**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling at 8 pm Eastern on POP TV and Fight Network in Canada from the recent Mexico City tapings:
*Moose & Killer Kross vs. Johnny Impact & Eddie Edwards
*Allie & Kiera Hogan vs. Su Yung & Udmoh (the Undead Bridesmaid has been granted a name)
*Tessa Blanchard vs. Faby Apache for the Knockout’s title
*Santana & Ortiz vs. Desi Hit Squad
**It’s a big weekend coming up with the following shows scheduled:
*Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view on Friday at 9 pm Eastern (Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay for the ROH title)
*Bellator 206 on Saturday at 10 pm Eastern on DAZN (Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald for the middleweight title)
*PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapter 76 “Hello Wembley” card at the SSE Arena Wembley on Sunday (Walter vs. Tyler Bate)
*NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed on Sunday at 8 pm on New Japan World (Golden Lovers vs. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii)
**I watched the OTT match between Walter and Jordan Devlin from this past August’s WrestleRama 2 event that the promotion just posted on YouTube. From start-to-finish, this was one of the best match presentations of the year. It began with an incredible video package from editor Shaun Ryan and Crooked Gentlemen Productions. The video traced the origin of the feud to their first match with Walter defeating Devlin and the latter dealing with the loss and assessing how he approached the first match. The juxtaposed the two with Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno with the similar story that Tyson knocked out Bruno in 1989 and came back to challenge Tyson again in 1996. The match had an amazing atmosphere from the moment each walked out as the crowd in Dublin took this match to another level. The seconds featured David Starr in the corner of Devlin and Timothy Thatcher in Walter’s, with Thatcher defeating Starr earlier in the night. The layout of the match was David vs. Goliath and there is no better Goliath in wrestling today than Walter, nor did they book an angle where Walter never wants to show up to wrestle, brags about the money he will make in the UFC and the audience tires of him. By the 15-minute mark, the audience comes unglued on their feet and this roar takes over that was unbelievable. The call by lead announcer Aonghus McAnally was so great as his enthusiasm built at the same rate as the match did, which by the end was through the roof and channeled the audience’s excitement very effectively. After several huge near falls by Devlin, he was caught in a rear-naked choke, closed his fist to signal one final comeback but was stopped as Walter spiked him with a driver for the pin to win the OTT championship.
**Game Changer Wrestling has announced that Joey Janela’s Spring Break III will take place Friday, April 5th at 8 pm Eastern with no location announced yet. GCW is running shows at the White Eagle Hall but is not listing Spring Break for that venue. The interesting decision is that Spring Break will not be a Midnight show as it’s been presented in years past. I attended the show this past year in New Orleans and while the audience was exhausted by 3-3:30 am when they got out of the building, the show had an incredible buzz and starting at Midnight made it the cool party to be at that weekend.
**Game Changer has also announced that IWS Hardcore will be part of their collection of shows running at the White Eagle Hall over WrestleMania Weekend. IWS will host their event on Saturday, April 6th at 4 pm and I’d imagine would want their show wrapped up with plenty of time to spare for fans wanting to attend either TakeOver or Ring of Honor at Madison Square Garden. The Jersey City venue is approximately 30 minutes from Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden in different directions, but with New York traffic on a Saturday night that could take way longer to travel to. Although, IWS is going to be a small show, so this would only be for a small number that would attempt to do both events.
**ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that the UFC is attempting to put together a rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC 232 card on December 29th in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White spoke to Okamoto and while the deal is far from complete, that appears to be the direction they are headed for. Earlier this week, Ariel Helwani from the same outlet reported on an attempt to put Gustafsson and Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden with the two fighting for a version of the light heavyweight title, but that appears to have fallen through. Romero was originally advertised for the UFC 230 card and then publicly denied he would be fighting on that card because of a recent surgery he had and wouldn’t be ready by then. Jones and Gustafsson had one of the greatest fights in UFC history at UFC 165 in September 2013 where Jones narrowly defeated Gustafsson by decision in Toronto.
**The UFC has announced a new television distribution deal with Eleven Sports in the U.K. and Ireland that goes into effect in January 2019. The move will see the UFC move from BT Sport, which had held the rights since 2013 and move to the upstart streaming platform. Eleven Sports has announced they will carry 42 UFC cards live in 2019. The service is priced at 5.99 pounds per month or an annual fee of 59.99. Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed. The WWE is also negotiating their next UK television deal as the current one with Sky will expire in 2019.
**The latest UFC documentary added to Fight Pass is titled, “Ultimate Accessory” and is directed by Jackson Nguyen. The documentary traces the origin of a championship belt that was designed for UFC 5 in April 1995. Belt maker Joe “The Beltster” Marshall was recommended to Art Davie by Eric Bischoff to design their belts. Marshall had designed belts for both WCW and the WWF and they had photos of Marshall with Vince McMahon and Steve Austin. Marshall designed two belts for UFC 5 with one going to the tournament winner Dan Severn and the other was to be awarded to the winner of the superfight between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. The latter ended in a draw and was given five additional minutes and remained a draw so neither was presented with the title. The location of the title was lost after the event and was revealed that Davie took the title and eventually sold it to a collector in New York, Gordon Stevenson, who was located by the filmmaker for the feature. In 2001, when Zuffa took control of the promotion, they stopped using Joe Marshall and transferred over to Reggie Parks and his associate Dave Millican, who design all the major pro wrestling titles. Parks and Millican designed all the titles that were used from UFC 32 in 2001 until UFC 107 in December 2009. Today, because the UFC designs so many championships they have outsourced to a manufacturing company to handle the high demand for titles. I enjoyed this piece a lot and find subject matter like belts to be very interesting, so if the topic interests you I feel you will enjoy this.
Mae Young Classic (Sept. 26th)
RESULTS: Hiroyo Matsumoto over Rachel Evers, Taynara Conti over Jessie Elaban, Nicole Matthews over Isla Dawn, Io Shirai over Xia Brookside
-Matsumoto and Evers had the best match so far in the opening round and the longest thus far. It picked up after Matsumoto landed this hard missile dropkick to Evers and they started engaging in a variety of striking sequences, worked in near falls, both displayed lots of heart and the audience responded as the tempo increased. Evers popped up from a release German, took a deadlift powerbomb before falling to the Rock Drop, which is a Saito suplex from Matsumoto. Matsumoto will face Toni Storm in the second round.
-Taynara Conti and Jessie Elaban must have the least combined experience of any first-round matchups. Conti won with the Tay-agoshi, her Judo influenced finish that ends with a side slam. This was tough following the Matsumoto-Evers match, it was very basic but Elaban displayed lots of personality in her video feature.
-Nicole Matthews played the veteran that felt snubbed when she was an alternate in last year’s tournament. Dawn almost lost her during what appeared to be a Samoan drop. Matthews submitted her with the Lion Tamer. The match was good, but the audience was so quiet until the submission at the end.
-Robbie Brookside was ringside for his daughter’s match and Michael Cole noted that he has never watched one of her matches in person. Renee Young added that Xia “full of energy and made of Skittles”.
-They brought up Io Shirai’s neck injury that kept her out of last year’s tournament.
-Brookside played the heavy underdog in the main event with tons of chants for Shirai. Brookside got in a bit of offense, but this was closer to a showcase for Shirai with a crossface, Meteora, and later top rope moonsault to win the match in just 3:15. Shirai displayed tons of charisma is the limited time she had in the match.
Lucha Underground (Sept. 26th)
RESULTS: Matanza Cueto over Jack Evans, Jeremiah Crane & Kobra Moon & Daga over Joey Ryan & Xo Lishus & Ivelisse to retain the Trios titles, Jake Strong over Aerostar & Drago in a Nunchuks match, Pentagon Dark over Mil Muertes, King Cuerno & El Dragon Azteca Jr. to become the #1 contender for the Lucha Underground title
-With six episodes remaining this season, they are starting the promotion for Ultima Lucha IV with the Lucha Underground title match to feature Marty the Moth Martinez defending against Pentagon Dark and a Death Match set up between Mil Muertes and The Mack. Pentagon won a quick four-way over Muertes, El Dragon Azteca Jr. and King Cuerno in the main event this week. The match was under six minutes and rushed, ending with Pentagon winning with the Penta Driver to Muertes. The Mack attacked Muertes after the match with two stunners and issued the challenge for the Death Match.
-Paul London resurfaced in the Temple with his new Rabbit Tribe of “White Rabbit” (Killer Kross on Impact Wrestling) and El Bunny. They attacked Joey Ryan, Xo Lishua & Ivelisse after their loss in the Trios title match and lined them up on the bottom rope like a guillotine.
-The Nunchuks match with Jake Strong defeating Aerostar & Drago was the best match on the show. The audience was into the weapon strikes and Strong is booked, well, strong. Honestly, Lucha Underground has been much more successful in getting talent such as Jake Strong (Jack Swagger), Johnny Mundo, and Alberto El Patron over as bigger stars than WWE ever did, and more than Impact has with the latter two. There is no question that Lucha Underground has found the right formula for Mundo with the Worldwide Underground.
-There was a ridiculous line by Matt Striker during the match where he said Aerostar & Drago are trained to use nunchucks and therefore, have been sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission for this match. Vampiro cut him off and just told Striker to shut up and that there are no rules in the Temple. I wonder if Andy Foster is aware of the murders that have gone down in Boyle Heights? Mil Muertes should probably be indefinitely suspended for the number of fatalities following the Grave Consequences matches, although maybe an independent arbitrator would believe Muertes to be honest if he was forthcoming about other indiscretions in his life and reduce the length of his suspension.
-Jack Evans appeared to be written off the show when he threatened to quit and was destroyed by Matanza Cueto in a short match that ended with the Wrath of the Gods. Matanza is a great monster and his absence from this show will be notable when he’s written off himself. Matt Striker cut a promo later in the show about talent wanting to leave, stating they can walk out the door but there are always more fighters willing to take their spot.