Date: January 26, 2023
Location: Center Stage, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
The fallout from Hard To Kill continues and we are also on the way to No Surrender. The latter means that we need a new #1 contender and we will have one by the end of the night due to a six way elimination match. Other than that, Bully Ray now seems to have to deal with Mickie James and possibly Frankie Kazarian so let’s get to it.
X-Division Title: Mike Jackson vs. Trey Miguel
Jackson, 73 years old, is challenging and gets wristlocked down to start. Some running shoulders and a hiptoss have Miguel down for a change but Miguel punches him in the face. A hammerlock slam puts Jackson down but he avoids the springboard moonsault. An atomic drop sends Jackson outside, where he is fine enough to post Miguel. Back in and Jackson stays on the arm but takes too long with Oldest School, allowing Miguel to pull him down. The Lightning Spiral finishes for Miguel at 5:58.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t terrible by any means and factoring in Jackson’s age, it was downright impressive. Having someone who was nearly a wrestler’s normal retirement age over thirty years ago in there and looking acceptable is remarkable. There was no way he was winning the title here, but for a cool novelty, this was fun.
Post match Miguel goes to get the spray paint but finds Crazzy Steve instead. Steve has TREY written all over himself and pulls out his own spray paint to spray Trey’s logo on his chest. Miguel runs, partially because Black Taurus comes out as well.
Josh Alexander is ready to face anyone who wins tonight. Steve Maclin comes in to say that he’s coming for whoever comes out with the title.
Good Hands vs. Kushida/Kevin Knight
Skyler and Knight trade wrist control to start before it’s off to Kushida to stay on Skyler’s arm. A blind tag brings in Hotch though and a German suplex into a rollup gets two on Kushida. That just means Kushida gets to hit them in the face, allowing the tag off to Knight. Everything breaks down and Knight dropkicks Hotch off of Kushida’s shoulders, setting up the Hoverboard Lock to give Kushida the win at 4:00.
Rating: C. I’ve heard a good bit about Knight before but haven’t seen much of him in the ring. Putting him with Kushida is always a good idea though and having them beat up on Bully Ray’s goons worked. It was just a quick match to have Kushida and Knight get a win on TV and that was enough of a success.
Gisele Shaw and Jai Vidal meet Shaw’s mystery partner, leaving Vidal VERY happy.
Mickie James wants to know what was up with Jordynne Grace saving her last week. Grace says she was protecting her investment, meaning her rematch. Seems cool with James.
Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Death Dollz vs. Gisele Shaw/Tara
The Dollz are defending and have Rosemary in their corner to counter Jai Vidal. If nothing else, we get Tara’s BROKEN BROKEN entrance again. Tara and Taya start things off with a handshake but Shaw tags herself in before anything can happen. The fans are NOT pleased but Taya sending Shaw into the corner for some hip attacks work a bit better for them. Jessicka comes in and gets hammered down by Shaw.
The running uppercut puts Jessicka down again but she runs Shaw over, allowing the hot tag to Taya. Rosemary takes Vidal out, leaving Shaw to STILL not bring Tara in. Instead Tara comes in and gets yelled at by Shaw, who gets taken out by the Widow’s Peak. Jessicka comes in with the Sick Driver to retain at 6:12.
Rating: C+. This was all about the storytelling as Shaw is now fully embracing being the worst partner in the world. That is a story to tell as eventually she will find the right partner and could make for a good pairing. For now though, Tara was just there to get annoyed and then hit the Widow’s Peak. Another fine step forward in a bigger story.
Taylor Wilde consults tarot cards to find out she will be seeing Killer Kelly again.
Dave LaGreca is thankful for being part of Impact when Bully Ray comes in. He wants to know why he is the only former World Champion not in the #1 contenders match. Santino Marella says Ray lost at Hard To Kill and Ray, who does like Marella, threatens him if he doesn’t get it. LaGreca knows that only Tommy Dreamer can help this.
Tasha Steelz says she didn’t get pinned by Mickie James in a singles match. This isn’t working though, any of it. Steelz walks out on the interview, plus Savannah Evans.
Major Players vs. Bullet Club
Cardona and Bey trade shoulders to start before Bey armdrags him into an armbar. The Club cleans house with the rapid fire strikes but a Cardona distraction lets Myers deck Bey. Cardona drops a knee for two and Myers grabs a front facelock. Bey gets in a whip into the corner though and the double tag brings in Austin and Cardona. Everything breaks down and the Reboot hits Bey, setting up Myers’ top rope elbow for two. The assisted Art of Finesse is broken up so Austin kicks Cardona in the face, setting up a quick rollup for the pin at 6:55.
Rating: C+. There was some miscommunication in there between the Major Players and that could be a bad sign for the team’s future. I could see the team splitting down the line as the specter of WWE always looms over someone like Cardona. The Bullet Club has absolutely found its niche as the fast moving pair of smaller guys and they looked rather good in a win here.
Post match here is Joe Hendry to accept Matt Cardona’s challenge for a Digital Media Title match. Cardona is the original Internet Champion but lately, Cardona must feel a bit left out. That’s why Hendry has written him a son, with a focus on Cardona wanting to play with action figures instead of spending, ahem, quality time with his wife. Throw in the line “You’re the king of the indies and now you’re rich, but to me you’ll always be Edge’s b****” and Cardona is really not pleased. Hendry’s stuff continues to be awesome.
Post break Myers and Cardona come up to Moose and promise to get rid of Hendry. End of scene.
Jonathan Gresham vs. Sheldon Jean
Gresham headlocks him down to start before tripping Jean down and cranking on the leg. Back up and Jean kicks him in the face, earning a dropkick to the knee. Gresham cranks the knee again and hits a sliding forearm for the pin at 3:03.
Rating: C. Give Gresham a warm body to work with and let him hack it to pieces one limb at a time. That is a formula that is going to work as Gresham knows how to do that style as well as anyone going right now. He made it look easy here and putting something like that on TV for a few weeks is a good way to remind fans that this is a wrestling show.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Moose vs. Rhino vs. Rich Swann vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Sami Callihan vs. Chris Sabin
Elimination rules and the winner gets a World Title shot at No Surrender. The brawl starts fast and Rhino and Moore are left alone in the ring for an exchange of shoulders. Sabin comes in to shoulder Rhino down but he walks into a suplex from Callihan. It’s Sabin back up with a dive to the floor onto Moose and Swann snaps off a running hurricanrana to Edwards. Swann’s running flip dive off the apron takes down Moose and Edwards on the floor.
Back in and Edwards hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Swann, leaving Rhino to hit some running shoulders to Callihan in the corner. Moose spears Rhino though, allowing Callihan to get the elimination at 4:32. We take a break and come back with Moose cleaning house, including dropkicking Swann and Sabin on the top at the same time. Sabin takes Moose down with a tornado DDT and does the same to Edwards.
Callihan is back in to kick away at Swann and Sabin but Swann bulldogs Callihan/kicks Edwards for a double knockdown. Swann’s middle rope splash gets two on Callihan but Edwards powerbombs Swann onto Sabin for two more. The Boston Knee Party is loaded up but here is PCO to go after Edwards. The distraction lets Sabin roll Edwards up for the pin at 13:25. Moose comes back in to Rock Bottom Sabin for two and shrugs off the tornado DDT. The spear finishes Sabin at 15:31 and we’re down to three.
We take another break and come back with a three way slugout with Swann getting the better of things until Moose takes out his leg. Moose pounds on the leg but Swann grabs a quick rollup for the pin at 23:18. Cue the Design to tell Callihan to take out Swann so Callihan goes after the bad knee. Swann rolls him up to escape so Callihan powerbombs him into another leglock. With that broken up, Swann kicks him in the head a few times, setting up the middle rope 450 for the pin and the title shot at 26:27.
Rating: B-. Swann going forward to the title shot is a good way to go, as he is credible enough to give Alexander a threat but not likely to take the title. They have to find someone to keep the challenger spot warm for Steve Maclin, who seems likely to be the next champion. They kept the action moving here and making it elimination rules was the best thing they could have gone.
Post match Swann tries to talk sense into Callihan but gets beaten down for his efforts. Yuyu Uemura comes in for a failed save attempt so Josh Alexander and Frankie Kazarian run in for the real save to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. As has been the case for a good while now, Impact continues to shine and look like one of the best weekly wrestling shows around. It shows you just how far the company has come and it is great to see them turning into such a fun show. Normally I would say to keep it going, but they have been doing it for such a long time now that it’s not even about maintaining momentum anymore. Good show here and I want to see where this is going, as is usual these days.
Trey Miguel b. Mike Jackson – Lightning Spiral
Kushida/Kevin Knight b. Good Hands – Hoverboard Lock to Hotch
Death Dollz b. Gisele Shaw/Tara – Sick Driver to Shaw
Bullet Club b. Major Players – Rollup to Cardona
Jonathan Gresham b. Sheldon Jean – Sliding forearm
Rich Swann won a six way elimination match last eliminating Sami Callihan
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