By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Impact Wrestling Under Siege
Streamed May 26, 2023 on Impact Plus and FITE TV
London, Ontario at Western Fair District Agriplex
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt provided commentary. I like this venue because Impact placed the entrance ramp to the left; we see a packed crowd sitting across from the hard camera. There are clearly several hundred (or more!) fans here.
Impact Wrestling Under Siege Pre-Show
1. “Death Dollz” Jessicka Havok and Courtney Rush defeated Knockouts Tag Team Champions “The Coven” Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King in a non-title match at 7:26. Rush is Rosemary, if you hadn’t seen Thursday’s Impact. So, she has gone from goth girl to 1980s rocker, looking full Pat Benatar (how many of you will get that reference?). Courtney and Taylor traded armdrags. KiLynn entered and hit a hard chop that dropped Courtney. (I need Rehwoldt to use a “Hit me with your best shot!” cheesy line now.) Havok and King brawled.
Wilde hit a snap suplex on Courtney for a nearfall at 4:00. The ref missed Jessicka tagging in and ordered her back to the corner, as The Coven worked over Courtney. Jessicka finally tagged in and hit a sideslam on King. Havok hit a basement crossbody block on King for a nearfall. The Coven set up for a Hart Attack clothesline, but Havok broke it up. Rush applied a Sharpshooter, and Taylor Wilde tapped out.
2. Joe Hendry defeated Dirty Dango via disqualification at 5:43. Hendry came out first and grabbed the mic, and he has the Digital Media title belt. He made fun of Dango for going from being a ballroom dancer to a police officer. The bell rang and Dango rolled to the floor and stalled; Hendry followed him to the floor, and he threw him into the ring. Hendry hit a bodyslam. Hendry held Dango upside down for several seconds before hitting the delayed vertical suplex for a nearfall. Dango hit a fallaway slam at 5:00 and kipped up to his feet. Dango hit a low blow uppercut right in front of the referee, who called for the DQ. Dango stomped on Hendry and was loudly booed.
* Santino Marella ran to the ring to make the save, and Dango bailed.
Impact Wrestling Under Siege Pay-Per-View
1. Nick Aldis defeated Kenny King (w/Sheldon Jean) at 8:55. Sheldon distracted Aldis; King beat him up on the floor. In the ring, King hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 2:30. King hit a plancha to the floor and was in charge. In the ring, Aldis hit a fallaway slam for a nearfall at 5:00. They traded punches. King hit a powerslam for a nearfall. Aldis hit a Michinoku Driver (and Hanifan called it as such! I like him in the booth so much.) Aldis hit a top-rope elbow drop at 7:30 for a visual pin; Jean hopped on the ring apron and argued with the ref.
King got a rollup with his feet on the ropes, but the ref saw it. King hit a spinebuster for a nearfall. King jumped off the ropes, but Aldis caugh his legs and hit a powerbomb. Aldis applied a Texas Cloverleaf, and King tapped out. Good opener.
* As Aldis walked to the back, we saw Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich brawling in the stands! It is a bit dark but they brawled over a railing and to ringside. Kelly hit a snap suplex on the thin mat, and they entered the ring at 1:30. Kelly got a chain and she wrapped it around Masha’s mouth. Several referees hit the ring to separate them, but of course the crowd chanted, “Let them fight!” The whole segment was about three minutes.
* Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Jordynne Grace. Jordynne talked about how she was champion at the beginning of the year, and a lot is on the line tonight, as she wants to beat Deonna Purrazzo and be the best woman wrestler in Impact. “If I’m not the best, then who am I?” she asked before walking off. We then saw a video package for the next match.
2. Rich Swann, Sami Callihan, Jake Crist defeated “The Design” Deaner, Alan Angels, and Kon at 10:10. Hannifan said it has “been years” since Crist has been in Impact Wrestling. (I think he had a one-off at a taping last year.) He’s a logical choice for Sami’s team. Angels and Crist opened. All six brawled, with the action going to the floor. Angels hit a dive through the ropes to the floor at 2:00. Crist dove through the ropes, but Kon caught him with a forearm shot. Crist hit an Asai moonsault on Kon. In a cool spot, Callihan powerbombed Angels over the top rope onto several guys on the floor at 3:30.
Callihan’s team hit triple superkicks on Kon in the ring. Kon hit a double clothesline. The Design began working over Crist in their corner, and Jake was bleeding from the left ear. Crist hit a second-rope forearm onto Angels at 6:30. Callihan tagged in and hit a suplex on Angels, then he clotheslined Alan to the floor. Sami called Deaner into the ring, and they traded punches. Sami and Crist hit stereo Death Valley Drivers. Angels hit a frogsplash on Callihan for a nearfall at 8:30. Swann hit a handspring-back-double stunner, and that got a pop. This has been very good.
Crist hit a Tiger Suplex on Angels. Deaner hit a Death Valley Driver on Crist. Sami hit a piledriver on Deaner. Angels hit a half-nelson suplex on Swann. Swann got a rollup on Angels for the pin. Sure, the whole Design-Callihan has been flat from the get-go, but this match was non-stop and topped all expectations. I was fearful that Crist would turn on Callihan early in the match, and I’m glad that didn’t happen.
* A clip aired from the pre-show, with Dirty Dango hitting a low blow on Joe Hendry. Backstage, Gia interviewed Santino Marella. Santino now believes Dango is the culprit who jumped him, and he called Dango a “dirty piece of shit” with the swear word bleeped.
3. Trinity defeated Gisele Shaw (w/Jai Vidal, Savannah Evans) at 10:26. I huge pop for Trinity; I admittedly am not as high on her in-ring work or star power as others are. Trinity hit a legdrop across the neck for a nearfall, and Gisele stalled to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring, Trinity hit a huracanrana at 2:30, and Gisele stalled on the floor again. Savannah interfered, allowing Gisele to seize control in the ring. Gisele hit some hard back elbows in the corner and one mid-ring for a nearfall at 5:00.
Trinity put Gisele across her shoulders and dropped to the mat. Trinity hit an RVD-style split-legged moonsault out of the corner for a nearfall. Gisele put Trinity’s feet on the ropes and she hit a DDT for a nearfall at 9:00. Trinity hit an enzuigiri, and she kicked at Jai as he tried to interfere. She hit a Code Red and she applied “Starstruck” head submission hold. (This is the same as Master Wato’s “Vendival.”) Gisele submitted. Again, I am not a huge fan of Trinity, so this topped my expectations.
* Gia Miller interviewed Subculture backstage. Mark Andrews noted it has been seven years since he’s been in Impact Wrestling, but he’s brought back both Flash Morgan Webster and Dani Luna. Brian Myers, Jason Hotch and John Skyler walked up. Myers was upset, wondering what Subculture did to earn a title shot. Luna said that after they win the tag titles, the Good Hands can have the first title shot.
4. “ABC” Ace Austin and Chris Bey defeated “Subculture” Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster (w/Dani Luna) to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles at 13:12. Hannifan noted that Webster and Andrews first teamed together 11 years ago, and he listed off all of Andrews’ notable opponents/matches in his prior Impact run. (Good homework by Tom, who clearly wasn’t here at that time.) Austin and Andrews started. Bey hit a flying back elbow on Andrews in the corner. Webster hit a mid-ring flip senton on Bey for a nearfall at 2:30. The Bullet Club began working over Webster in their corner. Ace did his modified Pedigree, spiking Webster’s face into the mat at 6:00.
Andrews finally made the hot tag, and he hit a double Pele Kick. Andrews hit an Asai Moonsault from the corner on Bey at 8:00. In the ring, he hit a Code Red on Austin. Webster hit an assisted Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Ace hit a springboard missile dropkick on Andrews, going halfway across the ring. Bey hit a forearm shot that send Andrews to the floor. Webster hit a top-rope flip dive onto both Bey and Austin at 10:30, and it drew a big pop. In the ring, Andrews hit a running knee for a nearfall, and we got our first “This is awesome!” chant of the evening.
Andrews nailed the Stundog Millionaire on Bey, and Webster hit a Swanton Bomb for a believable nearfall on Bey at 12:00. The crowd switched to “Fight forever!” Subculture hit a double headbutt on Bey. Bey hit a double Poison Rana on Subculture, drawing a “holy shit!” chant. Bey hit his assisted Stunner, and Ace nailed The Fold/overhead faceplant to pin Andrews. “What a damn match,” Rehwoldt said. Yes, that was really, really good.
5. Trey Miguel defeated Chris Sabin to retain the X Division Title at 18:31. Hannifan said Miguel won the only ever singles matchup between these two. Miguel stalled at the bell. (Hannifan and Rehwoldt congratulated Mike Bailey for making it to the BoSJ semifinals, which was a nice touch and good spot in the show to mention it.) They locked up briefly but Trey went back to the floor. So, Sabin hit a running punt kick on the ring apron to Trey’s chest at 2:30. In the ring, Sabin hit his hesitation dropkick as Trey was tied in the Tree of Woe, and he got a nearfall.
Trey slammed Sabin onto the ring apron, and he hit a slingshot senton into the ring for a nearfall at 5:00. Trey hit a reverse suplex, dropping Sabin stomach-first, and Trey applied a modified crossface, but Sabin reached the ropes. Sabin hit a DDT at 7:30 and they were both down. Sabin hit a top-rope missile dropkick, then a Helluva Kick in the corner, and a faceplant for a nearfall. Sabin hit a cross-armed German Suplex. Miguel hit a doublestomp to the chest at 10:00 and they were both down again.
Miguel nailed a brainbuster for a believable nearfall; this has been every bit as good as you would hope. Sabin hit a dropkick on the knee, and he slammed Trey’s knees into the mat. Sabin applied a Sharpshooter! “A Sharpshooter here in Canada!” Hannifan shouted; Trey got to the ropes at 13:00. Trey hit a kick to the face as Sabin was trapped in the corner, then Trey hit his top-rope Meteora kneedrop on Sabin for a believable nearfall, and we have a “This is awesome!” chant going. Trey slid to the floor and hit a tornado DDT onto the thin mat.
In the ring, Trey missed a second Meteora and he sold the pain of landing. “That makes my knees hurt just watching it,” Rehwoldt said. They traded chops at 16:00, and Trey hit an enzuigiri. Sabin hit a Canadian Destroyer! Hannifan mentioned Petey Williams. Sabin hit a clothesline and set up for the Cradle Shock, but Trey gouged at the eyes to escape and was loudly booed. Sabin picked up the ref and set him down. Trey hit a shotgun dropkick that sent Sabin into the ref, and the ref was down. Sabin hit the Cradle Shock for the visual pin, but the ref was down. Sabin revived the referee, while Trey went to the floor and got his can of spraypaint. He sprayed it into Sabin’s eyes, got the rollup, and the cheap pin. That was tremendous.
* A video package aired for the six-way. This is really good stuff.
6. Alex Shelley defeated Frankie Kazarian, Eddie Edwards, Moose, Jonathan Gresham and Yuya Uemera in a six-way scramble to become No. 1 contender to the Impact World Championship at 11:45. The winner gets a world title shot on July 9. Edwards and Kazarian charged at each other at the bell and they brawled to the floor. Moose tripped Uemera on the ring apron. Suddenly just Shelley and Gresham were in the ring and they traded reversals. Moose got in; Shelley and Gresham hit dropkicks on Moose’s knees. Shelley applied two half-crabs on opponents at 2:30.
Edwards dove through the ropes onto Moose. Kazarian hit some clotheslines on Edwards and a springboard legdrop at 5:00. Edwards went for a Backpack Stunner, but Kazarian escaped and hit an Unprettier faceplant. Shelley hit a Flatliner on Gresham into the middle turnbuckle. Uemera dropped Kazarian with a shoulder tackle. A tower spot was set up in the corner, but Moose attacked all of them and tore it down, getting booed. Moose hit a standing powerbomb, tossing Uemera at 8:00. He hit one on Kazarian, too. He hit a standing powerbomb on Gresham for a nearfall; everyone was down except Moose.
Uemera hit a bulldog on Moose for a nearfall at 9:30. Moose hit a Sky High powerbomb for a believable nearfall, but Shelley made the save. Gresham hit a Lionsault Press on Uemera. Uemera hit a top-rope crossbody block on Kazarian. Kazarian applied a cross-face chickenwing. Moose hit a spear on Edwards. Uemera hit a German Suplex on Moose. Shelley hit a superkick and a Shellshock swinging faceplant to pin Uemera. That was fantastic.
* Gia Miller walked up to Trey Miguel backstage. He boasted about beating Sabin. Sabin came up to him ready to fight some more; security guards separated them. We headed to a video package to set up the next match!
7. Deonna Purrazzo defeated Jordynne Grace to retain the Knockouts Title at 13:20. Deonna hit a neckbreaker in the ropes, then a flip dive off the ring apron to the floor at 2:00. In the ring, Jordynne hit a back suplex and took control. She set up for the musclebuster, but Deonna escaped. Jordynne clotheslined them both over the top rope to the floor at 5:00. In the ring, Deonna applied a Fujiwara Armbar. Grace hit a modifed Cradle Shock, slamming Deonna to the mat for a nearfall at 7:30.
Jordynne set up for a pump-handle slam, but Deonna fought free. Deonna hit a piledriver for a nearfall. Jordynne hit a powerbomb and a Goldberg-style Jackhammer for a believable nearfall at 9:00. Deonna hit a Queen’s Gambit sudden piledriver for a believable nearfall. Rehwoldt was incredulous that Grace kicked out. Deonna hit a Divorce Court armbreaker and went back to a Fujiwara armbar. Grace put Deonna along her back and hit a reverse piledriver for a nearfall at 11:00.
They hit hard, simultaneous slaps to the face and both fell down. The crowd had alternating chants for each woman. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Deonna nailed a second-rope Queens Gambit piledriver for the pin. That was tremendous; these two just click in the ring. Hannifan noted that Grace can no longer challenge for the title belt as long as Deonna is champion. Grace rolled out of the ring and headed to the back, clearly frustrated.
* A video package aired for the main event.
8. Steve Maclin defeated PCO to retain the Impact World Championship at 15:32. Seconds into the match, PCO nailed a flip dive through the ropes; he easily could have landed on his head on that. They brawled at ringside, and Maclin suplexed PCO, with PCO’s legs hitting the ring steps, which made a loud noise. Maclin dove through the ropes, but PCO nailed him with a cookie sheet to the head at 3:00. Maclin stood up and he was heavily bleeding from his forehead. PCO hit a garbage can over the head. They got into the ring, and PCO had a staple gun; Maclin hit a low blow before PCO could use it.
Maclin hit repeated chairshots to the back, and he jabbed it into PCO’s ribs. Maclin placed a garbage can between ropes in the corner, but it fell out as he tried to tie PCO in the Tree of Woe. Maclin hit a chairshot to the head for a nearfall at 6:30. Maclin placed a different garbage can in a corner and he again tied PCO in the Tree of Woe. He hit a spear to the chest for a nearfall. Maclin got the staple gun and used it repeatedly on PCO’s face! “What the hell!” Hannifan shouted. Yuck.
PCO slammed Maclin on the steel post; he found plier under the ring and yanked out the staples. Yuck again. In the ring, Maclin hit PCO with a sledgehammer. I can’t stress enough how much bloodloss Maclin has right now. Maclin got two cement blocks, probably 1.5 inches thick, and placed them on PCO’s back. He swung the sledgehammer; the cement blocks shattered, and the crowd was shocked, but it only got a nearfall at 11:00. PCO sat up and was fired up. PCO hit a DDT. PCO hit a Lungblower move out of the corner.
PCO hit a second-rope legdrop for a nearfall. He hit a top-rope summersault onto Maclin, who was lying on the ring apron. PCO again climbed the ropes, but Maclin threw a chair into his face, and Steve flipped PCO onto the apron at 13:00, and the crowd chanted, “This is awesome!” Maclin got six regular cinder blocks from under the ring and put them in the ring. PCO hit a reverse DDT, and he placed Maclin on the cinder blocks and he climbed the ropes. However, Maclin bodyslammed PCO onto the cinder blocks, then he hit a DDT onto the cinder blocks for the pin. That was certainly a memorable hardcore brawl.
* Maclin got on the mic and he demanded Scott D’Amore come to the ring, shake his hand, and put the title belt around his waist. I will reiterate that Maclin is covered in blood. Scott walked to ringside; he climbed in the ring, put the belt around Maclin’s waist and offered his hand. However, Maclin turned and walked out of the ring and stood on the floor. Maclin shouted that “I’m your boss.” Bully Ray snuck up on D’Amore and choked him out with a strap around Scott’s neck! Maclin watched him do it. Bully Ray told Maclin, “get the table!” They set one up in the ring. Rehwoldt jumped into the ring and shouted “this is too far!” Bully Ray doused Rehwoldt with lighter fluid! PCO was back on his feet! Maclin and Bully Ray fought him.
Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin ran into the ring, but Ray and Maclin beat them up. Bully Ray poured lighter fluid on the table; he set it on fire and powerbombed D’Amore through the fire table, earning a “holy shit!” chant. (The fire of course went out pretty much the second the table broke under Scott’s weight.) Ray was on his hands and knees, over D’Amore and said: “You’ll never get rid of me. I’m taking this whole frickin’ company down.” Bully Ray then raised Maclin’s arm, with Maclin holding the title belt in his other arm. What a great show-closing segment.
Final Thoughts: This is simply Impact Wrestling at its best. The roster is so good right now, and the middle of this show was firing on all cylinders. I’ll go with Sabin-Miguel for best match, the six-way for second place and Deonna-Grace for a really strong third-place, with Bey/Ace vs. Subculture a really good honorable mention. I have to believe that a large and vocal crowd really helped inspire everyone to bring their ‘A game.’
I don’t like hardcore matches in general, but I do feel they are warranted to conclude a hot, extended feud. I don’t like one “just to have one.” So, I am more forgiving of this match because Maclin and PCO have been fighting for months with the violence ratcheting up each time. I enjoyed the show-closing segment a lot, too. Sometimes, the fire table doesn’t light, or goes out too quickly, but this looked exactly as they would have hoped it would.
I first saw FMWebster in PWG’s BOLA several years ago and came away highly unimpressed. He was just scrawny and looked like a dork and too cartoonish. But, over the years, he’s filled out and become a really complete wrestler.
I like the stipulation that Grace cannot compete for the title as long as Deonna holds it. I could see a scenario where Grace helps Trinity win the title, just so she can again get a title shot. This stipulation is just an obvious, logical reason for Jordynne to turn heel. I admit I’m a bit surprised we didn’t see Mickie James return at the conclusion of the match.