Impact Wrestling returned last night (Mar. 8) from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. This was their big Crossroads special. You can find the results at the live blog here.
For their first real stacked episode, Impact put on a really fun show. Here’s what went down at Crossroads:
Austin Aries successfully defended the world championship against Johnny Impact in the main event this week.
The styles of these men meshed very well. Both of them are so fluid, but at the same time, they hit hard (especially Aries). Austin’s slightly more vicious style was teased in a backstage interview earlier in the evening when the champ said he didn’t think Johnny could be mean enough to take the title from him. And that proved to be true.
Prior to the finishing sequence, Aries delivered a death valley driver onto the apron and then soon after dropped his opponents head down against the ropes. Both moves looked a bit nasty and demonstrated more edge than Johnny had during the match. And that may have made the difference.
After the match, Alberto El Patron walked out and stood on the stage smiling and clapping. Apparently Patron has his eyes on Austin Aries and it seems like Aries is down.
This was a good main event and I’m actually down for Alberto vs. Aries at one point. Patron is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea, but all in all I haven’t minded his run in Impact. Two cocky jerks like Austin and Alberto could make for an interesting feud.
Allie pinned Laurel Van Ness last night to win the Knockouts title for the second time.
The challenger fought from underneath much of the match. And things looked dire when the champ hit the Unprettier to Allie outside the ring. However, Allie just beat the count to the dismay of Van Ness. Laurel was right back on the attack, eventually hitting a curb stomp. However, the challenger was able to grab the rope to break up the count.
When Laurel tried to use the title as a weapon to win, which was how she vanquished Alile in their first championship match months ago, Allie was ready this time. She caught the champ in a death valley driver and then a superkick for the win.
This was certainly a fine match and I’ll always appreciate calling back to a prior match to advance the story. The crowd didn’t seem as into it as the two title matches that proceeded it (the tag title and the title vs. title which we’ll get to shortly) and some of them were even chanting for the heel champion moments before she lost. That detracted some from the weight of the finish.
I feel that along the way, Allie lost that super underdog vibe that was so great many moons ago. They had to get past the “Allie can’t wrestle” narrative and I’m glad they did, but this didn’t have the charm of when Allie first accidentally won the title.
It was still a nice moment and seeing Gail Kim meet her immediately in the back to congratulate her was sweet as well. As for Laurel, if this is the last time we see her in Impact (we know she’s gone but not if she’ll show up again at these tapings), it was definitely a great run. She took a gimmick that could have crashed and burned and made it her own.
X Division title vs. Grand Championship
Matt Sydal defeated Taiji Ishomori to win the X Division title. He is now a double champ as he’s also the Grand Champion.
This was a great match with plenty of exciting moments worthy of that X Division style.
It was a bit surprising to see Sydal win cleanly with all this talk of his spiritual guru. That’s OK, though. Even if we never get the spiritual adviser, Matt continues to be fantastic as the utterly annoying guy who tells you all about his spiritualism.
He cut a backstage promo prior to the match talking about opening up our third eye and I just wanted to smack him. During the match, he made sure to put his hands together in a meditation pose to drive the point home.
During his early run in Impact, Sydal was fun, but kind of bland. Playing up this aspect of him gives that extra layer that really adds to his character (and makes me want to see him lose).
To recap: Great character work from Sydal and a really good match between these guys.
Due to Eddie Edwards’ injury, Lashley had to face oVe (with Sami Callihan in their corner of course) by his lonesome.
It really sucks Eddie got hurt and you never want to see that. But they used it to their advantage the best they could. Watching Lashley go against them alone after Sami solidified him as dangerous asshole last week is way more interesting than seeing Eddie team with him in a rematch of a match from a few weeks back.
I haven’t minded anything they’ve done with Sami after the episode aired last week. All the promos he’s cut talking about how he shouldn’t apologize and how he’s remorseless have just helped grow him as a terrible person, which is what you want in a heel. (And we have no reason to believe that Sam Johnston didn’t carry himself as he should after a questionable spot went really poorly last week.)
Sami used his bat on Lashley’s leg when the ref was signaling to ring the bell and he continued to be a factor much of the match.
And then came Brian Cage.
The Impact newcomer came down to the ring, tagged himself in, and then raised some hell. When Callihan entered the ring with the bat as Cage set up the Drill Claw, Lashley speared Sami out of the ring. Cage hit the finish for the win.
After the match, Lashley put out his hand for Cage to shake it, but Cage just left the ring. I didn’t know how much I wanted to see Brian Cage vs. Lashley until last night. But now I really really do.
Tag team championships
The opening bout was the tag match between LAX and the Cult of Lee and... surprise!... it was really good. Santana and Ortiz continue to be a fantastic tag team and Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley are super as well. So of course this ruled.
In the end, Konnan grabbed Lee’s leg when he was on the apron. This freed up Santana and Ortiz to hit the Street Sweeper on Konley for the win.
I found myself rooting for the Cult of Lee over LAX here. This may just be my personal preferences, but LAX doesn’t work well as a face team for me. The crowd loves them and that’s what is most important. But as long as Konnan is on the outside interfering in their matches and as long as he’s their spokesperson, they are always going to be at least pseudoheels. Meanwhile, Lee and Konley are two doofuses who are hard not to love.
That’s not any knock on the match. It was really fun. Just my thoughts on the alignments of both teams.
Normally I’ll hit the pros and cons, but honestly, everything hit on the same level. This was a strong two hours of wrestlings. All the matches delivered, they had a fun surprise in teasing Lashley vs. Cage, and they gave everything time to breathe. There were only five matches in the two hour time, giving everyone time to do what they need.
The new regime started slow, but things are heating up as this taping goes on.
Sound off below.