Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from January 20
The January 20 episode of Impact Wrestling may have been headlined by a showdown between Josh Alexander and the returning Charlie Haas but it was the framework for a rivalry between the company and the invading squad from Ring of Honor that stole headlines and created buzz in the closing moments.
Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Vincent and PCO, led by Maria Kanellis, raised hell and forced Impact to unite in the face of their onslaught.
Who stepped up to stop them and what else went down on a newsworthy AXS TV broadcast?
Find out now with this recap Thursday's show.
Tasha Steelz vs. Chelsea Green
Tasha Steelz and Chelsea Green battled in the closing moments of Ultimate X at Hard To Kill, with the former securing the victory and title shot at Mickie James and the Knockouts Championship. James joined Tom Hannifan on commentary while Steelz and Green kicked off Thursday's show in singles competition.
Steelz attacked from the opening bell, aggressive in her search for another banner victory. Despite a late comeback attempt by Green, Steelz caught her with a crucifix bomb and scored the clean victory to continue her winning ways.
"Another one bits the damn dust," Steelz said after the match. She vowed to send James back to Virginia a failure. She's going to send her back to the NWA and her husband, Nick Aldis, a failure. Worse, she's gonna send James back to her son a failure.
James and Steelz threw fists before Green joined the champion in clearing the ring of the No. 1 contender.
Steelz pinned Green
On one hand, the match itself was more one-sided than one would have expected given the stature of Green in the industry. On the other, there is no better way to announce to the world that you're all-in with Steelz as a championship contender than by having her knock off a celebrated and decorated competitor of Green's stature.
The post-match was a nice taste of things to come but it also presumably set up a tag match in which James and Green will battle Steelz and Savannah Evans. The more Green hangs around the title picture, the easier it will be to move past her one-sided loss tonight.
The Influence vs. Decay
Prior to their match with Decay, The Influence's Tenille Dashwood and Madison Rayne attacked Rosemary, rendering her unable to compete in the advertised tag match. Instead, Havok represented her team against the heels in a two-on-one handicap match.
Rayne and Dashwood dominated the action but found themselves in the grasp of their opponent late. Havok's attempted comeback fell short as Rayne caught her with a cutter and Dashwood put her down with the Spotlight Kick for the win.
The Influence defeated Havok
The Influence will challenge the returning IInspiration on next week's show and this was a fine-enough warmup for that high-stakes match.
How beating one woman in a handicap match translates to being the favorite to knock off Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee is a question this didn't necessarily answer but the pre-match attack put over what the heels are willing to do to earn a win.
The post-match, pre-taped promo from Lee and McKay putting over next week's match was far more effective as we saw a somewhat serious side of the champions for once.
VSK and Zicky Dice vs. W Morrissey
Brian Myers sat in on commentary as his students, Zicky Dice and VSK battled W. Morrissey in a two-on-one handicap match.
Morrissey dominated, downing Dice and putting VSK down with a BQE powerbomb.
After the match, Morrissey warned that he would track down Moose if the Impact world champion wouldn't come to him.
Backstage, Scott D'Amore stopped Morrissey and revealed the big man will challenge for the title at No Surrender.
Morrissey defeated VSK and Dice
Morrissey is in full babyface mode, even playing to the crowd in a way he had not since returning to the squared circle a year or so ago. He was utterly dominant, destroying both opponents and sending a message loudly and clearly to Moose.
The announcement of the No Surrender main event gives the company something to build to in the coming weeks and further positions Morrissey in a role no one could have imagined when he debuted in Impact: babyface.
Ring of Honor Championship Match: Jonathan Gresham vs. Steve Maclin
The Ring of Honor Championship was on the line as Jonathan Gresham defended against Steve Maclin, their match fought under Pure rules.
Maclin quickly spent two allotted rope breaks and was issued a warning after utilizing his one closed-fist strike. Gresham burned two rope breaks in his own right as Maclin seized control midway through the contest.
Maclin applied a Boston Crab, targeting the lower back of his opponent and forcing him to exhaust his third and final rope break. Gresham responded, targeting the fingers of his opponent in an attempt to force the break of a hold.
The challenger delivered the Crosshairs, targeting the previously injured core of his opponent, and scored a near-fall. Maclin used up his final rope break before exchanging hard, physical strikes with Gresham. The champion, targeting the injured knee of his opponent, trapped him in a figure four.
Because the rope breaks had been utilized, Gresham was able to keep hold of the submission, then scale the ropes to add more pressure. The pain agonizing, Maclin allowed his shoulders to stay on the mat for three quick seconds, awarding the match to The Octopus via pinfall.
Gresham defeated Maclin to retain the ROH Championship
Gresham is a phenomenal wrestler, one of the best technical competitors in the industry today. He is the perfect representative of Ring of Honor and the spirit of that company. He is also the right guy to carry the title and keep the ROH name alive.
He had a good, hard-fought, physical match with Maclin that emphasized the Pure rules and really put over a side of the challenger's game that many may not have known existed.
The presence of Matt Taven, Vincent, PCO, Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett suggests they will shadow Gresham and hang ominously over any Impact show on which they appear, ready to strike and raise hell on a whim.
Whether Gresham accepts their assistance at all down the line is a story that bears watching.
Joe Doering and Doc Gallows vs. Rhino and Heath
The business arrangement between Impact tag team champions The Good Brothers and Violent By Design continued Thursday as Doc Gallows partnered with Joe Doering to battle Rhino and Heath in tag team action. Eric Young and Deaner stood ringside while Karl Anderson joined Tom Hannifan on commentary as the heels clearly outnumbered the babyfaces.
Gallows and Doering wore out Rhino, cutting him off from his partner and keeping the former world champion grounded. Rhino fought back and created separation, reopening the forehead of Gallows following Hardcore War at Hard To Kill.
A hot tag to Heath sparked the comeback but a cheap shot from Deaner on the floor allowed the heels to deliver a double chokeslam to their opponent for the pinfall victory.
Gallows and Doering defeated Rhino and Heath
For lack of a better word, this was a whole lot of "meh."
The segment started with Heath and Rhino being put over as contenders to the tag team titles, only to lose to a makeshift duo of two big guys who Anderson admitted on commentary don't even trust each other. What does that say of Heath and Rhino, who couldn't beat that mismatched tandem?
All signs seem to point to an eventual battle between the Good Brothers and Violent By Design, but that is hardly a contest on paper that electrifies a tag team division that suddenly feels colder than it should.
Charlie Haas vs. Josh Alexander
Chris Sabin joined Hannifan at the commentary team for the showdown between Josh Alexander and Charlie Haas that made up the night's main event.
Early grappling gave way to Haas targeting the left knee of Alexander, looking to take the base away from the former world champion. The Walking Weapon shook off the pain to deliver a German suplex but he could not complete the bridge, his knee giving out underneath him.
As the bigger competitor struggled to maintain his balance, Haas seized an opening to take him over with a belly-to-belly suplex and target the knee. Alexander fought back, grapevined his opponent's left leg and tapped him out with an ankle lock.
"Josh Alexander proving he is the standard, the pinnacle, of Impact Wrestling," Hannifan put over the victor on commentary.
The competitors joined in the center of the ring in a sign of respect but were quickly jumped by Ring of Honor's Taven, Bennett, PCO and Vincent, all while Maria Kanellis watched on the floor. Chris Sabin jumped in the ring to make the save, followed by Rich Swann and Willie Mack, then Heath and Rhino, before Eddie Edwards cleared the ring with a kendo stick.
Kanellis grabbed a microphone and said they used to believe in honor but that all changed. "This is Honor No More," she said presumably naming the group as a tense staredown closed out the show.
Alexander defeated Haas
Haas had no business looking as good as he did in this match, blowing away expectations and proving he's still got a lot left in the tank. Did he have the crispness to his work that Alexander did? No, but he didn't have to. He hung in there with one of the most talented and gifted ring workers today and the result was a technically sound main event.
More importantly than the match, its quality or Haas' comeback was the show-closing angle that seemingly catapulted Impact Wrestling into a war with the invading Ring of Honor stars. "Honor No More" may not be the greatest option for a name, but the foursome of competitors has raised hell and left Impact stars guessing as to when and where they will attack next.
That feud should define the company and its product in the coming months, presumably leading into Rebellion in April.