Date: August 12, 2022
Location: Cicero Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
I usually don’t do these shows but the Alex Shelley/Josh Alexander segment from this week’s Impact actually got me to check it out. This is the latest non-pay per view pay per view special from Impact and the card looks good enough to be worth a watch. In addition to the World Title match, Honor No More faces Bullet Club and has to disband if they lose. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Digital Media Title: Bhupinder Gujjar vs. Brian Myers
Myers is defending and stops to insult Chicago before the match. How great can this place be? DOES ANYONE ELSE HERE HAVE A BLUE CHECK MARK BY THEIR NAME??? They fight over wrist control to start until Gujjar takes him down and drops a jumping knee. It’s too early for the Gargoyle Spear though and Myers bails to the floor, setting up a quick fight on the floor.
Myers kicks the rope for the low blow on the way back in, setting up a suplex for two. Gujjar shoves him off the top though and scores with a missile dropkick into a ripcord knee. There’s a Samoan drop for two on Myers but he’s right back with an implant DDT for two. Myers hits a spear of his own for two but the roster cut misses, sending Myers into the corner. That’s fine with him though as Gujjar gets kicked into the buckle, allowing Myers to grab a rollup for the pin at 7:22.
Rating: C. Completely run of the mill match here and that was a fine enough way to ope things up. Gujjar continues to be ok enough in the ring but Myers is a good bit more interesting and offers more options going forward. I’m surprised to see Gujjar take a pin, but at least he has a bit of an out with the kicking into the buckle.
Knockouts Tag Team Titles; Taya Valkyrie/Rosemary vs. VXT
Valkyrie/Rosemary are defending and has Jessika in their corner. Taya sends Green up against the ropes to start and flips her into the corner, allowing the tag off to Purrazzo. Rosemary comes in for some choking in the corner but charges into an elbow to the face to put the champs in trouble for a change.
The fight goes to the floor where Jessika misses a clothesline and gets dropkicked into Rosemary, as there is no such thing as competent help these days. Back in and Green elbows Rosemary in the face over and over before cranking on both arms at once. They both hit big boots at the same time though and it’s a double knockdown. The hot tag brings in Valkyrie to start cleaning house but Green reverses Road To Valhalla into a rollup for two.
Stereo German suplexes drop VXT and Rosemary spears Purrazzo. The Stomp hits Rosemary though and Green dives onto Jessika. Rosemary comes back in for a Road To Valhalla/X Factor combination but Green makes the save. Jessika offers a distraction but Rosemary mists Taya by mistake. A double suplex (yes a double suplex) gives Green the pin and the titles at 8:00.
Rating: C. I’m not sure if I should be surprised by that one or not, but I’ll go with the result that doesn’t give us arguing champions. Valkyrie and Rosemary were kind of a thrown together team and while VXT are still new, they do feel like a regular team. The division still needs help, but at least they have some fresh teams out there for a change.
The opening video talks about how to change, everything has to emerge. We also get the usual look at the big matches.
X-Division Title: Mike Bailey vs. Jack Evans
Evans is challenging, because there is no way he would be champion in 2022. Bailey bows to him to start but gets rolled up when offering the handshake. Evans bails out to the floor as Bailey is frustrated, leaving commentary to tell us about Evans’ history in the company. Back in and they rollups to start, followed by an exchange of dropkicks.
Stereo crossbodies put both of them down before they trade kicks to the legs. Bailey gets the better of that (of course) to send Evans outside, setting up the required big dive. Back in and Evans hits a springboard spinning kick to the face, setting up the quickly broken Muta Lock. Evans kicks him down again but Bailey flips over him out of the corner and hits a kick to the face. The running corkscrew shooting star press gives Bailey two but Evans is right back with a Falcon Arrow for the same.
An exchange of kicks to the head means a double knockdown and they get a breather. Back up and Bailey kicks him outside, which of course means a big springboard moonsault (as X-Division champions tend to do). Evans shrugs that off and hits a Blockbuster for two back inside. Bailey catches him on top but it’s a German superplex to bring Bailey crashing down. The moonsault misses for Evans though and Bailey kicks him into the Ultimate Weapon for the pin to retain at 12:32.
Rating: C+. As I have said before, you know what you’re getting with the X-Division these days and they did it well anyway. This was a good way to get the crowd into the show and have Bailey get another win. Not a classic or really anything lose as the usual X-Division selling issues were all over the place, but it did its job just fine (as usual).
Here’s what’s coming tonight.
Eddie Edwards gives Honor No More their weekly pep talk, though Maria takes over this time.
We recap Steve Maclin vs. Sami Callihan. Sami has recently returned and thinks Maclin and Moose are working together, which they deny. Tonight is Callihan’s chance for revenge.
Steve Maclin vs. Sami Callihan
Callihan jumps him in the aisle and the fight is on outside with Callihan suplexing him on the ramp. A chair is thrown in and the referee gets decked, leaving Callihan to take Maclin down again. They fight into the crowd and then go backstage. The bell never rang so no match.
We recap Kushida/Chris Sabin vs. Violent By Design. Violent By Design is going after the Motor City Machine Guns but since Alex Shelley is busy tonight, Kushida is filling in to team with Sabin.
Kushida/Chris Sabin vs. Violent By Design
Eric Young and Deaner for Violent By Design here with Joe Doering in their corner. Young starts with Kushida and then drops to the floor just after the bell. Kushida takes him into the corner back inside so it’s quickly off to Deaner. That works for Kushida, who tries the Hoverboard Lock but goes with a tag to Sabin instead. Sabin holds Deaner up so Kushida can get a running kick to the arm but it’s right back to Young.
That’s fine with Kushida as well, as he catches Young up top with a running kick to the head. Deaner starts doing something though and catches him on top, setting up a double slam to take over. A Russian legsweep sets up Young’s knee drop for two and Sabin gets knocked off the apron to make it even worse.
The villains spend too much time setting up a double team though and Kushida uses both of them as a launchpad (cool) for the tag off to Sabin. House is cleaned, including a tornado DDT and a running kick to the face for two on Deaner. Young saves Deaner from the Cradle Shock but Kushida kicks Deaner in the face to break up the dive. Instead, Sabin hits the suicide dive onto Young and Kushida kicks Deaner into the Cradle Shock for two with Young making a save.
Everything breaks down and Young sends Kushida outside, setting up a running neckbreaker to drop Sabin. Deaner hits a top rope headbutt into Young’s top rope elbow but Kushida makes a diving save of his own. Kushida hits the double handspring elbow to leave everyone down. They all slug it out from their knees and then keep it going on their feet until Violent By Design gets kicked down. The Dream Sequence knocks Deaner silly and another version hits Young. The Skull And Bones is loaded up so Deaner grabs the flag, allowing Doering to shove Kushida off the top. Young piledrivers Sabin for the pin at 12:42.
Rating: C+. Nice tag match but words don’t describe how happy I am to see Violent By Design getting another win. The team who are managing to drag down anything they do and make anyone seem worse is getting a win on a major show because this team has to keep going. How lucky we all are.
We look at VXT winning the Knockouts Tag Team Titles on the pre-show.
VXT brags about their title win.
Here is Kenny King, in street clothes, with a chair to deal with Heath. After promising that Honor No More will beat the Bullet Club tonight, King gets distracted by Sami Callihan and Steve Maclin fighting in the crowd. Cue Heath who, after ducking a chair shot, hits the Wake Up Call to leave King laying. Heath says Bullet Club can handle itself, but if Honor No More is still around, the Wake Up Call is waiting for them.
Bandido vs. Rey Horus
AAA showcase match and believe it or not, Chicago likes Bandido a lot. Respect is shown to start before Horus’ running shoulder has no effect. Well no negative effect, as it makes Bandido do the Eddie Guerrero dance. Horus takes him down with a headscissors but Bandido is right back up with a superkick. Neither can follow up and we have an early standoff. Bandido kicks him in the face again to send things outside and of course the big running flip dive connects.
Back in and Horus kicks him down for two but gets Three Amigos for his efforts, setting up a handstand flipped into a backsplash. Horus manages to send him outside for the big running (no flip) dive, followed by a top rope spinning splash for two back inside. Bandido is right back with the one handed gorilla press and a running kick to the face for two. Not to be outdone, Horus gets a running start and flips up into a DDT out of the corner to put them both down again.
This time Horus takes him to the corner, where Bandido gets in a shot of his own and apron superplexes Horus down hard. Bandido cranks on both arms at once before grabbing a pop up cutter. Horus rolls up for a faceplant though and they trade kicks to the face for a double knockdown. After a double situp (nice), Bandido knocks him down and hits a frog splash for two. The satellite DDT gives Horus two but Bandido hits X Knee, setting up the 21 Plex for the pin at 12:57.
Rating: B-. Much like the X-Division Title match earlier, you have this match for one reason and one reason only. These guys are going to pop the crowd with their insane offense and look great doing it, so it makes sense to bring them in for a pick up in the middle of the show. As usual, Horus was very good but Bandido was better, but it was the awesome showcase as usual.
Moose again insists that he and Steve Maclin aren’t a team but here are Sami Callihan and Moose to brawl. Moose helps Maclin beat him down and they come into the arena with the double teaming continuing. D’Lo Brown and security come in for the save and here is Scott D’Amore to say let’s do this No DQ with Moose banned from ringside.
Sami Callihan vs. Steve Maclin
No DQ. Sami gets in a cheap shot to start fast and Maclin gets rammed into the steps over and over early on. Maclin is already busted open so it’s time to choke away in the corner. A good shot to Callihan lets Maclin tie him up in the Tree of Woe on the barricade, followed by a suplex on the floor.
Maclin bothers to throw him inside and piles up the chairs, one of which is used to crack Callihan in the back. Some shots to the face take too long though and Callihan gets in a suplex onto the open chair. The chair is pelted at Maclin’s head and hangs around it as Sami is starting to look confident.
Maclin has to low blow his way out of the Cactus Driver 97 and it’s time to pull out a toolbox (oh dear). Instead of using it though, Maclin plants him with the KIA to set up a sleeper. That’s broken up as well so Callihan stomps him low over and over. Callihan grabs some zip ties and ties Maclin’s hands behind his back, setting up the Cactus Driver 97 to give Callihan the pin at 11:23.
Rating: C. I’m still not sure what to think of a lot of these brawls as there is only so much you can get out of the violence. It’s what Callihan thrives on though and you can probably pencil him in for either a showdown with Moose or a handicap match at Bound For Glory (or maybe a three way). Either way, Callihan is going up and Maclin is going down, the latter of which I wouldn’t have bet on seeing.
Long recap of Honor No More vs. Bullet Club. Honor No More is tired of not getting their Tag Team Title shot but Bullet Club is tired of Honor No More. Therefore, it’s title shot vs. Honor No More’s future in a ten man tag.
Honor No More vs. Bullet Club
No DQ and that would be Eddie Edwards/Matt Taven/Mike Bennett/Vincent/PCO (with Maria) vs. Ace Austin/Chris Bey/Hikuleo/Good Brothers. It’s a huge brawl to start, because it shouldn’t be anything else. Everyone goes to the floor early on until Gallows runs over Taven and Bennett back inside. Edwards and Vincent fight up and stomp Anderson down in the corner but Austin and Bey come back in to clean house.
PCO cuts off Bey’s dive and chokeslams him onto the apron and does the same to Austin (in the ring this time as he’s being a nice monster for once). It’s Hikuleo coming in this time and knocking PCO into the corner, setting up a missed charge to put PCO on the floor. Bey hits a dive but Taven cuts off Hikuleo from doing the same. Austin is back up with a running Fold to Taven off the apron onto the pile on the floor (that was awesome).
Somehow we’ve gone about seven minutes without any weapons so the Good Brothers bring some in, as you had to know was coming. Gallows and Austin take turns knocking people down for two each before Bennett and Taven take Hikuleo down by the leg. Honor No More gets together to take Bey down but the PCOsault only hits the trashcan.
Now it’s Gallows being taken into the crowd to continue his beating but he gets up to brawl with PCO. Gallows shoves PCO off a barricade and through….something, which seems to get rid of him for the time being. Back at ringside and we get the required table being set up, with Vincent hitting Redrum off the top to drive Gallows through. Gallows is back up WAY too soon to save Anderson but the Magic Killer is broken up. A spear takes Gallows down and the Climax onto the trashcan gives Honor No More the pin at 15:23.
Rating: B-. Another wild match here and the only ending they could have had. You don’t need to do anything ridiculous like get rid of Honor No More here, as the team hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet. Give them at least some kind of a title shot and see what they can do, as it isn’t like Bullet Club losing is going to be a big problem.
We recap Jordynne Grace vs. Mia Yim for Grace’s Knockouts Title. Yim won the title shot and the two of them have been having problems teaming together, so now it’s time for a showdown over the title and respect.
Knockouts Title: Jordynne Grace vs. Mia Yim
Grace is defending and, after the Big Match Intros, takes Yim down with a headlock. Back up and Grace leapfrogs over her a few times before dropkicking the knee out. A German suplex drops Yim but she is back up with a basement dropkick of her own. Grace bails outside and that means a big running flip dive to take her down again.
Back in and Yim grabs a guillotine choke, only to get taken down with a heck of a suplex. They head up top so Grace tries a sunset bomb but gets blocked, leaving her to settle for a Liger Bomb and a big crash. Yim is right back up with some kicks to take over but Grace busts her spine for two. A Muta Lock goes on until Yim breaks the hand grip and starts slugging it out with Grace for a change.
Yim gets the better of it and comes back with a springboard tornado DDT for two. That isn’t cool with Grace, who comes back with a MuscleBuster for two of her own. Grace puts her up top and gets caught with Code Blue for another near fall. Eat Defeat is loaded up but gets countered into a pinfall reversal sequence. With that not working, Yim tries a kick to the head but gets pulled into the Grace Driver for the pin at 13:23.
Rating: B. These two beat the fire out of each other until Grace caught her in the end. That is the kind of match that makes both of them look good and they did so here. Grace is likely to head into Bound For Glory with the title and it is hard to imagine that she isn’t facing Masha Slamovich, or at least she should be, which should be good.
Post match respect is almost shown until Masha Slamovich interrupts and gives Grace the death warrant.
We recap Josh Alexander defending the World Title against Alex Shelley. After beating Chris Sabin in a #1 contenders match, Shelley has his first ever one on one World Title shot. It turns out that Alexander was inspired by Shelley, but Shelly wants to be the champion no matter what. They had a great contract signing too and that was enough to make me watch the show.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Josh Alexander vs. Alex Shelley
Alexander is defending. A fight over a lockup goes nowhere as they seem to have quite a bit of time. Shelley grabs a headlock and grinds away for a bit before changing gears and kicking at the knee. The knee gets tied up but Alexander fights up and switches into an armbar. Alexander starts cranking away again until Shelley slips out and hammers away in the corner. An armbar doesn’t work well for Shelley but he takes Alexander outside and stomps on the arm.
With the arm sufficiently worn down, Shelley goes back to the leg with a leglock on the mat, only to switch into another armbar. Thankfully commentary is right there to explain the idea of breaking Alexander down, as that is why you have a broadcast team. Alexander fights out and throws Shelley down for a double breather. Shelley hits him in the bad arm so Alexander uses the good one to hit him in the face.
A t-bone suplex sends Shelley flying but he’s fine enough to hit a Downward Spiral into the buckle. Shelley’s frog splash gets two, only to have Alexander pull him into the ankle lock. The rope gets Shelley out of trouble and the ankle is good enough to hit Sliced Bread for two. An Air Raid Crash gets two on Alexander, who rolls straight out to the floor.
Standing Sliced Bread rocks Alexander again and the Border City Stretch has Alexander in big trouble back inside. With that broken up, Shelley hits some chops to put Alexander down on one knee. Shell Shock is countered into some rolling German suplexes and Alexander falls on top of him for two.
Another enziguri is countered into the ankle lock, which Alexander switches into a Sharpshooter. That’s countered into the Border City Stretch but Alexander rolls out into a Tombstone for a rather near fall. Back up and the C4 Spike is countered so Alexander settles for a Shell Shock to Shelley. With Shelley knocked silly, the C4 Spike can retain the title at 27:32.
Rating: A-. This match went long and never felt like it did, as they knew how to get the most out of each other. Alexander is still great at being able to make it feel like everyone is working hard to take the title from him while Shelley is able to put together a match with anyone. What matters is they had me believing that Shelley could pull it off and in a way, I wanted him to. Alexander is heading into Bound For Glory as champion though and that should work well. Heck of a match here and a worthy main event.
Overall Rating: B. This felt like an In Your House style show with a great main event and a big showdown in the ten man tag. They didn’t go through a lot of their big matches and a good chunk of this show was designed to set up things for later, but they had a good show on the way there. I was convinced to watch this show and I wound up liking what I saw, so well done on doing so well with what you have. Check out the main event, but don’t skip the rest of the show if you have a chance.
Mike Bailey b. Jack Evans – Ultimate Weapon
Violent By Design b. Chris Sabin/Kushida – Piledriver to Sabin
Bandido b. Rey Horus – 21 Plex
Sami Callihan b. Steve Maclin – Cactus Driver 97
Honor No More b. Bullet Club – Climax onto a trashcan to Gallows
Jordynne Grace b. Mia Yim – Grace Driver
Josh Alexander b. Alex Shelley – C4 Spike
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