IMPACT Wrestling Review – July 13, 2023

impact wrestling trinity deonna purrazzo

This week’s Impact was headlined by an open challenge for the Knockouts’ Championship, as the final preparations before Slammiversary took place.

Impact Wrestling 13/7/23 from Center Stage: Atlanta, Georgia

The opening video focused on the rivalry between Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo, as well as Deaner being revealed as Bully Ray’s partner for Slammiversary.

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are straight into a singles match, with Tag Team Championship implications. The crowd was loud!

Match #1: Zachary Wentz w/ Trey Miguel vs Chris Bey w/ Ace Austin

If Wentz wins, The Rascalz will be added to the Slammiversary 4-way Tag Team Championship match which is just 24 hours away! He’s out first, followed by Bey. Both men had their tag team partners by their side. Bey had the best of the opening of the bout, taking Wentz down with a dropkick into the corner. Wentz swept the legs but missed a low dropkick so Bey hit a double-stomp. Bey nailed a few chops and wanted a corner attack but Wentz bailed to the outside. Bey confronted him and Miguel, then Austin got involved so Wentz hit a cheap kick which took Bey down. Wentz stomped on Bey on the floor and tossed him back into the ring. He used the middle rope to choke Bey out with his knee, then Miguel did some illegal choking before Wentz got a 2 count. Wentz locked in the arm of Bey and hit several stiff elbows to the chest. Bey countered with an arm drag and big chop to the chest of Wentz, followed by a flying clothesline. Bey hit a splash in the corner and a clothesline from the top for 2. Wentz ducked under the Art of Finesse and connected with an uppercut. Bey blocked a front-facing DDT and nailed Code Red for a close 2 count. Miguel got up on the ring apron so Austin pulled him off. Miguel hit a thumb to the knee and a super kick, so Bey took him out with a dropkick through the ropes. He spring-boarded back into the ring straight into the Headlock DDT from Wentz, which looked spectacular, and that was enough for the pinfall win after 7 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Zachary Wentz

Analysis: ***1/4 A nice opener which is always improved by having a stipulation or consequence for the loser. That Headlock DDT from Wentz looked devastating, partially because Bey sold it so well, flipping forward after being spiked on his head. I liked the match.

The Rascalz will now be added to the match at Slammiversary.

There was a clip from BTI where Heath was taking on Dirty Dango. Santino Marella tried to get involved but the security had to restrain him and Dango got a cheap shot which looked like it may have concussed Marella. D’Amore was checking on Marella backstage, when the Rascalz walked passed celebrating Wentz’ win. Marella congratulated them but said he saw Wentz cheat. Marella is not allowing them to join the Tag Team Championship match. Miguel threatened Marella then walked off.

Analysis: I was looking forward to the Rascalz joining the match but I guess having a Director of Authority means there are consequences for breaking the rules.

There was a promo video for Alex Shelley vs Nick Aldis for Slammiversary. I’m really looking forward to that match.

Match #2: Kevin Knight vs Mike Bailey

Knight is someone we rarely see on Impact TV, but when we do it’s always exciting. He’s in a 5-way Ultimate X match for the #1 Contendership at Slammiversary. Bailey scored with a headlock takedown early on and then a shoulder block. He turned an arm drag into an innovative pinfall for a 1 count. Knight hit a springboard arm drag which popped the crowd and a splash with a ridiculous amount of height from a standing start. Bailey whipped Knight into the ropes but Knight came back with a springboard crossbody. Knight sent Bailey to the outside but missed a crossbody, so Bailey took advantage with a springboard moonsault.

(Commercial break)

Knight was on top with forearm shots as we returned to the action. Bailey fought back with a series of kicks and a big boot in the corner. He slammed Knight in the corner and did a splash, knees-first, on Knight’s back and scored a 2 count. Bailey went back to the kicks and took down Knight with a big shot to the chest. He missed a running shooting star press so Knight rocked him with an athletic dropkick. Bailey blocked a corner attack but Knight recovered so quickly that he was able to dropkick Bailey over the top rope with force. Knight scored with a crossbody over the top rope to the outside. He tossed Bailey back into the ring and went to slingshot in but Bailey stopped him with a kick. Knight was hung up in the ropes so Bailey connected with knees to the back for a 2 count. Knight ducked under 4 kicks and hit a superkick of his own. He blocked a Tornado Kick and hit a hurricanrana with Bailey launched from the top rope. Knight jumped from the top but Bailey kicked him in the face in mid-air. The crowd chanted “Fight Forever” as they slugged it out in the centre of the ring. Bailey hit a standing moonsault into the knees and climbed to the top but Knight recovered incredibly quickly again with a superplex. They traded pinfall attempts until Knight hit a sitout spinebuster for 2. Knight went for a Tornado DDT but Bailey launched him over his head, crashing into the turnbuckle. Bailey hit the Tornado Kick and Ultima Weapon for the win after 8 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Mike Bailey

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a fantastic match at a breakneck speed. They had great chemistry in the ring and I liked the way that Bailey targeting the back was the way that led to the end of the match. I would love to see Knight in Impact more regularly because he brings so much to the ring every time.

Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly cut a pre-taped promo on the Coven. Slamovich spoke in Russian and Kelly translated, saying at Slammiversary they would capture the Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships.

Analysis: It was only 30 seconds long but it addressed the feud on the show.

Joe Hendry was out next and had a microphone. He has been getting only average reactions lately, but tonight the crowd was fully behind him. Hendry wanted to address Kenny King. Hendry said it was a free country and the fans could chant what they wanted, so they chanted some derogatory things at King. Hendry said the fans believed in him and his tag team partner, Yuya Uemura.

(Commercial Break)

Match #3: Kenny King & Sheldon Jean vs Joe Hendry & Yuya Uemura

King and Jean were in the ring as we returned from the break. King and Hendry started the match. King was irate at the fans but for some reason was wrestling in a hoodie. He tagged in Jean immediately so Hendry tagged Uemura in. Uemura scored with a hip toss early in the match. He rolled Jean up for a 2 count that took Jean by surprise. Jean shoved Hendry on the apron, which allowed King to attack Uemura when the referee wasn’t looking. Jean stomped away on Uemura in the corner. King tagged in and they both went to work on Uemura in the corner. King hit a kick to the spine of Yuya. He mounted him and hut a flurry of right hands and scored a 2 count. Uemura slipped out of a suplex attempt and tagged in Hendry. Hendry nailed an uppercut on King and a clothesline. King fought out of a Fallaway Slam attempt and hit a Scorpion Kick. He bounced off the ropes into Hendry’s arms and Hendry nailed the Fallaway Slam this time. Hendry hit a clothesline in the corner and a running cutter. Jean came in and nailed a spinning kick on Hendry. Uemura was in next and levelled Jean with a dropkick. King scored with a Tiger Driver Uemura. Hendry removed King’s hoodie and the fans chanted more derogatory things towards him. Hendry tossed King over the top rope and King was too angry to continue the match so he walked up the ramp. Jean turned around right into the Standing Ovation from Hendry for the 3 count after 6 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Joe Hendry & Yuya Uemura

Analysis: **3/4 It was a fairly basic tag team match that focused on the storyline leading to the PPV match, which is Hendry embarrassing King for his past behaviour. I’m disappointed that this match has been relegated to the pre-show because it features two of Impact’s more interesting wrestlers.

The Impact Flashback Moment of the Week was Ultimate X from Slammiversary 2013. The match featured Kenny King but Chris Sabin won the match and X-Division Championship.

Analysis: The main thing I noticed during this video was how big the crowd was. I hope impact get back to those numbers one day.

Lio Rush cut a pre-taped promo next. Rush said he wasn’t in Impact for the nostalgia or to build the Impact brand. He is in Impact to win championships and become a living legend. Chris Sabin was backstage with Gia Miller. Sabin put Rush over as a great talent but called him selfish and arrogant. Sabin called himself the ‘Final Boss’ and at Slammiversary, Rush will be humbled.

Analysis: Rush vs Sabin at Slammiversary should be outstanding.

Match #4: Moose & Brian Myers vs Rich Swann & Sami Callihan

Both teams are involved in the Tag Team Championship match at Slammiversary. All of the men came out individually. Myers and Swann started the match off. Myers used his strength to shove Swann to the mat. Swann hit a hurricanrana and a dropkick to catch Myers off guard. He scored with a superkick and tagged Callihan in. Callihan hit a running clothesline in the corner, then allowed Swann to launch himself off his back into Myers in the corner. Myers raked the eyes of Callihan and tagged Moose in. Moose missed a clothesline and landed on the outside. Swann kicked Moose from the apron. Myers tried to assist but Callihan tossed Swann from the apron into both men and sent them crashing to the floor. Swann tagged in and Moose tossed him into the corner. Swann blocked a corner attack, but Myers distracted him so Moose shoved him from the top rope to the floor. Moose hit a cheap shot on Callihan in the corner.

(Commercial Break)

Myers had Swann in a sleeper hold as we returned to the action. Myers hit an enziguiri for a 2 count then tagged in Moose. Moose swatted Swann down with a hard chop. He wanted a powerbomb but Swann countered with a hurricanrana. Impressive move on someone so big. Swann rolled Moose through with a sunset flip pin for 2. Moose scored with a Uranage slam but Swann kicked out after 2. He tagged Myers in who pinned Swann with his knee in an arrogant fashion. Swann kicked out and Moose tagged back in. Swann fought out of a powerbomb attempt again and hit an enziguiri on Moose. He rolled through from a Uranage attempt and tagged Callihan. Callihan hit a double team DDT/Flatliner on the heels, then a bulldog/clothesline double-team move. Callihan wanted the Cactus Driver but Moose levelled him with a headbutt. Callihan retorted with one of his own and they both took each other out with a clothesline. Moose crawled slowly to his corner and tagged Myers, as did Callihan to Swann. Myers lined up Swann for a superkick, but he moved and Myers nailed Moose. Swann hit a springboard cutter on Myers and the referee was about to count 3 count Moose shoved Callihan to break up the pin. Moose and Myers collided again and Swann hit a big hurricanrana off the top on Moose. Callihan hit a Death Valley Driver on Moose, then Swann nailed the 450 but Moose kicked out! Myers pulled Swann out of the ring and as the referee was dealing with them, Callihan was nailed with a low blow by Moose. Moose hit the spear on Callihan for the win after 9 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Moose and Brian Myers

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match between two experienced tag teams. There were a few miscues from Moose and Myers, so I thought that was going to cause friction and for them to lose but they recovered by cheating and won. They are probably the biggest chance to upset the champs at Slammiversary but I see Bey and Austin retaining as the most likely outcome.

Subculture cut a pre-taped promo ahead of Slammiversary. Andrews said Subculture were fighting to the top of the mountain.

Analysis: I think that’s the only time I’ve seen them in the build to the PPV. That’s pretty lame.

There was another promo video for Shelley vs Aldis. I wonder if they could have just had them face-off in person.

Angels cut a promo with his new independent persona. He said it was time to spread his wings at Slammiversary and win Ultimate X.

Analysis: It was a different look for Angels, who has now broken away from The Design. He should do well as a singles competitor, if they have enough storylines for him.

Hannifan and Rehwoldt ran through the card for Slammiversary which I have covered below. They showed another video about Nick Aldis’ journey back to the main event. They’ve spent at least 10 minutes on video for Shelley vs Aldis, which is I guess what you do on a taping when not every wrestler is on the show. Having them there on the last show before the PPV would’ve been sensible though.

Next week on Impact:

* Tommy Dreamer & Darren McCarty vs Champagne Singh & Shera

Dreamer returns randomly and McCarty shows up for the first time in a few months as the special enforcer at Slammiversary. Odd!

Match #5: Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Open Challenge: Deonna Purrazzo vs ?

Deonna Purrazzo came to the ring with a microphone and wanted to remind everyone how good she was. She said it was a chance for someone to step up to her and here comes Jody Threat who is undefeated.

Analysis: That’s an interesting choice because Purrazzo is obviously not losing tonight. Hopefully, Threat’s streak stays intact through a DQ or similar ending.

There was 15 minutes left in the show so they’re being given a decent amount of TV time so it should be a good match. They locked up and it was a stalemate. Purrazzo predictably targeted an arm of Threat. Purrazzo easily countered a hold of Threat to show that she was above her level. Threat scored with an arm drag to get the edge over the champ. Purrazzo nailed a headlock takedown as she started to get serious. She hit a shoulder tackle to take Threat down to the mat. Threat avoided a move in the corner and rolled through on Purrazzo for a 2 count. Threat hit a clothesline in the corner and her series of clotheslines, then an Exploder suplex. Threat hit a springboard Code Breaker, which was new for her in Impact, for a 2 count. She tossed Purrazzo into the middle rope, looking for her running knee, but Purrazzo rolled out of the way. Purrazzo missed a corner clothesline but tripped Threat up and then wrenched at the left arm of Threat. Threat rolled out of the ring for a break.

(Commercial Break)

Purrazzo was still in control as we returned to the action. She snapped the arm of Threat in the ropes, then scored a 2 count. Purrazzo hit a side Russian Legsweep then floated into the Fujiwara Armbar but Threat was very close to the ropes so she was able to quickly break the hold. Purrazzo chopped away at Threat in the corner. Threat blocked a clothesline but Purrazzo swatted her with a right hand. She wanted a superplex but Threat jumped down to the middle turnbuckle and hit a Tornado DDT. Threat hit a Pump Kick and then her double knees against the middle rope. Threat with a German Suplex for 2. Threat set up for a Sharpshooter but Purrazzo kicked her off. Threat ducked out of the Queen’s Gambit and hit a headbutt. She ascended to the top rope and hit a cannonball. Threat hit a hard clothesline and Purrazzo kicked out at 2. Purrazzo turned a clothesline attempt into the armbar again but Threat rolled through it. There was a little bit of miscommunication and then Threat nailed a Michinoku Driver for a close 2 count. Threat wanted her finisher but Purrazzo locked in the Venus D’Milo and Threat’s arms were locked so she couldn’t tap but she told the referee that she quit. The match lasted 10 minutes.

Winner by submission AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ World Champion: Deonna Purrazzo

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a solid main event and first-time matchup between the two. Threat was able to counter or get her way out of most of Purrazzo’s submissions, but the Venus D’Milo was too much. It was obvious that Purrazzo was winning but I question what the point of having Threat as her opponent. It makes her look like a credible challenge, sure, but then she’s only on the pre-show of the PPV anyway. I don’t think it’s the best time to end an undefeated streak, even if Threat isn’t in the immediate championship plans anyway.

After the match, the trio of Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans and Jai Vidal attacked Purrazzo and Threat from behind. Shaw lost a Knockouts’ Championship match during Impact’s tour of Australia. Here comes Rosemary and Jessicka for the save. For some reason, The Coven, who finished with the Death Dollz weeks ago come down to the ring to help Shaw and friends. Next, Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly ran down to help the faces. Everyone was brawling either inside or around the ring. Trinity ran down next and nailed KiLynn King with a big kick to the head. She took down Shaw with a clothesline. Trinity took down Taylor Wilde with a forearm and started squaring off with Savannah Evans. Security came down to the ring to try and break up the fighting, to the boos of the crowd. Purrazzo tossed Shaw from the ring and Trinity kicked out Evans, so that they were the last two standing in the ring. Purrazzo bumped into Trinity and dropped her championship. They both went to pick it up but neither wanted to let go, so Purrazzo nailed Trinity with a forearm. They started brawling in the centre of the ring. Referees and security came into the ring to separate the ladies. The fans were chanting “Let them fight” as Impact went off the air and then there was another few minutes of promo video for Slammiversary, featuring some of the wrestlers that weren’t on TV tonight such as Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards.

Analysis: It was a wild ending to the show and showed that the temporary alliance between Trinity and Purrazzo is over. There needed to be some kind of physicality between them, so that was good to see. All of the Knockouts’ feud combining in one big brawl was fun.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

I really enjoyed this week’s show. There was a lot more wrestling than you might expect from a ‘Go Home’ show, leading into a PPV, which included several matches that I rated over 3 stars or went around the 8-10-minute mark, the pick of those being Mike Bailey vs Kevin Knight. However, I enjoyed all of the matches on tonight’s show and they all added to the build towards their related PPV match-up. A lot of time was also given to videos promoting some of the main matches. I think it is a really strong card and as good as anything Impact has had on paper in 2023. Once again, Impact has been hit by injury with Steve Maclin out of his match and PCO also removed (storyline injury?). There’s a rumour that Eric Young might appear as Scott D’Amore’s partner, but I’m looking forward to that surprise.

The next Impact Wrestling PPV is Slammiversary on Saturday, July 15th. My picks are in bold.

* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Nick Aldis
* Impact Knockouts’ World Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Trinity
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs Moose & Brian Myers vs Rich Swann & Sami Callihan vs Subculture
* X- Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs Lio Rush
* Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: The Coven (c) vs Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly
* Ultimate X match for the #1 Contendership to the X-Division Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs Mike Bailey vs Kushida vs Kevin Knight vs Angels
* Scott D’Amore & ? vs Bully Ray & Deaner
* Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian
* Countdown to Slammiversary match (pre-show): Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Kenny King
* Countdown to Slammiversary match (pre-show): Gisele Shaw, Jai Vidal & Savannah Evans vs Jody Threat & The Death Dollz

I’ll be back with a review of Slammiversary at the end of the weekend.

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!