THE IMPACT ZONE – ORLANDO, FL
Announcers: Josh Mathews & Don Callis
DRAGO VS AEROSTAR
The Impact crowd seems to love anything that resembles lucha libre, so this match helped get them ignited early. Good action, but a little sketchy at times. The crowd didn’t do the match any favors, as they couldn’t seem to picka side. Aerostar gets the win in a fast-paced, but somewhat sloppy contest.
Eli Drake and Scott Steiner defeated LAX. in what was a bit of a shocker. Critics argued that Steiner is only in Impact for a short run, and that Redemption might actually be his quick exit from the company. He and Drake proved that theory wrong by ending LAX’s title reign at 164 days. If Steiner plans on staying around, he and Drake could become a great duo, and quite an entertaining pair on the microphone.
TAIJI ISHIMORI VS DEZMOND XAVIER VS EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA VS BRIAN CAGE VS DJZ VS TREVOR LEE
With all due respect to his opponents, this match was designed to showcase The Machine. Cage is Impact’s fastest rising star, and he didn’t disappoint in this one. Some good performances all around, especially Ishimori, but Cage gets the win as he continues his journey to the main event.
KIERA HOGAN VS. TAYA VALKYRIE
This match was added just before the card. There’s been a buzz around Hogan: She has the look and the support of the fans at the Impact Zone, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. The highlight of the match, however, may be the events surrounding it: Tessa Blanchard came out as a guest commentator, signalling that she is now a part of the roster. Valkyrie wins, and it appears she might be headed for a showdown with Blanchard, after the two exchanged words.
MATT SYDAL (C) W/JOSH MATHEWS VS PETEY WILLIAMS
According to an earlier vignette, Josh Mathews will be stepping aside from his duties as Sydal’s guru, so he isn’t there in the champ’s corner. Since he’s on commentary, Sydal has to defend the title alone. During the match, the commentators point out that Sydal took the very first Canadian Destroyer, 15 years ago.
ALLIE (C) VS SU YUNG W/ BRAXTON SUTTER
Many observers felt like the reaction that Su Yung has received would warrant her winning the match. The tie-in with Allie’s real-life husband aside, the story of the contest seems to be how much momentum Allie is gaining during this title run. The Impact crowd was firmly behind her.
Late in the contest, Su Yung went for a bloody, rubber glove, although it never became clear what her intentions were or how it would come into play. Allie thwarted the attack, and eventually gets a roll-up victory to retain the Knockouts title.
IMPACT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
AUSTIN ARIES VS PENTAGON JR VS FENIX
Prior to the match, Aries made sure to remind the viewing audience that he could lose the belt without being pinned. There were a few rough spots in an otherwise exciting match, particularly late in the bout, when Fenix had to re-adjust twice before re-settling. He quickly made up for it with a rapid-fire, corkscrew dive.
As per every multi-opponent match, there were several near falls, and broken pin attempts. After an amazing double spot that saw Pentagon drive both opponents into the mat, he dispatched of his brother, and snapped back the arm of Aries.
A couple of great, standout moments came away from the action… Tessa Blanchard came out to do commentary during the Valkyrie-Hogan match, signalling her entrance into Impact, after being rumored to be headed to WWE for months… During a light-hearted moment backstage, the company re-visited its TNA days, when Scott Steiner stopped by to talk to Petey Williams… The two former partners traded barbs and references to their days together, including a shout out to Cracker Barrel.