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Impact Wrestling: Prelude to Glory
by Samoa Rowe
October 18, 2019
They go live on with the audio guys still trying to figure out the sound. What I'm guessing is supposed to be a dark match featuring Ace Romero picking up a quick win airs on TV as the sound testing continues. Oh boy, it's going to be one of the THOSE shows.
From Palais Royale in Southbend, Indiana. Josh Matthews and Scott D'Amore are in the ring and welcome the fans. They announce that they're minutes away from being live on the air, so I'm starting to think that I'm not actually supposed to be seeing any of this. The room is a small theater, and attendance seems to be under 100, but they sound happy to be there.
Rich Swann and Willie Mack vs. Desi Hit Squad (Mahabali Shera and Rohit Raju)
Matthews and D'Amore's commentary mics sound simply awful, like listening to a cheap home produced right wing podcast. Raju starts against Swann and they mock each other with posing and dancing. Swann dances out of a wrist lock so Raju clocks him in the face. I can hear the production crew discussing their issues again. Mack and Swann deliver a flapjack/bull dog combo. Shera enters the match and tries to intimidate by flexing his physique, but Mack is a big guy in his own right, and they go toe to toe. The Desi Hit Squad catch Swann off guard by wrenching him off the apron and they work him over with quick tags. Swann rallies and kicks Shera in the face, but Raju pulls Mack off the apron to prevent a tag. Swann hits a desperation rolling clothesline on Raju and Mack finally gets the hot tag! Mack destroys Raju with a running cannonball in the corner and hits a standing moonsault for 2. Shera makes a save by buckle bombing Swann into Mack, piling them up for Rajui's running cannonball. Shera's sky high powerbomb kills Swann, but Mack breaks the cover. Mack hits a KO punch on Raju, but Shera hits him with a blind clothesline. Mack and Swann hit Shera with a spear/clothesline combo, and Mack follow with a dive. Raju ambushes Swann, but Swann's back hand spring cutter is good! Swann and Mack finish Raju with a tandem suplex/neckbreaker at 13:26. Good formula tag! The Desi Hit Squad looked good on offense and Swann and Mack simply had more tricks in their repertoire, ***.
Winners: Rich Swann and Willie Mack
Jimmy Jacobs interviews Michael Elgin and The North backstage. The North put themselves over as the best tag team in the world, and look forward to battering and bruising Rob Van Dam and Rhino. Elgin says that he has a history with Rhino and calls Naomichi Marafuji a very stupid man for not staying in Japan. You can hear the sound guy count down the segment, which is so distracting. Did I mention this company is offering a forty dollar pay-per-view on Sunday?
Johnny Swinger vs. Fallah Bahh
Yes, this is the same Johnny Swinger from ECW and Sunday Night Heat circa 2005. He looks to be in tip top shape, so don't call it a comeback. They get a slow start with Swinger hiding in the ropes. Bahh is eager to kick some ass, but Swinger would rather keep it slow. Bahh tortures Swinger in a knuckle lock. Atomic drop by Bahh and a power slam. Bahh's leg drop is good for 2. Blind low blow by Swinger lets him take control with typical ground and pound heel offense. Bahh counters with an avalanche but then misses a splash. Bahh escapes a chinlock and rallies with a crossbody for 2. Swinger's rope assisted school boy goes nowhere. Bahh's back drop counter sets up a running butt splash in the corner. The Banzai Drop finishes Swinger at 6:20. This was simply no good, *.
Winner: Fallah Bahh
Dino Storm vs. Russ Jones
Storm is from Southbend, Indiana, so you know he's on J.O.B. duty tonight. Jones is a jacked, tattooed, pierced gentleman, who I'm not familiar with at all. Audio problems continue as Jones hits a slick takedown. Storm hits a knee to the face but Jones just about kills him with a dangerous German suplex. They're interrupted by the music and arrival of Moose
with a mic. I can barely understand a word Moose is saying, but the gist is that he's going to send Ken Shamrock a message. He lures Storm into a handshake only to knock him down and powerbombs him onto the apron. No bell, but I'm calling the DQ at 3:28, DUD.
Russ Jones dares Moose to come mess with him. Moose is amused but there's only one world's most dangerous man, and it's not Jones. Jones blocks a punch and we appear to have a match.
Moose vs. Russ Jones
Jones gets a flurry of shots but Moose knocks him down. Moose delivers the Game Changer clothesline, but pulls Jones out of the cover. Moose yells at the camera before hitting another clothesline for the win at 0:50. Moose looks murderous. This entire segment kind of dragged though. Another DUD.
There's no sound as Taya Valkyrie visits Madison Rayne and
. They seem to be arguing about who the best team member is. This is awful.
Elayna Black vs. Havok
I'm reviewing a match featuring someone named Havok, that counts for Halloween Havok
participation, right? Right? Black puts in a half-hearted attempt pretending to be scared of Havok at the opening bell. Havok catches her in a standing head vice and then lariats her over her knee. Black's bulldog is blocked. Havok's tombstone piledriver ends it at 3:14. This was fairly dreadful, DUD.
Sami Callihan hacks the show with a grainy video feed, and I can't tell if the video is intentionally grainy or if it's just standard Impact production values. All kidding aside, Sami demands that they cut the effect so he can "be real" and IT'S A SHOOT, BROTHER, as he talks about how people in the business failed him. Sami feels some remorse for handcuffing Brian Cage to the ropes last week and then attacking his bride. This is not the Sami Callihan he wanted the world to get, but this is the Sami Callihan that the world created. Sami doesn't want respect or cheers, and will cripple Brian Cage if that's what it takes to become Impact Wrestling Champion. All kidding aside, this was a great promo. Not great enough to make me open my wallet for Bound for Glory or anything, let's not get carried away here.
Dez vs. Sami Callihan
Sami charges into Dez's sunset flip. Sami storms out of the room and surprisingly returns without any weapons (D'Amore had the same thought as me). Dez breaks a headlock and mocks Sami, prompting a quick exchange and a head scissors takedown. Dez's moonsault is good for 2. Callihan rebounds with a powerbomb onto the ring frame, and you know this spot has been overdone when the fans offer zero reaction. Sami delivers a knee to the face in the aisle and tries to win via count-out. Dez crawls back and surprises with an inside cradle, to which Sami retaliates with a hard clothesline. Sami spits all over himself while wetting his hand to deliver chops. CUE THE CHINLOCK! Dez counters with a jawbreaker and throws desperation punches. They exchange kicks and strikes and both go down after stereo big boots. They stumble back to their feet and Dez snapmares Sami into a dropkick to the head. Dez lands a standing moonsault to ringside! Snapmare by Dez and standing corkscrew plancha only gets a 2 count. Sami avoids a top rope move and hits rapid fire attacks, complete with a brainbuster for 2. Dez barely connects with a rolling kick and Sami kicks out. Sami pushes the ref into the ropes to trip Dez on the top rope, allowing a piledriver for the win at 13:53. This never really got going, **.
Winner: Sami Callihan
Sami has spit dripping down his forehead while he repeats the talking points from his earlier promo for the benefit of the live crowd. He tells Cage's wife, Melissa Santos, that he "hearts" her. That's enough to lure Brian Cage to the ring, and he drops Sami with an F-5. Callihan's oVe stablemates run in for the save, but they're ambushed by Tessa Blandard, and we are heading right into another match.
Tessa Blanchard and Impact Wrestling Champion Brian Cage vs. Ohio Versus Everything (Jake Crist and Madman Fulton)
Cage and Blanchard clothesline oVe from the ring and pose with title belts. Blanchard is chasing the X title, which is kind of neat. Cage catches Crist and lifts him like a weight before hitting a fallaway slam. Blanchard and Cage hit Crist with a missile dropkick/619 combo. Tessa hits a Codebreaker on Crist off the turnbuckles. Crist attacks the back and tags in the big man, Fulton, and he tosses Tessa around. Tessa counters with a sleeper and refuses to let go as Fulton thrashes around. Tessa hits running dropkicks and tags in Cage, who saves her with a neckbreaker. oVe double team Cage, and Fulton slams Tessa off the top rope. oVe wear down Tessa for a while but Cage gets the inevitable hot tag. Fulton cuts Cage off with a rolling slam. Blanchard interferes with a flurry of punches and DDT's. oVe counter Blanchard with a tandem cutter. Cage returns with discus clotheslines and everyone is down (to no ovation, which is what they were fishing for). There's a slight “This is awesome” chant as Cage and Fulton exchange strikes. Fulton chokeslams Cage and serves him to Crist for a cutter for 2. Cage deadlift suplexes Fulton over the ropes. Blanchard hits Magnum on Crist and takes out Fulton with a dive, allowing Cage to finish Crist with a piledriver at 13:11. This was novel with the guys treating Tessa like an equal and having a straight up formula tag, **½.
Winners: Brian Cage and Tessa Blanchard
Jordynn Grace, Rosemary, and Tenille Dashwood vs. Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie, Madison Rayne, and Keira Hogan
Taya immediately tags out rather than face her BFG challenger, Dashwood. Rayne doesn't want to face Dashwood either, so Hogan walks into a drop toe hold. Rosemary tags and controls Hogan via her hair. Hogan lands some stiff kicks that Rosemary no-sells. Rosemary chases Rayne and somehow sneaks up on her in the ring and lands a big boot. Grace gets a hot tag of sorts and runs wild through Taya with bruising offense. Taya's partners tie up Grace on the turnbucks and Taya hits a running dropkick. They fill time by working over Grace with quick tags. Grace hits Taya with a spinebuster and makes the hot tag to Dashwood. The crowd is dead until Rosemary and Dashwood apply illegal draping submissions in the ropes. Tenille's running crossbody into the buckles gets 2 on Rayne. Rosemary hits Taya with a missile dropkick, Hogan superkicks Rosemary, Grace hits a torture rack powerbomb on Hogan, Rayne hits Grace with a crucifix bomb, one spot after another. Rosemary blocks Rayne's dive and everyone gathers around to overly telegraph Dashwood's top rope crossbody. Taya and Rayne have a miscue that results in Tenille kicking Taya in the head for the win at 10:46. Good effort here, even if the match didn't get over, **½.
Winners: Tenille Dashwood, Jordynn Grace, and Rosemary
Jimmy Jacobs interviews Ace Austin backstage about his street fight with Eddie Edwards. Ace thinks that Edwards is jealous of him, but Eddie jumps him and proves his point with an overly vicious attack. They brawl into the theater and the match is on.
Eddie Edwards vs. Ace Austin
Bell rings as they brawl down the aisle. Eddie smashes a fan's popcorn over Ace's head. Come on man, that's like 8 dollars worth of popcorn. Ace is wearing a “I just banged your wife” t-shirt, and I'm lead to believe it's referring to Eddie's wife. Edwards pulls the shirt off for a chop. Ace uses a fan's replica belt as a weapon but Edwards back suplexes him onto the apron. Eddie leaves and returns with a garbage can, but Austin hits a leaping kick to the face. Reverse suplex by Eddie and he then spits a fan's beer in the face. Crowd is coming alive for this match. Edwards clotheslines Ace over the ropes and throws the garbage can right at him. Ace blocks a dive with a lid shot to the head and proceeds to dismantle Edwards with the lid. Ace uses his belt as a choker and whip. Eddie hits a clothesline and returns the favor by whipping Ace with his belt. Eddie hits an unprotected head shot with a chair, but Ace comes back with a Fame-asser onto the chair for 2. Chair assisted leg drop by Austin. They take turns hitting trash lid blows. Ace uses a laminated card to paper cut the face! YUCK! I'm sure that was gimmicked, but it still made my stomach turn. The feed then drops. I fast forward a bit and we're back with Eddie hitting a Tiger Driver for 2. Eddie gets his prized kendo stick, “Kenny” but Ace cuts him off with a magic wand. I can't make this stuff up. Ace boasts that he's taken Eddie's wife and stick as he uses “Kenny” himself. Ace's loaded punch gets a close 2 count. Eddie's blocks Ace's spear by putting him into a garbage can, and the crowd LOVES this. Eddie finishes with the Boston Knee Party on Ace in the can at something like 21:14. Easily the best thing on this show, even though they tried their best to ruin it with technical woes, ***½.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
Rhino, Rob Van Dam, and Naomichi Marufuji vs. Michael Elgin and Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champions The North (Ethan Page and Josh Alexander)
Rhino gets the better of Page early on. Rhin foolishly plays to the crowd, giving Page an opening. Rhino and RVD double team Alexander, and RVD looks for a body scissors pin. RVD doesn't seem to ever age as he effortlessly hits a back heel kick and monkey flip. Elgin and Marufuji enter the match to preview their big singles match at BFG. Their back and forth exchange ends when The North crotches Marufuji in the ring post and Elgin hits a dropkick to the head. Marufuji gets worked over but lights Elgin up with rapid open hand shots. RVD gets the hot tag and quickly hits Rolling Thunder on Elgin. RVD's split legged moonsault gets 2. Rhino returns and throws The North around with belly to belly suplexes. The North put Rhino down with a power slam combination for 2. Match continues to break down until everyone is on the mat. RVD is up first and goes on a kicking spree. Elgin and Alexander clear the ring and put RVD on the top rope, but Marufuji saves. Alexander saves Elgin from sliced bread, but Rhino makes a timely save with a GORE. Marufuji drops Page into place for RVD's five star frog splash at 11:10. Total house show main event, **½.
Winners: Rob Van Dam, Rhino, and Naomichi Marufuji
Final Thoughts: I would have turned this off after the opener if I hadn't committed to a review. I enjoyed last month's Victory Road much more than this, as technical problems and some crummy matches and segments dragged this down. Save your 7.99 and hold off on an Impact Plus subscription for now.
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