With most of the pro-wrestling world in New Orleans for Wrestlemania week, I decided to check out Impact vs. Lucha Underground on Twitch, live from New Orleans. Aside from the recently taped fourth season of Lucha Underground, this is the first time anything related to the promotion has been seen publicly since the last episode of season three aired on October 18, 2017.
Before we get into the show itself, I wanted to talk about what a great job Impact has been doing. The amount of content they are putting out on Twitch during the biggest week of the year for wrestling in the United States has been great (technical issues aside). They have really done a good job of keeping Impact on people’s minds rather than getting lost in the shuffle. Combined with improvements in the show over the last six months or so, Impact seems to be on the right path for the first time in a long time.
As an added bonus, SCU’s resident women’s wrestling expert himself, Gregg, will be adding his thoughts on the matches as well.
Gregg: I dub us “Rice and Quinoa.”
The show opens with Melissa Santos from Lucha Underground and Mckenzie Mitchell from Impact out to do introductions. There were pretty loud “lucha” chants and Impact got booed.
Gregg: Melissa said… “uck-fay”
For the record, I stopped watching Joshua Shibata on the Wrestling Guy podcast for this lil’ dog and pony show.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Jack Evans (Blitzkrieg II) vs. Matanza vs. Caleb Konley vs. Moose vs. Matt Sydal
The match starts with Moose and Matanza cleaning house, the trading shoulder tackles. Matanza actually gets Moose off his feet, but Moose does an immediate kip up. Moose hits a drop kick and takes Matanza out of the ring. Guerrero and Konley team up to knock Moose out of the ring. After this everyone rotates in, then hits high spots to the outside. Sydal hit a nice Shooting Star Press. Evans followed it up with a Springboard Corkscrew Plancha. There was more trading of offense and Matanza hit a Wrath of the Gods on Konley to get the win. This was pretty short but allowed everyone to get some offense in.
Gregg: I liked the balance of styles in the match. Between the lucha styles, mat, strength, and (in Moose’s case), a combo of both.
After the match, Chavo introduces a video package about LU season 4 airing on June 13th. I wonder what happens this season…
Allie (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Impact Knockouts Championship
Allie tries to take Taya down with shoulder tackles to start, but Taya just brushes them off. Then Taya takes Allie out with a huge clothesline. Early on it is all Taya with Allie just getting in a little desperation offense here and there. As the match progresses Allie starts gaining more and more confidence and slowly starts to gain more control. Taya always shows a ton of charisma and her mannerisms and facial expressions are great here. Allie gets a Codebreaker on Taya to get the pin. This was good, but it never really felt like Allie was in jeopardy.
Gregg: I’ve been a fan of Allie’s for a long time. Her ability to play sympathetic babyface or overly annoying heel has been her calling card. And can’t sing Taya’s praises enough. Totally agree with Steve about her charisma and mannerisms.
OVE (Jake Crist & Dave Crist) vs. Scott Steiner & Teddy Hart
I’m not sure what this match has to do with Lucha Underground at all, but it’s certainly an interesting pairing. Teddy Hart hit a springboard moonsault to the outside on OVE before the match even started. Teddy Hart did the lion’s share of the work for his team in this. There was lots of impressive offense as always. He walked on one of the Crist brother’s back and then his a Destroyer. He made the tag into Scott Steiner and Big Poppa Pump cleaned house and put Jake Crist in the Steiner Recliner for the submission victory.
Gregg: That match happened.
King Cuerno, Aerostar, and Drago vs. Dezmond Xavier, DJZ, and Andrew Everett
We start out with Drago squaring off with Andrew Everett. Next Aerostar and DJZ match up. Aerostar had some really innovative offense. Last Cuerno and Dezmond Xavier matched up. Xavier gave Cuerno a chop that made his nipple bleed. It wasn’t just a little blood either. After the initial one on ones there was a ton of a high flying and innovative offense. Everyone did dives to the outside including a Sasuke Special by Xavier. This was really fast paced and exciting. This was the first match to get a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. The finish sees Cuerno make Everett tap with an Indian Deathlock. This was a great match and a fantastic showcase for both Lucha Underground and Impact’s X Division. It was the kind of match you show someone to introduce them to either promotion.
Gregg: Fun match and exactly what you would expect from this match. Shame that we didn’t get to see Cuerno’s tope, it’s one of my favorites.
Trevor Lee vs. Famous B
Santino Bros. gets a shout out from Matt Striker during his entrance. Famous B cuts a promo and says he will have someone representing him in this match tonight. He then announced Marty The Moth Martinez. The match is now Trevor Lee versus Marty The Moth Martinez. This was a pretty short match. There was some comedy early, then they traded offense. Martinez missed with a moonsault and Trevor Lee rolled him up and got the pin. This was fine, but way too short to be anything special.
Gregg: Marty nearly broke his neck going for a dive where he was nearly vertical as he was coming down onto Lee and Konley.
LAX(c) (Santana and Ortiz) vs. Killshot and The Mack for the Impact World Tag-Team Championship
This was really good. Both teams pretty much traded offense throughout the match. There was a lot of good double team offense from both teams. The crowd was super hot for this, and this was one of the few Impact versus Lucha Underground matches whee the crowd really got into the Impact team. There was a loud “LAX” chant and the night’s second “this is awesome” chant. After some late near falls LAX got the pin to retain. There was a bit of a miscue towards the end on LAX’s part, but other than that this was great. The last two matches here have been great.
Gregg: Great match and very hard hitting. They built and teased the spots well. Even made me for a BRIEF second question if they would put the belts on a team that wasn’t signed with Impact. Special shoutout to the fans who started a small “No Way Jose” chant at Ortiz.
Eli Drake vs. Brian Cage
The announcers kept talking about how Brian Cage is undefeated in Impact. Well, there’s little chance they are going to give him his first loss here. I thought this was good, but it was really hard to follow the last two matches. Cage got the pin.
Gregg: Eli with a brutal promo on wrestling fans, which popped me. I always enjoy watching matches where the two have history together. It adds another subtle dimension to the match and Eli played up the Natural Selection relationship was great.
Eddie Edwards vs. Jeremiah Crane
Eddie Edwards hits Crane with a dive to start the match. This was kind of strange, as the announcers kept talking about how Sami Callihan hit Eddie Edwards with a baseball bat. What is the point in him doing the Jeremiah Crane character if the announcers only want to talk about him as Sami Callihan? This was an “I Quit” match and most of the match was the wrestlers going from weapons spot to weapons spot. This was very slow paced and the crowd was pretty quiet till late in the match. There was a funny part when Edwards called Crane “Solomon Crowe” which got an “NXT” chant from the crowd. OVE did a run in, even though they have nothing to do with the Lucha Underground character Jeremiah Crane. As expected, Crane brought out a baseball bat, which brought out Don Callis to throw in the towel for Edwards, making Crane the winner. I’m not sure what the point in the whole Jeremiah Crane stuff was, if he was just the Sami Callihan character from Impact the whole time and everything referenced the Impact storyline. There was some cool spots, but the match was pretty slow.
Gregg: Maybe it was an Impact/Anthem thing. Don’t know if Sami Callihan could get away with all the F bombs, but “Jeremiah Crane” could. It was also weird to me that Josh Matthews who has been a heel ring announcer for years concerned with the well-being of Eddie Edwards.
I did enjoy the debate between Matthews and Stryker about the match, but felt it took away from it a little.
Pentagon Dark vs. Fenix vs. Austin Aires
This was a non-title match. Pentagon Dark was not billed as the Lucha Underground champion, even though he was the champion at the end of season three and season four hasn’t aired yet. Alberto el Patron was supposed to be in this, but he wasn’t there. The crowd chanted “fuck Del Rio” to start. The match was probably better for the change. Pentagon and Fenix are always great when they match up. Both worked really well with Aires too. This really recaptured the crowd, who was incredibly hot for any time Pentagon and Aires matched up especially. Fenix and Pentagon teamed up and they destroyed Aires with a double kick to the face. That took Aires out for the remainder of the match. Pentagon hit the Penta Driver on Fenix for the win. This was really good.
Gregg: C’mon.. How could this have been a bad match? Any time Penta and Fenix are in the ring together, you’re gonna get wild shit. Add to that Aries and it’s a unique dynamic.
Overall the show was pretty good, but I would have liked to have seen more done with the inter-promotional aspect of it. Some of the matches didn’t really feel like two promotions going up against each other at all. I realize this was an Impact produced show and all, but the selling point was the promotion versus promotion gimmick.
Gregg: Enjoyed the show but echo Steve’s sentiments. What I really enjoyed was Stryker on commentary. I do love how he calls matches not like it’s a professional wrestling match, but puts it into the same combat sport realm as MMA. He talks strategy and leverage, offering a different take from a JR-esque approach.