By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Impact Wrestling Sacrifice
Streamed March 24, 2023 on Impact Plus and FITE.TV
Live from Windsor, Ontario at St. Clair College
It was immediately noticeable that there was a packed crowd seated across from the hard camera; the entrance ramp is to the side. This is startlingly different from a typical Impact taping, when the entrance is typically across from the hard camera.
Impact Wrestling Sacrifice Pre-Show
1. Eddie Edwards defeated Bhupinder Gujjar at 7:23. Edwards hit the Boston Knee Party/running kneestrike for the pin.
* We went to Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt at ringside, who gave us the update on injuries to both Mickie James and Josh Alexander. We went backstage to see Frankie Kazarian and Rich Swann offer well-wishes to Alexander.
* Video packages, including showing us how Taya Valkyrie got pulled into the dark realm and is gone from Impact Wrestling. I hate how the Impact women get such dumb storylines, but I appreciate how they write characters off when they leave the promotion.
2. Rosemary (w/Jessicka) defeated KiLynn King (w/Taylor Wilde) at 9:04. Basic action early. They hit simultaneous Mafia Kicks at 5:30 and were both down. King hit a forward Finlay Roll, but she missed a second-rope senton splash. Rosemary hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. KiLynn hit a twisting suplex for a believable nearfall. Wilde caused a distraction, allowing KiLynn to hit a spin kick to the head. Jessicka attacked Wilde on the floor. Rosemary hit a spear for the pin.
Impact Wrestling Sacrifice Main Card
1. Mike Bailey defeated Jonathan Gresham at 19:23. Quick reversals to start and a standoff. They continued to trade mat reversals; there isn’t much to describe but this is good action. Gresham tied him in a leglock, and Bailey reached the ropes at 7:00. Bailey fired back with his speedball kicks to the ribs and thighs, then he hit his Triangle Moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, Gresham repeatedly slammed Bailey’s knee into the mat at 9:00. Gresham twisted Bailey’s toes and ankle. Gresham tied up the legs and cranked them toward Bailey’s head. Bailey hit a second-rope missile dropkick at 11:30 and a series of kicks, then his running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall.
Gresham hit a DDT and a basement dropkick on Bailey’s injured knee. They got to their feets and began trading forearm shots at 14:00. Gresham applied a Figure Four Leglock. They fought onto the ring apron, where Bailey hit a moonsault kneedrop, but he landed on Gresham’s face, at 17:00. Gresham dropped Bailey’s knee onto the ring apron, and they both crashed to the floor; they were both nearly counted out. In the ring, Gresham got some rollups. Bailey missed Ultima Weapon, but he immediately applied the Jamie Noble Trailer Hitch leglock, and Gresham quickly tapped out. A superb opener.
* Backstage interview with Brian Myers, and he vowed to win back the Digital Media title belt. Moose approached him, and he says he is going to help Myers win. Santino Marella walked up and immediately banned Moose from ringside.
2. Joe Hendry defeated Brian Myers to retain the Digital Media Title at 8:33. They immediately brawled to the floor, and Hendry hit a bodyslam onto the thin mat. In the ring, Myers hit a Flatliner, and he was in control of the offense. Hendry fired up and hit a series of chops at 5:30, then a spinning forearm. Hendry hit a fallaway slam and a stunner for a nearfall. Myers hit a Pele Kick and a jumping DDT for a nearfall at 7:00. Myers hit a spear for a nearfall. He dove off the ropes, but Hendry caught him with a stunner. Hendry then hit his pop-up chokeslam move for the pin. Decent match; it didn’t have the chicanery I expected.
* Backstage interview with Mickie James, who says she has a broken rib, and she can’t compete tonight. She’s disappointed, adding she also won’t compete at Multi-verse United next week. Santino Marella was also present, and he explained that Rebellion will now be a three-way match for the women’s title. Mickie vowed she will be ready to go at Rebellion, or she will vacate it.
3. Deonna Purrazzo defeated Gisele Shaw (w/Savannah Evans, Jai Vidal) at 9:36. They immediately traded quick pinfall attempts. They brawled to the floor at 2:00; Evans hit a clothesline while the ref was distracted. Gisele got on top of Deonna and hit a series of punches as they continued to brawl on the floor. In the ring, Shaw was in charge. She hit a double kneedrop in the corner at 4:30. Deonna fired back with a standing neckbreaker, and they were both down.
Deonna hit a Flatliner and tied Gisele up in a Koji Clutch on the mat at 7:00. They traded forearm shots while holding each other’s wrist. Gisele nailed a Shellshock spinning faceplant for a believable nearfall. Deonna applied the Venis de Milo/modified Rings of Saturn double armbar, and Gisele tapped out. While I never thought Gisele was winning here, she had a good performance and this match topped my expectations.
* Savannah Evans immediately attacked Deonna after the match. Tasha Steelz suddenly came out from the back. Her hair is down and it’s really curly, and she’s barely recognizable. Steelz hit Evans! Vidal got in the ring, but she hit him too.
4. PCO defeated Kenny King (w/Eddie Edwards) at 10:39. King wore his “Honor No More” T-shirt, and Hannifan commented that he didn’t expect to see that again. King jumped PCO to start the match. PCO took control, but he rolled to the floor to go after Edwards. Kenny hit a twisting plancha to the floor at 2:00. PCO threw King to the mat, but PCO suddenly grabbed his head; Hannifan said he’s “short-circuiting.” He dove to the floor but no one was there! He got back in the ring and dove to the floor on Kenny at 4:30. Rehwoldt said PCO has a “glitch.”
In the ring, PCO hit a Lungblower to the chest. PCO hit a second-rope guillotine legdrop. King fired back by flipping PCO off the top rope and slamming him onto the ring apron, with PCO rolling to the floor at 7:30, drawing a “holy shit!” chant. Kenny peeled back the thin floor mat. King hit a snap suplex, then a Blue Thunder Bomb, with both moves on the exposed floor. PCO rolled back in at 9:00 to avoid the countout.
King hit a Tiger Suplex for a nearfall. The crowd chanted, “He’s not human!” King nailed a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall, but PCO ‘hulked up.’ Edwards slid a Singapore Cane in the ring, but the referee quickly confiscated it. However, the distraction allowed King to hit PCO with a steel chair to the back. PCO punched the chair, with the chair ricocheting onto King’s face, and PCO scored the pin. Satisfying match; exactly what you’d expect here.
* A nice vignette aired for Jody Threat who is “coming soon.” (We’ve seen her in AEW and she’s solid.) We went to a backstage segment, where Steve Maclin argued with Frankie Kazarian and Rich Swann as they tried to get on the same page. Maclin said no one is more disappointed in Josh Alexander’s injury than him, because he’s been scouting him and preparing for him.
5. Trey Miguel defeated Lince Dorado to retain the X Division Title at 11:47. Dorado wore a robe he stole from Hugh Hefner’s closet. Trey stalled in the ropes.Trey hit a huracanrana to the floor at 3:00. In the ring, Trey tied him up on the mat as Hannifan talked about Trey’s heel turn coming out of seemingly nowhere. Dorado did a baseball slide kick that sent Trey to the floor, and Lince hit a top-rope spinning press onto Trey at 5:30. In the ring, Lince hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall.
Lince hit a powerslam, a bottom-rope moonsault, a second-rope moonsault, but he missed one from the top rope. Trey hit an enzuigiri and they were both down. Trey hit a series of kicks and a running doublestomp on Lince’s back for a nearfall at 8:30. Lince nailed a Frankensteiner huracarana out of the corner, earning a “holy shit!” chant. Lince immediately followed with a pretty Shooting Star Press; Trey rolled to the floor before Lince could go for the cover. “Pure instinct at that point,” Rehwold observed.
Trey hit a kick to the face as Lince’s head was trapped in the turnbuckle, then a sunset powerbomb out of the corner for a believable nearfall. Trey hit a mid-ring huracarana for the clean pin. That was really good; it was nice to see heel Trey win without needing to cheat.
* Backstage, an interview with Shane Haste and Bad Dude Tito. They wondered if the Bullet Club was still a thing. This is Tito’s Impact debut.
6. “The Bullet Club” Ace Austin and Chris Bey defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste and Bad Dude Tito to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles at 12:24. Tito and Bey started, as Hannifan noted TMDK have a 100-pound overall weight advantage. Bey went for a crossbody block but Tito caught him. Haste worked over Ace in his corner. Bey and Austin hit their legdrop-and-standing moonsault combo on Haste at 3:00.
Tito entered and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall, and he stood on Ace’s groin as Austin was tied in the Tree of Woe. TMDK worked over Ace in their corner. (There was a lot of discussion about the TMDK members; if you don’t watch New Japan, this conversation would not mean much to you.) Bey finally made the hot tag at 8:00, and he hit a huracarana on Haste, then a flip dive to the floor on Tito. Haste hit a Saito Suplex on Bey.
Tito hit a series of chops in the corner on Ace and a gutwrench powerbomb for a nearfall at 10:00. Tito hit a dive through the ropes, then a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall, but Bey made the save. Bey and Ace hit superkicks, and Bey hit his assisted stunner, then Ace hit The Fold/flipping overhead faceplant on Tito for the pin. Good match.
7. Bully Ray defeated Tommy Dreamer in a Busted Open (first blood) match at 12:35. Bully Ray attacked from behind on the floor, and they brawled at ringside. They got in the ring, each holding a chair, and they dueled. On the floor, Dreamer grabbed a beer can and jabbed it at Ray’s forehead. Bully Ray crotched Tommy on the guardrail at 3:00. Bully Ray grabbed a beer from a fan in the front row (clearly a plant), took a drink, then tossed the beer on the fan.
They got in the ring. Bully Ray climbed a two-foot-tall footstool (and had the ref hold it for him. Funny insider spot), and went for a frogsplash but Dreamer moved. Dreamer went under the ring and got a bag of thumbtacks, which he dumped on the mat at 6:00. Bully Ray went under the ring and got a cheese grater. Dreamer blocked it and hit a series of punches and a Bionic Elbow. Dreamer went for a Stinger Splash but he slammed into the ref in the corner, and the ref was down. Dreamer hit Ray in the forehead with the cheese grater; Ray rolled to the floor, but the ref was still down.
Ray got to his feet and he was bleeding. John Skyler and Jason Hotch attacked. Hotch handed Bully Ray a towel so he could wipe up the blood and “hide the evidence,” Hannifan said. (The blood was still pouring out.) In the ring, Ray threw thumbtacks at Dreamer’s face, and he pushed Dreamer’s face into the thumbacks on the mat. Dreamer got the cheese grater again and raked it over Bully Ray’s forehead at 11:00. Ray hit a low blow uppercut. They brawled back to the floor; the referee was still down. Hotch rolled Dreamer into the ring; the ref woke up and saw Dreamer’s bloody forehead and he called for the bell.
* Bully Ray, Hotch and Skyler continued beating up Dreamer. Yoya Uemera ran to the ring to make the save. The fan in the front row (who Bully Ray flipped the beer on earlier) is apparently a hockey great named Darren McCarty. Bully Ray told security to let McCarty into the ring. So, McCarty traded punches with Bully Ray. However, Bully Ray (with the help of Hotch and Skyler) put the hockey legend through a table in the ring. Scott D’Amore came down the ramp. Following D’Amore was Heath, Rhino, Gresham, Bailey and Hendry, so Bully Ray and Skyler bailed. However, Hotch tried to attack D’Amore in the ring; D’Amore grabbed Hotch and hit a Canadian Destroyer, drawing a massive pop. The babyfaces helped McCarty back to his feet. Fun post-match segment.
8. Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, and Kushida defeated Steve Maclin, Frankie Kazarian, and Rich Swann at 21:37. Swann and Shelley started. Kazarian and Sabin traded quicker reversals. Kushida entered at 3:30, and Kazarian slapped Maclin to tag him in. Kushida briefly worked over the left arm. Swann got back in and worked over Shelly; Kazarian and Maclin jawed at each other on the ring apron. Shelley’s team worked over Swann in their corner, and they hit triple basement dropkicks to the face as Swann was tied in the Tree of Woe at 11:00.
Kazarian got in and cleaned house; he hit a Lungblower on Kushida at 13:00. Kazarian hit several springboard legdrops. Sabin hit a Flatliner on Frankie for a nearfall. Swann hit a Frankensteiner on Sabin for a nearfall at 15:30. Shelley hit a dragon screw leg whip on Swann. Kushida hit a top-rope Whoopee Cushion butt drop on Maclin, and Kushida hit a double stomp on Maclin’s arm. Maclin tied Kushida in the Tree of Woe and speared him at 18:00.
Swann nailed a handspring-back-stunner on Kushida, then a second-rope 450 Splash for a believable nearfall. Kushida applied a cross-armbreaker on Swann. Shelley’s squad hit some nice team moves on Maclin. Kushida hit a top-rope moonsault press. Shelley hit an assisted Sliced Bread on Swann. Shelley hit a Shellshock faceplant on Maclin. Kushida slapped on the Hoverboard Lock, and Maclin tapped out. A really fun match. Maclin and Kazarian continued to jaw at each other after the match.
Final Thoughts: This show felt like the final Raw before the pay-per-view, I mean, “premium live event.” The quality of the matches was good, but yet the results all felt obvious, and the matches and angles built more to Multiverse United next week than anything.
A strong main event earns best match, barely ahead of that excellent Bailey-Gresham opener. I’ll go with the Bullet Club tag match for third place. I feel like the large crowd — certainly larger than Impact usually has — really energized and motivated the roster, as it feels like everyone stepped up their game.
I get it that heels need to cheat to win, but that shouldn’t be the case in every match. Trey Miguel is clearly higher on the pecking order in Impact Wrestling, so it’s nice to see Trey get a needed clean win. He’s a heel, but he’s good in the ring, so sometimes he just doesn’t need trickery.
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