IMPACT Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades and Highlights from January 5

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IMPACT Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades and Highlights from January 5

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    On the road to Hard to Kill on January 16, Impact Wrestling returned to AXS TV Tuesday night with a broadcast headlined by the latest war between hated foes Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan.

    Their match, guaranteed to be a physical battle, wrote the latest chapter of a rivalry that has engulfed the careers of both men for the better part of two years.

    It was the main event of a show that also featured the second semifinal round match in the Knockouts Tag Team Championship Tournament, as well as another appearance from AEW World Champion Kenny Omega.

    Find out all that went down on a jam-packed episode of Impact with this recap of the January 5 episode.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    “The Inevitable” Ace Austin kicked off this week’s show in a Fatal 4-Way Match against Blake Christian, KC Navarro and Crazzy Steve. The match served as a preview of Saturday’s Genesis special, airing exclusively on Impact Plus.

    The massive Madman Fulton accompanied Austin.

    The combatants cut a frenetic pace, none of them earning a sustained advantage but all having the opportunity to showcase their athleticism, speed, and agility. 

    Christian wiped out Navarro with a tope, only for Austin to wipe them both out on the arena floor. Back in the squared circle, Austin focused his attention on Steve. Christian cut off Austin’s onslaught with a standing Spanish Fly and followed with a frog splash.

    The action continued to break down, culminating in Steve pinning Navarro to build momentum ahead of Saturday’s event.

    Result

    Crazzy Steve defeated Navarro, Christian and Austin

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    This was a strong showcase for Christian, who really stole the show. He was all over the ring and really impressed with how much action he was able to fit in the span of 10 or so minutes.

    Austin was clearly the best wrestler in the match and really should be above a division he has already championed. Last June, he was involved in a red-hot feud with Trey Miguel and even competed in the Impact World Championship Match at Slammiversary.

    After working with The Good Brothers, he sort of fell off the face of the Impact, only to return here in time for the X-Division tournament at Genesis. It will be interesting to see if this is a stop-gap or if Impact officials are using this as an opportunity to return him to his throne as the top star in that particular division.

    Steve winning was a nice touch to give him some momentum ahead of Saturday’s show but his credibility is lacking after spending so many months in comedic skits and backstage segments.

    An action-packed match that spotlighted who it needed to while selling the audience on the Genesis show, it was a fun and energetic opener, if just slightly above the average X-Division fare.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    In the notorious luxury bus, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, Impact Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers and Don Callis discussed the Hard to Kill pay-per-view main event against The Motor City Machine Guns and Impact World Champion Rich Swann.

    Back in the arena, the unlikely duo of Rhino and Cousin Jake hit the ring for tag team action. Jake appealed to his cousin, Cody Deaner, who recently aligned himself with Eric Young and Joe Doering. He proceeded to call out Young and Doering for their match and the heels accommodated them.

    Young produced Deaner, now with a shaved head and new ring gear. Young claimed to have shown Deaner what’s “really going on.” Young led his minions to the ring, Deaner replacing him in the advertised tag bout.

    “A new, ‘woke’ Cody Deaner is all over Cousin Jake to start,” Josh Matthews said as the seemingly reborn competitor pummeled his former tag team partner. Doering picked up where Deaner left off, using his size and strength advantage to punish Jake.

    Back from the break, Deaner continued his beatdown on his cousin, more relentless and aggressive than we have ever seen. Jake finally created separation and made the tag to Rhino. The Man Beast downed Deaner with a belly-to-belly but immediately tagged Jake back into the match.

    Doering wiped Rhino out on the floor, Deaner delivered a low blow to Jake and scored the win with a DDT. A three-on-one beatdown of Jake ensued until Tommy Dreamer hit the ring to make the save. The Innovator of Violence issued a challenge for an Old School Rules Match at Hard to Kill between the trios.

    Result

    Deaner and Doering defeated Jake and Rhino

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Deaner looked good here, appearing to really embrace this new persona and the opportunity it presents. He could probably stand to tone it down a bit as the screaming that accompanied the DDT was a bit much but in his first opportunity to present this new character, he succeeded.

    Doering remains a bit of a mystery as we hardly saw enough of him here to really form an opinion of him as an in-ring presence. Those who know him from his time in All-Japan Pro Wrestling are familiar but the rest of the Impact audience has no idea what to expect from him and this did not answer any of the questions.

    Dreamer’s proposed Old School Rules Match, pitting him, Rhino and Jake against Young, Doering and Deaner should result in a wild, crazy and damn fun match come the Hard to Kill pay-per-view and the perfect chance for the heel trio to build momentum heading deeper into 2021.

    As for the Omega, Good Brothers and Callis segment, it was a nice taste of what is (hopefully) yet to come as the company steadily builds to its PPV main event.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    Impact Women’s Champion Deonna Purrazzo and Kimber Lee made their way to the ring for a promo.

    Purrazzo expressed confusion of Taya Valkyrie’s issue with her, saying all she did was beat La Wera Loca’s best friend to retain her title. She asked if Valkyrie will accept reality when she loses at Hard to Kill or if she will continue her downward spiral into delusional.

    Valkyrie arrived with Rosemary and suggested Purrazzo is the delusional one. She reminded The Virtuosa she was the longest-reigning Knockouts Champion ever and she always gets what she wants. 

    And she wants the Knockouts title.

    Purrazzo reminded Valkyrie she’s lost everything and at Hard to Kill, she’s going to beat her and even her one last claim to fame won’t matter. 

    Valkyrie shot back with more harsh words and left as her music played, seemingly having gotten the best of her foe. 

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    This was a solid promo segment that established what is at stake for both women at Hard to Kill.

    For Valkyrie, it is the opportunity to prove that despite the losses she has endured professionally over the last year, she is still the cream of the crop in the Knockouts division. For Purrazzo, it is an opportunity to further bolster her reputation and resume with a win over the most celebrated competitor in recent Knockouts memory.

    The seeds were also planted for Rosemary to potentially turn on Valkyrie following Purrazzo’s reminder that La Wera Loca has lost her husband (now-WWE Superstar John Morrison), her title and her manager over the last year and it is only a matter of time before her bestie leaves, too. 

    For a feud that was relatively undefined for the first few weeks, this really worked well and sets up a heated championship encounter for the PPV.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    The second semifinal match of the tournament to crown the Knockouts Tag Team Champions saw Jordynne Grace and Jazz battle Havok and Nevaeh for the right to face Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz on January 16 at Hard to Kill.

    Grace and Nevaeh grappled early, Thicc Mama Pump getting the best of her opponent with a big shoulder tackle. The same thing was not successful when she tried it on the larger Havoc, who down Grace and showed no fear as Jazz entered the squared circle.

    The former WWE Women’s Champion unloaded on Havok with a flurry of forearms and worked over Nevaeh before tagging Grace back into the match. The former Knockouts champion and her veteran tag team partner continued their two-on-one beatdown of Nevaeh, dominating the action.

    A swinging neckbreaker by Nevaeh to Jazz allowed her to create separation and make the much-needed tag to Havok. The action broke down, leading to Havok putting Jazz down with a tombstone piledriver for the win.

    Result

    Nevaeh and Havok defeated Grace and Jazz

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    Long before the tournament to crown new Knockouts Tag Team Champions, Impact planted the seeds for Havok and Nevaeh vs. Steelz and Hogan. Those two teams have competed against each other before. There is history to draw from and a conflict to build on. 

    While Grace and Jazz likely would have been a flashier choice to compete in the finals, this was absolutely the right call.

    That it is two established teams competing for the gold at Hard to Kill only makes Havok and Nevaeh’s win that much sweeter. 

    The match itself featured strong work from Nevaeh as the competitor in-peril, withstanding the onslaught of her opponent to make the tag that led to the win. She will need that element of her in-ring performance as she figures to resume it against Steelz and Hogan.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    After a seething promo recounting the beating by Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers from three weeks ago, Impact World Champion Rich Swann and The Motor City Machine Guns made their way to the parking lot to confront their Hard to Kill opponents.

    The heels got the jump on them, though, attacking and leaving them lying to build heat for the pay-per-view main event.

    Elsewhere, Jordynne Grace and Jazz made up following their disappointing loss. The former issued a friendly challenge for a match Saturday night at Genesis on Impact Plus. 

    Jazz accepted and the two embraced.

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    Impact and AEW have done everything they can to establish Omega as a wholly unlikeable, obnoxious heel that you want to see get beaten up. He has big-timed everyone and created an air about him reserved for the most self-absorbed.

    This week, he talked trash while beating down Swann, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, further creating heat for himself, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Whether it translates and Swann and the Machine Guns ultimately benefit from working across the ring from the so-called Super Elite remains to be seen but every effort has been put forth from all involved to make that happen.

    Jazz vs. Grace should be a hell of a physical match at Genesis and the sort of bout that will help boost interest in that show. Best of all, it should provide Grace an opportunity to score a defining win over one of the most respected in-ring veterans in women’s wrestling.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    Three weeks ago, Moose assaulted security guard Matthew Palmer and claimed he could not last three minutes in the ring with him. Palmer, a wrestler, took him up on the offer in a special Three-Minute Challenge.

    Palmer started fast but Moose dropped him with a big Rock Bottom. 

    Moose toyed with Palmer, punishing him with no sense of urgency. The clock ticked down as Palmer landed a strike. Moose answered with a powerbomb. Willie Mack appeared, preventing Moose from winning in the allotted time. Palmer hightailed it out of the ring and stood tall alongside Mack as Moose fumed.

    Result

    Palmer defeated Moose via surviving the time limit

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    Mack and Moose meet Saturday at Genesis in an I Quit Match and while it was fun to see the former get one over on his rival, this was a rather uneventful build to a fairly intense gimmick bout.

    Especially considering how we got here, with Mack determined to avenge two humbling referee stoppages against Moose.

    On a show that featured a lot of strong segments, this one didn’t quite hit as hard as it probably should have.

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    Credit: Impact Wrestling

    Sami Callihan nearly ended the career of Eddie Edwards with a baseball bat to the face. Since then, the hated rivals have waged war on numerous occasions before going their separate ways, only to come back to each other.

    Tuesday, they wrote the latest chapter of their story in a main event that started with Edwards attacking Callihan on the floor before the match could officially start. Callihan targeted the knee of his opponent, who withstood the onslaught and rocked Sami with a headbutt heading into the break. 

    Back from the break, the brawl continued, still not officially entering the ring. 

    Blood trickling from his eye, Callihan brutalized Edwards, focusing on the previously injured eye of his most hated foe. Edwards fought back but an ill-fated knee strike left the former world champion writhing in pain as he crashed into a steel chair. 

    The bell finally rang as the competitors made their way into the ring. The warriors unloaded on each other, exchanging fists and ignoring the warnings of the referee. Assaulted by the combatants one too many times, the official threw out the match, calling for the bell.

    Edwards and Callihan continued fighting, no ring able to contain the hatred they have for each other.

    Outside the ring, Edwards grabbed the bat that once threatened his career and inched closer to Callihan with it. The heel begged off, suddenly apologetic. Callihan produced a cell phone and a video aired of Alisha Edwards trapped inside a steel structure backstage.

    Eddie took off in search of his wife, only to be attacked by Ken Shamrock, who joined Callihan in a brutal, violent assault.

    Callihan wrapped Edwards in barbed wire and blasted him with the bat. The heels taunted Alisha to end the show, claiming Edwards was responsible for his beating.

    Result

    No contest

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    A feud stays relevant and fresh only if those in charge of telling the story can escalate it and give fans a reason to care. 

    We got that here as Shamrock returned to the fold, as did Alisha. By intertwining them with Edwards and Callihan’s feud, the company can enhance the story and create new threads for fans to track. The introduction of barbed wire, the baseball bat and the steel cage Alisha was trapped inside present a number of different options Impact would utilize to tell the next chapter. 

    Either way, fans should expect a match between Edwards and Callihan that exceeds the physicality and violence we have been accustomed to at this point.

    Presumably at Hard to Kill.

    The intensity here was exactly what you would want out of a main event of this stature, even if the match itself was limited to very little in-ring time. It worked and put an exclamation point on the show.

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