Impact Wrestling – January 25, 2019: I Think I Know The Problem
Date: January 25, 2019
Location: Fronton Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Don Callis
We’re south of the border again and that means things should be interesting. It worked well last time, if nothing else due to having a bunch of luchadors included. We’re also getting ready for Johnny Impact vs. Killer Kross for the World Title in a rematch from a few weeks back, but things have changed a bit since then. Let’s get to it.
Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.
There’s a lot of room between the ring and the barricade. Like way more than almost any arena.
Rich Swann vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo
Non-title. Swann grabs a wristlock to start so Vikingo walks through the ropes for a break. Not bad. They flip away from each other with Swann spinning out of a headscissors in a nice looking counter. Vikingo does his own flip counter before kicking Swann in the head. Makes more sense than flipping. Swann gets sent outside for the big running flip dive but comes right back with a springboard off the barricade. There isn’t much of a spring in a barricade but the idea works the same.
Back in and Swann puts on a seated abdominal stretch, followed by a rather hard kick to the ribs. Vikingo is right back with an enziguri into a fisherman’s buster Jackhammer for two. That’s a new one, as has tended to be the case for Vikingo. Swann catches him with a top rope hurricanrana for two, only to walk into a swinging Rock Bottom. A Michinoku Driver gives Swann two more and the middle rope 450 finishes Vikingo at 9:14.
Rating: B-. I had a good time with this as Swann can more than hang in a lucha style match. Vikingo looked awesome too with some unique offense that was very crisp throughout the whole thing. Swann still needs more competition, but he’s feeling like a star as champion. The fact that the matches are actually taking place almost weekly is a nice bonus as well.
Post match here’s OVE and post break Sami congratulates Rich on his success but it’s time the fans learn the truth about the two of them. They’re close outside of the ring so it’s time for Swann to come home and join OVE for good. Sami says Swann wouldn’t be able to take care of his family without him, which seems to be a step too far for Swann. Rich says the shirt is the right size but the family isn’t the right fit. Sami: “That wasn’t a no!” He wants Swann to keep thinking about it. Sami isn’t great at subtleties.
The announcers preview things.
New interviewer Melissa Santos talks to Killer Kross and Moose, the former of whom says it ends for Johnny Impact tonight. They’re not worried about Brian Cage watching, because Cage had some customs issues and won’t be here.
Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan are ready to face Allie and Su Yung next week. They’ve been training you see. Melissa asks about Rosemary so the cameras start to flicker. A message appears on the screen behind them, saying “The Darkness Will Take You Too. This Is Not Your Fight. – R.” Confusion reigns. I’m thinking it’s a message from Rellik, which is still Killer spelled backwards.
Keyra vs. Taya Valkyrie
Non-title again. Keyra jumps her from behind to start as Callis explains the idea of a rudo. A backbreaker cuts Keyra off but she’s right back with a running basement dropkick in the corner. Taya is still rocked so a Backstabber out of the corner sets up a middle rope moonsault for two. A running Liger Bomb gives Taya two of her own, followed by the curb stomp. Taya’s modified STF makes Keyra tap at 5:35.
Rating: D+. Keyra was aggressive but this was little more than an obvious ending as Taya isn’t losing in her first match back. Or as a champion. Or likely in Mexico. In other words this looked like a squash but at least Keyra tried and got in some offense instead of just taking the loss in a hurry.
Post match Taya talks to the crowd in Spanish before talking about what the people here have meant to her career. Taya wants Tessa Blanchard and will be waiting for her when she gets back.
Swann admits that he and Callihan do have a history but there’s more to it than that.
From March 10, 2004, Hector Garza vs. Jack Evans.
The Rascalz are in their circle and realize they’re in Mexico so they switch to Spanish.
Scarlett Bordeaux trains in not the most efficient gear.
Desi Hit Squad vs. Rascalz
Can we leave the Squad in Mexico? It’s Dezmond and Zack for the team here in what should be at least half of a good match. Raj forearms Dezmond up against the ropes but gets leapfrogged and dropkicked. Wentz knees him from the apron to keep the Squad in trouble so it’s off to Raju. A corkscrew press gives Zack two but a cheap shot from the apron lets Raju get a breather.
Raj comes in and plants Wentz, including holding him on the floor for a double stomp from Raju. Back in and Wentz beats both of them up with ease, allowing the hot tag to Dezmond. Everything breaks down and it’s Wentz hitting a heck of a dive to the floor to take both of them down. Raj comes back in and gets kneed in the face, setting up the Push Moonsault for the pin at 7:01.
Rating: C-. I really can’t get over how boring the Hit Squad is. They’re the definition of warm bodies as heels, which isn’t exactly enough for me to get interested. I’m not wild on the That 70s Show stoner deal for the Rascalz, but they’re a very fun team who does entertaining stuff while also giving Dezmond something to do after months of nothing. That’s how you make something from the pieces you have around and it’s working here.
A serious Johnny Impact swears revenge on Kross tonight. He’s not worried about Cage either.
LAX and Konnan are ready for the Lucha Bros. Konnan isn’t exactly sure though and next week we’ll be having some singles matches between the team members.
Trey Miguel vs. Ethan Page
Joined in progress with Ethan blocking a hurricanrana to the floor and hitting a superkick. That doesn’t seem to bother Trey, who is right back with an Asai moonsault. Back in and a tilt-a-whirl faceplant drops Trey again, followed by a hot shot onto the top rope. The chinlock doesn’t work so well so Page switches to a pump kick instead.
Trey finally gets a breather off a jumping neckbreaker, followed by a 619 in the corner. The split legged moonsault gets two but Trey misses the top rope double stomp. It doesn’t really matter though as he Rolls the Dice (Fresh to Death) to finish Page at 6:50. I had forgotten about that move and seeing it again makes me tired of it all over again.
Rating: C. Just like the other Rascalz, Trey is a lot of fun to watch and this was no exception. It’s also a good sign for the future: this was two young stars who haven’t overstayed their welcome yet having a perfectly watchable match. You need to bring some new people along at some point and that’s what Impact is FINALLY starting to do.
We look back at Eli Drake yelling at Eddie Edwards about losing the way last week.
Drake talks to Eddie again, this time about an upcoming Impact vs. AAA match. Eddie doesn’t seem to listen, but they’re in a tag match next week against the Rascalz.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Killer Kross vs. Johnny Impact
Johnny is defending and Moose is here with Kross. A shoulder puts Johnny down but he nips up in a hurry, only to get pulled into a chinlock. That’s rather early to need a chat. Back up and Johnny knees him in the head, only to get kneed in the chest to cut him back down. A hurricanrana gets Johnny out of trouble but Moose breaks up a springboard attempt. Back from a break (without much having changed) with Kross dropping an elbow for two and choking in the corner.
A DDT gets two more and it’s off to a seated cobra clutch. Johnny fights up and hits the Flying Chuck for two, only to have Kross hit a hard clothesline for the same. The Krossjacket choke doesn’t work so Kross switches to a cross armbreaker instead. That’s broken up as well so Johnny hits the sliding German suplex. A springboard spear (cool) gets two but Starship Pain misses. The Krossjacket choke goes on again but here’s Cage to clothesline both of them for the no contest at 14:49.
Rating: C+. I just can’t get that into this main event scene and that’s still the case here. I don’t know if it’s everything being wrestling focused with limited angles or something else, but the spark isn’t there and it’s hurting things. The wrestling was fine, but nothing here makes it feel like you’re watching a major feud for the top prize in the company.
Post match Cage cleans house until it’s a showdown with Impact. Moose and Kross are cleared out and Cage stares at the title to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Another perfectly watchable and at times entertaining show. The problem continues to be a lack of a connection to anyone, which is probably why the main event scene is a problem. What reason do I have to cheer for Johnny? What reason do I have to cheer for most people here? I know who the good people and bad people are, but that doesn’t mean they’re strong characters that the fans want to get behind. That’s the big problem around here and it’s been that way for years. Until they fix that, nothing is going to get better, at least not in a big way.
Rich Swann b. El Hijo Del Vikingo – Middle rope 450
Taya Valkyrie b. Keyra – Seated STF
Rascalz b. Desi Hit Squad – Push Moonsault to Singh
Trey Miguel b. Ethan Page – Fresh to Death
Johnny Impact vs. Killer Kross went to a no contest when Brian Cage interfered
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Impact has a ton of talent right now and no idea what to do with it. It’s like they don’t know what to do without an evil boss or an NWO-like faction. Hopefully they find a creative spark soon.