Impact World Champion Alex Shelley may not be defending his title on Saturday night’s Emergence show – the Impact special event that will air on FITE and the Impact Plus streaming service. But that doesn’t mean that the Impact World Champion won’t be in action. Indeed, he’ll be part of a big eight-man match pitting himself, KUSHIDA, Chris Sabin, and Josh Alexander against the villainous Moose, Brian Myers, Bully Ray, and X-Division Champion Lio Rush. On Thursday night, the two teams previewed what we can expect to see when a brawl ensued after Shelley successfully retained the title against Myers in the main event of Impact Wrestling. The match was a good appetizer for Saturday night, and the same could be said for much of the show.

The episodes started off with Shera and Champagne Singh in the ring. Singh had just beat some jabroni on BTI, and after the match, boasted about being the best wrestler Chicago has ever seen. This prompted PCO to make his entrance. Shera tried to rush PCO when he climbed into the ring, but got taken out pretty easily. Singh got a similar treatment, and then PCO hit a Somersault Dive through the ropes, wiping them both out on the floor. But PCO wasn’t done; he beat up a couple of the ringside attendants, and then hit a De-Animator off the top turnbuckle, splatting Singh through a table on the floor.

This finally got the attention of Bully Ray, who appeared on the jumbotron. Bully said that PCO was mad because the person he wanted to put through a table – namely, Bully Ray himself – wasn’t in the building tonight. And in fact was not going to leave his hotel room, since Impact Wrestling management could not guarantee his safety. Bully said that PCO wasn’t going to find him. But one day, Bully was going to find him again, and take him out. PCO screamed out Bully’s name and monstered his way to the back.

The announcers then kicked off the show with the standard opening video / theme, and threw it to the first match of the night.


Match 1: Trinity vs. Jody Threat

Trinity got the early edge, dodging a lot of Threat’s offense, and even hitting her Legdrop for a 2-count. But Threat muscled up and threw Trinity hard into the corner, and then bashed her with some Clotheslines and other strikes. Trinity fought back, hitting a unique looking Bulldog in the corner, but Threat fired back with a huge running Clothesline, and then Double Knees to the back, followed by a Threat Driver for a near-fall. Threat tried for an F-416, but Trinity rotated through it and hit a FaceBuster. Trinity then hit a modified Bubba Bomb to get the definitive win.

This was fine, though with Trinity defending the Knockouts Championship against Deonna Purrazzo at Emergence this weekend, Jody wasn’t really a threat (see what I did there?).

Winner: Trinity

Jake Something did a pre-taped promo saying that he will make everyone know his name when he beats IWGP Champion SANADA at Emergence.

A tribute graphic was shown for the late, great Terry Funk.

Highlight clips were shown from last weekend’s Multiverse United. If nothing else, the show was a good introduction to many North American fans of Giulia, the NJPW Strong Women’s Champion, and one of the best female talents not currently signed to a US promotion.

In the back, Gia Miller interviewed Josh Alexander about his return after his injury-forced hiatus. Alexander said that any doubts he had about returning after five months were erased when he competed at Multiverse United. And that he was looking to regain the World Championship.


Match 2: Deaner (w/ Kon) vs. Laredo Kid

The mile-a-minute pace of Laredo Kid let him confuse and disorient Deaner, but a distraction by Kon on the floor let Deaner retaliate by surprising Kid with a big shot on the floor. Back in the ring, Deaner took over with some hard shots. But Laredo had no quit in him and he came back with some flashy moves. He had Deaner in position for a move off the top, but instead, Laredo surprised Kon with a Somersault Dive off the top turnbuckle to the floor, taking the big man down hard. But that gave Deaner a chance to recover, and when Laredo got back in the ring, he got caught by Deaner and dropped with the Antidote (DDT) and pinned.

After the match, Deaner took the mic and cut a promo against Eric Young. Deaner said that Eric Young is no longer in control, he is no longer the author. Rather, Deaner is the author, he’s the Designer, and he is the Design. Deaner said that he is the one who decides how their story ends, and challenged Young to a No Disqualification match at Emergence.

This was fine. Laredo Kid has got some flashiness in him – the dive onto Kon looked good. The Emergence match between Deaner and Young should put an end to that feud. The challenge will be what happens to Deaner and The Design after he loses – does the faction split up, or do they continue on, perhaps with Kon taking over as leader.

Winner: Deaner

A Johnny Swinger video package aired. This was full of cheesy 80s graphics and video effects. Swinger challenges Kenny King for the Digital Media Championship at Emergence. If he wins, maybe they’ll rename the title the Analog Media Championship. That’s old school, daddy.

PCO was on a rampage in alley behind the building. Gia Miller tried to get a word with him, but the only word PCO would scream out was “Bully”.


Match 3: ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) vs. the Good Hands (John Skyler and Jason Hotch)

On their way to the ring, the Good Hands denied having been paid off by the Rascalz to attack ABC a couple of weeks ago.

As uncharismatic as the Good Hands are on the mic, they’re as unremarkable in the ring. To be fair, they’re both entirely competent in the ring – they do live up to their team name – but their lack of any personality can make it feel like watching paint dry. After what seemed to be way too long, ABC won with the Art of Finesse / Fold combination.

This was fine, but felt long and was a slog to get through.

Winners: ABC

The Impact Tag Team Champions, Subculture, cut a pretaped promo. They will be defending against the Rascalz this weekend. Subculture said that they were going to beat the Rascalz whose cheating ways won’t help them in the match.

A video package aired for the tag team of Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemara, who are an unlikely – but should be an entertaining – pairing.

A video package aired for the Knockouts Championship match between Trinity and challenger Deonna Purrazzo at Emergence. With rumours that Trinity may be on the way out the door, it will be interesting to see what happens. Though, that rumour was floating around ever since she won the title, and she’s still here.


Match 4: Samuray Del Sol vs. Chris Sabin

This was the Impact debut for Del Sol, who’s still doing the “Lucha! Lucha!” chants and arm-pointing thing in case you’d forgotten that he used to be WWE’s Kalisto.

Del Sol dazzled with some gymnastics on the ropes, including doing the deal where he aborts a dive by  bouncing his head on the top rope and springs backwards into the ring. Sabin slowed down the pace, working over Del Sol’s legs in an effort to stymie Del Sol’s speed-based offense. Del Sol was able to crawl to the ropes to break up a tight knee submission hold, but Sabin continued to systematically target the legs.

After several minutes, Del Sol finally fought his way out of jeopardy, hitting some kicks and a low Hurancarana that drove Sabin’s head into the mat, and he followed that up with a Springboard Cross Body for a two-count. Sabin thwarted a series of Salina Del Sol attempts, rocking Del Sol with a Neckbreaker after the third try, and he followed that up with a Running Kick and a Powerbomb. Sabin locked on an STF and then hit a Butterfly German Suplex for a near-fall.

Del Sol surprised Sabin with the Salina Del Sol, but Sabin rolled to the floor so Del Sol couldn’t attempt a cover. Instead, he hit a Springboard Somersault Senton to the floor that looked good. But when he tried to follow that up in the ring, Del Sol’s leg gave out. Sabin blasted him with a huge Running Boot and the Cradle Shock for the pin.

This was a good match with a smart story and psychology. Not sure that it did any favours for Del Sol, though, losing his debut. Surely they could have put him up against someone where more of his aerial dynamics could have been showcased. Or maybe even given him the win, so he looks like somewhat of a star? That said, Del Sol should be a great addition to the X-Division.

Winner: Chris Sabin


Crazzy Steve interview

Tom Hannifan continued his sit-down interview with Crazzy Steve. Steve said that he wanted Tom to help deliver his message. The message being that Steve isn’t crazy, but rather he is tired of being forgotten. And of being on the receiving end of neglect and evil. Steve said that if he can’t be the antidote to evil, then perhaps he should be the plague. Steve got very upset and started screaming maniacally. Tom was scared and was in pain from Steve’s grip on his hand, and called for help. Some security guards came in to help him, but they were attacked by Steve. Steve spit out green slime into one of their faces, and while the man was in pain, Steve sat atop of him, screaming into the camera that he was going to deliver evil on everyone. This whole series of interviews was trying to recapture the magic of the legendary Mick Foley interview with JR, which is probably an unfair comparison since nothing could really replicate that. But it was still pretty good. Looks like this was all done to turn Steve heel – we’ll see if it takes with the audience.

A video package for MK Ultra (Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich) aired. They are looking to defend their Knockouts Tag Team titles against three teams at Emergence, and they are confident that they will do exactly that. On the Barney Stinson Hot/Crazy scale, these two are on the right side of Vicky Mendoza.

A video package aired promoting the “Back to School” match between Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards at Emergence. They will be wrestling at Killer Kowalski’s school, where both of them were trained.

PCO went into the hotel where Bully Ray was staying and was wandering the halls when he came into a lounge area. PCO screamed out for Bully, but Bully was nowhere to be found.


Match 5: Alex Shelley (c) vs. Brian Myers – for the Impact World Championship

If you’ve read my Impact coverage in the past, you’ll know that I have little interest in anything Brian Myers does, as I find him incredibly boring both on the mic and in the ring. Like the Good Hands, his matches are generally fine, but I have no interest in the character, which I find devoid of entertainment. This match was pretty much par for the course in that regard.

Shelley used a good mix of strikes and moves to beat up Myers early on, but Myers was able to sweep the legs of Shelley and bounce his head off the mat and then took over. Myers used some wear-down moves on Shelley for some time, but Shelley won a punch-off in the middle of the ring, and waylayed Myers with a huge Flying Forearm.

Shelley locked on a Border City Stretch, but Myers rolled over and nearly stole a pin. Myers hit the Implant DDT, but Shelley kicked out once again. After a nice exchange, Myers hit a Spear for 2.999.

Shelley hit a desperate Sliced Bread and then locked on the Border City Stretch in the centre of the ring, and Myers had no choice but to tap out.

This was a good, if unspectacular match. There was no real expectation that Brian Myers would win the title – really, the fact that he even got a title shot is kind of unbelievable. But it did a fine job of setting up the post-match brawl and add to the build to Emergence, which was really the point.

Winner, and still Impact World Champion: Alex Shelley

After the match, Moose hit the ring and attacked Shelley. He was followed by Bully Ray – who must have been playing mind games with PCO, luring him into the hotel while Bully was in the back all along. The three heels beat up Shelley until their opponents this Sunday – Josh Alexander and KUSHIDA – ran in for the save.

As they brawled in the ring, video was shown in the back where the other members of the heel team, Lio Rush, had laid out Chris Sabin, the other member of the babyface team, with a sneak attack.

The show ended mid-brawl and the announcers hyping the action to come at Emergence on Saturday.


All photos courtesy

Impact Wrestling - August 24th, 2023

Cicero Stadium - Chicago, IL

This was a fine go-home show for this weekend’s Emergence. The matches were decent and the angles all helped to serve the build for the event. The PCO-Bully story was a bit of a tease, but it made sense in the context of the final segment. The Emergence card looks pretty good on paper – but the timing of the event, taking place the same day as another company’s biggest show of all time, doesn’t bode particularly well, which is a shame.