7/21 Impact Wrestling TV results: Moore’s review of Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin for a shot at the Impact World Championship, Mike Bailey vs. Deaner for the X Division Title, Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green vs. Jordynne Grace and Mia Yim, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett vs. Chris Bey and Ace Austin, Masha Slamovich vs. Madison Rayne

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Louisville, Kentucky at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall

Aired July 21, 2022 on AXS TV

The opening video package focused on the Motor City Machine Guns, to hype up the Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley number one contenders match for a shot at Josh Alexander’s Impact World Title…

Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…

Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green made their entrance. They have matching gear now, new entrance music, and a tag team name. They’re called “VXT” (is that some sort of play on NXT or something? I donno)…

1. “VXT” Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mia Yim and Impact Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace. Grace and Purrazzo worked joint manipulation for the beginning of the match. Grace then used her power to string together a series of moves. Grace got a two count after a clothesline. Hannifan noted that everyone in this match was a part of the Queen of the Mountain match. Yim tagged in and got a series of rollups on Purrazzo.

Green tagged in and ate a series of armdrags from Yim. Yim hit Green with a PK to the back for a two count. Grace tagged in and hit Green with a delayed body slam for a two count. Yim tagged in, but the ref called it off due to not seeing it. Green kicked Grace for a two count. Green gave Grace a curb stomp into the bottom buckle for a two count. Grace and Purrazzo tried to do a double team suplex, but Grace countered with a suplex of her own.

VXT swarmed Grace to isolate her. Grace hit Green with a German Suplex to tag in Yim for the hot tag. Yim hit Purrazzo with a neckbreaker which forced Purrazzo to DDT Green. Grace saved Yim from eating a double suplex. Grace and Yim hit their opponents with stereo dives at ringside. Purrazzo hit Yim with a STO. Green hit Yim with a Rollins Stomp to give Purrazzo a two count. The women took turns hitting high impact moves on each other. Yim hit Green with a Shotgun Dropkick. Purrazzo broke up the subsequent pin. Yim hit both opponents with a double stunner. Yim couldn’t tag in Grace due to Grace being knocked off the apron. Green and Purrazzo hit Yim with a double team Suplex to give Purrazzo the win.

VXT defeated Mia Yim and Deonna Purrazzo via pinfall in 9:10.

Grace apologized to Yim for not being on the apron after the match…[c]

John’s Thoughts: I’m surprised they had Yim eat a clean pin since Impact has protected her strong since her Impact return. I’m not complaining though because wrestling companies should give heels credible wins more often than not. This was a nice tag team match as you would expect given the level of experience in the ring. That’s also Purrazzo and Green picking up credible pinfalls over Mickie James and Mia Yim in consecutive weeks. What I’m not the biggest fan of is possibly pushing Green and Purrazzo into the women’s tag team division. As I mentioned in my NXT audio review this week as to why I’m not too opposed to NXT trashing their tag belts. The problem with inserting a tag division in a thin division is that you’re stretching both that thin roster and creative very thin. I’d be a bigger fan of getting rid of tag belts and doing something like a mid-card women’s belt, as to not tie up four roster members at a given moment to an isolated story. Another example of a group of main event talent I don’t want to see as a homogeneous blob, is Honor No More.

Honor No More were all shown sitting on a stairwell. Matt Taven cut the first promo saying that something was missing. Taven said they pinned the biggest and dumbest “Melvin” in the Bullet Club last week (Is he required to shoehorn the word “Melvin” into ALL his promos? This has been a lame quirk for years). Taven said Impact hasn’t given them title shots (Why would they? Honor No More lose all of the time). Taven said Bullet Club was ducking out on them by sending their young boys Bey and Ace after them instead of putting the titles on the line against the Good Brothers.

Bennett said he understands, because it’s “typical” Impact Wrestling. King said Impact is playing games. King said he understands Heath’s game of trying to take them all out. King said the next time Heath tries to jump a member of Honor No More he’ll make sure he won’t be able to spend Christmas with his kids. Vincent said he doesn’t know why they’re the bad guys. Vincent said Heath is the bad guy for attacking him from behind, hiding behind a camera. Eddie said the real question is where was PCO? Eddie got in PCO’s face for not having their back. Eddie said failure is no longer an option. Maria calmed down Eddie said there will be no failure tonight, no excuses, and no honor when they beat Bullet Club…

John’s Thoughts: Yeah, as I say every week. They’re holding back too much talent in this dead end faction. They’re even struggling to divide up mic time in a five minute segment to each of the members. Well, I might understand not giving Taven mic time if he continues to cut promos like a dork. I kid, I kid.

Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table to run down upcoming segments…

2. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Deaner (w/Joe Doering) for the Impact X Division Championship. Deaner quickly jumped Bailey right after the bell rang. Bailey blocked a Deaner DDT and hit Deaner with a double front kick. Deaner avoided a Ultima Weapon. Bailey hit Deaner with a flying kick and then put him in a Boston Crab. Bailey knocked Deaner off the apron with a boot. Deaner trapped Bailey in the ring apron and gave him a right hand. Doering gave Bailey a cheap shot while Deaner distracted the referee.[c]

Deaner bit Bailey in the face and gave him a body slam for a two count. Deaner worked on Bailey with methodical offense. Bailey blocked a whip and gave Deaner a flurry of kicks. Bailey hit Deaner with a Karate foot combo and standing red arrow for a two count. Deaner blocked a 360 cyclone kick and hit Bailey with a Wheelbarrow Bomb for a two count. Deaner and Bailey traded strong style right hands. Bailey got the upper hand with a roundhouse. Bailey faked out Deaner with a chamber kick.

Deander avoided a Ultima Weapon on the apron due to the distraction from Doering. Bailey blocked a Deaner DDT. Deaner gave Bailey a draping blockbuster. Bailey dumped Deaner to ringside and hit a nice Asai Moonsault. Bailey hit Deaner with a Standing Meteorsault. Deaner avoided a Kata Chamber with a rollup. Bailey kicked out despite Deaner having his hand on the 2nd rope. Bailey hit Deaner with a 360 Cyclone Kick. Bailey hit Deaner with Ultima Weapon for the win.

Mike Bailey defeated Deaner via pinfall in 8:55 of on-air time to retain the Impact X Division Championship.

John’s Thoughts: Another great X-Division match from Speedball, but I’m starting to like seeing Deaner in longer matches because he’s holding his end of matches really really well. It’s amazing that the guy who was the Larry The Cable Guy ripoff dating back to around 2010 has evolved to such a compelling serious wrestler. Good on him. Bailey has become one of my favorite wrestlers to watch. Not only does he remind me a bit of RVD’s innovation, but he also reminds me of the way that Low Ki innovated pro wrestling by integrating more striking martial arts into pro wrestling. He’s kinda like Low Ki if Low Ki were a more happy person. I also really resonate with his Karate/TKD technique, using moves that I’ve actually executed myself.

This week’s Impact Plus Ric Flair Flashback Match of the Week was Ric Flair vs. Sting from an episode of Impact Wrestling from back in 2011. There was random interference in the match. Sting ended up winning with a Scorpion Deathlock while the camera focused on Hulk Hogan’s reaction from the stage…

Gail Kim caught up with Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green backstage. Green said Purrazzo should be number one contender after pinning the number one contender. Kim pointed out that Purrazzo already lost a number one contenders match to Yim a few weeks ago. Kim said she does think that both Green and Purrazzo are number one contenders, but not for the Knockouts titles. They are contenders for the tag titles at Emergence. Grace and Purrazzo were giddy over this…[c]

Eric Young was in a hallway telling Deaner and Doering that they have “the sickness”. For some reason, Eric Young’s half of the room had purple lighting, while Deaner and Doering had normal lighting on their half of the room (with the camera cutting off both halves of the discussion). Young said they either have the sickness or revile the sickness. Deaner said they revile the sickness. Young showed he was standing at the top of the stairs, where he told Deaner to prove that they revile the sickness by eliminating the sickness…

Entrances for the next match took place. Footage was shown where Masha Slammovich handed Madison Rayne a calling card…

3. Masha Slammovich vs. Madison Rayne (w/Giselle Shaw). Rayne tried to talk down Masha, saying her nose was injured and she has a mask to prove it. Masha ended up ripping off the mask and giving Rayne a Baldo Bomb. Masha beat up and tossed the mask to ringside. Masha hit Rayne with a Snow Plow for the win.

Masha Slammovich defeated Madison Rayne via pinfall in 1:13.

Masha handed Giselle Shaw a Calling Card which is an 8 x 10 photo of Giselle with a red X on Giselle…

John’s Thoughts: Loved this! That match was actually shorter because most of the time was Masha beating up Madison’s mask. Impact continues to do a stellar job with the push of Masha Slammovich as a buzzsaw. The Influence were the perfect sacrificial lambs in that while both are highly talented and competitive wrestlers who weave in and out of Knockouts Title contention, they are also presented as hapless heels which feeds right into Masha’s gimmick as cannon fodder. Seriously, I’m happy that Masha isn’t having “competitive” matches week in and week out.

Brian Myers was giving a lecture to a bunch of random bystanders backstage. Bhupinder Gujjar showed up and said that it looks like Brian Myers is scared and ducking out on him in terms of a title defense. Myers said he wants to face Gujjar. Myers said he heard Vincent talking crap about Gujjar and that Gujjar shouldn’t back down from that challenge. Myers walked away saying he’d find Vincent. Gujjar stood around looking confused while huffing…[c]

The show cut to this week’s Killer Kelly motel cinematic. She was lounging in the motel yard where some random skinny creepy dude showed up to try to chat with her. She ignored his conversation. Kelly said “people don’t know when to shut the f–k up”. The graphic said that Killer Kelly will make her debut in Impact next week…

Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley were shown warming up…

Entrances for the next match took place. Edwards, PCO, King, and Vincent ended up heading to the back after escorting Bennett and Taven to the stage…

4. “Honor No More” Mike Bennett and Matt Taven (w/Maria Kanellis) vs. “Bullet Club” Chris Bey and Ace Austin. Taven and Ace jawed at each other in at the center of the ring. Taven dragged Ace down into a headlock. Hannifan noted that Taven is a former Ring of Honor world champion. Ace turned the tables and hit Taven with a listo kick for a two count. Ace hit Taven with a leg drop for a two count. Taven hit Ace with a low dropkick.

Bennett and Bey tagged in. Bey and Bennett traded strong style chops. Bennett ate a headscissors. Bey took down Bennett with a dropkick for a two count. Taven tagged in and gave Bey double team strikes. Ace tagged in. Taven fended off both members and gave Bey a cross kick. Maria dumped Ace to ringside by pulling the second rope. Ace gave Taven a huracanrana at ringside. Bennett hit Ace with a rebound forearm at ringside. Bennett followed up with a body slam. Taven hit Ace with a Blue Thunder Bomb to give Bennett a two count.

Honor No More cut the ring in half on Ace. Bey cleaned house after a hot tag. Bey hit both opponents with a double STO. Bey hit Bennett with a reverse TKO for a two count. All four men hit signature moves. Bey and Ace swarmed Bennett with moves for a two count. Bennett hit Bey with a Brainbuster. Bey avoided Taven’s Frog Splash. Bey hit Bennett with One Final Beat. Taven gave Bey a low blow after Maria distracted the ref. Heath [Slater] showed up to give Taven a Zig Zag to Taven while the ref was still distracted by Maria. Heath quickly ran through the crowd. Ace hit a distracted Bennett with The Fold for the win.

Bullet Club defeated Honor No More via pinfall in 10:32.

Rehwoldt argued that there was too much chicanery at the end of that match by everyone…

John’s Thoughts: An entertaining match, but at the same time I fell like both teams are held back by being in their current factions. Ace and Bey were hot rising stars before Bullet Club. Bullet Club in 2022 just comes off as yesterday’s news to the point where you just come off a fanboy dweeb by being a part of it (Bullet Club works in Japan, simply for being a foreign menace gimmick that gets cheap heat). Oh look! Honor No More lose again. That’s not new. They’re still hapless. And Heath. At least he’s not teaming up with Rhino, but I’m not sure doing the failed Bullet Club Hunter gimmick that Yoshi Tatsu and Frankie Kazarian had is that much better (just replace “Bullet Club” with “Honor No More”). That stupid hunter gimmick failed twice!

Gia Miller interviewed Steve Maclin about Sami Callihan coming after him. Maclin said Callihan is a master of mind games, but that makes him predictable. He said he’s bred for war and this is war. The lights flashed on and off with Sami appearing behind Maclin. Sami then slammed Maclin into walls. Moose showed up and held Callihan so Maclin could beat Sami with a pipe. Moose and Maclin tried to slam a heavy trash can on Sami but Sami hacked into the lights and then seemingly teleported at a blink of an eye, leaving Maclin and Moose pissed off and looking like dopes…

John’s Thoughts: Ugh. The return of Sami’s hacking magic. Hacking does not equal “magic” right? Can we go back to old Sami Callihan? The Sami that was a part of OVE. The Sami that was the edgy tag team partner of Jon Moxley? There’s a reason NXT scrapped the hacker gimmick. It sucks! (There might be a way to make it work, dumbing it down to “hacker magic” is not the way to get viewers to suspend their disbelief).

Rosemary and Taya were chatting with Jessicka. Rosemary was angry that Jessika won’t put on her old gas mask. Taya explained that this is the exact situation that happened with Susie Yung and Su Yung. Jessicka said she prefers to wear fur coats now. Rosemary said they should be preparing for their title defense instead of wearing fur coats…

John’s Thoughts: Oh, so they’re even lampshading that they’re trying to rehash the whole Susie Yung gimmick. I’m not too sure if it would work here because Susie Yung worked because the performer fit well into the duality role? I feel like forcing Havok to do it might not come off as natural. Maybe she has something planned for this, hopefully. I just hope we don’t get undead realm crap. But Impact won’t let go of their old bad habits, like Sami’s hacker magic.

Josh Alexander was chatting with Scott D’Amore about potential opponents. Rich Swann showed up and talked about how he lost his mojo after losing the world title to Kenny Omega. Swann said in recent week’s he got his mojo back (Didn’t he just lose to Brian Myers a few weeks ago?). Swann pointed out that he never got his entitled championship rematch.

D’Amore said Swann is right and Swann does have his mojo back. D’Amore said he can’t give Swann a title shot yet due to Shelley and Sabin being next in line but he’ll give Swann a match he should be happy with, a match against Kushida. Swann was excited for that match as he slapped hands with D’Amore and Alexander…

John’s Thoughts: Hey, at least Swann cares about the title again. Kushida vs. Swann should be very fun and I don’t think they faced each other in WWE (Because when Paul Levesque was in charge, he kept Kushida the hell far away from 205 Live where Swann wrestled primarily). I hope if they build towards Swann vs. Alexander, that they’d take it seriously and not just blow through it quickly like the Joe Doering feud. Part of that though, would have to be Rich Swann flipping to more of his serious persona (which he showed in the Omega feud) as opposed to the Lionel Richie gimmick.

Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table and ran through the following segments for next week: Kushida vs. Rich Swann and Eddie Edwards vs. Ace Austin. They then ran through the advertised Emergence Card. Tom Hannifan noted that two AAA wrestlers will make their Impact Debut at Emergence in the form of Bandido vs. Rey Hourus. Rehwoldt hyped up a replay of Kenny Omega vs. Naito from many years ago via the AXS New Japan show…[c]

The Motor City Machine Guns made separate matches for the main event. Rehwoldt noted that Sabin is a former Impact World Champion while Shelley never won the title. Sabin and Shelley started the match with a Code of Honor handshake…

5. Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley to become number one contender to the Impact World Championship. Shelley got a two count early on in the opening seconds. Sabin and Shelley traded chain moves leading to Sabin getting a two count. Josh Alexander was shown watching the match on a monitor. Sabin and Shelley replicated the same chain wrestling sequence to lead to another two count from Shelley.[c]

Shelley gave Sabin a chop in the corner. Sabin turned the tables with consecutive neckbreakers. Sabin locked Shelley in a sitting bow and arrow stretch. Sabin worked on Shelley’s neck with methodical offense. Shelley got a breather after catching Sabin with a chop block.[c]

Sabin broke out of a figure four heel hook with a rope break. Shelley hit Sabin with a straitjacket neckbreaker. Shelley worked on Sabin with joint manipulation into a modified Koji Clutch. Sabin escaped and kicked out. Shelley put Sabin in a reverse ankle lock. Sabin escaped with grounded roundhouse kicks. Sabin rolled up Shelley for a two count. Sabin planed Shelley so he could get a breather. Sabin hit Shelley with a series of PKs after Shelley hit him with a punt to the wrist. Sabin hit Shelley with a crossbody for a two count.

Sabin caught Shelley with a Yakuza Kick and Top Rope Tornado DDT for a two count. Shelley escaped a Cradle Shock and hit Sabin with a Mule Kick. Shelley hit Sabin with a double leg draping Dragon Screw. Sabin went head first (looked nasty) onto the mat after a backdrop. Shelley put Sabin in a Crossface. Sabin broek up the move with a rope break. Shelley gave Sabin shortarm chops. Sabin no sold an elbow hyper extension and gave Shelley a jump kick. Sabin and Shelley traded reversals. Shelley hit Sabin with a superkick.

Sabin and Shelley traded superkicks. Sabin hit Shelley with a clothesline from hell. Both men escaped finishers. Shelley hit Sabin with a Sliced Bread with Sabin kicking out. Shelley and Sabin traded rollups. Sabin kicked out of Shelley’s Shell Shock. Shelley immediately rolled into a Crossface for the win.

Alex Shelley defeated Chris Sabin via submission in 17:08 of on-air time to become number one contender to the Impact World Championship.

Shelley and Sabin milked the moment together. Sabin held up Shelley’s hand in victory. Joe Doering and Deaner showed up and beat up the Machine Guns. Hannifan said he thinks this is what Eric Young meant by getting rid of the Sickness. Kushida ran out and cleared Violent By Design from the ring. Hannifan noted that Kushida and Shelley are former tag partners. Kushida and The Machine Guns stood tall in the ring to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: Wowzers! The Motor City Machine Guns throughout the years have been a part of my favorite matches to watch every time they wrestle. Whether it’s as a team or against each other. These two are stellar. There was that one spot where Sabin might have spiked his head, but hopefully he got a handstand in there. That was a stellar match. They worked that old school Ring of Honor or NXT Black and Gold pace that built up to a great finish. I loved the finish too where they didn’t have Sabin fully shrug off Shelley’s Shell Shock as is led to the tapout transition. The finish was a tad bit surprising too in that Impact usually protects Sabin to the moon (to the point where they had him pin IWGP Champion Jay White clean a few months ago on TV).

This week’s Impact Wrestling show was really good in terms of providing some good no-nonsense in-ring pro wrestling. Every match tonight was well wrestled. This kind of in-ring storytelling is kinda what I hoped AEW would be (don’t get me wrong, I love watching AEW, but at time they can become a bit homogeneous in terms of their booking). Impact as an alternative is being less sports entertainment and more “sports”. Hey, the one match that wasn’t competitive was booked perfectly, and that was the push of Masha Slammovich (who I hear loses on the indies, but I don’t wanna see that, Impact has got things right with her). Only thing they really need to focus on now, break up Honor No More. Can we get former Impact main event player Miracle Mike Bennett back too? I’m tired of sidekick Mike Bennett.

SPECIAL EPISODE

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