Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades and Reaction from January 26
Impact Wrestling Executive Vice President Scott D'Amore promised Rich Swann, Willie Mack and Tommy Dreamer a mystery partner in their battle with Moose, Chris Bey, Sami Callihan and Ken Shamrock in a blockbuster tag team main event.
That match, and the shocking revelation, headlined a show that also featured Matt Cardona's in-ring debut on AXS TV, an appearance from All Elite Wrestling's Matt Hardy and Private Party, and Eddie Edwards vs. Brian Myers.
What went down, who emerged victorious and what does it mean for the promotion as it builds toward No Surrender on February 13? Find out now with this recap of Tuesday's broadcast.
Rich Swann Kicks Off Impact Wrestling
Impact world champion Rich Swann hit the ring for a promo as commentators Matt Striker and D'Lo Brown welcomed the audience to this week's show.
Swann acknowledged the target on his back and asked Tommy Dreamer to come to the ring. February 13 is not only the date of No Surrender, he said, but it is also Dreamer's 50th birthday. After expressing his gratitude for years of help and friendship, the titleholder said it would be his honor to defend against him at the event.
Sami Callihan interrupted the proceedings, talking himself up and saying he deserves the title opportunity. Chris Bey made his presence felt next and said February 13 is also his birthday, when he will be 25 years younger than Dreamer and if there are gifts being given out, he should receive the title opportunity.
Moose interjected next and expressed his desire for a title match.
Swann told everyone that the match with Dreamer is already set so they're all on his time. A brawl broke out, leading to Willie Mack making the save for Dreamer and Swann. The heels retreated until the lights dimmed. When they came up, Ken Shamrock attacked the babyfaces, leading to a second offensive by the heels.
Shamrock, Moose, Bey and Callihan stood tall to close out the segment.
In one segment, Impact introduced all the top players and contenders to Swann's title and set up an air of mystery as to who would get the next opportunity. We know Dreamer will challenge at No Surrender and that Moose has a guaranteed shot at some point in the future, but then what?
Is Bey a permanent fixture? Is Callihan or Shamrock of greater significance to Impact officials? Will Mack ever look to his friend for a world championship opportunity?
That there are so many questions is indicative of a promotion keeping the intrigue alive and building a quality title picture.
Matt Cardona and Josh Alexander vs. Ace Austin and Madman Fulton
At Hard to Kill, Matt Cardona made his Impact debut by battling Ace Austin in a match that ended abruptly via disqualification. On last week's show, he came to the aid of Josh Alexander when Austin and Madman Fulton attacked. Tuesday, he teamed with Alexander to battle Austin and Fulton in tag team action.
Cardona and Alexander took control early, wiping Austin and Fulton out on the floor heading into the commercial.
Back from the timeout, the heels controlled the action having wrestled the advantage during the break. The former X-Division champion and his giant sidekick worked over The Walking Weapon, cutting the ring in half and preventing him from making the tag to Cardona.
Alexander finally created separation and tagged his partner into the match. Cardona erupted like a ball of energy, taking the fight to the competition as Striker touted his tutelage under ECW Original Mikey Whipwreck.
The action broke down and Cardona caught Fulton with Radio Silence for the pinfall victory.
Cardona and Alexander defeated Austin and Fulton
Cardona looked explosive and motivated here, turning in a great showing in bursts.
It is interesting to see Alexander eat so much of the heels' offense given his raw potential to be a primetime player for Impact in the near future, but there's only so much time for everyone to get their stuff in, and his time is almost certainly coming.
A good pace, some great action down the stretch, and officials sparing Austin a loss helped make this an above-average affair. Hopefully, it is just the start of things for Cardona with the company because he has not really received the airtime or exposure he should have following his WWE departure.
Eddie Edwards vs. Brian Myers
A backstage confrontation with Cardona and Alexander preceded Brian Myers making his way to the ring for a match with former Impact world champion Eddie Edwards.
Edwards, his left arm still heavily bandaged after Barbed Wire Massacre at Hard to Kill, answered an early onslaught by Myers with a beautiful overhead suplex. Myers, though, answered by hanging Edwards up on the top rope and targeted his arm.
The Most Professional Wrestler wore Edwards down, but the defiant champion eventually laughed it off and delivered a backpack stunner for a two-count. He shook off an attempted comeback and thumbed Myers' eye to the extent that the referee called for the bell.
Edwards bit Myers above the eye, bloodying him in the process. A satisfied, yet deranged Edwards made his way up the ramp as Myers struggled to see.
Myers defeated Edwards via disqualification
There was an abundance of perfectly acceptable wrestling here, but this was less about the in-ring content and more about establishing Edwards as a changed man following Barbed Wire Massacre.
Once a respectful and honorable man, he has been forever altered by the evolving landscape in Impact. He has seen his wife threatened, his well-being adversely affected and his aspirations stunted by more sinister forces than the company has known.
And he is hellbent on changing before they take him out permanently.
It is a great story arc for Edwards, who has already done everything there is to in Impact and really will thrive on the strength of the creative he is presented.
And best of all, his actions allowed Myers to claim victory over a former world champion, no matter how tainted the win might be.
Tenille Dashwood vs. Rosemary
Matt Hardy talked up Private Party after their win last week, reminding them that their Impact tag title opportunity is coming at No Surrender and they can also soon earn a shot at the All Elite Wrestling titles by winning a Battle Royal.
Preaching "mo money," he sent them on their way.
Back in the Impact Zone, Tenille Dashwood made her way to the ring for her match with Rosemary. Kaleb (with a 'K') accompanied Dashwood, while Crazzy Steve walked with her opponent.
Rosemary started fast and furiously, taking the fight to the self-centered heel. Dashwood capitalized on a distraction by Kaleb, though, and used his camera bag as a weapon on The Demon Assassin to turn the tide in her favor. A rope-assisted neckbreaker continued her roll.
Rosemary fought back, applying the Upside Down but a top-rope dropkick missed. Dashwood answered with a corner crossbody. Her advantage would be short-lived as Rosemary fought back, delivered As Above, So Below and scored the hard-fought victory.
Rosemary defeated Dashwood
The continued underutilization of Dashwood is astonishing. She suffered another loss here and appears to have no real direction. At a time when Impact is turning in some of its finest creative work, her mishandling is an error.
Rosemary scoring the win and continuing The Decay's recent streak of success isn't a bad thing, but that particular act does not have an obvious direction, either, which makes the use of Dashwood that much more head-scratching.
Fire 'N Flava Fest
Throughout the evening, Knockouts tag team champions Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz struggled to find attendees for their Fire 'N Flava Fest. As desperation set in, they headed into the locker room and invited Johnny Swinger, John E. Bravo, and Fallah Bahh.
MC Lish (Alisha Edwards) served as the hostess, introducing the champs to the squared circle, where a most pathetic "party" awaited them.
The braggadocios young competitors talked themselves up while their guests were not overly enthusiastic about the festivities. "You left the wrapper on the cheese," Bravo said.
Eventually, Nevaeh appeared in a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume and leveled Steelz at ringside while Havok drove Hogan to the ground with a big clothesline. The presumed top contenders stood tall, having ruined the champions' special night.
Swinger hilariously selling the cheese was definitely a highlight here, but he steals almost every segment and vignette anyway, so that isn't much of a surprise.
As a segment that kept Nevaeh and Havok at the forefront, and their rivalry with Fire 'N Flava raging on, this worked. It was different, played on the idea of failed (and fraudulent) music festivals and propelled things forward. You can't ask for much more than that.
Cousin Jake vs. Joe Doering
Cousin Jake continued his vendetta against Violent By Design, battling the massive Joe Doering in singles competition while Eric Young and his cousin, Deaner, watched from the floor.
A twisted ankle momentarily hobbled Jake while a big crossbody from Doering flattened him. A chokebomb and big Stan Hansen-inspired lariat put Jake away as Doering scored an impressive, one-sided victory.
After the match, Young applied a heel hook to Jake while Deaner retrieved a steel chair and wrapped it around the lower leg of the battered babyface. Young called off his cronies, though, and dropped a yellow VBD towel on Jake, seemingly extending an invite to him.
Doering defeated Jake
Impact continues to bring along the Violent By Design faction in an efficient and effective manner.
Here, they wiped out a competitor while also looking to strengthen their stranglehold on the company by extending an olive branch to Jake. It was an intriguing development and will test Jake's character.
Does he stand up against the violent front presented by Young, Doering and Deaner or does he give in, count his losses and embrace the leadership of The World Class Madman?
The answer could define Jake, who has a ton of potential to be a star in the industry.
Eight-Man Tag Team Main Event
It wasn't all that long ago that Trey Miguel appeared to have wrestled his final match in Impact as The Rascalz took their final bow.
With Wentz and Dez now competing in NXT, Miguel made a grand return, emerging from the locker room as the mystery partner for Tommy Dreamer, Willie Mack and world champion Rich Swann as they battled Moose, Chris Bey, Sami Callihan and Ken Shamrock in the night’s main event.
Mack flattened Callihan with a standing moonsault but The Draw kicked his leg out from underneath him, allowing the heels to seize control of the bout by isolating the former X-Division champion from his partners. Moose hoisted his own partner, Bey, off the mat and powerbombed him onto Mack.
Willie finally rocked Bey with a hard right hand, created separation and made the tag to Miguel.
The former Rascal exploded into the match, unloading on Callihan with a flurry of strikes. Shamrock stunned Trey but ate a big kick from Swann. Callihan caught the champion with a powerbomb, Dreamer delivered a cutter to The Draw, and Bey followed with one of his own.
Moose then speared Mack, Miguel wiped him out with a missile dropkick and pinned Callihan to score the win for the babyfaces.
After the match, Shamrock attacked the referee, applying an ankle lock and standing tall with Callihan to close out the show.
Miguel, Mack, Dreamer and Swann defeated Shamrock, Callihan, Bey and Moose
Miguel is going to be a big star for Impact moving forward. His explosive return here, coupled with a win over former world champion Callihan, suggests there are significant plans for him in the near future.
The 26-year-old showed exactly the type of intensity and aggression you would hope for out of a star with main event potential, and Tuesday night's match could be the start of a monumental run for him.
Why Shamrock had to attack the referee to close out the show rather than keeping the focus on Miguel is a question only management can answer. We know Shamrock is a badass, and we didn't need that little angle at the end of the show to remind us.
An action-packed match, a quality surprise and a strong and healthy main event scene help earn this contest a solid B+ to wrap up a fantastic episode of Impact.