By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Impact Wrestling Victory Road
Streamed September 8, 2023 on Impact Plus and FITE.TV
Live from White Plains, New York at Westchester County Center
Impact Wrestling Victory Road Pre-Show
1. Alan Angels defeated Guido Maritato. This was an open challenge issued by Angels, and Guido took it. Sigh… so many top East Coast talents and Guido gets the slot? Just seconds into the match, the signal was lost so we at home missed almost the entire match. We returned just in time to see Angels hit the Christopher Daniels-style Angels Wings faceplant for the pin. I fast-forwarded over the blank screen so I don’t have a match time. Geez… Impact could have created some buzz and given this match to Jordan Oliver, Alec Price, etc.
* Footage aired of PCO walking into the arena when he was struck by a vehicle … driven by Bully Ray! Ray got out of the car, leaned over PCO, and said, “anything goes!”
2. “ABC Club” Ace Austin and Chris Bey defeated Moose and Brian Myers at 8:47. Bey and Moose started. Bey hit some chops on Myers. The heels began working over Bey. Moose hit a senton at 4:30. Bey hit a superkick on Moose, then a huracanrana. Ace finally entered at 6:30 and hit some quick moves on Myers, then a springboard missile dropkick on Moose. Moose hit a standing release powerbomb on Bey, and Myers hit one on Ace Austin at 8:30. Myers erratically swung a clothesline attempt, but Bey ducked it, rolled up Myers, and scored the pin out of nowhere!
Impact Wrestling Victory Road Main Card
1. Lio Rush defeated Kushida to retain the X Division Title at 10:07. They charged at each other but neither could land a blow, until Lio rolled to the floor and walked around the ring. In the ring, Kushida hit a punt kick onto Lio’s left elbow, then some bodyslams, and Lio was clutching his arm. Kushda snapped the damaged arm over the top rope, then he applied a cross-arrmbreaker in the ropes at 3:30. Lio hit a spin kick but he clutched at his sore arm. Lio rolled to the floor and grabbed his title belt. He put Kushida’s metallic glasses on and got back into the ring. Lio dove through the ropes and barreled onto Kushida at 7:00, but Kushida grabbed Lio’s arm and applied a Hoverboard Lock armbar on the floor.
Back in the ring, Lio hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly, but Kushida again applied the Hoverboard Lock! Kushida hit a spin kick to the damaged elbow. They got up and traded forearm shots. Kushida hit more spin kicks. The ref got shoved and Lio immediately hit a low blow kick. Lio hit the Final Hour frogsplash for the pin. Good while it lasted and it played up Lio’s heel role, and he’s much better as a heel.
* Footage aired of PCO being hit by a car. Backstage, medics checked on PCO and Santino Marella said PCO wouldn’t be able to compete. However, PCO sat up, stood up and shouted “Bully!” and he walked away.
2. Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich defeated Savannah Evans and Gisele Shaw (w/Jai Vidal) to retain the Knockouts Tag Team Titles at 8:10. Masha and Gisele started. Jai pulled the ropes, causing Kelly to crash to the floor at 2:00. In the ring, Gisele hit a swinging faceplant on Kelly, and the heels began working her over in the corner. Masha made the hot tag at 6:00 and hit some Helluva Kicks on Savannah, then a spin kick to the jaw for a nearfall. Savannah hit a backbreaker over her knee. Savannah accidentally hit a Mafia Kick on Gisele, and Masha got a rollup on Savannah for a nearfall. Masha hopped on Savannah’s back and applied a sleeper, but Savannah shrugged her off. Masha scooped Evans up and nailed a Michinoku Driver for the pin. Topped my admittedly low expectations.
* Backstage, PCO was still hunting for Bully Ray. However, Bully Ray attacked him from behind with several chairshots to the back while shouting “You’re just a man!” Bully Ray got a red gas can and doused PCO with it. “Tonight, we’ve seen the last of Carl Oullett.” I think PCO spit some gasoline at Bully Ray, because he ran away screaming.
* Footage of Crazy Steve’s recent interviews. I personally haven’t enjoyed these.
3. Crazy Steve defeated Black Taurus at 9:01. They brawled at the bell. Taurus set up for a Samoan Drop but Steve turned it into a Crucifix Driver for a nearfall at 5:00. Nice. Moments later, Taurus hit the Samoan Drop and they were both down. Taurus lifted Steve above his head and nailed the hard backbreaker over his knee at 7:00. Steve went under the ring and got a fork! “Steve, what the hell is wrong with you?” Hannifan shouted. he tried to hit Taurus with it but the ref confiscated it. Steve shoved his thumbs into Taurus’ eyes, then he hit a second-rope DDT for the pin. Okay
* Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer said he’s feeling nerves for the very first time. He said he was 10 years old, in this building, when he fell in love with professional wrestling. “I’m not going down without a fight.” (I hated the buildup to this fight, absolutely hated it. No one should offer to put their career on the line in one match. The heel should goad the babyface into it in exchange for getting hands on the heel.)
* Footage aired of Kenny King beating Johnny Swinger to retain his title, which included Dreamer talking to Heath…. foreshadowing Heath having a role in this match before it concludes…
4. Tommy Dreamer defeated Kenny King (w/Sheldon Jean) to win the Digital Media Title at 12:13. Dreamer came out first, wearing the red-black-white striped pants of Terry Funk, and a Funk T-shirt, and he hugged several people in the crowd. They sure are playing this up that this could be his last match. Standing switches and this place is LOUD; you wouldn’t have this crowd involvement anywhere but here for this one. Dreamer clotheslined them both to the floor at 2:30. Dreamer set up for a dive to the floor but King caught him with a kick. King went to the top rope but Dreamer tossed him to the mat. On the floor, King nailed a suplex on the entrance ramp at 4:30.
In the ring, Dreamer bit King’s forehead. King hit a twisting plancha onto Dreamer on the floor, and he punched Tommy repeatedly, in front of Dreamer’s friends and family. In the ring, Dreamer hit a second-rope superplex, and they were both down at 7:30. Dreamer blocked a spin kick and he hit a stunner. King nailed a Blockbuster for a nearfall at 9:30. Dreamer hit a Death Valley Driver and a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Sheldon shook the top rope, causing Dreamer to fall to the mat, and the ref ejected Sheldon. This allowed Heath to sneak into the ring and hit a Russian Legsweep on King! Dreamer hit a DDT for the (tainted) victory! New champion! It doesn’t appear that Dreamer knew that Heath helped him get the win. Heath did hop in the ring and raised Dreamer’s arm.
* A really good video package of the past matches between our next two competitors…
5. Jordynne Grace defeated Deonna Purrazzo at 11:46. Deonna is in all blue tonight, looking like an outfit from the Charlotte Flair collection. Grace hit a Northern Lights Suplex in the first minute, and Deonna rolled to the floor. On the floor, Deonna shoved Grace back-first against the ring. Deonna jumped on Grace’s left arm. In the ring, Deonna twisted Grace’s fingers and wrist; she wrapped Grace’s left arm in the ropes and kicked it. Grace hit some hard bodyslams at 3:30, then a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. Deonna snapped Grace’s arm backward and she applied a Fujiwara Armbar. They fought on the top rope, and Grace hit a second-rope superplex, then a Jackhammer for a nearfall at 6:30.
Purrazzo hit a piledriver move for a nearfall. They hit simultaneous clotheslines and were both down at 8:30. Grace hit a spinning back fist and a standing powerbomb for a nearfall. Grace hit a Trash Compactor piledriver along her back for a nearfall. Grace got her up for a musclebuster, but Deonna escaped and applied a Fujiwara Armbar at 11:00. Grace hit another spinning back fist, then the “Juggernaut Driver” pump-handle sit-out powerbomb for the pin. That was really, really good.
* There are weapons set up in the ring, we cut backstage, where Bully Ray is trying to flee the building. PCO tracks him down and they start fighting, and I start my stopwatch as they brawl toward the ring.
6. PCO defeated Bully Ray at 14:21. Bully kept beating PCO with weapons. Ray shoved PCO off the ring apron and through some open chairs on the floor, as Hannifan stressed the match has not officially started because they both haven’t been in the ring. They got in and the ref called for the bell to officially start the match at 4:30. Bully Ray immediately tossed PCO through tables set up in the corner. Ray tried to leave but Santino Marella and security blocked the exit. Santino put the sock puppet on his hand and hit the Cobra strike at 7:00. In the ring, PCO hit Bully Ray with some metal garbage cans. PCO went to teh top rope, but Bully Ray flipped him onto a horizontal ladder, lying in the ring, at 9:30.
Ray hit him across the back with the trash can again, but PCO fired up and punched the garbage can, then he chokeslammed Bully Ray through a table set up in the ring for a nearfall at 12:00. PCO got a cheese grater and he hit Ray in the groin with it, then he rubbed it back and forth. PCO hit a top rope summersault splash onto Ray as Ray was lying on a table, but they both rolled to the mat without the table breaking. So, PCO set up the table in the corner, and he whipped Bully Ray into the table, then covered him for the pin. Good decision to keep going after the table didn’t initally break. Again, “official time” is just under 10 minutes.
* Backstage, Scott D’Amore and Eric Young talked about the 1,000th episode of Impact, and noted that Simpsons still hasn’t hit 1,000 episodes.
7. “The Rascalz” Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz defeated “Motor City Machine Guns” Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley to retain the Impact Tag Team Titles at 13:50. Sabin and Miguel started with standing switches. On the floor, the Rascalz hit stereo superkicks at 2:00. In the ring, Sabin hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on Wentz, and Shelley hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on the other leg! Shelley applied a Figure Four at 6:00, so Sabin also applied a Figure Four on Trey. Wentz finally hit a jumping knee to Shelley’s head and he maded the hot tag. Miguel hit a Lionsault. Sabin tagged in and hit another Dragonscrew on Miguel, then one on Wentz. Sabin dove through the ropes onto both Rascalz at 9:30.
Sabin hit a top-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall. Wentz hit a doublestomp on Sabin with Miguel making the cover for a nearfall. Wentz hit Sabin in the back of the head with a belt, and Miguel made the cover for a believable nearfall. Miguel nailed a flip dive to the floor on the Guns at 12:30. Sabin hit a tornado DDT on Trey onto the belt for a visual pin, but John Skyler suddenly pulled the ref from the ring before the ref could count. Wentz sprayed a chemical in Sabin’s eyes, and Miguel rolled up Sabin for the cheap pin. Good match and I didn’t expect a clean finish here so I’m not terribly disappointed.
8. Trinity defeated Alisha Edwards (w/Eddie Edwards) to retain the Knockouts Title at 8:55. A tale of the tape says Alisha is only 5’0″ and I didn’t realize she was that short. Alisha and Eddie both did pre-match mic-work, making sure the crowd knows they are “from the city of champions, Boston,” earning plenty of boos. Trinity immediately hit a shoulder block to the ribs in the corner. She hit the splits legdrop on Alisha for a nearfall, and Alisha bailed to the floor to regroup. In the ring, Trinity hit a short-arm clothesline, then a Lungblower for a nearfall at 4:30.
Trinity accidentally hit a superkick on the ref! She applied Starstruck (Master Wato’s Vendeval) but we had no ref. Eddie Edwards hopped in the ring and slammed Trinity to the mat and he was loudly booed. He pulled out a table from under the ring. However, Frankie Kazarian and Tracy Brooks ran down the ramp and Frankie hit Eddie. Trinity hit a top-rope splash onto Eddie, lying on a table on the floor. Once again, the table didn’t break. In the ring, Alisha hit Trinity with a kendo stick for a nearfall at 8:00, and the crowd rallied for Trinity. Trinity nailed a Bubba Bomb for the pin. Acceptable; no one anywhere thought Alisha was winning, so the Kazarian/Brooks run-in was somewhat predictable but welcome nonetheless.
* Announced for this year’s “Hall of Fame” class at Bound For Glory are Mike Tenay and the late Don West. A very nice video of both of them interacting. The crowd got a nice “TNA!” chant going. Hannifan called them “one of the greatest announcing teams in wrestling history.”
9. Josh Alexander defeated Steve Maclin at 18:44. An intense lockup to open as Hannifan talked about each man’s injuries this year. Alexander tied up the left arm and kept Maclin grounded. Maclin hit a brainbuster from the floor, dropping Maclin onto the ring apron at 3:30. Maclin shoved Josh shoulder-first into the ring post. In the ring, Maclin was in control. Alexander hit 10 consecutive German Suplexes and got a nearfall after the tenth one at 7:00. That was cool. Maclin dove through the ropes and barreled onto Josh. The crowd started a “walking weapon!” chant. Maclin tied Josh’s arm in the ring steps and stomped on it, and he got a nearfall in the ring.
Josh tried to do a move in the corner but his left arm gave out. Maclin immediately hit an Angle Slam for a nearfall at 9:00, and he applied an armbar. Josh fired back with a back suplex and they were both down. Josh hit his crossbody block as Maclin was seated on the ring apron, and they both crashed to the floor at 11:00. In the ring, Maclin hit a modified Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. He went for a Triangle Choke but Josh hit some heavy punches to get free. Josh hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall, and he immediately applied an anklelock, with Maclin scrambling to the ropes at 13:00. Josh hit a rolling forearm for a nearfall, and he went back to the anklelock; Steve broke free, sending Josh head-first into the corner pad.
Josh put Maclin across his back and swung him to the mat for a nearfall. Maclin tied Josh in the Tree of Woe and hit a spear as Josh was upside down. Josh rolled to the floor to avoid being pinned. Maclin again dove through the ropes but Josh rolled him in mid-air, slamming Steve to the thin mat on the floor, and they were both down at 16:30. “An absolute war!” Hannifan said. They both barely got back in the ring before being counted out. They traded chops while on their knees, then while standing. Maclin hit some suplexes. Maclin went for a top-rope frogsplash but Josh got his knees up. Josh nailed the C4 Spike piledriver for the clean pin. That was tremendous.
* Josh spoke on the mic and he thanked the fans. “You were the only thing that kept me going when I was home with a torn tricep.”
Final Thoughts: Impact continues to deliver in their Impact Plus and pay-per-view events. A strong main event earns best match. Even with the cheap finish, MCMG/Rascalz take second, and a very good Deonna/Grace match takes third. Geez, I didn’t realize how much I missed Jordynne Grace, as those two are clearly the top two women in their division. (Yes, Trinity fans… I said what I said.) The Bully Ray-PCO brawl was fine and didn’t get too violent. And Impact truly had me convinced we might be watching Dreamer’s final match. Nothing wrong at all with Lio vs. Kushida, but it wasn’t designed to ‘steal the show’ and I think we all expected the screwy finish.