Impact Wrestling presented part II of its “Best of 2019” this weekend on AXS TV. The promotion is back in their usual Tuesday night timeslot this week for the go-home show for this weekend’s Hard to Kill PPV.
Here are 6 takeaways from Impact Wrestling 1/4 the Best of 2019 Part II:
Tessa Blanchard Wins Wrestler of the Year
As she prepares to wrestle for the Impact Wrestling World Championship at Hard to Kill this weekend, Tessa Blanchard has been named the 2019 Wrestler of the Year for the promotion. Since signing with Impact, Blanchard has been a featured performer for Impact and the culmination of a long-term booking strategy could take place at Hard to Kill on Sunday.
Blanchard joined Impact in the spring of 2018 and quickly rose to be the top heel in the Knockouts division before winning the title. She would only lose the title after her and Gail Kim’s disdain for each other led to the Hall of Famer costing her a match against Taya Valkyrie. Blanchard would be too distracted in her rivalry with Kim to regain her lost championship. After dispatching of Kim, and winning her respect, Blanchard turned babyface and entered a feud with Sami Callihan.
Blanchard’s forway into inter-gender wrestling potentially hit a snag when plans for a Blanchard vs Eli Drake feud were scrapped and Drake left the promotion. He landed in the National Wrestling Alliance where he is currently feuding with Ken Anderson.
Sami Callihan picked up the ball, however, and didn’t hesitate for a second with it. Blanchard and Callihan have had two previous matches in Impact, with Callihan winning both but Blanchard coming close each time. Perhaps, Blanchard will finally defeat Sami this weekend en route to making history.
Tessa Blanchard’s Victory In #1 Contenders Match Re-Visited
With Tessa Blanchard vs Sami Callihan 3 set to take place this weekend, Blanchard’s victory to earn her title shot was re-visited this week on Impact Wrestling. Blanchard won a multi-person Gauntlet match and eliminated former Impact World Champion Brian Cage with the final elimination.
The North Win Tag Team Of The Year
Following the departures of the Lucha Bros and LAX, one team rose to the very top of Impact Wrestling’s tag team division in 2019 and has stayed there. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander were formerly two well-respect indy guys around the Toronto/Hamilton Ontario, Canada scenes. Since arriving in Impact Wrestling, however, they have quickly become a dominant team.
To put it in perspective, if the North can retain their titles for the next 3 weeks, they will hit #4 all-time in terms of combined days spent with the Impact tag titles behind only LAX, Beer Money, and the Wolves.
Their match this year against Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji & Eddie Edwards was revisited this week.
Re-Visiting Rich Swann’s Elimination Match Spoiler
Rich Swann has overcome the odds quite a bit in his career. The former X-Division Champion almost overcame the odds in the #1 Contender Elimination match he competed in recently as well. Swann pulled off a huge upset during the match by pinning perennial top-contender Michael Elgin. Swann looked to have momentum going into the rest of the match but Elgin made sure he wouldn’t have anything left after delivering a massive post-match beat down.
Tessa Blanchard vs Gail Kim Re-Visited
Gail Kim wasn’t going to come out of retirement for just any opponent. The Impact Hall of Famer came out of retirement to face Tessa Blanchard, however. Blanchard and Kim met at the Rebellion PPV this spring from Rebel Nightclub in Kim’s hometown of Toronto, ON, Canada.
When looking at Blanchard’s rise to the top of Impact Wrestling (and her profession in general) the importance of this match against Kim cannot be overstated. The match was re-visited on Impact this week as the promotion prepares for Blanchard vs Sami Callihan for the Impact World Title at Hard to Kill.
Tessa Blanchard vs Sami Callihan From Slammiversary Wins Match of the Year
With Sami Callihan vs Tessa Blanchard 3 set to take place on Sunday, their first match was awarded the 2019 Impact Wrestling match of the year. The match headlined the Slammiversary PPV from Gilley’s Dallas from Texas. Hard to Kill will be held at a different venue in the same city (The Bomb Factory).
Callihan and Blanchard would meet a month later at Unbreakable (Impact Plus special). The two had teamed together as part of the Mash-Up tournament and won. The win meant they would face each other with the winner of that match earning a title shot. Callihan again beat Blanchard and would go on to win the Impact title from Brian Cage.