This week, in the second part of Impact Wrestling Best of 2018, it’s time for the Top 5 Matches of the Year, chosen by the fans. Even if I’ve known for a few weeks now which match is the #1, I’ve chosen not to tell you. The Nygma may be one year older, she remains the Nygma…
Like last week, I’ll review for you this Best of 2018, Part 2, and share with you SteelChair Mag’s own 2018 Impact Wrestling Matches of The Year. Were our choices the same than the fans? No more words, let’s get ready for some action, but your French Enygma Steph way, of course…
Impact Wrestling 2018 vs. SteelChair Mag Top 5 Matches
There were a lot of promos for Homecoming I decided not to quote. I won’t review the matches again, but add a few words to the reviews I’ve already done. Some highlights of every match are available on Impact Wrestling YouTube Channel here.
- Special Mention: Fénix vs. Rich Swann – Impact – July 5, 2018
Josh Mathews explained this match was a way to focus on Fénix, who will compete at Homecoming with his brother Pentagon Jr for the Tag Team Championship. The fact is no X-Division match was chosen by the fans, and this one was a way to air at least a match from the flagship Division of the company.
If you check the review of the match here, you’ll remember how great this match was. When 2 high-flyers collide in a ring, you know what to expect. Something entertaining and fresh. After all, that’s exactly what we want and love from the X-Division.
- #5: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie – Bound for Glory – Our opinion: 75% Nygma.
I absolutely don’t understand what this match is doing in the Top 5. The 75% is really about Taya, and definitely not for Tessa. If the match itself was pretty good, as you can read here, the fact is the Knockouts Champion is a cheater. We’re looking at 2018 as a whole, and I sincerely don’t think Tessa Blanchard is an “undeniable” Champion. As she said, she would do everything to remain the Champion. So be it. Tessa was “built” to become Impact Knockout Champion, she still has to prove she can earn it and undeniably be it.
- #4: Austin Aries (c) vs. Pentagon Junior vs. Fénix – Redemption – Our opinion: 149% Nygma.
Why 149%? Let’s put the situation where it was in April 2018. Alberto Del Rio quit, Austin Aries had no #1 contender anymore and Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground was a huge success a few weeks before. And Aries gave a second chance to his opponents of that night. If this match was amazing, the fact is the very first one at Lucha vs. Impact event was even better.
Do you remember the title of my review at that time? “Devil’s a Gambler.” Last April, I wasn’t very sure Pentagon and Fénix were meant to stay, so I wasn’t expecting Aries to lose the title. But we had a new Champion that night, a masked man with Zero Fear. It was a strong main-event for a rebuilding PPV. The match itself is a festival of amazing moves, so amazing it became hard to describe. Aries proved he was also a natural-born Luchador. In fact, Austin Aries is able to do everything in a ring. I can’t wait to see him back in the Impact Zone…
- #3: 5150 Street Match – LAX 5150 (c) (Santana & Ortiz w/ Konnan) vs. LAX OGz (Homicide & Hernandez w/ Eddie Kingston) – Slammiversary – Our opinion : 190% Nygma
West Side Story meets Gangs of New York meets the Godfather… Slammiversary was just the beginning of a clan war, about what LAX was meant to be. The Street Fight stipulation told us exactly what we were supposed to see, as you can check here. It was a vicious and brutal brawl, with tables, trashcan lids, chain, ladder, and the cherry on the cake, thumbtacks. I could have given this match 200% because it was aggressively beautiful. But the post-match shadowed the match and also Cide and Hernandez were definitely not of the level of Santana and Ortiz. The stipulation hid it a little but not completely. But, caeteris paribus (all else unchanged), I loved this match…
- #2: Austin Aries (c) vs. Johnny Impact – Bound for Glory – Our opinion: 100% Nygma
I agree with the fact this match is a very good one, but not to the point of reaching #2… It was written in stone the title would change hands that night, as I said to you here, but the build-up of this match was pretty strange. As Johnny Impact told me, something in him changed that night. He has to show up a level of aggressivity we have never been used to see, coming from him. It was not a “classic” Johnny Impact match, it was not a “classic” Austin Aries match too. But it was way above a “classic” wrestling match. Johnny prevailed, Austin wasn’t happy at all. Again, I can’t wait to see him be back in the Impact Zone. Because the rematch would be awesome…
- #1: Hair vs. Mask Match – Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Junior – Slammiversary – Our opinion: 199% Nygma
How couldn’t it be the match of the year? This match exploded every possible standard. It was nasty, vicious, aggressive, hardcore, as you check here. Not 200% for one simple reason, Sami Callihan couldn’t win. A Luchador losing his mask is not a wrestler anymore. As hardcore as this match was, I couldn’t help but find some kind of poetry in it. When they exchanged some slaps, sitting on chairs. When Callihan requested more kicks in the head by the end of the match. When they used chairs as swords… I loved every second of this match, as hardcore as it may have been. Suddenly, in the eyes of wrestling fans, Impact Wrestling was definitely back on track, because of this 2 men…
Here are our Top 5 Matches of the Year. Of course, comment on these choices on our social media @SteelChairMag.
#5 TIE: Su Yung vs. Rosemary – Impact – May 3, 2018, AND, Petey Williams vs. Johnny Impact vs. Taiji Ishimori vs. Fénix – Slammiversary
#4: Barbed Wire Massacre – oVe vs. LAX – Impact – January 18, 2018
#3: Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Junior vs. Fénix – Impact vs. Lucha Underground Live Event
#2: 5150 Street Match – LAX 5150 (c) vs. LAX OGz – Slammiversary
#1: Hair vs. Mask Match – Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Junior – Slammiversary
The Nygma’s Nutcrackers of this Best Of
What can we retain from this Best of? Many things…
- Sami Callihan Reigning Supreme
Wrestler of the Year, Moment of the Year, Match of The Year… Sami Callihan quite simply stole the year 2018. Remember what I told you last week, Sami Callihan is definitely THE Draw and is not decided to stop here now, he has never stopped to push the limits. Sami Callihan, from the bottom of my heart, I have 2 words for you… Thank You.
- The new faces of Impact Wrestling, Austin Aries, Johnny Impact, Pentagon Junior
With being spotted in 2 matches of the year, Austin Aries and Pentagon Jr are just confirming what we all knew. They don’t make the show, they are the show. Aries’ comeback on Impact last January shocked the world when he became Champion the same night he returned. In fact, WWE made us forget how good he was. Impact Wrestling reminded us about. What to say about Pentagon Jr? If some of you have never heard about him before his debut with Impact Wrestling, you really missed something. At the same time, Johnny Impact slowly but surely made his way to the top, step by step. He’s charismatic, he’s damn good. These 3 men, alongside Callihan, are raising the company up (I’ll say it a third time but, please, Austin, come back…)
- The Kings of the Tag Team Division
Impact struggled this year to succeed in building a Tag Team Division. But oVe was there, and mostly LAX. Like I said last week, the new regime decided to show them for what they really are, wrestlers. And they made it real. Again, to Konnan, Santana and Ortiz, well-done guys…
- An undeniable Queen for the Knockouts Queendom
Impact Wrestling made everything to push Tessa Blanchard to the top. She’s a third-generation wrestler, she’s only 23, she’s good. The company that was going to have the chance to sign her was going to be a lucky one. WWE passed, Impact seized the opportunity. But there was, for me, no rush to make her the Champion. After Gail Kim retired by the end of 2017, the company needed a new leader in its female locker room. I’m sure Tessa is the right choice. For Impact, undeniably, she is.
- BUT No Cage, no Kross, no X-Division…
I was pretty surprised not to see wrestlers like Brian Cage, Matt Sydal or Killer Kross weren’t featured. No worries, they will make 2019… Another surprise coming from this Top 5, no X-Division match. The X-Division is Impact Wrestling flagship division, a huge part of its legacy. The Ultimate-X match at Homecoming will probably clear the head of the fans…
To be eNYGMAtic…
This 2018 Top 5 Matches is the perfect reflection of what Impact Wrestling has been in 2018. I was taking a look back at a work I put online last April, The Redemption of Impact. I was wishing and hoping the best for the company. In December 2018, here’s what I can say.
To Ed Nordholm, Scott D’Amore and Don Callis, Impact Executives, you have understood what Impact was supposed to be and you have made it possible. Impact Wrestling is definitely back. To Sonjay Dutt, Abyss, Gail Kim, Jimmy Jacobs, Petey Williams, Impact Creatives, there’s no one better than a wrestler to understand what wrestling is supposed to be, build up the storylines, the promos and the matches. To the whole Impact roster, keep up the good work, you worth it. To Ross Forman and Simon Rothstein, Impact Wrestling needs some voices in order to be heard, you know how to listen to them carefully. Thank you all…
To all the people who still think Impact doesn’t worth a glance, I have 2 words for you. So sorry… Because, me, Stephanie, aka The French Nygma, I won’t surrender to try to convince you… On this very stubborn note, until next week and 2019, never EVER forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…
Impact Homecoming card (as of Saturday, December 29):
* Impact World Championship Match: Johnny Impact (c) vs. Brian Cage
* Impact Knockouts Championship match: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie, with Gail Kim as special guest referee
* Impact World Tag Team Championship Match: LAX (Ortiz & Santana) (c) vs. The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Junior & Fénix)
* Ultimate X Match for the vacant X-Division Championship: Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel
* Monster’s Ball Match: Abyss vs. Eli Drake
* Falls Count Anywhere Match: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose
All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling. Photomontage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.