No Surrender 2021
February 13, 2021
Impact Wrestling ran their second monthly special of 2021 with No Surrender 2021 featuring Rich Swann defending the Impact World Championship against Tommy Dreamer in the main event. Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown were on commentary.
Decay (Rosemary, Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus) def. XXXL and Tenille Dashwood w/ Kaleb
This was an objectively fine trios match that was a showcase for Black Taurus. He’s a genuinely excellent addition to the roster and I long for him getting proper spotlight in big singles matches. Tenille trying to distract Taurus with a red t-shirt popped me, even if it did nothing for anyone else. What dragged this down was the closing stretch – the dive sequence was incredibly slow and there seemed to be a lot of standing and staring going on. The camera work, solely focusing on what was happening outside, didn’t help. Taurus capitalized on Rosemary misting Romero, putting Larry D down with a twisting brainbuster. **
Brian Myers & Hernandez def. Eddie Edwards & Matt Cardona
I love Matt Cardona’s theme music. As anyone who’s listened to my appearances on the excellent Music of the Mat podcast will know, I’m a sucker for themes with lyrics. Give me that over generic instrumental tracks any day. I also really enjoyed this match.
It was very formulaic, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. The faces got a strong start before Myers and Hernandez took control, with Eddie Edwards taking on the role of face in peril. After getting cut off a couple of times, he got the hot tag to Cardona who came in like a house of fire. I thought Cardona was going to get the win after Edwards took out Hernandez on the outside but Myers countered the Rough Ryder with a flapjack onto the exposed turnbuckle, following up with the Roster Cut lariat for the victory. ***
Jake Something def. Deaner w/Violent By Design
Personally, I’d have liked Something to look more dominant here in the first outing of his new gimmick, but this was still a gentleman’s three. Something controlled the ring early on before an Eric Young neckbreaker on the outside handed Deaner the advantage. He worked over his former tag team partner before Something delivered the big comeback, pinning him in the middle of the ring with the Black Hole Slam. ***
Post-match, Violent By Design beat Something down, Joe Doering putting him through a table with an Avalanche Powerbomb.
Josh Alexander wins the Triple Threat Revolver Match
My pre-match Reverse Battle Royal vibes were unfounded in the end but this match still didn’t quite click for me. I felt that the first few triple threats were too brief, just consisting of a couple of big spots before someone got pinned and the next individual came out. That often meant that each three-man pairing got bogged down in the trope of two being in the ring and the other nowhere to be seen. The final three, consisting of Ace Austin, Josh Alexander and Trey Miguel, was the strongest of the lot as they got time to work with. In the end, Alexander spiked Austin with the Alexander The Great piledriver for the win and the next shot at the X-Division title. While the end was good, the whole match was too disjointed for me to go higher than ***.
Knockouts Tag Team Championships – Texas Tornado No DQ
Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz (C) def. Havok & Nevaeh
This picked up towards the finish but it was very clunky early on and, in truth, not particularly good. Much like in the opening contest, there was a lot of standing and staring going out, as though they were working out in real-time what came next. While they used some weapons, including in the finish with Steelz pinning Nevaeh after a cutter on the Disabled Parking sign, I just didn’t feel they maximized the stipulation. It was passable though, so **.
Post-match, Nevaeh left on her own, teasing a potential split with Havok. That seems odd to me as Impact aren’t exactly overflowing with depth in the Knockouts tag division but it’s not my call to make…
TJP (C) def. Rohit Raju w/Mahabali Shera
Everything about this worked. Raju, who delivered the best performance of his Impact run here, sparked a frantic start by attacking before the bell. Not only did it set a strong pace, it also added a level of desperation to TJP’s work throughout the match.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 14, 2021
As it should, this featured a number of callbacks to their previous matches and a number of slick counters, including when Raju blocked the low dropkick with a double stomp and when he reversed TJP’s first Mamba Splash attempt into a triangle submission. They both emptied the tank in an attempt to win, kicking out of signature moves and escalating the pace superbly. After kicking out of a third Goodbye from Mumbai, TJP fought off Shera on the outside before taking down Raju with a diving DDT and the Mamba Splash to retain. To me, this is what the X-Division should be. Forget the no limits rubbish, it should be the work rate belt and with TJP at the helm, that should be a guarantee. Raju was excellent too, but now I’m pumped for TJP vs Josh Alexander. ****
Jordynne Grace, Jazz & ODB def. Deonna Purrazzo, Kimber Lee & Susan
It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great but it didn’t overstay its welcome, so I’m happy. This picked up a gear after Deonna commented that Jordynne was teaming with a couple of has-beens and once the hot tag was made to ODB, it all broke down with big moves all over the place. Jazz accidentally hit Grace after Susan poked her in the eye but that led to nothing, as Jazz locked up an STF on Susan moments later that forced the tap. **1/2
Impact World Tag Team Championships
The Good Brothers (C) def. Private Party and Beer Guns
As expected, this was a pretty good match. Private Party, Chris Sabin and James Storm did the vast majority of the heavy lifting early on, but The Good Brothers came with their working boots on and put forth a really good effort as well. That’s not always the case. After Gallows went off on Storm on the top turnbuckle and Private Party knocked the big man down, the action broke down, with everyone hitting big moves. Matt Hardy used the chaos to jump in and hit a Twist of Fate on Storm that appeared to hand victory to Private Party. Marq Quen hit a big Shooting Star Press, but Anderson blind tagged his foot as he jumped, meaning he was able to scoot in, throw Quen out and pin Storm before scampering out of the ring. ***1/4
Impact World Championship
Rich Swann (C) def. Tommy Dreamer
Coming in, I knew this match had an obvious ceiling from a physical, in-ring perspective. However, thinking about the whole build-up during the show, the psychology of the match and the post-match angle with Moose, this hit a level I didn’t remotely expect.
Tommy sold the emotion of the moment beforehand, talking about how he attended his first wrestling show 40 years ago. How his brain still wanted to do so much but his body was giving out on him. How he probably wouldn’t get another shot at the title ever again. While they didn’t quite get that finality in the match (although there’s a fine line between Michaels/Flair and mid-match monologues), it still told an effective story.
Tommy tried to match Rich for athleticism and mat skills early on. Again, the mind was willing but the body couldn’t quite keep up. He tried though, he really tried. He moved with a dynamism you don’t see from him anymore and even hit a big baseball slide to the outside. Tommy dislocating his finger, while obviously not intended, encapsulated the whole narrative they were going for. He tried to act like the younger man, catching Swann in mid-air, and it didn’t work out. It showed that he was breaking down physically but that he’d shove it back in and carry on. It allowed Swann to work a bit more heelish, bending the digits, stomping on Tommy’s fingers and working arm submissions. Dreamer, in turn, worked over Swann’s leg and ankle, just like he said he would in the contract signing.
After surviving a couple of kicks, Dreamer fought through the Rings of Saturn attempt to land a Spicolli Driver for an excellent nearfall. That was his final stand though, as Swann fired in one more hesitation kick and a Phoenix Splash for the win. ***1/2
Post-match, Dreamer presented the title to Swann before they were both flattened by Moose, who stood tall with both belts.
Just before the show faded to black, we got a New Japan vignette showing that FinJuice were coming to Impact Wrestling.
The forbidden door is open!!!
No Surrender was a good show. Everything was at a bare minimum solid and in the instances of the X-Division title match and the main event, genuinely great. TJP showed his class, Rohit Raju delivered a career-best performance and Tommy Dreamer, on a weekend where other old men were winning belts, showed that he can still deliver something special in the main event. We also got more development of the AEW/NJPW link-up, so it’s a firm thumbs up from me.