IMPACT Wrestling Review – July 6, 2023

impact july 6 chair shot

This week’s Impact was headlined by four men facing off at Slammiversary, as the Motor City Machine Guns take on Nick Aldis and Lio Rush in the main event.

Impact Wrestling 6/7/23 from Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia.

The opening video focused on the build to Slammiversary which continued last week, including Nick Aldis trying to explain his turn on Alex Shelley as well as Lio Rush debuting and joining forces with Aldis. There was also a recap of Scott D’Amore’s wrestling story and there was a clip of Gillberg which made me chuckle.

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are straight into a singles grudge match.

Match #1: Eddie Edwards w/ Alisha vs Frankie Kazarian

This is a rematch from Against All Odds, which was won by Kaz. They tried teaming up but that didn’t work so are back to fighting each other. Alisha tried to distract Kaz as the match begun but Kaz caught Eddie with a neckbreaker off the topes for an early 2 count. Kaz clubbed the back of Edwards and nailed a Fisherman’s Suplex with a bridge for 2. This match has started furiously. Kaz blocked an Edwards’ corner attack with an elbow. He floated to the ring apron but missed a legdrop, so Edwards dropkicked him to the floor. Alisha nailed Kaz with a Tornado DDT from the ring apron to the floor! Edwards backed Kaz against the ring and chopped away on him. Edwards tossed Kaz back inside the ring and nailed him with a back elbow for a 1 count. Edwards raked the eyes of Kaz and backed him into the corner, for some more chops. Edwards taunted the crowd a bit and choked Kaz against the middle rope, then Alisha continued it as the referee talked to her husband. Edwards with a short-arm chop which knocked Kaz down to the mat. Edwards hit a clothesline and scored another 1 count. Kaz fought back with a few right hands and nailed some chops. Edwards sent him through the ropes so Alisha attacked him from behind to no effect. Edwards nailed Kaz from behind then threw him back inside the ring. Edwards spent too much time canoodling with Alisha so Kaz launched himself over the top rope and nailed a spiking DDT on the ring apron. Kaz nailed a hard clothesline on the floor as the referee reached a count of 9. He hit a guillotine legdrop but Edwards kicked out at 2. Kaz blocked a corner atatack but Edwards nailed an enziguiri. Kaz fought out of the Blue Thunder Bomb to turn it into a pinning attempt for a 2 count. Kaz hit the Unprettier for 2. Both men were struggling at this point. Edwards with a poke to the eyes and went for another Blue Thunder Bomb but Kaz tried the Chicken Wing. Edwards wriggled free and nailed a superkick. Kaz avoided a clothesline and hit a backstabber. Edwards recovered quickly and hit a stiff clothesline and a huge Tiger Driver for a very close 2 count. The crowd chanted their appreciation as both men slowly got to their feet. Kaz blocked the Boston Knee Party and locked in the Chicken Wing. Alisha got up on the ring apron so the referee went to tell her off but Edwards used his momentum to back into the referee who comically crashed to the canvas. The referee was still down (perhaps some of the AEW roster should note his selling- I kid) so Alisha grabbed a kendo stick and nailed Kaz on the back. Edwards with the Boston Knee Party for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Edwards

Analysis: ***1/2 I figured that Edwards would grab a win after losing at Against All Odds. I rated this one slightly lower because of the borderline ridiculous amount of interference from his wife. I expect a rematch at Slammiversary (later on it was announced).

There was a recap video of Alex Shelley confronting Nick Aldis in the ring last week, which led to he and Lio Rush beating down the Guns. Sabin vs Rush is official for Slammiversary. Sabin cut an angry promo after the show making the challenge.

Lio Rush was with Gia Miller backstage. Rush said he wasn’t in Impact to make friends. He doesn’t care if people don’t like his actions but he’s here to win titles. Nick Aldis interrupted and wasn’t happy that Rush stuck his nose in his business last week. Aldis said he doesn’t make friends, he makes history. He said they have to win tonight and warned Rush not to underestimate Sabin and Shelley.

Analysis: I wanted to hear from Rush but Aldis came in playing the veteran heel giving condescending advice. That should be a great tag match later on.

Kaz cut a quick promo backstage, annoyed after his loss earlier tonight. Kaz said it was 1-1 and challenged Edwards to a rubber match at Slammiversary. He said he was going to bring his wife, Traci Brooks, to cancel out Alisha.

Analysis: That makes sense as now Traci can keep an eye on Alisha. I’m all for a third match in the series.

The combatants were already in the ring for the next match of the evening.

Match #2: Rich Swann & Sami Callihan vs Champagne Singh & Shera

Singh was aggressive early with knees to the ribs of Swann. He tossed Swann into his corner and tagged in Shera. They hit a double-team Big Boot and Shera covered for 2. Shera pulled Swann up by his hair and rammed him into the corner turnbuckle. Singh tagged in again and both the heels hit splashes in the corner. Singh talked trash to Swann who was down on the mat. He hit a Flatliner and a right hand. Singh slammed Swann hard into the turnbuckle with an Irish Whip. He took too much time mocking Swann so Swann crawled through his legs and tagged Callihan. Sami came in with a clothesline to Singh and followed up with another. Shera tried to interfere so Callihan took them both out with a clothesline combination. He and Swann double-teamed Singh with a corner splash and turned their attention to Shera with a springboard cutter which Shera sold perfectly. The face team hit stereo superkicks then Callihan nailed the Cactus Driver 97 but Swann hit a superkick to send the momentum Callihan’s way. Callihan covered for the win after 3 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rich Swann & Sami Callihan

Analysis: ** Just a short match to put over the team of Callihan and Swann, who are on the PPV card and Shera and Singh are not. I liked the double-team work of the face duo.

Gia Miller was backstage with Moose and Brian Myers. Miller asked if they were scouting the competition for Slammiversary. Myers laughed that off and said he and Moose were the best team in Impact. Moose said Swann and Callihan winning a warm up match wasn’t real competition. He said next week they would beat that team on Impact.

Analysis: Cocky promo from the heels and that sets up a match for next week.

There was a clip from the YouTube pre-show BTI and Santino Marella was going berserk at Dirty Dango. He was rambling on so that Heath could come in and nail Dango with a Wake Up Call. This was followed by another taped promo from Dango where the questions are typed and he responds. He talked about how his heroes in wrestling were disappointing in real life. He offered some condescending advice for young talent and ripped on Marella, calling him a ‘One Hit Wonder’ and mocked the Cobra. Dango addressed Heath who he will face next week.

Analysis: I enjoy these segments from him, with his new heel persona. The points are a bit all over the place but he’s so cocky and condescending that it works. Heath vs Dirty Dango is on for next week.

Match #3: Angels w/ Kon & Deaner vs Jonathan Gresham

These two face off in Ultimate X at Slammiversary with the #1 Contendership for the X-Division Championship on the line. They locked up and Gresham tried a Full Nelson but Angels squirmed free and hit a shoulder block then a single-leg dropkick. Deaner screamed at Angels to listen to him, even though he should be focusing on the match. Angels nailed a suplex but Gresham kicked out at 1. He backed Gresham into the corner and stomped him down. Angels tried a corner attack but Gresham sent him over the top rope to the ring apron. He swept Angels’ feet from under him and sent him crashing to the floor with a dropkick.

(Commercial Break)

Gresham was on top as we returned to the action. He stomped on Angels’ fingers and hit a running elbow for a 2 count. Gresham tried two more covers for no success. He slammed Angels hard into the corner turnbuckle. Angels blocked a suplex attempt and they exchanged chops. They had about 30 seconds of blocking each other’s suplex attempts then Angels hit a hip toss. Angels blocked a corner attack and nailed a hard clothesline, then another and a half-and-half suplex. He mounted Gresham in the corner and pummelled him with left hands. Angels hit a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge for a close 2 count. He was frustrated so wasted a bit of time and Gresham rolled him up for 2. They exchanged pin attempts around the ring in an entertaining spot, but no one had any success. Gresham locked in the Octopus and Angels was exhausted after all the pin attempts so he tapped out quickly. The match lasted 6 minutes.

Winner by submission: Jonathan Gresham

Analysis: **3/4 That was an enjoyable match that was quite even up until the end where Angels tapped quickly. That might have seemed out of the blue but it puts Gresham’s submission finish over as a lethal move.

Gresham offered his hand after the match. Deaner was screaming at him to leave with him and Kon. Angels said he didn’t need Deaner anymore and was about to shake Gresham’s hand when Deaner and Kon went into the ring to confront him. Deaner said Angels belonged with The Design and not these people but Angels shook hands with Gresham and left up the ramp. Deaner was incensed.

Analysis: The Design implosion angle is back, just when I thought they were starting to all get along. Angels is talented enough that he doesn’t need to be tied down to a faction, in my opinion.

Chris Bey and Ace Austin, the Impact World Tag Team Champions, were backstage cutting a promo. Austin said that they odds are stacked against them at Slammiversary but that has happened in the past and they’ve come through with the goods. Bey was interrupted by Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz. They want to be added to the match at Slammiversary. Bey said that they needed to get to the back of the line. Wentz challenged Bey to a match and if Wentz wins he wants The Rascalz to be added to Slammiversary. Bey accepted and the match is on.

Analysis: Miguel isn’t in the X-Division picture so that makes sense, if Wentz wins the match. On a side note, you may notice that I refer to Austin and Bey as Bullet Club, where some sites and the Impact broadcast will call them the ABC (Ace and Bey Connection). I just think that sounds silly so it’s a personal preference for me. Just like how I think Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins is stupid and don’t refer to him as that.

There was a highlights video of Impact’s trip to Australia from last weekend. I didn’t attend. It’s about an 8-hour drive from me and it was in the middle of the school holidays. It was in a regional/ country town called Wagga Wagga, which most people from overseas would never had heard of, but the Government has been trying to promote sports and entertainment to get people back into spending so that’s where it ended up. Wagga Wagga’s population is smaller than what the WWE got for the Super Showdown tour in Melbourne. A very odd choice I thought but it looked to be a great weekend. I’m not sure about the crowd attendance but I hope it was something that encourages Impact to come back to other cities next time.

Deonna Purrazzo and Trinity were chatting backstage. Trinity lamented Purrazzo for taking her time in coming to her aid last week. Purrazzo wondered why Trinity needed to rely on her help. Trinity took offence to this but thought Purrazzo disrespected her. Purrazzo said that it’s clear they both don’t need any help and she’s going to issue an open challenge for the Knockouts’ World Champion next week to prove it.

Analysis: That seems like an odd time to put your championship on the line. The back and forth stuff between these two is pretty basic but Trinity has never been super strong with her verbal skills.

Match #4: Handicap Match: PCO vs The Good Hands

The Good Hands did their usual hell promo before the match by trashing the fans and PCO. PCO was electrocuting himself before the match so I’m sure he’s not worried by these two. Scott D’Amore was on commentary and said The Good Hands odds were 1000-1 to win the match. PCO hit a double clothesline and Skyler and Hotch rolled out of the ring. PCO took them both out with a cannonball through the ropes. He’s insane. PCO hit the Deanimator to Hotch on the ring apron. He nailed Skyler with a reverse DDT back in the ring. PCO hit the PCO Sault with great impact for the squash win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: PCO

Analysis: ** Even though it was quick, it was still fun because PCO is legitimately crazy and it’s terrifying/entertaining to watch. The Good Hands went from jobbers to Tag Team Title contenders to now jobbers again all in a few weeks.

Hotch wasn’t happy after the match and got in D’Amore’s face, who had joined PCO in the ring. Hotch slapped D’Amore and they faced off in the centre of the ring. D’Amore hit the Sky High sit-out powerbomb and then was setting up for the Canadian Destroyer but Bully Ray’s music hit. Bully was mouthing off on the stage, which allowed time for Steve Maclin to sneak into the ring and nail PCO with a low blow. Maclin gently caressed a steel chair over the back of D’Amore. Bully was far more forceful with his steel chair shots to both D’Amore and PCO. Maclin tied D’Amore to the ring ropes with handcuffs. Bully continued to beat PCO with chair shots. Bully got a table out and he forced D’Amore to watch as Bully and Maclin put PCO through the table with a double chokeslam. The table completely disintegrated which was funny. Maclin and Bully dragged PCO’s lifeless body from the ring and tossed him down the back ramp. D’Amore was beside himself in the ring as Bully and Maclin left to attend to PCO.

Analysis: A good beatdown segment which is what the feud needed. D’Amore and PCO were getting too much of the ascendency. I read that Maclin might have suffered an injury and might not be at Slammiversary but I’m not sure at this stage.

The segment continued with Maclin and Bully beating PCO in an underground parking lot. They poured what Matt Rehwoldt called battery acid down the throat of PCO, as Bully choked him with a steel chair. Bully sprayed PCO with lighter fluid and set him on fire. The camera blacked out after that. The commentators came back with their ‘serious voices’ and recapped the segment.

Analysis: Well that was violent. It looked like a segment to write PCO off TV but he doesn’t die so perhaps it will just be an angle to show his superhuman powers of recovery.

Gia Miller was backstage with D’Amore. Miller asked how this affects the match at Slammiversary. D’Amore didn’t care as he was concerned about PCO.

Analysis: A lot happened in the last 5 minutes!

Match #5: Gisele Shaw w/ Jai Vidal & Savannah Evans vs Courtney Rush w/ Jessicka

There was a commercial break straight away which are usually better than Death Dollz segments so I welcomed that. Rush wanted a handshake because she mustn’t watch any of Shaw’s matches ever. Shaw took down Rush with a shoulder block. She ran at Rush who hit an arm drag and targeted the left arm. Rush hit a shoulder block of her own and tried a Sharpshooter but Shaw rolled to the outside for a breather. Rush chatted to Jessicka to get a bit of advice. Shaw re-entered the ring and ran into a reverse DDT. Rush dragged Shaw to the corner but Vidal jumped up on the apron for the distraction. This allowed Shaw to hit a kick to the head of Rush and gain momentum. Shaw hit her running uppercuts in the corner and then one off the ropes for a 2 count. Shaw nailed a double stomp in the corner for 2. Shaw took too long gloating so Rush hit a rolling forearm and a T-Bone Suplex for a 2 count. Shaw hit a German suplex for another nearfall. Rush blocked a knee strike and nailed a Samoan Drop. Rush set up for the running knee but Evans got up on the ring apron for the distraction. Jessicka confronted her but Evans sent her into the steel steps. Rush sent Evans crashing to the mat with a dropkick. Shaw rolled up Rush and used the ropes for leverage to win the match after 6 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Gisele Shaw

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match that had a fair bit of action. I’d rather see Shaw winning in a more convincing fashion, but it fits her character to win by mass cheating. I’m hoping this doesn’t become a stable feud.

Kenny King and Sheldon Jean were walking backstage. A fan wanted a selfie which he obliged and then offered him some money, as did another fan after Joe Hendry’s musical number last week. King told the fan not to ‘say his name’ and Hendry appeared. King told Hendry that since he made that video, King’s life has been miserable. Jean and King said they didn’t believe in Joe Hendry and that Hendry is a joke. Hendry said he can get backup anytime he wants, he just has to ‘say his name’ and Yuya Uemura appeared. King was sick of the antics and walked off in disgust.

Analysis: That was a silly but entertaining follow up from last week. King vs Hendry is set for the Slammiversary pre-show.

Next week on Impact:

* Zachary Wentz vs Chris Bey
* Kevin Knight vs Mike Bailey
* Moose & Brian Myers vs Rich Swann & Sami Callihan
* Impact Knockouts’ World Championship: Open Challenge: Deonna Purrazzo vs ?

Analysis: Solid lineup for the ‘go-home’ show before Slammiversary.

Match #6: The Motor City Machine Guns vs Nick Aldis & Lio Rush

The Guns were out together first, followed by Rush and Aldis separately. Shelley wanted to start off with Aldis but Aldis let Rush begin the match. Shelley tagged straight out to Sabin, as did Rush to Aldis. Smart move there. Aldis and Sabin locked up. Aldis hit a shoulder block and a back elbow. He tagged Rush in. Sabin fired up and hit a few forearms. Rush did his rope-running spot, then a Matrix-style slide to avoid a clothesline. He’s so quick, it’s almost unbelievable. Rush disrespected Sabin by smacking him over the head. Sabin wriggled free and Shelley blind-tagged in. Sabin dropkicked Aldis off the apron. The Guns did a double-kick to the chest/back of Rush. Shelley tagged Sabin back in. Shelley hit a double-stomp from the top rope and Sabin covered for a 2 count. That’s a finishing move from Finn Balor in WWE. Sabin stretched Rush out in the Abdominal Stretch for a short moment then tagged Shelley back in. They hit simultaneous springboard sentons and Shelley covered for 2. Rush took Sabin off the apron with a cheap shot and then ran straight into a knee from Shelley. Shelley had one eye on Aldis as he stalked Rush on the outside. Aldis hit around the corner and took Shelley out with a clothesline.

(Commercial Break)

Aldis and Shelley were the legal men as we returned to the action. Aldis with a hard clothesline and followed up with choking Shelley against the middle rope. Rush hit a cheap shot on Shelley in the corner. Aldis hit a Pumphandle throw with ease for a 2 count. He tagged Rush in who hit an elbow drop. Rush locked in a front-face lock on Shelley, who was grounded on the mat. Rush put his body between Shelley and the corner. Aldis ran into the ring so Rush could take advantage behind the referee’s back again. Rush hit a snap suplex on Shelley for only a 1 count. Rush had Shelley down on the mat with a reverse chin lock. He applied the body scissors too but Shelley countered by wrenching at Rush’s ankle. Rush backed into his corner and tagged in Aldis. Aldis hit a snapmare and locked a sleeper in. Shelley got to his feet and ran the ropes but Rush kicked him in the back. Aldis took Sabin off the apron with a cheap shot. Shelley nailed Aldis with Flatliner against the middle turnbuckle. Shelley made the tag to Sabin, as did Aldis to Rush. Sabin hit a missile dropkick then took out Aldis with a running punt off the ring apron. The Guns hit a double team Magic Killer for a close 2 count. Rush wriggled free from the Cradle Shock but ran into a right hand from Shelley on the apron. Aldis tried to cheap shot Sabin but was met with a Dragon Screw. Rush tried a cheap shot on Shelley in the corner but he ran into a Dragon Screw, too! Rush took both the Guns out with a handspring kick and then he flew to the outside with a senton over the top rope. Rush hit a running clothesline on Sabin in the corner and followed it up with a flying clothesline then a Falcon Arrow. As Sabin kicked out, Aldis came flying in with an elbow drop, completely illegal yet the referee counted as if it was completely fine and Sabin just managed to kick out. Sabin avoided a Frog Splash and Shelley came in for the double-team dropkick. Sabin nailed Aldis with a cutter and then they nailed Rush with a double-team Dominator but Aldis broke the pinfall up just before 3. Aldis locked Shelley in the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf submission but Sabin took him out with a superkick. Shelley and Aldis brawled around the ring. Sabin stuck his head through the ropes to check on Shelley so Rush hit a low blow, which went undetected by the referee. Rush nailed a rolling kick and the Final Hour Frog Splash for the win. The match went just under 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Nick Aldis & Lio Rush

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very energetic and fast-paced main event where all 4 men didn’t really leave anything in the locker room. I do enjoy tag matches that combine feuds and that is what this was, done really well. The opening exchanges were Aldis didn’t want to face Shelley until it was on his terms was clever. There was a little bit of double team interference but not an over-the-top amount. I had a feeling that Rush would get the win over Sabin, to build his momentum to Slammiversary although I also thought there could be a DQ finish this close to the PPV, with Impact not wanting anyone to take a loss so close to the show. I’m impressed by Rush’s start to Impact Wrestling. His pace is electric and is smooth in the ring. That Final Hour Frog Splash gets some serious air time. I hope he has a solid run in Impact because he has my attention.

Final Rating: 7.25/10

It was another solid week of building towards the Slammiversary PPV, that is now just around the corner. This show was bookended by great matches. The opener between Kaz and Edwards was very good, and now that they’re tied at 1-1 we go to a rubber match at the PPV. The main event tag was great and combined the X-Division and World Championship feuds really well. I enjoyed the presentation of Lio Rush and Nick Aldis continues to remind me why I enjoyed him during his time as Magnus. He does a lot of the little things really well. The rest of the show was fine but unspectacular. There was the attempted murder of PCO which was a little over-the-top and makes you wonder if they are writing him out. They furthered the Bully/Maclin vs PCO/D’Amore feud well, if in a very violent manner. There were a few matches added to the PPV and I enjoyed the backstage interactions between Kenny King/Joe Hendry and Deonna Purrazzo/ Trinity. When you can’t have everyone on TV every week, having a short 2-3-minute segment keeps the feud/storyline fresh for the fans and allows more wrestlers on the show.

The next Impact Wrestling PPV is Slammiversary on July 15th. Here’s what we know so far:

* 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 & PCO vs Bully Ray & Steve Maclin
* Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian

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!