Against All Odds 2021
June 12, 2021
Impact Wrestling’s latest monthly special, Against All Odds, aired this past Saturday, with Kenny Omega defending the Impact World Championship against Moose in the main event. On commentary were Josh Mathews and D’Lo Brown.
Sami Callihan & Tommy Dreamer def. The Good Brothers
To be honest, I don’t have much to say about this. It was fine for what it was intended to be – a plunder opener that finally got Callihan some revenge over The Good Brothers. Doc Gallows hitting Callihan over the head with a frying pan popped me, I will admit, but this was more or less your typical hardcore fare. Even if I think Callihan being in the Slammiversary main event is somewhat of a swerve, the right guys went over here so it’s good in my book. **3/4
Joe Doering (w/Eric Young, Deaner and Rhino) def. Satoshi Kojima (w/Eddie Edwards)
Hearing Kojima’s entrance music and watching him come out for a match on an Impact show, against Joe Doering of all people, in 2021 felt so bizarre to me but I absolutely loved it. The other element of the entrances that caught me off-guard was just how enormous Joe Doering looked, or how small Kojima was in comparison. He’s a big old boy alright.
I had some concerns about the match and how Doering would look but he looked quite solid and the slower pace they went with suited him. Both guys got their big bombs in, with Kojima’s machine gun chops drawing a reaction from Rhino that reminded me of the sweaty Vince McMahon meme, and the outside shenanigans were kept to a minimum. It was good fun, well-worked and didn’t overstay its welcome. ***
X-Division No #1 Contenders Match
Ace Austin vs Chris Bey vs Trey Miguel vs Rohit Raju vs Petey Williams ended in a no contest
My rating for this match is mostly based on the work that these guys put in, which was great as expected, and not the incredibly frustrating finish.
As I noted in my preview, every combination of these guys slaps and this match was no different. You got fun interactions between everyone and they managed to avoid too many of the scramble match tropes. We even got another Petey Williams Super Destroyer, a spot that’ll never be anything other than lovely. Yet, we also saw this end in a no contest and presumably set us up for a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary. Madman Fulton wiped Trey Miguel off the top rope as he was preparing to land a Meteora, and then laid waste to everyone else, working a great spot where he managed to slam or throw four other guys. Fulton looked like a killer, and the ref calling it a no-contest was a rare smart ref spot, but it just felt so contrived. A shame really, as you could still have worked the King of the Mountain match and had a decisive winner here. ***
W. Morrissey def. Rich Swann
I was put off quite early on in this match by the rather sizeable damp patch on the back of Morrissey’s jeans. Maybe he overdid it on the baby oil in the back, who knows? That aside, I really enjoyed this.
Impact has shown a clear intention to give Morrissey the rocket push and I have no problem with it. He looks great, he has natural size and presence, he’s got a great character and he’s untested in a big singles spot. The argument that he’s an ex-WWE guy and therefore somehow isn’t entitled to a push doesn’t wash with me and shouldn’t wash with anyone else. However, in order for him to justify the push, he’d have to show that he could have good matches with the promotion’s genuine main event talent like Swann. This was a big test for him and he passed with flying colors.
Throughout the match, they played off the size difference. Morrissey dominated Swann with his physicality, with the former World Champion forced to stick and move, capitalizing with big counter-offensives and gambles, like his 450 splash to the outside. Swann emptied the tank trying to put the big man away, landing the stun kick and the Phoenix Splash, but Morrissey ate them and kept fighting. He punted, kicked and slammed his way to victory, laughing at a prone Swann as he landed a brutal spinning powerbomb for the win. I’m all aboard the Morrissey train. ***1/4
Tenille Dashwood (w/Kaleb with a K) def. Jordynne Grace (w/Rachael Ellering)
Given that this was a very story-dominated build, I thought this match would be, like a lot of Tenille’s matches, mostly angle and not a lot of substance. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised as these two had a solid, back-and-forth ladies’ three.
Grace dominated large spells with her physicality and seemed set to end her recent poor form when she locked in the sleeper, only for Kaleb with a K to interrupt the referee’s three arm drop spot (a real bugbear of mine). Ellering wiped Kaleb off the apron but that was enough to rile Grace and make her freak out, allowing Tenille to roll her up for the win. ***
Post-match, Grace got pretty mad with Ellering and showed off her frustrations by charging the ring and laying out Kaleb with a Michinoku Driver.
Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships
Fire N Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) def. Kimber Lee & Susan
Following on from the previous match, this was another encounter that surpassed some admittedly low expectations. I feared that the heel-vs-heel dynamic wouldn’t work out and while there was a little awkwardness, it was fine and the match really picked up down the stretch to deliver a frantic finish. The lack of drama surrounding the outcome does drag my rating down but this was yet another solid outing for the champions, who are really finding their groove. **3/4
Impact World Tag Team Championships
Rhino & Deaner (C) (w/Eric Young) def. Decay (Crazzy Steve & Black Taurus)
There’s a strong chance I’m the high man here but I really enjoyed this. Rhino didn’t have to do too much in all honesty but the match was good fun. You had big bursts of offense from the challengers, sneaky interference from the champions and some real drama too with cut-off tags. When it’s just Steve and Taurus and they’re focusing on wrestling rather than the wackiness, Decay are a fun little team and they were perfect for this spot. In a nice touch to the story they’ve been telling with Violent By Design, that too often Deaner has been the team’s weak link, he picked up the victory, capitalizing on an assist from Rhino to plant Steve with a Deaner DDT. ***1/4
Post-match we got the most detailed vignette for Maclin, aka the artist formerly known as Steve Cutler, who spoke about wasted time and invited us all to meet Mr Mayhem. I didn’t know Wardlow was coming to Impact, but I’m keen to see what Cutler/Maclin can bring to the table.
Impact Knockouts Championship
Deonna Purrazzo (C) def. Rosemary
Last December these two had a solid match at Final Resolution that started out slow and picked up as it went along. I hoped that this meeting would surpass that and when all was said and done, it did. Rosemary came out with intensity from the off before Deonna moved into the ascendancy by targeting the left arm. That allowed her to set up the Venus de Milo, the double-arm Fujiwara, and while Rosemary escaped, that simply led Purrazzo to attack Rosemary’s surgically-repaired knee. It’s not a route they’ve gone down before in Rosemary’s matches, so that made a nice change, and drove home the presentation of Purrazzo as a cerebral, technical killer. She withstood the spear and the Rosemary comeback, kicking out her knee and finishing her off with the Gotch-style piledriver. ***
Impact World Championship
Kenny Omega (C) def. Moose
Thinking purely about the in-ring potential between these two, based on previous interactions and their current level, I had high hopes for this match. On paper, it was arguably the biggest Impact could do and it had tremendous potential. However, weighing down all of those thoughts was the obvious penchant for shenanigans in current Omega matches, a fear that was heightened by the match moving from the Impact Arena in Nashville to AEW’s home base of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville.
That dichotomy was realized in the match, with a very good match, one that told a good story, overshadowed by a finish that has go-away levels of heat for me.
In-ring, this was heading for ****, maybe a shade higher. Moose came in with an injured shoulder and that became the focus of the match for the champion, Omega repeatedly targeting his offense there. Moose, meanwhile, had to rely on his physicality, unloading his arsenal of power offense and often taking risks into the bargain. Not everything clicked but the effort from both guys meant that it worked throughout anyway.
AEW’s production gave this a proper big fight feel and the three-man commentary team of Tony Schiavone, Scott D’Amore and Don Callis did a great job of taking the match to another level. Even when big moves didn’t quite land right, such as Omega’s Tiger Driver, they were able to note that he’d planted Moose more on the injured shoulder, so it was probably still as effective. Small things like that keep the immersion intact for the viewer.
The problem though was the finish. It wasn’t quite the Aldis/Murdoch NWA rubbish, but we got a ref bump to poor old Brian Hebner. That allowed Max and Jeremy Buck The Young Bucks to hit the ring and wipe out Moose with a handful of superkicks, a BTE trigger and a leg up for Omega as he finally landed the One-Winged Angel. I get that ref bump angles are as old as the business and they can work but I’ve never got on with them and this one was no different. ***1/2
Post-match, the lights went out and Sami Callihan hit the ring, taking out the Young Bucks and Kenny with the baseball bat. He threatened to replicate his assault on Eddie Edwards’ eye on Omega, only for Callis to ‘fire’ him and end the show with Callihan shouting bulls*** and D’Amore and Callis arguing their way down the tunnel. I’m interested to see how the Callihan firing angle goes, and whether we get more Young Bucks in Impact, but that doesn’t detract from the finish just being crap.
Against All Odds was a solid show, top to bottom. It didn’t hit the heights of Under Siege but everything here was around the gentleman’s three, if not slightly above and the show was a breezy watch at just under three hours. I’m sure mileage on the Omega/Moose finish will vary and I would say that the match is worth a viewing but nothing else is must-see. As I said, a solid show for Impact as the promotion continues the build to a big Slammiversary show in July.