IMPACT Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 23
On the road to Impact Wrestling's Rebellion pay-per-view, AEW world champion Kenny Omega and "The Invisible Hand" Don Callis returned to the Impact Zone to address the upcoming title-for-title match against Rich Swann on April 24.
The Cleaner's appearance headlined a show that also featured Eddie Edwards against The Good Brothers' Karl Anderson, Knockouts champion Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jazz, and an X-Division Championship defense by Ace Austin.
Who won the night's biggest matches, which stars built the most momentum and what effect did it all have on the road to Rebellion?
Find out with this recap of Tuesday's AXS TV broadcast.
BTI: Tasha Steelz vs. Alisha
Tuesday's action kicked off with AXS TV's Behind The Impact where Knockouts tag team champion Tasha Steelz, accompanied by partner Kiera Hogan, battled Alisha in singles competition.
Steelz trash-talked and condescended Alisha early, only to fall victim to a series of arm drags and a running senton. The heel halted the fiery babyface's momentum, downing her and stomping away in the corner.
Tasha rocked Alisha with a kick to the face but could only keep her opponent down for two. Alisha delivered a flatliner for a two-count of her own, igniting a babyface comeback. Alisha delivered a series of clothesline and a corner hip attack. She added a dropkick in the corner and a second flatliner for another near-fall.
A late attempt at interference from Hogan allowed Steelz to recover and deliver the Drop for the pinfall victory.
Steelz defeated Alisha
This had nothing to do with an ongoing storyline, but it was a fun, spirited little match that allowed Alisha to show off as the spunky underdog while highlighting the underrated Steelz.
Alisha was great when she was fighting from underneath, showing exactly the type of fire you want from a performer in that role. Steelz was great as the overconfident heel, narrowly escaping defeat thanks to her own intuition and a little well-timed distraction from Hogan.
It was a smartly booked match, the right woman went over and everyone involved worked hard. You cannot ask for more from a match specifically designed to set the stage for the night's broadcast.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jazz
Knockouts champion Deonna Purrazzo kicked off this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, battling the legendary, future Hall of Famer Jazz in a non-title match.
Grappling dominated the opening moments as Jazz tried to prove she could outwrestle The Virutosa early. She added some of her trademark jabs, rocking Purrazzo and keeping her off-kilter.
Purrazzo turned the tide in her favor, seeking a submission, but Jazz fought her way out of her opponent's grasp and mounted a comeback.
A pinfall attempt was interrupted by Susan, who draped Purrazzo's foot over the rope. Jordynne Grace attempted to cut Susan off at ringside but ate a shoe to the face. Moments later, the suit-wearing, manager-talking heel hopped on the apron and blasted Jazz with the same shoe, allowing the Knockouts champion to score the tainted victory.
Purrazzo defeated Jazz
There will be some who find fault with the overbooked finish and Susan getting involved to spur it, but as a result, we have the possibility of a rematch on a bigger stage.
Jazz has been nothing short of fantastic in her role since coming back. The grizzled, respected veteran who can still grapple, throw hands and force tapouts, she has earned her way into title contention by proving she still has gas in the proverbial tank.
Here, she nearly won the match against the champion but was undone by the involvement of one of The Virtuosa's right-hand women. The argument can be made that a title opportunity is hers, and with Rebellion coming up on April 24, there may be no better place to pull the trigger on such a match.
X-Division Championship Match: Ace Austin vs. TJP
"The Inevitable" Ace Austin defeated TJP to capture the X-Division Championship two weeks ago, and Tuesday he defended in the former titleholder's contractual rematch.
Austin struck the first blow, delivering a springboard kick for a one-count. TJP answered with a plancha that wiped the champion out. Austin recovered and stunned his opponent with another kick. The champion scaled the ropes, but TJP met him up there for a superplex. Austin countered, dropping him to the mat with an inverted superplex instead.
The champion dominated throughout the break and tied TJP up in a double chicken wing coming back from the commercial.
TJP fought back, dropped Austin in the corner and paint-brushed him with a running kick to the face. TJP tried for the Detonation Kick, but Austin caught him with a spinning kick and then added a leg drop from the top rope for a near-fall.
TJP answered with an octopus submission that was broken when Madman Fulton pulled the champion to the ropes.
The challenger tried for the Detonation Kick, but Austin escaped once. He did not a second time, though, and TJP followed with the Mamba Splash. Fulton broke up the count, drawing a disqualification. He beat down TJP with Austin until Josh Alexander made the save, chasing the heels off with a steel chair.
TJP defeated Austin via disqualification
Austin and TJP have wicked in-ring chemistry. They proved it two weeks ago and again here, delivering an expertly wrestled match that fell just a notch below the original, thanks to the screwy finish.
The introduction of Alexander to the title picture opens up the opportunity for a three-way rivalry and further exposure for The Walking Weapon. All three are extraordinary wrestlers, and Alexander has certainly earned the opportunity through his years as one-half of The North.
Most importantly, it freshens things up and keeps fans from burning out on the Austin-TJP pairing.
A Sit-Down Interview with Matt Cardona
Gia Miller sat down with Matt Cardona for a special interview.
Cardona said he came to Impact because all he has ever wanted to do is be a pro wrestler. He ran through the list of people who have impressed him since his debut at Hard to Kill before Miller transitioned to the topic of Brian Myers.
Cardona repeatedly said he did not come to Impact Wrestling to follow Brian Myers or steal the spotlight. He ended the promo by challenging his podcast partner to a one-on-one match.
Short, sweet and to the point.
This was a welcome opportunity for Cardona to get some mic time while addressing the elephant in the room: his budding rivalry with longtime friend and tag team partner Myers.
If they are allowed the chance, theirs is a match that can be built through The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast and social media outlets. It is a program that can transcend a wrestling show, all the while building to a hotly anticipated wrestling match.
The potential is there, and this was an effective way to jump-start the build.
Fallah Bahh vs. Rohit Raju
The product of a backstage interaction earlier on the show, Fallah Bahh battled former X-Division champion Rohit Raju in singles competition.
Raju earned the early upper hand as he dodged a crossbody from Bahh and proceeded to ground the big man. He worked him over, looking to prevent Bahh from being able to utilize his strength and size advantage.
Bahh flattened Rohit, but the Mocha Skinned Manimal answered with a jumping knee. He rolled out of the way of a sit-down splash and rolled Bahh up for the win.
Raju defeated Bahh
This was not particularly good, but not for lack of effort.
The work was there, but the chemistry was not, and the result was Raju working circles around Bahh, eager to show off just how improved an in-ring performer he has become. He was at a totally different speed, and Bahh could not keep up.
And that was the point of the match. Raju kept the pace at a higher level so he could ultimately catch Bahh just like he did.
Still, whether the match played to the story or not, it simply did not play to the strengths of either man. At least the right man went over.
Kenny Omega Appears on Impact Wrestling
AEW world champion Kenny Omega returned to the site of his victory over Rich Swann back at Hard To Kill in a gigantic six-man tag team match, accompanied into the Impact Zone by "The Invisible Hand" Don Callis.
Callis recapped his conversation with Swann from last week, Omega adding the occasional soundbite.
The Impact Executive Vice President and Omega both emphasized that no one has ever kicked out of the One-Winged Angel, potentially setting up a key moment in the upcoming match with Swann.
Callis said he is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the success and legacy of Omega.
The insufferable heels threw to a video package highlighting Omega's One-Winged Angel.
Omega said Swann's name will be etched alongside his in history, but only as a footnote. Omega said his arrival in Impact was the best moment in the promotion's life. For him, though, it was Tuesday. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Cleaner said no one will pry the Impact and TNA world titles he will win at Rebellion from him until he is cold and dead in the ground.
From the outside looking in, it feels like a foregone conclusion that Omega will defeat Swann and take the Impact and TNA titles, adding to a collection that also includes the AAA Mega and AEW World Championships.
Promos like this suggest that may not be quite as obvious as we thought it was.
Unless the idea is to completely and utterly rob Impact of any and all credibility in this crossover wrestling war, this felt like a classic promo from overconfident heels so absolutely certain they will cakewalk over the opposition, only to lose in grand fashion.
No, Swann is not likely to win the AEW Championship. It will be up to the companies to figure out how to wiggle their way out of that one. Still, this story feels like a setup for a monumental Swann victory.
If not, it will be time to ask questions about AEW's intentions with this business partnership and what Impact is really supposed to get out of it when its roster has been undermined to the extent that it has.
Regardless of what the outcome ultimately is, there is no denying Callis and Omega were having a hell of a lot of fun and really hammered home a quality promo to set up Rebellion.
Trey Miguel vs. Acey Romero
Following a backstage confrontation, Trey Miguel battled XXXL's Acey Romero in singles competition, the latter's partner, Larry D, watching from ringside.
A ferocious Miguel took the fight to Romero from the opening bell, but the big man dropped him with a uranage. Miguel recovered quickly and gained the upper hand momentarily. Romero cut him off with a sidewalk slam ahead of the break.
Back from the commercial, Romero continued to punish Miguel, sapping the life out of him while working a ground-based offense. The former Rascal attempted a comeback, but Romero caught him with a body-shattering pounce.
He could still only keep the resilient babyface down for two.
Miguel survived the move, delivered Meteora and earned the hard-fought win.
After the match, Larry D attacked, joining his partner in a two-on-one beatdown of Miguel. Static engulfed the Impact Zone and Sami Callihan arrived, clearing the ring of the heels and leaving Miguel to wonder what just happened.
Miguel defeated Romero
This was all about presenting Miguel as a tenacious, resilient competitor, and in that regard, it worked.
The action was solid, too, as Romero managed to keep up with his much faster, more agile opponent.
The arrival of Callihan as he made the save, obviously playing mind games with Miguel and leaving him wondering what The Draw's real motives are, was a solid storyline development on top of it all.
The feud between Miguel and Callihan remains one of the more intriguing on this show.
Karl Anderson vs. Eddie Edwards
Prior to Tuesday's main event, Scott D'Amore interrupted a "Cowboy" James Storm interview and announced Storm's 1,000th match in an Impact Wrestling ring will be a throwback to the roots of the company as he battles Violent By Design's Eric Young.
Back in the Impact Zone, The Good Brothers' Karl Anderson made his way to the ring for his showdown with former world champion Eddie Edwards.
Edwards wiped out Anderson and Doc Gallows with a tope suicida entering the final commercial of the evening.
During the break, Anderson seized control of the match. He worked a headlock, grounding Edwards. The heart and soul of Impact fought his way back to his feet, elbowed out of the hold and flattened Anderson with series of clotheslines.
A backpack stunner earned Edwards a two-count. He followed with a Blue Thunder Bomb for another near-fall. Anderson threw a hard right hand, slowing a sprinting Edwards.
Late, Eddie evaded a Stun Gun and delivered a rolling elbow. He rolled Anderson up, but the heel kicked out, sending his opponent directly into a steel chair expertly placed by Gallows. Anderson benefited from the weapon and scored the win.
After the match, FinJuice appeared and sent The Good Brothers a message via video to end the show.
Anderson defeated Edwards
This was a perfectly acceptable bit of wrestling that showcased two of the higher-profile names in the company, highlighted The Good Brothers' willingness to do whatever it takes to pick up a win and added the FinJuice promo at the end to further that program.
This worked, capping off a jam-packed episode in which storylines were propelled forward, others were introduced and the top talent in the promotion was all over the show.
Above all else, it proves a commitment from Impact to tag team wrestling, especially with a recognizable act like Gallows and Anderson to showcase.