In the future, I'm going to be including more of IMPACT Wrestling in my random match reviews series. It'll basically be the same format as this particular post, where I'll look at the best bouts from the promotion in a given month. Since the number of matches that end up being featured will vary (it all depends on how many good bouts the company puts on in a certain month). I'm only looking to include matches that are *** or better, and in July 2017, there were eleven matches that met that threshold. I will include anything that's just *** as honorable mentions, and anything that I had at ***1/4 or better will be part of the actual list. Again, the way the list is put together will change depending on how many good matches are actually featured on IMPACT Wrestling every month, so future posts could feature less, or more, matches.
1.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/20/17) - Triple Threat Match - El Hijo de Fantasma vs. Low Ki vs. Matt Sydal: ***1/2
Shortly after Jeff Jarrett rebranded TNA IMPACT Wrestling to GFW IMPACT Wrestling, a number of global partnerships were announced. This alliance consisted of AAA (Mexico City, Mexico), Crash Lucha Libre (Tijuana, Mexica) , GFW, and Pro Wrestling NOAH (Japan). With this new alliance, a number of international talents started making appearances in GFW, including El Hijo de Fantasma (AAA), who most people in United States know as King Cuerno, from Lucha Underground. On this particular episode, he was involved in a random Triple Threat Match with two X-Division regulars in Low Ki and Matt Sydal. While there was no real backstory to this match, it ended up being really good. There was plenty of exciting action from start to finish, and it was given a fair amount of time (clocking in at around fourteen minutes or so). I think the time was a real factor in what led to this being as good as it was. They weren't rushed in any way, and all three competitors looked very solid throughout. Matt Sydal ultimately emerged victorious in what ended up being one of the best matches on TV for GFW during the month of July.
2.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/27/17) - Super X Cup 2017 - First Round - Davey Richards vs. Taiji Ishimori: ***1/2
The July 27th edition of IMPACT Wrestling ended up being a very strong episode for the promotion, with regards to match quality. One of the bouts that really stood out saw Taiji Ishimori (NOAH) go up against Davey Richards in a first round matchup in the 2017 Super X Cup Tournament. Not only was this easily the best match from that particular round, but it was one of the best matches in the tournament as a whole. This only went about eight or nine minutes, but these two packed a ton of action into that short timeframe. There were some really cool exchanges, and both guys worked pretty hard, despite a crowd that wasn't exactly lively. Ishimori would put Richards away with a 450 Splash.
3.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/27/17) - Unified GFW & TNA Knockouts Championships - Last Knockout Standing Match - Sienna vs. Rosemary: ***1/2
On the same episode that featured Davey Richards vs. Taiji Ishimori, we also saw a Last Knockout Standing Match that saw Rosemary challenge Sienna for the Unified GFW & TNA Knockouts Championships. These two met in a Title Unification Match at Slammiversary XV, and on that night, Sienna (the GFW Women's Championship) ended Rosemary's 266 day reign as the TNA Knockouts Champion. This was essentially the culmination of the feud between the two, and when the dust settled, they ended up having a very solid Last Knockouts Standing Match. Both worked very hard, and there were plenty of cool moments throughout this one. They brawled inside the ring, around the ring, and in the crowd. It was honestly a ton of fun to watch. All sorts of weapons were involved, including chairs, tables, and a trash can. The only downside to this was that KM interfered on Sienna's behalf, and that did play a part in the outcome (Sienna retaining), but even that can't take away the effort both Sienna and Rosemary put into this match. A very entertaining hardcore brawl from start to finish that's definitely worth checking out.
4.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/27/17) Six-Man Tag - Ethan Carter III, Eli Drake, & Chris Adonis vs. Eddie Edwards, Moose, & Naomichi Marufuji: ***1/4
While Davey Richards vs. Taiji Ishimori and Sienna vs. Rosemary were the highlights from this July 27th episode, this was another good match that also occurred on that particular show. The babyface team is pretty stacked. The heel side? Eh....not so much, but still, this was pretty solid as a whole. Not only did it kick off the show, but it actually got a fair amount of time (around sixteen minutes, from what I can remember), and that freedom allowed these guys to put on an entertaining six-man tag. Things started off a little slow, but fortunately, the action soon picked up, and the closing few minutes were particularly good. EC3 would get the win for his side after hitting a low blow on Moose (who he had attacked a few weeks prior), followed by a new finisher he called the Ethan Carter Driver. All six guys involved worked pretty hard, and their efforts resulted in a fine opening contest.
5.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/6/17) - Super X Cup 2017 - First Round - Dezmond Xavier vs. Idris Abraham: ***1/4
These two officially kicked off the Super X Cup Tournament with an entertaining match that went almost twelve minutes. While I knew Dezmond Xavier from the independent scene, I wasn't very familiar with Idris Abraham. Even though the outcome was pretty obvious here (to be completely honestly, out of all the guys in this tournament, Idris Abraham stuck out like a sore thumb), these two still managed to have a fun match filled with some solid in-ring action. It did take some time for it to get going, but that didn't hinder them too much, as the second half was particularly strong. They didn't set the world on fire here, but for the most part, I really enjoyed watching this. Dezmond Xavier would get the win after hitting Abraham with his version of Spiral Tap, which he calls Final Flash.
6.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/20/17) - Fatal Four-Way Match - Ethan Carter III vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Eli Drake vs. Moose: ***1/4
So on the same show that featured a Triple Threat Match, we also got this Fatal Four-Way Match, which ended up being pretty solid. EC3 had attacked Moose the week prior during his defense of the GFW Grand Championship. Meanwhile, I believe Eddie Edwards was involved with a brief mini-feud with Eli Drake (if I'm remembering correctly). This was actually pretty short, only going about six or seven minutes, but they still packed in some fun action in the time they were given. All four guys had opportunities to shine, and as a whole, this was an entertaining main event. While EC3 and Moose were brawling on the outside, Eli Drake managed to score the pin on Eddie Edwards in what some might call an upset. This was certainly a surprising result, but it slowly began Eli Drake's ascent up the ranks, and eventually, he would end up winning the GFW Global Title. While I don't think him becoming champion was the original plan, it was clear through this result that there were plans for Eli Drake, in some form or fashion.
7.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/13/17) - Unified GFW World Heavyweight Champion Alberto El Patron & Bobby Lashley vs. Unified GFW World Tag Team Champions LAX (Ortiz & Santana with Konnan, Homicide, & Diamante): ***1/4
This tag team match occurred after the events of the previous week. While I'm sure there are people who dislike the idea of two big singles stars like Alberto El Patron & Bobby Lashley beating the top tag team in LAX (and I don't disagree at all with those feelings), this was still a very solid matchup from start to finish. The former EYFBO are such a fun tag team, and it's great to finally see them on a (somewhat) bigger stage, associated with a group like LAX. They worked well here against Alberto El Patron & Bobby Lashley, who were doing the old "rivals coming together to take on a common enemy" story. I actually thought it was pretty cool that Lashley teamed with Patron here to get revenge on LAX for the week prior, but once he got his revenge in the match, he didn't both to help Patron after the fact when LAX starting beating him up. Again, this was by no means a thrilling tag team encounter, but it was a fun TV main event.
8.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/13/17) - Super X Cup 2017 - First Round - ACH vs. Andrew Everett: ***1/4
Of course, most people known ACH for his tenure in ROH and other independents, and even though he also made his name on the independents, Andrew Everett had already been with GFW/TNA for well over a year at this point. This first round matchup in the 2017 edition of the Super X Cup only went about six minutes or so, but they still managed to have a fun bout. Both guys are incredibly talented, and while we all know they could have a better match if they were given more time, they still managed to put on a fun TV match that featured some cool moments throughout. It was an entertaining sprint that went back and forth, but ACH ultimately emerged victorious.
9.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/6/17) - Unified GFW World Heavyweight Title - Alberto El Patron vs. Bobby Lashley: ***1/4
It's easy to forget, but Alberto El Patron was actually pretty hot during his first independent run following his first WWE release in 2014. However, his return to WWE in 2015-2016 didn't go too well, and his run on the independent scene since then has been pretty lackluster, based on what I've heard. It was only a matter of time before he ended up in TNA, and it didn't take him long to hold not one, but two titles, as at Slammiversary XV, when he (as GFW Global Champion) defeated Bobby Lashley to capture the TNA World Heavyweight Title. This was the rematch, and although it ended in a DQ after LAX attacked Lashley, this was still a relatively good match. They got a good amount of time, and seemed to be working well together until the finish. The attack by LAX was the start of an angle where LAX tried to recruit Alberto El Patron into the group, and that definitely overshadowed the fine work we saw in the match itself.
10.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/6/17) - Non-Title Match - GFW X-Division Champion Sonjay Dutt vs. Caleb Konley: ***
I must sound like a broken record at this point (because it's not the first time I've said this), but after jumping from EVOLVE/WWN to TNA in mid-2016, Caleb Konley really fell off the face of the earth. You rarely saw him on IMPACT Wrestling for a long time, which was a damn shame, since he's a very solid in-ring talent. Fortunately, the company actually started to use him in 2017. On this particular episode, he took on GFW X-Division Champion Sonjay Dutt in a short, but entertaining, non-title bout. This clocked in at just under five minutes, so they didn't have a ton of time to work with. Fortunately, they made the most of it, and managed to have a quick, but fun, TV match that featured some solid action throughout. Of course, Sonjay Dutt got the victory, but it was a fine showing for Konley, who deserves better.
11.) IMPACT Wrestling on Pop TV (7/20/17) - Six-Man Tag - Trevor Lee, Idris Abraham, & Demus vs. Garza Jr., Laredo Kid, & Octagoncito: ***
Honestly, I don't have a ton to say about this one. It was a fun lucha showcase (featured some talent from GFW) that lasted about nine minutes. There were some definite rough patches, but even so, this was still fun to watch, for what it was. Garza Jr., Laredo Kid, & Octagoncito would ultimately get the win.