This is the final, or ‘go-home’, episode of Impact Wrestling before the Impact Plus special Against All Odds aired on Friday night.
Even with the quick turnaround from the Slammiversary Pay Per View, Impact has done a solid job of putting together a meaningful card, headlined by Josh Alexander vs. Joe Doering for the Impact World Championship.
Tonight we should see the addition of more matches for Against All Odds.
Impact Wrestling: 30th June, 2022 from the Nashville Fairgrounds, Nashville TN
A video package highlighting last week’s wild brawl between Honor No More and the Good Brothers, the Briscoes and James Storm aired. This led to a 6-man tag match main event where Honor No More were victorious, then took out Mark Briscoe. Scott D’Amore then announced that the Briscoes would not be able to compete at Against All Odds. It seems silly to remove a talented and over team in the Briscoes at the last minute, but they continue to push the Impact Originals vs Honor No More rivalry. I don’t have to tell you who I’d rather watch in the ring: The Briscoes or the possibility of a retired Chris Harris!
Backstage the Good Brothers, James Storm and Chris Harris are discussing who they should choose to replace the Briscoes at Against All Odds. They approach PCO and try to persuade him to join them against Honor No More, after how they have treated him over the last few weeks. Vincent interrupts and says that PCO belongs in Honor No More. It’s PCO and Vincent vs the Good Brothers tonight.
The coverage returns to the ring for our first match.
Match #1: #1 Contenders Match for the X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel vs Steve Maclin vs Chris Bey vs Laredo Kid
The winner of this match will face the new champion, Mike Bailey, tomorrow night at Against All Odds. Maclin starts off the match as the aggressor, taking down Laredo Kid with a forearm shot. Bey and Miguel team up with Maclin, hitting dual superkicks which send him over the top rope. Laredo hits a crossbody over the top rope onto Maclin. Bey and Miguel square off. Bey with a rolling arm drag as both men try to gain ascendancy. Miguel sends Bey to the outside, runs the ropes but is tripped up by Laredo. Laredo Kid hits a tilt awhirl facebuster for the first 1-count of the match up. Maclin breaks up the count and cleans house, sending Miguel over the top rope before a huge Uranage on Laredo, who was on the middle rope in the corner. Bey tries to get back in the ring but takes a big forearm from Maclin. Maclin chops Laredo hard in the corner twice, then hits a running elbow. He cuts Miguel off as he tried to enter the ring. Maclin tried to set up for Mayhem Brawl but Miguel takes him out with a drop kick. Maclin hits a spear in the corner on Miguel who is upside down. Bey breaks up the pinfall attempt. All 4 men are back in the ring now. Laredo hits a hard right hand on Maclin. All 3 men are trying to take out Maclin who is the biggest physical threat in the match. Bey and Maclin are squaring off on the ring apron and Miguel takes the opportunity to jump over the top rope and perform a hurricanrana to Maclin, sending him off the apron onto the floor. Wow! Miguel tries to pump up the crowd but turns right into a superkick from Bey. Bey is setting up for a springboard moonsault but Laredo runs the ropes and through Bey’s legs to hit a Suicida taking out Maclin and Miguel. Bey finally hits his moonsault from the middle rope to take out the other 3 competitors. Bey throws Laredo Kid back inside the ring. He goes for the Art of Finesse but Laredo counters for a 2 count. Laredo runs the ropes and Bey hits a pop-up cutter for a close 2 count, which is broken up by Miguel. Miguel is dumped outside by Bey. Bey runs at the ropes but Miguel hits a modified stunner using the middle rope. He climbs to the top but Bey avoids the attack. Miguel runs at Bey and hits a Meteora for the 3 count after 7:13. Miguel will face Bailey tomorrow night at Against All Odds.
Winner by pinfall: Trey Miguel
Analysis: ***¾ That was a fantastic opening match and puts the draining opening segment from last week’s show firmly in the rear-view mirror. It was a fast-paced, action packed encounter which squeezed in as much as they could for a 7-minute match. The opening few minutes told the story of the other 3 competitors trying to take out Maclin who was the biggest threat, but Miguel persisted and got the victory. I would’ve been happy with either Maclin or Miguel to win so Miguel vs Bailey is fine with me.
A video package starring Raven is shown next. He hypes up his Clockwork Orange House of Fun match, comparing a children’s playground to his barbaric ‘playground’ which is his creation. It’s Moose vs Sami Callihan in Raven’s match at Against All Odds.
Rehwoldt and Hannifan put over how brutal the match will be and let us know that Raven will be in attendance. They run through the card so far with some recently announced matches:
– Mickie James and Mia Yim vs Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo
– Digital Media Championship: Rich Swann (c) vs Brian Myers
– Impact Women’s Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Tasha Steelz
– Clockwork Orange House of Fun match: Moose vs Sami Callihan
– Impact X-Division Championship: Mike Bailey (c) vs Trey Miguel
– The Motor City Machine Guns vs Ace Austin and Chris Bey
– Honor No More vs The Good Brothers, James Storm & ? ?
– Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs Joe Doering
Analysis: As I’ve stated previously, Impact has done a good job building a solid card in a short time. Those added matches all have some form of storyline behind them.
Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood join the commentary team for the next match.
Match #2: Gisele Shaw vs Rosemary w/ Taya Valkyrie
Shaw is trying to impress the Influence, in order to prove herself worthy of being their tag team partner, as Rayne is injured. Rosemary and Valkerie are newly crowned Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Champions. Rosemary and Shaw lock up as faint “Rosemary” chants are heard in the Impact Zone. Rosemary starts by biting Shaw in the forehead. Shaw with a headlock but Rosemary fights out. Shaw is sent into the corner turnbuckle and retreats to the outside. She goes to the Influence for some advice.
Back from the break and Shaw hits a big clothesline on Rosemary for 2. Shaw chops her in the corner twice. Rosemary is sent hard into the corner turnbuckle. Shaw again goes to the outside and poses with the Influence. Shaw chokes Rosemary out in the corner and then hits a running uppercut, followed by another one. Shaw hits a third uppercut for a 2 count. She mounts Rosemary and punches her repeatedly on the mat before choking her against the middle ropes. Rosemary avoids a knee and fights back with right hand shots. Rosemary again goes back to biting the forehead of Shaw! Rosemary hits a running forearm in the corner, then an Exploder Suplex for 2. Rosemary puts Shaw up on her shoulders, Shaw fights out, runs the ropes and hits a springboard stunner for a close 2 count. Shaw is frustrated now but loses her focus and Rosemary hits a reverse DDT for 2. Rayne and Dashwood have left the commentary table to distract Rosemary. Dashwood sneaks up behind Valkerie and pushes her into the ring post. Rosemary is distracted by this, goes for the spear on Shaw but eats a big knee for the 3 count after 5:30.
Winner by pinfall: Gisele Shaw
Analysis: ** It made perfect sense, storyline-wise, for Shaw to pick up the win and prove herself to Rayne and Dashwood. Some of her heel traits are cheesy but she’s improving in the ring.
After the match, the 3 heels continue to beat down Rosemary as the fans boo. Shaw is looking very pleased with herself. Rayne and Dashwood raise Shaw’s hand as the victor of the match.
Mickie James joins Gia Miller backstage to hype her Against All Odds tag team match. James runs through her individual feuds with Purazzo and Green. Green interrupts and calls James a narcissist. Purrazzo says it’s typical of Mickie not to say anything about her tag partner because it’s always about her. Purrazzo says she and Green are best friends. She says that Mickie should focus on being a team if she wants to have a shot tomorrow. James loses it and starts brawling with the heels before Yim joins and chases them off.
Still to come: Chris Sabin vs Frankie Kazarian in the main event.
Backstage Rosemary and Taya Valkerie are looking for something in a bag. Rosemary pulls out a ring and performs a chant. Father James Mitchell magically appears. He says this better be good. Rosemary wants to know where Havok is. She says to give Havok a message that Rosemary needs all hands on deck.
Analysis: These kind of shenanigans aren’t thrilling, but it furthers the storyline that Rosemary and Taya need help and are at a numbers disadvantage.
Match #3: Non-Title match: Savannah Evans w/ Tasha Steelz vs Jordynne Grace
Grace is the new Impact Knockouts Champion after winning the first ever Queen of the Mountain match at Slammiversary. This is a match up between two of the strongest women on Impact’s roster. Grace runs at Evans early but Evans catches her and backs her into the corner. Hannifan puts over Grace’s toughness at taking this match on 24 hours before a title match. Grace tries a few clotheslines but can’t take the bigger Evans off her feet. She trips her up, runs the ropes and takes down Evans with a clothesline. The action spills to the outside where Steelz distracts Grace, allowing Evans to hit a chokeslam onto the ring apron! Evans slams Grace hard into the ring apron then the ring post. She rolls inside to reset the 10 count. Evans gets a 2 count. She hits a running spear in the corner and tries a double underhook but Grace counters into a forearm then a chop. Evans latches on a Full Nelson but Grace fights out and counters into a Bulldog. Both women are slow to their feet and exchange forearms. Grace with a spinning backfist then backs Evans into the corner. Grace with the Muscle Buster for the 3 count after 3:50.
Winner by pinfall: Jordynne Grace
Analysis: **1/2 I was really enjoying that, so it was disappointing to not even make the 4-minute mark. Evans hasn’t had many opportunities to shine in singles action so it was good to be able to see her show off some power moves and what she can do. Grace is always impressive and that finishing sequence really put over that she can win from out of nowhere. Grace defends against Steelz tomorrow night.
Grace holds up her championship, as Steelz looks on in frustration.
Joe Doering’s time in NJPW is shown in a video highlights package, including some of his championship wins and rivalries. Josh Alexander is shown in a pre-recorded interview with Gia Miller. Alexander has some bruises on his forehead after recent attacks by Violent by Design. Alexander and Miller speculate over whether Eric Young will show up at Against All Odds. Alexander puts over Doering’s accolades and strength. He says it will be his toughest match up in Impact so far.
Analysis: I’m a sporadic viewer of NJPW so Doering’s history there wasn’t known to me. Alexander putting the match over as his toughest so far is a bit of a stretch. I expect him to retain the title.
Vincent and PCO make their way to the ring, accompanied by their Honor No More stablemates. The Good Brothers are out next, with James Storm and his beer.
Match #4: Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Good Brothers w/ James Storm vs Vincent and PCO w/ Honor No More
The commentators discuss how the Good Brothers are in jeopardy of losing their tag titles only 24 hours before Against All Odds, as well as needing to find two new tag team partners for the 10-man tag. Anderson and Vincent will start the match. Anderson dominates the start of the match, sending Vincent into opposite turnbuckles. Vincent shrugs him off and tags in PCO. PCO with hard right hands as Anderson is against the ropes. Vincent kicks Anderson as he is sent into the ropes, followed by a hangman. PCO with a big clothesline on Anderson. Tag in to Vincent and they hit a double-team elbow for a 1 count. Vincent hits a running forearm in the corner then a running Flatliner for a 2 count. PCO tags back in and Honor No More are dominating this title match. PCO with a clothesline in the corner followed by a DDT. PCO to the top rope and hits a diving leg drop. He puts Anderson on the ring apron and climbs to the top rope, followed by the Deanimator Senton Splash. Anderson is rolled back in for a 2 count. Vincent tags back in and locks in a headlock. Anderson finally is able to break free and hits a big spinebuster. Gallows tags in and hits a clothesline on Vincent. Big kick in the corner to PCO. Gallows tags in Anderson and they set up for the Magic Killer but PCO interrupts. He sends Gallows into the ring post on the outside. Back in the ring, Vincent hits a Side Russian Legsweep on Anderson. Vincent goes to the top rope for Red Rum but misses. Anderson rolls up Vincent and holds the tights for the 3 count after 5:00.
Winners and STILL Impact Tag Team Champions: The Good Brothers
Analysis: ** A solid match for the time given. I would’ve liked another 5 minutes, but you can understand Impact trying to squeeze as much content as possible in to hype up the monthly special. PCO’s top rope moves are impressive for a 54-year old man.
Post-match, Honor No More are straight in the ring to beat down the face trio. Chris Harris runs down to the ring to protect his buddies. Matt Taven sarcastically claps Harris as he enters the ring. The music of Heath hits and he’s back, after being taken out by Honor No More a few weeks ago. Heath hands Harris a steel pipe. Harris and Heath beat down the heels with the pipe. Harris is choking out Edwards in the corner with the pipe. Anderson with the Gun Stun on Vincent. Taven is left all alone in the ring. Last Call by Storm on Taven.
Analysis: A good way to promote the 10-man tag. It seems like Heath and Harris will join the team. Storm didn’t look too happy about that.
Backstage the 5 faces are celebrating what they just did. Heath says they aren’t down two members anymore. He says that Honor No More have been a thorn in his side for too long. Harris says he’s number 5. Storm says seriously we aren’t going to go through this again. Harris puts over his mental and physical condition as the best he’s been for a long time. He can’t move on until he finishes this. Storm tells him that they came in together, so they’ll go out together.
Analysis: The team is set for Friday, as Harris and Heath officially join the team. I think they will limit Harris’ involvement to brawling
Ace Austin makes his way to the ring for the next match.
Match #5: Ace Austin w/ Chris Bey vs Alex Zayne
These two were former buddies during the Best of the Super Juniors, before Austin joined the Bullet Club and attacked Zayne, so there’s a personal rivalry brewing. They go to commercial about one minute into the action.
Back to the coverage and Austin has Zayne in an armbar. Austin has a front facelock applied but Zayne fights out, they trade counters until Zayne hits a big clothesline. Big back elbow by Zayne, followed by a flipping leg drop to the back of Austin’s neck for a 2 count. Zayne follows up with a Baja Blast then ascends the top rope. Austin rolls to the opposite corner. He backs Zayne into the corner and hits multiple clotheslines in the corner. Austin hits an enziguiri with Zayne on the top rope. Austin hits a huge kick from the top rope then sets up for the Fold but eats a knee from Zayne. ‘This is awesome’ chants from the crowd. Zayne hits a springboard moonsault to the outside, taking out both Bey and Austin. He rolls Austin back inside the ring but Bey grabs his leg. Zayne runs right into the Fold for the 3 count after 7:10.
Winner by pinfall: Ace Austin
Analysis: *** That was a fun, hard-hitting match that put over elements of a personal feud between the two. I thought the flow of the match was hurt a bit by the commercial straight away, but they made up for it with a really physical and impressive final few minutes. I haven’t seen too much of Zayne but he has impressed me over the last month. Austin always delivers and was the correct choice of winner here as he is on the card for the monthly special.
Hannifan and Rehwoldt promote the Dot Combat match for the Impact Digital Media Championship at Against All Odds. They then run through all the matches for Against All Odds again, just as they did 45 minutes ago.
Analysis: I have 24 hours to find out what a Dot Combat match is. Thank goodness for the Internet.
Match #6: Frankie Kazarian vs Chris Sabin w/ Alex Shelley
This should be a fantastic main event, which will get at least 15 minutes of television time. This is Brian Hebner’s final match as a referee. I think I wrote that at Slammiversary but that was incorrect so I’ll blame Tom Hannifan because that’s what he said that night!
Both men shake hands and then trade counters early on as the commentators put over the even nature of this contest. Shelley gets on the ring apron and whispers some words of encouragement to Sabin. Kazarian with a firearm carry into a pinning combination for a 1 count. Sabin goes to the knee with a dropkick, before using his neck to slam Kazarian’s knee hard down into the mat. Sabin with a Dragon Screw and locks in the Figure 4 Leg Lock in the centre of the ring. Kazarian reaches the ropes quickly, though. Sabin uses a 5 count in the corner to stretch out Kazarian’s knee. Kazarian fights out and flips over the ropes into a 2 count. He is still favouring his left knee as he whips Sabin into the corner, followed by a running modified neckbreaker for 2. Fisherman’s Suplex into the bridge by Frankie for a 2 count. Kazarian is in control as he stretches Sabin out with a knee into the spine. Kazarian rolls it into a backslide for a 2 count. Kazarian follows up with a hard dropkick and big right hands in the corner. Sabin is again sent into the ropes but rolls through with a Sunset Flip for 2. He is sent over the top rope and slammed face-first into the mat as Kazarian sweeps his legs. They trade forearms on the outside and Kazarian rams Sabin face first into the ring post as they go to a commercial.
Back to the action and Kazarian hits a back suplex for a 2 count. He locks in a headlock on the mat. Sabin slowly gets to his feet and fights out with right hands to Frankie’s midriff. Sabin with a knee in the ropes and flying forearms. Kazarian goes flying with a big Backbody Drop. Sabin with a DDT for 2. Sabin is now in control as the fans show their appreciation for both men. Sabin runs the ropes and takes out Kazarian with a Suicide Dive. The fans are chanting “This is awesome” now. Sabin climbs to the top and hits a Cross body for a 2 count. Both men are showing their frustration at being unable to put away their opponent. Kazarian tries an inside cradle for a 2 count, followed by a Scoop Slam. He springboards off the ropes into a leg drop for another two count. Kazarian runs at Sabin in the corner but is lifted to the outside. He misses a leg drop and Sabin runs at him but is stopped by a forearm. Kazarian slingshots back into the ring and hits a DDT for a close 2 count. “Fight forever” chants now echo around the Impact Zone as Kazarian puts Sabin on the top rope. He climbs up and is setting up for the Flux Capacitor but Sabin escapes. They battle to the opposite corner and Sabin tries a Tornado DDT but Kazarian counters into a Northern Lights Suplex for a 2 count. Sabin goes to the ring apron, then outfoxes Kazarian who dives off into a Super Kick. Sabin hits a DDT off the apron onto the floor. The official gets to a 7 count before Sabin puts Kazarian back in the ring. Kazarian recovers quickest and slingshots Sabin back in for a cutter for a close 2 count. Kazarian is really frustrated now and begins berating Sabin who quickly gets to his feet and hits the Cradleshock for two. Good nearfall there. Sabin slowly climbs to the top rope but Kazarian cuts him off. Kazarian recovers first and hits a Superplex. Sabin was able to hold on though and use a pinning attempt for two. Both men exchange a fury of right hands then trade hard running kicks. Sabin takes off his elbow pad but misses the Clothesline from Hell attempt. Kazarian with a German Suplex but Sabin gets straight up and hits the Clothesline from Hell. Sabin hits the Cradleshock for 3 at 16:52.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Sabin
Analysis: **** That was excellent! Not only was it a really great wrestling matchup by two veterans, but it told the story of both men dominating at points during the opening of the match up, then the shift to the last ten minutes where it was just so even. I don’t have the statistics, but I would say that was longer than any singles match Kaz has had in AEW but you can see what he can do when he gets that chance, especially when he faces the calibre of opponent such as Sabin.
After the match, Kazarian, Sabin and Shelley all celebrate together as Hannifan hypes the Motor City Machine Guns’ match against Bullet Club.
Analysis: Some might think it was odd not having a face-off between the two teams, but this was the time for a showing of respect for some of the Impact Originals which is fine.
Final Rating: 7/10
I really enjoyed this week’s episode of Impact. All of the matches were solid, but they just needed more time. The main event was excellent and well-worth the watch if you yourself are under time constraints and just want to see the main parts of the show. They relied on video packages to hype the match between Moose and Callihan, along with the main event between Alexander and Doering. It was odd to not have those 4 men on the show live the night before an Impact Plus special, but they’re really giving a lot of storyline time to Honor No More vs Impact at present. It would’ve been nice to promote those matches in person, however with their lack of time management this week that would’ve been difficult. Perhaps there’s not a need to have six matches on a 90-minute show (5 that were under 8 minutes). I will be back to review Against All Odds as well.