Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades and Reaction from August 19
For the first time since his historic victory over Kenny Omega on the debut episode of AEW Rampage, new Impact world champion Christian Cage returned to the Impact Zone to address the company and its fans.
Just 48 hours before Emergence on Impact Plus, what did Captain Charisma have to say about his No. 1 contender, Brian Myers?
The answer, as well as the Impact Wrestling debut of former WWE women's champion Melina, awaited audiences Thursday night on AXS TV.
Moose and Ace Austin vs. Chris Sabin and Sami Callihan
A backstage brawl between Eddie Edwards and W. Morrissey spilled into the Impact Zone to kick off this week's show. Sami Callihan, longtime Edwards rival, made the save for his familiar foe before demanding his scheduled tag match get underway.
Callihan teamed with Chris Sabin to battle Ace Austin and Moose in a preview of Friday's four-way No. 1 contenders' match.
Sabin and Callihan dominated early but the heels downed Sabin and cut him off from his partner. Their control of the contest came to an end with a hot tag to Callihan, who exploded into the match and took the fight to the competition, much to the delight of the Impact faithful.
Sabin stole Callihan's thunder, pinning Austin following Cradle Shock. After the match, a dismayed Callihan dropped his own partner with a spike piledriver and stood tall.
Sabin and Callihan defeated Austin and Moose
This was a high-energy way to start the show, first with the brawl, then with the tag match.
Callihan making the save for Edwards is an interesting choice given their history and almost immediately sets The Draw up as the next feud for Morrissey. Do not be surprised if the big man gets involved Friday night and costs him a shot at the Impact world title.
Austin taking the pin could very easily suggest he will pick up the win at Emergence but considering this isn't WWE and Impact doesn't specialize in 50-50 booking, that doesn't feel likely.
Moose should be the favorite to win and earn a shot at Christian; another opportunity to capture a title that has eluded him thus far in his career.
Shera vs. Matt Cardona
A week after Rohit Raju cost him a match against John Skyler, Matt Cardona battled The Mocha-Skinned Manimal's muscle, Shera, in singles competition.
A hot start for the Long Island Broski was negated quickly by the strength and size of his opponent, who wrestled away control of the match heading into the break. Shera wore Cardona down, working a headlock until Cardona mounted a comeback.
The current GCW world champion fought back and scored the win, building momentum for his match with Raju at Emergence.
Cardona defeated Shera
Both men worked hard but there wasn't much too this one. Cardona looked strong fighting from underneath and the win was a nice bit of redemption after last week's stunning upset loss, but this was little more than an extended enhancement match.
Shera works hard but is clearly Raju's muscle, designed to do the heavy lifting each week and win/lose to set up his feuds. Working with someone with the experience of Cardona will do wonders for him as he looks to have a greater footprint in the company.
Christian Cage Returns to the Impact Zone
The return of Locker Room Talk with Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood aired, hyping the former's match against Taylor Wilde at Emergence. It gave way to a backstage segment in which Kaleb confronted Jake Something, setting them on a collision course.
Back in the Impact Zone, Christian Cage made his first appearance with the company. After recalling his history with Impact Wrestling and getting emotional over his championship victory, he announced the retirement of the TNA Championship. As a result, the Impact world title will be the most coveted prize in the company.
Brian Myers and Sam Beale interrupted the proceedings, the former telling the champion he will defeat him at Emergence. Cage congratulated him on stepping out of Matt Cardona's shadow and finally realizing some of his potential.
Cage said Myers may be the most professional wrestler but he is the best professional wrestler and will show it Friday.
It was great to see Cage back in the company in which he won his first world title. He looked at home, the biggest star in a company that still exists because a star of his magnitude once chose it over WWE.
The fans love him, the emotion was real and his putting the Impact world title over did a ton to enhance its meaning.
The feud with Myers is a placeholder, for sure, but even his interaction with the former tag team champion helped make him feel like a credible contender with a purpose.
Even if there is no chance in hell that Myers actually wins Friday night.
Melina in Action
Melina made her Impact Wrestling debut ahead of her NWA Empower match with Knockouts champion Deonna Purrazzo, battling Brandi Lauren in singles competition.
The match was short-lived as the veteran competitor downed Lauren and tapped her out for the mostly uncontested victory.
After the match, Purrazzo attacked Melina, looking to send a message to the former WWE women's champion. As Melina gained the upper-hand, Matt Rehwoldt pulled her off The Virtuosa. Trey Miguel made the save and stood tall with Melina to close out the segment.
Melina defeated Lauren
Melina looked great here in this short sprint of a match, showing the sort of talent that helped her conquer the WWE women's division over a decade ago. The question is whether she can hang with an elite performer like Purrazzo in what will be one of the matches NWA builds its pay-per-view event around.
The introduction of Rehwoldt and Miguel to the equation suggests a mixed tag match is probably on the horizon. Given the talent involved, that should be a hell of a match.
No Disqualification Match: Jake Something vs. Kaleb
Backstage, David Finlay found Juice Robinson lying, nursing a knee injury caused by an unknown assailant.
A video package highlighted Jordynne Grace's recent power lifting competition.
Back in the Impact Zone, Jake Something made his way to the ring for a no disqualification match against Kaleb, just 24 hours before an X-Division Championship match against Josh Alexander.
The match was short-lived as Something bowled over his opponent and put him away with a spear through a table for the win. After the match, Alexander made his way to the ring, staring Something down moments after his top contender expressed no fear in competing against The Walking Weapon tomorrow at Emergence.
Something defeated Kaleb
Something is a star of the future and should capture a lot of attention by way of his match with the great Alexander but this entire segment felt more like time filler.
Nothing accomplished during or after the match couldn't have been accomplished elsewhere, in a more compact segment. Something doesn't look any better for steamrolling Kaleb and the staredown was something we already saw earlier in the night during a backstage confrontation.
A rare misfire for a company that typically maximizes its minutes.
Doc Gallows vs. Joe Doering
Two of Impact's biggest, baddest hosses battled in the main event of this week's show as The Good Brothers' Doc Gallows squared off with Violent By Design's Joe Doering.
A hard-hitting, physical battle spilled out of the ring and up the ramp before Gallows delivered a chokebomb through part of the stage, much to the shock and awe of the commentary team.
Referees, wrestlers and medical professionals checked on the well-being of Doering. After several moments of recovery, the big man emerged from the wreckage and made his way back to the squared circle, hellbent on continuing the fight.
A big boot from Gallows stunned his opponent but Doering caught The Big LG in mid-flight with a lariat clothesline and fell on top of him for the pinfall victory.
Doering defeated Gallows
This is how you make a star.
Doering looked like an unbeatable badass here, shaking off the devastating bump he took through the stage and still managing to beat Gallows with a single lariat clothesline to the face. It was a display of badassery the likes of which propels stars to the top of the company based on the connection it forges between audience and performer.
Gallows selling the impact of the lariat was great, too.
What really helped make this a success was just how different it is from everything else we see across the wrestling landscape. The days of big guys just beating the hell out of each other are gone so when two guys do it as well as these two did, it really stands out.
A great conclusion to an up-and-down show.