Rich Swann def. Trey Miguel, Ethan Page and Jake Crist in an Ultimate X Match to Win the Impact X-Division Championship
TNA tended to hold Ultimate X matches far more often than they should have years ago, ruining its appeal in the process. Thankfully, IMPACT has taken a different approach by bringing back the concept every once in a while, and as a result, it feels special again. Despite none of these guys having any Ultimate X experience, they all had stellar showings and delivered an excellent opener. Swann was easily the best choice of the four to take the title, and I think he could do a lot for the X-Division as its champion.
Allie and Su Yung def. Kiera Hogan and Jordynne Grace
Yung has been able to fully manipulate Allie into joining the dark side. As much as I've enjoyed Allie's heel work, her matches (along with Yung's) haven't been anything special from an in-ring standpoint because they focus a bit too much on their character-based stuff. That said, this was a well-wrestled tag team affair and I liked that Grace received some shine before the defeat (though Hogan took the losing fall, which was the right call). Of course, Rosemary's post-match return was what people were waiting for, and considering she has been out of action for so long, it was a cool moment. I figure Rosemary vs. Allie is only inevitable.
Eddie Edwards def. Moose in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
I was thoroughly disappointed the one-on-one encounter that was advertised between these two at Bound for Glory in October was changed to a tag team match the night of the event, but this was exactly what I was hoping from them. Granted, it was less of a true matchup and more of a brawl, but that was what it needed to be given the nature of their feud. They held nothing back and beat the holy hell out of each other with various weapons, keeping the crowd with them every step of the way. Alisha Edwards getting involved and aiding Eddie to victory was a fitting conclusion to this story, assuming it is indeed the end.
Sami Callihan def. Willie Mack
This program has been subtly teased on IMPACT! Wrestling over the past month or so, but I was glad they got the chance to go out there and kill it because their instant chemistry sold me on them having more matches together, so here's hoping their rivalry isn't over yet. They weren't given a ton of time here, but it was an absolute blast while it lasted and I appreciated that the interference from Dave Crist was kept to a minimum (also protecting Mack in defeat).
Eli Drake def. Abyss in a Monster's Ball Match
Unlike Ultimate X, I feel like I've seen at least million Monster's Ball matches in the 10-plus years I've been an IMPACT fan, and all of them seem to blend together for me. Don't get me wrong, they put forth a commendable effort and tried to make this as epic as possible (even some of the spots were pretty crazy), but an Abyss match in 2019 is hardly exciting. On the bright side, Drake came across like a star by withstanding so much punishment and still managing to emerge victorious. I'm ready for him to move on to something more meaningful.
Impact World Tag Team Champions LAX def. The Lucha Brothers
This was my most anticipated match on the card and it did not disappoint. LAX is the best thing to happen to IMPACT's tag team division since Beer Money, and although they work well with almost anyone they share a ring with, Pentagon and Fenix are an equally exceptional tandem who also never cease to deliver when it matters most. This was a tremendous tag team matchup with plenty of suspense and thrilling action as well as an invested crowd. Konnan didn't appear until afterward when he praised both teams and their phenomenal performances. Fingers crossed this isn't the last we've seen of them against each other.
Taya Valkyrie def. Tessa Blanchard to Win the Impact Knockouts Championship (Gail Kim Served as Special Guest Referee)
The last two matches Valkyrie and Blanchard had when the gold was up for grabs were good, and while this was also a solid match for the most part, I hated how Kim took center stage. That was what I hoped wouldn't happen when she was announced as the special guest referee for this, and in predictable fashion, the focus was more on Blanchard and Kim teasing tension rather than Valkyrie winning the title. The championship changing hands didn't feel as important as it should have, which is a shame because Valkyrie deserved to have the spotlight on her for this moment.
Impact World Champion Johnny Impact def. Brian Cage
Seeing as how these two are both babyfaces, the crowd didn't have an incentive to cheer for one guy over the other, but it still had a big fight feel throughout and it was an entertaining main event on the whole. Unfortunately, the quality dropped off once the shenanigans kicked in down the stretch. Between the Survivor contestants getting involved and the ref bump, the finish reeked of the nonsense TNA was known for for years. I didn't have a problem with Impact retaining his title, but I wish such a great show would have had a more satisfying conclusion compared to what we got instead. Oh, and in another weird moment, Killer Kross laid out Impact and Valkyrie afterward. Hasn't Impact already beaten Kross in clean fashion?
As noted, I wasn't a fan of how the Impact World Championship and Impact Knockout Championship matches ended, but that stuff aside, this was another above-average event from IMPACT. The company is doing everything imaginable to convince fans who soured on the product years ago that they have indeed changed, and honestly, I believe them. The current product is a vast improvement over what it was before Scott D'Amore and Don Callis took over behind the scenes and this pay-per-view was proof of that. Definitely seek out the tag team title clash, Ultimate X match and Edwards vs. Moose, but I'd argue the entire show was worth watching and it was a strong way for IMPACT to kick off 2019. On a side note, IMPACT also announced that their weekly television show will be airing on their Twitch channel in addition to Pursuit starting this Friday night, seeing as how nearly no one gets the latter.
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