Happy New Year, dear Impact Wrestling fans! I wish all of us 2019 to be as good, if not better, than 2018 was, Impact Wrestling wise. They can do it again, and we’ll be there, by the company’s side. Before my “classic” notes, some bad news. It will be the last time you’ll see Trevor Lee in an Impact ring this week, as he announced on Twitter he was leaving the company, and DJ Z also announced the same the day before.
This week is the Final Impact before Homecoming. On the menu, Fallah Bahh & KM will compete against The Desi Hit Squad to impress Scarlett Bordeaux, we’ll hear from Eli Drake, Kiera Hogan will face off Dark Allie, Brian Cage and Johnny Impact will team up against The Lucha Brothers, and in a Ten Man Tag Team Match, Rich Swann, Willie Mack & The Rascalz will square off with Ethan Page, Matt Sydal & oVe.
Of course, I’ll review this episode, but I will use it as a platform to preview the PPV and give you my predictions. If I’ve shaken up the structure of my review over the last few weeks, next week you’ll find back the Nutcracking spirit you love so much. So no more words, let’s get ready for some action, but your French Nygma Steph way, of course…
The Nygma’s Chart of the Week
- Rich Swann, Willie Mack & The Rascalz (Trey Miguel, Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier) vs. Ethan Page, Matt Sydal & oVe (Sami Callihan, Jake Crist & Dave Crist). After the match, Callihan attacked and choked The Mack from behind with a baseball bat. Jake Crist brought out a table, climbed on Callihan’s shoulders and hit the All-Seeing Eye on The Mack through the table.
- Video package on Eddie Edwards and Moose’s feud.
- Eli Drake came out to the ring and said that the conspiracies in Impact Wrestling continue because, even after taking care of Abyss and Tommy Dreamer, he has to be in a Monster’s Ball match at Homecoming. Drake told management that they can attempt to intimidate him but at Homecoming, he’ll adapt and become what he hates – hardcore. Tommy Dreamer ran to the ring with a steel chair. Drake tried to hit it with the rowing paddle but it bounced off the chair and allowed Dreamer to begin the chair attack. Dreamer finished Drake off with the Dreamer DDT and placed Drake’s neck inside the fold of the steel chair. Suddenly, Raven appeared in the Impact Zone. Dreamer and Raven stood face-to-face, stared at each other, and attacked Drake together.
- Fallah Bahh & KM defeated The Desi Hit Squad. Before the match, Gama Singh announced this match was for Scarlett Bordeaux, who was watching from the ramp.
- Backstage, we saw The Lucha Brothers telling LAX that they’re very similar in a variety of ways but since Konnan left their corner, they’ve been nothing but trouble. Pentagon said that since the communication is broken, the match at Homecoming will no longer be a friendly, competitive match, but a personal one. They said they were ready to take their Tag Team Championships.
- Dark Allie w/ Su Yung defeated Kiera Hogan. After the match, Yung and Allie teamed up to attack Hogan until a very impressive Jordynne Grace came out to make the save.
- Video package on the story behind Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie 3, with special guest referee Gail Kim.
- Backstage, Trevor Lee was furious and told Impact Wrestling Management he wanted a match tonight. Meanwhile, LAX was talking about growing up and only wanting to achieve their dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Ortiz told Santana that, when it comes to the two of them, they had to prove that they can defend the Championships without Konnan. Santana said how they had no choice but to accept the title match against The Lucha Brothers because their reputation in the streets depended on it.
- Killer Kross defeated Trevor Lee. After the match, Kross forced the timekeeper to hold a cinder block. Kross punched the cinder block that shattered on Lee’s head. Kross yelled in the camera, “I’ll be watching, John! Don’t disappoint us!” before exiting.
- The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr & Fénix) defeated Johnny Impact & Brian Cage. Cage hit Impact and gave the win to The Lucha Brothers. After the match, The Lucha Brothers celebrated their victory on the ramp as Brian Cage re-entered the ring. Cage stared down Impact and the two argued about the ending of their tag match. Cage attempted to leave but Impact grabbed his arm to stop him. Cage pushed Impact off of him, Impact threw some punches. Cage and Impact continued trading punches until referees and security had to swarm them and try to keep them separated. Impact jumped off the top rope with a double corkscrew splash on to lots of people outside the ring.
The Nygma’s Nutcracker(s) of the Week
– The 10-Man Tag Team Match
It was not a surprise that this match would steal the show. The X Division right now is mainly built around these names, Rich Swann, Willie Mack, The Rascalz, Ethan Page, Matt Sydal, and oVe. Four of those guys will be involved in Ultimate-X match, Mack will compete against Callihan. Sydal is injured so don’t expect to see him whether at Homecoming or during the next set of tapings. One thing is sure, the war is never over in the Impact Zone…
– Extreme Reunion
I heard myself yelling “ECW! ECW!” Tommy Dreamer and Raven appeared to add more hype to Sunday’s Monster’s Ball between Eli Drake and Abyss, but isn’t it cool? The ECW icons teased fighting amongst one another, only to team up for once and take out Drake
– The “Killer Instinct”
I missed the Killer side of Killer Kross… For a man who epitomizes doom, evilness and sadism, he hasn’t been given the chance to show it over the last few weeks. Honestly, you don’t go around with Killer in your name if you play nice with others. Poor Trevor Lee, this cinder block moment was the worst goodbye for him, see below.
– Johnny Exploding
Since he became World Champion, Johnny Impact has had to show a side of himself, more aggressive. Cage cashing in Option C was not a problem for Johnny Impact. Moments like this that can make any rivalry that bit more special, which was certainly the case here, but it comes a little late in the storyline. This beef between them was not necessary to make this match more interesting or appealing. Because just these 2 names were enough…
Impact Homecoming Preview, Stakes and Predictions
Homecoming card is a very interesting one, the build-up was good. Impact Wrestling didn’t make the same Bound for Glory mistake, building it up nearly last minute. The stakes are very high, the company is back to where it all began, The Asylum. Monster’s Ball and Ultimate-X matches are on the menu. But I’m afraid many of the matches will have their fate not put in the hands of the wrestlers themselves. Of course, interferences and interventions are a component of wrestling entertainment but, for a company who’s been striving to rebuild its reputation, and 2 days after one of the most important PPV in the world, what is the message Impact Wrestling wants to give to its fans? I genuinely want a PPV like Impact Wrestling can do, with good, great and awesome matches. What I absolutely don’t want is to tell you, tomorrow night, “I told you” or “I saw it coming”. Let’s scrutinize this card and see what may happen…
* Knockouts Tag Team Match: Dark Allie & Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace
If we could be happy for PROGRESS Women’s Champion Jordynne Grace, as she will make her PPV debut tonight, she doesn’t need to be in this match. The only rivalry she was involved in was with Katarina. This spot was made for Rosemary, who’s been sidelined for more than 7 months due to a knee injury. But maybe Rosemary could make her comeback tonight, maybe help Kiera or, why not, create a Dark stable with Allie and Su.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Jordynne & Kiera
* Singles Match: Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack
How can’t you not put 2018 Wrestler of the Year in the first PPV of the year? A win for either star could help leverage them towards a future title shot of some kind, but the X-Factor is still whether Swann or oVe get involved in things, and the fact is Jake Crist and Rich Swann have enough to do tonight. Let’s not forget Dave Crist… Because the stakes are pretty low in this match, it could easily be one of the best of the night.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Sami Callihan
* Monster’s Ball Match: Abyss vs. Eli Drake
When I chatted with Eli Drake a few days ago, I understood this match was like a “Do or Die” one. Whether Eli becomes a legend tonight, or his future with Impact could be in jeopardy. Last month, Eli Drake was absolutely furious when he found out he’d been challenged to a Monster’s Ball Match by Abyss and it was officially set for Homecoming. Not only a hardcore match but a devastatingly brutal one that has been the speciality of Abyss throughout his career. Abyss has been involved in 47 of the 48 Monster’s Ball matches, since its creation in 2004, and won 19 of them. The fact Drake was able to defeat Tommy Dreamer in a no DQ match is not something dull. Despite Raven and Dreamer, that could be involved in the match, Drake is definitely able to catch Abyss in his own trap, like Kongo Kong did last year, and push himself to the hardcore limit.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Eli Drake
* Falls Count Anywhere Match: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose
Another match with not a lot of stakes, as the 2 wrestlers have been involved in this feud for quite a while now. The character of Crazy Eddie is custom-made for a violent Falls Count Anywhere Match. Kenny will be there, we may expect some blood, but no interferences. As unstable as Eddie is, that’s what gives him the edge in this match. He will have to push Moose to his inner limits. It could be a great match but I’m just afraid Falls counts Anywhere can mean Moments shot earlier in the day…
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Eddie Edwards
* Ultimate X Match for the vacant X-Division Championship: Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel
I love the fact the 88th X-Division will be a first-ever Champion and a fresh name in the Division. None of them has ever been X-Division Champion, whether it’s Jake Crist, Rich Swann, Trey Miguel or Ethan Page. Ultimate-X match is a part of the history of Impact Wrestling and is notorious for giving us some of the most death-defying moments imaginable. Anyone of these men could end the night injured. Honestly, any one of these men could walk out as Champion. BUT let’s not forget oVe and The Rascalz… And I think this match could be a platform for an Ohio vs. Ohio storyline. Ethan Page will be alone in this match and I don’t expect the Mack to be involved in. Impact Wrestling has made everything to propel Swann to the top, at the same time Page could be a great surprise.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Rich Swann or Ethan Page
* Impact Knockouts Championship match: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie, with Gail Kim as special guest referee
Third match between these 2 ladies and this one has to be the last one. Tessa is a cheating Champion, she was given the belt by Impact Wrestling, and enough. When the build-up for their Bound for Glory match was non-existent, this time the build-up was good. After Taya Valkyrie’s last two title shots ended in controversy, Gail Kim will be there to make sure there’s a clear winner. In recent weeks, we’ve seen Taya refine her skills and even make Tessa Blanchard tap out in tag team competition. Taya has been pushed to the edge by Tessa more than once, but that’s also made her more familiar with the current Knockouts Champion. While Blanchard is certainly able to be a staple of the Knockouts Division for the years to come, wrestling is all about timing. And the time is now for Taya.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Taya Valkyrie
* Impact World Tag Team Championship Match: LAX (Ortiz & Santana) (c) vs. The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Junior & Fénix)
Without any shadow of a doubt, it will be the match of the night quite simply because it’s a Dream Match. It’s all about respect. In 2018 LAX has been the flagships of the Tag Team Division. Whether against oVe or the OGz, they stole the show every night and every match. Under the tutelage of Konnan, Santana and Ortiz survived every possible stipulation match, Barbed Wire Massacre, Concrete Jungle, 5150 Street Fight. At Homecoming, they’re going back to their Lucha Libre roots. But the fact is Konnan understood way before Santana and Ortiz this match could destroy friendships and respect. No matter how much respect there is, that all goes aside when the bell sounds. Inside the ring, it’s all about winning, and the seeds of that potential explosion popped up last month on Impact. At Homecoming, they’re going to give us an instant classic. But will respect still be there when the bell is going to ring a second time? Can’t wait for the rematches that will come after…
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… The Lucha Brothers
* Impact World Championship Match: Johnny Impact (c) vs. Brian Cage
This match was meant to happen. Brian Cage is meant to become World Champion, it was set in stone the day he made his re-debut with Impact Wrestling. While both Johnny and Cage have faced off many times in the past, this will be the first time we see them compete in Impact Wrestling. Both men are coming off a great 2018 on Impact. Even if Johnny will have some backup in his corner in the form of fellow Survivor contestants, the X-factor for Johnny to deal with at Homecoming is Killer Kross. Despite coming up short in his title opportunity, the sociopathic Kross is still looking to find a way to become Champion. In recent weeks he’s acted as if he wants to be Johnny’s ally, but the Champion knows all too well not to trust someone like Kross.
Brian Cage is called “The Machine” because he is a truly inhuman competitor that can turn things up to a level very few knew was attainable, he will be World Champion in 2019, but not tonight. Johnny Impact’s reign has to be a little longer. This storyline has just begun and could reach unexpected heights… Can’t wait for the rematches that will come after…
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Johnny Impact
To be eNYGMAtic…
I think I already told you so much I think there’s no need to tell you more. Don’t miss Homecoming review tomorrow night. Impact Wrestling will tap some new episodes on Monday and Tuesday, so who knows what’s going to happen next week? Of course, I’ll be there, again and again.
If you haven’t had the chance to watch it, Impact put on its YouTube channel a very cool documentary on Brian Cage here. And also watch the video below, they called it “The Riveting Cold Open to Homecoming“. For me, it’s more like a mission statement on what Impact is and will be.
Just one more thing, over the last few weeks, despite a crazy agenda, I had the chance to talk to Tessa Blanchard and Pentagon Junior & Fénix, but also one-on-one to Johnny Impact, Brian Cage, and Eli Drake. They all had a lot to say about Impact Wrestling and Homecoming. Enjoy the read, but also comment and share with me on @FrenchNygma.
On this very “Back to the future” note, until tomorrow night, until next week, never EVER forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…
All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling. Photomontage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.