This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling featured two championship matches, a semi-final match in the X-Division championship tournament and a grudge match that saw Mickie James put her career on the line once again.
Impact Wrestling 10/11/22 from Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas, NV
The opening video featured highlights from last week’s show where Eddie Edwards buried PCO in the desert, Chelsea Green vowed to end Mickie James’ career and Gisele Shaw challenging Jordynne Grace for the Impact Knockouts’ Championship. The main event saw Impact World Champion Josh Alexander and the number 1 contender, Frankie Kazarian, defeat Aussie Open.
The regular Impact opening video played and Tom Hannifan welcomed us to the show as the popular Joe Hendry made his match to the ring for the first championship match of the evening.
Match #1: Impact Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers (c) w/ Matt Cardona vs Joe Hendry
Hendry has only had a handful of matches so far but has been thrust into this championship match with Myers due to the crowd’s reaction every week. He is certainly a very entertaining part of the show. Hendry took the mic as the pumped-up crowd chanted “We believe”. Hendry said the World Wide Web can be a scary place, which is why as Digital Media Champion you have a duty to inspire. Hendry says when he becomes champion, everyone will believe in Joe Hendry- 252 pounds of pure motivation and the answer to all of life’s problems.
Analysis: The typical cocky promo from Hendry which the crowd loved. Hendry is yet to lose a singles match in Impact and it would make sense for him to win tonight, however Myers and Cardona are always well-pushed.
Myers then entered with Cardona. They have a Tag Team Championship match against Heath and Rhino at Over Drive, which is next Friday. The bell rings and the two lock up. Hendry takes down Myers first with a shoulder block, followed by a running one. Hendry hits a big stalling suplex for the first near fall of the match up. Myers rolls to the outside for some counsel from Cardona. Hendry throws Myers back into the ring but Cardona distract Hendry, allowing Myers to hit a kick from the apron. Myers stomps away at Hendry back inside the ring. Myers tries a sleeper hold in the centre of the ring, Hendry fights out but Myers is able to trip Hendry up. Myers follows up with a kick to the head for 2. Myers goes back to the sleeper hold and this time Hendry is slower to rise to his feet. Myers locks in a guillotine but Hendry reverses it into a suplex. Hendry kips up and takes down Myers with a series of elbows, then catches Myers with the Trust Fall for a 2 count. Myers counters the Standing Ovation and plants Hendry with a Flatliner for a close 2 count. Myers tries the Implant DDT but Hendry whips him off the ropes and nails a pop-up powerbomb for 2. The action spills to the outside and Hendry takes down Myers with an uppercut. Cardona tries to get involved but Rhino and Heath make their way down the ramp to ensure there are no shenanigans. Cardona tries a cheap shot on Heath who ducks and nails him with a right hand. Rhino, Heath and Cardona brawl to the backstage area. Myers nails Hendry with a kick as he gets back into the ring. Myers nails the Implant DDT but Hendry kicks out at the last second. Myers runs at Hendry who catches him and connects with the Standing Ovation and wins the championship! The match went 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Impact Digital Media Champion: Joe Hendry
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a really fun opener and sets a positive tone with the crowd for the rest of the night. I think it is the right booking decision to put Hendry over. Even though it’s not one of Impact’s major championships, it’s wise to capitalise on Hendry’s popularity with the fans. Myers was a solid champion without having too many memorable matches, but his heel character work is always very good. The plan might be for he and Cardona to win the Tag Team Titles, so dropping this one to Hendry makes sense.
Backstage, Gisele Shaw is meeting with her stylist who has made a video package, which is then shown of some of her highlights in Impact so far. There were clips of Mickie James, Eddie Edwards, Tommy Dreamer and Sami Callihan speaking highly of someone, but the video dubbed in ‘Gisele Shaw’ over the top. Then some of Impact’s executives were filmed saying thank you, for all that “you’ve” done for me.
Analysis: This was silly but fits Shaw’s arrogant and cocky character. The dubbing was so bad that it was entertaining.
There was a video package of Eric Young’s latest escapades with his gang of violence. Alan Angels (they might have dropped his first name) and Kon, the newest recruits, were shown with Young.
Analysis: I’m glad that they unveiled some new members of VBD, however, the mystery attackers have piqued my interest.
Match #2: Semi-Final match in the X-Division Championship Tournament: Trey Miguel vs Mike Bailey
These two have had some great matches this year, so I’m hopeful we get another one of those. I’m told Braun Strowman will not be watching this match. The bell rings and both men are on the offensive early, but unable to connect with any moves. Miguel hangs Bailey’s left arm on the ropes and nails a dropkick. Bailey ignores selling and performs an arm drag with the left arm and then a big kick to the chest of Miguel. Kenny King, who lost to Bailey in the tournament, joins the commentary team.
The action returns with Bailey scoring a nearfall as King sits at ringside eating popcorn! Miguel hits a double stomp for a 2 count. Bailey blocks a suplex attempt and both men exchange chops and forearms. Bailey hits a spinning forearm and whips Miguel against the ropes. Miguel is able to hit a handspring enziguiri to Bailey and both men are slow to get to their feet. Miguel ascends to the top rope but Bailey evades the attack then tries his Tornado kick in the corner, which Miguel also avoids. Miguel tries for the Lightning Strike but Bailey turns it into an attempt at a Flamingo Driver, which Miguel counters into a poisonrana sending Bailey over the top rope to the floor! Fantastic counter wrestling so far. Miguel throws Bailey back into the ring and climbs up onto the apron. Bailey quickly gets to his feet and hits a pump kick, sending Miguel to the floor, then hits an athletic springboard moonsault to the outside. They exchange forearms at ringside, then Miguel goes into the ring and runs the ropes to attempt a sunset flip to the outside. Bailey holds on to the bottom rope and connects with a standing moonsault on Miguel who was already on the floor. King gets in Bailey’s face and starts throwing popcorn at him. King throws Miguel into the steel steps to intentionally get Bailey disqualified.
Winner by disqualification: Trey Miguel
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fantastic match up with an awful finish. Storyline wise it makes sense but to end a great match in that way is just so lame. The referee looks so stupid to call that. Yes, it is a correct call, but surely you have to have an understanding of the intent of King and just eject him from ringside. It was shaping up to be another stellar match between these two, until that. The pace that they set, and the quality and amount of counter moves in the contest was impressive. Miguel moves on to the final to face the winner of Black Taurus and PJ Black.
The Impact Plus moment of the week was February 2020 in a Knockouts’ Championship match between Taya Valkyrie and Jordynne Grace. Grace won the championship for the first time. She has completely transformed her physique over the last two years. Josh Matthews was on commentary and sounded like Michael Cole at the end of night two of WrestleMania.
The Death Dollz are backstage, consoling Jessicka after suffering her first loss last week to Savannah Evans. Taya Valkyrie suggested Jessicka have a drink. Rosemary had other plans and set Jessicka a challenge to beat Tasha Steelz next week. Jessicka didn’t seem very impressed.
Analysis: I’d rather see Taya wrestle but the crowd does like Jessicka
Chelsea Green is shown warming up backstage, before her match with Mickie James
Kenny King cut a promo backstage on Mike Bailey. King says he can’t focus on moving forward and becoming a champion unless he gets passed Bailey.
Analysis: That’s not a fresh match up but it will still be good. Please book it better than the last match.
Match #3: Bhupinder Gujjar vs G Sharpe
Gujjar gets the televised entrance, whilst G Sharpe did not. That’s not a very good wrestling name, in my opinion. Gujjar had a decent feud with Brian Myers before Bound for Glory, but hasn’t been up to much since. Gujjar hit a tilt awhirl backbreaker for a 2 count early on. Sharpe gained the advantage with a snapmare and dropkick for a 2 count. Sharpe hit some vicious elbows as Gujjar was in a seated position. Gujjar got to his feet and nailed a running clothesline and a slingblade. Gujjar hit a pump kick and a ripcord knee. Sharpe bounced off the ropes and Gujjar met him with a Samoan drop for a 2 count. Sharpe raked the eyes of Gujjar to get a breather. Sharpe ran the ropes and Gujjar lifted him up for a pop up powerslam. Gujjar won the match with the Gargoyle Spear after 4 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bhupinder Gujjar
Analysis: ** It probably went two minutes too long and having Gujjar win more dominantly would’ve helped. The crowd was trying to get into the match but Gujjar’s moveset is pretty basic.
Heath and Rhino are backstage cutting a promo on the Major Players. Heath tells Rhino that he’s ready for the Tag Team Championship match. Rhino says he’s ready for a gore. Heath makes fun of Myers for just losing his championship and says now they have the upper hand. Josh Alexander is nearby and Rhino gives him some advice about Bully Ray. Rhino says he has known Bully for over 20 years and says he is a real piece of sh!t.
Analysis: That was odd as Heath was in the middle of a promo and Rhino just walked over to Alexander and they stopped talking about the Major Players. The ‘Is Bully really a bad guy?’ saga continues.
Alisha Edwards is backstage with her husband and says she has had a few weeks to think about his sit-down interview about Honor No More ending. Apparently, these two haven’t spoken in their own homes over the last two weeks. Edwards says he ended Honor No More and it’s all over. Alisha says she knows Eddie better than anyone, and feels like this isn’t over. Eddie says he buried PCO and this is over, so they can focus on just them now.
Analysis: That was some bad acting by Alisha there. The TV audience is expected to think the only time these two have talked recently is in front of a camera. Alisha’s suspicions about Eddie continue.
Match #4: Mickie James vs Chelsea Green w/ Deonna Purrazzo
Mickie puts her career on the line again here. These two have had a very personal feud in the second half of the year, after being tag team partners and friends before that. James has Green by the hair as the match begins, and takes her down with a snapmare. Green focuses on the left arm early. Green slaps James and she returns the favour. Mickie hits a running kick and gets a 1 count. Mickie runs the ropes and Purrazzo grabs her leg to trip her up. Green capitalises with a backstabber for a 2 count. Mickie gets back on top with a kick to the face. The referee begins to count and Purrazzo puts Green’s arm under the rope to break the pin up. The referee sees this and sends Purrazzo to the back. James tries to take advantage with a roll up and gets a 2 count. Green comes back into the match with a backpack Flatliner for 2. Green sends James face first into the top turnbuckle then hits a big clothesline for another 2 count. Green tries a chin lock but James gets to her feet quickly and wrenches down on the left arm of Green, sending her to the mat. Mickie gets a 1 count but Green quickly locks in a half Boston Crab. James slowly crawls to the ropes but Green drags her back to the centre of the ring. Mickie rolls through and sends Green to the outside. The referee begins to count Green out so Mickie tries a baseball slide, which Green avoids. Mickie hits a hurricanrana on the floor then they both battle to get back inside before the 10 count. They brawl on the apron and then both hit a kick at the same time. The referee begins to count again as both ladies are down on the ground at the ringside area. They both roll in at the count of 9. There is an exchange of forearms as they fight on the ground, before James gets the advantage with a Thesz Press. James with a series of clotheslines and a neckbreaker for 2. James goes for the MickDT but Green gets free. She lines up a pump kick but Mickie moves and Green nails the referee. Green turns right into a flapjack. Mickie climbs to the top rope but Purrazzo reappears and grabs the leg of Mickie. Taylor Wilde runs down to ringside and fights Purrazzo up the ramp. Back in the ring and Mickie partially hits a Thesz Press from the top. James hits the MickDT but the referee is still down. The crowd count to 10 as Mickie goes and revives the referee. Green takes advantage of Mickie losing focus and hits the I’mPrettier. Green covers and James barely kicks out. Very good nearfall there. Green is incensed and pounds away at James on the mat. Green goes to the top rope but misses a dropkick and Mickie rolls through to get the surprise 3 count. The match went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mickie James
Analysis: ***1/2 That was pretty good with the personal feel of the rivalry shining through in the match up. Even though the outcome was predictable, that one nearfall towards the end by Green after the ImPrettier was very close and a good moment in the match. Green’s near 18-month stint in Impact appears to be over so Mickie winning was obvious for that reason, as well as the fact that her career wouldn’t end on a taped episode of Impact.
Steve Maclin is backstage, demanding Scott D’Amore’s attention. D’Amore isn’t answering as Maclin knocks on his door, so Maclin begins throwing objects down the hallway. Tommy Dreamer isn’t impressed by this and confronts Maclin. Dreamer tells Maclin to relax. Maclin wants a World Championship match with Alexander. Dreamer tells Maclin that Alexander is busy with Frankie Kazarian. Dreamer says Maclin should focus on being a locker room leader, rather than looking for handouts. Maclin tells Dreamer he should be spending time ensuring there is fairness in the locker room, rather than looking after Bully Ray’s best interests. Maclin says he doesn’t respect anymore and Dreamer challenges him to a match.
Analysis: More Tommy Dreamer matches! At least Maclin will get a much-needed win.
Match #5: Ziggy Dice w/ Johnny Swinger vs Bully Ray
I hope that this is quick. The ring announcer definitely called him Billy Ray, so I had a little chuckle there. As usual, Bully comes to the ring with his trophy from winning Call Your Shot at Bound for Glory. Swinger, a former ECW wrestler, tries to get on Bully’s good side by starting a chant for tables. Swinger and Dice go and get a table from under the ring. Dice runs at Bully who ducks and hits a Bully Bomb for the win after 1 minute.
Winner by pinfall: Bully Ray
Analysis: No rating. It was just a match to set up the after-match shenanigans.
After the match, Moose runs down to the ring and hits a low blow on Bully. Moose sets up the table in the corner and nails Bully with the spear through the table.
Analysis: Moose gets the upper hand before their match at Over Drive on Friday. That should be a very good match.
Sami Callihan is shown cutting a pre-taped promo on Eric Young. Callihan says strangely he has always liked Violent by Design, especially this bigger and better version. Callihan says you shouldn’t have pissed off the Death Machine. Callihan has one of Young’s cronies with tape over his mouth. Callihan says that in all the years of Impact there had never been a one-on-one match between he and Young. Callihan screams at the VBD member that he ruined it. Callihan says we do this again, the right way, next week in Death Machine Double Jeopardy, where you have to make your opponent bleed first and then you can attempt a pinfall to win the match.
Analysis: That’s a unique match stipulation- sort of like a First Blood match and then you have to gain a pinfall to win the match completely. I like it and it fits the feud.
Jordynne Grace is backstage cutting a quick promo on Gisele Shaw before the main event. Grace says Shaw is about to learn something about being a champion.
The camera pans to the outside of the arena where Chelsea Green is walking to the carpark with her bag. Deonna Purrazzo runs out to ask what she’s doing. Green says she was supposed to be the one to beat Mickie James and retire her. Green says she is going home.
Analysis: I wrote a little about that before but it was first covered here on TJR on October 12th. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, so sometimes I miss a few things like this.
The commentators preview next week’s show, which features PJ Black vs Black Taurus in the other semi-final match of the X-Division Championship Tournament, as well as Steve Maclin vs Tommy Dreamer in an Old School Rules match (no DQ). Also, next week is Sami Callihan vs Eric Young in the Death Machine’s Double Jeopardy match. I guess they preferred to tape this one rather than have it on the Impact Plus special the next night. They did that with Bhupinder Gujjar vs Brian Myers in a ladder match the night before Bound for Glory, which was definitely a PPV-worthy match up. I find that strange.
There is footage ‘during the break’, where Bully Ray challenges Moose to a Tables match at Over Drive.
Analysis: That probably makes it more obvious who is going to win, but we will see how it turns out.
There is a video highlight package of Frankie Kazarian’s career in Impact. Lots of Impact talent (past and present), as well as his wife, offer praise for Kaz. Kaz says that this could be his last ever shot at the Impact World Championship and he needs it more than he has ever needed anything in his life.
Analysis: That was an excellent video package. 20 years later and Kazarian is still a top talent, who is in terrific shape. He is used sparingly in AEW so I’m glad he is being featured prominently in Impact. He has never been World Champion and, while I think he will get close at Over Drive, I still think Alexander will come out on top.
Match #6: Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Gisele Shaw w/ Jai Vidal
The challenger, Shaw, is out first with her stylist who now has a name. Shaw hasn’t really done anything to earn this match, other than annoy Jordynne Grace. Grace, champion for 144 days, is on a roll- fresh off a match of the year contender with Masha Slamovich at Bound for Glory. Grace takes advantage early, battering Shaw against the ropes with forearms. Shaw blocks a running attack with an elbow, then runs at Grace who nails her with a spinebuster. Grace covers for a 1 count as Shaw rolls outside the ring. Grace goes for a running dropkick to Shaw on the outside, but Vidal puts himself in harm’s way and takes the punishment. Shaw grabs Grace by the legs and slams her hard on the floor. Shaw rams Grace against the ring apron, then tosses her back into the ring and gets a 2 count. Shaw mounts Grace and delivers a series of right hands. Shaw bounces Grace’s head off the turnbuckle pad and hits 3 running uppercuts. Shaw covers again and gets another 2 count. Grace blocks a suplex and delivers one of her own. Shaw recovers quickly and clubs Grace hard on the back of the neck. Shaw backs Grace into the corner and chops her in the chest. Grace fights back with an elbow but Shaw hammers away on her with right hands. Shaw goes back to a suplex attempt but again Grace blocks her. Shaw chops away at Grace in the corner and takes Grace down to the mat. Grace fights back with a hard right hand as we go to a break.
Back to the action and both women are exchanging hard forearms in the centre of the ring. Grace hits a Scoop Slam and follows up with another one. Grace hits a hard spinning backfist and then double knees into the corner. Grace follows up with a running uppercut, with Shaw stuck in the corner, then a Vader Bomb for a 2 count. Grace alternates between right hands to Shaw’s back and left hands to Shaw’s chest. Shaw fights back with a spinning kick for a close 2 count. Shaw hits another spinning kick in the corner and then a DDT off the ropes for 2. Shaw pulls Grace by the hair, towards the corner. She goes to the top turnbuckle and taunts the crowd. This gives Grace time to recover to hit a Superplex and bounces up into a Jackhammer for 2. They exchange Full Nelson attempts and Grace hits a big knee to the face and then a devastating-looking Vertebreaker but Shaw just kicks out in time. Grace sets up the Grace Driver but Shaw is able to block it with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Shaw misses a running knee and Grace rolls her up for 2. Shaw with a jack knife cover for another 2 count and Grace rolls through then picks her up for a powerbomb, which looked rough on the neck of Shaw. Grace hits the Grace Driver, hard on the neck again of Shaw, for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Champion: Jordynne Grace
Analysis: ***3/4 A very good match and one that will help Shaw who is still working towards being a key component of the Knockouts Division. I didn’t think the result was ever in doubt, but the match certainly showcased the resilience of Shaw and she kept bringing the fight to Grace. Shaw continues to improve and, even though her offence is a bit weak-looking at times, looked like she belonged tonight. I hope her neck is okay after a few nasty-looking bumps towards the end.
After the match, they showed some highlights of the match. Hannifan and Rehwoldt put over Shaw as a tough competitor who just came up short of victory. Grace backs up the ramp with her championship when she is attacked from behind by Masha Slamovich with repeated steel chair shots to the back. Slamovich hasn’t been seen since Grace ended her undefeated streak at Bound for Glory last month. Slamovich started throwing chairs at Grace on the ramp. Grace tried to crawl away but Slamovich hit the Snowplow on the stack of chairs that were on the ramp. Slamovich held up the championship as Impact went off air. There were 20 seconds left and the camera panned to ‘the desert’ and a hand of PCO was shown breaking out of the dirt (reminiscent of Shredder from TMNT 2, if anyone is as old or as much of a fanboy as me).
Analysis: It’s great to see Slamovich back. There’s only a week until Over Drive so there’s no point in rushing the next match with Grace then, but they can build it over the next two months to Hard to Kill in January. With the use of the chairs here, maybe it will be a gimmick match. Also, we knew PCO wouldn’t really be written off last week, so a match between he and Eddie Edwards is coming- probably also at Hard to Kill. The line-up for Over Drive is below, but seems light on so far with only 5 matches, a week out from the event.
Final Rating: 6.5/10
This was a solid show on paper, but with some poor booking and two squash matches, I can’t rate it much higher. You were either watching a pretty good match or a squash match. There’s always a place for those matches when building up talent, but of course they hurt the overall match quality of the show. The 4 longer matches were all ***1/2 stars or above. I rated the main event between Jordynne Grace and Gisele Shaw as the best match of the show, mostly because it was hard-hitting and I think Grace really worked hard to make Shaw look good. Shaw is certainly improving, and working with talent like Grace will also help. Trey Miguel and Mike Bailey were having a ‘banger’ of a match but I couldn’t rate it any higher after a truly terribly booked finish. Chelsea Green and Mickie James put on their usually solid match, with Mickie’s career continuing whilst Green’s time in Impact comes to an end. And of course we had the Joe Hendry celebration, as he captured his first gold in Impact, by beating Brian Myers in an entertaining match. Impact squeezed a lot of non-wrestling segments in again this week, but they keep them very short to try and ensure that as much of the talent appears as possible. This can be positive because it gives most of the matches that they are trying to build up some time, but also some things go by so quickly you miss them (or in my case, have to re-watch as I am writing about them). With only one show per week, they have to cram as much in as possible. Also by taping the shows, not all the talent appears on each episode, like you would see on a Raw or SmackDown. For example, this week we saw the Impact World Champion for 20 seconds. That’s still longer than we see Roman Reigns most weeks, however (I’m kidding).
The lineup for Over Drive looks like this so far:
– Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs Frankie Kazarian
– Knockouts Tag Team Championships: Death Dollz (c) v Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
– Impact World Tag Team Championships: Heath and Rhino (c) vs the Major Players
– Mickie James vs Taylor Wilde
– Tables Match: Bully Ray vs Moose