Lashley def. Sami Callihan by Disqualification
This stemmed from oVe attacking Lashley in the parking lot last week, for what reason I'm not sure. That said, this was a great opening match that kicked off the show on a high note (I always appreciate whenever they start the show with an actual match and not a talking segment). I loved that they went all out and that this was fast-paced from start to finish. I was fine with it ending on a disqualification, if only because it protects Callihan. Eddie Edwards saved Lashley from an oVe attack afterward, so they seem to have found a common enemy.
Rosemary def. Hania
I've heard only good things about Hania's in-ring work, and while she didn't impress me all that much in her debut match last week, Rosemary was the perfect opponent for her to shine against. I though they put together a pretty nice matchup, but they merely scratched the surface of what they're capable of. Rosemary won in a way that protected Hania in defeat, but it was weird for her to be beaten in her second-ever match in IMPACT before being run off afterward.
Ethan Carter III and Tyrus def. Johnny Impact and Impact Grand Champion Matt Sydal
Tyrus didn't leave the company on the best of terms last year, but it was reportedly because of Jeff Jarrett, and now that he's gone, I can't say I'm shocked he's back. I like the pairing of him and EC3, but EC3 is on his way out of the promotion, so this was likely a one-off. Speaking of EC3's pending departure, I didn't expect him to win here, but it does set up him and Impact one-on-one next week where Impact's No. 1 contendership will be on the line.
Brian Cage def. John Cruz
Cage is one of my favorites in Lucha Underground, so it's cool to see him getting a chance in IMPACT (they actually passed on him a few years back...what a dumb decision!). This was a complete squash where Cage got to showcase his skills, which was exactly what it needed to be. He appears to be a babyface from the get-go, which is acceptable for now considering how over he is with the audience.
Impact X-Division Champion Tajiri Ishimori def. El Hijo del Fantasma
Fantasma had zero momentum coming into this championship clash, so while he was hardly a threat to the title, this was a very fun sprint for as long as it lasted. Ishimori has been a fantastic flag-bearer for the X-Division since coming to the company and delivers every time he's in the ring. He had a quality opponent in Fantasma as well, so all in all, this was an enjoyable outing.
Impact World Champion Austin Aries def. Eli Drake
Drake hasn't had many standout singles matches since becoming a main event player last summer, but this was an excellent matchup where both he and Aries shined. Despite not having history with each other, they had quite the chemistry and some of the nearfalls down the stretch were really well-done. Obviously, keeping the title on Aries was the right move, but I really hope this isn't the end of Drake in the main event scene. He's come a long way in such a short span of time.
IMPACT! Wrestling has been a much more focused show in recent weeks with the company advertising several matches in advance and there being a lot less filler. In fact, it reminds me of when TNA was at its peak in the summer of 2012, and although the show isn't live every week like it was back then and there are spoilers available online, I do find myself looking forward to the weekly episodes more than I have in some time. Next week's installment should be equally entertaining with a slew of matchups on tap including Impact vs. EC3, Alberto El Patron vs. Moose, oVe vs. Lashley and Edwards, and Sydal vs. Petey Williams for the Impact Grand Championship.
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