Homecoming: They Get So Close
Date: January 6, 2019
Location: The Asylum, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Don Callis
It’s back to pay per view tonight with a show in the old stomping grounds. This isn’t a One Night Stand kind of deal or anything like that as it’s a pretty standard pay per view card with only the venue being old school. The main event will see World Champion Johnny Impact defend against Brian Cage where shenanigans could be a factor. Let’s get to it.
The opening video, narrated by Johnny Impact, looks back at the old days in the Asylum and talks about how good it can feel to go home. This aired at the end of Impact and was released on the YouTube page.
X-Division Title: Ethan Page vs. Jake Crist vs. Trey Miguel vs. Rich Swann
The title is vacant coming in and this is Ultimate X, meaning there’s an X made of rope above the ring with the title hanging in the middle. First one to crawl over and pull down the title is champion. It’s a brawl to start with Ethan heading up for the title in a hurry but falling down onto Miguel instead. Page isn’t done and shoves Miguel off the top and onto the other two.
That earns him quite the reaction but it’s way too early for the climb. Back in and Crist scores with some kicks until Miguel takes him down with a neckbreaker. The fans are VERY appreciative here and we get an IMPACT WRESTLING chant. Page gets caught in the corner and it’s Miguel and Swann kicking him in the ace before climbing up. Instead of going up on his own, Crist fails at an attempt at a double cutter. He gets smart the second time though and crotches them both before hitting the cutter on the second attempt.
With the three of them down, Page goes for a climb but makes a rather dumb decision by dropping down into an elbow on Crist. Miguel goes up until Page pulls him down into a backbreaker. Crist legdrops Page and then hits a running DDT onto the floor on Page. Swann follows them out with the big flip dive and the fans are rather pleased. Swann and Miguel climb the structure with the former being pulled down and Miguel moonsaulting onto Crist and Page.
Everyone staggers back inside and it’s a double powerbomb/Meteora combination to destroy Page again. Swann gets taken outside for a Tombstone on the ramp from Crist, who dumps him up onto the stage to keep him even further from the ring. That gets Crist close to the title so Page spears him off the top for the huge crash.
Swann is right back up with a hurricanrana to bring Miguel off the top. Miguel hits a hurricanrana of his own but Swann lands on his feet and sprints up to grab the title for the win at 13:55. The title seemed to fall down so that might not have been the planned finish. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
Rating: B. This was the insanity that it needed to be with one big spot after another. Swann winning is the right call too as he’s the top star of the division at the moment and someone who could be the big deal that it’s needed for a long time. The other three all looked awesome too here, if you can ignore some rather dumb actions here and there.
The announcers run down the card for a good while as the structure is taken down.
Brian Cage talks about how Impact is getting the serious version tonight. He’s sacrificed everything to get here and there’s one outcome: Cage walking out as World Champion.
We recap Allie/Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan/Jordynne Grace. Allie sacrificed her soul to save Rosemary but kind of got ripped off, resulting in her being turned into Dark Allie, which she doesn’t seem to mind. Kiera is still determined to save her friend and Grace just showed up earlier this week to even things out.
Jordynne Grace/Kiera Hogan vs. Su Yung/Allie
Grace snapmares Allie down to start and hits a low crossbody for an early two. It’s already off to Yung, who gets dropkicked down upon entry. A running hip attack in the corner gets two and it’s back to Allie, who bails to the floor instead of fighting Kiera. The confusion is enough for Yung to get in a cheap shot on Hogan by sending her into the buckle. The double beatdown is on and a hangman’s neckbreaker out of the Tree of Woe makes it worse for Hogan.
Yung climbs the buckles for a headscissors and Allie gets two off a Backstabber. Kiera comes back with some forearms to Yung and an awkward looking collision puts both of them down. It’s enough for the hot tag to Grace and house is cleaned in a hurry. Everything breaks down and the evil ones get taken down by a dive. Back in and Allie rakes Grace’s eyes so Hogan can tag herself in.
A fisherman’s suplex gets two and it’s back to Grace for a powerbomb to Yung and a World’s Strongest Slam to Allie at the same time (though she BARELY held them up). That’s only good for two on Allie, who mists Grace in the really evil act. The Codebreaker hits Hogan but Allie wants Su’s bloody glove. The Mandible Claw finishes Hogan at 8:58.
Rating: D+. This was exactly what I was expecting and that’s the right call. Allie and Yung have some staying power as heels, at least until Rosemary is back to save Allie’s soul. The match wasn’t the point here and Allie pinning Hogan makes sense. Now just get Rosemary back and see where things go.
Post match Yung beats on Hogan even more and here are the bridesmaids with the coffin. Rosemary pops out though and punches some bridesmaids before growling at Yung. Rosemary crawls inside and stares at Allie, who is rather panicked. She reaches to touch Allie’s head and Allie bails in a hurry.
We recap Eddie Edwards vs. Moose. They were friends until Moose got hurt and claimed Eddie didn’t care. Moose turned on him and sent Eddie over the edge, putting him in a mental hospital. Raven of all people (I don’t get it either) got Eddie out of the hospital and it’s time for a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Eddie Edwards vs. Moose
Falls Count Anywhere. Eddie jumps him during the entrances, as he should because he’s not the kind of guy who would wait for a bell here. Moose catches the suicide dive though and Eddie gets TOSSED into the steps. Back to back powerbombs on the floor and apron give Moose two and it’s time to load up the steps, plus a piece of barricade between the ring and the regular barricade.
Another powerbomb is countered and Eddie takes it back to the floor, this time heading into the crowd. The fans want them to come OVER HERE, though I’d settle for a camera staying on them. What looked like a beer can to Moose’s head makes him walk even more but Moose whips him into some steps to the upper deck. Eddie of course hits a dive off the balcony but would rather chop Moose than cover him.
Back to ringside with Eddie getting knocked off the apron, sending him face first into the barricade. A bunch of chairs are thrown in and Moose posts Eddie to keep him down. Eddie is busted open (as he should be) and Moose bites at the cut (as he shouldn’t be). For some reason Moose goes up, allowing Eddie to pelt a chair at his head. The chairs are piled up and a top rope superplex drops both guys onto them for the huge crash.
Back up and they chop it out with Moose taking off the glove for good measure. Moose charges but gets backdropped onto the aforementioned piece of barricade. Eddie takes him back inside and grabs a kendo stick for the real beating. Cue Alisha Edwards to take the stick away…and beat on Moose instead. The big stick shot from Eddie sets up the DDT for the pin at 13:13.
Rating: B-. This was pretty close to the violent fight that it should have been and hopefully it wraps up the feud once and for all. There’s no reason to keep things going and Eddie winning is a pretty definitive finish. Alisha accepting Eddie’s violence and helping with the beatdown was a nice touch, especially since there was no Raven to get involved here.
Sami Callihan promises to destroy Willie Mack tonight. Mack is in over his head and has made the mistake of looking for a fight with the wrong man. It’s still not clear why Sami isn’t attacking Willie’s buddy Rich Swann but Mack wants to fight anyway.
Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan
Dave Crist is here with Callihan. Mack starts fast and snaps off a hurricanrana before hitting a running flip dive onto Crist and Callihan for the early control. Back in and Swann hits a running seated Blockbuster but a Crist distraction lets Sami ram him face first into the apron. There’s the running kick to the side of Mack’s head and it’s time for the OVE SUCKS chants. Back in and Sami hits the spit chop in the corner before we hit the chinlock. Mack jawbreaks his way to freedom but Sami rakes the eyes.
That goes nowhere for some reason but another Crist distraction lets Sami roll him up for two. A Samoan drop into a standing moonsault gives Mack two of his own, setting up a running hip attack in the corner. When did that become the most popular move in wrestling? The Sky High gives Mack two more but Callihan scores with a powerbomb into the V Trigger for two.
The Stunner out of nowhere gives Mack two more as Sami has to get his foot on the ropes. Mack goes up and thanks to a third Crist distraction, it’s a super Death Valley Driver for one. A hard lariat gives Sami another one as Mack is getting all fired up. Another lariat turns Mack inside out and the Cactus Piledriver gives Sami the pin at 10:13.
Rating: C+. Mack has developed a habit of stealing the show and he came close here. Sami winning makes the most sense here as Mack isn’t ready to beat someone like him, but Mack is rapidly becoming one of the most entertaining guys in the division. If they keep treating him well, he’s going to be just fine for a long time.
Eli Drake stands in front of a cage where Abyss was born nearly twenty years ago. He’s ready to get rid of hardcore and laughs off the idea that he’s afraid. Tonight is Monster’s Ball and he has monster balls, so hardcore ends tonight.
We recap Eli Drake vs. Abyss. Drake claimed that the company was an unsafe working environment and decided to destroy hardcore wrestling. He went after Joseph Park to get rid of Abyss, which earned him an offer for Monster’s Ball at Homecoming. This of course turned into an ECW reunion with Tommy Dreamer and Raven laying Drake out on the go home show.
Abyss vs. Eli Drake
Monster’s Ball, meaning hardcore. Abyss throws in a bunch of weapons before the bell so Drake gets in a staple gun shot to take over. For some reason he tries a sunset flip and gets stapled in the chest. Abyss loads up two tables at ringside but Drake knocks him into the crowd. The breather lets Drake kick him low and drive an anvil case into Abyss’ head to really take over.
Back inside and some garbage can shots to the head rock Abyss all over again. A running metal sign shot is countered into an overhead belly to belly though and Drake goes FLYING through the tables. That looked awesome, even if it was telegraphed (not a bad thing in this case). It’s time for thumbtacks but Drake elbows his way out of the chokeslam. Drake picks up some tacks but hits the referee in the face by mistake. The Black Hole Slam gets two as the referee isn’t quite blinded.
Abyss grabs Janice (the spiked 2×4) but Drake gets in a shot to save himself. That’s fine with Abyss, who chokeslams him onto the tacks. That’s only good for two and Drake chairs him in back before grabbing some zip ties. Abyss breaks them off so Drake unloads on him with the chair, hitting him about twenty straight times….for two. Drake busts out the paddle and breaks it over Abyss’ head for the pin at 12:12.
Rating: C. Standard weapons match here, though that overhead belly to belly through the tables was great. Drake winning doesn’t save the whole story but it saves my head from exploding. He’s WAY too talented to be stuck in a feud like this and him losing to the mostly retired guy would have been one of the worst ideas they could have had. That and a lack of ECW legends helped this a lot.
Killer Kross finds tonight’s main event interesting. A series of events have led us here but after tonight, Option C will be replaced by Option X. Tick tock.
We recap LAX vs. the Lucha Bros. LAX have held the Tag Team Titles for a long time and now want the huge match. Konnan doesn’t think they’re ready though and has walked out, meaning LAX is on their own. This could be the match of the night by a mile if it goes as people are expecting.
Tag Team Titles: LAX vs. Lucha Bros
LAX is defending and there’s no Konnan in sight. Fenix and Santana start things off in a feeling out process. A very fast armdrag sends Santana into the ropes for a kick to the back from Pentagon and it’s a double superkick on Santana with Fenix hitting a crazy hard suicide dive on Ortiz. Santana gets back up and sends Fenix outside for a kick to Pentagon’s head, followed by the backsplash from Ortiz.
Pentagon goes outside as well and Santana hits a top rope Asai moonsault to take him right back down. Back in and a Lionsault/legdrop combination gets two on Pentagon as they’ve certainly started fast. Fenix saves his brother from a double suplex and the champs are sat outside on the ramp. Pentagon throws a charging Fenix onto both of them before hitting his own no hands flip dive onto the pile.
Back in and a Codebreaker/top rope double stomp combination gets two on Ortiz. Santana comes back in and hits a reverse powerbomb into a top rope splash but Pentagon runs in for the crazy save with a step up Canadian Destroyer (GEEZ) to put everyone down. Ortiz and Pentagon slap it out and it’s a series of running kicks to put all four down again.
The Bros get back up first with the spike Fear Factor to Santana, though Ortiz is a bit late with the save and Santana has to kick out on his own. The Street Sweeper hits Pentagon with Fenix diving in with a dropkick for the save. A rolling cutter into a Codebreaker into a superkick finishes Fenix out of nowhere to retain the titles at 10:48.
Rating: B+. It’s the most entertaining thing on the card so far but this didn’t hit the heights they should have reached. It needed another five to ten minutes as I was expecting this to be nearly twice as long. What we got was good, but it wasn’t built up, making the match feel like it was designed to be a classic instead of just being a classic. Very good, but it could have been a lot more.
Post match Konnan comes out to say he was wrong about LAX, but right about this being a great match.
Gail Kim doesn’t like Tessa Blanchard but she’ll call it down the line.
We recap Taya Valkyrie vs. Tessa Blanchard. Tessa has had to escape with the title multiple times now and has cheated more than once. Therefore, Gail Kim is back as guest referee, and because we haven’t seen her in a long time and that just won’t do.
Knockouts Title: Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie
Tessa is defending Gail Kim is guest referee. An early toss doesn’t get Tessa very far as she charges into a boot in the corner and there’s a double stomp to keep the champ in trouble. A knee to the face sends Tessa outside but she whips Taya into the barricade. Tessa adds a dropkick to drive her into the barricade and we hit the seated armbar back inside. Taya’s neck is bent around the ropes and Gail has to yell at Tessa to break it up. A heck of a clothesline out of the corner puts Tessa in trouble and a straitjacket suplex gives Taya two.
The double knees in the corner get two more and Taya reverses the Buzzsaw DDT into a northern lights suplex. They’re showcasing Taya being equally strong here, which isn’t something Tessa is used to. Taya misses a moonsault and there’s a spear (because every wrestler needs a spear). Tessa can’t believe the kickout and accidentally runs Gail over. The Buzzsaw DDT connects for no cover because Gail is suffering from retired wrestler syndrome.
Tessa grabs the title for the tug of war with Gail, who accidentally hits Taya in the head with the belt. That’s good for two so Tessa shoves Gail in no the brightest move. Gail shoves her into a rollup for two and they seem to botch the setup for a Codebreaker out of the corner. Therefore they do it again with the Codebreaker connecting the second time around. Gail counts two so Tessa drives her into the corner. That’s enough for Gail, who hits Eat Defeat to set up the Road To Valhalla to make Taya champion at 10:36.
Rating: C-. They botched some spots pretty badly and Gail was WAY too much of the focus here. There’s a good chance that it’s going to set up Tessa vs. Gail, which would be treated as a bigger match that whatever Taya is doing. The wrestling could have been better too and the match got bogged down by everything they had going on here. At least there were a few good moments, but way too much focus on Gail, as usual.
The announcers talk about the move to the Pursuit Channel. As a bonus, it’s also going to be on their Twitch channel, which is WAY overdue.
Johnny Impact says tonight isn’t about friendship because it’s about the World Title. He’s a fighting champion instead of a paper champion. There have been a bunch of people he’s thought deserved a shot and he’s given them those shots. Tonight, he’s doing it again with Cage.
We recap the World Title match. Impact finally won the World Title at Bound For Glory and Cage cashed in Option C by trading in his X-Division Title for a shot at the World Title here. Cage has gotten more serious and is almost unstoppable to put Impact in trouble.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Brian Cage vs. Johnny Impact
Cage is defending and has Terminator gear on for an even more intimidating (though slightly goofy) look. Feeling out process to start with Impact moving around as much as he can to avoid the pain but Cage counters a slingshot into an overhead suplex to take control. Some corner clotheslines connect until Impact avoids a charge, setting up a springboard spear for two. Impact’s armbreaker is broken up without much effort and a pair of monkey flips put him in even more trouble.
The chinlock doesn’t last long so Impact goes up, only to get caught with a Cheeky Nandos kick. An electric chair gives Cage two and it’s back to the chinlock. Impact fights up again and sends him outside for the big flip dive off the top, with his knee going right into Cage’s face/chest. Cage is fine enough to hit a superkick into a release German suplex. Impact scores with the Moonlight Drive and they’re both down for a breather. Starship Pain is countered into an F5 for two and we get some NEW CHAMP chants.
A buckle bomb looks to set up Weapon X but Impact reverses into rollup for two. The discus lariat gives Cage a very close near fall so Impact hits a quick Flying Chuck. Starship Pain works this time but Cage is up at two again. The super Spanish Fly doesn’t even get one and it’s a powerbomb into a buckle bomb into a helicopter bomb for two, breaking Cage’s momentum on the near fall.
Weapon X connects for two with Johnny having to get his foot on the rope. Cage gets knocked to the floor and goes after the Survivor contestants (Impact was on the show), meaning the referee has to check on them so Cage’s Drill Claw only gets two. Cage’s apron superplex is countered into something like a DDT for a very close count that is called three to retain the title at 19:12.
Rating: B. They were rocking with some of those near falls and then we had to get the Survivor goofs involved to set up the botched ending really brought things down though and there wasn’t much they could do to recover from things. Cage losing like that didn’t help things very much either either, though they had built up enough good will before then that it didn’t sink things. Good match, though the big problems hold it back a lot.
A furious Cage throws the title at Impact and storms off. Taya comes out to celebrate with an annoyed Johnny but here’s Killer Kross to jump Impact. Kross powerbombs Taya off the stage into the crowd to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was a rather good show for the most part with almost everything working at least in some way. Some of the matches weren’t as solid as others and the Knockouts Title left a lot to be desired. There were a few matches and moments that could have been better, but what we got was more than good enough. The problem for this company has always been consistency though, and I’m not exactly thrilled by what we might be getting going forward. It’s a rather good show overall, but it needed a few more steps to be great.
Rich Swann b. Jake Crist, Ethan Page and Trey Miguel – Swann pulled down the title
Su Yung/Allie b. Kiera Hogan/Jordynne Grace – Mandible Claw to Hogan
Eddie Edwards b. Moose – DDT
Sami Callihan b. Willie Mack – Cactus Piledriver
Eli Drake b. Abyss – Paddle to the head
LAX b. Lucha Bros – Superkick to Fenix
Taya Valkyrie b. Tessa Blanchard – Road To Valhalla
Johnny Impact b. Brian Cage – DDT off the ropes
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