We’re reviewing this show from the Fite stream tonight – I would’ve loved to go to Wagga, but sadly I couldn’t make it work.
We start with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Cheryl Penrith, who provides more than the standard words, briefly explaining some of the Indigenous history of the area.
We then see an opening video that is specific to the IMPACT Downunder tour, but doesn’t provide any previews.
The show is being called by Tom Hannifan and Matt Rehwoldt, but it’s pretty obvious that they’re calling remotely, and not from the same room.
Slex vs Adam Brooks
We’re starting out HOT with two legends of the Melbourne scene who always deliver big time when pitted against each other. Interestingly, they had an MCW feud to begin 2020, and were then supposed to continue that feud into ROH before the pandemic hit. So it’s cool to see them finally get this showcase in front of the IMPACT audience.
Referee Hannah from PWA is wearing the stripes, which is cool. Brooksy goes onto try and establish himself as the heel straight off the bat. It’s a really fast-paced start, with both men telling the story of their familiarity with each other with constant counters – it stays really hot until Slex cuts off Brooks’ Swanton Bomb attempt with a superplex, followed by a vertical suplex that dumps both men to the outside.
The finish comes when Brooks attempts another Swanton Bomb, but Slex gets his knees up and hits the Slexecution for the three count. Only a 6-7 minute start, and they’ve had much better matches, but this was a good start to the show.
Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley welcome us to the Motor City Machine Gun Experience. Sabin says they’re also great singles wrestlers, and that he was here 20 years ago as X-Division champion wrestling Frankie Kazarian.
Shelley tells Maclin that he’s the champion of the world. (Ok…)
Gisele Shaw vs Erika Reid
“The Quintessential Diva” finishes up Pride month taking on “The Dreamtime Voodoo Witch” Erika Reid, an underrated worker currently located in Melbourne.
They start out by locking up then trading power moves, which Reid gets the best of, subsequently hitting a couple of real nice armdrags. Shaw switches the momentum by kicking the rope as Reid goes to meet her, and she takes over, working Reid’s arm. It’s a prolonged attack until Reid manages to counter an armbar into a flash roll up for two.
Reid goes onto hit a spike-rana for another near-fall. She goes for what looks like an attempted Dead-Eye, but Shaw reverses it into an armbar and Reid has to tap out. Commentary sells that Shaw isn’t usually a submission wrestler, and that this was a message to Deonna Purrazzo ahead of their Knockouts Title match on tomorrow night’s show.
Ok match that hit 3rd gear at the end, and I thought both women looked really good.
Winner: Gisele Shaw
We see a video promoting Slammiversary, with Nick Aldis saying he’ll be winning the title.
Next is a video of Maclin, who admits to looking past Alex Shelley, and Shelley was the better man that night. He says now, here we are across the world, he promises that he’s the better man.
IMPACT Wrestling Digital Media Championship Match: Joe Hendry (c) vs Eddie Edwards
This is a first time match between one of the vets of IMPACT and one of its hottest new(ish) stars.
Hendry takes the mic and tells us he’s in a good mood, because IMPACT Wrestling is making its Australian debut. “In Wagga Wagga of all places – a place so nice they had to name it twice.” He says there are two other words we need to know – “we believe”. But since they’re on holidays, he’s prepared a special chant for Eddie. Hendry leads a very weak “Eddie sucks” chant, but says people believe in Joe Hendry.
They start out with some chain wrestling, an exchange that Hendry wins by using his power. Edwards momentarily grabs a side headlock, but Hendry again powers out and gets the better of the exchange.
Edwards is doing a lot of heel pandering to the crowd, but Hendry is dominating the early stages of the match. Edwards finally manages to find some momentum with chops, and by dumping Hendry to the outside. He continues working chops and a couple of thumbs to the eye before Hendry, with a beet red chest, manages to hit a running cutter for two.
As Edwards tries to recover some momentum he’s hit with a pop-up sit-out powerbomb for a two-count – he does that thing where he kicks out then hits a power move of his own to Hendry. Edwards loses focus arguing with the crowd and is ultimately with with the Standing Ovation for the three count.
This was a strange, disjointed match – between Edwards looking like an idiot losing focus constantly, to Hendry winning the power exchanges despite being the (slightly) smaller guy. I usually like to summarise the story of a match, but this didn’t really have one.
Winner and STILL IMPACT Wrestling Digital Media Champion: Joe Hendry
We got a tourist video of wrestlers visiting the Wagga zoo – this is what the NSW Government Regional Acceleration Fund is essentially buying.
Killer Kelly vs Aysha
We’re excited for PWDU favourite Aysha to receive the biggest opportunity of her career!
The crowd promptly informs Aysha that Kelly is going to kill her, before Kelly does the creepy crawling, freaks out Aysha, and ultimately takes the early ascendancy. Aysha manages to get in some shots of her own after a leapfrog in the corner leads to her taking Kelly down by her hair.
Aysha goes into a period of dominance but her hubris gets the better of her as Kelly stands up through kicks and delivers strikes, headbutts, and a butterfly suplex into the corner.
Aysha manages to reverse a sunset flip into a neckbreaker/back-stabber combo for two. Aysha then goes for the First Class double-underhook DDT but Kelly reverses into a Death Valley Driver for a two-count of her own. Aysha bails to the outside to get the champagne bottle and is caught. The ref takes the bottle, Aysha grabs a second one which she drinks then spits into Kelley’s face. Kelly takes the bottle, the ref takes that one too, and it allows Aysha to get a roll up for two.
Kelly manages to fight out of the roll-up, hitting a German suplex and the Killer Klutch, and Aysha taps out.
This was disappointingly short, I hoped we’d get a proper showcase for both women here, but it wasn’t in the cards from a booking perspective.
Winner: Killer Kelly
We see a video celebrating 20 years of the X-Division, noting Sabin’s current record breaking 9th reign. Kazarian says he and Sabin have been fighting for 20 years, but this match has one more factor – Robbie Eagles, who found fame in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Kazarian says he’s going to win the X-Division title one more time, while Sabin says this will be one of the best matches Australia has ever seen.
IMPACT Wrestling X-Division Title Match: Chris Sabin (c) vs Frankie Kazarian vs Robbie Eagles
Hannifan gives us a wild fact that the X-Division Title was unified with the WWA Cruiserweight Title 20 years ago in Auckland, in a match featuring Sabin and Kazarian.
This will be a pen-down match, so don’t expect a lot from me here!
We got a really excellent three-way – the type I love, where it’s a genuine three-way fight. All three men were in the ring and/or involved in the action for at least 80-90% of the match in the style that has defined X-Division three-ways for most of its 20 year history.
This was an excellent representation of what IMPACT’s signature division is. Kaz & Sabin both worked really hard and balled out, and Robbie absolutely belonged, utilising both his Ron Miller Special and Turbo Backback for convincing nearfalls. He ends up taking the fall though, with Sabin hitting Robbie with the Cradle Shock for the finish.
The clear highlight of the night so far, I doubt this can be topped on what is essentially a house show.
Winner and STILL X-Division Champion: Chris Sabin
Next up is a video previewing the tag team match, putting over ABC as tag team champs and leaders of the new generation of wrestling. Moose is previewed as a former IMPACT Champion, and Myers is a multi-time tag team champion.
We then get Sami Callihan and Rich Swan included in the video, so turns out it’s an ad for Slammiversary! We hear that Subculture will be joining these teams in a four-way tag team title match at Slammiversary.
Tag Team Match: ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) vs Moose & Brian Myers
ABC are IMPACT Wrestling’s Bullet Club subsect, and have been IMPACT champions since February. Moose has never wrestled in Australia, while Hannifan tells us that Myers and Matt Cardona challenged Deuce & Domino (!!) for tag team gold in 2007.
We learn that Moose and Myers are undefeated as a tag team, while ABC have won their last 9 two-on-two tag team matches.
ABC dominate the early phase of the match against Myers before a cheap shot from Moose on the outside allows him to tag in and start using his power to dominate. ABC momentarily regains control until Moose catches a dive from Bey and powerbombs him onto the ring apron (the hardest part of the ring!) while Austin is taken out by a spear from Myers on the apron.
This turns into a looongng heat spot as Moose and Myers dominate Bey, who is fighting alone as Austin recovers from the earlier spear. This eventually ends with a crazy spot, as Moose runs up the turnbuckles, jumps off the top, and is met by a desperation cutter from Bey, allowing both men to eventually tag out.
Austin is a house of fire against Myers before Moose, on the outside of the ring, interrupts ABC’s finisher. This leads to a nearfall with Myers hitting the Roster Cut to Bey for a long two.
Moose does some wild stuff off the top turnbuckle, before everyone delivers their signature move and all four men are down. It’s not the first “this is awesome” chant of the night, but I think it’s the first one that is genuinely warranted.
Moose and Myers recover the better, mock ABC with a Too Sweet, and hit stereo powerbombs. As Moose tries to throw Bey into an assisted spear, Bey reverses and rolls up Myers for the three-count.
This was really excellent tag team wrestling between a super athletic combination and two really talented bigger guys, it was great.
Winners: ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey)
Another NSW tourism ad.
We get a video from Steph de Lander, who references her earlier losses in IMPACT (she had two matches in January 2023), after which she was told to go and get more experience. So that’s what she’s done. And tonight, between her homes of Sydney and Melbourne, she will win against Deonna Purrazzo.
Non-title match: Deonna Purrazzo vs Steph de Lander
SDL is out in green and gold Australian-themed gear, so the Indy Goddess is throwing up a swerve here. She confirms this when she takes the mic and says “I’m home… This experience couldn’t be any more Australian if you tried – and I hate it.”
She tells us she’s the Indy Goddess, she’s a superstar, moreso than Purrazzo. She belongs in stadiums, in arenas, not in basketball halls in Australia’s worst city.
De Lander uses her power to dominate the early phases of the match before The Virtuosa uses her speed and technical wrestling to take over. This is the story they continue to tell, frequent power vs agility exchanges, with SDL getting in a lot of offence.
The turning point comes when de Lander goes for a spear in the corner, which Purrazzo avoids sending SDL into the ringpost. Purrazzo takes advantage, eventually locking in the Virtuosa Armbar – but de Lander manages to get her foot to the rope.
De Lander avoids Purrazzo’s Queen’s Gambit and hits a chokeslam for two, followed by a big boot for another two. De Lander grabs the mic, tells the audience to shut up, goes to hit Purrazzo with the mic, and referee Hannah wrestles it from SDL. This allows Purrazzo to roll up de Lander for two, before immediately following up with the Armbar, with de Lander quickly tapping.
This was ok. Steph got a lot of opportunity to shine, Deonna always looks great, but the predictability probably hurt this. If you’ve been following SDL since she joined with Cardona at March’s WSW tour, it might’ve been more fun if we were able to suspend our disbelief enough to think SdL could get a cheap win.
Winner: Deonna Purrazzo
We get a preview video for Shelley vs Maclin. Shelley talks about his obsession with the belt, and tells Maclin he might think he can come half way around the world to take his title, but it’s not going to happen.
IMPACT World Championship Match: Alex Shelley (c) vs Steve Maclin
This is Shelley’s first trip to Australia, and his first run as IMPACT Champion after recently beating Maclin for the title at Against All Odds. This is also his first title defence since winning at Against All Odds.
We’re slow to get underway before both men engage in some technical and mat wrestling – this continues to be the story of the match, as Maclin shows his ability to hang with Shelley’s technical mastery.
The match goes up a notch as they start wrestling around the ring, and Maclin starts savaging Shelley, including a backbreaker on the ring apron (the hardest part of the ring!) As they re-enter the ring, Maclin keeps targeting the back of Shelley, while also selling a knee injury caused by Shelley twisting him up before. A Boston Crab and a surfboard around the ringpost increase the torture on Shelley’s back.
Shelley smartly cuts Maclin off by going back to the injured knee, but his recovery is momentary as Maclin gets a looong two-count with an Olympic Slam. Shelley is again able to go to the knee though to prevent a prolonged assault. He continues working the knee, does a cool spot where he ties Maclin up before kicking him in the face, and then locks in a Figure 4. Maclin lays back for a couple of two-counts before he reaches the ropes.
Following a Sliced Bread attempt from Shelley on the outside, Maclin hits another spear on the outside ring apron, then hits a running Busaiku knee back inside the ring. Shelley kicks out at two, and Maclin collapses from the injured knee. It allows Shelley to hit a superkick followed by Shellshock for the three-count.
I thought this was just ok. They each picked a body part and worked it hard, so the match told a good story and made sense. It just didn’t feel like it got out of second gear – it felt like pretty standard house show far.
Winner and STILL IMPACT World Champion: Alex Shelley
Final thoughts: I thought this was a really fun way to spend a Friday night watching wrestling! There was nothing 5-star here. In fact there was nothing 4-star. But Slex vs Brooks, the X-Division three-way and the ABC vs Myers/Moose tag match were all really fun, with wrestlers that worked really hard to deliver a good show.
Match of the night was between the X-Division match and the tag match, but there was probably nothing too interesting from a MOTY perspective.
I hope they resolve some production issues ahead of tomorrow night’s show. The lights shining directly at the hard camera is just so bad, and the crowd – and the ring mic at times – were really badly mic’d. The production didn’t create the atmosphere of a show that you regretted not going to.
Join us again at PWDU for coverage of tomorrow night’s show!
How to watch: Both tonights and tomorrows shows are available to stream through Fite TV at https://www.fite.tv/watch/impact-under-tour-pack/2pd6i/