Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 20
On the heels of a dynamic Under Siege, Impact Wrestling hit the airwaves Thursday night with a show headlined by a world tag team title defense by David Finlay and Juice Robinson, an appearance by new No. 1 contender Moose, and two matches spotlighting the Knockouts division.
What went down when Moose shared the same building with AEW and Impact world champion Kenny Omega? Would FinJuice emerge with their titles intact as they prepared for another trip to Japan?
Find out the answers to those questions and more with this recap of the May 20 episode.
Jake Something vs. Rohit Raju
Rohit Raju cost Jake Something an opportunity to compete for the Impact World Championship, and they brought their feud to a head in a singles match to kick off the show.
Something exploded out of the gate, wiping Raju out with a big clothesline. The larger athlete's roll came to an abrupt end when Shera interfered at ringside, laying him out.
The Desi Hitman seized control of the match, laying into Something with strikes and using his momentum against him on more than one occasion. Raju delivered a jumping arm breaker, turning his attention to the arm and shoulder of his opponent. He added a buzzsaw kick to the head for a near-fall.
Jake clubbed Rohit to the ground, creating separation and allowing him to mount a comeback. He delivered a big Spear in the corner and downed the former X-Division champion for a close two-count. Raju answered with a jumping knee, a running forearm in the corner and a big boot to the face.
Raju tried for a cannonball in the corner, but Something countered and downed him. Raju applied a crossface, but the babyface powered out. He took Raju up for a suplex, but Shera pulled Something's foot out from under him, allowing Raju to fall on him and score the tainted pinfall victory.
After the match, an irate Something attacked Shera, pummeling him around ringside as Raju watched, not in any hurry to help his associate. A vengeful Something drove Shera through a table and talked trash to Raju to close out the segment.
Raju defeated Something
This was a good, solid match to start things off.
Raju is the hidden treasure of Impact and has been for the last year. He has been superb and continued to show off his growth as a wrestler in this match. The same can be said for Something, who is constantly evolving as a performer.
However, it was the post-match antics that really stood out.
Something has needed that edge for months now. We've seen spurts of intensity and rage but they often precede losses. Here, his outburst was caused by the loss. He was pissed off and looking to take out the frustration of the defeat on the man responsible for it.
In the process, he showed us the sort of Jake Something who can achieve bigger and better things in Impact with an opportunity or two.
Tenille Dashwood vs. Kiera Hogan
With her pitch for a tag team spurned by Taylor Wilde, Tenille Dashwood wasted little time taking the fight to one half of the Knockouts tag champions Kiera Hogan, flattening her with a butterfly suplex as both Kaleb and Tasha Steelz watched from the floor.
Hogan turned the tide on her opponent, seizing control of the match as the show went to commercial break.
Hogan continued her onslaught, punishing Dashwood with a kick to the face and taunting Kaleb on the floor. Dashwood halted the momentum of her opponent, rebounding off a superkick and wiping Hogan out.
Tenille rolled Hogan up, kicked her feet and earned the roll-up victory from out of nowhere.
After the match, Steelz attacked. Kaleb attempted to aid his friend but ate a big DDT from Kimber Lee, who hit the ring alongside Susan and Knockouts champion Deonna Purrazzo for a beatdown of the Aussie. Taylor Wilde made the save by pounding away at Purrazzo.
The numbers game continued to be problematic for the babyfaces until Havok appeared. She overpowered the heels and helped even the odds. She tossed the opposition to the floor before checking on Dashwood and Wilde.
As the heels retreated, Decay showed up to scare them off.
Dashwood defeated Hogan
The match was strange in that it happened almost exclusively through the commercial break, then ended abruptly. Dashwood didn’t look particularly impressive as she knocked off one of the tag champions, especially if she is intended in teaming with Wilde to battle Fire 'N Flava down the road.
Purrazzo, Kimber Lee and Susan have unfinished business with Dashwood, but they felt forced into the segment and everything that came after was a bit too messy and random for this writer’s liking.
What the segment did, though, was showcase the some of incredibly skilled wrestlers the Knockouts division features right now. It is, arguably, the most loaded part of the roster and a huge asset to what the company is doing in establishing its own identity.
VSK vs. Petey Williams
VSK returned to Impact for the first time since his impressive debut against El Phantasmo, battling former X-Division champion Petey Williams in singles competition.
The Canadian Destroyer outclassed his younger opponent early, leaping over the top rope and catching VSK with a hurricanrana. The young star responded, bodyslamming Williams and following it immediately with a standing frog splash.
Williams fought back, delivered a tilt-a-whirl Russian leg sweep and followed up with a neckbreaker. He set up for the Canadian Destroyer, but VSK countered out into a half-and-half backbreaker for two. Counters and reversals ensued, with William delivering a powerbomb ahead of the Canadian Destroyer for the competitive victory.
Backstage, Gia Miller caught up with former world champion Rich Swann, who took full responsibility for his loss to Kenny Omega at Rebellion and made no excuses for it.
He did turn his attention to W. Morrissey, who exploded from out of nowhere and blasted him with a big boot. He grabbed the former champion and tossed him out of the building, staring menacingly at him as the show headed to break.
Williams defeated VSK
The match between Williams and VSK was a solid exhibition, with some great counter wrestling and a second strong performance by the latter.
It didn’t have much to do with any ongoing feuds but it did give the commentary team the opportunity to put over Williams and his contributions to the history of the promotion.
Plus, any time Petey is on the screen, odds are something good will come of it. This was no different.
The attack by Morrissey on Swann, and Miller selling it as well as she did, was great and really adds heat to a blossoming rivalry that could well culminate in a big showdown at Slammiversary in July.
Kudos to Morrissey for showing great rage but, most importantly, to Miller for putting over fear and concern appropriately.
Kenny Omega, Don Callis Interrupt Moose
Moose made his way to the ring just days after becoming No. 1 contender at Under Siege. He put over the legends and icons Kenny Omega has defeated in his career, such as Okada, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley.
He reminded Omega and the audience that he is a wrestling god and no other god can measure up to him.
This brought Omega and Don Callis out, with the latter agreeing with Moose and referring to him as the most physically gifted wrestler in the business. Callis asked how many Super Bowls Moose won, insinuating he has spent his whole career coasting by on his potential.
Moose threatened to rip Callis' head off and shove it up Omega's ass. Omega claimed he wasn’t against putting his Against All Odds opponent in his place.
Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson appeared and the numbers game looked to be against Moose. Then, the arena darkened and when the lights came up, Sami Callihan wielded a bat and chased the heels off.
The dynamics here are strong, the interest surrounding Omega’s title defense against Moose is high, and the X-factor that is Callihan creates further intrigue for the title picture moving forward.
That all makes for a hot pay-per-view main event, exactly the sort of thing Impact banks on Omega delivering.
Rachael Ellering vs. Jordynne Grace
After Jordynne Grace expressed frustration over her and Rachael Ellering's loss of the Knockouts tag titles at Under Siege, Thicc Mama Pump went to EVP Scott D'Amore and asked for a match. He booked one against her former championship partner.
The women took their time early, with neither quickly jockeying for position or looking to make the sort of mistake that could cost them. The show went to commercial with neither woman carrying the advantage.
An aggressive Grace finally seized control, grounding Ellering and rocking her with a running, low clothesline for two. She applied a full nelson, but Ellering showed considerable power as she fought out of the hold and broke her opponent's grip.
Ellering delivered a big jumping uppercut, then added a running senton for two. A series of pinfalls and reversals gave way to Ellering stacking her opponent and scoring the upset victory.
After the match, a frustrated Grace sat in disbelief before rising and weakly embracing Ellering.
Ellering defeated Grace
For the second time in the course of this show, a Knockouts match was hampered by a lack of time and a commercial break right in the middle of it.
The disjointed presentation and the abrupt finish never allowed the performers to tell much of a story, resulting in a series of moves or reversals en route to an outcome that didn't matter.
More important is the sudden frustration Grace finds herself on the receiving end of. She is tired of losing and will almost certainly turn heel, presumably on Ellering, and enjoy another title-worthy run.
After all, she is one of the most gifted women’s wrestlers on the planet and could use a character revamp to avoid staleness.
Impact Tag Team Title Match: FinJuice vs. Ace Austin and Madman Fulton
The Impact tag team titles were up for grabs in the main event as FinJuice battled "The Inevitable" Ace Austin and Madman Fulton.
After a hot start by the champions, Juice Robinson ran right into a big clothesline by Fulton on the floor, turning the tide in the favor of the challengers. Several minutes of domination by Austin and Fulton left Robinson reeling but a big shoulder tackle to the former X-Division champion allowed Juice to tag David Finlay into the match.
The son of the legendary Fit Finlay, the champion took Fulton off the apron and joined Robinson for some tandem offense.
The heels cleared Finlay out and refocused on Robinson, driving him into the mat for a near-fall. Fulton hoisted Robinson up, and Austin delivered a springboard kick, driving Juice into the mat for a dramatic two-count. Fulton lifted Robinson up in a chokeslam and Austin came off with The Fold, but Finlay broke up the count.
They tried the same combo on Finlay, who delivered a stunner that left Austin crotched on the top rope.
A second stunner to Fulton gave way to Pulp Friction from Robinson, who earned the win.
After the match, Violent By Design made their way to the ring. Rhino, possessor of the Call Your Shot trophy, handed it over to the official for an immediate tag team title opportunity.
The Man Beast turned Finlay inside out with the Gore, and Doering did the same to Robinson, wiping him out with a lariat for the gold.
FinJuice defeated Austin and Fulton; Violent By Design defeated FinJuice to win the titles
Robinson and Finlay had a banger of a match with Austin and Fulton, arguably their best title bout to date. Then, what was beginning to feel like a definitive title reign came to an unexpected halt by way of Violent By Design and the trophy most fans forgot Rhino possessed.
One has to wonder how much VBD's victory would have meant had the faction not been out of the spotlight for as long as they were. At the same time, the fact that they were out of sight helped with the surprise element of the angle.
The question now is whether this is the end of FinJuice's run with Impact. One hopes not because they bring an energy to shows that the tag team division needed and will continue to need moving forward.
A feud with VBD could lead to some great matches and storyline potential, all the more reason the team should come back if that is possible based on their contracts with New Japan Pro-Wrestling.