By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Pembroke Pines, Florida at Charles F. Dodge City Center
Aired December 22, 2022 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired… Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer… Entrances for the tag team title match took place. The women’s tag team champions were defending the titles under Freebird Rules…
1. “The Death Dollz” Rosemary and Jessicka (w/Taya Valkyrie) vs. Deonna Purrazzo and Gisele Shaw (w/Jai Vidal) for the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships. Deonna showboated by no-selling Jessicka’s chain wrestling. Jessicka showboated back after an Aikido wrist toss. Shaw tagged in and walked right into Jessicka’s Bionic Elbow combo. Rosemary tagged in and bit the face of Shaw. Rosemary stretched Shaw in a Tarantula.
Shaw got the advantage after Purrazzo got a cheap shot in. Purrazzo and Shaw cut the ring in half on Rosemary with methodical offense and quick tags. Rehwoldt noted that this building was the building that Gisele Shaw made her Impact debut. Rosemary got a window of opportunity after hitting Purrazzo with an Exploder Suplex. Shaw and Jessicka tagged in. Jessicka hit Shaw with a “Sick” kick and body slam.
Jessicka hit Shaw with a basement crossbody. Purrazzo broke up the pin attempt. After dumping Purrazzo to ringside. Both Death Dollz hit Shaw with a Backbreaker (Jessicka) and Spear (Rosemary) double team finisher to give Jessicka the win over Shaw.
The Death Dollz defeated Gisele Shaw and Deonna Purrazzo via pinfall in 5:40 to retain the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships.
John’s Thoughts: Nice dominant win for the Death Dollz. No reason to have Purrazzo and Shaw be too competitive because they used this match for character development and to tie up the loose end of Chelsea Green’s title shot. Cool to see Rosemary wrestling because it seemed like they might have been using her in more of a manager role (she’s toned-down her in-ring apparances ever since her big injury a few years ago). As I noted last week, I wouldn’t mind if the Jessicka-Rosemary configuration become the tag team of the group, while Taya takes the role of the singles star of the group.
Mickie James confronted Jordynne Grace backstage and told Grace to step aside in their tag match and allow her to take care of Tasha Steelz. Grace said she totally wants Mickie to beat Tasha; but she’s going to be in Mickie’s corner to insure that Mickie makes it to Hard to Kill…[c]
An Impact Hard to Kill PPV ad aired which featured Bully Ray…
A quick skit was shown of Deonna Purrazzo and Giselle Shaw agreeing to never tag team again…
Sami Callihan made his entrance for an in-ring promo. Callihan said he thought when he got rid of Eric Young, he thought he got rid of Violent By Design; but when he cut the head of the snake, three heads grew in it’s place. Callihan talked about how he’s been getting his assed kicked by The Design ever since. Callihan called out The Design to come to the ring. Deaner was flanked by Alan Angels and Big Kon.
Deaner said that Sami may think he’s brave for calling them out, but Deaner know the truth. Deaner said Sami isn’t brave, but sick. Deaner said the sickness is simple, Sami mutilates himself in the ring for the love and admiration of the fans. Deaner said the truth is that the people don’t care about Callihan. Deaner said the poison will continue to flow through Sami until he can acknowledge that. Deaner said the antidote to the sickness is violence. The Design surrounded Callihan on the aprons.
Callihan said he’s not here to fight The Design, but rather, he wants to join The Design. This fired up Alan Angels. Angels said he knows strength in numbers more than everyone (Didn’t the Dark Order always get their asses kicked despite their numbers?). He said it’s not about the numbers, but who’s in the numbers. Angels said Sami isn’t the man he used to be. Angels ranted about how he, Deaner, and Kon are the chosen few. Deaner pulled Angels back.
Callihan took credit for creating The Design. He said while Deaner “killed” Eric Young, Sami softened Young up for Deaner. Sami said he wants The Design, but does The Design want the Death Machine. Deaner glared at Sami for a bit and clocked him in the head with the microphone. Kon and Angels put the boots to Sami. Deaner ordered Kon and Angels to hold Sami in place. Deaner gave Sami double thumbs to the eyes, followed by the Deaner DDT. Deaner walked over Sami and sat on him like a bench as The Design’s theme played…
John’s Thoughts: Good delivery from those involved. That said some parts were a bit odd to me. While not exactly a problem, Deaner is playing this new leader role almost exactly the way Joe Gacy plays his role as the leader of the Schism faction in NXT, complete with almost a carbon copy promo cadence (thankfully, sans the canned buzzwords). For the Impact-only viewer I guess that isn’t a huge issue. I raise an eyebrow at Sami wanting to join The Design. Yes, I totally would have expected him to destroy The Design from within, but that would have made Deaner and crew look like goofs. Not to mention, I wouldn’t have even considered having Sami in the group because all he would do is bigfoot Cody Deaner, and I want to see Deaner flourish as the leader of this faction.
Tommy Dreamer confronted Josh Alexander backstage. Alexander said he’s willing to hear Dreamer out this time. Alexander said he saw Dreamer’s segment last week and totally understands first hand how it is to have a friend betray them. Alexander said he doesn’t like that Dreamer’s baggage is dragging Alexander down and getting Alexander’s family involved. Alexander said he totally forgives Dreamer, as long as it gets Dreamer out of his business. Dreamer and Alexander ended up walking away…[c]
An Ace Austin and Chris Bey highlight package aired. Matthew Rehwoldt noted that you can watch Bey and Ace’s New Japan Junior Tag League run on Impact Plus…
Entrances for the next match took place…
2. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs Yuya Uemura. Yuya and Bailey started the match with a feeling out process. Yuya ended up dragging Bailey to the mat with a series of armdrags. Bailey did a backflip and calf roundhouse. Bailey caught Yuya with a Yakuza Kick in the corner. Bailey hit Yuya with a slingshot meteora. Bailey stretched Yuya with a half Liontamer. Bailey worked on Yuya with methodical offense.
Yuya got a moment of respite after a flying fist. Yuya hit Bailey with a flying fist for a two count. Yuya hit Bailey with a Saito Suplex for a two count. Yuya dumped Bailey to ringside.[c]
Yuya hit Bailey with a body slam. Bailey came back with a shortarm Shotgun Dropkick. Bailey hit Yuya with a forward moving TKD kick combo. Bailey hit Yuya with a standing Red Arrow for a two count. Bailey hit Yuya with Taekwondo Kicks. Yuya came back with a forearm. Bailey kicked Yuya off the top rope and hit Yuya at ringside with a Triangle Moonsault. Bailey hit Yuya with a PK and standing Ultima Weapon for a two count. Yuya caught Bailey’s 720 Cyclone kick and no-sold Bailey’s slaps, showing fighting spirit.
Yuya hit Bailey with a underhook overhead suplex. Yuya rallied with forearms. Yuya staggered through a kick to hit Bailey with a lariat. Yuya hit Bailey with a swinging Uranage. Yuya caught Bailey at ringside with a crossbody. Bailey blocked a crossbody in the ring with a dropkick. Bailey hit Yuya with a high thrust kick. Bailey missed another Cyclone Kick. Yuya hit Bailey with a German Suplex, but Bailey no-sold it and finally hit the cyclone kick on Yuya. Bailey hit Yuya with Ultima Weapon for the win.
Mike Bailey defeated Yuya Uemura via pinfall in 11:05 of on-air time.
A pre recorded video aired on the big screen of Kenny King at Arena Mexico, preparing to wrestle for AAA. He said he’s in Mexico because Bailey and Florida don’t deserve the presence of Kenny King…
John’s Thoughts: Great match as usual from Bailey and Yuya Uemura’s best match in Impact. The finish was not in question, as Yuya is presumably on his Young Boy Foreign excursion where he’s traveling without a gimmick and getting rookie reps. The way you look past a foregone conclusion is by having a great in-ring story. Yuya looked good here and I liked his rally on offense.
This week’s Impact Plus Flashback moment of the week was Hulk Hogan making his TNA debut on a January 2010 episode of TNA Impact. This was where Hulk cut a promo about how TNA’s going to be the number 1 company in the world…
Heath and Rhino and The Major Players were arguing in front of Scott D’Amore’s office about wanting a tag team title shot. The Motor City Machine Guns came out of the office. Sabin said everyone in the room is getting a tag title shot. Shelley said Chris Bey and Ace Austin are also getting a shot.
Brian Myers yelled “We have to go to Japan!?! What?”. Sabin said it was going to be a four way at Hard to Kill. Matt Cardona said he wants to pin Chris Sabin in particular. Sabin challenged Cardona to a singles match. Cardona said Sabin can’t book matches. Sabin said since his foot is in D’Amore’s office, he can book matches. Cardona said he can’t because he’s a tag team guy. Cardona said that Sabin isn’t the boss. Heath joked “he is now”…[c]
Tom Hannifan plugged next week’s clip and year-end awards show… (You’re probably not getting a review from me that week)
John Skyler and Jason Hotch made their entrance. Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice made their way to the top of the stage, but all of a sudden Bully Ray’s entrance theme cut in. This caused Dice to comically roll Johnny Swinger off stage on Swinger’s WrestleMania cart. Bully Ray made his entrance. Bully initially had his cheap plastic and broken trophy in hand, but he quickly dropped it half way down the ramp (I’m pretty sure he’s convinced that it looks like it was bought from the Dollar Store).
Bully dumped Skyler to ringside and cuffed Hotch to the top rope with a zip tie. Bully called out Josh Alexander and said he’s about to end a poor kid’s career before it even starts. Bully said he understands that Josh listens to everything that Scott D’Amore and his wife orders him to do. Bully Ray threw in that he’s a huge fan of Jen’s OnlyFans page.
Josh Alexander ran in the ring with a steel chair and wire cutters. Josh set Hotch free and was about to hold his ground against Bully, but it was a trap and Hotch ended up holding Josh in place. This allowed Bully to give Josh a clothesline. Bully, Hotch, and Skyler cuffed both of Josh’s arms to the top rope with Zip ties. Tommy Dreamer ran into the ring to save Josh. After a distraction by Hotch and Skyler, Bully gave Dreamer a low blow and pile driver.
Bully asked to Skyler and Hotch to “Get the Tables”. This popped the crowd, so Bully waved Hotch and Skyler off and said to get a ladder instead. Bully slammed the ladder on Dreamer. Bully then hit the ladder several times with a chair while Dreamer was under it. Bully teased hitting Josh in the head, but instead hit Dreamer another time. Bully got in Josh’s face and said “tell your wife I said, hello” off mic. Bully Ray made his exit while Josh Alexander was in tears in the ring, still cuffed to the ropes…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Credit where credit is due, I went into the Bully Ray main event run kicking and screaming, not expecting anything intriguing; but Bully’s wonderful character work won me over out of the gate and has escalated well ever since. Bully Ray continues to come up with fresh material every week. This was taped before the Mandy Rose release right? If it was, Bully Ray’s namedrop for Jen Chung’s (wrestling name Jade Chung) OnlyFans was timely (I also wonder if Bully did Jen a solid by giving her a free plug). Bully just does all the little things right, like teasing the fans with the Dudley table spot and quickly pulling away. The Hotch and Skyler trap was well done too.
Tom Hannifan recapped the trap Bully, Hotch, and Skyler set for Alexander…
Josh Alexander and Scott D’Amore were talking and sobbing backstage. D’Amore noted that Dreamer is on his way to a hospital. D’Amore said that Tommy F’n Dreamer will be ok. Alexander yelled that he laments being mean to Dreamer earlier today. Josh said he’s playing by the rules while Bully breaks all of them. Josh said he’s going to embarrass Bully Ray.
Josh said he wants a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Hard to Kill. Josh made sure to quickly shift to calling it Full Metal Mayhem (due to TLC being a WWE trademark). D’Amore said he usually yells at Alexander to keep his emotions in check, but this time he’s allowing Josh to let loose. D’Amore said at Hard to Kill we don’t need a Wrestling Machine; we need “anger, hate, and violence”.
D’Amore agreed to make the world title match at Hard to Kill Full Metal Mayhem. D’Amore said Alexander needs to go places he’s never been. Josh then noted that until Hard to Kill he’s mandating that Josh Alexander and Bully Ray stay at home. Josh said “alright”…
John’s Thoughts: Makes sense, since the holidays are coming up, but I’m kinda disappointed we’re not getting Bully Ray in-ring segments presumably which I just praised him for. That said, maybe they do some really good pre-tape segments.
Entrances for the next match took place…
3. Steve Maclin vs. Rich Swann. Maclin tossed around Swann and gave him stiff right hands. Maclin worked on Swann with methodical right hand strikes. Swann ended Maclin’s rally with a huracanrana and dropkicks. Maclin reversed a crossbody with a backbreaker and Irish Whip.[c]
Maclin dominated Swann with methodical offense. Swann came back with a Trouble in Paradise. Maclin quickly slammed Swann with a Uranage for a two count. Maclin hit Swann with a backbreaker. Maclin went back to manhandling Swann. Swann dodged the Tree of Woe spear. Swann hit Maclin with a Buzzsaw Kick combo.
Maclin rolled to ringside to avoid a Phoenix Splash. Swann hit Maclin with a cannonball. Maclin swatted Swann down off a cannonball attempt. Maclin kept yelling at the ref that he doesn’t care about the ten count. The referee counted to ten for the double countout.
Steve Maclin vs. Rich Swann ended in a double countout in 6:23 of on-air time.
Maclin continued to beat up Swann. Swann then grabbed the referee by the collar and had to be censored. Security guards ran out to drag Maclin to the back. Swann hit Maclin with a dive. Security guards separated both men with both men having their curse words censored…
Mickie James and Jordynne Grace were warming up at the Gorilla Position…[c]
An ad aired for the Impact Hard to Kill PPV…
Eddie Edwards cut a promo about people from his past haunting him like PCO, Delirious, and Jonathan Gresham. He said he just wants to move forward from the past and wonders what he did to deserve this. Alisha Edwards showed up to calm Eddie down. Eddie said he’s not here for a lecture. She said she’s not lecturing him, but rather saying she’s supporting him.
Alicia said Eddie shouldn’t run away from the past, but tackle it head-on. Alisha said Eddie needs to beat Jonathan Gresham to bury his past. Eddie agreed and said that after that he and Alisha can move forward, together…
John’s Thoughts: Wow, positive reinforcement from Alicia for once. Usually Eddie gets non-stop yelling from her in these segments.
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table. They ran through the advertised Hard to Kill lineup so far. Hannifan noted that Trey Miguel vs. Black Taurus for the X Division Championship was added to the card…
Entrances for the tag team main event took place…
4. Mickie James and Impact Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace vs. Tasha Steelz and Savannah Evans. Tasha and Mickie dragged each other by the hair. Mickie hit Tasha with a Thesz Press. Evans and Grace tagged in. Grace gave Evans a kick, backfist, and sleeper. Tasha gave Grace a gamengiri to break the sleeper. The show cut to commercial.[c]
Tasha had the advantage over Grace, but Grace caught Tasha with a boot and tagged in Mickie who gave Tasha a flapjack. Evans shoved Mickie off the top rope. Evans took Mickie to the mat with a pump kick for a two count. Tasha tagged in Evans. The heels cut the ring in half on Mickie for a stretch. Mickie got a window of opportunity by hitting Tasha with a huracanrana and neckbreaker.
Evans knocked Grace off the apron. Rehwoldt noted that it looked like Mickie wasn’t even going to tag in Grace, which Hannifan agreed. Mickie dodged Evans to send her into the ringpost. Mickie hit Evans with a seated senton. Steelz broke up Mickie’s pin. Evans hit Mickie with a twisting belly to back suplex. Grace broke up the pin. Mickie crotched Tasha off the top rope by shoving Evans into her.
Jordynne Grace tagged herself in when Mickie stumbled into the corner. Grace hit Evans with a spinebuster. Grace then hit Tasha with a Kinniku Buster for the win.
Jordynne Grace and Mickie James defeated Tasha Steelz and Savannah Evans via pinfall in 11:08 of on-air time.
Mickie and Jordynne jawed a bit and shoved each other in the center of the ring. Mickie then hit Grace with a Mick Kick. Mickie walked away to her entrance theme to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: Nice main event from the women. Kudos to Impact for featuring women in the main event; but not only that. Impact’s presentation of the women and roster allows them to put on stronger women’s main events regularly than WWE. This was a logical step towards the Mickie vs. Grace career vs. title match. Nice touch to have Steelz lose. She can quickly get her heat back on the mic and it’s smart to start protecting Evans a bit more. Mickie being on the edge makes total sense because her career being at-risk should bring out anxiety.
Jordynne Grace on the other side, has really evolved into a credible Knockouts Champion, and this is coming off several years of losing to everyone, even being in that weird tag team with Rachel Ellering. Grace has streamlined her act and is now a simple and effective buff badass. Per usual, Impact continues to chug out great weekly show after great weekly show. Their biggest problem is AXS TV’s lack of visability (partially also due to the channel being geared towards the music and concert-goer demographic. But hey, if you really want a true alternative to WWE, Impact is where to go these days. Good storytelling, and they have the automatic Mike Bailey card to pull out any time they want to hold an in-ring classic.