP matches. With that broken up again, we get another triple submission with the same result. The Fold is broken up so Alexander hits Divine Intervention on TJP with Austin making the save. Alexander locks Austin’s ankle but TJP comes in with the Mamba splash. Fulton breaks up the cover, leaving Alexander to hit Divine Intervention to pin Austin at 11:11.
Rating: B. That’s all this should have been and it worked out well. Above all else, they didn’t stop with the action and that is how they set the match up over the last few weeks. I like Alexander winning the title as he has needed to show that he can do something without Ethan Page. Now he can go and have one good match after another with just about anyone so I’m certainly pleased with the result. Now hopefully they can come close to living up to this level.
We run down the card that you already paid to see.
Violent By Design is ready for an eight man tag, even with Eric Young injured. He talks to someone we can’t see and says that they are getting the chance to start something. Whoever it is isn’t ready for the full thing, but they can do something tonight.
We recap Violent By Design vs. Chris Sabin/James Storm/Willie Mack/Eddie Edwards. Violent By Design are all evil and want to hurt people so the other four are standing up to them. Eric Young is hurt though and we are going to need a replacement.
Violent By Design vs. James Storm/Willie Mack/Eddie Edwards/Chris Sabin
The mystery partner is….W. Morrissey, better known as Big Cass (that is a horrible ring name). Sabin kicks at Rhino’s arm to start as Eric Young is sitting on the stage in a chair. It’s off to Storm, who shoves Deaner into the corner so Morrissey can come in. Morrissey looks great as Storm punches him in the face and then catches him on top. A big boot knocks Storm to the floor and Morrissey knocks the rest of the team off the apron.
It’s off to Doering to run Storm over for two but Storm hits a running neckbreaker on Rhino. Mack comes in off the hot tag to clean house as everything breaks down. Deaner and Rhino get caught in the Tree of Woe for some running kicks, followed by Storm’s top rope elbow to Deaner for two. Morrissey tags himself in and starts running people over, including taking out Sabin’s leg on the apron.
Storm cannonballs off the apron to drop Rhino and Sabin catches Deaner on top….for the superplex onto the pile (with Deaner slipping so the landing wasn’t great). Back in and Mack Stunners Doering to the floor but Morrissey is back in for the East River Crossing and the pin on Mack at 10:07.
Rating: C. Morrissey is the story here and he looked good at what he did. The question, as usual though, is what is going on in his head. If he can have the mental side of things down, he could be quite the asset. That and if you don’t bring Enzo Amore in as well, because that comes off as little more than a rehash of something that was only so good in the first place. Good debut here and a fun match, though I’m not sure how far the team can go without Eric Young.
We recap Brian Myers vs. Matt Cardona. Myers seemed to want to reform the team but Cardona wanted to do something on his own for once.
Brian Myers vs. Matt Cardona
Myers slaps him in the face instead of shaking hands so Cardona unloads on him in the corner. The Reboot is loaded up but Myers bails to the floor and takes Cardona out with him. Myers gets sent over the barricade, where he manages to snap Cardona’s back over the steel. Cardona gets hit in the head and they go inside for some elbows to give Myers two. The chinlock with a knee in the back goes on for a bit until Cardona fights up to make the clothesline comeback.
They head outside again with Cardona nailing Radio Silence to put them both down. Myers is up first with a spear and they head back inside with an elbow giving Myers two. Cardona is back with an Unprettier for two and can’t believe the kickout. More Radio Silence is broken up and Cardona’s knee buckles on the landing. The referee calls for help and Myers checks on Cardona….before decking him. The Roster Cut finishes Cardona at 9:48.
Rating: C. I’ve seen worse as they both brought the anger and intensity. Throw in the pretty well done false injury angle at the end and they had some good stuff here. Cardona and Myers need to get away from each other, but the ending seems to suggest that we aren’t done yet. And get Myers a better finisher, because it’s still just a clothesline.
Tony Khan is here and lists off all of his AEW job titles. He has Aubrey Edwards here as his referee for the main event but Scott D’Amore has Brian Hebner. Khan: “What’s your last name again?” They’ll both referee the main event.
We recap Fire N Flava defending the Knockouts Tag Team Titles against Jordynne Grace/Rachael Ellering. Grace needed a partner after Jazz retired so Ellering debuted to get the title shot.
Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Jordynne Grace/Rachael Ellering vs. Fire N Flava
Fire N Flava is defending but here is Jazz to second the challengers, which Striker treats as the biggest thing that he has ever seen. Ellering powers Hogan around to start and lifts her up to block a headlock attempt. Grace comes in to throw Hogan around as well but it is too early for the Grace Driver.
Steelz comes in for a kick to Grace’s face for two before taking her into the corner for the stomping. Hogan comes in to stomp away but Grace powers her way over for the hot tag to Ellering. House is cleaned and everything breaks down, with the champs being sent to the apron for stereo missile dropkicks for stereo near falls.
Grace is back up and backdrops Steelz over the top but she grabs a cutter on Ellering on the way down (while crashing onto the apron). Grace leaves a dive mostly short and Hogan dives onto everyone at once. Steelz and Grace knock each other down on the floor as Ellering forearms Hogan into a fisherman’s suplex swung forward into a spinebuster (that’s a new one) for the pin at 9:24. Jazz added nothing here.
Rating: D+. Sure why not. It’s not like the titles have any meaning or that there are more than a few regular teams to go after them in the first place. Ellering and Grace winning doesn’t change much but you had to take the titles off of Fire N Flava sooner or later so this works as well as anything else. The botches didn’t help things and the ending was flat, but it could have been miles worse.
We recap Sami Callihan vs. Trey Miguel. Trey came back recently and Sami wants him to show more passion. This has involved hurting him over and over so tonight it’s Last Man Standing so Miguel can show his heart.
Trey Miguel vs. Sami Callihan
Last Man Standing. Sami starts fast by sending Miguel outside in a huge crash for a seven count. That works for Callihan, who follows him out but gets caught with Sliced Bread on the floor. Miguel swings into a hurricanrana to send Sami down again but the suicide dive only hits barricade. Brown: “Where is Sami going now?” Striker: “Mentally? Physically? Spiritually?”
They head up to the stage with Miguel being powerbombed onto an anvil case. It’s time to open said case with Sami finding and throwing away a wrench. Instead he pulls out some chains to wrap around his fists to knock Miguel down again. The wrench is put into Miguel’s mouth because we need to do something out there in a Callihan match. They head inside with a bunch of weapons included, including a table being turned upside down with the legs being set up.
Callihan isn’t having any of Miguel’s comeback and slams him onto the open legs for the scary spot of the night. Miguel is sat on top with Sami throwing a chair at him, setting up a super piledriver not through the table, because that table is very sturdy. They both beat the count and head outside as Striker quotes the Bible about never turning back.
Sami sets the steps on their side on the floor and piledrives Miguel onto the side for another nasty crash. The steps are laid on top of Miguel but he slips out the other side, which Striker thinks is like a magic trick because Striker is easily impressed. A huge cutter from the apron through the table is enough to finish Sami at 15:35.
Rating: C+. Yes there were a lot of impressive spots and Miguel showed heart, but if a super piledriver onto a table doesn’t finish you, why in the world should someone try a wrestling move on you? That slam onto the steps looked great though and Sami is going to be at his best in something like this, so I’m not surprised that this wound up working out as well as it did.
We recap FinJuice vs. the Good Brothers for the Tag Team Titles. FinJuice took the titles from the Brothers and then went back to New Japan, so tonight is the big rematch. The Good Brothers want their titles back and are extra serious this time.
FinJuice vs. Good Brothers
The Brothers are challenging with Doc Gallows looking rather Jesse Venturaish during their entrances. Finlay takes Anderson down to start and Robinson gets dropped onto him for two as the champs take over early. Anderson shrugs off the arm cranking and it’s off to Gallows for the rights and lefts in the corner. A double bulldog gets two on Gallows but he’s back up to power Finlay into the corner.
Gallows hits a kick to the head for two and we hit the chinlock. Some hammer elbows keep Finlay down until Gallows puts him on the middle rope. That’s fine with Finlay, who scores with the middle elbow elbow to the jaw. The hot tag brings in Robinson to clean house, including a backsplash to Gallows. A dive to the floor takes Gallows down again and the jabs put Anderson down as well.
Everything breaks down, with Striker talking about FinJuice being influenced by the Hart Foundation, Demolition and….the Smoking Gunns? Gallows is knocked to the floor so FinJuice can load up a Doomsday Device, only to have Gallows break it up. The belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combination gets two on Robinson but Finlay is back in to break up the Magic Killer. A small package Anderson to retain at 10:32.
Rating: C+. And with that, we have proof of which team is the most Japan of all time. I’m rather surprised at the lack of a title change but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Young Bucks being brought in to become the bestest tag team ever in the history of ever. Good enough match, but hearing all of the Japan references and having FinJuice leave for a month didn’t help my interest.
Don Callis is ready to see Kenny Omega win the Impact World Title because he is in Rich Swann’s head. Callis and Omega are family but Swann is an orphan who isn’t going home with his toy. Callis has envisioned this for years and tonight it is reality.
We recap Tenille Dashwood vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts Title. Purrazzo is the unstoppable champion who cam make anyone submit while Dashwood is obsessed with herself and wants the title to prove her great she is.
Knockouts Title: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Tenille Dashwood
Purrazzo is defending, Susan, Kimber Lee and Kaleb With A K are all here. Purrazzo goes straight for the arm to send Dashwood bailing away in a smart move. A clothesline gives Purrazzo two and it’s time to wrap Dashwood’s arm around her own throat for a chinlock. Back up and they trade shots to the face, setting up the Tarantula on Purrazzo. A high crossbody (warranting a three sentence description from Striker) gives Dashwood two but Purrazzo is right back with the German suplex.
Dashwood is right back with an STF but Lee offers a distraction, drawing Kaleb With A K over. The brawl is on outside and Dashwood hits the Spotlight Kick. Lee pulls Dashwood to the floor to break up the count, allowing Purrazzo to hit an exploder back inside. The Fujiwara armbar is countered with a quick roll so Purrazzo settles for the Queen’s Gambit and the pin at 9:47.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have time to go very far with everything else going on. At the same time, there is only so much that you can do with a heel vs. heel match without the most detailed reason for a feud. Purrazzo is rapidly cleaning out the division but odds are some free agents/the returning Taylor Wilde should give her some fresh opponents.
Post match the beatdown seems imminent but Taylor Wilde returns and cleans house, setting up the staredown with Purrazzo.
We run down the upcoming Impact Plus slate, capped off by a video for Slammiversary in July, featuring Samoa Joe, Chelsea Greene and Mickie James.
We recap Kenny Omega vs. Rich Swann, World Title vs. World Title. Omega came in and was treated like the greatest thing ever so Impact World Champion Swann didn’t think much of it. Then Omega pinned him in a six man tag, setting up the title vs. title match. Swann has as much chance of winning tonight as I do of winning the 1958 Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship so let’s get to the inevitable.
Impact Wrestling World Title/AEW World Title: Rich Swann vs. Kenny Omega
Title or title, Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack and Tony Khan are here, Mauro Ranallo is on commentary, there is a referee from each company and Don Callis does an amazing over the top introduction for Omega, listing off every legend he can think of, all of whom are beneath Omega. Swann gets knocked down to the floor in a hurry but is right back with a dropkick to the floor. There’s the big flip dive to take Omega down again but he is right back with a belly to back suplex onto the apron.
They head back outside with Swann loading up the handspring cutter onto the apron but loses momentum and lance on his head instead. Back in and a buckle bomb rocks Swann again, meaning it’s time to work on Swann’s back injury. Various shots to the back, including some rather big knees, keep Swann in trouble. The Kitaro Crusher is avoided though and Swann kicks him in the head. Ax handles to the back are shrugged off and it’s a hurricanrana to drop Omega again.
A super hurricanrana gets one on Omega and he goes up again. This time Swann follows but has to backdrop his way out of a superbomb (with Omega almost landing on his head). The Phoenix splash gives Swann two but Omega is back with the Dr. Willy Bomb. The V Trigger looks to set up the One Winged Angel, with Swann escaping in a hurry. Another V Trigger connects in the corner, followed by another into the snapdragon. Another snapdragon connects but Swann is back up with the handspring cutter.
Swann tries it again but Omega pulls the Impact referee into it instead. Omega grabs a chair, which the AEW referee takes away. Swann hits the handspring cutter into la majistral for one, with Omega reversing into a cradle of his own for two. Another V Trigger misses and a spinning Michinoku Driver gets two on Omega. The Phoenix splash misses and it’s a V Trigger into an electric chair dropped into a German suplex for two more (ok that was cool).
Omega hits a Jay Driller for another near fall so, after some trash talk to Eddie Edwards, it’s another V Trigger. Swann gets fired up and manages a suplex for a breather but the Phoenix splash misses. Another V Trigger sets up the One Winged Angel to give Omega the pin and the title at 22:57.
Rating: B+. It’s a very good match, even with the ending that you knew was coming. Omega was always winning the title so he can do the belt collector deal, though I could have gone with at least trying for a little more drama. This match was built up as “Swann can’t beat Omega so watch Omega win the title” and that’s exactly what happened. They had some good action and tried, but this was all about getting to the ending that you knew was coming. That being said, points for not going too insane with everyone out there, even including the completely unnecessary ref bump.
Overall Rating: B. You had a rather good opener and an even better main event with nothing too horrible in between. This was actually quite the pay per view, as is usual for Impact. I’m really not sure where this goes for them in the future, but for now at least they had a rather good show. Just find the right way forward with Omega and the title and we’ll see what they can do, but they didn’t have a choice with the ending. Rather good show, book ended by a pair of awesome matches.
Josh Alexander b. TJP and Ace Austin – Divine Intervention to Austin
Violent By Design b. Eddie Edwards/Chris Sabin/Willie Mack/James Storm – East River Crossing to Mack
Brian Myers b. Matt Cardona – Roster Cut
Rachael Ellering/Jordynne Grace b. Fire N Flava – Fisherman’s spinebuster to Hogan
Trey Miguel b. Sami Callihan – Callihan could not beat the ten count
FinJuice b. Good Brothers – Small package to Anderson
Deonna Purrazzo b. Tenille Dashwood – Queen’s Gambit
Kenny Omega b. Rich Swann – One Winged Angel
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