By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV
Taped in Chicago, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Aired May 25, 2023 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired. Hannifan hyped up the Under Siege show… Entrances for the opening match took place…
1. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Chris Sabin. Both men shared a bit of friendly jabs by making each other flinch. Speedball got a two count after an armdrag. Sabin caught Bailey with an elbow drop and PK from the apron. Sabin put Bailey in a mid rope Tree of Woe and hit him with a dropkick. Bailey and Sabin traded chops with Sabin getting the upper hand. Bailey hit Sabin with a barefoot Claymore.
Bailey hit Sabin with a TKD kick combo and standing Shooting Star for a two count. Sabin blocked a chamber kick. Sabin hit Bailey with a dropkick when Bailey was in handstand. Sabin followed up with a Missile Dropkick and Helluva Kick on Bailey. Sabin hit Bailey with a Spike Tornado DDT for a two count. Hannifan noted that Sabin and Bailey are showing that the X Division isn’t about weight limits, it’s about no limits (Well, haven’t heard that TNA catchphrase in a hot while).
Bailey reversed a Cradle Shock into a huracanrana. Bailey hit Sabin with a standing Ultima Weapon. Sabin blocked Bailey’s 720 Tornado Kick with a leaping leg lariat. Bailey took out his mouthguard because he might have gotten dental damage. Bailey and Sabin traded Yay-Yay punches. Bailey hit Sabin with a Kickboxing Roundhouse, which Sabin no sold.
Sabin fired up with rapid clinch knees. Sabin hit Bailey with a power bomb. Bailey tripped Sabin off the apron with a slicing cross kick. Bailey hit Sabin with a top rope Asai Moonsault. Sabin blocked another one of Bailey’s 720 kicks. Sabin dragged Bailey off the top rope on a Ultima Weapon attempt. Bailey held on to the ropes, but Sabin ultimately slammed Bailey to the ringside mat with a Sunset Bomb.
Hannifan noted that Sabin should be commended for going all out in a match 24 hours before Under Siege (Kayfabe brother! This was actually taped two or three weeks ago). Bailey and Sabin brawled to the top rope with Sabin having the high ground. Sabin shoved Bailey off, but Bailey staggered Sabin with a Gamengiri. Sabin slipped away and hit Bailey with a Super Gutwrench Suplex. Sabin followed up with a Clothesline from Hell-Michigan.
Bailey reversed a Cradle Shock into a victory roll for a really nice nearfall. Bailey caught Sabin with a standing Spanish Fly for an even better nearfall. Bailey hit Sabin with a nice Question Mark Kick and Thrust Kick chamber combo. Bailey finally hit Sabin with the 720 Tornado Kick. Sabin hit Bailey with a Kinniku Buster! Hannifan had the funny line “For the Love of Samoa Joe! The Muscle Buster!”. Sabin hit Bailey with Cradle Shock for the victory.
Chris Sabin defeated Mike Bailey via pinfall in 12:26.
Hannifan said that was one of the greatest matches he’s called on the AXS weekly show (I’m sure Bailey vs. Alexander for 60 minutes might have topped it, but I can see some people preferring the smaller match over the marathon)…
John’s Thoughts: Holy crap! I always like these unexpected main event level matches out of nowhere. I was about to say that Bailey’s cooling off, but then he comes back with one of these bangers. Dude’s the busiest guy in pro wrestling these days, putting on killer matches all over the world. Sabin is another fun story. It seemed like he was retired back in 2018-ish when he was doing backstage work. Since then he’s been Impact’s utility workhorse, who actually wins championships and stuff. I think he even had a clean win over Jay White, which meant something when White was IWGP champ. Go out of your way to see this.
A Trinity promo package aired. Trinity talked about being nervous during her Impact debut. She thanked the Chicago fans for the warm welcome which brought her to tears. She talked about things getting tense when Impact’s top two women came out to confront her, Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo. Trinity said she has business to handle at Under Siege, Giesele Shaw. Trin said that Shaw is about to get hit upside her head just like her errand boy Jai Vidal. Trinity said her 2nd win in Impact will be against Shaw…[c]
A recap package aired, recapping the events leading up to Steve Maclin vs. PCO…
Maclin cut a backstage promo. Maclin said that video package that just aired was “wasted motion” because PCO isn’t going to recover from getting hit by cement blocks and a sledge hammer. Maclin said he’s going to the ring to name a new challenger for Under Siege…
Nick Aldis made his entrance in a nice dress suit (Aldis tends to have nice drip). Aldis joined the commentary team for the next match. Aldis said he’s going to call the match down the middle despite Kenny King disrespecting him. Hannifan joked about the way Rehwoldt calls Deonna Purrazzo matches (because they used to be a mixed tag team)…
2. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean vs. “Decay” Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus. Steve hit Jean with a huracanrana and signature head-scissors snap. King and Taurus tagged in. King went into a 3 point stance because he was against a Bull. Taurus blocked the tackle with a shoulder tackle. The show cut to commercial.[c]
King and Jean cut the ring in half on Taurus. Taurus dumped King to ringside and hit Jean with a shoulder breaker. Jean caught Taurus with a dropkick. Aldis said that Jean is impressing him more than King. King tackled Taurus in the corner while mocking Taurus’s bull horns. King suplexed Taurus for a two count. Taurus hit King with a twisting neckbreaker and bulldog. Taurus tagged in Steve.
Steve ducked a Jean kick. Steve tossed King in the corner and hit him with a cannonball. Jean broke up Taurus’s pin. Aldis noted that King didn’t kick out and needed Jean to save him. Hannifan and Rehwoldt noted that Aldis is a former Impact tag team champion and tag team champion with other promotions.
Taurus hit Jean with a Flip Dive. King missed a kick and Aldis said King missed that kick twice. Aldis promised he wasn’t biased. Steve bit King in the face, but King reversed it into the Royal Flush for the win.
Kenny King and Sheldon Jean defeated Decay via pinfall in 5:50 of on-air time.
King took a mic after the match and bragged about his recent win. He talked to Aldis and said at Under Siege he’s going to shove his size 13 boot all up in Nick’s pompous British ass. Aldis calmly stood up and took a mic. Aldis said he knows that King is trying to make a name off Aldis’s name.
Aldis said King claims that Aldis needs to climb the ladder to get to King; but it’s King who needs to climb the ladder of being a man, and not a little bitch. Aldis talked about how he’s always down for a fight. He asked the crowd if he should calmly take off his jacket to give Jean and King the two for one bitch slap special.
Jean held back King and then tried to jump Aldis to no avail. Jean was quickly tossed aside and Aldis’s suit was still unfazed. King teased jumping Aldis, but backtracked up the ramp singing his version of Tomorrow from the Broadway Musical Annie…
John’s Thoughts: A good win for the Reality TV tag team. Decay never wins, so it was easy to see who would go over. I did have my doubts a bit because of Nick Aldis’s entertaining commentary. He starts the night saying he’ll call it down the middle, then goes on to bury Kenny King and even praise Sheldon Jean in the process. Aldis is such a pro, and I hope we get a meaningful run from him now that he’s this more “professional” version of himself compared to his last TNA Title run (Though, I was a huge fan of his last Impact feud against James Storm. Sadly that ended with Nick’s wife Mickie getting run over by a train). The post match stuff was solid hype, and King is definitely losing at Under Siege.
Jessicka was looking nervous still holding that Undead Realm Hourglass. Apparently this “Hour” glass takes hundreds of hours to run down. Hannifan hyped Jessicka vs. Taylor Wilde for after the break…[c]
The Coven were already in the ring. Jessicka got a televised entrance, looking distressed on her way to the ring because she’s waiting for Rosemary to return from the Undead Realm…
3. Jessicka vs. Taylor Wilde (w/KiLynn King). Jessicka went for her Bionic Elbow combo but distracted herself because she was still looking for Rosemary. Wilde hit Jessicka with The Witch’s Wrath (Lightning Spiral) for the quick win.
Taylor Wilde defeated Jessicka via pinfall in 0:40.
The heels put the boots to Jessicka. The big screen then showed a zoomed in shot of the hour glass finally running out. The Undead Realm door opened and the camera zoomed in on red converse Chucks coming out of the door. Back at the arena we got the debut of Courtney Rush (Which is Rosemary sans facepaint).
Rush is Rosemary, but less Goth and more hair metal. Her entrance also sounds like royalty free Hair Metal Music. Rush ran in and hit KiLynn with a tilt a whirl huracanrana. Rush put Wilde in a sharpshooter. King dragged Wilde out of the ring and the heels retreated to the back. Rush then introduced herself to Jessicka, explaining that she’s Rosemary with no facepaint…
John’s Thoughts: Interesting twist. Good for Wilde to get the quick win. I like that they’re building up the Knockouts Tag Champs as credible singles wrestlers. Companies make the mistake of discrediting tag team wrestlers in singles matches. The real story is the debut of Courtney Rush, which was Rosemary’s name and gimmick before Billy Corgan gave her the Marilyn Manson theme and goth gimmick. Rush also uses this name on Twitch. I’m hoping this leads to less Undead Realm shenannigans, but I’ve thought that a ton of times in the past and that has never come to fruition. By the way, I couldn’t help but think of her as Courtney “Roosh”, because of the other wrestler with the name Rush.
Jessicka and Courtney Rush were chatting backstage. Jessicka said she was confused because Rush looks like Rosemary, but isn’t. Maybe? Rush said Jessicka is right. Technically, she’s Rosemary. Rush said she and Rosemary share the same body, which is why she always referred to herself as “we”. Rush said Rosemary is supposed to be here, but she isn’t. Rush said if Rush is here, there’s an adventure to go on.
Rush asked Jessicka if she wanted to join. Jessicka said yes. Jessicka asked Rush if Rush wants to be a death doll. Rush said yes. Rush and Jessicka high-fived and were super hyped…
Entrances for the next match took place…
4. Angels (w/Kon, Deaner) vs. Rich Swann (w/Sami Callihan). Swann did his signature kip up and and armdrag combo. Angeles retreated to ringside and pulled the rug, the apron, form under Swann to trip him up. Angels hit Swann with a catapult onto the ring post. Angels hit Swann with a Half and Half suplex. Angels worked on Swann with methodical offense. Swann recovered, but Angels came back with a power slam for a two count.
Swann caught Angels with a few kicks and a neckbreaker. Swann hit Angels with a running mule kick and a senton at ringside. Swann hit Angels with a Lethal Injection for a two count. Angels crotched Swann on the 2nd rope and hit him with a dropkick while he was trapped. Angels hit Swann with a draping DDT. Swann ducked a reverse Crescent Kick. Angels ducked Swann’s backfist combo.
Swann caught Angels with a leg lariat. Angels reversed a moonsault into a rollup. Angels reversed the Lethal Injection into a Half and Half suplex. Angels caught Swann with a Triangle Moonsault and Moonsault for a two count. Deaner ordered Angels to finish the job. Swann caught Angels on the top rope with a few Gamengiris and a Frankensteiner. Swann hit Angels with a 450 for the victory.
Rich Swann defeated Alan Angels via pinfall in 4:56.
Kon and Deaner stormed the ring to put the boots to Swann. Callihan hit Kon and Angels with his bat. Deaner stole Callihan’s bat when Kon and Angels held him down. Kon and Angels then held Callihan and Swann in place. Deaner hit Callihan in the gut with the bat.
Deaner then did Sami’s signature thumb thing, leading to him bashing Callihan in the head with the bat. The Design stood tall to end the segment. Hannifan noted at Under Siege, Sami and Rich will have a mystery partner to help them even thing up with the Design…
John’s Thoughts: Good quality match. Angels and Swann are quality workers. I just can’t shake off that The Design are meddling mid-card heels. Impact just never did them any justice since they “killed” Eric Young. What ever happened to the Violent By Design prison? Sami Callihan and Rich Swann actually come off like a big deal and there is promise in the tag team with real life implications. It just feels like a waste to waste it on a hokey cult. Didn’t Sami have a more impressive cult when he was a magical hacker (and I personally hated that cult too).
Gia Miller interviewed Deonna Purrazzo about her title defense at Under Siege. Deonna said she respects Jordynne Grace. She reiterated the stipulation that if Grace loses, she can’t challenge for the title while Purrazzo is champion. Alisha Edwards showed up to mock Deonna. Alisha tried to stir the pot between Deonna and Jordynne, just like she did last week when she tried to tell Grace that Deonna is a backstabbing snake. Alisha walked off after jawing a bit…
The cameras cut to Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly brawling in the kitchen of the arena. A one point Masha found an electric cord and put Kelly to sleep by choking her out…
Entrances for the next match took place…
5. Alisha Edwards vs. Jordynne Grace. Grace blocked a slap and no sold Alisha’s right hands. Grace hit Alisha with a Tornado Wheelbarrow Slam. Grace folded Edwards with a Grace Driver for the win.
Jordynne Grace defeated Alisha Edwards via pinfall in 0:45.
The show cut to a Dirty Dango interview, done in the form of a self produced documentary. Dango said that he grew up in the Attitude Era, while the locker room now lives in the Gratitude Era. Dango said that the wrestlers are happy to be here, not be stars, not take spots. Dango said they just want to take pictures with their opponents. Dango said he makes money outside of wrestling so he doesn’t have to walk on eggshells.
Dango said in his locker room people wouldn’t just talk about girls, but talk in general instead of just staring at their smartphones, being controlled by likes and by social media. Dango said the boys aren’t even worried about crowd reactions, which is bad for the wrestling business’s future. Dango said he doesn’t like burying the boys, but if they were men then he’d have more respect for them. They need to step up to his face. Dango said they are so cowardly that they may tweet their hate at him.
Dango said people don’t pay money for generic talent, but they pay money for a f’n star. Dango said he can talk, look good, and perform in the ring. He said it doesn’t matter if he loves the business, he’s money. Dango said it’s a shame that more wrestlers are taking pictures with him backstage than the fans. Dango said if he were 15 in 2023 he wouldn’t want to be a pro wrestler based of what he’s seeing.
Dango said the only wrestler he likes these days is “the guy in the hog mask” (Black Taurus?). The subject of the interview went to “why attack Santino?”. Dango said when Santino pulled out the Cobra recently he thought, “this is 2010 and we’re stuck playing the jester over and over again”. Dango said Jim Cornette will probably bury this interview, which Dango will appreciate.
Dango said he thought Santino was one of the boys, because none of the boys were left. The next subject was “I thought you were friends with Joe Hendry”. Dango said Joe had potential to be one of the boys, but after getting to know him, he’s a stooge and nerd. Dango said it’s a mockery that Joe is carrying a toy belt (damn). Dango said people don’t pay to see armdrags, they pay to see arms like Dango. Dango ended the interview by saying you can zoom in to his biceps
John’s Thoughts: Well then. Colored me pleased. He’s finally doing it! And he’s self aware about it too. Can we have Dango burying No Way Jose too? I kid, I kid. A few nitpicks. It was a lot. There was a lot of inside-baseball. Plus, he was slurring a bit, but the slurring can be seen as organic. This Dango, I wanted to see turn on Tyler Breeze back in NXT. Yes, he’s running off the old-school Jim Cornette lines, which he acknowledged, but that’s not a bad heel gimmick. Sucks that he’s going to be feuding with a few comedy wrestlers in Santino and Hendry, but maybe he can awaken a more serious side in them, especially “Toy Belt” Joe Hendry, who needs to revert to more of the 2018 version of his character when he was Grado’s best friend.
A hype package aired to hype the Impact World Championship Number One Contenders match at Under Siege…
The Good Hands were already in the ring. Ace Austin and Chris Bey came out to the original Bullet Club theme…
John’s Thoughts: Can Dirty Dango come out and bury Ace Austin and Chris Bey too!?! Dirty Dango should go to every major wrestling company and tell each iteration of Bullet Club that Bullet Club is so 2015. I kid, I kid. I couldn’t help it.
5. John Skyler (w/Brian Myers, Jason Hotch) vs. Chris Bey (w/Ace Austin). Skyler took down Bey with a shoulder tackle. Bey hit Skyler with a shoulder tackle. Bey hit Skyler with a double stomp to the back after tripping him by stopping on a time. Bey caught Skyler with a wrecking ball kick. Myers distracted Bey which allowed Skyler to toss Bey into the ring post.[c]
Skyler caught Bey with a haymaker for a few nearfalls. Bey hit Skyler with a uppercut to turn the tables. Bey hit Skyler with One Final Beat for a two count. A “Baby Hands” chant ensued. Skyler dodged a move and hit Bey with a Slingshot Spear. Bey escaped a double underhook. Both men traded quick standing switches and counters. Hotch failed to distract the ref and ate a dropkick from Austin. Bey took out Myers with a wrecking ball kick. Bey hit Skyler with a springboard cutter for the win.
Chris Bey defeated John Skyler via pinfall in 5:04.
John’s Thoughts: Good match in the limited amount of time. I’m not a fan of the finish because I would have doubled down on both Good Hands stealing dirty wins over the tag champs. I think the tag champions are over enough to shrug off two dirty losses. It’s just a bad habit with all wrestling companies to fall into the parity booking trap. I just feel like Bey and Ace are made men. It would be cool to elevate a new team in Skyler and Hotch.
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table. They immediately cut to Kevin Kelly’s New Japan on AXS plug, because they have no recorded matches for next week due to Under Siege…
Back at the Impact Zone, Hannifan and Rehwoldt ran through the advertised Under Siege card. Steve Maclin was shown heading to the ring…[c]
Impact World Champion Steve Maclin made his entrance. Hannifan noted that even though Maclin is claiming to name a new Under Siege opponent, he’s still scheduled to face PCO at Under Siege. Maclin took a mic and declared that Steve Maclin vs. PCO isn’t happening. Maclin said PCO may not be human, but PCO is dead because he killed PCO. Maclin said he’s a fighting champion and will choose his opponent. He said his opponent will be the most deserving up and coming talent in Impact, Champagne Singh.
Champagne Singh and Shera made their entrance. Singh jumping around like an over-eager dork. Singh thanked Maclin for the title shot. The Chicago crowd wouldn’t allow Singh to talk as Singh claimed to want to cut a serious promo. Singh said he’s cool like a fan under pressure. Singh then unrolled a long list of people he wants to thank. He thanked Gama Singh first.
Impact Wrestling President Scott D’Amore made his entrance. Singh said he claims that D’Amore is somewhere on his thank list. Singh said it was time to hold a world title contract signing. D’Amore called Singh “Dime store champagne” and said that Maclin vs. Singh isn’t happening. Maclin said D’Amore’s nepotism continues, where he’s picking another friend to screw him over. Maclin said D’Amore is stacking the deck against him because he has a bias against Maclin being Champion.
D’Amore said Maclin claims that D’Amore is biased, but the person D’Amore wants as champion is the “best damn wrestler in the world”. Maclin said Scott is looking at him. Scott said Steve needs to prove it. Scott noted that Iron sharpens Iron, and the people Maclin is hanging out with are the furthest thing from Iron. D’Amore said Steve is bitching about unfairness, but when he creates a scene like this he’s being a mockery to the championship. D’Amore said Steve needs to treat Scott like a drill sergeant trying to slap some sense into him.
Maclin said Steve needs to prove himself night in and night out. Maclin said he already proved himself. Maclin said D’Amore broke his word, by disrespectfully throwing the title belt in Maclin’s face. Scott said Steve was right and he apologized, which doesn’t seem enough for Steve. D’Amore said that if Maclin comes out of Under Siege champion, he will respectfully hand him the belt. Maclin refused and said it’s too late.
Maclin said when he leaves Under Siege as champion, D’Amore will wipe that disrespectful Canadian grin from his face and show Maclin the respect he deserves. Maclin said as long as he’s champion, Scott D’Amore’s job title means nothing because Maclin is Scott’s boss now. Maclin said that after Under Siege, D’Amore will wrap the title around Maclin’s waist. Scott D’Amore threw his glasses away, but then agreed to wrap the title around his waist.
Maclin noted that D’Amore didn’t name a replacement yet. D’Amore said he didn’t name one because Maclin will still be facing PCO at Under Siege. Maclin asked Scott how Scott was so sure that PCO is healthy enough to make it to Under Siege? D’Amore said PCO is healthy enough to be in Chicago tonight. The lights went out and when they came on, PCO was there with lightning noises playing.
PCO no sold Maclin hitting him with the title belt. PCO then cleared Maclin from the ring and took the belt from him. PCO took down Shera with a lariat. PCO took down Singh with Sky High. Maclin tried to get the title back, but PCO stepped on it. PCO stood tall with the title belt to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: An interesting and expected promo segment to set the table for Maclin and PCO. They hyped it at the beginning, but everyone knew that they were just setting up PCO for the unsurprising appearance to clean house. Scott D’Amore was in fearless badass mode again, but I thought Maclin did a decent enough job not standing down. What’s weird is Scott D’Amore is head of creative, but he’s the one booking Maclin to hang out with scrubs like Singh and Shera.
That “iron sharpening iron” jab even lampshaded that Maclin is coming off weak hanging out with dorky scrubs. Weird. PCO vs. Maclin should be a good match. Not sure when I’ll have time to check it out with so much wrestling this weekend. Usually I try to squeeze my Impact Plus selective viewing in the weekend, but there’s so many shows this weekend including me having to cover NXT on Sunday. Looking forward to PCO vs. Maclin, Grace vs. Purrazzo, and I think Bay and Ace vs. The South Wales Subculture could be a hidden gem. I’m actually intrigued at Dirty Dango vs. Joe Hendry given Dango’s presumed change in direction (now if he can only change his name to something less lame).
Actually the Rosemary gimmick was started on the indies by Rush. Corgan gave her the new name, but the make-up, character stuff originated on the indies during her feud with Cherry Bomb / Allie.