IMPACT Wrestling Review – May 18, 2023

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A 6-man tag team match headlined this week’s Impact, along with the in-ring debut of Trinity.

Impact Wrestling 18/5/23 from Cicero Stadium in Chicago, IL

The opening video focused on last week’s show, where Steve Maclin successfully defended the Impact World Championship against Rhino. Maclin destroyed Rhino’s knee after the match with a shovel, which led Impact President Scott D’Amore to make Maclin’s championship match with PCO at Under Siege at No DQ match.

We are immediately into our opening contest, as X-Division Champion Trey Miguel makes his way to the ring.

Match #1: Non-Title Match: Trey Miguel vs Laredo Kid

Miguel defends his championship against Chris Sabin at Under Siege. Kid wanted a handshake but Miguel kicked his hand away in disgust. Kid outwrestled Miguel in the opening moments but Miguel kipped up out of a head scissors. Miguel bailed to the outside for a breather so Kid shoved him off the apron and then connected with a suicide dive, as they crashed into the guard rail. Kid took advantage on the outside area with right hands. Miguel outsmarted him by sweeping his legs off the mat, sending Kid face-first into the ring apron. Miguel hit a dropkick for a 2 count. Miguel pummelled Kid with a hard right hand in the corner then squashed his face against the middle rope with his knee. Miguel with a running kick and then taunted the fans. He sent Kid against the ropes then delivered a hard forearm to the spine. Miguel repeated the move and taunted the crowd some more. Kid countered a back suplex and hit a stiff clothesline, followed by another one. He nailed a Michinoku Driver and a snap moonsault off the second rope. Kid hit another one to the back of Miguel and covered for a 2 count. The fans were firmly behind him as he hoisted Miguel up onto his shoulders. Miguel used the ropes to get down and then they exchanged forearms. Miguel hit a back elbow and then a dropkick against the ropes. Miguel hit combination kicks to the chest of Kid and then missed a double stomp so Kid spiked him with an amazing float over DDT. What a smooth move. Kid covered and scored a close 2 count. Miguel escaped to the outside so Kid ran up behind him and clipped him to the back of the head. He tossed Miguel back into the ring and then locked in a unique submission, where he had Miguel choking himself out with his own leg. That didn’t last as Miguel fought out and hit an enziguiri. Miguel covered but Kid popped out at 2. He ascended to the top but Kid avoided a diving move. Miguel hit an enziguiri and then Kid avoided the Lightning Spiral. Miguel took Kid’s mask off and rolled him up for 3 as Kid was protecting his face.

Winner by pinfall: Trey Miguel

Analysis: ***1/2 A really enjoyable 9-minute opener here. Miguel is fantastic and deserves longer and more prominent matches than he has been getting of late. A high-profile match with Sabin at Under Siege, to go with the Triple Threat at the last PPV is heading in the right direction. Kid is fun to watch lately. It’s good to see him back after a life-threatening injury and he had vocal crowd support here. The finish fit the current persona of Miguel perfectly.

After the match, Miguel addressed the crowd on the mic. Miguel said Chicago was supposed to be one of the toughest crowds in wrestling and yet here they are whinging and complaining about the match outcome. Miguel called himself a generational talent and said he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He says he will hold the show ransom until he starts to feel respected.

(Commercial break)

Chris Sabin’s music hit as the show returned to Miguel’s antics. Sabin didn’t look impressed by Miguel. He hears Miguel but said that Miguel disrespected the championship by spray-painting it. Sabin lists former X-Division Champions that Miguel disrespected by tainting the title. Miguel said he’s sick of Sabin’s lecture on respect. Sabin said he’s going to look him in the eye and give him the respect he deserves by telling him to his face that he’s going to take his title. Sabin said that at Under Siege he becomes a 9-time champion. Miguel slid out of the ring as Sabin’s music played.

Analysis: The feud needed a face-off in the ring. Sabin vs Miguel will be one of the matches of the night at Under Siege.

Trinity was stretching in the locker room when Jay Vidal approached her to let her know that the photo they took together last week got him in a lot of trouble. Trinity said that if Gisele Shaw has a problem, she can tell her to her face. Vidal said Shaw is injured and won’t be cleared until next week. Trinity reminded Vidal of her open-contract at Under Siege and challenges Shaw to a match there.

Analysis: That should lead to Trinity vs Shaw at Under Siege. I’m not sure why Trinity is having her first match tonight instead of at the live show.

Sami Callihan and Rich Swann are having a sit-down chat. They show old photos of their times on the independent scene together. Swann said Callihan has always been wild and had some reservations about stepping into the ring with him in the early days. Swann and Callihan became close friends. They recapped their history in Impact together. Callihan said he can fight a few guys at once, but The Design have the advantage now so he called on a friend.

Analysis: They still need another partner for Under Siege. The Design needs a win so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Match #2: Jason Hotch w/ John Skyler & Brian Myers vs Ace Austin w/ Chris Bey

Myers cut a promo as the heels walked down the ramp. He told the Chicago fans to put their pathetic hands together for the Good Hands. Skyler said that if Bey thought about interfering, then he would have to answer to Skyler and Myers.

Analysis: An intimidating warning from someone who wins very few matches.

Austin, with a fresh haircut by the looks, take the advantage early with a wristlock. Hotch tried a headlock but Austin fought out with elbows to the ribs. Hotch with a shoulder block off the ropes. He ran the ropes again but Austin caught him with a drop toe hold and a kick to the spine. Austin hit a few arm drags, that Hotch sold brilliantly. That will sound silly for such a simple move but he really made the move look impactful. Austin had Hotch in a submission but he reached the ropes with his feet. They exchanged right hands and both slipped out of suplex attempts. Hotch caught Austin on the ring rope and hit a stiff clothesline for a 2 count.

(Commercial break)

Both wrestlers exchanged chops in the corner as we returned to the action. Austin hit a forearm in the corner and followed up in the opposite corner. Hotch blocked a third attempt with an elbow and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a 2 count. Hotch kicked at the head of Austin and taunted him. Austin hit a ripcord knee and a side Russian Legsweep. He missed a legdrop but connected with a double-stomp that drove Hotch’s face into the mat. Myers distracted the referee so Skyler pulled Austin out of the ring. Bey ran around the ring and leapfrogged over Austin to take out Skyler with a kick to the face. Back in the ring, Hotch hit a running Spanish Fly for a close 2 count. Hotch hoisted Austin up onto his shoulder but Ace fought off with elbows. Austin tried a roll up but Hotch powered out, so Myers cracked him with a right hand against the middle rope. The referee didn’t see it, so Hotch rolled Austin up for the 3 count. The match went 8 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jason Hotch

Analysis: ***1/4 Good action here as Impact have realised that The Good Hands can go in the ring if they’re given decent time. Austin can make most wrestlers look good so Hotch will benefit from having being in there with him. I assumed Austin would get the win, ahead of a title defence at Under Siege, but with no Subculture in sight Hotch gets the win to keep his team’s push going.

Steve Maclin was backstage with Champagne Singh and Shera. Maclin realised he had made a mistake by ending their business agreement, after he saw what the duo did to Heath backstage. Maclin said he needs Singh and Shera to deliver again.

Analysis: I think it fits a heel champion like Maclin to have back up, as lowly as Singh and Shera are.

There were highlights of last week’s Knockouts’ Tag Team Championship match where The Coven were successful over Jordynne Grace and Knockouts’ World Champion, Deonna Purrazzo. Grace was interviewed by Gia Miller. Miller said Purrazzo was pretty banged up after last week. She asked if that played into Grace’s hands. Grace said she wants Purrazzo at 100% so there are no excuses at Under Siege. She said that what happened last week (accidentally striking Purrazzo) was an accident and here comes Alisha Edwards with the interruption. Alisha said that we all know that it wasn’t an accident and she’s not fooling anyone. Grace asked Alisha if she wanted to see something done on purpose and then feigned punching her in the face. Alisha scampered off telling Grace to keep lying.

Match #3: Trinity vs KiLynn King w/ Taylor Wilde

This is Trinity’s debut match on Impact Wrestling. She came out to a strong reaction from the fans. King was accompanied by her Tag Team Champion partner, Wilde. King got in Trinity’s face as the bell rang, so Trinity hit a dropkick to the face of King. Trinity wanted the Rear View but King bailed to the outside for some counsel from Wilde. She got back up onto the apron so Trinity kicked her in the head. Trinity tried a move in the ropes so King shoved her off but missed a legdrop. Trinity tried a roll up and got a 2 count. King missed a legdrop so Trinity hit a hard kick to the chest and the splits across the chest of King. That was athletic. She missed a splash in the corner so King kicked her hard against the turnbuckle. Trinity fought back with an elbow and a running forearm in the corner. Trinity rubbed her backside in King’s face and tried to bounce off the ropes but Wilde grabbed her leg. This gave King the opportunity to kick Trinity hard against the middle rope. King covered and scored a 2 count. She backed Trinity into the corner with shoulder charges. King trapped Trinity on the mat with a body scissors. Trinity fought out with forearms to the face and flipped over to a pin for 2. King nearly took her head off with a clothesline. She covered for 2. King chopped Trinity hard against the turnbuckle. She moved to the next turnbuckle and repeated the dose. King missed a third chop, so Trinity hit a Scorpion King but King recovered quickly and slammed Trinity’s head hard against the top turnbuckle. King hit an impressive Exploder Suplex and choked Trinity against the middle rope. Wilde starting choking Trinity whilst the referee was distracted. Trinity fought back with a bulldog against the middle turnbuckle. She climbed to the top but Wilde knocked her off. This time the referee saw the interference, so he sent Wilde to the back! King wanted a superplex, but Trinity shoved her to the mat. Trinity hit a flying crossbody. She hit a series of clotheslines and a springboard leg lariat. Trinity had the crowd fired up as she climbed to the top again and nailed the Blockbuster. Trinity floated over and got a close 2 count. King blocked a corner clothesline and hit a running powerslam for 2. Great power by King there. King missed a running attack and spilled over to the ring apron. Trinity trapped her with her legs and nailed a modified pedigree using the middle rope. She covered but King powered out after 2. They exchanged forearms in the middle of the ring. Trinity had King down to one knee, but King hoisted her up and nailed the Death Valley Driver for another 2 count. King tried for a Pumphandle Slam but Trinity avoided it. She tried a bulldog off the ropes but turned it into a sunset flip pin. King sat up in the pin so Trinity locked in the Starstruck submission and King tapped out. The match went 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Trinity

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a fantastic match. Trinity looked like a main event talent, even after a year out of televised matches. We don’t see a lot of King in singles action, but she looked like a force here and I think it was the right call to put Trinity in a competitive match rather than a squash. Trinity had to use a submission finisher rather than the Rear View, so that adds to her repertoire. I can’t recall her using that move but Hannifan said she had won championships with it so I’ll trust him. She will probably have more creativity in her moveset than in WWE, so I look forward to that in her matches.

Gisele Shaw’s music hit and Jay Vidal headed down to the ring. Vidal said Trinity is not the hottest thing in Impact, Shaw is. Vidal said he has a message from Shaw to Trinity and that the match at Under Siege is on. Vidal said he had another message for Trinity and tried to strike her, so Trinity grabbed his arm and kicked him in the head. She told Vidal that she would see Shaw at Under Siege.

Analysis: A simple interaction to add to the match. Vidal is a good wrestler so that pathetic slap attempt makes him look stupid.

Steve Maclin and PCO were randomly brawling backstage. Shera and Champagne Singh joined in and took PCO out. Shera hit a gentle chokeslam on the ground, which for some reason was a bunch of flattened cardboard boxes. The camera zoomed in on Shera and Singh who were barely kicking PCO. Maclin took 2 concrete blocks and smashed them over PCO’s back with a sledgehammer. PCO screamed in agony.

Analysis: More physicality in the feud is welcome but it has to be more believable than what Shera and Singh can bring to the table.

Jessicka was backstage and confronted by Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King. They talked about Rosemary not being around. Jessicka mocked them for using tarot cards.

Analysis: Thankfully that was short. The Knockouts’ tag division needs teams.

Match #4: Jody Threat vs Sierra

Threat is back to win another match over a no-namer. I’d like to see her against some more credible opponents but I get that they are building her up with wins. Threat bounced off the ropes and hit a Pump Kick. She nailed Sierra with half a dozen clotheslines in the corner. Threat scaled to the top turnbuckle and hit a seated senton. Sierra hit a jawbreaker and some strikes to the face. She tried for a clothesline but Threat met her with a shoulder block. Threat hit double knees against the middle rope and a German suplex. Threat hit the F416 for the win after 2 ½ minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jody Threat

Analysis: *1/2 Another easy win for Threat. She looks okay so far but I’ll judger her more when they give her decent opposition.

Eddie Edwards chatted backstage with Frankie Kazarian, ahead of their 6-man tag later in the show. Edwards told Kaz to follow his lead and they’ll get the job done. Kaz mocked Edwards and called him captain. Kaz says he hopes this team goes better than Honor No More did.

Analysis: Just a short interaction to tease some tension in the main event. Kaz is on the heel team for some reason.

Johnny Swinger, Ziggy Dice and Dirty Dango were backstage trying to solve the Santino Marella mystery. Dango knew Swinger and Dice had some information so Dango wanted them to “say his name”, which led to Joe Hendry appearing. They all clapped along to his music. Dice accused Hendry of attacking Marella. Dango asked the question straight out. He accused Hendry of trying to steal his spotlight after Dango beat Swinger last week. Hendry said that was ridiculous and now that he is cleared to wrestle again, he has had enough of these shenanigans. Dango told Hendry not to walk away and they got into a scuffle. Hendry ripped Dango’s shirt off which showed some of Dango’s chest hair missing. Marella’s attacker had some hair removed. Dango sent Hendry flying into the wall face-first.

Analysis: Well that was anti-climactic. I guess Dango can say that Marella disrespected him or didn’t want to be his friend, but to reveal it in a backstage segment with no real explanation was weak.

The commentators went over the main matches for Under Siege (card below). Next week has these matches:

* Alan Angels vs Rich Swann
* Mike Bailey vs Chris Sabin

Analysis: That’s a good lineup so far. Bailey is in Japan and Sabin is gunning for the X-Title so Sabin will probably get the win there. It could be a main event caliber match.

The entrances for the main event occurred, with over 20 minutes left in the show.

Match #5: Moose, Eddie Edwards & Frankie Kazarian vs Yuya Uemura, Alex Shelley & Jonathan Gresham

These men will all clash in a 6-way match for the #1 Contendership for the World Championship. The winner will receive a shot at Against All Odds in June. The heel team argued about who would start the match. Edwards made the call and he faced off with Shelley. They locked up and Shelley used his speed to get the upper hand with a headlock takeover. Kaz tagged himself in and then he slapped Moose in, playing some mind games. Shelley tagged Uemura in and Moose dominated him in the corner. Uemura fought back with chops and avoided a Moose attack in the corner. Uemura took Moose down to the mat but Moose raked his eyes and tagged in Kaz. Kaz ran at Uemura who took him down with an arm drag. Gresham tagged in for the faces and they traded wrist locks. Kaz turned a firemen’s carry into a pinfall for 1. Kaz hit a back suplex for another 1 count. Edwards tagged himself in and told Kaz to get out of his way. Edwards nailed Gresham with headbutts. He whipped Gresham off the ropes and Shelley tagged in blind, then took Edwards down with a chop block. Shelley locked in the STF but Edwards was already right near the ropes and reached them. Shelley held the legs of Edwards and tagged Uemura in again. Uemura targeted the left knee of Edwards with stomps. He nailed a dropkick to the knee, then knee took Moose off the ring apron with a dropkick. Gresham nailed Kaz with a running forearm and then took down Moose with a springboard moonsault.

(Commercial break)

Uemura made the tag to Shelley, as we returned to the action. He took down Edwards with a dragon screw. Moose ran in for a chokeslam but Shelley blocked it and used Edwards’ momentum to take Moose down with a DDT. Edwards kicked Shelley out of the ring, then Moose rammed Shelley into the ring apron, with the referee distracted. Moose told the fans to shut up as he tossed Shelley back into the ring. Kaz wasn’t impressed with his team’s tactics. He tagged in and hit a running leg lariat on Shelley for a 2 count. Kaz chopped Moose to tag him in. Moose got in his face. He whipped Shelley hard against the top turnbuckle and tried to cheap shot Gresham on the apron. Edwards went into the ring and told the referee he made the tag and the referee believed him! Edwards hit a series of knee drops on Shelley and tagged Moose back in, although he was always legal as they never really made a tag. Moose choked Shelley on the mat. He tagged Edwards again. Edwards kicked Shelley hard in the ribs. He taunted the fans so Shelley had a chance to nail a headbutt. Edwards hit a hard chop and attempted a sleeper hold. Shelley was fading away but he managed to trap Edwards knee under his own body weight and nailed a slam. Edwards came right back with a Boston Knee Party but was too injured to make the cover. Edwards chopped Kaz back in to make the tag. Kaz tried the Unprettier but Shelley sent him into the corner, face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Shelley tagged Uemura in, as did Kaz to Edwards. Uemura nailed Edwards with a flying forearm in the corner and then Moose tried a running uppercut but connected with Edwards instead! Uemura nailed them both with a flying forearm in the corner. He blocked a Moose clothesline with a kick and a diving bulldog off the middle rope. Uemura hit a back suplex on Edwards for 2. Edwards blocked a belly-to-belly suplex and nailed a Blue Thunder Bomb then tagged in Moose again. Moose wanted the powerbomb but Yuya wriggled out. Moose hit a backbreaker and connected with the powerbomb for a close 2 count. Moose crashed into the turnbuckle after he missed a spear, which allowed Uemura to tag in Gresham. The difference in height between Gresham and Moose looked ridiculous. Gresham reversed a Uranage into a Figure 4 attempt, then hyper-extended Moose’s knee. Moose hobbled to tag in Kaz who ran into a dropkick. Gresham rolled Kaz up for 2. Kaz hit a pop-up legdrop that looked awesome. Gresham tagged in Shelley. Kaz took him down with clotheslines and a crossbody. Kaz hit a springboard legdrop on Shelley. He tried the Crossface Chicken Wing but Shelley sent him to the ring apron. Kaz hit a slingshot DDT back into the ring for a 2 count. He locked in the Chicken Wing but Edwards tagged himself in. Edwards and Kaz were arguing so Shelley hit a DDT/Flatliner combination on them. Shelley hit a running punt on Edwards. He wanted Sliced Bread but Edwards blocked it in the corner and nailed a backpack stunner. Uemura saved the match for his team but Kaz took him out with a backstabber. Gresham came in and nailed a German suplex on Kaz, then sent Moose out of the ring. Moose caught him on the entrance ramp and tried for a powerbomb but Gresham jumped off his shoulders then Uemura nailed a crossbody off the top. Back in the ring, Shelley blocked a Tiger Driver from Edwards and sent him crashing into Kaz. They argued in the middle of the ring so Kaz clotheslined him down hard. Gresham hit a high kick on Kaz to send him out of the ring. Shelley hit the Shell Shock to get the win for his team after 16 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Yuya Uemura, Alex Shelley & Jonathan Gresham

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a pretty good match that was made better with the friction between Edwards and Kaz. Without that, it probably would’ve just been the standard 20-minute, 6-man tag they have once a month here in Impact. Edwards wanted things all done his way and by the end of the match Kaz had enough, so he snapped which cost Edwards’ team the win. With Maclin very likely to retain against PCO, I think a face should win the #1 Contendership. Shelley or Kaz would be most likely. They did have shots last year but that was against a face in Alexander, so the crowd would definitely be behind them against Maclin. It will be interesting to see.

Final Rating: 8/10

I thought it was a great show this week. The wrestling was very good all night, with only a short Knockouts’ squash match the only match I rated lowly. That was still okay as they are building Jody Threat up slowly. I thought the lineup didn’t look that appealing, however they gave all of the matches decent time and wrestlers that don’t get much opportunity in singles matches showed that they are worth putting on TV. Jason Hotch vs Ace Austin is a key example here. Trinity vs KiLynn King was the best match on the card, as they had a really competitive match and Trinity looked great in her Impact debut. She was featured a lot on the show and they’re putting her over as a big star, which I think I mentioned last week, too. There was another short interaction between PCO and Maclin to keep that feud warm, and we found out that Dirty Dango turned on his partner in the Directory of Authority, Santino Marella. That’s supposed to feel like a big deal, but it was done backstage with minimal dialogue and without Marella so I feel like that was a wasted opportunity to make it a bigger moment. Dango was getting over as a (low-card) goofy face, but I’m not sure he can sustain a heel character outside of this feud with Hendry/Marella. Time will tell. Impact have gone from having a really strong tag team division to announcing a team to debut at Under Siege with a title shot, as well as the Knockouts’ tag division basically having two teams. They’ll need to work on both these divisions moving forward, as Bey and Austin won’t be a team forever.

The next Impact Plus special, Under Siege, is on May 26th. Here is the card so far:

* Impact World Championship: No Disqualification Match: Steve Maclin (c) vs PCO
* Knockouts’ World Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Jordynne Grace: If Grace loses, she can never challenge Purrazzo for her championship again
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs Subculture
* X- Division Championship: Trey Miguel (c) vs Chris Sabin
* #1 Contender’s Match for the Impact World Championship: Moose vs Eddie Edwards vs Jonathan Gresham vs Yuya Uemura vs Alex Shelley vs Frankie Kazarian
* Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Dirty Dango
* Kenny King vs Nick Aldis
* Open Challenge: Trinity vs Gisele Shaw
* I read online that they announced the debut of Subculture (formerly of NXT UK) to take on Bullet Club for the Tag Team Championships. This could’ve been done in person or using a match to crown a #1 contender. Instead, it feels like an opportunity missed but I am looking forward to see Webster and Andrews in action.

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!