Impact recap: New Japan tag tournament teams on collision course

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Impact is feeling the flavor of NJPW, specifically the Super Junior Tag League. Two teams from the tournament are on a collision course in the Impact Zone. Kushida & Kevin Knight are eager for payback on Chris Bey & Ace Austin of the Bullet Club in a rematch. The bout was announced for next week after both teams were in action on Thursday night’s episode of Impact Wrestling.

The Bullet Club did battle with the Major Players. Ace and Bey were clicking with sweet teamwork action.

.@The_Ace_Austin and @DashingChrisBey are operating like a well-oiled machine. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Matt Cardona and Brian Myers were able to control the pace by isolating Ace. A hot tag to Bey changed that. The Major Players rebounded for a running boot from Cardona and a flying elbow drop from Myers, but Bey kicked out on the cover. Bey escaped a fireman’s carry to shove Cardona crashing into Myers on the turnbuckles. Ace swooped in for a super headscissors sending Myers tumbling out of the ring. Bullet Club teamwork led to a tricky pin on Cardona for the win. It wasn’t the slickest of execution, but it got the job done.

Kushida and Knight had their hands full with the Good Hands of John Skyler and Jason Hotch. Knight turned the tide with an amazing teamwork electric chair dropkick. He launched for a slingshot plancha onto Skyler, then Kushida finished with a kimura on Hotch.

An INCREDIBLE dropkick by @Jet2Flyy opens the door for KUSHIDA to pick up the submission victory. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Later in the broadcast, Impact announced Bey & Ace versus Kushida & Knight for next week. Those teams were both in the NJPW Super Junior Tag League. The Bullet Club advanced to the final of that tournament ending as runner-ups, and they beat Kushida & Knight along the way. Kushida & Knight finished in the basement of the standings. This will be a great opportunity for Kushida & Knight to turn their fortunes around.

In other action from Impact Wrestling:

X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel retained against Mike Jackson. The 73-year-old challenger had some moments to pop the crowd, but Trey blitzed him at the end to win via Lightning Spiral. (Full details here.) Afterward, Trey reached under the ring to retrieve a can of spray paint. Crazzy Steve popped out from Hornswoggle’s humble abode. Steve painted himself in Trey’s logo as mind games. Trey was spooked and split to safety.

.@steveofcrazzy just tagged HIMSELF with @TheTreyMiguel‘s logo. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Josh Alexander is a fighting champion and ready to defend the Impact World Championship against whoever wins the Golden Six Shooter challenge. Enter Steve Maclin chirping about having wins over all the former champions in that match, and yet he’s not rewarded with a title opportunity. Maclin warned Alexander to keep one eye on him.

The playing field is stacked with the bodies of challengers that @SteveMaclin has already beaten. #IMPACTonAXSTV @Walking_Weapon

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Mickie James thanked Jordynne Grace for bringing the best out of her at Hard to Kill, then she criticized Grace for helping her last week when being beat down by numbers. Grace clarified that she is protecting her investment. She has a title rematch and wants to make sure James is fit to compete.

.@JordynneGrace hasn’t forgotten about her rematch for the Knockouts World Championship, especially after she believes @MickieJames tapped out at #HardToKill. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Knockouts Tag Team Championship: Taya Valkyire & Jessicka retained against Gisele Shaw & Tara. Santino Marella revealed Tara (aka Victoria in WWE) has his handpicked partner for Shaw. The Quintessential Diva was not pleased to share the spotlight, so she refused to tag in Tara. The disrespect eventually crossed the line, and Tara slammed Shaw with the Widow’s Peak. Jessicka executed a piledriver for the win. (Full details here.)

WIDOW’S PEAK! @REALLiSAMARiE was fed up of @GiseleShaw08 disrespectfully refusing to tag her into the match. #IMPACTonAXSTV @FearHavok @thetayavalkyrie

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Taylor Wilde was witchy to ask the spirits for more fights with Killer Kelly.

It seems there’s a lot more @Kelly_WP in the future of @RealTaylorWilde. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Bully Ray cordially intimidated Santino about being left out of the Golden Six Shooter match. After Bully exited, Dave LaGreca suggested that Tommy Dreamer is the only man who can handle Bully’s attitude.

.@bullyray5150 issues an ominous warning to @milanmiracle after Bully was excluded from tonight’s Golden Six Shooter match. #IMPACTonAXSTV @davidlagreca1

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Tasha Steelz seemed to pull the plug on her tag team partnership with Savannah Evans. Things weren’t working with so many losses lately, so she exited alone.

“This isn’t working.”

What does this mean for @RealTSteelz and @SavannahEvansNV‘s future? #IMPACTonAXSTV @MeanGiaMiller

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Joe Hendry wrote a song referring to Matt Cardona as Edge’s bitch. (Full details here.) Later, Cardona assured Moose that the Major Players would handle Hendry.

You think you know @TheMattCardona and @Myers_Wrestling? To @joehendry they’ll always be “Edge’s b***h”. #IMPACTonAXSTV @ImChelseaGreen

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Jonathan Gresham defeated Sheldon Jean. Jean mocked the size difference, so Gresham folded him into a pretzel. Gresham went low to hyperextend the knee, then he bashed Jean’s head with an elbow blow to win.

.@TheJonGresham ruthlessly pops out @SheldonJean_‘s knee for an emphatic victory. #IMPACTonAXSTV

— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2023

Golden Six Shooter #1 contender match won by Rich Swann. The order of elimination was Rhino, Eddie Edwards, Chris Sabin, Moose, Callihan, and with Swann as the winner. Of note, PCO caused a distraction for Edwards to be pinned. For the finish, Swann countered a piledriver by Callihan to rally for the 450 splash to win. Swann will wrestle Josh Alexander for the Impact World Championship at No Surrender on February 24. (Full details here.) Afterward, the Design stomped Swann and ordered Callihan to finish him. Yuya Uemura, Alexander, and Frankie Kazarian made the save to set up an 8-man tag for next week.

This show was back in form of quality Impact content. The main event had meaning and drama to determine the #1 contender. Rich Swann is a worthy choice to win. That will be a first-time matchup against Josh Alexander. Chris Sabin would have been an equally good choice, but there is no urgency since he holds tag team gold at the moment. Alexander already beat Moose and Eddie Edwards in recent memory. A win by Callihan would have made his journey with the Design too easy, and he needed a hurdle of failure to keep that story going.

Speaking of the Design, I don’t like how Deaner completely rushed over the 7-step initiation process. Last week was step 3, and now he was eager to let Callihan finish so quickly? That doesn’t make sense. Nor did it make much sense for Callihan to have reservations about piledriving Swann. If Callihan was on his own, he would have no problem spiking Swann in a standard #1 contender match. Deaner wasn’t asking for anything out of the ordinary. I could understand if Deaner requested Callihan to injure Swann.

The X-Division title bout was a neat showcase for Mike Jackson. Trey Miguel was never in danger of losing the belt, and that’s the way it should have been. The reveal of Tara as the mystery partner was cool, and Impact played it off well in a comical interaction with Gisele Shaw. The reactions from Taya Valkyrie and Jessicka are the type of little things to fill out the screen making the scene more enjoyable overall.

Share your thoughts on the latest episode of Impact Wrestling.


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