TJP def. Ace Austin
TJP and Austin had a fun little sprint the last time they went one-on-one a few weeks ago and I thought this was even better because it had more time. They've developed a nice chemistry together and this was an enjoyable encounter. I was glad Austin scored plenty of offense before losing, because if he wasn't going to win, at least he was able to look credible in defeat. TJP came across as more motivated than he has in years and I'm excited to see what he does next in IMPACT.
Kiera Hogan def. Madison Rayne
Turning heel was the best thing Hogan could have done. She is so much more interesting now than she was before and her matches are more entertaining as a result. Meanwhile, Rayne has been on a roll since returning to IMPACT a few months ago and has won far more than she's lost. Therefore, Hogan's victory felt meaningful, especially after Jordynne Grace fell short of beating Rayne recently. Speaking of Grace, she did very well on commentary. We don't hear from her much, but when she does speak, she has my attention.
Rohit Raju def. Laredo Kid
Based off a segment that took place earlier in the episode, it looks like The Desi Hit Squad is still feuding with The Deaners, which saddens me. I've said this before, but I couldn't care less about that feud. At least they switched things up here with Raju facing Laredo Kid instead. I'm not sure what purpose this was supposed to serve, and although it was decent while it lasted, I was not a fan of Raju beating the guy who is fresh off a hell of a showing in last week's exciting main event (as well as at AEW Fyter Fest).
Moose and Rob Van Dam Brawled
I originally wasn't a fan of Moose turning heel last year, but I'm really happy he did if this promo was any indication of what he's capable of on the mic. He's a much more well-rounded character now and this was definitely one of his better promos in recent memory. He ran down all the reasons why he turned his back on the fans as well as why he despises RVD. I had zero expectations for their Slammiversary match before, but this segment left me looking forward to it. Job well done.
Dez and Wentz def. Trey to Earn the Right to Challenge for the Impact World Tag Team Championship at Slammiversary
Well, this was certainly a weird way of determining which two members of The Rascalz will challenge for the tag titles at Slammiversary. You would think they'd be able to decide among themselves without having to resort to facing each other, but apparently not. On the bright side, this was a really fun match and the crowd ate up every second of the action. I have no idea what to call it, because although there was technically two winners, it was every man for themselves (a.k.a. Triple Threat rules). Because Trey was pinned, it will be Dez and Wentz gunning for the gold on Sunday.
X-Division Champion Rich Swann and Willie Mack def. Johnny Impact and Johnny Bravo
Obviously, referee Johnny Bravo being involved limited things a bit, but I thought he played his part well here while the other three did their thing. This was a pretty good preview of what to expect in the X-Division Championship match at Slammiversary. It would have been completely ridiculous for Impact to win with Bravo as his partner, so Swann and Mack going over was the right call here.
IMPACT has been delivering some strong shows in recent weeks ahead of Slammiversary, and similar to last year, I'm highly anticipating the pay-per-view based off what's on tap. This was a successful go-home show with a ton of effective hype for the event and some solid segments. Last week's edition featured far more above-average wrestling, but this was still a well-produced episode that did its job in selling viewers on Slammiversary if they weren't already.
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