From The Impact Zone – February 15th, 2018

A little foreword before the review itself as IMPACT confirmed yesterday night Redemption pay-per-view will take place on April 22 in Orlando, Florida. Like said on Twitter, this is their first new tent-pole pay-per-view to be added since 2005, meaning that this is the first time they’ve introduced a new pay-per-view name for one of the major shows since Genesis in 2005.

Six matches announced for tonight’s episode, this page of the New Chapter could be called “Action All Night”. Eli Drake will have his rematch against IMPACT World Champion Austin Aries, X-Division Taiji Ishimori will square off with AAA Latin America Champion El Hijo del Fantasma. Rosemary and Hania will continue their feud, but this time in a ring. After the ambush he suffered last week, Lashley will try to have his revenge on oVe’s fiercest member, Sami Callihan. IMPACT Grand Champion Matt Sydal and Johnny will team up against EC3 and a mysterious opponent. And we’ll finally witness the debut of The Machine Brian Cage in the Impact Zone. No more talk, action now, your French Enygma Steph way, of course…

Josh Mathews and Sonjay Dutt are back at the announce table. We can suppose it could last until Redemption.

Sami Callihan (w/ Jake and Dave Crist) vs. Lashley

Lashley was attacked by oVe last week and was ready for revenge. Sami had a baseball bat in hand. He went for a spear right in the match but Callihan dodged it. He was sent outside so Jake and Dave could take care of him, but Lashley threw them down. Callihan connected with a running knee from the apron. When Lashley was back in the ring, Callihan threw him back out and hit a Tornado DDT on the floor.

Back in, Lashley hit a vertical suplex but Jake attacked him from the floor. Callihan dumped Lashley to the floor yet again. He tossed him into the barricade by Callihan. He spat in his hand and made Lashley taste his saliva on his chest with a chop. Callihan went back to the ring to distract the referee while Jake and Dave did their job. Sami set Lashley in a chair on the floor, took a lap around the ring but Lashley cut him off with a spear.

Back from break, Lashley unloaded a crossbody and a spinebuster. He went for a spear, but Callihan caught him in a guillotine choke. Lashley was able to rise up and power slammed Callihan down. Callihan recovered and connected with a sit out powerbomb. Lashley fired up but Callihan unloaded a trapped corner superkick to his face. Lashley hit the Dominator and the spear followed. Jake and Dave ran in to disqualify Callihan. Lashley won the match but not the way he wished to. Dave and Jake continued to attack Lashley with stomps but here came Eddie Edwards to save Lashley. Bobby sent Jake on Sami out to the floor.

– Backstage, Eli Drake and Chris Adonis told McKenzie Mitchell he was still the recognized champion despite what Aries did to him. He added nobody could stop him and, fact of life, couldn’t stop him being the Champion. Meanwhile in LAX Lair, Konnan was talking about expanding the stable’s operations in Mexico.

– While Allie was in quest of her admirer and Moose was angry at Alberto El Patron for costing him the #1 contendership, Austin Aries confirmed no one thought he would come in and won the title the right off the bat. He seized the opportunity to be able to make a difference in Impact, by being on top. And tonight he would stay on top as the Impact World Champion (have you read our interview of Aries? It’s here).

Rosemary vs. Hania

Rosemary attacked when the bell rang and unloaded struck Hania. She missed two charges, allowing Hania to fire back with strikes. She connected with a spinning wheel kick. Rosemary trapped her in the tarantula submission hold in the ropes. She headed to the top rope, went for a dropkick but missed. She landed hard on the mat.

Hania hit the wheelbarrow facebuster and howled to the skies. She tried for an inverted DDT but Rosemary escaped, Hania answered with an axe kick to Rosemary’s back. Hania headed to the top rope and landed a crossbody, but Rosemary used the momentum to roll her up for the win. After the match, Hania continued to attack The Demon Assassin and tossed her out to the floor. She tried to throw her into the steel steps but Rosemary bit her arm to go for the Red Wedding on the floor. Hania escaped as Rosemary was yelling at her “Better get your shots, sweetie.” 

– Backstage, while Namasté Matt Sydal was helping Johnny Impact to stretch out while talking spiritual, EC3 welcomed back his old friend and tag team partner, Tyrus. Meanwhile, Allie was looking for her secret admirer. She stumbled upon a heart-shaped box with a card. While she was reading it, Laurel Van Ness popped up from a box. Allie sent the box of chocolates in her face and threw her back in the box with stomps.

EC3 & Tyrus vs. Johnny Impact & IMPACT Grand Champion Matt Sydal

EC3 and Impact began the match with some back and forth. Sydal was quickly tagged in and hit a double stomp and leg kicks. Johnny back in the ring with a double dropkick on EC3, but Tyrus cut them off. Impact replied an enzuigiri and then tagged in Sydal. Johnny attacked  Tyrus’ knee and followed with kicks. He went for the standing moonsault but Tyrus hit the heart punch. EC3 was tagged in and a good double-team work on Sydal.

EC3 kept Sydal to the mat and then hit a delayed suplex. Tyrus was tagged in and tossed Sydal around the ring before a corner splash. He missed the Vader Splash, so Sydal made the tag. Johnny jumped on EC3, sent Tyrus to the floor and hit the Moonlight Drive on EC3. Carter rallied and tossed Impact to the floor after a knee and a clothesline. Sydal worked over EC3 and went to dive to the floor, but Tyrus caught him in mid-air and slammed him on the apron. Impact and EC3 went back in the ring, Johnny sent EC3 chest-first into the corner. he went for the springboard off the ropes but Tyrus flipped him off the ropes. EC3 got the win a foot on the ropes. Old friends make good wins…

– At Park, Park, and Park Office, Jimmy Jacobs and Kongo Kong were waiting for Joseph and Abyss. Jacobs expected: “We asked politely, but Abyss will eventually come out.” Jacobs then told Kongo Kong to “burn it down” and he destroyed everything in the room (why the plant, Kongo, why?). Even the photo of Joseph’s Grandma hung on the wall…

Brian Cage vs. John Cruz

Brian Cage was making his debut with IMPACT Wrestling. He dropped Cruz, threw him from one corner to another, hit the powerbomb/bucklebomb combo. A discus lariat and a nasty piledriver later, Cruz was done and The Machine Brian Cage was unleashed.

– Backstage, Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley were seeking out LAX. They found Fallah Bahh and The Mumbai Cats. They let the first eat, but they attacked the second. But they were not LAX…

X Division Championship Match: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. AAA Latin America Champion El Hijo del Fantasma

Ishimori and Fantasma locked up, Fantasma tried to work the arm, but Ishimori grounded the action. Fantasma went back to his feet and hit some arm drags. Ishimori then sent him to the floor. Back in the ring, Fantasma hits the running boot and worked on Ishimori’s arm again. He then stunned Ishimori off the ropes and grounded the action by trapping Ishimori’s legs into a submission hold. Ishimori grabbed the ropes but Fantasma connected with a tilt a whirl backbreaker.

After the break, Ishimori battled back, unloaded a seated senton and a tope. Back in the ring, Ishimori connected with running knee strikes and a double stomp. Fantasma replied with a jump kick and a suicide dive. But Ishimori on the floor hit a stunning running hurricanrana. Ishimori rushed to the apron and hits a golden moonsault from the corner down to the floor. back in, Fantasma hit an enzuigiri and a high cross. Ishimori fought off the piledriver and connected with the double knee strikes. Ishimori rose to the top and hit his signature 450 splash for the win. Very, very good match, the X-Division way, with great fast-paced action. Ishimori is a hell of a Champion, who will be able to dethrone him?

Impact World Championship Match: Austin Aries (c) vs. Eli Drake w/ Chris Adonis

What to expect from 2 men that never wrestled each other before? Everything… Aries arrived with his 4 Championship belts. Drake tried to overpower Aries but he quickly grounded Drake. He went for the Last Chancery, but Drake powdered to the floor. Aries hit Drake with arm drags and a basement dropkick. Aries laid in strikes, but Drake cut him off and laid in rights. He unloaded the Corner shoulder blocks in the corner.

After the break, Aries was in control with a running elbow drop but Drake replied and connected with knee strikes and a leg drop in the ropes. Aries rallied, hit a leg kick, but missed a charge, allowing Drake to hit a neck breaker. Drake trash talked before a powerslam. Drake took down Aries but missed a springboard moonsault. They then traded strikes, Aries fired up with forearm strikes and a neck breaker in the ropes. Aries rose to the top and hit a missile dropkick.

Drake fought off a Brainbuster attempt. Aries rose to the top again but Drake ran up and hit a superplex. Aries hit the shotgun dropkick and Drake again countered the Brainbuster. Aries sent Drake to the floor and unleashed the heat-seeking missile to take out Chris Adonis. Drake then slammed Aries onto the apron. Back in the ring, Drake went for the Gravy Train, Aries escaped and went for the Last Chancery, but decided to knock out Adonis. Drake tried a quick roll-up but Aries hits the Brainbuster for the win. A pretty classic match in some ways, we can say now we have a new Champion who really defeated the former.

Interesting but not exciting… The X-Division match was absolutely stunning. The other matches were good but not as much as I was expecting. For sure, Brian Cage will bring some chaos in the Impact Zone and the war between oVe and Lashley could take a very bad turn. We turned another page of this New Chapter, what is the next one going to provide? Another huge pack of action, as it seems… And if you agree with me, of course, I see you next week… 

All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling. Photomontage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.