By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Casino
Aired March 16, 2023 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired. The show then cut back to the Nevada desert. PCO had revived after getting run over by an SUV that picked up Eddie Edwards. PCO yelled “EDDIE!” to imply that he’s still looking to beat up Eddie Edwards. The Impact intro theme aired… Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…
1. “Speedball” Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham vs. “Decay” Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus. Steve used the ropes to prevent Gresham from tangling him up. Steve got the upper hand after biting the hand of Gresham. Steve and Taurus traded tags to cut the ring in half on Gresham. Gresham fought out of the corner with right hands. Taurus accidentally hit Steve. Gresham hit Taurus with a dropkick and was able to tag in Speedball.
Bailey hit Steve with an axe kick combo and standing Shooting Star Press for a two count. Bailey took out Steve with rapid kicks. Taurus tagged in and knocked Gresham off the apron. Taurus hit Bailey with a backbreaker and Samoan Drop. Gresham saved Bailey and hit Taurus with a Lionsault.
Bailey hit Steve with a moonsault from the apron. Bailey got a one count on Taurus. Steve shoved Gresham on Bailey to break up another pinfall. Gresham hit Taurus with a Cyclone Kick followed by an Ultima Weapon. Bailey picked up the pinfall win.
Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham defeated Decay via pinfall in 6:23.
Bailey and Gresham shared a handshake after the match…
John’s Thoughts: A fun match to set up the second match between Bailey and Gresham at the next Impact Plus show. Decay are established as stepping stones, so that was their expected mechanism here. Gresham picked up the win at the last Impact Plus show, so I expect Bailey to pick up the win at the next to set up a rubber match at the next PPV.
Gia Miller interviewed Josh Alexander, Rich Swann, and Frankie Kazarian. She talked about how all three men are teaming up for the first time and facing Bullet Club on this week’s show before facing Time Machine at Sacrifice. Alexander talked about all three men having a lot of tag team experience, having a lot of tag team title reigns between them with other partners. Alexander talked about all three men having world title and X Division title reigns meaning they all were accomplished.
Kazarian said he has known Sabin and Shelley for years. He said he was one of the first people to put a dagger in the Bullet Club (is he referencing his time as the Elite Hunter? Didn’t that equal him getting beat up most of the time while he wore a hoodie?).
Steve Maclin walked up and called Alexander’s team a “pity team” because Alexander beat Kaz and Swann recently in title defenses. Maclin hyped facing Alexander at Rebellion and walked off…[c]
Tom Hannifan plugged Impact’s “Season Pass” ticket sales, which includes Bound for Glory tickets along with their other upcoming Chicago shows…
Gia Miller interviewed Gisele Shaw who was flanked by Jai Vidal and Savannah Evans. Gia mentioned how Gisele was unsuccessful in beating Mickie James for the Knockouts Title. Shaw said she was close to winning the title and it was Deonna Purrazzo who cost her the title. Shaw said Purrazzo was jealous of her having a personal stylist and head of security. Gisele said she’s going to give Purrazzo a receipt at Sacrifice.
Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice rolled up and were goofing around. Swinger challenged Vidal to a match thinking he’s a non-wrestler. Dice and Swinger rolled away with Shaw confused that Swinger didn’t know that Vidal was a wrestler…
Entrances for the next match took place…
2. Steve Maclin vs. Heath. Heath put Maclin in a headlock and took him down with running tackles. Heath hit Maclin with a corner forearm. Maclin came back with a shoulder tackle. Heath turned the tables and worked onn Maclin with chops. Maclin came back with a knee to the head and a lariat. Heath backdropped Maclin to ringside heading into break.[c]
Maclin dumped Heath to ringside with a knee to the back. Maclin beat up Heath at ringside while gloating that he’s the number one contender for the world title. Maclin dominated for a few minutes. Heath turned the tables by escaping an abdominal stretch with a Snapmare. Heath gave Maclin hands and a leg lariat. Heath got a two count after a power slam.
Heath got a one count after a spinebuster. Maclin put Heath in a Tree of Woe and hit Heath with a spear. Maclin hit Heath with a Dirty Deeds DDT for the win.
Steve Maclin defeated Heath via pinfall in 8:02 of on-air time.
John’s Thoughts: Good win for Maclin as he bides his time before the next PPV. With an Impact Plus show before the PPV there’s no reason to expect Maclin to eat a clean loss before the Impact Plus show. It doesn’t hurt to rack up wins for Maclin against preliminary talent to heat him up for his match against Alexander. As I said before, I see Maclin as one person I wouldn’t be shocked to see dethrone Josh Alexander as world champ. The guy definitely should get rewarded after reinventing himself (Meanwhile, Heath is still living his live as Mr. 3MB).
Rosemary, Jessicka, and Taya Valkyrie were hanging out backstage and excited for their next title defense against The Coven. Rosemary was hyped to prevent Wilde and King from using magic. Jessicka was excited over the concept of magic. Taya said magic freaks her out. Jessicka said things like the tarot cards were very cool because of the spooky pictures.
Taya told Jessicka to stay away from the magic and drink bottomless mimosas. Jessicka liked that idea and stormed off. Taya told Rosemary she was keeping Jessicka away from magic because the magic might remind Jessicka that she’s actually Havok. Taya said Havok would be mad that they were keeping that info away from her. Rosemary said that she didn’t want to hold the information and it was Taya’s idea. Rosemary said she doesn’t mind if Havok comes back. Jessicka yelled that it was time to assemble and get lit…
PCO was dragging a shovel and walking the streets of Las Vegas. He’s searching for Eddie Edwards…[c]
An ad aired for the Impact Multiverse United show happening Mania weekend…
Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham met up backstage and traded complements after a successful tag team match. Bailey said he doesn’t forget that Gresham beat him at the last Impact Plus show. Both men shared a respectful handshake…
Zicky Dice rolled Johnny Swinger to the ring with his personalized WrestleMania 3 cart. His opponent was Jai Vidal…
3. Johnny Swinger (w/Zicky Dice) vs. Jai Vidal (w/Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans). Swinger wanted to start the match with a Test of Strength but Vidal gave Swinger a dropkick. Vidal gave Swinger an elbow drop. Vidal teased a dropkick in the corner and gave Swinger a slap. Vidal slammed Swinger’s head into the buckle a few times. The referee caught Dice trying to interfere and ejected him to the back.
Swinger dragged Vidal’s head across the top rope after the distraction. Swinger put Vidal in a Camel Clutch. Evans pulled Vidal to ringside to help him escape. The referee ejected Evans for interfering. Deonna Purrazzo ran out to attack Gisele Shaw. Security dragged Purrazzo away. Vidal caught Swinger with a Knee Plus for the win.
Jai Vidal defeated Johnny Swinger via pinfall in 3:22.
John’s Thoughts: Eh, a heel vs. heel comedy match that wasn’t that comedic. I can’t say I’m excited to see the Purrazzo vs. Shaw feud continue. It’s a meaningless feud over bowls of chili. Speaking of Shaw, Impact has released a documentary on their YouTube channel which focused on her. I watched it before Impact and thought it was REALLY REALLY good. It goes into her struggles with identity and discrimination. She really came off well there. Her character has been inconsistent and all over the place in Impact, but if they really want to elevate her I think they need to lean into her real life persona.
Deaner was backstage with Kon and Angels. Deaner cut a promo about putting Callihan through an initiation despite Callihan possibly trying to betray them. Callihan walked in and yelled at Deaner from preventing him from doing step 6 of his 7 step initiation. Deaner said step 6 was not winning, but taking a punishment like a man. Deaner brought up Callihan “accidentally” costing Kon a match against Frankie Kazarian. Callihan agreed to take his punishment and Deaner said that was the right choice…
John’s Thoughts: Can we throw The Design and Joe Gacy’s Schism faction into the Undead Realm and lock the door? I’m just tired of these lame ass undercard wrestling cults.
PCO was still shambling around Las Vegas yelling for Eddie Edwards. He was standing in front of the Sam’s Town Casino…[c]
Mickie James confronted Tommy Dreamer about him requesting a match alongside James against Bully Ray and Masha Slamovich. Mickie asked Dreamer if this was the best solution because Dreamer is wrestling the Busted Open match the next day?
Jordynne Grace walked up and said she was wondering if the match was a good idea because Mickie will be facing Grace the next day. Grace brought up Mickie barely escaping Masha at No Surrender and how Mickie might tap out at Sacrifice to Grace due to being softened up. Grace walked off…
Eddie Edwards made his entrance for a promo. Eddie talked about how he’s had to re-access his career after Honor No More broke up. He said he’s tried to leave his past in the past. He said he’s trying to focus on his future in Impact, but the people won’t let him move on. Eddie said it’s hard to focus on his future when his past, PCO, keeps pursuing him. Eddie said it’s safe to say that his PCO problem is over. On the big screen, footage aired of PCO getting hit by a car last week. Eddie said that video is a breath of fresh air because it’s the death of PCO and the rebirth of Eddie Edwards in Impact Wrestling.
PCO came out. Before PCO could get to the ramp, he was clubbed from behind with a shovel by Kenny King. Eddie and King beat up PCO. PCO no-sold a double back suplex and had the upper hand over King and Edwards. PCO no-sold a chair shot to the back from Edwards and punched it into Eddie.
Eddie and Kenny swarmed PCO with kicks to down him. King and Edwards beat up PCO after trapping him against the ring post with the steel steps. PCO escaped and fended off Eddie and PCO again. Eddie staggered PCO with “Kenny” the Kendo Stick. King followed up with a top rope Blockbuster to get PCO to the mat. King held a chair to allow Eddie to hit PCO with a chair assisted Boston Knee Party. Eddie hit PCO with a Kendo stick. The heels stood tall to end the segment…[c]
John’s Thoughts: This feud continues, I guess. Can’t say I’m excited to see this feud continue as I would rather see both men move on to bigger and better things. It also looks like they quickly blew off the mystery of the SUV driver being Kenny King. That’s a bit underwhelming, given King’s status as the heel gatekeeper of the singles division.
An ad aired for the Impact Rebellion PPV…
Santino Marella was backstage, super hyped to reunite with his former tag team partner Vladimir Kozlov. Both men shared a hug. After Kozlov left, Dirty Dango walked off and wondered if that was Kozlov. Santino told Dango not to say his name, because unlike Santino, Vladimir Kozlov is still trademarked [by WWE]. Because Santino said “say his name”, “he appears”, “I believe in Joe Hendry” clap clap.
Hendry said he wanted to personally invoke Brian Myers’s rematch at Sacrifice. Santino agreed and booked Hendry vs. Myers for the Digital Media Championship at Sacrifice. Dango said he’s a huge fan of Hendry. Santino booked Hendry and Dango in a match against Moose and Myers next week. Dango awkwardly asked Hendry if they want to hang out at the casino afterwards…
Entrances for the next match took place (Is it just me, or does Taylor Wilde’s new theme sound like an instrumental of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”?). Wilde laid a deck of Tarot cards in her corner. Hannifan noted that Rosemary and Valkyrie are the longest reigning “female-only” Knockouts Tag Team Champs (my guess is because Eric Young was once a Knockouts Tag Team Champion alongside ODB)…
4. “The Death Dollz” Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie (w/Jessicka) vs. “The Coven” Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King for the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championships. Taya hit King with a crossbody for a two count. Rosemary tagged in and hit King with a T-Bone Suplex. Wilde tagged in after playing with her cards a bit. Rosemary bit Wilde in the face. Taya and Rosemary dumped The Coven to ringside with lariats.[c]
King was dominating the match back from the break over Rosemary. Wilde and King cut the ring in half on Rosemary. Hannifan noted that Taylor Wilde was the first Knockouts Tag Team Champ alongside Sarita after they beat Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. Rosemary turned the table after choking Wilde with the Tarantula. Taya and King tagged in with Taya having momentum. Taya hit King with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count.
Taya hit King with a hip attack and meteora in the corner. King kicked out at two. Wilde caught Taya with a knee in the corner. King hit Taya with a German Suplex in the corner. Rosemary sent Wilde to ringside with a spear. Wilde dragged Rosemary to ringside. King reversed a Road to Valhalla for a two count. King hit Taya with a Kick and a spinning gut-wrench move for the win (the move looked like a modified version of Austin Theory’s old Ataxia slam).
“The Coven” Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King defeated “The Death Dollz” Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie via pinfall in 7:00 of on-air time to win the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.
Highlights from the match aired…
John’s Thoughts: A good match with a logical and predictable outcome given Taya making her AEW debut just the day before. As down as I am on Wilde doing witch cosplay, I do think KiLynn King has looked good in the role so far. Maybe Wilde’s witch run will work better as a heel? Huge loss for the Knockouts division with Taya leaving, but at the same time it was disappointing that her latest run in Impact felt underwhelming. She still holds the record for being the longest reigning Knockouts Champion, but during this run they minimalized her usage in this Freebirds style tag team.
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table. Hannifan hyped up Impact returning to Canada for the first time in years at the upcoming Sacrifice show. Hannifan and Rehwoldt ran through the advertised Sacrifice card. The following segments were plugged for next week’s Impact show: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Savannah Evans, The Design vs. Time Machine, and Moose and Brian Myers vs. Joe Hendry and Dirty Dango.
Hannifan advertised a special live edition of Impact March 30th at LA Live (the area around the former Staples Center). Hannifan noted that they will analyze the Multiverse show. Hannifan sent the show to Kevin Kelly for his weekly New Japan on AXS plug…
Entrances for the upcoming match took place…
5. Josh Alexander, Frankie Kazarian, and Rich Swann vs. “The Bullet Club” Chris Bey, Ace Austin, and KENTA. Bey and Kaz started the match. Both men traded quick pin attempts to start the match. Bey put Kaz in the corner with a huracanrana. Ace tagged in. Kaz dumped Bey to ringside and hit Ace with an armdrag. Swann tagged in. Kaz tossed Swann into Ace with a hip toss. Ace recovered and hit Swann with a slingshot dropkick.
Kenta and Alexander tagged in. Alexander ducked a punch from Kenta. Kenta and Alexander traded stiff strikes in the center of the ring. Alexander got the upper hand with a rolling senton. Alexander’s team dumped Bullet Club to ringside heading into commercial.[c]
Bullet Club cut the ring in half on Swann back from break with quick tags. Swann got a window of opportunity after hitting Kenta with a lariat. Kazarian took the hot tag and took down Bey with clotheslines. Kazarian hit Bey with a springboard legdrop after a body slam. Bey kicked out at two. Kazarian reversed the tag team champions with a double DDT. Bey came back with a superman forearm.
Alexander tagged in and faked out Bey with a right hand. Alexander snatched Bey out of the ear and hit him with a deadlift Backbreaker Bomb. Swann hit Bey with a 450 for the two count after Ace dragged him to ringside. Alexander hit Ace in the back with a Suicide Crossbody. Swann took Ace off the apron with a kick and cannonball. Everyone traded kicks.
Bey executed a Plancha to the pile of wrestlers at ringside, but Kaz also assisted by hitting Bey with an RKO out of nowhere during the Plancha. Swann and Bey beat the ten count. Swann hit ey with a leg drop. Ace hit Swann with a Beautiful Disaster. Kaz hit Ace with One Final Beat. Kenta hit Kaz with a Busaiku Knee. Alexander took out Kenta with a right hand.
Alexander was about to hit Ace with a C4 Spike, but he froze in place when he saw Steve Maclin on the stage. Kenta kicked Alexander in the head to dump him to ringside. Swann tried to fend off Ace and Kenta with strikes. Bey caught Swann with a springboard cutter. Ace hit Swann with The Fold for the win.
“Bullet Club” Kenta, Ace Austin, and Chris Bey defeated Rich Swann, Josh Alexander, and Frankie Kazarian via pinfall in 13:55 of on-air time.
Tom Hannifan closed the show hyping up Sacrifice and Rebellion…
John’s Thoughts: A solid six-person tag. Good to see Bullet Club go over the thrown-together babyface team. As you would probably expect, Swann took the pin as he’s the most adept to taking a loss at this point (Alexander is the world champ and Kaz has just signed). A bit disappointing to see Kenta just be a background player here. The guy is legendary with wrestlers like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson modeling their movesets after him, but at the same time it’s been years since we’ve seen Kenta have a truly memorable match.
A good edition of Impact to heat things up for their Impact Plus show. Impact seems to go back and forth in terms of quality these days with the return of more “spooky” and comedic segments. I wouldn’t mind if Impact would take a more sports-like approach like they did in 2022 where they had a killer year. They do have a handful of shows to build up to and I’m looking forward to those with their Sacrifice, Multiverse, and Rebellion shows coming up.