IMPACT Wrestling: Rebellion 2023 Review

impact rebellion 2023 review

For the first time in company history, Impact guaranteed two new major champions due to injury at the Rebellion PPV.

My interest in Impact’s second PPV of the year was quite high, despite the unfortunate occurrence of their two major champions, Josh Alexander and Mickie James, succumbing to injury. The replacement matches, Kushida vs Steve Maclin, and Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purrazzo, both have the potential to be high-quality affairs. These two bouts, plus the return of Ultimate X, a Hardcore War and another grudge match between Eddie Edwards and PCO all should add up to an entertaining night in Canada for Impact.

Countdown to Rebellion (YouTube pre-show)

The countdown to Rebellion had two matches, but I didn’t watch them. These shows are long enough without having to religiously watch the pre-show, too.

* Champagne Singh & Shera defeated Rhino & Heath
* The Coven defeated the Death Dollz to retain the Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships

Rebellion Main Show: Rebel Entertainment Complex – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

There was the usually-impressive video package to open the show, which featured on the unusual build-up for the two major championship matches. We are kicking off the show with Ultimate X. Yes!

Match #1: Ultimate X for the Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns

For those unfamiliar with this match-type, there is a wire above the ring in the shape of an ‘X’, where the championships are suspended. The first team to retrieve the titles are the Tag Team Champions. All 4 men are legal at all times. Shelley and Sabin are 3-0 in Ultimate X. They took the advantage early with some stomps in the corner. Sabin tried to scale the wire early but Austin cut him off. Sabin went for a discus forearm on Bey, but he moved and Sabin hit his own tag partner in the face. Austin hit a Side Russian Legsweep on Sabin and then he and Bey hit a combination legdrop/standing moonsault on Sabin. Shelley was faced by both members of Bullet Club and kiss Austin’s foot to distract him as Sabin climbed after the titles. Bey quickly knocked him down, whilst Austin focused on chopping Shelley. Austin and Bey hit stereo dropkicks and then followed up with a suicide dive each to their opponents on the outside area. Austin and Bey both began to climb but Shelley quickly stopped Austin. Bey was able to climb a little further but he was wrenched down by Sabin and landed awkwardly on his knee. Shelley hit a great-looking dropkick to the knee of Bey. Sabin also targeted the knee, but Austin took advantage of the Guns’ being distracted by Bey and started to climb across the cable. Shelley reached up and dragged him down then Shelley held Austin as Sabin kicked him hard in the chest. Shelley hit a Dragon Screw on Bey against the ropes. Austin and Shelley started climbing the truss but Sabin grabbed the left arm and pulled it against the steel. Back in the ring, Shelley locked in a Figure-4 on Bey, not looking for the win but simply to injure Bey. Austin came back into the ring and broke up the submission. Sabin slid out of a suplex attempt from Austin. But Austin backed him into the corner with a kick. Austin and Bey with a double clothesline on Sabin and then they were met with one of their own from Alex Shelley. There was a really cool spot where Shelley had Bey trapped in a modified sharpshooter and then Sabin brought Austin over and Shelley tied him up in an abdominal stretch so that Sabin could climb for the titles. Eventually, Austin broke free and brought Sabin to the mat, then avoided a big kick in the corner as Sabin connected again with Shelley. Austin hit a big kick to the head of Sabin, who bounced back with an enziguiri. Shelley battled with Bey now and Bey fought out of the Dragon Screw again to hit an enziguiri. Bey was having troubles running with his knee injury. He hit a slingshot DDT on Shelley and then used the turnbuckle to hit Sabin with a moonsault on the ring apron. Very nice. Shelley and Bey battled on the top turnbuckle and Shelley hit a jawbreaker off the top rope. Austin came back in with a dropkick from the top and then took Sabin off the apron with a kick. Austin hit a running moonsault over the top rope to the outside to take out both Guns. Shelley took Bey off the truss and then Austin destroyed him in the corner with a kick. Bey hit a double stomp on both Shelley and Sabin as Bullet Club started to build momentum. That was short-lived as Shelley and Sabin both kicked Bey in the head but Austin began to scale the cable towards the titles. Austin used his legs to crawl across the cable, whilst Sabin followed him and kicked him off. Shelley caught Austin and they double-teamed him with a kick. Bey countered a Figure 4 attempt and kicked Sabin into Shelley who fell off the top rope, to prevent him from climbing. All 4 men then ascended the cable, all on opposite corners. Everyone was at the centre of the X and brawling, suspended in mid-air which is quite a sight. There was enough brawling to knock everyone to the canvas and then Ace and Bey combined for the Art of Finesse and the Fold on Shelley. It would’ve been all over in a regular match but of course they still had to retrieve the titles. Austin sling shotted Bey up to the wire and then copped a clothesline from Sabin. Bey wrapped his legs around the wire to avoid Sabin’s reach. Bey struggled to unhook the titles as Sabin got closer to prevent him but they eventually became free and he passed them to Austin to win the match after 13 minutes.

Winners AND STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: Bullet Club

Analysis: ***3/4 A great opening contest that was full of excitement and athleticism. I didn’t love the ending, as it was a bit anti-climactic and Sabin was a bit slow to try and prevent Bey but that’s my only real criticism of the match. Hopefully Bullet Club can now move on to new opponents.

Match #2: Handicap Match: Joe Hendry, Dirty Dango & Santino Marella vs The Design

Hendry cut a promo before the match and the mic was a little faulty at the start but then it began to work thankfully. Hendry mocked The Design’s members and put over his ‘We Believe’ catch phrase. This was Marella’s first PPV match since 2014. He continues to be a comedy character 9 years later but is still mildly amusing. This is a 4 on 3 match, which wasn’t announced previously. Tom Hannifan ran through Callihan’s 7 steps since joining the Design and it’s been that long that I had completely lost track of what they all meant, so good for him for reading off his notes. Dango started off with Angels and took the advantage with 2 suplexes. He tagged in Marella who was in good shape for a 49-year old who doesn’t wrestle much. Marella threatened Angels with the Cobra and Angels backed off like he had a knife pulled on him and tagged in Callihan. Deaner interfered and took Marella down from behind, then Callihan tagged in Angels who whipped Marella hard into the turnbuckle. Angels was taunting Marella’s son at ringside as he pummelled Santino. Marella turned it into a Saito suplex and tagged in Hendry who nailed a Fallaway Slam. He hit Deaner with one and another on Callihan who tried interference. Kon was met with a kick and Hendry was about to slam him too, but Angels arrived with a dropkick. Angels pummelled Hendry with left hands and tagged Deaner in. Deaner struck Hendry furiously with rights and lefts. He took too long following up though and Hendry nailed a suplex. Dango tagged in and hit a running uppercut on Callihan who was now legal. Dango with a Legsweep and a dancing legdrop. Callihan bailed to the outside and then Kon distracted him so Deaner could nail Dango from behind. Kon tagged in and stomped on Dango. Kon mocked Dango’s dance moves and hit an uppercut. Kon with hard back elbows in the corner. Deaner tagged in and choked Dango out with his foot. In comes Angels now who feigned allowing Dango to tag in, but slapped on a headlock. Angels took a cheap shot on Hendry but Santino was ready and blocked it so Dango could hit a back body drop on Angels. Santino tagged in and took down Angels with a hip toss. Kon clobbered him from behind then nailed Hendry with a spinebuster. Dango took him down with a dropkick then got nailed by Sliced Bread from Angels. Hendry hit an awesome double Fallaway Slam on Angels and Deaner. Hendry turned around and Callihan connected with the Cactus Driver 97. Dango hit a running dive to the outside on Kon and Angels. Back inside the ring, Deaner hit a discus clothesline on Santino. He called Callihan back into the ring to finish the job. The crowd was chanting “You killed Eric” at Deaner after they wrote Eric Young’s character off earlier in the year. Callihan wanted his thumbs up routine but Deaner blocked it. Deaner went under the ring and pulled out a baseball bat. Deaner handed the bat to Callihan and told him to destroy Marella. Callihan turned around and nailed Deaner in the ribs with the bat! There’s the turn. Callihan smashed Deaner in the face with the bat and the crowd loved it. Callihan left up the ramp so Marella pulled out the Cobra and nailed Deaner. I’m not sure where the referee was, but another one ran down to the ring and counted the 3.

Winners by pinfall: Dirty Dango, Santino Marella & Joe Hendry

Analysis: ***1/2 That was really fun and involved Callihan finally turning on The Design. He wrote a 4-line post on Twitter earlier in the day with the letters t, u, r, n in capitals on each line, spelling TURN which I thought was far too obvious but it happened anyway. I think that’s the right move as it was dragging out way too long and losing steam. As for the match itself, the crowd was right into it and loved the nostalgia of Marella. There were minimal ‘face-in-peril’ moments that slow down a multi-man tag match so this one had good flow to it and was enjoyable to watch.

Tommy Dreamer cut a backstage promo with his Hardcore War team and he was crying because his mother is ill in hospital. Dreamer said that Impact permitted him to leave the show to be with his mother but he declined because he’s not letting Bully Ray stand in the way of him and his team ending this rivalry. Dreamer said that after tonight he’s going away for a while and he’s finishing this tonight. He thanked the fans and his team for their support.

Match #3: Last Rites Match: Eddie Edwards w/ Alisha vs PCO

This feud has been going on since last year and for some reason that had a match last week on Impact, with a major PPV just 10 days away so now they’re doing a stipulation match tonight. Dumb. Anyway, I have really enjoyed the slow-burn and the fans really want to see PCO get their hands on Edwards. It seems like this is just a casket match and not an original Last Rites match that was a disaster in 2007. The casket sat on the entrance ramp as the match began. The bell rang and PCO launched himself at Edwards on the outside with a suicide dive. PCO chopped Edwards against the guard rail and then tossed him back in the ring but as he was taking his jacket off, Edwards ran the ropes and hit a suicide dive. They made it back into the ring and Edwards chopped PCO against the turnbuckle. Edwards hit a throat thrust and whipped PCO across the ring. Edwards hit a running forearm and smashed PCO with back elbows in the corner. PCO recovered with a DDT. PCO hung Edwards up in the middle rope and hit a DDT that didn’t quite work. PCO hit a knee drop from the middle rope. Edwards rolled out of the ring so PCO followed him and set his body up on the ring apron. PCO climbed to the top and nailed Edwards with the Deanimator on the ring apron. PCO dragged Edwards back into the ring then clotheslined him over the top rope. PCO tried to punch Edwards into the casket but Edwards wrenched PCO’s arm against the ring ropes. Edwards hit a Tiger Driver and then there was a close up on PCO’s shoulder that looked dislocated. Edwards hit two German suplexes then PCO left the ring and put his shoulder back into placed by ramming it against the ring post. He’s mad. Back in the ring, they had a chop-off and Edwards got the advantage. PCO fired back but Edwards hit some palm strikes to the face. They were beating each other to a pulp, back and forth. PCO had Edwards in the corner but Edwards slipped out and hit a Buckle Bomb, except PCO’s head clipped the top turnbuckle. That narrowly avoided disaster. PCO recovered instantly and took down Edwards with a clothesline. PCO hit a reverse DDT and then hit the PCOSault. The crowd was loving it. PCO tossed Edwards to the outside, towards the casket but Edwards rolled off the ramp and onto the floor. PCO hit a cannonball off the ramp and took out Edwards. PCO choke-slammed Edwards on the edge of the entrance ramp. The referee opened the casket lid but Edwards slammed it shut. PCO repeatedly slammed Edwards’ face into the casket lid. PCO’s chest was purple from all of the chops. PCO signalled for another chokeslam but Edwards kicked him off the ramp so he fell back-first and may have collided with the ring steps, but the camera didn’t show it. Edwards tried to put PCO in the casket but he fought off with right hands. They battled on the ramp and Edwards grabbed a kendo stick and nailed PCO in the head. Edwards connected with a German suplex on the ramp and then the Boston Knee Party. He told the referee to open the casket and Edwards laid PCO in. PCO’s arm and foot were blocking it. PCO was bleeding from the head as he sat up inside the casket. PCO was about to chokeslam Edwards into the casket when Alisha emerged from the back and hit PCO with a shovel, which could’ve been made from aluminium foil the impact was so minimal. She tried a second shot but PCO blocked it. Edwards missed PCO with the superkick and nailed his wife! PCO with a shovel shot to the back of Edwards and then one to the head. PCO choke-slammed Edwards into the casket and closed the lid to win the match after 14 minutes.

Winner: PCO

Analysis: ***1/2 Another really solid match here that feels like a feud-ender which is fitting. There’s not a lot of ways to make a match like this have a suspenseful ending so they did the usual shenanigans of a run-in and weapons which was fun. PCO’s spots linger between the realms of awesome and terrifying because he looks like a serious injury is only a moment away. The shoulder injury looked legitimate and he just carried on anyway. He has really grown on me as a character though and I have enjoyed the effort that both these men have gone to in providing such an entertaining, long feud.

Match #4: Triple Threat Elimination Match for the X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel (c) vs Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham

This could be the match of the night; such is the quality of all 3 men. The entrance order was: Bailey, Gresham and then the champion last, as it should be. Miguel has been excellent since his heel turn and becoming champion, but he’s still not featured enough for my liking. No count outs and no disqualifications here in this elimination match. All 3 men tried to gain the advantage early and it was Bailey who tried a quick cover on Miguel who kicked out at 1. Miguel took down Gresham with a shoulder block but both Gresham and Bailey hip tossed Miguel, who rolled to the outside. Miguel motioned that Gresham and Bailey could fight it out and he can face whoever is left standing. Miguel tried to sneak a dropkick off the ropes as Bailey and Gresham were chain-wrestling but they moved out of the way and Miguel crashed to the mat. He came back into the contest with a Northern Lights suplex on Gresham for a 2 count. Miguel tried a Kimura Lock but then kicked Bailey off the apron, which is not a great strategy when you have someone else in a submission. Miguel hit a double stomp on Gresham for a 2 count. He hit a hard forearm strike but then ran into a kick from Bailey. Bailey tried a dropkick off the top on Miguel but he ducked, so Bailey took Gresham out. Bailey with a kick and a running shooting star press on Miguel for 2. Bailey took Gresham off his feet and locked him in a Figure 4 whilst he was standing. Miguel tried to break it up but Bailey hit a Brainbuster on him whilst still locking in the Figure 4 in a standing position on Gresham! Miguel broke this up but copped a double kick from both Bailey and Gresham. Gresham with a dropkick on Miguel and a jawbreaker. Gresham hit a German suplex and a modified Michinoku Driver for a 2 count. Gresham took Bailey inside-out with a clothesline and tried another Michinoku Driver but Bailey destroyed him with a reverse rana that spiked Gresham right on his head. Miguel back in and launched Bailey on his shoulders, but Bailey was able to use his legs to send Miguel hurtling over the top rope and crashing to the floor. Gresham ran the ropes and took out Miguel on the outside. Bailey launched himself at Gresham and then Miguel hit a springboard cutter on Bailey on the floor! Gresham sent Miguel over the top rope and onto the entrance ramp. Miguel ran down the ramp and launched off the top rope and nailed Gresham with a cutter. Miguel covered for a close 2 count. Gresham avoided an attack in the corner and nailed Miguel with an enziguiri. Miguel held onto Bailey’s leg and turned it into a Dragon Screw. Gresham locked the Figure 4 on Bailey in the centre of the ring. All of a sudden, Miguel flew through the air and nailed the Meteora on a totally unsuspecting Gresham and eliminated him.

Jonathan Gresham has been eliminated

Gresham still had Bailey locked in the Figure 4 so the referee had to untangle them. Miguel instantly locked Bailey in his own Figure 4. Bailey was able to turn the pressure around momentarily but Miguel was back in control and almost pinned Bailey’s shoulders to the mat for a 3. Bailey chopped Miguel whilst still in the submission and crawled to the ropes to break the hold. They both staggered to their feet and exchanged chops. Bailey knocked Miguel down with a chop but Miguel kipped up! Miguel hit a running uppercut but Bailey bounced back with a running Spanish Fly. Insane. Bailey rocked Miguel with 2 left kicks and then the Tornado Kick. Miguel avoided the Ultima Weapon and dropkicked Bailey out of the ring. He tried for a Sunset Bomb on the floor but Bailey held onto the ring apron. Bailey hit a standing double knees to Miguel’s ribs on the floor. Back in the ring, Miguel avoided the Ultima Weapon again but Bailey rolled him up for 2. Miguel reversed the pin and held the tights then the referee counted the 3. Miguel retained the title after 14 minutes.

Winner AND STILL X-Division Champion: Trey Miguel

Analysis: **** That was fantastic. There were no real moments to breathe and they were going too quick for me to type at some points. I didn’t love the finish but it makes sense for Miguel’s character to do whatever is necessary to retain his title. Everyone’s offense was so smooth and it was an exciting contest throughout. Match of the night so far.

Match #5: Hardcore War: Team Bully vs Team Dreamer

Bully’s team is himself, Brian Myers, Moose, Kenny King and Masha Slamovich. Dreamer has himself, Frankie Kazarian, Yuya Uemura, Bhupinder Gujjar and Killer Kelly. Two competitors start alone for 3 minutes, with a new wrestler involved every 90 seconds from alternating teams. Once all 10 competitors have entered, the match ends via the first pinfall or submission. Moose is the first wrestler from Team Bully and he’s facing off with Kaz. They fought over a trash can as soon as the bell rang. Moose missed a corner splash so Kaz teed off with right hands. Moose missed a clothesline and went hurtling over the top rope. Kaz hit a springboard hurricanrana on the outside. Kaz set up a table ringside but Moose kicked him in the face. Kaz sent Moose into the steel post. He tossed Moose back into the ring and hit a slingshot DDT. Kaz pummelled Moose with right hands and then a springboard legdrop. Moose blocked a trash can shot and then nailed Kaz with two shots on the back with it. He set up the can in the corner but Kaz reversed the Irish Whip and Moose went crashing into the can. Myers was the next wrestler in so now it’s 2 on 1. Moose ran at Kaz but he back body dropped him over the top and into Myers on the entrance ramp. Myers tripped up Kaz and then got another table from underneath the ring. Moose was choking Kaz against the middle rope. Moose and Myers were about to suplex Kaz through the table but the countdown clock expired and in comes Gujjar. Gujjar saved Kaz from disaster with a dropkick on Moose. Gujjar hit a pump kick on Myers and a flapjack. Gujjar kipped up and hit a ripcord knee strike. Kaz threw a cheese grater into Gujjar and he raked it against the face of Myers. Moose smashed Kaz over the head with a trash can lid but then Kaz threw the cheese grater and it hit Moose down low. Kenny King was next in to make in 3 on 2 for 90 seconds for Team Bully. King came in with a trash can lid but Gujjar avoided it. King with a Snap Dragon suplex and a superkick. King with a Capoeira Kick on Kaz and a spinebuster. King hit a dropkick on Kaz in the corner. King set up the 3rd table at ringside and wedged it between the guard rail and the ring apron. Moose hit Gujjar in the head with a bottle of water. Killer Kelly was next in for Team Dreamer and she had Team 3D-style pants on to mess with Bully. King launched her into the air for a powerbomb but Kelly had a staple gun in her hand and nailed (literally) King in the head. Myers, who was busted open, went for a piledriver but Kelly nailed him too. Moose went for a powerbomb on her but Kelly slipped out and stapled Moose’s nether regions. Ouch! Kelly then stapled herself in the head! Out comes Masha Slamovich and we aren’t even pretending these are close to 90 seconds at this point, which is fine. Slamovich smashed Kelly in the head with a chair and tossed the staple gun up the ramp. Kaz and Myers came in to break up the fight and had both women in powerbomb positions. Myers powerbomb Kelly over the top rope, safely onto a pile of wrestlers. He then helped Slamovich down out of her own powerbomb predicament. She climbed to the top rope and hit a cannonball on to the pile of humanity with the steel chair. Yuya Uemura was next in for Dreamer’s team and he took down Myers with a flying forearm, then one in the corner. Uemura with a bulldog and an overhead belly-to-belly. Dreamer’s team were standing tall in the ring together as they waited for Bully to enter. Moose tried to get into the ring but got kicked out, as did King. Bully entered last for his team with a table and his steel chain. Dreamer’s team faced him, stupidly so Team Bully attacked them from behind. They all had Killer Kelly circled in the ring. Bully with shots with the chain to Kaz. King and Moose held Kelly down in the ring while Bully talked trash. Bully was not a fan of her pants. Here comes Dreamer and now pins or submissions can take place. Dreamer took out Myers with a Singapore cane. He took Moose out on the ramp. Bully had Kelly trapped in the corner when Dreamer entered the ring. Kelly started biting Bully’s arm. Dreamer with shots to the back of Bully with the cane. Dreamer wrenched at the knee of Bully. All of the other wrestlers came in and piled on submissions. Everyone had some kind of submission on, now that submissions could occur. Kelly and Slamovich then bailed to the floor to get some weapons. Kelly with a shot to the back of Moose with a steel chair then one for Bully. They faced off with a steel chair and Kelly got a shot to the ribs in on Slamovich. She destroyed Slamovich with a Death Valley Driver on the steel chair. Kelly covered and got a 2 count. Bully launched Kelly off the top rope into his own team mate in Myers. Back in the ring, Moose tried to spear Dreamer but missed and nailed Bully. Uemura with a flying crossbody on Moose but then got levelled by Myers with the Roster Cut. Gujjar hit the Gargoyle spear on Myers and then King nailed him with the Blockbuster. Kelly snuck in and applied the Killer Clutch on King but Slamovich nailed her with a back elbow and the Snow Plough. Kelly kicked out at 2. Slamovich tried fighting Kaz but he locked in the Chicken Wing submission. Slamovich with a low blow on Kaz but she backed right into Dreamer. Slamovich spat in Dreamer’s face so Dreamer gave her the piledriver! The Good Hands ran to the ring and took out Dreamer. Kaz with the save and nailed them with a double team move. Kaz brought a ladder into the ring. King came in and tossed him out. Myers put Gujjar through the table but the camera didn’t pick it up because there’s too much going on with 12 wrestlers involved at this point. The Good Hands grabbed Kelly and tried to powerbomb her through the table at ringside. Kelly fought out and back body dropped Hotch on the ring apron, in a really rough landing. Kelly helped Kaz with a slingshot cutter on Skyler through the tables at ringside. Nuts! Back in the ring, Bully hit a low blow on Dreamer. Bully eyed off the ladder. He set Dreamer up on the table, back-first. Dreamer told the referees to hold his ladder. The referees refused so he grabbed one by the throat. The referees turned on Bully and started beating him down! Dreamer hit the Dreamer Driver on Bully. 4 referees started counting but Bully kicked out at 2. That looked ridiculous with that many refs. They’re still in the ring! Dreamer put Bully on the table but took an eternity to climb up there. The referees held the ladder for him! Dreamer hit a nice looking splash on Bully through the table! Dreamer pinned Bully and won the match after 25 minutes.

Winners: Team Dreamer

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a result I was not expecting, especially when Dreamer said he was going on a break before the match. The match was fun and gave everyone, especially the women, some cool moments to shine. It was simply booked with a few weapons spots and not too many multi-person spots that feel contrived. In matches like with this many combatants, it’s clever to keep the really big spots to 2 or 3 so that the cameras pick up on all the action. Kaz was far and away the MVP of this match; levels above everyone else in the match. What a performer he still is. I’m happy that this feud is over now although I’m surprised that Dreamer’s team won, even if he has been pummelled for months.

Match #6: Vacant Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin vs Kushida

I was pretty confident that this would be the main event which probably makes it a certainty that Maclin wins as they won’t want to close the show with a heel celebrating. The Knockouts’ Championship match, which was only finalised on Thursday, will headline the PPV. Nick Aldis randomly joined the commentary team for this match. He’s a former Impact champion and had a great championship run as Magnus. Aldis announced that he was back in Impact and is coming for the World Title, so he wants to see the competition first-hand. I haven’t seen much of his NWA work but he’s still a big enough name and I’m interested to see what he can do back in Impact. Maclin was out first and then Kushida and they did the big match announcements in the ring. It’s pretty great that Maclin has gone from jobber Steve Cutler in NXT, and briefly SmackDown, to the top heel in Impact and possibly World Champion in about 20 minutes. Kushida was fast out of the blocks with a dropkick. Maclin bailed to the outside in frustration. Kushida used his speed to take down the legs of Maclin. Kushida was out-wrestling Maclin and applied a side headlock. Kushida blocked a hip toss and went back to the headlock. He had Maclin grounded on the mat. They cut to Aldis talking about winning his first championship and what Kushida and Maclin need to do to be ready for the opportunity in this match. Maclin tried for a back suplex but Kushida held onto the headlock. Kushida with a hip toss and Maclin backed into the corner for a break. Kushida with a running crossbody and looked for the Hoverboard Lock but Maclin backed into the ropes then pulled Kushida’s hair to get the upper hand. Maclin with a hard running elbow which took Kushida down to the mat. Maclin used the ropes to springboard into 2 knee drops. Maclin hit a Uranage-style backbreaker for the first 2 count of the match up. Maclin with a hard knee to the spine. He choked out Kushida in the corner with his feet. Maclin stretched Kushida’s spine against the steel ring post and then went over to Aldis at the commentary table and taunted him. Kushida fought back with chops at ringside, but Maclin took him down with a clothesline. Maclin hit a suplex on the floor and then reset the ten count inside the ring. Maclin gave the fans the double-bird and then dived off the ring apron and hit a flying elbow on Kushida who was on the floor. Back in the ring, Maclin covered Kushida for a 2 count. Maclin hit an Olympic Slam for another 2 count. Maclin started slapping Kushida and then hit a running forearm smash as Kushida tried to get off the mat. Kushida kicked out at 2 again, so Maclin applied a modified Crossface with his knee in Kushida’s back. Kushida rolled out of the Olympic Slam attempt and connected with a handspring back elbow. Kushida avoided a right hand and nailed a dropkick. Kushida hit a kick in the corner on Maclin’s injured left arm. Kushida with a hard palm strike and an inside cradle but Maclin kicked out at 2. Maclin blocked the Fisherman’s Suplex but ran into a discus forearm and then a Fisherman’s buster. Maclin just kicked out at 2.9. Kushida wanted a moonsault but Maclin quickly popped up and knocked him off his feet. Maclin missed his spear in the corner and crashed into the steel ring post. Kushida dropkicked Maclin out of the ring. Kushida hit a Pele kick on the entrance ramp. Kushida hit a running punt on Maclin’s left arm but it looked like he completely missed. Back in the ring, Maclin fought out of the Hoverboard Lock and nailed a German suplex. Maclin finally covered but Kushida kicked out at 1. Maclin blocked a corner attack and hit a Buckle Bomb into a powerbomb but Kushida kicked out at 2. Maclin went to the top but Kushida caught him with a kick. Kushida hit a handspring on Maclin and hit a belly-to-belly into the cross arm breaker. What an outstanding move that was. Kushida held onto the arm breaker but Maclin rolled to the floor and Kushida had to break the hold. Kushida hit a Flatliner onto the edge of the French announce table. I wonder if that’s as secure as its Spanish cousin in WWE. Back in the ring, Maclin caught Kushida in mid-air and hung him up in the Tree of Woe. Maclin hit his corner spear with Kushida upside-down. Maclin hit KIA but Kushida kicked out at the last second. That’s the first time anyone has kicked out of that! Maclin went for a diving headbutt but Kushida caught him in the Hoverboard Lock. Maclin battled out with stiff forearms to the face of Kushida. Maclin put Kushida on top of his shoulders but Kushida held the Hoverboard Lock. Maclin slammed him down but Kushida tightened his grip on the move. Kushida manipulated Maclin’s fingers at ridiculous angles. Maclin hit a Death Valley Driver against the bottom turnbuckle to finally break the hold. Kushida battled out of another KIA attempt and locked in the Hoverboard Lock in the middle of the ring. Maclin was in a standing position and somehow turned it into a spiked KIA to win his first World Championship. The match went 19 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Impact World Champion: Steve Maclin

Analysis: **** That was a fantastic championship match. The last 5 minutes were outstanding wrestling and story-telling. Maclin had to keep finding ways to break out of the Hoverboard Lock and did so in an emphatic fashion to win the match. About half way through the match it didn’t really feel like a World Championship match, but the action really picked up when Kushida started going for his submissions and he looked so dangerous at every attempt. I bought in to the possibility of Maclin tapping because of the deadliness of the move. Congratulations to Maclin. I think he deserves it, not just by default because Alexander is gone. I would’ve booked him to win the title anyway and use it to really establish him as the main heel moving forward. I hope he has a long run and I’m sure he will have a match with Aldis after tonight’s return. His commentary really added to the match, as an experienced wrestler and former Impact Champion.

After the match, Maclin was furious that Scott D’Amore went against his word and wasn’t handing him the championship. He said 10 days ago on Impact, D’Amore said he would personally hand the winner the championship tonight. President D’Amore reluctantly went to the ring and handed Maclin the title in a lacklustre fashion. Maclin wanted him to strap the belt around his waist. D’Amore wasn’t doing that and threw the title at him, then clapped nonchalantly. Maclin blindsided D’Amore with the championship to the back of the head. Aldis had seen enough and went into the ring to confront Maclin. They exchanged words as D’Amore lay squashed in the corner. Maclin backed down.

Analysis: That kind of overshadowed the win a little but there’s his first feud which should be great. Especially with the way that ended, it felt like that should’ve been the main event. If this is Maclin’s first defence, I’ll just have to make sure I don’t write Magnus.

Match #7: Vacant Knockouts’ World Championship: Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purrazzo

Let’s see if Purrazzo can bring a 2nd championship home to complement her husband’s win. She was out first, followed by Grace. They’re both faces, although not in the traditional sympathetic babyface style currently. Grace is angry and focused on the title, whilst Purrazzo recently turned because she had enough of Gisele Shaw. Hannifan mentioned that this is their first encounter in front of a televised audience. Grace had the advantage early with a headlock takedown, but Purrazzo locked in a side headlock. Grace backed Purrazzo into the corner with a chop. Purrazzo targeted the left arm early in the match. Grace tried to roll through but Purrazzo held on. Purrazzo blocked a snapmare but Grace hit a shoulder block. Grace with a snapmare and a suplex. Purrazzo with a roll up for a 2 count and a series of arm drags. Purrazzo with a hurricanrana and a boot to the face. Purrazzo hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Grace backed into the corner and flipped Purrazzo out onto the ring apron. Grace hit her with a headbutt and then a dropkick that sent Purrazzo to the floor. Grace hit a suicide dive and the guard rail was so close that Grace ended up hitting in with her back but luckily no damage seemed to have been done. Grace hit a Jackhammer on the floor as the referee began to count them out. The left arm was still bothering Grace as she made a cover inside the ring but only got 2. Grace hit a scoop slam and circled Purrazzo as she made it to her feet. She hit a knee to the ribs and then a clubbing blow to the back. Grace speared Purrazzo’s ribs into the middle turnbuckle and hit another scoop slam for 2. Grace went straight back to another cover for another 2 count. Grace hit an impressive stalling suplex, where the crowd counted beyond 20 with Purrazzo hoisted into the air. Grace tried for another pin but again Purrazzo was out at 2. Purrazzo hit a running knee strike and tried for the Fujiwara armbar but Grace rolled through into a pin for a 2 count. The fight spilled to the entrance ramp and Purrazzo was looking for her piledriver on the ramp. Grace powered out but Purrazzo pushed her off the ramp and then hit a moonsault to the floor except the camera man was asleep. Thankfully, we had a replay from a different angle. Purrazzo tossed Grace into the ring and went for the Queen’s Gambit again but Grace hit a back body drop. Grace wanted a powerbomb but Purrazzo turned it into a sunset flip pin for 2. Purrazzo hit a Flatliner into the Koji Clutch but Grace used her strength to power out of it and make it to the corner. Grace avoids an attack in the corner and hit an Inverter breaker-style move for a 2 count. Grace tossed Purrazzo into the turnbuckle but missed a corner attack. Purrazzo tripped her up and looked for a leg submission. Grace kicked off the Figure 4 submission attempt and locked in a sleeper hold. Purrazzo put her weight on Grace to turn it into a pin and break the submission. There was a clash of heads and Grace was cut above the eye, but that could’ve been from earlier and I missed it as her hair was in the way. They exchanged right hands in the centre of the ring and the crowd was firmly behind Purrazzo. Grace caught a Pump Kick attempt and ran the ropes but Purrazzo connected with it this time. Grace wasn’t fazed and went for a tilt awhirl slam but Purrazzo countered into the armbar again. Purrazzo hit some vicious elbows to the head to weaken Grace further. Purrazzo locked in the Venus D’Milo. Grace stretched her legs under the bottom rope to break the hold. Grace held the ropes but Purrazzo nailed her with a forearm. She ran at Grace, who connected with a spinebuster for a 2 count. Grace hit clubbing blows to the back and chest. Purrazzo bounced off the ropes looking for a bulldog, but Grace hit her with the Grace Driver. Purrazzo barely kicked out and Grace couldn’t believe it. Grace set Purrazzo up on the top turnbuckle. Purrazzo blocked a superplex attempt and turned it into a sunset flip powerbomb. Purrazzo nailed the Queen’s Gambit to win the championship after 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW Knockouts’ World Champion: Deonna Purrazzo

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a pretty good match that followed a similar pattern to the men’s championship match as Purrazzo kept trying for the arm bar but Grace had to find ways out of it. I don’t think it was on the same level as the previous match, in terms of quality, but the effort was there and execution very good. I think it was hurt a little by the face vs face dynamic. That’s always hard to overcome unless you are capable of a wrestling classic like Josh Alexander vs Mike Bailey for example, or Alexander vs Kaz/Swann from earlier in the year. I didn’t expect Purrazzo to win, as she was just added to the match 10 days ago, but we have already seen a Grace title reign earlier this year so I’m okay with it. Husband and wife walk away from Canada as the two main champions in Impact- that’s pretty cool.

After the match, Purrazzo helped Grace to her feet and shook her hand. The show ended with Purrazzo holding her title high in the air.

Deonna Purrazzo posted this on Twitter after the show since she and her husband are both champions in Impact Wrestling now.

Final Thoughts

Considering what has happened to Impact’s roster in the last three weeks, I thought that was a fantastic show. I enjoyed every match and nothing slipped below 3 ½ stars, which shows you that there was very good to excellent wrestling throughout the night. My favourite match was probably Maclin vs Kushida. It started off slowly but by the end it felt like it had risen to the World Championship level of worthiness. That should’ve been the main event, in my opinion. Then they could’ve had the post-match attack on D’Amore and face off with Aldis afterwards. The women deserved to main event because they are consistently excellent, but this feud between Maclin and Kushida had some storyline behind it, whereas Grace vs Purrazzo really didn’t. I also rated the X-Division triple threat match at 4 stars. I think that could’ve been match of the night if they didn’t have the elimination stipulation to it. I understand putting that in to stack the odds against Miguel but it meant that both faces then had to be pinned and now they’re both hurt by it, instead of just one of the wrestlers if it’s a regular match. I’m nit-picking now! It’s definitely a show worth watching, with no low spots and just quality wrestling for three hours. I’m looking forward to some feuds ending now and new ones beginning over the next few weeks.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

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