By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Rebellion
Aired April 16, 2023 on pay-per-view and FITE TV
Toronto, Ontario at Rebel Entertainment Complex
Impact Wrestling Rebellion Pre-Show
A brief video package opened the pre-show… Entrances for the first match took place while the broadcast team of Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt checked in…
1. Heath and Rhino vs. Champagne Singh and Shera. Singh slipped Heath some cash once the bell rang. Heath crumbled up the money and tossed it down. Late in the match, Heath had Singh pinned off a rollup, Shera pulled him off from the floor. Heath turned his attention to Shera and was then rolled up by Singh, who put his feet on the ropes while scoring the pin.
Champagne Singh and Shera beat Heath and Rhino in 6:10.
After the match, Rhino gored Singh, who was then pulled from the ring by Shera…
Powell’s POV: Even booking with the heels winning followed by Rhino delivering the post match Gore.
2. “The Coven” Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King vs. Rosemary and Jessicka for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles. Late in the match, Jessicka performed a diving crossbody block on a seated King and got a two count. Rosemary tagged in and speared King before covering her for a close near fall. King threw a running kick that Rosemary ducked, which led to Jessicka being booted off the apron. Wilde made a blind tag. Rosemary speared King, but the referee didn’t count because Wilde was legal for her team. Wilde suplexed Rosemary and then performed a neckbreaker, which led to the pin…
“The Coven” Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King defeated Rosemary and Jessicka for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: A solid match and the expected win for the new champions over the former champions. It’s hard to imagine the pre-show changing the minds of anyone on the fence about ordering this event. On the bright side, Impact keeps their pre-shows to 30 minutes, which stops the overall show from feeling needlessly long.
A video package focused on Mickie James forfeiting the Knockouts Championship due to injury, and the Jordynne Grace vs. Deonna Purrazzo match that will determine the new champion…
Impact Wrestling Rebellion Main Card
The event opened with a video package that focused on the Impact World Championship and Knockouts Championship both being vacated and the two matches that would determine the new champions…
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt were on commentary and touted that two new champions were guaranteed to be crowned… Entrances for the tag team title match took place…
1. Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. “The Motor City Machine Guns” Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in an Ultimate X match for the Impact Tag Team Titles. Hannifan noted that the Guns were 2-0 in traditional tag team Ultimate X matches.
Around 8:00, Bey used one foot to push off the middle turnbuckle and then moonsaulted onto Sabin on the floor. Moments later, Austin performed a Fosbury Flop dive over the top rope and onto both opponents on the floor.
Austin made a play for the belts that were hanging above the X wires above the ring. Sabin followed and kicked the back of Austin, who was then pulled down by Shelley. The Guns hit some of their signature double team moves on Austin.
A short time later, all four men climbed the cables from the four corners. They threw kicks and all four men fell to the mat. The kicks continued on the mat with the champions hitting a nice double team kick on Sabin. Bey hit his assisted cutter on Shelley and then Austin followed up with The Fold.
It looked like Austin and Gunn were going for a repeat on Sabin, but Austin elevated Bey up to the cables. Sabin went up and tried to stop Bey, but he was able to unhook both belts and dropped them both to Austin…
Ace Austin and Chris Bey defeated “The Motor City Machine Guns” Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in an Ultimate X match in 13:05 to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: The body of the match was really good and peaked nicely down the stretch. The finish felt a little flat considering the teams involved. It was still an enjoyable match even if there weren’t as many highlight reel clip type of big spots as one might expect from an Ultimate X match.
Hannifan and Rehwoldt sent things over to the French broadcast team for a few seconds and then ran through the main card lineup…
A pre-taped Steve Maclin promo aired. He said the whole situation sucks. He said being in the country of Canada sucks. He spoke about Josh Alexander suffering an injury and then said that you adapt and overcome when things suck. Maclin said it was the biggest night of his career as well as Kushida’s career. Maclin spoke about becoming the new champion…
A video package set up the six-man tag match… Entrances for the match took place starting with Dirty Dango and Joe Hendry, who cut a promo. Hendry rightfully mocked Deaner’s pose and then introduced Santino Marella as returning to pay-per-view for the first time in nine years. Marella wore his glasses during his entrance. Hannifan noted that Marella’s son Marco was in the crowd and had never seen his father wrestle in person. The Design made their entrance…
2. “The Design” Deaner, Callihan, Angels, and Kon vs. Santino Marella, Joe Hendry, and Dirty Dango in a handicap match. So much for the six-man tag. Santino tagged in during the opening minute and took Angels down. Hendry tagged in and performed some impressive fallaway slams on his various opponents. He set up Kon for the move, but Kon dropkicked Kon onto Hendry.
Dango tagged in and was isolated by the heels. Santino took a hot tag and had a nice flurry of offense. There were rapid fire spots hit by both teams, which concluded with Dango performing a flip dive onto a pile at ringside. In the ring, Deaner put Santino down with a clothesline. Deaner called for Callihan to take out Santino.
Callihan set up Marella for a move and was cut off by Deaner when he wanted to do the thumbs up, thumbs down bit. Deaner went to ringside and brought back a baseball bat. Deaner gave the bat to Callihan, who ended up hitting Deaner with it. Callihan headed to the back. Santino pulled out the Cobra sleeve and then hit Deaner with it. Santino made the cover and had to wait for the referee to return to the ring to make the three count…
Santino Marella, Joe Hendry, and Dirty Dango beat “The Design” Deaner, Callihan, Angels, and Kon in 10:50 in a handicap match.
Powell’s POV: I’ve never understood the appeal of the Cobra sleeve, but the fans chanted for it and popped when Santino used it, so that’s all the matters. It was fun to see Santino in the ring again and this was better than I expected it to be. So Callihan really went through what felt like an endless process to join a mid-card cult as a ruse?
Gia Miller interviewed Tommy Dreamer, Killer Kelly, Frankie Kazarian, Yuya Uemura, and Bhupinder Gujjar. Dreamer got emotional as he spoke about his mother being hospitalized this week. He said there was nothing that Team Bully could do to hurt him. Dreamer said Impact officials told him he didn’t have to be there, but wrestling his what he loves and he loves to do it. He said his mother opened her eyes, but she was still not responsive. Dreamer said this was his Utopia and he would be going away for a bit after the match. He said he was surrounded by people he loves and said they move forward so they can all live. Dreamer thanked everyone who has supported him…
Powell’s POV: Obviously, here’s wishing the very best to Dreamer’s mother, Dreamer, and their entire family.
A video package set up the Last Rites match…
3. Eddie Edwards (w/Alisha Edwards) vs. PCO in a Last Rites match. A casket was set up on the entrance ramp, which is roughly level with the ring. PCO performed a somersault dive through the ropes onto Edwards to start the match. Edwards came back with a suicide dive. A short time later, PCO had Edwards draped over the apron and performed his signature dive from the ropes onto him.
Edwards hit PCO with a series of chops that left his chest red. PCO fired back with chops of his own and then they traded slaps. Edwards performed a buckle bomb, but PCO shot right up and put Edwards down. PCO went up top and performed a PCO-sault. PCO brought Edwards to the ramp, but he was unable to close the casket on him. PCO slammed Edwards onto the ramp.
PCO slammed the head of Edwards on the casket ten times. Edwards kicked PCO off the ramp and down to the floor at ringside. Both men fought back onto the ramp and to the stage area. Edwards grabbed a kendo stick that was on the stage and slammed it over the head of PCO. Edwards followed up with a wicked suplex on the ramp and followed up with a Boston Knee Party.
Edwards placed PCO, who was bleeding from the forehead, inside the casket, but he couldn’t close the lid. Alisha returned with a shovel and hit PCO from behind. PCO no-sold it and then pulled Alisha into a superkick from her own husband. PCO bashed Edwards with the shovel a couple of times before chokeslamming him into the casket. PCO slammed the casket lid closed to win the match…
PCO defeated Eddie Edwards in 13:35 in a Last Rites match.
Powell’s POV: PCO and Edwards worked really hard and the crowd was receptive. It was a pretty standard PCO match, but it’s still impressive that a 55 year-old guy is still able to work the style that he does.
Gia Miller interviewed X Division Champion Trey Miguel in the backstage area. The volume didn’t work initially, so they tried to restart the video, but it still didn’t work. A video package set up the X Division Title match instead…
Powell’s POV: Impact also had issues with pre-taped promos airing properly during their Multiverse United event over WrestleMania weekend.
Entrances for the X Division Title match took place. The Anthem owner, Ed Nordholm, Scott D’Amore, and another Anthem executive were shown standing in the crowd…
4. Trey Miguel vs. Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bailey in a Triple Threat elimination match for the X Division Championship. Miguel sent Bailey to ringside and then got a two count on Gresham. Miguel immediately applied a Kimura on Gresham and picked up another two count shortly thereafter.
Gresham eventually battled back and hit a nice piledriver style move to pick up a near fall. Bailey returned to the ring and was turned inside out with a clothesline. Gresham set up for the same move he used on Miguel, but Bailey slipped out and performed a Poison Rana. Miguel performed a variation of the same move to send Miguel over the top rope and then both men crashed to the floor.
Miguel took out Bailey with a cutter on the floor. Miguel ran down the ramp and performed a springboard cutter on Gresham for a near fall. Gresham performed a move that caused Miguel to perform a dragon screw leg whip on Bailey. Gresham put Bailey in a figure four. Miguel leapt from the top rope and hit Gresham with a Meteora. Miguel pinned Gresham, who still had Bailey in the figure four.
Jonathan Gresham was eliminated by Trey Miguel in 9:40.
Miguel put Bailey in a figure four, but Bailey reversed it. Miguel regained the controlling position and they traded strikes until Bailey reached the ropes to break the hold. Miguel and Bailey got to their feet and traded strikes. Bailey knocked Miguel down with a chop, but Miguel kipped up and hit him with an enzuigiri. Bailey performed a Spanish Fly style move for a near fall of his own.
Bailey hit a spinning kick on Miguel. Bailey went for his Ultima Weapon finisher, but Miguel avoided it. Miguel sent Bailey to the floor and went for a sunset bomb, but Bailey held onto the bottom rope and eventually drove both knees onto the chest of Miguel.
Bailey threw Miguel back inside the ring and went for the Ultima Weapon, but Miguel moved again. Miguel went for a move that Bailey stuffed. Bailey rolled up Miguel for a two count, but Miguel rolled through and held the tights while getting the three count…
Trey Miguel defeated Mikey Bailey and Jonathan Gresham in a three-way elimination match in 13:55 to retain the X Division Championship.
Powell’s POV: A strong match. It was a treat to see a three-way elimination match. I watch way too much pro wrestling, but I can’t even remember the last time I watched an elimination match.
A video package set up the Hardcore War…
5. “Team Bully” Bully Ray, Masha Slamovich, Kenny King, Moose, and Brian Myers, vs. “Team Dreamer” Tommy Dreamer, Killer Kelly, Frankie Kazarian, Yuya Uemura, and Bhupinder Gujjar in a Hardcore War. Team Bully entered the match with the man advantage. Ring announcer Dave Penzer read through the rules of the WarGames style match (minus the cage).
Moose and Kazarian started the match for their teams. Kazarian brought a trashcan to the ring with him. Myers was out next for Team Bully, and then Gujjar was out next for Team Dreamer. Gujjar ended up using a cheese grater on Myers, who bled.
Kenny King was the third entrant for Team Bully and wore a trashcan lid on his head while he walked to the ring. Killer Kelly was the third entrant for Team Dreamer. Kelly went face to face with King, who picked her up in powerbomb position. Kelly used a staple gun on King’s head. Moments later, Kelly slipped away from a Moose powerbomb attempt and used the staple gun on his crotch. Kelly used the staple gun on her own hand, which drew “you sick f—” chants.
Slamovich was the fourth entrant for Team Bully. Slamovich hit Kelly with a chair and then tossed the staple gun to the stage. Slamovich and Kelly traded punches. Kazarian grabbed Slamovich and then Myers grabbed Kelly. Myers powerbombed Kelly onto a pile of people below. Slamovich put a chair behind her and then dove from the top rope onto the pile.
Uemura was the fourth entrant for Team Dreamer. Uemura worked over Myers. The four Team Dreamer members ended up standing tall in the ring and then kicked the Team Bully members when they tried to reenter the ring. The broadcast team explained that the Dreamer team was trying to make sure that Bully Ray entered to a four-on-one situation.
Bully Ray was the final entrant for his team. Bully carried a table to the ring and had a chain around his neck. Bully stood on the stage and glared at the Team Dreamer members, who were hit from behind by the rest of Bully’s crew. The Bully team ended up alone in the ring with Kelly. Moose and King held Kelly while Bully taunted her by telling her to do something.
Tommy Dreamer was the final entrant for his team. Dreamer brought a kendo stick with him and hit three opponents with it as he walked down the ramp. Bully stood in the corner and held Kelly from behind as Dreamer entered the ring. Bully asked Dreamer what he was going to do. Kelly bit Bully’s arm. Bully threw Kelly to the mat. Dreamer worked over Bully with the kendo stick.
Dreamer wrenched on the knee of Bully. Myers grabbed Dreamer from behind. There was a big silly chain with each of the wrestlers applying submission holds while Hannifan reminded viewers that pins and submissions could occur now that everyone had entered.
Slamovich and Kelly went to ringside and returned with chairs, which they used to break up the submission chain. They slammed their chairs together and then Kelly jabbed Slamovich in the gut with a chair. Kelly set up a chair in the ring and then performed a Death Valley Driver on Slamovich that mangled the chair. Kelly covered Slamovich for a two count.
Kelly went up top, but Bully tossed her to the floor (where she was caught by teammates). Dreamer started to work over Bully, who gouged his eye. Moose tried to spear Dreamer, who moved, causing Bully to take the spin. Uemura performed a top rope crossbody block onto Moose. Myers put Uemura down with a clothesline. Gujjar speared Myers. King took out Gujjar. Kelly put King in a submission hold that Slamovich broke. Slamovich hit a spinning back fist and a Snow Plow on Kelly for a near fall.
Kazarian put Slamovich in a chicken wing, but she low blowed him to break the hold. Dreamer approached Slamovich, who spat in his face. Dreamer grabbed Slamovich and performed a piledriver.
Jason Hotch and John Skyler ran out and attacked Dreamer while Hannifan reminded viewers that there were no disqualifications. Kazarian put down Hotch and Skyler. A ladder was set up in a corner of the ring. The production crew missed Myers putting Gujjar through a table at ringside. Hotch and Skyler grabbed Kelly and set up for a move on the apron, but she ended up backdropping Hotch onto the apron.
Kazarian performed a cutter from the apron that drove Skyler through two tables on the floor. Bully low-blowed Dreamer. Bully placed Dreamer on a table in the ring. Bully climbed the ladder and called for referees to hold the ladder in place, but they told him no. Bully dropped off the ladder and grabbed one of the referees by the collar, but the other referees attacked him. Dreamer put Bully down with a Dreamer Driver and covered him. All four referees counted, but Bully kicked out.
Dreamer placed Bully on top of the table. Dreamer climbed the ladder and the four referees held the ladder for him. Dreamer went about 3/4 up the ladder and gave the Superfly hand signals before splashing Bully through the table and getting the three count…
“Team Dreamer” Tommy Dreamer, Killer Kelly, Frankie Kazarian, Yuya Uemura, and Bhupinder Gujjar defeated “Team Bully” Bully Ray, Masha Slamovich, Kenny King, Moose, and Brian Myers in 25:15 in a Hardcore War.
Powell’s POV: Everyone worked hard and there was more than enough carnage to live up to the Hardcore War billing. I’m not as high as some fans are on intergender matches, but Slamovich and Kelly really added to this match and provided some of the highlights. It looks like the Impact World Championship match is up next and they are saving the Knockouts Title match for the main event. I assume this is good news for Steve Maclin.
Kushida was shown warming up backstage while Hannifan hyped the Impact World Championship match. A video package set up the match…
Nick Aldis was introduced as the guest commentator for the Impact World Championship match. Aldis walked to the ring dressed in a suit and then joined the broadcast team. Aldis said the conversations are over and he is officially back in Impact Wrestling. Steve Maclin made his entrance followed by Kushida…
6. Steve Maclin vs. Kushida for the vacant Impact World Championship. Dave Penzer delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Several minutes into the match, Maclin wrapped Kushida’s back around the ring post. Maclin clotheslined and suplexed Kushida on the floor. Maclin went to the apron and flipped off the crowd before performing an elbow drop on the floor. Aldis pointed out that Maclin winced when he landed and questioned whether he injured himself.
Maclin popped up and took Kushida back to the ring where he covered Kushida for back to back two counts. Kushida rallied with a handspring back elbow. Kushida fired kicks at the left arm of Maclin.
A short time later, Kushida caught Maclin with an overhead kick on the entrance ramp. Kushida went to the stage and then ran down the ramp and booted Maclin’s left arm as he continued to set him up for his Hoverboard Lock finisher. Back inside the ring, Maclin put Kushida down with a suplex and eventually covered him for a two count.
Maclin performed a Buckle Bomb and a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Kushida cut off Maclin on the ropes and performed a suplex into an armbar. The crowd chanted “tap” but Maclin quickly rolled to the ropes to break the hold. Maclin rolled to the floor and threw punches at Kushida, who fired back with another kick to the arm. Kushida performed a Flatliner that drove Maclin’s head into the edge of the broadcast table.
Kushida rolled Maclin back in the ring. Maclin avoided a kick. Kushida charged Maclin, who picked him up and tied him in a tree of woe. Maclin performed his Crosshairs move and his KIA finisher, but Kushida kicked out. Maclin went up top and dove at Kushida, who caught him in the Hoverboard Lock. Maclin used his right arm to batter Kushida until he released the hold.
Maclin went for another move, but Kushida countered into the Hoverboard Lock. Maclin powered up Kushida on his shoulders and then drove him into the corner. Maclin set up for another move, but Kushida countered into the Hoverboard Lock again. Maclin countered into a brainbuster and got the three count.
Steve Maclin defeated Kushida in 16:30 to win the vacant Impact World Championship.
After the match, Maclin took the mic and said the referee wasn’t the person who should present him with the title belt. Maclin demanded that Impact President Scott D’Amore come out and present him with the belt. D’Amore came out and was willing to present him with the belt, but Maclin insisted that he strap it around his waist. D’Amore shoved the belt at Maclin’s chest instead. Maclin hit D’Amore with the belt.
Nick Aldis entered the ring and went face to face with Maclin, who left the ring and held up the title belt on the ramp. Maclin and Aldis jawed at one another…
Powell’s POV: Really good back and forth action down the stretch. Those final few minutes were dramatic because while I thought it was Maclin’s night, but I couldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of Kushida getting the win instead. Good for Maclin. Chalk one up for reinvention. Maclin ditched his WWE gimmick and became a new man in Impact Wrestling. I’m not saying that every wrestler who leaves a major company should abandon a gimmick that works, but I hope Maclin inspires some of the undercard talent who are let go to take a chance and come up with something new rather than ride out whatever shelf life a mediocre gimmick has left. Nick Aldis showing up was a nice surprise and gives Maclin a strong challenger to start his title reign.
The broadcast team hyped upcoming Impact Plus events. The Slammiversary pay-per-view was announced for Saturday, July 15 from Windsor, Ontario, and Multiverse United 2 with NJPW will be held on August 20 in Philadelphia…
A video package set up the main event… Entrances for the match took place…
7. Jordynne Grace vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the vacant Knockouts Championship. Penzer delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Grace and Purrazzo shook hands while Hannifan said it was their first singles match in front of fans due to their previous meeting occurring during the pandemic.
After some back and forth action, Purrazzo stuffed Grace’s attempt to perform an Alabama Slam on the ramp. Purrazzo sent Grace to the floor and then performed a moonsault off the ramp. Purrazzo rolled Grace back inside the ring. Hannifan said the referee was showing leeway due to the need to crown a new champion.
Purrazzo drove Grace’s face into the mat and immediately applied a submission hold. Grace rolled onto Purrazzo and got a near fall before Purrazzo released the hold. Grace powered up Purrazzo on her back and then dropped her Deadeye style and covered her for a near fall of her own.
Grace set up for her finisher, but Purrazzo avoided it.. Purrazzo took Grace down and went for a figure four, but Grave kicked her into the corner and then put her in a sleeper hold. Grace had a cut above her left eye. Purrazzo ended up on top of Grace and got a two count, causing Grace to release the hold.
Purrazzo took Grace down and went for her Fujiwara armbar finisher, but Grace rolled her into a pin for a two count. Purrazzo hooked Grace into the Venus de Milo, but Grace reached the ropes with her foot to break it. Purrazzo hit Grace with a forearm, but Grace came right back with a spinebuster for a two count.
Both wrestlers got to their feet. Grace clubbed Purrazzo a couple of times and ended up hitting her Grace Driver finisher, which resulted in a near fall. Grace placed Purrazzo on the top turnbuckle and went for a superplex. Purrazzo fought back and performed a sunset bomb. Purrazzo hit the Queen’s Gambit piledriver and got the three count.
Deonna Purrazzo defeated Jordynne Grace in 17:10 to win the vacant Knockouts Championship.
After the match, Purrazzo and Grace shook hands and hugged. Grace left the ring while Purrazzo held up her title belt. Hannifan closed the show on commentary…
Powell’s POV: A good main event. The crowd was respectful, but it wasn’t like there was a major pop when Purrazzo won the belt. It’s hard to blame the fans because Purrazzo had been booked awkwardly since her last run with the title and entered this match without much momentum. But that’s also why I think they made the right call. Purrazzo got an instant boost from winning the title, while Grace has been booked strongly and will be fine despite losing this match.
Overall, this was a quality event that is worthy of a replay purchase. Impact was dealt a bad hand with its top male champion and top female champion having to forfeit their titles. The company did a good job of turning a negative into a positive by playing up the guarantee that two new champions would be crowned, and I think they made the right calls in both cases. I will have more to say about show in my same night audio review, which will be available to everyone as the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast. Let me know what you thought of Rebellion by voting for the best match and grading the overall show below.