This week’s Impact was headlined by an incredible main event match between Will Ospreay and Josh Alexander.
Impact Wrestling 16/11/23 from Cicero Stadium: Chicago, IL
There were some highlights from last week’s show where Alex Shelley successfully defended his Impact World Championship against Jonathan Gresham. It was an excellent, 22-minute match that I rated 4 ¼ stars out of 5.
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are straight into a Tag Team Championship match!
Match #1: Impact World Tag Team Championships: Bullet Club (c) vs Kenny King & Sheldon Jean
King was complaining about not receiving a rematch for the Digital Media Championship last week but Director of Authority Santino Marella gave him a Tag Title match instead. King and Austin started the match off. Austin hit a quick shoulder tackle for a 1 count. King tripped up a running Austin and tried a side headlock, with Austin grounded to the mat. Austin fought out quickly with body shots. He blocked a suplex attempt and took King down with a couple of arm drags. Austin tagged in Bey and hit a kick in the corner on King, then Bey hit a running uppercut. They took down an incoming Jean with a double-team stomp. Jean rolled out of the ring and Bey hit a running chop on King, then tagged Austin back in. Austin nailed a rolling forearm in the corner and set-up for a double-team Russian Legsweep but Jean popped up on the ring apron to trip Bey up. Jean bounced Bey’s head off the steel ring post and tossed him back into the ring. King stomped away on Bey and nailed a snap suplex. He mounted Bey with right hands and scored a 1 count, then tagged Jean in. Jean hit some gentle clotheslines in the corner and a snapmare on Bey. He went to work with some elbow strikes to the chest of Bey for a 2 count. King tagged in again but Bey blocked a dive in the corner and flew over the top of him to tag in Austin with a dive. Austin hit a legdrop on King and a knee lift on Jean. Austin avoided an incoming King in the corner and clocked him with a spinning kick off the middle turnbuckle for 2. Bey tagged in and they called for the finish but Jean pulled Austin from the ring and nailed a leg lariat. Bey took him out with a dropkick through the ropes but ran into a Tiger Driver from King, which was perfectly executed. Jean tagged in and nailed a Big Boot on Bey. King flew through the air with a Blockbuster and then Jean hoisted Bey up for a nice neckbreaker for a close 2 count. Nice offense from the heels there. King tried to take out Austin with a springboard crossbody but he crashed and burned on the outside. Bey was more successful as he took out King with a dive and then Austin nailed Jean with a superkick. Bullet Club hit the Art of Finesse/Fold combo for an easy win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: Bullet Club
Analysis: **1/2 They packed a bit of action into their 7 minutes but I don’t think anyone on Planet Impact thought Jean and King stood a chance. At least King and Jean had some nice-looking moves together so maybe they will be booked seriously going forward. Yeah and maybe Roman Reigns will wrestle again in 2023. After the show finished, I read an article that said Kenny King requested his release from Impact. I was disappointed to hear that but not surprised.
MK Ultra cut a quick promo to remind the audience that they are actually employed. I think the last time I saw them was before Bound for Glory. Book them on the show!
Match #2: Moose w/ Brian Myers vs Heath
It’s Moose vs Alex Shelley for the World Title at the rebooted TNA Hard to Kill in January. That should be very good. I think it’s time for a serious Moose main event run. I’m not sure if they put the strap on him, but it’s a good step for him in getting back into the title contention. Heath has had issues with these guys for most of the year and it’s easy to put him in this spot where he’s a fighting babyface that the audience is behind. Moose slapped Heath before the match. Heath didn’t enjoy that so he landed a few right hands. Moose nailed him with a shoulder block but Heath almost surprised him with a roll up. Heath hit a few hip tosses and Moose bailed to the outside for a breather. Heath stalked Moose around the ring and kept his eye on Myers who was lurking. Moose nailed a Pump Kick but took too long to follow up so Heath tossed him into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Heath nailed a duo of forearms in the corner. Heath ran at Moose but Moose tossed him over the top rope. The commentators put it over as a nasty landing for Heath. Moose distracted the referee so Myers began stomping on Heath on the outside. He tossed Heath back into the ring and started choking him out. Moose then used the middle rope to choke Heath out and as the referee was talking to him, Myers nailed Heath with a right hand in clear view of the referee. Heath reversed a Uranage attempt into an arm drag and then he went for a powerbomb and Heath countered with a hurricanrana. A nice sequence there from two bigger wrestlers. Heath blocked Moose in the corner with a boot and hit a clothesline from the middle rope. Heath nailed an awkward-looking crossbody over the top rope to take Moose down. There wasn’t a lot of space between the ring and guard rail so they played it safe. Back in the ring, Heath nailed a leg lariat and Moose went down to the mat. Moose ran into a powerslam for 2 count. Myers got up on the apron so Heath punched him in the face. He turned around into a Uranage from Moose. Myers slipped the briefcase into the ring so Moose could hit a Uranage on that, but referee Allison Leigh tossed it out of the ring. Heath went for the Wake Up Call but Moose held on to Myers who was still on the apron. Moose nailed the spear for the win after 6 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Moose
Analysis: **3/4 They did about as much as they could in 6 minutes and had some nice spots. The cheating victory for Moose was pretty obvious.
Rhino came down to the ring after the match as Myers and Moose were sinking the boots into Heath. He took them down with a double clothesline and nailed the Gore on Myers.
Analysis: Myers is a good team player. Everyone loves the Gore!
Moose cut a quick promo after the match, angry at Rhino for getting in his business. He said he was going to end Rhino’s career at Final Resolution.
Analysis: That should be okay and at least it’s a bit of story progression. They need more matches for that show as that’s only the second one made.
Match #3: 6-Man Tag Match: The Rascalz vs Black Taurus, Laredo Kid & Juventud Guerrera
Myron Reed makes his return to the Rascalz tonight. Konnan is on commentary for this match, to add even more nostalgia. It’s Lucha Rules, which apparently means when one of your wrestlers is out of the ring, then you can join the match as the legal man. Guerrera had a nice cameo at Bound for Glory. Kid and Miguel started off the match. He hit a running head scissors which sent Miguel to the outside. Reed came in and nailed one of his own. This brought Guerrera in and he hit a head scissors which sent Reed out. Wentz came in and Taurus scored with a head scissors. This is better scissoring than we see on Wednesday nights. Miguel landed a superkick to knock Taurus out of the ring. He hit a springboard hurricanrana over the top rope on Taurus, who was on the outside. Back in the ring, Miguel hit an uppercut on Kid and scored a 1 count. Miguel made a regular tag to Wentz, which is permitted. They hit a double dropkick on Kid for a 2 count. Wentz distracted the referee so Miguel choked Kid against the middle rope. Wentz got another 2 count and tagged Miguel in. Miguel mocked the Luchas by doing an Eddie Guerrero shuffle and nailed the Three Amigos. He covered arrogantly for a 2 count. Miguel missed a dive in the corner, so Kid rocked him with a running forearm. Guerrera and Taurus came in and set up Taurus for some triple-teaming. Taurus lifted Guerrera up for a flying dropkick. They nailed the Magic Killer on Miguel for a 2 count. Kid was legal now for some reason so he hit two of the Three Amigos on Miguel. Miguel popped out of the third one and made a blind tag to Reed. They sent Kid into the ropes and Wentz wrenched his neck against the middle rope. Reed and Miguel hit a double neckbreaker, then Wentz hit a running Shooting Star Press for 2. Wentz mounted Kid with a bunch of right hands. Konnan was sprouting how exciting this match was, in the most uninteresting commentator voice you could possibly imagine. He was not believable whatsoever, but he did some good insights during the match. Miguel hit an enziguiri in the corner but he couldn’t capitalise so Kid turned it into a Sunset Bomb. Nasty landing for Trey there. Kid made the tag to Guerrera. He hit a double crossbody to Reed and Wentz. Guerrera hit a DDT/Flatliner combo and Reed sold it like he had with the best DDT of all time. That looked terrific. Guerrera hit a dropkick and a clothesline on Miguel. He tagged in Kid but he got kicked out of his boots by Miguel. Guerrera trapped Miguel in the corner, which allowed Kid to set him up for Taurus with the pop-up Samoan Drop. Taurus launched Miguel ridiculously high there. Wentz hit a running knee on Kid and a double-stomp. The Rascalz hit a tremendous triple-dropkick, where they launched Miguel up and over before smashing Kid in the face. They scored a close 2 count there but Taurus fell over the referee to break up the fall. Miguel hit a handspring enziguiri on Kid. He fought back with a Destroyer and Miguel landed nastily on his neck. Miguel dumped Taurus over onto the apron and then Reed dived over the top rope and nailed a cutter onto the floor on Taurus! That move was called Flame On and it was incredible Wentz hit the UFO Cutter on Kid back in the ring, but Guerrera nailed him with the Gory Special into a DDT. Reed nailed him with a superkick and I think he tried for a monkey flip but the commentators called it a lung blower. It still looked cool. Reed ducked under a Taurus clothesline with amazing athleticism and hit a cutter. He went for a springboard crossbody but Taurus caught him with a spear in mid-air! Taurus destroyed Reed with Destination Hellhole for the win for his team after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Black Taurus, Laredo Kid & Juventud Guerrera
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a ton of fun to watch. It’s been a while since I wrote so many adjectives during a weekly match on Impact. There were some great spots during this match and some of the moves from The Rascalz happen so rapidly that you have to go back and see if it really went down. Guerrera was very impressive at 48 years of age. I would’ve cut out the opening two matches for 10 more minutes of this. It was great. The only thing I would pick out is some of the spots lacked selling. A big kick would occur and then that wrestler would hit the next move straight away. I think it’s such an important quality in a wrestler and you could see with Reed than when done properly, how good it makes your opponent’s offense look
Match #4: Jordynne Grace & Bully Ray vs Steve Maclin & Ki Lynn King
This is a really random set of teams, since Grace and Bully have had all sorts of problems, and Maclin and Bully were partners for a while. Bully might be slowly turning into a face but you can never trust him. Grace and Bully argued about who was going to start the match. It was Maclin and Bully kicking it off. Maclin had visible scars from the Monster’s Ball match from Bound for Glory (this was taped the night after, I believe). Bully hit a shoulder tackle and Maclin retreated to the corner. Maclin ducked a clothesline and hit a flying forearm then tagged in King. King bounced Bully off the turnbuckle but Bully pushed her off easily. Bully told King to show him something. She hit a few forearms but Bully brushed her off with a running elbow. Bully asked if the crowd wanted Grace, which of course they did. She tagged in and Bully whipped her into King in the corner. Grace teed off with forearms and a shoulder tackle for a 1 count. King blocked a suplex attempt and nailed a kick to the back of the head. King picked up Grace in a choke and tossed her into the corner. She nailed some running elbows in the corner. King wanted a powerbomb but Grace kicked her in the behind and made it to her corner for a tag to Bully. Bully took King down with an elbow. Maclin distracted Bully so King tossed him off the top rope. King tried for a pin but Bully powered out before 1. Maclin came in and stomped away at Bully in the corner. He bounced off the ropes and Bully hit him with a spear. Grace tagged in and nailed King with a spinning backfist. She hit a double knees in the corner and an uppercut, then the Vade Bomb. Smooth offense from the #1 Contender there. Maclin tried to interfere but King accidentally caught him with a kick that sent him out of the ring. Grace hit the Juggernaut Driver for the win after 7 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jordynne Grace & Bully Ray
Analysis: **1/2 There wasn’t a lot to that match. It was more of a storyline. King and Grace gelled well together. I wouldn’t mind another match between them or at least a singles push for King. Maclin didn’t do much at all. Perhaps he is a bit banged up from Bound for Glory.
Bully had Grace’s trophy and it looked like he was going to hit her with it. He goaded Grace into taking it off him. She ripped it from Bully Ray. Bully offered her a handshake and he raised her hand.
Analysis: Nice little moment to put over Grace there. I’d have her go over Trinity at Hard to Kill or at least have one of them turn. No more face vs face rivalries please.
Match #5: Non-Title Match: Trinity vs Sonny Kiss
Trinity defenders her Knockouts’ Championship (if she’s still champ) against Jordynne Grace at Hard to Kill. I hope that’s the match we get as it would be terrific. There were duelling chants as the match kicked off. Kiss got the upper hand with an arm drag. They traded reversals and Trinity hit a kick to the face. Kiss escaped a pin by using an athletic escape, then hit a running head scissors. Trinity used her flexibility to duck under a kick from Kiss. They exchanged some mind games as it was a very even opening. Trinity nailed a crossbody from the top rope for a 2 count. Kiss picked her straight up and planted Trinity with a reverse Cesaro swing for 2. Kiss hit a standing moonsault for 2. Trinity fought back with a bulldog out of the middle rope, but both wrestlers were down on the mat for a while. She followed up with a springboard kick and the splits for 2. Trinity hit a bulldog into the middle turnbuckle and a split-legged moonsault for 2. Kiss was showing great resilience to keep getting up amongst a barrage rom Trinity. Kiss hit a step-over handspring kick to the mid-section of Trinity for 2. That looked pretty cool. Trinity followed up by spiking Kiss against the mat and then nailed the Full Nelson Bomb for the win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Trinity
Analysis: **1/2 I don’t think anyone considered that Kiss could win but it was a solid contest. It was the fourth match that was less than 8 minutes. It means a longer main event but diminishes the potential quality of all the other matches that came before it.
Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin cut a promo backstage. Shelley called Will ‘Ohspray’ which was probably an accident. Sabin wasn’t sure about facing Zack Sabre Jr. but he said the Guns are a real team and they’ll come out on top.
They didn’t announce anything for next week which is unusual.
Match #6: Josh Alexander vs Will Ospreay
Ospreay is probably the best in the world at the moment so I’m always excited to watch him in action. I’ve watched more of his matches this year than in the rest of his career combined. There were Ole chants early on. They tried duelling shoulder blocks but Ospreay got the early ascendancy with a running head scissors that took Alexander to the outside. He hit a springboard crossbody over the top rope.
Back to the action and Ospreay was dominating. He bounced Alexander’s head off the turnbuckle in two corners. Alexander had enough of that and dropped Ospreay with a stiff forearm that rocked him. They traded forearm shots and Ospreay missed a kick so Alexander tried for the anklelock. Ospreay worked his way out of it so Alexander turned it into a Sharpshooter. Ospreay clawed his way to the bottom rope to break the hold. Alexander targeted the lower back of Ospreay with elbow shots. He ran the ropes but Ospreay lifted him up and dumped him on the top rope. He hit a big backbreaker for 2. Alexander could only get to a knee so Ospreay pummelled him with forearms. He smashed Alexander to the mat with a chop. Ospreay wanted the Os Cutter but Alexander caught him in mid-air and wanted a German suplex. Ospreay fought him off and hit a running SSP for 2. Alexander was struggling to deal with the pace of Ospreay’s offence at the moment. That being said, he ducked a clothesline and hit two German suplexes. Alexander wanted a third but Ospreay landed on his feet and then Alexander lifted him up and hit a devastating backbreaker right across the point of the knee. That looked painful. Alexander covered for a close 2 count. Ospreay slipped out to the ring apron area. Alexander tried to suplex him back into the ring but Ospreay fought off with forearms. He wanted a flying forearm but Alexander caught him with a straight right and nailed his running crossbody through the ropes. Alexander threw Ospreay back into the ring and targeted the spine again with knee strikes. Alexander taunted Ospreay with kicks to the head. Ospreay battled back with forearm shots but Alexander caught him against the ropes and hit a Northern Lights Suplex for 2. Alexander whipped Ospreay hard against the top turnbuckle twice. He tried to lock a sleeper hold on Ospreay, who bit the fingers of Alexander to break the grip. Alexander chopped away on Ospreay in the corner. He went to another corner and repeated the dose. Alexander whipped Ospreay across the ring but he turned it into a handspring kick. Ospreay nailed the Phenomenal Forearm for 2. He hit a few punts to the head of Alexander and then chopped him against the ropes. Alexander told him to bring it on and got right in his face. Ospreay lined him up and chopped him again twice. Ospreay tried a handspring kick again but Alexander caught him and slammed him down with a tilt-a-whirl-type powerbomb. Alexander put Ospreay on his shoulders and took him to the top rope. He nailed an avalanche rolling senton for 2. That looked amazing. Alexander ran the ropes and went for a clothesline but Ospreay flipped over and hit a Tiger Driver. That was ridiculously smooth by Ospreay. Ospreay nailed a big boot in the corner. He set up Alexander in the corner and kicked him in the face. Ospreay wanted a moonsault but Alexander cut him off. He wanted a German suplex off the top but Ospreay sent him crashing to the mat with a headbutt. Ospreay went for the twisting moonsault but landed awkwardly on his right knee and Alexander trapped him in the anklelock. Ospreay rolled onto his back and forced Alexander off with a kick. He ran the ropes and was a bit slow to spring off the ropes for the Os Cutter so that gave time for Alexander to move out of the way. Alexander locked the ankle lock in again. Ospreay rolled through and went for the superkick but Alexander caught his legs and got him in the anklelock again. Ospreay looked like tapping but had one last dive in him and made the ropes. Alexander went for a powerslam but Ospreay caught him with Stundog Millionaire and then the Os Cutter from the middle rope. Ospreay’s leg was still bothering him but he still covered for 2. He couldn’t connect with the Hidden Blade because his knee gave out. Alexander went face-to-face with him on the mat and they clashed heads. There was an exchange of forearms and Ospreay went behind and nailed Alexander with a wicked forearm to the back of the neck. Alexander popped out of the Tiger Driver attempt and nailed a German suplex with a bridge for 2. He stomped down on Ospreay’s ankle and locked the right leg in the anklelock again. Ospreay fought on his back and broke the hold and nailed a Spanish Fly for 2. Beautifully done there by both men. Ospreay nailed the Os Cutter from the top rope. He held the grip and lined up the Storm Breaker but Alexander countered and destroyed Alexander with the jumping Tombstone Piledriver but Ospreay kicked out at the last second. Awesome sequence there. Ospreay fought out of the C4 Spike and nailed the Hidden Blade! Ospreay covered Alexander but he kicked out at 2! Ospreay connected with the Storm Driver 93 but Alexander kicked out again! Ospreay lined up the Hidden Blade to the back of the neck and nailed it! Ospreay finished off Alexander with the Storm Breaker for the win after 21 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Will Ospreay
Analysis: ****1/4 Two weeks in a row we have been treated to a stellar main event on Impact. I have rated it the same as last week’s Shelley/Gresham match, and lower than Bailey/Ospreay, probably because in the early stages it was a different type of match that Ospreay is used to. Alexander, being a more technical wrestler than some of Ospreay’s recent opponents, obviously doesn’t execute the same sort of offense as the Kenny Omegas, Zack Sabres etc. That being said, it was a top main event and the last 5 minutes were absolutely gripping. It feels odd to see Alexander take another loss, but when his opponent is the calibre of Ospreay then you know he will be fine. I thought Ospreay sold the leg injury really well, especially seeing a few of his finishers (Os Cutter, Hidden Blade) rely on that mobility. I hope we see Ospreay back in a (TNA) Impact ring again someday.
Final Rating: 7/10
The show was pretty disappointing up until the main event. That really saved the show, because apart from that, not much else was worth watching. My loyal fan base will get sick of me saying it, but there were six matches on tonight and again we get the regular 6-8 minutes of in-ring time. Cut it down to 4 matches and reap the rewards. If you didn’t get a chance to catch this week’s show, definitely seek out Ospreay/Alexander. It was one of Impact’s best matches this year. The Lucha 6-man was really fun. There weren’t even any backstage or promo segments worth noting this week. It was a nothing show really, with a crazy Lucha match and classic main event. Moving on to next week!
The next Impact monthly special is Final Destination on December 9th. Here’s the card so far:
* The Motor City Machine Guns vs Josh Alexander & Zack Sabre Jr.
* Moose vs Rhino
The next PPV is Hard to Kill on January 13th, 2024. Here’s that card so far:
* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Moose
* Impact Knockouts’ World Championship: Trinity (c) vs Jordynne Grace