20 Years of IMPACT: 2019

As Brian Cage ramped up his pursuit of the IMPACT World Championship, Johnny IMPACT became increasingly insecure – looking to do anything he could to hang onto gold. He just about escaped from Homecoming with the title, fending off Brian Cage’s Option C challenge, but The Machine’s chase was only beginning. As Cage got closer and closer to Johnny, Johnny cracked under pressure – using corrupt official John E. Bravo to keep the title around his waist as Johnny and Taya Valkyrie looked to rule IMPACT. Brian Cage would finally get another shot at Rebellion – this time with special referee Lance Storm in place to ensure that Johnny couldn’t tilt the scales in his favor in any way. Cage defeated Johnny in Toronto to capture the richest prize in IMPACT Wrestling.

Sami Callihan tormented IMPACT since debuting at Bound For Glory 2017. From his rivalry with LAX to smashing Eddie Edwards’ face with a baseball bat to trying to remove The Lucha Bros’ masks to piledriving Rich Swann on LEGO – “The Death Machine” lived up to his name at every turn. He also held the distinction of being the first man in IMPACT to pin World Champion Brian Cage. Cage and Callihan battled in the Bound For Glory main event and while Cage retained, Callihan could not be denied – defeating Cage inside a steel cage on the AXS TV debut episode to become World Champion and hold the belt for the rest of the year. 

Taya Valkyrie defeated Tessa Blanchard to become Knockouts World Champion at Homecoming, what would become the beginning of a dynasty. Taya would hang on to the Knockouts Championship for the entire year – defeating Rosemary, Tenille Dashwood, Havok, Madison Rayne, Jordynne Grace, Su Yung, Katie Forbes and more to reign supreme. A victory over Big Mami in Mexico City in August cemented Taya’s place as the longest reigning Knockouts Champion of all-time, even surviving an incredible Monster’s Ball match at Slammiversary against Rosemary, Havok and Su.

With Brian Cage invoking Option C, the vacant X-Division Championship was on the line in Ultimate X at Homecoming – the first Ultimate X match in a year and a half. Rich Swann defeated Ethan Page, Trey Miguel and Jake Crist that night to become champion for the first time – beginning a memorable reign with marquee PPV title defenses against Sami Callihan and Johnny IMPACT. The numbers game of oVe eventually overwhelmed Swann allowing Jake Crist to become champion, before newcomer Ace Austin ended the year as champion after a ladder match at Bound For Glory.

LAX found new rivals in the tag team division in The Lucha Bros. Both teams were known for fast-paced, hard-hitting action and were a match made in heaven when it came to explosive memorable encounters. LAX retained the titles at Homecoming but The Lucha Bros captured gold in Mexico City before their rivalry culminated at Rebellion in an incredible Full Metal Mayhem match with LAX regaining the gold.

The North team of Josh Alexander and Ethan Page debuted in IMPACT and quickly made their mark – winning the Tag Team Titles at Bash at the Brewery. The North would remain champions for the rest of the year.

Other notable events from 2019: IMPACT returned home to the TNA Asylum in Nashville one final time at Homecoming, a show that featured “The Monster” Abyss final match in IMPACT. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” and first World Champion in TNA history Ken Shamrock returned to IMPACT to face Moose at Bound For Glory.

Stars from all over the wrestling world came together for United We Stand in April – as Rob Van Dam made his return to IMPACT. IMPACT unearthed tapes from yesteryear as the IPWF premiered on Thanksgiving night. Gail Kim came out of retirement for one final match at Rebellion against Tessa Blanchard.

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