IMPACT Wrestling Review – June 29, 2023

impact wrestling june 29 nick aldis lio rush

This week we hear why Nick Aldis turned on Impact World Champion Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin’s X-Division Championship is on the line.

Impact Wrestling 22/6/23 from Center Stage: Atlanta, Georgia

The opening video focused on last week’s tag team main event where Bully Ray and Steve Maclin defeated Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards. It was one of the shorter recap intros that they have done for a while.

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are straight into a championship match!

Match #1: X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs Trey Miguel

This is a return match from Against All Odds, where Sabin finally dethroned Miguel. Sabin won the opening exchange with a short arm drag. The crowd were firmly behind him. They locked up again but the action spilled to the ramp. I like how they have the ramp at the same level as the ring on one side in Impact. They had a push and shove on the outside as the referee began to count. Miguel and Sabin exchanged forearm shots and Miguel tossed Sabin back inside. Miguel stayed on the ring apron so Sabin slid between his legs and swept his feet out from under him, causing him to crash on the ring apron. Miguel used the bottom rope to hit a modified 619 on the outside. Back in the ring, Sabin scored with a clothesline and a back suplex for 2. Sabin tried a sleeper hold but Miguel hit a jawbreaker. Miguel bounced off the ropes but Sabin caught him with a huge back body drop and a hard punt to the back for another 2 count. Sabin tried an abdominal stretch but Miguel fought out with elbows and raked Sabin’s eyes. Miguel connected with a dropkick and scored a 2 count. Miguel mounted Sabin and scored with a number of right hands to the face. Sabin tried to battle back to his feet but got hit with a spinning elbow to the face and Miguel got another 2 count. Sabin ran the ropes but Miguel dropkicked him against the ropes and hit a neckbreaker for 2. Miguel taunted the crowd a bit and missed a springboard moonsault. Sabin began to get back into the contest with a couple of clotheslines and a big boot in the corner. Sabin lifted Miguel to the top rope and hit a nice stalling superplex for a close 2 count. Miguel fought out of the Cradle Shock and nailed a double stomp for 2. Miguel measured Sabin for the Lightning Spiral but Sabin fought out and rammed Miguel’s knees into the canvas, then followed up with a dropkick to the knee. Sabin locked in the STF but Miguel was pretty close to the ropes so didn’t take long to reach it. Sabin tried to stretch Miguel’s knee against the middle rope, but Miguel hit a springboard hurricanrana which was beautifully done. Miguel nailed a Meteora but Sabin rolled through with Miguel’s momentum to lock in the STF again. Miguel got out of it and Sabin was about to hit the Cradle Shock but the returning Zach Wentz ran in for the interference with a big knee strike on Sabin.

Winners by disqualification AND STILL X-Division Champion: Chris Sabin

Analysis: ***1/2 That was great and they were heading for an excellent match if not for the interference. This was about to top their Against All Odds match, in my opinion. Wentz is a former stablemate of Miguel in the Rascalz group and he had a short run in NXT before he was released following allegations of domestic violence against him.

After the match, Sabin and Wentz reunited and hammered away on Sabin until Alex Shelley made the save.

Analysis: This automatically adds a big boost to the tag division as Wentz and Miguel can team up again. Miguel has been (stuck) in the X-Division title spot for a long time so a bit of a change up will be good for him.

Wentz and Miguel cut a backstage promo. Miguel said it was 3 years since they’ve been together in Impact. Wentz said he is back to stand by his brother’s side. There was a lot of yelling.

Analysis: A simple but effective follow up.

Deonna Purrazzo joined the commentary booth for the next match.

Match #2: Jai Vidal w/ Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans vs Trinity

The commentators noted that this is Trinity’s first match against a man. It won’t be her first loss against a man, with just 2 weeks until Slammiversary. Trinity’s ring attire almost requires sunglasses to watch her. It is interesting to say the least. Vidal hit her from behind to start the match and then slapped her hard in the corner. Trinity came back with a basement dropkick. I’m not sure if they were phoning the crowd noise in, but it was very loud. Trinity replicated the slap to Vidal to the delight of the fans. Trinity caught Vidal with a reverse head scissors and gave him the rear view. Shaw distracted the referee so Vidal pulled Trinity down by the hair and got a 2 count. Vidal choked Trinity out with his foot against the mat. Trinity fought back with shots to the ribs but Vidal pulled her down by the hair again and then nailed a running elbow drop for another 2 count. Vidal tossed Trinity into the corner turnbuckle. He ran at her but Trinity rolled through and scored a 2 count. Trinity nailed a jawbreaker and a couple of clotheslines. She used her athleticism to avoid a clothesline and hit a springboard kick for 2. Trinity hit a bulldog against the top turnbuckle and hit a nice crossbody from the top. Vidal escaped to the ring apron to try and get away. Trinity used her knees to nail a pedigree-type move. She locked in Star Struck and Vidal tapped out after 5 minutes.

Winner by submission: Trinity

Analysis: **3/4 That was an entertaining match even though it was short. Trinity has added some moves to her arsenal and she has shown in a short amount of time that she’s in great ring condition. I’m not sure if anyone else watching noticed (drop a comment on FB/Twitter if you’d like) but the crowd noise at times was very loud for Trinity. I only thought this was strange because there aren’t usually a whole lot of kids (that you notice) in the Impact crowds. Anyway, it was just something that stood out so I wonder if others noticed, too.

After the match, Evans and Shaw predictably started beating down Trinity. Purrazzo walked around the ring and watched the beat down. She contemplated getting into the ring and then Shaw started mouthing off so Purrazzo tackled her to the mat and tossed Evans from the ring.

Analysis: Purrazzo didn’t rush to help Trinity because they are opponents in 2 weeks. Good booking.

Hannifan announced that at Slammiversary, the World Tag Team Championships would be defended in a Fatal-4-Way: Bullet Club vs Moose & Brian Myers vs Rich Swann & Sami Callihan vs Subculture.

Analysis: Great match announcement but some build or earning the title shot would be nice. There were 3 matches added to Slammiversary tonight with no build or #1 contender match. Also, Callihan is in a stable yet doesn’t compete in this match with one of those two men? Odd.

Moose and Brian Myers were backstage discussing the match. Moose called The Good Hands dead weight and said when they win the titles then they will be Moose’s and Myers, not theirs (Skyler/ Hotch).

Analysis: The Good Hands had just been getting a nice little push and looking decent of late so hopefully after Slammiversary they might turn on Myers and Moose.

Johnny Swinger is backstage with his referee-for-hire Ziggy Dice. Swinger used Dice to cheat on BTI and referee Daniel Spencer came in to say that the match result is void. Spencer said if that happens again, then Dice will be stripped of his referee duties.

Analysis: That was the only possible way that this angle was entertaining and they ruined it already!

Match #3: Lio Rush vs Jack Price

This is Rush’s Impact debut, whilst Price was a Gut Check runner up last year. Rush had a run in WWE as Cruiserweight Champion where he had some backstage heat, and showed up on AEW a few times. I don’t remember any of his appearances being too memorable but let’s see what he’s got here. He slapped Price to start the match. Price was met with a boot in the corner. Rush jumped from the top but Price caught him. Rush wriggled free and used his speed to hit a dropkick. Rush hit a few kicks and chops in the corner. He raked the eyes of Price. Price ran at him but Rush launched him over the top rope to the ring apron. Rush caught him with a handspring kick, knocking Price to the mat. Price avoided a baseball slide and levelled Rush with a straight right hand against the guard rail. Rush tried a hurricanrana on the outside but Price tossed him onto the ring apron. They battled back in the ring then Rush tossed Price to the outside and nailed a suicide dive. Rush hit a spinning kick and a Frog Splash for the win after 4 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Lio Rush

Analysis: **1/2 That was fine for another short match, to continue tonight’s theme. Rush had ridiculous speed which the commentators played up. Price had some good attributes too and his power was impressive. I’m all for new additions to the roster if they have quality.

There was a video from earlier in the week from Dirty Dango, running down Santino Marella, who he turned on a few weeks back. Dango said some disparaging words against Marella’s daughter and then Marella cut a promo replying. Marella challenged Dango to a match at Slammiversary. Marella told Dango he would be humiliated at Slammiversary. Marella screamed that Dango was going to pay.

Analysis: Good fire from Santino in a rare serious promo. I like this feud and Dango has surprised with the ease that he has taken to a serious, heel run.

There was a recap video showing Eddie Edwards accidentally striking Frankie Kazarian, causing them to lose last week’s tag team main event. Kaz confronted Edwards and Alisha backstage. Kaz is having a hard time believing that Edwards has changed. They argued about who has the better tag team credentials. Edwards said Kaz’s ego is too big for him to be in a team. Edwards said they are better off as opponents.

Analysis: It looks like we might get another match between the two at Slammiversary. Yes, please.

Match #4: KiLynn King w/ Taylor Wilde vs Masha Slamovich

Last week they did Wilde vs Killer Kelly, so this week it’s the other two women from those teams in action. King nailed a big boot as soon as the bell rang. She hit a scoop slam and tried for a second but Slamovich slipped out and hit a number of snapmares and a kick to the back for 2. Slamovich ran at King, who tripped her up. King missed a dropkick so Masha nailed one of her own. King rolled to the outside for a breather. Slamovich went for a suicide dive but King caught her in the ropes with an upper cut. King pummelled Slamovich with right hands on the floor. She rolled into the ring to break the referee’s count. Slamovich rolled back into the ring so King slammed her against the top turnbuckle. King stomped away in the corner and then choked Slamovich with her boot. King distracted the referee so Wilde choked Slamovich in the corner. King tried for a Full Nelson Bomb but Slamovich rolled through for a 2 count. She tried for a back suplex but couldn’t lift King so King levelled her with a big clothesline for 2. King tried a sleeper hold but Slamovich battled out with elbows. Slamovich avoided a Pumphandle slam and nailed a saito suplex. Slamovich avoided a corner attack and hit a running knee, then followed up with a big boot. Slamovich hit a spinning heel kick for 2. King fought out of the Snow Plow and nailed a forearm. She backed Slamovich into the corner and hit a running elbow then a Death Valley Driver for a close nearfall. They exchanged forearms in the centre of the ring and Slamovich nailed a hard kick to the head for 2. King dumped a running Slamovich onto the ring apron and then nailed her with a forearm that sent her to the floor. King missed a baseball slide to the outside so Slamovich hit a twisting senton that took King down. She rolled King back into the ring but Wilde tossed Slamovich into the steel post. Wilde tossed Slamovich back into the ring but Killer Kelly snuck up from behind and choked her out with a steel chain. Back in the ring, King avoided a roundhouse kick, missed her own and then got nailed by a Slamovich kick and the Snow Plow for the 3 count after 8 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Masha Slamovich

Analysis: ***1/4 Solid action here and King continues to impress despite the size difference between her and whoever she faces. She has great athleticism and power, which has gelled well with her opponents so far. Slamovich definitely wrestled a more ‘crowd-friendly’ style here which makes me think that going forward her and Kelly would be a face team.

After the match Kelly took the chain into the ring with her and tied it around the neck of Slamovich. They went up the ramp together.

Analysis: That looks like it signifies the start of a new tag team which is obviously good for the division. They are both kind of crazy so it could be a fun watch.

There was a video tribute to Scott D’Amore which looked at highlights of his career.

Analysis: I didn’t know too much about D’Amore’s career except for his stuff in Team Canada in the early (TNA) days. He was the inventor of the Canadian Destroyer which was new to me too.

D’Amore was chatting to Gia Miller about his training towards Slammiversary. They mentioned Darren McCarty being the enforcer for the match. The Good Hands walked up for the interruption. Skyler said that they have had bad luck since D’Amore hit Hotch with the Canadian Destroyer. D’Amore said that he’s only wrestling once but they can wrestle PCO next week.

Analysis: D’Amore can’t make matches at the moment but he can ask his buddy Santino Marella to make the match. Hooray for friends.

Match #5: Kenny King w/ Sheldon Jean vs Yuya Uemura

Joe Hendry was in the production truck and told Josh Matthews to play ‘the video’ when he got the signal. Oh dear.

(Commercial break)

The match began when we returned from the break. Uemura took control with an armbar but King backed him into the corner to break the hold. Uemura hit a number of chops which the crowd enjoyed. Uemura grabbed a headlock and switched into a shoulder tackle. King tried a hip toss but Uemura blocked it and nailed his own and then a dropkick. King retreated into the corner and begged for mercy. He reached over the referee and nailed a cheap shot and then pummelled Uemura in the centre of the ring. Uemura avoided the Royal Flush and hit a clothesline in the corner. He tried a bulldog but King tossed him across the ring and hit a kick to the chest for 2. Uemura blocked a double underhook and backed King into the corner for more chops. King avoided a running attack in the corner and nailed a spinebuster for 2. King grounded Yuya against the mat with an armbar. He stomped on the left shoulder of Uemura. King missed a legdrop attempt but came back with a splash in the corner. He ran into a dropkick and a scoop slam from Uemura. Uemura hit a snap suplex and a forearm in the corner. He nailed a bulldog for a 2 count. Uemura blocked King’s suplex attempt with a knee and then turned it into one of his own.

(Commercial break)

Both men were exchanging right hands when we returned to the action. Uemura hit a running forearm and jumped to the top rope. King intercepted him with an upper cut. King wanted a superplex but Uemura tossed him to the mat. He missed a diving crossbody so King lined him up for a spinning kick but missed. Uemura nailed King with about a dozen forearms. He ran against the ropes but King hit the Scorpion Kick and the Royal Flush for the win after 8 minutes of TV time.

Winner by pinfall: Kenny King

Analysis: ***1/2 I enjoyed that, despite the 2 commercial breaks in there. The crowd responded to Uemura more this week. He always puts in a good performance and then…loses. He has to get some wins soon but I’m happy to see King building momentum towards a possible Digital Media title shot.

After the match, Joe Hendry’s music hit and the champ made his way to the stage. He congratulated King on the win. Hendry said he didn’t like King’s interruption after his match last week, so he’s returning the favour here. Hendry said he had prepared a tribute video for King and the crowd liked the sound of that. Another silly Hendry video was shown which showed highlights of King’s career but the year 2013 was missing, when King became a different kind of entertainer.

Analysis: That was short but slightly entertaining. The Matt Cardona song was the best so far. At least the fans have a new chant for King who was livid.

Hannifan introduced another random match for Slammiversary: A 5-way Ultimate X match for the #1 Contendership to the X-Division Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs Mike Bailey vs Kushida vs Kevin Knight vs Angels

Analysis: Look, that will be an outstanding match but let’s have some build PLEASE! Kushida and Knight haven’t been on TV for 3 months and they get a match at the biggest show of the year whilst others get left off. I guess that’s the case when you tape a bunch of shows before a PPV well in advance.

Next week on Impact:
* Angels vs Jonathan Gresham
* Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian

Analysis: I guess that’s not happening at Slammiversary now!

Nick Aldis made his way to the ring for the promo main event segment.

Nick Aldis explains his heel turn

Aldis complained that people have been harassing him for two weeks about explaining his actions. He demanded some respect from the crowd who weren’t enjoying his presence. Aldis wanted Shelley to come out face-to-face so he could explain himself. Someone from the crowd screamed “Smash him in the face” which was quite humorous. Shelley made his way down to the ring with a microphone in hand. Shelley told Aldis that he was in his ring and that no one cared about his explanation because Shelley is going to get into the ring and kick his ass. Aldis stopped him from entering the ring. He said he wasn’t impressed by Shelley’s actions towards Jimmy Jacobs last week, when Shelley kicked him in the head backstage. Aldis said he wouldn’t stand for an unsafe work environment. He said he had a seat for Shelley amongst the Impact fans. Shelley said Aldis thought that was an insult, but Shelley called himself the ‘Impact People’s Champion’ and would love to sit amongst the fans. He parked himself down next to some guys in Hawaiian shirts. Aldis recapped the 6-man tag from 2 weeks ago where Aldis said Sabin had to be the hero and try and do it all by himself, when he could’ve simply tagged in a great tag team wrestler (him). Aldis said it was a plan from Shelley and Sabin to minimise him and humiliate him. He said he has had enough of the good guy stuff. Aldis said Shelley talks as if he’s had a hard time but he’s had the run of the place for 20 years. The fans were heckling him pretty badly and getting to him. Aldis said Shelley was jealous that he became Impact World Champion a lot quicker than Shelley. Aldis said he represents legacy and tradition and he’s here to stop Shelley from desecrating the prestige of the Impact Championship. He called Shelley a transitional champion, who he will embarrass at Slammiversary. Shelley had finally had enough and told Aldis to shut up. Shelley said no one here paid to see Aldis whine and moan. He told Aldis to try and shut his mouth for him. Aldis took his jacket off and they started to brawl around the ringside area. Aldis poked Shelley in the eyes and tossed him into the steel ring post. He rolled Shelley back into the ring and went to nail him with the World Title but Sabin ran to the ring and took it off him. Aldis bailed to the outside area. He went to step back into the ring but backed down. Lio Rush ran in and nailed Sabin from behind. Aldis went back into the ring and they beat down the Machine Guns. Aldis nailed Shelley in the head with the World Championship and then Rush grabbed Sabin’s X-Division title and blasted him in the face with it. Rush held the X-Division Championship in the air and Aldis’ music played as Impact went off the air.

Analysis: That segment was a bit all-over-the-place but I enjoyed the finish with Lio Rush joining Aldis to attack Sabin and stake his claim for the X-Division Championship. A possible feud with build for Slammiversary? Wow! Aldis’ promo was either intentionally painful due to the crowd heckling him and his newly-established heel persona or he was just off his game because he covered lots of different random points in a short amount of time. The crowd was right into it and are loving Shelley as the babyface, fighting champion so it’s a feud that’s working. The heel turned was needed, purely for the fact of having a heel vs face dynamic at the PPV. Rush inserting himself into the feud works as it instantly puts him in an important spot and I look forward to his match with Sabin.

Final Rating: 7/10

That was a much better episode of Impact Wrestling this week. The wrestling was solid, if short and unspectacular, but there was some decent build up for the main Slammiversary feuds. The X-Division Championship opener was the best match, despite the finish, and we saw the return of Zachary Wentz which adds to the roster as he can team with Trey Miguel and reform the Rascalz. We also saw the debut of Lio Rush in a good match and again during the closing segment, establishing himself with a heel ally in Nick Aldis. Some of the new matches for the PPV were made at random and on paper they are terrific matches, but fans will buy into them more if there’s some build. Even a short promo segment or an announcement by Santino regarding the Tag Team Championship and Ultimate X matches would’ve sufficed. However, it’s looking like a really strong card as we approach two weeks until 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
* 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

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!