Impact Knockouts Title Tournament – Semi Final
Laurel Van Ness def. Madison Rayne and KC Spinelli

Madison Rayne was returning (for like the fourth time in her Impact career) for the first time since March. Rayne has always flown under the radar as one of the most solid hands in the Knockouts division. Spinelli has looked really solid in her handful of appearances on Impact too. This was a really enjoyable, well constructed TV match – smartly built around showcasing Van Ness, who is finally pivoting away from the crazy character (at least when it comes to her work anyway). ***

Taiji Ishimori def. Hakim Zane

Impact ran a little reality show on Impact over the last few months to win a spot on the roster. Hakim Zane, who lost a few matches teaming with Idris Abraham on Impact earlier in the year, won that tournament and here he is. Zane didn’t explode off the screen but he was crisp and polished. Not entirely a squash as Zane got some shine but this was mostly a showcase for Ishimori. Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley jumped Ishimori after the match. Taiji Ishimori vs. Trevor Lee is your next X-Division title programme. **1/4

Sami Callihan def. Randy Myers

This match was typed at Defy 9 on November 11th. Defy’s product seemed a lot more TV ready than BCW anyway, at least from an aesthetic standpoint (though their camera shots feel *just* too tight so that it occasionally misses action). The crowd seemed very happy to see Callihan anyway. This was clipped but what they aired looked solid.

James Storm def. Texano

By the numbers TV match, Storm won with the Last Call. American Top Team jumped Storm after the match until Moose made the save. Dan Lambert and Bobby Lashley will face Moose and James Storm next week. **

Matt Sydal def. Tyson Dux

Impact always has too many of these kind of matches on every show. This was a perfectly enjoyable competitive squash but it was the third of its type on this show alone. It feels like way too much of Impact is pushing toward something down the line, and not really in a way that makes for a satisfying build – more this was simply window dressing for something more important coming down the line. Impact needs to be formatted with at least one meaty undercard match per episode. Otherwise you get a show full of these matches and it ends up feeling inessential. Sydal won with Air Bourne. **

Johnny IMPACT def. Alberto El Patron

Thankfully these two came flying out of the gate, matching the intensity of their rivalry so far. This included a nasty looking double stomp on the steps that seemed to do El Patron as much damage as it did IMPACT. It was really nice to see some real fire from IMPACT, because that’s usually a weak point for him. His matches can feel emotionless at times. They worked really hard until a clumsy ref bump obviously needed to happen because its still 1999. El Patron hit IMPACT with a low blow but took too long to capitalise, allowing IMPACT to kick out. Eli Drake then came out, distracting El Patron and allowing IMPACT to pick up the win. The finish was cool though, IMPACT pulled El Patron in from the apron while in the Tree of Woe position before pivoting to the Starship pain for the win. Drake and Adonis jumped IMPACT after the match until Petey Williams made the save. I’m glad Petey’s encounter with the main event scene wasn’t fleeting – creating a regular Canadian star is a smart move and he’s the best bet. There was a better match here aside from the nonsense as they lost some steam toward the end as they were working toward telling STORIEZ but the work was solid and they worked really hard. ***1/4

Final Thoughts:

Solid opener and good main event – everything in between felt like filler.