Date: December 22, 2022
Location: Charles F. Dodge City Center, Pembroke Pines, Florida
Commentators: Tom Hannifan, Matthew Rehwoldt
We’re still getting closer to Hard To Kill and now it seems that a Tommy Dreamer vs. Bully Ray showdown is imminent. If there is one thing that this company has loved over the years, it is pushing the heck out of former ECW stars. Other than that, Jordynne Grace is getting ready to face Mickie James in what should be a heck of a pay per view Knockouts Title match. Let’s get to it.
Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Deonna Purrazzo/Gisele Shaw vs. Death Dollz
The Death Dollz (with Taya Valkyrie) are defending and Jai Vidal is here with Purrazzo and Shaw. Jessicka powers out of a wristlock to start and then shoves her down again, meaning it’s time for Shaw to try. Shaw gets powered into the corner for a splash and it’s already off to Rosemary.
The Upside Down has Shaw in trouble but Purrazzo kicks Rosemary from the apron and the villains take over. Back in and Rosemary gets taken into the wrong corner for some stomping and a middle rope double stomp for two. The chinlock goes on for a bit but Rosemary is right back with an exploder. It’s a double tag to Jessicka and Shaw but everything breaks down fast. With Purrazzo send outside, Rosemary spears Shaw to retain at 5:40.
Rating: C. Completely watchable match here that gives the champs a win over some named challengers. The Knockouts Tag Team Titles still don’t feel like they mean anything, but at least they are getting some television time and the champs are winning. Now build up some real challengers and start putting together an actual division. Not likely, but at least there is a goal.
Mickie James comes in to see Jordynne Grace, her partner tonight. No matter what, just remember that tonight, Tasha Steelz is Mickie’s. Seems cool with Grace.
Deonna Purrazzo and Gisele Shaw both say never again.
Here is Sami Callihan for a chat. We have a bit of a problem, because getting rid of Eric Young didn’t get rid of the Design. He is sick of these beatings, so the Design needs to get out here right now. Cue the Design, with Deaner saying that Samuel is sick, because he mutilates himself for the love and admiration of these people. The truth is that these people don’t care about him and never will. Until Callihan realizes that, he will always be sick. The antidote is violence….and Sami wants to join the team? Angels: “Are you serious?” Sami says there is no Design without Sami softening Young up. Callihan gets beaten down again.
Josh Alexander arrives and Tommy Dreamer is waiting for him. Alexander doesn’t need to have the Dreamer vs. Bully Ray drama weighing over him so he forgives Dreamer. That doesn’t seem to do it for Dreamer, which shouldn’t be any kind of a surprise.
Mike Bailey vs. Yuya Uemura
They go technical to start until Uemura armdrags him into an armbar. Bailey is back up with a kick to the chest and we hit the half crab. A rope is quickly grabbed so Bailey kicks him down again, only to have Uemura hit a running splash in the corner. Uemura nails a dropkick into a belly to back suplex for two as we take a break.
Back with Bailey hitting a dropkick of his own to set up the running corkscrew shooting star press for two. More kicks set up the moonsault knees for two on Uemura but he grabs a double arm trap suplex. A hard clothesline gives Uemura two so Bailey rolls outside, only to get caught with a crossbody from the apron. Back in and Bailey shrugs off a German suplex, setting up a spinning kick in the corner. The Ultimate Weapon finishes for Bailey at 14:33.
Rating: B-. Usual rather nice Bailey match here, without the horrible lack of selling to bring it back down. Uemura is someone who has been popping up more often lately as his excursion continues and he certainly seems like a solid hand. Good match here, but you can feel bailey’s main event push coming and I’m not sure I have any desire to see it.
Post match Kenny King pops up on screen from the Arena Mexico to say he’s better than Bailey, so get used to it.
Flashback Moment of the Week: Hulk Hogan debuts on January 4, 2010. We can still talk about that?
The Major Players and Heath/Rhino argue over who gets the next Tag Team Title match. The Motor City Machine Guns come out of Scott D’Amore’s office and announce a four way Tag Team Title match at Hard To Kill, with the Bullet Club included too.
Next week: the Best of 2022.
John Skyler/Jason Hotch vs. Johnny Swinger/Zicky Dice
Hold on though as here is Bully Ray to interrupt Swinger and Dice’s entrance (meaning they bail fast). Ray beats up Hotch and Skyler instead, with Hotch being tied to the top rope. No match.
Ray wants Josh Alexander out here right now, even if Josh’s wife calls the shots. After saying he loves Josh’s wife’s Only Fans, Josh Alexander runs in with a chair for the save. Alexander cuts Hotch loose….and Hotch grabs him, with Skyler helping, so Ray can tie Alexander up instead. Cue Tommy Dreamer for the save attempt, only to have Ray hit him low. A piledriver knocks Dreamer silly and it’s ladder time to make it worse. Some chair shots to the ladder onto Dreamer leave Dreamer laying as Alexander isn’t pleased.
Post break, Josh Alexander rants to Scott D’Amore and wants revenge on Bully Ray. Let’s make Hard To Kill Full Metal Mayhem. Deal, but D’Amore is sending both of them home until Hard To Kill.
Steve Maclin vs. Rich Swann
Maclin wastes no time in hammering away in the corner before sending Swann flying. The stomping is on but Swann is back up with a running hurricanrana. A backbreaker cuts Swann off again though and we take a break. Back with Swann still in trouble and being sent face first into the corner.
Swann manages a kick to the head though and starts striking away for one. It’s too early for the Phoenix splash so Maclin rolls outside, only to get taken down by a running flip dive. It worked so well the first time that Swann tries again but Maclin is too smart for that. Maclin stays on him outside and it’s a double countout at 9:48.
Rating: C. That’s an interesting way to go, but Maclin going all insane and violent on his way to (hopefully) winning the World Title from Josh Alexander is a good concept. Maclin has felt like a bigger deal week after week and there is a good chance that he is going to be climbing the ladder in a hurry. Now just make it work.
Post match Maclin beats up the referee and goes after security until Swann makes the save. A lot of yelling/beeping ensues as they’re finally held apart. Violent rematch seems likely.
Eddie Edwards is sick of people coming after him, with Jonathan Gresham as the latest. Was what he did really so wrong? Alisha comes in to say he has to move on by winning, so Eddie says he will at Hard To Kill.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Mickie James/Jordynne Grace vs. Tasha Steelz/Savannah Evans
Mickie and Steelz shove each other to start until Mickie takes her down with a Thesz press. Evans and Grace come in for a power off with Grace grabbing a choke. Evans drives her into the corner to knock Steelz to the floor and we take a break. Back with Grace still in trouble but Steelz charges into a raised boot in the corner.
Grace jumps over Steelz out of the corner and hands it off to James to start cleaning house. This lets commentary make UFC comparisons between Grace and James as Steelz takes James down for a chinlock. James fights up but it’s back to Evans to power her right back into the corner.
Steelz comes in again for another chinlock but James fights up for the second time. Evans misses a charge into the corner, though she is fine enough to grab a spinning belly to back. James sends Evans into the corner to crotch Steelz though and the hot tag brings in Grace to clean house. The MuscleBuster finishes Steelz at 14:47.
Rating: C+. This was a fine way to build towards James vs. Grace at Hard To Kill. It’s not like Steelz and Evans mean much of anything these days so having them lose a main event match is hardly some big defeat. Go with the result that makes sense and let the big match get some more attention, as Grace vs. James is feeling like a huge showdown.
Post match Grace and James yell at each other. James kicks her in the face and leaves to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Nice show here and the Grace vs. James feud is becoming one of the better things going in wrestling today. Keep giving them time and let them get to something special at the pay per view. I want to see how well it can go, as Impact has done a good job so far. Other than that, you have another step forward in Alexander vs. Ray and the continued rise of Maclin and Bailey. Your taste on the specifics might vary, but the stories are being told well. Good effort here and they hit the right points.
Death Dollz b. Deonna Purrazzo/Gisele Shaw – Spear to Shaw
Mike Bailey b. Yuya Uemura – Ultimate Weapon
Steve Maclin vs. Rich Swann went to a double countout
Mickie James/Jordynne Grace b. Tasha Steelz/Savannah Evans – MuscleBuster to Steelz
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