Rich Swann def. Dave Crist to Qualify for the Impact X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match at Homecoming
As I noted in my thoughts on Jake Crist vs. The Mack last week, I couldn't care less for the Crist brothers as singles competitors, but they aren't bad in the ring whatsoever. That said, Swann was largely responsible for making this as a nice little opener and I appreciated that the interference was kept to a minimum. Swann winning was clearly the right call and I would assume the post-match angle with Mack coming to Swann's aid against oVe was done to set up a Sami Callihan vs. Mack matchup for Homecoming. That would explain why Mack failed to quality for Ultimate X last week.
Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie Came Face-to-Face
The story of Valkyrie vs. Blanchard has been well told thus far with Blanchard doing everything imaginable to escape their matches with her title intact, even if that includes roughing up referees. Thus, it made sense to appoint a special guest referee to their upcoming outing at Homecoming, and that person was revealed to be Gail Kim. The verbal back-and-forth between Blanchard and Valkyrie was really good and I'm looking forward to their next match on pay-per-view.
Trey Miguel def. Trevor Lee to Qualify for the Impact X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match at Homecoming
This marked Miguel's in-ring debut for IMPACT, as he has been serving as a manager of sorts for The Rascalz so far. He was a ton of fun to watch here, and of course, he had a great opponent to work with in Lee (who has been underutilized for ages). Not only did he impress in his first match on the show, he was also able to punch his ticket to Homecoming where he'll be a part of Ultimate X. If this outing was any indication, he'll be right at home in that bout.
Fenix def. Impact World Tag Team Champion Santana
Konnan is still worried over The Lucha Brothers challenging LAX for the Impact Tag Team Championship at Homecoming because of the possibility that they might turn on each other. It hasn't happened yet, but we'll see. We don't see much of LAX in one-on-one action, but Santana more than held his own here while Fenix was his usual excellent self. This was a hell of a sprint and I'm sure Pentagon Jr. vs. Ortiz is only inevitable.
Jordynne Grace def. Ruby Raze
Grace has already beaten Katarina clean twice, but I guess that wasn't enough because Katarina enlisted Raze to do her dirty work for her. Despite Raze being bigger than Grace size-wise, she apparently wasn't more powerful and that was what cost her the victory. It wasn't the smoothest of encounters, but it was fine for what it was. Grace remains dominant as well as undefeated, and considering she laid out both Raze and Katarina with ease in this match, here's hoping Grace can now move on to something (and someone) new).
Moose def. Brian Cage by Disqualification
Cage hasn't been dominated quite like this since his arrival in IMPACT, so it was interesting to see him have to fight from underneath for a change. Moose was on offense for a majority of the matchup, so it wasn't the hard-hitting hoss battle I was expecting from them, not to mention the non-finish caused Cage to look like an afterthought due to the Moose and Eddie Edwards angle taking center stage. Edwards coming out in the hospital gown was goofy, but if nothing else, the crowd was hot for their brawl.
It was announced that the next two editions of IMPACT! Wrestling will be "Best of 2018" shows, so the promotion won't be back with original content until the new year, right before Homecoming on January 6th. Thankfully, most of the card is already set in stone and the build has been solid up to this point, but it is strange that any momentum IMPACT has right now will be put on hold until for a few weeks. As for this episode, the wrestling was entertaining on the whole, everything served a purpose and several storylines were successfully furthered. It wasn't the most exciting two hours IMPACT has ever produced, but at least they were worthwhile and ended the year on a high note.
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