IMPACT Wrestling Review – April 13, 2023
With the Rebellion PPV just days away, Mickie James made her decision regarding the Knockouts’ Championship and Kenny King battled Frankie Kazarian for the advantage in the Hardcore War match.
Impact Wrestling 13/4/23 from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada
The opening video focused on Deonna Purrazzo being added to the Knockouts’ Championship match at Rebellion, along with last week’s main event segment where former Impact World Champion Josh Alexander relinquished his championship.
We are straight into the action with a singles match that has Hardcore War ramifications.
Match #1: Kenny King w/ Team Bully vs Frankie Kazarian w/ Team Dreamer
The winner of this match will gain the advantage for their team at Rebellion. King is out first, looking customarily cocky. Both men had their full teams’ support at ringside. They locked up but were quickly in the ropes. Kaz with a shoulder block and quick 1 count. He hit a hurricanrana and a hip toss, then tried to lock an arm bar on King in the centre of the ring. King reversed it into a roll up and got a 1 count. King tossed Kaz to the outside, but Kaz quickly sprang back up onto the apron. He tried a slingshot DDT but King caught him and hung him up on the ropes throat-first. Nice reversal there. King hammered away with right hands on Kaz in the corner. He hit a big back body drop and scored a 2 count. Kaz blocked a corner attack but got tripped up. King wanted a Camel Clutch but Kaz crawled to the ropes. King choked out Kaz in the ropes and Bully and friends abused Kaz. King got cocky so Kaz tried a sneaky inside cradle but only got a 1 count. Kaz almost got the 3 with a crucifix pin. King hit a tilt awhirl back breaker for 2. King went back to the Camel Clutch submission but Kaz had it slightly blocked by being on his knees. King wrenched at the face of Kaz but he turned it into a pin for 2. King responded with a big spinning kick to the face of Kaz. They exchanged right hands and Kaz connected with 2 clotheslines and a flying forearm. The crowd was unusually quiet for a Kaz comeback. Kaz hit his springboard legdrop for 2. He tried for the Crossface Chicken Wing but King backed him into the corner with a Scorpion Kick. King tried a Sunset Flip pin in the opposite corner but only got a 1 count. King missed a clothesline but connected with a Tiger Driver for another 2 count. Both men slowly got to their feet. Kaz rolled to the ring apron and missed a leg drop attempt but nailed the slingshot cutter for a close 2 count. Dreamer told Kaz to lock in the Chicken Wing but John Skyler got up on the apron to distract him, which led to both teams facing off. Kaz reversed a pin attempt and locked in the Chicken Wing on the mat. Brian Myers then randomly turned up at ringside. King was tapping but the referee was dealing with Myers. Moose then snuck in the ring and speared Kaz. King covered for the win after 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kenny King
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun match with a screwy finish which is okay as it gets Moose and Myers on the card for Rebellion, as they replace The Good Hands on Bully’s team. Moose and Myers deserve a spot on the card, but randomly adding them a few days before the show in place of a tag team who have been with Bully for months is poor booking in my opinion. They’re obviously more talented than Skyler and Hotch, however I appreciate more consistent booking than this.
After the match, Team Bully started beating down Team Dreamer in the ring. Slamovich had Kelly choked out in the centre of the ring. Myers was pulling at Dreamer’s face with a steel chain. Bully and friends celebrated as his music played.
Analysis: A short beatdown with the heels getting on top. Hopefully the feud ends on Sunday.
There was a segment from before the show where the Canadian national anthem was being played but Steve Maclin interrupted. Heel move there. The fans reminded him that he tapped out to Kushida at Sacrifice. Maclin said that it was his show and he becomes World Champion on Sunday. Kushida turned up and they brawled at ringside. The fight went into the ring and Maclin got a steel chair. He started swearing at the Impact officials and chased off security with the chair. Kushida kicked the chair into his face and started pummelling him with right hands. Security broke it up and Maclin tried to get back into the ring with the chair so Kushida did a handspring kick and the chair bounced off the face of Maclin.
Analysis: That was a great segment but it was strange with no commentary. It should’ve been on the show and would’ve been the perfect closer, had the Mickie James announcement not been in the main event spot. I get that it gives more heat to Maclin by interrupting the national anthem but that brawl would’ve been a good end to the show, leading into the PPV. I think it’s almost a certainty that Maclin wins the title on Sunday. He deserves it.
Crazzy Steve was in the ring and the lights were down. He said the chill in the air was not from the weather, but from the chaos of Black Taurus, who made his way to the ring.
Match #2: Black Taurus vs Lince Dorado vs Laredo Kid vs Rich Swann
Tom Hannifan said Laredo Kid ruptured his intestines in Mexico in October and nearly died, so this is his return match in Impact tonight. That sounds rough. This is billed as an X-Division Showcase match. Taurus started off on fire with a right hand to Dorado and a clothesline on Kid. Dorado tried a springboard forearm but Taurus nailed him with a headbutt in mid-air. Kid ran at Taurus who tossed him over the ropes. He then sent Swann to the outside and then took them both out with a corkscrew suicide dive. Taurus threw everyone back into the ring as he continued to dominate. He clotheslined Kid and Swann, but Dorado blocked him with a kick in the corner. Swann and Kid each hit Taurus with a superkick. All three connected with a superkick to finally take Taurus down and to the outside area. Kid tried a diving crossbody from the top rope but Taurus caught him. Swann dived on them both to take them down. Dorado flew high to the outside to take all three men out.
Swann and Laredo Kid were battling as we re-joined the action. Swann connected with a kick on Kid, who had climbed to the top rope. Kid fought Swann off but Taurus launched Dorado onto the turnbuckle with Kid. Dorado balanced on the top rope and connected with a superplex, whilst Taurus dropped him from his shoulders. Nice spot there. Swann with a Frog Splash on Taurus, who rolled out of the ring. Kid fell to the outside to, so it was just Swann and Dorado left in the ring. Swann connected with a kick to the gut and a neckbreaker. Swann hit a step-up kick but Kid came back in and nailed a flying forearm in the corner and a Falcon Arrow. Dorado broke up the first nearfall off the match. Dorado hit a nice springboard arm-drag on Swann and then a backbreaker on Kid. He ran the ropes and nailed a double springboard stunner but Kid kicked out at 2. Taurus caught him on the top rope and was about to Press Slam him when Kid cut him off. Taurus with a headbutt to Kid and Dorado. Taurus hit a ridiculous pop-up Samoan Drop on Dorado, where he launched him 3 metres in the air before slamming him down hard. Taurus then picked up Swann and slammed him on top of Kid. Taurus choke-slammed Swann on top of Kid and then hit a backbreaker on Dorado, from the torture rack position. Taurus power bombed Dorado over the top rope on top of Swann, and Dorado tried to reverse it in mid-air so it looked like he did a moonsault which added to the effect of the move. Taurus looked for another backbreaker on Kid, who turned it into a crucifix bomb and Taurus landed hard on his neck. Kid covered but only got a 2 count. He ran at Taurus in the corner, who blocked with a kick. Taurus nailed Kid’s head hard against the turnbuckle then took him to the top rope. Kid hit a Spanish Fly but it looked more like an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and got the surprise pin over Taurus after nearly 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Laredo Kid
Analysis: ***3/4 I wish they were given an extra five minutes or so because that was just so much fun to watch. I figured Taurus would win because he usually comes out on top of these X-Division multi-man matches, but they gave Laredo Kid the win on his return. I hope it leads to a push for him. All of these 4 men are super-talented and worked together effortlessly. Impact do these X-Division multi-man matches often, but they’re always great. Hopefully there are storylines moving forward for everyone in the near future, especially Swann who needs some direction.
There was a video highlights package of the feud between Bullet Club and the Motor City Machine Guns. They face off for the Impact World Tag Team Titles in Ultimate X on Sunday at Rebellion. That has match of the year potential.
Jessicka and Rosemary met backstage and argued about not rescuing Taya Valkyrie from the ‘Undead Realm’. What until Tony Khan here’s what Impact are saying about AEW! They opened a coffin which was supposed to be a gateway but it didn’t work. Jessicka got angry at the Coven who thinks they’re blocking their magic. She resolved to get even with Taylor Wilde later tonight.
Analysis: Yawn. Thankfully this has been relegated to the Rebellion pre-show.
There was another hype video for Maclin vs Kushida at Rebellion. We will crown a new Impact World Champion on Sunday.
Match #3: Jessicka w/ Rosemary vs Taylor Wilde w/ KiLynn King
These teams face off for the Knockouts’ Tag Team Titles at Rebellion, on the pre-show. This feud has been pretty bad, but as long as the Death Dollz aren’t champions then I won’t be too negative. Wilde hammered away on Jessicka in the corner in the early going. Jessicka fired up and blocked the strikes with a headbutt. Jessicka targeted the wrist of Wilde with headbutts. Odd. She missed a splash in the corner so Wilde took out her knee. Wilde stomped on the back of Jessicka in the corner. She choked Jessicka out using the middle rope. Wilde taunted the fans so Jessicka tossed her back into the ring. Wilde fought out of an attempted slam and hit a backstabber. Wilde choked Jessicka out using the middle rope again. Jessicka reversed a DDT and hit her version of the bionic elbow. Jessicka hit a running crossbody for a 2 count. Jessicka clubbed Wilde across the back and went for the Sick Driver but King got up on the apron. Rosemary got up on the apron and went for a spear but King blocked her with a knee to the face. Wilde wriggled off Jessicka’s shoulders (after being up there for about 30 seconds) and nailed a spinning fisherman’s neckbreaker for the win after 5 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Taylor Wilde
Analysis: *1/2 That was very slow and not very interesting. Wilde did okay against a bigger opponent but some of the spots were a bit sloppy. I hope the Death Dollz don’t win the titles back on Sunday as there’s no need for a title change at this point.
Jordynne Grace gave her opinion on Mickie James’ injury in a pre-taped promo.
Alisha Edwards was with her husband, Eddie, explained that they reunited (kayfabe) because he put his past with Honor No More behind him. Alisha said a monster has been holding him back from moving on. She said she had to intervene (by running PCO over- I’m pretty sure that’s illegal). Eddie said that this all comes to an end this Sunday at Rebellion in a Last Rites match.
Analysis: There has only ever been one of these matches in Impact history: Destination X 2007: Abyss vs Sting. There were ‘Fire Russo’ chants during the match and it has been widely criticised online. You have to put your opponent into a coffin that is lowered from the ceiling and nail the lid shut. I’m interested in why they would bring it back as something like a Last Man Standing match would’ve suited this feud better.
Match #4: Dirty Dango & Joe Hendry vs Angels & Callihan
Dango, Hendry and Santino Marella take on the Design in 6-man action at Rebellion. Hendry took the mic to address the fans as he usually does pre-match. Hendry said it was a special night as these two tagged together for only the second time. Hendry said there’s only two words that everyone should focus on tonight and Dango teased saying ‘Suck it’ like last week but eventually got it right and said ‘We believe’. Lame but funny. The commentators continued to highlight the friction between Callihan and the rest of his stable mates. Callihan ran through Hendry as the bell rang. He hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a quick 2 count. Angels was legal and hammered away with left-hand shots in the corner on Hendry. Angels hit a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Angels mocked Dango so Hendry hit a suplex and tagged Dango in. Angels made it to Callihan for the tag, too. Dango hit a running uppercut in the corner on Angels and nailed Callihan with a neckbreaker. Dango danced away and hit a leg-drop on Callihan. Angels came in for the distraction so Dango took him down but this allowed Callihan to nail a Death Valley Driver. Angels tagged in and scored a 2 count. Angels repeated the pin attempt twice for no success. Angels hit a running kick for another 2 count. Callihan tagged in again and they double-teamed Dango in the corner. Callihan and Dango ran into each other with a clothesline. They both tagged in their partners. Hendry took down Angels with 2 clotheslines. He caught Angels with a Fallaway slam. Hendry kipped up and nailed Angels with a clothesline in the corner. Kon tripped Hendry up as he bounced off the ropes. Angels caught him with Sliced Bread and a huge Frog Splash off the top rope. Angels made the cover but Dango broke it up. Callihan sent Dango into the ring post and crashing to the floor outside. Callihan measured Hendry but he moved and Callihan nailed Angels. Hendry sent Callihan to the outside and went for the Standing Ovation on Angels, but he slipped out of it. Angels hit an enziguiri on Hendry. Angels wanted to tag Callihan in but Deaner pulled Callihan off the apron to admonish him for accidentally striking Angels a minute ago. Deaner and Callihan argued so Hendry nailed Angels with the Standing Ovation to win it for his team after 5 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dirty Dango & Joe Hendry
Analysis: **1/2 That was fine for a short match ahead of their PPV encounter. It continued to push the storyline where Callihan keeps messing up and The Design question if his actions are deliberate or not. Hendry continues to be very popular with the fans who enjoy his antics.
Post-match Kon got into the ring and attacked Hendry from behind. He sent Dango out of the ring. Callihan raked the eyes of Hendry then Santino’s music hit and he jogged down to the ring. Marella was initially hesitant to get into the ring against 4 opponents until Dango got back in and evened the odds up a bit. Dango and Hendry sent Kon and Callihan to the outside, far too easily. Deaner tried to strike Marella, who blocked it and took down Deaner with a kick, sending him out of the ring. Marella got the cobra sock puppet out of his pocket, which was lame 15 years ago, and nailed Angels in the centre of the ring. The top heel faction in the company fears socks.
Analysis: As silly as it was, they could’ve left the return of the cobra until the PPV. It would’ve popped the fans a bit more. I think the heels were dealt with far too easily in the post-match segment but I think they will win at Rebellion.
There was a recap of Josh Alexander relinquishing the World Title on last week’s show and then a quick vignette from PCO screaming that he will bury Eddie Edwards on Sunday.
Bully Ray cut a pre-taped promo backstage. He said he outsmarted Dreamer who thought he knew who was on his team for the Hardcore War at Rebellion. Bully showed off his team, even though the Good Hands were still in the shot. Bully says he can’t wait for Masha Slamovich to cave Killer Kelly’s face in. Bully said that this team will make Dreamer’s team lose sleep at night. He said no one can imagine what they’re capable of doing at Rebellion. Bully said Dreamer should’ve realised by now that screwing with him gets him nowhere.
Analysis: We know that there have been changes to Bully’s team but they were all united in this promo
Match #4: Gisele Shaw w/ Jay Vidal & Savannah Evans vs Tasha Steelz
I’m not sure why they are doing this match tonight when it could easily be on the PPV. This is Steelz’s first match since January. Shaw rolled out of the ring as soon as the bell rang. Vidal gave her a pep talk and she went back to face Steelz. Steelz shoved Shaw in the chest so Shaw slapped her hard in the face. Steelz returned serve and hit a back elbow. Steelz tossed Shaw to the outside and they went to a commercial break.
Shaw was in control as the action returned. Shaw slammed Steelz into the mat face-first. Shaw sent Steelz off the ropes but Steelz ducked through the legs and hit an upper cut. Steelz sent Shaw into the corner and chopped her. She repeated the dose in two other corners but Shaw ducked the third attempt and hit some chops of her own. Shaw talked trash to Steelz who had time to mount some offense until Shaw pulled her down by the hair. Shaw started complaining to the referee, which allowed Evans to pull Steelz out of the ring. Evans hit a chokeslam on the ring apron then threw Steelz back into the ring. Shaw made the cover but Steelz kicked out at 2. Shaw stomped on Steelz’s head as she was down on the mat. Shaw whipped Steelz hard into the top turnbuckle and covered for a 2 count. Steelz fired back with forearms but Shaw cut her off with a knee to the ribs and a snap suplex for another nearfall. Shaw kicked Steelz hard in the ribs again. She locked in a modified Camel Clutch. Steelz slowly got to one knee to battle out of the submission. Shaw cut her off again with a knee to the gut. Shaw tied Steelz up in the corner and stomped on her ribs.
Shaw was still in control and hit a series of running upper cuts on Steelz, gaining a close nearfall for her troubles. Shaw used the ropes for leverage as she stood on the throat of Steelz. Shaw hit a spinning suplex for another 2 count. Shaw wrenched at the face of Steelz in another Camel Clutch modification. Steelz battled back with forearms and a couple of running elbows. Steelz hit a jumping neckbreaker and hit a running uppercut in the corner. Steelz hit a very gentle basement dropkick on Shaw for 2. Steelz went for a bulldog off the ropes but Shaw had it scouted and tossed her hard down to the mat. Shaw hit a running forearm strike to the back of Steelz’s neck for a very close 2 count. Shaw fought out of the Black Out and they battled in the corner, where Steelz kicked Shaw off the apron. Shaw avoided the baseball slide and smashed Steelz in the face with a stiff forearm. The exchanged forearms on the entrance ramp and then Shaw slammed Steelz into the steel steps. Shaw pulled down her knee pad and tried to take Steelz out with a knee shot against the steps, but Steelz moved and Shaw went crashing into the steps. Steelz rolled Shaw back in and took out the injured knee with a dropkick. Steelz hit a flipping pin and beat Shaw after 13 minutes of televised time.
Winner by pinfall: Tasha Steelz
Analysis: ***1/4 There were some really good moments here, amongst some weak-looking spots which can be slightly expected with it being a fresh match and Steelz not working a match for 3 months. Two commercial breaks hurt the momentum but that’s what happens in a main event match. I thought the ending was pretty weak too as it took a soft looking kick and a float-over pin. I would’ve preferred something more decisive from Steelz. Shaw continues to look good in these higher-profile Knockouts matches, even though she rarely comes out victorious. I’d like to see her winning some matches soon.
Backstage, Mickie James tells Santino Marella that she has her diagnosis from the doctor and will address the situation next up. The fans then cleared out of the arena, which the commentators said was out of respect to Mickie James but also could’ve been so it didn’t get leaked as this was taped a few weeks ago.
Mickie James Addresses Her Injury Situation
There was a recap of the Knockouts’ Championship situation, where Deonna Purrazzo won a Fatal-4-Way at Multiverse United to be added to the match between Jordynne Grace and Mickie James. Mickie James was alone in the ring with the spotlight on her. She said she asked for this time alone because she couldn’t figure out how to say this to an arena full of fans who have walked beside her on this Last Rodeo. James said she started this mission to prove to herself and the fans that she could still hang with the Knockouts division. She said she couldn’t have made it through without the fans. James said that the reality is there’s always a time when an opponent comes along who is a little faster, stronger or better and wants to knock you off the top of the mountain. James said she would’ve been honoured if she was to lose the championship to anyone in the locker room in that manner. James said what she can’t stomach is the fact that time is not on her side, not with this injury and with her age. Purrazzo and Grace were shown watching backstage together. James said when she comes out and performs in front of the fans, she still feels 20 years old. But when she comes back through the curtain and cools down, the pain and wear and tear sets in and she’s reminded of her situation. With that being said, Mickie James said she had to do what’s right for business, the championship and the locker room. She thanks the fans for believing in her one more time and she will be forever grateful. James said she is not cleared to compete at Rebellion. She is a woman of her word and laid down the championship in the middle of the ring. James said it was Grace’s or Purrazzo’s time now and left her hat and championship in the ring. James then headed to the back and there was a shot of the title and hat sitting alone as Impact went off the air.
Analysis: That was a dramatic way to end the show and it was disappointing to hear that James wasn’t cleared to fight at Rebellion. I was hoping that they would just hold off having her drop the title but that’s what she said she would do so props to her for being honourable. I like the way that it was presented, with just her in the ring with the single spotlight. Thanking the fans and then placing her hand down with the championship partially felt like a retirement angle but I hope she would go out on a higher note, especially after how she fought to get the title during the Last Rodeo. Purrazzo vs Grace will crown a new Knockouts’ Champion on Sunday and I think it will be Grace on top, as Purrazzo was just added to the match last week. Maybe there could be a Grace heel turn, as she was just the face champion a few months back or maybe Purrazzo will get the surprise win and Rebellion could close with husband and wife as the main title holders in the company. I’d be fine with that too.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
That was a really solid way to promote the PPV on Sunday, as well as having some decent wrestling throughout the night. The X-Division match was the stand out, and that match had no competitors that are wrestling at Rebellion but they still were able to put on a terrific contest. I liked the main event between Gisele Shaw and Tasha Steelz, although the flow of the match was hurt by the commercial breaks and a few sloppy moments. The build to Rebellion continued strongly. Impact have been dealt some really tough blows over the last month by losing both their main champions due to injury and having to replace them on the eve of a PPV. They have done a great job at still managing a decent card and there’s the extra intrigue of the certainty of crowning two new champions on Sunday. There’s also plenty of matches with stipulations- we have a Hardcore War, Ultimate X and a Last Rites match, all with solid storyline work behind them. We found out the big changes to Bully Ray’s team, with the addition of quality wrestlers in Moose and Brian Myers replacing the Good Hands. Bully’s team is much stronger and I hope they get the win and end the feud between him and Tommy Dreamer.
I will be watching Rebellion on Sunday as I am on holidays and will return with a review after the weekend. Here is the final card with my predictions in bold.
* (Vacant) Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin vs Kushida
* Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purrazzo
* Ultimate X for the Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns
* X-Division Championship: Elimination match: Trey Miguel (c) vs Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham
* Last Rites match: PCO vs Eddie Edwards
* Hardcore War: Team Bully (Bully Ray, Moose, Brian Myers Kenny King & Masha Slamovich) vs Team Dreamer (Tommy Dreamer, Yuya Uemura, Bhupinder Gujjar, Frankie Kazarian & Killer Kelly)
* Santino Marella, Dirty Dango & Joe Hendry vs The Design
* Pre-show: Champagne Singh & Shera vs Heath & Rhino
* Pre-show: Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: The Coven (c) vs Death Dollz
Any feedback or comments are welcome. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org in case anybody wants to get in touch with me and my Twitter handle is @thomok6 as well. Thanks for reading!