under the mistletoe
fem!reader x nick jackson
reader and Nick have had feelings for each other for years, and neither have admitted it. Until the two find themselves under the mistletoe ... “did you just kiss me?”
word count: 3k+
warnings: fluffy, nick being cute. a little bit of drinking
— day 5. let’s gooo —
masterlist || request an imagine here
You're on the phone with your best friend as you get dressed to go to his house for the annual Jackson Christmas party.
It's a party that Matt and Nick Jackson throw every year, and you've gone every year since they started throwing the party. Their family is invited. Both their families, their blood family and their wrestling family.
You've known Matt and Nick Jackson since June 2016, when the three of you were in Ring of Honor together. You signed with ROH and the first people you met were Matt, Nick, Kenny Omega, Adam Cole, Adam Page, and Cody Rhodes while they were backstage waiting for their segment to start. Kenny wasn't in Bullet Club yet but he was good friends with everyone in the group. Nick was the first person in the group to talk to you.
"Hey, I've never seen you around here," Nick said to you. "You new?"
You smiled and teased him saying, "Maybe. Who's asking? I'm not talking to someone important, am I?"
"You're only talking to a member of the greatest faction in ROH history," Nick said, teasing you back. "Nick Jackson, former ROH World Tag Team Champion." He held out his hand and you shook it.
Smiling, you said, "Y/N L/N, former NWA World Women's Champion."
And that was the beginning of a friendship that's lasted almost five years. You've become close to Nick, Matt, Kenny, Cole, Page, and Cody. You were thinking about forming a new faction with them before Cole left ROH in 2017 to go to NXT. Then the Young Bucks, Kenny, Adam Page, and Cody all signed to AEW. You joined them in AEW, where you're the number one contender for Hikaru Shida's AEW Women's World Championship.
Nick, who's on the phone with you now, asks, "What color are you wearing tonight? It's for science class."
Laughing, you say, "You haven't had a science class in years. Silver, by the way." You're tying the halter top of your dress behind your neck.
The dress you're wearing is silver, obviously. From the waist up is tight, hugging your muscular figure. There's a sparkly design on the top and the neck dips down, revealing the smallest amount of cleavage. The ties to tie the halter top are made of sheer silver fabric. The skirt flares out and ends right above your knees. The whole dress is satin.
"Gotcha," Nick says. "So I'll wear a black suit with a silver tie."
Since you've been invited to the annual Jackson Christmas party, you and Nick have always found some way to match each other while matching that year's theme. This year is formal attire, meaning the women wear dresses and the men wear suits or at least a tie. Last year was ugly sweaters, so you and Nick wore matching ugly Christmas sweaters.
You do your makeup at your desk. Your phone sits on speaker as you do a silver smokey eye look with a dark red lip.
A door opens on the other line and Matt, Nick's older brother, says, "Let me guess. Y/N is wearing something silver."
Nick laughs and says, "Maybe. She's on the phone."
Matt says, "Hi, Y/N. You on your way yet?"
"I'm finishing up my makeup then I am leaving," you giggle. "You two won't have to go much longer without seeing me."
Nick says, "Hurry up, Y/N.
"Makeup is art, Mr. Jackson. It takes more than a few minutes to do," you say, smiling. "I'll be there in a few minutes."
Your best friend laughs and says, "Well, you're only like five minutes away so I expect to see you in about ten."
Finally finishing your makeup, you say, "Make that seven. I'm leaving in two minutes. See you soon."
"Bye, Y/N," Nick says, hanging up the phone.
Just the thought of seeing Nick in a suit makes the butterflies flutter in your stomach. Nick has always looked handsome in a suit and it's honestly making you very excited that you get to see him in a suit tonight, especially in a suit with a tie that matches your dress.
After putting on a pair of three-inch heels, you take your phone and clutch before leaving your penthouse apartment just outside of Jacksonville. The Young Bucks don't live that far away. They don't live together because they have their own families but they live close together too. Within a block or two of each other. You live about three miles away. It's a five-minute drive so you get in your 2-year-old Toyota Corolla and drive to Nick's house.
The drive is extremely short as you try and calm your nerves. You're excited to see Nick but you're nervous about what he'll think of the dress.
You've had feelings for Nick for years. You've never told him. You know he doesn't feel the same way about you. He's had girlfriends, quite a few over the past four years, so if he had any feelings for you then he'd have told you by now.
After you get out of the car, after parking it in the driveway of Nick's house, you walk up to his front door. You knock and wait for someone to open the door.
Matt answers the door. He wears a crazy Christmas suit. You laugh. "Look at you," you say. "Does Dana mind the crazy outfit?"
"She offered to take care of the kids this year at our place," he says. "So she has no idea until someone posts a picture on Instagram or any other social media."
Laughing again, you walk inside.
Matt closes the door behind you and yells, "Nick! Your girlfriend is here!"
Nick calls, "Mel's here?"
You raise your eyebrows at Nick's brother and ask, "Who's Mel?"
"This girl that Nick's talking to," Matt says. "Don't tell Dana but she's kinda hot."
You feel your heart sink into your stomach and all you can say is, "Oh."
Nick walks into the living room and Matt's eyes widen. You blink at Matt as Nick says, "I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long, Y/N. Cole and his boys are on their way. Kenny, Page, and Cody are already drinking all my alcohol in the kitchen. Everyone else will be here shortly."
You look over at Nick and smile. He looks really hot in that suit. He smiles at you. "You look good in the silver tie," you say, trying not to let what Matt said affect you. "Matches me."
Nick laughs and says, "That is kind of the point. We always match."
He hugs you and presses a kiss to the top of your head. Matt looks between the two of you before he says, "I'm gonna make sure that Kenny, Page, and Cody are doing okay." He leaves.
You watch Matt walk away and Nick asks, "What's up with him? He always stays and talks.
"Don't know," you say. "Anyway, I was told that you were talking to someone. Who is she? Tell me!"
Nick laughs and says, "Her name is Mel. She's nice, and hot. I just don't know how I feel about her."
"I should meet her," you say. "The best friend always meets the new girlfriend first."
Nick laughs again and says, "Yeah, that's true."
Matt calls from the kitchen, "Y/N! Come here!"
"I'll be right back," you say to Nick before walking off to the kitchen.
In the kitchen are Matt, Kenny, Adam Page, Cody, and Brandi Rhodes. You approach the group and ask, "Yes?"
The older Jackson says, "So, tell me something, Y/N. How long have you had some kind of feelings for my brother?"
You blink at Matt and say, "I don't."
"That's such bull," Kenny says. "I see it. The rest of us see it."
Matt says, "When I told you about Mel, all you said was 'oh' and your face just completely fell, Y/N."
You cross your arms over your chest and say, "That doesn't mean that I have feelings for him, Matt."
Cody asks, "You haven't told him, have you?"
You shake your head, defeated. Everyone already knows so you say, "Any time I try or I get the chance to, he tells me he's talking to someone new. He has no idea."
Matt says, "Tonight's the night. I know it is."
You start to walk away, wanting to be done with this conversation, and say, "Yeah, right."
You approach Nick in the living room talking to Adam Cole and his Undisputed Era boys. Nick looks over at you and smiles. "Hey," he says. "What did Matt want?"
"He wanted my opinion on the gift he got you for tonight," you lie.
Cole says, "I hope you gave a good opinion on what Matt got his brother." The group kind of laughs.
You smile and say, "I definitely did." There's a knock on the door. "I'll go get that. You guys keep this conversation going."
Nick goes back to talking to the boys and you go answer the door.
When you answer the door, you're greeted by a beautiful girl with long brown hair and hazel eyes. She's wearing a red satin strapless dress. It's short. The skirt ends about halfway down her thighs.
"Hi," she says cheerfully. "I'm Mel. Is Nick Jackson here?"
You give her a kind smile and say, "Yeah. He's in the living room. Silver tie."
She thanks you and walks inside. You shut the door and watch as she embraces Nick, hugging him and kissing him.
After watching that, you walk into the kitchen, rejoining Matt, Kenny, Page, Cody, and Brandi. "I need a drink," you announce. "Like pronto."
Page says, "I can help with that."
More and more people make their way into the house. The lights all come on and Christmas music is being played from a stereo in the living room.
Wrestlers from AEW, WWE, ROH, and other promotions all attend the party. Members of Nick and Matt's family attend as well.
It's about nine, and the party has been going for about two hours now. You're standing in the doorway of the kitchen from the dining room. People are scattered all throughout the house but these two rooms are the least crowded.
You watch Nick and his new girlfriend as they laugh and talk in the kitchen. You sip your drink and can't help but be a little jealous.
While you've been distancing yourself from Nick, he's also made no efforts to talk to you.
Matt walks up and stands beside you as you take a sip of your class of whiskey. "I hope you realize that you're standing under the mistletoe," he says. You glance up and take another sip.
"Well, look at that," you say. "I'm under the mistletoe with no one to kiss."
Both of you laugh and Matt says, "Well, there's one person we both know you'd rather be standing under the mistletoe with. I think he name starts with N and ends with a K."
You sigh at the mention of Nick and say, "He hasn't even tried to talk to me. Like, I might be keeping my distance a bit but he hasn't even checked in on me like he usually does. And we're matching." You pout.
An idea pops into Matt's mind and he says, "I'll be right back." He walks into the kitchen. You watch as he says something to Nick and Mel then leads Mel away. Nick approaches you.
"Hey," he says, leaning against the doorframe opposite you. "You doing okay? I know we haven't been talking as much as we normally do at these thing."
You force a smile and say, "I'm doing fine. I've just been kind of hanging around with Brandi, Britt, and Marina."
Nick smiles and says, "Well, Mel's been wanting for formally meet you. I've been telling her stories about our promos and the they wanted us to be in rival factions in ROH. Plus, I've been kind of introducing her to a lot of people here since she doesn't really know a lot of people. I hope you understand that since you know a lot of people."
That's true and a very valid excuse. You can't complain about that. That thought never even crossed your mind. Mel isn't a wrestler like the other girls that Nick has dated. She may know names but has never met anyone here.
"Yeah," you say. "Of course I understand. I know a lot of people and I'm friends with a lot of people here."
Your best friend says, "I knew you'd understand. Now, how about we go meet Mel. How does that sound?"
You nod, glancing above you at the mistletoe.
Nick starts to walk away. The alcohol you've been drinking gives you enough courage to say, "Hey, Nick? Wait a second."
He turns and looks back at you. You grab his hand and pull him back under the mistletoe. "What's up?" he asks.
Before you can talk yourself out of it, you get on your toes and kiss Nick. Your lips brush against his, unsure of the kiss. You gain some courage and kiss him harder.
The kiss lasts for about two seconds before Nick pulls back. Your eyes search his for any emotion as he asks, "Did you just kiss me?"
"Mistletoe," is all you say. "Look up."
Your best friend looks up and spots the mistletoe. He smiles and says, "Oh."
Anxiety starts to rise within you as you meet Nick's eyes. He leans down and his lips meet yours. You're confused but you kiss him back.
Nick's hands move so they're on your cheeks, cupping your face. You grab a fistful of Nick's suit jacket and he presses you against the doorframe.
Your lips move slowly against Nick's, enjoying the moment. Your heart races in your chest as you realize that this is actually happening. This is a real thing now. Everything you've felt for Nick coming out into the open.
There's a whistle and you look into the kitchen, seeing Kenny, Adam Page, Cody, Brandi, and Britt looking at you and Nick.
"I, um," you stammer. "I need to go get some fresh air." You leave the house from the back door. You step out onto the back deck, which is lit up by a few string of lights above the deck.
You lean against the railing and look out over the backyard. There's a pool and a wrestling ring. A forrest sits beyond the backyard.
You kissed Nick and he kissed you. He kissed back. He's talking to someone and he kissed you while Mel was in the other room.
The door opens behind you and you look back to see Nick. You sigh and say, "I overstepped my boundaries. I know that. I'm sorry."
It's quiet until Nick says, "She left. Mel, I mean. I told her that it was nice to know her and that she's a nice girl, but I also told her that I think I have feelings for someone else."
You raise your eyebrows and you turn around. Nick's about five feet away from you. "So you gave her the speech," you say, teasing Nick.
He laughs and says, "I gave her the speech, yeah." You smile. "Now, here I am. Finally telling you how I feel about you. I like you, Y/N. I have for years. All those girls, I was with them to maybe distract myself from you because you're too damn good for me and I know you don't have feelings for me."
You smile and get flustered as you say, "I never said that I don't have feelings for you, Nick. Actually, it's the opposite. I've liked you since pretty much the day we met. I was almost jealous of all those girls you were talking to or dated. Scratch that, I was jealous of all those girls you talked to or dated because I wish I was them."
A wide smile forms on Nick's lips and he says, "All this time, I could have asked you out and been with you but instead I dated around."
You giggle, "You should have talked to me."
Nick walks up to you and says, "I really should have."
His hands cup your face and he pulls you into a passionate kiss. You smile into the kiss and put your hands on Nick's chest. He smiles against your lips as he slowly pulls back from the kiss.
Your eyes meet Nick's and he asks, "What does this mean for us? We'll never be the same after tonight."
"I want you," you say, staring up at Nick. "Do you want me?"
Nick smiles and nods. "Yeah, I do," he says. "I really want you."
Smiling, you say, "Then I'm yours. All yours. I've always been yours, Nick."
He leans down and kisses you again. His arms wrap around your waist and he lifts you up, spinning you around with your lips on his. You giggle into the kiss.
"Holy shit," you hear from the sliding back door. "It looks like it finally happened."
Nick pulls back and looks behind you. You turn around, standing beside Nick. His left arm is around your shoulder.
Matt, Kenny, Adam Page, Cody, Brandi, Adam Cole, and Britt all stand at the door. Matt has a huge smile on his face. "It did finally happen, didn't it?" the older Jackson asks.
You look up at Nick and he nods. "It finally happened," he says, looking down at you.
"Thank God," Kenny says. "It's about time. We all knew this would happen eventually and it finally freaking happened."
Nick's cheeks get red and you smile. "Guys, stop," you giggle. "Nick's getting all flustered."
Matt smiles and says, "Aw. Nicky's blushing."
You look up at Nick and you say, "It's kind of cute."
His cheeks get even more red and he tries to hide. You reach up and wrap your arms around his neck, and he hides his face in yours. The group laughs and you walk inside, rejoining the party.
Asshole (Candice LeRae x Reader)
Your NXT debut had been rumored for months now. NWA had released you and within hours of that announcement, Impact and AEW had tried making claims on you. Instead of indulging them though, you hopped on a plane to Japan, did a quick tour of shows and got some training, and then came right back to the states. NWA hadn’t used you properly, they signed you on the claim of making you a star, but never once had you in a championship match. At NXT, things were going to change though, Regal had made you that promise.
“Oh god, not you.” Candice had been less than thrilled to see you when you’d finally arrived.
“Candi, baby girl, it’s so great to see you,” you greeted her. She rolled her eyes, but you could see the blush on her face when you kissed her hand. “Miss me?”
“No,” she replied coldly. You winced and put a hand over your heart.
“Damn, well I’m not ashamed to admit I missed you. I’ll see you around, I’m pretty hard to miss,” you told her as you walked away from her.
“Fuck me,” Candice muttered under her breath as she watched you leave. Back before either of you were at NXT or NWA, you’d had a little thing going. The two of you had split after an argument that wasn’t worth it in your opinion and well, you’d never really been the same since then. She just happened to hate you now, even though you were still in love with her.
Weeks went by and Candice hadn’t really warmed up to you. However, that “stone cold bitch” act that she’d done came crumbling down whenever you got attacked. She had saved you from a hoard of angry women after you’d sort of declared yourself the champion of a new title. The work on being a heel there was way too easy for you, but it’d created a target on your back.
“You saved me,” you said with a sing-song tone. Candice rolled her eyes at you, but you could see the upturn of the corner of her lips. “Thank you Candice.”
“Did you just call me Candice?” she asked and you nodded. “Wow, never thought I’d see the day.”
“It was going to be our wedding day originally, but uh, kinda fucked that one.” Your eyes widened a bit and she shoved your shoulder. “I’m sorry. I really am. I know I’m an ass sometimes, but the feelings were always there. Stuff like that doesn’t go away and if you can fake it, I never learned how.”
“I hate to admit it, but you were always genuine,” Candice said. “You’re gonna need a friend around here to keep that from happening again. Let me protect you Y/n, you weren’t like this before. Can’t help but think it’s a little bit my fault.”
“Rude, but not entirely unfair. I can’t help you if you fall for me though,” you told her and she groaned. You took her hand in yours and glanced down. It was an image you’d been seeking for years and you didn’t want to forget anything about it. “Friends.”
“What are you doing?” Candice asked as you stood up. “I wasn’t finished.”
“I told you to stop biting your lip,” you said as she squirmed in front of you. “Hey, you’re gonna be late. Better get out to ringside. I’ll see you later tonight babe.”
“You’re an asshole and I want you to know that it’s very hard to be your friend,” Candice told you as she fixed her ring gear and hair quickly.
“Friends don’t eat other friends out and you know that. We’re not friends baby girl, don’t be foolish,” you told her with a wink. Candice rolled her eyes and ran out to her match. Once you were sure she was gone, you quietly whispered, “Love you.”
Bound for Glory preview
Shit, I forgot this is tonight. Impact Wrestling has always treated Bound for Glory like it's biggest destination event, so they try to go the extra mile with this show. To avoid a schedule conflict with AEW Dynamite tonight, the event begins at 10pm Eastern. You can order the live stream for $39.99 on Fite.tv. Or I guess they're doing iPPVs directly off their Youtube page now, which might be more convenient for some people.
Christian Cage vs. Josh Alexander - Cage is defending the Impact men's world championship. On September 23, Alexander invoked "Option C," a rule introduced in 2012 that grants the X division champion a world title match if he vacates the X title. After a dominating five-month run with the X belt (including a 60-minute iron man match), this was pretty much the only thing left for Alexander to do.
Cage is under contract with AEW, and won the title from AEW's Kenny Omega on an AEW show. When Omega first won the belt, it felt like a major turning point in an AEW/Impact crossover, that would culminate in Kenny dropping the belt at Bound for Glory. Things didn't quite go that way, and now it feels like we're limping to the end of the story with one last loose end to wrap up. Christian is a babyface, and a key figure in Impact's history, but he's still an outsider, and it's high time Impact gets their belt back.
Everything about this match feels like a passing-the-torch moment with two babyfaces, so I don't think it makes any sense for Christian to retain unless he's going to act like a dick about it and go heel. And the only reason I think that's possible is because I smell a heel turn coming for him in AEW, but that could still be months away.
I went to my first indy show ever on September 2, and I had to stand all night, so I was exhausted by the time the main event started. It was Josh Alexander vs. Fred Yehi, and within about 20 minutes I realized they were going to a 60-minute draw. My feet were killing me but it was worth it to stay for the whole thing. So I'm a Josh Alexander fan now, and I hope he has a great match and holds the world title for a long, long time.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mickie James - Purrazzo is defending the Impact women's championship. If James wins, she would capture her tenth major-league women's title.
This one started in July when Purrazzo had basically cleaned out Impact's women's division, and James showed up to invite her to appear at NWA Empowerrr. Deonna took offense to Mickie supposedly stepping on her moment, but she eventually agreed to do the show. After that I missed a few steps but eventually Purrazzo wandering onto James's farm and beat the shit out of her, so I guess now they're going to settle it in the ring.
Ordinarily I'd say the legend coming in for a one-off program needs to lose in the blowoff match. But James is only 42 and there really isn't a reason she can't stick around as champion for a few months. More to the point, Deonna has run out of anything else to do--that's literally baked into the premise of this feud. She needs a real rivalry, and unless Gail Kim is coming out of retirement next, you might as well just have her chase Mickie until you can build up fresh opponents. On the other hand, Purrazzo is starting to get in that Okada zone where I just want to pick her to win every time to avoid being wrong later.
Rosemary & Havok vs. Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay - Representing Decay, Rosemary and Havok are the defending Impact women's tag team champions. Lee and McKay used to be Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in WWE, where they teamed as the IIconics (with two I's, because there's two of them, I guess). Now they're the IInspiration (again with two I's, which I kind of hate, but I suppose I'm stuck with it).
Impact only just announced that Lee and McKay are coming into the company, and they're already going to straight to the top of the tag division. It might seem rushed, but I think they've actually got some good buzz on this move. People were genuinely bummed out when WWE broke up the team in August 2020. A lot of sympathy built up for Jessie/Peyton being completely unused after that, and Cassie/Billie got a lot more over than anyone expected with the dumb gimmick they handed her. Fandom was very upset when they were released by WWE in April 2021, but also very excited that they can finally be a team again.
I'm kind of hyped for this personally because I never saw much of Lee and McKay, as most of their IIconics run happened after I quit watching WWE. What I did see didn't interest me much, because it felt like just another WWE Mean Girls gimmick. Their personalities seemed to be buried under a lot of WWE packaging, so if they can come up with something independent of all that it should be pretty different. Also, on paper you wouldn't expect the IIconics to do very well against a team of spooky psycho weirdos like Decay, so the IInspiration needs to show up with than the basic "we're better because we're pretty" stuff.
I actually think a title change is very likely. If Lee and McKay do win, they'd be the only wrestlers to have held women's tag team titles in both WWE and Impact/TNA. And since there haven't been very many women's tag titles, or titleholders, in North America, that would immediately put them in the conversation for the most decorated women's tag team in this part of the world. So that'd be neat.
El Phantasmo vs. Steve Maclin vs. Trey Miguel - This is a three-way match for the X division championship, which Josh Alexander vacated on September 23. Each participant won a three-way match to qualify for this one. Whoever scores the first fall over either opponent wins the match and becomes the new champion.
Phantasmo is the big star of this match, due to his run as a douchebag heel in the junior heavyweight division in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Maclin is best known for his run in WWE and NXT as Steve Cutler of the Forgotten Sons, which was so forgettable that Maclin/Cutler still doesn't have a Wikipedia entry. Miguel may be best known as the guy who used to team with NXT's Wes Lee and Nash Carter as the Rascalz, although he's spent 2021 establishing himself as a singles guy in Impact.
If you're trying to get attention for "forbidden door" crossover stuff, the best move is to put the belt on Phantasmo. If you're trying to emphasize Maclin's push as a killer, he should win this match in dominating fashion. If you're trying to pay off all the work that's gone into building up Miguel as a homegrown talent, now's the time to coronate him. But you can't do all three. So I'm thinking ELP pins Miguel to win the belt, so that Maclin can avoid a loss and move on while Miguel goes on to chase Phantasmo for a few months.
Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Hikuleo & Chris Bey - This is a three-way match for the men's tag team title, currently held by Gallows and Anderson. The first man to score a fall over any opponent wins the match and the title for his team.
Gallows and Anderson were mainstays in New Japan's Bullet Club faction years ago, but when AEW and Impact started collaborating they became aligned with the Elite, which broke away from Bullet Club a few years ago. For years people have wanted to see a real feud between the Elite and Bullet Club. I don't think anybody had Gallows and Anderson vs. Hikuleo and Bey in mind. I certainly don't think anybody expected Fin-Juice to be caught in the middle of it. But here we are.
At this point the Impact tag title just feels like toy belts that Gallows and Anderson bring to AEW shows. I don't think they're going to stop appearing on AEW anytime soon, but you could at least put a little more prestige on the title by moving it to another team. I'm not sure it matters which team gets the belts, though, since they're probably just going to keep feuding with one another for a while anyway.
Heath Miller & ? vs. any two members of Violent By Design - This one is a little complicated because I'm not even completely sure who is a member of Violent By Design at this point. The group has consisted of Eric Young, Cody Deaner, Joe Doering, and Rhino, although Young has been recovering from a knee injury for a while. Rhino seemed to get kicked out of the group, but it could be a swerve where they were just teaching him a lesson and he returns in good standing. All we do know is that Heath wants VBD in a two-on-two match, and he's not sure if his old buddy Rhino will be his partner, or in his opponents' corner, or one of his opponents.
Something else to consider: VBD could always introduce some new member to be in this match. So it could be Heath & Rhino vs. Deaner & Doering. Or Young could be healed up and it's Heath & Rhino vs. Doering & Young. Or Young could still be healing, so it's Heath vs. Rhino & Young without Young ever getting in the ring. Or maybe Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman beat the shit out of Heath and Rhino. Who knows?!
I assume this match will end up being Heath and Rhino vs. Deaner and Doering, but they'll probably lay it out so Heath is on his own for like 70% if the match. I think Rhino has to be on the winning side, but that's not much of a pick, so I'll go ahead and say Heath and Rhino win.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet battle royale - This is a 20-person gauntlet battle royale, so two entrants start the match and each additional entrant joins the match at regularly timed intervals. Eliminations can occur at any time when someone exits the ring over the top rope. Once the match comes down to the last two participants left, it turns into a regular match where you win by pinfall or submission. The winner earns a trophy and a future title match against the champion of their choice. I don't know if this match will feature both men and women, but it has in the past so that's a strong possibility.
Usually at least a few participants are announced in advance, but this year I think they've only confirmed Chris Sabin entering at #1 and W. Morrissey at #20. That leaves a lot of room for surprise entrants, but I think it's more likely that a lot of the field is just prelim guys that aren't worth advertising.
If reports are true, and Impact is close to signing Braun Strowman, this is the perfect place to debut him by squashing everybody else in the match. Otherwise, it's really anybody's ballgame.
Chelsea Green vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Falla Bahh vs. John Skyler vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Madison Rayne - This is a six-way set for the pre-show, with the winner becoming the first Impact digital media champion. Whoever scores the first fall an any other participant will be win the match and the new title.
Everybody's dunked on the "digital media championship" name, but basically it's an attempt to modernize the old "television championship" concept. The title is supposed to be defended on Impact's streaming outlets, which seems to guarantee that it'll always be fought over by undercard wrestlers, but okay.
Chelsea Green probably has the most buzz around her out of anyone in the field, but in a way that makes her overqualified for the belt. I'd probably give it to Grace or Rayne if it's only going to be defended on Youtube and Impact Plus.
I've got a three-day weekend so I'm checking out TERMINUS, the new indy promotion from Jonathan Gresham and Baron Black. Now, I don't know if the launch of this group has anything to do with the shutdown of Ring of Honor. But Gresham's always been dedicated to ROH's notions of "honor" and "pure wrestling," while also being disappointed with ROH's own commitment to those ideals. So I'm expecting to see Gresham's vision of what ROH should have been all along.
But this show isn't just ROH Lite--talent from AEW and Impact Wrestling will also be appearing. If you're interested in the Impact storyline where some ROH guys "invaded" last week's pay-per-view, then you might want to check this out.
The debut Terminus show streams live today at 4:30 EST on Fite.tv, for the low price of $14.99.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Alexander - Gresham is defending the ROH men's world championship, which he won at the last ROH show on December 11. Alexander is the workhorse of Impact Wrestling--he held their X title for much of 2021, and briefly captured the world title in October. If you want a mat-based main event for an indy show, this is probably as good a matchup as you could hope for.
Gresham insists on defending his title under "pure rules." A competitor can only use the ropes to break a hold three times; after that, the referee will ignore it. Closed-fist punches to the face are discouraged; a competitor will be warned on the first offense, and disqualified on the second. The championship can be lost by disqualification or count-out, so the so-called "champion's advantage" only applies in a draw.
I expect a great match out of these two. Maybe not a spectacular match filled with exciting spots. But definitely a grueling physical battle where you will know the right guy won. Unless they go to the time limit, I guess. That's a distinct possibility.
I've said before that I think Gresham will keep his ROH title all the way until ROH relaunches on April 1. However, if he were to drop the title to someone for a few weeks, I'd say Alexander is the strongest choice available. I'm picking Gresham to retain, but his championship is definitely in jeopardy.
Bandido vs. Baron Black - Bandido is, uh, also defending the ROH men's world title. You see, he was scheduled to defend it against Gresham on December 11, but he wasn't able to make that show, so Gresham defeated Jay Lethal for the vacant title. Evidently Bandido is claiming to still be champion, and that Gresham is just an interim titleholder. Note that this match will not be contested under "pure rules," since that's just Gresham's personal preference. However, Terminus has its own set of rules to discourage chicanery, which will be enforced throughout the card.
Black has been working in the indies for a decade, but most would know him for his work as a jobber on AEW Dark. (I can't find any record of him ever winning a match in an AEW ring.) So with all due respect to him, he's kind of in over his head against the (disputed!) ROH champion, even if he is the co-promoter. I'm curious to see what sort of story they come up with for that. It'd be a little weird if he comes agonizingly close to a career-defining upset, and then goes back to AEW to get squashed by Wardlow or something.
I'd say there is a 0% chance of Bandido losing this match. So the point isn't to find out the outcome, it's to see how they get to the foregone conclusion. Also, since I think this is the first time Bandido and Gresham have appeared on the same show since December, we'll probably see the next beat in that storyline.
Jordynne Grace vs. Kiera Hogan - Grace is defending the Impact Wrestling digital media championship. Hogan spent several years in Impact (where she squared off against Grace a lot) but of late she's been appearing on AEW Dark and NWA shows.
I'm pretty sure the main reason the title is at stake is because Grace is retaining. On the other hand, the digital media title is sort of designed to be unorthodox so maybe Impact is cool with letting it get passed to wrestlers that aren't under contract with them. But the smart money is on Grace retaining.
Moose vs. Mike Bennett - Moose is the Impact men's world champion, but the title is not at stake here. This match was originally against Alex Coughlin of NJPW Strong, which frankly was more interesting to me. But Coughlin couldn't make it, so Bennett was announced as the replacement.
This might get interesting because Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis, Matt Taven, PCO, and Vincent Marseglia debuted in Impact last week, with the gimmick of being an ROH "invasion." So far the group has targeted babyfaces, and Moose is a heel. Nevertheless, this match features an ex-ROH guy whose gimmick is that he's giving Impact a hard time, going against Impact's world champion. I have to think that'll be taken into account.
Assuming this match is presented as heel versus heel, it's possible the official rules for Terminus matches will be a factor. It is relatively easy to get disqualified in this promotion, and any use of a foreign object will mean "expulsion" from the organization. If any match is going to test that, I think it'll be this one. It'd be wild if the first Terminus show saw a wrestler get barred for life for using a chair. Assuming that's rather unlikely, though, I'm picking Moose to win.
Jay Lethal vs. Lee Moriarty - Lethal was a franchise player in ROH, but he recently signed with AEW and is just starting to get warmed up over there. Moriarty has been a hot name on the indy scene until he too signed with AEW, and he too has not yet gotten much to do there. Hopefully these guys turn it up here and remind Tony Khan what he's sleeping on. Lethal is presumably the heavy favorite to win.
Diamante vs. Janai Kai - Kai was originally slated to face Liiza Hall, someone I'm totally unfamiliar with. Diamante, who's appeared sporadically for AEW, is a last-minute substitution, although you can certainly argue that they've traded up.
I think most people will know Kai from that episode of AEW Rampage where Jade Cargill squashed one of Thunder Rosa's students to build to Cargill vs. Rosa. It was such a nothing role that I totally missed that I'd seen her before, on a Black Label Pro show where she was a last-minute replacement for AJ Gray. I remember thinking this poor kid is in over her head in a tough spot, but she did a great job and she looked cool in her sort-of ninja costume. I hope she does well here...although I bet Diamante will clobber her.
Daniel Garcia vs. Invictus Khash vs. JDX vs. Adam Priest - This is billed as "terminal eliminator" match, whatever that means. I think it's an elimination match, so that the loser of each fall has to exit the match while the others continue until only one is left.
All of these guys have had some ring time on AEW Dark, but Garcia is the only one who's parlayed that into a full-time contract. I'd say that makes him the favorite, although the unpredictable nature of a four-way makes that less certain. I'd be pretty easy to book any of the other three in an upset. But since I don't really know the other three, I'll stick with Garcia as my pick to win.
Fred Yehi & Tracy Williams vs. Dante Caballero & Joe Keys - Yehi has done some ROH work, but he's mainly been appearing on NJPW Strong. Williams has been affiliated with Gresham's ROH stable, The Foundation, for a while. I can't find much on Caballero or Keys--they seem to have been working as prelim guys in ROH until the shutdown. For me the main attraction here is Yehi, whom I saw work a one-hour draw with Josh Alexander for AAW. It's surprising to me that Yehi doesn't get more attention from the big leagues. Anyway, he and Williams should pick up the win.