Impact Wrestling – January 25, 2018: The Beginning of the Good?

Impact Wrestling
Date: January 25, 2018
Location: Aberdeen Pavilion, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Jeremy Borash

So apparently this is one of their big shows, which was only first mentioned last week. Most of the titles are on the line tonight, including a triple threat match inside a cage with Eli Drake defending against Johnny Impact and Alberto El Patron. It’s hard to say what else they might throw out here so let’s get to it.

The opening video is your standard look at the bigger names talking about what their matches mean. It might help if this show had some more build, or if I could tell you what this show had to offer. What we get here is good though as it’s a stylish way to put out a simple concept.

Opening sequence.

Grand Championship: Matt Sydal vs. Ethan Carter III

Carter is defending and there are no judges, rounds or scoring, but rather a standard match. Sydal dropkicks him at the bell and the champ is knocked outside early on. Back in and a pair of basement dropkicks give Sydal two but Carter gets a breather off a running clothesline. A cravate doesn’t work very well for the champ so he whips Sydal into the corner a few times.

Carter can’t hit a Stinger Splash though and the double knees from the top give Matt two. Back up and Sydal’s super hurricanrana misses with Matt’s face slamming straight into the turnbuckle. We take a break to make sure Sydal’s head isn’t broken and come back with Carter hitting a cutter for two. A TK3 over the top rope connects but Sydal is right back up with a spinwheel kick.

They head to the apron with Carter grabbing a DDT, only to have Sydal pop right back up again. That’s getting a bit annoying as he’s barely staying down off these big shots to the head. Sydal knees him in the face but can’t hit the shooting star press. For some reason Carter takes him to the top for a super TK3, only to get shoved down for the shooting star to give Sydal the title at 15:59.

Rating: C. Sydal’s selling issues aside, this was the right call. Sydal has been called a choker who can never win the big match so he got things down to a regular one on one match and won the title here. I’m really hoping the title shifts towards a regular title full time as there’s just no need for the round system. This made for a fine match with a good story and that’s all you could want out of this. It’s a TV Title and that’s all it should be.

Stills on the Barbed Wire Massacre mess from last week.

We look at the still awesome XXX vs. AMW cage match from Turning Point 2004. That cage walk is still pretty easily the greatest spot in the company’s history and it’s never been approached since. To be fair though, how can you follow that?

We recap the Knockouts Title match. Laurel Van Ness won the title a few weeks back but Gail Kim (take a shot) wanted Allie to win. Allie started talking about wanting the shot so here we go, with Allie being a lot more serious.

Knockouts Title: Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie

Allie is challenging and Laurel leaves the belt on the steps, which is quite the Chekov’s Gun. They lock up and fight to the floor without breaking the lock until Allie takes her back inside for some clotheslines. That’s enough inside as they go to the floor again with Allie being sent into the apron as we take a break.

Back with Laurel in control inside, sending Allie into three straight buckles. A running flip neckbreaker gets two and the counts are getting on the champ’s nerves. Laurel’s chinlock doesn’t do much so it’s a clothesline instead, allowing Josh to plug his podcast. Allie avoids a charge and suplexes Van Ness into the corner for two. A Codebreaker gets the same and a superkick is even closer with Laurel having to put her foot on the ropes. The ref is bumped and a quick belt shot lets Laurel retain the title at 14:03.

Rating: D+. Well that ending was terrible. I know they set it up at the beginning but it felt like the cheapest ending they could come up with as a way to keep things going. Why do I have a feeling that it means we’ll be seeing Gail give Allie another pep talk to really get her ready? It might make Gail look more important and you know that’s what this promotion is all about.

We recap American Top Team vs. Moose, in case you haven’t gotten this story yet. The MMA guys are here to prove that wrestling is fake and they’ve already gotten rid of James Storm. Moose is ready to try his luck again.

Moose vs. Bobby Lashley

Lashley has Dan Lambert and KM in his corner. After some early stalling, Lashley sends him into the corner and stomps away as the announcers talk about various other places you can watch Impact. So yeah, go there and watch that now because this show doesn’t matter. Moose’s comeback doesn’t get him anywhere and it’s a snap suplex for two. Some shoulders in the corner don’t get Lashley anywhere as Moose scores with a spinning middle rope crossbody. KM offers a distraction though and Lashley clotheslines him down as we take a break.

Back with Lashley stomping on the arm and seemingly unsure which hold to try. Instead he throws Moose outside to ram him into various things, only to start in on the other arm. Moose dropkicks him off the top and out to the floor but Lashley calmly whips him into the steps as the dominance continues. KM pulls out a completely unnecessary table and Lashley isn’t happy, allowing Moose to crush him in the corner.

The middle rope chokebomb gets two but Lashley is right back with a running hurricanrana. Well of course he is. Seriously that’s not normal. The spear gets two with Moose throwing a boot on the ropes and Lashley is stunned. KM gets on the apron for no logical reason (how typical of him), allowing Moose to ram them together and hit the discus lariat for two. The Game Changer gives Moose the pin at 16:43, making that previous kickout rather dumb.

Rating: C+. It’s nice to see Moose get the pin, even if this should have been months ago at Bound For Glory. I’m sure this story will keep going because this company has never understood how or when to stop an angle but hopefully we move past this already. It’s not like it has much of a shelf life and we’ve proven that many times over now.

Post match Moose FINALLY lays Lambert out and Lashley does the same to KM. Lashley spears Lambert through a table and they both beat up the MMA guy who is all bandaged up. Did we really just spend all those months setting up a Lashley face turn? That was their big goal?

The announcers recap the show so far.

X-Division Title: Taiji Ishimori vs. Andrew Everett

This is from Pro Wrestling Noah with Everett challenging. Joined in progress with Ishimori hitting some running knees to the chest in the corner. Everett comes back with an enziguri and a Lionsault for two but a shooting star gets two. Back up and one heck of a clothesline takes Everett down for two more and a suplex into a gutbuster gets the same. The 450 retains the title at 4:38 shown.

Rating: C-. The time was a problem here as there’s only so much you can do with so little time. Then again, it’s hard to say how good the match was with all the time it was given. Ishimori is a good champion, but he needs more than just under five minutes shown to have much of an impact. Well that and a more interesting opponent.

Impact Wrestling World Title: Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact

Drake is defending inside a cage with pinfall, submission or escape to win. If Drake retains, neither ever gets a title shot at Drake again. Johnny gets stomped down in the corner to start as we have our first soon to be broken alliance. A double ram into the cage drops Johnny and the villains are already slugging it out. Neither can get over the top so Impact is back up for the save.

Drake gets catapulted into the cage and the flip neckbreaker gives Johnny two. Alberto, wrestling in a shirt for some reason, pulls Johnny off the cage and sends Drake into the steel. Impact is tied up in the Tree of Woe with Alberto missing the double stomp off the cage (likely to avoid a bad case of death), only to have Drake drop Johnny with that backwards Big Ending of his. Everyone is down and we take a break after a pretty good start.

Back with Drake low blowing both of them and sending them into the cage. Johnny of course walks the cage wall and sends Drake into the cage for the coolest spot of the match, which gets no reaction. Alberto is back up with a kick to Johnny’s ribs before whipping Drake into the cage over and over. A DDT gets two on the champ and Alberto knocks Johnny into the Tree of Woe.

This time the stomp works but Johnny is still able to break up the armbreaker on Drake. Everyone goes up in the same corner but Johnny knocks them down and hits a double high crossbody…..to no reaction. I even rewound it in hopes that I had just missed it but the sound just isn’t there and that’s very sad. That’s a big time move and the fans just did not care. Like at all.

The Gravy Train gets two on Johnny so Drake climbs with Impact right behind him. Johnny drops down to catch Alberto but an enziguri cuts him off. Alberto tries to go out the door but Chris Adonis slams it on his head. Johnny JUMPS up and sprints over the top of the cage, somehow beating Drake down, only to have Adonis catch him in the air. The delay allows Drake to drop down and retain at 18:05.

Rating: B-. And they’re DONE. I’m tired of this three way feud and it’s long past time to have some fresh talent challenging for the title. Drake looks good and gets his big win (even one in front of the actual Impact fans) but this story wasn’t interesting going into Bound For Glory and waiting several months didn’t make things even better. The blowoff match was solid enough but the story didn’t do anything for me.

Overall Rating: C+. Well that certainly was a big time show. I’m not sure what else to say about it but it is certainly a big time show. The matches had been built up for a while now but they haven’t been done all that well. The Grand Championship match was the best told story and felt like closure, but everything else felt like it was just there or existed to set up something else in the future. It’s fine enough, but I really need more than a week to get excited for a big show.

Results

Matt Sydal b. Ethan Carter III – Shooting star press

Laurel Van Ness b. Allie – Title to the face

Moose b. Lashley – Game Changer

Taiji Isimori b. Andrew Everett – 450 splash

Eli Drake b. Alberto El Patron and Johnny Impact – Drake escaped the cage

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume VI: July – December 1999 in e-book or paperback. Check out the information here:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2017/11/22/new-book-kbs-monday-nitro-and-thunder-reviews-volume-vi/


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