By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV (Episode 1,001)
Taped in White Plains, New York at Westchester County Center
Aired September 21, 2023 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact 1000 show aired. The Impact intro video aired, done in the style of Impact’s first intro video…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer… The Ultimate X match started the show. Mike Bailey and Ace Austin got televised entrances…
1. Mike Bailey vs. Samuray Del Sol vs. Rich Swann vs. Alan Angels vs. Ace Austin vs. Zachary Wentz in an Ultimate X match. After a bit of a brawl, Samuray was left in the ring with Angels and Wentz. Samuray sent Angels to ringside with a huracanrana. Wentz hit angels with a corkscrew plancha. Samuray caught a pile of wrestlers with a springboard senton at ringside. Swann hit the pile of wrestlers with a Phoenix Splash.
Ace prevented Bailey and Swann from climbing for the X. Ace his the pile of wrestlers at ringside with a Fosbury Flop. Angels tripped Ace off the scaffolding. All of the wrestlers piled up on the scaffolding. After half the wrestlers fell, Bailey, Angels, and Samuray hit the rest of the wrestlers with stereo moonsaults. Angels gave Samuray a Snap Suplex to prevent him from climbing.
Wentz hit Swann with a top rope cutter. Angels and Bailey made it to the top of the scaffolding. Angels got his leg tangled in the scaffolding after Bailey’s punches. Samuray and Bailey started to climb across the ropes to go after the X. Wentz and Angels shook the ropes to get Samuray to lower. Ace took Samuray off the rope with a Missile Dropkick. Bailey hugged the rope to not fall.
Swann caught Wentz with a Lethal Injection, Hook Kick, and Poisonrana. Angels used a Frankensteiner to get Swann off the top rope. Wentz sprayed the green spray paint on Swann. Bailey was still slowly making his way to the X. Wentz took Samuray off the top rope with the spray paint. Everyone but, Swann and Samuray climbed to the center X. Wentz took Ace off the ropes with the spray paint.
Bailey took Wentz off the ropes with rapid chicken fight kicks. Angels kicked Bailey in the balls to knock him off, but Angels fell at the same time. Hannifan noted that Angels’s strategy in the last Ultimate X was to attack the balls of his opponents. Angels made his way to the X, with Bailey and Ace way behind. Angels managed to unhook the X but he had to make his way down from the rope ceiling. Angels did drop the X when Ace caught up to him, but he managed to fall and retrieve the X to win the match.
Alan Angels defeated Ace Austin, Mike Bailey, Zachary Wentz, Rich Swann, and Samuray Del Sol in an Ultimate X match in 9:39.
Hannifan noted that Alan Angels is now number one contender to the X Division Championship…
John’s Thoughts: A good Ultimate X, but we’ve seen more unique ones in the past. Not that all Ultimate X matches need to be dangerous or flashy; but rather Impact does this match way more often than they should which makes a lot of them forgettable. In fact, I’m going to remember the Slammiversary 2023 match more because of the crazy dives, Angels punching everyone’s balls, and Jake Something being the large base of that match. What I am more excited for is to see if Impact gives Alan Angels a bit of a push. I’ve been impressed by his work at Oakland’s Hoodslam promotion and what glimpses of greatness we see from him here and there. He’s definitely talented. Give the guy a push.
After a replay of the finish of the last match, the show cut to Alan Angels cutting a backstage promo. He noted that he’s not going to wear the X around his neck like a dweeb, but he’s going to cash in his X for a match against Chris Sabin next week for the X Division title…
John’s Thoughts: To be fair, I also thought that Kushida wearing that X everywhere made him look like a dork, including in run-ins.
Entrances for the next match took place. Tom Hannifan noted that for the next match there will be a throwback “Fox Box” picture-in-picture where a person will be watching the match as a “judge” just in case there needs to be a decision made. The Judge was Chase Stevens. Dirty Dango and Alpha Bravo made their entrance. Bravo gave Dango a ring introduction and handed the mic to Dango. Dango said his usual “man do I hate pro wrestling”. His opponent is Jake Something. The match had the old Fox Sports Net overlay graphics (sans the Fox branding) with a 10 minute time limit…
2. Dirty Dango (w/Alpha Bravo) vs. Jake Something. Dango quickly rolled to ringside to avoid Jake’s finisher. Dango threw Bravo at Jake. Jake shrugged him off and then gave Dango a delayed body slam. Jake gave Dango a few lariats for a one count. Jake caught Dango’s boot and gave him a corner lariat. Dango managed to sidestep Something and give Something a series of running corner moves. Jake avoided Dango’s knee dive and rallied with clotheslines. Jake gave Dango a delayed right hand.
Jake knocked Dango off the apron with a tackle. Bravo stood on the apron and threatened to hit Jake with a flashlight. Dango held Jake in place. Jake ducked, causing Bravo to accidentally hit Dango with the flashlight. Jake hit Dango with Into the Void (Black Hole Slam) for the win.
Jake Something defeated Dirty Dango via pinfall in 3:58.
John’s Thoughts: Harmless match to make Jake look strong as he climbs up the card. A bit disappointed that the impresive Dirty Dango had to be utilized as cannon fodder, but I’m also in favor of pushing Jake as a dominant powerhouse. What really stood out in a good way was the quick, harmless, and nostalgic throwback to the Fox Sport Net era of Impact Wrestling. They didn’t try to get too cute with it, which was a plus.
Steve Maclin was sitting on production crates backstage. He talked about how he always finishes what he starts. He talked about how Rhino cost him a briefcase last week. Maclin noted he took out Rhino, but it looks like Rhino has a little life in him left. Rhino showed up outta nowhere, yelled “Maclin!”, and tackled Maclin into the crates and garage door…[c]
Back from the break, medics were checking on Maclin. Santino Marella showed up and berated Rhino for the sneak attack on Maclin. Rhino said he doesn’t give a f*ck what happens to Maclin now because whatever happens next is on Maclin, not Rhino. Rhino left…
Entrances for the next match took place…
Kenny King and Sheldon Jean made their entrances. Eric Young and Scott D’Amore made their entrance to Team Canada’s Ol’ Canada theme…
3. Eric Young (w/Scott D’Amore) vs. Kenny King (w/Sheldon Jean). Young and King had a shoving match to start the match. They then traded punches leading to a hip toss from Young on King. Jean attacked Young from behind for the DQ.
Eric Young defeated Kenny King via DQ in 0:34.
Scott D’Amore hit Jean in the back with a hockey stick to chase the heels from the ring. Deputy Director of Authority Shark Boy made his entrance and booked a tag team match with all four men in the ring. Hannifan chuckled at Shark Boy booking Impact’s president in a tag team match…
4. “Team Canada” Eric Young and Scott D’Amore vs. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean. After Young and King squared off, Deaner and Kon ran in and attacked EY for the quick DQ.
Eric Young and Scott D’Amore defeated Kenny King and Sheldon Jean via DQ in 0:09.
The heels put the boots to the babyfaces. Shark Boy walked back out and reset the match as an eight man tag team match. America’s Most Wanted were added to the Team Canada team. The match started via picture-in-picture…
John’s Thoughts: Fun throwback stuff, but what I’m most disappointed by is that “The Design” is still a thing. Just let that thing die!
6. Eric Young, Scott D’Amore, James Storm, and Chris Harris vs. Kenny King, Sheldon Jean, Kon, and Deaner. The picture-in-picture was mostly walking and stalling. Jean and Young started the match after the bell. D’Amore quickly tagged in and gave Jean an axe handle strike and wrsithold. Chris Harris tagged in and gave Jean a wristhold. Storm tagged in and took a rake to the eyes. King tagged in and took a shoulder tackle from King.
King clocked Storm with a right hand. Storm regained control. Harris tagged in and gave King a bulldog. Harris tagged in and quickly tagged in D’Amore. D’Amore slammed Deaner to the mat and gave him a knee drop. Young tagged in and glared at the man that tried to kill him, Deaner. Young rallied with right hands. Deaner came back with a thumb to the eyes. King tagged in. King gave Young a springboard leg drop for a one count.
The heels cut the ring in half on Young. Young managed to backdrop Kon on the top rope and hit Kon with a Death Valley Driver. Storm caught the hot tag and cleaned house. Hannifan noted that James Storm has the record for being on the most episodes of Impact Wrestling (Wow! I would have thought EY or someone else would have had that record). Storm gave Jean an atomic drop and gamengiri. Storm took down Jean with a neckbreaker for a two count.
King hit Storm with the Eddy Gordo Kick. Jean hit Storm with a leg lariat for a two count. Young tagged in and hit Jean with an elbow drop for a nearfall. King caught Young with a Blockbuster. Harris caught King with a bulldog. Kon knocked D’Amore off the apron. Kon and Harris were left in the ring which the commentary team called a Hoss Fight. Harris and Kong traded punches. AMW gave Kon a lariat to outside.
They also tossed King onto Kon. Storm gave Deaner a Last Call. Storm gave Jean a Codebreaker. D’Amore gave Jean a Sky High. Young gave Jean a pile driver for the win.
Eric Young, Scott D’Amore, James Storm, and Chris Harris defeated Sheldon Jean, Kenny King, Kon, and Deaner via pinfall in 9:07.
John’s Thoughts: A fun dose of nostalgia for the 1000th episode. So, I guess since D’Amore caught the wrestling bug after Slammiversary, we might see him on the regular in the ring now? I kid, I kid. Some people might not like the constant DQ’s, but I saw it as an ode’ to Jeff Jarrett’s classic overbooking of Impact. The only thing missing was a ref bump. Where’s my classic TNA REF BUMP!!! One thing that was cool to see too was Chris Harris looking better than his last return match. He didn’t really take a bump, but his offense looked good.
Tom Hannifan sent the show to a replay of last week’s Feast or Fired match winners. The show then cut to Busted Open Radio’s Dave Lagreca and the Feast or Fired winners waiting for the briefcase opening segment…[c]
A unaired clip from last week was shown of Brother Ray and Brother D-Von after their match against the Desi Hit Squad. Bully took a mic and noted that it’s been 7 long years, and there is no place that he and D-von would have their reunion match than Impact Wrestling. Bully led an “Impact Wrestling” chant. D-von took the mic and thanked the crowd for welcoming him back after 7 long years. He said it’s because of the fans that he came back after back surgery and a stroke. A “Thank You D-Von” chant ensued. D-Von led the crowd in his Testify catchphrase…
The show cut back to Dave Lagreca where he introduced the briefcase opening. Lagreca asked each wrestler what they wanted to find in their case. Yuya wanted to find “Champions”. Hendry noted that since “Champions” is plural, it meant he meant a tag team title shot. Chris Bey also hoped to get a tag team title shot. Moose said he wanted the same thing Bey and Yuya wanted. Crazzy Steve said he wanted to find a heart, liver, or lungs in his case.
Steve opened Case 1 to reveal a Digital Media Championship shot. Steve kept repeating the words “and the world was full of dreamers” in reference to Tommy Dreamer. Moose opened his case to reveal a World Title Shot, which he liked better than a tag title shot. Moose sarcastically said he was hoping for a tag title shot. Lagreca noted that Bey or Yuya will get fired. Bey opened his case and acted like he got fired, but then revealed a tag title shot. That meant Yuya Uemura was fired. Yuya said “no champions”. Yuya and Hendry looked sad as they opened the “Fired” case…
John’s Thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of the whole Feast or Fired stip (because there is no net positive for a wrestler to even compete in that match). In some weird unforeseen cosmic mess, this reveal coincidentally occurred on the same day as WWE did their mass firings. That made the segment a bit more sour too (again, not Impact’s fault. Just a weird cosmic coincidence). As I did guess though, Yuya was the most likely one leaving because his excursion might be over. The guy has a good look and shown a bit of charisma, I hope once they add a few layers to him that he’ll succeed down the road.
Entrances for the next match took place. As Impact has done hard the last few weeks, Hannifan plugged Will Ospreay’s upcoming Impact appearances…
7. Josh Alexander vs. Trey Miguel (w/Zachary Wentz). Trey managed to use his agility to avoid Josh’s power moves. Josh managed to catch Trey and hit Trey with a German Suplex. Josh got a two count off a knee drop. Josh hit Trey in the corner with a chop. Josh gave Trey a jawbreaker on the rope. Wentz got in Josh’s face. This allowed Trey to hit Josh with a Flip Dive. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]
Wentz tripped Josh to allow Trey to blindside him and get the advantage. Trey hit Josh with a Monkey Flip into a stomp for a two count. Josh blocked a whip. Trey came back with a backflip into a dropkick for a two count. Josh stunned Trey with a Belly to Belly suplex. Josh rallied with forearms and a chop. Josh then backdropped Trey. Josh hit Trey with a release helicopter. Trey recovered and caught Josh with a Handspring Kick for a nearfall.
After trading counters, Josh turned Trey inside out with a clothesline. Josh dragged Trey to the top rope. Trey escape and gave Josh a bell clap. Trey gave Josh a leap over Frankensteiner. Josh countered a meteora into an Ankle Lock. Trey whipped Josh to ringside. Wentz gave Josh a knee when Trey distracted the ref. Alex Shelley ran out, spit liquid in Zach’s face, and clocked Zach in the face with the World Title Belt.
Trey hit Josh with a Scorpion Kick. Josh escaped a Lightning Spiral attempt and gave Trey a right hand. Josh then gave Trey the C4 Spike (Jay Driller) for the win.
Josh Alexander defeated Trey Miguel via pinfall in 9:34 of on-air time.
Shelley was walking around looking smug at ringside. Josh took a mic and pointed out that Shelley could have given Josh that help last week and at Emergence. Shelley took the mic and told Josh not to mix the signals. Shelley said he wanted to hurt the Rascalz, not help Josh Alexander. Josh said he’s happy Shelley is here because he wants to tell Shelley something face-to-face. Alexander challenged Shelley to a World Title match at Bound for Glory. Off mic, Shelley said “ok”…
John’s Thoughts: While I’m not the biggest fan of having the tag team champions be used as singles match cannon fodder, Josh did allow Trey to look strong enough here while the revolving pieces around the match were the focus. I like the slight level of smugness being added to Alex Shelley to set him on a different character alignment compared to Alexander. Almost a “Chaotic Neutral” tweener compared to the usual “Chaotic Evil” heel you would expect (he might eventually shift to chaotic evil too). I’m curious to see if and/or how Chris Sabin gets involved in this mix?
Tom Hannifan announced Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey for Bound for Glory (that should be a great match!)…
Mike Bailey met up with Jonathan Gresham in the locker room. Bailey calmly noted that aside from losing his last match and getting kicked in the balls by Alan Angels, he’s doing fine. Bailey asked Gresham how he’s doing. Gresham said he hopes Bailey can be 100% in his big match at Bound for Glory. Bailey said it was a shame that Gresham couldn’t nab one of those Feast or Fired briefcases last week.
Gresham said unlike Bailey he’s a former World Champion (Ring of Honor). He said he knows what it takes to be world champion. He said he’s not here to grab an X or a briefcase, but he’s here to do what he had to do before, wrestle to the top. Gresham then complained about unfair matches like when the Rascalz cheated before. Bailey said he has the perfect opponent for Gresham, a perfect pro wrestling match where both men come out better, win or lose. Jonathan Gresham vs. Speedball Mike Bailey. Gresham said “yeah man, sure”…[c]
John’s Thoughts: Oh hey! Jonathan Gresham’s back! Speaking of the Character Alignment Chart, I really hope he’s a weekly fixture again because they did that Tom Hannifan interview a while ago where he teased becoming a “Lawful Evil” heel. He’s just sorta been a blank slate in Impact aside from being a really really good wrestler. You usually don’t get a lot of top level lawful evil characters in wrestling (it’s usually an undercard gimmick), so it might be a fun layered character to add to Impact’s strong mix of characters.
The Rascalz were sulking backstage in the locker room. John Skyler showed up and asked them for their tag team title shot. Wentz yelled that it’s not a good time. Skyler yelled that they had a deal because they helped the Rascalz beat the Motor City Machine Guns at the last Impact Plus show. Ace Austin and Chris Bey showed up with their briefcase. Bey gloated that they have the next guaranteed title shot. Skyler said ABC are lucky they had the titles. Skyler asked for Trey and Zach’s approval, but The Rascalz left. Ace and Bey laughed that Skyler has no friends…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table. The following segments were advertised for next week: Chris Sabin vs. Alan Angels for the X Division Championship, Tommy Dreamer and Heath vs. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean in a “Memphis Street Fight”, Mike Bailey vs. Jonathan Gresham, and Yuya Uemura’s “Goodbye Ceremony”…
Entrances for the ten woman tag team match began…[c]
The rest of the entrances for the tag match occurred (most woman got their full entrance, so it took a bit of time). Tom Hannifan hyped up how the Knockouts were trailblazers and pioneers in women’s wrestling…
8. Mickie James, Jordynne Grace, Awesome Kong (w/Raisha Saeed), Gail Kim, and Trinity vs. Deonna Purrazzo, Tasha Steelz, Savannah Evans, Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky), and Gisele Shaw. Love and Trinity started the match. Love shoved Trinity to the mat and did the BP pose. Trinity gave Love a delayed body slam while also doing a booty wiggle. Trinity hit Love with a splits leg drop for a two count. Love rallied with a few shoves.
Love recovered and choked Trinity in the corner with a boot. Trinity hit Love with an Elevated Stink Face. Rehwoldt noted that it looked like a modified version of the Beautiful People Entrance (Great line by Rehwoldt!!!). Grace and Purrazzo tagged in. Purrazzo quickly tagged out to Shaw. Grace dominated Shaw with a series of Body Slams. Grace hit Shaw with a Jackhammer. Shaw broke up the pin.
Shaw accidentally hit Evans with a spin kick when Grace ducked. Mickie tagged in and hit Shaw with a seated Senton and Mick Kick. The show cut to picture-in-picture.[c]
Back from break, Gail Kim and Deonna Purrazzo were in the ring. Velvet Sky tripped up Gail Kim off the apron to ringside.
John’s Thoughts: Based off the camera focusing on Sky, I believe that’s the spot that got viral on Twitter the last few weeks. They didn’t show Gail in the television shot, but a fan camera caught that Gail’s head had a nasty bounce off the mat. Gail has since said she’s fine afterwards, so I’m happy she wasn’t hurt too seriously.
Mickie and Raisha went to check on Mickie. Tasha picked up Gail and tossed Gail around. Tasha got a two count on Gail. Tasha put Gail in a Camel Clutch. Love tagged in. Love hit Gail with a sidewalk slam for a two count. Shaw tagged in and put Shaw in an Octopus Stretch. Shaw rammed Gail into the buckle to escape the hold. Shaw hit Gail with a Full Nelson Backbreaker and Flatliner for a nearfall.
Purrazzo tagged in and put Gail in a Cravate. After Gail escaped she hit Purrazzo with a DDT. Kong tagged in to clean house. After clearing the smaller women, Kong and Evans had a faceoff. After trading counters, Kong hit Evans with a clothesline. Love and Purrazzo dumped Kong to ringside. Trinity and James hit Love and Purrazzo with stereo Thesz Presses. Trinity hit Purrazzo and Love with a Plancha.
James dumped Tasha on the pile of wrestlers at ringside. Evans dumped James to ringside. Grace used Gail Kim’s feet as a battering ram to dump Evans to ringside. Kim hit the pile of wrestlers at ringside with a top rope crossbody to fire up the crowd. Kong and Shaw were left in the ring with Shaw selling the fear of Kong. Kong nailed Shaw with a backfist combo and Chokeslam. Kong hit Shaw with the Implant Buster for the win.
Awesome Kong, Mickie James, Jordynne Grace, Gail Kim, and Trinity Defeated Gisele Shaw, Deonna Purrazzo, Tasha Steelz, Savannah Evans, and Angelina Love via pinfall in 14:55.
The Beautiful People put a paper bag over the head of Jai Vidal. The babyface team stood tall to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: That was a whole lotta fun and the match quality exceeded my expectations. As we saw with Lita’s recent WWE run, or even D-Von last week, sometimes we must accept that the legends lose a step. There was no step loss-age here. Nobody looked bad here at all. Kong didn’t really take a bump, but Kong’s character is that she doesn’t take much bumps anyway because that’s the feat of the match for the underdogs. Gail Kim was as good as ever. She never misses a beat, even after long layoffs.
I don’t want to oversell it, but I loved everything we saw here (aside from the head bounce accident, but Gail recovered well and did a great job selling during the heels’ heat sequence). The last two week’s of Impact have been really fun, notably if you’ve been watching this company for the last 20 or so years. Jeez, I kinda watch and review Impact out of attrition, even through the bad times; but I’m happy that Impact is in a good place these days with enjoyable television.
Another note, this two-parter was bookended with the one thing that Impact deserves to gloat and shove in everyone’s faces about, “Women’s wrestling”. WWE was all about the bra, panties, and diva searches; while Impact be trailblazing with the strong, the powerful, and bad-ass bi*ches. What I also liked about the last two weeks, is they did do good overall TNA fanservice, and not in a yuk-yuk-hee-haw dumb comedy way. Everything was respectful, yet it didn’t have to be too overbearing. Now, there’s no way TNA-Impact makes it to 2000 do they? We’ll see.