In late May, Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian faced each other on an episode of Impact, in a match that was billed as the Battle of The Futures, in honor of the moniker each man used at the beginning of their careers. That match was marred by the interference of Honor No More, and ended inconclusively. Fortunately, nothing like that happened during their rematch on  Thursday night’s episode of Impact. And the two “Futures” looked as if they had gone back in time twenty years, delivering one of the company’s best matches of the year so far. And while it was a strange match to conclude the “go-home” show before tomorrow night’s Against All Odds special event (neither one of them are scheduled to be on that event), the quality of the match left little to quibble about.

The show started off with clips from last week, when Honor No More swarmed and injured the Briscoes. In a quick backstage interview with Gia Miller, Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore announced that the Briscoes would not be able to compete tomorrow night – yes, tomorrow night – at Against All Odds, and that the Good Brothers and “Cowboy” James Storm would need to find two new partners to take on HNM in their scheduled 10-man tag match.

In the back, Storm and his America’s Most Wanted partner, “Wildcat” Chris Harris were discussing the situation with the Good Brothers. Storm asked them to follow him while he approached PCO. Storm tried to recruit PCO to their side, reminding him that HNM has been giving him the old red-headed step-child treatment. Before PCO could grunt out a reply, Vincent walked in and shut down the conversation, saying that PCO is firm in his loyalty to HNM.


Match 1: Trey Miguel vs. Steve Maclin vs. Chris Bey vs. Laredo Kid

The winner of this one will become the number one contender to the X-Division Championship, currently held by “Speedball” Mike Bailey. Within seconds, Maclin was the odd man out, and after a quick triple-team, he was flattened on the floor by a huge assisted flying dive by Laredo Kid.


After that, the story of the match saw Maclin using his power advantage on the others, who tried to use their speed and aerials on him and on each other. A nice sequence saw Miguel hit Maclin with a huge Hurancarana off the apron and to the floor, only for the two of them to get hit with a Torpedo Dive by Laredo Kid, and then Bey hit them all with a huge Springboard Moonsault to the floor. After some more fast and furious action, Miguel was able to clear Maclin and Laredo Kid out of the ring, and then hit Bey with a Jumping Meteora to get the pin.

This was a fun start to the show. Miguel showed off an edgier, more aggressive attitude, and it will be interesting to see how far he’ll go when he takes on Bailey on Friday.

Winner: Trey Miguel

A pre-taped promo from the legendary Raven aired, promoting the Raven’s Rules Clockwork Orange House of Fun match between Moose and Sami Callihan this Friday. Raven said he hopes that someone gets hurt during the match, because he would find that fun. He’ll be on-hand to see all the action live and in person. Quoth the Raven: Nevermore.


Announcers Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt ran down the full Against All Odds card.


Match 2: Gisele Shaw vs. Rosemary (w/ Taya Valkyrie)

The Influence (Tenille Dashwood and Madison Rayne) joined the commentary team for this match. It was suggested that they were sizing Shaw up as a potential member of the Influence, but moreso they wanted to badmouth Rosemary and Taya, who beat them for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship.

Rosemary, meanwhile, wanted to put her bad mouth to good use, biting Shaw a few times in the early moments. But Shaw came back with a Neckbreaker on the ropes and a huge Clothesline to take over the match. She hit Rosemary with some big shots, but Rosemary dodged a Running Knee and fired back with some more biting and some power moves of her own, including a nice Exploder Suplex. After both women traded pinfall attempts, it looked like Rosemary was going for the kill. But the Influence left the commentary desk and made their way ringside and shoved Taya headfirst into the ring post. This distracted Rosemary long enough for Shaw to recover. So when Rosemary went to end things with the Spear, Shaw countered with a Knee to the Face, and Rosemary was knocked loopy enough that she couldn’t kick out of the pin. After the match, the Influence and Shaw beat up Rosemary some more, and they posed together.


This was fine, though there was some stiltedness from Shaw during the match at times. If she joins the Influence, she’d be like their version of Crush in Demolition.

Winner: Gisele Shaw

Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Mickie James, who didn’t get to say much before she was interrupted by Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green. They said that Mickie is too self-centred to be able to work well with Mia Yim during their tag match at Against All Odds. Mickie responded by attacking them both. Mia Yim ran in to support her, and Deonna and Chelsea ran off. Mia and Mickie affirmed they will work as a tight unit tomorrow.

In the back, Rosemary and Taya summoned Father James Mitchell from the demon realm. Rosemary told him to pass along the message that they need her there to join the fight against the Influence and Gisele.


Match 3: Savannah Evans (w/ Tasha Steelz) vs. Jordynne Grace

Grace’s Knockouts Championship wasn’t on the line tonight, but it will be tomorrow when Grace defends against Steelz.

Jordynne was dominant early, but after Steelz got involved on the floor, Evans was able to take control, running her hard into the apron and the steel ring-post. Grace was able to recover, and once she took things back into the ring, she quickly ended the match with a Muscle Buster for the definitive pin.

This was a good showcase for Jordynne, and certainly makes it seem that the odds will be against Steelz tomorrow night.

Winner: Jordynne Grace

A hype video aired for Joe Doering, highlighting his significant success in Japan, and his recent success in Impact, including holding a DQ win over World Champion Josh Alexander, who he faces for the title tomorrow.

Gia Miller did a sit-down interview with Alexander. They showed the attack perpetrated by Doering and Deaner after Alexander beat Eric Young at Slammiversary, and Alexander noted that nobody has seen Eric Young since that night. Alexander acknowledged the threat Doering posed to his title reign and said that he has to focus entirely on Doering and can’t let Eric Young get into his head.


Match 4: PCO and Vincent (w/ Honor No More) vs. the Good Brothers (c) (w/ “Cowboy” James Storm) – for the World Tag Team Championship

At least at the beginning of the match, PCO and Vincent seemed to be on the same page, using dirty tactics to isolate Karl Anderson on their side of the ring. They took turns beating him up, including Vincent hitting a Low Flatliner, and PCO squashing him with a Senton Dive, and then a De-Animator (Somersault Senton from the top onto the apron).  Anderson finally escaped, and he ran roughshod, and the match hit a higher gear. After some fighting in the ring and outside on the floor, it was anyone’s ballgame. But the turning point came when Anderson rolled out of the way of a Swanton by Vincent. Vincent crashed hard, and Anderson rolled him up for the pin and the successful title defense.

After the match, all of Honor No More jumped into the ring and swarmed the Good Brothers and Storm. Despite his having been asked by Storm to stay in the back, “Wildcat” Chris Harris ran in to try to make the save, much to the amusement of HNM. But before they could beat him up, Heath marched down to the ring. He had a couple of lead pipes in his pocket and he handed one to Harris, and they waylaid HNM.


Taven was the last HNM member standing, but not for long. After he got laid out by a pipe shot, the Impact members celebrated, though Storm did express his concern about Harris getting physical.

The match was pretty good while it lasted. Not sure that it was the right move for HNM to be laid out so thoroughly before the AAO match – it seems they’ve got their comeuppance already, so what is the incentive to see tomorrow’s match now?

Winners, and still World Tag Team Champions: the Good Brothers

In the back, the Impact guys celebrated their win. Heath was amped to join the team for tomorrow’s match. Harris also said that he was in, but Storm told him he shouldn’t risk his health and safety. Harris argued that he couldn’t move on with the positive changes in his life unless and until he helped Impact get past the threat of HNM, and Storm acquiesced. After, all five celebrated and were amped up over their chances tomorrow night.


Match 5: Ace Austin (w/ Chris Bey) vs. Alex Zayne

The commentators explained these two had some bad  blood as a result of their friendship having been broken while they were in Japan, when Austin abandoned Zayne to join the Bullet Club.

There was some neat choreography in the first minute, culminating with a Hurancarana takedown of Austin by Zayne. The match went back and forth, with Austin using the ropes and the ring post to hurt Zayne, and Zayne hitting some nifty moves, including the Baja Blast, to batter Austin. Based on Tom Hannifan’s commentary, Zayne has some interesting move names, including the Cinnamon Twist and the Taco Driver, though Austin avoided both, so who knows what they actually look like. After some flippy-doo moves, Austin had Zayne in trouble, but Zayne avoided The Fold, and that slowed Austin’s momentum. As did Chris Bey, who interfered on the floor.

This distraction did allow Austin to hit The Fold for the cheap win.

This was a good match. Having the announcers explain the context for the feud was a good thing, and helped add interest into the match. Zayne exhibited some personality, and did some neat things, and made you want to see him again – which, when showcasing a new name, is a good thing.

Winner: Ace Austin


Match 6: Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Sabin (w/ Alex Shelley)

This was a rematch from a few weeks back, when these two were attacked by Honor No More, mid-match. Kaz’s wife, Traci Brooks, and their son Rebel were shown at ringside during the introductions. The announcers noted that this match will mark the final one for referee Brian Hebner, who is retiring.

They started off with some technical exchanges, resulting in even-steven standoffs. A third fancy exchange saw Sabin get the better of things as he managed to spike Kaz’s knee onto the mat. Sabin then targeted the weakened knee, using various locks to try to for a submission. But Frankie persevered through the pain and hit Sabin with some throws, drops, strikes, and stretches, including levering Sabin face-first into the ring post.

Sabin found his second wind, and he hit a flurry of offense, including a DDT for a 2-count, and a big Flying Dive through the ropes to the floor that floored Kaz. They had another exchange of moves and countermoves, with both men going for broke. Kaz hit a Springboard Legdrop but missed a second one. Sabin went for a Flying Dive, but that got countered with a fist to the face and a Springboard DDT.

As the match progressed, things got even more intense. Sabin blocked a Flux Capacitor attempt, and then Kaz turned a Tornado DDT attempt into a Northern Lights Suplex for a close fall. Sabin hit a Superkick to thwart a Flying Press to the floor by Kaz, and then dropped Kaz with a Tornado DDT on the floor. But Kaz recovered and hit a huge Cutter for 2-and-7-8ths. As Kaz did some trash-talking, Sabin played possum, and when Kaz went to cover him, Sabin got up and hit the Cradle Shock for the 1-2-No! Kaz kicked out!

Sabin went up top, but Kaz crotcheled him and hit a Superplex – but Sabin hooked his leg and nearly got a three-count. They then slugged it out in the middle of the ring, windmilling punches on each other before exchanging huge kicks and other hard blows, which finally ended after Sabin managed to hit a second Cradle Shock to get the hard-fought victory.

After the match, Sabin extended hand to Kaz and they embraced in a show of mutual respect.

This was great, and one of the better wrestling matches you’ll see this week. They played the face vs. face dynamic really well, and you felt it was a shame that either one had to lose. Kaz has been used much better in Impact than he has been in his home promotion of AEW – if they’re smart, Impact will try to keep that “Forbidden Door” open a little longer and let him stay for a while.

Winner: Chris Sabin

Impact Wrestling - June 30th, 2022

The Asylum, Nashville Fairgrounds - Nashville, TN

Most of the matches were very good, and they all helped with the build for tomorrow night’s Against All Odds show.  But the main event absolutely stole the show. With only two weeks of shows since Slammiversary, there wasn’t a lot of time to build for AAO, so it’s kind of strange that this match took place when it did. But watch it, and you’ll be thankful that it did.