Michael Elgin def. Ken Shamrock and Sami Callihan in a Three-Way Match
These three have been feuding with each other for months now, so this was a logical three-way match. Shamrock seems to be more bearable in multi-man matches, so he looked good here and was carried to an enjoyable opener by Elgin and Callihan. They worked with intensity and kept the pace consistent throughout. Elgin made the most sense to win given what would happen later on, but I'm curious if Callihan and Shamrock will rekindle their rivalry heading into Slammiversary or if they'll move in different directions.
Tasha Steelz def. Susie
I find Susie to be a compelling character (at least more than Su Yung), but her matches don't do much for me since they're rarely ever competitive. On the bright side, this did manage to serve as a showcase for Steelz, who recently signed with IMPACT and has been a part of a fun pairing with Kiera Hogan thus far. The match itself was nothing of note whatsoever, but I was glad Steelz went over to keep her momentum rolling.
Impact X-Division Champion Willie Mack and Cousin JAke def. Johnny Swinger and Chris Bey
I still hate the idea of Swinger trying to latch onto Bey who doesn't need Swinger, but I'm happy that they're acknowledging that and how Bey dropping him appears to be inevitable. All four guys worked well together and it turned out to be a decent match. Swinger taking the pinfall loss was the correct outcome. Considering Cody Deaner returned afterward, why wouldn't he have teamed with Jake in the first place? I know Mack is the one feuding with Bey and Swinger, but Jake felt out of place here even though he held his own.
Scott D'Amore Announced a Five-Way Match for the Impact World Championship at Slammiversary
Current Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard hasn't been on IMPACT programming in months due to being stuck in quarantine in Mexico, so I really thought the company would strip her of the title and hold a match at Slammiversary to determine the new champ. Thankfully, it was announced here that she'll be back at the pay-per-view and will defend her title in a high-stakes five-way main event. This segment played out nicely and I like that everyone who is owed a title shot is getting one at Slammiversary, except for Moose. Maybe they're saving him and Blanchard for down the road?
Jacob Crist def. Crazzy Steve
Jake Crist is now known as Jacob Crist now that he's joined Joseph P. Ryan and the rest of Cancel Culture (that includes the returning Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes). The group's current rivalry with Crazzy Steve makes sense, but it hasn't exactly been piquing my interest. The match was perfectly fine and Crist winning was the right call as IMPACT attempts to make this faction credible.
Impact Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace def. Taya Valkyrie
It's a shame that there was no crowd with this as I found it to be their best bout to date, and that includes when Grace beat Valkyrie for the Impact Knockouts Championship earlier this year. That's probably because the outside interference was kept to a minimum, so maybe this love storyline they're teasing with John E. Bravo and Rosemary will end up being a positive for Valkyrie's matches. This was a quality main event with Grace winning decisively. That brought out the re-debuting Deonna Purrazzo, who wasted no time in locking Grace in her signature armbar. Purrazzo has been treated like a star so far, so let's see if she'll deliver or if she'll fall flat like Tenille Dashwood did.
With AEW and now WWE putting their talent in the crowd to make up for the lack of live attendance, there really is no reason why IMPACT can't do the same. The empty arena is taking a toll on these shows, no matter how good some of the matches are. Hopefully that's something they take into consideration the next time they tape TV (or for Slammiversary). Speaking of Slammiversary, the company is doing a great of building excitement for the event by beginning to build up the card and teasing that former WWE Superstars who were recently released could show up. This was a solid edition of IMPACT! Wrestling that benefited from the returns of several stars who have been stuck in quarantine for the past few months.
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