IMPACT Wrestling Review – May 4, 2023
This week’s Impact included the debut of Trinity along with the fourth encounter between Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham.
Impact Wrestling 4/5/23 from Cicero Stadium in Chicago, IL
The opening video focused on the beatdown that Steve Maclin tried to hand out to PCO last week, which ended up in PCO defeating Maclin’s hired goon, Champagne Singh. This week they clash again in 6-man tag action.
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and promoted the debut of Trinity (FKA Naomi) on tonight’s show. It’s cool to see Impact in a stadium with a second-tier, as I have noticed tonight with the show being in Chicago. We are straight into the action with a tag team match.
Match #1: Moose & Brian Myers vs Bhupinder Gujjar and Yuya Uemura
A combination of these 4 athletes have been feuding in some capacity since last year, when Myers and Gujjar had a feud over the Digital Media Championship. Recently, they were on opposing teams at Rebellion in the Hardcore War. Myers and Gujjar are starting the match off and Myers gets a cheap shot in after asking for a Test of Strength. He takes down Gujjar with a shoulder tackle but then runs into an enziguiri. Gujjar leap-frogs Myers and nails a dropkick. He tags in Uemura and they take down Myers with a double elbow. Uemura covers for a 2 count. Uemura tries to target the left arm of Myers, who is able to get a few strikes in and tags in Moose. Moose uses his power to toss Uemura into the turnbuckle but misses a running splash. Uemura sends Moose out of the ring with a kick and then the face team tosses an incoming Myers over the top onto Moose. Uemura and Gujjar hit slingshot crossbodies in synch over the top rope to take down their foes. Uemura hits a flying forearm in the corner on Moose after tossing him back into the ring. Uemura takes down Moose with a diving bulldog. Myers distracts him so Moose knocks Uemura off the top rope and to the outside area. Myers gets the tag and tosses Uemura back into the ring and gets a 2 count. Myers tries to apply a standing crossface but Uemura fights out. Myers misses a clothesline and runs into a underhook belly-to-belly suplex. Uemura finally makes the tag, as does Moose. Gujjar tees off on Moose with right hands and a Pump Kick to the face. Myers comes in and gets nailed with a flapjack. Gujjar hits a running knee and a spinebuster on Moose for 2. Gujjar works away on Moose with uppercuts in the corner. He misses the Gargoyle Spear so Moose tries a spear of his own and misses that too. Gujjar connects with a slingblade on the big man but Myers breaks up the pinfall. Uemura tries to get rid of Myers but runs into a Flatliner. Gujjar hits a springboard dropkick on Myers that takes him out of the ring. Moose sneaks in and destroys Gujjar with a spear for the win after 6:30.
Winners by pinfall: Moose & Brian Myers
Analysis: **3/4 It was fine for a shorter tag match that saw the more consistent team pick up the win. I enjoyed Gujjar’s offense more tonight as it seemed more thought-out rather than just spot after spot as he had been showing as of late.
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed the team of Impact World Champion Steve Maclin, Shera and Champagne Singh. Miller asks Maclin why he aligned himself with these two. Maclin said as champion, he knows that everyone is coming for him so it’s only smart to have some back up. Maclin tells Miller that there’s no one dumb enough to team with PCO so tonight’s match will probably be a handicap match.
Analysis: Intrigue surrounds the tag team partners of PCO for tonight’s match.
They showed a video package from last week of Santino Marella getting beaten up backstage for a second time. The attacker is still a mystery.
Dirty Dango is in detective mode backstage, with a big poster of photographs surrounded by ‘Who attacked Santino?’ in large print. I think one of the photos was of Tomko! There was a funny caption under Killer Kelly’s photo: ‘Admitted Killer’. Dango said he needed a second pair of eyes on this and simply said ‘Say his name’ so Joe Hendry appeared. Hendry had two black eyes and a magnifying glass. Dango said he had 15 Red Bulls in the last 15 hours and is going crazy. Hendry told him to use the evidence. Dango said he lost the hair that they found last week. Dango kept rambling about possible suspects and pointed the finger at Mike Tenay, for some random reason. Hendry reminded Dango that Trey Miguel threatened Marella after he made him defend his title at Rebellion. Dango said that was a good place to start and tried to get a hug of Hendry, who awkwardly backed away.
Analysis: This kind of comedy is lame, but if it’s in place of Death Dollz and Johnny Swinger segments then I can tolerate it. There were at least some cool throwbacks to Impact’s past in the photos.
Match #2: Sami Callihan vs Deaner w/ Kon & Angels
Callihan came out alone after turning on The Design at Rebellion. I don’t expect this to be a proper match as they have just started feuding. Deaner wasn’t in his wrestling gear. He took a mic and said Callihan betrayed them when he smashed him with a baseball bat at Rebellion. The fans chanted “You deserve it” and Deaner wasn’t pleased with that. Deaner said Callihan hadn’t accepted a fight against him- he had accepted a fight against Kon. Kon hoisted Callihan up for a chokeslam and slammed him down hard. Angels pummelled away on Callihan with left hands. Kon and Angels stomped away on Callihan as Deaner directed traffic. The referee asked if Callihan wanted the match, which he did. The bell rang and Callihan avoided a corner splash from Kon. He hit a kick to Kon’s head but Kon blocked a clothesline in the corner. Callihan gouged the eyes of Kon who slipped out of a Death Valley Driver attempt. Callihan sent Kon over the top rope and hit a kick from the apron. Kon caught a second attempt and slammed him on the ring apron. Kon hit a clothesline on the outside area.
Kon was in control as we returned to the action. He hit a nice running legdrop on Callihan, who kicked out at 2. Kon wrenched at the face of Callihan, who tried to fight back with right hands but Kon captured him in an Abdominal Stretch. Callihan swung an elbow at Kon who rammed him into the corner. Kon held onto the move as Callihan tried to wriggle free. Callihan poked Kon in the eye and hit a headbutt to break free. They exchanged hard right hands then Callihan started chopping Kon. Kon wasn’t really fazed and hit a knee to the ribs. Kon started clubbing Callihan furiously but ran off the ropes into a Death Valley Driver. Callihan wanted the Cactus Driver but Angels got on the ring apron so Callihan pulled him inside the ring. While the referee was dealing with Angels, Deaner distracted Callihan on the other side of the ring. Kon pulled Callihan around, who hit him with a low blow. Callihan invited Deaner into the ring but he wouldn’t so he gave Callihan the thumbs down. This led to about a dozen of the returning yellow-hoodie army storming the ring to attack Callihan. That ended the match after 7 minutes. I think Hannifan called them the Army of Violence. Deaner called off the beatdown so he could pick the bones of Callihan. Deaner smashed Callihan in the face with the baseball bat as the crowd booed loudly.
Winner by disqualification: Sami Callihan
Analysis: *** I thought that was well done. It was the most storyline progression in this feud/angle for a few months, as it was getting stale. I knew Deaner wouldn’t face Sami on a random weekly episode so to feed him to Kon was a good move and then calling on the Army of Violence when Kon couldn’t get the job done was something I wasn’t expecting but fits the story. The ring announcer didn’t give the match result but I’m assuming it was a DQ win for Callihan as he was the one attacked. It could have been a no-contest but the result really isn’t important here.
Backstage, Joe Hendry and Dirty Dango confronted the X-Division Champion, Trey Miguel, to question him over Santino’s attack. Miguel fired up, saying this was ridiculous. Hendry said they’re sticking to the facts, so he checked if Trey was missing any hair which he wasn’t.
Analysis: More shenanigans which were gladly short.
Jimmy Jacobs was joined by Nick Aldis, who returned at Rebellion. Jacobs said Aldis has his eyes set on the Impact World Championship, yet it’s PCO getting the first shot at Steve Maclin at Under Siege. Aldis said he’s enjoying the speculation and interest around his return. He said when he returned to Impact he expected to be in the hunt for the championship and not just cut to the front of the line. Aldis said he would prove his worth and go through every wrestler on the roster if he needed to. Kenny King interrupted him. King said he was sick of the welcome that everyone was giving to Aldis. King asked if Aldis was really here to do the work and get to the front of the line, or just be handed a title shot. Aldis asked if King wanted to be the first one to face Aldis on his return. King said Aldis needs to work his way up if he wants to fight King and walked off.
Analysis: Later it was announced that Aldis will face Sheldon Jean next week. Anyone who works with Aldis will benefit as he’s a great all-round talent. I really like how he builds his promos up to his main point and the energy he has brought back to Impact.
Alisha Edwards was already in the ring for the next match.
Match #3: Alisha Edwards vs Jody Threat
This is Threat’s first opponent that has some credibility so it should be better than her first few squash matches. Alisha slapped Threat after the bell rang. Threat took her down with a shoulder tackle. Threat missed a clothesline and flipped over to the ring apron. She hit a big knee as Alisha ran at her. Back in the ring, Threat hit another shoulder tackle and a slap of her own. Threat hit a series of clotheslines in the corner. Threat missed a running knee against the middle ropes, so Alisha slammed her down on the mat by the hair. Alisha tied Threat’s head up between her legs and slammed her face down on the mat repeatedly. She covered for a 2 count. Alisha continued to talk trash as she choked out Threat in the corner. Threat reversed an Irish Whip and nailed her running knee in the middle rope, followed by a German Suplex. Threat hit the F-416 for the win after 3 ½ minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jody Threat
Analysis: ** Another basic match to showcase Jody. It didn’t take much to put Alisha away, after being on offence for a fair part of the match.
Backstage, Gia Miller was interviewing the Motor City Machine Guns. Miller mentioned that Chris Sabin pinned Trey Miguel in 6-man tag action a few weeks ago, which has earned him an X-Division title shot at Under Siege. Sabin said it was the right time to become a 9-time X-Division Champion.
Analysis: Winning a random tag match a few weeks back is a good enough reason to receive a title shot on a monthly special now I guess.
Part 2 of the sit-down interview with Frankie Kazarian
Gia Miller picked up the interview by discussing where Kaz went after leaving Impact in 2014. He recounted teaming with Christopher Daniels in ROH against the Briscoes and other great teams. He discussed his friendship with the Jacksons and Cody Rhodes in 2018. Kaz talked about his time in AEW and becoming complacent. He said it was time to decide to bet on himself or stay with the status quo, so he came back to Impact Wrestling. The full interview is on YouTube in two parts and only goes for 15 minutes. Here’s part 2.
Match #4: Six Man Tag Team Match: Steve Maclin, Shera & Champagne Singh vs PCO & ? ?
Maclin entered alone, followed by his new allies who entered together. The commentators played up the fact that PCO had no friends in the locker room to call on. PCO made his way to the ring and confronted Maclin. I was waiting for Cult of Personality to hit (not) when Rhino and Heath made their way to the ring as PCO’s partners, to the approval of the fans. Rhino said that he knew PCO wanted to take on Maclin, Shera and Singh by himself but he and Heath have beef with Shera and Singh so they are here to help out. PCO and Maclin start the match out but Maclin tags Singh straight in as the fans chant for PCO. PCO goes straight after Singh with a clothesline in the corner. PCO stomps away on Singh in the corner. PCO tags in Rhino who hits a big shoulder tackle on Singh. Singh fought back with right hands, which took Rhino to the corner. Singh continued to pummel Rhino but took too long taunting so Rhino took him down with a spear in the corner. He tagged Heath in who targeted the elbow of Singh. Heath hit two running forearms in the corner. Singh backed Heath into the ropes and Shera made the blind tag. Shera nailed Heath with a big right hand which he wasn’t expecting. Shera slammed Heath spine-first against the turnbuckle. He hit a scoop slam and got a 2 count. Maclin tagged in next and choked Heath against the middle rope then hit a running knee. Maclin covered but Heath kicked out at 2. Maclin stomped on the spine of Heath then locked in a reverse chin-lock. Maclin tossed Heath into the corner and nailed a running back elbow, after Heath tried to mount a comeback. Maclin knocked Rhino off the apron but ran into a powerslam from Heath. Singh and PCO tagged in for their teams. PCO took control with a knee to the ribs. He knocked Maclin off the ring apron and nailed Singh with a DDT. Singh rolled to the outside so PCO nailed him with a running cannonball to the outside. He set Singh up on the ring apron and hit the Deanimator. Shera attacked him from behind and tossed him back into the ring. Shera set PCO up on the top rope for Maclin to attack, but PCO flipped back down and nailed Shera and Singh with a double-clothesline. Maclin bailed but ran into a Gore on the outside from Rhino! The crowd still love the Gore! Singh tried to bribe PCO with some money so Heath nailed him with Wake Up Call and the cash went flying. PCO hit the PCOSault for the win after 7 minutes of action.
Winners by pinfall: PCO, Heath & Rhino
Analysis: *** There was a fun match with PCO continuing to build momentum leading up to his championship match. They’re playing out the story that Maclin hasn’t faced anyone like PCO but it should still be a win for the champion in his first defence.
The Coven were backstage in a pre-taped vignette. Wilde lost to Deonna Purrazzo with the Knockouts’ Championship on the line last week. Wilde said that Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo were messing with fate and then the lights went out.
Analysis: I try really hard to tune in to these promos but they ramble on about nonsense and I’d rather just see them fight. That might set up a future tag match between the 4 ladies.
Backstage, Rosemary and Jessicka were meeting with Father James Mitchell. Rosemary had a cleaver for some reason. Mitchell asked Rosemary and Jessicka to come with him but Rosemary wasn’t sure. Jessicka wanted to come but Rosemary warned against it.
Analysis: Two awful, mind-numbing segments in a row. I really don’t like all this magical nonsense they keep pushing.
Match #5: Jonathan Gresham vs Mike Bailey
This is the main event of the show, although it’s not ending the broadcast this week. These two have had a win each and then Trey Miguel interfered in the third match which lead to a Triple Threat Elimination match at Rebellion, which Miguel won. This is the rubber match. Gresham extended the hand for a handshake before the bell rang. Gresham didn’t look impressed that he had to face Bailey again. Gresham used his experience to take Bailey down by the legs early on. They had an exchange at breakneck speed which ended in Gresham locking Bailey in a head scissors with his legs. Bailey tried to kip up to no avail. He used a headstand to temporarily break free but Gresham locked in the head scissors again. Gresham had Bailey grounded with a headlock and they exchanged pin reversals. These two are so evenly matched up and the pace of the counter-wrestling is hard to keep up with at times!
Bailey hit Gresham with a dropkick as we returned to the action. Bailey tried to target the left arm of Gresham but he hit a hip toss. They locked up again but the referee made them break it up against the ropes. Gresham with an arm drag which frustrated Bailey. They played out a Test of Strength which Gresham gained the advantage from by sweeping the leg of Bailey. Gresham manipulated the fingers of Bailey as he screamed in agony. He wrenched at the wrist of Bailey and scored a 2 count. Gresham with a roll up for another 2. Gresham kicked the left arm of Bailey which was hurt. Bailey sought refuge on the top rope and nailed Gresham with a dropkick. He hit a kick to the neck and chest. Bailey nailed a running shooting star for a 2 count. Bailey missed a big left-footed kick so Gresham rolled him up for 2. Bailey attempted an arm bar but Gresham reversed it into a cradle for a 2 count so Bailey had to release the pressure. Bailey hit a flipping knee drop to the chest of Gresham. He hit a series of kicks to the chest of Gresham and nailed a big boot to the face. Gresham held on to the ropes so Bailey flew over the top and nailed Gresham with a diving knee on the ring apron. Bailey hit a moonsault from the top turnbuckle to Gresham who was on the outside area.
Bailey had Gresham hung on the top rope and nailed a double-knee to the back. Gresham managed to get his foot on the bottom rope as Bailey covered him. Bailey ran at Gresham in the corner who rolled him up for a 2 count. Gresham with another cradle for a 2 count. He went for an Okada Roll and Bailey again kicked out at 2. Gresham held the left arm again and avoided an enziguiri. Bailey hit a running Spanish Fly for a really close 2 count. Gresham again wrenched at the left arm but Bailey fought back with forearm strikes to the shoulder. They exchanged forearms in the middle of the ring but Gresham held on to the left arm. Bailey broke free with a series of kicks. Bailey hit the Tornado Kick in the corner then Gresham avoided the Ultima Weapon. Gresham wanted a German Suplex but rolled through and locked the Octopus submission hold and Bailey tapped out quickly. The match had 13 minutes of TV time.
Winner by submission: Jonathan Gresham
Analysis: ***1/2 That was another great contest between these two. It really picked up in the final 5 minutes and I enjoyed it most when the pace was faster. I understand how evenly they matched up, but a lot of time was spent feeling each other out and repeating the same moves. I didn’t expect Gresham to win but I feel he definitely needed it more.
Bailey and Gresham shook hands after the match.
Sami Callihan cut a promo after getting beatdown earlier in the night. Callihan was talking to someone who said they owed him. Rich Swann was the man that Callihan was speaking to. Swann said Sami always picks fights that are hectic and where he is outnumbered. Callihan was asking for Swann’s help not as a man, but as a brother. Callihan asked if Swann was going to help him or not and walked off to give him time to decide.
Analysis: Rich Swann seems to be the man just added to everyone else’s feud at the moment. If it gets him on TV, then that’s great but I’d prefer him to have his own program.
There was another segment from ‘Earlier tonight’ where Maclin was complaining to Impact President Scott D’Amore about Rhino giving Maclin the Gore in their match. Maclin asked D’Amore what he was going to do about it, so D’Amore booked Maclin vs Rhino for the Impact World Championship next week!
Analysis: We know Rhino won’t win but that will be a hard-hitting match for next week
* Impact World Championship: Steve Maclin (c) vs Rhino
* Knockouts’ World Tag Team Championships: The Coven (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo & Jordynne Grace
* Nick Aldis vs Sheldon Jean
* Masha Slamovich vs Killer Kelly
* Frankie Kazarian Sit-Down interview part 3
Analysis: Great lineup for next week!
The Debut of Trinity
The lights went down and the crowd was getting excited for Trinity to debut. She came out with a glowing jacket and a necklace that glowed too. It was difficult to hear her theme music because Hannifan was screaming and Rehwoldt kept rambling over the top. It was different to her WWE theme though, obviously. She had the loudest pop of the evening by far. Trinity got into the ring and hyped up the crowd. The lights returned and Trinity looked happy to be in the Impact Zone. The fans chanted for her. She thanked the fans for the welcome and said how good she felt being back in the ring. Trinity said she was in a place where she could glow and said she had arrived in Impact Wrestling. Trinity said she picked Impact Wrestling because they have the most storied women’s division in wrestling history. She said she wants a piece of it and named some of the Knockouts past and present although she said The Awesome Kong instead of just Awesome Kong. Trinity said the brightest star in Impact was ready to shine and the locker room better be ready. The fans kept chanting for her as she set her intentions on the Knockouts’ Championship and here comes the champ. Deonna Purrazzo’s music hit as she made her way to the ring. Purrazzo faces Jordynne Grace at Under Siege, although they have to team up next week. Purrazzo said that as Trinity said her name, she wanted to be the first one to welcome her to Impact Wrestling. Purrazzo said if Trinity wants to make history, this is the place to be. She said if Trinity had done her homework then she would know that she is walking into Deonna Purrazzo’s division. Purrazzo said that she hopes that Trinity gets a shot at her in the future but she needs to know that that’s something she can’t just walk away from. Loud ohh’s there for the shot at Trinity’s WWE exit. Trinity said if it’s going to be like that, then when Purrazzo steps up to her she’s going to wish she was fired…again. A shot at Purrazzo’s firing from NXT there. Jordynne Grace’s music hit and the Juggernaut made her way to the ring to assess the situation. Grace said she knows that they everyone probably wants to see Purrazzo and Trinity wrestle, but she reminded us that she doesn’t plan to lose at Under Siege. Grace said Trinity can come looking for a title shot from her because after Under Siege, she will be the champion. The crowd chanted for a triple threat match. Trinity said she would be waiting for whoever walks out of Under Siege and danced up the ramp as Impact went off the air for this week.
Analysis: It was a solid debut promo from Trinity who is firmly a face as she steps into the Impact Zone. Her wrestling and charisma are her strong points and that can be showcased here in Impact where she will be popular with the younger demographic. Trinity looked happy to be there and the fans reacted positively to her which will please both her and Impact. I’m a fan of wrestling and not too bothered about the whole politics of her WWE walkout, so her joining the best women’s division in the world is fine by me. Adding Purrazzo and then Grace to the mix was clever as it immediately puts Trinity at their level in the eyes of the audience. I look forward to seeing Trinity with fresh opponents in the coming months.
Final Rating: 7/10
I enjoyed this week’s show. I’m glad it was an improvement on the last two weeks which had been the first two shows that I can remember that were a bit of a chore to get there. Tonight’s show had another great match added to the Bailey/Gresham rivalry as well as the opening tag match which was entertaining. The 6-man tag where PCO was joined by Heath and Rhino was also a fun match and continued to work the story of Maclin being wary of PCO. I continue to enjoy the Kaz interviews and have watched them in full on Impact’s YouTube channel. Some storyline progression between Sami Callihan and The Design was also very welcome and adding Rich Swann to the mix in the future should also benefit everyone. Finally, the debut of Trinity was simple and effective. She will be a top-tier star in the Knockouts division that is already filled with title challengers. The more contenders make for a better division.
The next Impact Plus special, Under Siege, is on May 26th. Here is the card so far:
* Impact World Championship: 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
* X- Division Championship: Trey Miguel (c) vs Chris Sabin
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