Pre-Show: Giesele Shaw def. Deonna Purrazzo
Purrazzo blames Shaw for the demise of VXT and the departure of Chelsea Green. I don't know if this counts as a face turn for Purrazzo, but it's nice to see her doing something somewhat significant as opposed to being left off No Surrender all together. She's improved in the ring, but this was a fairly basic bout for the most part. Savannah Evans interfered and attacked Purrazzo, so it looks like she'll be aligned with Shaw going forward. Tasha Steelz teased leaving IMPACT, but from what I understand, she's still under contract to the company, so I'm curious how she'll factor into all of this.
Pre-Show: Jonathan Gresham def. "Speedball" Mike Bailey
I was surprised to see this slotted on the pre-show, but considering there was nothing at stake and there was no storyline issue between the two, that was probably for the best. It also didn't live up to my lofty expectations and wasn't as exciting as when they teamed up against The Motor City Machine Guns on Thursday's edition of IMPACT! Wrestling, but it was fun for what it was in the time they were allotted.
Frankie Kazarian def. Kon
Kazarian just beat Deaner and Callihan in tag team action on Thursday's IMPACT! Wrestling, so I don't know why he would still want revenge against The Design. I was happy to hear Kazarian signed with IMPACT last month, but this was a waste of him. Kon had no business being in action on this show, let alone in a singles match. This was quite the mediocre match that only seemed to exist so Callihan could "accidentally" cost Kon the victory. Does The Design have the slightest shred of momentum or credibility at this point?
Impact World Tag Team Champions The Death Dollz (Jessicka and Taya Valkyrie) def. The Hex
I believe I read recently The Hex are free agents, so if that's the case, it makes sense why IMPACT wouldn't put the belts on them here. I've never been the biggest fan of Marti Belle, but she and Allysin Kay work well together and can be asset to the women's tag team division in IMPACT. Nothing surrounding these titles has ever been overly interesting, but this was a quality contest. This feud didn't start that long ago, so hopefully we haven't seen the last of it and The Hex can become champs eventually.
Impact Digital Media Champion Joe Hendry def. Moose in a Dot Combat Match
For a title as pointless as the Impact Digital Media Championship, these Dot Combat matches are way more entertaining than they have any right to be. They get clever with the weapons used and I actually prefer these over the other hardcore matches IMPACT tends to do. Hendry already beat Moose to retain the title last month as well as Matt Cardona soon after, so I didn't think Hendry would beat Moose for a second straight time. I have no idea what more can possibly be done with Moose in IMPACT. His contract has to be coming up soon, right?
Bully Ray Attacked Tommy Dreamer
Dave LaGreca, the co-host of Bully and Dreamer on Busted Open Radio, was present to moderate this segment but didn't end up doing much. I have mixed feelings about this segment. On one hand, both guys cut passionate promos and the mic work was strong. On the other, I have zero desire to see Bully and Dreamer having an extended program in 2023, and that's exactly what has been happening for a few months now. This would have been better off on episode of IMPACT! Wrestling as it felt out of place on an Impact Plus special.
Steve Maclin def. Heath, PCO and Brian Myers in an Impact World Championship No. 1 Contender's Four-Way Match
This was a random collection of talent all wanting the next shot at the top title. Maclin has been long overdue for a championship opportunity, so him winning was the only outcome that made sense, especially with PCO in the midst of a rivalry with Eddie Edwards (who cost him the victory here). It was a well-worked four-way and everyone involved had their time to shine. Trey Miguel emerged afterward to complain about being left off the card as the Impact X-Division Champion, only to be laid out by PCO.
Bullet Club (NJPW Strong Openweight Champion KENTA, Ace Austin and Chris Bey) def. Time Machine (Kushida and Impact World Tag Team Champions and NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Champions The Motor City Machine Guns)
This was the match I was looking forward to more than any other coming into this show and it ended up being my favorite of the night. Time Machine are a terrific trio and it was very cool seeing KENTA made his IMPACT debut alongside two of his Bullet Club stablemates. Everyone had stellar chemistry together, it was perfectly paced and they were given a ton of time. I'm happy they saved this for later in the card instead of giving it away in the opener. Bullet Club winning should earn them a shot at the Impact World Tag Team Championship, or perhaps both sets of tag titles seeing as how they're regulars in New Japan Pro-Wrestling as well.
Impact Knockouts World Champion Mickie James def. Masha Slamovich
I immediately looked at Slamovich as much of a threat to James after those comments from James and Jordynne Grace aired on Thursday night about how Grace believes James tapped out in their Hard to Kill match. They're obviously building to a rematch between them, so James had to win here. Slamovich has lost a lot of her momentum since she was beaten on back-to-back shows by Grace, but I still enjoyed this even though they're likely capable of better. The finish felt abrupt, and although the intent was to protect Slamovich in defeat, it might be best to keep her out of the title picture for the foreseeable future with this being her third time failing to capture the gold in four months.
Impact World Champion Josh Alexander def. Rich Swann
It was said countless times coming into this contest that Swann never received a rematch for the Impact World Championship after losing it to Kenny Omega back in April 2021. I'm glad he finally got it, but other than that, the build to this bout was pretty pedestrian stuff, and I'm not sure if anyone legitimately thought Swann would walk out with the title. It was more a matter of whether the match would deliver, and in what should come as a shock to no one, it did. Alexander has killed it in all of his pay-per-view/Impact Plus defenses and this was no exception.
This was never going to be on the same level as Hard to Kill last month, but as an Impact Plus special, it didn't need to be. The top three matches were good to great (specifically the six-man tag team match) and the undercard had a few gems. I could have done without Kazarian vs. Kon and the Dreamer and Bully exchange, but otherwise, this was an easy thumbs-up event that once again proved why people need to stop sleeping on IMPACT. They've regained their mojo from last summer and are on a roll right now. With their joint show with New Japan on the horizon as well as Rebellion in April, they don't look to be slowing down any time soon.
Leave a Reply.