Impact Wrestling on Pop TV
Thursday, July 27
Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

Eli Drake, Chris Adonis and EC3 def. Naomichi Marufuji, Moose and Eddie Edwards

The Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dyer served as guest ring announcer as this was taped on Impact Wrestling Day in Orlando. Hearing him announce Moose as representing “Moose Nation” was delightful. This was wrestled at house show pace early, though seeing Marufuji on Impact still feels novel so that helped things. The closing stretch was a lot of fun, as was Marufuji trying to kick Adonis’ face off a number of times. I’ll take fun opening tag matches like this every single week rather than three squash matches or authority figure jibber jabber. EC3 kicked Moose in the nuts and dropped him with an Angels Wings (which he’s calling the ECD – the Ethan Carter Driver) for the win to set up a future Moose vs. EC3 Grand championship match. ***

We had our weekly “Somebody is mad at Bruce Prichard” segment. Lashley was upset at his lack of title shot. Matt Sydal interrupted, dropped Lashley with a knee and followed with a Shooting Star. A programme with Lashley isn’t what I expected next for Sydal but I’m into it. That should be a really neat combo. I like using Sydal in the heavyweight division. It was nice that Sydal got to look on level standing with Lashley after Lashley swatted him like a fly last week.

Super X-Cup – First Round
Taiji Ishimori def. Davey Richards

This was loads of fun. They had a pretty tame crowd to contend with (and all credit to Davey for trying his damnedest to suck the crowd into this) but the work was so good. This is what whatever the hell they wanna call TNA should be. Great wrestlers from different regions in unique match ups that you can’t find anywhere else. This was the best Super X-Cup so far with some really fun exchanges, some excellent transitions in and out of the ankle lock plus Ishimori looked great. More matches like this on Impact every week please. Just cut talented wrestlers loose. ***1/2

Unified TNA and GFW Championships – Last Knockout Standing
Sienna def. Rosemary

Rosemary defeated Jade in an excellent Last Knockout Standing match earlier this year (which unless I missed it unfortunately the announcers didn’t call back to reinforce this being Rosemary’s type of match). Rosemary locked in a super neat Tarantula while hanging from a stand in the crowd, Sienna dropped Rosemary off the apron with an Ak-47 that looked very nasty, there was a Red Wedding on a chair before a KM distraction allowed Sienna to hurl a trash can into Rosemary’s face causing Rosemary to fall off the top through a table handing Sienna the win. This was a very enjoyable plunder brawl. Novel spots and startling physicality at times, these two worked their butts off. This match further drove home how strong Rosemary’s potential is a bad ass babyface is. This crowd believed in her. She is the natural successor to Gail Kim in the KO division. ***1/2

Octagoncito def. Trevor Lee by Count Out

Trevor started by bullying Octagoncito before Trevor bit off a little more than he could chew and Octagoncito fired by back. Trevor then deliberately got counted out to retain “his” title. I was disappointed at the short match here because these two could legit have a super fun match. I wouldn’t mind Trevor playing for comedy if he could be his full self bell to bell, at least then things would even out and there’d be a fun contrast. I enjoyed the idea of Lee “protecting” a belt that isn’t even his. **

Grado, wearing a lovely orange Dumb and Dumber-esque suit that he probably borrowed from Frankie Kazarian, proposed to Laurel Van Ness. Before Laurel could answer Kongo Kong interrupted and Grado fled. Poor Grado’s visa status is still up in the air. They’re already teasing dissension between Braxton Sutter and Allie by the way, which is far too soon and incredibly dumb. They haven’t even scratched the surface of what that act is capable of before they alter their dynamic.

Gauntlet Match
Alberto El Patron def. Homicide, Ortiz and Santana by DQ

Patron pinned Homicide immediately after a frog splash. Patron followed with a win over Santana shortly after. LAX jumped El Patron as he was about to submit Ortiz. I understand that LAX are stronger together as a unit than they are as individuals but Patron running through them like this was less than ideal. LAX didn’t even get their heat back post-match because the VOW saved El Patron from being beaten down. This was two weeks in a row that El Patron definitively got the better of LAX. *1/2

Final Thoughts:

While it lost it’s way a little in the final quarter, the majority of this show was excellent. Focused with strong simple stories and great matches – much of this show was a template for what Impact should be every week. No filler.