This week on Impact Wrestling we saw a Motor City Machine Gun championship celebration and a big 10-person tag team match main event.
Impact Wrestling 15/6/23 from Ohio Expo Centre: Columbus, Ohio
The opening video focused on the main matches from Against All Odds, where Alex Shelley defeated Steve Maclin to become the Impact World Champion for the first time, Chris Sabin captured the X-Division Championship and Nick Aldis locked his spot in for the Slammiversary PPV. It was a decent show, but probably fell short of my lofty standards. You can read my review here.
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and here come the new champs!
Motor City Machine Guns Championship Celebration
Sabin and Shelley raised their new championship belts on the stage and made their way to the ring as the crowd welcomed them. Hannifan commented that Shelley finally ‘won the big one’ which takes me back to Chris Jericho from 2001. The fans chanted “Motor City!” as Sabin and Shelley soaked in the adulation. Sabin took a microphone and said a few nights ago he had a crazy dream, where both he and Shelley walked away from Against All Odds with gold, but it wasn’t tag team gold for a change, it was singles gold. The fans chanted “9-time” for Sabin, after his historic 9th capture of the X-Division Championship. Sabin also dreamt that finally Shelley became Impact World Champion. When they woke up, they realised it wasn’t a dream but a dream come true. Sabin asked what Shelley had to say about all of this, and Shelley replied with ‘Yep’ after his interaction with Maclin and Bully last week. Shelley confessed to the fans that he ‘ugly-cried’ after winning the World Title. He said for 20 years he had the feeling that he was never good enough. But this title on his shoulder means that he is. Shelley listed wrestlers that he has mentored that went on to become world champions: Okada, Rollins, Kushida to name a few. He said it was finally his turn. Shelley said he could call himself a champion because of the fans, the boys in the back, wrestlers in NJPW and he said the list could go on. Shelley said it was a new era in Impact Wrestling: The Machine Gun era. Here comes Nick Aldis with the interruption. Aldis became number 1 contender at Against All Odds and will face Shelley at Slammiversary next month. Aldis apologised for spoiling their moment but he wanted to come out and congratulate Shelley in person. At Against All Odds, Aldis saw how excited everyone was backstage for Shelley but he stood back and let him have his moment. Aldis said he was very proud of Shelley and agreed with the fans that he deserved the championship. Aldis said a long time ago he was drowning in the business and Shelley reached out his hand and pulled him out of the deep. As his friend, Aldis said Shelley isn’t looking at the same guy anymore. Aldis said Shelley pulled him up but he kept ascending. He said at Slammiversary he is going to do everything in his power to ensure his arm is raised in victory. Here’s Trey Miguel with the next interruption. Miguel burped and said he was feeling sick from all the gas they were blowing up each other. He said they left him off the Mount Rushmore of Impact Wrestling. Miguel asked where his respect was and Sabin told him to shut up. Sabin said he was sick of the crying and whining. He said he needed to earn some respect and he could do that by saying things to his face in the ring. Next is Kenny King with the interruption. King said he was sick of all the talk. The only person King said that talked any sense was Miguel. He said he has had to fight and claw for everything in Impact, while Aldis and The Guns are front-office favourites who get everything handed to them. King said Sabin was a disgrace by trying to goad Miguel into a 3 on 1 situation. Sabin said there’s 3-on-3 now so let’s see what happens. King, Sheldon Jean and Miguel started walking to the ring when Gisele Shaw and her entourage made their way to the ring. Shaw and Evans lost a tag match at Against All Odds to Deonna Purrazzo and Trinity. Shaw said the spotlight should be on her, not Trinity. Shaw said the red carpet has been rolled out for Trinity, just like it has been for Aldis and the Machine Guns. Shaw asked if they deserved all of this. Shelley got right in her face and said “Yep”. He said when Impact starting there was no red carpet, it was hardwood. Shelley said he has been here for 2 decades and that her probably is with Trinity, and here she comes to confront Shaw. Trinity stood across from Shaw in the ring. She said Shaw has been schooled by Shelley. Jai Vidal got her in face until Trinity threatened him. Here comes the Knockouts’ World Champion, Deonna Purrazzo. Purrazzo faces Trinity at Slammiversary. Purrazzo said she has passed 500 cumulative days as champion in Impact. Purrazzo held her championship up in the air. Trinity said Purrazzo is champion…until Slammiversary. Here comes Santino Marella and announced the main event: MCMG, Aldis & Purrazzo vs Miguel, King, Jean, Evans & Shaw. Marella called Evans Savannah Georgia which was fun. 10-person tag team main event for later in the show!
Analysis: That was borderline ridiculous. It was 20 minutes of interruptions to get to that main event. I would’ve been happy with just a Machine Guns promo and interruption by Aldis. I don’t think the rest was necessary. It is fun to combine feuds once in a while, but not at the expense of 20 minutes of your only show in the week.
There was a pre-taped promo from Steve Maclin. He was sat down and looking miserable after losing the World Title at Against All Odds. Maclin said Scott D’Amore finally got what he wanted and that was the championship from around his waist. Maclin gets his rematch in Australia. He threw some things across the room.
Analysis: I’m not sure if it was the right call but we will see!
There were highlights of Sami Callihan’s team winning the 6-man street fight at Against All Odds. It was a pretty brutal match that was one of the best on the card. The Design were backstage cutting a promo. Deaner asked who’s to blame for their loss at Against All Odds. Deaner turned to Angels and told him he didn’t get the job done. Angels said he left where he was because he was sick of being bossed around, and that’s exactly what’s been happening here. They showed a clip of Deaner accidentally caving Angels’ skull in with a baseball bat at Against All Odds. Deaner got in Angels’ face and asked if he really wanted to do this right now. He reminded him who brought Angels to Impact. Kon screamed at them to stop. He said that this is exactly what Callihan wants. Kon said it was time for them to let Impact know that this is their territory.
Analysis: Further implosion from The Design but Kon got them back on track a little bit. I’m interested to see where they go when they’re not attached to Callihan.
Moose made his way to the ring for the first match of the night, almost half an hour into the show!
Match #1: Moose vs Rich Swann
Swann ducked out of the way of a Moose attack early on. He avoided a clothesline in the corner and nailed a dropkick. Swann hit another one off the top rope. Moose ran at him and crashed over the top rope. Swann hit a dropkick through the ropes that dazed Moose. He nailed a superkick off the ring apron and tried a cannonball but Moose caught him and destroyed him with a powermbomb on the apron. Moose held on and repeatedly bashed Swann into the guard rail. Moose tossed Swann into the ring ropes and he bounced off the apron and hit the floor hard.
Moose was dominating Swann in the corner as we returned to the action. Moose tried a powerbomb but Swann countered with a hurricanrana. He ran at Moose who caught him with a huge chokeslam for a 2 count. Moose started choking Swann with his foot on the mat. Swann rolled to the floor for some respite. Moose went after him and rammed him hard against the ring apron and then nailed a chop against the ring post. He hit a second chop, but Swann avoided the third one and Moose hit the ring post hard with his fist. Swann rolled back inside the ring and stomped down hard on Moose’s hand. Swann had a breather in the corner so Moose went for a spear and crashed into the turnbuckle. Swann hit a series of kicks and then spiked Moose with a DDT. Awesome selling by Moose. Swann climbed to the top but Moose grabbed held of his leg and chopped him. He went a superplex but Swann knocked him off with right hands. Moose bounced up off the mat and nailed a superplex at last.
Both men were trading right hands as we came back from the break. Swann avoided a clothesline and rolled up Moose for 2. Moose wanted a powerbomb and again Swann rolled through for a nearfall. Swann tried a backslide but Moose kicked out again. Moose hit a pump kick and jumped on to the top rope looking for a diving crossbody but ran straight into a cutter. Amazing! Swann hit a springboard cutter for a really close nearfall. Swann went for a Phoenix Splash but rolled through after Moose avoided it. Moose hit a discus clothesline and another powerbomb for 2. Moose lined up Swann for the spear but Swann grabbed his leg and rolled through with a bridge to get the win after nine minutes of TV time.
Winner by pinfall: Rich Swann
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fantastic, athletic contest that would’ve been at least 4 stars with a few more minutes and without the interruption of both the commercial breaks. Moose has incredible agility for a big man and putting him up against Swann is always going to result in a terrific contest.
Heath was next to cut a promo. Maybe they can nickname tonight’s show Total Nonstop Promos. Heath was disappointed after busting his backside to get healthy and then come up short at Against All Odds. He wondered what was next for him Impact and said it was time to give everyone a wake up call.
Analysis: A simple promo to keep him in the upper-midcard picture.
Moose was wandering backstage looking dejected after losing to Swann. Brian Myers ran into him and said that was a tough loss. He always pointed out that Moose lost at Against All Odds. Moose did not look impressed by Myers’ observations. He said he doesn’t need a lecture. Myers said he failed at Against All Odds because The Good Hands couldn’t capture the World Tag Team Titles. Myers said The Good Hands might not have been able to get the job done, but Moose and Myers sure could.
Analysis: We need more tag teams desperately so Bullet Club vs Moose/Myers for Slammiversary would work.
Bully Ray Makes a Complaint
Bully Ray made his way to ringside for a promo. Hannifan said he had made an official complaint to Anthem after Scott D’Amore cost him the #1 Contendership at Against All Odds. Bully asked the crowd if they knew who he was, in characteristic fashion. He said he was a victim of Scott D’Amore and atrocious management, due to unnecessary violence by D’Amore at Against All Odds. Bully said he was on his way to victory, when D’Amore cost him the match. Bully said he wanted to represent all of his fans (ha!) as the next World Impact Champion. He said the fans have been denied thanks to D’Amore. Bully said he demanded justice from Anthem and showed the crowd the letter he sent them. He wants answers and here comes D’Amore. D’Amore entered the ring and took a microphone. He called Bully some names and Bully didn’t appreciate it. D’Amore said that once in a while, someone is going to be a jerk back to you. He was surprised that big, bad Bully had to resort to a HR letter. Bully complained that he is under physical and mental duress due to D’Amore’s actions. D’Amore has an answer for Bully. He went to the Anthem board who said D’Amore’s actions at Against All Odds were unprofessional. Bully made him repeat that. D’Amore started to fire up and stopped himself. Bully wants D’Amore to tell him that he was right and D’Amore was wrong. D’Amore has been strongly advised to take a leave of absence. That would make Bully happier than an apology. Bully gets in D’Amore’s face and sticks the letter in his pocket. He tells D’Amore to get out of his ring. D’Amore said something about he couldn’t do this if he was Impact President and took down Bully with right hands. D’Amore pummelled away on Bully but Steve Maclin ran in for the save. Bully kicked D’Amore hard in the ribs and Maclin went to get a steel chair. Bully screamed at D’Amore for putting his hands on him. Both he and Maclin had a chair. The lights went out and here’s PCO. PCO was in the ring but ran into chair shots from the heels. They nailed him about 6 times with chair shots but PCO wasn’t going down. PCO smashed the chair in Bully’s face and took down Maclin with a clothesline. D’Amore took out Maclin with a kick to the face. D’Amore challenged them to a tag match at Slammiversary.
Analysis: That was the long way around making the match but it was an effective segment. Smart decision making PCO D’Amore’s tag partner as he has history with Maclin and is popular with the fans. D’Amore will get cheered in his hometown, too.
Backstage, Maclin and Bully Ray were arguing about the invincibility of PCO. Maclin can’t work out how to put him away. Bully told Maclin that he was a marine, so he should act like it. Kaz was having a coffee and Maclin and Bully ran into him. Eddie Edwards broke up the scuffle. Bully threatened him and Alisha to not stick their noses in their business. Edwards said he had no beef with Kaz.
Analysis: That was random with Edwards sticking up for Kaz, but they were both trained by Killer Kowalski so that kind of makes sense. Maybe they can team up against Bully and Maclin. It’s been almost a year since an Edwards face run, but I prefer him in the heel role.
Match #2: Non-Title Match: Decay vs Bullet Club
A match between two natural tag teams, hooray! Steve and Bey started the match off and Steve tried to bite Bey on the forehead. He flipped over to his corner and tagged in Taurus who hit a double-clothesline on Bey and Austin. Taurus hit a double team DDT. He hit a pop-up Samoan Drop on Bey and hit a running uppercut on Austin in the corner. Taurus hit a Flatliner on Austin and tagged in Steve. Decay hit a double team moonsault on Austin for a 2 count. Steve whipped Austin into the corner but Austin jumped up on the top rope and hit a spinning kick to Steve’s face. Austin tagged in Bey, who went straight to Taurus on the ring apron. Taurus didn’t appreciate that, so he ran in and took down Bey with an uppercut. Bullet Club tried a double-team suplex on Steve who started biting both their forehead’s! He went to the top rope and flew through the air but was caught in mid-air by a double superkick. Taurus ran at Austin but fell over the top rope. Bey took him out on the outside. Austin flipped Bey up for the Art of Finesse on Steve, and then Austin nailed the Fold for the win after 3 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bullet Club
Analysis: ** That was good action, even though it was really short. The tag division is really lacking, so destroying one of the only regular teams in a few minutes doesn’t seem like great booking.
Bey and Austin were walking backstage and they ran into the Motor City Machine Guns. Sabin was impressed that Bullet Club are running the tag team division. He asked Shelley if he agreed and he gave his “Yep” answer again. Bey and Austin passed on their respect for their singles achievements.
Analysis: A nice little segment between the two best teams at Impact.
Gia Miller was backstage and previewed Bhupinder Gujjar’s behind-the-scenes documentary-style show that will be airing next week.
The commentators plugged Slammiversary and their tour to Australia, which I’m not going to but I’m really pleased that they’re coming here.
* Kon & Angels vs Mike Bailey & Jonathan Gresham
* OVE vs Brian Myers & The Good Hands
* Steve Maclin & Bully Ray vs Frankie Kazarian & Eddie Edwards
* Killer Kelly vs Taylor Wilde
Analysis: A strong line-up with lots of tag matches
Match #3: 10-Person Tag Match: The Motor City Machine Guns, Nick Aldis, Trinity & Deonna Purrazzo vs Trey Miguel, Kenny King, Sheldon Jean, Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans
The face team all received televised entrances, whilst the heels were all in the ring after the commercial break. There are 16 minutes of TV time left, which should make for a good contest. Purrazzo and Shaw square off to kick start the match. These two will face-off for the Knockouts’ Championship in Australia. Purrazzo takes Shaw down with a head scissors, but Shaw gets the upper-hand through a Legsweep. They get right in each other’s faces in the centre of the ring. Purrazzo wanted a test-of-strength but Shaw kicked her with a cheap shot. Shaw hit a hard chop and whipped her into the ropes but Trinity reached over and made the tag. Trinity hits a big dropkick to Shaw and gives her a big sliding slap. Trinity wanted a bulldog but Shaw tossed her into the middle turnbuckle. Shaw grabbed Trinity by the hair and took her over to her corner, then tagged in Evans. Evans clubbed away at Trinity’s back. Evans hit 2 scoop slams but missed a running legdrop. Trinity hit a big knee strike and a jumping legdrop for 2. Trinity tagged Purrazzo back in and they hit a double suplex on Evans. Purrazzo covered and got a 2 count. She wanted the armbar but Evans wasn’t going down. Shaw tried to break it up but Trinity locked her in Star Struck. Purrazzo took Evans to the mat and locked in the Fujiwara Armbar. Miguel had seen enough and dragged Shaw over to the corner and Jean did the same to Evans.
Back from the break and King and Aldis were the legal competitors. King hit a jumping splash in the corner. Aldis caught him and nailed a beautiful suplex from mid-air. Aldis tagged in Sabin and Miguel tagged in for his side. Sabin hit an arm drag and a hard backbreaker for a 2 count. Sabin got a right hand but King got a cheap shot in on the apron, so Miguel capitalised with a dropkick and scored a 2 count. Sheldon Jean was next to tag in and nailed Sabin with a few strikes in the corner. Jean with a snapmare and pummelled away with elbow strikes to the face of Sabin for another 2 count. Jean backed Sabin in to the corner so King could tag in. King hit a suplex for another nearfall. King tossed Sabin to the outside and all of King’s team mates started putting the boots in! There was a 4-on-1 assault on Sabin on the floor. King wanted a count-out win but Sabin made it in before 10. King locked in a reverse sleeper but Sabin fought out of it with right hands. King slammed Sabin down by the hair and scored another 2 count. He kicked Sabin hard in the back and tagged Miguel back in. Miguel hit an axe handle and then covered with his foot but Sabin kicked out. He grounded Sabin on the mat and kneed him over and over. Sabin kicked out again. King tagged in and swatted away at Sabin with his foot. Sabin was fighting on his knees but King raked the eyes to end that rally. King strutted around the ring like Ric Flair and Sabin blocked a kick in the corner. King hit a big kick to the head for 2, but Shelley broke the pin up. Sabin blocked a shot in the corner with his elbow and hit a Tornado DDT on King. Sabin finally made the tag to the World Champion and here comes Shelley. King tagged in Miguel, too. Shelley took down Miguel with an overhead belly-to-belly. Shelley slid through Miguel’s legs and took out Vidal on the outside. He got to the top rope but Miguel hit an upper cut. Shelley hit an Atomic Drop off the top rope for a 2 count. Shelley trapped Miguel in the Motor City Stretch but Evans broke it up. It started to break down in the ring as Purrazzo took out Evans with a big kick, then Shaw hit a superkick on her. Trinity was next in and kicked Shaw out of the ring. Vidal came in illegally and took Trinity out with a clothesline. He started dancing around so Aldis threw him over the top rope. Miguel with a superkick and neckbreaker on Aldis. Jean nailed Sabin with a spinning kick. Shelley avoided another one from King and King kicked Jean in the face! Aldis caught King with a Michinoku Driver. Shelley with the Shell Shock on Jean for the win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Motor City Machine Guns, Nick Aldis, Trinity & Deonna Purrazzo
Analysis: ***1/2 A chaotic match that was hard to cover but everyone was given some time to shine. It was mostly about Sabin being the man in peril, with Shelley making the hot tag and winning it for his team. The big point was to follow.
After the match, Aldis retrieved the World Championship to give to Shelley, but blasted him in the face with it! Aldis dropped the title in the ring and ran out before Sabin could catch him.
Analysis: There’s the heel turn that was rumoured with the prospect of it being a face vs face match at Slammiversary. I’m all for it as that’s definitely Aldis’ better suit and I have seen too many face vs face championship matches in Impact over the last year. My only criticism is that it was done in the last 30 seconds so there was any real time to soak it in and make it feel like a big moment. Maybe cutting a minute or two off the 20-minute opening promo might have been wise!
Final Rating: 7/10
That was a unique episode of Impact, as far as half of the show was spent on the opening promo and the main event that was built up through the opening promo. That meant only 3 matches on the card- two of which were really good and a short tag match in there, too. It also meant around 2,500 less words written by me so I’m all for that. There’s still plenty of time to build a strong card for Slammiversary and at present, there are 3 matches that are made, all worth watching it seems. The Aldis heel turn was the big moment, however it was done with 30 seconds left in the show and therefore felt really rushed. They could’ve done the belt shot, then had him staring at the title whilst the camera panned in but they just didn’t have the TV time left. If you want to feature big moments like that, be smarter about how you structure your show. No wrestling show needs a 20-minute opening non-wrestling segment.
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
* Scott D’Amore & PCO vs Bully Ray & Steve Maclin