Wrestling Review: Impact Wrestling vs Lucha Underground (2018)

As New Orleans, Louisiana plays host to the largest wrestling weekend of the year, it is no surprise that wrestling promotions go head to head in friendly(ish) competition, as is the case when Impact Wrestling (formerly known as TNA Impact and/or Global Force Wrestling) and Lucha Underground (LU) compete to see who has the hungrier, deadlier and all around better crop of talent. The main event was supposed to see two each of Impact and Lucha Underground‘s top contenders teaming with their alternate number one contenders, as Impact Champion Austin Aries and Fenix team with Lucha Underground Champion Pentagon Dark and Alberto El Patron. But instead, Alberto El Patron is a piece of shit and no-showed the event, so instead the main event was a triple threat between Aries, Fenix and Pentagon. A long awaited “I Quit” match between Jeremiah Crane and Eddie Edwards sits second from the top of the card, coming about ever since Crane smashed Edwards in the face with a baseball bat (like, legit, hard style cracked him) and there will be appearances from Matt Sydal, Matanza Cueto, Taya Valkyrie, Scott Steiner and Killshot, plus many more. All the action is called by Impact‘s Josh Matthews and Lucha Underground‘s Matt Striker.

+ Austin Aries vs Fenix vs Pentagon Jr.: well, Alberto just didn’t show up (again) so fuck him. These three had a fantastic match, if it was a little bit short, but that is to be expected. This was obviously either called on the fly, or only planned a small time in advance, because there were quite a few missteps or timing issues, but there was still plenty of incredible lucha double team moves from the Lucha Bros. Not to mention, holy god damn shit, there was a powerbomb here that I thought would have killed the guy that took it. For the time it was given, and the fact it was the backup plan, this was really, really great
+ Eddie Edwards vs Jeremiah Crane (I Quit Match): this one has been building for months now, and it was as violent as you could have expected. There must have been a dozen chairs in the ring before the match was finished, and I think most of them were bent beyond repair. Eddie had one particularly good call when asked if he wanted to quit, but Crane and his sadistic streak were the standout. There was one awkward pause in the middle as the competitors waited for someone else to make their cue, but it all played into the ending, which I really liked. Overall, this was good
+ LAX (Ortiz & Santana) (c) vs Killshot & The Mack (Impact World Tag Team Championships): this was a crazy match. Each team had the big power man/little speed guy dynamic, and they all worked really well together. A few ugly mistakes did take some of the luster away, but in the end this was a wild match
+ Famous B vs Trevor Lee (w/ Caleb Konley): a surprising pre-match change meant that the match written didn’t take place, but I really enjoyed the replacement. I’ve never much cared for Trevor Lee (outside of making comparisons to David Finlay, because they look literally the exact same) but Lee was impressive here, especially against his much larger opponent, hint hint
+ Dezmond Xavier, Andrew Everett & DJZ vs Drago, King Cuerno & Aerostar: ignoring the way that we left the LU characters at the end of the last season not making sense here, this was a really good match. Cuerno’s chest (I think his nipple, specifically) was badly bleeding, but that didn’t stop him or anyone else from flying all over the ring. The very sudden ending actually added to the affair, in my mind, and left a really good impression
+ Allie (c) vs Taya Valkyrie (Impact Knockouts Championship): Allie is perhaps as pure a ‘babyface’ as you’ll get, with a smile as infectious as Taya is mean. Taya did look a fair bit larger than I last saw her, but never seemed to want for speed or agility, and certainly not viscousness. This was not a technical masterpiece, but I enjoyed it
+ Matt Sydal vs Caleb Konley vs Moose vs Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs Jack Evans vs Matanza: the action was fast and furious, punctuated by powerful strikes between Moose and Matanza. Evans, Sydal and Konley were all jumping all over the place, and it made for a varied, if slightly short match up. Oh, and where did Jack Evans’ hair go?!

Eli Drake vs Brian Cage: this match just didn’t do anything for me. Cage is the most fun when he gets to toss dudes around like sacks of potatoes, and he couldn’t quite do that with Drake. Drake, similarly, is better when he plays the arrogant bad guy to someone who can’t necessarily fight back, and Cage doesn’t fit that description. This was a bad match up for both guys
Teddy Hart & Scott Steiner vs oVe (Dave & Jake Crist): I still can’t get over the combo of Hart and Steiner, it’s just so random. Hart came out hitting all his big moves immediately, and almost killing Jake, before Steiner lumbered around like a golem. This was… not good

> in an interesting case, longtime personal favourite Sami Callihan is in fact under his LU persona of Jeremiah Crane, even as he continues a story between Eddie Edwards which Crane started as Callihan on Impact, and the commentators speak as if it was Crane that did the dirty deeds. Alberto El Patron, Taya Valkyrie and Chavo Guererro are also on this list
> holy shit I am pumped for Lucha Underground season 4.

Should you watch this event: Despite the main event having to be changed on the fly, this was a really good show overall. I only two of the nine matches as negatives, and every match listed as a positive had something going for it that is well worth watching. If you don’t watch Impact, perhaps because of decisions from the past under the TNA label, then you should definitely give it aother try, and if you don’t want Lucha Underground (there have been three seasons so far) then you are missing out on something special.

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