With only a week from Bound for Glory, the final touches were put to the card and Frankie Kazarian-Eddie Edwards headlined the show in a 2/3 Falls match.
Impact Wrestling 12/10/23 from Graceland Soundstage in Memphis, Tennessee.
Tom Hannifan welcomed us to the show and reminded us that tonight there was a 2/3 Falls match between Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards, and a 5-way match to name the 1st and last entrant in the Gauntlet match at Bound for Glory. But we are straight into a World Tag Team Championship match, with the winner to face Bullet Club at Bound for Glory.
Match #1: Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (c) vs Rich Swann & Sami Callihan
Swann and Callihan were screwed out of a shot at the titles in a tournament a few weeks back so they finally get their deserved match here. Callihan and Miguel started the match off, with Callihan using his power to take down Miguel in the corner. He made a quick tag to Swann who hit a kick to the mid-section and a snapmare. Swann hit a hard punt to the back. The crowd was pretty vocal so far for this match as Swann hit another punt. Callihan tagged back in and raked at the nose of Miguel on the mat. There was another quick tag and Swann took down Miguel with an uppercut and a nice splash ala RVD. Callihan tagged himself back in and raked the back of Miguel. Miguel was able to back Callihan into the corner and tag Wentz in. Wentz hung Callihan on the middle rope and hit a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Wentz backed Callihan into his corner and went for a kick. Callihan caught his foot and started biting it! Miguel tagged in and they hit a double dropkick on Callihan for another 2 count. Miguel mounted Sami and pummelled away with right hands. He climbed to the top but Callihan avoided a Frog Splash. Callihan hit a huge clothesline which turned Miguel inside-out. Swann and Wentz both tagged in. Swann hit a kick on Wentz and nailed one on Miguel in the corner. He hit a hurricanrana on Miguel from the top rope, which sent him crashing into his tag team partner. The Rascalz bailed to the outside so Swann took them out with a running Senton. He went back inside to break the count and then ran the ropes and did another Senton, over the top rope this time. Swann tossed Wentz back into the ring. He climbed to the top rope but Miguel held his leg. Wentz nailed a superplex on Swann to change the momentum of the match. He did a cocky cover with one foot on Swann’s chest. Wentz took out Callihan off the apron. He nailed a flying crossbody on Swann over the top rope.
Miguel was in charge of Swann as we returned to the action. He nailed a running dropkick for a 2 count. Miguel tried to lock Swann in a sleeper hold but Swann got to his feet pretty easily. Swann blocked a German Suplex attempt but Miguel trapped him in a submission for a brief moment before turning it into a backslide for a 2 count. Miguel hit another big kick for another nearfall. Wentz tagged in and wanted a suplex but Swann blocked it. Swann hit a running single-leg dropkick that Wentz sold really well. Miguel and Callihan tagged in. Callihan hit a chokeslam on Wentz. He never does chokeslams! Callihan nailed a reverse chokeslam on Miguel for 2. He tagged Swann back in and both of the face team pummelled their opponents with right hands in the corner. They then both bit The Rascalz on the forehead! There was a cool spot where they all collided in the middle of the ring, with Callihan and Miguel taking each other out with a clothesline. Wentz and Callihan rolled to the outside. Swann and Miguel exchanged hard forearms in the centre of the ring. They fired back and forth until Miguel hit an enziguiri. He nailed a superkick on Callihan on the outside and tagged in Wentz. They nailed an awesome Blockbuster on Swann off the top for a close 2 count. Miguel tried to use the Tag Team Championship belt but referee Allison Leigh blocked that attempt. He was hiding the spray paint in his pants, so when Leigh put the title to the outside he tried to spray Swann who ducked and Miguel ended up spraying Wentz in the eyes! Swann hit a big kick on Miguel to take him to the outside. He tagged in Callihan and Swann launched from the top rope to hit an assisted Cactus Driver 97 on Wentz. Callihan covered but Wentz kicked out! Hardly anyone kicks out of a regular one of those moves, let alone a tag team one when your eyes are sprayed with paint. I think they should’ve gone for a different nearfall there because that wasn’t believable. Callihan and Swann wanted to hit a second one on Wentz but Miguel shoved Swann off the top rope. Wentz nailed a low blow on Callihan when the referee was dealing with Miguel. He tagged in Miguel who hit the Hot Fire Flame for the win after 14 minutes. Hannifan was screaming that The Rascalz’ every win is tarnished.
Winners by pinfall AND STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: The Rascalz
Analysis: ***3/4 I loved that match until the last minute where it just went south quickly. No one should be kicking out of the Cactus Driver at all, let alone a double team one, and then that finisher on Callihan which was just an assisted standing Shooting Star Press was so, so weak to end a big title match. Up until then, this was easily in the 4-star category. It’s a shame when great matches get tarnished by terrible creative/booking. Anyway, the outcome was very predictable as that’s probably Callihan’s time up in Impact for now. The big match is The Rascalz vs Bullet Club.
There was a highlights video of a tag team match between Kenny King & Sheldon Jean losing to Tommy Dreamer & Heath two weeks ago. Kenny King was backstage with Jean and King complained that he still hasn’t had his rematch for the Digital Media Championship. Jean listed all of the problems that he and King have had over the last few months. King said Heath now has a problem with him. He challenged him to a match, not sure when, and said his kids would be eating sardines and beans when he’s finished with Heath.
Analysis: A strong promo from King, who is easily the worst-booked wrestler in Impact. It was interesting to hear from Jean who never talks! King vs Heath would be fine with me.
Gia Miller interviewed KiLynn King, whose team lost the 10-person tag match last week. Miller quizzed King about not getting along with Jody Threat. King called Threat a bunch of names and then Santino Marella walked in, accusing King of taking out her tag team partner Taylor Wilde previously (I can’t recall that). King admitted it was her and dropped Wilde after losing the Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships. King said it’s no longer ‘Long live The Cover’ but ‘Long live the King’.
Analysis: Solid heel promo from King, who is an impressive competitor. She will do well as a solo act from now on.
Match #2: 5-Way Match: The Winner Earns #20 in the BFG Gauntlet; The Loser is #1: Dirty Dango w/ Alpha Bravo vs Jake Something vs Eric Young vs Jordynne Grace vs Champagne Singh
This might be the most random multi-person match (since last week) in wrestling history. Dango started the match on the outside because he’s a heel. I think it’s a lock that Singh will take the pin here. He and Young locked up, whilst Something and Dango battled in the corner. Grace hit a splash on Dango, then one on Singh in the opposite corner. Grace offered a high-5 to Something and then nailed him with a kick. She blocked an attack from Young but then Something and Young nailed her with a double clothesline. Young and Something locked up in the middle of the ring. Something bounced Young’s head off the turnbuckle. They exchanged right hands and Something nailed another turnbuckle shot. He whipped Young hard into the corner and then hit a big right hand. They nailed big blows, back and forth, then took each other out with a clothesline. This allowed Dango and Singh to come in and stomp away on them both. Grace came back in and fought both the heels off, until they pulled her to the mat by her hair. Dango and Singh taunted the crowd, then Singh choked Grace out in the corner with his foot. Young slid back in and hit a jawbreaker on Dango, but Singh poked him in the eyes and tossed him over the top rope. Grace continued to try to defy the odds in the 2-on-1 attack, but Dango whipped her hard into the corner turnbuckle and Grace crashed to the mat. Singh did the same and Dango tried to cover but Singh pulled him off. They argued in the centre of the ring, predictably, and took Grace down with a double elbow strike. Something came back in and nailed an Avalanche on Singh. He lined up a powerbomb but Dango stopped him and tossed him to the outside. Grace entered the ring again but Dango took her down from behind. Singh stomped away on Grace on the mat. Dango locked a sleeper hold on Grace. Singh pulled her off and locked in his own sleeper. Dango took Young off the apron, as he tried to get back into the ring. Bravo grabbed Something’s leg to keep him on the outside. Singh and Dango nailed a double suplex on Grace. Dango went to the top rope and Singh held Grace down on the mat. At the last minute, Singh ran to the corner and knocked Dango off the top rope in true heel fashion. Grace blocked a suplex attempt and nailed a right hand on Singh. She sent Dango crashing into him in the corner. Grace hit a big German suplex on Dango and whipped Singh into the corner. She nailed the Jackhammer on Singh but Dango broke it up at the last second. Something returned with clotheslines on Dango. He nailed a big forearm and then a spear in the corner. Something destroyed Dango with a powerbomb but Singh tossed him out of the ring and tried to steal the pin; Dango kicked out right before 3! Something jumped back up onto the ring apron and nailed a forearm on Singh. He climbed to the top rope but Singh stopped him with a right hand. Singh wanted a superplex but Grace came to the party and turned it into Tower of Doom. She covered Singh but Dango flew from the opposite corner and nailed the Last Dance on Singh to break up the pin. Cool spot there. Young was back into the action with a scoop slam on Dango. He took to the top rope and nailed his big elbow drop for another nearfall. Bravo dragged Young to the outside and threatened him with his terrifying flashlight. Young smashed him in the face with his right hand. Singh took Young down from behind. A man with a goatee and dark shades walked slowly to the ring and took out Young and Singh with a clothesline. Hannifan said it was Oleg Prudius (FKA Kozlov in WWE). He climbed up onto the ring apron and locked eyes with Something. Something got right in his face so Prudius nailed a headbutt and Dango hit a neckbreaker to win the match after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dirty Dango
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun match that mixed a lot of silly heel shenanigans by Singh and Dango, with some serious wrestling from the other 3. Grace, who is much smaller than the other competitors in height, stood out with her power and ring presence. She’s great. The ending was cheap but fits the character of Dango, who might have added Prudius to his entourage. I do recall Kozlov from his WWE days, and I think he had a bit of a high-profile feud with Triple H but didn’t really go far otherwise. That result means that Something will start the Gauntlet match at #1, which won’t bother him. I might even still pick him to win it and overcome the odds in a big babyface way.
After the match, Prudius raised the hand of Dango in the ring.
There was a creepy clip of Crazzy Steve singing a song to Tommy Dreamer, whose time was up he said. Steve said he was disgusted that Dreamer tried to dictate his actions. They showed a clip of Steve stabbing Dreamer in the back with a fork last week. That was seriously awesome. Steve then addressed Black Taurus, who he had a thrown together match with when he first turned heel. He said they were going to have a No-Disqualification match next week.
Analysis: That match will be good. I hope Steve beats Dreamer at Bound for Glory. His new character is terrific.
Match #3: Tasha Steelz w/ Deonna Purrazzo vs Courtney Rush w/ Jessicka
Steelz and Purrazzo challenge for the Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships at Bound for glory. Rush and Jessicka do not. That tells you who is winning this match. They locked up with Rush taking the advantage early. Steelz reversed a wrist lock but Rush rolled through to regain the momentum. They exchanged hammer locks and Rush hit a side headlock takedown, which Steelz turned into a leg scissors. Steelz avoided the Sharpshooter by clambering to the ropes. She ran into a nice T-Bone suplex from Rush. Rush hit a splash in the corner and ascended to the top rope. She missed a crossbody and Steelz hit a superkick. Steelz nailed the 3 Amigos and taunted Jessicka. Rush rolled her up for a sneaky 2 count. She ran into a Pump Kick. Rush fought back with right hands but Steelz clotheslined her over the top rope after reversing an Irish Whip. Steelz tossed Rush back into the ring and they both crashed into each other as they looked for a clothesline each. Rush got confused and tried to tag Jessicka in. She hit a few clotheslines and a scoop slam on Steelz. Rush tried for the Sharpshooter but Steelz kicked her off. Rush hit a few right hand jabs and the Bionic elbow. She went back to the Sharpshooter and locked it in. Steelz crawled to the bottom rope and broke the submission. Rush tried to pull Steelz off from the bottom rope but Steelz held on and turned it into a Codebreaker. That was clever. Steelz crawled to the pin but Rush kicked out at 2. Rush charged at Steelz in the corner but missed and went crashing into the middle turnbuckle. Steelz nailed a RKO-style cutter for the win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tasha Steelz
Analysis: **3/4 That was better than I expected because I assumed they would give Steelz a quick win to build her up before Bound for Glory. They ended up having a very competitive match and Steelz overcame Rush in the end.
There was a video package for Josh Alexander showing highlights of his championship run, his injury and his return.
Bully Ray and Steve Maclin confronted each other backstage. Bully wanted to check that Maclin didn’t make a mistake by calling him ‘soft’ for a second time. Maclin confirms that he said it. Bully said “Cool” and walked off.
Analysis: That was weird and probably a waste of 30 seconds. Bully doesn’t have a match for BFG so I assume he’s in the Gauntlet match.
The commentators went over the BFG matches and Hall of Fame inductees: Don West, Mike Tenay & Traci Brooks.
* No Disqualification match: Crazzy Steve vs Black Taurus
* Trinity & Mickie James vs Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans (you know that’s going to end with Trinity or Mickie accidentally hitting each other!)
* Kenny King vs Heath
* Moose & Steve Maclin vs PCO & Rhino
* Mike Bailey vs Samuray del Sol
Analysis: That’s a solid line up. They’re all matches worth investing in. Regarding Mike Bailey vs Will Ospreay- they have been having some fun interaction on Twitter/X with little pot shots at each other to hype the match. None of these are being shown on Impact, so it just looks like a random, thrown together match. That’s poor when you’re having one of the hottest wrestlers on the planet on your biggest show for the year.
Match #4: 2/3 Falls ‘Killer Impact’ Match: Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian
We are finally at the feud-ender here. I’m not sure why they aren’t putting this on the PPV. There’s still 30-minutes left on the show so they will get a great amount of TV time here.
Fall #1: Pinfall Only
They started with a push and shove, which quickly turned to Kaz throwing right hands on Eddie in the corner. Kaz avoided a corner attack with an elbow. He hit a legdrop on the middle rope. Edwards poked the eye of Kaz and hit a big back suplex to gain the momentum. He chopped away on Kaz in the corner. Kaz fought back with right hands but ran into a running elbow from Edwards. Edwards tossed him hard into the turnbuckle, sending Kaz crashing to the mat. He nailed another hard chop then bounced off the ropes but Kaz nailed a scoop slam. Kaz missed his springboard legdrop so Edwards capitalised with the Boston Knee Party to take the first fall.
Winner of Fall #1: Eddie Edwards
Analysis: I’ll rate the whole match at the end but that’s a clever move to get the crowd on Kaz’s side. I’m not worried that it only went 4 minutes. Have Edwards win the first fall quickly, so now Kaz will have to really fight hard to get the submission win in the next round.
Fall #2: Submission Only
Kaz has to win by submission here to take it to a Last Man Standing final fall. Edwards hit a clothesline as soon as Kaz got to his feet. He kicked him hard in the chest and nailed a suplex. Edwards went back to the corner and chopped Kaz several times. He bounced Kaz’s head off the top turnbuckle and chopped him some more. Edwards targeted the left hand and hit a few uppercuts. Kaz blocked a corner attack but ran into a modified sidewalk slam as we went to a break.
We are yet to see any real submission work here as both men try to wear each other out. They exchanged right hands and Edwards hit another brutal chop to the chest. Kaz flipped out of a back suplex attempt and almost locked in the Crossface Chicken Wing but Edwards rolled through and hit another chop. Kaz hit a running elbow in the ropes and then Edwards suplexed him over the top rope, crashing to the floor! Edwards went outside and continued chopping away on Kaz. He laid Kaz against the steel steps and chopped him again. Kaz was bleeding at this point, from the chest, as Edwards chopped him against the ring post and then again around the ring. Edwards beat him down with right hands and gouged Kaz’s eyes. He chopped Kaz so hard that he fell into the commentary table. They finally made their way back into the ring. Kaz fought back with right hands and a big clothesline. He locked in a leg lock, whilst also choking Edwards out with his right foot. Edwards hit a number of stiff kicks to the head of Kaz to break the hold. The blood on Kaz’s chest was very unrealistic at this point. I’m not sure you can chop someone’s chest open. Edwards hit a Codebreaker off the top and then locked in a single-leg Boston Crab. It looked like he forgot that it was no pinfalls but recovered nicely. Kaz stretched out and made the bottom rope. Edwards put Kaz onto the top rope and hit the Backpack Stunner. Edwards was posing and impressed with his work, when Kaz sat up and locked in the Chicken Wing! Edwards tapped immediately, maybe as self-preservation.
Analysis: There wasn’t a lot of submission wrestling there, but it played up how deadly Frankie’s submission finisher is. The blood was a bit off-putting, just because it seemed so silly.
Fall #3: Last Man Standing
Kaz hit a hurricanrana off the top rope to kick off the final fall. The referee started counting Edwards down but Kaz broke it up to kick him some more. That was great. Kaz sent Edwards crashing into the steel steps. He went under the ring to gather some weapons. Kaz threw some steel chairs into the ring then kicked Edwards hard in the head. He got a steel trash can and bashed Edwards’ head in with it. Kaz nailed a second shot with the trash can and Edwards was busted open now. He hit a third shot over the back of Edwards and then went back to the skull with a 4th shot. The referee began to count him down but Kaz hit him with the trash can about another dozen times and the crowd was loving it! Edwards got up at the count of 8 but Kaz ran at him so he hit a belly-to-belly suplex and Kaz went crashing into a ringside official. Both men made it to their feet by 7. Edwards hit an overhead belly-to-belly on the floor and then another one! The referee counted Kaz down but he used the ring apron to pull himself up by 9. Edwards tossed him in the ring and yelled at him to stay down. Edwards went back into the ring but ran into a cutter. The blood was all over Kaz’s ring pants at this point. He used the ring ropes to haul himself off the canvas. Edwards got up by 7 but then collapsed through the ropes to the outside. Kaz pummelled him with right hands around the ringside area. He went underneath the ring again and pulled out a table and a steel chair. Kaz hit a hard shot to the back of Edwards and then set up the chair. He smashed him over the head with an oven tray. Edwards hit a throat thrust and then a hip toss on top of the steel steps! That was very safely done but also looked great. Edwards step up for the Tiger Driver on the steps but Kaz fought him off and nailed the Unprettier on the steps! Kaz pulled Edwards up by 7. He’s not finished yet. Kaz teed off with right hands and hit another shot with the oven tray. He placed Edwards on the table and climbed to the top rope. Alisha emerged and hit some very gentle kendo stick shots on Kaz from the ring apron. Eddie set up about 6 chairs in a pile in the centre of the ring. He went to the top and nailed a brutal superplex on top of all the chairs! Edwards returned to ringside to collect a second table. He set this up against the steel ring steps. They brawled up the entrance ramp and Kaz hit a low blow and the Styles Clash on the stage! Kaz returned to ringside and confronted Alisha. Alisha gouged him in the eyes and went for a Tornado DDT but Kaz caught her. Kaz destroyed Alisha by ramming her through the table that was set up against the steel steps! My goodness! Edwards returned to the action and sent Kaz back into the ring. He briefly checked on Alisha. They brawled on the ring apron, with the table looming large right next to them. Kaz picked up Edwards and launched him through the table with the Fade to Black! That was insane. It didn’t look too safe either so I hope Edwards is okay. The referee began the count and Kaz used the guard rail to pull himself up at 9 but Edwards was still down so Kaz was the winner. The overall TV time for the match was just under 30 minutes.
Winner of Fall #3 and the match: Frankie Kazarian
Overall match rating: ****1/4
Analysis: I thought that final fall was excellent. It was absolutely a fitting way to end their rivalry, even though we thought it was over a few times already! I would’ve been fine with them just having a Last Man Standing match to end it, but I understand why they went 3 falls as it puts over the brutality of the rivalry and how tough both men are. There wasn’t much to the first two falls. Edwards won a quick opener to soften Kaz up for the rest of the match and it fit perfectly into Kaz’s character as a tough babyface, overcoming the odds. He won the second fall by submission, as the Crossface Chicken Wing was put over as a deadly finisher and Edwards tapped quickly. The Last Man Standing portion was excellent. WWE-produced LMS matches usually have the ridiculously over-the-top ending where someone crashes into some ‘electrical equipment’ causing all sorts of mayhem and you don’t really see what happened (to protect the spot) but this had clever use of weapons and a simple ending where Kaz used a devastating move through a table after a fight that almost went 30 minutes. They really went at each other throughout the whole match. I would guess that Edwards hit over 30 chops in the match. The bleeding chest of Kaz was a bit of a stretch but I get why they did that. Overall, I really enjoyed the 3rd fall and it made the match feel really important and like a big deal. Kudos to both men.
Final Rating: 8/10
Every now and then Impact have a weekly show that has a main event that runs 20+ minutes and it adds to the overall quality of the show without question. It means that there’s not 5-6 matches that run 8-10 minutes like they usually have. This meant tonight that they could do a great opening Tag Team Title match, the 5-way match for the BFG Gauntlet that was meaningful as well as Steelz vs Rush which was still decent and not a squash as I expected. With only one more weekly show before the PPV, usually I would be critical of the non-appearance of a stack of major players for Bound for Glory but when you get a PPV-quality main event that goes for half an hour then sometimes you just take a chill pill and enjoy the wrestling. This week would be one of my highest-rated weekly shows of the year and it felt like that. It has been a great week for wrestling (and Twitter tantrums!) so let’s just all sit back and appreciate how good our sport is right now.
The next PPV is Bound for Glory on October 21st. Here is the lineup so far:
* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Josh Alexander
* Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Trinity (c) vs Mickie James
* X- Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs KENTA
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (c) OR Rich Swann & Sami Callihan vs Bullet Club
* Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: MK Ultra (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo & Tasha Steelz
* Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey
* Monsters Ball: Moose vs PCO vs Rhino vs Steve Maclin
* Call Your Shot 20-Person Gauntlet Match