By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV (Episode 996)
Taped in Cicero, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Aired August 17, 2023 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling show aired… Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary…
1. Deonna Purrazzo vs. KiLynn King (w/Taylor Wilde). Deonna went for a quick Fujiwara Armbar early on with King quickly going to the ropes for the break. Purrazzo reversed a suplex into a rollup for a two count. Purrazzo took down King with a huracanrana and armdrag. Purrazzo caught King at ringside with a baseball slide. King blocked a huracanrana into a wheelbarrow slam for a two count.
King knocked Deonna to ringside with a draping boot. Deonna dodged a dive and sent King’s spine into tha apron with a Russian Legsweep. Both women traded boo-yay forearms. Deonna rallied with chops and clotheslines. After the legsweep, Deonna put King in a Fujiwara. King escaped with a rollup.
King hit Purrazzo with a gutbuster and DDT for a two count. Purrazzo escaped a Gotch Driver attempt. Deonna used a Flatliner to put King in a Koji Clutch. King escaped again with a rollup. King hit Purrazzo with a Neutralizer for a nearfall. Purrazzo reversed the King’s Curse into the Fujiwara Armbar. King submitted when Purrazzo tured the move into a modified Rings of Saturn.
Deonna Purrazzo defeated KiLynn King via Submission in 8:32.
John’s Thoughts: Well worked match with the good story of King managing to counter a majority of Deonna’s submission attempts, only to be thwarted with the last submission in the end. King and Wilde are a great tag team, but Impact may have a hidden singles gem on their hands in KiLynn King. Every time they seemingly throw her in the ring as enhancement fodder, she comes through with a well-worked and competitive match.
Gia Miller interviewed Kenny King who had Sheldon Jean with him. Gia informed King that Johnny Swinger has decided to invoke his guaranteed title shot for the Digital Media title instead of the world title. King asked Gia, “what do you call a man with no body and nose?”. “No body [knows]”. King said what Gia said sounded like a bad joke. King said Swinger is 748 years old and has no business challenging for the Digital Media Championship.
Gia said that Swinger has momentum on his side after beating Sheldon Jean on Before the Impact. King noted that Heath got involved. King said he’s not worried about Heath. King said he’s about to break Swinger’s hips…
John’s Thoughts: I know Swinger’s character is a clown, but I was actually looking forward to Swinger going after the world title! I’m not a huge fan of bait and switches like that, even if it’s for the comedy guy.
Santino Marella was praising Kevin Knight backstage. Bully Ray pulled Santino aside and acted frightened of PCO. He begged Santino to use his authority to protect him. Bully said PCO won’t go away even after being put on fire. Moose and Myers showed up to have Bully’s back. Myers noted that he wants a match with Alex Shelley this week. Santino said it might take him a week to run things by Alex Shelley. Moose cut in and said that Shelley will refuse because he’s a coward.
Moose said that Kushida and Sabin were also cowards. Kevin Knight cut in and asked Moose not to diss his mentor. Santino said he smells a match right now. Santino booked Moose vs. Kevin Knight. Myers asked for his match against Shelley. Santino then asked Shelley, who was passing by, if he’d defend his title against Myers next week? Shelley said “Yep”. Santino booked Shelley vs. Myers for the World Title for next week (If Shelley makes it out of the Multiverse show with the world title)…
Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich got a televised entrance for the next match…
2. Killer Kelly (w/Masha Shamovich) vs. Savannah Evans (w/Gisele Shaw, Jai Vidal) vs. Jessicka (w/Courtney Rush). The powerhouses faced each other off, shoving aside Kelly. Kelly took down both women with a crossbody. Kelly hit Jessicka with a snapmare and PK for a two count. Kelly hit Evans with a headbutt. Evans came back with a Power Bomb and German Suplex on Kelly. Jessicka broke up Evans’s pin.
Jessicka hit Evans with her version of the Bionic Elbow. Jessicka dropped Evans and hit her with a running splash. Kelly broke up Jessicka’s pin and put Jessicka in a sleeper. After a bit of a struggle, Jessicka shrugged Kelly off. Evans hit Jessicka with a DDT. Kelly gave Evans a Death Valley Driver on top of Jessicka. Kelly pinned Jessicka for the win.
Killer Kelly defeated Jessicka and Savannah Evans via pinfall in 3:50.
Masha and Kelly celebrated the win…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Bit of a quick preview match for the knockouts tag title match. Evans actually looked good for what little time was given here. I still think that she doesn’t fit in with the Gisele Shaw act that is in serious need of a repackage.
The show cut to this week’s Dirty Dango docu-style interview. Dango and Alpha Bravo were directing a truck out of a parking spot. The first question was “why do you think Jake Something returned to Impact Wrestling?”. Dango mocked Something’s wrestling name, saying “what if Mike Awesome was just named Mike Something?”. Dango said other than being the strongest man at Detroit’s LA fitness, Something probably doesn’t have anything outside of wrestling.
Dango said Jake probably begged Scott D’Amore for a job back at half the money he was asking for last time. Dango continued to mock Something’s name, talking about “Villano Something II” and “Villano Something IV”. Dango said Jake is not even ranked in the PWI 500. Dango said Jake is allergic to money. The next question was “Why did you run from Jake Something last week?”. Dango said he didn’t run. Bravo said he held Dango back.
Dango said Jake is just there to get a rub from Dango and then go off to the outlaw mudshows at the VFW halls, if he’s lucky. Dango said that Jake looks like Tarzan, but plays like Jane. Dango wondered if Jake goes by Jake Something on Tinder. Bravo said he’d check. Bravo said that Jake does go by Jake Something on Tinder…
John’s Thoughts: One of my highlights in all of wrestling week to week, the Dirty Dango promos. We’ve seen people like Dan Lambert do the whole mudshow Jim Cornette schtick, but Dango has taken it to another level of entertaining. One slight negative in terms of him being a heel, is I find myself agreeing with a lot that he’s lampshading, which does make his opponents look bad. Dango was right here. Something is one of those names that may sound good to the person, but to everyone else its a bit lame.
Entrances for the next match took place. Hannifan announced Moose and Eddie Edwards vs. “TMDK” Zack Sabre Jr. and Shane Haste for the Multiverse show…
3. Moose vs. Kevin Knight. Moose pie faced and body slammed Knight to start the match. Moose then teased Knight with a fake Test of Strength. Moose gave Knight stiff chops to the chest. Knight ducked a chop and had a bit of a rally, but Moose palmed Knight in the face. Moose hit Knight with the Go to Hell Sky High. Knight kicked out at two. Moose worked on Knight with disrespectful offense.
Knight reversed a power bomb with a Superkick. Knight staggered Moose wiht lariats. Moose reversed a dive with a Uranage. Moose went back to the disrespectful methodical offense. Knight rallied again, trying to take Moose off his feet. Moose didn’t fall though, as he launched Knight over the top rope. The show cut to picture in picture.[c]
Moose gave Knight a power Irish Whip while also selling a knee injury. Moose continued to dominate with methodical offense. Knight managed to stagger Moose on the top rope with a high dropkick. Knight hit Moose with a leaping Frankensteiner. Knight sent Moose to ringside with a dropkick. Moose caught Knight at ringside during a flip dive. Knight followed through with a huracanrana. Knight hit Moose with an impressive triangle cannonball. The crowd fired up.
Knight hit Moose with a Missile Dropkick. Knight got a series of nearfalls with rollups. Knight hit Moose with a Code Red for a good nearfall. Moose snake eyed Knight and gave Knight a power bomb. Moose hit Knight with a spear for the win.
Moose defeated Kevin Knight via pinfall in 10:40 of on-air time (I’m watching via VOD and was able to avoid the picture-in-picture).
Moose got in the camera to taunt Kushida…
John’s Thoughts: Unexpected treat! Probably Knight’s best match in Impact to date, but also kudos to Moose for laying out the framework for Knight’s underdog story. Moose was great here, being the dismissive former world champ who was looking down to the rookie Knight. Knight’s end of the story was well told where he was one-upping Moose through heart and attrition.
Eric Young was shown walking in the hallways backstage, heading to the ring…[c]
Gia Miller interviewed Zach Wentz and Trey Miguel. The Rascalz hyped up how they were going to win the tournament. Chris Bey and Ace Austin showed up to point out how the Good Hands cost them their match last week. The Rascalz and ABC bickered. Santino showed up to restore order. Bey assumed The Rascalz paid off The Good Hands. Santino said he can’t punish The Rascalz based off claims. Santino said he can give ABC a match with the good hands next week…
Entrances for the next match took place. Hannifan noted that Kon has only been pinned once in Impact and it was due to a chair shot. Eric Young now has new entrance music and a Dr. Doom mask that he wears before the match (for some reason, he used to wear an Iron Man mask before matches during his last run)…
4. “The World Class Maniac” Eric Young vs. Kon (w/Deaner). Kon dominated the early collar and elbow exchanges. Kon hit Young with a standing hip strike after the distraction from Deaner. Deaner gave Young a few cheap shots while Kon distracted the referee. Kon put pressure on Young’s collarbones. Young ecaped by twisting Kon’s thumb. Young hit Kon with a backdrop. Young struggled, but managed to hit Kon with a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall.
Kon came back with a spinebuster for a nearfall. Young recovered and went for a pile driver on Kon, but Deaner entered the ring with a chair and hit Young in the back for the DQ.
Eric Young defeated Kon via apparent DQ in 4:49.
Kon laid out Young with a chokeslam. Deaner gave Young the Deaner DDT on a steel chair. Deaner ended the segment by sitting on an unconscious EY like a bench…
John’s Thoughts: A bit of a slow and plodding match, which has been a crux of Kon’s matches dating back to the Ascension days. Can’t say I’m a fan of the finish. They want to drag out this feud, but I don’t think anyone is clamoring to see the returning Eric Young feud with the ice cold two man cult.
A continuation was shown from last week where Yuya Uemura proposed becoming a tag team with Joe Hendry to go after the tag titles. This led to a training montage music video with Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura…
The show cut to the 2nd part of Tom Hannifan’s interview with Crazzy Steve (Steven Scott). Steve talked about how he grew up at a trailer park in a broken home. He said his father was hard working, but an alcoholic. Steve said that led to mental and verbal abuse and the scars from those never healed. Steve said it escalated to physical violence. Steve said he quickly put an end to that. Hannifan wondered what Steve meant by that.
Steve said he’s usually the victim of that physical evil, but he ended up delivering that evil back that day. Steve talked about his mom being his number one supporter, but unfortunately she never lived a peaceful life after Steve was born. Steve noted his mother had various bouts of Cancer, Kidney Failure, and depression. Steve said she did her best to look after him, and he did the same in return. Steve broke down in tears and said that for her, it was tough to explain to a 5 year old child what dialysis is.
Steve said despite all that she took care of her son and supported him in his dream to be a pro wrestler. Steve talked about how he grinded all his life to one day be signed to Impact Wrestling. Steve said he finally got the call in March 2014 to make that dream come true. He said it was supposed to be the best day in his life, but it wasn’t. He said 3 weeks before he signed his Impact contract, his mom took her own life.
Steve called it a cruel joke. Steve then recapped his run in the Menagerie where he was told to be a clown that put smiles on peoples faces, which will make him happy. Steve said he was nothing but happy because his mom will never get a chance to see him perform. Steve said what you see sitting here is just showmanship. Steve said he’s no clown, and he’s not “Crazy”. Hannifan said he believes Steve.
Hannifan wondered why he’s revealing all of this now, and what was Steve’s future? Steve said that’s why we’re sitting here today. A “to be concluded” graphic aired. They also aired a graphic for the suicide prevention hotline…
John’s Thoughts: Another strong segment. A lot of people go through mental health struggles, even if it doesn’t look like it on the surface. This is a pain that is really relatable because either you’ve gone through this yourself, or know someone who has gone through this. After hearing all this, you can’t help but want to see the best for Steve and those around him.
Chris Sabin cut a promo backstage about going after Lio Rush, who he said was taking shortcuts in his matches. Sabin said after the 8 person tag match, he’s going after the X Division title. Samuray Del Sol showed up to confront Sabin and said he’s not here to get beat up in a stairwell, he’s here to make an Impact. Sabin said Rush isn’t here, but he is. Sabin proposed a match between him and Samuray. Samuray accepted and fist bumped Sabin…
Entrances for the next match took place…
5. Bully Ray vs. Black Taurus in a no-DQ match. Taurus started the match with a spear on Bully. Bully rallied with shoulder tackles. Taurus hit Bully with the ten punches in the corner and a bite. Taurus dumped Bully to ringside. Bully sidestepped to avoid a dive. Taurus adjusted and hit Bully with a Plancha. Taurus beat up Bully around ringside.[c]
Taurus beat up Bully with weapons. The ring was filled with weapons at this point. Bully turned the tables with a thumb to the eye. Taurus turned the tables back with a whip into a ladder. Taurus hit Bully with a lariat combo. Bully came back with a chair jab to the gut. Taurus came back with a Samoan Drop. Taurus hit Bully with a Whisper in the Wind for a two count. Taurus put Bully on a ladder and went for another Whisper in the Wind, but Bully rolled aside and sent Taurus into the ladder. Bully picked up the win.
Bully Ray defeated Black Taurus via pinfall in 6:05 of on-air time.
The lights went out and lightning graphics flashed. Bully expected PCO to be at the ramp, but he appeared behind Bully. Bully grabbed PCO and choke slammed him through a table. PCO no sold it and chased Bully to the back…
John’s Thoughts: Decent enough match to give Bully an enhancement win. I’m surprised they didn’t have PCO show up during the match to protect Taurus a little bit, especially since they’re starting to give Taurus a singles push away from Decay. Can’t complain about a more dominant win though.
A replay aired from last week of Frankie Kazarian accidentally knocking out Alisha Edwards with a kendo stick when he was trying to whack Eddie with it…
Gia Miller interviewed Eddie Edwards and asked for a medical update on Alisha. Eddie said Alisha is a badass and will be okay. Eddie said even if Alisha was fine, she wouldn’t let her back in the arena because there’s no telling what Kazarian will do next. Kazarian barged in and talked about how hitting Alisha was an accident and his heart was broke too. Security ran in between both men.
Kazarian said they should both go their separate ways. Eddie yelled that they can end this by fighting in the ring. Kazarian said this isn’t what Walter Kowalski would have wanted. Eddie said that Kowalski would have wanted them to end it in a fight. Kazarian then proposed that they have a match at Killer Kowalski’s wrestling school. Eddie accepted…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwodlt checked in from the commentary table. Hannifan plugged the FiteTV Multiverse show. Hannifan ran through the advertised card. Hannifan then announced Sanada vs. Jake Something for the Emergence show. The following segments were advertised for next week: Chris Sabin vs. Samuray Del Sol, Trinity vs. Jody Threat, ABC vs. The Good Hands, Deaner vs. Laredo Kid, and Alex Shelley vs. Brian Myers for the Impact World Championship…
Sami Callihan and Rich Swann were shown heading to the ring…[c]
Entrances for the next match took place. Hannifan talked about how you can go to Impact’s social media to see Subculture defend the tag team titles at an indie show…
6. “The Rascalz” Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel vs. Sami Callihan and Rich Swann for a title shot at the Impact Tag Team Championships. Swann hit Trey with a dropkick to start the match. Callihan and Swann then used quick tags to cut the ring in half on Trey. Swann and Callihan tossed Zach across the ring with a double team hip toss.
Hannifan announced that Rich Swann will be wrestling in a multi person junior heavyweight match at the multiverse show. Hannifan also announced Callihan vs. some guy name Douki at the Multiverse show. Swann hit The Rascalz with a flip dive. The Rascalz used stereo thumbs to the eyes to avoid stereo drivers.
The Rascalz hit their opponents with stereo moonsaults. Trey hit Swann with a slingshot senton. Trey hit Swann and Callihan with a flip dive. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
The Rascalz cut the ring in half on Swann. Swann came back wit a rally of boots and a rolling lariat. Zach and Sami tagged in. Sami hit The Rascalz with a Flatliner and DDT at the same time. The rascalz swarmed Callihan with high flying moves. Zach got a two count after a standing Shooting Star. Callihan caught Wentz’s super kick and gave him a pile driver on the sternum of Trey Miguel.
Swann hit both Rascals with high kicks. Swann Frankensteinered one Rascal on the other to get a two count on Trey. Callihan and Swann hit Trey with an Axe Kick Side Slam combo. Trey avoided a 450 and hit Swann with a rolling huracanrana. Wentz knocked Callihan off the apron. Wentz hit Swann with an assisted double stomp to give Trey a two count. Wentz hit Trey with Cheeky Nandos. Trey followed up with a 619. Sami dragged down Swann. All four men took each other out with kicks.
Both teams traded fatigued strikes. Swann hit Wentz with an assisted cutter for a two count. Callihan and Swann hit Wentz with a double Kamigoye. All four men traded kicks. Wentz hit Swann with a dive to ringside. Trey blocked a Cactus Driver with spray paint to the face. Trey hit Sami with a ripcord Knee. The Rascalz hit Sami with Hot Fire Flame (Shoved Standing Moonsault) for the victory.
The Rascalz defeated Sami Callihan and Rich Swann via pinfall in 12:00 of on-air time to earn a shot at the Impact Tag Team Championships.
Hannifan closed the show by plugging the Multiverse show…
John’s Thoughts: Given the sum of all the parts here, you had to know that this was going to be a classic. I continue to be impressed by the instant chemistry that Callihan and Swann have (yes, they’re longtime friends, but Sami’s mostly been teaming with Jon Moxley and the OVE guys all his career. While Swann was in various other tag teams). I’m surprised that they are putting the Rascalz immediately in a title match since it looked like they were going to be occupied with Ace and Bey.
If Subculture aren’t sticking around in Impact, maybe they want to put the titles on the heel Rascalz? I only see that as a possibility because Subculture has been tied up with other indie obligations while this tournament has been taking place. Strong episode of Imapct this week. There were some good in-ring stories. The show also becomes more must-see when there’s a Dirty Dango promo on it. By the way? Why is Impact jumping on the picture-in-picture train? Does anyone really pay attention to wrestlers stalling until the red lights come back on?