Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 17
On the heels of an Against All Odds pay-per-view that concluded with executive vice president Don Callis firing Sami Callihan and throwing the Slammiversary main event into disarray, Impact Wrestling hit the airwaves Thursday night with questions to answer and a packed card.
What did Callihan have in store for his former employers and what did it mean for The Draw's shot at Kenny Omega's Impact World Championship?
Find out now with this recap of the June 17 episode.
TJP vs. Black Taurus
Following a disappointing loss to tag team champions Violent By Design, Decay's Black Taurus battled TJP in the night's opening contest. Fallah Bahh accompanied TJP while Crazzy Steve seconded Taurus.
Taurus grounded TJP and worked over his back, looking to drive the fight out of his smaller opponent. The former X-Division champion fought his way back into the match, delivering a big Tornado DDT that downed his opponent and set up the Mamba Splash for the victory.
Afterward, Moose attacked the victor in response to Scott D'Amore not having time to talk to him about the controversial conclusion of the Against All Odds main event against Kenny Omega. He took a seat in the middle of the ring, demanding D'Amore's time.
Chris Sabin attacked from out of nowhere, sending a message to Moose that they have unfinished business after the assault that left him sidelined.
TJP defeated Taurus
The opener was a fun, albeit formulaic, match that spotlighted two tag teams looking to get into the title picture while putting TJP over in solid, comeback fashion.
The bigger takeaway from this segment was Moose's post-match beatdown and the return of Sabin. It remains to be seen in which direction this goes, but there are worse things to keep two of the most decorated and prominent stars in Impact history busy than a match at Slammiversary on July 17.
Sabin as the rejuvenated and intense babyface is a great role for him and one that should earn him his highest-profile PPV opportunity since Hard to Kill.
Update: Sabin officially challenged Moose to a match at Slammiversary in a post-commercial promo.
Josh Alexander vs. Madman Fulton
At Against All Odds, Madman Fulton obliterated the top contenders to the X-Division Championship. Thursday, he had the opportunity to send an even louder message as he battled champion Josh Alexander in a non-title match.
A ferocious Fulton predictably dominated due to his size and strength advantage, but Alexander, the resident iron man of Impact, fought back and downed his rival for the hard-fought pinfall victory.
After the match, Ace Austin attacked, drawing out Petey Williams for the save. Rohit Raju lashed out and Trey Miguel rushed the ring to make his presence felt. Shera, Raju's associate, unloaded on everyone around him, including Alexander.
The heels stood tall to end the segment.
Alexander defeated Fulton
If the idea here was to establish Fulton and Shera as dangerous wild cards in the upcoming Ultimate X match at Slammiversary, would it not have been better for Fulton not to have just lost to Alexander?
That the match took place primarily through the commercial break didn't help with the overall grade of the segment.
The idea of Shera and Fulton being involved come July 17 is intriguing, but it felt like this entire segment could have been better retooled to help preserve Fulton's momentum while highlighting the heel big men.
Steve Maclin Debuts
Steve Maclin made his Impact debut this week when he squared off with Jason Page.
The former Forgotten Son battered his opponent with a barrage of elbows. From there, he grabbed his opponent in an inverted DDT, hoisted him in the air and brought him crashing down for the win.
Maclin defeated Page
Maclin is a guy who could not have had less of a chance to showcase himself in WWE. He was woefully underutilized, particularly in the wake of a controversial tweet by former Forgotten Sons teammate Jaxson Ryker.
Now gone from WWE, he has the opportunity to prove himself not only as a singles star but as more than the afterthought he had been treated like for far too long.
This was an impressive start as he steamrolled Page, and he looks like a guy with a ton of upside in Impact.
Tenille Dashwood vs. Rachael Ellering
After a backstage confrontation with partner Jordynne Grace ended badly, Rachael Ellering took to the squared circle for a showdown with the heel at the center of their tension, Tenille Dashwood.
Dashwood seized control of the bout early, but The Queen of Strong Smile fought back into the match, absorbing everything thrown at her and delivering a spinebuster late for a quality near-fall.
Dashwood responded by sending the second-generation competitor into the turnbuckle and delivering a corner crossbody for her own near-fall.
However, a late distraction by Kaleb at ringside allowed Tenille to grab hold of a crucifix roll-up for the win.
Dashwood defeated Ellering
This was a strong match between two underrated in-ring performers.
Dashwood reminded fans that, beyond the self-absorbed heel persona, there is a performer who helped revolutionize women's wrestling. And Ellering reminded fans why she was once one of the hottest free agents in the business.
Kaleb interfering ruined an otherwise above-average match but was right in line with that character and what he brings to Dashwood's overall presentation.
The question now, though, will be whether Ellering takes exception to Grace not being by her side and preventing the loss.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Rhino
Kojima failed to knock off Joe Doering at Against All Odds, but the legendary Japanese competitor had the opportunity to earn himself and Eddie Edwards an Impact Tag Team Championship match at Slammiversary.
Rhino worked the head and neck of his opponent while Eric Young, Deaner and Doering watched approvingly at ringside. The Man Beast controlled the majority of the bout before Kojima created separation, fought back and put him away with his trademark lariat.
Kojima defeated Rhino
There wasn't much to this one, which is surprising given the physicality of both men. Instead, it was a fairly one-dimensional match that saw Kojima fight from underneath to win the match and earn the tag title opportunity for him and Edwards come July 17.
While it is not the most dynamic feud possible, there is a ton of veteran talent that has been on pay-per-view countless times and knows what to do to deliver the best match possible.
Latest on Sami Callihan's Future
Sami Callihan appeared in the ring and called out those responsible for him being fired at Against All Odds.
EVP Scott D'Amore warned Callihan that he was doing exactly what Don Callis wanted, proving his point that he was too out-of-control to remain with the company. The Draw heeded the advice and disappeared, leaving the executives to bicker with each other.
Tommy Dreamer then revealed himself to be the Anthem executive sent to the arena Thursday night, and he reinstated Callihan. He then proceeded to fire Callis as one of the EVPs of the company.
As the defiant executive made his way through the curtain, Callihan greeted him but promised no violence. Instead, he vowed to beat Kenny Omega senseless and make him watch.
Dreamer has warned D'Amore from the start of the crossover with AEW that the relationship with Callis would prove detrimental for all involved. It was never out front, but it was done in a way that suggested it would come back into play at some point.
It did and in an angle that was executed as well as it could have been. Dreamer acting as the guy who not only reinstated his tag team partner from this past Saturday night but also fired Callis was a great bit of storytelling. Whether it lends him any more power moving forward, and what it means for his relationship with D'Amore, bears watching.
Callihan antagonizing Callis and threatening Omega was a great sell for the PPV match and that program should make for some great TV in the weeks to come.