Date: December 29, 2022
Hosts: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
It’s the final show of the year and that means we’re going Best Of. It has been a pretty strong year for Impact, as there have been quite a few stars coming and going, along with some rather awesome matches throughout. We’ll also get the Year End Awards, which are often rather fun. Let’s get to it.
Note that I’ll be posting the full versions of the matches shown rather than the clipped versions in the broadcast.
The hosts bid us welcome.
From Hard To Kill.
Impact World Title: Moose vs. Matt Cardona vs. W. Morrissey
Moose is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Cardona gets sent outside to start and Morrissey boots Moose down for an early two. Everyone winds up outside, with Moose powerbombing Cardona onto the apron. Back in and Morrissey hits some running splashes in the corner until Moose crossbodies him down. The middle rope chokebomb gives Moose two, with Cardona making the save. A bunch of Reboots rock the giants so Cardona goes up, meaning it’s a Tower of Doom for the big crash.
Moose takes Cardona outside for a hard whip into the barricade but here is Chelsea Green to dive onto Moose for a save. They head back to ringside where Morrissey runs them over and sends Cardona back inside. Cardona manages a Codebreaker to send Morrissey outside so Moose takes his place. For some reason Moose goes up top but gets shoved down hard through a table at ringside.
Someone sends in a prosthetic leg and Morrissey beats on Cardona with it. A quick Radio Silence gives Cardona two but he walks into a chokeslam to give Morrissey two. Cardona is right back up and hits a quick middle rope Radio Silence for another near fall. Moose is back in and gets rolled up for two but the referee gets bumped. Back in and Morrissey hits a powerbomb on Moose for no count so let’s bring in some chairs.
Moose hits Morrissey low for a breather and chairs him down, but Cardona is back in with chair shots of his own. Cardona gets caught by a chair shot from Moose though, drawing Green in to protect him. That lets Cardona get up and nearly chair her down again, only to have the replacement referee get bumped as well. The spear cuts Cardona down and the original referee counts the pin to retain Moose’s title at 15:57.
Rating: B-. This was about as good as it could have been as it was kind of hard to imagine a title change. Cardona was trying and they were going for the Cinderella story, but that is only going to get you so far when you have a dominant champion. Morrissey was just kind of there and this would have been a little more interesting as a one on one match, but it was still fine for a co-main event.
Also from Hard To Kill.
Knockouts Title: Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo
Mickie is defending in a Texas Deathmatch, meaning Last Woman Standing, but a fall has to be scored to start the ten count. They lock up and go to the mat to start with James grabbing a very early rollup for two as the mind games are on. A hot shot cuts Mickie down and the Venus de Milo goes on, so Mickie taps out in a hurry to escape (that’s smart). It’s time to throw in some chairs (because doing that in the last two matches wasn’t enough) and Mickie manages to chair her across the back.
The golf club from earlier is brought out for a shot to Purrazzo’s ribs but she posts Mickie for a breather. They fight up the ramp with Purrazzo hitting a suplex on the stage, allowing her to roll an anvil case into Mickie’s face for the pin. Mickie is busted open but beats the count and they head back inside. A half crab sends Purrazzo to the ropes, which means nothing, but Mickie lets go and dropkicks her to the floor.
Mickie takes her chaps off so she can hit Purrazzo in the face with her braced knee. A table is brought in but Purrazzo sends her face first into it instead. It’s time for thumbtacks, because those are required these days. Mickie gets dropped onto the tacks for the loud screaming portion and some choking with the chaps are good for a submission. Purrazzo isn’t waiting on Mickie to get up and dives off the apron to take her down again.
Back in and Purrazzo gets smart by chairing Mickie in the legs over and over. For some reason Purrazzo goes up top, allowing Mickie to blast her in the head with a chair (though Mickie collapsing into the tacks takes away some of the positives). A Thesz press off the apron pins Purrazzo but here is Matthew Rehwoldt to help her up, which doesn’t count as cheating (I guess?).
Back in and Purrazzo hits the Queen’s Gambit through a table for the pin but Mickie is up at 8. Mickie is fine enough to grab a guitar….so Purrazzo hits her low, allowing Mickie to the Wrestlemania XXII finger lick. Ok then. The guitar hits Rehwoldt and the MickieDT plants Purrazzo for the pin. Just to be sure, Mickie covers her with a table and chair for the ten count to retain at 19:45.
Rating: B+. They got extra violent here and it played up their hatred, though the quick falls and submissions were a little strange (logical, but strange). Mickie retaining makes sense as you want your best going into the Royal Rumble, which really will be the best exposure the company has had in a long time. This was a heck of a fight and the right choice for the main event, though Last Woman Standing might have been a better call (as would dropping the finger lick thing, which was a weird callback).
We get our first award with Jordynne Grace winning Knockout of the Year. She’s rather proud of the hard work.
Here’s the Moment of the Year. From Rebellion.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Moose vs. Josh Alexander
Alexander is challenging and his son comes out with him in Alexander cosplay. They go nose to nose to start with Alexander taking him down for some knees to the ribs. The very early ankle lock sends Moose bailing out to the floor, where he yells at Alexander’s family. Alexander comes out after him and Moose gets in a cheap shot to take over for the first time. Back in and Alexander gets sent hard into the corner, where he ducks a chop and chops away.
That doesn’t work for Moose, who hits a heck of a dropkick to take over before dropping Alexander face first for two. They head outside again where Alexander gets in a posting, only to be sent hard into the barricade. Back in and Alexander snaps off a belly to belly suplex to put both of them down. Some running boots to the face rock Moose to send him outside again, setting up a running crossbody through the ropes to drop him again.
Back in and the C4 Spike is blocked so Alexander rolls ten straight German suplexes. Moose gets in a shot of his own though and the Sky High gets two. A pump kick staggers Alexander but he counters a crossbody into the ankle lock. The rope is grabbed so Alexander kicks him in the head, which just wakes Moose up. They chop it out until Moose hits a Rock Bottom for no avail. Back up and Alexander wins a slugout, setting up a C4 Spike for a very close two.
Another C4 Spike is blocked and Moose bites Alexander’s head. That’s enough to set up a top rope superplex for two more and Moose is frustrated. The spear is countered into a Styles Clash of all things and the ankle lock goes on. Moose rips the turnbuckle pad off to escape, allowing Moose to kick him low. Now the spear can connect for a VERY close two so Moose takes off the top turnbuckle as well. A buckle bomb into the exposed turnbuckle looks to set up another spear but Alexander cuts it off. The C4 Spike is enough to give Alexander the pin and the title at 23:50.
Rating: B. They got the result right, it came after a hard fought match, and Alexander is the champion as he should have been a long time ago. This felt like a pay per view showdown and Alexander won because he is the better man. Much like the previous match, I’m not sure how much drama there was here, but it was a great way to close up the show.
Mike Bailey is X-Division Star of the Year.
Kenny King isn’t happy with Bailey winning and wants to find out who Bailey really is. King is coming to Bailey’s home.
X-Division Title: Trey Miguel vs. Ace Austin vs. Alex Zayne vs. Andrew Everett vs. Kenny King vs. Mike Bailey
Austin is defending and this is Ultimate X, with Everett taking the place of an injured Jack Evans. Tom: “This is the 47th Ultimate X match.” I don’t think that has the same zing that you think it does. It’s a big brawl to start with Bailey and Zayne clearing the ring so they can both go for failed climb attempts. With the two of them down, Miguel sends King outside and hits a big flip dive but has to cut Austin off.
Everett comes back in but Austin kicks Miguel and Everett down without much effort. Everything breaks down again and Everett German suplexes Miguel on the apron. The big dive drops the pile though and everyone is down on the floor. Back in and Zayne hits a running super hurricanrana on Everett, leaving us with Zayne vs. King. Bailey goes up but hits the Ultimate Weapon onto the pile instead of climbing, which doesn’t seem that bright.
A bunch of people go to the corner for a Tower Of Doom, with Miguel being smart enough to chill in the corner. Then he gives Zayne a super Canadian Destroyer, which doesn’t seem as bright as GOING FOR THE BELT. King, Austin, Miguel and Bailey all go up at the same time until Miguel and King are kicked down. Bailey and Austin hang on the top and slap away at each other but Everett goes above them, only to get headscissored down. Some kicks drop Austin as well and Bailey pulls himself up to win the title at 9:50.
Rating: C+. Ultimate X is one of those matches that sounds great on paper but it’s Impact’s version of the wacky ladder match: everyone does a bunch of stuff until someone shows enough intelligence to pull the belt down. Impact has been building towards Bailey winning for a long time now so this is about as good of an idea as they had. I’m not big on the guy, but at least it has been set up over the last few weeks.
The Motor City Machine Guns are the Tag Team of the Year.
Honor No More vs. Motor City Machine Guns/Frankie Kazarian/Nick Aldis/???
Maria is back with Honor No More (Eddie Edwards/Matt Taven/Mike Bennett/Vincent/PCO). Aldis is billed as a former NWA World Champion. True, but you would think his two Impact World Title reigns might carry a bit more weight here. There is a mystery partner and it’s….Dixie Carter? Ah never mind as she’s here for a speech (shocking I know) and also to introduce…Davey Richards. Not a name I would have bet on, or one I wanted to see for that matter, but he’s a name from the past.
It’s a brawl to start with the Guns beating up the Kingdom until we settle down to Aldis suplexing Bennett. Vincent and Kazarian come in to slug it out before we get the battle of the Wolves. Well maybe in a bit as Edwards hands it off to Taven instead, meaning it’s a parade of beatings. Everything breaks down and Honor No More takes turns getting beaten up in a bunch of corners. Shelley finally gets sent into the corner for a bunch of running shots, setting up Vincent’s running Downward Spiral for two.
Taven’s moonsault sets up Just The Top for two but PCO’s De-Animator misses. Shelley fights out of the corner, including a double Sliced Bread to Vincent and Edwards, which finally allows the hot tag off to Kazarian. House is cleaned again before it’s off to Aldis for a bunch of right hands. Everything breaks down again and it’s the Dream Sequence to Edwards, followed by a big dive to Bennett. Taven busts out the Flight Of The Conqueror to take out the pile, leaving Edwards vs. Richards again.
Richards gets the better of things and grabs the dragon screw legwhip in the ropes. The top rope double stomp misses but Richards is fine enough to grab a leglock on Edwards. Everyone in Honor No More outside of PCO gets caught in a hold so it’s PCO making the save. A Vader Bomb gets two on Sabin but the PCOsault misses Aldis. The Michinoku Driver puts PCO down and Richards adds the top rope double stomp for two.
Maria gets up on the apron for a distraction but Traci Brooks (Kazarian’s wife) pulls her off for a right hand. Kazarian saves Traci from PCO and it’s a top rope Flux Capacitor to plant PCO for two. Cue Kenny King to go after Kazarian but D’Lo Brown makes the save with a heck of a Sky High. There’s a Low Down to make it worse and the Guns strike away at PCO. The Kingdom gets dropped as well and there’s the Cradle Shock to PCO….with Earl Hebner coming over the barricade to count the pin at 18:46.
Rating: B-. This was the wild match that the show needed as a big celebration of the company’s history. That is something that you have to have on a show like this and it worked well enough. It helps that the match was good, but this was all about the history and tradition and that was a success.
Joe Hendry thinks Moose is cantankerous, but if Moose wants to find him, just say his name. Say at Hard To Kill?
The Death Dollz are the Knockouts Tag Team Of The Year.
Bhupinder Gujjar is named The One To Watch In 2023.
From Impact, September 22.
Digital Media Title: Bhupinder Gujjar vs. Brian Myers
Myers is defending in a ladder match. Gujjar slugs away to start and hits a jumping knee to the face. A Samoan drop looks to set up the Gargoyle spear but Myers knees him out of the way. The first ladder is brought in but Gujjar dropkicks it into his face. Myers knocks him outside though and goes up for the title, only to be pulled down into a cutter.
Now the Gargoyle spear can send Myers into the ladder but the climb takes too long, as usual. The ladder is knocked into Gujjar and it’s time to bring in another ladder. Gujjar breaks that up and the other ladder is set up next to the first. They both climb with Myers being knocked off, only to come back up with a belly to back off the ladders.
That’s good for a crash out to the floor, where Myers bridges a ladder onto the steps. A powerbomb drops Gujjar onto the ladder but he’s still able to make the save back inside. Myers low blows Gujjar on the ladder though and then gets creative by duct taping Gujjar to the ladder. That’s enough for Myers to go up and retain at 12:20.
Rating: C+. This was a pretty run of the mill ladder match, albeit one with a creative ending. Gujjar continues to look good enough out there, but there is still something missing that is keeping him from breaking through to that next level. I’m not sure if this feud warranted a ladder match, but at least they had a decent one.
Anthony Greene is coming.
Decay is ready to take the X-Division Title from Trey Miguel. Crazzy Steve gets his shot at Hard To Kill as well.
Josh Alexander is Male Wrestler of the Year. Like it could have been anyone else.
From Bound For Glory.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Josh Alexander vs. Eddie Edwards
Alexander is defending and Edwards sends Honor No More to the back. Both of their families are at ringside to make it more personal. They fight over a lockup to start as commentary breaks down the difference in the color of their gear. Edwards hits a chop, which is enough to make Alexander double leg him down and hammer away. Alexander knocks him outside for a breather before they switch places.
A slingshot dive drops Alexander for a change but he’s right back up with the crossbody to the back to send them both outside again. Back in and Edwards snaps off an overhead belly to belly before sending him right back to the floor. One might think they are filling in time here. The floor mats are pulled back, which takes long enough for Alexander to fight back. A German suplex from the apron to the floor is blocked so Edwards hits a Diehard Driver on the exposed floor.
Back in and Alexander seems to be favoring his leg and the Backpack Stunner takes him down. The half crab goes on but Alexander makes the rope. Back up and Alexander starts rolling some German suplexes, even going through the ropes and hitting another on the apron. That’s still not enough to break it up and they go outside with two more German suplexes, setting up another one on the ramp.
They head back inside with Alexander hitting a powerbomb onto the knee for two, only to have Eddie come back with Deep Six for two of his own. The Boston Knee Party is blocked and Alexander goes old school with a Styles Clash. Alexander puts on an ankle lock, which is broken without much trouble.
Edwards enziguris him off the top but the referee gets bumped. Cue Kenny King for a low blow before he is taken out by security, allowing a second referee to come in. The Boston Knee Party gets two on Alexander and a tiger driver gets the same, leaving both of them down. Alexander’s nose is busted but he comes up slugging, only to get rolled up for two. Another Boston Knee Party is blocked and the C4 Spike retains the title at 28:04.
Rating: B. Definitely a good match but this never hit that next level as it was bouncing pretty hard off the ceiling above it. Edwards is a strong challenger to Alexander and just like in the previous match, it felt like he should have won here instead of coming up short. What’s the point of Honor No More if Edwards loses in the biggest match the team has had? Anyway, solid main event, but I’m not sure if it was worthy of the final spot on the biggest show of the year.
Video on Eddie Edwards vs. Jonathan Gresham.
Video on Bully Ray vs. Josh Alexander.
And now, the Match of the Year. From Impact, December 8.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Mike Bailey vs. Josh Alexander
Alexander is defending and runs Bailey over with a shoulder to start. Back up and an exchange of shoulders goes nowhere so they run the ropes, with Bailey scoring off a kick to the chest. A knee to the ribs puts Bailey down as well but he’s right back with the bouncing kicks to send Alexander outside. There’s the big running flip dive to keep Bailey in control as we take a break.
Back with Alexander driving some knees into the back and cranking on both arms. Alexander gets two off a backbreaker but Bailey dropkicks his way out of trouble. The back is fine enough for the running corkscrew shooting star press for two on Alexander. Not that it seems to matter as Alexander is back up with some rolling German suplexes. The ankle lock is broken up in a hurry though and Bailey kicks the arm. An armbar stays on the arm and Alexander can’t get out, leaving Bailey to hit a poisonrana.
We take a break and come back with Alexander working on the back some more. The C4 Spike is countered into a hurricanrana for two and Bailey kicks him down. Bailey misses the Ultimate Weapon but Alexander still can’t hit the C4 Spike. They crash out to the floor and Bailey kicks him off the apron. The running moonsault to the floor drops Alexander again and they go back inside to slug it out. Both of them fall outside again and we take a break.
We come back again (over thirty minutes in now) with Bailey snapping the arm across the top rope. The Flamingo Driver is countered into a torture rack slam though and Alexander slaps on the ankle lock. With that broken up, Bailey gets his feet up in the corner, setting up the Ultimate Weapon. Bailey suddenly remembers that he is supposed to have a sore ankle though and they’re both down. Back to back kicks to the chest keep Alexander down and a third second sets up moonsault knees to the same chest. Bailey, WITH THE BAD KNEE, is fine enough to try the bouncing kicks, earning himself more rolling German suplexes.
We take another break and come back again with Alexander getting the ankle lock in the ropes. Since that doesn’t count, Alexander goes with the Angle Slam as we’re told that Eddie Edwards vs. Delirious will be moved to next week. Alexander misses a moonsault but is back up to catch Bailey with a super Angle Slam for another double knockdown. The ankle lock goes on again and Bailey can’t flip his way out. Alexander even gets a grapevine but Bailey manages to make the rope.
They both go up top as we have four minutes left in the hour time limit. Bailey knocks him off the top and hits the Ultimate Weapon for two more. Back up and Bailey kicks away, only to have the Flamingo Driver countered into a Styles Clash. The ankle lock goes on again, sending Bailey to the ropes again. We have a minute left and Alexander hits back to back C4 Spikes to retain at 59:50.
Rating: B+. Well that came out of nowhere. This was the long, epic style match that you do not see on television in any promotion save for once in a very long while. These guys beat each other up and if you ignore Bailey’s still absurd selling issues, it was pretty awesome. Alexander takes out another name and they even surprised me by not going to the time limit draw in the end. Bailey will probably be back, but for now this worked rather well as a big time surprise.
Overall Rating: B+. This was a heck of a show as Impact gets to hand pick their best material of the year. The good thing is there was quite a bit of awesome stuff to pick from in 2022 as Impact had a sneaky good year. I know they have a lot more to cover and they’re still Impact, but there is something to this company and they are worth watching if you get the chance. That was on display here and it was a very good use of two hours.
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