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1/5 Impact Wrestling TV results: Moore’s review of Matt Cardona vs. Chris Sabin, Masha Slamovich vs. Taylor Wilde, Black Taurus vs. Anthony Greene, the penultimate edition before the Hard To Kill pay-per-view

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

Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Pembroke Pines, Florida at Charles F. Dodge City Center

Aired January 5, 2023 on AXS TV

The show started off with an “In memory of” graphic for the late Don West, the original Color Commentator of TNA Impact. The graphic was followed by a recap video, recapping the last 1st run episode of Impact…

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

Deonna Purrazzo joined the commentary team for the opening match. Entrances for the opening match took place. Taylor Wilde’s a witch now and Hannifan noted she’s been playing this character on Before the Inpact…

1. Masha Slammovich vs. “Wilde Witch” Taylor Wilde. Masha took down Wilde with a drop toehold and side headlock. Wilde tried to come back, but Masha fought through with a deep armdrag and shortarm right hands. Masha hit Wilde with a PK to the back. Hannifan hyped up a tribute for Don West later in the show. Wilde caught Masha with a high kick and backbreaker. Wilde slammed Masha on the apron with a meteora for a two count.

Masha came back with a rollup into a double stomp. Masha and Wilde traded counters. Wilde hit Masha with a German Suplex for a two count. Masha came back with chained Snap Suplexes, with the third hitting the buckle. This led to a few two counts. Wilde rallied back with chest slaps. Wilde dropped Masha with running strikes and a codebreaker for a two count. Masha caught Wilde with a high kick and armdrag into the top rope. At ringside Masha decided to spit at and taunt Deonna Purrazo. When Masha reentered the ring, she took a Small Package from Wilde for the loss. What?

Taylor Wilde defeated Masha Slammovich via pinfall in 8:21.

Wilde ran to ringside to avoid Masha. Masha went on to choke Dave Penzer. Masha then gave a random security guard a T-Bone suplex. Referees managed to shoo her to the back. The also flinched when she teased attacking them…

John’s Thoughts: Well? Ok? I’m taken aback a few ways here. First of all, why is Taylor Wilde continuing to repackage herself? I thought she was ok the last time as the TNA legend. Before that she tried some weird Ms. USA type of deal (despite being Canadian). Now she’s the latest pro wrestling witch, where pro wrestling has a bunch of random witches already. Second of all, not only does Masha have one of the longest matches of her Impact career (most of her Impact matches lasted under 3 minutes), but she loses to Taylor Wilde? Impact did such a great job building Slammovich as the indestructable buzzsaw of the division. This is odd and I hope they don’t just turn Masha to “any other wrestler” on the Impact roster after pushing her so well.

The show cut to a Sami Callihan camcorder promo. Sami talked about how he’s been getting his ass jumped every week, even when he tried to join his rivals, The Design. Sami said he is intrigued by the violence he can get into with The Design. Sami reiterated that he softened Eric Young up for Deaner to kill. Sami said he’s giving The Design til the end of the night to decide if they want the Death Machine. Sami ended his promo with his usual Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down catchphrase…

A replay aired for the Rich Swann and Steve Maclin post match pull-apart brawl from two weeks ago. The show cut to a Rich Swann promo. Swann talked about how he’s a former world champion and doesn’t like to win via countout. Swann challenged Maclin to a Falls Count Anywhere match at Hard to Kill. Swann said he’s going for the world championship too and if Maclin wants the world championship he’s going to have to fight Swann “all night long”…

Crazzy Steve was in the ring providing a personalized ring introduction for Black Taurus. Taurus came out to his own entrance theme. His opponent was former 205 Live and AEW Dark wrestler Anthony Greene…

2. Black Taurus (w/ Crazzy Steve) vs. Anthony Greene. Both men started off with a Lucha stalemate where both men ran the ropes. Green hit Taurus with a huracanrana. Taurus came back with corner strikes and a power slam for a two count. Taurus hit Greene with a right hand. Greene managed to backdrop Taurus to ringside. Hannifan noted that Taurus was selling his leg. Greene sent Taurus into the ringpost and then took down Taurus with a lariat.[c]

Greene was dominating the match back from the break. Greene had a few good combos during his stretch on offense. Taurus turned the tides with a few Sling Blades and a Samoan Drop. Taurus hit Green wiht an Argentine Backbreaker and Destination Hellhole (Drill Claw) for the win.

Black Taurus defeated Anthony Greene via pinfall in 6:05 of on-air time.

While Taurus and Steve were celebrating in the ring. Trey Miguel hit Anthony Greene on the ramp with the X Division Title belt. Trey sprayed his symbol on Green after he was knocked out…

John’s Thoughts: A good match, but if they’re going to give Taurus any semblance of a push, I’m confused as to why they decided to have a local wrestler look good in a match against him? To faults against Greene. I remember him from his NXT and Evolve runs. The guy’s good, but he really holds himself back with his whole 70s gimmick which I don’t think he plays well (he’s sorta like a discount Joey Ryan). He’s good in the ring, but this 70s throwback has done him zero favors. Taurus is talented in the ring, but they need to define him. So far, Johnny Swinger’s description as the 2020s Mantaur is the cloest we get to defining him.

Footage was shown of Kenny King at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he was taunting the patrons of Speedball Mike Bailey’s gym. King gave a few of the pro wrestling students lariats, tossed a lady at a big dude, and gave that big dude two roundhouse kicks to the head to knock him down. King called out to Bailey on the cam and told Bailey to come see him soon…[c]

Gia Millier caught up with Mike Bailey. Bailey addressed King attacking his pro wrestling students. Bailey challenged King to a “Pit Fight”…

The wrestlers for the next match were already in the ring…

3. Jonathan Gresham vs. Ernest R. Anthony. Gresham started the match with a Code of Honor handshake. Hannifan noted that Gresham is a former Ring of Honor World Champion and is undefeated in Impact. Gresham took down Anthony with a huracanrana and a few dropkicks. Gresham showboated while putting Anthony in a heel hook. Anthony went for a few moves, but couldn’t execute them due to Gresham’s heel hook earlier. Gresham worked on Anthony’s left leg. Gresham then put Anthony in a Hammerlock variant of the Tequila Sunrise. Gresham put Anthony’s shoulders to the mat for the pinfall.

Jonathan Gresham defeated Ernest Anthony via pinfall in 3:41.

Tasha Steelz and Savannah Evans were backstage. They were ranting about how they lost their last tag team match. Suddenly, they were approached by Gisele Shaw and Jai Vidal who were acting flamboyant. Shaw offered to assist Steelz and Evans against the Death Dollz. Steelz noted that Shaw has been losing with every team she’s teamed up with. Steelz pointed out that The Influence and VXT broke up after teaming with her.

Shaw said that Evans and Steelz are having a lack of success and that two negatives should make a positive if she was added. Shaw noted that The Death Dollz have three people and that if you add her and Jai, you would be up one. Shaw then huddled with Steelz and Evans over some plan…

The show cut to a promo from Deaner and The Design faction. Deaner was in a red lighted room. Deaner accepted Callihan’s challenge and said he was going to rip off the hair off Callihan’s head…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Solid re-debut for Jonathan Gresham. Simple, effective, and it looks like they’re going to take their time now redefining him as an Impact wrestler. His unique moveset already gives him a step up and I don’t mind them taking their time to introduce him as a powerhouse.

A Josh Alexander profile package aired, focusing on his Impact career and accolades…

Moose made his entrance. Hannifan noted that Mosoe is facing Joe Hendry for the Digital Media Championship at Hard to Kill. Moose hyped up his match against Hendry, while receiving light “what” chants from the crowd. Moose ended his promo with the words “say his name” which summoned Joe Hendry. Hendry came out and said that Moose is an angry Moose. He said this isn’t the “real Moose”. Hendry said they should let the Moose loose tonight.

Hendry said he wrote new entrance music for Moose. Hendry then aired his own entrance theme with Moose themed lyrics. It pointed out that Moose was rejected from the NFL. The footage showed Moose during some of his weird Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior cosplays throughout his heel run. The music focused on Moose randomly dancing. A “dancing Moose” chant ensued. Moose took the mic and said “I believe”. He said he believes he’s going to shove his size 13 boots up Hendry’s ass. Moose asked for his theme to play, but they played the “dancing Moose” theme…

John’s Thoughts: Fun segment. I can see this not clicking with some people due to the cheese, but I personally liked it to some extent. Key word “to some extent” because I feel like Hendry did hold himself back a bit. It seems like Impact is hesitant to allow Joe Hendry to do his music video parody gimmick in Impact. I get it, copyright, but given that Saturday Night Live and YouTube exist, I believe there’s some level of fair use involved. I personally feel this segment would have been better if Hendry was allowed to do a Ed Sheran or NSync cover song, that’s all.

The show cut to a Mickie James promo where she chronicled her wrestling career. She talked about starting her career in the indies, leading to her getting signed to Ring of Honor and then TNA. The noted that her name was Alexis Laree at the time and she got recruited into Raven’s Gathering faction in TNA. She talked about being teamed up with Raven, CM Punk, and Julio Dinero. James talked about how women weren’t being focused upon in wrestling at the time.

James said she talked to TNA president Jeff Jarrett about how she got a offer from WWE. James pointed out that Jarrett encouraged her to take the offer and that TNA’s doors will be always open for her if she decides to come back. James talked about being in WWE developmental and how she got to debut in a feud with Trish Stratus. Mickie talked about leaving WWE the first time, leading to her most meaningful Impact run. She talked about really acknowledging her country and Native American heritage in TNA, where “Hardcore Country” was born.

James talked about Impact being the catalyst for respect in women’s wrestling. James talked abbout one day after a match when she was in the ring with Victoria and Al Snow, when she was approached by a handsome man, Brutus Magnus (Nick Aldis). James talked about loving his British accent. James noted that she not only got to have a good run in wrestling, but she got to meet the love of her life. James talked about how she thought her wrestling career was over (post James Storm running over her with a train. She didn’t mention it, but I remember). James talked about Triple H calling her after that TNA run to come into NXT for a match against Asuka.

James noted that after that match, Hunter brought James back to WWE full time. She said it was fun, but it didn’t end up as a satisfying end to her career. She talked about coming back ot Impact to get that satisifying end. She said coming back to Impact, she saw that talent level rise. She said she just wanted to give back to the business that gave her everything. Mickie started sobbing. She said that wrestling gave her all her dreams and gave her and her parents livelihood…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Wow. Awesome video package. Cool to see Mickie cover her whole career in a complete and efficient way. They got all of it. It’s production like this why Impact is one of the best wrestling shows that nobody knows about. On top of that, it should also be noted that Impact was the company that really innovated women’s wrestling when no one else would. That’s a fact.

The show cut to a Don West video package where Impact talent gave their thoughts on the legendary TNA commentator. It included thoughts from Gail Kim, Josh Alexander, Chris Harris, ODB, Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan, and Frankie Kazarian…

Entrance for the next match took place. Shelley and Sabin came to the ring with both their Impact and New Japan Strong tag team titles. Hannifan plugged that the Hot Ones spicy chicken wing interview show was premiering on AXS TV next week. Rehwoldt pointed out that his wife literally eats fire, [former NXT wrestler Shaul Guerrero]…

4. Matt Cardona (w/Brian Myers) vs. Chris Sabin (w/Alex Shelley). Hannifan pointed out that Cardona is a former NWA world champion. Sabin gloated after an initial armdrag. Cardona sold his injured arm. Sabin followed up with a few hip tosses and an armdrag into an armbar. Myers grabbed Sabin’s leg which allowed Cardona to nail Sabin with a Yakuza Kick and wrecking ball kick at ringside. Sabin backdropped Cardona on the ramp.[c]

Carona dominated back from the break for a few minutes. Sabin tried to come back with sunset flips, but Cardona shut that down with a lariat. Sabin reversed the ten punches in the corner with a dropkick to drop Cardona off the top rope. Sabin used a backslide for a two count. Sabin hit Cardona with a Yakuza Kick in the corner and put him in a tree of woe for a dropkick. Cardona raked Sabin’s eyes and tossed him into the corner. Cardona did his Woowoo[boo] catchphrase, but Sabin reversed the Broski Boot into a backdrop.[c]

Both men traded knees. Sabin hit Cardona with a Tornado DDT. Myers prevented the ref from counting the pin. Sabin gave Myers a PK. Shelley held open the ropes for Sabin to hit the Major Players with a suicide dive. Sabin hit Cardona with a crossbody for a two count. Cardona pulled the ref as a shield to hit Sabin with a suplex into the corner. Cardona hit Sabin with two Broski Boots. Sabin reversed a pin into a two count. Sabin no sold a missile dropkick into his own kick. Sabin hit Cardona with the Cradle Shock for the clean win.

Chris Sabin defeated Matt Cardona via pinfall in 11:09 of on-air time.

John’s Thoughts: Nice treat of a match out of nowhere. Cardona’s great and Sabin continues to be a workhorse. What’s interesting is that about two or three years ago it seemed like both Motor City Machine Guns were retired from pro wrestling due to wear and tear on their bodies, yet in 2022 and 2023 both men are putting on main event quality matches as both tag team and singles wrestlers. Shelley is definitely the better personality, but credit to Sabin being the comeback kid and workhorse of the group.

Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rewwoldt checked in from the commentary table. They ran through the advertised Hard to Kill lineup. The run through was cut short because Bully Ray appeared at ringside. Hannifan noted that Scott D’Amore had sent Bully home until Hard to Kill. Bully was hostile to Tom Hannifan, threatening to hit him with a chair. Bully asked for a mic and yelled at the lady who gave it to him to give it to him faster next time.

Bully got in the ring and asked for Josh Alexander to come out. Bully threatened to crush skulls if Josh didn’t come out. Scott D’Amore’s entrance theme played as he made his entrance…[c]

Bully disrespectfully kicked a mic at Scott D’Amore. D’Amore stood up to Bully and reiterated that Josh is just following his instruction of staying home, unlike Bully. Bully said he simply doesn’t have respect for anything Scott stays. Scott said Bully is a big bad Bully and a smartass. Scott said he brought Bully back, but because Bully called and said he’s a changed man. Scott said he hoped he changed, but he knew that Bully was probably still the piece of shit he’s always been.

Scott talked about not being the best man during his first TNA run, but five years ago Impact gave him a chance to rewrite his story as a better man. Scott said he hoped Bully would do the same. Scott said it could have been a redemption of a hall of famer, or a cautionary tale to what happens to someone who seeks success to the detriment of those around him. Scott noted that D-Von Dudley won’t even be in the same room with Bully unless someone gives D-Von a huge bag of money. Scott noted that Bully’s last friend Tommy Dreamer is in a hospital now at Bully’s hands.

Scott noted that Bully alienated every human being that gave Bully even the little bit of trust. Scott said he agrees that Bully is one of the best. Scott said that Alexander is walking into a locker room with wrestlers that respect him, with fans that adore him, and a family that loves him no matter what. Scott said that no matter what the result is with Bully after Hard to Kill, he goes back to the hotel room as a sad, pathetic, and lonely man, with only his thoughts around him. Scott said that’s a worst punishment that anyone can give him.

Bully said that’s not going to leave him sad and pathetic, but as a three time world champion. Bully said Scott’s opinion means nothing. Scott said he used Scott like he used everyone to get ahead. Bully said Scott was a sucka. Bully said this is only Scott’s biggest moment because Bully allows it to be.

Scott threw hit suit jacket at Bully. Bully dared Scott to punch him and said the crowd demands it. Scott slapped Bully and called him a piece of shit. Scott talked about cultivating a locker room of talent. Bully called them nobodies. Scott said he trained them to do things right to make the business better, but there’s no reason for Scott to do things right now. Scott got Bully to a knee with a right hand punch. John Skyler and Jason Hotch ran in to hold Scott in place. Bully hit D’Amore with a big boot and pile driver.

Bully asked Hotch and Skyler to “get the table”. Bully set up the table in the ring and then gave Scott a Power Bomb through the table. Bully took the mic and said “Do you know who I am? I’m Bully Ray, your next world champion…”. Bully made his exit to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: Well, that was way better than I would have expected if you told me that there was going to be a main event fight segment between Bully Ray and Scott F’n D’Amore. That was a great main event segment, and they sold me (just a bit) on possibly wanting to see Bully Ray as a world champion. Give D’Amore the accolade as Booker of the Year, maybe over Paul Levesque (who is sadly in his own battle with the evil old man right now). This guy really made the most out of little. Hey, this is close to prime Bully Ray. Guy’s over 50, but the guy is a top tier heel, doing top heel things, and it’s all simple. Why aren’t other heels just doing this. “Other heels” take note (MJF seems to take note, so I’m not talking to him).

On one hand, yes, I would have used Scott D’Amore taking his first bump on TV to a rising heel. I say this because Scott has been the most plot-armor protected babyface in Impact, dominating 7 foot tall men like W Morrissey, to ten person factions like Honor No More. It’s kinda hilarious. He gave the moment to Bully, which I would have hoped to go to another dominant heel; but even then, it was effective. D’Amore followed that up with good mic work to sell Josh’s match against Bully. Hey, as usual, another great episode of Impact. Coming off their week off, putting on another entertaining show. Looking forward to whatever they have planned for their go-home show and friday PPV.




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