Is it too late to submit nominations for the Best Match of the Year awards? Because Friday night’s OverDrive event – which aired on the company’s Impact Plus streaming service and its YouTube subscription channel – featured two matches that should definitely be on the list.

The Last Knockout Standing match that saw Jordynne Grace successfully retain her Knockouts Championship against the threatening challenger Masha Slamovich was a shoe-in for Match of the Night, as the two delivered a hard-hitting match that should put to rest any thought that women’s wrestling is somehow “lesser” than men’s. Indeed, that match was a legitimate fight with action that would be hard-pressed to beat by anyone, regardless of gender.

On any other night, that match would have been a shoe-in for match of the night. But then World Champion Josh Alexander and challenger Frankie Kazarian put on a wrestling match for the ages. Seriously, their 40-minute match was a modern classic, and should be – and likely will be – recognized as one of the best matches in the company’s storied history.


Countdown Match 1: Kenny King vs. Rich Swann vs. Bhupinder Gujjar vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Jason Hotch vs. Yuya Uemura

This one was hot from the get-go, with everyone going at top speed. At various times, four of the guys were out of the ring, leaving two in the ring to square off against one another. The action was too quick to call at times, with bodies flying everywhere, including a Moonsault by Bailey off to everyone on the floor, which Swann one-upped with a big Phoenix Splash off the top to pick up the spare. Then, those two went at it, with Bailey looking like he would get the win with the Ultima Weapon, until King broke things up. Newcomer Hotch (who was the most recent Gut Check winner) had his moments, including hitting a Rolling Double Neckbreaker on Swann and Yuya simultaneously. In a really neat spot, Gujjar had Hotch up on his shoulders, but Bailey landed on both of them with the Ultima Weapon.


But before he could cover either man, Kenny King took Bailey out of the ring, and simply left, allowing Swann to cover a downed Hotch for the pin.

This was a throwback to the X-Division opening matches of early TNA shows – fast, exciting, and sometimes chaotic action with some really flashy spots. The ending possibly opens the door for something intriguing between King and Swann, so we’ll see if it goes anywhere.

Winner: Rich Swann

A video aired focusing on Bully Ray, showing why he may not be trusted by anyone.


Countdown Match 2: Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs. The Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey)

The winners of this one would become the number one contenders for the Tag Team Championship. Early on, the Guns showed off their veteran tag team chops, hitting double-team moves on both of the younger members of the Bullet Club.

But what the BC lacked in experience, they made up for in dirty tactics, allowing them to take control. They isolated Shelley in their corner and used some classic tag team villainy to punish him while keeping Sabin out of the equation. After several minutes, Shelley rolled out of the way of a Bey Moonsault, and that gave him the room to tag in a very fresh Sabin. He hit some dazzling offense, including a Cross Body that took out both Club members, and then he and Shelley hit stereo German Suplexes that stunned the Club. The Guns – maybe in tribute, or in mockery of, some other Bullet Club members – hit a Magic Killer for a 2-count. But the Club recovered and mounted a comeback, using some double-team magic of their own. They went for a throwing Art of Finesse, but Sabin sidestepped it and Bey hit hard. A few moves and counters later, and Sabin was finally able to roll up Bey for the pinfall.

This was very good. It was slower than the opener, but the wrestling was on point throughout. One minor constructive criticism – remember when the one babyface was in trouble and his partner would be in the corner, clapping or slapping the turnbuckle to try to get the crowd to clap along and give his partner a moral boost? That kind of thing is missed, and the Guns could have done this a couple of times to really get the crowd amped and invested. But that’s a minor quibble for what was otherwise a good one.

Winners: The Motor City Machine Guns


OverDrive – Main Show


Match 1: Moose vs. Bully Ray – Tables match

Moose hit a low blow and a Spear in the opening seconds, and then immediately went about propping up a table in the corner. But before he could do anything with it, Bully Ray came back and took the fight to the outside, where he hurt Moose with a Suplex on the floor, and that gave Bully the chance to set up another table in the ring. The two both got their strength bar back to full, and then took turns hitting each other with a chair to bring the levels back down. Moose went for a Hurancarana off the top, but Bully countered it with a Super Powerbomb.


After exchanging punches and forearm shots, Moose tried for a Flying Move off the top, but Bully countered with a huge Cutter – that looked great. After they both got up, Bully tried for a running charge to drive Moose through the table, but Moose stepped aside, and Bully drove himself through the table. Which didn’t count as a win, since the rule requires you to physically put your opponent through it in order to win. Moose figured Bully was easy pickings and tried to throw him through a table, but Bully reversed the Irish Whip and threw Moose at it. Moose stopped short of the table, but when he turned around, Bully charged him and this time it was Moose who indeed went through it.

This was good for what it was, in that it was a good fight between two big guys. With Bully having the Call Your Shot trophy, which he can cash in for a World Championship match anytime he wants, it was the right call to have him win and looking strong.

Winner: Bully Ray

Gia Miller interviewed Frankie Kazarian’s wife, Traci Brooks, and their son, who are watching the show from Traci’s family’s house in Canada. Traci predicted that Frankie would win the World Championship tonight.


Match 2: Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans vs. the Death Dollz (Jessicka & Taya Valkyrie (c) (w/ Rosemary) – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship

Tasha survived the opening power onslaught by Jessicka and Taya long enough to tag in Evans. But even she had some problems with the Dollz for a while. Until she hit a big striking Headbutt to Taya, dazing her and leaving her vulnerable to Steelz’ buzzsaw offense. As an aside, kudos to Rosemary and Jessicka who rallied the crowd by pounding the mat and the turnbuckle while Taya was in trouble – the old-school stuff still works, people. As another aside, this is the first time, I believe, this female referee has been used in Impact – she looks like she may be a wrestler herself, and it was a bit distracting as she was the tallest person in the ring. Back to the match, which eventually saw all four women fighting it out in the ring. Jessicka blocked a Cutter Attempt by Steelz and then held her prone for Taya to kick Steelz in the head before Jessicka hit the Sick Driver for the 1-2-3.


This was a pretty good, pretty standard tag team match.

Winners, and still Knockouts Tag Team Champions: the Death Dollz

Back stage, the Bullet Club and the Motor City Machine Guns were talking respectfully to each other. The Bullet Club are off to compete in Japan, and the Guns told them that experience will be invaluable. The Guns said if the Bullet Club do well in Japan, when they get back, the Guns would give them a shot at the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship. Brian Myers and Matt Cardona walked in and started being cocky, putting down both teams, and saying they would win the Tag Team Championship against Heath and Rhino tonight.


Match 3: Taylor Wilde vs. Mickie James

This is part of Mickie’s “Last Rodeo”, meaning that if Taylor wins, Mickie will retire from in-ring action. This is the first time these two Impact veterans have ever faced each other one-on-one.

Neither woman was able to get a definitive advantage in the opening minutes, which was highlighted by some very scientific, ground-based grappling by both women.


After several minutes, they both tried to break the stalemate with a little more aggression, with Taylor pulling Mickie to the floor and driving her back-first into the side of the ring. Wilde continued to target Mickie’s back, mixing it up with submission holds and strikes to Mickie’s spine. After a while, Mickie fired up and hit a Thesz Press to slow Wilde’s momentum, and then hit a Flapjack to buy her some breathing space. But Wilde was tenacious in her attack to the back, and even nearly got the pin after hitting the Wilde Ride (German Suplex), as the pace really quickened. Wilde was going for another Suplex, but Mickie blocked it and hit a huge MickDT that knocked Taylor out for the count.

After the match, Deonna Purrazzo came out and headed to the ring. She got in Mickie’s face and accused Mickie of lying about trying to make women’s wrestling better, but said that Mickie is selfish and her only purpose is to ruin Purrazzo’s career. Deonna said that she was looking to not just ruin Mickie’s career, but to end it.

This was a really good match, and easily Taylor’s best since her return (though, that seems to be a recurring story, as she keeps delivering the goods and upping the game every time she’s in there). Unfortunately, as with every match so far in Mickie’s Last Rodeo, there wasn’t really a question about the outcome, so that kind of dampened how good the match was. A shame, since it was really, really good, and the highlight of the night so far.

Winner: Mickie James


Match 4: The Major Players (Brian Myers & Matt Cardona) vs. Heath & Rhino (c) – for the World Tag Team Championship

Heath and Rhino shone at the beginning, embarrassing the Major Players by causing them to collide with each other in a way that they crashed into each other’s crotchels in an uncomfortable way. They got their revenge, though, through some chicanery that left Heath in their corner and at their mercy, or more accurately, their lack thereof. The Major Players used some classic tag team cheating to prevent Heath from getting the tag. As they continued the beat-down on him, the Motor City Machine Guns came out and sat down on some chairs at ringside to scout out their future competition. After jaw-jacking with the Guns, Cardona went for the Reboot on Heath, but Heath ended up throwing Cardona over the top and to the floor. Heath tagged in a fresh Rhino who took over, throwing the Players around with reckless abandon. But his fire was quickly doused with a Flatliner by Myers and a Double DDT by the challengers, forcing Heath to make the last-minute save. The Major Players tried to sneak a chair into the ring, but the Guns stopped them. As the Players scrambled to come up with another approach , Rhino capitalized on their discombobulation, and hit the GORE! GORE! GORE! on Myers for the pin.


The Major Players continue to be black holes of charisma, but they can put on a very good tag team match, which this was. Heath and Rhino just won the titles, so it made sense for them not to lose here. Though it may have made sense for the Major Players to win, so they can go into a feud with the Guns for the title in a traditional heel-face dynamic.

Winners, and still World Tag Team Champions: Heath and Rhino

In the back, Gia Miller interviewed Bully Ray, who said that he would be watching the main event with great interest. He reiterated his promise to give whoever walks away with the World Championship – Josh Alexander or Frankie Kazarian – fair warning before he called his shot for the title.


Match 5: Black Taurus (w/ Crazzy Steve) vs. Trey Miguel – for the vacant X-Division Championship

Crazzy Steve was in the ring before the match and did the introduction for Taurus, but he didn’t stick around for the actual match. Proverbial clash of styles early on, with Miguel using his speed and agility to stick and move so as to avoid Taurus’ huge strength advantage – not to mention Taurus’ own high-flying skills, which are amazing for someone with his size and stature. A fantastic segment with both of them countering each other’s moves led to a classic ECW stalemate moment. But that didn’t last long, as Taurus finally got Trey in his clutches and walloped him – and then followed that up with a huge Somersault Cross Body off the floor and a Powerslam for a 2-count that had the fans chanting Taurus’ name. A Tornado Leg Lock submission by Taurus made Miguel reach the ropes to break it, and then a Pop-up Samoan Drop nearly broke Miguel – that looked incredible. Trey finally fought back with some lightning quick kicks, and he even was able to survive a slugfest against the beast, before a huge Headbutt by Taurus put both of them down. After some more back and forth, the action went up top, from where Taurus hit a Super Gorilla Press Slam – but Miguel kicked out!


Taurus went for a Running Knee, but Trey dumped him over the top rope, blasted him with a huge Hurancarana and a Meteora – but Taurus kicked out! The action spilled to the floor, where Taurus drove Miguel against the ring post, and it looked like Taurus was going to put Trey away. But back in the ring, a desperate Trey cheated, distracting the referee, and then blasting a stream of spray paint right into Taurus’ eyes. He then hit a Lightning Spiral on the blinded Taurus to get the pin.

This may have gone on just a smidgen too long, but overall was a great match that made both competitors look strong. The apparent heel turn by Trey was an interesting twist, and that should freshen him up if they commit to it. It’s kind of disappointing to not see them give Taurus a title run, as he really has been a standout performer and could really give the division a shot in the arm with some fresh matches. But maybe that will be the longer-term story, as he certainly has claim to a rematch after this one.

Winner, and new X-Division Champion: Trey Miguel


Match 6: Masha Slamovich vs. Jordynne Grace (c) – Last Knockout Standing match for the Knockouts World Championship

In the first minute in, the match spilled to the floor. Masha tried to take advantage of the no rule stipulation and swung at Jordynne with a chair. But Jordynne ducked It, and then started attacking Masha’s legs, a strategic move since that could hinder Masha getting to her move when it mattered. Masha responded in kind, locking on a Half Crab to put the strain on Grace’s legs and lower back. With both of them suffering hurt knees, the next few minutes saw them hit leg-based moves on one another and then hope their opponent couldn’t get back up to her feet. After a while, some steel chairs were brought into the ring, which upped the ante. Grace was the first to use them, Powerbombing Masha through one of the chairs, which exploded upon impact – that was awesome. As was the Death Valley Driver on to a chair that Masha hit on Jordynne in response, though Jordynne was able to get to her feet at 8, continuing the match. More plunder was introduced, including a garbage can, which Grace dropped Masha on with a Vertebreaker – that looked spectacular. The two continued slugging it out, including Masha hitting a Moscow Sunrise (essentially a Canadian Destroyer off the ropes), which saw Grace only getting to her feet at a 9-count. They continued to slug it out, and then tied each other up in Figure Four Leglocks, again hoping to cripple each other long enough to prevent the other from standing up. On the floor, Masha hit a Reverse Piledriver and then found some more weaponry, including a wooden door that she bridged on the apron and a garbage can. But Grace escaped Masha’s attempt to drive her through the bridge, and he lifted Masha onto her shoulders, climbed up the ring steps onto the apron, and drove Masha through the door with a Muscle Buster. That was enough to finally put an end to the Russian juggernaut who couldn’t get to her feet before the ref counted to ten.


This was a must-see slobberknocker of a match that you should go out of your way to see. Good , hard-hitting action, a well-told story. Just super. It’s interesting they yet again opted to not put the title on Masha and instead had her drop two matches in a row to Jordynne. But with this performance, there isn’t much risk that her star power or aura of toughness will be diminished. Seriously, this should be a late contender for women’s match of the year. Just tremendous.

Winner, and still Knockouts World Championship: Jordynne Grace


Match 7: Frankie Kazarian vs. Josh Alexander (c) – for the World Championship

Josh’s wife Jen and son Jett were shown at ringside, as is often the case for his big matches. Before the match, the commentators reminded everyone that this was the first singles match ever between these two.

They started off with some really quick mat-based wrestling, and Kazarian was  able to hang with Alexander, which not many people can do. In fact, it looked like Frankie was dictating the pace, moving quickly so as to not give Alexander the chance to get grounded and in a position where he could clamp on a hold or lock him in for a throw. Eventually, though, Josh did slow things down, and he hit some deliberate big moves like a pair of High German Suplexes. But the wily veteran caught Alexander with a surprise Boot to the Head that sent Josh to the floor and prone for a Flying Dive on the floor, and then a Springboard Legdrop back in the ring, which earned a 2-count.

Alexander mustered up enough strength to fight back, but every time he did, Frankie was able to hit a big move to cut him back down again. Finally, Josh went into the depths of his reserves and hit a huge Butterfly Suplex that hurt Frankie, and bought Alexander a breather. They both got back to their feet and Josh, resurging with energy, was able to hit a series of ten German Suplexes that fully sapped Frankie’s energy. Or did it?


Frankie reached deep inside and found some energy, charging at Josh. But in doing so, he accidentally plowed right into the referee, knocking him out. Shortly thereafter, the two opponents collided and hit the floor, right in front of Josh’s family. Possessed with the dream of winning his first world title, Kazarian went to the announce table and grabbed the World Championship belt with the intent to clobber Josh with it. But a plea from Jen, and looking down at Josh’s son, gave Frankie pause and he put the title back. Instead he went back into the ring to try to win the right way. A Killswitch very nearly accomplished that, but Josh unbelievably kicked out at 2.99.

The battle continued on the apron, where Josh was able to regain the edge, and he hit a huge Running Cross Body that drove Kazarian to the floor. Back in the ring, Josh went for a rollup, but Kaz escaped and locked on the Chicken Wing right in the middle of the ring. Josh broke loose and clamped on the Ankle Lock, forcing Frankie to get to the ropes to break it.

As the crowd chanted for both men, they both tried to solve the problem of how to beat the other. A Superplex attempt by Josh ended with a nasty fall, and it looked like Josh may have been shaken up. But he was still in it enough to try some big moves, and he actually did hit a Spinning Tombstone for a very close count. Josh threw some kicks to Frankie’s spine, but while contemplating his next move, Frankie surprised him with a Slingshot Cutter that was a hair away from a three-count.

The two slugged it out, with Frankie even knocking Josh’s headgear off with a clubbing blow. He then shocked Josh by rolling him up into an Ankle Lock, but Josh’s submission mastery allowed him to reverse it and he cranked hard on Kazarian’s ankle, forcing Kaz to reach the ropes again. Kaz went into the historical TNA playbook, hitting Josh with a Styles Clash for a 2-count. And the battle waged on.

Kaz went up top to try for the Flux Capacitor, but Josh blocked it and went for a Super C-4 Spike. Fortunately for Kaz, he was able to thwart the attempt, and threw Josh to the mat. Kaz followed that up with a Top Rope Legdrop and then locked on the Chicken Wing. Some more pinfall attempts and reversals by both men followed and the crowd had no choice but to acknowledge that “This is awesome!”. After a final rally of moves, countermoves, pins, and reversals, Josh was able to finally hit the C-4 Spike and Kazarian couldn’t respond. The ref’s had hit the mat for the third time, and this epic match came to an end. After the match, the two raised each other’s arm as the crowd gave them a well-deserved standing ovation.


That was a poem. Just an epic match that has to be considered not only one of the – if not THE – best matches of either man’s career, but one of the best matches in the history of the company.

Winner, and still Impact World Champion: Josh Alexander

After that show of mutual respect, Kaz left, leaving Josh alone in the ring. Then, Bully Ray’s music hit and he came to the ring. He joined Josh in the ring and said that he had witnessed an incredible wrestling match. “That is what professional wrestling is all about,” he said, and called Josh the most credible champion in wrestling today.

Bully reiterated his earlier promise to Josh that he would call his shot the right way, that he would give Josh notice before cashing in, and do it the right way. He challenged Josh to a match on Friday January 13th at Hard To Kill, and Josh accepted the challenge.

But then as Josh went outside to celebrate with Jen and Jett, Bully attacked him from behind, knocking him silly right in front of his family, and then smashed him repeatedly with a steel chair while Jean begged him to stop. He then zip-tied Josh’s hand to the bottom rope and reminded him that even though he had kept his word about giving Josh advance warning as to when he would cash in.

Bully looked like he was going to hit Josh with the chair yet again, but instead he grabbed Jen and pulled her over the ringside barrier and to the ringside floor. As Josh screamed at him, Bully threatened to Piledrive Jen on the concrete floor unless and until Josh handed him his title bet. Josh had no choice but to relent and he gave Bully the belt. Bully then menaced them some more before walking away to the boos of the crowd.

The betrayal/backstabbing by Bully Ray wasn’t hard to predict, as they had been teasing him as an untrustworthy liar since he won the Call Your Shot. But even though it was expected, it was still done effectively – we’ll ignore the lack of security or Impact officials coming out to stop Bully from physically assaulting Jen. Bully is a very loathsome villain, so expect his vileness and violence to be on full display for the next few weeks leading up to the PPV. We’ll see if that ride will be as fun as this show was – a high bar, to be sure.


Impact Wrestling OverDrive - November 18, 2022

Old Forester’s Paris Hall – Louisville KY

It’s easy to “sleep on” Impact Wrestling, as the kids say. But when the company puts on a show like OverDrive, it would be a shame to do so. The show was chock full of strong matches, but the last two were simply *chef’s kiss*. Go out of your way to watch this one.