This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling featured some big tag team matches with a six-man tag opening the show, an eight-man tag team match in the main event and a Knockouts grudge match with Chelsea Green facing Mickie James.
Last week’s Impact Wrestling focused on the tension between two of its heel stables – Violent by Design and Honor No More. The friction within the groups have been building, but they’re looking to be back on the same page as they participate in some big matches this week: Honor No More vs. the Bullet Club, whilst Violent by Design face off against Impact World Champion Josh Alexander and the Motor City Machine Guns.
Also last week Mia Yim defeated Deonna Purrazzo to become number 1 contender for Jordynne Grace’s Knockouts Championship. This show should build towards the other main matches for the next Impact Plus special, Emergence.
Impact were using this weekend to tape some future episodes, which include the debut of former NXT star Kushida. He could be a great addition to the roster if it is a permanent move. They’re taping shows on Friday and Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky and are promoting it as the Derby City Rumble. I will avoid spoilers for these shows and review them as usual over the coming weeks. Let’s get to the action, as we head towards Emergence on August 12th.
Impact Wrestling 14/7/22 from Center Stage Atlanta, Georgia
The opening video package recapped last week’s events, where Eric Young returned to face his failing Violent by Design team mates, and get his team back on track in the hunt for the Impact World Championship. Backstage, Deaner and Joe Doering were speculating where their leader, and tag-team partner, Eric Young was. Their music played as they made their way to the ring for the opening 6-man tag team match.
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt welcome us to the show, as Violent by Design’s opponents, the Motor City Machine Guns and Impact World Champion Josh Alexander made their entrances.
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team Match: Violent by Design (Deaner, Joe Doering and Eric Young) vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) and Josh Alexander
This match came about after Deaner and Doering attacked the Guns, as they searched for Josh Alexander backstage last week. There is still no sign of Eric Young as the referee started the match, with Deaner and Alexander kicking things off. As soon as the bell rang, Young made his way slowly to the ring, alone. Deaner talks some trash as the match starts but Alexander takes control quickly before tagging in Shelley. Shelley takes down Deaner with a series of chops and he and Sabin targeted the arm of Deaner. Tag in to Sabin, who continued to work on the arm as he tagged Alexander back in. Alexander and Deaner traded stiff chops, then Alexander backed Deaner into the corner and applied the anklelock. Doering illegally dragged Deaner under the bottom rope to break the hold. Alexander had his eyes on Doering as Young took advantage with the referee also distracted. Deaner tagged in Doering who hit a Scoop Slam/Elbow Drop combo on Alexander for a 1 count. Deaner tagged back in and the heels hit a double team Irish Whip/Dropkick into Alexander who was facing the turnbuckle. Young and Deaner both kicked away at Alexander who was hung up in the middle ropes. Doering tagged back in, as Alexander was starting to fade in a headlock in the centre of the ring. Another tag in to Deaner who hit a suplex and went for a pin attempt but Shelley broke it up. Doering quickly tagged in again, as Alexander continued to be isolated in the opposition corner. Alexander tried to fight back but Doering took him out with the big running Crossbody.
Back to the action and Alexander is finally out of the heel corner and Sabin is legal against Deaner. Sabin went for a Death Valley Driver, Deaner counted into a pin attempt but Shelley went soaring through the air and hit a Splash to break up the pin. Young came in to confront Shelley but took a cutter and rolled to the outside. Double team Flatliner by the Guns for a 2 count on Deaner. Sabin started to hype up the Impact Zone as he tried for the Cradle Shock, but again Deaner fought out and both men collided as they looked for a Crossbody. Alexander and Young tag in and face off for the first time since Slammiversary. They traded blows in the centre of the ring an Alexander took the upper-hand with a Back Body drop and a Northern Lights Suplex for a 2 count. Deaner saved Young from the C4 Spike, then Young sent Alexander into his corner where he tagged Shelley back in. Deaner was in illegally again and he assisted Young to hit a Neckbreaker on Shelley for a 2 count. Young tagged Deaner in and shouted at him to prove himself but he was quickly taken out by some Guns’ double team moves. Young came back in but was met with stereo Superkicks. The action was breaking down in the ring as the referee had lost control. Shelley took down Doering with an Enziguiri then Alexander clotheslined him to the floor. Sabin took out Doering with a Cannonball on the outside of the ring. Back inside the ring and Shelley had Deaner in the Motor City Stretch, Young tried to save him but Alexander trapped him in the Anklelock. Deaner tapped out to Shelley after 13:20.
Winners by submission: The Motor City Machine Guns and Josh Alexander
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a good way to start the show and hype up the crowd on a night where the card is really strong. Like most face/heel tag matches, you had the usual face-in-peril moments where Alexander was trapped in VBD’s corner for a few minutes but made the big comeback, which the crowd loved. As always, the Guns’ tag team work is so smooth and it was nice to see Shelley get the win by submission for a change.
Post-match, Chris Sabin was going to hand Josh Alexander’s World Championship back to him but just held onto it for a bit longer than he should’ve as he eye it off, before celebrating the victory.
Analysis: Alexander’s next opponent is still not decided, so it gets you to speculate that maybe it could be Shelley or Sabin next.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2022
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt preview the other big matches on tonight’s show including Steve Maclin vs James Storm, and Mickie James vs Chelsea Green.
A vignette for Killer Kelly aired for the second week in a row, this time she was killing time in her hotel room. Two figures walked by, unnamed, which could indicate that she has her eye on a tag team in the Knockouts division as she makes her return.
Match #2: Steve Maclin vs. James Storm
This match was set up last week as James Storm confronted Maclin, asking why he helped Moose at Against All Odds. Maclin entered first, followed by Storm who got a decent ovation as usual. He sprayed beer over the fans in the front row before the bell rang to start the match. Both men lock up and there’s no clear advantage for either man. Maclin then takes hold of the match up as he backs Storm into the corner with chops and elbows. Storm counters with right hands and a hip toss. Storm hit a Slingblade as he set up for the Last Call but Maclin rolled out to the floor. Maclin slowly entered the ring but Storm ducked a clothesline. Storm with a few right hands and Maclin was reeling on the ropes. Maclin nailed Storm with a thumb to the eye and a hangman on the ropes. Maclin stomped away on Storm as the match went to a break.
Maclin was still in control as the action returned on AXS TV. Maclin mocked Storm as he rode him like a cowboy in the ropes. Maclin threw Storm into the turnbuckle and then repeated it in the opposite corner. It was having no effect on Storm who fought back with a series of right hands and a flying forearm. Storm hit a running neckbreaker for a 2 count. Storm put Maclin on the top rope as he hammered away with right hands. Maclin wriggled out and lynched Storm on the ropes. He nailed a spear as Storm hung upside down. Both men countered finishing moves, then Storm backed Maclin into the corner to catch his breath. Storm hit a sloppy-looking hurricanrana off the top followed by a diving elbow drop for a 2-count. Storm was calling for the end as the crowd rallied, but Maclin caught the foot and Storm reversed it into a pinning attempt. Maclin sent Storm face-first into the exposed turnbuckle, that Maclin must have pulled off at some point as the commentators were unaware, and nailed Storm with a double-arm DDT for the 3-count after 8:45.
Winner by pinfall: Steve Maclin
Analysis: **3/4 The right man went over but I was hoping for a longer match as it was really picking up towards the end. It was billed as a hard-hitting fight but with another 5 minutes it could’ve built up to a really solid contest. I enjoyed it, but can’t help feel a little disappointed at the brief match time. Maclin continues to build momentum and Storm is generally there to put over talent so the storyline was fine.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2022
Post-match the commentators continued to question why Maclin assisted Moose at Against All Odds. The lights went out and Sami Callihan was in the ring with his barbed-wire baseball bat. Maclin was ready though and got to the stage before Callihan could strike.
It’s time for the Ric Flair Impact Moment of the Week, as he prepares for his final match at Starrcast on July 31st. At the time of writing, he still does not have an opponent. The match in focus was at Lockdown 2010 as Flair was confronted by Hulk Hogan inside the cage, who took out Flair with brass knucks. Of course, Flair bled
Analysis: The fact that the package focused on Flair, Bischoff and Hogan tells you how (TNA) Impact was travelling in 2010. Team Hogan defeated Team Flair in Lethal Lockdown, for those playing at home.
Backstage Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin confronted Impact Executive Scott D’Amore, asking him to consider him for the next shot at Alexander’s championship. D’Amore said here in Impact we all know that opportunities are earnt and not given. Next week it’s Sabin vs Shelley, with the winner facing Alexander at Emergence.
Analysis: This might even top the awesome Sabin vs Kazarian match from a few weeks back.
Match #3: Chelsea Green vs. Mickie James
This match has been brewing for a while, as Green turned on her friend and tag partner Mickie James which crossed over from Impact to NWA and back. Mia Yim and Deonna Purrazzo are both banned from ringside for this contest. Green was out first, followed by James who got the usual great reaction from the fans. James took down Green early with a Lou Thesz Press and hammered away with right hands. Both women exchanged a fury of right hands in the corner, as the referee told James to get Green out of the corner. The action spilled to the outside as the referee began to count James out. Green missed a Baseball slide to the outside and James sent her crashing into the ring post. James sent Green into the ring and climbed the top rope. Green knocked her off at got a 2 count. Green hit an athletic dropkick for 2. There were loud “Mickie” chants as Green stomped away at her opponent, talking trash. Green applied the Camel Clutch but James fought out and then came back with a clothesline. James hit a Hurricanrana and a big kick for a 2 count. James climbed to the top, but Green snuck under and took out her legs. Green taunted the fans who responded with “Chelsea sucks” chants. Green pulled James down by her hair and covered for a 2 count. Mickie tried to fight back but Green hit a big pump kick for a close 2. Green was starting to get frustrated at this point as she sent Mickie face first into the bottom turnbuckle. Green called James an embarrassment as she continued to taunt her. James continued to fight back and kicked Green out of the ring. Mickie crawled up the ramp after her as they fought against the Titan Tron. Green tossed James back in the ring eventually and missed a clothesline, as James countered into a neckbreaker. Both women took a while to get to their feet as the physicality of the match took its toll. Green countered with a big forearm against the ropes then James matched her, before dropping her with 3 clotheslines. Mickie sent Green face-first into the canvas with a flapjack. She went to the top rope and nailed a seated Senton for a close 2-count. Green got to her feet and James nailed her with a Mick Kick but Green grabbed the ropes right before the 3-count. James dragged Green back into the centre of the ring but Green took out the knee of James with a kick followed by a Curbstomp and the ref was about to count 3 but saw Green had a handful of Mickie’s tights so stopped the count. Green went for another Curbstomp but Mickie avoided it and hit a Mick Kick but Green countered to roll through with her feet on the ropes for the 3 after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Chelsea Green
Analysis: ***1/4 An action-packed match that will continue the rivalry between these two ladies, due to the finish of the match. It was helped by the fact that we got 13 minutes without a commercial break so there were really no ‘down’ moments throughout the match. Mickie James is still very capable in the ring and Green kept up with her for the most part, and I liked the way they really ramped up the personal feud between the two as they used the outside of the ring and stage to their advantage. I would say we see a rematch at Emergence, possibly with a stipulation. The fans were really invested in this match and it had the most interest of the opening 3 matches so far. Under an hour into the broadcast and we have had 3 matches with decent time given and quality; it’s been a good start to the show.
Post-match Green was laughing on the stage, whilst Mickie James looked frustrated in the ring.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2022
Backstage Rosemary was with Taya Valkyrie, who were still on the hunt for Havok. Taya wanted to prove that she was ready to complete this mission. Rosemary told her to brace herself as they entered the Undead Realm. Valkyrie complained that the GPS on her phone wasn’t working. They were in a forest setting of some kind as Taya jumped at the sound of some beast in the distance. Taya got distracted by a nearby light and went towards it. She entered some kind of portal and Taya was instantly more comfortable. She backed into Havok and then Rosemary entered the portal to join them. Havok had no face paint on and Taya referred to her as “Jessica”.
Analysis: Really cheesy stuff here but they’ve been running this with the Decay for years. This will lead to a 6-woman tag with the Influence and Gisele Shaw in the near future.
Backstage Bhupinder Gujjar confronted Digital Media Champion Brian Myers. Gujjar said that he had now beaten Johnny Swinger on Before the Impact (their YouTube preshow) and earnt a title shot. Myers tried to come up with an excuse not to face Gujjar and walked off.
Match #4: Tenille Dashwood (w/Gisele Shaw and Madison Rayne) vs. Masha Slamovich
Dashwood entered first and was clearly distressed at the thought of facing Slamovich, who has been 11-0 in the last few months. Slamovich took the early advantage with a huge running kick in the corner. Slamovich hit the Snowplow for the easy three count after 1:08.
Winner by pinfall: Masha Slamovich
Analysis * An easy win for Slamovich to continue to establish her in the Knockouts division. I thought it might have gone for a few minutes longer but they went the squash route which is okay every so often. It fit the storyline, as has every match on the show tonight so that’s another positive.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2022
There was a recap of last week’s beatdown of Mike Bailey by Violent by Design after his X-Division Championship defence over the debuting Alan Angels. Bailey joined Gia Miller backstage and was not impressed by the way Deaner went about his business last week. Bailey challenged Deaner to a match next week.
Analysis: That should be a good match with some shenanigans at ringside possibly.
An advertisement for Emergence aired.
Gia Miller was backstage trying to chase an interview with Mickie James. Mickie said she’s only as good as her last match and is going home.
Analysis: They teased the end of Mickie James, but it will probably be part of a storyline where she comes back and gets her revenge on Chelsea Green who says she’s passed it.
Next week on Impact:
* X-Division Championship: Mike Bailey (c) vs Deaner
* Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green vs Mia Yim and Jordynne Grace
* #1 Contender’s for the Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley vs Chris Sabin
Analysis: Another solid lineup for Impact that will be taped on Friday and Saturday. I will hopefully avoid spoilers.
Honor No More were out for the 8-man tag team main event. Heath came out of nowhere, just like last week, and took out Vincent with the Wake Up Call on the stage. Heath exited through the crowd who enjoyed that.
Match #5: 8-Man Tag Team Match: Honor No More (Eddie Edwards, Kenny King, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) (w/Maria Kanellis-Bennett) vs. Bullet Club (Ace Austin, Chris Bey and the Good Brothers)
The action returned with the Bullet Club making their entrance. These two teams faced off with slightly different squads in a 10-man tag at Under Siege in May, where Honor No More were the winners. Ace Austin and Kenny King started out the match for their teams. King gained the advantage early and made the tag to Taven. Taven quickly tagged in Bennett and they tried some double-team moves but Austin ducked and Taven took Bennett out with a dropkick off the top rope. All the members of the match entered the ring at this point and the Bullet Club sent all members of Honor No More to the outside.
The action returned with Austin tagging in Karl Anderson for the Bullet Club. Anderson whipped Taven hard into the turnbuckle and tagged in Doc Gallows. The Good Brothers took down Taven hard with a double clothesline. Gallows backed Taven into the corner with hard strikes to the midsection then a clothesline. Gallows tags in Chris Bey who covers Taven for a 1 count. Bey sweeps the leg of Taven and Bennett tries to get involved but Bey takes him out too. Bey runs the ropes and tries to fight off the interfering Honor No More members on the ring apron but Eddie Edwards kicks him hard as Bennett holds his legs on the ropes. Taven hits a Russian Legsweep off the ropes for a 2 count on Bey. King tags in and goes to work on Bey in the corner. King taunts the crowd which allows Bey some time to counter but King locks in a single-leg crab and drags Bey to his corner. King tags in Edwards. Edwards hits an overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex on Bey and tags in Bennett. Bennett chops away on Bey in the corner. Bennett gets a 2 count and tags in Taven who hits a big splash in the corner followed by a Death Valley Driver by Bennett for a 2 count. Taven tags King back in and King hits a Scoop Slam and a Springboard Leg Drop for a 2 count. King tags in Edwards and Bey tries to fight back but Edwards holds his right leg down. Bey stretches out and tags in Anderson but the referee didn’t see it and doesn’t allow the tag. Edwards pulls Bey over to Honor No More’s corner and the heels stomp away on Bey. Taven choked out Bey in the corner with his foot and followed up with a clothesline. Edwards and Bennett took out the Good Brothers with clotheslines on the apron so Bey couldn’t tag in. This time Bey took advantage of the distraction and tagged in Anderson at last. Anderson took down Bennett with a Scoop Slam and a running Senton. Anderson hit a diving neckbreaker off the middle rope then tagged in Gallows. Edwards came in to save Taven from the Magic Killer. The action was breaking down again in the ring as Bennett hit a Superkick on Bey. Ace Austin came in to take out Bennett but Taven caught him with a Springboard kick then took a Big Boot from Gallows. They set up Taven for the Magic Killer but Taven wriggled towards the ropes and Maria stood up on the apron and nailed Gallows with a low blow. Back in the ring King dived off the top and hit the Blockbuster on Anderson then Edwards hit the Boston Knee Party on Gallows, followed up by Aurora Borealis by Taven for the 3 count.
Winners by pinfall: Honor No More
Analysis *** I feel like I am reviewing the same match over and over again but with slightly different variations or competitors when I watch Honor No More’s matches but that’s where we are at currently with the storyline. It was fine for an 8-man match and it really picked up towards the end. The finishing sequence was clever with Maria getting involved, leading to the pin for Taven. Honor No More did need the victory so it’s the right result, I think this week though the 6-man tag or women’s match should’ve got the main event slot, as they were better matches to me.
Post-match Honor No More celebrated as Impact went off the air.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2022
Final Rating: 6.5/10
I enjoyed this week’s episode of Impact. What interests me is that every match was part of a storyline and felt important. The women’s match between Chelsea Green and Mickie James was a hard-hitting and personal affair that got almost 15-minutes of in-ring action on a weekly show. That doesn’t happen every week so that’s a positive. The show started off with an entertaining 6-man tag match with intrigue around the World Championship situation, Storm vs Maclin was good albeit brief and even the quick squash match between Slamovich and Dashwood served a purpose. The main event was solid as it always is for these multi-man matches, but they are starting to wear a little thin. Almost all of Honor No More’s matches are multi-man tags as of late so let’s mix it up- have a singles match or regular tag match, perhaps a run at the tag titles. 15-20-minute tag matches that follow basically the same formula 2 or 3 times a month start to wear thin after a while. They’re always of decent quality, I would just prefer that Impact booked the stable a little differently from time-to-time. The loss won’t hurt Bullet Club much as Bey and Austin have only just started tagging, and the Good Brothers are generally booked pretty strong so they will be fine. I look forward to next week’s show where we see Shelley and Sabin face off, with the winner to challenge Josh Alexander for the World Championship at Emergence.