By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Louisville, Kentucky at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall
Aired December 8, 2022 on AXS TV
Impact started off with a promo from Deaner who was standing in front of red tinted screens. Deaner recapped “eliminating the disease” when he stabbed Eric Young. Deaner said Violent By Design wasn’t a group, design, or faction, but it was a movement. Deaner said weak movements fade and die, but the right ones stay alive. Deaner said the movement has been reborn, cleansed in the blood of the designer. Deaner was joined by Alan Angels and Big Kon.
Deaner credited Sami Callihan for destroying Eric Young by handing Young his last loss. Deaner noted that by cutting off the head of the Violent By Design snake, three heads grew back in it’s place, Kon, and Angels. Deaner hyped up a match later in the show between Big Kon and Callihan. Deaner said that in the end Callihan will see “the design”…
The opening intro theme aired. Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…
1. Heath and Rhino vs. “The Motor City Machine Guns” Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley for the Impact Tag Team Championship. Rhino overpowered Sabin overall wtih chain wrestling. Sabin caught Rhino with a springboard crossbody for a two count. Heath tagged in and took an armdrag from Sabin. Shelley tagged in and gave Heath an axe handle strike to the elbow. Shelley and Heath traded hammerlocks. The Guns tangled Heath in the corner and used the ropes to work over Heath with Dragon Screws and leg drops.
Shelley gave Heath an assisted Dragon Screw to give Sabin a two count. The Guns traded quick tags for tandem offense and to cut the ring in half on Heath. Heath opened up a window of opportunity by hitting Shelley with a power slam. Rhino and Sabin tagged in. Rhino planted Sabin with a spinebuster for a two count. Shelley distracted Rhino to prevent a Gore. Rhino hit Sabin with a TKO. Shelley broke up Rhino’s pin. While Shelley and Rhino brawled at ringside, Matt Cardona and Brian Myers ran out and hit Heath and Sabin with simultaneous Zig Zags for the DQ.
Heath and Rhino vs. The Motor City Machine Guns ended in a No Contest in 8:34.
Dave Penzer officially announced the No Contest. The Major Players backtracked up the ramp, taunting both teams in the ring. The show cut to a Josh Alexander vs. Bully Ray hype pacakge…
John’s Thoughts: A good match that had me a bit puzzled as to why they just threw it out randomly as an opening match on Impact. The placement in the end made sense as the screwy finish was meant to insert Brian Myers and Matt Cardona into the title picture. With Matt Cardona’s future up in the air according to reports, I don’t think the Major Players would get the title belts, but both Major Players are talented and can add to whatever tag title match they’re a part of.
Josh Alexander got in Scott D’Amore’s face backstage, talking about how trusting Bully Ray for just a little bit put him and his wife, Jen, in danger. D’Amore said he’s at least happy that Jen is doing ok, but he wonders if what Josh is going to do later is worth it? Josh said he has to do it. D’Amore said he doesn’t like the path Josh is taking, but he respects it. Josh and D’Amore slapped hands as Josh left.
Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice showed up to confront D’Amore. Swinger said he’s gassed up and ready to go for a title shot. Dice said it was nice to meet D’Amore for the first time. Dice said he had a multi-hour presentation to help pitch for a future title shot. D’Amore said that he and Swinger go way back and that Swinger can get a title shot if he wins 50 matches. D’Amore quickly walked past Dice and Swinger. Swinger dropped the Dumb and Dumber line of “So you’re telling me there’s a chance”…[c]
The show cut to Mickie James and Jordynne Grace in the middle of a photoshoot. Grace said she hopes Mickie is ready for their upcoming match. Both women were talking while in the middle of getting their photos taken. Mickie said she respects Grace but she’s not taking this easy on Grace and expects Grace not to take it easy either.
Mickie said she wants to earn this title. Mickie said she doesn’t want to come off like a charity case. Grace said she respects Mickie enough to retire Mickie. Grace held the title belt up high for the cameras as Mickie glared at the belt, saying “that’s what it’s all about”. A graphic aired to promote the Mickie vs. Grace Career vs. Title match…
The Death Dollz got a televised entrance for the next match…
2. Taya Valkyrie (w/Rosemary, Jessicka) vs. “The Cannibal” Savannah Evans (w/Tasha Steelz). Evans overpowered Taya early on during the Collar and Elbow tie-up. Taya went to her corner for some coaching from her team. Evans slammed Taya with a reverse Bear Hug. Taya ran the ropes and caught Evans with a Spear. Evans sidestepped to cause Taya to put the brakes on a Suicide Dive. Evans dragged Taya to ringside heading into commercial.[c[
Evans dominated Taya with methodical offense. Taya managed to shift momentum a bit with a huracanrana on Evans. Evans came back with a big boot. Evans ended Taya’s rally with a lariat and ground and pound. Hannifan hyped this weekend’s TV tapings. Taya immediately rallied back with punches and a clothesline.
Taya caught Evans with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Taya put Evans in a reverse Indian Deathlock. Evans grabbed Taya’s hair to escape an STF. Taya rolled up Evans for a two count and then followed up with a knee to the jaw. Evans escaped a Road to Valhalla attempt and hit Taya with a Full Nelson Slam for the clean win.
Savannah Evans defeated Taya Valkyrie via pinfall in 6:51 of on-air time.
John’s Thoughts: A good match, and the result made a bit of sense; but at the same time I feel that it’s criminal the way they’re booking Taya Valkyrie during her current run. She’s being a good soldier, and I agree that she has amazing chemistry with Jessicka and Rosemary, but Taya is legitammately one of the greatest Knockouts Champions in Impact history, and I’m not being hyperbolic about that. Homegirl legit has the longest title reign, and her title reign was not at all forgettable. I use the word “a bit” because I totally understand making Evans mean more, but why not sacrifice Rosemary or Jessicka? Big picture wise, Impact has had Taya under contract for a while and I feel that she shouldn’t be as marginalized as she is.
A highlight hype package aired of Ace Austin and Chris Bey wrestling in the New Japan Super Junior Tag League. A graphic showed that Ace and Bey had a 6-2 record in the tournament…
John’s Thoughts: Simple and effective video production. Good on Impact for producing a good video to boast the credibility of the Ace and Bey tag team.
The show cut to Moose beating up Bhupinder Gujjar at a stairwell. Moose got in Bhupinder’s face, saying he has a message for Joe Hendry, that Hendry better believe in Moose. Moose walked away as security guards checked on the fallen Gujjar…[c]
Former Ring of Honor head booker Delirious was cutting a promo in a room with green colored lights. Of course, per his gimmick, he was mumbling and it was incomprehensible. Thankfully, Impact had subtitles. Delirious said he’s been going wherever the wind blows for the last year. Delirious took credit for launching Eddie Edwards’s career ten years ago, when Delirious wasn’t wearing a mask.
Delirious demanded that he gets a match with Eddie Edwards. he said he will come into the bout with honor and Eddie can choose to come in with honor too. Delirious said he’s on another level now and he’s very very dangerous…
John’s Thoughts: Hold up? Speaking of Ring of Honor, Final Battle is this weekend. Why is one of the most important figures in their company’s history wrestling Ring of Honor nostalgia matches in Impact Wrestling and not the Final Battle show? Even better, I don’t think people would disagree, it wouldn’t be bad if Tony Khan just hire Delirious to book the entire company (and I say that because Delirious has been head booker on-and-off, and Ring of Honor was at it’s best when he was on the book). I don’t mind him in Impact. I actually really like his whole mumble gimmick.
The new version of Violent By Design made their entrance. It seems like Cody Deaner has undergone a name change. He is now calling himself “The Design”. They also wore black and white casual clothes as opposed to the yellow t-shirts and hoodies. Deaner maintained a sinister smile on his face (with oddly reminds me of NXT’s Joe Gacy for some reason)…
3. Sami Callihan vs. Big Kon (w/The Design, Alan Angels). Kon no-sold a chops from Callihan. Kon ended up selling an eye poke. Kon ran through Callihan with a shoulder block. Hannifan noted that Kon has evolved since the last time he and Rehwoldt worked with him (in WWE). Kon dragged Callihan in front of The Design so he could glare at him a bit. Kon beat up Callihan methodically, no selling Callihan’s strikes.
Callihan managed to stagger Kon a bit with a jawbreaker, and got him off his feet with a suplex. Kon went back to no selling Callihan’s strikes. Callihan got Kon to the ground with a sliding right hand. Kon recovered and gave Callihan a chokeslam on the apron. Callihan threatened The Design with a chair, which Angels took away. The distraction allowed Kon to hit Callihan with a twisting Death Valley Driver for the win.
Big Kon defeated Sami Callihan via pinfall in 5:46.
John’s Thoughts: Good match, great booking, and an awesome redesign of Violent By Design. I was actually afraid that Callihan would get the win here. Impact has made mistakes in the past with Savannah Evans and Madman Fulton where they bury their monsters as cannon fodder. VBD needed to kick off their relaunch with a win so that was perfect here. Kon’s offense is still a bit boring (and that’s been his problem for years), but I don’t mind the fresh start and I can appreciate the no-selling thing as at least it gives him a distinct character. The person I’m looking more forward to see wrestle is the Cody Deaner, who definitely deserves a “Most Improved Wrestler” award for this transformation over the last decade.
Tommy Dreamer tried to catch up with Josh Alexander in the hallway, but Alexander didn’t want to chat. Alexander headed to the ring…[c]
Footage of Trey Miguel picking up a win over Jason Hotch on Before the Impact aired. Trey sprayed Jason’s chest with neon green spraypaint. Miguel’s title belt was also covered in neon green spraypaint (per the promo last week)…
Gia Miller interviewed Trey Miguel, who was in a lounge sitting on a chair. Gia noted that Trey is is defacing the belt by vandalizing it with paint. Trey asked Gia if he’s defaced his body when he tattooed the X Division title on his leg. Gia said he didn’t, but she wondered if Trey sees that defacing the belt is disrespectful. Trey said “Disrespectful” is an interesting word.
Trey shook up his spray can, but his hand was grabbed by Crazzy Steve who was hiding behind the couch. Crazzy said before Trey gives Gia a paint job, he wanted to mention that he has no hard feelings with Trey for what Trey did to Black Taurus. Steve said that Trey’s actions have consequences. Steve said that while Trey tags things with paint, Steve tags things with blood. Trey said he’s going to give Steve a new paint job. Trey shook up the spray can and walked away…
John’s Thoughts: A good segment to reintroduce the repackaged Trey Miguel. That’s two segments in a row where Impact has presented really good repackaged acts in Trey Miguel and VBD. Trey was the generic white meat babyface for so long to the point where I almost wanted Impact to put the title on the guy with a bull head. What I ultimately liked here was they gave Trey Miguel promo time for character development. The problem with his last two title reigns, is that in addition to being one-note personality-wise, they never really gave him a chance to develop an on-screen character through promos.
Impact Wrestling Champion, Josh Alexander, made his entrance in his ring gear. Alexander soaked in “Walking Weapon” chants. Alexander said he took time to think of a response to Bully Ray for what happened at Overdrive. Alexander said his response was to have a world championship open challenge. Alexander said he only wants one person to accept, Bully Ray. Alexander said the offer is in Ray’s favor because if Ray loses, he’ll still get another title shot at Hard to Kill. Alexander said he thinks that Bully might not accept, because Bully is ultimately afraid to be in the ring with Josh.
Bully appeared on the big screen to respond to Josh. Bully said Josh’s offer is one hell of an offer, but he’s busy looking at photos of Josh and Josh’s wife Jen. Bully showed Josh a picture of Josh consoling a crying Jen ringside at the Overdrive event. Bully then showed Josh a picture of Jen’s head between his legs as he was about to pile drive her. Bully then showed Josh a picture of him pulling Jen’s hair.
Bully said he’s not going to go against his word, and that he’s going to face Alexander at Hard to Kill. Bully ended his promo. “Speedball” Mike Bailey made his entrance. Bailey took the mic and said that instead of Bully, he’s here. Bailey said if the challenge is still open, he wants a match. Josh asked for a ref to get in the ring…
John’s Thoughts: Simple, cheap, and effective stuff from Bully who you can count on for some good heat generation. Young aspiring heels should take notes at Bully’s very efficient promos. I was apprehensive of Josh Alexander feuding with the over-50 year old Dudley Boy, but Bully has turned around that doubt by orchestrating a compelling story. Alexander vs. Mike Bailey, huh. I’m kinda hoping that Bully Ray runs out for the DQ here. Alexander vs. Bailey is a potential Slammiversary or Bound for Glory main event and it would be good to save a decisive finish for one of those shows.
4. Josh Alexander vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey for the Impact Wrestling Championship. Alexander took down Bailey with a shoulder tackle. Bailey and Alexander had a stalemate when they traded shoulder tackles. Bailey took down Alexander with a roundhouse, but Alexander came back with a right hand.
Alexander hit Bailey with a body slam. Alexander hit Bailey with a clinch knee combo. Alexander backed down Bailey with hard chops. Bailey came back with a rapid enzuigiri combo. Bailey hit Alexander with a flip dive at ringside.[c]
Bailey hit Alexander with a slingshot meteora for a two count. Alexander took down Bailey with a Big Boot. Hannifan plugged a rock concert marathon for New Years on AXS. Alexander worked on Bailey with methodical offense. Bailey ended Alexander’s rally with a lifted boot and Claymore. Bailey took down Alexander with Tae Kwon Do kicks. Bailey hit Alexander with a standing Red Arrow for a two count.
Alexander countered a chamber kick into three chained German Suplexes for a two count. Alexander took his time to recover. Bailey escaped a C4 Spike attempt. Bailey escaped an Ankle Lock attempt. Bailey focused his roundhouse kicks on Alexander’s left arm. Alexander shook up Bailey with an enzuigiri. Bailey wrenched at Alexander’s left arm to escape a fireman carry.
Alexander deadlifted Bailey back into the carry and rammed him into the buckle several times. Bailey wouldn’t let go off the Octopus Hold and got Alexander back to a knee. Alexander tried again to ram Bailey into the buckle, but Bailey kept the hold on. Bailey hit Alexander with a Poisonrana for a two count.[c]
Alexander hit Bailey with a Muay Thai knee combo. Bailey rallied back with footsie kicks. Alexander swatted Bailey out of the air with a right hook. Bailey reversed a C4 into a Victory Roll for a two count. Alexander avoided a standing moonsault. Bailey caught Alexander with a cross kick and 720 Tornado Kick. Alexander dodged an Ultima Weapon attempt. Alexander hit Bailey with a Backbreaker Bomb. Alexander went for a C4, but his injured arm gave out.
Alexander hit at his own arm to try to wake it up. Alexander went for a Suplex, but Bailey adjusted his weight to cause both men to tumble over the top rope to ringside. Bailey and Alexander beat the ringside ten count. Bailey knocked Alexander off the apron with a Big Boot. Bailey hit Alexander with a sweet Triangle Moonsault. Bailey hit Alexander with a missile dropkick. Hannifan noted Bailey’s amazing run in the States after being banned from the United States due to Visa violations.
Hannifan noted that Bailey signed his Impact contract using Alexander’s back as a table immediately after he and Alexander had a great match. Bailey and Alexander traded strong style shots. Bailey took down Alexander with a high calf kick. Alexander reversed a 720 kick into an ankle lock. Bailey escaped by punching Alexander while keeping his footing. Both men went back to fatigued strikes.
Bailey took Alexander off his feet with a reverse spinning cross kick. Alexander caught Bailey while balancing on the apron. Alexander planted Bailey with a World’s Strongest Slam on the apron. This match reached another commercial. Gawd damn! This is good stuff.[c]
Tom Hannifan noted that both men wrestled for over 30 minutes. Alexander hit Bailey with a rolling Senton. Bailey staggered Alexander on the top rope by yanking at Alexander’s injured arm. Alexander reversed a Frankensteiner into a Styles Clash attempt. Bailey used heel kicks to wiggle out. Both men traded counters. Alexander hit Bailey with a Tornado Bomb for a two count. Alexander immediately locked in the Ankle Lock. Bailey rolled up Alexander for a two count.
Bailey managed to hit Ultima Weapon, but sold an injured left knee after the strike. Both mean soaked in “This is Awesome” chants while recovering. Bailey hit Alexander with a PK while limping. Hannifan noted that Bailey’s injury should make his kicks weaker due to Bailey not being able to plant his leg. Bailey hit Alexander with a standing Ultima Weapon. Bailey missed a chamber kick, but used alternating chambers to feint and nail Alexander with a Buzzsaw Kick.
Bailey ragdolled Alexander all over the ring with Roundhouse Kicks to the injured left arm. Alexander fought through Bailey’s rapid kicks into Chained German Suplexes. Alexander chained 5 German Suplexes while also headbutting Bailey’s back. The show cut to another commercial.[c]
Tom Hannifan noted that the main event of the show was supposed to be Eddie Edwards vs. Delirious, but due to this match being longer than expected, Eddie vs. Delirious was pushed to next week. Hannifan noted that Bailey vs. Alexander has a 1 hour time limit. Hannifan had to do his promotional rundowns during this segment Alexander escaped a chickenwing to the injured arm. Alexander dragged Bailey into the ring with an Angle Slam.
Bailey went to the top rope, but Alexander caught Bailey with a Super Angle Slam for a two count. Hannifan noted that the match was at the 48 minute mark at this point. Hannifan noted AXS TV was allowing an overrun if needed. Bailey hit Alexander with a chambered kick for a two count. Dave Penzer announced that the match hit the 50 minute mark, meaning there’s 10 minutes left.
Josh Alexander caught Bailey and locked in an ankle lock. Alexander did Alligator Rolls to make sure Bailey wouldn’t escape. Alexander pulled Bailey right into a pile driver for a two count. Alexander immediately went back into the Ankle Lock. Bailey used his kickpad kicks to escape. Alexander gave Bailey a hip attack to the injured leg. Alexander grapevined an Ankle Lock. After a bit of a struggle, Bailey slowly crawled his way over to the bottom rope for the rope break.
Bailey escaped a top rope fireman carry, but crumpled due to the injured leg. Dave Penzer announced that the match hit the 55 minute mark. Bailey’s head landed hard off a 2nd rope Tree of Woe. Bailey kept sitting up, causing Alexander to shake his head in astonishment. Bailey no-sold Alexander’s reverse curb stomps and dragged himself to the 2nd rope. Bailey launched Alexander with a top rope Frankensteiner.
Bailey hit Alexander with Ultima Weapon, but Alexander got a foot on the bottom rope for the rope break. Bailey hit Alexander with alternating Tae Kwon Do Kicks as Penzer announced that 3 minutes was remaining before the hour time limit. Alexander reversed a Flamingo Driver right into a Styles Clash. Alexander went right into the ankle lock. Penzer announced that the match hit the 58 minute mark.
Bailey rolled over, but Alexander kept the lock in despite Bailey’s rapid heel kicks. Bailey gave Alexander boots from the grounded Octopus Guard Position. Alexander used a Wheelbarrow Hold to nail Bailey with a sick looking snap Pile Driver. Bailey kept a low center of gravity to block a C4 as Penzer announced that the match hit the 59 minute mark. After a bit of a struggle, Alexander hit Bailey with a C4 Spike. Alexander gritted his teeth and then chained together a 2nd C4 Spike for good measure to pick up the win.
Josh Alexander defeated Mike Bailey via pinfall in 59:10 to retain the Impact World Heavyweight Championship.
Alexander laid on the mat a bit to recoup his energy. Tom Hannifan immediately sent the show to the New Japan on AXS show…
John’s Thoughts: Holy freakin’ S**t! What the hell did I just watch? Random ass match of the year on a random ass weekly free episode of Impact. That was amazing! And unadvertised. Kudos to the fans for keeping this gem a secret. Gawd damn. There wasn’t a better match in Impact this year. No question. I feel safe in saying that this surpassed Sheamus vs. Gunther as my all-company Match of the Year. This match had everything, the selling, the moves, the pacing, the fatigue, the drama, all that, a kitchen sink, and a side of fries. Is Scott D’Amore Santa Claus? This was a gift. Another piece of praise goes to the commentary team and ring announcer for handling all the technical and logistic intricacies.
This week’s Impact was the best episode of Impact of the year, and probably in years. It wasn’t just Alexander vs. Bailey, because they were doing some good character development earlier in the show for the revamped Violent By Design and Trey Miguel acts. I take back my words before the match hoping Alexander vs. Bailey would have a crap finish; and at the same time they decided to put a top tier PPV main event on free TV. This match costs $40. Sorry for overhyping now. Also, Sorry FTR and Briscoes! This one match is way more worth it than ROH Final Battle this week. F’n free TV. Jeez. Hey, unless this is randomly Bailey’s swan song with Impact, the rematch definitely needs to be at Bound for Glory.
(Update: Impact just posted the entire Alexander vs. Bailey match on YouTube. They totally have the right to flaunt this. I’ll post the embed below)