Impact Wrestling Review – December 22, 2022

impact wrestling bully ray josh alexander ladder

This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling was headlined by a Knockouts tag team match while Bully Ray delivered another message to Josh Alexander.

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

The opening video featured highlights from last week’s show, which included a highly emotive segment between Tommy Dreamer and #1 contender for the Impact World Championship, Bully Ray. Scott D’Amore also made Jordynne Grace vs Mickie James for the Knockouts’ World Championship an official match for the Hard to Kill PPV. They showed highlights of the main event where the Motor City Machine Guns became 3-time Impact World Tag Team Champions, by defeating Rhino and Heath.

Match #1: Impact Knockouts’ World Tag Team Championships: Death Dollz w/ Taya Valkyrie vs Deonna Purrazzo & Gisele Shaw w/ Jay Vidal

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show as we opened up with a big Tag Team Championship match. Usually it’s Jessicka and Taya wrestling, but they’re invoking the Freebird rule and Rosemary wrestles in place of Taya this evening. Jessicka takes down Purrazzo using her strength early on, so Shaw tags in to try her luck. Jessicka hits a Bionic elbow and a clothesline in the corner, then tags in Rosemary. Rosemary bites the forehead of Shaw and then chops her in the corner. Shaw tries a clothesline in the corner but Rosemary blocks it and locks in a head scissors choke using the ring ropes. Purrazzo illegally kicks Rosemary in the face from the ring apron. Shaw gains control and pummels away on Rosemary with right hands and scores a 1 count. She tags in Purrazzo who stomps away at Rosemary in the corner. She scores a 2 count and then tags Shaw back in. Shaw continues to dominate Rosemary and gets a 2 count. Shaw hits a nice double stomp in the corner for another 2 count. Purrazzo tags in again and hits a snapmare, then tries to lock in a chokehold on Rosemary. Rosemary fights back to her feet and nails a Fisherman suplex in the centre of the ring. Rosemary is able to tag in Jessicka, and Purrazzo makes it to Shaw. Jessicka is easily able to nail a big kick on Shaw then a running crossbody for 2. The referee starts to lose control as Purrazzo and Rosemary get back in the ring and start to brawl. Purrazzo and Shaw end up colliding as their Irish Whip attempts are reversed. Rosemary throws Purrazzo out of the ring and Rosemary hits a big spear on Shaw, then Jessicka covers for the win after 6 minutes

Winners by pinfall AND STILL Knockouts’ Tag Team Champions: Death Dollz

Analysis: ** Just an average match where the champions won rather easily. It looked like they had been building up Purrazzo and Shaw to be legitimate contenders but they didn’t put up much of a fight here. An underwhelming start to the evening.

Jordynne Grace was getting ready for her main event match when she was joined in the locker room by Mickie James. James reiterated that even though they are team mates tonight, Mickie knows she can beat Tasha tonight and her at Hard to Kill. Grace wants Mickie to make it to the PPV so wants to ensure they win their tag match tonight.

Analysis: A little more tension between James and Grace as we keep building toward Hard to Kill in 3 weeks’ time.

There was a video package showing Bully Ray’s reign of terror as of late.

Gisele Shaw and Deonna Purrazzo had a brief meeting backstage where they both declared to never tag together again.

Sami Callihan entered for a promo. Callihan has had issues with the Design lately. He says he has a problem. He thought taking out Eric Young meant that his troubles with the Design were over. He recounted his recent beat downs at the hands of the Design. Callihan said he has had enough of this and calls them out. Out comes Deaner, Kon and Angels. Deaner doesn’t think Callihan is brave for calling them out. He calls Callihan sick for harming his body every time he gets into the ring. Deaner says Callihan shouldn’t put his body on the line for people that don’t care about him (the fans). He says the antidote for Callihan’s sickness is ‘violence’. Callihan says he’s not here to fight. Deaner says the Design don’t do truces. Callihan says he is here because he wants to join the Design. Angels doesn’t believe Callihan is telling the truth and that he’s not the man he used to be. Callihan asks if the Design wants the Death Machine or not? The answer is no from Deaner as he levels Callihan with a right hand. Angels and Kon stomp away and then Deaner gouges at both of Callihan’s eyes with his thumbs. Deaner wipes out Callihan with the Implant DDT.

Analysis: Well, that was an interesting turn of events. I think it will lead to Callihan getting some friends to help fight the Design, but it was an attempt at mind games from him which didn’t work out. The heel stable of the Design is doing good work since the departure of Eric Young

Tommy Dreamer and Josh Alexander are chatting backstage. Alexander still thinks Dreamer could be setting him up for Bully Ray. He says that if Dreamer needs to here that Alexander forgives him, then so be it. Alexander walks off.

There were highlights of Bullet Club’s recent run in the NJPW Super Jr. Tag League.

Match #2: Mike Bailey vs Yuya Uemura

Uemura has mostly been used on the Before the Impact pre-show as of late, whilst Bailey had an incredible near-hour match against Josh Alexander 2 weeks ago. Uemura takes down Bailey with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss early on in the match. He targets the left arm of Bailey but Bailey is able to take him down with a big left kick. Bailey hits a huge chop in the corner and follows up with a huge boot in the opposite corner. Bailey nails a double knee drop on Uemura for a 2 count. Bailey locks in a modified single leg Boston Crab but Uemura is able to make it to the bottom rope quickly. Bailey continues to dominate with a chop and a big kick for another 2 count. They exchange forearms and Uemura avoids a kick to hit a big flying forearm and then a crossbody in the corner, which leads to a bulldog for a 2 count. Bailey blocks a Saito suplex and runs at Uemura who nails a belly-to-back suplex. Uemura clotheslines Bailey over the top rope as we go to a commercial break.

(Commercial break)

Back to the action and Uemura hits a scoop slam on Bailey. Bailey responds with a drop kick and then a series of kicks to the back. Bailey hits a running Shooting Star Press for a close 2 count. Bailey kicks Uemura hard in the chest 3 times then misses a running punt. Uemura goes to the top but is met with an enziguiri, which sends him to the floor, and then Bailey flies to the outside to take Yuya out with a moonsault. Bailey rolls Uemura back into the ring and hits a big knee drop for a 2 count. Bailey tries the windmill kick but Uemura catches his right leg. Uemura hits a belly-to-belly suplex and both men are down. Bailey nails Uemura with a kick, but Yuya fights back with a forearm and then hits a huge clothesline that turns Bailey inside out for 2. Uemura hits a running drop kick in the corner and then a modified Uranage. Bailey rolls out of the ring so Uemura hits a flying crossbody off the apron. Back in the ring Uemura tries another crossbody but Bailey blocks it with his knees. They exchange forearms and Bailey hits a thrust kick. Bailey misses the windmill kick so Uemura hits a brutal-looking German suplex, but Bailey pops up and finally hits the windmill kick in the corner. Bailey hits Ultima Weapon for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mike Bailey

Analysis: ***1/2 That was really good. Uemura hasn’t had a lot of singles matches in Impact, but that was definitely his best. He was booked strongly on debut, then thrown in a lot of multi-man matches and hasn’t done much lately, so it was great to see him show off what he can do against a top talent in Bailey. They really pummelled each other and I enjoyed how they matched up.

After the match, Kenny King was shown on the screen. King has been taunting Bailey as of late. King said he was in Arena Mexico and that the Impact fans didn’t deserve to see him.

Analysis: More mind games from King who I really rate as a heel. He just needs to be given momentum and some wins to back up his strong mic skills.

The Impact Flashback Moment of the Week was the debut of Hulk Hogan in TNA in 2010. I was in and out of Impact in the 2010s but I do remember plenty of badly-acted segments involving him, Bully Ray and Hogan’s daughter.

Match #3: Johnny Swinger & Ziggy Dice vs Jason Hotch & John Skyler

As soon as the entrances finished, Bully Ray’s music hit and out he comes.

No contest

Bully gets into the ring and assaults the team of Hotch and Skyler. Dice and Swinger left the stage as soon as Bully’s music hit. Bully tied Hotch to the top rope with a zip tie. Bully called Impact World Champion Josh Alexander out. Bully said Hotch’s career is about to end before it begins, unless Alexander gets out here. Bully had a chain in his hand and taunted Hotch. Alexander runs to the ring with a steel chair and Bully bails. All of a sudden, Hotch holds Alexander whilst Bully nails him in the throat with a chain shot. It was a set up all along and Hotch and Skyler tie Alexander to the ring ropes. Bully nails Alexander with right hands in the mid-section. Bully grabs a steel chair but Tommy Dreamer runs in and spears Bully. Skyler and Hotch hold Dreamer off so Bully hits a low blow. Bully nails Dreamer with a Piledriver and calls for a table. The crowd liked that. For some reason Skyler and Hotch bring a ladder into the ring so Bully slams it down hard on Dreamer. Bully bashes Dreamer with the steel chair repeatedly. Bully goes to hit Alexander over the head with the chair but stops and goes back to hitting Dreamer. A fan yells out “That’s not a table”, which was true. Bully tells Alexander to say hi to his wife and he goes to the back as his music played.

Analysis: Another great segment involving Bully Ray. I’m glad that tag match didn’t go ahead. Bully showed that he could take out Alexander any time but he chose not to in this instance. The Hotch and Skyler swerve was interesting and I wonder if that will be a permanent thing where they work with Bully. This was the first time Bully got physical with Dreamer so it shows that their friendship really is over. I’m not sure what happened but there was no table!

Scott D’Amore is backstage with Josh Alexander and tells him that Tommy Dreamer is off to the hospital. D’Amore says that Dreamer is going to be okay but Alexander is upset because he blames himself for what happened. Alexander is over playing by the rules and requests for Full Metal Mayhem at Hard to Kill. D’Amore thinks it’s time to see a Josh Alexander that we haven’t seen before. D’Amore grants it and wants to see Alexander take Bully out at Hard to Kill. D’Amore is sending Alexander and Bully both home until the PPV.

Analysis: Awesome. This was already going to be a great match due to the build but now it will be even more brutal. D’Amore sending both competitors home before the PPV sounds like a stretch but it’s really only 2 shows, as next week is a Best of 2022 special. I’m not sure it’s the best way to continue to build interest but I’m sure they will have a sit-down interview or a promo exchange before the match.

Match #4: Steve Maclin vs Rich Swann

Maclin is out first, followed by Swann. Maclin takes the advantage early on with a number of chops and a running back elbow. Maclin stomps on the back of Swann and nails him with right hands in the corner. Maclin taunts Swann whilst he continues to pummel away at him. Swann hits a running hurricanrana and 2 drop kicks as he worked into the match. He tried a crossbody but Maclin countered into a big backbreaker.

(Commercial break)

Back from the break and Maclin is in control with a big forearm to the lower back of Swann. Maclin drops a knee to the back of Swann. Maclin chopped Swann so hard that he took him off his feet. Maclin was abusing the fans so Swann had a chance to fight back with forearms and a big kick that sent Maclin into the corner. Maclin caught Swann with a Uranage but pulled Swann up as the referee was making the count. Maclin hit another backbreaker and whipped Swann hard into the corner turnbuckle. Maclin tied Swann up in the Tree of Woe but Swann pulled himself up and nailed Maclin with a kick. Swann hit some palm strikes and hit a big kick but Maclin kicked out at 1. Swann went for the Phoenix Splash but Maclin rolled to the outside so Swann hit a Cannonball Senton. He missed a second one so Maclin threw him into the steel steps at ringside. The referee had counted up to 5 by this point. Maclin tossed Swann face-first into the steel ramp. The referee finished his ten-count so the match ended as a double count-out but Maclin didn’t care. The match ran for 7 minutes.

Result: Double count-out

Analysis: *** That was pretty good, even with the non-finish as it did fit the situation. Maclin didn’t care about winning the match. He just wanted to inflict as much pain on Swann as possible. It looks like we will get another match between these two down the line. I’m all for that.

After the match the referee tried to stop Maclin from continuing the assault but Maclin put his hands on the referee. Maclin was swearing at the referee but it was bleeped out. Security ran out but Maclin fought some of them off. Swann and Maclin brawled as security struggled to keep them apart.

They showed two new matches added for Hard to Kill: A Fatal 4 Way Elimination match for the Tag Team Championships and an X-Division Championship match between Trey Miguel and Black Taurus. None of these wrestlers were on the show so it would’ve been nice to announce it with them in attendance but that’s how taped shows go.

Match #5: Jordynne Grace & Mickie James vs Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans

Grace and James face off at Hard to Kill, if Mickie’s career doesn’t end tonight in this tag team match. I think the result is pretty obvious but let’s be professional here. The heels are out first, followed by champion and challenger. Steelz and James square off first and Steelz takes advantage with a knee to the ribs. Mickie avoids a clothesline and takes control with a Thesz Press. Grace and Evans tag in for their teams. Evans shows her strength by backing Grace into the corner. Grace catches an attempted big boot and nails a back fist. She tried a sleeper but Evans back her into the corner. Evans took down Grace with a right hand as we went to a break.

(Commercial break)

Steelz was in control of Grace as the coverage returned. Steelz stomped away at Grace in the corner. She went for a clothesline in the corner but Grace ducked and rolled across the ring to tag in James. James hit a flapjack on Steelz and kipped up. She climbed to the top rope but Evans threw her off hard to the mat. Steelz covered for a 2 count. Steelz hit a pump kick for a close 2 count. She sat down hard on James’ back but James rolled her up for 2. Steelz hit a flying forearm and tagged Evans back in. Evans grabbed James by the hair and hit a forearm across the chest. Evans bounced off the ropes and hit a legdrop for a 2 count. She tossed James face-first into the top turnbuckle and backed her into the corner with her shoulder. Steelz choked James in the corner whilst Evans distracted the referee. Steelz tagged back in and choked her against the middle rope. James tried to fight back but Steelz took her down again with a kick to the head for another 2 count. Steelz applied a sleeper and Mickie was down on the mat, looking like she was fading away. She slowly made it to her feet and broke the hold. Steelz whipped James into the corner but was met with an elbow and a hurricanrana. James connected with a neckbreaker but was too far from her corner to reach Grace for the tag. Evans tagged in and took Grace down from the apron. Evans missed a shoulder tackle in the corner so James hit a Thesz Press off the top rope for 2. Evans was looking for the Full Nelson Bomb but James blocked it. Evans nailed a spinning back suplex but Grace broke up the pin. Steelz tagged back in and they went for a double team move but James backed out of it and made it to her corner. Grace tagged herself in, which Mickie didn’t seem too thrilled with, and hit a big spinebuster on Evans. Grace hit the Muscle Buster on Steelz for the win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Jordynne Grace & Mickie James

Analysis: ***1/4 That was about as good a tag match as you can have where the result is so obvious. The match was booked like most of these career-on-the-line matches, where Mickie spends a lot of the match in peril or on the counter. Grace got the win for her team to protect the match at Hard to Kill.

After the match, Mickie looked annoyed because she wanted to get the win for her team. Grace motioned to her that she did it to keep their championship match alive. They got into a shoving match and James hit a Mick Kick on Grace to knock her down. James backed out of the ring as Grace looked shocked as Impact went off the air.

Analysis: This has been boiling for a few weeks and it got physical there. Mickie has felt disrespected so it wasn’t a surprise to see her emotions getting the best of her. It wasn’t a heel turn or anything like that, but she wanted to show that she is on Grace’s level which she feels Grace doesn’t believe. I’m looking forward to the match at Hard to Kill.

Final Rating: 7/10

It was a solid show this week. When they tape these shows, and because they only have one television program per week, it can lead to some feuds losing steam or you have to think back to what is happening in a particular story line at times. They announced two decent matches for the PPV, yet none of those wrestlers were on the show tonight. To the outsider, that might look like the matches were just slapped together, however regular viewers would know that they involve ongoing storylines. It’s nit-picking and I know it must be hard to balance by taping your shows, but I want to see the best talent each week as do all the fans. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just getting into a feud (take Moose vs Joe Hendry for example) and you don’t see the competitors again for another two weeks. It was another show where they built heavily to the main event for Hard to Kill. This week, Bully again got the upper hand but we learnt that Alexander will get his wish of Full Metal Mayhem. During Bully’s last run as hell champion, he did despicable things in those type of hardcore matches such as exposing the concrete around the ring and uncovering the ring mat so it will be interesting to see how far they take it. The wrestling this week was pretty good. The opening tag match was the only match that wasn’t that exciting, but that fits my opinion of the Knockouts’ Tag Champions. Mike Bailey continues his run of very good matches and it was pleasing to see Yuya Uemura receive decent match time against a top opponent. Steve Maclin and Rich Swann were having a great match until the double-count out, which didn’t bother me because it fits Maclin’s character. And the main event where Jordynne Grace and Mickie James defeated Savannah Evans and Tasha Steelz was fine, too. Evans is getting more and more ring time and looking impressive as of late, so she might be impressing the higher ups at Impact. Overall, I enjoyed the show and am really looking forward to Hard to Kill.

The next PPV, Hard to Kill, looks like this so far:

impact wrestling hard to kill josh alexander bully ray

– Impact World Championship: Full Metal Mayhem: Josh Alexander (c) vs Bully Ray
– Knockouts’ World Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Mickie James (if Mickie loses she must retire)
Impact World Tag Team Championships: Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match:
The Motor City Machine Guns (c) vs the Major Players vs Bullet Club vs Heath & Rhino
X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel (c) vs Black Taurus
– Jonathan Gresham vs Eddie Edwards

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