Impact Wrestling
Turning Point 2021
November 20, 2021
Sam’s Town Live
Las Vegas, Nevada

Watch: FITE

Impact Wrestling held their first live monthly special since February 2020 this past Saturday at the Sam’s Town Live Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Turning Point was headlined by Moose making his first Impact World Championship defense against Eddie Edwards in a Full Metal Mayhem match.

FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) def. Rohit Raju & Raj Singh

Starting any Impact Wrestling show with Rohit Raju is a surefire way to get me onside. I’m just putting that out there for future reference, *cough* Scott D’Amore *cough*.

Even though I was a little perplexed about the teams involved, as I was sure it was supposed to be Decay in this spot against FinJuice, this was solid and I enjoyed it. Perhaps I’m a little biased because of my unabashed love for Raju, but this had a lot more energy than recent FinJuice matches.

Just as I was thinking about how moving Raju & Singh into the tag title picture would be a nice change of pace, FinJuice finished them off with a Doomsday Device for the win. ***

Digital Media Championship
Jordynne Grace (C) (w/Rachael Ellering) def. Chelsea Green

I continue to question the wisdom of Impact adding a fourth singles title and, additionally, the booking of the Digital Media title so far but I’m trying not to judge too much in haste. Also, in fairness, this was the best match in the ‘division’s’ existence thus far. There were a couple of moments where there was some obvious cog-turning and thinking going on but all in all it was worked at a good pace and Jordynne Grace looked particularly strong. **3/4

Chris Sabin def. Ace Austin (w/Madman Fulton)

As advertised, this was great and the perfect way to open the main card. Chris Sabin is always brilliant and in someone like Ace Austin he had an opponent who could match his style and in the process make both of them look good. This had a little bit of everything, including some great nearfalls and a real escalation in the closing stretch, and the finish was great in the context of their feud.

After defeating Sabin (with assistance from Fulton) on the first Impact after Bound for Glory, Austin had been walking around wearing a shirt that said ‘I Beat Chris Sabin’, a la ‘Dusty Sucks Eggs’ back in the day. In the closing stages of this match, Fulton chucked Austin the t-shirt for him to wear while he hit The Fold, his finishing maneuver. Sabin blocked it through, using the slight distraction to get Austin up for the Cradleshock and the pin. He also then got the t-shirt to take away with him, so we’re all winners. ***3/4

Violent By Design (Eric Young & Joe Doering) (w/Deaner) def. Rhino & Heath

Even if the action in this match was a little plodding, as you’d expect with these four guys, the crowd continues to be into this storyline and it’s great to see Young back wrestling after he suffered a pretty bad ACL injury earlier in the year.

The obvious final pay-off to this story is Rhino pinning Eric Young but we didn’t get that here and the finish indicates that they’ll have one more go-around, probably at the next PPV, Hard to Kill, in January. Rhino had Joe Doering all set for a piledriver, only for Young, who was the legal man, to clock Rhino with what seemed to be a hockey mask, but could have been his knee brace, for the win. **3/4

Rich Swann (w/Willie Mack) def. VSK (w/Zicky Dice)

Another match we’re likely to see at Hard to Kill is Rich Swann against Brian Myers, which will be the pay-off for a simple, effective storyline involving Myers and his former protégé Sam Beale. We were supposed to get Swann/Myers at Turning Point but Myers was ‘not cleared to compete’; the competing explanations on social media were a clear nod to him ducking Swann and delaying the inevitable. In his absence, one of his new prospects, VSK, stepped up to the plate.

In truth, VSK, Zicky Dice and Sam Beale have all been great little pickups for Impact over the last few months. They can all be described as fairly blank canvasses with a tremendous amount of untapped potential. VSK, by far the best worker of the three, got to stretch his legs a bit more here against a great opponent in Swann, but there was only ever going to be one winner. **3/4

W. Morrissey def. Matt Cardona

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed W. Morrissey’s work in Impact so far, particularly in terms of his character. Likewise, it’s to his credit that Matt Cardona has done such a good job this year of reinventing himself after washing out of WWE. There was a strong chance he’d have just been a whiter than white dull babyface but his GCW work has shown that he’s capable of more depth and versatility. This match, however, did absolutely nothing for me.

It was plodding its way to steady, gentleman’s three territory before we got a ref bump. Moose hit the ring and speared Cardona, giving Morrissey an easy win and cementing their alliance for a bit longer. Not an ideal finish but one that works for all parties. **1/2

Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The IInspiration (Cassie Lee & Jessica McKay) (C) def. Decay (Rosemary & Havok)

I had a lot of time for The IInspiration’s Harlem Heat/Bam Bam Bigelow-inspired gear for this match. No real reason for it, as far as I know, but it was cool.

Unsurprisingly, given that these four women had a bit more chemistry and more of a story to work with, this was an improvement on their first match at Bound for Glory. It wasn’t terrific or anything, and there were still a few wonky moments here and there, but it had a bit more drama to it and a better overall structure.

The main focus of The IInspiration’s offense here was Havok’s arm and that set up the finish as they rammed her into the post and then used the ropes for a leverage pin. **3/4

Impact X-Division Championship
Trey Miguel (C) def. Laredo Kid & Steve Maclin

If the booking to get to this match irritated me no end, the finish bothered me a whole lot more.

I don’t want to drift too much into the realms of fantasy booking, but if Miguel defending against Maclin is your eventual play for Hard to Kill in January, Maclin doesn’t need to be in this match. Indeed, the finish to the title match qualifier on Impact, that saw Laredo Kid pin Black Taurus after Rohit Raju had wiped Steve Maclin out of contention, set you up for this show. Give Miguel a clean win in his second defence against Laredo Kid in what would probably have been a good match, and have Maclin go on the rampage, beating down Miguel after defeating Raju or Taurus earlier in the night. You can then pair Miguel and Maclin up again after the show and go from there. Instead, we got Maclin defeating Laredo Kid to get into this match, which was a curious decision, and then they got far too cute with the finish, Trey doing a double cover gimmick where Maclin kicked out but Laredo didn’t.

There was some good work in this match so I don’t want to be too harsh with my rating, but the optics of the finish were terrible and I couldn’t help but sit there and lament how avoidable they were. **1/2

Impact Knockouts Championship
Mickie James (C) def. Mercedes Martinez

I’m not sure if this was influenced by the way the previous match panned out but I thoroughly enjoyed this and it over-delivered relative to my expectations.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this match lied in the fact that it was a complete change of pace to anything else on the show. It was billed as a battle between two tough veterans and that was how it played out, with the opening exchanges based off mutual respect and a desire to dominate on the mat before things broke down with big strikes and both women looking to unload the tank with big offense.

Martinez’s Spider German Suplex was a particular highlight, as was her attempt at a full-blown Surfboard Stretch. Mickie blocked that though, hitting a short DDT to change momentum before then, at the third time of asking, hitting the MickDDT to seal her second title defense. ***1/2

Post-match, Deonna Purrazzo hit the ring and attacked James, calling for a title rematch at Hard to Kill that was later made official. Following those dramatics, Scott D’Amore then announced that Hard to Kill would also see the first-ever Knockouts Ultimate X match take place.

Impact World Tag Team Championship
The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (C) def. The Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo)

This was a match that happened. It was, as a match that happened, absolutely fine.

If you got the impression those sentences were said through gritted teeth, you’d be right. I find it genuinely impossible to care about a Good Brothers match at this point in their reign, particularly when it’s a heel-heel matchup like this was. Their second run with the belts feels completely flat, as does the wider division as a whole. We haven’t necessarily, but it almost feels like we’ve been stuck in a never-ending loop involving The Good Brothers, FinJuice and Bey & Hikuleo for months and I’d like it to end.

With that said, the match itself was fine. It was standard tag stuff and thankfully it didn’t overstay its welcome. **1/2

After the match, Josh Alexander came out to cut a promo. He spoke about defeating Minoru Suzuki two days prior and how Scott D’Amore is continuing to tell him that he needs to keep his emotions in check. Just as Alexander was extolling how angry he was and that he was intending to keep a close eye on the main event, Jonah Rock, now simply billed as Jonah, hit the ring. Jonah absolutely decimated Alexander, hitting him with multiple sentons and leaving him bleeding.

It was an extremely visceral segment and one I absolutely loved. First with Suzuki and now with Jonah, they’re continuing the story of Alexander being the tortured babyface and allowing him to work great, heated matches in the process. It keeps him and Moose apart until they’re ready to do the title switch and it means that when we do get there, the crowd will be absolutely ready for it.

Impact World Championship- Full Metal Mayhem
Moose (C) def. Eddie Edwards

Moose has now made a first successful defense of his Impact World Championship.

When these two hit the ring with close to 40 minutes of the VOD left to run, I knew they were going long and that in itself presented a test for Moose. He’d never gone that long in a big main event before – when he challenged for the World title against Austin Aries in 2018 that only went 16 minutes, while his challenge against Kenny Omega in June went 22 minutes. When all was said and done, it was safe to say he passed that test with flying colors.

Not only was Moose incredibly over with the live crowd but Eddie Edwards and the match stipulation provided the perfect foil for him. His promotional history with Edwards gave the match gravitas and significance for the fans, while Edwards is perfect in these scenarios and he worked his arse off. To his credit, so did Moose, once again delivering a ‘Big Match Moose’ performance and taking more than his fair share of big bumps. Perhaps the biggest bump was the powerbomb off a ladder onto another ladder.

The match escalated well from the strike exchanges in the early going through to the gradual incorporation of more and more weapons. It wasn’t plunder for the sake of plunder but instead a series of well-timed interventions that gave the match natural high spots. Eddie bringing the tape along with the chain to wrap around his knee was a nice touch and led to one of several finish teases, with Moose catching that Boston Knee Party attempt and Edwards later sprawling to defend a Spear from Moose.

W. Morrissey hit the ring but thankfully his interference didn’t produce the finish, which kept this old curmudgeon happy. He gave Moose a death stare, further teasing their inevitable split and resulting title match, before putting the boot to Edwards. Matt Cardona then yanked the ref out of the ring and then brawled with Morrissey to the back.

With just Moose and Edwards left, Eddie went to the old trope of big-time hardcore matches and he cut back the padding in the ring and attempted to put Moose away on the wooden boards. His attempts were blocked though, Moose putting him down with a low blow, a Uranage and then a final Spear for the win.

Running just over 31 minutes, this was great work from both men. The match had big main event vibes to it and both guys worked their socks off to deliver. Moose’s title reign is off to a flier. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

Turning Point was a mixed bag from Impact Wrestling. The show started well, with Sabin-Austin not far from notebook-worthy, petered out a bit in the middle with a few underwhelming matches and then peaked at the end with the main event absolutely delivering. I’d recommend checking out both of those matches but although some of the other matches on the show likely set things up for Hard to Kill, you can probably skip the rest.