wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s Impact Homecoming 2019 Preview

January 6, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
impact cage impact homecoming

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Some people say that you can’t go home again, but that’s exactly what Impact is doing here with Homecoming, returning to the Asylum in Nashville, the scene of over 100 TNA weekly PPVs. Today, I am going to discuss and preview the Impact Homecoming 2019 event. On one hand I love that the company is jumping into PPV early in 2019, trying to play off of last years really good to great PPV efforts. But in the other hand, I REALLY wish that they had picked another weekend as I fear that they will be greatly overlooked due to NJPW’s WrestleKingdom 13 being two days prior. They have put together a good card on paper, with some real potential and matches I am certainly looking forward to, but as for today, I will give my predictions, and break down the show match by match. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are to “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.” Thanks for reading.

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Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace vs. Su Yung & Dark Allie: Ever since the trip to the dark realm months ago, things have been bad for Kiera Hogan. Allie lost her soul, became dark Allie, aligned with Yung and turned her back on her former friend. Despite everything going wrong, Kiera has remained a good friend and keeps trying to bring Allie back from the darkness. Good intentions are fine, but they repeatedly failed putting Kiera in bad situations. That was until this past week, when Jordynne Grace made the save, leading to this match. Truth be told, I’m not all that into this match, I’m still awaiting the eventual full time Rosemary return sop that we can really amp this thing up. Hogan and Allie should take each other out, protecting them from the finish, while Grace pins Yung for the win. WINNER: Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace

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Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan: While it feels like a last minute edition to the card, this actually started a few weeks back when Sami & oVe screwed Mack out of a chance at Ultimate X. Mack of course wanted revenge, and spoke with good friend Rich Swann about it. Swann had qualified for the match, there was a brawl, and Swann & Sami oddly saved each other. When Mack asked for help, Swann wanted no part of it because he had already been to war with Sami and didn’t want to go back there. On the go home Impact, The Mack, Rich Swann, and The Rascalz defeated Matt Sydal, Ethan Page, and oVe. But post match, oVe hit their All Seeing Eye finisher on Mack through the table and Callihan again let Swann escape. They are looking at some interesting storytelling here, and it feels like a long story. I have Swann winning Ultimate X and the title, so Sami should take this one. WINNER: Sami Callihan

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FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose: Slammiversary 2018 was supposed to be the night. This was the night that Austin Aries’ grand return and championship run was going to close out, and the night that Moose finally silenced and defeated the belt collector. The company had high hopes for Moose since signing him, but for as much as he talked about being “Mr. Impact,” they never pulled the trigger on him and I was never really sold. But Slammiversary was his chance to change minds, to win the title, and to be officially anointed as the company’s next big thing. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. Now don’t mistake me here, the main event was a great match, and Moose stepped up his game but something changed, and the company decided to ride out Aries as champion a bit longer. More than plans changed. On that same show, Eddie defeated Tommy Dreamer and was basically given Dreamer’s torch (in the form of a kendo stick). Eddie’s still unsettled and crazy, having marital issues, but had a bit more focus to him. He wanted to get back to the world title, and got his chance against Austin Aries. But just as it looked like something good may happen for Eddie, things got complicated as Killer Kross aligned with Aries, allowing Aries to retain the championship. Eddie, being insane and wanting revenge, would keep coming at the new duo, which led to the grand return of Moose, who had been out since Slammiversary due to concussion issues. Eddie was crazy but had an ally back and they would look to go to war. But as a wise man once said, “It’s a traaaaaaaaaaap.” Moose was back, but turned on Eddie and joined with Kross and his former foe, later explaining that Eddie was not only crazy, but also a shitty friend that never checked on him while he was hurt. Eddie Edwards vs. Moose looked to be a feud that would culminate at Bound for Glory. The match was booked, built to, and then the night of the show they worked under a minute as Killer Kross got involved. This would lead to Edwards going crazier, a stint in Shady Acres, and hanging out with Raven as he tried to find his sanity. This one feels like a toss up, as while Moose has dominated and controlled the feud, it doesn’t quite feel like the story has run its course. But on the other hand, I’d rather they end and move on before it overstays its welcome. I think that Eddie Edwards pulls off the win here, and that while the feud ends for now, that they will remain thorns in each other’s side for a while to come. WINNER: Eddie Edwards

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Ultimate X To Crown a New X-Division Champion: Ethan Page vs. Jake Crist vs. vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel: This will be the first Ultimate X match where all the participants are competing in Ultimate X for the first time since the very first Ultimate X match in 2003. The lineup is one that is really interesting on paper. Page is going to play the bigger, Samoa Joe style roll here as Impact looks to get behind him. Jake Crist is here to do wild shit and possibly die while doing so for our entertainment; he’s also been a featured player for his entire Impact run. Swann is another guy Impact is high on, and feels like the favorite tome here. Trey Miguel is the impressive new comer, and a surprising choice over Dezmond Xavier here, and will get the chance to impress. They have a great lineup of talent involved here, but the major thing here is that they re all working their first Ultimate X match, which will either lead to a lot of fresh things introduced, or it could end up problematic as no one has experience with the gimmick to lead and hold the match together; it’s a crap shoot. My hope here is that they have a smart layout and that the sheer amount of talent is enough to overcome the possible issues, and that they deliver a great Ultimate X match, because it feels like forever since we’ve had a really great one. WINNER: Rich Swann

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Monster’s Ball: Abyss vs. Eli Drake: In my opinion, Eli Drake’s 2018 has been one of frustration, disappointment, and even waste. Part of that was the poor timing of his contract status, which kept him off of Slammiversary. From there, Drake has been on TV, but doing nothing of real note. The guy looks great, can talk, and is far from a bad in ring performer. Drake then adopted the “last of a dying breed” moniker, teased a lawsuit against the company, but that was all a trick to attack Joe Park as revenge for Abyss’ BFG attack. Drake then started to target Tommy Dreamer as a relic from a hardcore past that due to his actions and popularization of the hardcore style, nearly ruined a business that Drake is now here to save. Drake took out Dreamer, leading to Abyss challenging Drake for Monster’s Ball here. Abyss returns to a building that treated him like a God, as there was a time that on top of mutilating himself, was one of the best big men in the business. But those days are long gone, and while a match like this can mask his limitations, Abyss’ days as a full time and effective in ring performer are long gone. Drake should not only win here, but he should really destroy Abyss while doing so in order for him to move on to something of actual importance. But I greatly fear that this breaks down into a mess, with hardcore names from the past (Dreamer, Raven, & others) in order to help Abyss. My fear is that they try and give Abyss one more happy moment, but at expense of Drake, that feels like a colossal mistake. There is no doubt in my mind that Drake should win, needs to win, and is in trouble booking wise if he happens to lose here. Hopefully they make the right call here and that match isn’t too bad. WINNER: Eli Drake

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Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkrie: Had you told me back in October that Impact would keep the Tessa vs. Taya feud burning until January, I’d have called you insane. It’s nothing against those two, but the booking of the BFG match was classic challenger of the month stuff, due to Taya not being around, having no momentum and essentially just being tossed into the title picture. They had a very good match at BFG, which is where the desperate “by any means necessary” side of Tessa started to show, where she started resorting to shady tactics, and eventually then going further to keep her championship. Taya would call her out on this, they’d rematch, but the story was always the same, by hook or by crook, Tessa would retain, even if it meant taking the refs down with her opponent. The refs tried to stand up to her and failed. Taya tried to appeal to her sense of sportsmanship and failed. Management tried to get involved and again, failed… until Gail Kim made her return to TV as part of management and finally put a stop to Tessa’s actions. Due to her history in the company, her current position, and the fact that law & order need to be upheld, Kim has been brought into call things down the middle and keep things on the up and up. I see a lot of talk that Taya needs to win so that she’s not pigeon holed as a loser, and I get that. But Tessa has been doing so damn well and is the person that they need to build the division around like they have been. I don’t want to see a title change, especially a quick one where she loses, and then wins it back. The real story here is that Tessa, after her issues and shenanigans, should win here to prove Taya wrong and do so cleanly so that Kim is forced to count the pin and essentially endorse her by doing so. Plus, once we get done with the Taya feud we can finally move onto the real feud that the division needs, Tessa vs. Jordynne Grace. WINNER: Tessa Blanchard

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Tag Team Champions LAX vs. The Lucha Bros.: I mean this as no slight on the rest of the card, but this, this is the match I have been looking forward to more than anything on the show, and more than anything Impact has put together is months. LAX and The Lucha Bros are the best talent investments the company has made in 2018 and going forward. They are the most consistent and reliable talents on the roster in terms of delivering in big time matches; with that being said, I have no hesitation with slapping the 100% certified banger alert on this one. This “feud” as it is a far departure from the LAX vs. OGz feud, which I greatly enjoyed. But the change in tone was needed. LAX, managed by Konnan, have dominated the tag ranks, and as of late, they have introduced Konnan’s friendship and relationship with the Lucha Bros. The teams have shown respect to each other, so much that LAX wanted to offer the Lucha Bros a tag title shot, which they did to the objections on Konnan. Konnan objected because he saw similar friendships end in the past with other lucha friends, and didn’t want that to happen here, so he stepped aside as he didn’t want to see the two sides battle. And that brings us to the match, which judging by who is involved and their histories in Impact, should fucking rule. I see this starting as a friendly and sporting contest, with a game of one upsmanship until things finally get chippy and it finally breaks down into an all out war. It’s at this point that I see Konnan getting involved, trying to calm the waters, and that will lead to him inadvertently costing LAX the championships. WINNER: The Lucha Bros.

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Impact World Champion Johnny Impact vs. Cage: And here we come to the main event of the show, a surprising one (not due to the talent) but because Cage wasn’t in the mix until he opted to bring back “option C” and call his shot for Homecoming. Cage ruled over the X-Division, and while part of me thinks that there was more to explore there, his run did a good job of adding some legitimacy back to the division. Meanwhile, Impact won the title and has been basically playing the “Bret Hart take on all challengers” style champion role, which is perfect for a white meat babyface like Impact. These two are friends in real life, and have worked with and against each other a lot in AAA & Lucha Underground, so they should have some past chemistry to play off of. Impact has been a good champion, having quality matches, and after a long path to get to the championship, and at least to me, it feels a bit soon to take the title off of him. And if Cage is to lose his first shot at the title, it has to be done carefully and in away that protects him. I think this is where the Killer Kross angle they have been running comes into play. Whether it’s without Impact’s knowledge or an all out heel turn from the champion, I am not sure of the gameplan, but there will be some sort of shenanigans involved with Kross I am almost completely sure. The match, if not too overbooked, should be at the very least good, but with the talent involved and proper booking could be great. One thing’s for sure, the world title picture could be very different once Homecoming comes to an end. WINNER: Johnny Impact

– End scene.

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