Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades and Highlights from June 9
Just 10 days away from its Slammiversary pay-per-view, Impact Wrestling hit the AXS TV airwaves with a broadcast headlined by world champion Josh Alexander and his toughest test to date in the form of the unbeaten brute of Violent By Design, Joe Doering.
The battle between the unstoppable force and immovable object was only one of the several key matches on the night's card, which also featured a blockbuster trios bout pitting Honor No More's Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett against AEW's Frankie Kazarian and longtime friends Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley.
What else went down and what did it mean for Impact as it braced for one of its premier events on June 19?
Find out now with this recap of Thursday's show.
Rosemary vs. Tenille Dashwood
- Sami Callihan cut a threatening promo on former world champion Moose to kick off the show.
- The arrival of Valkyrie was a nice follow-up to Rosemary coming to the aid of La Wera Loca a few weeks back. The reaction of the fans to the encounter between The Demon Assassin and Valkyrie was indicative of fans not forgetting their history together.
Familiar foes Rosemary and Knockouts tag team champion Tenille Dashwood kicked off the show, with the former forced to overcome attempted outside interference from Madison Rayne from the very start.
The veteran competitor from The Valley of Shadows found herself on the defensive early and often but managed to fight her way back into the match and score the pinfall victory, seemingly from out of nowhere.
A post-match beatdown from Dashwood and Rayne brought out Taya Valkyrie, who made the save for her sometimes friend, sometimes enemy by dropping The Influence and standing tall.
A solid match to kick off the broadcast, this segment was as much about the teased reunion between longtime friends as it was the in-ring action itself. With Havok missing following her loss to Masha Slamovich two weeks ago, Rosemary is in need of a tag team partner in her battles against The Influence and Valkyrie is the perfect option.
Tease dissension between them following the manner in which their friendship came to an end before ultimately reuniting to take the tag titles. It's a great story and one that brings much-needed attention to a set of tag titles that have been under-served by creating and a rotating roster of tandems.
Steve Maclin vs. PCO
- The closeup of a panting, bleeding PCO early in the battle put over the early physicality of the contest.
- The combatants traded dives to the floor, each hellbent on taking their opponent out.
- The image of PCO's shoulder protruding, something either clearly wrong or the competitor manipulating his body to appear that way, was not for the squeamish but did show his undisputed toughness.
In a pretaped segment, The Good Brothers traveled to the Briscoe Brothers' farm in Sandy Fork, Delaware, where they first encountered Papa Briscoe before a brawl with their Slammiversary opponents sent them scurrying.
After encountering each other in last week's tag team main event, Steve Maclin battled Honor No More's French Canadian Frankenstein, PCO, in singles competition.
PCO threw caution to the wind early and often in the match, using his own body as a weapon, even when it failed miserably and left him writhing in pain, such as late in the match, when his shoulder was obviously injured but he refused medical treatment.
Maclin, seizing an opening created by the distraction, downed the undead competitor and scored another impressive victory as he remains in championship contention.
The match was more of the unabashed risk from PCO, who throws himself around the squared circle with reckless abandon in the name of punishing his opponent and, maybe, scoring the win.
That was not the case here as Maclin continued his winning ways and built momentum heading into Slammiversary. He is a genuine breakout star who is already a bigger deal in Impact Wrestling than he ever was in WWE, where his talents were mistakenly tied to those of two other competitors in a trio that ultimately proved more costly than good.
PCO is an interesting situation in that he is technically a heel as part of Honor No More but his popularity among fans allows him to have these physical battles against fellow bad guys. It is only a matter of time before he breaks away from the faction and becomes the most improbable fan favorite in the sport, building off what he accomplished in Ring of Honor and, potentially, inserting himself in the upper card in Impact.
Josh Alexander vs. Joe Doering
- A video package revealed X Division champion Ace Austin as the newest member of Bullet Club and recapped a vicious beatdown of his own friend, Alex Zayne. Zayne will now appear at Slammiversary as the final entrant in the Ultimate X match for Austin's title.
- A backstage brawl between Moose and Sami Callihan concluded with the latter locking the former NFL competitor in an undisclosed location.
Impact Wrestling world champion Josh Alexander battled Violent By Design's unbeaten big man Joe Doering, just 10 days before a high-profile title defense against the group's leader, Eric Young, at Slammiversary.
Another physical encounter in a string of them this week saw The Walking Weapon forced to fight from underneath as he absorbed a punishing assault at the hands of Doering. Just as he built momentum and appeared to be en route to victory, he utilized the VBD flag introduced by Deaner and rocked his opponent with it, drawing a disqualification.
A tense staredown between Alexander and Young brought the segment to an end and provided some more hype for the Slammiversary main event.
There is little doubt that Alexander and Young will have a damn good main event in Nashville on June 19, but to say the build to that match has been somewhat underwhelming would be an understatement. Maybe because it is one of the big four PPVs from Impact expectations are heightened, but this feud is not quite hitting like one would expect from the main event of the company's celebration of 20 years.
There is still time to rectify that in the coming weeks, but for now, this has been a program in which the match will likely eclipse any of the moments that lead to it.
Honor No More vs. Frankie Kazarian and The Motor City Machine Guns
- The babyfaces fired up, cleared the ring of the heels and stood tall heading into the commercial break.
- Sabin kicking out of a three-on-one combination at the hands of his opponents was a great spot and reflective of his heart and intestinal fortitude.
- The ankle smashing of Heath sets up a future rivalry between Honor No More, him and Rhino in the near future in what was a nice bit of forward-thinking from Impact officials.
In a preview of a massive 10-man tag team match pitting Honor No More against five Impact Wrestling originals, the heel faction's Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven and Mike Bennett battled AEW star Frankie Kazarian and The Motor City Machine Guns' Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley in a six-man tag team main event.
A hot start by Kazarian, Sabin and Shelley was negated quickly by the heels' ability to isolate Shelley, keeping him away from his partners. When Shelley finally created separation, he made a hot tag to Kazarian, which sparked a babyface comeback and popped the crowd.
Another tag, this one to Sabin, continued to build momentum for the Impact originals before a triple-team had the former world champion reeling. Sabin kicked out, though, and kept his team in the fight.
It appeared as though the babyfaces were on their way to victory, but the ferocity of Honor No More drove them to a hard-fought victory. After the match, Heath attempted to avenge his partner and friend Rhino, only to have his own ankle destroyed in a steel chair by the heels to close the show.
This was a fantastic main event featuring six men who helped define not only an entire generation of Impact Wrestling, but also Ring of Honor. Taven and Bennett are criminally underrated, Edwards is always great and the trio of Kazarian, Sabin and Shelley continues to prove ageless.
The right team went over here, and the injury angle with Heath writes him off for the time being and teases a feud between Honor No More, the West Virginian and the aforementioned Rhino post-Slammiversary.
If the advertised 10-man tag at the June 19 pay-per-view is even remotely as good as this was, Impact will have a Match of the Year candidate on its hands.