IMPACT Wrestling: Victory Road 2023 Review

impact wrestling victory road 2023 alexander maclin

There are four championships on the line, as well as some big grudge matches on the next Impact-Plus special called Victory Road.

Impact Wrestling presents Victory Road 8/9/23 from Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY

There have only been two weeks between Emergence and Victory Road, but Impact have done a decent job of building some interesting and fresh match-ups for this show. Steve Maclin and Josh Alexander finally get their main event match up, albeit not for any gold, after Alexander got injured before their scheduled match in April at Rebellion. I was looking forward to that match probably the most on the card, but there are several matches that have captured my attention. I think Kushida vs Lio Rush could be as good as Alexander/Maclin, as well as the Tag Team Championship match.

Pre-Show results:

1. Alan Angels defeated Guido Maritato in an open-challenge
2. Bullet Club defeated Moose and Brian Myers

I did not watch the pre-show. The opening video to Victory Road highlighted Alexander and Maclin’s injuries and their return to singles action tonight. It makes it feel like a big deal when they’re both returning on the same night against each other. It feels like the right choice for a main event, even without a championship involved.

Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt welcomed us to the show and we are kicking it off with the X-Division Championship match. They used the ‘X-Factors’ to show some statistics before the match. I think they should do this more often as it adds credibility to rivalries.

Victory Road Main Card

Match #1: X-Division Championship: Lio Rush (c) vs Kushida

Kushida is cashing in his championship match here, after winning Ultimate X at Slammiversary. Rush spent the early moments of the match bailing to the floor and mouthing off to the crowd. He tried to use the championship belt but the referee told him to take it back to the timekeeper’s area. Rush mocked Kushida by putting on his glasses. Kushida rolled up Rush for a 2 count to almost embarrass him. Rush avoided the Hoverboard Lock and used his handspring kick to take Kushida off the apron. He connected with a suicide dive but Kushida caught him and locked in the Hoverboard Lock on the outside! Rush was wailing in pain but Kushida knew he had to get him back in the ring. Kushida nailed a running Spanish Fly and locked the submission in again. Rush almost made it to the ropes but Kushida rolled him back into the centre of the ring. He couldn’t quite lock it in so Rush used an inside cradle for a 2 count. They knocked each other down with right hands, then exchanged strikes when they made it back to their feet. Rush hit a series of hard forearms, then Kushida fought back with hard knee strikes to the head. Kushida targeted the left shoulder but Rush swatted him away and Kushida bumped into the referee. Rush went downtown with a kick and hit the Final Hour for the win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND STILL X-Division Champion: Lio Rush

Analysis: *** It was a good match but never hit the heights that I hoped for, mostly because they only got ten minutes. Unfortunately, that feels like a disappointing opening to the show.

Match #2: Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: MK Ultra (c) vs Savannah Evans & Gisele Shaw w/ Jai Vidal

I forgot that they made this match after Gisele’s promo on Thursday. There’s not much build or interest in it for me. They aren’t really building up any one contender as being a threat to the titles, more so just throwing a heap of teams at MK Ultra and expecting us to believe one of them will fluke a win. Slamovich nailed a hard clothesline on Shaw for a 1 count early on. Kelly tagged in and they hit a leg-sweep/pump kick combination. Kelly hit a stalling fisherman’s suplex for 2. Vidal pulled the ropes down as Kelly went to bounce off them. Evans tagged in and began to dominate Kelly with right hands. Shaw tagged in and scored a 2 count. Kelly fought out of a side headlock with right hands to the ribs, but Shaw hit a backbreaker into a Flatliner for 2. Shaw teed off on Kelly in the corner and tagged Evans back in. Evans hit a butterfly suplex for another 2 count. She tagged in Shaw who hit a suplex for a 2 count. Kelly tried to fight back with forearms but Shaw stopped her with an uppercut. Shaw missed her running uppercut in the corner which allowed Kelly to make the tag to Masha. Evans tagged in too. Slamovich nailed Evans with a running knee in the corner and then a spinning heel kick but Shaw broke up the pinfall. Vidal got up on the apron so Evans and Shaw hit a double team move but Kelly broke up the pin. Slamovich avoided a big boot from Evans but she blasted Shaw by mistake. Slamovich rolled up Evans for 2. Evans hit a huge kick on Slamovich for 2. Slamovich fought off the shoulders of Evans and hit another spinning kick then the Snow Plow for the win after 9 minutes.

Winners AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Tag Team Champions: MK Ultra

Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for a match under 10 minutes. The last few minutes when Slamovich tagged in and hit her offense was exciting and the crowd was right behind her. I feel Evans would do well as a singles heel with a mouthpiece behind her but they usually have her as the bodyguard-type.

PCO was backstage looking for Bully Ray. Bully attacked him with multiple chair shots to the back. He poured gasoline all over PCO and was about to light him on fire when PCO spat something (I’m guessing he caught some of the gas in his mouth) in Bully’s eyes. Bully walked off holding his eyes. I thought that might have been the start of the match but it doesn’t seem like it because now they’re previewing Steve vs Black Taurus.

Match #3: Crazzy Steve vs Black Taurus

They have done a decent job at building this new persona of Crazzy Steve through the interview series with Tom Hannifan as well as a really cool video promo from last week’s Impact. Steve came out with his horror-style mask on. Taurus attacked Steve like a madman in the corner as the bell rang. He hit a series of clotheslines and a powerslam for 2. Steve wriggled away under the bottom rope. He caught Taurus with a headbutt on the outside and tossed him back into the ring. Steve went over to Tom Hannifan to intimidate him. Back in the ring, Taurus nailed a number of chops. He missed a corner clothesline so Steve took advantage with a number of clotheslines in the corner. Steve hung Taurus up on the top rope and then nailed a clothesline whilst Taurus was still up there. Taurus kicked out at 2. Steve tried to remove the mask of Taurus and then slammed his head against the mat. Steve tried to gouge the eyes but Taurus fought out of it. Steve hit a Russian Legsweep and started laughing. He stomped away on different body parts of Taurus, Randy Orton-style. He gouged the eyes of Taurus with his elbow in the corner of the ring. Taurus blocked an attack in the corner but Steve swept his leg out from under him. Taurus wanted a Samoan drop but Steve spiked him on his head. That was a cool spot but it only got a 2 count. Steve ran the ropes but this time Taurus caught him with the Samoan drop. Both men got to their feet at the count of 8. Taurus teed off with a huge right hand and a colossal headbutt. He hit a slingblade and a discus clothesline. Taurus sent Steve off the ropes and into a devastating backbreaker. Steve begged for mercy and Taurus slapped him off. Taurus was conflicted so Steve attacked him with a stiff clothesline from behind. He went to the commentator’s table and got a fork. Taurus blocked himself for getting stabbed in the eyes. He knocked the fork to the mat so the referee kicked it out of the ring but in the meantime Steve gouged the eyes of Taurus. Steve hit a spiking Tornado DDT from the top rope to win the match after 9 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Crazzy Steve

Analysis: *** That was a decent match, although it was more storyline than classic match as it highlighted the friendship disintegrating between the two. The first half of the match was just clotheslines and fighting in the corner. Steve cheated to win which is the right booking call.

Match #4: Impact Digital Media Championship: Title vs Career: Kenny King (c) w/ Sheldon Jean vs Tommy Dreamer

I was loathing this match because the 50+ year-old Dreamer is probably about to become a champion in Impact when he should’ve retired over 10 years ago from in-ring competition. The crowd was obviously right behind Dreamer with the event being in New York. He spat some water in the face of King early and went for a suicide dive but King caught him with a kick. King went to the top but Dreamer tossed him off. King bailed to the outside and hit a suplex on the ramp when Dreamer came out to confront him. King mocked Dreamer with his punches and sent him to the ring apron. Dreamer couldn’t stand up so King hit a Scorpion Kick to knock him off. That spot looked terrible. Dreamer’s family were screaming things at King at ringside so King hit a twisting senton. The referee almost counted Dreamer out but he rolled back in. King went for a quick legdrop but Dreamer moved. He put King on the top rope and hit a superplex. They exchanged strikes in the centre of the ring and Dreamer got the advantage with a bionic elbow. King blocked a corner attack and hit a spinebuster but it looked rough. Dreamer blocked a kick and hit a cutter for a close 2 count. The crowd was giving this match far too much love at this stage because it was pretty bad. King hung Dreamer off the top rope and hit a blockbuster for a very close 2 count. King wanted the Figure 4 but he messed it up so Dreamer got an inside cradle for 2. King reversed it and almost got the win. They exchanged near falls and then Dreamer hit a Death Valley Driver. Dreamer hit a very safe piledriver but somehow King kicked out. That was a better near fall. Dreamer signaled that he was going to the top rope. Jean knocked him off the top rope so the referee booted him from ringside. Heath snuck into the ring and nailed King with the Wake Up Call. Dreamer spiked King with a great-looking DDT to win the championship after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Impact Digital Media Champion: Tommy Dreamer

Analysis: ** The first 10 minutes were bad and it’s not often that I comment about that when I’m writing live but it was sloppy and Dreamer looked well out of his depth. In the last few minutes, there were some good near falls and King bumped like a trooper. I don’t like the result and I hate the way King is continually booked like a loser. Maybe Dreamer will just hand the title to Heath. That would be okay.

Match #5: Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purrazzo

These two have met twice for the Knockouts’ Championship this year and are yet to have a classic match so here’s hoping that’s what we get third time out. Grace slapped Purrazzo to start the match and pummelled her in the corner. She was here for business tonight. She hit a Northern Lights suplex with a bridge for a 1 count. Purrazzo bailed to the outside and caught Grace by ramming her into the ring apron. She stomped on Grace’s left arm on the apron and then tossed her back in the ring. Purrazzo continued to target the left shoulder on the mat and manipulated Grace’s fingers. She hit a hard knee strike to the ribs of Grace and backed her into the corner. Purrazzo tied Grace’s arm in the ring ropes and kicked it again. Grace fought back with a few forearms and an elbow against the ropes, then a series of scoop slams. Purrazzo blocked the third one and avoided a corner attack. She bounced out of the corner and Grace nailed a Michinoku Driver for 2. Grace tried for a corner clothesline but Purrazzo moved and wrenched down on the left arm again. She hit a snap suplex and then tried to lock in the Fujiwara armbar but Grace turned it into a roll up for a 2 count. Grace reversed a Queen’s Gambit attempt and put Purrazzo on the top rope. She hit a stiff uppercut and then looked to superplex Purrazzo. Purrazzo was resisting so Grace hit her with knee strikes on the top rope and then an awesome stalling superplex and bounced straight up into the Jackhammer but Purrazzo just got the shoulder up before 3. Awesome sequence there, especially impressive since Grace hasn’t wrestled for 100 days. Purrazzo tried a Grace Driver but again Grace countered into a roll through for 2. Purrazzo then nailed a modified Tombstone Piledriver for a close 2 count. That looked painful. Grace blocked Purrazzo with a kick and then pulled herself over the top rope to the ring apron. They battled with forearm strikes and then Grace came back into the ring but they were both thinking about a clothesline. Both women traded slaps and Grace got the ascendency with forearms strikes. Grace went for a clothesline but Purrazzo countered it into a roll up for 2. Grace hit a powerbomb with a bridge for 2. Purrazzo fired up and hit a German suplex. She ran right into a reverse piledriver that Grace did really safely against her foot and Purrazzo kicked out at 2. That looks like a really difficult move to perform safely as you are facing the opposite direction to your opponent. Both women were struggling now after all the punishment they had taken. Grace was thinking of a Muscle Buster but Purrazzo countered with a head scissors into the armbar. Grace rolled her up for 2 but Purrazzo held onto the arm. She rolled out of it again and then countered a Queen’s Gambit attempt into a back body drop. Grace hit a big spinning back fist and a clothesline. She nailed the Grace Driver for the win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jordynne Grace

Analysis: **** That was the match that I was hoping for twice earlier in the year. This time, with no interaction between them before the match they were able to pull off a really intense bout that saw them utilising some different offense. 12 minutes doesn’t sound like a long time but they packed a lot in and made the time count. Grace countered everything that Purrazzo threw at her, whereas previously she couldn’t get out of the submission holds so you could play on the story that she had been studying how to best tackle Purrazzo on her time away. This was really well done and the match of the night so far.

Match #6: Anything Goes Match: Bully Ray vs PCO

They showed a long video package for this match. PCO finally moved on from stalking Eddie Edwards to PCO. They carried on from earlier in the night where Bully tried to set PCO on fire again. Bully’s music hit but they cut to backstage where he was trying to leave the arena. Security and Santino Marella prevented this from happening and then PCO showed up behind Bully and nailed him with right hands. They were fighting backstage and eventually the action spilled onto the ramp where Bully hit a clothesline. Bully tossed PCO down the entrance ramp. He got a table from underneath the ring and threw it inside the ring. There were already tables in the ring and a ladder set up on the outside. Bully smashed PCO’s knee with a trash can lid and then tossed another ladder into the ring. He tossed a chair at PCO and then set up all the tables in the corners of the ring. Bully set a 4th table up at ringside but PCO smashed him with a trash can multiple times. They both went into the ring and the bell rang for the official start. PCO ran at Bully but he moved and PCO went crashing into the table. Bully pulled PCO up and tossed him face-first into the other table set up in the opposite corner. That looked brutal. Bully tossed PCO through a third table but only the bottom broke. He hit PCO with some very soft punches and the camera was right in close so it looked even worse. Bully threw PCO through the middle rope and sent him crashing through a 4th table. PCO sat up so Bully tried to leave up the entrance ramp but Marella and the security guards were there to stop him. Bully slapped Marella in the face so Marella lost it and grabbed the cobra out of his pocket. He nailed Bully on the ramp and Bully sold it like a champ, rolling down the ramp way. PCO sent Bully back into the ring and nailed him in the back with a trash can multiple times. He brought the big ladder into the ring and suplexed Bully onto it. That looked rough. PCO went to the top but Bully cut him off and sent him spine-first into the ladder. That was even more rough. PCO kicked out at 2. Bully retrieved a 5th table from underneath the ring and brought it inside. He picked up another one and did the same. Bully set up those two tables and then got a cow bell and a trash can. Bully hit PCO with 2 trash can shots but PCO fired up and smashed the can in Bully’s face with a right hand. PCO sent Bully through a table with a chokeslam but Bully kicked out at 2. PCO got a cheese grater and nailed Bully with a low blow using it. That wasn’t PG. Bully was now busted open. PCO put Bully on the table and climbed to the top. He hit the Deanimator but it wasn’t smooth and he only really knocked Bully off the table, which had a broken leg. That wasn’t good. PCO set the busted table up in the corner and whipped Bully through it to get the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: PCO

Analysis: *** That’s a hard match to rate. There were some spots that looked painful on the body and then some spots that painful because they were executed poorly so it was certainly a mixed bag. I think the original plan for the ending would’ve been for PCO to win with the Deanimator through the table but the table spot didn’t work so he tossed Bully threw the one in the corner which wasn’t as impactful, but it got the job done. Time for both men to move on.

Match #7: Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns

This should be very good. Miguel and Wentz have been on a roll whilst Sabin has been on a bit of a losing streak, and Shelley is the Impact World Champion. Miguel and Sabin started the match out. Shelley hit a blind tag and snuck up on Miguel with a sleeper. They hit a double kick on Miguel and one on Wentz who came in to interfere. The Rascalz hit a stereo dropkick that sent the Guns to the outside. Wentz and Miguel hit a superkick each on their opponents. Miguel went after Shelley with an uppercut. He tossed Shelley into the ring and scored a 1 count, before tagging Wentz in. Wentz stomped away on Shelley in the corner. He hit a running punt and then taunted a bit so Shelley swept out his legs and took Miguel out on the apron. Shelley hit a Dragon Screw on Wentz’s knee in the corner and Sabin did the same. Sabin tagged in and hit a suplex for 2. He tagged Shelley back in who targeted the left knee of Wentz, twisting it with step-over toe holds. Wentz poked the eyes of Shelley then missed a kick. Shelley locked in the Figure-4 but Miguel came in to break it up. Sabin cut him off with a Figure-4 of his own. Sabin tossed Miguel to the outside and Wentz managed to finally make the ropes. Wentz nailed a handspring knee lift on Shelley and tagged in Miguel. Miguel landed some blows and then hung Shelley up on the top rope. He hit a springboard splash into the ring and then a moonsault. Sabin came in and got a double-team stomp for his troubles. The Rascalz hit running uppercuts in opposite corners. Shelley countered the Lightning Spiral and hit a huge clothesline that sent Miguel inside-out. Sabin tagged back in and hit a Dragon Screw. He stopped Wentz from coming into the ring and then hit a double Dragon Screw on Miguel and Wentz. Shelley opened the middle rope so that Sabin could take both the heels out with a suicide dive. Sabin tossed Miguel back into the ring and he and Shelley hit a dropkick/Flatliner combination from the top rope for a 2 count. They hit a double kick in the corner, then Wentz took down Shelley with another eye gouge. Sabin was distracted so Wentz nailed him with a superkick and a double stomp off the top rope. Miguel covered and only got a 2 count. The referee watched the whole illegal interference without any interruptions. Miguel got one of his championship belts but the referee took it off him. As he was placing it on the outside again, Wentz nailed Sabin in the back with the championship! Miguel covered but Sabin kicked out right before 3. Miguel called for the spray paint but Shelley took him off the apron with a kick. Miguel hit a handspring kick that took both the Guns down to the floor. He hit a running senton to the outside. Miguel tossed Sabin back inside and retrieved the championship belt again. Sabin ducked and Miguel stopped just short of nailing his partner in the face. Sabin hit a Tornado DDT on top of the championship belt and covered but John Skyler of the Good Hands dragged the referee out before the 3 count. The referee looked like he was going to send them to the back but then he got his timing wrong so had to get back into the ring for a pinfall attempt by Sabin. Miguel kicked out and Sabin went against the ropes so Wentz sprayed him in the face with the paint! Miguel stacked Sabin up and got the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall AND STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: The Rascalz

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good athletic contest that was exciting for the most part, but the referee ineptitude (whether deliberate or not) took a little bit away from the quality of the match. The Rascalz consistent cheating with no consequence, then having the referee pulled out of the ring with no disqualification or ejecting The Good Hands from ringside is just inconsistent with the rest of the refereeing all night or for 90% of the matches in Impact. Sounds like another company I also watch! The biggest take away from this match is how much Zachary Wentz has improved since his NXT run.

Match #8: Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Trinity (c) vs Alisha Edwards w/ Eddie Edwards

On paper, this is probably the weakest lineup of the night because Alisha is just not a credible opponent for Trinity. Alisha reminds me a bit of Carmella in her early days, except that Carmella improved a lot whereas Alisha doesn’t get the chance to wrestle very much. Eddie thought the ring announcer was being disrespectful so he did the introduction for Alisha by himself. Easy way to get some heat for the match. Trinity had enough of the pre-match shenanigans so she attacked Alisha straight after the bell. Trinity charged Alisha into the corner and pummelled her with right hands and choked her out with her foot. She took Alisha down with a snapmare and a kick to the back, followed by a splits splash for a two count. Alisha bailed to the floor for a time out and a pep talk from her husband. Trinity hit a baseball slide through the ropes that glanced Eddie too. Trinity kicked Alisha in the head from the apron. Back in the ring, Trinity wanted a bulldog but Alisha launched her into the turnbuckle and then nailed a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Trinity avoided a Tornado DDT but Alisha hit a drop toe hold into the bottom turnbuckle and then a crossbody in the corner for a 2 count. Alisha locked in a body scissors and clubbed Trinity in the back. Alisha pulled the hair of Trinity when the referee wasn’t looking. The crowd was all over the Edwards’ with the boos. Alisha spent too much time taunting the crowd so Trinity fought back with a clothesline and a modified backstabber for 2. Trinity went for a big kick but Alisha ducked and Trinity struck the referee who sold it perfectly. Trinity locked in Star Struck and Alisha tapped but there was no referee. Eddie got into the ring and slammed Trinity face-first into the mat. He got a table from under the ring and looked to put Trinity through it like on last night’s Impact show. Eddie dragged Trinity to the outside and went for the Blue Thunder Bomb but Kaz and Traci Brooks ran down to the ring for the save. Traci slapped Eddie in the face and Kaz hit a scoop slam on the ramp. Kaz put Eddie on the table so Trinity hit a big splash from the top rope through the table! Trinity went back into the ring and pulled Alisha back in from the other side, but Alisha had a kendo stick and nailed Trinity in the head. Alisha revived the referee and covered Trinity who kicked out just before 3. Alisha was flustered so Trinity hit a Scorpion Kick and the Full Nelson Bomb. She looked like she was going to lock in the submission again but changed her mind and pinned Alisha for the win after 10 minutes.

Winner AND STILL Impact Knockouts’ Champion: Trinity

Analysis: *** That was a predictable match, with Eddie interfering yet Trinity still retaining, but they gave Alisha a few moments where she looked like she might win which is what you have to do in a match with such little build up. Kaz and Traci interfering on Trinity’s behalf made sense because it’s those two vs The Edwards’ at Impact 1000 next week.

Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame Announcement

There was a video package showing some of Impact’s biggest moments over the years, which were always commentated by Mike Tenay and Don West, who were this year’s inductees. Don sadly passed away late last year so that will no doubt be an emotional evening. They used to drive me nuts watching Impact back in the day but I appreciate that a lot of people will have enjoyed them over the years.

Match #9: Steve Maclin vs Josh Alexander

This was the right choice for the main event and they have been given around 25 minutes to have a match of the year contender. The top of the card is starting to get stacked again with these two returning from injury. They spent the first few minutes trying to get the upper hand on each other. Alexander hit a pair of arm drags and targeted the left shoulder of Maclin. Maclin backed him into the corner and they exchanged chops. He nailed a clothesline over the top rope and they took the fight to the floor. Alexander chopped Maclin against the guard rail multiple times. He hit a Brainbuster on Maclin on the ring apron! That was crazy for the opening exchanges of a match. Maclin recovered quickly though and sent Alexander into the steel ring post. He hit a backbreaker inside the ring for a 2 count. Maclin hit an arm breaker for another 2 count. Alexander popped up and nailed 10 consecutive German suplexes. The last one was with a bridge but Maclin kicked out at 2 and turned it straight into an armbar but Alexander had his foot under the rope. I’m not sure about no-selling the 10 Germans there. Maclin hit a suicide dive through the middle rope and smashed Alexander into the steel steps. He trapped Alexander’s previously injured shoulder in the steps and kicked it hard. Back in the ring, Maclin covered and got a 2 count. Alexander went for an up-and-over in the corner but his shoulder wouldn’t allow it so he just collapsed on the mat. Maclin hit an Olympic Slam for another 2 count. He tried another submission but Alexander got to his feet quickly and hit a back suplex. He hit a number of big boots and then a back elbow as he started to gain some momentum. Alexander hung Maclin on the middle rope and took him out with a running crossbody through the ropes. He tossed Maclin back into the ring but Maclin nailed a powerslam for 2. Maclin locked in the armbar but Alexander rolled him up and instead of going for a pin pummelled Maclin in the face with repeated strikes. Maclin blocked a corner attack but Alexander recovered and nailed a backbreaker for 2. He slapped on the anklelock but Maclin was right near the ropes. Maclin slapped Alexander and they exchanged hard slaps. Alexander kicked Maclin in his injured groin (not low) and hit a discus forearm for 2. Maclin missed the Busaiku Knee and Alexander trapped him in the ankle lock. Maclin rolled through but Alexander’s momentum didn’t really take him into the turnbuckle so he had to awkwardly dive into it himself to sell the spot. Alexander hit an aeroplane bomb which looked nasty, but Maclin kicked out again. Maclin cut Alexander off before he could hit the moonsault. He hung Alexander in the Tree of Woe and nailed the running crossbody and then the KIA. Alexander rolled out of the ring before Maclin could cover. Maclin ran the ropes and tried for a suicide dive but Alexander caught him in mid-air with a belly-to-belly on the outside! Maclin hit a chop block on the outside and almost got the win by count-out. They exchanged strikes on the mat and then just started slapping the heck out of each other. Maclin nailed a pair of suplexes and went to the top. Alexander put his foot up and Maclin went sailing into it. Alexander tried an inside cradle for 2. He blocked the KIA and hit the C4 Spike on Maclin for the win after 20 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Josh Alexander

Analysis: ****1/4 Awesome main event match that we finally got after all the injuries. It was so good that it felt like a championship match and undoubtedly worthy of headlining the show. What was even more impressive is that Alexander hasn’t had a singles match in 5 months and Maclin hadn’t in 2.5 months, so for them to beat the pulp out of each other for 20 minutes was great. Alexander lost at Emergence (getting pinned too) and the tag match on Impact this week so it was probably the right call for him to get the pin. Hopefully, Maclin is placed as a top-level heel for the rest of the year. I thought he earned his spot at the start of this year and was very pleased that he won the championship.

Final Rating: 7/10

The show really picked up in the second half. There was nothing really bad throughout the night, but the quality of matches was clearly better from Purrazzo/Grace onwards. I was probably a little disappointed that Kushida and Lio Rush didn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. That was a fantastic match up and welcome back for Jordynne Grace who hasn’t skipped a beat. It was their best match together this year, which they deserved after the first two didn’t quite hit the levels that I’d had hoped for. PCO and Bully Ray had a no-dq match that had some high and low points, the Tag Team Championship match was good but not great but the main event was well worth the wait. Alexander and Maclin pummelled each other for 20 minutes and really didn’t let up over the whole course of the match. I’d welcome another title feud between the two of them, if Shelley drops it in the near future. Like most of these monthly specials, there are usually one or two really high-quality matches that stand out so if you just wanted to watch those then I’d recommend Grace vs Purrazzo and Maclin vs Alexander.

This week is Impact’s 1000th episode (it was taped on Saturday):

* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Trey Miguel
* Team 3D vs ???
* Alisha & Eddie Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian & Traci
* Ultimate X Match: Participants TBA
* Feast or Fired: Participants TBA
* Dirty Dango vs Jake Something
* Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, Trinity, Jordynne Grace & one other Knockout vs Angelina Love, Deonna Purrazzo, Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans and one other Knockout

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!