If someone has the guts to tell me 2020 was like a ride in the wind, I hope he or she is ironic. The wrestling business has gone through some major crisis this year and you had to be very strong to go through that. Impact Wrestling had to make things evolve, but have you seen a change? The TNA Revival show was cancelled in late March. Some wrestlers were fired. That’s true, but the heart of the show and the people who make it has never beaten so strong. Some TNA Originals back, some fantastic new talents, the revival of the Knockouts Tag Team Championship… it was and is definitely not the moment to turn the back on IMPACT…
In many ways, the 52 weekly reviews, 3 or 4 iPPVs reviews, and 4 PPV reviews I have written would speak better than a Year-End Best-Of…
Of course, I’ll review for you this Best of 2020, Part 1, with all the highlights of the year, but I’ll also share with you The Nygma’s own 2020 Impact Wrestling Awards. Were my choices the same than Impact? No more words, let’s get ready for some action, but your French Enygma Steph way, of course…

The Nygma’s Chart of the Week

I won’t review the matches again, but add a few words to the reviews I’ve already done in the following section. Josh Mathews and Impact EVP Scott D’Amore hosted the episode (thanks for the Nutcrackers in front of the chimney, guys…). 

  • Scott D’Amore said it’s been an unbelievable year and he’s excited for what’s to come, as Mathews hyped up the 6-Man tag main-event at Hard to Kill. D’Amore said it’s something they’ve been waiting for forever and that Don Callis may get under our skin, but he’s put together something unprecedented. Mathews talked about how the X-Division has been a cornerstone of Impact.
  • Hard To Kill 2020 – X-Division Champion Ace Austin defeated Trey.
  • Backstage, Rohit caught Chris Bey and asked him what’s going on with his costing him his title match against Manik last week. Bey acknowledged that it was all his plan to get the title, and Rohit was pissed off. Bey got a call that he said is more important than Rohit and walked off. Rohit banged on the door yelling for D’Amore.

  • Josh Matthews announced Manik will defend the X-Division Championship at Hard To Kill against both Chris Bey and Rohit Raju.
  • Brian Myers said his return is his favourite moment of Impact in 2020 because he made Impact more relevant.

  • Mathews and D’Amore talked about how Slammiversary changed Impact forever. Mathews asked D’Amore for his favourite moments. D’Amore said they changed the wrestling world with the Good Brothers, Heath and more.

  • Mathews and D’Amore talked about the tag team division, and Mathews asked if this is their best tag team division. D’Amore put over the history of tag teams in Impact Wrestling and praised the current division.
  • Turning Point – The Good Brothers defeated The North to become the new IMPACT World Tag Team Champions.
  • Mathews and D’Amore talked about Good Brothers capturing the titles in short order. D’Amore talked about The North, the Motor City Machine Guns and more, with the Brothers standing on top.
  • Backstage, Rich Swann with a guitar told us about how the holidays are a time to drink a lot of egg nog.

  • Mathews and D’Amore talked about how the end of 2020 saw the tournament to crown new Knockouts Tag Team Titles. D’Amore is excited and said Impact made women’s wrestling matter first in the US and is still at the forefront of women’s wrestling. He teases a surprise at Hard to Kill when the champions get crowned. Mathews said we also saw a first in the 30-minute Knockouts Iron Man match between Deonna Purrazzo and Jordynne Grace from Impact: Emergence Night Two, and we go to that. My recap of that match is below:
  • Emergence Night Two – 30-Minute Iron Woman Match – Deonna Purrazzo defeated Jordynne Grace 2-1 to retain the IMPACT Knockouts Championship.
  • We then got a clip of Taya Valkyrie, who said that Purrazzo has already made her mark as a two-time Knockouts champion, but she’s been lucky because she hasn’t run into Taya. Taya ran down her busy, wacky 2020 and then said she’s pissed that they cost Rosemary and her their match in the tournament and that Purrazzo is clearly obsessed with her. She challenged Purrazzo to a Knockouts Championship match at Hard to Kill.

  • Scott D’Amore said Purrazzo has to accept so that she can prove that she’s the best by beating the longest Knockouts Champion in history.
  • D’Amore and Mathews talked about Sami Callihan, how he’s one of the dirtiest, lowest players in the game. We got a video recap of the feud between Callihan and Eddie Edwards with Shamrock attacking Edwards and locking in the ankle lock, and the rest of the build, including Callihan winning on Impact with interference by Shamrock. We then got the match at Final Resolution where Edwards and Alisha lost due to Callihan’s distraction, and Callihan’s promo ahead of their upcoming match. Mathews said the two are sadistic and then they put over the match for the January 5th episode of Impact. D’Amore compared then to Batman vs. Joker.

 

  • Backstage, Kiera and Tasha were talking about their holiday. Kiera said they keep things lit, and Tasha said tradition is big for her.
  • Mathews and D’Amore then talked about Moose’s unique 2020.
  • Bound For Glory – Undisclosed Location Match – Moose defeated EC3.
  • We then got a clip of the recent Impact promo from Moose on Rich Swann talking about he respects him, but the difference is Swann stays hurt, while he hurts people. He told Swann to call Willie Mack and ask him what pain feels like. Mack then came out and gets held back, which Moose said not to make him angry. Mack said he’s pissed about the referee deciding when he’s done, and that he’s going to take matters into his own hands I Quit match at Genesis. Moose said Mack’s angry but isn’t being smart, and Mack says he came out to deliver a message and it’s going to have to be face to face, which led to them brawling until security held them back. Moose then broke free, punched Mack, and took out a security guy for ripping his shirt. He then said backstage that he’s tired of independent wrestlers looking for opportunities and putting their hands on him.
  • The security guy, Matthew Palmer, who is a pro wrestler, accepted the challenge when Moose said he can’t last three minutes in a ring with him.

  • The Super X-Cup bracket was revealed (see below).
  • Johnny Swinger said that he opens his presents before his family, in classic Swingman fashion.
  • In prison, Acey Romero was visiting Larry D who said he needs to get out. He was set up and Acey said they need more evidence. Larry said when Lawrence D takes over he can’t control it, but he knew he was set up because someone sprayed the Ring Rust perfume. Acey said it has to be Steve.

  • D’Amore and Mathews talked about the ‘Who Shot Bravo’ storyline.

  • AEW’s Holiday commercial break.
  • Eddie Edwards talked about holiday traditions in the house and said he and Alisha are big Christmas fans. They put up their fake tree first before Thanksgiving and then get a real one a couple of weeks later, burying people who don’t get real trees.
  • Mathews talked about the return of Eric Young and his assault on D’Amore. D’Amore said he’s always known there’s a fire in Young, but he’s proven that he’s a world-class maniac as of late and is collecting followers which could be trouble for everyone. D’Amore and Mathews talked about the emerging stable of Young, Doering and Cody Deaner, and how Young is being strategic about putting the group together. D’Amore talked about how Deaner came up with Young but didn’t get where he was supposed to, and that Young has put him on that path while Doering has blazed a path of destruction in Japan. He said with the three of them, this is scary times coming ahead and dangerous times for all of them.

  • Willie Mack said he has a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree that he puts up for his household.
  • Mathews talks about the AEW and Impact crossover and how Callis helped Omega win the AEW World Title. He asked D’Amore what his thoughts were, and D’Amore said Callis has his touch all over the place. He tipped his hat at what Callis has done. Omega is on Impact and it’s been exciting to watch. He said Callis is like the Cheshire Cat walking around with a big grin like his plan is working out. D’Amore and Mathews hyped the 6-Man tag match at Hard to Kill again, and D’Amore called it the “reunion of a certain club.” He said Omega won the title at Winter is Coming, but Hard to Kill will be Hell freezing over.

 

The Nygma’s NutCrackers of the Week

Click on the name of the event to find the original review of the show and the match.

  • Hard To Kill 2020 – Ace Austin (c) vs. Trey Miguel for the Impact X-Division Title

A Mom’s story… And an appetizer to more matches, a more intense feud. Yes, it was a good X-Division match but it was not the best of the year, mostly because of Trey’s Mum addition in the storyline. All along the year, these two guys have shown us how good they are, no how great they are not only as singles competitors but as team players. We said goodbye to Trey and his acolytes, but I can’t wait to see Ace Austin back in the ring, whatever the belt he will be targeting.

 

  • Turning Point – The North (c) vs The Good Brothers for the IMPACT World Tag Team Championship

It was meant to happen. As soon as The Good Brothers came back to Impact Wrestling, it was writing “Future Tag Team Champions” above their heads. That didn’t happen as fast as I was expecting because The North regained the belts at Bound For Glory, in one of the best matches of the year. But The Ecstasy of The Gold went to Ethan Page’s head, and they lost the titles. When Gallows and Anderson didn’t show a lot at Bound For Glory in a 4-team match, they made the match, leaving no chance to the longest-reigning IMPACT World Tag Team Champions ever.

 

  • Emergence Night Two – 30-Minute Iron Woman Match for the Knockouts Title – Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Jordynne Grace

Making history is an Impact Wrestling’s habit even if I was honestly surprised this kind of match has never happened before. And it was one hell of a great match that sadly won’t make the Top 5 next week when it will probably make mine. Deonna Purrazzo and Jordynne Grace made history that night, there’s nothing else to add.

 

  • Bound For Glory – Undisclosed Location match – TNA World Heavyweight Champion Moose vs EC3

I’m still thinking about my matches of the year but if you read the reviews week after week, you won’t be surprised if I tell you this one will be in my Top 5. It was a masterpiece of cinematic wrestling, the kind of storyline that explodes in a firework and a monumental match. From the music to the atmosphere and the end of it, this was close to perfection because the cinematic orchestra, as I love to call it, is in the DNA of Impact Wrestling.

 

The Weekly “Enigma For a Nygma”

Here is the bracket of the Super X-Cup tournament coming back at Genesis on January 9.

* Austin vs. Suicide
* Daivari vs. Cousin Jake
* Crazzy Steve vs. Tre Lamar
* Blake Christian vs. KC Navarro

Two former Champions are apart of the bracket but three names may sound new to you but if you follow my friend John Dinsdale’s deathmatch reviews, you know these guys.

Blake Christian is one of GCW‘s stars. He also worked for PWG and IMPACT Wrestling in 2019, and NJPW of America this year. He competed in the 2020 NJPW Super J Cup in mid-December of this year, defeating Rey Horus in the opening round before bowing out to eventual winner El Phantasmo in the second. Christian is said to be one of the most gifted and innovative aerialists in years and continues to defy gravity with each performance.

Tre Lamar made his debut with GCW in 2020 and became one of GCW’s top new stars of the pandemic era, where he had explosive matches against Lee Moriarty, ACH, and Blake Christian while uniting with 40 Acres at GCW For The Culture. An athletic dynamo, the 24-year old Lamar has barely scratched the surface of his capabilities.

At 21, KC Navarro’s been competing since 2016 and is the reigning CZW Wired Champion. He also worked for Synergy Pro Wrestling, Violence X Suffering (VxS), House of Glory (HOG), and more. Navarro is a name that people should be paying more attention to, and a spot in the 2021 Super X Cup is a perfect platform to showcase his abilities.

Impact Wrestling 2020 Awards vs. The Nygma 2020 Awards

Fans were able to choose their favourites wrestlers, moments and matches on social media. The matches quoted below were highlights of 2020, I let you imagine what the Top 5 will be…

– Knockout of the year: Deonna Purrazzo – My opinion: 90% Nygma.

That makes sense as not only she won the title twice but also became the first-ever IMPACT Iron Woman. I don’t disagree but Jordynne Grace also did some great things this year.

– One To Watch in 2021: Chris Bey – My opinion: 75% Nygma

The 75% of Nygma could make some of you cringe but I assume my choice. Look at what Chris Bey has accomplished since he signed in February. X-Division Champion, World Champion contender. He really finessed his way to the top and it won’t be over in 2021.

– X-Division Star of the Year: Ace Austin – My opinion: 80% Nygma. 

We have had a fabulous year when it comes to X-Division, with a bunch of very serious contenders. Five wrestlers held the belt this year, which means a lot. Fans chose Ace Austin, the first of them. Mack’s vertiginous rise to the top made it my choice but, to be very honest, the most important is that the heart and soul of TNA/Impact Wrestling, the X-Division, another important part of his DNA, was alive and kicking this year.

– Finishing Move of the year: The Magic Killer – The Good Brothers – Our opinion: 100% Nygma. 

I had no specific preference for this category. The finisher is something very specific to a wrestler. I might have chosen the Northern Assault or the Gore. But every choice would have been a good choice.

– Tag Team of the Year: The North – Our opinion: 400% Nygma. 

They win it for the second year in a row and they absolutely deserve it. Even if the team may be living his last days, you can’t deny what Ethan Page and Josh Alexander have done in 2020. Before the return of the MCMG and The Good Brothers, they had held the division on their shoulders and made us live some magic moments of wrestling. I would be terribly sad to see Ethan Page go but that’s it. But no one could take that away from the North, the longest reign in the history of the company at 383 days.

Wrestler of the year: Deonna Purrazzo – Our opinion: 90% Nygma. 

Once again, a woman is the wrestler of the year. It’s a surprise and at the same time not. Because of all that happened this year, it was difficult to find a wrestler, male or female, who “made the year.” I mean, someone who’s been a staggering presence week after week. COVID hurt the business, I say it again, many wrestlers couldn’t get out of Canada for tapings, some decided to stay safe. So yes, when it was time to make a list, things started to get difficult. In my opinion, the fans are saluting a great signing from the company, a reigning and defending Champion, an Iron Woman, and an excellent wrestler who didn’t have the chance to show it before. If so, I fully agree with them.

Like every year, I decided to push the button a little bit further, here are some awards I chose to share with you and Impact Wrestling. Of course, comment on these choices on my social media @FrenchNygma.

– Most Likely to become Champion in 2021

World Champion: Moose
Tag Team Champions: Austin & Fulton
Knockouts Champion: Rosemary
X-Division Champion: Suicide
Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Havok & Nevaeh – Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary (tie)

The Comeback of the Year: The MCMG

– Oh My Nygma Award (Surprise of the year): The Deaners

The «Titanic is sinking » Award of the Year (Disaster of the year): Rob Van Dam

The « Take a walk on the Wild Side » Wrestler of the Year (Turn of the year): Cody Deaner

– Monster of the Year: Ken Shamrock

– Most Overrated Wrestler of the Year: Tenille Dashwood

– Most Underrated Wrestler of the Year: Crazzy Steve

Feud of the Year: Michael Elgin vs Eddie Edwards

He is Hardcore Award: Tommy Dreamer

– She is Hardcore Award: Havok

The Heath Award: Heath

– Fanny Bag Award: Johnny Swinger

– Control Your Narrative Award: EC3

– Hello I’m Back From TNA Award: Eric Young

– The Toga/Wrestle House/Match Time Award: Tommy Dreamer

– The « Captain Charisma » Award of the Year (best on the mic): Sami Callihan

– The “Panda” Award of the Year (fan favourite of the year): Willie Mack

– The Heart & Soul Award of the Year: Eddie Edwards

To be eNYGMAtic…

Those highlights were good, even if I don’t completely agree with Impact’s choices because some of my own favourite matches were aired. With Genesis, Kenny Omega and Hard To Kill around the corner, the build-up has to be fast and it made of this first Best-Of something a bit messy. 
Next week, Part 2 will be about Moment of The Year and Match of The Year, chosen by the fans. Because of these highlights, I easily imagine what they would be. And I think I will disagree… The year 2020 was so good, so interesting, so full of action that no choice could be a bad one… At least I hope…
On this very “Nygma Will Go Roast The Turkey” note, until next week, happy Holidays and never EVER forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…

All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling, Basil Mahmud and AXS TV. Photocollage custom made by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.