IMPACT Wrestling Review – June 8, 2023

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It was the final Impact Wrestling episode before Against All Odds featuring a big tag team match between the 8-4-1 combatants.

Impact Wrestling 8/6/23 from Western Fair District Agriplex in London, Ontario, Canada

This is getting posted after the Against All Odds PPV show took place, but I didn’t see the results yet.

The opening video focused on the face-off from last week between The Motor City Machine Guns and Bully Ray and Steve Maclin, as well as Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo making their Slammiversary match official!

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

Match #1: Chris Bey w/ Ace Austin vs Jason Hotch w/ John Skyler & Brian Myers

Myers got on the mic before the match began and complained that Subculture got a championship match before The Good Hands, without earning it. He failed to neglect that The Good Hands have done nothing to earn this title shot at Against All Odds! Myers said all that has done has bought Bullet Club time and that at Against All Odds, their time is up.

The bell rang and Hotch tries a quick roll up but only get a 1 count. Hotch posed for a bit, which allowed Bey to score with a handstand hurricanrana. Bey hit a double stomp for a quick 1 count. Bey blocked a right hand and scored with one of his own. He talked some trash so Hotch got a cheap shot in. Bey mounted him in the corner and nailed him with a flurry of left hands. He connected with a clothesline and sent Hotch into the corner. Bey nailed a chop and tried a suplex but Hotch flipped over the back. Hotch tried a back suplex but Bey slipped out the back and Hotch sent him over the top rope. Hotch tossed Bey into the ring and tried a cover but Bey easily kicked out. Hotch hit a scoop slam and went to the top rope. Bey avoided the attack and connected with a boot to the face. Bey hit a knee to the mid-section and a clothesline. He scored with a flying forearm in the corner. Hotch blocked a corner kick but Bey hit a Flatliner off the middle rope for a 2 count. Hotch tried a roll up by holding the tights but Bey kicked out at 2. He tried for the Art of Finesse but Hotch caught him in mid-air and hit a crisp Blue Thunder Bomb for a nice nearfall. Hotch taunted the crowd a bit and hit a hard kick to the back of Bey for 2. He tried another cover but again Bey popped out. Hotch wanted a reverse suplex but Bey countered into a pin for 2. Hotch reversed that for another nearfall, then Bey got a 2 count with an inside cradle. Bey fought back with an enziguiri but he missed with a clothesline so Hotch tried a backslide but only got a 2 count. He tried another one but Bey reversed it to steal the 3 count after 7:30.

Winner by pinfall: Chris Bey

Analysis: *** That was a fun, even matchup with lots of counter wrestling. It’s good to see Hotch (and Skyler) getting some TV minutes because they’ve shown they are capable when given the opportunity. It would’ve made sense to build up the contenders with a win here, but they went with Bey in an even contest.

Skyler decked Bey after the match and stomped away on him on the mat. Austin tried to help out but Myers cut him off. Myers hit The Roster Cut on Austin. Bey tried to fight back but the heels took him down with more stomps. The Good Hands hit The Favour double-team move on Bey and celebrated with Bullet Club’s World Tag Team Titles as the crowd booed heavily.

Analysis: After losing the match, that’s the very least that needed to happen post-match. I think Ace & Bey will retain at Against All Odds. There’s no reason for a title change.

Heath was welcomed back to Impact by Gia Miller. Heath said he was doing fine, at least better than Rhino who got taken out by Steve Maclin. Heath went through his game-plan for Against All Odds, which was simple to win. Heath told Champagne Singh that he was going down tonight.

Analysis: Good to see Heath back after a few weeks out. He’s in the 8-4-1 match tomorrow night.

Dirty Dango cut a pre-taped promo explaining his recent heel turn. He said wrestling companies pay him a lot of money to be the dancing clown so it’s easy for him. Dango ripped on the fans who buy his merchandise, including two men who wanted his autograph. He asked them if they were locals guys, which sucks for them. He asked if they were going to stalk him at the airport tomorrow night. Dango said you should order a replica Digital Media Championship because he’s going to win the title tomorrow night. He said he’s then going to sell the title on eBay and use the proceeds to holiday in Hawaii.

Analysis: That was very entertaining. I like his new persona, the cocky heel with disdain for the fans. I wondered if he could pull it off but it’s looking bright so far.

Match #2: Champagne Singh w/ Shera vs Heath

Heath returns to get revenge on these two, who took him out a few weeks ago before Rhino’s World Championship match with Maclin. Singh cowered in the corner when the bell rang, so Heath couldn’t attack him. Heath hit 2 flying forearms in the corner, then slid outside to try to take out Shera. He tried to get back into the ring but Shera held his leg so Singh took him out at the knee. Singh used the ropes to splash down on the left knee of Heath. Singh hit a suplex that led to a 2 count. Singh tried a powerbomb but Heath slipped out the back. He scored with a clothesline off the middle rope. Shera tried to get up on the ring apron, but Heath took him down and then hit a powerslam on Singh. Heath hit the Wake Up Call for the easy win after 3 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Heath

Analysis: ** That was fine to give Heath some momentum going into the big match Friday night.

The Design cut a pre-taped promo. Deaner questioned whether Sami Callihan knows just what he has done. Angels said from day one he didn’t trust Callihan. He said Callihan turned on them and even got one-up at Under Siege. Angels was holding some barbed-wire. Kon said Callihan would pay with his blood. Deaner told him to bring his brothers to war.

Analysis: Madman Fulton was announced as Crist & Callihan’s tag partner in the Ohio Street Fight, so it’s good to see him back after being Ace Austin’s heavy the last time we saw him.

Match #3: Non-Title Match: Joe Hendry vs Sheldon Jean w/ Kenny King

Hendry defends his Digital Media Championship against Dirty Dango at Against All Odds. I wouldn’t be opposed to a title change there, as much as I enjoy Hendry. Hendry said he will get revenge tonight against the man who broke his nose. He called Jean a reality TV star, but the only reality is that the fans believe in Joe Hendry. Jean tried for a Pump Kick right after the bell but Hendry avoided it and hit a clothesline. Hendry sent Jean into the corner and hit a scoop slam. King tried to grab Hendry’s leg, so Jean connected with a Pump Kick this time. Jean mounted Hendry and pummelled away with left hands. Jean hit a big back suplex for a 2 count.

(Commercial break)

Jean took down Hendry with a clubbing blow as the action returned. He tried to lock in a body scissors but Hendry fought back with impressive strength and nailed a suplex. Hendry fired up with upper cuts and chops, then a running cutter. He nailed a Fallaway Slam and went for the Standing Ovation but King got up on the apron for the distraction. Jean took advantage with a number of kicks. He bounced off the ropes into a pop-up powerbomb then Hendry nailed the Standing Ovation for the win after 3 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Joe Hendry

Analysis: ** Another match with a predictable outcome, where the man featured on the Impact Plus special gets the win. I like the Jean/King pairing but they should build them up with some wins over lesser-lights.

Hendry called out Dirty Dango straight after the match. Dango’s music hit and he walked slowly out onto the stage. Dango said he hated pro-wrestling. He said he hated the fans even more. Dango said he wasn’t going to be tricked into getting into a fight before Against All Odds. Hendry said he didn’t call Dango out to fight, it’s because he has found out why Dango is so cranky. Hendry made another silly video with Dango’s face super-imposed over a random wrestler. There were references to beating Jericho, teaming with Tyler Breeze and featuring on Total Divas. My brain is hurting too much to recap more.

Analysis: The fans enjoy these silly songs and they’re harmless. It goads the heel into a reaction that the fans like.

After the song finished, Kenny King and Sheldon Jean jumped Hendry from behind. Dango joined in the beatdown until Santino Marella ran down for the save. Jean got in his face and pushed him in the chest. Jean backed down but ran straight into Hendry. Hendry told Jean to turn around so Marella nailed him with the Cobra.

Analysis: A beat down would’ve been fine but they kept Hendry looking strong so perhaps he will lose the title.

There was a quick promo from Gisele Shaw and friends, ahead of the Knockouts’ tag team match at Against All Odds.

Match #4: Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: The Coven (c) vs Death Dollz

This feud is unfortunately still continuing because there are no other teams in the whole company. Wilde backed away from Jessicka and tagged in the much-taller King. Jessicka tagged in Rush (fka Rosemary). Rush tried a Sharpshooter but King reached the ropes. She nailed a kick in the ropes and hung Rush up on the ropes. Wilde got a cheap shot in while the referee was distracted by King. King tossed Rush into the corner and then hit a twisting neckbreaker for a 2 count. She tossed Rush into her corner and tagged in Wilde. Wilde and Rush exchanged right hands. Wilde locked in a crossface but Rush reversed it into a pin for a 2 count. Rush made the tag to Jessicka who nailed a sidewalk slam by just dumping Wilde on the mat. Jessicka ran the ropes, but King tripped her up, allowing Wilde to hit a splash in the corner. King tagged in again and they double-teamed Jessicka in the corner with running elbows. King hit a double knee attack on Jessicka in the corner. She tried a suplex but Jessicka pushed her off, then King hit a sloppy running cutter for a two-count. That looked really bad. King tagged Wilde back in and they choked Jessicka in the corner. Wilde tried a suplex but Jessicka countered into a clothesline. Jessicka crawled to the corner to tag in Rush and Wilde did the same in her corner. Rush hit a head-scissors takedown on King then a bulldog for a 2 count. King powered out of the Sharpshooter attempt and tagged Wilde back in. Wilde wanted the German suplex but Rush blocked it. Rush locked in the Sharpshooter and Wilde was tapping out as the referee was focused on King and Jessicka brawling on the outside. King took out Jessicka, then ran back into the ring and her and Wilde hit a double-team Big Boot for the win after 7 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Champions: The Coven

Analysis: **1/4 That was fine as a really basic tag team match between two really good wrestlers and two that have obvious limitations. Moving on.

There was a promo video for Alex Shelley, showing his win from Under Siege along with career highlights in Impact.

Analysis: Shelley is a tremendous athlete but I will be surprised if he wins the World Championship with very little build-up, on a non-PPV show. He would certainly deserve it but it feels like they’re moving to Aldis vs Maclin at Slammiversary.

Steve Maclin cut a quick backstage promo complaining that everyone is gunning for him. He was interrupted by Bully Ray, who told him to only worry about one man…Bully Ray.

There was footage from BTI where Masha Slamovich choked out two of the Knockouts competitors during their match, with a steel chain. She faces Killer Kelly in a Dog Collar match at Against All Odds.

Match #5: Non-Title Match: Trey Miguel vs Bhupinder Gujjar

Miguel defends his X-Division Championship against Chris Sabin at Against All Odds, and Gujjar isn’t on the card so that tells you who’s winning here. Gujjar targeted the left arm early on. Miguel broke out of it and shoved Gujjar in the chest. Gujjar hit a side headlock takedown and got a 1 count. Miguel hit a kick to the ribs and sent Gujjar into the ropes but he came back with a dropkick. Miguel avoided a corner attack but ran into another kick. He rolled out of the ring to get a breather and sent Gujjar throat-first into the ropes as he tried to fly out of the ring. Back in the ring, Miguel scored with a springboard moonsault for a 1 count. Miguel tossed Gujjar out of the ring and taunted the fans as the referee counted. Gujjar slide back in after 5 so Miguel dumped him out on the opposite side, as he tried for the count-out win. Gujjar got back up onto the apron at 6 but Miguel kicked him off. Gujjar got back into the ring and hit a ripcord knee. He nailed a flapjack and went to the top rope. Gujjar missed a splash then Miguel hit some combination kicks, followed by a double-stomp to the back. He climbed to the top but Gujjar moved. There was a little bit of back-and-forth, but Miguel hit the Lightning Spiral for the win after 5 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Trey Miguel

Analysis: **1/2 This match fit the theme of the night, with the bigger superstar getting the win. Gujjar could be a decent mid-card talent with some polish.

After the match, Miguel listed his X-Division accomplishments on the mic. He said he’s beaten Sabin before and he will do it again at Against All Odds.

Analysis: Good for him to get some mic time ahead of his title defence. I think Sabin could win, but I’ll be leaning towards Miguel at this point.

Johnny Swinger was interviewed by Gia Miler. Swinger made Miller wheel him over so that he was on camera. Miller asked how Swinger was going to get 50 wins, when he can’t even manage 1. He started ranting on about some advice his Dad gave him, but Miller cut him off thankfully. Swinger said that the only reason he can’t win a match is because of crooked referees. He has sent Ziggy Dice to Referee School so that he has someone in his pocket. Swinger hit on Miller so she walked away in disgust.

Analysis: This never-ending storyline could be so much better if they allowed him to get some fluke wins and cheat, to at least make it watchable.

Gia Miller Sits Down with Deonna Purrazzo & Trinity

Miller discussed the Slammiversary match. Trinity wanted to come to Impact to challenge herself against some of the best wrestlers in the world. She said that she can prove herself to the locker room by beating Purrazzo. Purrazzo said Trinity has never faced anyone on the level of The Virtuosa. They discussed their tag match against Savannah Evans and Gisele Shaw at Against All Odds. Trinity called them dangerous people. Miller asked if this match was a chance for them to scout each other. Purrazzo wasn’t sure if she could trust Trinity. Purrazzo said she can put her ego aside for the greater good, because she’s been Knockouts’ Tag Champion before. Trinity said Purrazzo doesn’t have to worry about her tomorrow night, but she will at Slammiversary.

Analysis: That was all very friendly, but I look forward to a bit more edge in their rivalry as the PPV approaches.

Hannifan and Rehwoldt ran down the Against All Odds card, which you can see below.

Match #6: Moose & Rich Swann vs Nick Aldis & Jonathan Gresham

These 4 face-off in 8-man tag action tomorrow night. The winning team then face each other in a Fatal-4-Way and the winner will face the Impact World Champion at Slammiversary. Swann and Gresham lock up to start the match. Swann nailed a dropkick early on. Gresham backed into the corner and tagged Aldis in. Aldis wanted a sidewalk slam but Swann hit a head scissors takedown. Aldis wanted the Cloverleaf but Swann wriggled free to tag in Moose. Moose hit a kick to the mid-section of Aldis and chopped away on him in the corner. Moose hit a few shoulder thrusts on Aldis and then went back to the chops. He missed a corner clothesline so Aldis scored with a hip toss and a Thesz Press.

(Commercial break)

Gresham took down Moose with a forearm as the action returned. He targeted Moose’s arm and tagged in Aldis who hit an axe handle from the top rope. Gresham with another quick tag and went back to targeting the left arm of Moose. Moose hit a quick scoop slam and forcibly tagged in Rich Swann. Swann went for a cover but Gresham kicked out quickly. Swann hit a kick to the back but Gresham fought back with a series of forearms. He ran the ropes but Moose pulled him down. Swann wasn’t happy with his tag partner’s actions so he tagged himself out. Moose hit Aldis with a cheap shot that knocked him off the apron. He chopped Swann to tag him in. Swann nailed Gresham with an uppercut in the corner and a running clothesline. Swann tagged Moose in again and nailed Gresham with 2 suplexes. He tried to cheap shot Aldis again but Aldis was ready and ducked. Moose set up for a Uranage but Gresham used a victory roll to go between the legs of Moose and tag in Aldis. Aldis took down Moose with a clothesline. Moose blocked a corner clothesline but ran into a Michinoku Driver. Aldis hit his top-rope elbow but Moose kicked out at 2. Aldis went for the cloverleaf, but Moose turned it into an inside cradle for a 2 count. They ran into each other as they both looked for a clothesline. Moose tagged in Swann and Aldis tagged in Gresham. Swann went for a handspring elbow but Gresham caught him with a backslide for a 2 count. Swann hit a spinning kick and a handspring cutter but Gresham kicked out just before 3. Swann set up for the Phoenix Splash but Moose got in his face and tagged himself in. Gresham hit a powerbomb on Swann and went to pin him, not realising Moose tagged in. Moose nailed Gresham with a huge powerbomb for the win after 10 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Rich Swann & Moose

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a good tag team match that tried to play up the importance of being able to get along with your tag team partner, ahead of the 8-man tag tomorrow night. Moose did his own thing and won the match, but tomorrow he might not be so lucky with 2 more partners. He deserves a bigger spot that he has been in lately, but I think it’s clear that Aldis will win the match.

Post-match Swann voiced his displeasure at Moose for his actions during the match. Gresham got in his face too but Moose clobbered him. Moose took down Swann and then raked the eyes of Aldis who tried to lend a hand. Heath ran down to square off with Moose. Aldis clotheslined Moose over the top rope. Heath wasn’t happy with that, so Aldis and Heath started brawling. Swann and Moose brawled around the ring. Bully Ray took down Swann by the hair and set up for a piledriver until PCO ran down to face-off with Bully. They had a very slow back and forth brawl, which sent Bully out of the ring. PCO wiped out everyone with a cannonball through the middle rope to the outside. PCO stood tall as Impact went off the air.

Analysis: A good way to end the show, which involved everyone in the 8-man tag except Mike Bailey who has been in Japan.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

It was a lesser episode of Impact last week, after they had set the Against All Odds card up so well. This week was about building up the contenders for the show, not the match quality so much. That’s fine every now and again, especially on a ‘go-home’ show like this. The best match was the main event tag, but that only went 10 minutes so it’s not like there were any stand-out matches on the show. Impact have been making a feature of using contender matches well lately (except the tag division!) so the 8-4-1 concept is a good addition. I’m looking forward to Against All Odds and I think it’s just about on par with the Hard to Kill lineup from January.

The next Impact Plus special, Against All Odds, is on June 9th. Here is the card so far with my predictions in bold:

* Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin (c) vs Alex Shelley
* 8-4-1 match for the number 1 Contendership for the Impact World Title at Slammiversary: Bully Ray, Jonathan Gresham, Heath and Nick Aldis vs Moose, PCO, Rich Swann and Mike Bailey
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs The Good Hands w/ Brian Myers
* Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Dirty Dango
* X- Division Championship: Trey Miguel (c) vs Chris Sabin
* Dog Collar Match: Masha Slamovich vs Killer Kelly
* Frankie Kazarian vs Eddie Edwards
* Deonna Purrazzo & Trinity vs Gisele Shaw & Savannah
* OVE (Jake Crist, Madman Fulton & Sami Callihan) vs The Design

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

* Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin/ Alex Shelley (c) vs the winner of 8-4-1
* Impact Knockouts’ World Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Trinity

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!