Date: April 16, 2023
Location: Rebel Sports Complex, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
It’s back to regular pay per view around here and that should make for a good show. The injury bug has struck Impact hard though as a new World and Knockouts Champion have to be crowned tonight. Other than that we have a Hardcore War, because we just needed more Tommy Dreamer vs. Bully Ray. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Heath/Rhino vs. Champagne Singh/Shera
Singh offers Heath money to throw the match but Heath throws the money instead. Heath works on the arm to take over before it’s off to Rhino vs. Shera. Rhino gets taken into the corner and Shera hammers away, setting up some choking on the ropes. Rhino gets in a clothesline but Shera is back up to knock Heath into the barricade. The belly to belly gets Rhino out of trouble for good though as the tag brings Heath in to clean house. Everything breaks down and Singh rolls Heath up, with Shera holding the feet for the pin at 6:08.
Rating: C. Very basic match to open things up here and that’s all it needed to be. They kept things moving and while I’m not sure about the logic of having Shera and Singh win, well anything really, it wasn’t long enough to get bad and the fans are going to cheer for Rhino and Heath. Just don’t expect me to care about Singh and we’ll be fine.
Post match Rhino Gores Singh.
Pre-Show: Knockouts Tag Team Titles: The Coven vs. Death Dollz
The Dollz are challenging and it’s Rosemary and Wilde both tagging out to start. It’s way too early for the Sick Driver so Jessicka clotheslines her to the floor instead. Back in and King is sent into the corner for a running splash from Rosemary. King manages to get over for the tag to Wilde, who quickly takes over on Rosemary. A running shoulder in the corner connects and Wilde runs her over again for a bonus.
Rosemary slugs at Wilde, who gets caught with a Codebreaker to cut her right back off. An exploder to Wilde gets Rosemary out of trouble though and there’s the double tag so Jessicka can clean house. Everything breaks down and it’s quickly back to Rosemary, who gets to bite King. The spear gives Rosemary two but Wilde makes a blind tag. Rosemary hits a second spear for no count, as instead she walks into a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker to give Wilde the pin to retain at 9:39.
Rating: C. Slightly longer match than the opener here but it didn’t make that much of a difference. The Knockouts Tag Team Titles are certainly better than either Women’s Tag Team Title in WWE but that isn’t the biggest hurdle to clear. The division needs some more teams, but the Coven still feels fresh enough to make them last for a while to come.
The opening video focuses on the World and Knockouts Titles being vacated and how we need new champions.
Tag Team Titles: Motor City Machine Guns vs. Bullet Club
The Club is defending in Ultimate X. It’s a brawl to start with Sabin getting knocked down but Shelley back off, allowing Sabin to try for the belts. With that not working, the Guns are sent outside for stereo dives from the Club. Back in and the Guns take over on, with Austin’s arm getting banged up.
Austin and Sabin climb up at the same time with the bad arm being rammed into the structure. Sabin ties up both of the Guns and Shelley goes up but gets pulled back down fast. Bey’s knee is banged up but he’s fine enough to grab a quick DDT and give everyone a much needed breather.
With everyone else on the floor, Austin busts out the big flip dive to take out both Guns. Back in and everyone gets knocked down again before all four go up for a climb at once. They all come crashing down and it’s the Art of Finesse to drop Shelley, allowing Bey to pull down the titles and retain at 13:07.
Rating: B. Hot opener as expected but there wasn’t much in the way of climbing, which made it kind of a regular match until the ending. The good thing is the people involved are able to do just about anything and make it work so this went well. I did like the lack of climbing and insanity though, as it was more about the people rather than the big crashes and spots. You don’t get that kind of thing in a match like this very often and it was nice for a change.
Commentary runs down the card as the audio quality goes down.
Steve Maclin is upset over the situation because he wanted to win the title from Josh Alexander. He spent years in a war zone and now he is ready to tag em and bag em. Oh and beat Kushida.
We recap Callihan trying to join the Design in maybe the dumbest story going in wrestling today.
Design/Callihan vs. Dirty Dango/Santino Marella/Joe Hendry
Before the match, Hendry mocks Callihan and the Design because the fans believe in him. He introduces Santino and….I still have no idea why this is supposed to be interesting. Is he really that kind of Canadian hero? Dango suplexes Angels to start and brings in Santino to wrestle Angels down. The threat of the Cobra sends Angels into the corner for the tag off to Callihan.
Santino gets taken into the corner corner so the beating can begin. A quick escape allows the tag off to Hendry though and Kon is pulled out of the air. Deaner gets suplexed and the tag brings Dango in to take over on Callihan. The Dirtbag Shuffle hits Callihan but a Kon distraction lets the villains get in a cheap shot. Dango gets beaten down in the corner but he manages to knock Angels down, allowing the hot tag off to Santino.
Everything breaks down and Hendry hits a double fall away slam, only to get caught with the Cactus Special 97. Deaner’s discus lariat hits Santino but he wants Callihan to finish him off. Callihan is handed the baseball bat….and he hits Deaner with it (thank goodness). Callihan gives him the thumbs down and walks out, leaving Santino to hit the Cobra for the pin on Deaner at 10:40.
Rating: C+. Pretty basic six man with the focus being on Santino and Callihan. That isn’t the most thrilling match but the fans being into it helped things a lot. At the very least, we’re done with the idiotic Seven Deadly Whatevers for Callihan, meaning we can finally move on to ANYTHING else. Not a great match but the fans liked it enough so it could have been a lot worse.
Tommy Dreamer is sad about his mother’s health but wants to be here anyway to fight in her honor. Dreamer is leaving a bit after tonight, but he’s ready to fight with the people he loves.
We recap PCO vs. Eddie Edwards. Eddie turned on PCO during the Honor No More days, sending PCO into a quest for revenge. For some reason Eddie has tried to bury PCO multiple times, which has been as bad of an idea as it has sounded. Now PCO wants to end Eddie for good in a Last Rites match.
Eddie Edwards vs. PCO
Last Rites (casket) match with Alisha Edwards in Eddie’s corner. PCO wastes no time in diving onto Edwards and the fight is on outside. Edwards gets in a shot though and hits his own dive to take over. They get inside for the first time, where PCO hits a running corner clothesline and a DDT.
The middle rope legdrop hits Edwards again and the Deanimator makes it worse. Back in and a chokeshove sends Edwards right back to the floor but it’s too early for the casket. Edwards gets in a shot to the arm and yep that’s dislocated. A German suplex and superkick don’t make things better for PCO so he goes outside…and slams the shoulder into the post to pop it back in.
They chop it out (with PCO opening his vest to make it easier) and Edwards is in trouble again. The PCOsault connects and Edwards gets chokeslammed onto the apron for another painful crash. Edwards gets in a shot of his own and smashes a kendo stick over PCO’s head. The Boston Knee Party connects but PCO pops back up. Cue Alisha with a shovel to the back for no avail, leaving PCO to chokeslam Eddie into the casket for the win at 13:46.
Rating: B-. PCO is not an overly complicated idea and sometimes that is what you need. In his case, you have a monster who is going to hurt people and is nearly unstoppable, which is exactly what you had here. I’m not sure what is next for PCO, but Edwards needs to go away for the time being while PCO moves off to something else. Good brawl here though, with PCO’s monster offense being great.
Trey Miguel’s promo….cannot be heard as there is no sound.
We recap Trey Miguel defending the X-Division Title against Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham. In short, two challengers, stupid champion, interference, triple threat results.
X-Division Title: Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bailey vs. Trey Miguel
Miguel is defending in an elimination match. They go with some three way grappling to start and that’s good for a three way standoff. Gresham and Bailey double hiptoss Miguel for a double two before Miguel is smart enough to bail to the ramp. The other two get to fight a bit until Miguel comes back in with an enziguri to Gresham.
Bailey is back up with a missile dropkick to Gresham and the standing shooting star gets two on Miguel. Bailey Indian Deathlocks Gresham and suplexes Miguel at the same time to crank on the leg even harder. Miguel gets dropped again and the challengers get to slug it out. Bailey poisonranas Gresham and crashes outside with Miguel in a big heap. Gresham dives onto Miguel but Bailey dives onto both of them to take over again.
Miguel cutters Bailey down and hits a big running version over the top for two on Gresham inside. Gresham is fine enough to Figure Four Bailey (that won’t work) but Miguel breaks it up with a top rope Meteora to eliminate Gresham at 9:45. Miguel figures Bailey’s four and they chop it out with the hold still on.
Bailey finally breaks out and wins a chop off until he kicks Miguel in the face. A standing flipping slam gives Bailey two and there’s the tornado kick. The Ultimate Weapon misses so Bailey sends him outside for the standing moonsault knees. Back in and the Ultimate Weapon only hits mat, allowing Miguel to roll him up with trunks to retain at 13:53.
Rating: B. Good, fast paced match here which shouldn’t be a surprise, much like holding Bailey in a pair of Figure Fours for two minutes straight making him do more flips and kicks. That is just something you know is coming from Bailey but at least now we get to move on to more of Miguel as champion. His time as champion is getting to be impressive as he is getting into the all time ranks and that can make for some very fun times.
We recap Team Bully vs. Team Dreamer. This is all about Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer, which has been going on for about six months now. Ray pretended to be good, Dreamer wasn’t sure, Ray revealed he was evil, it’s time for a big fight with friends because they used to be around each other in ECW.
Team Bully vs. Team Dreamer
Bully Ray, Moose, Brian Myers, Masha Slamovich, Kenny King
Tommy Dreamer, Killer Kelly, Yuya Uemura, Frankie Kazarian, Bhupinder Gujjar
It’s basically WarGames without the cage, with the first two entrants in for three minutes. Then Team Bully (thanks to winning a match on Impact) gets an advantage for ninety seconds. All ten have to get in and then it’s first pin or submission, anything goes. Moose starts for Team Bully and Frankie Kazarian starts for Team Dreamer.
Kazarian starts fast by throwing a trashcan at Moose’s head and we’re ready to go. Moose fires back with a chop and they head outside, where Kazarian sets up a table. We’ll save that for later though as they head back inside, with Kazarian sending him into the corner. Brian Myers is in to give Ray the advantage and he sets up another table next to the first.
Bhupinder Gujjar evens things up and goes after Myers to give Kazarian a breather. The cheese grater to the head has Myers busted open (good thing he is in a white shirt) and Moose gets trashcan lidded down. Kenny King is in to uneven things again and house is quickly cleaned. Moose hits Gujjar in the head with a bottle of water and Killer Kelly makes it 3-3. That means a staple gun to Myers’ head and another shot between Moose’s legs. Then Kelly staples her own head and it’s Masha Slamovich in to give the villains control again.
Everyone else is knocked down and it’s Myers alone to face Yuya Uemura as things are evened up. The good guys clear the ring again and it’s Bully Ray to complete his own team. Ray is smart enough to take his time so the rest of his team can get back up and jump Team Dreamer. Kelly is held down but it’s Dreamer to even things up with the kendo stick. Dreamer goes after the leg….and everyone else gets involved for a ten person chain submission for quite the visual.
Kelly and Slamovich have a chair duel until Ray shoves Kelly off the top. Moose spears Ray by mistake and Uemura hits Moose with a high crossbody. The Killer Klutch has King in trouble but Slamovich breaks it up and Snow Plows Kelly. Dreamer piledrives Slamovich but here are the Good Hands to jump him.
Kazarian breaks that up and let’s bring in a ladder. The Good Hands come back in to go after Kelly, who beats them up like the goons they are. Kazarian cutters Skyler through the tables at ringside but Ray low blows Dreamer inside. Another table is set up….and here are a bunch of referees to beat Ray up for revenge from the last few weeks. Dreamer drops Ray and, with the referees holding the ladder, goes up to splash Ray through said table for the win at 25:07.
Rating: C. What is there to say here? You have a bunch of other people there to keep everyone else warm for the sake of Ray vs. Dreamer. This is a feud that has been going on for months for reasons I still don’t quite get, but hopefully this should wrap it up. The hardcore stuff was kind of there but it was all basic stuff with only a few spots of note. It was fine enough and far better than Ray vs. Dreamer on their own, but it has been a story that wasn’t interesting for months and wasn’t much better here in the blowoff.
We recap the World title match. Josh Alexander had to vacate the title after about a year long reign, setting up #1 contender Steve Maclin vs. Kushida, the best remaining option. There isn’t much heat on the match, but it is a case where they didn’t have another choice and are doing the best they can.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Kushida vs. Steve Maclin
For the vacant title and former World Champion Nick Aldis is here as a surprise guest commentator. Aldis says he is officially back in Impact, which is better than nothing for him. Kushida goes right at him to start fast but it’s way too early for the Hoverboard Lock. Back up and Kushida rides him into a headlock without much trouble as Maclin can’t get anything going here.
Kushida can’t hit the basement dropkick so he takes it over into a wristlock instead. The Hoverboard Lock is blocked again and this time Maclin sends him throat first into the top rope to take over. A backbreaker gives Maclin two and Kushida’s back is sent into the post. They head outside with Maclin grabbing a suplex and dropping an elbow off the apron, though he might have banged up his knee in the process.
We hit the chinlock with a knee in Kushida’s back as Maclin certainly has a target. An Angle Slam is blocked though and Kushida hits a running kick to the arm. A discus forearm sets up the small package driver to give Kushida two but Maclin is fine enough to crotch him on top. They go to the ramp where Kushida hits a running shot to the arm but said arm is fine enough for a German suplex back inside.
A buckle bomb into a sitout powerbomb gives Maclin two and he puts Kushida on top. That is hardly the best idea as Kushida pulls him down into a cross armbreaker. Maclin gets over to the rope for the break and they crash out to the floor again. Back in and Maclin’s spear in the corner sets up the KIA for two, leaving Maclin frustrated.
Maclin goes up top but dives into the Hoverboard Lock, only to break it up with some forearms to the head. Another Hoverboard Lock goes on but Maclin reverses into a Death Valley Driver into the corner. Kushida gets the Hoverboard Lock AGAIN, only to have Maclin reverse into another KIA for the pin and the title at 18:27.
Rating: B. That was about the only way they could go as Kushida was a filler opponent for Maclin. That isn’t something they could really get around given the circumstances and it wound up being a rather good match anyway. Maclin has been built up to be champion for months now and it was the only conclusion they had here. Kushida going for the arm time after time but having Maclin escape it at every turn worked well. They were limited in what they could do and made it work as well as possible.
Post match Maclin insists that Scott D’Amore come out and hand him the title. D’Amore does so and gets hit in the face with the belt. Nick Aldis gets in and glares Maclin off. Aldis works just fine for a first challenger, as Maclin has already run through a lot of the other options.
Here are some upcoming major events. Multiverse United 2 is on August 20.
We recap the Knockouts Title match. Again the champion, Mickie James in this case, was forced to vacate the title due to injury so we have the #1 contender and a former champion fighting for the title.
Knockouts Title: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jordynne Grace
For the vacant title. They shake hands to start and Grace grinds away on a headlock. Purrazzo cranks away on the arm and has Grace in some early pain. Some armdrags into a running hurricanrana has Grace in more trouble but she sends Purrazzo outside. That means a dropkick through the ropes and a Jackhammer on the floor as Purrazzo is rocked.
A rather stalled suplex gives Grace a slightly delayed two but she has to roll out of a Fujiwara armbar. The Queen’s Gambit on the ramp is broken up so Purrazzo settles for a moonsault to the floor instead. Back in and the Queen’s Gambit is broken up again but Purrazzo is able to grab a Koji Clutch.
Grace powers out and drops her hard with a Vertebreaker for all things for two. The Grace Driver is blocked and she pulls Purrazzo into a rear naked choke. They trade some strikes but Purrazzo pulls her into the Fujiwara armbar. Make that the Venus De Milo but a foot on the rope is good for the break. Back up and Grace’s spinebuster gets two, followed by a Grace Driver for the same (as Rehwoldt is getting into these near falls). Purrazzo counters a superplex into a sunset bomb, setting up the Queen’s Gambit for the pin and the title at 17:06.
Rating: B. This is an interesting way to go as I would have expected Grace to win but Purrazzo is a completely acceptable choice as well. Grace had held the title for a long time until James took it off of her but it has been a bit since Purrazzo. They could go quite an interesting direction with Purrazzo fighting off some challengers and hurting some arms, so this was certainly a smart idea. It was a good match as well, similar to Kushida vs. Maclin actually, but with the submission holds having more success until Purrazzo managed to pull it off.
They hug to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. They were in a rough place here as the two biggest matches had stories thrown together over the last two weeks. That left the main story of Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer with four friends each. Given what they had, they had put on a rather strong show, which has been the case for their bigger events in recent memory. Good show here, and worth some extra praise all things considered.
Champagne Singh/Shera b. Heath/Rhino – Rollup to Heath
The Coven b. Death Dollz – Swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker to Rosemary
Bullet Club b. Motor City Machine Guns – Bey pulled down the titles
Santino Marella/Dirty Dango/Joe Hendry b. The Design/Callihan – Cobra to Deaner
PCO b. Eddie Edwards – Chokeslam into the casket
Trey Miguel b. Jonathan Gresham and Mike Bailey – Rollup with trunks to Bailey
Team Dreamer b. Team Bully – Splash through a table to Ray
Steve Maclin b. Kushida – KIA
Deonna Purrazzo b. Jordynne Grace – Queen’s Gambit
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