Impact Wrestling Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 21
Longtime tag team partners and revolutionaries of the the wrestling industry by way of the X-Division clashed Thursday night in a high-stakes, No. 1 contender's main event as the Motor City Machine Guns' Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin competed for a shot at Josh Alexander's Impact Wrestling World Championship.
That heavily hyped contest headlined a broadcast that also featured "Speedball" Mike Bailey defending the X-Division Championship against Violent By Design's Deaner, Masha Slamovich continuing her path of destruction through The Influence, and dissension between Jordynne Grace and Mia Yim costing them a key victory.
Dive into everything that went down as Impact built toward Emergence on August 12 with this recap of Thursday's broadcast.
Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green vs. Mia Yim and Jordynne Grace
Mia Yim will challenge Jordynne Grace for the Knockouts Championship at Emergence on August 12, but they had to set aside any professional animosity Thursday night if they hoped to earn a huge victory over Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green.
The Virtuosa and The Hot Mess controlled a large portion of the contest, finding success while isolating their opponents at different points in the match. They weathered a hot tag to Yim and worked her over, only to succumb to a double stunner by the No. 1 contender.
With Grace down on the arena floor and unavailable for a tag, Yim was unable to fend off both opponents and fell in defeat to the heels.
The dissension between the babyfaces was the story of this match, though.
While Yim and Grace worked well at times, it was the Knockouts champion's absence late in the match that allowed the reunited Purrazzo and Green to score a significant victory and build momentum for themselves.
That Yim visibly rolled her eyes at her partner's attempted explanation suggests things are only going to get worse between them before they get better, and their impending match at Emergence should be quite intense (and excellent) as a result.
Purrazzo and Green defeated Yim and Grace
- Green and Purrazzo entered to new theme music and are apparently once again known as VXT, an ode to their time in NXT.
- Yim rolled her eyes at Grace after the match, not buying into the explanation for her absence on the apron.
X-Division Championship: 'Speedball' Mike Bailey vs. Deaner
Deaner has been almost obsessed in his attempts to prove himself to Violent By Design leader Eric Young, leading him to challenge the extraordinary "Speedball" Mike Bailey for the X-Division Championship in the night's next match.
The VBD member impressed early and often, threatening to take Bailey's title and end his reign before it truly got started. Whenever Speedball attempted a comeback, the villain cut him off with a dirty eye rake or utilized some other tactic.
In the midst of one of the hottest runs in pro wrestling this year, Bailey fought back and delivered the Ultima Weapon to score the victory.
This was a strong showing for Deaner, who continues to impress in his expanded ring time. He hung right in there with a guy who has been responsible for as many great matches in 2022 as anyone.
The Canadian is, arguably, as good as he ever has been. That bodes well for him and Violent By Design, as Impact continues to lean on the faction as one of its major acts.
As for Bailey, what else is left to say about him? He has earned every accolade he has received this year, and Impact is incredibly lucky to have him under contract. The best is still to come for the 16-year pro.
Bailey pinned Deaner
- Deaner repeatedly made use of the ring apron, benefitting from a missed Ultima Weapon as he targeted the injured knee, then landed a wicked neckbreaker on that same part of the squared circle.
- Bailey is such a fluid worker, and his Ultima Weapon finisher to the exposed back of Deaner was a thing of beauty.
- Backstage, Green and Purrazzo confronted Gail Kim, suggesting the latter should be added to the Emergence Knockouts Championship match with Yim and Grace. Instead, the Hall of Famer informed them they will be challenging Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Tag Team Championships at the same event.
BREAKING: VXT will get a shot at the Knockouts Tag Team Championships at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EMERGENCE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EMERGENCE</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/FearHavok?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FearHavok</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/thetayavalkyrie?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@thetayavalkyrie</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WeAreRosemary?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WeAreRosemary</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DeonnaPurrazzo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeonnaPurrazzo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ImChelseaGreen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ImChelseaGreen</a> <br><br>Get Tickets HERE: <a href="https://t.co/c7juX5NPBF">https://t.co/c7juX5NPBF</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMPACTonAXSTV?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IMPACTonAXSTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/Z2fDz4h7Qt">pic.twitter.com/Z2fDz4h7Qt</a>
- Backstage, Young told Deaner and Joe Doering that if they truly revile the sickness, they will prove it by "eliminating the sickness." Whatever that means.
Masha Slamovich vs. Madison Rayne
Masha Slamovich has systematically picked apart The Influence recently, and she continued her path of destruction Thursday against Madison Rayne.
It was as one-sided a match as one would expect, especially considering the former Knockouts champion was still sporting a face shield to protect her broken nose.
Slamovich earned the dominant win and presented Gisele Shaw with what the commentary team referred to as a "death warrant" after the match.
Uh Oh <a href="https://twitter.com/GiseleShaw08?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GiseleShaw08</a>....<a href="https://twitter.com/mashaslamovich?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mashaslamovich</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMPACTonAXSTV?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IMPACTonAXSTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/hrG761GIpn">pic.twitter.com/hrG761GIpn</a>
This was exactly what it should have been, with Slamovich tearing through a former champion and building momentum and credibility with the fans.
This story, while hardly dynamic, has been built well and will culminate in a match between the Moscow-born destroyer and Shaw that means more now than it would have in less competent creative hands.
Slamovich and Shaw are stars and will be so for the Knockouts division as long as Impact continues their steady builds.
Slamovich squashed Rayne
- Shaw had to retrieve Rayne from backstage, essentially forcing her to the ring for the match.
- Shaw's facial expressions as she came to the realization she was next on Slamovich's list were fantastic and highlight something she has done well since day one with the promotion: putting over the story beyond the action that occurs between the ropes. She is a strong performer.
Honor No More vs. Bullet Club
The battle for supremacy between Honor No More and Bullet Club continued with tag team action pitting Matt Taven and Mike Bennett against Ace Austin and Chris Bey.
Austin found himself on the defensive at one point as he was beaten down by his opponents and cut off from his partner.
A late-match hot tag to Bey sparked a comeback for Bullet Club, despite having less experience as a team than their opponents, who previously enjoyed success in Ring of Honor as two-thirds of The Kingdom.
Bullet Club rolled late, only for Maria Kanellis to hop on the apron and provide a distraction. Taven took the opportunity to deliver a low blow to The Ultimate Finesser, only for Heath to interfere and lay the former ROH world champion out.
Austin re-entered the ring, delivered The Fold and scored the hard-fought victory.
The distraction from <a href="https://twitter.com/MariaLKanellis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MariaLKanellis</a> BACKFIRED! <a href="https://twitter.com/HEATHXXII?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HEATHXXII</a> strikes AGAIN!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMPACTonAXSTV?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IMPACTonAXSTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/77hjkWunrB">pic.twitter.com/77hjkWunrB</a>
The feud between Honor No More and Bullet Club has been hugely entertaining, and the in-ring action has been more than solid. That was certainly the case here, with both teams putting in the work and delivering a great tag match as a result.
Heath's interference was to be expected and, while the end game is not quite apparent at this point, his "from outta nowhere" shtick has been the best thing he has done in Impact to date.
Austin and Bey defeated Taven and Bennett
- A braggadocious Bennett told the fans to "Too Sweet" him as he worked over Austin.
- Bey's facial expression when caught that low blow was fantastic. Between his visuals, body language and in-ring work, he might be the most underrated asset on the roster.
- During a backstage interview featuring Steve Maclin, conducted by Gia Miller, Sami Callihan attacked and escalated his rivalry with the breakout heel.
- Backstage, Rich Swann interrupted a discussion between Scott D'Amore and Josh Alexander and pitched a shot at the world title he never really had a chance to regain. First, the Impact executive vice president booked him against the debuting Kushida next week.
No. 1 Contender's Match: Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin
Together, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin achieved the pinnacle of tag team wrestling and establish the Motor City Machine Guns as one of the best tandems of their generation.
Apart, each man enjoyed their own success, revolutionizing pro wrestling as part of the X-Division and, in Sabin's case, defying perceptions about his size to become world champion.
Thursday night, Shelley sought to follow in his partner's footsteps and earn an Impact title shot against Josh Alexander at Emergence. To do so, he would have to defeat the man he built his legacy with.
Sabin was the aggressor early, targeting his opponent's neck, but Shelley answered by focusing his attack on the knees. Shelley dominated the action, picking his opponent apart by targeting different limbs.
Sabin fought back, and the action intensified down the stretch, culminating with Shelley delivering Shellshock and tapping Sabin out for the grueling win.
There was considerable hype for this one given the competitors involved, what it meant to Shelley's legacy and the history both men have in the Impact Zone. It did not disappoint.
This was a showcase for Shelley, a reminder to the world that not only is he one of the most dynamic and explosive workers in the industry but is as technically sound as anyone. He stretched, punished, manipulated and contorted Sabin's body at multiple points and was able to capitalize on the damage caused by forcing the tapout.
Shelley vs. Alexander for the world title will be extraordinary and a match that will be more than deserving of your attention come August 12.
To put an exclamation point on the show, Kushida made his debut, fending off Violent By Design as they attacked the competitors. His arrival in Impact is great for the promotion and the Japanese wrestler, whose time stateside has been defined by a hugely disappointing NXT run.
Kushida!!! Love seeing them all together! ❤️<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/timesplitters?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#timesplitters</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mcmg?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#mcmg</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ImpactWrestling?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ImpactWrestling</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/IMPACTWRESTLING?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IMPACTWRESTLING</a> <a href="https://t.co/PE9NK50ewx">pic.twitter.com/PE9NK50ewx</a>
Coming to the aid of Shelley makes sense given their history as The Time Splitters, and it will be interesting to see if the Machine Guns form a superteam with Kushida or if the former New Japan Pro-Wrestling star's presence forces Shelley and Sabin apart.
Shelley defeated Sabin to become No. 1 contender
- Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt did a great job of putting over Shelley's lack of singles opportunities, pointing out that this is his first No. 1 contender's match. They also revealed this is the first one-on-one matchup between them since 2009.
- Kushida's return gave this superb episode the emphatic finale it deserved.