PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

(Search “wade keller” to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)

The following is the latest in a new series of weekly in-depth articles exclusive to PWTorch which will help put in perspective major wrestling promotions with a weekly overview, looking at news and roster developments, results, future line-ups, social media activity, key interviews, plus a timely commentary at the end. We will be featuring similar features on other promotions each week and each will be updated weekly.

•Top Stories of the Week

Thursday’s go home show for Homecoming, drew 151,000 viewers which is the largest viewership number since the timeslot change. LINK
On the final Impact before Homecoming there were two additional matches announced. Sami Callihan will face Willie Mack in a singles match and Jordynne Grace will team with Kiera Hogan to face Allie and Su Yung. LINK 1 LINK 2
Matt Sydal is reportedly injured and was pulled from an independent booking this weekend. LINK
Trevor Lee announced on Twitter that his contract with Impact Wrestling has expired and he’s now a free agent.
Former X Division champion, DJZ is officially done with Impact Wrestling as his contract has expired. LINK

•Live Event Results
No new shows since the oVe Twitch special.

•Upcoming Major Show Line-up: Homecoming in Nashville

Impact Homecoming
January 6, 2019
Nashville, Tenn. at the Fairgrounds

Johnny Impact (c) vs. Brian Cage – Impact World Championship match.
Tessa Blanchard (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie – Impact Knockouts Championship match. Gail Kim will be the Special Guest Referee.
Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel – Ultimate X Match for the vacant X-Division Championship.
LAX (c) vs. The Lucha Bros – Impact World Tag Team Championship match.
Eli Drake vs. Abyss – Monster’s Ball match.
Eddie Edwards vs. Moose – Falls Count Anywhere match.
Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack –  Singles match.
Allie & Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace – Singles match.

•Upcoming Events
1/6/2019 – Homecoming, The Asylum, Nashville, Tenn.
1/7/2019 – Impact Live, The Asylum, Nashville, Tenn.
1/11/2019 – Impact Live, Gran Casino Fronton, Mexico City, Mexico.
1/12/2019 – Impact Live, Gran Casino Fronton, Mexico City, Mexico.
1/25/2019 – Battle of Brooklyn, St. Pats CYO Sports, Brooklyn, N.Y.
1/26/2019 – One Night Only: New Beginnings, Holy Family Academy, Hazleton, Pa.
2/2/2019 – Brace for Impact, London Music Hall, London, Ont.
2/15/2019 – Impact Live, Sam’s Town Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.
2/16/2019 – Impact Live, Sam’s Town Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.
2/17/2019 – Impact Live, Sam’s Town Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.
3/22/2019 – Impact Tapings, St. Clair College, Windsor, Ont.
3/23/2019 – Impact Tapings, St. Clair College, Windsor, Ont.
4/4/2019 – Culture Clash 2019, 9112 144th Place, Queens, N.Y.

•Latest TV Highlights: (1/3 Impact Wrestling)

Impact Wrestling from Jan. 3, 2019, from Sam’s Town Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Aired on Pop TV at 10 p.m. EST.

Announcers: Josh Matthews and Don Callis.

(1) Rich Swann & Willie Mack & The Rascalz defeated oVe & Ethan Page & Matt Sydal.
-After the match, Sami Callihan attacked Mack.
-In-ring, Eli Drake cut a promo on Abyss and hardcore wrestling. Drake called out Tommy Dreamer and he came to the ring with a steel chair. They brawled and when Dreamer was about to stomp on Drake’s neck with a chair the lights went out. When the lights came back on Raven was standing in the ring. Drake tried to convince Raven to beat up Dreamer, but he instead attacked him.
(2) Fallah Bahh & KM defeated The Desi Hit Squad.
(3) Dark Allie defeated Kiera Hogan.
-After the match, Allie and Yung attacked Hogan, but Jordynne Grace made the save.
(4) Killer Kross defeated Trevor Lee
(5) The Lucha Brothers defeated Johnny Impact & Brian Cage
See detailed results HERE


PWTorch.com’s Mike McMahon and Andrew Soucek bring you their Thursday finale! The show is moving to a new date and time with Impact moving off Thursday nights. Here, they discuss their move, AEW’s launch, Impact’s move to Pursuit, as well as all the happenings on the go-home edition of Impact Wrestling on Pop.

-On Tune In Radio HERE
-On Apple Podcasts HERE
-Or search “PWTorch” or “Pro Wrestling Torch” on your podcast app of choice

•Impact in the Media

Johnny Impact recently spoke with TV Insider to discuss his role on Survivor, Impact’s new TV deal, and his upcoming match at Homecoming. Like every other Impact employee, he defended Impacts move to Pursuit stating the demographics are a better fit. He also mentions that he and Jay Lethal are pushing to have their match between each other in New York City, at Madison Square Garden. LINK
Josh Mathews spoke with Nick Hausman of Wrestling Inc. to discuss the change in TV networks and his thoughts on All Elite Wrestling. He mentioned being on a network that the parent company owns a part of is mutually beneficial for everyone. Mathews also said there won’t be as much pressure to deliver certain ratings on Pursuit as there were on Pop TV. When asked about AEW, he said he’s a supporter of AEW, but right now he doesn’t really know what they’re going to be. LINK
Gail Kim was on the WINCLY podcast this week to discuss her involvement in Sunday’s title match. Kim said the girls respect her in the back and she is stepping in to make sure the match is officiated fairly. When asked about Tessa Blanchard, she said, “I saw the same commonalities within us – we both want to be the best in the world and have the best matches…” LINK
Jimmy Jacobs spoke with Fightful to discuss the differences between creative in WWE and Impact and Vince McMahon making huge last minute changes. Jacobs said that in Impact he has the creative freedom that he didn’t have in WWE. He mentioned the undead realm as an example of something he wouldn’t have been able to do in WWE (Note: He shouldn’t be able to do it in Impact either). Jacobs said that in Impact they have to have a set schedule as they tape 4-6 weeks out, but in WWE it is more week to week booking than you would think. LINK

•Social Media Scene

We'd like to thank @PopTV for three great years as our US television partner.

We're excited for our next chapter on @PursuitChannel starting NEXT FRIDAY at 10/9c! pic.twitter.com/A0PhK4T8Nm


BREAKING: They've been wanting to tear each other apart for weeks – now @Willie_Mack has the opportunity to avenge oVe costing him his spot in Ultimate X as he faces @TheSamiCallihan! #IMPACTHomecoming

TICKETS: https://t.co/kxpbb1WO1l pic.twitter.com/tmSFn0pj3e


BREAKING: @HoganKnowsBest3 has back up in her fight against the undead legion! @JordynneGrace will join her to face @AllieImpact and @realsuyung in Knockouts Tag Team action! #IMPACTonPop

TICKETS: https://t.co/kxpbb2eoST pic.twitter.com/K4IgNyxbjV


This is the story of Ultimate X as told by those who competed. @FrankieKazarian, @facdaniels, @iPeteyWilliams, @sonjaydutterson, @IAmDJZ, and @TheEddieEdwards spoke to us in depth about their experiences in Ultimate X.

READ HERE: https://t.co/8V1YeTphtl pic.twitter.com/AGSoRgPHD4


Check out the whole video here https://t.co/EanRJgjhdc #uncaged documentary into #homecoming pic.twitter.com/gaAfv0sZ9o

— Brian Cage (@MrGMSI_BCage) January 5, 2019

The only “steamrolling” that’s going to go on is me through you….. see you Sunday. https://t.co/w93ZJLQAhx

— Wera Loca (@TheTayaValkyrie) January 4, 2019

The only reason you’re even deemed relevant right now is because you’ll be facing ME. You’re good, taya… but you’re not on my level. Plain and simple. https://t.co/IMeollYL7G

— Tessa Blanchard (@Tess_Blanchard) January 4, 2019

She’s good, but she’s no diamond.

El domingo voy a callarte la boca y terminar con esa era que solo existe en tu cabeza. Porque los diamantes son para siempre, mamacita. pic.twitter.com/HeEX5R0vF0

— Tessa Blanchard (@Tess_Blanchard) January 2, 2019

•Closing Commentary

Finally, Impact Wrestling’s January PPV, Homecoming, is upon us. After two weeks of “best of” episodes and a non-eventful go-home show, there is little to no hype for this PPV. On paper, this isn’t a bad card, but how many fans are willing to spend $40 on a PPV in 2019? This PPV will most likely be the lowest buy rate in company history. With that being said, lets’ preview Impact Wrestling’s Homecoming PPV, taking place in Nashville, Tenn. at the Asylum.

Allie & Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace – Singles match.

This is easily the least intriguing match on the card, as it was just announced on Thursday. Also, this is built around Hogan wanting Allie to get her soul back. Seriously, how is anyone supposed to care about this match?

Prediction: Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace

Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack – Singles match.

Just like the previous match, this was also announced on Thursday’s episode of Impact. It will be interesting to see if Rich Swann plays a role in the finish, as we are unsure about his past relationship with Callihan. If this match is given enough time, it could be a great undercard match.

Prediction: Sami Callihan

Eddie Edwards vs. Moose – Falls Count Anywhere match.

Moose has improved so much in the past two years and Edwards is still able to put on a great match. Unfortunately, this feud has been plagued by ridiculous storylines. Falls count anywhere matches are usually not my thing, but I expect a good match from these two.

Prediction: Moose

Eli Drake vs. Abyss – Monster’s Ball match.

The last thing fans were asking for was an Eli Drake vs. Abyss match in 2019. I expect this to be a brutal match that goes under ten minutes. I do like the storyline that Drake is the last of a dying breed, but please no more Tommy Dreamer promos about skinny jean millennials. The build has weirdly included Dreamer just as much as – if not more than – Abyss.

Prediction: Eli Drake

LAX (c) vs. The Lucha Bros – Impact World Tag Team Championship match.

LAX had an incredible 2018, and they are looking to start 2019 off the right way by successfully defending against the Lucha Brothers. I really hope this match is given the right amount of time, as it could be match of the night. Konnan will likely play a role in the finish, but I’m not sure in what way. I would love to see a heel turn for LAX and Konnan to freshen them up. If they retain, who would they face next? The Desi Hit squad? I think it’s too early for The Rascalz to challenge, so really that only leaves the Desi Hit Squad.

Prediction: LAX

Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel – Ultimate X Match for the vacant X-Division Championship.

For the most part, Ultimate X matches are great and I expect no different with this one. It’s very crucial for Impact to deliver with this match. Impact now more than ever needs to distinguish themselves from the competition, and they can start by pushing the X Division. I can’t imagine Crist or Miguel winning due to their allegiances with their respective teams and I just don’t see Page as an X Division star, but Swann could easily put the X Division title back on fans’ radar.

Prediction: Rich Swann

Tessa Blanchard (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie – Impact Knockouts Championship match. Gail Kim will be the Special Guest Referee.

This is one of the more intriguing matches on the card, in my opinion. The social media exchanges have been good, but definitely not on the level of Austin Aries and Johnny Impact’s. Taya saying the only reason Tessa is in Impact is because of her family is ridiculous on so many levels. Anyway, I doubt Tessa loses the title before she has her feud with Jordynne Grace.

Prediction: Tessa Blanchard

Johnny Impact (c) vs. Brian Cage – Impact World Championship match.

The babyface versus babyface storyline between Impact and Cage has been somewhat lackluster. Killer Kross will undoubtedly make his presence known by either interfering during the match or shooting an angle after the finish. Cage is not that much better than Impact on the mic, but I would love to see what a title reign would look like with him. Impact could start a feud with Kross and Cage could move on to someone like Sami Callihan.

Prediction: Brian Cage


OR JUMP TO LAST WEEK’S IMPACT OVERVIEW: WEEKLY OVERVIEW – IMPACT WRESTLING (thru 12/30): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more

Landon Pipkin has been a pro wrestling fan for over a decade. He is from Raleigh, North Carolina. Find him on Twitter @pipkinbrand. Email: pipkinlandon@gmail.com