IMPACT Wrestling Review – April 20, 2023
This week on Impact we saw the fallout from the Rebellion PPV, including a big 6-man tag match and a new challenger emerging for Impact World Champion, Steve Maclin.
Impact Wrestling 20/4/23 from Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The opening video focused on the main matches from last Sunday’s Rebellion PPV. You can read my review here. I thought it was a great show which saw Steve Maclin become the new World Champion, Deonna Purrazzo capture the Knockouts’ Championship and Nick Aldis made his return to Impact after six years away.
We are straight kicking off tonight’s show with a star-studded 6-man tag team match.
Match #1: Time Machine (Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley & Kushida) vs Mike Bailey, Jonathan Gresham & Trey Miguel
5 out of these 6 men were losers on Sunday and Miguel is now teaming with the two men he beat in the triple threat elimination match. Shelley and Gresham start the match off for their teams. There’s a bit of a stalemate and they tag in Bailey and Sabin to try their luck. Bailey quickens the pace and takes Sabin down with a hip toss but Sabin hits two of his own and targets the left arm. Sabin tags Kushida in but Bailey backs him into his corner and Miguel tags himself in. Miguel rakes the back of Kushida and hangs his arm up in the ropes. Kushida comes back with a big kick to the left arm of Miguel and softens it up for the Hoverboard Lock. Shelley quickly tags in and then Sabin as the left arm is still held in place. Another tag to Kushida and then they triple team the arm of Miguel. Miguel eventually gouges the eyes of Kushida and tags Bailey back in. Bailey with a kick but Shelley tags in off the Irish Whip. Kushida gets a cheap kick in and it looks like we are getting the obsessive-double team version of Time Machine tonight which I don’t find that fun to watch, especially as a face team. Kushida and Shelley hold Bailey in place as Sabin hits a dropkick. Shelley tags in and ties Bailey up in the Tree of Woe. The referee is dealing with Miguel so all 3 members of Time Machine hit a dropkick on Bailey in the corner. Shelley hits a cocky cover on Bailey who kicks out at 2. He tosses Bailey into the turnbuckle shoulder-first and tags in Kushida. Kushida drops the knee on Bailey’s left arm. Kushida snaps down on the arm using his legs and tags in Sabin. Sabin grounds Bailey again and stomps on the left arm. Shelley tags in and chops Bailey down to the mat. Kushida attacks Bailey’s arm in the corner. Bailey blocks an Irish Whip so Shelley wrenched down on his injured arm. Bailey finally kicks an incoming Shelley down to the mat. He tries to make the tag but Kushida comes in illegally and takes Miguel and Gresham off the apron. Bailey kicks Kushida down and Sabin makes the distraction so Kushida and Shelley hit a double-team cutter on Bailey. Kushida and Shelley hit dropkicks on Gresham and Miguel as they try to get back into the ring. Sabin runs the ropes and takes them both out with a suicide dive to the outside.
Kushida is dominating Bailey as we return to the action. Sabin tags in and continues the assault on the left arm. Shelley is quick to tag in next and Sabin and Shelley hit a double forearm. They try another double team but Bailey takes down Sabin with a pump kick. Bailey hits his combination kicks on Shelley and finally tags in Gresham. Shelley tags in Kushida. They have a ‘shoulder-block off’ but break even. Gresham flies through the air on a sunset flip pin and gets two. He tries a roll up and gets another two count. Gresham goes for a 3rd cradle but Shelley breaks it up just before 3. Kushida almost runs into Shelley as they try another double-team move. Gresham uses their teamwork against them and hits a jawbreaker then and enziguiri on Kushida. Gresham hits a German suplex with a bridge for a close 2 count. Gresham runs the ropes but Shelley pulls him to the outside. Sabin runs the apron and tries to kick Gresham’s head off but Gresham ducks and Sabin connects with Shelley. Miguel shoves Bailey out of the way so he can take out the Guns with a diving splash. Bailey cuts off Kushida handspring elbow attempt with a stiff kick to the chest. Bailey hits a springboard moonsault to take everyone out on the outside area. Kushida and Gresham face off back in the ring. Gresham locks in the Octopus submission but Miguel reaches over and tags in. Miguel pounds away on Kushida until he hits a Pele kick. Sabin monkey flips Kushida into Miguel and he locks in the Hoverboard Lock. Bailey tries for the save but the Guns take him out with a double-team Dragon Screw, which sends him to the outside. Miguel’s foot makes it to the bottom rope to break the hold. The referee tells Kushida to break the hold so he does for a split second and then locks in another submission.
After that odd timing of another advertisement, we are back with Miguel choking Kushida out in the corner. Kushida battles back with a knee to the ribs but Miguel holds his leg as he crawls to the corner. Kushida hits an enziguiri and tags Sabin in. Sabin flies in with a dropkick that sends Miguel over to his corner so Bailey can tag in. Sabin hits a Helluva Kick on Bailey in the corner. They trade forearms and Bailey hits a standing Spanish Fly for a 2 count. Bailey hits a flipping double knee stomp and then tries the Tornado Kick but Sabin blocks it. Sabin then launches Bailey with a release German suplex off the top rope! Miguel and Gresham argue about who should get the tag. Miguel pushes Gresham out of the way and tags in but gets dropped by a clothesline from Sabin. Kushida and Shelley knock Bailey and Gresham off the apron, then Time Machine hit a triple kick on Miguel in his own corner. Come on, ref! They try for a triple powerbomb but Gresham saves Miguel. Miguel holds Sabin in place and Bailey hits the Ultima Weapon on Sabin. Bailey kicks Shelley off the apron then goes for a slingshot crossbody to take him out but Shelley trips him up on the ring apron. He gets back into the ring but Shelley hits a Flatliner using the middle turnbuckle pad. Miguel hits Shelley with a Scorpion Kick but here’s the whole team to take him down with a triple team as the referee channels his inner AEW refereeing style. Sabin hits the Cradle Shock on Miguel as his two partners stand in the ring and pins him to win the match after 20 minutes of TV time.
Winners by pinfall: Time Machine
Analysis: *** That was more annoying than enjoyable. It should’ve been an amazing 4-star plus match but it was all the worst parts of the Motor City Machine Guns from the first part of 2023 rolled into a 20-minute match. The constant double and triple teams while the referee stood and watched was almost like they were trying to get away with as much as possible. I hated it. It only gets 3 stars because of the great athleticism of Gresham and Bailey, as well as Miguel trying to make his team lose rather than win, which backfired as he suffered the pinfall loss.
Director of Authority, Santino Marella, was with Gia Miller. They discussed his successful return to PPV after 9 years. Marella said he might return to the ring from time-to-time, his job is too demanding for him to be involved in too much wrestling. Alisha Edwards showed up and demanded Marella take action on PCO for constantly terrorising her husband, Eddie. Marella asked why Alisha wasn’t in her gear, as her match is up next. The awful Johnny Swinger and Ziggy Dice interrupted next. Marella said he can’t keep wasting resources on people of this calibre (yes!) and Marella agreed to give Swinger one more match.
Analysis: Lots of random interactions there to show how chaotic Impact can be and how swamped Marella is in his role.
There was a vignette for Deonna Purrazzo, the new Knockouts’ World Champion. She dubbed it the ‘New age of The Virtuosa’ as Matt Rehwoldt continued to go crazy as her #1 fan.
Match #2: Alisha Edwards vs Tara Rising
Tara and the worst name in wrestling is back on Impact. Alisha takes her down with a clothesline and pummels after with right hands. Alisha hits a splash in the corner and a number of back elbows. Alisha tosses Rising across the ring by her hair. Alisha tosses Rising into the top turnbuckle and hits a kick. She tries for a corner attack but Rising blocks it. Alisha hits a big clothesline and then tosses Rising out of the ring. She bounces Rising’s face off the ring apron and then slams her back-first into the apron twice. Alisha tosses her back into the ring and hits an X-Factor for the win after 3 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alisha Edwards
Analysis: *1/2 That was a boring squash. I’m not sure if they were trying to build Alisha up as a threat in the Knockouts’ division but she hasn’t wrestled consistently for a long time.
Post-match, Jody Threat came down to save Rising from a beatdown. Alisha backed out of the ring.
Analysis: A good way to feature Threat again after her debut last week.
Jody Threat and Tara Rising were discussing what went down in the ring. Rising thanked Threat for helping her. Threat told Rising that Alisha would get her just desserts.
Match #3: Moose w/ Brian Myers vs Yuya Uemura w/ Bhupinder Gujjar
These two were on opposing teams of the Hardcore War at Rebellion, where Team Dreamer defeated Team Bully. Moose dominated Uemura in the corner as soon as the bell rings. He misses a chop so Uemura hits three of his own. Moose with a shoulder tackle that takes Uemura down. Uemura avoids a clothesline and then hits a hip toss. Uemura traps the left arm of Moose but Moose grabs the hair to break the hold. Moose misses a clothesline and tumbles to the outside. Uemura takes him down with a dropkick and then a running dropkick that sends him into the guard rail. Uemura goes for a flying crossbody but Myers puts himself in harm’s way and saves Moose. Moose powerbombs Uemura hard on the ring apron. Moose tosses Uemura back into the ring and pummels him with right hands. Moose stomps on Uemura and then starts trying to pull his hair out. Moose with a hard chop but Uemura fights back with a few of his own. He tries a German suplex but Moose is too big and overpowers him with a Uranage. Moose chokes Yuya on the mat and then in the ropes. Moose slaps Uemura hard in the face. Uemura fires up with some slaps of his own. Moose sends him over the top and Myers holds his leg so Moose can nail the Pump Kick. Uemura crashes hard down to the outside area. Moose smashes Uemura into the steel ring post and goes back into the ring to break the count. Uemura makes it back by 6 and the match continues. They exchange forearms and Uemura hits a flying forearm off the ropes. He hits a running forearm in the corner and blocks a running clothesline. Uemura spikes Moose with a diving bulldog and tries for an overhead suplex but Moose tosses him out of the way. Uemura ducks a clothesline and hits a German suplex. Uemura hits a modified belly-to-belly suplex for a 2 count. Uemura climbs to the top but Moose sends him crashing down. Uemura cuts Moose off before he can attack. Uemura hits an overhead belly-to-belly off the tope rope! Uemura stacks Moose up and the referee counts to 2 and then stops to admonish Myers who is up on the apron. Bad refereeing there. Myers distracts Uemura, who has climbed to the top rope. He hits a flying crossbody off the top and has Moose beat but Myers again jumps on the ring apron to distract the referee. Gujjar finally goes after Myers and tackles him to the ground. Moose misses a spear in the corner and Uemura rolls him up for a very close 2 count. Moose hangs a running Uemura up on the ropes and then hits the spear for the win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Moose
Analysis: **1/2 That was okay but we are supposed to believe that Moose, who is 6’5 and 250 pounds, needs constant saving by his tag team partner to beat Uemura who he should be able to swat away like a fly? Yes, they are heels but that was excessive. This had almost as much interference as the first match, and that’s not a good thing. I liked some of the psychology of Uemura constantly trying to suplex Moose and when he finally did off the top rope, it looked great.
Jimmy Jacobs was backstage interviewing the returning Nick Aldis. Aldis thanked all of the fans for the support of his return to Impact. Aldis recapped his time in Impact, including his time as champion as Magnus. Aldis said he had his eyes firmly set on Steve Maclin and his title. Aldis doesn’t think Maclin understands the importance of the championship that’s in his possession. Aldis said that he will strike when Maclin crumbles under the pressure. Jacobs reminds us that the main event will be Maclin’s Changing of the Guard ceremony and asks Aldis if he will be there, even though all wrestlers are banned from ringside. Aldis says he respects the champion’s wishes so he won’t be there, but he will be watching.
Analysis: Good stuff here from Aldis who is a solid talker and always comes across as composed and professional. I was a fan of his when he was known as Magnus and had a solid 6-month run as World Champion in 2013-14. I look forward to a future Maclin/Aldis match up.
Match #4: Handicap Match: Frankie Kazarian vs The Good Hands (John Skyler & Jason Hotch)
Skyler complained before the match that Kaz assaulted them at Rebellion even though he and Hotch weren’t in the match. Skyler said that’s why they’re challenging Kaz tonight. Skyler starts off for his team. Kaz takes Hotch off the apron straight away but Skyler backs him into the corner and makes the tag. Hotch misses a splash in the corner. Kaz avoids a double-team and hits a double-dropkick of his own. Skyler opens the ropes so Kaz falls through them off the Irish Whip. Hotch hits a running suicide dive to take him out on the outside. Hotch throws Kaz back into the ring and pummels him on the mat with right hands. Hotch chops Kaz down hard to the mat and tags in Skyler who hits a knee strike. They perform a German suplex/ jack knife cover combination for a close 2 count. Skyler tosses Kaz face-first into the top turnbuckle. Kaz avoids a suplex and knocks down Skyler with a flying forearm. Hotch runs in and is taken down with a scoop slam and a springboard legdrop. Kaz locks in the Figure 4 on Hotch who isn’t legal. Skyler comes in and Kaz traps him in an inside cradle whilst keeping Hotch in the submission! Skyler just kicks out at 2. Kaz sends Hotch to the outside, so Skyler rolls him up for a 2 count. Kaz hits the slingshot cutter on Hotch and locks the Crossface Chicken Wing on Skyler who taps out quickly. The match went only 4 minutes.
Winner by submission: Frankie Kazarian
Analysis: ** A quick match to put over Kaz as a tough guy who can beat two men. There was some good action for such a short match.
There was a quick pre-taped promo with the Coven who were celebrated their Tag Team Title win at Rebellion with candles and their cards. Yippee!
There was a pre-taped promo from Sami Callihan in cam-corder style. Callihan said everyone should know him by now and that he would never join The Design. Callihan says he has no problem playing the long game just to prove a point. He says he played them like a fiddle. Callihan said he had 7 steps of his own and runs through them but step 2-7 were just ‘Destroy the Design’. Callihan said he hasn’t finished with The Design and is warning them that he is coming for them.
Analysis: After such a long-drawn out storyline, where Callihan finally turned on The Design at Rebellion, I felt that a segment like that deserved to be done in the ring and in front of fans who could react to it.
Match #5: Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Sheldon Jean
Hannifan said that Jean was a part of Big Brother in 2020 in Canada. I’ve never hear of him but let’s see how he goes here. Hendry was part of a winning team at Rebellion. Hendry grabbed a mic and said that while Jean only last 4 weeks in the Big Brother house, the fans can live forever in Hendry’s house as long as they…believe.
This is the main event of the evening, as the show is closing with Maclin’s Championship celebration segment. Hendry grounded Jean early with a headlock but Jean fought out and matched him for quickness. Hendry hit a shoulder tackle and tried for a stalling overhead suplex but Jean flipped out and grabbed Hendry by the nose. Jean hit a dropkick with an impressive leap. Jean pounded away on Hendry with right hands. Jean tried to toss Hendry into the top turnbuckle but Hendry hit an uppercut and a cutter. Hendry with a series of back elbows and a Fallaway Slam. Hendry kipped up and hit a headbutt on Jean. Jean avoided a clothesline and hit a high knee. He whipped Hendry off the ropes but ran into a hard clothesline. Hendry hit the Standing Ovation for the win after 4 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact Digital Media Champion: Joe Hendry
Analysis: ** It was a very basic match that Hendry was never going to lose. Jean did some generic heel moves but he had no chance so the fans didn’t really buy into him. I didn’t think that the crowd was as loud as usual for Hendry but it could’ve been an audio issue.
Next week on Impact:
* Knockouts’ World Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Taylor Wilde
* Masha Slamovich vs Jordynne Grace
* Kon & Angels vs Bullet Club
Analysis: That’s already a much better lineup than this week, which has been disappointing straight after a PPV. I’m hoping for something interesting to happen in the main event segment.
Steve Maclin’s Changing of the Guard Ceremony
Maclin served in the US Marines so is accompanied by some officers (I’m assuming) as his music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. It looked like Maclin had new plates on the Impact World Championship. He defeated Kushida in a fantastic match at Rebellion, which should’ve been the main event. There were some streamers that fell in the ring as Maclin entered. All other wrestlers are banned from ringside during this segment. The fans booed Maclin heavily as he soaked in the moment. They even chanted “We want Josh”. Maclin said that Impact Wrestling gave him an opportunity in 2021 and he kicked the door down. His mission from day one has to become World Champion. The fans continued to chant for Alexander, who Maclin said blinded them from all of the accomplishments that he was making over the last two years. Maclin said his mission isn’t complete however, which was to beat Alexander in Canada but that was taken away from him. The camera showed a young lady having a beer, abusing Maclin which looked quite funny. Maclin challenged any Canadian to challenge him for the Impact World Title. Some little kid in the crowd called Maclin a pansy so Maclin teed off on him. Maclin said he wasn’t afraid to hit a kid and kept abusing the fans. The president of Impact Wrestling, Scott D’Amore, made his way to the ring. Maclin’s marine buddies blocked the way but Maclin told them to step aside. D’Amore reminded Maclin who gave him his opportunities. D’Amore knew he had what it took to become World Champion but his issue with Maclin is the way he manipulates the truth to suit himself. D’Amore questioned whether Maclin was challenging only Canadian wrestlers to avoid fighting Nick Aldis (a Brit). Maclin resents that and says everything he does has a purpose. Maclin tries to goad D’Amore into fighting him, like Bully Ray did over the last few months. Maclin asked when D’Amore traded his balls in for the headset- big ‘ohh’ from the crowd there. D’Amore said he had every chance to fight him face-to-face at Rebellion, but like a coward Maclin hit him with the belt when his back was turned. D’Amore said he won’t make the same mistake twice. He took his jacket off and rolled up his sleeves, then tossed his watch to the side. D’Amore asked Maclin if he really wanted to face a Canadian at Under Siege. PCO’s music hit and Hannifan was going berserk as PCO made his way to the ring. PCO destroyed the mercenaries at ringside. He tried to enter the ring but two of them held him against the ropes so that Maclin could hit him with the championship belt. Hannifan said they were Maclin’s private security, so they started beating down PCO (weakly). Maclin ordered two of them to get a table from under the ring. PCO took two of the security down with a double clothesline. He hit a clothesline on Maclin in the corner and a DDT. PCO went for a powerbomb but Maclin crawled out of the ring and retreated up the ramp. Two of the security got to their feet but they were resting against the table that leant in the corner so PCO hit a double spear through the table! PCO’s music hit as he started down Maclin on the ramp.
Analysis: It was fine for first segment as World Champion from Maclin. He is a decent talker and interacts well with D’Amore. I did see earlier online that PCO had been named #1 contender but I didn’t see how it came about so it was written in a clever way that saves the Aldis/Maclin match for a bigger PPV. I didn’t think it would be PCO as the first challenger for Maclin, but he’s one of the most over faces on the roster and will match up well with Maclin as they can have a really physical encounter. I don’t think PCO will win the title, but it will be a fun brawl and he will do his usual insane moveset which will probably involve even more danger with it being a championship match.
Final Rating: 5.5/10
It was a pretty average show, especially after such an excellent PPV a few days ago. I was disappointed we didn’t get any in-ring segments from the new Knockouts’ Champion, Deonna Purrazzo, Bullet Club who had a big win at Rebellion, or Sami Callihan who turned face again Sunday. There weren’t many big-name players on tonight’s show which was taped the night after the PPV, so there’s some sense in that they had a big match the night before so perhaps they were given the night off. The opening contest should’ve been terrific but it was marred by interference and double/triple-teaming. I felt like fast forwarded it at times (I’m watching a recorded episode), it was getting me that frustrated. That was the best match of the night sadly. The rest of the show was giving easy wins to some established names such as Moose and Joe Hendry, which was fine but nothing noteworthy. It’s usually a slow-build for the first couple of shows as we head towards the next monthly special, but there’s usually more quality than what we saw tonight. Next week’s line up should be better. I enjoyed the end segment and am a fan of Maclin as champion. I think he will do really well and I think the obvious move is to have him defeat opponents until he finally faces off with Nick Aldis at Slammiversary in July. He will beat PCO in May at Under Siege, then could easily face someone the likes of Kaz, Rich Swann or Mike Bailey in June. Another match with Kushida would be fine with me, too.
The next Impact Plus special, Under Siege, is on May 26th. There’s only one match so far:
* Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin (c) vs PCO
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!