There was no better gift for me than to have Impact air the day of my 40th, it made it a real and sincere way to say Happy Birthday. The Nygma grows old but the tone is not going to slow down. Impact Wrestling did not move forward in 2019, they made giant steps to the top. They kept the formula that has ever made them be successful, with X-Division, Knockouts, hardcore spicy sauce. But they dared with intergender. They gambled and it really worked. This year was just the best Impact Wrestling has ever had for years (I already said that last year…), every weekly review was a treasure to write for you. I let you witness the changes step by step. But, in many ways, the 52 weekly reviews and 4 PPV reviews I have written would speak better than a Year-End Best-Of…
Of course, I’ll review for you this Best of 2019, Part 1, with all the highlights of the year, but I’ll also share with you The Nygma’s own 2019 Impact Wrestling Awards. Were my choices the same than Impact? No more words, let’s get ready for some action, but your French Enygma Steph way, of course…
The Nygma’s Chart and NutCrackers of the Week
There were a lot of Christmas memories I decided not to quote (you can find the vignettes on Impact Wrestling Twitter account). I won’t review the matches again, but add a few words to the reviews I’ve already done. Josh Mathews and Impact EVP Scott D’Amore hosted the episode.
- Eddie Edwards vs Moose – Falls Count Anywhere – Homecoming
Like I said here, it was hardcore, it was good and it cemented the legacy of 3 talents on Impact Wrestling. Moose is never better than on PPV and he showed it perfectly. Eddie Edwards pushed the idea of Crazy Eddie to the limits of hardcore and it worked so well it propelled him to the top. And there was Alisha. If Kenny was Eddie’s best friend, Alisha made of this kendo stick her weapon of choice. These guys gloriously killed each other and it was great. And the lady fired the ultimate shot.
- X-Division Ladder Match: Jake Crist (c) vs Tessa Blanchard vs Daga vs Acey Romero vs Ace Austin – Bound For Glory
Like I stated here, X-Division has been the signature of Impact Wrestling since Day One. You know it is synonymous with good matches, great talents. This match was really about that. We had 5 young and talented wrestlers, male and female. When everyone was expecting Tessa Blanchard to become the first female X-Division Champion in history, Ace Austin “stole” the win. Acey Romero absolutely made the most of his big opportunity with the table spot.
- Impact Tag Team Title Match – Champions LAX vs. Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fénix – Homecoming
How was it possible to say we have the Match of the Year on January 6? Like I told you here, this match was explosive, innovative, crazy, mind-blowing, death-defying. Well, awesome. All 4 guys left their bodies and souls in these incredible 11 minutes of Lucha Libre and pro wrestling. They let the magic happen.
At that time, Josh Mathews said we want to see them battle again, again and again… We know that won’t happen again on Impact. LAX and The Lucha Brothers have made history, no one could take that away from them. This match was one of my 2019 favourites, which means he didn’t do the fans’ Top 5… Makes me sad but I have other cards in my game. ¡Hasta la Muerte y Después!
- Willie Mack vs. Trey – Cali Combat Special Event (August 23rd, 2019)
This Super Stunner… If you remember well, I told you these 5 minutes were some of the best of the event… The Mack is capable of the impossible, due to his size and weight. Meanwhile, take each of the Rascalz, put them in a match on their own and they will impress you. Trey is going for the X-Division title and Mack for the tag titles at Hard To Kill… This match would have lasted longer, I would have appreciated…
- Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji – Bound For Glory
My knowledge of Japanese Strong Style or Joshi is very limited. That’s not something that I like. So my opinion was biased by that. I reviewed the match here. Elgin made of this encounter a dream match. Marufuji is a Legend in Japan and one of the pillars of NOAH, Impact Wrestling’s partner in Japan. I refused to bash a match because I’m not a fan of the style of it. But it was long and quite strangely it worked.
- Impact World Championship Steel Cage Match: Champion Brian Cage vs. Sami Callihan – Impact – (October 29th, 2019)
At that time, I told you I was expecting it. If it wasn’t meant to happen at Bound For Glory, Impact Wrestling would make the title change happen at Impact on AXS premiere. Like Don Callis stated, he gave it all to Impact Wrestling and in this ring that week. He won that belt without cheating or the help of his good brothers. Which makes him an even more legit Champion. Sami has been with Impact Wrestling for 2 years and has given the company his heart, his soul and his blood. What a great reward of his he received… He told it to me on interview and on Fight Network’s 2-part Diary.
Sami Callihan is someone I feel really close to. If I was telling you the reasons why, I would have to remove my Nygma mask and that’s something I refuse to do. It’s a matter of personality, background, work ethic… Sami earned the belt in a great match. That night, nothing else mattered…
Impact Wrestling 2019 Awards vs. The Nygma 2019 Awards
Fans were able to choose their favourites wrestlers, moments and matches on social media. The matches quoted below were highlights of 2019, I let you imagine what the Top 5 will be…
– Knockout of the year: Taya Valkyrie – My opinion: 300% Nygma.
Some could say she was given the title belt and so the fact she broke the record of the longest-reigning ever Knockouts Champion is biased. Sorry, I disagree. She may have cheated, lied and stolen the title on many occasions. Taya Valkyrie defended the belt in really good matches, Street Fight, hardcore, Monsters Ball. Every time she was pushed to her limits, she prevailed. La Wera Loca was trained in Mexico, she learnt from the best, she is unbelievably talented. Taya is the perfect example if you’re passionate and you work hard, you can succeed. She is, for me, an example for every woman that everything is possible…
– One To Watch in 2020: Willie Mack – My opinion: 75% Nygma
The 75% of Nygma could make some of you cringe but I assume my choice. I think we just scratched the surface of what The Mack is able to do. He was involved in fantastic X-Division matches, he and Rich Swann make the perfect team. There is no doubt in my mind he will become Champion in 2020 in any kind of way.
My choice was Daga because he has just made his debut on Impact Wrestling and has a lot to show us. When The Mack has a lot to show us more…
– Moment of the year: Sami Callihan Winning World Championship – My opinion: 500% Nygma
Quite strangely, I chose Taya’s longest-reigning milestone. And the NutCracking side of me chose Alisha and Ace’s chase in the hotel lobby and Joey Ryan. I hope Sami won’t blame me for that…
Sami Callihan wins the Moment of The Year Awards 2 years in a row and, for me, that’s not a surprise at all. Sami is a Moment of The Year maker. He wants things to be perfect to the point of making history. Like I told you before, I’m a huge fan, I am biased. He’s like a little brother to me. I’ve supported him since Day One. So thank you, Sami…
– X-Division Star of the Year: Rich Swann – My opinion: 400% Nygma.
One minute, a few years ago, Rich Swann was so low he announced he would retire from wrestling. Thanks, Richard, for not having done it. He just needed the good playground, the good roster to work with. And he has been able to shine… When he won the X-Division in one of the most gruelling matches of Impact Wrestling’s history, The Ultimate-X match, his tears were not fake. Rich Swann is so talented, so funny, the fans love him. He held the X-Division belt and defended it with brio, his feud with Sami Callihan was so intense and personal.
Personal advice, Richard, next time you announce you want to retire, wait until you reach at least 40 years old…
– Finishing Move of the year: The Magnum – Tessa Blanchard – Our opinion: 100% Nygma.
I had no specific preference for this category. The finisher is something very specific to a wrestler. I might have chosen the Canadian Destroyer or the Gore. But every choice would have been a good choice. If you ask Jake Crist what The Magnum is, he tasted it so often he could answer easily…
I decided to push the button a little bit further, here are some awards I chose to share with you and Impact Wrestling. Of course, comment on these choices on my social media @FrenchNygma.
– Most Likely to become Champion in 2020
World Champion: Eddie Edwards
Tag Team Champions: The Rascalz
Knockouts Champion: Jordynne Grace
X-Division Champion: Willie Mack
– The Comeback of the Year: Rhino
– Oh My Nygma Award (Surprise of the year): The Desi Hit Squad
– The «Titanic is sinking » Award of the Year (Disaster of the year): Rob Van Dam
– The « Take a walk on the Wild Side » Wrestler of the Year (Turn of the year): Su Yung/Suzie
– Monster of the Year: Madman Fulton
– Most Overrated Wrestler of the Year: Tenille Dashwood
– Most Underrated Wrestler of the Year: Fallah Bahh
– Feud of the Year: Tessa Blanchard vs oVe
– He is Hardcore Award: Tommy Dreamer
– She is Hardcore Award: Havok
– The Lollipop and Baby-Oil Award of the Year: Joey Ryan
– The « Captain Charisma » Award of the Year (best on the mic): Sami Callihan
– The “Panda” Award of the Year (fan favourite of the year): Rich Swann
– The Heart & Soul Award of the Year: Petey Williams
To be eNYGMAtic…
Those highlights were good, even if I don’t completely agree with Impact’s choices because some of my own favourite matches were aired. We had such a great year that picking a few matches out of dozens of great ones is like Mission Impossible. The episode was really well done, they aired the matches almost in full.
Next week, Part 2 will be about Wrestler of The Year, Tag Team of The Year and Match of The Year, chosen by the fans. Because of these highlights, I easily imagine what they would be. Tag Team of the Year is interesting me, did fans make the choice of a team that stayed or one that left? The year 2019 was so good, so interesting, so full of action that no choice could be a bad one… At least I hope…
I loved every single moment I spent reviewing Impact for you. Every episode or PPV is around 4 to 5 hours of work, which means I had given more than 200 hours to this company this year, just for reviews because I also had done loads of interviews and participated in many media calls. But I treasure this time. Because Impact Wrestling earn it and because we earn it… On this very “Nygma Turned 40 and She Rocks” note, until next week and next year, never EVER forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…
Impact Wrestling’s Hard To Kill Card (as of today):
- Impact World Championship Match: Sami Callihan (c) vs Tessa Blanchard
- X-Division Championship Match: Ace Austin (c) vs Trey Miguel
- Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Taya Valkyrie (c) vs Jordynne Grace vs ODB
- Impact World Tag Team Championship Match: The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) (c) vs Rich Swann & Willie Mack
- Winner Takes Call Your Shot Gauntlet Trophy Match: Eddie Edwards vs Michael Elgin
- Brian Cage vs RVD
- Moose vs Rhino
- Madman Fulton vs Ken Shamrock
All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling and AXS TV. Photomontage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.