The road to Bound for Glory continued and we found out Trinity’s next challenger on this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling.
Impact Wrestling 28/9/23 from Graceland Soundstage in Memphis, Tennessee.
There was a video package that showcased some of the highlights of the Impact 1000 celebration over the last two weeks. Last week’s show wasn’t as strong but still a lot of fun. We are straight into the action this week with Alan Angels cashing in his X-Division Championship shot. Chris Sabin won the championship for a record 10th time on the first of the Impact 1000 episodes, defeating Lio Rush.
Match #1: X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs Alan Angels
Angels got the best of the opening exchanges and taunted Sabin. Sabin responded with a shoulder block and locked Angels into a stretch that he quickly rolled out of. Angels chopped Sabin into the corner and started to bite him. He ran at Sabin who hit him with 2 hip tosses and an arm drag. Angels targeted the left arm of Sabin by catching it up in the ropes. He went to the top and came down hard on Sabin’s shoulder with a knee strike. Angels rammed Sabin into the top turnbuckle, shoulder-first. He tried to lock in an armbar but Sabin got to his feet quickly. Sabin used the middle turnbuckle to flip out of it. Angels hit a Northern Lights suplex for a 2 count. He tried another armbar but Sabin was right near the ropes so broke the hold quickly. Angels hit a couple of shoulder blocks. He tried a third but Sabin was ready and hit a few chops. Angels shut down the comeback with an arm breaker. He ran the ropes but Sabin nailed him with a dropkick. Sabin tried for a backslide but his shoulder gave out. He still nailed a single-leg dropkick for a 2 count. Angels fought out of the Cradle Shock and spun off the ropes into an armbar which Sabin countered into a pin for 2. Sabin hit a big forearm that sent Angels into the corner. He nailed a boot in the corner. Angels blocked a Tornado DDT and nailed a Tornado arm breaker. He locked in the armbar again but Sabin reached the ropes with his foot. Angels went to ringside and grabbed the championship. The referee quickly took it off him so Sabin went for the Cradle Shock again. Angels flipped off and sent Sabin into the referee. Angels nailed a low blow and the Halo Strike but Sabin kicked out at 2. Angels went up top and missed a Frog Splash attempt. Sabin hit a missile dropkick and the Cradle Shock for the win after 9 minutes.
Winner AND STILL X-Division Champion: Chris Sabin
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good opening contest. It was interesting to see Angels wrestle a different style, after watching him win Ultimate X last week. He targeted the arm and had some success, but Sabin was too crafty and still won despite the low blow. Hopefully, Sabin gets a big match up at Bound for Glory.
Sabin was celebrating after the match when there was a video package for KENTA shown on the screen. The screen said ‘KENTA returns at Bound for Glory’ so I’m guessing that match is on (it was confirmed later in the show.)
Gia Miller interviewed Impact World Champion Alex Shelley. Shelley addressed #1 contender, Josh Alexander. He said this championship was his and he was the man. Shelley told Alexander to step up to the best in the business.
Analysis: This is shaping up to be the best show of the year and only half the card is full!
Match #2: Rhino vs Jack Price
I’m going out on a limb here and say Price is getting gored. This is Rhino’s first match in 4 months, after being taken out by Steve Maclin. Price nailed a few right hands early but Rhino took him down with a shoulder block. He missed a short-arm clothesline so Price took him to the outside with a dropkick. Rhino met him with a chop and a back suplex on the apron. He took Price down with a clothesline to the floor. The crowd was firmly behind Rhino. Rhino chopped Price against the ropes and hit another 2 clotheslines. He hit a spear in the corner and the crowd called for the Gore. Rhino lined Price up and nailed the Gore for the quick win after 2 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rhino
Analysis: ** It was only quick but I’m a sucker for the Gore.
Maclin immediately attacked Rhino from behind after the match. They exchanged right hands and Rhino nailed a belly-to-belly suplex. Rhino lined up the Gore but Maclin rolled out of the ring and retreated up the rope.
Analysis: I look forward to a match between these two. I don’t think Rhino is a big enough opponent for Maclin for Bound for Glory, but you never know.
Tasha Steelz cut a pre-taped promo after her return at Impact 1000. She said she was back to take over the division. Deonna Purrazzo came by and welcomed her back. They discussed their tag team loss last week. Purrazzo offered Steelz a partnership.
Analysis: The division is great at the moment. Hopefully Steelz is back on a permanent basis
Eddie and Alisha Edwards cut a promo on Kaz and Traci Brooks. They said the issues weren’t over. Kaz heard them and confronted Eddie. He wanted to do it right now and he said that security would stop them. Kaz said he wanted to put an end to this in the ring. He said he was going to Impact management to ask them to find a way to end this feud.
Analysis: That might mean a stipulation match to end it once and for all at BFG.
Yuya Uemura Goodbye Ceremony
Last week it was revealed that Uemura received the ‘Fired’ briefcase from Feast or Fired. Tonight he is being ‘farewelled’. Matt Rehwoldt asked when the last time someone in wrestling got fired on television. I laughed at that. Uemura and Joe Hendry came out to their dancing entrance. I won’t miss that. Hendry said he wasn’t thrilled at what happened during Feast or Fired. He said this was the end of their ‘JoYa’ tag team. Hendry said we should be thankful for the memories and enjoyed teaming with Yuya. Hendry started a ‘Thank you Yuya’ chant. Hendry said it was Yuya’s time now, so he took the mic and thanked the fans. The Rascalz music played and Miguel and Wentz came to rub salt into the wounds of JoYa. Miguel teased Yuya and said that they won’t have a chance to face them for the Tag Team Championships because he’s fired. Wentz said JoYa would’ve failed anyway. Hendry called Wentz and Miguel the ‘2nd and 3rd best Rascal’. Miguel said Hendry had a big mouth for someone who was going to be a singles wrestler again next week. They started the ‘Nananana goodbye’ chants. Hendry and Uemura kicked them out of the ring and then Santino Marella’s music hit. He admonished the Rascalz for ruining Uemura’s moment. Marella made a tag match for right now and if JoYa wins, then Uemura gets to keep his job.
Analysis: We all knew Uemura wasn’t getting fired but it was a creative way to stretch it out.
Match #3: Non-Title match: JoYa vs The Rascalz
Wentz and Miguel did constant tags at the beginning to throw Yuya off. Miguel ran straight into a clothesline and then Uemura hit a scoop slam. He tagged Hendry in and Wentz tagged in, too. He hit a nice arm drag and tripped Hendry up. He bounced off the ropes and Hendry caught him with a kick. Hendry chopped Wentz to the beat of his theme music. That was funny. Hendry hit a stalling suplex for 2 and tagged in Uemura. Hendry hit a running knee and Yuya covered for 2. Wentz raked the eyes and backed Uemura into the corner. Miguel tagged in and they hit a double-team kick on Uemura. Uemura bounced back with a double dropkick. Hendry ran in but bumped into Uemura and then Wentz bounced him off the middle rope. Miguel hit a hard kick to the back of Uemura and tagged in Wentz. Wentz hit a slingshot senton and pinned Uemura with his foot but Yuya easily kicked out. He hit a dropkick and covered for another 2 count. Miguel chopped Uemura back into his corner and tagged in Wentz. Wentz stomped away in the corner. Hendry was saying something so the referee went over to him which allowed Miguel to choke Uemura out in the corner. Wentz tried a handspring cutter but Uemura hit him with a dropkick. Hendry and Miguel tagged in. Hendry levelled him with 2 clotheslines and a Fallaway Slam. Wentz came in and he got slammed too. Miguel jumped off the ropes but Hendry caught him, then Hendry picked up Wentz at the same time and gave them both the Fallaway Slam at the same time! It wasn’t pretty but it worked. Hendry wanted a popup powerbomb but the Rascalz gave him a double superkick. Uemura came back in and got a double stomp from Miguel. They set up the top-rope double stomp on Hendry and nailed it. Miguel covered but Hendry kicked out right before 3. Wentz tagged back in. He and Miguel set up Hendry and Uemura in the corner for a series of uppercuts. They went for one too many and Hendry caught Wentz in mid-air. He slammed him into Miguel and nailed the 1 Hit Wonder on Wentz who barely kicked out. Uemura tagged back in but ate an enziguiri. Miguel nailed Hendry with a running knee. Uemura hit a slingblade on Miguel. Miguel battled both the faces in the middle of the ring. He bounced off the ropes and JoYa hit the 1 Hit Wonder again. Wentz pulled Miguel out of the ring before the referee could count to 3. Hendry chased Wentz around the ring which allowed Miguel to hit a low blow on Uemura inside the ring. Miguel sprayed the paint in the eyes of Uemura and pinned him with an inside cradle after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Rascalz
Analysis: ***1/2 I was wrong but I’m sure that next week Marella will view the footage and Uemura will be reinstated. That was a very good tag team match and easily JoYa’s best outing as a team. The Rascalz are such a terrific combination and I hope they have a long reign. It was nice to see Hendry and Uemura wrestling more seriously with Uemura’s career on the line.
Gia Miller interviewed Gisele Shaw backstage. Shaw faces Trinity in tonight’s main event. She said if she can pick up the win tonight, that means she should face Trinity at Bound for Glory.
Analysis: Shaw’s booking is so up and down which is frustrating.
Deaner and Kon cut a pre-taped promo. Deaner said that the crumbling of The Design wasn’t his fault, but the fault of the liars: Sami Callihan and Alan Angels. Deaner said he should be sitting on his throne of violence. He said they would rebuild The Design on Kon’s shoulders, starting against Josh Alexander next week.
Analysis: That gave me Gene Snitsky flashbacks. The Design have worn me out over the last 12 months. Who knows where they go next.
Match #4: Memphis Street Fight: Tommy Dreamer & Heath vs Kenny King & Sheldon Jean
Heath helped Dreamer win the Impact Digital Media Championship over Dreamer at Victory Road, thus helping Dreamer keep his job. Boo! Dreamer sculled a fan’s beer as he walked to ringside. The action started straight away and it looks like it’s Tornado rules. Dreamer missed an elbow from the top and crashed into a chair. Heath missed a running spear into the corner and smashed into a chair. King and Jean sent Heath spine-first into the ring apron, then King hit a suplex on him on the floor. Jean choked out Dreamer on the mat. They got a ladder and a steel trash can from underneath the ring. They set the ladder up around Heath’s neck and rammed him into the steel ring post. Inside the ring, Dreamer hit a suplex on Jean onto a chair. King nailed a spinebuster on Dreamer on the trash can. He choked Dreamer out with his shirt. Heath pulled Jean out of the ring and sent him into the steel post. He hit a big knee strike on King inside the ring and then a powerslam for 2. Jean missed a kick and then Heath nailed him with the Wake Up Call. Heath retrieved a table from underneath the ring and put it inside the ring. He set the table up in the corner. King saved Jean from a Death Valley Driver and nailed Heath with a spinning kick. King went to the top rope but Dreamer cut him off with a right hand. Dreamer brought a ladder into the ring and set it up on the middle rope. He tried to hit a superplex but King pushed him off through the rungs of the ladder and then nailed a Blockbuster. Nasty landing for Dreamer. Heath went for a Wake Up Call but King held onto the ropes. King took Heath out with a splash over the top rope. They brawled around the ring and King raked the eyes of Heath. Heath hit a back body drop on the entrance ramp. Heath chased King backstage. Back in the ring, Jean stomped away on Dreamer on the mat. He missed the bionic elbow so Dreamer nailed the Death Valley Driver through the table for the win after 9 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Heath and Tommy Dreamer
Analysis: *** That was a very safe street fight, in terms of little risks or ‘daredevil’ type moves. It was entertaining enough and the losing ways of King continues.
Post-match Crazzy Steve attacked Dreamer from behind with his briefcase. He had no face paint on this week. Steve smashed Dreamer over the back again with the briefcase.
Analysis: A cheap attack to show Steve’s intentions. It makes the fans wonder when he will cash his briefcase in.
Chris Bey and Ace Austin were discussing a potential match with The Good Hands. Bey wanted it to be a Fans’ Revenge match where the fans surrounded the ring and had leather straps. John Skyler walked in and wasn’t a fan of that idea. He said that Jason Hotch was at home with a newborn so the match isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Austin said that Skyler can pick anyone from the locker room to be his partner.
Match #5: Jonathan Gresham vs Mike Bailey
These two have had some great match ups this year so far. Gresham is up 2-1 if you’re keeping score. Gresham was starting to build a little bit of a heel persona that is sick of people breaking wrestling rules but hasn’t been on TV much lately. His wrestling style isn’t for everyone. Bailey faces Will Ospreay at Bound for Glory so I’m expecting him to win this match tonight. The two shook hands to kick the match off. There were dueling chants. Gresham hit a fireman’s carry after a lot of grappling. He applied a side headlock and Bailey struggled to break free. Gresham snuck a couple of 1 counts. Bailey hit a springboard headlock takedown as we went to a commercial.
Bailey kicked Gresham off the apron as we returned to the action. He hit combination kicks outside the ring that sent Gresham to the floor. Bailey hit a twisting moonsault off the second rope that took Gresham down. Gresham avoided a top rope attack and hit an Atomic Drop. He locked in the Boston Crab. Bailey almost made the ropes but Gresham pulled him back into the centre of the ring. On the second attempt, Bailey made it to the ropes to break the hold. Gresham teed off on Bailey with chops and a clubbing blow to the back. Bailey blocked a suplex attempt but Gresham finally overpowered him. Bailey kicked out at 2 and Gresham immediately applied a chin lock. Bailey fought out with elbows but Gresham again took him down with a running elbow for 2. Gresham rolled up Bailey and held the tights for the win after 8 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jonathan Gresham
Analysis: *** I was not expecting that result or the manner in which it happened. Gresham has complained about cheating and wrestlers not following the rules, so for him to go and blatantly cheat to win the match is pretty great. I would love to see that as his gimmick. The match was really good as usual, with less submissions and a faster pace than they had wrestled before. It’s pretty hard to blow the fans away in 8 minutes so a bit more time would’ve been better.
After the match, Gresham stared down the camera in a serious manner. Bailey complained to the referee that Gresham held the tights but Gresham just walked off.
Moose and Brian Myers were backstage discussing Moose’s World Championship briefcase from Feast or Fired. Myers said it was a formality that Moose was going to become World Champion. Moose issued an open challenge for next week.
Analysis: It’s good to see Moose back in the World Championship picture. He belongs at the top of the card.
Steve Maclin was complaining to Bully Ray that he didn’t have his back against Rhino. Maclin said they help each other and take care of business. Bully said he’s known Rhino for 25 years and he will talk to him. Maclin flipped out and said talking wasn’t going to work. Maclin stormed off.
Next week on Impact:
* Tasha Steelz vs Killer Kelly
* Bullet Club vs John Skyler & ?
* Josh Alexander vs Kon
* 10 Person Tag: Jake Something, Dirty Dango, Champagne Singh, Eric Young & Jordynne Grace vs Brian Myers, Bully Ray, Shera, KiLynn King & Jody Threat: The winning team will face off in a 5-way to determine the #1 and #20 spot in the Bound for Glory Gauntlet match.
Match #6: Non-Title Match: Trinity vs Gisele Shaw w/ Jai Vidal & Savannah Evans
Trinity is still undefeated in singles competition in Impact. She hit a splits pin early in the match for a 1 count. Trinity hit a clothesline in the corner and then bounced Shaw’s head off the corner turnbuckle. She hit a few chops and a snapmare, then a diving clothesline for a 2 count. Trinity bounced off the ropes with a head scissors and then a big kick that sent Shaw to the outside. She went for a head scissors off the ring apron but Shaw caught her and smashed her head against the steel ring steps! Shaw slipped back inside and wanted a count out victory. Trinity slid back into the ring at 9 and ran straight into a running dropkick for 2. Shaw hit her running uppercuts in the corner and scored another 2 count. She sent Trinity into the corner and hit a kick to the head. Shaw climbed to the top and used her knee to ram Trinity’s face into the mat. She tried for another pin and only got 2 again. Shaw teed off with rights and lefts on Trinity who tried to cover up in the corner. She used the middle rope and stomped on Trinity’s ribs. Shaw taunted the fans and hit a Pump Kick. She pressed Trinity’s head into the mat with her feet and went back to abusing the fans. Shaw hit a snap suplex for 1 and then locked in a chin lock. Trinity blocked a corner attack and hit a springboard kick to get back into the contest. She hit a number of right hands and a clothesline, then followed up with a Samoan Drop for 2. Trinity hit a crossbody for another 2 count. Shaw avoided a kick and hit a backbreaker for 2. She went for her knee strike finisher but was too close to the ropes so Trinity rolled her up for 2. Trinity spiked Shaw with a knee drop through the ropes for a close 2 count. Shaw hit a jawbreaker and then Trinity reversed the Irish Whip so Vidal tripped Shaw up by mistake. Trinity locked Shaw in Star Struck and Shaw tapped out after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Trinity
Analysis: ***1/2 Very good action here that followed most of Shaw’s matches against the top-level women of Impact- she puts up a great fight but ultimately loses. This time it was Vidal’s fault. If this was given 5 more minutes, it would easily be a contender for a monthly special championship match. Shaw has all the tools; Impact just don’t want to pull the trigger on her it seems.
Evans and Vidal beat down Trinity straight after the match. Mickie James’ music hit and she ran down for the save. She hit the Mick Kick on Evans to send her out of the ring. James got the microphone and told her there was no need to thank her. She said it was an honor to tag with her last week and kick some ass this week. James said she always has Trinity’s back and got a lot of joy to see her in Impact, even though she was sitting at home injured and had to drop the title. James said she’s never stood across the ring from Trinity and since she never actually lost the championship, she wants to invoke her rematch clause at Bound for Glory. For some reason, James was standing next to Trinity instead of across from her. I think there was a camera issue. Trinity shook James’ hand and the match was on.
Analysis: That all made sense and they’ll have a very good match at Bound for Glory. I’m glad Mickie is back because her terrific Last Rodeo storyline was slightly ruined by that injury.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
It was a very good wrestling show this week with every match except for 1 (a 2-minute squash) being rated over 3 stars by me. As is the case on most weeks of Impact, if these matches were given an extra 5 minutes then the quality would be even higher. Most of the match outcomes were predictable, especially the opening X-Division Championship contest and the Knockouts’ main event. I was intrigued by the video of KENTA after Sabin’s victory and I’m looking forward to that match at Bound for Glory. The card is looking fantastic and there are only 4 matches announced.
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
* Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey