By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Impact Wrestling Against All Odds
Streamed live June 9, 2023 on Impact Plus and FITE.TV
Columbus, Ohio at Ohio Expo Center
Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt provided commentary. Once again, there are fans seated across from the hard camera; I hope Impact gets away from having the entrance ramp opposite the hard camera. The setup and crowd seems on par with an ROH Florida taping.
Against All Odds Pre-Show
1. KiLynn King (w/Taylor Wilde) beat Nevaeh in 4:54. Hanifan noted it was Naveah’s first Impact match in two years. Basic reversals early and they switched to stiff forearm shots at 4:00. King hit a swinging faceplant, dropping Naveah on her stomach, to score the pin.
* Santino Marella joined commentary. I smell shenanigans coming…
2. Joe Hendry beat Dirty Dango to retain the Digital Media Championship at 6:30. Hendry got on the mic and played the video of him belittling Dango. Hendry hit a shoulder tackle and posed. Dango rolled to the floor and threw a T-shirt in Santino’s face. Hendry hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker on the floor. In the ring, the ref got in the way, allowing Dango to hit a suplex and take charge. Dango hit a kneedrop on Hendry’s left shoulder at 3:00. Hendry hit a running neckbreaker and a fallaway slam. Dango went to the top rope, but he paused to jaw at Santino; he went for a top-rope legdrop, but Hendry moved. Hendry immediately hit a suplex and his swinging uranage for the pin. Decent stuff.
Against All Odds Main Card
1. Frankie Kazarian defeated Eddie Edwards (w/Alisha) at 12:28. Good mat reversals early. Kazarian hit a side Russian legsweep for a nearfall at 2:00, then a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Kazarian was pushed to the floor, where Alisha took a swipe at his back. In the ring, Eddie was in charge, raking at his face, and of course, Alisha hit Frankie with the ref distracted. Frankie hit a flying forearm at 5:00. Eddie dove through the ropes onto Frankie, and they were both down. In the ring, Eddie hit a top-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall. They got up and traded slaps to the face.
Kazarian leapt over the top rope and hit a huracanrana on the floor at 7:30. He hit a slingshot DDT into the ring for a nearfall. Kazarian hit a springboard legdrop for a nearfall. Eddie hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 10:00, and they were both down. Frankie put Eddie along his back and hit a piledriver for a nearfall, but Alisha put Eddie’s foot on the ropes. The ref saw it and tossed Alisha, popping the crowd. Eddie hit a top-rope superplex for a nearfall. Eddie went for a sunset flip, but Kazarian blocked it, sat down, and scored the clean pin. Good match.
* Backstage, Jimmy Jacobs interviewed Nick Aldis and his team.
2. “The Bullet Club” Chris Bey and Ace Austin defeated “The Good Hands” John Skyler and Jason Hotch (w/Brian Myers) at 9:41. Bey and Skyler opened. Bey hit a standing moonsault. Ace entered and applied a head-scissors lock. TGH began working over Ace in their corner. Bey made the hot tag at 4:30, and he hit a huracanrana for a nearfall, then a Code Red for a nearfall. Ace accidentally kicked Bey, allowing Hotch to get a nearfall at 6:00. Austin was launched to the floor, but he crashed onto Myers!
Skyler hit a spear on Ace on the ring apron, and Hotch followed it up with a corner moonsault to the floor on Ace. Bey leapt over the referee onto the heels on the floor! Cool spot. Myers hit Ace with the title belt on the floor! In the ring, TGH hit the Magic Killer team spinning faceplant on Ace for a believable nearfall. Ace flipped Hotch toward Bey, who hit a stunner. Ace immediately hit The Fold flipping faceplant for the pin. Good match, and a good tease of a title change.
* Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo were interviewed backstage. We then went to a video package showing the brawls between Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich.
3. Masha Slamovich defeated Killer Kelly in a Dog Collar match at 11:54. The collars were put around their neck, not on their wrists. They immediately began punching each other. Masha immediately wrapped the chain across Kelly’s open mouth, and she was in charge of the offense early. They went to the floor and did a tug-of-war, with Masha pulling Kelly into the ring post at 4:00. Masha choked her with the chain around the ring post. In the ring, they hit a double clothesline and were both down. Kelly took charge and she hit several headbutts, then a butterfly suplex at 7:30, then a running dropkick into the corner.
This has been hard-hitting. Kelly hit a DDT for a nearfall. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Masha kicked Kelly, causing Kelly to crash to the floor! Masha rolled to the floor and pulled down on the chain, choking Kelly, as the chain was looped over the top rope! They got back in the ring, and Kelly applied a sleeperhold. Masha wrapped the chain around Kelly’s neck. She hit a fisherman’s suplex for the pin. That was really good.
4. Chris Sabin defeated Trey Miguel to win the X Division title at 12:49. Miguel stalled at the bell. He hit a standing neckbreaker and was in charge early on. Sabin hit a backbreaker over his knee & Flatliner combo at 3:00. They fought on the ring apron, where Sabin hit a spear, and they both rolled to the floor. In the ring, Sabin was in charge, hitting a sit-down piledriver move for a nearfall at 6:00. Miguel hit a back suplex and immediately applied a Muta Lock, but Sabin reached the ropes. Miguel hit an inverted DDT and applied a Dragon Sleeper on the mat, but Sabin rolled him over for a nearfall at 8:00.
Sabin hit a Daniels-style Angels Wings for a nearfall. Miguel hit a Meteora double knees, then a Cradle Shock (Sabin’s move!) for a nearfall at 10:00. Miguel rolled to the floor and got two cannisters of spraypaint and tucked one in the back of his pants. The ref confiscated the one in Trey’s hands; Miguel grabbed his hidden can and sprayed it in Sabin’s face, got a rollup and a nearfall. They fought on the ropes, where Sabin dropped him stomach first onto the turnbuckle, and they both rolled to the floor. Sabin got a bottle of water at ringside and washed out his eyes. Sabin hit a Styles Clash for a nearfall! Sabin hit a Cradle Shock for the pin! New champion!
* The next match is the “8-4-1.” We start with four-on-four.
5A. Nick Aldis, Jonathan Gresham, Bully Ray, and Heath defeated Mike Bailey, Moose, PCO, and Rich Swann at 10:07. Bailey and Gresham started. Heath and Swann tagged in at 1:00. Moose, while on the apron, hit Heath from behind; he tagged in and repeatedly punched Heath at 3:00. Bailey entered and hit his Speedball kicks to Heath’s ribs, then a Helluva Kick in the corner. Bully Ray tagged in at 4:30 and stomped on Bailey. Bailey caught Ray with a spin kick to the jaw, and they were both down.
PCO entered at 6:00 and beat up on the other team, hitting a double clothesline, then a flip dive through the ropes, barreling into two opponents. Gresham went for a crossbody block, but he bounced off PCO’s chest to the mat. PCO hit a second-rope legdrop for a nearfall at 8:00. Moose tagged himself in. Moose hit a Mafiak Kick and a standing powerbomb on Gresham for a nearfall. Gresham applied a rear-naked choke. Swann tagged himself in and hit a spin kick on Gresham. Moose accidentally speared Swann! Gresham pushed Moose to the floor, then he covered the prone Swann for the pin!
5B. Nick Aldis, Bully Ray, Heath, Jonathan Gresham in a four-way at about 6:00. The match continued amost immediately (even though I broke it into two parts) as a four-way, with everyone beating up on Bully Ray. Gresham hit the “Wassup” flying headbutt to Ray’s groin. Aldis hit a brainbuster on Gresham for a nearfall, but Heath made the save, and Heath brawled with Aldis. Gresham hit a dive through the ropes on two guys. Ray got a chair.
Scott D’Amore rolled in the ring and took the chair! They argued; no one else was in the ring. Ray invited him to hit him with a chair, and Scott did! Ray rolled to the floor as the other three got back in the ring and kept fighting. Aldis hit a Falcon Arrow on Heath. We had a tower spot with Heath on the bottom. Aldis applied a Texas Cloverleaf, and Heath tapped out. I somehow didn’t start my stopwatch; it went maybe six minutes.
* A backstage interview with Steve Maclin, who was confident he would retain.
6. Trinity and Deonna Purrazzo defeated Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans (w/Jai Vidal) at 10:02. Purrazzo and Shaw started. Trinity entered and hit a splits legdrop for a nearfall. Savannah entered at 1:30 and battled Trinity. Evans clotheslined Deonna and repeatedly punched her, and the heels kept Deonna in their corner. Shaw hit a stiff kick to the spine at 4:00. Trinity made the tag and she hit a flying forearm on Savannah, then a Waltman-style X-Factor faceplant. The heels now began working over Trinity in their corner.
Savannah hit a butterfly suplex for a nearfall at 7:00. Trinity slipped coming off the ropes but she recovered enough to hit a spin kick. Good recovery. Deonna made the hot tag and hit a Russian Legsweep on Gisele, and she applied a Fujiwara Armbar, but Gisele reached the ropes. Gisele hit a backbreaker & faceplant combo. Suddenly all four fought in the ring and everyone was down. The ref got partners back on the ring apron and the match continued. Jai Vidal pulled Trinity off the ring apron and clotheslined her. However, Deonna got a rollup for a pin out of nowhere. The heels attacked Deonna after the bell, but Trinity hopped in the ring and made the save, and they hugged.
7. “OVE” Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Madman Fulton defeated “The Design” Deaner, Alan Angels, and Kon at 14:51. Good to see Fulton back; I smell a heel turn, though! All six brawled at the bell. Kon and Fulton were in the ring while the others brawled at ringside. Callihan slammed Angels on a ladder. In the ring, Crist hit a running dropkick onto a garbage can over Deaner’s face at 2:00. Callihan hit an Exploder Suplex on Angels across an open chair. Sami got a staple gun and used it on Angels’ forehead. Kon got the staple gun and used it on Sami’s chest. Angels hit Fulton with a mailbox across the stomach. Fulton slammed Angels; Fulton looks great here. He went under the ring and got a barbed-wire board and slid it into the ring.
Fulton tried to slam Angels on the board, but Angels escaped, and Alan hit Fulton’s knee with a chair. Angels wrapped his arm in barbed wire and hit a roaring forearm. Crist hit a Death Valley Driver on Angels at 7:00. In a nice spot, Angels came off the top rope, but Crist (who came off a different corner) caught him with a stunner. Perfectly timed. Sami suplexed Deaner onto the barbed wire board at 9:00. Sami dumped out a bag of thumbtacks. However, Kon chokeslammed Sami onto the thumbtacks for a nearfall. Kon and Fulton brawled up the ramp and away from ringside, and they both crashed off the short ramp onto a table on the floor. (This was a short fall, on par with the height of the ring.)
Back at ringside, Angels slammed Crist stomach-first through a barbed-wire board. Angels and Deaner beat up Sami. Angels hit a frogsplash off (near the) top of a ladder onto Callihan, who was lying on a table, for a nearfall at 13:00. Deaner got a bat but he accidentally hit Angels! Sami grabbed a garbage can and he repeatedly struck Deaner with it. Sami hit a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Sami got a bat and he jabbed it into his face. He then hit another piledriver, this one on a barbed wire board, for the pin. Good brawl that somehow remained blood-free.
8. Alex Shelley defeated Steve Maclin to win the Impact World Championship at 22:20. An intense lockup to begin. Shelley almost immediately went for the Border City Stretch, but Maclin scrambled to the ropes and regrouped on the floor at 1:30. Back in the ring, Maclin hit some hard chops and was in charge. Shelley hit a flying knee off the apron onto Maclin’s left arm as Steve stood on the floor. Shelley began twisting the arm in the ropes and he stomped on the elbow. Shelley hit a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes, then a kneedrop to the chest for a nearfall at 6:00. Shelley applied an armbar in the center of the ring, but Maclin got to the ropes.
Maclin hit a German Suplex, then a dive through the ropes at 8:00. He slammed Shelley onto the ring apron, then he hit a snap suplex on the floor. Maclin leapt off the ring apron and hit an elbow drop on the floor. He walked over to commentary table and jawed at Rehwoldt. In the ring, Maclin hit a backbreaker over his knee at 10:00, then a back suplex for a nearfall. He hit a short-arm clothesline and another backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 12:00.
Shelley hit a chop block on the left knee. They traded punches while holding each other’s left wrist. Shelley again went for Border City Stretch but Maclin fought free before it was locked in. Shelley hit another dragon screw leg whip at 15:00. Shelley tied up Steve’s arms and legs into a modified Paradise Lock, then he applied a Figure Four, but Maclin reached the ropes, and in the process, pulled off a pad in the corner. Shelley hit a swinging fisherman’s suplex at 17:00. Maclin fired back with a running knee and a suplex for a nearfall.
Maclin hit a top-rope flying headbutt for a nearfall. They fought on the floor, where Shelley used the ring post to hit a Sliced Bread #2 faceplant. He rolled Maclin back in the ring; he set up for Shellshock, but Maclin avoided it and hit a double-arm DDT for a nearfall, but Shelley got a foot on the ropes at 19:30. They fought on the ropes, where Shelley hit a top-rope Sliced Bread for a nearfall! Shelley again couldn’t hit the Shellshock. Maclin speared him into the corner and hit a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Maclin went for a spear in the corner, but Shelley moved and Maclin hit the exposed metal! Shelley went for the Border City Stretch, but Maclin avoided it. Shelley hit a Flatliner onto the exposed second turnbuckle! He hit a superkick, then the Shellshock for the pin! New champion!!!!
* Chris Sabin ran into the ring, holding his X Division title belt. Sabin and Shelley hugged and each held their respective title belt above their heads.
Final Thoughts: What a main event. Wow. I actually never thought Shelley was winning, even with the great story that Impact had put together. (I correctly predicted that Aldis was winning the match earlier; I presumed it was setting up a match of Aldis-Maclin for the title.) So, I was pleasantly shocked. I consider Shelley to be in an elite group with Bryan Danielson and Zack Sabre Jr. as the top mat-based wrestlers in the world. But don’t undersell how good Maclin was here. Sabin-Miguel was also a surprise upset I didn’t see coming, and that earns second best. The show-opener Kazarian-Edwards earns third place.
A solid top-to-bottom show. The women’s tag match was a bit flat, as no one thought Trinity and Deonna were losing. Masha-Kelly was hard-hitting and a good brawl, as was the OVE match; Impact wisely spread those matches out over the course of the show.