March 5, 2022
Watch: Impact Plus
Impact Wrestling ran their second monthly special of the year, Sacrifice, this past Saturday (5th March). Airing live from the Paristown Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, the main event saw Moose defend his Impact World Championship against Heath. On commentary were Impact’s new permanent announce team, Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt.
Countdown to Sacrifice
Lady Frost def. Gisele Shaw
It was clear from the opening exchanges of this match that the crowd in Kentucky were miles better than the one for No Surrender in Louisiana last month. Honestly, it makes all the difference.
Pleasingly, this rematch was much better than the first meeting between these two ladies. They seemed to have better chemistry, producing a smoother match with a good flow to it.
Frost, who was particularly over with the crowd, picked up the win after a little over six minutes with the twisting Moonsault. **1/2
Rich Swann & Willie Mack def. Matt Taven & Mike Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis-Bennett)
My main hope for this match was that these teams got a good amount of time because I felt they had a really good match in them. A shade under eight minutes was reasonable enough for the pre-show and this transpired to be really solid.
Willie Mack was the standout performer, looking great in everything he did, and he played a significant role in the finish. Taven and Bennett lined Swann up for the Proton Pack, only for Mack to Pounce Taven out of the way. That distraction allowed Swann to roll up Bennett for three. A couple of awkward moments involving Swann earlier in the match take my rating down slightly but this was good stuff and hopefully a precursor of what’s to come. **3/4
Sacrifice Main Card
Impact X-Division Championship
Trey Miguel © def. Jake Something
What an outstanding way to start the main show.
The dynamic of this match worked just as I’d hoped it would, Miguel desperately clinging on and fighting back despite getting the absolute stuffing beaten out of him by the bigger man.
Every time the champion managed to create some separation he got some offence in, but Something was always there to shut it down; the sequence where he stopped Miguel running to the ropes by standing on his foot before levelling him with a forearm was excellent.
After connecting with one Meteora earlier in the match as a counter to one of Something’s powerbombs, Miguel nailed a second one after a Cheeky Nandos kick and a 619 around the ringpost had left Something strung up in the ropes. ****
Something looked as good as he ever has in an Impact ring here, even if it looks like it might be his last match with the promotion for a while. Here’s hoping not, as I think he’s only going to get better.
Eddie Edwards (w/Mike Bennett, Matt Taven, Vincent, Kenny King, and Maria Kanellis-Bennett) def. Rhino (w/Rich Swann, Willie Mack, and Chris Sabin)
When the match began with seven male wrestlers on the outside, this was always going to break down. After starting out alright, with Rhino showing good fire as he went after Edwards with chops, the match eventually became a background act to a big brawl and dive sequence on the outside.
Steve Maclin was conspicuous by his absence on the outside but with everybody down he hit the ring. Instead of aligning with Team Impact, he said that he stood alone, putting Edwards down with a Double-Arm DDT before laying Rhino out with the cane (poor Rhino, that’s the second straight show where he’s been caned mid-Gore). Edwards was up first out of the two and took advantage, putting Rhino down with the Boston Knee Party. **
Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The Influence (Tenille Dashwood & Madison Rayne) def. The IInspiration (Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay) ©
While there was nothing particularly special to write home about here, this match ended up being a fair bit better than I anticipated it would be.
The Impact commentary team of Hannifan and Rehwoldt were really good all night but particularly so here. When the challengers were working over McKay with a number of quick tags, they called back to The Influence’s match with Decay earlier in the year when they took out Rosemary before the bell and made it a handicap match. Using promotional canon like that adds so much to a match because it makes it sound like they care about the product and if they care, the viewer should too.
When Kaleb with a K was told to stay in the back by The Influence earlier in the night, it was obvious that he’d be involved eventually. He came out mid-match and slid one of the title belts into the ring. It seemed, judging by his facial expression, that he meant to give it to Cassie Lee but Tenille Dashwood got it, nailed Lee with it and pinned her to secure her first title reign in Impact. ***
Jonah def. PCO
Throughout this match, I was sat there with a big smile on my face. Seeing two big blokes wing shots at each other until somebody falls down will always be right in my wheelhouse.
With Jonah having had so many squashes in Impact this year, matches where he gets pushed feel that much more significant. Indeed, while his match with Black Taurus never got out of second gear, this was great from first bell to last.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 6, 2022
PCO got a ton of offence in and was presented as close to Jonah’s equal before eventually succumbing to a brutal finishing sequence. Jonah hurled him into the ring steps before hitting him with a Tombstone onto said steps. If that wasn’t enough, he then powerbombed PCO off the steps before rolling him in and landing a Tsunami splash off the top rope onto a supine PCO. Some might see the finish as excessive but I thought it worked – it made Jonah look like an absolute savage and furthered the idea with PCO that you basically have to kill him to put him down. ***3/4
Jay White def. Alex Shelley
Alex Shelley has been on a hot run on the indies over recent months and that work continued here in a brilliant student-teacher match with White. Shelley took on the role of the grizzled veteran who seemed to have the measure of his former pupil at the start; the little kiss he gave White during a headlock was a great touch.
White eventually got a foothold and gradually began to quicken the pace, building towards a fantastic final third packed with reversals, counters, mirror spots and great nearfalls.
Shelley’s repeated targeting of White’s arm was a ploy to take that move away from him and also soften him up for the Border City Stretch. As such, every time the submission hold got locked in, White seemed in a precarious spot and you genuinely thought he might tap. Any time you bite on a nearfall in a match with an outcome as obvious as the one here, the wrestlers have done well.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 6, 2022
Regardless of whether it’s New Japan, AEW or Impact, White’s matches are typically built around the notion that he can hit the Blade Runner at any point, almost like an instant kill. That doesn’t always come across in finishes but the idea is there and in this match it came through perfectly.
The first Blade Runner came on the outside, White creating some separation by smashing Shelley’s face into the apron. The second came in the ring, Shelley making a mistake by standing up to adjust the Border City Stretch and getting punished.
Despite the teacher pulling out all the tricks, the student proved too good. The student has become the master, as proved by his refusal of a handshake afterwards.
Stellar work from both men. ****1/4
Deonna Purrazzo’s Champ Champ Challenge for the ROH Women’s World Championship
Deonna Purrazzo © def. Chelsea Green
The main takeaway here will be the finish and whether Green has legitimately injured her wrist again or not but before that point, this was really solid.
To tell the truth, it was the smoothest I think I’ve ever seen Chelsea look in an Impact ring. Working with Purrazzo is probably a big factor in that, but even so.
The finish came when Purrazzo landed a targeted upkick on Green’s left arm and Green immediately went down screaming. Having suffered that injury before, she would know how to sell it, but the speed with which Daniel Spencer threw up the X made it seem legitimate. **3/4
Deonna pushing the ref away to lock in an armbar got her some good heat before Mickie James came out, giving us a Heyman-esque segue straight into the next match…
Impact Knockouts Championship
Tasha Steelz (w/Savannah Evans) def. Mickie James ©
The Chelsea Green injury angle gave this match a new wrinkle, as they were able to tell the story that James was bothered by the pain her friend was in and that Steelz was cerebral in trying to capitalise on that worry.
This match was better than their meeting at No Surrender, which is good, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without issues. Indeed, the uncertainty over the finish to the previous match seemed to bog the crowd down and it took a while for them to get back to full voice. As such, this felt like a long 14 minutes.
Likewise, we also got shenanigans in the finish again. The first interjection from Savannah Evans didn’t make a difference but the second did. By slowing James down on the top rope, she allowed Steelz to recover and land a cutter on a diving James, pinning her to become the first Latina Knockouts champion in the history of the promotion. ***
Impact World Tag Team Championship
Violent By Design (Eric Young & Joe Doering) (w/Deaner) def. The Good Brothers (w/Chris Bey) ©
In my preview, I said that I felt this was going to be a fairly routine title defence for Gallows and Anderson. Not only was I wrong, but the manner in which Violent By Design won the titles felt very decisive.
With Anderson downed by a Doering Lariat that probably should have been considered a borderline homicide, attention turned to Young and Gallows, who were brawling on the outside. When they got to the top of the ramp, Young put Gallows down with a big Piledriver, effectively making the match a handicap one. Young then scooted back to the ring, joining Doering for a powerbomb-neckbreaker combination that put Anderson down for the count.
For the second show in a row I enjoyed a Good Brothers title match. The energy they brought was more than matched by Young and Doering, who look all the better for such a strong win. ***1/4
Impact World Championship
Moose © def. Heath
In a similar vein to my thoughts after Moose’s title defence against W. Morrissey at No Surrender, this was probably the best version of this match possible.
Anthony Carelli gave Heath a pep talk backstage earlier in the show, telling him to embrace the underdog label and run with it. Carelli then joined commentary for this match and made for a nice third voice.
Heath started well, sticking and moving to land single strikes. That riled Moose though, leading to an extended beatdown from the champion. Heath was thrown into the ring steps and hit with multiple Uranages on the apron. In all honesty, the heat segment was probably a little too long but it did the job. It set the stage for Heath’s comeback.
As Heath started to establish a foothold in the match, commentary did a good job of making it feel like he had one shot to win. He looked as though he’d taken it when he landed the Wake Up Call neckbreaker but the champion kicked out. In an instant, Heath’s chance had gone. He couldn’t get Moose up to hit the Wake Up Call a second time, instead seeing his challenge ended by another Uranage and a decisive Spear. ***
Post-match, JOSH ALEXANDER hit the ring and laid Moose out with a C4 Spike. He then grabbed a mic, explaining that he’s back with Impact on a multi-year deal and that he’ll be challenging for the World title at Rebellion in April.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 6, 2022
All in all, Sacrifice was a really good show from Impact. There were two notebook-worthy singles matches, and another not far off, as well as three title changes. Oh, and also the small matter of Josh Alexander returning and setting up the main event of April’s Rebellion PPV. Definitely worth a watch.