IMPACT Wrestling Review – July 20, 2023

impact wrestling july 20 josh alexander alex shelley bully ray

This week on Impact we saw the fallout from the Slammiversary PPV, which included a World Tag Team Championship match as well as new contenders for the major championships emerging.

Impact Wrestling 20/7/23 from St. Clair College Windsor, Ontario, Canada

The opening video recapped the major matches from this past weekends’ Slammiversary PPV, which saw all the championships change hands except for in the main event where Impact World Champion, Alex Shelley, defeated Nick Aldis. It was a solid show but didn’t reach the heights I was hoping for. I only rated one match as 4-stars or above but everything else was at least over 3 stars so the action all night was good. You can read my review here.

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and here comes the hometown hero, Scott D’Amore to a big ovation. D’Amore thanked the fans for their support during his feud with Bully Ray. He and Eric Young defeated Bully and Deaner on the PPV. It was fine for a match that had a ridiculous amount of interference. D’Amore said his leave of absence as Impact President is over. D’Amore said tonight it’s Dirty Dango vs Santino Marella, Josh Alexander is in the house and Bullet Club invoke their championship rematch. He was introducing Jake Something for the opening match when The Good Hands interrupted him. They ran down the crowd as usual and D’Amore invited them into the ring. Jason Hotch called D’Amore a thorn in The Good Hands’ side over the past few months. They got a “You Can’t Wrestle” chant which is a bit harsh. John Skyler said that D’Amore deserved a beatdown, so D’Amore took off his jacket and then announced their opponents for an impromptu match.

Match #1: Sami Callihan & Rich Swann vs The Good Hands (John Skyler & Jason Hotch)

Callihan and Swann came out together, with Callihan’s music. Hotch tries to take out Swann with a cheap shot as soon as the bell rung, but Swann ducked and nailed a roundhouse kick. Skyler rushed in and got booted to the outside. Callihan joined Swann and they took turns with right jabs on Hotch. Swann hit a crossbody and Hotch rolled out of the ring. He tried a cannonball from the ring apron but Skyler moved out of the way. Callihan tried to fight both the heels on the apron but copped a spear from Skyler. Hotch hit a moonsault by bouncing off the middle rope from the apron to the floor. Nice move. Hotch hit a Blue Thunder Bomb from the Torture Rack position on Swann for a 2 count. He tagged in Skyler who hit a running knee and they nailed a nice German suplex double-team but Callihan broke the pinfall up. Skyler nailed a few right hands on Swann and tagged Hotch back in. Swann avoided a double-team in the corner. He nailed a jumping double-clothesline from the middle rope and tagged Callihan in. Callihan took down Hotch with a series of clotheslines. He nailed his double-team DDT/Flatliner on both opponents. Callihan wanted the Cactus Driver on Hotch but he wriggled free and nailed a right hand. Hotch ran the ropes but Sami caught him with a Death Valley Driver. Skyler broke up the pin so Swann kicked him out of the ring. Callihan tagged Swann and they nailed a double-knee and a double-powerbomb on Hotch for the win after 4 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sami Callihan & Rich Swann

Analysis: **1/4 An easy win for Swann and Callihan, after coming up short in the World Tag Team Championship match at Slammiversary. It was a simple way for them to remain relevant in the tag team scene. Hotch and Skyler continued to be treated like jobbers.

Chris Bey and Ace Austin cut a disappointed promo backstage after losing their Tag Team Championships. Bey said the deck was stacked against them at Slammiversary and The Rascalz further added to that by interfering in the match. Bey said he doesn’t have time to care about them because they have titles to win. Wentz and Miguel confronted them. Miguel taunted Austin and said they might get involved again like they did at Slammiversary. Bey tried to calm Austin down, then sucker punched Wentz before security broke up the fight. D’Amore stormed in angrily and kicked Miguel and Wentz out of the arena. Ziggy Dice and Johnny Swinger showed up complaining about being screwed out of a number of wins. D’Amore said setting Swinger a target of 50 wins was unfair so he has changed the stipulation so that if Swinger wins just one match, he will receive a championship opportunity. Swinger wondered who his opponent was and D’Amore said that it was Dice. D’Amore also said if Swinger lost then he was fired. Dice called D’Amore an idiot because he said he would just lie down for Swinger to pin him. D’Amore took exception to that and then stated that whoever lost the match would be fired.

Analysis: Good to see the tag team scene alive again. And hooray for an end to the Swinger/Dice storyline.

Gia Miller interviewed the returning Eric Young backstage. Young said it feels right to be back in Impact. Young started to say how much he enjoyed Slammiversary but Nick Aldis cut him off. Aldis complained about losing to Alex Shelley. Aldis said Young knows him as well as anyone and wants him to be his ally. Young didn’t want any part of that and challenged Aldis to a match, which he accepted.

Analysis: Strange promo from Young who said ‘tradition’ about 6 times but there’s a match to look forward to in the next few weeks.

Match #2: Jake Something vs Kevin Knight

I still find it amusing that it simple says ‘Something’ on his Tron as he makes his entrance. These two were both unsuccessful in Ultimate X on Saturday, which was good but probably not as incredible as I’d hoped. Knight cut a quick promo that was in picture-in-picture mode, saying not to underestimate him. Knight had a headlock on Something as the match kicked off. He couldn’t knock Something down with 2 shoulder blocks. He outsmarted Something by leapfrogging him but Something nailed 2 shoulder blocks and a splash in mid-air. Something hit a clothesline in the corner, then a short-arm clothesline. Knight tried to fight back with shots to the ribs but Something hit another clothesline and a scoop slam. He went for a cover but Knight kicked out at 2. Knight nailed a jawbreaker and the two traded forearms, with Something knocking Knight to the mat. Something chopped Knight against the ropes several times then ran at Knight who sent him over the top to the ring apron. Knight nailed a dropkick and then a crossbody on Something on the outside.

(Commercial break)

Knight nailed a huge clothesline from the top rope as we came back to the action. Something kicked out at 2. Knight connected with a few forearms but Something taunted him to hit him harder. Something rocked Knight with 1 forearm but Knight took him down at the knee and a jumping splash for 2. Knight tried for the hammer lock but Something powered out. Knight took Something down with a few stiff elbows and got a 2 count. Knight backed Something into the corner but Something bounced off the turnbuckle with an avalanche clothesline. Something started to rally and nailed a huge forearm and a clothesline that took Knight inside-out. He missed a corner attack so Knight nailed a Pele kick in the corner. Knight tried a Poisonrana from the top but Something caught him and nailed a huge powerbomb for a very close 2 count. Knight hit a few body shots but Something decked him with another clothesline. Knight fought out of the Death Valley Driver and scored with a dropkick as Something tried for the pop-up powerbomb. He connected with a crossbody from a moonsault in the corner for 2. Knight climbed to the top and nailed an awkward crossbody, where he almost landed on his head, for another 2 count. Something ducked under a springboard clothesline and nailed the Black Hole Slam for the win after 10 minutes of action.

Winner by pinfall: Jake Something

Analysis: *** They probably didn’t gel all that well, as Knight is better suited against quicker opponents, but saying that it was an entertaining match. Knight couldn’t put Something away with his aerial moves and the power game was too much.

There were more highlights from Slammiversary and then an Emergence promo video.

Match #3: Courtney Rush w/ Jessicka vs Savannah Evans w/ Gisele Shaw & Jai Vidal

It seems like this feud is continuing after Slammiversary. Oh yay. At least it’s Rush wrestling and not Jessicka. Evans tried to choke Rush in the ropes as the bell rang. Rush couldn’t take down Evans with a shoulder block because she was too small. She tried a side headlock but Evans nailed a back suplex. Vidal held Rush’s leg in the corner, which allowed Evans to hit a clothesline. Evans hit a legdrop. She hit a big spinebuster as Rush ran at her, but Rush kicked out at 2. Evans mounted Rush and nailed her with right hands, then started choking her out right in front of the referee. She tried for a Samoan Drop but Rush slipped out the back and hit a reverse DDT. Shaw got up on the apron to distract the referee so Evans crushed Rush in the corner with a clothesline. Jessicka had seen enough so she tossed Shaw into the steel ring post. Jody Threat ran down to ringside and carried Vidal away so the odds were even. Rush hit a spear on Evans for the win after 4 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Courtney Rush

Analysis: ** There were a lot of shenanigans which probably helped the match and keep me awake. Evans has defeated some of the bigger names so it’s surprising for her to lose to Rush here, who doesn’t win often.

There was a highlights video for Trinity, including her win over Deonna Purrazzo at Slammiversary. Like most of Purrazzo’s matches during this reign, the match was good but nothing special. Trinity said it would be even harder to hold onto her championship, than it was to win it.

Analysis: I’m happy that Trinity won, as it was time for a title change. She has done well since starting in Impact. Purrazzo wouldn’t have been champ had Mickie James not been injured.

There was a pre-taped promo from Taylor Wilde & KiLynn King, complaining about losing the Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships. King was angry and said it was time to make a statement

Analysis: King mentioned that they are facing Dani Luna & Trinity, possibly tonight or maybe next week. We shall see. Luna impressed in her only Impact match a couple of weeks ago against Jody Threat.

Tom Hannifan mentioned that Slammiversary was Impact’s highest-attended show in the last 4 years. Cue the trolls saying the number was 18 or something undermining. I’m sure Impact want to be selling out big stadiums but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. The crowds they have (between 500-2000) are loud, passionate and engaged. Hopefully the word gets out about how good the product is and they can start building those numbers up.

Hannifan had a sit-down interview with Jonathan Gresham. Gresham requested this TV-time. Gresham complained that the X-Division has no rules and that’s not pro wrestling to him. He said Impact might not be the environment for him.

Analysis: That felt like a heel promo. It’s good to see him with a bit of personality because he doesn’t speak much and isn’t great when he does

Match #4: Dirty Dango vs Santino Marella

This match has been building for a number of weeks, as Dango was revealed as the mystery backstage attacker. This match was scheduled for Slammiversary but got scrapped for the numerous video packages (I kid, but there were a lot). Dango bailed to the outside as soon as Marella entered the ring. He’s in great shape for 49 years of age. Dango finally slithered into the ring but held the ropes so Marella couldn’t touch him. Marella took him down but Dango slid back out of the ring. He abused some fans at ringside whilst the referee started to count him out. Dango went back into the ring and Marella tried to lock in an armbar but Dango blocked it by clasping his hands. Marella locked in a body scissors to trap Dango but Dango kicked him in the head to break the hold. Marella nailed a snapmare for a 2 count. He rolled Dango up for 2 again. Marella was all over Dango in the early moments. He actually looked technically better than his WWE days but he was just a comedy wrestler there. Dango held the ropes then sucker-punched Marella in the face. He ran the ropes but Marella hit a hip toss. Dango bailed again and hung Marella up on the ropes when he tried to grab him from inside the ring. Dango hit a suplex and sat all his weight down on Marella’s back. He jumped and tried it again but Marella turned the other way and Dango low-blowed himself. Marella hit a forearm shot off the ropes, that backed Dango into the corner. Dango reversed the Irish Whip and slammed Marella hard against the top turnbuckle. Marella tried a Fallaway Slam but his back gave way and Dango almost stole the win by falling on top for a pinfall. Dango whipped Marella hard into the turnbuckle again. He went for a twisting senton off the top, but Santino moved out of the way. The fans wanted the Cobra but someone in riot gear ran down to the ring to distract Marella. The mystery man jumped up on the ring apron so Dango sent Marella into him and Marella’s head bounced off the man’s helmet. Marella crashed to the mat and Dango pinned him for the win after 6 ½ minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dirty Dango

Analysis: **1/2 It didn’t feel like the end of the rivalvry, now that Dirty Dango has got backup. The ending was very anticlimactic. The man was revealed to be John E Bravo, which didn’t mean anything to me even after a Google search. It was a way for Dango to get some more cheap heat but I expect a rematch. Santino wrestled with intensity which fit the personal feel to the feud.

Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans were walking backstage and came across MK Ultra (Killer Kelly & Masha Slamovich’s new tag team name). Shaw wasn’t impressed with them and told them to move out of the way. Kelly told Shaw that they weren’t getting through them. Jody Threat dumped Jai Vidal at their feet, after removing him from the match earlier in the night.

Analysis: That could be a possible Knockouts’ Tag Team Championship match down the line.

Alisha and Eddie Edwards cut a promo backstage. Alisha said she was the equaliser at Slammiversary. Traci Brooks and Frankie Kazarian showed up and there was a bit of brawling until security broke it up.

Analysis: That feud isn’t over either, so I think a mixed-tag team match is on the horizon

Match #5: Impact World Tag Team Championships: Subculture (Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews w/ Dani Luna) vs Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey)

I was very happy with the title change on Saturday. Subculture are an exciting team and the win means they must be hanging around Impact for at least a consistent run of shows. This should be a great match up. Webster and Austin started the match off, with Austin targeting the left arm. Webster hit an arm drag and tried a backslide for 2. Austin tripped Webster up and scored a 1 count. Bey tagged in and ran straight into a drop toehold. Andrews tagged in and hit a jumping kick from the top rope to Bey’s arm. He hit a snapmare, then Bey fought back with a dropkick and tagged Austin back in. Austin hit a kick in the corner. He bounced Andrews off the ropes and Webster hit the blind tag. They hit a double-team Falcon Arrow on Austin for 2. Webster tossed Austin out of the ring and tagged Andrews back in. Webster in a crossbody from inside the ring to the outside on Austin, then tossed him back into the ring. Andrews hit a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. He had a front-facelock applied. Austin tried to back body drop him but couldn’t lift him. Andrews backed him into the corner and tagged in Webster again. Webster missed a corner clothesline and Austin nailed a kick to the face, then finally tagged in Bey. Andrews also tagged in. Bey lit up Andrews with a series of strikes and a flying forearm. He nailed a jumping uppercut in the corner and a kick to the head. Bey scored with a Brainbuster for a close nearfall. He whipped Andrews against the ropes and Webster tagged himself in. He missed a 450 then a corner attack so Bey hit a neckbreaker off the Torture Rack and Austin tagged in but couldn’t put Webster down for the 3. Webster blocked a suplex attempt. Austin knocked Andrews off the apron and tagged Bey back in. They set up for the Art of Finesse but Andrews nailed Austin with a kick to the head from the ring apron. Webster used the distraction to roll up Bey and almost scored a 3 count. Webster ducked a clothesline and nailed a headbutt. Andrews tagged back in and they destroyed Bey with the Blitz Knee Bop but Austin broke the pin up. What an impressive move that was. Webster took Austin out of the ring with a crossbody through the ropes. Bey sent Andrews out too, then nailed both Subculture boys with a flying senton over the top rope.

(Commercial break)

Austin and Andrews were the legal men as we returned to the action. Austin scored a nearfall as the hand was coming down for 3. Austin was getting frustrated so he tagged Bey in. Webster was lurking in the corner so Austin took him out with a kick. Andrews hit a double-team overhead kick on Bullet Club. Austin set up the Art of Finesse for Bey on Andrews. Webster hit a superkick on Austin as he was setting up for the Fold. Bey nailed Webster with a kick then Andrews scored with a Stundog Millionaire. Wentz and Miguel showed up at ringside, even though they were barred from the match. Wentz distracted the referee, so Miguel took out Austin on the floor. Wentz and Miguel went back through the crowd. Bey rolled up Andrews for a 2 count. They traded pinfall attempts, then Andrews stacked Bey up enough for a 3 count after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: Subculture

Analysis: ***1/2 It was pretty good, despite 2 commercial breaks and only 13 minutes of televised time. I’m not a fan of face vs face wrestling, especially when it doesn’t end in a decisive win such as a roll up in this instance. The interference of Wentz and Miguel kind of made the titles feel secondary to this feud so I’m wondering why they made Subculture the champs if we are getting a Rascalz/ Bullet Club side feud. Time will tell.

Next week on Impact:

* Trinity & Dani Luna vs The Coven
* Loser Leaves Impact: Ziggy Dice vs Johnny Swinger. I hope it’s a double count out and they both leave.
* Eric Young vs Nick Aldis

Analysis: I hope Aldis vs Young gets over 15 minutes. That could be great.

Josh Alexander Returns to the Impact Zone

Tom Hannifan was losing his mind as Alexander made his way to the ring.

(Commercial Break)

Alexander had a microphone and was dressed in casual clothes. He returned at Slammiversary and confronted Impact World Champion Alex Shelley after his match with Nick Aldis. Alexander relinquished his title in March due to injury. He beat Shelley to retain his title at Emergence in August last year. The fans were pumped to see Alexander and so was I. He was a fantastic champion who consistently wrestled terrific matches in 2022. Alexander stated how great it was to be back and nothing could wipe the smile off his face. He said he loved the fans and Impact, and recalled the last time he was in an Impact ring before Slammiversary which was also in Windsor. That was when he had to hand his title in. Alexander looked a bit thinner in the face, than the last time we saw him. He said that was one of the worst days of his life but he’s back to regain his championship. Alexander sat at home feeling sorry for himself, until he saw Maclin holding his championship up at Rebellion. He said that was all the motivation he needed to get back on track and work harder than ever. Alexander said he was cleared to compete and at 100%, and coming for the championship. He said that at Against All Odds, Alex Shelley shocked the world. Alexander remarked that it didn’t surprise him because he knows how talented Shelley is. He asked if Alex Shelley was good enough to beat him? Here comes Shelley to respond. Shelley wasn’t mucking around. He said to shut his music off. Shelley reminded us that the last time they faced each other, Shelley lost. He said he wants this match to prove to himself that he can beat Alexander. Here comes the new X-Division champion, Lio Rush, to stir things up. Rush destroyed Chris Sabin in 90-seconds, in what looked like a concussion angle, not the main-event level match I was hoping for. Rush swaggered to the ring and took a microphone. He said before Shelley and Aldis get comfortable, he had to remind them of what he achieved on Saturday. Rush took his glasses off because it was serious time. He said that if he wanted to become Impact World Champion, he could exercise Option C. That’s where he can drop his title, in exchange for a World Championship opportunity. Here comes Kushida now, who is the #1 contender for the X-Division Championship. Kushida had the comically-sized ‘X’ around his neck. Kushida said there’s no Option C until Rush faced him. Now here comes Bully Ray, who lost a tag match to Eric Young and Scott D’Amore on Saturday. Bully has history with Josh Alexander. All of a sudden Moose and Brian Myers attacked Shelley, Alexander and Kushida from behind. Bully tossed Alexander into the turnbuckle as he screamed ‘Remember me?’. Moose raked at the eyes of Shelley. Bully held Shelley so Rush could nail him with the title, but Rush simply left the ring. Myers hit the Roster Cut on Shelley and then Impact went abruptly off the air.

Analysis: Well that was certainly an interesting main-event promo segment. I don’t know how they can end the show like that when it’s taped. It’s not like it’s live and they’ve ran out of time. It felt off, like the show wasn’t quite over. Anyway, that sets up some great matches in the future: Shelley vs Alexander, Rush vs Kushida, and some multi-man matches involving Moose, Myers and Bully vs the good guys. I’m definitely interested in where Impact is headed over the next few weeks.

Final Rating: 5.75/10

This week’s episode of Impact was slightly on the weaker side. After a decent Slammiversary show, we were given some direction for a couple of new feuds which is exciting. I look forward to another match between Alex Shelley and Josh Alexander, as well as the encounter between Kushida and Lio Rush. The main event promo segment gave lots of possibilities for future match-ups, especially after Rush’s involvement and the heel beatdown. It seems like the Kaz/Edwards feud will continue and I look forward to seeing who Trinity’s first challenger will be, as that’s not clear at this point in time. The rest of the show wasn’t great but there were two solid matches. Despite the commercial breaks, the Tag Team Championship match was really fun. I enjoyed Jake Something vs Kevin Knight, although their timing was a little off at times. The match between Dango and Santino Marella was a bit of a letdown, but it’s obvious that the feud will continue so Marella will get his comeuppance soon. I am continuing to enjoy the heel work of Dirty Dango. There were also many stars absent, even though they taped the show the day after Slammiversary and at the same place.

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!