A big tag team match headlined this week’s Impact Wrestling, as the build to the Slammiversary PPV continued.
Impact Wrestling 22/6/23 from Ohio Expo Centre: Columbus, Ohio
The opening video focused on last week’s confrontation between Impact President-no-more Scott D’Amore and Bully Ray, leading to a tag team match being made at Slammiversary. There was also footage of Nick Aldis’ rapid-fire heel turn in the final 10 seconds of the broadcast which was done very poorly.
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are straight into 6-man tag action.
Match #1: oVe (Jake Crist, Madman Fulton & Sami Callihan) vs Brian Myers & The Good Hands
Myers put over his team on the mic before the bell. The fans chanted for oVe. Myers said he would take anything over Ohio and trashed the fans. Crist and Skyler started the match and Skyler got the advantage with a shoulder tackle. Crist levelled him with a dropkick and tagged in Callihan for a double-team spinebuster. Fulton tagged in and triple-teamed the heels with a double-team chokeslam whilst holding Skyler in the powerslam position. Crist got the tag again and hit a splash on the corner on Skyler He went for a crossbody off the top, but Myers distracted him so he missed. Hotch tagged in and the Good Hands hit a double elbow on Crist. Hotch choked Crist against the middle rope and then tagged Skyler back in. Skyler hit a running knee for a 2 count. Myers tagged in and stomped on Crist on the mat. He hit a suplex for a 1 count. Myers tried a sleeper but Crist hit a jawbreaker to get out of it. Crist tried a sunset flip but Myers held on and tagged Skyler back in. Skyler tried repeated covers to no success. He whipped Crist hard into the turnbuckle and nailed him with a right hand shot. Hotch tagged in and he pummelled away on Crist, then quickly tagged out to Skyler again. Skyler missed a corner attack and Crist fought back with a forearm off the top rope. Crist kipped up and tagged in Callihan, whilst Skyler tagged Myers in. He nailed a Flatliner/DDT combination on Myers and Hotch. He tagged Fulton in who had Hotch in the press-slam position. Moose ran down to the ring and pushed Crist off the top turnbuckle. Fulton went after him so Myers hit the Roster Cut on Crist for the win after 6 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Brian Myers & The Good Hands
It was fine for a shorter match that was action-packed. oVe has had a lot of momentum lately but it seems Myers and his buddies needed the win more, which is fine because I agree with that.
Eddie Edwards and Frankie Kazarian were backstage preparing for their main event tag team match against Bully Ray and Steve Maclin. Edwards was trying to convince Kaz that he could be trusted. Kaz said that Edwards had turned his back on everyone in the last 18 months and he can handle himself if the inevitable happens. Edwards swears on Killer Kowalski that Kaz can trust him.
Analysis: I don’t see that lasting long but I prefer Edwards as a heel anyway.
There was a quick promo video for Aldis vs Shelley at Slammiversary.
Sami Callihan was angry and throwing chairs backstage after his tag team loss. Rich Swann came in to calm him down. Swann said he knows what Moose and Myers are like and he’s got Callihan’s back.
Analysis: Another ally for Callihan in his battle with Myers and friends.
Match #2: Dirty Dango vs Bhupinder Gujjar
This match came about after Dango talked Gujjar down about his documentary on his Impact journey so far. I am enjoying Dango’s heel work as he just has so much disdain for everyone. Dango took a microphone but the fans were changing “Divas reject” after Joe Hendry made fun of him with another song a few weeks back. All Dango said was that he hated pro wrestling and Gujjar made his way to the ring. Dango started off on top with a few jabs to the face. He got a side headlock and a shoulder tackle. Gujjar hit a back elbow to stop Dango’s dancing. He nailed a dropkick and Dango slithered out of the ring for a breather. Gujjar cut him off with a springboard clothesline from inside the ring. He tossed Dango back in the ring and set up for the Gargoyle spear but Dango avoided it. He connected with a reverse DDT for the win in just under three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dirty Dango
Analysis: ** Not a great way to put over the man you’ve just made a documentary on, but the winning ways of Dango continue which is fine with me.
After the match, Dango grabbed a phone from ringside and started recording himself. The Director of Authority, Santino Marella, had seen enough and marched down to ringside. Dango bailed, but Gujjar was there to toss him back into the ring and straight into a Cobra.
Analysis: A bit of revenge on Dango who has been dodging Marella for weeks, since his heel turn.
There were highlights from BTI of Jody Threat beating Neveah to continue her undefeated streak. They showed Threat and Neveah showing each other respect backstage. Neveah ran into Jessicka and Courtney Rush. Jessicka said she wasn’t Havok anymore but Neveah had worked out what was going on. Some other stuff happened but it was too painful to recap in detail.
Analysis: I can’t stand the Death Dollz, as you may have noticed.
There was a promo video for the Impact Down Under Tour to Australia, where they’re performing two shows in a regional town because the Government is throwing money towards live events nowadays.
Ziggy Dice was getting some referee training backstage, in order to be Johnny Swinger’s personal referee and finally notch up his first win on the road to 50. Dice answered a simple question correctly and got his referee’s licence. He brought his own shirt and Swinger was happy that he can now screw his way to 50 wins.
Analysis: At least that was mildly entertaining. They’re at least trying with this story.
Match #3: The Design (Kon & Angels w/ Deaner) vs Mike Bailey & Jonathan Gresham
The continual Design storyline seems to build up a big feud, lose, show some dissent and then repeat the process. Let’s see how the next cycle goes. Gresham and Bailey had a nice series of matches earlier in the year and now are teaming up. Angels and Bailey kicked the match off. Kon distracted Bailey so Angels could get a cheap shot in. Bailey fought back with a kick that grounded Angels. Bailey nailed a chop and Gresham blind-tagged in and then caught Angels in mid-air with a stalling German suplex. Nice spot there. Bailey and Gresham dropkicked Kon off the apron. Bailey hit a big kick to the face of Angels but Kon came in and levelled the face team with a double clothesline. He tossed Gresham into Bailey, who fell out of the ring. On the outside, Kon took Bailey down with a running splash.
Kon pummelled Gresham with right hands on the mat as we returned from the break. Kon wanted a running powerslam, but Gresham slipped out and tagged Bailey who hit Kon with a flurry of kicks. He nailed a dropkick but the big man wouldn’t drop. Bailey hit another kick which got Kon to a knee. He finally went down after a missile dropkick. Bailey hit a running shooting star press but Kon held onto him and hit a scoop slam. Angels tagged in and The Design wanted the Doomsday Device but Bailey gave Kon a hurricanrana to send him crashing over the top rope. Gresham avoided an Angels diving move and nailed a pop-up cutter. Bailey locked in an armbar on Angels, but Angels rolled through for a 2 count. Angels missed a spinning heel kick so Bailey saved Gresham from Kon on the outside with a moonsault. Angels hit a baseball slide on a distracted Bailey. He then crashed into Deaner on the outside, missing a kick on Bailey. Bailey missed the Tornado kick back in the ring so Angels hit the Spanish Fly off the middle rope, which always looks flawless. Deaner got up on the ring apron and screamed at Angels to finish the job. Angels went for the Frog Splash but Bailey had time to move out of the way. Bailey hit the Tornado kick and Ultima Weapon to put away Angels after 8 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jonathan Gresham & Mike Bailey
Analysis: *** I enjoyed the work of both teams here. There was a lot happening and both teams made their offense look smooth, including double-team work which isn’t always easy with a big man like Kon involved. Deaner ended up costing his team on this occasion, so we will see where that leads.
The Impact Flashback Moment was from December 2013 where Rockstar Spud (Drake Maverick) cost Jeff Hardy the World Championship for his boss, Dixie Carter. Magnus (Nick Aldis) became the World Champion so it makes sense to show that clip with him turning heel last week.
Trinity was backstage with Gia Miller. Miller said if Gisele Shaw beats Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts’ World Championship on their Australian tour, then Trinity’s match with Purrazzo at Slammiversary will turn into a triple-threat match. Trinity said Shaw always had help lurking around and she wanted to put a stop to that by challenging Jai Vidal to a match next week.
Analysis: I like how Impact treat these championship matches where the outcome is obviously clear to the fans. We know Shaw isn’t beating Purrazzo, but they make a rule for down-the-line to show that a title change could happen. You don’t see WWE saying that if Bron Breakker defeated Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title on NXT that he would go to Money in the Bank to defend the title against Finn Balor, because the result is so obvious. I like that Impact do little things like this.
Jimmy Jacobs was backstage and read a statement from Nick Aldis, who was not present. Aldis said he had received threats via social media and to his home after his actions last week. Impact World Champion Alex Shelley cut him off and said this was ridiculous. Jacobs said once things had cooled off, Aldis will explain himself…next week. Shelley was growing frustrated and wanted to send a message to Aldis so nailed Jacobs with a superkick and walked off.
Analysis: Aldis not showing up this week (as much as that fits a heel) is even worse than the 10-second heel turn from last week. Bad booking for such a big match.
Match #4: Taylor Wilde w/ KiLynn King vs Killer Kelly
This is a random match but the tag champs need something to do, seeing as there’s only one other team in the whole division. Kelly tried for a side headlock but Wilde slipped out and hit some clubbing blows to the back. Kelly didn’t take too kindly to that so hit a big boot to the face and scored a 2 count. Kelly hit a running punt with Wilde in a seated position. She scored with a forearm but King grabbed her from out of the ring as she was running off the ropes. Wilde took advantage with a kick to the head and scored a 2 count. She targeted the spine of Kelly with clubbing blows. Wilde locked in a surfboard stretch and modified it into a bridge for a 2 count. She choked Kelly in the middle rope until the referee intervened. Wilde covered for another nearfall. They exchanged forearms but Kelly caught Wilde with 3 headbutts and a double-underhook suplex into the corner. Kelly hit a hesitation dropkick in the corner for 2. Wilde hit a backstabber to target the back again then a step-up enziguiri. Kelly tried an inside cradle for 2. Wilde wanted her German suplex finisher but Kelly slipped out and rolled Wilde up for the win after 5 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Killer Kelly
Analysis: **1/2 Another match that was fine for 5 minutes. I liked Wilde’s tactics of targeting the neck and back, seeing as Kelly had been in the Dog Collar Match recently. The Knockouts’ Division is evenly booked so they do a lot of roll up-type finishes.
After the match Wilde attacked Kelly from behind. King joined in with clubbing blows to the chest until Masha Slamovich’s music hit and she came to the ring with a steel chain and the dog collar. She thought about hitting Kelly, but smashed King in the face with the chain. Slamovich hit a massive lariat on Wilde and kicked her out of the ring. King retreated up the ramp as Slamovich and Kelly faced each other in the ring.
Analysis: There’s the next challengers to the Knockouts’ Tag Titles, so they’re pairing foes up as friends.
There were more highlights of Scott D’Amore and Bully Ray facing off from last week. At least it won’t be a singles match at Slammiversary, but I feel for Steve Maclin who has gone from World Champion to pointless tag match in the space of two weeks. D’Amore joined Gia Miller backstage. D’Amore took his headset off as he has taken a leave of absence from his President position. He put over Maclin and Bully as competitors. D’Amore said he was willing to fight dirty at Slammiversary and said he will take Bully out of Impact at the PPV.
Analysis: D’Amore is good at bringing emotion to rivalries, but it would be better if he was the one not being booked in the matches.
Match #4: Digital Media Championship Match: Joe Hendry vs Yuya Uemura
The fans chanted “We believe” for Hendry as he entered the ring. Hannifan noted that Hendry’s reign as Digital Media Champion has lasted 224 days now. I’m not sure why Uemura gets a championship match. He might not, as Kenny King came down for the interruption. King takes a seat at ringside with the commentators. Uemura took the early advantage with a series of arm drags. Hendry hit a hard clothesline as we went to a commercial break.
Hendry dropped Uemura with a neckbreaker as we came back to the action. Uemura kicked out at 2. King said he didn’t ‘believe’ in Hendry’s gimmick on commentary. Uemura fought back with a dropkick and a running clothesline in the corner. He connected with a bulldog and a Saito suplex for 2. Uemura trapped Hendry and tried for a belly-to-belly suplex but Hendry blocked it. They exchanged forearms and chops. Uemura hit a running forearm and a scoop slam. He climbed to the top rope but Hendry cut him off. Uemura forced him off and nailed his crossbody off the top. Hendry caught him and nailed the Standing Ovation for the win after 5 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact Digital Media Champion: Joe Hendry
Analysis: **3/4 This continues the theme of the night: perfectly good wrestling, but the match was too short to really develop into something of high quality. Uemura rarely wins but is booked in big matches because he is talented and sells well.
After the match, King handed Hendry his belt and clapped him as he backed out of the ring.
Analysis: King might be the one to end the reign of Hendry. That would be fine with me- King is great.
Next week on Impact:
* X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs Trey Miguel
* Trinity vs Jai Vidal
* Nick Aldis explains his actions to Alex Shelley
Analysis: Not much revealed yet but I’m looking forward to Aldis returning to his heelish ways
Match #5: Steve Maclin & Bully Ray vs Frankie Kazarian & Eddie Edwards w/ Alisha
You could hear a fan screaming ‘Where’s Your Title?” at Maclin as he made his entrance. This match is getting more than 8 minutes so it already wins match of the night. They took a commercial as Edwards was making his way to the ring. Edwards and Maclin started off in the ring. They locked up and Maclin took down Edwards with a back elbow. Maclin held Edwards against the ropes and chopped him. He ran the ropes but Edwards caught him with an overhead belly-to-belly. Kaz tagged in and hit a springboard legdrop for a 1 count. He hit a single-leg dropkick and chopped Maclin into the corner. Kaz teed off with right hands. Maclin blocked a suplex attempt and whipped Kaz into his corner. Kaz clipped Bully over the head as he was mouthing off. Maclin ran into him with an elbow and then Bully took Kaz down against the ring post.
Bully was dominating Kaz as the action returned. He rammed Kaz’s head against the top turnbuckle four times in a row and tagged in Maclin, who quickly covered for a 2 count. Maclin teed off with right hands and hit a suplex for 2. Maclin tried to lock in a crossface but Kaz got to his feet. He tried to fight out with elbows but Maclin hit a knee to the ribs. Maclin wanted a suplex but Kaz floated over and tagged in Edwards. Edwards was on fire with chops. Maclin stopped him with a big clothesline. Kaz came in to help with a double-team Russian Legsweep. They hit a double suplex on Bully. Edwards ran the ropes and decked Bully with a suicide dive. Kaz hit a hurricanrana off the ring apron on Maclin. Bully stalked Alisha around the ring, so Maclin took advantage of that to strike Edwards from behind. Bully took a steel chair and threatened to hit Edwards. Maclin rolled back into the ring to break the count. Bully tossed Edwards back into the ring and Maclin covered for 2. Maclin hit a big backbreaker for 2. He tagged in Bully, who took down Edwards with a clothesline. Bully targeted the left knee of Edwards then taunted the fans. He stomped on the hand of Edwards then pummelled him in the face with right hands. Bully took down Edwards with a headbutt and tagged in Maclin. He ran straight at Kaz and took him off the ring apron. Maclin and Edwards ran at each other and collided, looking for a crossbody each. Edwards stretched and tagged in Kaz. He took down Maclin with a clothesline and back elbow, then a flying forearm. Kaz nailed Bully with a legdrop on the ring apron and then a springboard legdrop on Maclin for 2. He tried for the Chicken Wing but Maclin backed him into the corner. Kaz blocked the KIA and hit a reverse piledriver on Maclin. Bully Ray broke up the pin and then raked the eyes of Edwards, before tossing him into Kaz. Maclin went for a scoop slam but Kaz slipped out and had Maclin in the Chicken Wing. For some reason, Edwards tried to superkick Maclin but he moved and Edwards nailed Kaz in the face. Bully tossed Edwards out of the ring and he and Maclin hit a reverse 3D on Kaz for the win after 13 minutes. I don’t think Team 3D/ Dudley Boyz ever won a match with that move.
Winners by pinfall: Steve Maclin & Bully Ray
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a solid main event, with some good storyline behind it. The indecision around whether Kaz/Edwards could work together came to fruition, where they collided and then Edwards kicked Kaz. I’m not sure where that leads to, but we just had a match between them at the last show. Bully and Maclin get some momentum going into Slammiversary.
Final Rating: 5.5/10
That was an underwhelming episode this week. It was heavy on tag-team matches and there was only one match over 8 minutes. That’s not great on your only show of the week. I enjoyed the main event tag team match, but it’s still not getting me pumped for D’Amore/PCO vs Maclin/Bully at the PPV. Bailey/Gresham vs The Design was also a fun watch, but there’s not much else that’s worth recapping from tonight. It was a week where you picked out more of what you didn’t like or what was missing, than what you enjoyed. That’s rare for me. Not having Nick Aldis present after his heel turn last week was also odd, and in fact most of the big players were not on TV this week which was disappointing but you come to expect that with the taped format. There are 3 weeks until Slammiversary and with no real tag team division or Knockouts’ tag team division, here’s hoping there’s some good creative booking written into those tapings.
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