Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground
Friday, April 6 (9:00 p.m.)
The Sugar Mill
The most ambitious crossover since, well, that time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Power Rangers teamed up: Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground.
Lucha Underground has lost a lot of its buzz since the show first began, but they still have a fantastic roster that is well featured on this show. Impact on the other hand is on the up, under the guidance of Don Callis and Scott D’Amore, for the first time in a long time. Consistently posting strong TV viewership numbers, they have got a great roster that is putting out a simple but increasingly compelling product. As of a few days ago the show had just 13 reserved tickets left and I feel confident saying that on paper, this should be one of the best shows of WrestleMania weekend.
Currently only five matches are official, but there are several members of both rosters scheduled to appear, including Brian Cage, Johnny Impact, Trevor Lee, Moose, Eli Drake, Rosemary, OvE and Teddy Hart, so expect a couple of matches to be added before then and some surprises on the night.
Allie (C) vs Taya Valkyrie
Taya is one of several announced for this show that’s been featured for both companies, and as LU’s leading female competitor, her positioning makes a lot of sense. Her Impact run has been stifled so far by visa issues, notably leading to the cancellation of her match at Bound for Glory against Rosemary. That feud now looks to be heating back up again and this is a chance to impress Impact fans who may not be familiar with her other work.
Given that these shows sit outside Impact’s usual canon and their lengthy taping schedules, it’s almost a given that no titles will change hands on this show. The formality of the result does detract from the match somewhat, but both women are talented and I’m very confident they’ll be able to put on a great show. Prediction: Allie
Impact Tag Team Championship
LAX (Santana & Ortiz) vs Killshot and The Mack
I am so stoked for this match! LAX really shone last year in their first year on a much bigger stage, and their feud with OvE over the tag titles was superb. That said, they’ve lacked a consistent stream of strong challengers that would allow them to show what they can really do, as they did at the wXw World Tag Team League tournament last October.
Enter Killshot and the Mack.
Killshot (Shane Strickland) and The Mack are two-thirds of the current Lucha Underground Trios champions alongside Dante Fox (AR Fox) and in their outings for the promotion they’ve shown strong chemistry. The Mack is a solid hand, whilst Strickland is excellent in both tag and singles settings. Like the previous bout, the formality of the outcome is slightly frustrating, but this has the potential to be excellent and one of the matches of the weekend. Prediction: LAX
Desmond Xavier, DJZ & Andrew Everett vs Aerostar, King Cuerno and Drago
What a line-up! This matchup was the first announced for the show and is one that has got me all of a quiver. The Impact team is full of excellent high-fliers who should all really be prominent players in the X-Division in 2018. Xavier is recently back from a Dragon Gate tour in which he and his regular indie tag partner Zachary Wentz drew rave reviews, whilst Everett spent two weeks with NOAH in January, having fun matches with Kaito Kiyomiya and Taiji Ishimori. DJZ meanwhile has been really unlucky with the timing of his injuries, missing the last two sets of Impact tapings, but the two-time X-Division champ has excelled in his outings for AAW and other independent promotions in recent months.
The Lucha Underground team is also certainly something. Aerostar is bonkers and will definitely leap from some high structure during the match, whilst El Hijo del Fantasma has been far more convincing in LU as King Cuerno than in AAA or Impact of late. Then there’s Drago, who’s very versatile and another solid hand.
I honestly cannot wait for this match. It feels like a perfect 8-minute opening sprint with all six combatants flying all over the place. As for a winner, I’ve gone back and forth on it a few times. Impact won’t sweep the deck on the show and LU getting a win here seems logical. As Cuerno is an Impact regular of sorts I suspect he’d be the guy who gets the win for that team, with Everett probably eating the pin as he’s lowest on the metaphorical food chain. Prediction: Team LU – Aerostar, King Cuerno and Drago
I Quit Match
Eddie Edwards vs Jeremiah Crane
Now a match I’m slightly less excited for. I’m a big Eddie Edwards fan and whilst I think Crane (Sami Callihan) has been good in his Impact run so far, I cannot stand him. The feud between these two has become incredibly personal after the baseball bat spot a few weeks back on Impact. To be honest I didn’t think Eddie’s orbital would be fully healed by now, but I was obviously mistaken.
Impact are doing the right thing with this feud – if you’re going to use Callihan, you might as well play up the fact he’s a creep and thoroughly dislikeable. It’s far from over though and Eddie’s eye injury offers the perfect story in a match with this stipulation, so I’m thinking LU pick up another win here to give Callihan a bit more momentum in this feud. Prediction: Jeremiah Crane
Austin Aries and Fenix vs Alberto El Patron and Pentagon Dark
This match is brilliant on paper and some quite tremendous booking. It furthers the Impact world title programme between Aries and El Patron without throwing anything away, and is an excellent way to use two of Lucha Underground’s biggest stars. Fenix is one of my favourite wrestlers and I think tag matches hide some of Pentagon’s weaknesses that tend to emerge in longer singles bouts. Then on the Impact side you’ve got Aries who never gives less than 100% and El Patron, who has form for dogging it on live shows but has no excuse for doing so here, and I genuinely think this match will motivate him.
Pentagon is the current Lucha Underground champion, so he’s definitely not losing, and for the same reasons it’s almost a lock that Aries isn’t the one eating the pin. Given that it makes no sense for Alberto to lose either, that means that Fenix will be the one taking the fall, giving El Patron a big visual win on the road to Impact’s pay-per-view Redemption later in April. I genuinely think this has the potential to be excellent, which is a refrain that’s been very common throughout this preview. Prediction: Alberto El Patron and Pentagon Dark