On Saturday night, Impact Wrestling took a detour on the way to its signature Bound For Glory pay-per-view, which takes place in three weeks. Specifically the detour route was Victory Road, a show that aired exclusively on the company’s streaming service, Impact Plus.
Overall, the ride was pretty smooth. The matches were mostly good, and the show continued to build the PPV storylines logically and interestingly. That said, there were some potholes – namely, the terrible Moose storyline, and the charismatic blackhole that is Brian Myers.
Ultimately, the show felt very much like a normal Tuesday night episode. Which, if you’re a subscriber, is something you’d enjoy. And if you’re not a subscriber, is not something that’s going to motivate you to become one. To continue the automotive analogy, it acted exactly like a detour, in that, when it was done, you ended up exactly where you were heading to begin with.
Match 1: The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs. XXXL (Acey Romero & Larry D)
This one was the classic story of fast small guys vs. powerful big guys. The Rascalz did some high-flying early, but crashed and burned against their bigger opponents, who would swat them away or catch them and drop them with power moves. They isolated Dez for a while, and when he tried to mount a comeback, his attempt was stifled with a huge powerbomb by Larry D. But Larry’s follow-up wasn’t on target, and Dez finally got the tag to Wentz. But only to get Malachi Crunched, and then splashed that would have ended the match if not for Wentz’s save. Dez hit Larry D with a double-backflip kick out of nowhere and followed that up with a flying twisting Treehouse Splash to get the pin. This was a pretty good opener. XXXL’s new heel personas suited them well in this match, and Acey in particular has adapted quite well, since in many ways, he’s a natural babyface. The Rascals are fun to watch, though in a tag team division full of bigger, and bigger-name teams, it’s unclear if they’ll ever be given the opportunity to be treated as main-event players.
Winners: The Rascalz
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 4, 2020
Match 2: Brian Myers vs. Tommy Dreamer
Myers was up on technical points in the opening minutes, but unfortunately for him, points don’t mean anything and didn’t help him when Dreamer used his weight advantage and wily veteran tactics. So Myers then had to resort on some cheap shots that stunned Dreamer, and after side-stepping a charge that sent Tommy crashing into the corner, Myers took over. He grounded Tommy with some submission attempts, and then physically swarmed him with knees and kicks. But Dreamer was able to withstand the pain, and after a criss-cross run, he was able to hit a big sliding dropkick and then a flying clotheslines off the apron that changed the tide. Dreamer paid homage to D-Lo Brown with a Sky High, and then to DDP with a big Cutter, but Myers would not stay down. A DDT would have, but Myers was able to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the referee’s count. Dreamer went up top, but got caught and crotched, and he crashed to the mat. He barely got to his feet when he was rocked with a huge Lariat by Myers that put the legend down for good. This was fine. Myers is still generally unimpressive, but there was nothing bad about the match.
Winner: Brian Myers
Backstage, Moose was whining to Scott D’Amore, saying that he wasn’t able to wrestle tonight, because his mind was on the funeral that EC3 was throwing for his TNA World Heavyweight Championship. D’Amore wasn’t sympathetic – since, you know, the company doesn’t recognize the title – and said that Moose would have to meet his contractual obligation to face off against Trey Miguel tonight.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 4, 2020
X-Division Champion Rohit Raju came out for his “Defeat Rohit” open challenge for the X-Division championship. He cut a cocky promo, basically saying that he would beat anyone who challenged him. Willie Mack came out to answer the challenge, leading to…
Match 3: Willie Mack vs. Rohit Raju (c) – for the X-Division Championship
Willie’s dazzling offense surprised the champ, and a few times, Raju had to leave the ring to clear his head and rethink his strategy. Desperate, Rohit used the referee as an unwitting distraction that allowed him to turn things around, and he worked on chopping the mighty Mack down with multiple kicks to the legs. Rohit was in control, and would alternate between hitting Mack with a hard shot and cockily trash-talking. He should have focused on the former, though, because finally Mack had heard enough, and he powered up. He hit Raju with a flurry of offense, nearly getting the win after a Samoan Drop and a Standing Moonsault. Raju evaded one move and was able to ground Willie again with an arm-twister and then he clamped on a Crossface. Willie wouldn’t submit, and Raju was tiring himself by holding the move so tightly so long that he decided to change gears and go back to more moves. But Willie had moves of his own, and they were soon in a stalemate, after their heads collided and both were knocked silly. Rohit was actually knocked out of the ring, and although he could have re-entered in time, he opted to stay outside and lose by countout, thereby ensuring he would not lose the title. This was fine while it lasted, and helped reinforce Raju’s cowardly nature. He’ll probably keep doing this to all contenders, leading to some kind of multi-man Ultimate X match at Bound For Glory where he can’t protect his reign with a cheap loss.
Winner: Willie Mack
Still X-Division Champion: Rohit Raju
Backstage, Gia Miller asked Ken Shamrock why he attacked Eddie Edwards on Tuesday. Sami Callihan fielded the question, and said that he and Shamrock are best friends, and Sami is providing him advice on how to once again be the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
Match 4: Tenille Dashwood (w/ Kaleb) vs. Jordynne Grace
Grace was aggressive early on, hitting a hard-looking running low forearm in the corner. But when she went for a Jordynne Bomb, Kaleb moved Dashwood out of the way, and Grace crashed hard. More distractions by Kaleb allowed Dashwood to hit Grace with a couple of moves on the apron, finally kicking her down to the floor. Grace tried to turn things around on the outside with a big running attack, but Dashwood scampered out of the way, and Jordynne crashed hard into the guardrail. With Grace down, this gave Tenille time to check out the photos and videos that Kaleb had been taking on his phone throughout the match – that was pretty funny. Back in the ring, Dashwood put Grace in the Tree of Woe, and then posed for a photo. That little hesitation allowed Grace to get a second wind, and she ended up heaving Dashwood off the top rope. But Grace was still weakened by the earlier onslaught, and she couldn’t really capitalize. That is, until she did. She was able to hit a few muscle moves, and flattened Dashwood with the Jordynne Bomb. She had on the body lock that had Dashwood tapping out, but Kaleb distracted the referee so he couldn’t see it. With Grace protesting the call, she turned her back on Dashwood, leaving her vulnerable to a Spotlight Kick, and Dashwood stole the win. This was fine, though they didn’t do anything that hadn’t been done in their earlier matches. Hopefully this is the end of this feud, because at this point, trying to wring any further interest out of it may be challenging.
Winner: Tenille Dashwood
Backstage, Gia Miller asked the Motor City Machine Guns about having to defend their Tag Team Championships in a 4-way match at Bound For Glory. They said they were looking forward to that match. But first, Alex Shelley would have to compete tonight in a 4-way against members of the other three teams.
Match 5: Reno Scum (Adam Thornstowe & Luster the Legend) vs. Rhino and Heath – Unsanctioned Match
This one started off as a standard tag team match, with clean tags and rules being enforced. Rhino and Heath were in control until Luster hit a cheap shot on Heath from the outside when Thornstowe had the ref turned around. Reno Scum then isolated Heath, taking turns putting the hurt on him. Probably the most painful move they put on him was taking him to Pitty City, which was straight out of the Nasty Boys’ playbook. Heath was finally able to get the big tag to a fresh Rhino, and he was on fire, until he and Luster hit simultaneous clotheslines that put both of them down. The ending got a big chaotic, with Rhino hitting a GORE GORE GORE on Luster, only to eat a Superkick by Thornstowe. But then Heath hit his finisher on Thornstowe to get the win. This match was an old-fashioned, by-the-book tag team match right out of the 80s. This could have easily been the 12:45am match on an old episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event – solid in-ring, but no big angles, and if you missed it, that was fine, since nobody was going to be talking about it at school on Monday anyway.
Winners: Heath and Rhino
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 4, 2020
The cameras followed Heath and Rhino to the back where Scott D’Amore was waiting for them. He congratulated them on the win. He said that he was impressed by Heath’s tenacious efforts to get a job, and invited Heath to come to Impact on Tuesday to discuss a potential opportunity. #Heath4IMPACT
Match 6: Moose vs. Trey Miguel
This one was really just a backdrop for Moose’s obsession with EC3, as he would pummel Trey, but then press the pause button to yell at EC3 through the camera or question Trey about where EC3 had hidden Moose’s title. This was pretty much a squash, with Moose demolishing Trey with all sorts of hard shots and power moves. His threats to end Trey’s career was motivation for Trey to start fighting back, and he hit a few moves and dives, but the power of Moose was too much for him to handle. Moose was going to end things, but then EC3’s logo appeared on the entrance screen. Moose was distracted, and this allowed Trey to roll him up for the win.
Winner: Trey Miguel
Moose assumed that EC3 was in the production truck and ran outside to get him. When he got in the truck, all the monitors switched to display EC3’s logo, and Moose panicked. He ran out of the truck and into the streets. On the sidewalk, he saw the TNA World Heavyweight Championship surrounded by candles, as if in a memorial tribute site. When he bent down to pick it up, the screen flickered for an instant, and EC3 was magically standing behind him. Another flicker, and Moose was down. EC3 retrieved the title and said that the funeral was set for Tuesday.
The match was pretty much a squash, and suffered with the lame ending. The post-match antics were also silly. This whole storyline has been counter-productive. When EC3 first came in, and was doing the neat “Control the Narrative” promos and videos, he’d created an aura of seriousness and badassery. Now, the videos, and Moose’s cartoonish reactions to them, just reek of silliness.
Match 7: Alex Shelley (w/ Chris Sabin) vs. Karl Anderson (w/ Doc Gallows) vs. Ace Austin (w/ Mad Man Fulton) vs. Josh Alexander (w/ Ethan Page)
This was a pretty good, hard-hitting match. The match was pretty deliberately-paced early on, with the main showdown coming when Alexander and Anderson squared off. Shelley impressed when he stacked Austin and Alexander and locked them both in a Half Crab submission attempt. Shelley and Austin had some neat interactions, including an ugly-looking German by Shelley that looked beautiful and brutal at the same time. Another highlight was Anderson’s Spinebuster on Alexander for a near fall – that was picture perfect. Eventually, as could be expected, the partners on the outside got involved after the referee got knocked down. The teams brawled on the floor, but before Fulton could end things by heaving his partner onto the other six, the referee came to and demanded that all of the partners head to the back. Shelley looked like he had the match won, but Anderson broke up the pin. Down to just the four actual participants, things sped up, and everyone hit their finishers. Alexander ended the match, dropping Shelley with a huge Piledriver to get the win. This was good. The win by Alexander would suggest that they will go with another team to win the title match at Bound For Glory.
Winner: Josh Alexander
Backstage, Tommy Dreamer approached Myers and extended his hand in a show of respect. Myers refused, and trash-talked Dreamer. He said that Dreamer wasn’t the Innovator of Violence anymore, but rather a sad, old man. Dreamer got angry and said that maybe Myers would see the violence up close and personal on Tuesday.
Match 8: Susie (w/ Kylie Rae) vs. Deonna Purrazzo (w/ Kimber Lee) (c) – for the Knockouts Championship
Purrazzo worked over Susie’s arm early on, looking to weaken them and soften them up for her Venus De Milo submission. Meanwhile, Susie hit a number of clean moves and rollup attempts. A scary moment saw Susie nearly land on her head and neck after a diving attack to the floor – hopefully that was just a weird camera angle, because that looked like it could have been a disaster. Purrazzo aggressively yanked Susie off the top, and then started targeting various parts of Susie’s body with chops, kicks, and elbows – and the occasional cheap shot by Kimber Lee on the outside. Susie evaded a running shoulder block and after Deonna hit the post, Susie turned up the heat, hitting a number of unanswered shots – and teasing the emergence of Su Yung – and would have won, but Lee had distracted the ref who missed the cover. That seemed to tilt things back into Purrazzo’s favour, and after working the arm a little, was able to lock on Venus De Milo, and Susie had no choice but to verbally submit.
After the match, Kylie was checking on Susie’s condition, when she was jumped from behind by both Purrazzo and Lee. They beat Kylie down, and made her watch as Purrazzo grabbed a chair and Pillmanized one of Susie’s arms and then locked a deep armbar on the other. This was a good match. Purrazzo is great, and hasn’t had a bad match since coming to Impact. The slow tease to Susie’s transformation to Su Yung continues, and it’s possible that tonight’s attack may flip the switch. It may have been tempting to have it be Kylie Rae’s arm that was damaged in the post-match angle, to weaken her before she faces Purrazzo and Bound For Glory, but I’m glad they didn’t do that, since that’s the same story they’re telling with Rich Swann and Eric Young’s title match at that show.
Winner, and still Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 4, 2020
Match 9: Eddie Edwards vs. Eric Young (c) – for the Impact World Championship
The match spilled to the floor early on, with Eddie getting the early edge after a Slingshot dive onto Young, followed shortly by a big running dive through the ropes that connected hard, leaving Young bleeding from the face. They brawled up the entrance ramp, where Young was able to hit a big Back Body Drop on the hard steel. The two continued to exchange blows outside, using the guardrails, ring posts, and their own bodies as weapons, with Young taking the advantage. Back in the ring, Young continued the assault, but Eddie connected with a huge Overhead Suplex that hurt Young’s back. Young bounced back, though, and used the ropes to assist with a big neckbreaker that had Edwards on the ground screaming in pain. But Eric was like a shark that smelled blood, and he pinpointed Eddie’s neck, twisting it hard, tying it up in the ropes, and hitting it with north-south elbows. But Eddie was double-tough, and fought back with big chops, clotheslines, and then hit a running Backpack Stunner. He tried to follow that up with a top rope move, but got caught and tied up in the Tree of Woe. Young then turned his attention to Eddie’s leg, stomping on the ankle, and then using the apron and ring steps for a pair of Kneebreakers.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 4, 2020
Young then tied up Eddie’s leg in the guardrail and hit it with big kicks. But there was no quit in Eddie, and he wouldn’t submit despite the pain. Young looked to end things, but Eddie’s fighting spirit kicked in, and he hit a couple of Blue Thunder Bombs for a near fall. Young avoided a Boston Knee Party and hit a big Wheelbarrow Stunner, but Eddie kicked out, as he did after Young’s follow-up Top Rope Elbow. Eddie thwarted a Piledriver attempt, and nearly got a pin after a Tiger Driver that rocked the champ. Eddie hit a Boston Knee Party, but Young was able to partially block it or things would have been over. They went up top, and Eddie reversed a Bulldog attempt to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb, but Young kicked out at the last second. Eddie looked to end things with another top rope move, but Young powered out, and spiked Eddie down knee-first on the mat. Eric tried to end things with an ankle lock, but Eddie’s shoe came off, Eddie hit a Boston Knee Party, but Young got his foot on the rope at 2-and-7/8s. Young attacked Eddie’s weakened leg, hit Eddie with a Piledriver, then locked on a leg submission, giving Eddie no choice but to tap out. This was really good. In front of a live crowd, this would have been excellent. Eddie Edwards has strong a connection with the fans, and their reactions really elevate the “feel” of his matches, maybe more than anyone else in the company.
Winner, and still Impact World Champion: Eric Young
After the match, Eric grabbed a chair to end Eddie’s career, but Rich Swann ran to the ring and prevented the attack. The show ended with Young screaming hysterically at Swann from the entrance ramp.
Victory Road - October 2nd, 2020
Impact Zone - Nashville, TN
This Impact Plus special felt like an extended episode of the company’s weekly Tuesday night show. That included the usual slate of good and bad, with the in-ring action fairly strong throughout. For subscribers, this was a fine offering, but there was nothing so mind-blowing that it would entice non-subscribers to sign up.