Date: February 2, 2023
Location: Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida
Commentators: Tom Hannifan, Matthew Rehwoldt
It’s the start of a new month and we are well on our way to No Surrender. Last week saw Rich Swann win a #1 contenders match to earn a shot at Josh Alexander later this month, but it still feels like we are coming up on Steve Maclin as the really big bad. Odds are we see more of the build this week so let’s get to it.
The setup is different this week as the camera isn’t facing the video screen, making it look more like a WWE or AEW show.
Bullet Club vs. Kevin Knight/Kushida
Knight and Ace start things off with Bey’s headlock not getting him very far. Knight misses a charge into the corner and Bey stomps him in the back, only to get caught with a springboard spinning crossbody. It’s off to Kushida to start in on the arm but it’s right back to Knight, whose springboard is dropkicked out of the air. Austin comes in to stomp Knight down for two and he kicks away at Knight in the corner. The Club starts taking turns on Knight, with Austin grabbing a chinlock.
That’s broken up and Knight dives over for the tag to Kushida. Everything breaks down and Knight and Bey wind up on their opponents’ shoulders for a slugout. With that broken up, Knight dropkicks Bey off Kushida’s shoulders (without needing ropes for a boost) for two but Austin knocks Knight down. Austin gets sent outside so Knight tries a springboard….which is pulled into a cutter from Bey onto the apron (that was SWEET). Back in and the Art of Finesse into the Fold finishes Knight at 9:25.
Rating: C+. This was the kind of match that regularly opens Impact a good chunk of the time and they made it work here. The Club has become a very nice team who can make almost anything work and they did it again this week. Beating Kushida, even without pinning him, is a big deal and I could go with the Club getting a bigger spot.
Deaner isn’t happy with Sami Callihan for losing the Golden Six Shooter last week. He failed there, but he can make up for it with a win tonight.
Steph DeLander (formerly Persia Pirotta in NXT) debuts next week.
Gisele Shaw vs. Savannah Evans
Jai Vidal is with Shaw while Evans wants to prove she can do this herself. They talk trash to start until and Evans punches her into the corner. Shaw strikes away but gets shoulders in the corner and butterfly suplexes back out of it. We take a break and come back with Evans hitting a Samoan drop into a spinebuster for two. A fisherman’s suplex gets the same but a Vidal distraction lets Shaw hit a superkick. The running knee finishes Evans at 8:24.
Rating: C-. Shaw is doing something interesting with the Black Widow thing and it makes sense for her to win here. If nothing else, she is getting more of a character and that is something that has been lacking for a long time. The match wasn’t very good, but at least it went the right way.
Post match Shaw says some people call her the Black Widow of the Knockouts Division because she gets rid of people. She doesn’t care how many people she has run off and belongs in the spotlight because she is a star.
Kenny King runs into two guys and doesn’t like that they aren’t talking about him. King steals their chips and then runs into Zicky Dice and Johnny Swinger. More disrespect ensues and King is ready to get a match with Swinger as a result. Swinger isn’t pleased, but he’ll trust Dice.
Post break Santino Marella makes a match between King and Swinger. King leaves and here is Steve Maclin to say he should be #1 contender. Marella puts him in a match to get to a #1 contenders match at No Surrender. Maclin isn’t pleased but leaves, with Dirty Dango coming in. Dango will do whatever Marella needs, but he wants in one of the qualifying matches too. Deal.
Crazzy Steve vs. Sheldon Jean
Black Taurus is here with Steve. They fight over wrist control to start with Jean taking him down by the head and getting in a kick. Back up and Steve bites him in the face, setting up some clotheslines in the corner. There’s the Cannonball and Belladonna’s Kiss finishes Jean at 2:25.
Post match Trey Miguel runs in with the spray paint but Steve takes it away and paints himself.
Jordynne Grace has her guaranteed rematch for the Knockouts Champion but for now she’ll settle for beating up Steph DeLander next week.
Santino Marella comes in to see Raven, who has an idea of how to make money for the company: make Raven the champ. Reese (of WCW fame) comes in to ask if they’re getting the Flock together. Raven: “Shut up Yeti.”
Here is Bully Ray for a chat. After a lot of booing, Ray talks about how he doesn’t think people like him. Management, the fans, the industry as a whole? None of them like him! Ray knows that the boss doesn’t like him because he wasn’t in the #1 contenders match with former World Champions. Ray: “Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about. Now look at everybody doing what I tell them to do.” After a warning to Santino Marella, Ray shifts over to Tommy Dreamer, who has never gotten along with him. Dreamer is nothing but a phony who wants everyone to love him but that can’t happen.
Cue Mickie James to interrupt because Ray interrupted her big moment. Mickie finds it funny that Ray is calling Dreamer a politicking liar when that is all Ray does. Ray tells her to stop smiling and threatens violence before calling her a tramp. That earns Ray a slap so Ray slams her (NOT A SLAM!). Cue the Good Hands for a table but Dreamer makes the save. Violence is teased but here is Santino Marella to make Mickie/Dreamer vs. the Good Hands. That hardly seems fair.
Killer Kelly has already beaten Taylor Wilde but Wilde won’t leet it go. If Wilde wants another match, so be it. Cue Wilde, who wants to team with Kelly. The Death Dollz teleport in and the match seems to be made.
Johnny Swinger vs. Kenny King
Zicky Dice is here with Swinger, who is still trying to win 50 matches to get a World Title match. Swinger hides in the ropes over and over before bailing into the corner from the threat of a kick to the face. Dice offers a distraction but King kicks Swinger in the face anyway. The Royal Flush finishes Swinger at 1:43.
Post match King puts every champion on notice and says he’s coming for the titles.
Bully Ray comes up to Masha Slamovich and wants her to beat up Mickie James at No Surrender. Slamovich doesn’t seem to speak English.
Matt Cardona debuts a rap video in response to Joe Hendry. Apparently he’s going to take Hendry’s mom on a date. With the video over, Brian Myers reminds Cardona that he is married. No matter though, as Cardona is going to take the title.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Josh Alexander/Rich Swann/Frankie Kazarian/Yuya Uemura vs. Callihan/The Design
Callihan seems to have lost his first name. Deaner and Swann start things off but it’s off to Callihan before anything happens. Callihan takes over and hands it off to Deaner, who gets taken down. Uemura hits a dropkick to take over and Alexander comes in, with Deaner biting him head. Everything breaks down and Kon sends Swann to the apron, where a big flip dive takes out the pile at ringside.
We take a break and come back with Kazarian chopping Angels and Uemura nowhere to be seen. Kazarian hits the springboard legdrop but it’s off to Swann, who gets taken down for a change. Deaner comes in to drop an elbow before handing it off to Kon. Uemura is back on the apron as Kon works on a nerve hold. The Design takes turns beating on Swann, including Deaner hitting a middle rope dropkick.
Kon punches the post though and the diving tag brings in Alexander to clean house. Kon and Alexander have their big showdown with Alexander not being able to hit the German suplex. Everything breaks down and Deaner counters the C4 Spike. We hit the parade of secondary finishers until Deaner pushes Uemura off the top. The Cactus Driver finishes for Callihan at 16:45.
Rating: C+. This was a weird one as they did a lot of the stuff right, but it didn’t do anything to make more more interested in seeing Swann vs. Alexander. If nothing else, this was more about Callihan and the Design, which is hardly a story that I need to see keep going. It was a completely decent, if not pretty good, eight man main event, but I’m not sure how much it accomplished.
Overall Rating: C. Kind of a weird show here as it built towards a bunch of stuff, but I’m not sure how interesting most of it is going to be. The majority of the show’s big angles were Callihan/The Design and Mickie James/Tommy Dreamer vs. Bully Ray. That sounds like something you get from a random match generator rather than a regular show, but Impact has actually earned the benefit of the doubt lately. Not a bad show, but a skippable one.
Bullet Club b. Kevin Knight/Kushida – Fold to Knight
Gisele Shaw b. Savannah Evans – Running knee
Crazzy Steve b. Sheldon Jean – Belladonna’s Kiss
Kenny King b. Johnny Swinger – Royal Flush
Design/Callihan b. Yuyu Uemura/Josh Alexander/Rich Swann/Frankie Kazarian – Cactus Driver to Uemura
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