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Jeremy’s Impact Wrestling Best of 2020 (Part Two) Review

December 29, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Impact Wrestling Eddie Edwards Slammiversary 2020
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Jeremy’s Impact Wrestling Best of 2020 (Part Two) Review  

Hello there, Impact fans! It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another episode of Impact Wrestling. I’m Jeremy, and we’re back for another “Best of 2020” episode, concluding Impact’s 2020. Last week saw several awards given out and matches from the year shown; this week we’ll get match and moment of the year, plus more. Much like last week, as Impact looks back on its 2020 we’ll be looking back at our coverage of Impact with flashbacks to our recaps of each match. So let’s jump right in!

As a reminder, the GoFundMe for Larry’s daughters is still active and if you can make a donation, that would be awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who’s done so thus far.

* The show starts with a tribute to Brodie Lee, which is awesome to see. Good on Impact.

WE OWN THE NIGHT! (AKA Title Sequence!)

* We’re back with Josh Matthews and Scott D’Amore on their Christmas set, where Josh says he got coal for Christmas. They congratulate Deonna Purrazzo for her big wins last week and hype this week’s Moment of the Year and Match of the Year reveal, as well as the main event of Hard to Kill. D’Amore calls Tuesdays and Wednesdays must-see TV and notes that we don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow (obviously this was filmed before Lee’s passing which changed Dynamite into a tribute show). Matthews says Slammiversary was also an incredible night and looks back at the Moment of the Year: all of Slammiversary. That’s a long moment.

* We get a video package looking at Slammiversary including the Machine Guns’ return and their feud with the North starting, Heath’s debut and dropping of Rohit, EC3’s appearance, Rich Swann declaring his intentions for the Impact World title and his running out for the match. EY then debuts, attacks Swann after being beaten despite a dominant display, and Edwards’ big victory to win the title before Madman Fulton attacks him. Then the Good Brothers come out and take out Ace Austin and Fulton to save Edwards.

* We’re back with Willie Mack’s New Year’s Resolution, which is to take this as far as he can and travel the world.

* D’Amore jokes that his resolution is to be nicer to Matthews — NOT! He and Matthews banted a bit, and then they look back at Ace Austin’s match with Willie Mack at Impact Rebellion. Larry’s recap of that match is below:

Impact X-Division Title Match: Champion Ace Austin vs. Willie Mack: Austin stalls to begin, killing over a minute. He then offers a handshake, tries to attack and Mack cuts that off and Austin powders. Back in and Austin cradles him for 2. Mack fires back and Austin powders again, Mack follows him out and delivers chops. Back in and Austin counters the cannonball, hits a superkick and the tree of WHOA follows as Austin lays the boots to Mack. He chokes him out and looks for a high cross but Mack counters into a Samoan drop. The standing moonsault, and ground and pound follows until Austin makes the ropes. Austin counters back, delivers kick and covers for 2. He chokes out Mack, follows with trouble in paradise and heads up top. He flies but Mack counters into a powerbomb for 2. Mack follows with elbow strikes, they trade until Mack rocks him and follows with running corner strikes. The cannonball follows and the stunner is countered into a back flip and the fold for 2. Austin is pissed, but Mack counters the fold into a popup cutter for 2. Mack heads up top, and hits coast to coast on Austin. The frog splash misses, and Austin cradles him with the ropes, the ref catches him and they argue. Austin up top, Mack cuts him off and Austin counters and crotches him. Mack counters into a stunner on the buckles and the frog splash finishes it. Willie Mack defeated Champion Ace Austin @ 13:30 via pin [***½] I could have done without the Austin stalling early on, because it makes no sense in an empty arena setting since it’s designed to get crowd heat. But that being said, this was really good and fun with Mack picking up the championship.

* Matthews and D’Amore talk about Moose and Mack’s I Quit match at Genesis and how Mack may be in over his head trying to take on Moose in that kind of match. Matthews hypes the Match of the Year reveal later, and we’re off to break.

* Break has the ad for Hard to Kill featuring Rich Swann.

* Tasha and Kiera say they want to get an accessory with “Impact Knockouts Tag Team CHampions” on it and say their goal is to become the champs in 2020 (presumably in the tournament concluding at Hard to Kill).

* Matthews and D’Amore talk about the tournament, with Kiera and Tasha in the finals and the other finalist team to be determined still. They run down previous great Knockout tag teams, before Matthews brings up Taya’s challenge to Purrazzo for Hard to Kill.

* We go to Deonna and Kimber Lee. Deonna says she doesn’t normally interact with Knockout peasants, but this challenge interests her because of Taya’s status as longest-reigning Knockout of all-time. And if (WHEN, Kimber says) Deonna beats Taya, she will lay the foundation for the empire they’re building. She uses her Age of the Virtuosa tag line and says that she accepts the challenge. She says when her next masterpiece is revealed, Taya’s fate is sealed.

* D’Amore then makes the match official. Matthews and D’Amore talk about Deonna’s dominance and how it compares to Taya’s, and how they can’t wait to see the match. Matthews hypes the Match of the Year reveal again and we’re on break once more.

* Rich Swann’s resolution is to bring Impact to the highest level in 2021.

* Matthews and D’Amore run downm next week’s card:

* KC Navarro vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Blake Christian vs. Ace Austin
* Rhino & Cousin Jake vs. Joe Doering & Eric Young
* Knockouts Tag Team Tournament Semifinal: Jordynne Grace & Jazz vs. Nevaeh & Havok
* Last Three Minutes Challenge: Moose vs. Matthew Palmer
* Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards
* Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers will appear

* Matthews & D’Amore then look back at the roller coaster year of Rich Swann. A video looks at Swann’s time off due to injury, his return at Slammiversary, his teased retirement and attack at Eric Young’s hands. That leads into his recovery and rehab to return at Bound For Glory and beat Young for the Impact World Title.

* Matthews and D’Amore call the Hard to Kill main event the biggest in Impact history and hype it up, saying it will be incredible. D’Amore says it’s a match no one thought they would ever be, with Impact Champion vs. AEW Champion.

* We’re back with a promo for Genesis, then Jordynne Grace says her New Year’s Resolution is to respond to people less on Twitter.

* Matthews and D’Amore hype Hard to Kill again and talk about how cool it was to have the Machine Guns back in Impact. D’Amore says they’re a team that revolutionized the industry in terms of tag wrestling and wrestling in general, noting that they preceded the Young Bucks and inspired a generation of wrestlers. We get a video looking at the Machine Guns’ win over the North at the Impact after Slammiversary; my recap of that match is below:

Impact World Tag Team Titles Match: The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The North: Alex Shelley is starting off against Ethan Page. They circle and go into a lockup, Shelly and Page with some chain wrestling that ends with Page hitting a back elbow and locking in a headlock. Shelley sends Page off into the ropes, they do some acrobatic fun and Shelley Shelly blocks a boot, dodges another and then Page dodges a chop before it momentarily slows down. Page talks trash and tags in Josh Alexander, Sabin in as well. Alexander with a kneelift and a wristlock, Sabin flips out and locks in a headlock. Alexander sends him against the ropes, a bodyblock does nothing to Josh nor does a second one so Sabin hits a kick to the gut. Sabin locks in an octopus-style submission and rolls it into a failed pin attempt. Alexander off the ropes into an armdrag and another, he slams Josh’s arm into the mat and then continues to work the arm. Tag in to Shelly, who goes to the top for a double axehandle to the arm. Alexander manages to shove Shelly back into Sabin and both go down. He picks Shelley up, pulls him to the North’s corner and tags in Page who smacks Alex down. Shelley reverses an Irish whip, Page holds onto the ropes and slides out of the ring bit eats a kick to the face from Sabin. Alexander in, gets knocked down and eats a stereo kick on his knees! The Guns go over the ropes to the apron, pair of kicks to Page and we’re off to break.

Back from break and Shelley off the ropes with a crossbody to Page for a two-count. Shelley slams Page into the neutral turnbuckle, measures up and lays in fists and chops. Irish whip reversed by Page, Sabin slips out the ropes and Page hits the turnbuckle, Shelly hits Alexander but Page with a shot. He tags in Alexander and throws him into Shelley on the apron! Page knocks Sabin off the apron as Alex slams Shelley into the apron on the other side and lays in a shot. He rolls Shelley in, locks in an overhead elbowlock and tags in Page, who kicks Shelley hard a couple of times. Page sends Shelley into the corner, shoulder block and Josh in for a fist to the head. Alexander mocks Sabin, goes for a suplex but Shelley turns it into a shoulder bar. Alexander counters with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, pin broken up by Shelley. Shelley gets double-teamed in the corner, Josh tags Page in and he lays in the boots. Alexander chokes Shelley from the outside as the ref counts and Page mocks Sabin. Page decks Shelley and tags in Josh, who kicks at Shelley and hits a kneedrop to the back of the head. He mocks Shelley and goes for a urenage hold, Shelley tries to elbow out but Josh gets the tag and hits a backbreaker followed by Page with a spinning backbreaker. Pinfall, Sabin breaks it up. He picks Shelley up, goes for a suplex, holds him up as Josh tags in and hands Shelley off so Alexander can finish the suplex off. He walks over Shelley, goes up top, moonsault but Shelley rolls out of the way! Shelley crawling to his feet, goes and makes the hot tag! Page in, Sabin knocks down Alexander and hits a second-rope rana and then jumps up top, missile dropkick! He hits a couple of elbows, comes off the ropes as Alexander gets in the ring. Sabin ducks a double clothesline, shoves Alexander into Page, kick to Alexander, grabs him and uses Page as vertical leverage for a spinning DDT! Sabin springboards into a tornado DDT for two. He lies in wait, Page in the corner and Sabin and Shelley with double kicks! Shelley tags in, Sabin through the ropes under Shelley to dive onto Alexander, Shelley to the top rope and he leaps but Page rolls out of the way and Shelley rolls to his feet. Counter moves into a back somersault reverse cutter (I’m sure there’s a better name for that but whatever) and gets a near-fall. Sabin back in, Page is defiant against the two of them and eats a couple of kicks. Modified swinging reverse STO, another nearfall but Shelley floats over into a crossface. Sabin blocks Alexander and locks in a cloverleaf. Page rolls Shelley into a pin for two, Sabin breaks it up. All four men down, Alexander goes out to the apron and so does Sabin. Shelley and Page answer the ten count and make the tags, Alexander and Sabin trade punches. Sabin with a kick, off the ropes but clothesline does nothing. Jumping knee staggers Josh, Alexander smacks Sabin down then charges at Shelley but gets Flatlinered into the turnbuckle. Page with a running shoulder tackle, Sabin with a Shining Wizard. Sabin with a waistlock on Alexander, reversed, Sabin goes into the ropes for a springboard but Page holds him there! Alexander grabs him and tags Page, double team slam and Page knocks Shelley off the apron. They hit the assisted cutter into a wheelbarrow suplex, Shelley breaks it up! Alex Shelley tossed out of the ring, they get Sabin up, he eats a series of strikes and Page prepares for the double-team but Sabin turns it into a roll-up! Three-count and new champs! Winner: The Motor City Machine Guns (14:10) [*** 3/4] Well, that was badass. These two teams work fantastically against each other and there was a lot of great back-and-forth action. The Guns pick up the win and end The North’s record-setting tag team title reign; good on them.

* Matthews asks D’Amore if he’s surprised the Guns won the titles so quickly, and he says he isn’t because the Guns are historic. He puts over The North as classic style much like FTR, and Matthews again hypes the six-man tag match to main event Hard to Kill. D’Amore says the month started with AEW’s Winter is COming and is ending with Hell Freezing Over, as they put over the social media reaction. And we’re back on break again.

* Johnny Swinger’s resolution is a happy New Year to Bill Watts. D’Amore and Matthews look back at Johnny Swinger being accused of Bravo’s murder, and we find out Acey is investigating the situation because of Larry being set up. Acey confronts Crazzy Steve and says that since the lights went out when Bravo was shot, maybe Steve heard or smelled something. Steve says he can take his suspicions elsewhere. He notes that he was on the bride’s side, though he did hear some scuttlebutt from the groom’s side. He says Acey may want to chat with Swinger.

* Matthews and D’Amore react to that and comment on Wrestle House, which D’Amore chalks up to doing new things during the pandemic. We get a recap video looking at Wrestle House and how it was set up by Rosemary to entrap Bravo. Acey and Steve feud for the bed, and MATCH TIME! happens. Steve ends up bunking with Swinger and Jake gets a date with Susie, while Lawrence D, gets a date with Rosemary. Jake and Cody feud and truces happen, and everyone gets dust in their eyes. Taya gets drunk and talks trash to ROsemary, who walks in on Lawrence D. And then Taya and Rosemary meet in the ring, which ends with Bravo proposing.

* Matthews suggests that he and D’Amore be on Wrestle House, and D’Amore just wants Matthews in his own house far away. They do tease a new installment in 2021. We’re on break again.

* We’re back and Matthews hypes the X-Division title ,match at Hard to Kill. They talk about how Rohit had the Beat Rohit challenge and TJP’s attempts to challenge for the title, then we go into the Defeat Rohit challenge from Hard to Kill where Manik showed up and faced him. Slimmer’s recap is below:

X-Division Title Match: Rohit Raju vs. Manik: Manik appears on the top turnbuckle and takes the fight to Raju as soon as the bell rings. Raju fights back with a low kick to the face, but Manik fights back with a running back elbow shot in the corner. Manik catches Raju in a modified crucifix pin but only gets a two count. Raju tosses Manik to the outside, but Manik disappears under the ring. Manik emerges behind Raju and hits him with a neck breaker for another two count. Raju goes for a big boot over the top rope, but Manik side steps him. Raju fights back with a running elbow drop but only gets a two count. Manik ducks a kick, but Raju catches him with a back suplex. Raju chops Manik in the corner and follows up with a side Russian leg sweep for another two count. Raju stomps on the Manik’s fingers and then sets Manik on the top turnbuckle. Raju heads up top, but Manik flips over Raju to head back down to the mat. Manik hits Raju with the GTS and follows up with a springboard DDT for a two count. Raju fights back with a rolling senton in the corner and then connects with a double stomp to the back from the top. Raju locks in a crossface, but Manik fights back to his feet. Raju lands a leaping knee shot to the face, but Manik catches him with a schoolboy pin for the three count. Manik defeats Rohit Raju with a schoolboy pin (11:18) [***¼]

* Matthews points out Manik looks a lot like TJP, and D’Amore says that Manik won’t even travel so he doesn’t have to take off his mask. They promote the title match again for Hard to Kill. We’re going to break once again.

* Brian Myers doesn’t do New Year’s Resolutions, because he’s the best him all the time.

* Matthews & D’Amore look back at Ken Shamrock’s induction into the Impact Hall of Fame at Bound For Glory, which featured videos from Bret Hart, Mick Foley, and The Rock. D’Amore says he never expected to see The Rock on Impact TV, nor the AEW World Champion in Kenny Omega. We then get Matt Striker’s introduction of The Rock at Bound For Glory, The Rock’s introduction video and Shamrock’s acceptance speech. Rock talks about how important of an opponent Shamrock was for him in terms of a badass who could up his street cred, and how grateful he was to Shamrock for putting him over when he could have refused. He says he learned a lot from Shamrock, a guy who started in wrestling and moved to MMA before coming back after being a founding father of the UFC. He also calls Shamrock a pillar of the Attitude Era, his friend, and his brother, and says he’s proud of him.

Shamrock’s acceptance speech is next and he is presented with the induction trophy, then says that he’s stuttering for words because it gets his heart to hear all the kind things said about him. He says it’s a long journey that’s taken him to this point and a lot of people helped him get to this point. Shamrock talks about training with Nelson Royal and how he started to feel and love the business then. He talks about his time in WWE and thanks Vince McMahon for the opportunity to show what he was made of, along with Bret Hart for giving him advice to just be him. He thanks The Rock for their matches that made them both better, and his family for standing by and supporting him when he spent so much time away from home. He also thanks the fans across the world, who let athletes do what they do.

* Matthews and D’Amore talk about Shamrock being a Hall of Famer in both Impact and the UFC, with D’Amore talking about how seriously he takes what they do. He says to see people throw love and accolades his way was great to see, then pivots into Shamrock being under Sami Callihan’s sway. Matthews takes us to break again with another promise to reveal match of the year.

* Eddie Edwards says he doesn’t make specific New Year’s Resolutions because he tries to set goals, and his goals are to continue to get better and better.

* Matthews and D’Amore are back and they’re ready to reveal the Match of the Year. They put over all the best matches in Impact over the year like Purrazzo vs. Grace, Purrazzo vs. Su Yung, Rich Swann vs. Eric Young at Bound For Glory and more. The match of the year is…the Impact World Title Match at Slammiversary. Robert Leighty’s recap of that match is below:

Impact World Title Elimination Match: Ace Austin (w/ Madman Fulton) vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Trey vs. Rich Swann vs. Eric Young: This is going to be a challenge to cover. Swann and Young have a go inside the ring. Edwards in and he fires off some chops. Young gets a belly to belly suplex and then has a go again with Swann. Austin gets sent to the floor, but Trey is in. He and Swann do a bunch of flips and counters and Swann ends up getting a rana. Edwards in and he sends Swann flying with a belly to belly. Eddie tries a dive, but gets caught by Madman who slams him on the apron. The ref has seen enough and sends The Madman to the back or Austin will be disqualified. Trey spears Austin and chases him back into the ring. Swann gets a rana from the top on Austin. Edwards and Young have a a go and that leads to Edwards firing off rapid fire chops. Edwards kicks Swann in the face and then powerbombs him onto Young. Austin catches Edwards with a elbow and tries the Backpack Stunner, but he escapes. Trey and Austin throw blows again as Swann gets a Springboard Stunner. He tries again on Edwards, but eats a Blue Thunder Bomb. Young has been cut open above his eye at some point in this one. Everyone is out as Trey yells for Ace to get up. They throw strikes and then Trey gets a slap to the face. He kicks Austin in the face as apparently everyone else is sleeping. Trey gets a rana as that is like the 100th one on this match. Trey gets a neckbreaker on Austin. Swann is back and he ends up eating a head kick from Trey. Eddie and Trey have a go and it ends with Trey diving to the floor and hitting something that looked like it should have killed Swann as he was spiked on his head, but apparently the impact was on Trey. I don’t understand that one! Austin and Edwards square off back in the ring and Edwards gets a Tiger Driver, but Trey makes the save. Trey stated he wanted to eliminate Austin, but that’s still pretty stupid. Sure enough Young hits a move that sends Trey packing at 9:38. Well, serves him right! Young looks like a crazy man with the blood pouring down his face. He talks trash to Swann, who fires up with right hands. A sweet backfist connects, but he gets dropped on the back of his head with a suplex for a two count. Edwards and Austin are still outside the ring as this Swann/Young match continues They fight up top and Swann counters whatever Young was attempting into a top rope bulldog. He can’t get a pin attempt however as Edwards and Austin finally rejoin the match. Edwards and Ace battle on the apron and to the top rope. Edwards looks for a top rope suplex to the floor. As they fight Swann and Young join them and it ends with Young powerbombing Swann into Edwards and Austin who go flying off the top and through the time keeper’s table. Damn! Now that is an effective way to explain why neither man can be involved in the match for a few minutes. Young tries a piledriver, but Swann rolls through for the pin to eliminate Young at 15:38. Young won’t go quietly though and clips the injured knee. Swann had been out for 8 months with the damaged wheel. Young finds a chair and continues the destruction of Swann’s knee. Young screams that Swann brought this on himself as Swann screams in agony. He pounds the mat and curses in frustration as he sells the leg for all it’s worth. Austin is the first to get back in the ring and he smartly goes for the leg. Swann gets a roll-up for two and then a backslide as he is a one legged man in this match. He fires up and gets to his feet, but Austin gets a kick to the knee and The Fold ends Swann’s night at 18:58. We are down to Ace Austin and Eddie Edwards as they have history together according to Matthews. Edwards takes the tape off his first as he means business. They start throwing blows at each other and then go crazy with fists. Austin gets the better of this exchange and then we get a chop contents. Eddie wins that one as Austin crumbles to the mat. Austin gets in a desperation kick to leave both men down. Austin looks for the Fold, but Edwards catches him with a belly to belly into the corner for two. Austin gets a reversal and sends Edwards into the ropes and hits The Fold for a two count. He heads up top, but gets caught by Edwards and he hits Diehard Flowsion to end this at 24:32. Winner and New Impact World Champion: Eddie Edwards via pin (24:32) [*** 1/2] This was a formulaic multi-man match with a lot of 2 men fighting while everyone else disappears. It did get good once we got down a few bodies, and the closing stretch was solid. A match like this deserves time so no complaints there, but it wasn’t enough to totally overcome the flaws in the match and take it to great territory. I’d still say match of the night though.

* Eddie appears in a video and thanks the fans who voted for all the awards. He notes the match is special to him as his second World Title win and a new beginning. He also wants to thank everyone at Impact in the back and the office, and thanks the fans. He says let’s keep it rolling in 2021.

* Matthews and D’Amore sign off hyping next week’s Impact and we’re out.

7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
Another solid recap show from Impact to close out 2020. It wasn't anything incredibly special, and just did what it needed to. Notably, it did hype Hard to Kill and Genesis very effectively, which is something that it really needed to do. Nothing in here is essential to watch for hardcore Impact fans, but it was a nice look at 2020 for those fans who are returning thanks to AEW.
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Impact Wrestling, Jeremy Thomas