Impact Wrestling Review – February 9, 2023
On a big episode of Impact this week, we saw two No Surrender Qualifying matches, a Digital Media Championship grudge match as well as Tommy Dreamer and Mickie James teaming up in tag team action.
Impact Wrestling 9/2/23 from Oscela Heritage Park: Kissimmee, Florida
The show opened with a recap of last week’s main event, where Sami Callihan redeemed himself by scoring the win in 8-man tag team action. The rivalry between Matt Cardona and Joe Hendry was also highlighted.
The show opened with Matt Cardona entering the building. He was shown to his own private locker room by an assistant, who thought he was Joe Hendry. The assistant took him away from the locker room that had shrimp cocktail and champagne, to his own locker room that was stacked with junk.
Analysis: That was a different way to open the show but it shows how Hendry continues to get under Cardona’s skin.
Match #1: No Surrender Qualifying Match: Brian Myers vs Dirty Dango
The winner of this match qualifies for a Fatal-4-Way match to determine a new #1 contender to the Impact World Championship. The winner of that will challenge the winner of Rich Swann vs Josh Alexander after No Surrender. Dango danced around the ring, which annoyed Myers at the beginning of the match. Myers took him down with a shoulder tackle but Dango fought back with a number of hip tosses. Dango hit a nice Hammerlock Suplex for a 1 count. He followed up with a leg drop for a 2 count. Myers retreated to the outside to get some separation. Dango decked him with a right hand and celebrated with some fans in the front row. Myers hid under the ring and tossed Dango into the steel ring post. Myers was looking for a count out victory but Dango was able to get back into the ring by a count of 5. Myers pummelled Dango as soon as he got into the ring. He locked in a sleeper hold but Dango was able to make it to his feet. Myers hit a drop toe hold and a suplex for a 2 count. Myers taunted Dango and told him to dance as he stomped on him on the mat. Myers tried for a side headlock and then clubbed at the back of Dango. They collided in the centre of the ring with a headbutt, as Dango bounced off the ropes. Dango started to get back into the match with chops in the corner. He hit a running uppercut and nailed a side Russian Legsweep. Dango had the fans on his side as he hit another legdrop. Dango connected with the Falcon Arrow for a close 2 count. He went to the top and hit Myers with a double axe handle which sent him off the ring apron. Dango flew to the outside but Myers pulled the advertising banner between himself and Dango, so Dango got crotched on it. Myers hit the Roster Cut on Dango on the floor. Myers hit another Roster Cut to pick up the win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Brian Myers
Analysis: *** This was a solid start to the show. Dango’s athleticism was a good match with Myers more physical style and I thought they worked well together. Dango has had 3-4 pretty good matches during this run in Impact and the crowd certainly enjoy his work.
Gisele Shaw was in the catering area with Jay Vidal. She knocked one of the wrestlers’ bowl of food onto the table. Shaw said that ruining things is what she does now. She then poured water all over another guy’s salad. Deonna Purrazzo got in her face because Shaw mentioned Purrazzo’s friend, Chelsea Green, on the show last week. Shaw got a bowl of food and was about to throw it at Purrazzo but Purrazzo saw it coming and threw it all over Shaw’s face. Purrazzo thought it was hilarious, so Santino Marella stepped in and said that they could settle their differences at No Surrender. He then tasted the food that was on Shaw’s face and said it needed some salt.
Analysis: Shaw’s woes continue but that should be another good match for the Impact Plus special.
Gia Miller was interviewing X-Division Champion Trey Miguel backstage. Miguel looked nervous. He said Crazzy Steve doesn’t have a plan and that is unsettling. Miguel said that when he tags something, it means he owns it, but Steve somehow got it in his mind that he owns Trey. Miguel wants nothing to do with Steve. The lights then went out and Miguel’s logo was everywhere except there was blood dripping down over the green spray paint.
Analysis: More mind games from Decay as we head towards No Surrender.
Match #2: The Good Hands (Jason Hotch & John Skyler) vs Mickie James & Tommy Dreamer
Skyler ran down the Florida fans and their state before the match began. He said if he ran Impact, they would never return to Florida again. Bully Ray is barred from ringside for this match. The popular team of James and Dreamer entered separately. James and Hotch started the match, with James getting the better of the early exchanges and tagging in Dreamer. They hit a double elbow drop, then James tagged back in. She hit a double axe handle off the top rope. Hotch hit a knee to the ribs and tagged in Skyler. James tripped up Skyler and then tagged Dreamer. Plenty of quick tags early in this match. Dreamer hits a hard elbow to the back of Skyler and then tosses him from the ring. Hotch runs in and Dreamer back drops him over the ropes, sending him crashing into Skyler on the outside. Dreamer hits a double clothesline as he dives (falls) from the ring apron. James then connects with a crossbody off the top rope to both men. Dreamer and Skyler face off back in the ring. Dreamer locks in a Texas Cloverleaf. Hotch attacks Dreamer from behind, forcing him to break the hold. Skyler drags Dreamer to his corner and tags in Hotch. They hit a double Russian Legsweep and then a double elbow drop. Skyler hits a hip attack in the corner. He spends too long taunting the fans, so Dreamer has time to hit a cutter in the centre of the ring. Skyler makes the tag and so does Dreamer. James nails Hotch with a number of clotheslines and a back elbow. She hit a head scissors and a flapjack. James went to the top rope and connected with a Thesz Press and got a 2 count, as Skyler broke up the pin. James hit the Mick Kick on Skyler, then Dreamer and James both hit their DDTs on the heels. James pinned Hotch for the win after 6 minutes
Winners by pinfall: Tommy Dreamer & Mickie James
Analysis: *** I thought that was entertaining for a shorter match. James’ offense against the men looked sharp and the Good Hands, especially Hotch, sold well throughout the match. The finishing sequence was predictable but fun. Something is wrong if I am enjoying a Tommy Dreamer match in 2023! Thanks Mickie!
After the match, Bully Ray immediately storms the ring and takes out Dreamer from behind. He blocks James in the corner and tells her to hit him. Masha Slamovich appears from the crowd and nails James with a nasty palm strike to the head. Slamovich nails the Snow Plow to leave James laid out.
Analysis: An effective segment to give the heels some momentum. I’m not sure if it’s Dreamer vs Bully at No Surrender but they still have two weeks to announce it (they may have already, but I don’t read spoilers).
Backstage, Santino Marella is confronted by Johnny Swinger and Ziggy Dice, who call him ‘Sammartino’ (classic Santino gaffe). Swinger says he deserves a title shot but Marella knows his situation and says he has to win 50 consecutive matches. Dirty Dango still thinks he’s Santino’s deputy, and Santino denies the request. Santino has had enough of Dango but agrees that Swinger’s request is rejected.
Analysis: Lame stuff here. I do not find Swinger and Dice an entertaining act, although I’m sure many people do.
There was a video highlights package of Rich Swann’s championship run in 2020 and 2021. Swann spoke about being disappointed that there were no fans in attendance to share his moment. He recapped the Winner-Take-All match with Kenny Omega for the Impact and AEW World Championships, which Omega won. He said the disappointment of that moment sucked his confidence for the next 18 months. Swann said that after letting impact down, it’s now time to get his championship back.
Analysis: It’s good to see the serious side of Swann. I have also found it hard to take his dancing gimmick seriously. I felt bad for Impact during that crossover period because Tony Khan and Don Callis took turns at cutting promos trashing Impact on Dynamite each week, where Impact had no fans in attendance still.
Steph De Lander was Persia Pirotta in NXT and is a fellow Aussie. De Lander said the entire Knockouts division was in the back shaking in their boots at the prospect of facing her. De Lander said the ‘losers in the audience’ can see the ‘Powerhouse Predator’ each week now. It appears that she will be a heel.
Match #3: Steph De Lander vs Jordynne Grace
Grace made her entrance after the break. She is preparing for a bodybuilding competition and is looking seriously strong. De Lander was aggressive but overzealous early, so Grace booted her to the outside. Grace connected with a dropkick through the ropes. De Lander caught her as she posed on the ring apron and hit a kick to the head for a 1 count. De Lander speared Grace in the corner and sent her to the opposite side with a clothesline. Grace kicked out again at 1. De Lander talked trash to the fans and took down Grace with a clubbing blow to the back. She tried to lock in a sleeper hold but Grace was too strong. Grace sat up to break the hold, but De Lander ran the ropes and hit a falling clothesline. Grace blocked an Irish Whip attempt and hit a stiff forearm. Grace hit a spinning back fist and a delayed German suplex with a bridge. De Lander kicked out at 2. Grace wanted the Grace Driver but De Lander was able to block it. De Lander caught Grace with Snake Eyes and a Big Boot for 2. De Lander was going for a powerbomb but Grace gave her a back body drop. Grace hit the Grace Driver for the win after 5 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jordynne Grace
Analysis: **3/4 Another good match that was pretty physical. De Lander got a lot of offense in during her debut and most of it looked impressive. I suppose Grace still needs the momentum, as she remains in the title hunt, so having her win does make sense. I was hoping for an upset!
Analysis: Perhaps it’s Steve vs Miguel next on the agenda in the X-Division, seeing as Taurus hasn’t been able to get the job done on multiple occasions.
Matt Cardona was complaining about changing in a broom cupboard and said it’s unfair that Hendry gets his own private locker room. Cardona said he would rather change in the parking lot, so one of the Impact officials led him down the corridor. Cardona thought he was getting a new locker room but he was led out to the parking lot. Cardona got upset that he didn’t even have his bag, so the official came back and tossed his bag outside too
Analysis: The story is that Cardona will be too rattled to win the title. We will see in our main event!
Gia Miller is backstage with Impact World Champion Josh Alexander. Miller asked Alexander about his thoughts on his match with Rich Swann at No Surrender on February 24th. Alexander puts over Swann for holding up the company during the empty-crowd era. Alexander said Swann is too hard on himself after losing one match in 2021. Despite that, Alexander said that at No Surrender, Swann is not his friend, but his opponent. Kenny King interrupts Alexander. King said Alexander just gives out title matches to all his friends. He said that if he wants to have a credible legacy, Alexander would give King a shot. King said that Alexander only retained his title against Bully Ray because of his wife. Swann walked in and mocked King for being a whiner. Swann said King’s earnt nothing and told King he would punch him in the face if he mentioned Swann’s name again. King said Swann wouldn’t touch him, so Swann decked King with a right hand.
Analysis: This might lead to Swann vs King as a No Surrender warm up match for Swann. King is probably the worst booked wrestler in Impact, in terms of wins and losses.
Match #4: Killer Kelly & Taylor Wilde vs Death Dollz (Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary w/ Jessicka)
Wilde and Kelly are foes turned friends for this match up. Valkyrie and Kelly start the match off. Valkyrie tosses Kelly into the corner and nails a big kick against the ropes. Rosemary tags in and Valkyrie hits a running German suplex as Kelly was hung up in the middle rope. Rosemary tossed Kelly into the corner and hit a splash. Rosemary nailed a Fisherman’s suplex and a headbutt. She choked Kelly out with the Upside Down in the ropes. Wilde tagged herself in and ran into the top turnbuckle after missing a clothesline. Wilde hit a backbreaker and dragged Rosemary to her corner. Wilde choked Rosemary out in the ropes and tagged in Kelly. Kelly hit a number of hard knees to Rosemary’s rubs. Jelly hit a delayed Fisherman’s suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. Wilde continued to consult her Tarot cards as Kelly wrestled. Wilde tagged in and hit a number of forearms. The crowd was pretty loud for Rosemary at this point. Both women hit a clothesline on each other in the middle of the ring. Valkyrie and Kelly tagged in for their teams. Valkyrie hit a big clothesline and a Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Kelly fights out of the Road to Valhalla and hit a running knee on Valkyrie. She knocked Rosemary off the apron and went to tag in Wilde, who was too busy reading her cards. Kelly screamed at Wilde to tag in but Valkyrie hoisted Kelly up for the Road to Valhalla and Rosemary jumped up to assist her. Valkyrie pinned Kelly for the win after 6 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Death Dollz
Analysis: ** This was more about the storyline, which I find lame, between Kelly and Wilde than the match quality. It looked like Kelly and Wilde were working as a face team, but Wilde ended up leaving Kelly to get dominated. I haven’t seen that much offense against Kelly in any of her matches in Impact so far.
After the match, Father James Mitchell appeared on the stage. Mitchell said Jessicka reminded him of someone. Mitchell has said he has been sent to put a hex on Rosemary. All of a sudden, a group called the Hex (Marti Belle & Allysin Kay) attacked Valkyrie and Jessicka from behind. Belle hit a spinning forearm on Rosemary and they hit a Dominator-style double-team move that Hannifan called Hex Mark the Spot.
Analysis: That is exactly what this division has been lacking. The Hex have wrestled in the NWA and Ring of Honor over the last two years. I remember Belle from her time in the Impact faction The Doll House, but I don’t think I was watching Impact when Kay (then Sienna) was Knockouts Champion. They’re a very welcome addition to the division.
Backstage, Eddie Edwards gave Shera some motivational words before his match with PCO. Raj Singh said if Edwards wanted PCO out, it would cost him.
Analysis: Obviously, Edwards doesn’t want to face PCO in that match so he will do whatever he can to make sure Shera advances.
The Motor City Machine Guns found Kushida backstage. He was on the phone. Bullet Club burst in and told them how their experience has made them into a formidable tag team. Bey put over their win against Kushida and Knight last week. Bey challenged the Guns and Kushida to a match against them and KENTA at No Surrender.
Analysis: I was disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a Tag Title match until Bey mentioned KENTA as their tag team partner. That could be match of the knight.
Match #5: No Surrender Qualifying Match: Shera w/ Raj Singh vs PCO
They exchanged blows early on. PCO took down Shera with a throat thrust and tossed him out of the ring. PCO did a ridiculous cannonball through the middle ropes that took Singh and Shera out. PCO grabbed them both by the throat but they backed him into the steel ring post. Back inside the ring, Shera hit a big spear in the corner and then a suplex. PCO sat up like the Undertaker and choked Shera in the corner. PCO was screaming Edwards’ name. PCO hit a clothesline and a reverse DDT. PCO hit the PCO Sault to win easily after 3 minutes. The crowd was going crazy for him.
Winner by pinfall: PCO
Analysis: ** Just a quick win for PCO to put over how dangerous and unstable he is. Some of his moves make you want to look away because you’re worried he is going to seriously injure himself. Eddie Edwards not appearing to at least try to cost PCO the match seemed odd.
Gia Miller was interviewing Matt Cardona as he prepared for his Digital Media title match. Cardona said that Hendry has made this personal and he has had enough. He was off to find Hendry before the match, but ran into his tag team partner, Brian Myers, who was coming out of Hendry’s private locker room eating shrimp cocktail. That was funny. Myers hurriedly put down the food and said he was celebrating his win over Dango earlier in the night. Some security guards walked by with shrimp singing Hendry’s theme song. Myers joined in the clapping parts. Cardona asked Myers if he clapped, then stormed off.
Analysis: Fun stuff here. They’re lame but it’s my kind of lame.
Frankie Kazarian and Sami Callihan were chatting backstage. Kazarian discussed Callihan’s history with Impact and tried to understand what he was doing. The Design walked by and Deaner told Kaz that if he had a question for Callihan, then it had to go through him. Kaz said he was a gambling man and he feels like betting on himself. He challenged Kon to a match at No Surrender. Kon has hair again so I wonder if Deaner will kick him out of the group. They ran through the No Surrender card, which I will list at the end of the review.
Next week on Impact:
* Steve Maclin vs Rhino: Winner joins the Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender match
* Eddie Edwards vs Heath: Winner joins the Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender match
* Rich Swann vs Kenny King
Analysis: That looks like a strong card on paper. I’ll pick Maclin to win and also win at No Surrender.
Match #6: Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Matt Cardona
Cardona entered for the main event first, looking flustered. They went to a commercial break and Hendry was out after that. Hendry continues to be one of the best things about Impact each week. Before the bell went, Hendry cut a promo saying how good a mood he was in. He was happy to be in Florida and happy to be rid of ‘Dancing Moose’. Hendry said he was also happy to be defending his title against Matt Cardona- also known as Edge’s bitch. The crowd chanted that. Hendry went through his catchphrases and the bell sounded. Cardona hit Radio Silence straight away and almost won the title immediately but Hendry kicked out! Cardona ran at Hendry who dumped him to the outside. Hendry hit a clothesline on Cardona on the outside area. He threw Cardona back in the ring, but Cardona nailed a kick whilst Hendry was in the ropes. Hendry caught Cardona off the ropes and hit his spinning scoop slam. He nailed the stalling suplex on Cardona. The crowd was into this match and Cardona had some chants too. Cardona took a breather outside but Hendry followed him. Hendry tossed Cardona back in the ring, but again he bailed. As Hendry went to leave the ring, Cardona sent Hendry spine-first into the ring apron. Cardona followed up with a neckbreaker on the floor.
Cardona was dominating Hendry as we came back to the action. He kicked Hendry hard against the ropes and choked him. Cardona with a short-arm clothesline and a leg drop for 2. Cardona wrenched at Hendry’s face then hit an elbow to the head. Cardona continued to talk trash to Hendry. Hendry went for a suplex but Cardona countered it perfectly into a neckbreaker. Hendry kicked out at 2. Cardona tried to lock in a guillotine and grounded Hendry. Hendry stood up in the hold and turned it into a suplex. They exchanged forearms and Cardona raked the eyes of Hendry. Cardona bounced off the ropes into a clothesline. Hendry with another clothesline and a Fallaway slam for 2. Cardona pulled the referee in front of himself and went low with a kick (not quite a low blow) then nailed Hendry the Reboot in the corner. Cardona covered again but Hendry kicked out at 2. Cardona went for the Reboot again but Hendry caught his foot and nailed the Trust Fall for 2. Hendry hit a clothesline in the corner and a running cutter as Cardona bounced out of the corner. Hendry went for the pin but Cardona put his foot on the rope right before the 3 count. Hendry wanted a German suplex but Cardona held the ropes. Cardona created separation with a back elbow and nailed the Radio Silence for a very close 2 count. Great nearfall. Cardona went for Radio Silence off the top rope but Hendry caught him and turned it into a powerbomb. Cardona kicked out at 2. Brian Myers ran down to ringside and threw the Digital Media Championship in the ring. The referee fetched the title, so Myers snuck in the ring and tried to nail Hendry with the Roster Cut but missed and hit Cardona! Hendry tossed Myers over the top rope and nailed Cardona with Standing Ovation for the win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact Digital Media Champion: Joe Hendry
Analysis: ***1/2 Good stuff here from two guys who match up well together. I have really enjoyed the way that Hendry has elevated the title. He has had big matches with Myers, Moose and now Cardona. Myers did a good job as champion but they view Hendry as the bigger star who can have matches with higher-profile competitors. I enjoyed how they focused on Cardona and the storyline throughout the show, with the different skits and segments. That might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it adds to the rivalvry and builds the match even more before it begins in the main event.
AND STILL Digital Media Champion – @joehendry! @Myers_Wrestling's attempted interference backfires on @TheMattCardona. #IMPACTonAXSTVpic.twitter.com/a37ezJckFC
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 10, 2023
After the match Matthew Rehwoldt was wondering if this night could get any worse for Cardona. Moose ran down to the ring and went to spear Hendry, but he avoided the attack and Moose speared Cardona. Hendry tossed Moose over the top rope and took a microphone. Hendry said tonight was all about Cardona, so asked to play new hit song so they played the parody song from 2 weeks ago. Hendry danced as Cardona was losing his mind in the ring. Impact went off the air with Cardona screaming at Hendry as he walked up the ramp with his championship.
Analysis: That felt like they were writing Cardona out of Impact for the time being. I hope that’s not the case and I haven’t seen any reports but I’ve read the rumours of him going back to WWE. Best of luck if he does, but he won’t have the spotlight on him like he does in Impact (he will be rich though, as that theme song suggested!). Kudos to him for tonight’s performance though- he had some humiliating moments and played it perfectly for the fans. A really entertaining night from Matt Cardona.
Final Rating: 6.5/10
I really enjoyed this week’s episode. All night long they built to the Digital Media Championship match with little backstage skits and clips. Whilst they were a bit silly, they all showed that the Championship is gaining prominence and should be considered a big deal now. The rest of the night’s wrestling was solid, however no other matches exceeded 7 minutes. With the way they booked that women’s tag match with Killer Kelly being made to look like a loser, I would’ve cut that match and just had the Hex interrupt a Death Dollz promo segment. It was good to see some new/returning talent tonight; that duo I just mentioned, along with Steph De Lander. She lost her match against Jordynne Grace (most do) but she looked strong in defeat. Her promo before the match showed confidence. Some new matches were added to No Surrender and it is shaping up to be a pretty decent-looking show.
Here’s the lineup for No Surrender so far:
* Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs Rich Swann
* Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Mickie James (c) vs Masha Slamovich
* 6 Man Tag Team Match: The Motor City Machine Guns & Kushida vs Bullet Club & KENTA
* Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender Match: PCO vs Brian Myers vs Eddie Edwards/ Heath vs Steve Maclin/ Rhino
* Gisele Shaw vs Deonna Purrazzo
* Frankie Kazarian vs Kon (not yet official)
Any feedback or comments are welcome. My email address is email@example.com in case anybody wants to get in touch with me and my Twitter handle is @thomok6 as well. Thanks for reading!