Reviews

Impact Wrestling: Victory Road 2022 Review (Sept. 23)

impact wrestling victory road 2022 main

Impact presented their monthly special on Friday night which was a mixture of showcasing some quality matches and building towards their biggest Pay Per View of the year, Bound for Glory, which happens in two weeks time.

The show was headlined by a Triple Threat Barbed Wire Massacre, while the World Title combatants faced off in 6-man tag team action before they fight at the PPV.

I was moderately excited for this show going in, partly because the weekly shows have been generally pretty great most weeks. My interest was not as high as usual because we know that they have to hold off on some of the biggest matches with only 2 weeks before a major PPV. That does not allow a lot of time to build half a card (BFG currently has 4 matches) so I’m sure some storyline advances will occur this evening. I was probably most intrigued by the Barbed Wire Massacre, as they have booked Moose, Steve Maclin and Sami Callihan pretty much on equal terms in the build up. I’m also interested in the spots they might pull off. The two X-Division matches are next on my interest list, as that division is absolutely on fire at present. I have found Impact Wrestling to be consistently enjoyable to watch throughout 2022 and I’m sure Victory Road will deliver.

With it being a long weekend in Australia, and the fact that I’m currently on holidays, I will write a condensed review with a summary of the matches and go play-by-play for the main event.

The pre-show featured two matches. I was disappointed to see Killer Kelly vs Tasha Steelz was moved from the main show, however it ended in a DQ after Kelly attacked the referee. Juice Robinson, Ace Austin, and Chris Bey defeated Jason Hotch, Shogun, and Jack Price in the other match. They should’ve advertised this as Robinson is a decent name and he’s also fighting Jon Moxley on AEW Dynamite this week.

Impact Wrestling presents Victory Road from Nashville, TN: 23/9/2022

The opening video showed highlights of most of the competitors in tonight’s matches. There wasn’t any one feud that was featured more prominently than another. Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt welcome us to the show, as we kick off with X-Division action.

Match #1: X-Division Championship: Mike Bailey (c) vs Delirious

This is my first viewing of Delirious so I am excited to see what he has to offer. I watched ROH in 2015 for a bit when I visited the States, and off and on since then, but I guess I never watched a show with him featured! Both men were wrestling barefoot, which is rare in 2022. At one stage Delirious was biting the foot of Bailey as he was trying to enter the ring! This was a terrific opening contest that had Delirious on offense for the majority. His move set was impressive as he shifted between power moves and trying to lock in the Cobra Stretch. He focused on the back of Bailey and came so close to winning after a huge splash from the top rope. Bailey fought through the pain and put Delirious away with the Flamingo Driver. The match went 10 minutes but I would’ve loved another 5 more. It might have just been a one-off for Delirious, but he impressed me and he would fit right in with Impact’s exciting roster. Bailey was his usually terrific self, even if he spent a lot of the match selling, and will now move on to face the winner of the Triple Threat Revolver, which is later in the show.

Winner by pinfall AND STILL X-Division Champion: Mike Bailey

Rating: ***3/4

Match #2: The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) vs PCO & Vincent

This was added on Thursday night after the Guns became number 1 contenders to Honor No More’s Tag Team Championships. It was a solid tag team match that had an obvious outcome, as the Guns are heading to Bound for Glory so this was about building momentum for them. There was no outside interference from Honor No More, which was surprising as I thought they might try to get an advantage over the Guns before their PPV match up. However, the rest of HNM are in action later tonight so we must believe that they are focused on their matches. It was a typically solid MCMG tag team match. There was a bit of tension between PCO and Vincent as they bumped into each other a few times. Shelley and Sabin got the win after PCO crashed and burned on the outside, allowing them to perform a double team one-winged angel-style move on Vincent.

Winners by pinfall: The Motor City Machine Guns

Rating: ***1/2

 

Match #3: Mickie James Open challenge: Mickie James vs Gisele Shaw

The outcome of this was again obvious, but I have to give props to Shaw for capitalising on the opportunity to be in this angle and entering the arena with a ‘Happy Retirement’ balloon for James. I did laugh at that. Props to the commentators too who are taking this retirement angle seriously by screaming “…to end Mickie James’ career” every time Mickie faces a pinfall. At one point Shaw hit a corkscrew kick after leaping over the top rope, and it caught Mickie flush on the nose so you could see Shaw checking on her straight away. It was easily the longest match of this open challenge series and the first against a contracted Impact wrestler. Shaw had an almost believable near fall with an impressive backbreaker/Flatliner combo. She tried everything to win, including several countout attempts but Mickie eventually countered a knee strike to score the win with the MickDT in a really good match. This was Shaw’s best match in Impact so far, which is not surprising when she’s up against such a talent in Mickie James.

Winner by pinfall: Mickie James

Rating: ***1/2

 

Match #4: Triple Threat Revolver: Mia Yim vs Laredo Kid vs Trey Miguel vs Yuya Uemura vs Alex Zayne vs Black Taurus vs Frankie Kazarian vs Kenny King

The winner of this match faces Mike Bailey for the X-Division Championship in 2 weeks at Bound for Glory. The match started off with 3 wrestlers- Yim, Kid and Miguel, and when one wrestler is eliminated then they are replaced by another so it is a continuous triple threat match. I have really enjoyed Yim’s run in the X-Division here. She was out of the Knockouts Title picture so instead of doing nothing, she has been booked to challenge herself against the men. We have seen this from Tessa Blanchard and Jordynne Grace in Impact in recent times.

Yim eliminated Laredo Kid first with a huge spike DDT and Eat Defeat combo. Alex Zayne was the next competitor in the match. He has been really impressive in his limited Impact showings over the last few months. However, he didn’t last long as Yim eliminated him with a unique crucifix pin. Kenny King was next into the match and went right for Yim as they have some recent history. Yim almost pinned him with a Flatliner but King managed to get his feet on the ropes. King got the last laugh as he pinned her by holding her tights, as Yim was distracted by Miguel.

Yuya Uemura was next into the fray but he was quickly eliminated by Trey Miguel. The fantastic Frankie Kazarian was the next competitor and he entered to a big pop. Kazarian, Miguel and King put together the best sequence in this triple threat match so far, which ended when Miguel tapped out after Kazarian trapped him in the Rear Naked Choke. Miguel has seemed stuck in the X-Division since his Rascalz teammates went to NXT about 18 months ago. Black Taurus entered last and it is now one fall to a finish. Taurus has the momentum after winning a 5-way match Thursday on Impact. Kazarian went really close to winning when he pinned both his opponents at once in a unique bridging pin. There were a couple of sloppy moments towards the end where Taurus barely connected with a top rope move and then Kazarian tried a DDT on the apron to Taurus but that didn’t work either, Kazarian got the win after hitting a springboard cutter on King for the 3 count.

It was a really entertaining match, that showcased Mia Yim as a legitimate threat to the title and someone who can easily hang with the male competitors. I thought King might win then they could play the angle of Honor No More competing for all of the titles at Bound for Glory. Kazarian winning also makes sense as a fresh challenger for Bailey, as well as an Impact legend returning at a big PPV. The last 60 seconds or so did hurt the finish slightly and I would’ve rated it at 4 stars if that was a bit neater.

Winner by pinfall and number 1 contender for the X-Division Championship: Frankie Kazarian

Rating: ***3/4

Bobby Fish’s music hits and the Impact Zone is shocked! Great to see Fish in action straight after leaving AEW. Fish says that lately he’s been surrounded by a bit of controversy (he had some interesting comments about CM Punk) which he says he’s not used to as he’s simply a guy that tries to do his job well. Fish says that after 20 years in the business he’s tired of the BS and he’s here because the Impact locker room is full of legitimately tough guys. Fish is here to pick a fight but here comes Shera and Raj with the interruption. Fish asks who these two are and Raj says he will pencil Fish in for a beating by Shera and then he will know who they are. Fish easily takes Singh and Shera out and comically loses a shoe in the beating. It was great to see Fish and cool that he was given time to cut a solo promo, as he didn’t get the chance to do that in NXT or AEW. He seemed happy and very relaxed and I look forward to seeing what his deal is going forward.

 

Match #5: Eddie Edwards, Mike Bennett and Matt Taven vs Josh Alexander, Rich Swann and Heath

If they booked this a little smarter, it could’ve been Alexander teaming with the Machine Guns which would’ve involved all the champions, however they only crowned number 1 contenders on Thursday. I guess that’s the difficulty with taping TV so far in advance. Nevertheless, Swann and Heath have been longtime allies for the Impact World Champion so it’s perfectly fine. This was a solid tag match that gave us a little taste of the BFG main event. There was a cool spot where Edwards was looking for a hurricanrana off the top rope, but Alexander powerbombed him onto both Bennett and Taven. It seemed the ending was a little confusing as the referee took a long time to allow Swann in to break up a pinfall and counted very slowly. Edwards pinned Alexander after Edwards had Taven in the anklelock, but Edwards hit the Boston Knee Party and the Die Hard Driver. It was Alexander’s first pinfall loss in almost a year. The last 3-4 minutes were really exciting.

Winners by pinfall: Honor No More

Rating: ***1/2

 

 

Backstage, Mickie James puts Mia Yim over huge for her efforts in her match earlier. James can’t think of a better opponent than Yim for Bound for Glory. Yim almost says she can’t accept because she doesn’t want (to be the one to retire her)…but James doesn’t let her finish and doesn’t want any excuses. The match is on.

Match #6: Non-Title match: Jordynne Grace vs Max the Impaler

I’m going to say that Max has a unique look, but that’s probably putting it lightly. She is #1 contender Masha Slamovich’s hand-picked opponent for Grace. There are not many opponents that Grace doesn’t have the strength advantage over, but she is certainly the smaller wrestler tonight. The story of the match was of Grace trying to overcome the power of Max and resorting to a different strategy than her usual strength game. She hit the Grace Driver out of nowhere to pick up the win. It wasn’t a very interesting match as the pace was so slow, but the crowd was firmly behind Grace. After the match, Grace chose Allie Katch for Masha’s Pick Your Poison opponent and they will face off in Monster’s Ball on Thursday’s edition of Impact.

Winner by pinfall: Jordynne Grace

Rating: **1/2

They announced that Raven will be the latest inductee to the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame.

 

Match #7: Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Moose vs Steve Maclin

Maclin entered with some unique black and white face paint. Callihan wore a Cactus Jack style checked shirt and ‘Wanted’ shirt. There were 2 doors already set up in the corners of the ring that had barbed wire on them and there was barbed wire wrapped around 2 sides of the ring ropes. There were also a few barbed wire baseball bats in the corner. First pinfall or submission will decide the contest. Maclin charges at Callihan who ducks, then Moose spears Maclin through the barbed wire table within the first ten seconds of the match! Callihan hit the Cactus Driver 97 on Moose. Callihan tried to throw Moose into the barbed wire door it Moose stopped himself then blocked Sami with an elbow. They exchanged right hands and Moose stopped Callihan with a big boot. Moose whipped Callihan into the barbed wire ropes. Moose did a huge dive over the top rope to take out Maclin. The fight broke out around ringside until Callihan tossed Moose into the guard rail. Callihan did a Mick Foley ‘Bang, Bang’ salute. Callihan brought a barbed wire table from under the ring. He didn’t have much room to set it up against the guard rail and some fans looked a little scared of the barbed wire! Callihan nailed Moose with a Death Valley Driver through the table. Callihan was having a lot of fun at ringside with the fans. He turned his attention to Maclin who caught him and through him into the barbed wire ropes. Maclin wrapped the barbed wire across the face of Callihan. Callihan was now bleeding as Maclin bounced his head off the ring post. Maclin threw Callihan head first off some title belts that fans had draped over the guard rail at ringside. Moose was back to his feet and went after Maclin. They went into the ring and Moose scored the first one count of the match. Moose whipped Maclin into the barbed wire ropes and Maclin had his arms stuck in the ropes. Moose tore at the face of Maclin with the barbed wire. Maclin was wobbly on his feet and Moose took him down with a hard right hand. Maclin was now bleeding from his forehead. Moose slapped Maclin, then ran off the ropes but Maclin caught him with a big clothesline. Maclin hit an Olympic Slam for a 2 count. Maclin climbed to the top rope but Moose stopped him with a drop kick. Moose nailed a superplex on Maclin but Callihan came back in and caught Moose with a shot with a barbed wire sign. All three men were now in the ring and exchanged chops. Moose and Maclin double teamed Callihan and sent him into the barbed wire ropes. Moose lifted Maclin up for a suplex but hung him up on the barbed wire ropes! Callihan suplexed Moose whose legs landed on the barbed wire ropes. Maclin was bleeding heavily now as Callihan reached for a steel chair with wire wrapped around it. Callihan laughed as he set the chair up in he centre of the ring. He tried for a suplex but Maclin blocked it. Callihan persisted and nailed the suplex on the chair. Callihan brought out a bag with a barbed wire Nintendo 64 controller. That takes me back to my teenage days (minus the barbed wire). Callihan raked Maclin’s eyes with the barbed wire controller. Callihan choked Maclin out with the barbed wire. Maclin was beginning to resemble Heath Ledger’s Joker. Callihan had barbed wire inside the mouth of Maclin. Maclin fought out and hit a suicide dive to Moose on the outside. Maclin went back in and took out Callihan with a running knee for a 2 count. Moose pulled Maclin out of the ring and powerbombed him into the barbed wire ropes. Moose went back inside the ring after Callihan. Moose hit a Uranage on Callihan onto the barbed wire. Moose couldn’t believe that Callihan kicked out at 2. Maclin rolled back into the ring and Moose lined him up for a spear. At the last minute Maclin threw a chair in Moose’s face. Maclin hit KIA on Moose but Callihan broke the pin up at the last second. Callihan threw Moose to the outside and set up another barbed wire table. Hannifan was getting nervous at how close the wrestlers were to the commentators. Callihan placed Moose on the barbed wire table. Callihan went to the ring apron but Maclin reached over and applied the Rear Naked Choke. Callihan collapsed into the ring so Maclin went up to the top rope. He had a steel chair in hand and flew through the air but took out Moose on the table. The table did not break. Some idiot fan at ringside was counting out the wrestlers really loudly. Maclin got a barbed wire trash can lid from under the ring. Callihan had a barbed wire bat. Maclin used it as a shield and pressed it into Callihan. Callihan smashed the bat over Maclin’s back a few times. Callihan set up the barbed wire door in the corner. Callihan wanted the Cactus Driver but Maclin fought out so Callihan turned it into a powerbomb onto the door. Callihan hit the Cactus Driver 97 but Maclin kicked out at 2! Callihan still had barbed wire wrapped around his legs. He set up the Cactus Driver 97 but Maclin hit a low blow and the KIA on the barbed wire door for the 3 count.

Winner by pinfall: Steve Maclin

Analysis: ***1/2 It felt like a long brawl and hard to rate, depending on your enjoyment of these types of matches. It certainly fit the feud, in terms of having a personal feel to it, and the addition of weapons certainly made sense but it wasn’t a classic hardcore match or anything near that level. There were some dangerous moments but they seemed to have been navigated all well enough. Maclin took a lot of punishment and needed the win the most. We will possibly get him vs Sami at BFG in a regular match as there are only two weeks until that show. I hope Moose can get back into a high profile singles feud soon. He is very versatile but has been in a few gimmick matches as of late, whereas I’d rather see him in just pure wrestling matches. This match pushed Maclin as a legitimate tough guy, which we already knew from his military background, but he hasn’t had the big wins to show for his great work as of late.

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a very solid show, however there were no real standouts or anything I would rush out to watch. The Triple Threat Revolver and the X-Division Championship matches were my favourites on the night as they were both full of action and showcased good wrestling. Gisele Shaw vs Mickie James was better than I expected, the MCMG vs HNM tag match was fine and the 6-man tag team match was slow to start but finished off with a flurry. The main event was a good brawl, and certainly fit the rivalry, however I understand that this style of match won’t be for everyone. We also saw 3 new matches for the Bound for Glory PPV added too (full lineup below). Overall it was the usual fine effort from Impact, but also there were no classic matches or anything that you’d watch a second time. Hopefully we have a few of those moments on October 7th.

Final Rating: 7/10

 

Here is the updated lineup for Bound for Glory which is live on PPV on October 7th:

impact wrestling bound for glory josh alexander eddie edwards

* Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs. Eddie Edwards

* Impact Knockouts Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs. Masha Slamovich

* X-Division Championship: Mike Bailey vs Frankie Kazarian

* Impact World Tag Team Championships: Honor No More (Mike Bennett and Matt Taven) (c) vs. the Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin)

* Knockouts Tag Team Championships: VXT (c) vs Rosemary & Jessicka

* Open Challenge: Mickie James vs Mia Yim (if James loses, she must retire)

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