IMPACT Wrestling: Emergence 2023 Review

impact wrestling emergence 2023

The Knockouts Championship with Trinity defending against Deonna Purrazzo headlines Impact’s latest monthly special Emergence, on a night when three other titles were on the line.

Impact Wrestling presents Emergence 27/8/23 from Rebel Entertainment Centre: Toronto, ON

This has been one of the weaker builds for an Impact show in recent memory. With the Impact World Championship not on the line, the quality of the show is already diminished in my opinion. They have done a good job at building up the story to an 8-man tag team match, but it’s not a big deal to me. I’m glad Trinity vs Deonna Purrazzo is headlining the show. The show also took place on the same day as All In from Wembley Stadium, but this one was several hours later. I enjoyed that show, but it was so long that it took me a few nights to get through and life has been very busy lately as you can see with this review being over a week after the event. With All Out and Payback still to watch, I am playing catch up. Anyway, let’s get to Emergence. I will do a summary style up until the main event and call that as play-by-play.

Pre-Show results:

Mike Bailey defeated Alan Angels

These two had a fun X-Division match, even though there was no story to it. It was back and forth, with Bailey landing the Ultima Weapon to put Angels away after about 8 minutes. A good way to open the show. Match Rating: ***1/2

Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura defeated the Good Hands

This was a simple 6-minute tag match to put over the new team of Hendry and Uemura (JoYa). They did a ridiculous dance to even more ridiculous theme music before the match began. The Good Hands just keep losing. It was fine for a short match and the crowd enjoyed the face team’s antics. Match Rating: **1/2

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt previewed the main matches of the show and had their usually impressive opening video, which features the return to an Impact ring for Josh Alexander after a long injury lay off. The lighting in the show was very dim. You could see the first few rows of fans and then it was very dark behind them. That probably signifies a small crowd. The ramp went all the way down to the ring, which I think is a cool look.

Emergence Main Card

Match #1: No-Disqualification Match: Deaner w/ Kon vs Eric Young

Young came ‘back from the dead’ with a really flat video explanation about a month ago. The feud continued on and hopefully ends tonight. A No-DQ match is fitting for the feud. The weapons were brought into play early on in the match. Deaner went for the staple gun to Young’s forehead, but Young avoided it so Deaner raked his eyes and stapled in between his fingers and then under his arm! He then tossed Young head-first into a steel chair set up in the corner and got a close 2 count. Deaner placed a trash can over Young’s head and bashed his head in with a steel chair. For some reason, he climbed a ladder away from Young, but Young nailed him with a Death Valley Driver on a trash can. Kon got involved and sent Young into the steel ring post. Young outsmarted Kon and handcuffed him to the bottom rope. Deaner was begging for mercy in the ring but Young nailed him with repeated shots with the trash can lid. He grabbed the staple gun and stapled Deaner’s hand and armpit. Young signaled that he was heading to the top. He climbed to the top of the ladder and hit a huge elbow drop but somehow Deaner kicked out! That was a very close 2 count and I thought that was it for sure. Young retrieved some steel chairs from underneath the ring and called for the piledriver. Kon ripped free of the handcuffs and distracted Young which allowed Deaner to hit the low blow. Kon destroyed Young with a chokeslam through the chairs but only for a 2 count. Deaner went below the ring and got a barbed-wire board which the crowd seemed interested in. It was basically a handicap match at this point. Deaner wanted Kon to powerbomb Young from the top onto the board. Young powered out and sent Deaner into Kon, then lifted them both off the top rope for a colossal Death Valley Driver on the barbed-wire board! Awesome! Deaner’s face may have grazed the barbed-wire there which would’ve hurt. Young nailed the piledriver on the barbed-wire to get the win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eric Young

Analysis: ***3/4 That turned into a really good match by the end. It was slow to start but they didn’t overuse the weapons. The weapons were brought in early but they did enough tease spots that it didn’t turn into a mess. The crowd loved the fight of Young and he eventually overcame the odds with an awesome double-team move off the top rope to vanquish Deaner.

Match #2: Fatal-4-Way for the Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: MK Ultra (c) vs Jody Threat & KiLynn King vs Death Dollz vs Savannah Evans & Gisele Shaw

Before the match, there was a mystery-attacker angle with Taylor Wilde being taken out and replaced by Jody Threat. Good to get Threat on the show in her home city. This match was one-fall to a finish. Most of these 4-way tag matches follow the same formula: in-ring action with some pinfall break ups until the match eventually breaks down so that a pin can be done without someone interfering. Which is basically what happened in this match as MK Ultra barely tagged in and then destroyed Courtney Rush with a nasty-looking double-team piledriver for the win after 10 minutes.

Winners AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Champions: MK Ultra

Analysis: **1/2 The champions retained without doing much in the match, but that’s what happens when it’s a four-way match.

Match #3: Impact Digital Media Championship: Kenny King (c) w/ Sheldon Jean vs Johnny Swinger

The commentators put over Swinger’s only title win which was 20 years ago, to try and make us believe that he actually had a shot here. I feel bad for Kenny King but I guess at least he is on the card. Swinger tried to play some mind games early in the match by stalling outside the ring. King was annoyed at Swinger’s shenanigans throughout the match. Swinger tried all the tricks in the book to try and gain the upper hand, such as kicking the middle rope as King entered the ring and raking the eyes. He also had the win after Heath ran in and hit the Wake Up Call on King, but it was only a very close 2 count. Swinger climbed to the top rope at a snail’s pace so King easily caught him with the Royal Flush for the win after 7 minutes.

Winner AND STILL Impact Digital Media Champion: Kenny King

Analysis: ** Thank goodness that King won. That’s all that really needs to be said. Swinger is not good and King almost dragged a decent match out of him. After the match, he continued to beat down Swinger until Tommy Dreamer ran in for the save so King and Jean beat him up too.

Match #4: Impact World Tag Team Championships: Subculture w/ Dani Luna vs The Rascalz

I was very much looking forward to this match but more intrigued at how it would be booked with Subculture being new champions and the Rascalz on a roll since reuniting. Hannifan mentioned that Subculture wrestled in the UK last night and are now in Canada to defend their tag titles. The first 10 minutes was simple one-on-one wrestling and the pace started to pick up when the double-team moves began. The Rascalz almost got the win with a top-rope double-stomp on Andrews. Miguel tagged in and so did Webster, then all 4 men were slugging it out in the centre of the ring. Miguel and Wentz both hit superkicks, then Webster and Andrews hit headbutts. Then they all kipped up, selling about as well as Penta and Orange Cassidy’s Canadian Destroyer-fest from this week’s Dynamite. The Rascalz double-teamed Webster with a stomp to the spine and went for Hotfire but Webster got the knees up. Out of nowhere, Andrews flew through the air and nailed Wentz with a Destroyer that sent him out of the ring. Webster with the Eaton Rifle on Miguel for a very close 2 count. Andrews tagged in but Wentz pulled him off the apron. Webster went for a slingshot crossbody but Wentz moved and the Brits collided. Back in the ring, Miguel hit the Web Slinger on Andrews but Webster broke it up. Andrews attempted a move but Miguel sprayed his paint in his eyes. He had Andrews pinned but Bullet Club made their way to the ring to notify the referee. Then the Good Hands, who are being paid off by Miguel and Wentz, started a brawl with Bey and Austin. Dani Luna flew through the air off the top rope to take them all out. Webster made a blind tag, and Miguel was unaware so Andrews hit Stundog Millionaire. Webster hit the Swanton Bomb but Miguel kicked out at the last possible second. He wanted a superplex but Wentz got up on the top rope to prevent it. Miguel hit a superkick on Webster in the corner, then they nailed a double-team stomp into a Dominator to capture the Tag Team Championships after 18 minutes!

Winners by pinfall AND NEW Impact World Tag Team Champions: The Rascalz

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good match towards the end there, even with all of the interference. I am disappointed in the length of the reign for Subculture as I really like their work. The Rascalz are having a great run at present though so it’s not a bad title change.

Match #5: Old School Rules Match: Frankie Kazarian vs Eddie Edwards

This match was fought in Killer Kowalski’s training centre as they both trained there. There are two rings set up side by side and they alternated between them so it was a unique set up. The camera work was difficult to follow at times because it was shot from a low angle from outside the ring. The match was very intense from the outset. They brawled outside the ring early on and Edwards tripped Kaz up onto a steel chair. They fought amongst the gym equipment and Kaz hit a hurricanrana off workout machine. It didn’t seem like the referee was interested in count-outs. Kaz hit his slingshot legdrop for a 2 count. He went to lock in the Chicken Wing but Edwards fought out and nailed the Backpack Stunner. Edwards repeatedly smashed Kaz’s face into the turnbuckle. Kaz almost got the win with the inverted piledriver. Alisha arrived and started abusing Kaz. Edwards hit the Boston Knee Party from behind and that was enough for the win after 5 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Edwards

Analysis: **1/2 I was really enjoying that as a production and the match quality but then it just ended after 5 minutes. They match up really well and all of their counter wrestling is so smooth. After the match, Kaz was dejected and went over to a picture of Kowalski. Alisha came from behind and hit him with a kendo stick. Eddie screamed at Kaz and called him a disappointment then smashed the picture of Kowalski over his head. That was a decent post-match angle and we know the mixed-tag match is coming but I’m not sure why Traci didn’t show up here.

Match #6: SANADA vs Jake Something

I think this was initially for SANADA’s IWGP World Heavyweight Championship but the title has been storyline stolen so now it’s just a regular match. This is a random appearance for SANADA but it has been advertised for about a month now so it’s a good get for Impact. Something hasn’t had any big matches or feuds since his return to Impact so he’s an interesting choice for an opponent here. This was a really easy match to watch and Something pushed SANADA but I don’t think the result was ever in doubt. Something hit a huge right hand and went for the Black Hole Slam but SANADA countered into the Deadfall for the win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: SANADA

Analysis: ***1/2 They aren’t going to have Sanada lose on an Impact show like this, so it’s not like it was a surprising result. At least it was a competitive match.

Match #7: 8-Man Tag Team Match: Time Machine (Alex Shelley, Kushida & Chris Sabin) & Josh Alexander vs Lio Rush, Moose, Bully Ray & Brian Myers

This is Alexander’s first match in an Impact ring (technically his first match back was at Multiverse 2) in 5 months. He had to drop the title due to injury and then Steve Maclin defeated Kushida to win the vacant title in April. This match could’ve easily headlined an Impact weekly show and Shelley could’ve defended the title against someone who wasn’t in a major program until Alexander had a few more matches under his belt. This was a chaotic match that also had some weapons involved. Alexander had Moose in the Sharpshooter until Myers dived off the top rope and took out the official with an elbow drop! Moose was tapping but the referee was incapacitated. Myers hit the Roster Cut on Alexander. Sabin took out Myers in the corner with a kick. Moose lurked perilously close to a table on the outside. Sabin ran at him with a suicide dive but caught him and smashed him through the table with a Uranage. Kushida went for a dive on Moose but he caught him, too. Kushida still locked in the Hoverboard Lock but Moose placed him on a table and Rush hit the Final Hour Frog Splash on Kushida through the table! Bully told Moose to get another table as he battled Shelley on the ramp. Shelley hit Moose with a superkick but Bully caught him and was about to powerbomb him off the ramp when the lights went out. PCO was on the ramp and confronted Bully. PCO teed off on Bully with left hands. PCO set up Bully for a chokeslam but Myers saved him with a low blow. Moose, Myers and Bully triple teamed PCO. Bully nailed PCO with a powermbomb off the ramp through a table. PCO instantly sat up and took out Moose with a back body drop and Myers with a clothesline. PCO chased Bully to the back but Steve Maclin returned and took out PCO from behind. Maclin and Alexander squared off like they were meant to earlier in the year. This match has completely disintegrated. Maclin rammed Alexander into the metal staging and slammed his injured shoulder into it. Security came to escort Maclin to the back but the two continued to fight. Maclin eventually backed off and the match was still going. Alexander made it back into the ring but Moose hit him with a Uranage. He missed a spear in the corner but rolled up Alexander with his feet on the ropes for a 2 count. Myers ran in for the save and tossed Alexander into Shelley so they collided. Alexander and Shelley had some words then Alexander turned around into a spear from Moose. Moose covered Alexander and won the match for his team after 23 minutes. Shelley watched from the ramp and didn’t stop the pinfall.

Winners by pinfall: Lio Rush, Moose, Bully Ray & Brian Myers

Analysis: ***3/4 That match was certainly helped by all the chaos and interference. I like the way they intertwined the various feuds in there. The return of Steve Maclin was welcome and the tension teased between Alexander and Shelley is interesting. PCO’s involvement was silly but it fits his character. I wouldn’t have picked Alexander taking the pin and I’m still a bit shocked by that.

There was a promo video for Victory Road on September 8th and the return of Jordynne Grace. The next night is Impact 1000. There was a lengthy video package for the main event between Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo. Their first encounter at Slammiversary was good but I’m hoping they go to the next level here.

Match #8: Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Trinity (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo

Gail Kim was special guest commentator for this match. She is coming out of in-ring retirement for the Impact 1000 special. At least that means no more commentary. Jade Chung, Josh Alexander’s wife, was ring announcing for this match and will get better over time. I hope. Trinity had red and white hair now. Purrazzo got the best of the early exchanges and outwrestled Trinity. She nailed a short-arm clothesline for a 2 count. Purrazzo grounded Trinity with a sleeper on the mat. She wrenched down hard on it. Trinity slowly made her way to her feet and nailed a jawbreaker. Both women went for a clothesline and took each other out. Trinity levelled Purrazzo with kicks and a series of clotheslines then a Samoan Drop. Trinity kipped up and played to the fans. She nailed her bulldog into the middle turnbuckle. Trinity went up high and hit a crossbody off the top rope for 2. Trinity tried another pin with a bridge but got 2. She blocked the Queen’s Gambit but Purrazzo nailed a Pump Kick for a close 2 count. Trinity missed a splash in the corner and Purrazzo snapped at her arm and hitting a running knee. She nailed a Side Russian Legsweep and tried to lock in the Fujiwara Armbar. Trinity wasn’t far from the ropes and got there in time. She countered another move into a bulldog and hit the split-legged moonsault on Purrazzo for 2. They battled on the top rope with forearms. Purrazzo wanted the superplex and nailed it. The referee was counting both women down and they got up by 8. They slugged it out in the middle of the ring. Purrazzo fought out of the Full Nelson Bomb but Trinity still nailed a unique neckbreaker for a 2 count. Purrazzo went for the armbar again but Trinity rolled her up for 2. She tried for Star Struck but her arm was in too much pain to lock it in. Purrazzo wriggled free into the corner. Trinity got out of the Queen’s Gambit attempt and rammed Purrazzo into the turnbuckle. She hit the Full Nelson Bomb for a close 2 count. The near falls in this match have been really good. Trinity fought out of the armbar again and hit a Code Red. She locked in Star Struck and wrenched at the neck of Purrazzo with her legs and that was enough for Purrazzo to tap out for a second straight match against Trinity. The match went 16 minutes.

Winner AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Champion: Trinity

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a great main event, especially in the last 5-6 minutes where the near falls were very close and there was some nice counter wrestling. I think they clicked better in this match and the flow of the match seemed smoother than at Slammiversary. It was the right choice as the main event. Purrazzo and Trinity hugged out of respect and the show went off the air with a Bound for Glory promo that included Will Ospreay! Awesome!

Final Rating: 7/10

Despite my lack of interest in about half the card and its build, Emergence turned out to be a very solid show with 3 matches at the ***3/4 rating for my grading style. The 8-man tag and main event between Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo were both great for different reasons. I enjoyed the chaos and unpredictability of the tag team grudge match. It was also cool to see Steve Maclin return and surprising to see Josh Alexander lose the match for his team. Alex Shelley acting heelish also intrigued me. I also enjoyed the tag team match between the Rascalz and Subculture and again was surprised in the outcome there. The show closed with Trinity coming out on top again and I look forward to her next challenger (spoiler below as I haven’t watched this week’s Impact yet).

The next Impact Plus monthly special is Victory Road, this coming Friday, September 8th:

* Josh Alexander vs Steve Maclin
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns
* Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Trinity (c) vs Alisha Edwards
* Impact Digital Media Championship: Title vs Career: Kenny King (c) vs Tommy Dreamer
* Impact X-Division Championship: Lio Rush (c) vs Kushida
* Deonna Purrazzo vs Jordynne Grace
* Anything Goes Match: Bully Ray vs PCO

There is also the Impact 1000 special on September 9th:

* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Trey Miguel
* Team 3D vs ???
* Alisha & Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian & Traci
* Ultimate X Match: Participants TBA
* Feast or Fired: Participants TBA
* Dirty Dango vs Jake Something
* Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, Trinity, Jordynne Grace & one other Knockout vs Angelina Love, Deonna Purrazzo, Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans and one other Knockout

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!