IMPACT Wrestling Review – September 14, 2023 (1000th Episode)

impact wrestling 1000 episodes sept 14

It’s episode 1000 of Impact Wrestling with a Knockouts reunion, Lio Rush-Chris Sabin for the X-Division Title, Team 3D back in action and a whole lot more. A night where the past and the present of Impact collided.

I remember way back in 2002 and watching the very first (NWA) TNA weekly show. Back then, they had weekly PPVs and they used to air on Saturday morning in Australia on our Fox 8 channel. I had just started watching WWE(F) in June of that year, so I was keen to watch any wrestling on hand. They did this until September 2004. By May of that year, the Impact weekly show had started on Fox Sports with the 6-sided ring I watched quite regularly and struggled through the years that Jeff Jarrett dominated as champion. I saw the Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan years, big stars in Kurt Angle, Sting and Booker T cross from either free agency or WWE, and then fondly remember the heel championship runs of Eric Young, Magnus and Bully Ray.

When the Aces & Eights angle ended and Impact began to lose a lot of stars to various promotions, my fandom faded and I stopped watching for a number of years. Over the years, innovation, tag team wrestling and the X-Division would all be staples in Impact Wrestling.

I came back to Impact at the end of 2019 and discovered a lot of wrestlers that I hadn’t heard of before. This was exciting. I started writing weekly TV and PPV reviews for TJRWrestling in July 2022, which has been really fun. Being realistic, I know that Impact doesn’t have the fan base of AEW or WWE, but I still enjoy discussing the product with fans so please do comment on either the Facebook posts for TJR or the ‘X’ (Twitter) posts, or email me. I’m always up for a wrestling yarn! And it was cool to see my Victory Road review get mentioned on Jason Siniscalchi’s Impact Wrestling podcast last week. I enjoy Impact more than those other two companies at present because of the consistency of their shows and I feel they listen to their (small) fan base more often than not.

Now we come to Impact Wrestling’s 1000th episode. I will be honest and admit that there were many times, especially over the last four years that I would’ve been surprised if they made it to 1000. During the pandemic, when other wrestling companies were starting to get their crowds back, Impact played empty arenas for a lot longer. Even now they are still only appearing in front of a crowd of between 500 to 2000 people and that’s been happening for at least the last three years. However, they have recently returned to Canada, put on two events in Australia and are heading to the UK in October. I am looking forward to this 2-week 1000th episode celebration and hopefully we see some surprise returns along with some cool moments.

Impact Wrestling 1000 14/9/23 from Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY.

There was a cool opening video with throwbacks to so many former stars such as Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Gail Kim, Abyss, as well as some classic moments from Impact like Bully Ray putting Dixie Carter through a table and Kurt Angle head-butting Samoa Joe on his debut. They even had a clip of Eli Drake (now LA Knight in WWE) with his “Let me talk to ya…yeah!” catch phrases. For the record, I thought he was very good back then and I am very happy that he’s getting big reactions on WWE shows now.

The Knockouts Division Starts The Show

Impact Wrestling President Scott D’Amore was in the ring. There was a ‘1000 episodes’ banner around the ring which was simple but looked nice. He spoke about being on episode number 1 and is proud to stand here on episode 1000. D’Amore mentioned that the 1000th episode would be a 2-week celebration. He put over the Knockouts’ division and brought out Hall of Famer, Gail Kim. Kim was a tremendous talent for Impact and rarely got to show what she could do in WWE which always disappointed me. Kim makes her return to the ring next week. She said thank you to everyone who made the Knockouts’ division memorable, including the fans of course. The fans chanted thank you back. They showed a video of the greatest moments in the division and there were highlights of Awesome Kong, Jackie, Mickie James and other more recent stars. They didn’t show Tessa Blanchard even though she won the World Championship in 2020. The Beautiful People’s music hit and here comes Angelina Love and Velvet Sky, who were a popular heel group for a long time in Impact. Tom Hannifan mentioned that Love was a 6-time champion and Sky a 2-time champion. I always thought they weren’t that great in the ring but there were obvious reasons why they featured on television a lot. Love wondered if Kim really showed the best of the Knockouts’ division on that video. She said that the clips of Love and Sky were great, but there were a lot of shots of ugly people including Kim. Sky picked on the appearance of the other Knockouts in the video. Here comes Gisele Shaw and her entourage for the interruption. She was wearing sunglasses that Seth Rollins would be proud of. Shaw apologised that Kim was being so rude and welcomed back Sky and Love. Shaw said she wouldn’t be there without them. She said she was honoured to have taken their spot and improved on it. Shaw put over her generation and here comes Jordynne Grace who beat Deonna Purrazzo at Victory Road this past weekend. Grace put over past Knockouts and then trashed Sky and Love. Here comes Purrazzo now who said she was here to represent her generation and does it better than Shaw and Grace. The next woman to make her way to the ring was the Knockouts’ Champion, Trinity. She had a top that lit up on its tassels. The fans were very happy to see Trinity. She said she respected everyone in the ring but respectfully, she is the champion, and she is in her moment. Purrazzo said that meant nothing compared to her 3 reigns, which Kim reminded her that she had 7 runs as champion. The lights went out and here comes Awesome Kong with Raisha Saeed. The crowd was loving that.

(Commercial break)

That was not a great time for a commercial, but the segment had been going 15 minutes already. Saeed wondered who would be the first to be crushed by Awesome Kong. Tasha Steelz’s music hit and she is back! She returned very briefly for a few episodes but now looks to be back for good. Steelz said you can’t have a 1000th episode without her. She said she would be the 5th member of the heel team for the 10-Knockouts tag match for next week. Steelz called herself the greatest Knockout ever and said next week the greatest Knockout will beat the biggest one when she pins Kong. Mickie James’ music hit and the place went crazy. James has been out for months since dropping her championship due to injury. James said she didn’t have to convince anyone of what she was or what she’s been because all the fans know how good she is. She joined the face team for the match next week. James said next week would be the greatest fight in Knockouts history.

Analysis: That was a 24-minute opening segment which doesn’t happen on any wrestling shows nowadays but it was a way to put over the history of the division, get a lot of people on television and fill the remaining spots for next week’s tag match. It was great to see some many influential women from Impact’s past and present in the one ring.

Eric Young, James Storm and Chris Harris were backstage catching up. The Director of Authority, Santino Marella, came in and was exciting to see his favourite tag team of all time. The glass shattered and Shark Boy showed up to have a beer with Storm. Marella asked Shark Boy to become his deputy for the next two weeks.

Analysis: A quick nostalgia segment which was fine

Match #1: Feast or Fired Match

The wrestlers for this match hadn’t been named yet so I’ll cover them as I go. It will be so chaotic that I’ll just summarise the match instead of play-by-play. There are 4 briefcases above the ring. 3 have championship opportunities and one has a termination notice. You must climb the scaffolding to grab the briefcase and then they’re opened on another episode. Joe Hendry, Yuya Uemura and PCO got TV entrances. He ran straight through the ropes and collided with about 6 wrestlers with a cannonball. There were wrestlers brawling inside and outside of the ring. They have moved the guard rail back a few metres which is a good idea. Kevin Knight and Kushida teamed up to take down Brian Myers with a dropkick. Black Taurus stopped Knight and then hit a backbreaker on Kushida. Laredo Kid hit a poisonrana on Taurus which is such a devastating looking move. John Skyler and Chris Bey battled on the metal scaffold and Bey tossed Skyler onto the ring ropes. He retrieved briefcase #3 but must exit the ring to be declared the winner. He did a big dive over the top to land on a stack of wrestlers and hit the floor.

Chris Bey secures briefcase #3

Jai Vidal, Bhupinder Gujjar and Laredo Kid went for a briefcase but then Sami Callihan and Heath joined in for a Tower of Doom. Callihan and Heath faced off, but then Crazzy Steve gouged both of their eyes. He went for a briefcase in the corner and kicked Jai Vidal off and retrieved briefcase 1. Dirty Dango’s security heavy, Johnny Bravo, tried to stop him but Steve smacked him with the case. Steve pulled a fork out and stabbed Myers in the mid-section. Moose let Steve through the ropes to the floor.

Crazzy Steve secures briefcase #1

Steve Maclin took down Moose with the KIA back in the ring. Gujjar took Maclin out with a dropkick. Vidal hit a single-leg dropkick on Gujjar, then Swinger slapped a sleeper on Vidal. Bravo and Callihan faced-off. Bravo begged for mercy but ate a Cactus Driver 97. Skyler dived through the ropes and speared Callihan. Knight hit a ridiculous springboard crossbody on Skyler. PCO finally came back into the match with a double clothesline on Knight and Kushida. It was just spot after spot at this stage. Laredo Kid got caught by Taurus, but then turned it into a Destroyer in mid-air. That was crazy. JoYa hit the 1-Hit Wonder on Kid. Uemura unhooked case 4 and carefully climbed down. Callihan was stalking him so Uemura tossed it to Hendry, then passed it back and escaped to the floor.

Yuya Uemura secures briefcase #4

PCO and Maclin faced off in the ring. PCO hit a DDT then clotheslined 3 wrestlers. Vidal tried to convince PCO to get the last case together but PCO was having none of it and choke slammed him. Callihan tossed PCO from the top onto the ring apron. Ouch. Skyler hit a spear on the apron on Callihan. Kushida and Taurus battled on the top rope. Knight launched himself from the mat to the top and hit a hurricanrana on Taurus. Maclin tossed Knight off as he was just about touching the case. Heath came in with a big powerslam on Maclin. He went slowly to the top but Maclin launched him face-first into the turnbuckle. Maclin unhooked the last case and hit Heath with it. Wrestlers surrounded the ring so Maclin couldn’t escape. The crowd started making lots of noise and Rhino appeared and hit the Gore on Maclin. I love the Gore. The case flew out of Maclin’s hands (brilliant work) and went out of the ring. Moose caught the case! The whole match went about 14 minutes.

Moose secures briefcase #2

Analysis: *** It’s hard to rate because it was basically about 20 wrestlers just taking turns to hit moves. But it was fun and exciting and I look forward to the case reveals.

Gia Miller interviewed Chris Sabin ahead of the main event between him and Lio Rush for the X-Division Championship. Sabin said he didn’t respect Rush’s actions and tonight he becomes a 10-time X-Division Champion.

Analysis: These two haven’t had a full-blown match so I’m looking forward to that later tonight

Rohit Raju and Champagne Singh were in the ring. They were a jobber heel group called the Desi Hit Squad. Singh asked the fans to name a team that has done more for Impact than them. Cue the predictable music of Team 3D. Brother Ray came out slowly to build on the return of Brother Devon. The crowd was loving the return of Team 3D.

Match #2: Team 3D vs the Desi Hit Squad

Ray and Raju started the match off. Ray had a wristlock applied and asked the fans if they wanted Devon so he tagged him in. Devon hit an axe handle off the top. Raju backed him into the corner but Devon bounced out and hit a double clothesline. Brother Ray tagged in and 3D hit a reverse 3D on Raju. He wanted the Wassup buy Singh tossed him from the top. Raju nailed Devon on the apron with a cheap shot and tagged in Singh. He jabbed Ray a few times and mocked him with the bionic elbow but ran into a spear. Devon and Raju tagged in. Devon took Raju down with a running shoulder tackle and a neckbreaker. He sent Raju off the ropes and hit a spinebuster. Devon covered but Singh broke the pin up. Ray hit a scoop slam on Singh and they set up for the Wassup. Devon went to the middle rope and nailed a 2023 version of the move. It was more of a fall than a diving headbutt. Ray called for the tables so Devon tossed one into the ring. They hit a running 3D on Raju for the win after 5 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Team 3D

Analysis: **1/2 It was good for a nostalgia moment to pop the fans but it wasn’t a classic match or anything like that. 3D hit their best-of hits to give the people what they wanted.

Team 3D destroyed Singh with a top-rope powerbomb through the table after the match. I laughed when Hannifan said Dixie Carter must be having nightmares right now.

Josh Alexander was walking the corridors when he bumped into the Rascalz who were eating pizza. Alexander got in their faces and challenged them if they dared. He’s up next.

Let’s Hear from Josh Alexander

Alexander defeated Steve Maclin in the main event of Victory Road. It was an excellent match. He put himself over as the longest-reigning champion in Impact Wrestling history. Alexander said every now and then he had to pinch himself because first and foremost he is proud to be an Impact fan since the beginning. He reminded the fans that he never lost his championship and it’s time to make that right. Here comes the Impact World Champion, Alex Shelley, to confront him. Shelley said he needed Alexander to realise that this is not his championship. Shelley said Alexander should be grateful for what Shelley has done in Impact for the last 21 years. Alexander said he was sitting on his couch when Shelley won the championship and there was no one happier for him than Alexander. Alexander said the saying was true: Don’t meet your heroes because you might be disappointed. He reminded him that the only championship match he lost, was to Alexander. Shelley said he’s a different wrestler now and this is his story. Shelley said let’s do the match and he can prove that he is better than Alexander. The Rascalz attacked from behind. Alexander took them both down with forearms. Shelley and Alexander faced-off in the ring but Miguel and Wentz took down Alexander from behind. Shelley left the ring and The Rascalz hit a double-team kick to leave Alexander laid out.

Analysis: That was solid. They aren’t the best talkers so it was pretty simple dialogue, back and forth, with some little heelish traits showed off by Shelley. I welcome the match!

Shark Boy confronted Miguel and Wentz backstage. He made Miguel vs. Alexander for next week. Marella congratulated Shark Boy on making a great match. Kenny King stormed in angry after losing to Tommy Dreamer at Victory Road. He demanded a rematch tonight. Marella said it can’t be done. King asked Shark Boy who he was. Marella randomly made Eric Young vs. King for next week.

Analysis: Good fire from King, who is probably the worst-booked wrestler on the roster.

Match #3: Eddie & Alisha Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian & Traci Brooks

This match has been building for a while. Edwards won the singles series between the two by 2-1. Alisha was unsuccessful in claiming the Knockouts’ Championship in a surprisingly good match at Victory Road. This is Traci’s first match in 12 years. Brooks took Alisha down with a slap and then choked her. Kaz took out Eddie with a springboard hurricanrana. Traci tossed Alisha around the ring by the hair. The action finally returned to the ring. Alisha hit some kicks on Brooks. She tagged in Eddie. Traci slapped him and tagged in Kaz. Alisha distracted Kaz so Eddie hit a Blue Thunder Bomb.

(Commercial break)

Eddie nailed Kaz with a series of headbutts in the corner as we returned to the action. Kaz tried a tag but Alisha pulled Traci off the apron. Eddie tossed Kaz to the outside and Alisha hit a Tornado DDT off the apron. Back in the ring, Eddie took Kaz down with a running elbow. He choked Kaz in the ropes and then Alisha continued it whilst Eddie distracted the referee. Eddie chopped away at Kaz in the corner and then whipped him hard into the opposite turnbuckle. Eddie tagged in Alisha then held Kaz whilst Alisha tried a dive. Kaz moved and Eddie caught Alisha, then Kaz hit a Northern Lights suplex on her for a 2 count. Kaz made the tag to his wife. She took down Alisha with some clotheslines. Traci hit a spear on Alisha. Eddie came in from behind and grabbed her by the hair. He put her on the top turnbuckle and was going for the Backpack Stunner but Traci gouged his eyes and hit an X-Factor off the top. Kaz hit a running knee that sent Eddie out of the ring. Alisha rolled Traci up for a 2 count. Traci reversed a suplex attempt and hit the Fade to Black for the win after 9 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Frankie Kazarian & Traci Brooks

Analysis: *** This was more about the story than the technical wrestling ability of the competitors but I liked the intensity of everyone as it showed that the feud was meaningful to them. Alisha did really well in her spots, especially her moves on Kaz. She has proved me wrong over the last few weeks with her in-ring work. Kaz and Brooks winning makes the most sense as Kaz can now have some closure in the feud.

After the match, Kaz announced his wife as the next Hall of Fame entry in the class of 2023. Usually, they just have one entrant, but this year they are going for multiple entrants, which is fine. It’s not a physical Hall of Fame of course so it’s not really that prestigious. Brooks will be inducted at Bound for Glory. It was a cool moment with her, Kaz and their son in the ring.

Lio Rush cut a quick promo backstage with Gia Miller and called Sabin’s plight next as impossible.

Next week:

* Josh Alexander vs Trey Miguel
* Dirty Dango vs Jake Something
* Eric Young vs Kenny King
* 10-Knockouts’ Tag Team match
* Feast or Fired results
* Ultimate X: Ace Austin vs Alan Angels vs Zachary Wentz vs Mike Bailey vs Rich Swann vs Samuray del Sol

There were highlights of Tommy Dreamer defeating Kenny King for the Digital Media Championship at Victory Road. Dreamer cut a pre-taped promo saying that the Impact fans have pulled him through the doom and gloom of this year. Dreamer said he would defend this championship on any show at any time.

Analysis: I was shocked that he won. Perhaps he could use it as a Hardcore Championship which would be fun.

Match #4: X-Division Championship: Lio Rush (c) vs. Chris Sabin

Rush defeated Sabin by referee stoppage at July’s Slammiversary and hasn’t received a rematch until now. Rush bailed to the floor as soon as the bell rang. He ran away from Sabin and got back into the ring and copped a clothesline. Rush used his quickness to hit a dive to Sabin on the outside. Hannifan was losing his mind, saying it was shades of Slammiversary as Sabin was holding his head. The referee began the count so Rush tossed Sabin back into the ring. Sabin got an inside cradle for 2. He hit a dropkick to Rush’s knee. The crowd was really into this from the outset. Sabin hit a stiff clothesline that rocked Rush. He bounced Rush’s head off the turnbuckle and hit a stack of punches in the corner. Sabin hit a big chop that knocked Rush to the mat. Sabin trapped Rush’s arms in a submission on the mat. He wrenched back, then turned it into a roll up for 2. Sabin hit another stiff chop on Rush in the corner. Rush blocked a kick and then hit a springboard hurricanrana, followed by a big lariat. Rush grounded Sabin with hard strikes on the mat. He tried to lock in a sleeper hold with Sabin down on the canvas. Sabin made it to a seated position but Rush smacked him down with right hands. Sabin backed Rush into the corner but then Rush nailed a big clothesline to the back and then a nice back suplex for 2. Rush went back to the sleeper but Sabin hit a jawbreaker then a missile dropkick from the top rope. Rush countered the Cradle Shock with an eye rake. The referee finally saw it and admonished him. Sabin rolled to the outside so Rush hit a springboard moonsault to take him out. Rush got right in a fan’s face and abused him but the fan laughed it off. Rush went back into the ring at the count of 8. He went back to collect Sabin who nailed him with a suplex on the ramp. Rush backed Sabin into the ring apron and tossed him into the ring. He tried for the Cradle Shock but Sabin escaped. Rush hit a spinning kick to the head for 2. That was a good nearfall. Rush went to the top but Sabin quickly cut him off with a superplex. He hit a powerbomb for a close 2 count. Sabin nailed a big boot in the corner and wanted Cradle Shock but Rush slipped out, right into a superkick. Sabin locked in the STF close to the centre of the ring. Rush broke free but Sabin nailed him with a modified Falcon-Arrow for 2. Sabin hit the Clothesline from Hell into the Cradle Shock but Rush kicked out! Wow. Terrific nearfall again. Sabin set Rush up on the top and wanted the Cradle Shock from there. Rush fought out of it with elbows and an eye rake. He pushed Sabin off the top and hit the Final Hour Frog Splash but Sabin just kicked out before 3. I don’t think anyone has kicked out of that in Impact yet. Rush nailed Sabin with a few forearm strikes. Sabin fought back with some of his own. He pummelled Rush on the mat with strikes. Rush responded with some jabs but Sabin hit a superkick and the Tanaka Punch. Sabin hit Shell Shocked and the Cradle Shock to win the championship for the 10th time. The match went 16 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW X-Division Champion: Chris Sabin

Analysis: **** What a fantastic match. It was the right call to make this the main event, not only because of Sabin’s longevity in Impact but because of the history of the X-Division Championship and what it has meant to (TNA) Impact over the last 21 years. I have really enjoyed Rush as champion so maybe he is back off to Japan or maybe they wanted to make the 1000th episode go out with a bang but I would’ve been in favour of Rush retaining. The match was wrestled at a breakneck pace, even the submissions didn’t last long before turning into a pinfall attempt. The last 5 minutes had some really exciting nearfalls.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

It was a great night for Impact Wrestling, in terms of celebrating a lot of why they are still a great wrestling promotion in 2023. It wasn’t a classic night of wrestling, but it was never meant to be. There were fun moments throughout from the Knockouts’ opener, to Team 3D’s reunion and finally, Chris Sabin capturing the X-Division title again in a terrific main event.

Any feedback or comments are welcome. My email address is in case anybody wants to get in touch with me and my Twitter handle is @thomok6 as well. Thanks for reading!