Impact Wrestling Review – December 15, 2022

impact wrestling bully ray tommy dreamer

This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling was headlined by a World Tag Team Championship rematch that was ruined last week by the Major Players, as well as a big match-up between Eddie Edwards and Delirious which kicked off the show.

Impact Wrestling 15/12/22 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The opening video featured highlights from last week’s Tag Team Championship match between the Motor City Machine Guns and Heath & Rhino, which ended in a no-contest after the Major Players interfered. They also showed highlights of Josh Alexander trying to goad Bully Ray into answering an open challenge so he could get his hands on him before Hard to Kill. Mike Bailey answered the challenge and the two had a near-60 minute match that I rated ****3/4 in my review last week.

The show opens with Tom Hannifan welcoming us to the show with Matthew Rehwoldt and we start into our opening contest which was scheduled to main event last week.

Match #1: Eddie Edwards vs Delirious

Edwards hasn’t wrestled since Bound for Glory so it’s good to have him back in the ring. He’s out first, followed by Delirious as Hannifan billed it as a first-time match. They were tag team partners in Pro Wrestling Noah between 2009 and 2011. The bell rings and there’s some stalling from Edwards before they lock up. They exchange wrist locks and headlock takeovers before locking up again, which Delirious wins by sweeping the legs of Edwards. Delirious hits a pair of arm drags, but Edwards chops him down hard to the mat. Edwards takes down Delirious with a shoulder tackle. He runs the ropes but Delirious quickly recovers with a drop kick. Edwards hits an Atomic Drop and a big belly-to-belly overhead throw. Edwards chops Delirious to the mat but holds on to his left arm so he chops him again. Edwards attempts a suplex but Delirious counters into one of his own. Edwards tries a German suplex but Delirious wriggles free and then does his silly rope-running spot where he zig zags around the ring, then takes Edwards down with a flying clothesline. Delirious tries to lock in the Cobra Stretch which Eddie evades, then nails a big boot to Delirious’ face. Delirious backs into the corner and Edwards runs at him and clotheslines him hard. Edwards goes for another one but Delirious follows him and connects with a clothesline of his own. Edwards bounces back and nails a big superkick which folds Delirious in half. Great selling there. Edwards lifts Delirious to his feet and they trade forearms. Delirious fights back with palm strikes but Edwards isn’t affected and dumps him with another big clothesline. Edwards nails the Tiger Driver with great impact but Delirious rolls through the pin attempt to lock in an armbar. Edwards wriggles free but Delirious turns it into the Cobra Stretch. Edwards cleverly puts his weight all on Delirious and the referee counts the 3 even with Edwards still locked in the hold! The match only went 7 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Edwards

Analysis: *** It was starting to heat up towards the end of the match there and then just ended. I would’ve like another 5-10 minutes of action because Delirious really didn’t get to show off his full arsenal of offense. The finish was booked well because it showed the even nature of the contest.

After the match Edwards shook the hand of Delirious and raised his arm, then in true Edwards fashion, destroyed him with the Die Hard Driver. Edwards mounted Delirious and pummelled him with right hands. Yuya Uemura, who has been tagging with Delirious lately, ran down to the ring for the save but was met with a clothesline. Uemura rolled to the outside so Edwards focused back on Delirious. Edwards began to unmask Delirious until the music of Jonathan Gresham hit! We haven’t seen him in Impact since May, where he made a few appearances as ROH World Champion. Gresham entered the ring and told Edwards to back off Delirious. Edwards talked trash to Gresham as he walked up the ramp.

Analysis: That looks like the next feud for Edwards, which is great news. I would’ve predicted Edwards vs PCO but perhaps PCO makes his return and costs Edwards the match against Gresham. Time will tell.

Backstage, Impact World Champion Josh Alexander is with Scott D’Amore. D’Amore said that although Alexander didn’t get what he wanted last week, it worked out better than D’Amore thought it all would. D’Amore put over the 60-minute match between Alexander and Mike Bailey from last week. Alexander gave praise to Bailey and said that he is feeling sharp heading into Hard to Kill. He still wants to call out Bull Ray tonight. D’Amore says while Alexander had the match of his life last week, at Hard to Kill he will be in the fight of his life so he has to remain focused. D’Amore bans Alexander from ringside in Bully’s match tonight. Tommy Dreamer interrupts and says he needs to apologise. Dreamer told everyone they could trust Bully Ray and he was wrong. Alexander doesn’t accept the apology. D’Amore says he has known Dreamer for 30 years and he’s a lot of things, but dishonest isn’t one of them. Alexander has had enough and walks off.

Analysis: They continue to book Alexander as the frustrated champion who can’t wait to get his hands on the despicable heel, so the fans will react big time at Hard to Kill when they finally face off.

Match #2: Bully Ray vs John Skyler

Both competitors are already in the ring as we go to the action. Bully’s trophy is comically scattered around the ring in several pieces. His opponent is John Skyler, who hasn’t wrestled a match since March, in a loss in a triple threat match. He won’t be winning this match, either. Bully stares down Skyler and hits a scoop slam, followed up by another one. Bully hits a third scoop slam and then nails the Piledriver for the win after 45 seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Bully Ray

Analysis: * Just a squash match to put over Bully Ray. Skyler is actually an accomplished X-Division competitor but this was about making Bully look devastating.

After the match, Tommy Dreamer’s music hits and he confronts Bully in the ring. The fans are chanting “ECW” and that chant was louder than any noise the audience made in the entire show last week. Dreamer is annoyed at Bully for making him look bad. Dreamer says Bully is going to get his ass kicked by Alexander at Hard to Kill. He refuses to be a part of Bully Ray’s negativity and says that their friendship is over. Dreamer says he is ashamed of trusting Bully and leaves the ring. Bully gets a mic and tells Dreamer to keep walking. He berates Dreamer for being a jealous coward. He mocks Dreamer’s accomplishments in ECW and calls him a nobody. Bully says if D’Von walked in his shadow, then Dreamer walked 10 steps behind. He says he’s a bigger star than Dreamer has been in ECW, WWE and Impact. Dreamer starts to try to get back in the ring but Bully keeps telling him that he walked off so he should stay out of his way. Dreamer does get into the ring and Bully keeps yelling at him, telling him that when Bully got into the best shape of his life, Dreamer turned into a fat bastard who works in the back (as an executive). Bully reveals that he was the one who took out Ace Austin in the parking lot about a month ago. Bully gets right in Dreamer’s face and calls him a bitch for crying on television. Dreamer is crying now and reminds Bully of his support when his mother was in the hospital but Bully cuts him off and tells him he doesn’t give a sh*t about Dreamer’s mother. Dreamer is really fired up now and throws his jacket out of the ring. Dreamer brings up some of his personal problems and that wrestling got him through but he’s not going to let Bully treat him like that, so challenges him to fight right now. Bully laughs in Dreamer’s face and backs out of the ring, telling him that he got in his head as the segment ends.

Analysis: There was a lot going on there but it was really well done. I’m no fan of Dreamer continuing to wrestle (poorly) into his 50s but he’s still a very good talker and that was effective in continuing to build the heat against Bully. There were some personal things brought up there to further develop the heel character of Bully, who has gone beyond the ‘heel you want to see win because he’s cool’, to now have evolved into a downright scumbag. That was a very good segment.

Match #3: The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Myers) vs Decay (Crazzy Steve & Black Taurus)

Myers took a fan’s Motor City Machine Guns sign out of the crowd and ripped it up. Heels are mean. As Decay are making their entrance, Trey Miguel blindsides Steve on the ramp with a spray can and then brands him with his logo. Miguel retreats up the ramp as the referee checks on Steve to see if he is able to compete. Taurus helps him to his feet and up onto the ring apron as we are set to start the match. Cardona and Taurus start off the match legally, as Taurus knocks down Cardona with a headbutt and an arm breaker. Cardona quickly backs off because he is afraid of Taurus and tags in Myers. Myers tries an arm drag but Taurus springboards off the ropes into one of his own. Taurus knocks down Myers with a clothesline for a 1 count. Taurus hits a bulldog and then clotheslines Myers over the top rope. Cardona runs in and Taurus sends him flying over the top, too. Taurus runs the ropes and takes out both Major Players with a big dive.

(Commercial break)

Back from the break and Cardona superkicks Taurus which allows Myers to cover for a near fall. Myers stomps away at Taurus on the mat. He tries a sleeper hold but Taurus makes it to his feet and performs a desperation twisting moonsault off the top rope to take down Myers. Taurus makes it to Steve who tags in for the first time, as Cardona makes the tag too. Steve takes down Cardona with a flying forearm then starts biting his forehead. He knocks Myers off the ring apron and hits a Flatliner on Cardona but is slow to cover so Myers gets back in to break up the pin. Myers kicks Taurus against the middle ropes as a low blow and he rolls to the outside. Back in the ring, Cardona nails Steve with a cheap forearm to the back of the neck then he and Myers nail a devastating looking double team move where Myers had Steve up on his shoulders and Cardona performed a diving neckbreaker from the top. Cardona covered Steve for the win after 5 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: The Major Players

Analysis: **3/4 It went a little longer than the state 5 minutes because of the shenanigans before the match which played into the heels hands’ perfectly. It was a solid match with Taurus playing the face in peril for most of the match, as Steve sold the pre-match beatdown. In the end, it was too much for him as the Major Players got the win with the double team finisher.

Knockouts World Championship Match Contract Signing

D’Amore is conducting the contract signing backstage. D’Amore lets Mickie know that one of two things are going to happen at Hard to Kill- either she wins the World Championship or walks away from the ring, for good. Jordynne Grace signs first. She knows how much this match means to both of them, so she is going to leave her piece in the ring. James takes the contract and thinks that Grace underestimates her. She tells Grace not to worry about giving her another moment, as she’s had plenty in her career. Tasha Steelz and Savannah Evans storm in to interrupt. Steelz is angry that James went against her word by not going through the entire Knockouts’ Division to get the title match. Steelz asks why James hasn’t faced her yet. Steelz reminds James that she has beaten her twice already. Steelz says that she will end Mickie’s career, not Grace. James says she still has a lot of time to kick Tasha’s ass before Hard to Kill. Grace says this isn’t happening because the contract has already been signed. James wonders if Grace thinks she can beat Steelz. D’Amore has had enough of the arguing and makes a tag match for next week: Evans and Steelz vs Grace and James.

Analysis: That was a bit chaotic but fun. They’re pushing Mickie as the underdog that feels disrespected by Grace.

There were highlights from backstage last week as the Impact locker congratulated Mike Bailey after his tremendous match with Josh Alexander. Kenny King was screaming ridiculously and then he spat in Bailey’s face and pushed him to the ground. D’Amore ordered the wrestlers to get King out of there.

Analysis: That was pretty funny. King knows how to be a good heel and that was a really cheap thing to do after Bailey had just wrestled for an hour.

Gia Miller is interviewing Bailey backstage and asks him how he responds to Kenny King’s disrespect act from last week. Bailey says if King wants a match, then he’s ready. Bailey says he won’t go along with King’s mind games, though.

Analysis: It’s a slow burn but the match will be worth it.

Match #4: Angels w/ The Design vs Sami Callihan

Last week Callihan faced Kon, so this week he’s facing Angels. As soon as Callihan enters the ring he nails Angels with a popup powerbomb! Angels rolls to the outside so Callihan runs the ropes to perform a dive but Kon blocks him. Angels sneaks back in the ring and tries to attack Callihan from behind but Sami is scouting him and gets a right hand in. Angels hits a forearm and a clothesline in the corner and runs at Callihan again but gets met with a T-Bone suplex into the corner turnbuckle. Callihan wants the Cactus Driver but Angels slips out and connects with a forearm that sends Callihan to the outside. Angels tries a baseball slide but Callihan traps him in the ring apron. Callihan rakes Angels’ back and then stares down Deaner at ringside. Callihan chops Angels hard against the ring apron and then suplexes him. Callihan goes for the Cactus Driver on the apron but Angels fights out. Kon provides the distraction so Angels hits a modified STO on the ring apron. Callihan beats the 10 count and slides back into the ring. Angels pummels Callihan on the mat with shots to the face. Angels connects with a running knee and then a front-facing DDT. Angels locks in a Crossface but Callihan bites his hand to release the hold! Callihan nails Angels with a Brainbuster but Angels kicks out at 2. They brawl on the mat a bit and then exchange chops and forearms. Callihan nails Angels with a stiff clothesline and puts him up on his shoulders. Angels rakes the eyes of Callihan and hits a discus clothesline. Angels heads to the top rope and hits a Frog Splash about ¾ of the way across the ring. Callihan kicked out just before 3. Angels goes for it again but Callihan moves and nails the Cactus Driver 97 for the win after 7 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Callihan

Analysis: ***1/2 There was solid action here and they matched up well. I like how Angels continuously took it up to Callihan, as it shows that the Design are heels with a backbone as opposed to the cowardly type who run away. Callihan needed the win after losing to Kon last week, although I thought they might have continued the Design’s momentum with a win for Angels too.

After the match, Kon nailed Callihan with a clothesline from behind. Kon punished Callihan with repeated right hands to the face. Deaner called Kon to back off. Callihan tried to pull himself up but Kon held him up for Angels to hit a spinning kick to the face of Callihan. Deaner looked proud of his efforts as the Design stood over Callihan. Deaner even sat on Callihan as their music played.

Analysis: Even though they lost, the Design still stood tall which is important as they’re repackaging the team.

Gisele Shaw was backstage with Deonna Purrazzo. Shaw wants to tag again with Purrazzo, now that Chelsea Green is gone. Purrazzo says Shaw was never a member of VXT. Purrazzo still blames Shaw for Green leaving. Shaw isn’t going to apologise and says they both need a fresh start. Shaw says Purrazzo still has a rematch so why don’t they invoke it against the Death Dollz. Purrazzo reluctantly accepts.

Analysis: At least it gives Purrazzo something to do until she gets back in the World Title picture.

There was a vignette that showed a number of different Tarot cards being turned over. The last card was ‘the Wilde Witch’ indicating that a new version of Taylor Wilde is coming soon.

Analysis: We only got a glimpse but it looked like she’s changed her look up. It might be a heel turn after losing to Mickie James at Over Drive.

Match #5: Joe Hendry & Bhupinder Gujjar vs Ziggy Dice & Johnny Swinger

Hendry got a televised entrance whilst the others were already in the ring. Rehwoldt told Hannifan to shut up because he started talking during Hendry’s entrance theme. I agree. Hendry had a microphone and mocked Johnny Swinger for his Swinger’s Dungeon. Hendry said in his dungeon you only hear one sound and that is “We believe”. Hendry said what the people believe in is Joe Hendry. Rehwoldt starting singing Hendry’s theme as the match began. Dice and Hendry started the match and Dice was taunting the crowd so Hendry hit him with a scoop slam. Hendry threw Dice into the corner so that he could tag in Swinger. Hendry gave Swinger a scoop slam. Hannifan mentioned that Swinger hasn’t won a match since February 2021. Hendry nailed his big stalling suplex then kipped up. Gujjar tagged himself in and so did Dice. Moose turned up at ringside and tried to clothesline Hendry but he missed, so Hendry tripped him up. Hendry got a microphone and told Moose that this was very unprofessional. Moose got a steel chair and chased Hendry to the back. Back in the ring Gujjar clothesline both of the heels and then hit a pump kick on Swinger. He clotheslined Dice to the outside and hit a ripcord knee on Swinger. Gujjar hit the Gargoyle spear on Swinger for the win.

Winners by pinfall: Joe Hendry and Johnny Swinger

Analysis: ** That was part-comedy, part-storyline progression for Moose vs Hendry. I’m not sure why Hendry backed down from Moose in the face role; that seemed odd. At least Swinger sold the spear well.

Backstage, John Skyler is sitting down with Jason Hotch after his loss to Bully Ray. Skyler says neither of them are getting any respect around here. He suggests they form a tag team. Hotch agrees.

Analysis: They’re both talented guys and it’s always handy to add more teams to the division so I’m all for it.

Steve Maclin cut a pre-taped promo. Maclin says that he has beaten every former World Champion in his way for no reward. He wonders if maybe he has to change his tactics. He suggests he has to get his opportunity by any means necessary. He says that Rich Swann will be in the wrong place at the wrong time next week.

Analysis: That will be a great match up next week. Maclin should be featured more prominently.

They ran down the card for next week and it will be Deonna Purrazzo & Gisele Shaw vs Death Dollz for the Tag Titles, along with Mickie James and Jordynne Grace vs Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans.

Analysis: I’m glad there are two Knockouts matches next week as this episode had none.

Match #6: Impact World Tag Team Championships: Heath & Rhino (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)

The Major Players are banned from ringside for this match. Rhino starts off against Shelley. I’m still laughing at his expletive-laden random promo from two weeks ago. Rhino targets the left arm of Shelley early but Rhino’s strength backs him into the corner. Shelley chops away at Rhino to little effect, so Rhino nails him with a shoulder block. Heath tags in and takes control of Shelley. Shelley uses his agility to tag in Sabin quickly. Sabin tries to outwrestle Heath but Heath overpowers him and sends him into the corner. They’re playing on the speed vs power angle early in the match. Sabin offers a handshake and takes Heath in a side headlock, but Heath takes him down with a shoulder block off the ropes. Heath connects with a right hand and whips Sabin off the ropes but Shelley tags in blindly. Shelley hits a running bulldog on Heath, and then Sabin repeats the move with Shelley holding Heath’s arms back. Shelley connects with a knee drop to the back of Heath’s neck then tags Sabin back in. The Guns hit a double team clothesline and score a 1 count. In comes Shelley again and hits a dropkick on Heath as Heath’s neck was leaning against the middle turnbuckle. Ouch. Shelley goes for Sliced Bread but Heath counters with a big powerslam as they head to a commercial.

(Commercial break)

When we returned, Rhino was pummelling away at Shelley in the corner. Rhino whipped Shelley across the ring and speared him against the turnbuckle. Rhino tagged Heath back in. Heath dropped a knee to the spine of Shelley and scored with a number of rights. Heath hit a big chop to the chest of Shelley, sending him down to the mat face-first. Heath whipped Shelley hard into the corner and went for a pinfall but Sabin broke it up. Rhino tagged back in and targeted the mid-section of Shelley with a hard shot to the ribs. Rhino choked Shelley against the middle rope. Rhino connected with a series of forearms to the spine of Shelley. Shelley tried to fight back with a back elbow and ran against the ropes but Rhino met him with a knee to the ribs. Heath tagged back in and hung Shelley up in the tree-of-woe. Heath stomped away at Shelley in the corner. Sabin snuck over to the corner and helped Shelley untangle his legs even though the referee was watching. Heath ran at Shelley who countered with a Flatliner against the bottom turnbuckle. Rhino tags back in and then takes out Sabin from the ring apron. Rhino continued to target the ribs of Shelley and locked in the bear hug. Shelley fought back and dived across the ring to make the tag. Heath also tagged back in and connected with a crossbody for 2. Sabin and Heath exchanged strikes and Sabin sent Heath to the corner with a big forearm. Heath hit a big DDT on Heath and then they hit a double-team tornado DDT but Rhino broke up the pin attempt. Great selling by Heath there. Double superkick on Rhino sent him down to the mat. The Guns hit a double team kick in the corner on Heath. Sabin went for a neckbreaker on Heath, but Heath shoved Sabin into Shelley which knocked him off the top rope. Sabin turned around into a Gore by Rhino. Heath slowly crawled to the cover but Sabin kicked out right before 3. Rhino tagged back in and looked for another Gore. Sabin leapfrogged him and rolled him up with a Sunset Flip pin for the surprise 3 count! The match went 15 minutes.

Winners AND NEW Impact World Tag Team Champions: The Motor City Machine Guns

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good tag team match that was given a decent amount of time. The early parts of the match were booked well with the Gun trying to use their speed but were continuously thwarted by their bigger and stronger opponents. The finish showed how even the match was and Rhino & Heath can argue that they have unfinished business because it was not a decisive win for the Guns. I’m not a fan of the title change at this point. Rhino and Heath haven’t had the titles for long and have been doing a really solid job as champions. The Guns seem to be forever around the title picture and whilst they are a terrific team, I was enjoying having a fresh team having the ball to run with. I thought this was all leading to a triple threat match, which it still might. With a few new teams that they are building up, the division is looking good.

Heath and Rhino were shocked in the ring after the match. The Guns celebrated with their NJPW titles and their Impact titles as the show went off air.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

It was a decent episode of Impact this week, but no matches stood out as great. The opening match between Delirious and Eddie Edwards was fun for a shorter match, and I enjoyed the main event Tag Team Championship match even though I would’ve preferred Rhino & Heath to retain. The rest of the show had solid build towards the January PPV. The promo exchange between Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer was probably the highlight of the show. That was great work by both guys. We also saw the return of Jonathan Gresham to Impact as he defended his ROH buddy Delirious and looks to feud with Eddie Edwards. With no Knockouts matches this week, they have booked two next week. I guess that’s easy to do when you tape TV and don’t need to have the same talent wrestle every week. There was some nice storyline progression between Jordynne Grace and Mickie James, as Mickie strives to prove herself to Grace even though she is the veteran.

The next PPV, Hard to Kill on January 13th, looks like this so far:

impact wrestling hard to kill mickie jordynne grace january 2023

– Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs Bully Ray
– Knockouts’ World Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Mickie James (if Mickie loses she must retire)
– Jonathan Gresham vs Eddie Edwards

Any feedback or comments are welcome. My email address is in case anybody wants to get in touch with me and my Twitter handle is @thomok6 as well. Thanks for reading!