By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV (Episode 1,000)
Taped in White Plains, New York at Westchester County Center
Aired September 14, 2023 on AXS TV
A tribute montage video aired that spotlighted the history of TNA-Impact. No “we own the night” theme this week. I looked like they used one of the old early TNA opening themes…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…
The show opened with Scott D’Amore in the ring introducing the audience to Impact’s 1000th show. He soaked in “TNA” and “One Thousand” chants. D’Amore talked about how he, Eric Young, and Team Canada were the first people to appear on Impact episode 1. He said he couldn’t be more prouder to stand in the ring as Impact president. He said the next two weeks will spotlight Impact’s past, present, and future.
D’Amore said you can’t talk about what makes Impact great, without talking about the Knockouts Division. He said you can’t talk about the Knockouts without talking about the greatest and most influential Knockout. D’Amore introduced Gail Kim, who made her entrance. Gail thanked Scott, Impact, and the fans for helping the Knockouts revolutionize the wrestling industry. Gail talked about how the Knockouts have raised the bar.
Gail then introduced a Knockouts tribute video package. After the video package aired, Velvet Sky and Angelina Love, The Beautiful People, made their entrance. Love thanked Gail Kim for a good video package, but not the best video. She said the Beautiful People clips were good, but everyone else was ugly. Velvet Sky repeated Angelina’s praise and said that everyone in the video looked like security cam footage from Walmart.
Gail Kim said the Beautiful People are best at being rude and obnoxious. Sky called Kim ugly and laughed. Love said Gail can talk and they don’t want her too. Gail Kim squared up to fight.
Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans, and Jai Vidal made their entrance. Shaw apologized to The Beautiful People on behalf of the knockouts division for Gail being rude. Shaw said that without the Beautiful People there would be no Gisele Shaw. She said she’s honored to have taken The Beautiful People’s spot and improved on it. Love and Sky laughed off Shaw. Shaw reiterated that she improved the division. Sky asked Shaw who exactly is great from the division.
Jordynne Grace made her entrance looking as jacked as ever. Grace said Shaw is from her generation. Grace named some greats like ODB, Tara, Traci Brooks, and Gail Kim. Grace said there are also annoying vapid bitches in history. Deonna Purrazzo made her entrance. Hannifan noted that Purrazzo has the 2nd most days as champion, behind Gail Kim.
Grace joked that Purrazzo walked out to represent the annoying bitches. Purrazzo said she’s here to represent “my” division. She talked about how she ushered in the age of the virtuosa. A “virtuosa” chants ensued. She noted how that age started when she beat Grace for the Knockouts Titile.
Knockouts Champion Trinity made her black lit entrance. Trinity said she respects everyone in the ring because they all paved the way for her in their own ways. Trinity said respectfully she’s the Knockout blazing the trail for the future and the proof is around her waist, the world title. Purrazzo told Trinity to come find her when she has 3 reigns. Gail told Deonna to find her when she has 7 reigns.
Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed made their entrance…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good tribute, but they are dragging this segment out way too long. In fact, it looks like the segment is going to continue after the commercial. One one hand I can excuse it because Impact deserves to have a victory lap after a monumental 1000 episodes. What they could have done here is separate this segment into multiple ones over this week’s and next week’s show. They didn’t have to stuff so many women in the ring all at once for minor diss lines. On top of that, it’s clocking in over 20 minutes of promo time not leading to anything.
Raisha Saeed cut a promo in an accent. She talked about how everyone will end up getting crushed by Awesome Kong. She said all will tremble in Kong’s presence. Saeed asked who will step up to Awesome Kong?
Tasha Steelz made her return to Impact Wrestling. Steelz said you can’t talk about the history of the knockouts with the Boricua badass Tasha Steelz. Steelz mocked everyone for their “generation” talk. She said that don’t mean a thing without “Generation flava”. She said she will fill in the 5th spot on the heel tag team.
Steelz said everyone can say that they’re the best, but Steelz is the greatest that beat the greatest (Mickie James). She then said she’ll be the greatest that beat the biggest in Awesome Kong.
Mickie James made her entrance in a skin tight bedazzled bodysuit. Mickie said she doesn’t have to remind everyone she’s the greatest. She even talked about how Tasha made that point in her promo a few seconds ago. She said that Hardcore Country is back.
Mickie then pointed out how she’s joining the babyface team in the ten person tag team match. She called her team “Team Over”. She said while tonight is a celebration of 1000 episodes and a celebration of what the Knockouts bring. She said this match will happen next week and be the greatest fight in Knockouts history. Hannifan hyped up the ten person tag for next week…
John’s Thoughts: Again, over half an hour of promo is too much especially if there wasn’t much substance to it. I’ll also give them the excuse here that it was a victory lap, but a way too contrived victory lap. There were good parts though. Very nostalgic to see the Beautiful People entrance. The best parts were the returns of Mickie and Tasha because that was the most meaningful part of the two segment promo. I hope Tasha is back for the long haul because she was getting noticed as one of the best women wrestlers on the come up.
Eric Young was backstage hanging out with America’s Most Wanted, James Storm and Wildcat Chris Harris. Santino showed up and said AMW was his favorite tag team of all the times. A glass bottle broke, meaning Shark Boy was there doing his Stone Cold gimmick. Santino said he could use a little help the next two weeks and asked Shark Boy if he can be his deputy. Shark Boy gave him a Shell Yeah…[c]
Feast and Fired was the next match. A lot of wrestlers were already around the ring. PCO, Yuya Uemura, and Joe Hendry got televised entrances…
1. Feast or Fired Match. PCO started the match with a dive to a group of wrestlers at ringside. The usual walking and punching ensued. Kevin Knight and Kushida teamed up to go after briefcases. Taurus and Laredo Kid hit Knight and Kushida with moves. Kid gave Taurus a Poisonrana. A bunch of wrestlers went to the top rope to get case number 3. John Skyler was the closest at a point. Chris Bey managed to get the case.
Hannifan noted that Bey has to get out of the ring to get the briefcase. Bey did a trust fall to secure Case 3. Jonathan Gresham is back! He got kicked out of the ring by Bhupinder Gujjar. A pile of wrestlers formed around Case 2. This led to Callihan and Heath hitting a Tower of Doom spot. Heath and Callihan treded punches. Crazzy Steve did a double eye rake and dropkick.
Steve managed to take Case 1 off the hook. Moose and Myers blocked Steve from escaping the ring. Steve pulled out a fork from his boot. Steve stabbed Myers in the gut with the fork. Moose politely let Steve get out of the ring. Steve officially won case 1. Maclin hit Moose with a Tree of Woe Spear and DDT. A bunch of wrestlers traded signature moves. Swinger got a spot by putting Jai Vidal in a sleeper.
Alpha Bravo sent Vidal and Swinger to ringside. Sami Callihan gave Bravo a Cactus Driver. Skyler gave Callihan a slingshot spear. Knight gave Skyler a springboard crossbody. PCO gave Knight and Kushida lariats. Taurus gave PCo a spinebuster. Kid gave Taurus a Destroyer. Joya hit Kid with The One Hit Wonder. Yuya unhooked Case 4. Yuya and Hendry tossed around the case to prevent Callihan from getting it. Yuya rolled to ringside to secure case 4.
PCO gave a bunch of wrestlers briefcases. Jai Vidal tried to seduce PCO. PCO gave Jai a chokeslam. Callihan gave PCO a power bomb on the apron. Skyler knocked Callihan off the apron. Kushida gave Taurus a handspring kick. Knight gave Taurus a Frankensteiner to save Kushida. Maclin knocked Knight off the top rope.
Heath knocked Maclin off the apron. Heath gave Maclin a power slam. Maclin gave Heath snake eyes to trip him off the top rope. Maclin smashed the briefcase on Heath’s face. Maclin was trapped in the ring surrounded by wrestlers. Rhino showed up and gave Maclin a spear. The case flew out of Maclin’s hand and into Moose’s hands for the win.
Moose, Yuya Uemura, Chris Bey, and Crazzy Steve won Feast or Fired in 13:33.
Rhino and Heath hugged after the match. Hannifan noted that it was Maclin who put Rhino on the shelf so he got his revenge with the spear…
John’s Thoughts: Again, if this were an episode of the good 2023 version of Impact, I might decry this match, but this is a celebration of TNA and that comes with celebrating some of TNA’s weird match concepts. What always made this match concept weird is who would risk their job over a title shot that most of the winners here can get anyway? You can usually tell who’s getting fired too, but no one in this lineup seems obvious. Maybe Yuya if his U.S. excursion is done? Either that or it gets pawned off to a comedy character.
Hannifan hyped upcoming matches on the card…[c]
Gia Miller interviewed Chris Sabin on finally getting his rematch against Lio Rush. Sabin said everyone expects him to say he hates Lio Rush, but he kinda likes Lio. He said Sabin makes the most of every opportunity, but he doesn’t like the way Lio Rush goes about it. By jumping people from behind and doing sneak attacks backstage. Sabin said it all ends tonight where Sabin will become a 10 time champion…
The Desi Hit Squad Ronit Raju and Champagne Singh were in the ring for a promo. Raju said there has been no team to do more for Impact than the Desi Hit Squad. Queue Brother Ray and Brother D-von who made their entrance…
2. “Team 3D” Brother Ray and Brother D-von vs. “The Desi Hit Squad” Rohit Raju and Champagne Singh. Singh and Ray started the match. Ray dominated with joint manipulation on Singh. Ray led a “D-Von” chant. Devon tagged in and hit Singh with a top rope chop. D-Von put Singh in a wrist hold. Bully and D-Von hit Singh with a double team backdrop. Singh managed to toss Ray off the top rope.
Singh gave both opponents punches. Raju tagged in and mocked Ray’s telegraphed punches. Ray caught Raju with a spear. D-Von rallied with punches and a shoulder tackle on Singh. D-Von gave Raju a clothesline. D-Von gave Singh a Uranage for a two count. Bully gave Raju a body slam and set him up to be hit with the Wazzup. Bully asked D-Von to get the tables. Team 3D hit Singh with the Dudley Death Drop for the victory.
Team 3D defeated The Desi Hit Squad via pinfall in 4:50.
After the match, Bully Ray gave Rohit Raju a top rope power bomb through the table…
John’s Thoughts: Methodical yes, but a good taste of nostalgia. Very cool seeing D-Von in the ring after all these years retired. It was good to have Bully Ray go into Brother Ray mode for the night to recreate that Dudley Boys nostalgia. Cool to see Rohit Raju back, if only for the night. It was him and Jake Something who I would have thought would make an impact for one of the big companies. Instead, he and Jake became fodder on AEW Dark. I hope Raju sticks around because the guy is great in the ring and solid on the mic.
Josh Alexander approached Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz and told them to clean up their mess in front of them. Alexander tossed Trey’s backpack which caught the attention of the Rascalz. Alexander dared them to see him in the ring…[c]
Josh Alexander made his entrance in street clothes for a promo. Hannifan noted that Alexander is coming off a win against Steve Maclin at Victory Road. Alexander soaked in Walking Weapon chants. Alexander said no matter how many times he enters this ring, its never going to stop feeling surreal. Alexander said the people see the longest reigning Impact Champion and a man who spills every bit of blood, sweat and tears to be the best. He said he always has to pinch himself because he’s living the dream.
He said most importantly, like everyone in the arena, he’s an Impact fan. He said 15 year-old him never would have expected him to grow up, and celebrate 1000 episodes in the center of the ring. He said he’s also the man who never lost his championship. Impact World Champion Alex Shelley made his entrance in a formal suit. Shelley took exception to Alexander claiming that the title is his. Shelley said this is not Alexander’s title anymore and if anyone is going to be the face of the company to celebrate 1000 episodes, it’s Alex Shelley.
Shelley said Alexander should thank Shelley for the hard work Shelley helped build a place where Josh can make a living, make mortgage payments, send his child to private school, and have a retirement fund. Josh said he does thank Shelley for all that he did for Impact. Josh said he was sitting on his couch and extremely happy to watch Shelley finally win the world title. Shelley asked if Josh is a big fan or a big Mark for Shelley. Josh reiterated that he’s a huge fan, but said that the more Shelley talks now, the more the “don’t meet your heroes” saying comes true.
Josh talked about how he deserves a thank you too because he took the ball for four years to give Shelley a strong company to come back too. Shelley said he doubles that effort by being in Impact from 2004 to 2012. Josh said he agrees that Shelley put in all that effort. He praised Shelley for his good matches with Tanahashi or Maclin. Alexander pointed out that the one world title match he lost recently was against Josh Alexander.
Shelley said both he and Josh are different since then. Shelley said in this story he’s the main character while Josh is just a side quest. Shelley said he wants the match with Alexander to prove he’s the true champion once and for all. Josh wanted the match on the spot. The Rascalz jumped Shelley and Alexander. Shelley ended up leaving the ring to leave Alexander to get double teamed by The Rascalz. The Rascalz left Alexander lying after Trey hit Alexander with a handspring kick…
Hannifan hyped up the couples mixed tag for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A good promo segment where Alexander got to both praise the company as the proud flagbearer while also setting his sights back on the world title. Shelley was solid as well and this segment did a good job making him the clear heel in his upcoming program with Josh Alexander. My guess is this might be the Bound for Glory match? Interesting to see how the Motor City Machine Guns end up with Chris Sabin still talking about honor and everything.
Shark Boy confronted The Rascalz backstage. Shark Boy booked Trey Miguel vs. Josh Alexander in a match next week. After the Rascalz left, Santino showed up and praised Shark Boy for his booking. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean showed up to rant to Santino. Santino called them “my brothas”. King demanded a title rematch against Tommy Dreamer. Santino instead booked King in a match against Eric Young next week…
Entrances for the next match took place…
3. Eddie Edwards and Alisha Edwards vs. Frankie Kazarian and Traci Brooks in an intergender tag team match. Traci and Alisha started with a catfight at ringside. Eddie and Frankie traded knees at ringside. Alisha tossed Traci back in the ring and gave her methodical strikes. Eddie tagged in and dragged Traci by the hair. Traci managed to crawl under Eddie’s legs to bring in Frankie. Alisha distracted Kaz which allowed Eddie to hit him with a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Eddie and Alisha cut the ring in half on Kaz. Alisha tripped Traci off the apron to prevent the tag. Alisha then hit Kaz with a Tornado DDT. Eddie and Alisha continued to cut the ring in half on Kaz. Kazarian managed to hit Alisha with a Northern Lights while putting Eddie in a jackknife for a double nearfall. Traci tagged in and gave Alisha a spear. Eddie went for a Backpack stunner on Traci, but Traci raked Eddie’s eyes and gave him a backpack stunner.
Kazarian dumped Eddie to ringside. Alisha rolled up Traci for the two count. Traci hit Alisha with Fade to Black (Deadeye) for the win.
Traci Brooks and Frankie Kazarian defeated Alisha Edwards and Eddie Edwards via pinfall in 8:04 of on-air time.
Kazarian took the mic and then set up another video package. It was a Traci Brooks tribute package which set up Traci as a pioneer of the Knockouts Division. The video announced that at Bound for Glory, Traci Brooks will be inducted into the Impact Hall of Fame. Traci and her son soaked in cheers and “You Deserve It” chants…
Lio Rush vs. Chris Sabin was advertised for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Right move to have the TNA Original go over, especially with the impending Hall of Fame induction. Good for Traci! They did her good by also having her work a wrestling program in 2023 post-retirement. After all the resets, I think it’s time for Eddie and Alisha to move on and feud with someone else. If anything, this feud got Alisha a fresh new heel character that she rocks well.
Gia Miller interviewed Lio Rush and asked him how he feels about his upcoming title defense. Lio said she should be asking how Chris Sabin feels becuase Sabin is shook. Lio joked about his quick win at Slammiversary. Lio said he’s coming into the match hot, like he always do…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in on commentary and announced the following segments for next week: Josh Alexander vs. Trey Miguel, Eric Young vs. Kenny King, Jake Something vs. Dirty Dango, The Feast or Fired briefcase opening, Ultimate X, and the ten woman Knockouts Match. A replay aired of Tommy Dreamer defeating Kenny King at Victory Road to become the new Digital Media Champion.
Dreamer cut a promo backstage. He said the night he won was one of the greatest moments of his life. He said this business is about creating moments not just for yourself, but others. He thanked everyone. He said as champion he’s defending against everyone, everywhere. He said wrestling is about having fun, and making fun moments. He said he has to leave now to get a belt extender to fit his waist…
Entrances for the main event took place. Hannifan noted that AXS has allowed this match to have a commercial-free overrun if needed. Hannifan also plugged Will Osprey’s upcoming Impact appearances…
4. Lio Rush vs. Chris Sabin for the X Division Championship. Lio used his quickness to elude and cheap shot Sabin. Rush gave Sabin boots to the head and a suicide dive. Hannifan noted thats the same moves that concussed Sabin at Slammiversary. Rush went to the top rope and gloated. The referee went to check on Sabin. Sabin rolled up Rush for a two count. Sabin then hit Rush with a basement dropkick.
Sabin gave Rush a stiff lariat. Sabin hit Rush with ten punches in the corner and a chop. Sabin put Rush in a modified Surfboard. Sabin rolled up Rush for a two count. Rush tripped up Sabin and gave him mounted punches. Rush put Sabin in a sleeper. Sabin got to his feet and broke the hold. Rush hit Sabin with a lariat and neckbreaker suplex for a two count. Rush kept Sabin grounded with Rear Naked Choke.
Sabin escaped with a stunner. Sabin hit Rush with a slingshot dropkick. Rush raked the eyes to prevent a cradle shock. Sabin rolled to ringside. Rush caught Sabin with an Asai moonsault. Rush yelled at the referee to stop counting. Rush reset the ten count. Rush gave Sabin a Suplex on the ramp. Rush hit Sabin with a spinning roundhouse. Rush and Sabin brawled to the top rope. Sabin hit Rush with a Superplex.
A “this is awesome” chant ensued. Sabin gave Rush right hands and a Power Bomb for a nearfall. Sabin caught Rush with a Yakuza Kick in the corner. Sabin hit Rush with a hook kick and put Rush in an STF. Sabin hit Rush with a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. Sabin hit Rush with a Clothesline from Hells Michigan. Sabin hit Rush with a Cradle Shock for a nearfall.
Sabin dragged Rush to the top rope. He went for a super Cradle Shock, but Rush raked Sabin’s eyes. Rush hit Sabin with the Final Hour for a nearfall. Rush gave Sabin angry punches while dragging him by the hair. Sabin came back with aggressive punches. Rush came back with a CQC Combo. Sabin hit Rush with a Tanaka Punch, Superkick, Shell Shock, and Cradle Shock for the won.
Chris Sabin defeated Lio Rush via pinfall in 16:01 to become the new X Division Champion.
The Impact men’s locker room cleared to put Chris Sabin on their shoulders to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: These two finally were able to get a proper match and they made the most out of every moment. This was a match to go out of your way to see. Sabin was really good in his facial expressions here by making things look personal and Rush was a good antagonist at the same time. This was where they pulled out the false finishes and that works in high stake matches. That was a fun finisher combo Sabin pulled out in the end.
This show didn’t have much in-ring until the end of the show. There was a lot of talking and tributes. Understandable, because this was the 1000th episode. Next week’s 1001 episode looks to have more of the in-ring compare to this week. The weakest point of the show was the first half hour that consisted of a lot of talking that didn’t lead to much. It could have been truncated a bit to simply focus on the returns.