Victory Road 2023
Date: September 8, 2023
Location: Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York
Commentators: Matthew Rehwoldt, Tom Hannifan
It’s another special and in this case we have a flashback to the first regular Impact Wrestling pay per view. This time around we have a pretty stacked card, including Kushida challenging Lio Rush for the X-Division Title and Tommy Dreamer putting his career on the line for a shot at the Digital Media Title. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Alan Angels vs. ???
This is an open challenge from Angels ad it’s…Guido Maritato, perhaps better known as Nunzio in WWE/Little Guido in ECW. The bell rings and we lose the feed, leaving us with a logo and nothing more. The feed picks up about four and a half minutes in with Angels faking an injury in the corner. That’s enough for a quick cheap shot and Angel’s Wings finishes Maritato at 5:23. Not enough shown to rate of course but I’d assume they’ll upload the full version later.
Kickoff Show: ABC vs. Moose/Brian Myers
Moose and Bey pose at each other to start until Bey slips out of a slam attempt. Bey gets on Moose’s nerves and misses a charge, meaning it’s off to Myers. Bey takes him into the corner so Austin can come in for some shots of his own. It’s already back to Bey and a cheap shot lets Myers hammer away as the villains take over.
Myers cuts off a comeback with a trip and Moose hits a middle rope backsplash for two. Bey gets sent into the buckle and choked on the ropes but an enziguri gets him out of trouble. The hot tag brings in Austin to clean house, including a springboard spinning kick to the head for two. The 1-2-Sweet is broken up and Myers powerbombs Austin. A quick Roster Cut misses though and Austin rolls Myers up for the pin at 8:30.
Rating: B-. Nice match here between two teams who work well together. That’s all you need on a show like this and the fans like ABC pretty much no matter what. Moose and Myers continue to lose, which is kind of weird for a team presented as big time villains. Perfectly good choice for a warmup match and that’s what it was supposed to be.
And now, the show proper.
X-Division Title: Lio Rush vs. Kushida
Kushida is challenging as he cashes in his Ultimate X win from Slammiversary. The chase is on to start with Rush bailing away as fast we he can. It’s already time for a breather on the floor, with Kushida saying it’s on his time. Kushida isn’t having that and grabs a quick Hoverboard Lock followed by some slams for two. The arm is tied up in the ropes again and then sent into the turnbuckle as they fall out to the floor.
Some chops against the barricade have Rush in more trouble but he manages the spinning kick to the head for a breather back inside. Rush hammers away and grabs Kushida’s glasses for a distraction, only for Kushida to strike away. A rollup gets two on Rush but it’s too early for the Hoverboard Lock. Kushida is sent outside, where he counters a dive into the Hoverboard Lock in a sweet spot.
Back in and Rush hits a Spanish Fly but Kushida reverses into the Hoverboard Lock again. That’s broken up as well and they knock each other down again, meaning it’s time for the slow exchange of forearms. Rush gets in a quick low blow to put Kushida down though and the Final Hour retains the title at 10:38.
Rating: B-. Kushida is someone who can wrestle with anyone and that was no exception here, as it was a chess game of Kushida’s technical mastery vs. Rush’s athleticism. That made for some pretty awesome moments, including Kushida getting the Hoverboard Lock from a variety of places. I wasn’t wild on the cheap ending, but it did keep Kushida strong while retaining the title.
We look at Bully Ray hitting PCO with a car on the Kickoff Show.
PCO is told he can’t compete but he rises off of a stretcher and screams for Bully.
Knockouts Tag Team Titles: MK Ultra vs. Gisele Shaw/Savannah Evans
MK Ultra is defending and Jai Vidal is here with the challengers. Slamovich powers Shaw down to start as we hear about Rehwoldt’s “shark guy” back home. Kelly comes in but the distracted referee misses Vidal pulling the ropes down for a crash to the floor. Back in and Evans hammers away, allowing Shaw to gets two off a suplex.
The chinlock goes on before Shock And Awe gets two. Some knees in the corner keep Kelly in trouble and Evans comes in for another suplex. Shaw misses a charge into the corner though and it’s back to Slamovich to unload on Evans. Vidal offers a distraction though and it’s a backbreaker/kick to the head combination for two. Another cheap shot lets Evans plant Slamovich but she’s back up with a kick to the head. The Snowplow finishes Evans to retain at 8:25.
Rating: C+. MK Ultra aren’t the most traditional team but they’re good at what they do and that’s all they need to be. Shaw didn’t take the fall here but she loses again and those things are piling up. At some point she is going to have to win something and I’m really not sure when that is going to happen.
PCO is looking for Bully, who comes up from behind him with a chair to beat him down. Then he pours gasoline on PCO and calls him Carl Ouellet. We’ve seen the last of both of them tonight, but then PCO hits him in the eye and Ray runs off.
We look back at Crazzy Steve embracing the evil side and wanting to hurt everyone who abandoned him. That’s how we got here, as Steve went after his former partner.
Crazzy Steve vs. Black Taurus
Tom Hannifan is scared of Steve to start but Taurus starts fast to break that up. A powerslam plants Steve and they head outside, where Steve gets in a quick shot to take over. Steve talks Hannifan a bit, calling this “the birth of something beautiful.” Back in and Steve hits some corner clotheslines before crotching him on top for two. We hit the neck crank for a bit before Steve just goes for the eyes.
Taurus blocks the double thumbs but gets taken down again so Steve can stomp away. Some elbows to the eye in the corner make it worse for Taurus but he powers his way out of trouble. A crucifix bomb cuts Taurus right back down but Steve can’t follow up. Taurus drops him with a heck of a right hand and a par of Sling Blades put Steve down again.
A torture rack dropped into a backbreaker has Steve screaming even more before he starts apologizing. Taurus can’t bring himself to hut his friend and walks around, allowing Steve to jump him from behind. Steve whips out a fork but when that’s taken away, he settles for the two fingers in the eyes. The Belladonna’s Kiss finishes Taurus at 9:02.
Rating: C+. This was more about the story and the mind games than anything else, with Steve continuing to do some of the more interesting stuff on the show. He really does feel unhinged a good bit of the time, with the Dark Knight looking promos making it better. I want to see what Steve is doing and that’s more than I can say about a lot of people in modern wrestling
Tommy Dreamer is ready to celebrate his life and career while winning the Digital Media Title tonight. If he loses, it’s a great story but if he loses, it’s another chapter.
We recap the Digital Media Title as Kenny King defends against Tommy Dreamer. King brags about how this is his title and well overdue but Dreamer wants to win one more title. He’s even putting his career on the line.
Digital Media Title: Kenny King vs. Tommy Dreamer
Dreamer, in Terry Funk gear, is challenging with his career on the line and his family in the crowd. Sheldon Jean is here with King to even things up a bit. Dreamer goes for the arm to start but gets broken up without much trouble. King goes after Dreamer’s likely injured back (everything else is hurt so it makes sense) but Dreamer slugs away again. Jean’s interference doesn’t work as King is clotheslined to the floor, where Dreamer gets to spit water in his eyes.
Dreamer’s dive is cut off though, as Dreamer diving isn’t a great idea. King suplexes him on the ramp and yells at Dreamer’s family because he’s not a nice person. Dreamer beats the count back in though and catches King on top with a superplex for the double knockdown. They trade shots to the face until Dreamer goes with the Flip Flop and Fly. The Bionic Elbow has Dreamer in more trouble but King is back with a spinebuster for two.
King talks too much trash and gets cuttered for his efforts. The Dreamer Driver is broken up and King hits a Blockbuster or two. They trade rollups for two each until the Dreamer Driver can connect. A piledriver gives Dreamer a rather close two so Jean offers a distraction. That’s enough for a distraction so Jean is ejected. Cue Heath for a Wake Up Call on King. That and a DDT are enough to give Dreamer the pin and the title at 9:51.
Rating: C+. I can’t imagine Dreamer keeps the title long, but there is something strange about seeing him win a title in 2023. Maybe Heath will get a run with the title sooner than later, but for now it’s Dreamer getting another moment as King loses again. Good enough match, even if the result is rather hard to comprehend.
We recap Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jordynne Grace. They have a history and Purrazzo is ready to prove she’s better (again).
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jordynne Grace
Grace starts fast by powering her out to the floor, leaving Purrazzo not sure about this. Back in and Purrazzo goes after the arm, including taking Grace down to crank away. Grace fights up with some forearms and a few slams with the good arm. A Michinoku Driver gives Grace two but Purrazzo goes right back to the arm, even snapping it back rather hard. Purrazzo cranks on said arm but Grace powers up and gets her into the corner.
The superplex into a Jackhammer gets two on Purrazzo but the Juggernaut Driver is blocked. Purrazzo’s leg trap Tombstone gets two and she knocks Grace to the apron. Grace comes back in and it’s a double clothesline for a double knockdown. Back up and Grace runs her over for two more but the MuscleBuster is escaped as well. Not that it matters as Grace grabs the Juggernaut Driver for the pin at 11;57.
Rating: B-. This was about reestablishing Grace as a threat and there was little way to do it better than by having her vanquish her most famous rival. The power vs. submission stuff went well and Grace managed to escape enough times to win. These two have chemistry together and having Grace win is the right way to go.
We recap Bully Ray vs. PCO. Ray has tried to take PCO out multiple times but PCO keeps coming back, which has Ray terrified.
PCO vs. Bully Ray
Anything goes, so weapons are provided. There’s no PCO to start so Ray tries to run, only to be cut off by Santino Marella. PCO jumps him from behind and the brawl starts backstage. They head into the arena where Ray’s trashcan shots don’t have much effect. Ray loads up some tables as the match hasn’t actually started yet as they haven’t been in the ring together.
PCO gets in some shots of his own and they finally get inside for the bell. Ray sends him head first through a table in the corner, then does it twice more for a bonus. PCO gets knocked off the apron and through another table at ringside but gets up anyway. Ray tries to run but gets cut off by Santino Marella, meaning PCO can trashcan him down. PCO brings in a ladder but gets dropped onto it for two instead.
Another table is loaded up and then another one is loaded up next to that as Ray likes the wood. Ray grabs a trashcan, which is punched into his face. A chokeslam through a table gives PCO two and it’s time for a cheese grater as we pay another tribute to ECW. Ray is busted open and a low blow makes it even worse. The De-Animator onto (not through) a table crushes Ray and a PCOsault through another table gives PCO the win at 10:14.
Rating: B-. Sometimes you just need to have two big strong guys hit each other really hard and that is what we had here. Ray being all scared and worried about facing PCO fights him well, as does PCO popping up after everything. Good brawl here, with the extra stuff before the bell making it even better.
Eric Young and Scott D’Amore are ready for Impact 1000 and it’s going to be an hour to be on the show.
We recap the Rascalz defending the Tag Team Titles against the Motor City Machine Guns. The Rascalz won the titles last month but Chris Sabin beat Zachary Wentz in a singles match to set this up.
Tag Team Titles: Rascalz vs. Motor City Machine Guns
The Guns are challenging and Shelley takes over on Wentz to start. Stereo superkicks put Shelley on the floor though and we slow down a bit so the champs can brag. Back in and Shelley is fine enough to kick Wentz down, allowing Sabin to come in and work on the leg. It’s back to Shelley for a spinning toehold but Wentz goes for the eyes.
Wentz misses a kick to the head though and the Figure Four goes on. Sabin grabs the same thing on Miguel but lets him to and sends him to the floor. Wentz gets out and hands it off to Miguel as the pace picks up, including a springboard splash as everything breaks down. The champs hit stereo running elbows in the corner but Shelley blocks the Lightning Spiral. Sabin takes them both down with a double dragon screw sends them both outside.
That means a big dive can connect, followed by a missile dropkick/Downward Spiral combination for two. Wentz is back in with a top rope double stomp to send Sabin into a backbreaker from Miguel for two more. The referee gets distracted so a belt shot can give Miguel another near fall.
The spray paint is broken up but Miguel is able to hit a heck of a dive to take everyone out. Back in and Sabin hits a tornado DDT to send Miguel into the dropped title but cue John Skyler to break up the cover. The Cradle Shock is broken up though and the spray paint to Sabin is enough for the rollup to retain at 13:51.
Rating: B. These teams working well together isn’t exactly a shock as they’re both incredibly talented and can do well with anyone. I could have gone with a better ending but that has been the case with the Rascalz for a good while now. What mattered here was getting two awesome teams in the ring for some time as it’s going to work well no matter what. Heck of a match here and it does a lot to make the Rascalz feel more legit.
We recap the Knockouts Title match. Alisha Edwards won a battle royal and talked a lot of trash. There isn’t much else to it than that.
Knockouts Title: Trinity vs. Alisha Edwards
Alisha, with Eddie Edwards, is challenging and mocks the fans’ New York accents. Eddie handles her intro and we’re ready to go. Well hang on though as the fans have to throw a bunch of glow sticks into the ring and NOW we’re ready to go. Trinity stars fast and knocks her to the floor as the fans are feeling rather Ucey.
Back in and Eddie’s distraction lets Alisha send her into the corner and the champ is in trouble. The bodyscissors goes on Trinity and Alisha hammers away. Trinity fights up and sends her into the buckle to even things up. A Backstabber gives Trinity two but the referee gets kicked down.
Trinity grabs Starstruck and Alisha seems to tap to no one. Eddie gets in a cheap shot and loads up a table but cue Frankie Kazarian and Traci Brooks for the save. Trinity is back up and hits a top rope splash onto Eddie through the table as the referee is STILL down. Alisha gets in a kendo stick shot for two and can’t believe the kickout. Back up and Trinity kicks Alisha in the head, setting up the Bubba Bomb into the rollup to retain at 9:01.
Rating: C+. The ref bump was ridiculous but they had to do something to spice up the idea of Alisha being the one to get the title shot. There wasn’t much of a story setting up the match so it made sense to go with another story that was already established. Trinity won in the end as she should have, but what mattered here was setting up the mixed tag and that’s fine in this situation.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Don West and Mike Tenay are joining the Impact Wrestling Hall Of Fame at Bound For Glory. Well yeah that works. You can tell this means a lot to Rehwoldt and Hannifan.
We recap Josh Alexander vs. Steve Maclin. This was set up for earlier this year but Alexander got hurt and had to vacate the World Title. Now it’s a match that was scheduled to take place months ago and both are healthy.
Steve Maclin vs. Josh Alexander
Alexander wrestles him down to start and goes after the arm with an armbar. They head outside with Maclin being sent into the barricade and then dropped hard onto the apron. Alexander’s recently repaired arm is snapped over the top though and Maclin gets to take over. Back in and Maclin grabs a standing armbar, only to have Alexander roll some German suplexes. By that I mean ten suplexes for two but Maclin rolls straight into another armbar.
Alexander has to bail to the ropes and out to the floor, where Maclin can hit a heck of a suicide dive. The armbar keeps Alexander in trouble back inside but he fights out a bit faster this time. Alexander can’t jump over him in the corner though as the arm gives out, meaning the London Dungeon can go on. That’s broken up and Alexander manages to send him to the apron, setting up the running crossbody to the back. Maclin is back in with a modified DDT for two and the armbar goes on again.
This time time it’s countered into a powerbomb backbreaker and a rolling forearm gives Alexander two. Maclin misses a running knee and gets caught in the ankle lock. That’s broken up as well so Maclin sends him outside but another suicide dive is countered into a belly to belly. Maclin drops him again on the floor but can only get a nine count. They chop it out back inside with Maclin getting the better of it, only to miss a splash off the top. The C4 Spike finishes for Alexander at 18:34.
Rating: B. this was Alexander’s return to form as he gets the big win over the one guy he never got to beat. I’m not sure if he’s going to get back into the World Title picture immediately, but for now he gets the win to give him some moments and confidence back. Best match of the show too, so it fits in the main event spot.
Overall Rating: B. This was good stuff for the most part, with a solid main event and enough positives throughout the show to make it work. Impact tends to be at its best when they strip away a lot of the nonsense and just have a wrestling show, which is what they did here. The show might not feel all that important with Impact 1000 and Bound For Glory coming up, but for a show available for the cost of a month on their streaming service, this was a solid way to go.
Alan Angels b. Guido Maritato – Angel’s Wings
ABC b. Moose/Brian Myers – Rollup to Myers
Lio Rush b. Kushida – Final Hour
MK Ultra b. Savannah Evans/Gisele Shaw – Snowplow to Evans
Crazzy Steve b. Black Taurus – Belladonna’s Kiss
Tommy Dreamer b. Kenny King – DDT
Jordynne Grace b. Deonna Purrazzo – Juggernaut Driver
PCO b. Bully Ray – Whip through a table
Rascalz b. Motor City Machine Guns – Rollup to Sabin
Trinity b. Alisha Edwards – Rollup
Josh Alexander b. Steve Maclin – C4 Spike
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