Manolo Has Pizzazz
The big story coming out of Impact Wrestling (Dec. 9, 2020) was their unofficial friendship with AEW to do a little bit of business. Kenny Omega appeared with Don Callis to explain their motivations for screwing Jon Moxley in their title fight last week. Also, Tony Khan purchased commercial time to promote AEW. Both of those scenes were a neat moment in wrestling history.
As for the stories within Impact’s own world, the big bout of the evening was the final match in the opening round of the Knockouts tag title tournament. Taya & Rosemary did battle with Deonna Purrazzo & Kimber Lee. Purrazzo had the most momentum of the four coming in as Knockouts Champion, but a tag team bout is a different stage than singles competition.
Taya took a little bit of punishment to begin.
Rosemary charged in on the hot tag. Purrazzo cooled that surge with a flatliner then a teamwork neckbreaker with Lee. The tide turned after some heel showboating. Rosemary rose up like a freak, then Taya powered through Purrazzo and Lee with a double clothesline.
Fisticuffs ensued from all four participants. That led to a cool spot of both Taya and Lee going down to the mat in splits. Since they were right in front of each other, punches resumed. In the end, Purrazzo accidentally booted Lee when aiming for Taya. Rosemary struck Purrazzo with a spear. The demon finished Lee on a butterfly buttbuster for victory.
Impressive victory for Taya and Rosemary. They had the toughest opponents of all the first round matchups. Purrazzo’s championship pedigree wasn’t enough to carry her team to victory when Taya and Rosemary work as a well-oiled machine.
Taya & Rosemary advance to the semifinals to face Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz. On the other side of the bracket, Havok & Nevaeh will duke it out with Jordynne Grace & Jazz. The tournament final is scheduled for the Hard to Kill PPV on January 16.
Let’s roll through the rest of the Impact Wrestling episode. Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne were on commentary.
Chris Sabin defeated Josh Alexander. This was a jamming bout with Sabin’s speedy style versus Alexander’s technical prowess. Alexander had momentum after a ripcord elbow blast. Ethan Page yelled for Alexander to finish it with a piledriver. When Alexander shifted strategy toward Page’s advice, that gave enough time for Sabin to recover to escape a piledriver and win with a jackknife pin.
Chris Bey spoke with Moose about a game plan for their main event tag match against Rich Swann and Willie Mack. Moose’s fists do the talking. After being sassed, he threatened Bey with violence.
AEW’s Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone aired a commercial to promote their product. (Full details here.)
Brian Myers defeated TJP. Myers was trapped in a kneebar, so he shoved the referee into TJP to break the hold. Myers made the most of the ensuing distraction for a spinebuster and a clothesline to win.
Cody Deaner wanted to handle Eric Young alone, but Cousin Jake wanted to be ringside to keep eyes on Joe Doering. Cody made Jake promise to not get involved.
Rohit Raju rubbed TJP’s loss in his face. Rohit is bringing the Defeat Rohit Challenge to Final Resolution on December 12. It is open to anyone except TJP.
Eric Young defeated Cody Deaner. Cody had control and climbed the turnbuckles. Joe Doering took a few steps closer and so did Cousin Jake. Cody went down the turnbuckles to remind Jake of their agreement. Back up top on the turnbuckles for Cody. He missed a flying attack then ate a piledriver for the loss. Young and Doering beat up the Deaners afterward. Rhino ran in for the save with a huge lead pipe in hand.
John E. Bravo wanted Larry D in jail. Tommy Dreamer handled the situation with a kendo stick. That led to a challenge at Final Resolution. If Larry wins, he walks free. If Dreamer wins, then Larry will go to the authorities. Larry was taken aback at the idea that winning a wresting match will determine his freedom.
Dreamer expressed his concerns to Scott D’Amore about locker room morale with Kenny Omega and Don Callis acting like big shots. D’Amore was only interested in the increased publicity for Impact.
Tenille Dashwood wanted to discuss fashion ideas with Alisha Edwards. Alisha didn’t have time for Tenille. A real friend would have noticed what happened to her husband, Eddie, two weeks ago. Kaleb Konley kicked Alisha out of their team. She didn’t care.
Deonna Purrazzo complained to Scott D’Amore about her hectic schedule as champ, so he made a match for Final Resolution. Purrazzo has to defend the Knockouts Championship against Rosemary.
Sami Callihan went to the ring to talk himself up. He is the draw. Impact needs him more than he needs Impact. That’s why he gets away with his evil actions. Callihan felt it fitting to hit Eddie Edwards in the head again with his bat to celebrate the anniversary of doing it the first time. Alisha interrupted, but she didn’t come alone. Eddie attacked Callihan from behind.
Backstage, Alisha helped Eddie take care of his problem. Now, it was time for Eddie to help take care of Alisha’s problem.
Chris Bey & Moose defeated Rich Swann & Willie Mack. The match broke down in the end. Bey hit Swann with a spinning heel kick. Mack hit Bey with a pop-up forearm shot. Moose speared Mack then mounted him for ground and pound elbows. Swann kicked Moose in the head. The two tussled to the outside. Bey crawled over to cover Mack’s lifeless body for the win.
Backstage, security wouldn’t let Swann pass through the exit. He was not on the champ’s list. Swann took exception as the Impact World Champion. It turned out to be a list from Don Callis and AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. Swann was angered at the disrespect.
John Mathews interviewed Don Callis and Kenny Omega. (Full details here.) Their relationship runs 27 years. Callis has been an invisible hand guiding Omega’s career. They made history with Omega’s AEW title win. He might even dabble in Impact on his days off to collect the Impact belt. The reason Omega broke his gentleman’s agreement was to protect Callis after Moxley laid hands on him. They exited with a tease for a big announcement on AEW Dynamite.
This was a standard solid effort for Impact. The matches were good, and the promos were efficient in advancing stories. For new viewers to Impact, this was the type of episode you’ll see more often than not. I do think Impact dropped the ball a little by not having at least one major match scheduled for the show. Since Impact tapes a bunch of content in one bang, that brings in to question how far in advance Kenny Omega’s appearance was actually planned.
Obviously, the top moments were the tie-ins with AEW. I thought it worked well and flowed smoothly into Impact’s broadcast. Enough seeds were planted for potential confrontations if the two companies decide to further explore this relationship.
As interesting as it would be to have Omega as Impact World Champion, the booking for programming might be an issue. He wouldn’t be losing that belt as long as he holds the AEW World Championship. That means Impact would have their work cut out for them to sell compelling world title matches with a predictable result. And honestly, I don’t see anyone in Impact on Omega’s level to believably defeat him.
Overall, the experiment was a success. Both companies benefit, and fans have more reason to get excited for the future of wrestling outside WWE.
Share your thoughts on Impact Wrestling. What was your favorite match? Who stole the show?