Since beating him for the Impact World Championship in controversial fashion, Moose had been trying to play mind games with Josh Alexander. By hurting his wife and threatening his kids, Moose put Josh into a blind rage that would get him suspended from the company for several weeks. And as they headed into their title rematch at Saturday’s Rebellion PPV, Moose hoped that Josh’s emotions would lead him to making a mistake that Moose could exploit and escape with the gold yet again.
But, as the saying goes, the best laid plans of Moose and men often go awry. And because Josh was able to keep his emotions in check and focus only on beating Moose for the title, the “Walking Weapon” is now a two-time Impact World Champion.
Josh’s family was not only on his mind during his entrance, but also accompanied him – his son Jet came out with him dressed up like his father in a singlet, mouthguard, and headguard. When they got to the ring, Josh passed the kid over the barrier to his wife Jade, while he waited for Moose to slowly stalk down the ramp.
Moose tried to goad Alexander into rushing him at the bell and maybe make a mistake by wrestling with blind rage. But Alexander refrained from pulling a Leeroy Jenkins and didn’t play Moose’s mind games. Instead, he went to his mat basics, got Moose down on the canvas, and then laid into him with very clinical targeted body strikes. He tried to clamp on an Ankle Lock, but Moose desperately swam his way out of the ring and to the floor where his frustration was evident.
This happened a couple of times, but then when Moose went outside and approached Jade and Jet, Alexander lost his composure. The trap baited, Moose struck and smashed Alexander into the ring post. In the ring, they exchanged hard shots, with Moose hitting an impressive dropkick that dropped Alexander. The battle spilled to the floor where Moose whipped Alexander repeatedly into the ringside barrier.
Back in the ring, Moose continued to work on Alexander’s midsection with an Abdominal Stretch. But Alexander found his composure again and went back to basics, hitting Moose with a Suplex to buy himself some space, and then stomping a mudhole into Moose, punctuating that with a Running Low Cross Body to the back that sent Moose flying hard from the apron to the floor.
Josh hit a series of ten German Suplexes that looked like they’d taken just as much out of him as it did Moose. So he wasn’t able to make the cover, nor pick up Moose for a follow-up C4 Spike. A desperate Moose did hit a huge Dropkick to stun Josh and then followed up with a big Sky High Choke Bomb for a two-count. He went for a Flying Body Press, but Josh side-stepped him and put on an Ankle Lock when Moose crashed, forcing Moose to get to the ropes.
They did an extended chop exchange that evolved into a forearm exchange that saw Alexander get dropped but he would not yield. This frustrated Moose who hit a huge Chokeslam, but that only fired up Alexander and he popped back up immediately, and whipped his headgear off and into Moose’s face, before fighting back with a higher intensity level than ever.
Alexander sent Moose head over heels with a huge Lariat and then hit the C-4 Spike – but Moose got his foot on the ropes at two-point-nine.
A desperate Moose resorted to dirty biting tactics to take back control, and he dropped Josh with a Superplex for two. He ran in for the Spear, but Josh caught him and turned it into a Styles Clash, in a great sequence. He put on the Ankle Lock again, but Moose crawled to the ropes one more time. This time, he pulled off one of the turnbuckle pads, and when the ref turned his back on the action to inspect the corner, Moose low-kicked Josh right in the groinal area. He then rammed Josh face-first into the exposed turnbuckle – that looked incredibly violent.
A dazed Alexander stumbled out of the corner but got cut down with a Spear by Moose for the one… two… thr—no! Alexander kicked out!
Moose tore off another turnbuckle pad and delivered one of the grossest-looking Buckle Bombs you’ll ever see. He went for another Spear, but this time Josh countered with a knee to the face. A defiant Alexander crawled over to Moose, picked him up, and hit him with the C-4 Spike for the pin and the World Championship.
This was simply great on all levels. From the storyline to the execution to the hard-hitting in-ring action to the emotional payoff. Even with his first win, Alexander proved that he was world champion material. Now that he’s got the gold again, hopefully a lengthy title reign will help reinforce how good he is.
After the match, Jade and Jet joined Josh in the ring to celebrate his championship win to end the show.
Impact Rebellion – Full Results
Pre-show Match 1: Eddie Edwards vs. Chris Bey
Eddie was accompanied by Honor No More for his introduction, but they didn’t come down to the ring for his match. This was a pretty standard battle between power and speed. Bey hit the first big spot of the night with a Flying Somersault Dive over the top. But a dirty thumb to the eye by Edwards left Bey prone to some powerful hits and soon he was in trouble. He fought back, and dropped Eddie after some fancy kicks and a High Cross Body. Later, Bey reversed a Tiger Driver attempt into a deep cradle for a very close count. But Eddie powered up and hit a Backpack Stunner to regain control. Edwards blocked an Art of Finesse attempt, then hit a Tiger Driver and a Die Hard Driver to get the pin.
This was fine. It’s unfortunate that the originally-scheduled match of Edwards vs. Jonathan Gresham for the ROH Championship couldn’t happen, because that also had a strong storyline build-up. This one was good in terms of the in-ring, but the lack of any emotional stakes meant that moving it to the pre-show was the right move.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
Match Rating: 7/10
Pre-show Match 2: The Influence (Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood) (c) vs. The Iinspiration (Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee) – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The Influence attacked the challengers before the bell, and that allowed them to take control early on. They isolated Lee for several minutes, taking turns beating her up. Lee finally got the tag to McKay who was on fire, and she had the champs in trouble a few times. In the latter stages of the match, all four women were in there battling it out. The Influence’s attempts to cheat using the title belts failed. But after some double-teaming, they were able to dispatch Lee and hit Mckay with the Collab to get the pin.
This match was okay, but felt somewhat hampered by the short time it was given – they only had 7 minutes for this one in order to end the pre-show on time – and had some sloppy moments. With the definitive win by the Influence, it would seem the Iinspiration will be out of the title scene for a bit. Which is a shame, considering they now have some nifty Catwoman-inspired ring gear. Still, it’s probably time to freshen things up a bit in that division, as these teams had been feuding for a while now.
Winners, and still Knockouts Tag Team Champions: The Influence
Match Rating: 6/10
Match 1: “Switchblade” Jay White vs. Chris Sabin vs. Steve Maclin
Maclin wore some cool skull facepaint for this one, which looked good. The commentators highlighted that Sabin was the first person to pin White at Multitude of Matches, and then Maclin got into a fight with White, to provide some context for this three-way.
The story early on was White refusing to get into the ring and was content to let Sabin and Maclin fight it out. Sabin impressed early, nailing both opponents with a Flying Front Roll Dive from the apron to the floor. But back in the ring, Maclin used his power to plant White into the ring and then returned the Dive favour to Sabin. The action spilled to the floor several times, and a lot of this was competed outside the ring. Which favoured White, who smashed Sabin into the ring post and then hit a Snap Belly-to-Back Suplex on Maclin on the floor. White was in control for a bit, but the tide turned several times over the next few minutes.
Maclin’s attempt at a Tower of Doom spot got blocked, but he was still able to hit White with Crosshairs. But when he went for one on Sabin, Sabin pulled up, and Maclin went through the ropes and sailing to the floor, landing underneath the commentary desk – that looked awesome. That left Sabin and White alone in the ring for an exciting sequence of moves and reversals. Sabin finally was able to hit a Cradle Shock. But as he went to pin White, Maclin slid into the ring and rolled up Sabin for the 1-2-3.
This was good, and the last few minutes were really, really strong. This is a big win for Maclin, and hopefully this is a start for him to move up the card. White and Sabin may continue on, and nobody should have an issue with that, because the matches they can have together could be *chef’s kiss*.
Winner: Steve Maclin
Match Rating: 7/10
Josh Alexander was shown entering the arena with his wife Jade and their son. Jade told him to not worry about them, but rather focus on his match and regain the championship. Josh said he has to make Moose pay for what he’s done to their family over the past few months. Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore came up to them, and told Josh to not let Moose get into his head. He said that Josh needed to channel his anger and use it as motivation to beat Moose. Am I the only one who wants to see Jade turn on Josh tonight? That could be an interesting swerve.
Match 2: Taya Valkyrie vs. Deonna Purrazzo (c) – for the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship
Valkyrie dominated early on, using a combination of lucha and more catch-as-catch-can techniques to batter Deonna. But Deonna drove Taya’s face into the ring post to turn things around. Then it was her turn to get aggressive, including smashing Taya with a Standing Side Russian Leg Sweep on the floor that saw Taya’s back and neck hit the apron hard. Back in the ring, they went nose-to-nose screaming in each other’s face, in a cool visceral visual. After some jockeying, Deonna locked on an Armbar, but Taya was able to get to the ropes to break the hold. Taya nearly got a pin after converting a Super Thesz Press attempt into a Sit-Out Powerbomb. Then she tied up Deonna in an STF that made Deonna reach the ropes. They both fought to hit big moves, but Taya won that fight – and the match – when she dug deep and hit Road to Valhalla to get the pin.
This was a much different match that Deonna usually has, since it wasn’t really a technical clinic and she wasn’t using her normal strategy of working the arm for an eventual submission win. Rather, this felt more like an even fight with both women going for broke with every move. I hope Taya sticks around for a while – she can make the division even better than it is. How WWE couldn’t figure out what to do with her is simply mind-boggling.
Winner, and new AAA Reina de Reinas Champion: Taya Valkyrie
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Knockouts Champion Tasha Steelz, who was accompanied by Savannah Evans. Steelz confidently predicted that she would be Rosemary tonight. Steelz was made up to look like a lioness or some kind of cat. Sadly, it wasn’t like Peter Criss’ KISS makeup. If it were, they could bring back the Demon and create a really neat intergender team.
Match 3: “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Ace Austin vs. Trey Miguel (c) – for the X-Division Championship
Miguel and Bailey teamed up to double-team Austin early on, but it didn’t take long until everyone was on their own individual page. When that happened, the speed of this one increased exponentially, and the action got too quick to call. Some crazy spots happened here, including Bailey hitting a Springboard Moonsault onto the back of Austin, who was being held up in an elevated bridge on the floor by Trey. Later, Austin caught Miguel in a Stomp attempt and he dropped him hard onto Bailey’s back. Later, Trey hit a Sliding Cutter onto Austin that looked awkward but also wicked cool. After that, Bailey hit a fugly Springboard Moonsault on Austin on the floor, and then Miguel sent Bailey down with a huge Running Hurancarana to the floor. Wow! After a nifty Shooting Star Stomp that landed on both opponents, Bailey nearly won the match after an Ultimo Weapon on Austin, but Trey broke up the pin.
In the end, Miguel had Bailey down after a huge Meteora, but Austin pulled the ref out of the ring before he could hit the mat a third time. Austin then blasted Trey with a Spin Kick and put him down for good with The Fold to become the X-Division Champion for a third time.
This was a great match, crazy-paced with some really innovative moves. It was very reminiscent of some of the classic X-Division matches in terms of action. Austin as the cocky heel champion works, so the title change was welcome. Based on the chants, though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bailey wearing the gold in the near future, though.
Winner, and new X-Division Champion: Ace Austin
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Honor No More cut a promo, saying that just like Eddie won his match earlier, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett would win the Tag Team Championship tonight. It looks like the faction will soon be feuding with the Bullet Club.
A teaser video aired for someone coming soon to Impact. The initials EGV repeated a couple of times, and there were some binary number chains that showed up (S and F). The imagery was dark, with images of X-rays on old-style filmstrips. Any ideas as to who this might be?
Match 4: JONAH vs. Tomohiro Ishii
If Ishii is supposed to be an imposing name, the visual kills that image. He’s much smaller than JONAH, he looks and moves like a senior citizen, and he moves like he’s under water. How boring was this? After about two minutes of dull, plodding action, JONAH clamped on a lengthy headlock to grind things to a complete halt. They did the inevitable Japanese strong-style forearm exchange, but this one was done at super-slow speed. Then they zombied their way through more quicksand. At least the sounds of the (no-sold) chops were loud enough to wake up the crowd every so often. To make it more insufferable, JONAH extended the boringness by not going for pins when Ishii was on the mat, but rather picked him up for more boredom mixed with more strong style no-selling. Then I thought my TV froze, but it was just them doing more non-action. They both kicked out after some big moves, any of which would have been perfect ways to put this one out of its misery. The end mercifully (if far too late) came when Ishii kind of hit a Brain Buster on JONAH for the pin.
This was a Worst Match of the Year candidate. Is JONAH’s contract up? Because they just about killed any chance of him being seen as a threat anymore after losing to this bag of sand. This was awful. Go out of your way to miss this one.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii.
Loser: the viewers.
Match Rating: 3/10
Match 5: Violent By Design (c) vs. Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs. the Good Brothers vs. Heath and Rhino vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? – 8-Team Elimination Challenge match for the World Tag Team Championship
Essentially, this is a Gauntlet match.
i) The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Myers) (w/ Chelsea Green) vs. Jordynne Grace & W. Morrissey
Two of the three surprise entries were revealed as the participants in the first match of the gauntlet, and it saw the continuation of two ongoing feuds (Cardona-Grace, Myers-Morrissey). Grace and Morrissey were dominating. After Myers broke up a sure pin attempt, Morrissey chased him around the ring. Chelsea got in his way and he stopped short so as to not hit her. Myers slid into the ring and he and Cardona hit Grace with a double-team move (we presume, since the camera missed it) and Cardona rolled her up for the pin. After the match, Morrissey and Grace beat up the Major Players, with Morrissey hitting them with a Double Chokeslam, and then Grace hitting them with a Flying Dive, before Green blasted her from behind. Green low-blowed Morrissey but he revealed he was wearing a protective cup. She was the one needing protection, though, as Morrissey Powerbombed Green through a ringside table. Wow!
ii) The Major Players vs. the Good Brothers
The Brothers took out Myers on the floor with a huge Superkick combo, then got in the ring and dropped Cardona with the Magic Killer for the pin in record time.
iii) The Good Brothers vs. Johnny Swinger & Zicky Dice
Disappointingly, this was the third surprise entry, and not the Briscoe Brothers who will reportedly be coming in for some TV tapings this week. This wasn’t as short as the last match, but it was close. The Good Brothers dispatched Swinger, then hit the Magic Killer on Dice to get the quick win.
iv) The Good Brothers vs. Rich Swann & Willie Mack
Swann and Mack hit stereo Somersault Dives to start things off hot. Things then slowed down to a normal pace and a fairly typical tag match. In the end, Mack was going for a top rope move on Anderson, but Gallows pulled him down behind the referee’s back, and Willie crotcheled himself on the top turnbuckle really uglily. Gallows then Chokeslammed Swann on the apron to take him out of the equation, so he couldn’t break up the pin after they hit the Magic Killer on Mack to advance
v) The Good Brothers vs. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett (w/ Maria, Vincent, and Kenny King)
King and Vincent actually came out during the introductions, allowing Taven and Bennett to sneak in from the crowd and attack the GBs from behind. A brawl ensued, naturally. Anderson tried to Suplex Taven into the ring the hard way, but Maria grabbed Anderson’s foot from the floor and tripped him with Taven landing on top for the 1-2-3. Taven tried to add insult to injury by hitting a Flying Splash onto the GBs on the floor, but he wiped out Vincent and King by mistake. The GBs then hit the Magic Killer on Taven on the floor and left.
vi) Matt Taven & Mike Bennett vs. Heath & Rhino
With Taven still shaken up, Maria’s interference from the floor kept this one from being a one-sided affair for Heath and Rhino. Indeed, Taven was able to recover and he and Bennett were eventually able to take command of things. Until they didn’t. As they were going for a double-team move on Heath, Rhino leaped in with a GORE GORE GORE that cut Taven in half and put him down for the pin.
vii) Heath & Rhino vs. Violent By Design (Eric Young & Joe Doering with Cody Deaner)
This one kind of reset things in terms of pacing, as it felt like a typical tag team match. Rhino got beaten up for a while, until he was able to get the hot tag to Heath. At one point, Heath would have had the match won, but Deaner reached into the ring and put Eric Young’s foot on the bottom rope; the ref missed Deaner’s involvement, but saw the foot on the rope to break the count, leading to Heath chasing Deaner around the ring, only to run into a huge Lariat by Doering. Rhino got back in the ring and was ready to GORE GORE GORE Young, but Doering tripped him from the floor. Heath tried for the Wake Up Call on Young who held on to the rope, leading to Heath crashing down. Young picked him up and hit a Piledriver that kept Heath down for good.
This felt too long and other than a few exciting spots, felt a big lacklustre for a lot of it. The first stwo surprises were fine, but there was no need for the Swinger-Dice stuff, and that could have easily been kept off the card. The Swann-Mack vs. Good Brothers was fine, but went on too long in an already lengthy match. VBD keeping the titles is fine, and there are now some teams whose success in this match could be arguments for title matches, so that has some possibilities.
Winners, and still World Tag Team Champions: Violent By Design
Match Rating: 6/10
They showed a shot of Josh Alexander looking intense in the back, followed by a quick shot of Moose looking intently at his World Championship.
Match 6: Tasha Steelz (c) (w/ Savannah Evans) vs. Rosemary (w/ Havok) – for the Knockouts Championship
Rosemary rush-attacked Steelz at the bell and pummeled her with some big moves before taking her to the Upside Down. Steelz ran to the outside and took a swipe at Havok. When Havok throttled her in response, the referee saw it and ejected Havok from ringside. Steelz then went on the attack and threw Rosemary into the ring post before smashing her with other hard shots both in and out of the ring before clamping on a submission lock. Rosemary muscled out of it, and then fired up by absorbing some kicks and then taking a bit of the Boricua Bad Ass. They both hit some power moves and finisher attempts, with Steelz sending a message to her nemesis Mickie James by hitting Rosemary with Stratusfaction for a two-count. As Steelz distracted the referee, Savannah ran into the ring and hit Rosemary with a huge Running Kick. But even after that and the Black Out by Steelz. Rosemary kicked out! Steelz missed a Frog Splash and hit the mat hard. Evans tried to stop Rosemary from hitting a Spear and at the green mist for her troubles. Then Rosemary did hit the Spear, but Steelz kicked out. Steelz then hit a Cutter off the top and a Twisting Sit-Out Suplex Bomb for the pin. After the match, Havok came back to the ring to chase away Steelz and Evans, who weren’t doing anything but standing over Rosemary’s fallen body.
This wasn’t great. Maybe because it followed the last match, but the crowd was absolutely dead for this one, despite Rosemary generally being a huge crowd favourite. Kicking out of each other’s finishers should have been big deals, but they just sort of happened without any reaction. The Cutter move at the end seemed really contrived so that didn’t come off well. Lastly, they pretty much just chopped the legs out from under Rosemary with the definitive clean loss, so that kind of feels unproductive in the booking of both of them.
Winner, and still Knockouts Champion: Tasha Steelz
Match rating: 5/10
They announced that Slammiversary will take place on June 19th in the company’s old stomping grounds of Nashville, Tennessee. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
Match 7: Josh Alexander vs. Moose (c) – for the Impact World Championship
Winner, and new Impact World Champion: Josh Alexander
Match rating: 9/10
TOP PHOTO: Josh Alexander as the new Impact World champion. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com
Impact Rebellion - April 23rd, 2022
MJN Convention Center - Poughkeepsie, NY
The main event is something you absolutely should go out of your way to watch. In terms of the storyline, the match was the perfect conclusion. And the match itself was great, with strong psychology and great hard-hitting action. As for the rest, there were some other good matches. Unfortunately, some of the others either felt draggy, weren’t memorable, or memorable for all the wrong reasons (*cough* Ishii-JONAH *cough*). In terms of value, the main event was strong enough to pull it into the “worth the money” range — but it’s pretty close to the line.