Impact returned to action on Thursday night after last week’s Thanksgiving flashback special. And the action was total and non-stop. Bully Ray was able to incite white-hot heat with an intense promo that had the crowd – and Impact’s top boss Scott D’Amore – enraged. And the main event saw Mickie James put her career on the line as she faced the division’s top in-ring star, the “Virtuoso” Deonna Purrazzo in a match as strong as you might expect.


Bully Ray promo

Bully Ray made his Bully Way to the ring to start the show, carrying the pieces of the Call Your Shot trophy. They showed clips from Overdrive where Impact Executive Vice-President kicked the trophy in disgust over Bully’s heinous attack on Josh Alexander and his wife Jenn.

After glaring down at one kid, threatening another, and insulting the crowd, Bully said that he told the world – including Josh – that when he was going to call his shot, he would do it face-to-face in the ring and then shake his hand. And that’s what he did, to make the match official on January 13th at Hard to Kill. He said that Josh is a great wrestler. But he’s not smart, because after knowing all of the evil things Bully has done, Josh shouldn’t have put his wife in a situation where she would be that close to Bully.


Bully said that Josh wasn’t there tonight as he has to deal with the trauma his family is dealing with. But all that mattered is that Josh shows up at Hard to Kill.

Rich Swann had apparently heard enough of Bully, and he ran into the ring and attacked Bully who bailed when Swann went up to hit him with a big move. A referee ran down to the ring, and this transitioned into…


Match 1: Bully Ray vs. Rich Swann

The match was joined in progress and Bully Ray was firmly in control. He beat up Swann, using his size, strength, and experience advantage to punish Swann. Swann mounted a comeback, even dropping Bully with a Missile Dropkick, but then took a hard landing on a Back Body Drop. Swann moved and avoided a big Senton Splash, and after Bully splatted on the mat, Swann hit some aerial assaults. Desperate, Bully grabbed a chain and clobbered Swann with it for a blatant disqualification.

After the match, Bully got a chair and smashed Swann with it, pausing only to rip up a fan’s anti-Bully sign. After Swann was laid out, Bully zip-tied Swann to the ropes, and was going to pound on him some more, but Tommy Dreamer ran down and stopped him. Tommy and Bully exchanged words in the ring, until Bully shoved Dreamer to the mat. Scott D’Amore then ran down before things got too extreme, and went after Bully, ready to throw down. Dreamer and some refs had to keep them separated as D’Amore enragedly went after him. D’Amore screamed that Bully was a piece of s—, and Bully taunted him, saying he agreed – he is a piece of s—, and D’Amore was the one that hired him. As Bully headed back up the ramp, a furious D’Amore threw a chair at him, while Dreamer tried to calm D’Amore down.


This was a really good first half-hour. Bully is perfect in this role as a loathsome jerk, and D’Amore was just as good in demonstrating his outrage. Bully vs. Alexander is a great story of good vs. evil and should be a very strong match.

Winner, by disqualification: Rich Swann

An ad aired hyping tomorrow night’s Impact Plus special Throwback Throwdown III – which takes place in the alternate IPWF Universe.

A Trey Miguel video aired. He’s a heel now, after regaining the X-Division Championship with a cheap shot at Overdrive. He reinforced his new bad attitude by spray-painting the belt, saying that the faceplate is a celebration of the past, but we need to embrace him as the future.


Match 2: Moose vs. Bhupinder Gujjar

The battle was pretty even in the early stages, but when they spilled to the floor, Moose hurt Gujjar with a huge Powerbomb onto the edge of the apron. After that it was all Moose, as he whipped Gujjar from corner to corner and then planted him with a huge Uranage. Gujjar side-swiped a Spear attempt, and then mounted a comeback, including hitting a Ripcord Knee and a Slingblade. Moose avoided a Gargoyle Spear and then hit Gujjar with a Spear to get the pin.

After the match, Moose got on a mic and insulted the fans. He said he didn’t lose to Bully Ray at Overdrive, and said he didn’t want to hear anyone “say his name” about which he meant Bully Ray, but that’s also the cue for Joe Hendry’s theme song, and Hendry came out to the ring to the delight of the crowd who were waving his hands while his awesome theme song played.



He got in the ring, and Moose made it clear that he had no time for Joe. Eventually, fisticuffs ensued. Joe absorbed a big Running Boot. And when Moose went for another attack, he got flattened with a Gargoyle Spear by Gujjar who – in what might be a first in pro wrestling – didn’t leave the scene after the match to let someone else come in and beat up the guy who just pinned him.

The match was fine – Gujjar has potential, now just needs to get some wins to get people to care about him. And the post-match had some clever moments. Forget “Judas” – Joe Hendry has the most singable song in wrestling today.

Winner: Moose

In the back, Gia Miller interviewed “Speedball” Mike Bailey who seems to be on a collision course with Kenny King. Bailey said that King won’t be able to distract him from his goals.

A video package aired for Mickie James’ Last Rodeo which sees her questing for the Knockouts Championship or retiring if she loses a match before that. She faces Deonna Purrazzo tonight. Purrazzo said she will end Mickie’s career tonight.


Match 3: Steve Maclin vs. Frankie Kazarian

This one started off fast and furious, with Kaz really on fire, including hitting a great Springboard attack. But a huge whip sent Frankie sailing over the top and to the floor. Maclin was in control after that, targeting Frankie’s back with a huge Backbreaker Knee and several strikes to the spine. Frankie recovered and dodged a couple of offensive moves before a really awkward spot that looked like it was supposed to be him escaping from an Olympic Slam, but they kind of just collapsed on top of each other. After that, Frankie went on the offense, softened up Maclin with Double Knees to the back, and a Springboard Legdrop off the ropes, which earned him a two-count. He followed that up with a Guillotine Legdrop for another two. A Slingshot Cutter would have earned Frankie the win, but Maclin got his foot on the rope. Maclin rolled to the floor and Kaz chased him, but Maclin took the easy way out, grabbing a chair and smashing Kaz with it, resulting in a disqualification.


After the match, Maclin continued assaulting Kaz with the chair, hitting him multiple times, and then dropping Kaz on the chair head-first with the K.I.A.

This one was pretty hard-hitting and worked for the most part until the ending, which was lame given that there was already a similar ending in the first match of the night. If these two are going to have a prolonged feud, that ending was a good way to plant the seeds for something more. But if they drop it, then this would have been some wasted potential. Hopefully it’s the former.

Winner, by disqualification: Frankie Kazarian

They showed clips of the Death Dollz retaining the Knockout Tag Team Champions at Overdrive, beating Tasha Steelz and Savannah Evans. Cut to Evans and Steelz backstage, where Tasha was angry with Evans, blaming her for the loss. Steelz thought Evans was getting a big head because she beat Jessicka in the build to the tag match, while Steelz lost to Taya Valkyrie. Steelz then told Evans to face Taya next week if she thought she was so good. Evans didn’t’ seem too offput by Steelz.

Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Eddie Edwards who said that this past year his life had taken a toll, so he was going to try to bury the past, starting with PCO, who Eddie buried alive in a match a few weeks back. Gia reminded Eddie that PCO’s hand did shoot up from beneath the dirt, but Eddie wasn’t interested in hearing about it. Eddie said that he’s done with the past, and is only focusing on the future. As he left, he ran into another person from his past: ROH’s Delirious, who grunted at him before Eddie walked off.

In the back, the Motor City Machine Guns walked up to the Tag Team Champions Heath and Rhino. The Guns reminded Heath and Rhino that they’d promised the Guns a title shot. Heath and Rhino agreed to grant them a match. But while Heath was friendly about it, Rhino got super-aggro (as the kids say) and threatened to do some nasty violent things to them.


Match 4: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mickie James – Last Rodeo match

Purrazzo tried to out-technique Mickie early on, but Mickie’s catch-as-catch-can style allowed her to keep things relatively even, leading to a good old-fashioned ECW standoff. But unlike those, there was no mutual show of respect after, and instead, the women got into a shoving match going into the ad break.

When we returned, Purrazzo had Mickie in trouble, putting the hurt on her with multiple chops. But Mickie fought back, slamming Deonna’s head into the turnbuckle and then doing some ground-and-pound after a Thesz Press. But a big Elbow put Mickie down to the mat and bought Deonna some time to recover and take over. She then punished Mickie with various strikes and smashes, before clamping on a Headlock in the middle of the ring, looking to wear Mickie down.

After a few minutes of being beaten down, Mickie found her second wind, and dropped Deonna with a Hurancarana and a Sliding Low Kick for two. Mickie hit a Flapjack and then went up top, but got caught and dumped hard all the way to the floor.

That big fall put the ball back in Deonna’s court and she hit a big impact Brain Buster for a very close fall and then dropping her with a huge Clothesline. But Mickie fought like her career was on the line – because that was true – and she kind of hit a Super Thesz Press off the top turnbuckle to the floor.


The action went back in the ring and Mickie tried to end things with a big Missile Dropkick and a Hangman’s Neckbreaker for a two-count.

Purrazzo scrambled out of a MickDT attempt, and looked to hit a Queen’s Gambit, but ate a Mick Kick for her troubles. Mick tried again for a MickDT, but Deonna reversed it into an Armbar which she converted into Venus De Milo, but Mickie was able to get her leg on the bottom rope to force the break.

Deonna rolled up Mickie and had a handful of tights in a rollup, but Mickie reversed it, and, tit-for-tat, she grabbed a handful of Deonna’s tights to get the leverage to hold Deonna down for the 1-2-3.

After the match, Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace hit the ring. She gave credit to Mickie for climbing her way back to the top, and said that Mickie had earned a shot at the Knockouts Championship, and that match would take place at Hard To Kill – title vs. career. Mickie accepted.

This was a really strong match, despite – like with all of the Last Rodeo matches so far – the ending wasn’t really in question. The payoff for this angle was always going to be Mickie putting up her career in a title shot, and the match with Jordynne – their first ever encounter – should be a good one, too. Deonna is in a weird spot now with no tag team partner after Chelsea Green left and the singles champ on hold until she faces Mickie. Hopefully they find something to do with her – she’s too good to just be treading water.

Winner: Mickie James


Violent By Design confrontation

A video aired with Violent By Design. Eric Young and Deaner were back in the jail where Young’s first VBD promos were shot and where he recruited Deaner into the faction. They were sitting across from one another at a table with a shiv lying on the table between them.

Young asked Deaner why he joined VBD and Deaner said it was to fight the sickness, and he said he would do anything to eliminate the sickness. Young asked what he would do if the sickness was in the room with them. This led to the two of them fighting each other (this was all very cinematic with jump cuts, video spliced in of VBD footage, voice narration, music, etc.).

Deaner ended up winning the fight and was on top of Young. Young told him to kill the sickness. Deaner picked up the shiv, and though he seemed conflicted at first, it looked like he stabbed Young. After, Deaner sat at the table and smiled, while a Young voiceover said that Young was “the Designer” and Deaner was “the Designed” and the screen went black.

This was intriguing – we’ll see where it goes from here.




Impact Wrestling - December 1, 2022

Old Forester's Paristown Hall - Louisville KY

Bully Ray was the MVP of the episode, but this one was strong enough that a few people could have taken that title. Though this one was promo-heavy, they all worked great. And they didn’t overshadow the matches, all of which were very strong as well. If they can keep the momentum going for the next few weeks, the road to Hard to Kill will be very easy to watch.