Pretty much every segment on Thursday night’s episode of Impact Wrestling was about the build for tomorrow’s Victory Road event, one of the monthly specials that air on Fite and on the company’s Impact Plus and premium YouTube subscription services.

Not all of the matches were home runs – though one definitely was. But the promos throughout the night – especially the contract signing for tomorrow’s Knockouts Championship match – all delivered, and effectively furthered the storylines that will culminate tomorrow.


Match 1: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Dani Luna (w/ Subculture)

The commentators said Purrazzo wanted this match to help prepare for her match against Jordynne Grace tomorrow night at Victory Road, as Luna has an impressive power game, just like Jordynne. Luna threw Purrazzo around and hit her with some big moves early on. But Purrazzo blocked a Three Amigos attempt and turned the tide with a big Arm Wringer that yanked Dani right of the apron.


Purrazzo tried to work the arm, but Luna still had enough strength to deliver some punishing blows, including a Powerbomb. Purrazzo turned up the aggression after that, and she honed in on the arm, locking on an Armbar that forced Luna to tap out.

This wasn’t a Purrazzo classic, but it was a fine opener. Luna wasn’t quite the proxy for Grace, but she carried her own and got some opportunities to shine – enough to make you want to see her again.

Winner: Deonna Purrazzo

A Crazzy Steve video aired. He says that the rules of normal society don’t apply to him. He said that he slapped Black Taurus last week because he felt Taurus was going to abandon him just like everyone else did, naming Abyss and Decay in particular. He said that their match at Victory Road will end their connection forever.

Tommy Dreamer was cutting a promo backstage, sending a message to Kenny King who he puts his career on the line against at Victory Road. Dreamer got emotional talking about his love for professional wrestling, connecting key moments of his career with the love of his dad and his mom who just recently passed away. As he broke down, Heath walked up to him to offer him some support. Heath said that Dreamer shouldn’t risk his career just because King has been spouting off his big mouth. Heath suggested Dreamer take a step back and re-think this decision. Dreamer said that it was either going to be the end of his career, or the opportunity to write a new chapter, and walked away.


Match 2: Champagne Singh and Shera vs. JOYA (Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura)

The entrance theme for JOYA isn’t as catchy as Hendry’s “I believe” theme – but it’s still pretty darn catchy. And he and Yuya’s choreographed dance entrance is fun, with many of the fans joining along in the hand-claps and arm-raising.


Singh and Shera were having none of the good time and they beat up Yuya for several minutes before he was able to escape and tag in Hendry who was fired up. He beat up both Singh and Shera, and after a quick four-way brawl, Shera was dispatched to the floor. Joe picked up Singh into an Airplane Spin and then tossed Singh to Yuya who hit a Stunner – the announcers called this combo move the One Hit Wonder. It was a definite hit to Singh who was down for the count after taking it.

The match was fine, but this one was pretty much all about the music and dancing, which resumed after the match. Not liking this new direction for Hendry, as I thought he could have been given a strong singles run, and this seems like a random detour in a tag team division that is already full enough. We’ll see where this goes.

Winners: JOYA

Steve Mclin and Bully Ray cut a promo backstage. They face Josh Alexander and PCO tonight as a team before they take them on individually tomorrow night. Bully Ray seemed out of sorts and distracted. Maclin confronted him, and Bully said that he didn’t share Maclin’s confidence. Bully said that he didn’t want to face PCO, he wanted to face Carl Oullette. Because PCO has withstood everything – every move, every weapon – that they’ve used on him. Bully seemed scared of the monster that is PCO. He asked Maclin to trust him and be a good soldier tonight. Maclin said he would follow Bully’s lead tonight, but if Bully flakes out on him, Maclin will do what it takes.

During the commercial break, a Fight Network stinger aired featuring the Briscoe Brothers. Dang, Dem Boys could cut a tag team promo. RIP Jay Briscoe.

They showed some clips from the classic series of matches between Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong. Both will be returning to in-ring action on Impact 1000 next week.

After that, a highlight package aired for Will Ospreay who will make his Impact return at Bound For Glory. Whether that also will be classic stuff remains to be seen.

In the back, Gia Miller interviewed Josh Alexander. He said he will finish his business with Maclin tomorrow night. But tonight he and PCO will make a statement on Maclin and Bully Ray.


Match 3: Subculture (Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster) vs. Rich Swann and Sami Callihan

Swann was pretty evenly-matched with both members of Subculture early on because of their similar styles, but Callihan’s aggressive style allowed him to take control. Subculture came back with a huge dive by Andrews off the top turnbuckle to the floor, which wiped out both Swann and Callihan.


They used their tag team expertise to isolate Swann and keep him tied up and grounded. He broke loose and tagged in Sami, but after a short flurry of offense, he found himself in trouble, too. He ate a Slumdog Millionaire, but dodged the follow-up Splash attempt by Morgan, who he then hit with a big Cactus Driver. Swann followed that up with a huge Springboard Cutter onto Andrews that looked fantastic.


Callihan and Swann hit a DVD-450 Combo on Morgan to get the pin.

This was good, particularly the last couple of minutes. With a win over Subculture, Swann and Callihan could be in the Tag Team Title hunt soon enough. Unlike JOYA from before, pairing up these two is probably okay, even in a full division, since they’ve both had big singles runs in the past, and this is a bit of a refreshener for them.

Winners: Rich Swann and Sami Callihan

They showed the clips from last week’s Knockouts Battle Royal when Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans threw out the Knockouts Tag Team Champs, MK Ultra (Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly). Cut to Shaw and Evans with Jai Vidal in the back. Shaw said that they are a threat to the tag champs who they face for the titles tomorrow night at Victory Road.

The Rascalz were cutting a promo about how they would retain the Tag Team Championship over the Motor City Machine Guns tomorrow, when the Good Hands walked in, saying that they should be getting a shot at the gold. The Rascalz said that it would be in both teams’ interests if they retained the titles over the MCMG tomorrow, implying that if the Good Hands helped them, they would get a title shot. On commentary after the promo, Tom Hannifan called out this blatant collusion.


Match 4: Lio Rush vs. Kevin Knight

Lio’s X-Division Championship was not on the line in this one. Knight was just looking to hand Rush a loss before Rush has to defend the title against Knight’s friend and partner KUSHIDA tomorrow night. This one started at a blistering pace, with Knight actually out-speeding Rush. He also had the size and strength advantage, and that had Rush begging off and even trying to walk out of the match at one point. Knight pummeled him for a while, and to escape, Rush used the ref as a human shield and gouged Knight’s eyes, sending Knight to the floor.

After that, Rush went on the attack, hitting a blinded Knight with two supersonic-speed Flying Dives. Rush then went on the attack, ground-and-pounding Knight, clawing his face, and occasionally using his own body to missile-attack Knight in the corner. Rush went up top, but got caught with a sweet Frankensteiner, and Knight went back on the offense, nailing Rush with a Stinger Splash and a big Flying Clothesline.


They exchanged more full-body assaults, but Knight crashed and burned on a failed Springboard Cross Body attempt, and Rush capitalized, hitting a Spin Kick and then a Frog Splash that kept him down for good. After the match, Rush continued to beat down Knight and locked on KUSHIDA’s Hoverboard Lock as a taunting message to his challenger tomorrow. KUSHIDA ran in and Rush released the hold and skedaddled.

This was a good match and a real eye-opener for people who aren’t familiar with Knight. Rush is an acquired taste, but he and Knight had good chemistry here, and the match was his best since his return to Impact.

Winner: Lio Rush

Dirty Dango and John E. Bravo did a video, basically crapping on the company’s history, Impact 1000 (taking place next week), and some of the Impact Originals. He took extra time to mock Jake Something, his opponent at Impact 1000.

A video package aired for Jordynne Grace, who returns to the company at Impact 1000 where she’ll face Deonna Purrazzo. It was highlighted that she’s never beaten Purrazzo in their four matches to date.


Knockouts Championship match contract signing

Director of Authority Santino Marella was in the ring where there was a table and chairs set up. He introduced Alisha Edwards, who won the Knockouts Battle Royal last week to earn the title shot at Victory Road. She was accompanied by her husband Eddie Edwards, and they both had glasses of champagne from the bottle they brought with them. Chekov’s Bottle, perhaps?

Knockouts Champion Trinity then came do the ring, glowing with confidence.

Before Alisha signed the contract, she insulted Santino’s accent and Canadians in general. Alisha told Trinity that she’s not just Eddie’s wife, and that she is going to prove it by beating Trinity for the title. Trinity signed the contract wordlessly, and Alisha called her out on it, leading to Trinity insulting Alisha’s accent. #Callback

Trinity said that when she first arrived in Impact, she overlooked Alisha, but she became impressed with what she’s seen Alisha do. Alisha took offense at this, feeling she was being condescended to. Eddie got involved in the debate, and then Alisha took a shot at Trinity’s husband not being allowed to even cross the border to come into Canada. Trinity tried to respond, but Alisha threw her champagne into Trinity’s face. Alisha started chirping at her some more, but Trinity would have none of it and hit Alisha with a Boot to the Head. Trinity beat up Alisha and was going to Powerbomb her through the table, but Eddie ran in and saved Alisha. Eddie then picked up Trinity and smashed her through the table with a Spinning Bomb. Wow!


Alisha and Eddie celebrated until Frankie Kazarian ran in and chased them off. Frankie and his wife, Traci Brooks, will face Alisha and Eddie next week at Impact 1000.

Surprising ending to this one, which really added a new element to what could have been just another contract signing. Santino isn’t the best host for these kinds of things, because he always gets in his comedy schtick. For this kind of segment, especially with the powerful ending, it might be better to use an announcer or revert back to using Scott D’Amore who adds a little more gravitas. Otherwise, this was really effective.

The Motor City Machine Guns – Chris Sabin and Impact World Champion Alex Shelley – cut a promo, telling the Rascalz that they were going to beat them tomorrow for the Tag Team Championship.


Match 5: Bully Ray and Steve Maclin vs. Josh Alexander and PCO

Bully Ray was afraid of facing PCO, and would not get in the ring with him, leaving Maclin to take the offense from PCO and Alexander, who traded off between monstrous brutality and technical wrestling skills. Maclin went after Josh’s injured arm to gain temporary respite, and then when Josh was setting up for a running attack on Bully, Maclin low-bridged Alexander who tumbled out of the ring and onto his arm, sending him in a pain shock.

Maclin and Bully smelled blood in the water and kept working over Alexander, wearing him down with submission attempts and targeting the arm to deliver more punishment. Josh finally broke free with a well-timed German Suplex on Bully and got the hot tag to PCO, prompting a panicked Bully to dive to his corner and tag in Maclin. PCO resumed his earlier beat-down of Maclin – though, Maclin did manage to get a cheap shot in on Alexander on the apron, sending him hard to the floor.

PCO hit Maclin with a Running Somersault Dive to the floor, and then he stalked Bully Ray who rolled into the ring. There, Bully seemingly tried to make peace with the monster, extending his hand, but that was a ruse and only bought him some time so Maclin could attack PCO from behind. PCO went after Maclin, who dodged the blow, and PCO then had to stop short lest he accidentally clobber the ref who covered up in fear of being hit. With the referee not looking, Bully Ray sneaked up behind PCO and Low-Blowed him, and then rolled him up for the 1-2-3.


This was short but good while it lasted. As a teaser for the action tomorrow night, this was fine. Maclin and Alexander’s interactions tonight should make for a very good match tomorrow. And with PCO and Bully Ray’s Anything Goes match, we should get a good – preferably violent and bloody – culmination of this feud, which has been going on for some time now. As an appetizer, this was effective.

Winners: Bully Ray and PCO



Impact Wrestling - September 7th, 2023

Rebel Entertainment Complex - Toronto, ON

With a great match, one of the best contract signing segments you’ve seen in a long time, and some strong promos and vignettes, this show was a solid go-home show for tomorrow’s Victory Road event. Not every match was up to Impact’s normal weekly quality – the main event, in particular, was pretty short and wouldn’t blow anyone’s mind. But everything worked and served its purpose well.