Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Impact! Wrestling: Redemption Recap

Impact! Wrestling delivered their first pay per view of 2018 as Redemption emanated tonight from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. The eight match card boasted four title bouts along with a strong representation of talent from Lucha Underground, as well as, legends “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner and “The Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer.  Fans were even surprised by Josh Matthews being accompanied on commentary by Don Callis-best known for his work in ECW and the early TNA days of Impact Wrestling. The capacity crowd was also game for this event as they remained engaged for the majority of the evening contributing to the energetic atmosphere of the Impact Zone and they were certainly not shy of voicing their opinions of the wrestlers. The only detractors of the show were the glaring omissions of such stars as Johnny Impact, Rosemary, Kongo Kong, Abyss, and one of my new favorites, Fallah Bahh.  Unbooked performers aside, Impact certainly laid the groundwork to progress through their rejuvenation as they continue to develop relationships with other promotions such as Lucha Underground and Mexico’s AAA.

Drago vs. Aerostar
Winner: Aerostar

Redemption’s opening bout featured two high-fliers from Lucha Underground as Drago squared off with Aerostar. Aerostar hit several awe inspiring moves throughout the match including a corkscrew dive, plancha, and la bombista to the outside of the ring. The finish came as Aerostar went to the ring apron and vaulted from the middle rope to hit a flying Codebreaker on Drago to earn the pinfall victory.

Impact Tag Team Championship
LAX (c) vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner
Winners: Eli Drake and Scott Steiner

Prior to the match, a backstage vignette featuring LAX members Santana and Ortiz captured a phone call received by an unknown individual identified as “King” who informed them that Konnan was “taken out” and would be absent from the match. Fast forward to the ring… Scott Steiner did what he does best as soon as he stepped into the Impact Zone and that’s infuriate the crowd. Before the bell even rang, Steiner incited the crowd into a “F*ck you Steiner!” chant. This match, in my opinion, was one of the two shockers of the evening. While LAX demonstrated some impressive tandem offense, Scott Steiner was an offensive juggernaut for his team as he hit a number of his patented belly-to-belly suplexes and most surprisingly, especially for a 55 year old man, a Frankensteiner from the top rope. In the end, Eli Drake hit the Gravy Train and we now have new tag team champions!!! (It looks like Scott Steiner will be taking some time off from running his Shoney‘s down in Georgia.)

Trevor Lee vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Taiji Ishimori vs. El Hijo Del Fantasma vs. DJZ vs. “The Machine” Brian Cage
Winner: “The Machine” Brian Cage
This match had an interesting dynamic pitting five X-Division competitors against a guy who looks like he’s training for the Arnold Classic. It was apparent that this match was intended to showcase the talent of the X-Division, get as many wrestlers involved in the pay-per-view as possible, but also to continue to build prestige of the man I view as a future heavyweight champion, Brian Cage. Brian Cage remained idle on the ring apron in the early going, however, all bets were off once he made his way into the ring. Cage certainly performed his fair share of power moves. Cage highlighted his strength as he performed a fall away slam where he launched not one, but TWO men across the ring. Cage also displayed his freak athleticism as he landed a moonsault from the middle turnbuckle. The match concluded as Brian Cage nailed Dezmond Xavier with the Drill Claw for the victory.

Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan
Winner: Taya Valkyrie
With “Lucha Royalty” Taya Valkyrie competing, I expected a more entertaining match, but the highlight of this segment was the crashing of the commentary booth by Tessa Blanchard. Tessa who showed some promise as a competitor for WWE NXT, surprised us with her appearance and put the Knockouts Division on notice! Taya Valkyrie sealed the victory with the Road to Valhalla.

X-Division Championship
Petey Williams vs. Matt Sydal (c) 
Winner: Matt Sydal
Prior to this match, Petey Williams’ backstage promo was interrupted by Scott Steiner, and in classic Steiner fashion, he told Petey that he never made love to his wife more than when he looked like him. With that being said, I really hoped Petey was going to come to the ring in his old homage to Steiner as “Little Petey Pump”, complete with his chain mail headdress-it didn‘t happen. This match was quite entertaining. We were not only treated to an aerial display but both men also demonstrated how deep their wrestling acumen reaches were, as they delved into their arsenal of submission holds showing off their technical repertoire. The match concluded with a ferocious offensive onslaught. First, Sydal had his first Shooting Star Press foiled by unceremoniously receiving knees to the ribs and was countered by Williams executing The Canadian Destoyer. Unfortunately for Williams, Sydal instinctively rolled out of the ring. Petey then attempted to execute a Super Canadian Destroyer from the top turnbuckle that Sydal escaped, and attempted to counter with another Shooting Star Press, which Williams also dodged. In the end, Sydal slipped behind Petey, pulled his arm between his legs, and flipped him onto his back rolling him up for the pinfall victory.

House of Hardcore Rules Match
Tommy Dreamer, Moose, & Eddie Edwards vs. OVE (Ohio vs. Everything)
Winners: OVE
This match stemmed from a feud between Edwards and OVE, where in the past couple weeks, the numbers game was evened with the introduction of Moose and Tommy Dreamer into the fray. This match was pure, unadulterated violence from start to finish, and it was glorious. We had tables, ladders, chairs, trash cans, kendo sticks, barbed wire bats, and a bag of tacks! The Innovator of Violence even brought a sense of ECW nostalgia to the arena as he attempted to take a barbed wire bat to the face of Sami Callihan. Dreamer was stopped short by a low blow from Callihan who rolled him up for the pinfall.

After the match Eddie Edwards lost his s*it. Edwards first finished what Dreamer started, and gashed Callihan open with the barbed wire bat leaving him drenched in blood. Edwards then duct taped Sami Callihan to the ropes and proceeded to beat him senseless with a kendo stick, swinging away at everyone who tried to intervene, even the referee. Unfortunately for the Lone Wolf, his reckless abandon generated serious repercussions as his wife came to the ring to attempt to halt the violence and took a kendo stick to the face for her efforts. The segment closed with a distraught Edwards standing over his wife as medical personnel tended to her, and the Impact Zone briefly chanted “wife beater.”

Knockouts Championship Match
Allie (c) vs. Su Yung
Winner: Allie
After being rejected in recent weeks by Laurel Van Ness and more prominently by Allie (who is his real life wife ironically), Braxton Sutter aligned himself with “The Undead Bride” Su Yung. Both ladies put forth a very competitive match as Allie displayed a myriad of moves in one of her best Impact performances to date. The match concluded as Allie hit a super kick on Su Yung, as Sutter decided to distract the ref on the ring apron. After Allie disposed of him with a slap to the face, she was hoisted up on the shoulders of Yung. Allie tactfully slipped out of the Panic Switch and rolled Su Yung up for the pin. After the match, Sutter thought it would be a good idea to approach Yung who was distraught over her loss with a marriage proposal. Yung aptly responded by spitting “blood” in his face and taking him down with a Mandible Claw.

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Austin Aries (c) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix
Winner: Pentagon Jr.
This match was originally billed as Aries vs. Alberto El Patron until El Patron no-showed Wrestlecon in New Orleans during Wrestlemania weekend and was subsequently terminated from Impact Wrestling. Impact Wrestling took this opportunity to further solidify their relationship with Lucha Underground by incorporating two of their stars into this title fight. Aries was pitted against brothers Pentagon Jr. and Fenix in the match of the night. Words can do no justice to how captivated I was by the frenetic pace of this spectacle of sports entertainment. I thought this bout was over when Aries hit an incredible 450 splash on both opponents as they laid prone in the corner to no avail as the brothers kicked out. In the closing moments of the match Pentagon Jr. executed an unbelievable move as he SIMULTANEOUSLY landed a Gory Special on Fenix and a double package pile driver on Aries. Pentagon then snapped back the arm of Aries as he laid senseless and sealed the deal with the impressive Pentagon Driver for the victory!

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