Date: September 7, 2023
Location: Rebel Sports Complex, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
It’s the go home show for Victory Road, but perhaps more important, we’re a week away from Impact 1000, which has the potential to be something special. I could go for seeing a lot of the legends back for one more run, but we have a more modern special to set up first. Let’s get to it.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Dani Luna
Luna works on a headlock to start before they go into some standing switches. Luna gets two off a clothesline but Purrazzo snaps off Two Amigos. They head to the apron with Purrazzo snapping Luna’s arm down hard. Back in and a Backstabber drops Luna but she comes back with some forearms to the face. Purrazzo has had enough though and it’s a Russian legsweep into the Fujiwara armbar to finish Luna at 6:05.
Rating: C+. I liked this one well enough as we rarely see Luna in the ring on this show. She isn’t the most complex wrestler in the world but she does well with the power game. Purrazzo seems ready to move back into something bigger, though that needs to be something other than facing Trinity after her latest loss.
Crazzy Steve insists that he is not crazy, including when he attacked Black Taurus last week. He saw what used to be rage and now Taurus is going to do the exact same thing that everyone has done to him: leave him abandoned and forgotten. Now it’s time to decimate.
Tommy Dreamer is ready to put his career on the line against Kenny King. He talks about going to his first show in 1980 and it became the love of his life. His parents and children have been everywhere for his major events but he had to say goodbye to his mother recently. Everyone has second guessed him but here is Heath to interrupt. Heath tries to talk him out of putting his career on the line because everyone respects him. Dreamer says he’s writing one final chapter.
Joe Hendry/Yuya Uemura vs. Champagne Singh/Shera
Joe and Yuya have quite the coordinated entrance as they are dubbed JoYa. Yuya armdrags Singh a few times to start but Singh snaps off a hot shot. Shera comes in for a slam but Yuya forearms away at Singh. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Hendry, who suplexes Shera down. Everything breaks down and it’s an airplane spin tossed into Yuya’s cutter to finish Singh at 4:27.
Rating: C. This was almost all about the entrance, which is of course incredibly catchy, as tends to be the case with any Hendry music. It’s a clever team and they got off on the right foot here. I like Hendry moving up a step and he and Yuya have had some good chemistry together in their limited interactions.
Steve Maclin and Bully Ray are ready for PCO and Josh Alexander. Well part of it at least as Ray is terrified of PCO. He wants Carl Ouellet rather than PCO, who seems indestructible. Ray has lit PCO on fire but he keeps coming back so Ray wants Maclin to follow his lead. Maclin isn’t overly impressed.
Video on Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong.
Video on Will Ospreay.
Josh Alexander is ready for Steve Maclin at Victory Road and for tonight’s tag match.
Subculture vs. Rich Swann/Sami Callihan
Andrews and Swann fight over wrist control to start and miss stereo dropkicks for a standoff. Callihan comes in to chop at Webster but Swann misses a springboard kick to the head. Subculture dropkicks Swann to the floor and a big dive takes him down as we take a break. Back with Swann fighting out of a seated abdominal stretch but getting dropkicked down again.
Andrews misses a charge into the post and Swann kicks his way to freedom, allowing the tag off to Callihan. House is cleaned and Callihan breaks up a double team attempt, only to get caught with Stundog Millionaire. Morgan misses the 450 though and it’s back to Swann to pick up the pace. A running cutter on the ramp drops Webster and a kick to the head sets up a middle rope 450 to finish Webster at 12:38.
Rating: B-. Good stuff here but that shouldn’t be the biggest surprise. Subculture have shown they can work with anyone and Swann/Callihan have done some good things together. What matters here is it feels like they are actually building a division and that is a nice flashback to days of Impact past. It can be done, and this was a nice way to boost a team that needed the help.
We look at Gisele Shaw and company getting rid of MK Ultra in last week’s battle royal.
Shaw and company are coming for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.
The Rascalz brag about winning the Tag Team Titles when the Good Hands come in. They seem to imply they want their payment, in the form of a title shot, for helping the Rascalz win the belts in the first place. The Rascalz don’t seem interested.
Lio Rush vs. Kevin Knight
Non-title. Knight counters Rush’s rapid fire head fakes to start and knocks him to the floor, meaning Rush is ready to walk. That doesn’t work for Knight so he sends Rush back inside and takes him down for two. Rush bails outside again and gets chopped into the barricade as Knight is on a roll to start. Back in and they trade chops in the corner with Rush getting the better of things. That’s broken up as well and Knight kicks away but gets caught with a shot in the corner we take a break.
We come back with Knight missing a charge in the corner and getting dropped with a hard clothesline for two. We hit the chinlock and then an armbar until Knight powers up for some rams into the corner. Knight snaps off a middle rope hurricanrana (that looked good) and they’re both down. Back up and Knight hits a splash in the corner, followed by a clothesline for two. A high dropkick knocks Rush silly but a springboard spinning crossbody misses. Rush kicks him in the head and hits the Final Hour for the pin at 10:21.
Rating: B-. The more I see of Knight, the more I like him. He’s very athletic and can work the fast paced style, which offered a rare challenge for Rush. There was no need to have Knight get the win here, but having him hang in there with name after name is a rather smart way to go. Give him some wins and you might have something with him. Rush already has Kushida coming up though and this was the kind of boost he needed before the title defense.
Post match Rush grabs a Hoverboard Lock but Kushida runs in for the save.
Dirty Dango and Alpha Bravo aren’t looking forward to Impact 1000, with Dango bringing up names from the very early days of the company. Dango: “We’re doing it Dixie!” He mocks Jake Something defending pro wrestling and isn’t worried about beating him at Impact 1000.
Here is Santino Marella to run the contract signing for the Victory Road Knockouts Title match. Cue Alisha Edwards, with Eddie Edwards (and alcohol), and Trinity, with Santino hyping up the match as well as he can. Alisha mocks his accent and talks about how glad she is that she changed like Eddie did. She promises to win the title and signs without incident.
Trinity signs without saying a word and Alisha is a bit offended. It turns out Trinity can’t understand Alisha’s accent (the fans approve), but in reality she respects what Alisha has accomplished. Alisha accuses Trinity of being given a pass to the top, with Trinity suggesting Eddie helped Alisha get here.
Eddie rants about how they’ve been here longer than anyone but Trinity brings up Eddie turning his back on the company. Alisha spits the alcohol into Trinity’s face but then stops to talk trash. That’s enough for Trinity to kick her in the head and the brawl is on. Trinity loads up a powerbomb through the table but Eddie breaks it up and puts her through the table instead. Frankie Kazarian makes a late save. Not a great contract signing, as Alisha isn’t the most interesting challenger.
Victory Road rundown.
The Motor City Machine Guns are ready to get their Tag Team Titles back.
Bully Ray/Steve Maclin vs. Josh Alexander/PCO
Alexander and Maclin start things off, with the threat of an ankle lock sending Maclin running away in a hurry. Ray comes in and looks scared at the thought of a tag to PCO. That’s exactly what he gets though and naturally Maclin comes in as well. PCO hits a quick clothesline and stomps away in the corner as we take a break.
Back with Alexander chopping away at Maclin in the corner and handing it back to PCO. That doesn’t go so well as Maclin takes over in the corner (where Ray isn’t having any of this tagging in stuff) but PCO fights out with relative ease. Alexander comes back in but gets taken into the wrong corner, allowing Ray to come in and stomp away. The middle rope dropkick hits Ray but he sends Alexander outside, where Alexander comes up favoring his recently repaired arm.
Back in and Maclin stomps away before grabbing a chinlock with a knee between Alexander’s shoulders. An Irish Curse gives Maclin two and it’s back to Ray for some clotheslines. Alexander manages to suplex his way out of trouble though and it’s PCO coming back in to clean house. Maclin knocks Alexander off the apron but gets caught with a Backstabber by PCP. The middle rope legdrop sends Maclin outside and there’s the big dive to send him into the barricade. Ray tries to talk his way out of trouble but it takes a Maclin distraction so Ray can get in a low blow. The rollup finishes PCO at 14:55.
Rating: B-. The match was good but this was never about the wrestling itself. This was about getting two of the big matches at Victory Road in the ring together and that is something that works almost every time. Ray didn’t so much beat PCO here as much s he caught him, and that is going to mean pain tomorrow night.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a nice way to get me ready for Victory Road and that’s what the show was supposed to do. There was nothing bad on the show and I’ll take that over a two hour stretch. While there were some parts that weren’t so interesting, there was enough here to make it worth a look, especially if you’re watching Victory Road.
Deonna Purrazzo b. Dani Luna – Fujiwara armbar
Joe Hendry/Yuya Uemura b. Champagne Singh/Shera – Toss cutter to Singh
Rich Swann/Sami Callihan b. Subculture – Middle rope 450 to Webster
Lio Rush b. Kevin Knight – Final Hour
Bully Ray/Steve Maclin b. PCO/Josh Alexander – Rollup to PCO
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