By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling TV (Episode 1,002)
Taped in Memphis, Tennessee at Graceland Live
Aired September 28, 2023 on AXS TV
Highlights from last week’s Impact Wrestling aired… Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…
Entrances for the X Division Championship match aired. Hannifan noted that the X Division championship predates the Impact television show when Impact has weekly PPVs. He also noted that AJ Styles was the first X Division Champion back in 2002…
1. Chris Sabin vs. Alan Angels for the Impact X Division Championship. Angels got an early two count after an armdrag. Sabin came back with a shoulder tackle and elbow drop. Sabin put Angels in an Bow and Arrow. Angels escaped by forcing Sabin to kick out of a pin. Angels worked on Sabin in the corner with knife edge chops. Sabin recovered and hit Angels with a series of hip tosses into a deep armdrag. Angels used a boot to block Sabin.
Angels attacked Sabin’s elbow by wrenching it on the 2nd rope and following up with a double stomp on the left elbow. Angels continued to focus most of his moves on the left arm of Sabin. Sabin escaped a key hold with a flip. Angels came back with a Northern Lights for a two count. Rehwoldt noted that the Northern Lights was modified to focus on Sabin’s injured arm. Angels went back to working on Sabin’s left arm.
Sabin got a moment of respite after hitting Angels with a flip dropkick. Sabin went for a backslide, but his injured arm gave out on him. Sabin adjusted and hit Angels with a leg lariat for a two count. Angels escaped a Cradle Shock by pulling at Sabin’s injured arm. Angels hit Sabin with a La Mistica slam. Sabin rolled through for a two count. Sabin caught Angels with a Yakuza Kick in the corner. Angels blocked a Tornado DDT.
Angels hit Sabin with a Tornado DDT of his own. Angels put Sabin in a Ring of Saturn. Sabin got a foot on the rope for the break. Angels brought the X title belt in the ring which was immediately taken by the ref. Angels used the distraction to shove Sabin into the ref and hit Sabin with a low blow. Angels hit Sabin with the Halo Strike (Savate Kick) for a good nearfall. Sabin avoided a Frog Splash and hit Angels with a Missile Dropkick to the back of the neck. Sabin hit Angels with a Cradle Shock for the victory.
Chris Sabin defeated Alan Angels via pinfall in 8:58 to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
While Sabin was celebrating his title defense, a video package suddenly aired on the big screen. The package was for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Kenta. The package noted that Kenta will return to Impact at Bound for Glory. Rehwoldt assumed that since this package was shown after Sabin’s match, Kenta must be coming after the X Division Championship…
John’s Thoughts: While I’m not the biggest fan of Impact burning through their Ultimate X prize so quickly, I thought they did enough here to elevate Alan Angels in defeat. He got to look good here basing his offense on handicapping Sabin’s left arm. There was no reason to think that Sabin would drop the belt two weeks after winning it, but the action was good enough to suspend disbelief. Sabin vs. Kenta should be a good match, but my expectations aren’t too high given that Kenta isn’t as dynamic as he was pre-WWE (While I don’t watch NJPW regularly, I do check out Kenta’s matches. He’s good, but not as great as he used to be).
Gia Miller interviewed Impact World Champion Alex Shelley and asked him on his thoughts on Josh Alexander challenging him for the world title at Bound for Glory. Shelley said he wants to make clear that he respects Alexander. He said he respects everything that Alexander has done and the standard he’s set. He said he also wants Josh to respect that the title is Alex Shelley’s. Shelley said that he’s the face of the company and Alexander is not in that position unless he beats him. Shelley told Alexander to bring his best swing, because Shelley’s bringing his best pitch…
Rhino got a televised entrance and Hannifan noted that Rhino has been out for four months. Rhino’s presumed enhancement talent, Jack Price, was already in the ring…
2. Rhino vs. Jack Price. Rhino took down Price with a shoulder tackle. Price came back with a dropkick to dump Rhino to ringside. Rhino gave Price a back suplex on the apron and a shortarm lariat. Rhino ran through Price with a few running strikes. Rhino hit Price with a tackle in the corner, followed up by a Gore for the victory.
Rhino defeated Jack Price via pinfall in 2:15.
Steve Maclin ran into the ring and jumped Rhino from behind. Rhino rallied back with right hands and a Belly to Belly. Maclin quickly rolled away to avoid a Gore from Rhino…
John’s Thoughts: Rhino’s back. That’s cool, I guess. The person I kinda feel bad for is Steve Maclin. Maclin was the fastest rising star in Impact and the World Champion not too long ago. Unfortunately, feuding with Rhino is a downgrade in terms of depth chart standing.
Tasha Steelz was backstage for a promo. She was excited about her return. She reiterated her “Greatest that beat the greatest” catchphrase. Deonna Purrazzo showed up to welcome Tasha back. She said she missed Tasha. Tasha said she missed Deonna too. Deonna said that she’s looking towards building a future with Tasha. Tasha liked that idea. Both women agreed to have each others’ back…[c]
Alisha Edwards and Eddie Edwards were sulking backstage over their loss to Traci Brooks and Frankie Kazarian. Eddie got in the camera and proclaimed that their feud wasn’t over. Eddie noted that Traci picked up the win over Alisha. Alisha said that she only lost because Kazarian assisted Traci. Eddie said it’s not over because Frankie didn’t beat him. Kazarian showed up and agreed with Eddie.
Kazarian said he’d be down to brawl now, but it won’t stop anything and the guards will just get in the way. Kazarian said he wants to end this in the Impact Wrestling ring. Kazarian said he’s going to Impact management to find a way to end this feud. After Kaz left, Eddie yelled that he and Alisha will end it the right way…
John’s Thoughts: What? This thing is still a thing? I was kinda looking forward to see Eddie and Alisha move on while Kazarian works with younger talent.
Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura made their entrance to the ring while doing their Joya dance. They were also in their ring gear. Hannifan noted that they were coming out for Yuya Uemura’s farewell ceremony, per the Feast or Fired “fired” briefcase. Joe took the mic first. Joe said he usually tries his best to be motivational, but he’s not thrilled to talk tonight. Joe noted that he and Yuya did their best to retrieve the briefcase at Feast or Fired, but unfortunately their case had the pink slip to end the Joya tag team.
Hendry said that sometimes we need to be thankful for the memories we do have. He said the stars the shine the brightest burn the fastest. He said he has zero regrets teaming up with Yuya. Hendry said he and Yuya give 100% to entertain the fan. Hendry said he speaks for himself and everyone in the building, “Thank You Yuya”. A Thank You Yuya chant ensued.
Joe said it was time to hear what Yuya has to say, as he handed Yuya the mic. Yuya said “Thank you fans!”. The Rascalz immediately made their entrance to interfere. Trey Miguel said they didn’t mean to crash the farewell ceremony. Trey said it’s bad that Yuya got fired, but at least he has an excuse as to why he’ll never be a champion. Zachary Wentz said even if Yuya got the tag title briefcase, he would have failed.
Joe Hendry said Wentz and Miguel should know failure a lot being the 2nd and 3rd best Rascal (I’m assuming he’s referring to Wes Lee as number 1). Trey said Joe has a big mouth for a man that’s going to be alone a week from now. Trey tried to lead a “na na na na” song, which drew boos from the crowd. Joe said it’s true that he’ll be alone in a week, but not tonight. Joya and The Rascalz brawled with Joe and Yuya dumping the Rascalz from the ring.
Director of Authority Santino Marella made his entrance. Santino booked The Rascalz vs. Joya on this week’s Impact. Trey yelled that it’s not fair that Yuya gets rewarded a title shot after getting fired. Santino said he never mentioned anything about a title shot. Santino said the match is happening “Right now”, and if Joya wins Yuya gets to keep his job…
3. Impact Tag Team Champions “The Rascalz” Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz vs. “Joya” Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura for Yuya Uemura’s Impact Wreslting career. The Rascalz stalle by trading quick tags. Yuya rallied with body slams and a lariat. The show cut to picture-in-picture break.[c]
Back from break, the Rascalz cut the ring in half on Yuya for a stretch of time. Yuya got a window of opportunity after hitting Wentz with a dropkick off Wetnz’s handstand. Joe and Trey tagged in with Joe having momentum. Joe tossed around both Rascalz. Hendry lifted Trey and Zach at the same time and hit them both with a Fallaway Slam. The Rascalz nailed hendry with a double superkick. They then swarmed Yuya with kicks. The Rascalz hit Joe with a double stomp backbreaker.
Joe kicked out of Trey’s pin. The Rascalz swarmed Joya with corner moves. Joe lifted up Wentz. Joe and Yuya hit Wentz with the One Hit Wonder. Wentz kicked out of Hendry’s pin at two. Trey caught Yuya with a handstand enzuigiri while Wentz hit Hendry with a handstand knee. Yuya came back with a clothesline on Trey. Joe and Yuya hit Trey with the One Hit Wonder.
Wentz broke up Yuya’s pin on Trey by dragging Trey to ringside. Wentz provoked Hendry to chase him to the ramp. This also distracted the referee. Trey hit Yuya with a low blow and spray paint to the face. Trey picked up the pinfall win on Yuya with a Small Package.
The Rascalz defeated Yuya Uemura and Joe Hendry via pinfall in 10:23.
Hannifan ended the segment by saying “Thank you, and goodbye Yuya Uemura”…
John’s Thoughts: That’s a lot of fanfare for a wrestler that lost a majority of his matches while also barely being important in storylines. That said, Yuya’s recent push with Joe Hendry was enough to make it feel somewhat meaningful. I’m not a fan of renegging on stipulations, but it worked here to successfully fabricate drama and a sense of importance. The match might have been Yuya’s best in Impact with the match being way more dramatic than it needed to be. The Rascalz looked strong kicking out of Joya’s finisher. That said, I think The Rascalz are reaching AEW Outcasts levels of overusing the spray paint finish. They were more creative a few months ago in their cheat finishes. Maybe they should go back to mixing things up.
Gia Miller found Gisele Shaw backstage and told Shaw that she was supposed to be scheduled for an interview on the interview set. Shaw said the reason she has Savannah Evans as security is to protect her from people like Gia. Shaw said Gia gets one question. Gia asked Shaw how she would feel if she can beat Trinity on Impact later in the show. Shaw said if she wins she should get the title shot at Bound for Glory. She said at BFG she’ll walk out of Chicago as Knockouts Champion…[c]
Deaner and Kon were backstage cutting one of their Design promos (yes they’re still a thing for some reason). Angels talked about how Sami Callihan and Alan Angels are “liars” for betraying The Design. Deaner also talked about how Eric Young is a “liar” for trying to knock him off his throne. Deaner said it’s everyone elses fault, not his. Deaner said he’ll return to his throne in his tower and he will sit on the throne with a man he can trust, The Monster Kon. Deaner said they will rebuild the tower on Kon’s shoulders and it starts with the Walking Weapon Josh Alexander…
John’s Thoughts: Uhm? Am I missing something? Didn’t Eric Young put an end to The Design complete with Deaner selling a hardcore match for like one week to sell the end? They even did that thing with Kon where he got on his knees and begged Young to end it. For some reason, they just won’t get rid of this dead faction.
Heath and Digital Media Champion Tommy Dreamer made their entrance for the “Memphis Street Fight”. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean were already in the ring. A brawl ensued before the bell…
4. Heath and Tommy Dreamer vs. Kenny King and Sheldon Jean in a “Memphis Street Fight”. The match started once Dreamer and King entered the ring. Dreamer went for an elbow drop on Jean on a chair, but Jean dodged. King and Jean then worked on Heath and Deamer with two on one moves. Jean and King wrapped a ladder around the neck of Heath and tossed the ladder into the post. Dreamer hit Jean with a suplex on a chair. King and Dreamer tried to suplex each other into a trash can.
Eventually, King gave Dreamer a spinebuster into the trash can. King choked Dreamer with a T-shirt. Heath dragged Jean to ringside and tossed him into the ringpost. Heath then pummeled King with punches and a crescent kick combo. Heath hit King with a power slam for a two count. Heath hit Jean with a Zig Zag.
Heath then set up a table in the corner. Heath tried to give Jean a Death Valley Driver through the table, but King saved Jean and gave Heath a spin kick. Dreamer punched and crotched King on the top rope. Dreamer propped up a ladder on the 2nd rope to use as a stand. King crotched Dreamer in the rungs of the ladder. King gave Dreamer a Blockbuster while he was tangled on the ladder. King held on to the ropes to block Heath’s Zig Zag.
King caught Heath at ringside with a Corkscrew Plancha. Heath backdropped King on the ramp. Heath chased King backstage, leaving Jean and Dreamer in the ring. Dreamer ducked Jean’s bionic elbow. Dreamer gave Jean a Death Valley Driver in the corner for the win.
Tommy Dreamer and Heath defeated Sheldon Jean and Kenny King via pinfall in 8:36.
Some guy I didn’t recognize at first hit Dreamer with a briefcase to the back. It was Crazzy Steve without face paint (That may be the first time we’ve seen him without some sort of paint on his face). Steve beat Dreamer on the back with the Feast or Fired briefcase. Steve said inside of the briefcase is Dreamer’s end…
John’s Thoughts: Decent enough tag match to blow off the Dreamer-King feud. A paint-by-numbers safe hardcore match. Only thing that really stood out was the blockbuster off the ladder, but it didn’t really need to stand out. Sucks that Kenny King never really got to do anything with the DMC, but maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because of how lame the Digital Media title is. Here’s hoping that Steve quickly takes the title off of Dreamer and finds a way to rebrand the lame title belt.
Tom Hannifan announced that on November 11th, Impact will return to Toronto, Canada to film their IPWF throwback gimmick episode. Hannifan noted that Impact will be airing this episode on AXS TV (ugh). Hannifan also plugged Mike Tenay and the late Don West being inducted into the Impact Hall of Fame by Scott D’Amore. Hannifan announced that Gail Kim will be inducting Traci Brooks into the Impact Hall of Fame…
John’s Thoughts: Ugh. Hey, I like WWE’s Southpaw Regional Wrestling skits as much as anyone, but when Impact does it, it comes off as a joke that lasts way longer than it needs to be. I also thought that we wouldn’t be getting these since Gallows, Anderson, and even Jimmy Jacobs aren’t with the company. Who’s pitching this!?!
Ace Austin and Chris Bey cut a promo backstage talking about how they exposed the Good Hands as hired guns by the Rascalz to preserve their title reign. Bey proposed a “Fans Revenge Match” between ABC and the Good Hands. A Fans Revenge Match is a hardcore match where the fans at ringside will be holding weapons to attack the wrestlers with. John Skyler showed up to belittle the Memphis fans.
Skyler said the match can’t happen because Jason Hotch is out on paternity leave with his new baby. Ace said all Skyler needs to do is find a replacement friend to fill in. ABC left with Bey and joking about how Skyler has no friends. Skyler pouted and said he has friends…
Entrances for the next match took place…
5. Jonathan Gresham vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey. Bailey and Gresham started out with a handshake. Both men had dueling chants. Gresham dominated the collar and elbow. Bailey then asked for a chest chop, but Gresham respectfully backed off. Both men traded standing switches leading to a stalemate.
Gresham took down Bailey with several side headlock takedowns. Hannifan reminded viewers of his recent interview with Gresham where Gresham showed frustration over wrestlers breaking rules in Impact. Bailey escaped and took down Gresham with a few headlock takedowns. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]
Bailey hit Gresham with rapid kicks at ringside. Bailey hit Gresham with a Corkscrew Asai Moonsault Gresham came back with an Atomic Drop and chop. Gresham put Bailey in a Boston Crab. Bailey got to the rope for the break. Bailey lowered his base to block Gresham’s suplex. After tetering, Gresham hit Bailey with a suplex. Gresham put Bailey in a sleeper when he kicked out of a pin. Gresham took down Bailey with a running chop. Bailey kicked out of two of Gresham’s pin attempts. Gresham picked up the win off a thrid pin with a hand full of tights.
Jonahtna Gresham defeated Mike Bailey via pinfall in 7:35 of on-air time.
Bailey protested to the referee that Gresham cheated to win, but the ref didn’t see it. Bailey then approached Gresham to ask him what was up? Gresham turned his back and walked away up the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: We’ve seen longer workrate matches between these guys in the past, but this match was more effective in terms of character development and storyline progression. Gresham received his first little bit of character development a few months ago when he had that interview with Hannifan and the match finish was a result of that development. They can easily go with Gresham embracing the dark side, but I kinda want to see this turn into Gresham trying to recruit Bailey into his gripe with cheaters (only to have Bailey refuse to buy in).
Moose and Brian Myers were backstage. Myers told Moose that he deserves the world title shot in the briefcase he’s holding. Moose said if there was a tag team title shot in the case, he and Myers would already be champions. Moose said it’s been a long time since he’s been the greatest world champion in the company’s history, and that’s only because he and Myers were dominating the tag team scene. Moose said needs to get his feet wet again and he proposed an open challenge for next week to anybody…[c]
Maclin caught up with Bully Ray in front of some lockers and asked him to help him with Rhino since he helped Bully with PCO. Bully asked what he has to do exactly? Maclin said it’t not hard, just to take care of Rhino. Bully said he’s known Rhino for 25 years, so he’ll talk to Rhino for Maclin. Maclin was baffled at Bully settling to just talking. Maclin wondered if Bully was still distracted with PCO or feeling nostalgic because D-Von is back. Bully stressed that he’ll talk to Rhino for Maclin. Maclin said it looks like Bully is getting soft…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table. Hannifan noted that he might agree with Maclin that Bully Ray is looking soft. Hannifan then noted that Chris Sabin vs. Kenta for the X Division Championship was made official for Bound for Glory.
The following segments were announced for next week: Tasha Steelz vs. Killer Kelly, Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. John Skyler and a mystery partner in a “Fan’s Revenge” match, Josh Alexander vs. Kon, and Eric Young, Jake Something, Dirty Dango, Champagne Singh, and Jordynne Grace vs. Brian Myers, Bully Ray, Shera, Jody Threat, and KiLynn King in a match that has Call Your Shot implications.
Entrances for the main event took place…
6. Impact Knockouts Champion Trinity vs. Gisele Shaw in a non-title match. Trinity tripped up Shaw and gave her a boot to the face. Trinity ducked a clothesline with her signature knee slide and came back with some kicks. Trinity got a two count off a splits leg drop. The show cut to picture-in-picture break.[c]
Shaw dominated back from break and worked on Trinity with corner tackles and a uppercut. Trinity backdropped Shaw on the apron, but Shaw came back with a kick. Shaw hit Trinity with a Slingshot Knee Strike. Shaw gave Trinity alternating hooks in the corner. Shaw then gave Trinity a draping double stomp to the gut. Shaw came back with alternating gut punches, but Shaw shut that down with a right hand and a boot.
Shaw worked on Trinity with methodical offense while also trash talking. Trinity powered out of a headlock and gave Shaw a face wash kick. Trinity hit Shaw with a Disaster Kick to get a moment of respite. Trinity rallied with punches and slaps on Shaw. Trinity then followed up with a kick combination and Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Trinity hit Shaw with a springboard crossbody for a two count. Shaw recovered and hit Trinity with a Full Nelson Backbreaker into a Flatliner for a two count.
Trinity reversed Shaw’s running knee into a rollup. Trinity then hit Shaw with a draping pedigree for a two count. Jai Vidal tried to trip up Trinity, but accidentally tripped up Shaw since he was trying to look away nondescript. Trinity rolled up Shaw into Starstruck. Shaw gave up.
Trinity defeated Gisele Shaw via submission in 12:08.
Jai Vidal tried to attack Trinity, but Trinity saw it coming and gave him an elbow to the face. Savannah Evans blindsided Trinity from behind and laid her out. Hardcore Country Mickie James ran out for the save. James dumped Vidal to ringside. James then hit Evans with a Mick Kick. Trinity dumped Evans to ringside with her own kick. The crowd chanted “whoop dat Trick”.
Mickie grabbed a mic and said Trinity doesn’t have to thank her because that’s what friends do. Mickie said she was so happy to team up with Trinity in last week’s historic Knockouts tag team match. She said she’s also proud to whoop that trick with Trinity this week. Mickie said she’s had Trinity’s since day one and will always have Trinity’s back. Mickie said you’d think she was hurting when she was stuck injured, but she was so proud to see her fan walk into Impact and have the biggest glow up of of a lifetime.
Mickie said Trinity didn’t just win the Knockouts title, she earned it. Mickie said as long as she stood with Trinity, there’s one place they never stood with each other. Across from each other. Mickie noted that she, Trinity, and the fans all know that Mickie never lost the championship. Mickie said she has a rematch clause she can invoke at any time, and she can’t think of a better place than at Bound for Glory. Mickie and Trinity shook hands on it. Mickie’s Hardcore Country theme played to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: The match between Trinity and Shaw was well worked. Exceeded my expectations. That said, and I believe I’ve said it before, Gisele Shaw in her current role isn’t quite suited for a main event spot. She’s sorta in the same spot Miz was a few months ago where you just take so many losses that you’re damaged goods. They need to dismantle her current stable and give her a bit of a reboot (I think Shaw has the potential to be a huge star based of that wonderful documentary piece Impact did of her, but her current iteration is just such a weak pest heel).
The more meaningful segment was the Mickie James and Trinity post-match angle. Simple and effective setup for what should be a strong Bound for Glory Knockouts Title match. Mickie James has not shown any wear due to age, so there’s no doubt that she can continue to deliver at a high level. This was a solid week of Impact which felt a bit like a reset show coming off the 1000 milestone show. Nothing felt rushed and it looks like they’re building directly towards Bound for Glory. Hopefully they don’t have any Impact Plus specials because those usually interfere with long-term PPV payoffs.