An all-star match will headline Thursday's Impact Wrestling on AXS as World Champion Josh Alexander & Frankie Kazarian will take on the returning Aussie Open.
The twist is that Alexander and Kazarian will battle for the title at this month's Over Drive streaming special. After a backstage disagreement last week, they agreed to answer Aussie Open's open challenge for this week.
The X-Division title tournament will roll on as PJ Black faces Yuya Uemura on the BTI pre-show while former champions "Speedball" Mike Bailey and Kenny King will do battle to complete the quarterfinals.
For the first time ever, two former Impact World Champions Eric Young and Sami Callihan will go one-on-one. Young is grooming a secret new member of Violent by Design and wants him to pay attention to what he does this week.
In a grudge match helped along by Bully Ray's antics, Moose will go up against Bullet Club's Ace Austin.
Before the Impact Preshow
Scott D’Amore joined the commentary and referenced GFW, saying he still owned a portion of Global Force Wrestling as a joke.
PJ Black defeated Yuta Uemura to advance in the X-Division Title Tournament
A solid match on the preshow, with Uemura looking great. Black seemed to be a little off, which could be ring rust given how long it has been since he has wrestled on TV.
Uemura used his amateur wrestling background to his advantage in this one, countering Black several times. Matthew Rehwoldt mentioned that the tournament would grant a championship opportunity, which made me cringe. No WWE speak, please.
Black used some basic submissions like an abdominal stretch to wear Uemura down. Black hit an elbow off the middle rope for a 2-count. Uemura answered a double axe handle attempt with a dropkick and began to exchange strikes in the middle of the ring. Black broke an armbar attempt by stepping on the face of Uemura. Black hit a moonsault on Uemura, crushing him but only getting a 2. Black went for a baseball slide, but Uemura hit a lariat that sent Black crashing to the floor.
Black cut Uemura off as he was on the top turnbuckle and hit a crucifix driver of some sort for the win.
Impact Wrestling Main Card
--The show opened with Eddie Edwards in the wilderness cutting a promo on PCO, saying that Honor No More doesn’t exist anymore because of him. He then challenged PCO to a fight in the desert. Cinematic match incoming?
Mike Bailey defeated Kenny King to advance in the X-Division Title Tournament
Impact made the right call in Bailey winning here. Kenny King is fine, but Mike Bailey is a star on the rise, so going with him makes sense. It’s too bad he lost the title in the first place, but this is at least a right choice for the tournament.
Bailey and King started fast, countering each other’s strikes until King hit a closed fist on Bailey after promising a clean break. Bailey hit a handspring kick in response and dropped King. Bailey floated into a leg lock, forcing King to go to the ropes. King hit a stun gun into the corner and then a spinebuster for a 2-count.
King hit a capture suplex on the ramp on Bailey. King did a Lance Storm single leg crab on the floor on Bailey. King took his time getting in the ring, so Bailey made him pay with kicks before hitting a running corkscrew shooting star press for a 2-count. Bailey went for a spinning kick and King caught him, hitting a capture suplex and a tiger driver for a 2-count.
King took Bailey to the floor and went for a tiger driver on the ramp, but Bailey countered into a hurricanrana and hit a moonsault off the top rope to the floor. King blocked a kick in the ring and went back to the single leg crab. Bailey rolled out and rolled up King for the 3-count.
--Gisele Shaw was walking around backstage giving photos out, and Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green ripped them up. They said Shaw’s selfishness was why they lost last week, and before they could disassociate with Shaw, Shaw broke up with them.
Savannah Evans (w/ Tasha Steelz) defeated Jessicka (w/ the Death Dollz)
Well, the finish was not good. It made the babyfaces look weak. That said, I enjoyed this match.
Jessicka answered the open challenge of Steelz and Savannah Evans. Evans did not look intimidated by Jessicka and immediately started exchanging elbows. Evans was unable to deter Jessicka, and ended up eating a corner clothesline. Jessicka missed a corner charge and Evans hit a DDT to get some sustained offence for the first time in the match. Evans hit a legdrop on Jessicka for a 2-count.
Jessicka managed to duck under a punch from Evans and hit a German suplex. Evans hit a German suplex of her own for a 2-count. Evans and Jessicka hit some hard strikes, with Jessicka hitting a European uppercut and a splash for a 2-count. Tasha Steelz got involved, leading to Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary attacking her. 2 on 1 attack on a heel by babyfaces and Jessicka was distracted, leading to Evans hitting a full nelson slam for the 3-count.
--A promo aired of Killer Kelly looking for what she called fresh meat for her to beat.
--Eddie Edwards was wandering around the wilderness with spooky music. I have a feeling I’m going to hate this cinematic match.
--Steve Maclin talked about how he was tired of other challengers jumping the line for an Impact World Title shot, claiming people were going to pay for making him wait.
--The Major Players were backstage, saying that Heath & Rhino, saying that Heath won’t have to say Rhino’s name. Joe Hendry stepped out of a freezer, singing his theme. Joe Hendry said he cared about the Digital Media Championship, and then spoke to title instead of Myers, claiming he was sorry his father, Myers, wasn’t giving him more attention, but he would if the title would just believe. I loved this.
--PCO wandered into the wilderness to confront Eddie Edwards. A brawl ensued with dramatic music. Are we supposed to believe the camera isn’t there, since this was filmed like a movie, with first person shots even? PCO threw Edwards into a tree, put his glove on, and locked on the mandible claw. Edwards broke it up hitting PCO with a rock.
Edwards suplexed PCO on a boulder, but he stood up and chokeslammed Edwards on the boulder. Edwards hit PCO with a shovel, then the scary music turned into a a quiet rock music. Edwards then buried PCO under a pile of rocks. Okay. This was quite bad, but I suspect it’s going to lead to PCO’s hand coming out of the ground showing he is still alive, so I can at least appreciate that.
--Taylor Wilde was with Mickie James backstage, and they talked about her match next week against Chelsea Green. Wilde was looking forward to James beating Green, and offered to be in her corner. James said that she needed to do it by herself.
Sami Callihan defeated Eric Young (w/ Deaner) by DQ
I am really not into this Violent by Design gimmick with the minions showing up (I refuse to call them the Designed, and as long as they wear yellow, they’re minions).
Callihan and Young went right to the floor, brawling around the ringside area. Callihan missed a chop against the ring post. Callihan scratched Young before suplexing him on the floor. The referee was chased off by Callihan after the ref tried to stop a tiger driver on the floor. Deaner took out Callihan, which let Young get in the ring, who started striking Callihan.
Young went for a piledriver, but Callihan hit a back body drop and invited Young to hit him. Callihan dodged a moonsault and hit a lariat before tying to hit the Cactus Driver, but the minions showed up and surrounded the ring. They all attacked Callihan and this match ended in a DQ.
--Two of the minions lifted their hoods, and it was Alan Angels and Big Kon, who was Konnor in WWE. The crowd lightly booed.
--Jordynne Grace walked into her locker room and and Gisele Shaw put up a ton of pictures holding the Impact Knockout’s Championship. Shaw’s social media manger took a picture. Grace beat up the social media manager. This was very bad and WWE light.
Ace Austin (w/ Chris Bey) defeated Moose
This could have been a big win for Ace Austin, but given it happened on a distraction, it makes it an upset, and implies that Austin couldn’t win without the help of Bully Ray. I would have preferred a clean win and then Bully Ray getting in the face of Moose, but it could have been worse. Hopefully Impact will use that to help elevate Austin.
Austin tried to do a drop toe hold, but Moose blocked it. Austin hit a flying kick and then low bridged Moose, sending him to the floor. Moose pulled Austin off the apron and as Austin tried to hurricanrana him, Moose held on and drove Austin headfirst into the steps. Moose continued beating on Austin in the ring, using his size to bully Austin.
Austin managed to escape Moose’s clutch and hit a kick, but Moose kicked out at 1. Austin hit a big spin kick that Moose sold very well. Moose hit a huge uranage on Austin to cut off his comeback. Moose threw Austin off the top rope and Bully Ray came down to the ring. Moose got distracted and Ace Austin rolled up Moose.
Frankie Kazarian & Josh Alexander defeated Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Fantastic main event to close the show tonight, making up for some of the bad stuff previously. Kazarian and Alexander are great, as always, but Aussie Open was really highlighted here and they are getting over. The show went off the air with both of them celebrating but with tension in the air as their title match is coming up soon.
Fletcher and Kazarian started the match, Kazarian keeping up with the younger worker. Davis and Alexander exchanged some quick offence of their own, before Kazarian was tagged in and he hit a slingshot legdrop for a 2-count. Alexander and Kazarian hit a double team suplex on Fletcher.
Both teams spilled to the floor, and Aussie Open drove Kazarian and Alexander into each other to finally start to get their offence going. When they came back from an ad break, Alexander and Davis were exchanging chops, with Davis cutting him off with a bodyslam. Davis hit a back suplex on Alexander on the apron that led to Fletcher hitting a vertical drop brainbuster on Alexander for a 2-count.
Kazarian tagged in and hit a flying forearm on Fletcher before hitting a slingshot DDT for a 2-count. Kazarian went for the chicken wing, but Aussie Open managed to overwhelm him and hitting a double team cutter for a 2-count. Kazarian rolled under an attack from Fletcher and tagged out to Alexander, who started suplexing Fletcher all over the ring before hitting a powerbomb on Davis for a 2-count.
Fletcher superkicked Alexander while he had an ankle lock on Davis. Aussie Open hit a double team black out for a 2-count which Kazarian made the save on. Alexander hit a crossbody to the back of Fletcher and sent him right in for a springboard legdrop from Kazarian for a 2-count. Fletcher got locked in an ankle lock, but he rolled through and sent Alexander crashing into Kazarian to break up his submission.
All 4 men started exchanging strikes in the middle of the ring before Alexander and Fletcher spilled to the floor on a suplex attempt while Kazarian brought Davis into the ring with a cutter for the pinfall.
This show was a mixed bag for me, with the main event being fantastic. I can’t give a show with a main event that good a thumbs down, so this one gets a thumbs up from me. I am very much so looking forward to Alexander and Kazarian for the title, despite not liking Option C, as it will be a great match.
Next week's lineup:
- Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace defends against Gisele Shaw
- Digital Media Champion Brian Myers defends against Joe Hendry
- Mickie James vs. Chelsea Green
- Mike Bailey vs. Trey Miguel in an X-Division title tournament semifinal
New for Over Drive:
- Knockouts Tag Team Champions The Death Dollz defend against Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans