Impact Wrestling
Multiverse of Matches
April 1, 2022
Fairmont Hotel
Dallas, Texas

Watch: Fite

Meet Your Reviewers

Andrew Sinclair: Voices of Wrestling’s resident Impact Wrestling columnist, previewer and reviewer. Known Josh Alexander and Johnny Swinger mark. Darts fanatic. Producer of lukewarm takes over at @AMSinclair97.

Ewan Cameron: Once travelled to North Korea to see a wrestling show. He also thinks this is Steve Maclin’s year and will be stanning him in every eligible year end award.

Ultimate X for the X-Division Championship
Trey Miguel © def. Chris Bey, Blake Christian, Jordynne Grace, Rich Swann, & Vincent

Andrew: It was hard to watch this and not feel underwhelmed. The action itself was fine, as you would expect with the quality of the participants involved, but it never got out of second gear before ending. For one of Impact’s most iconic stipulation matches, that seems like a waste. It did tickle me though that the top of the structure was so close to the roof of the venue. Not sure why I found it funny but you have to take your kicks wherever you can get them.

Trey Miguel’s title run has felt a little disjointed from a storytelling point of view but his matches have always delivered. Although this one didn’t necessarily, he went out hard and looked superb in retaining his title. Blake Christian looked great too and while I know he’s a popular commodity right now for a lot of people, he’d be a lovely addition to the Impact roster more permanently. ***

Ewan: This match was frankly a disappointment. Six great wrestlers in Impact’s greatest gimmick match at WM weekend should have been the recipe for something special, but this match lacked the creativity we are used to from Ultimate X. On the plus side, I agree with Andrew that Trey has been fantastic in the ring this year and I was very happy to see him win this. On the other hand, I’m not too fussed about Blake Christian. He’s obviously a great wrestler, but when you consider that Impact’s roster is strong enough that talents like Ace Austin and Laredo Kid weren’t even on the card tonight, I’m not sure what Blake would bring. That said, Impact has a knack for upgrading wrestlers, so it could work. Match was watchable, but if you’re looking for a great Ultimate X match this year, then check out Hard to Kill instead. ***

Nick Aldis & Mickie James def. Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green

Andrew: Much like the opener, this was fine from an in-ring perspective. Unlike the opener, however, this was all about the storyline. Chelsea Green recently turned on her friend Mickie James in Impact, with her husband Cardona currently feuding with Aldis in the NWA over the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title.

The match, albeit fairly formulaic with the heels playing the numbers game until Aldis got the hot tag, will advance those respective programmes across both promotions involved. It was good to see Aldis back in an Impact ring after a five-year absence and the dual cloverleafs were a nice touch for the finish. **3/4

Ewan: Sometimes at WM Weekend, you can watch a whole show where there’s no faces or heels, just dudes going out and having matches. Impact, being a TV based product, feels more comfortable telling stories in and out the ring. This match was everything it needed to be, with Cardona and Green using every trick in the book to keep babyface Mickie in peril before Aldis got the hot tag. Despite the clear face and heel dynamics, there appeared to be a section of the crowd booing Mickie and Nick. Come on guys, this is pantomime, play along! Also, was this NWA’s biggest representation at WM Weekend? Amazing how things have changed since a few years ago when Billy Corgan said he was open to working with any promotion except Impact. ***

Mike Bailey def. Alex Shelley

Andrew: Mike Bailey is a very special wrestler. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

In all seriousness, it was great to see him get a showcase like this on an important show for the promotion ahead of potentially winning the X-Division title later in the month. 

Across the ring from him was Alex Shelley, who continued his excellent run over the last few months. Heel Shelley is so good. He’s got the mannerisms nailed and the more methodical, slow-burn style suits his body and age. He can get heat by grinding the opposition down and by being gritty and then incorporate the bursts of speed when necessary. 

Over the 15 minutes this run, they told a good story. Shelley had reads for some of Bailey’s stuff but ‘Speedball’ was persistent, kicking through the forearm blocks and making crazy springboard Moonsaults to the outside. I didn’t mind the roll-up finish as much as Ewan as I thought it was a little bit different but pinning him with Ultimo Weapon would have been preferable. ***¾

As an aside, I’m a big fan of the Tom Hannifan & Matthew Rehwoldt commentary team. They’ve gelled well and there were some really nice touches in this match, Rehwoldt referencing Bailey’s busy weekend and the impact that had had on his stamina and Hannifan talking about some early shoulder trouble that Shelley was trying to mask. They’re small things but for me they’re often the key in retaining that suspension of disbelief that’s so important to the appreciation of wrestling.

Ewan: Watching any of the Motor City Machine Guns in 2022 is like sipping on a fine vintage wine. While they are certainly not as fast as they were ten years ago, they have evolved into bona fide ring generals that are a joy to watch. Having seen Bailey wrestle Bandido yesterday in a sort of video game style match, this was a much more measured affair with Shelley reveling in the role of heelish veteran and pouncing when gaps in Bailey’s more explosive offense appeared; Impact are quietly becoming leaders of these types of slow-burn thrillers. Nevertheless a quarter of a star off for a roll up pin. Wrestling seems to be changing its meta and losing cleanly is no longer the assault on a wrestler that it once was, especially when it’s a great match. Case in point: Bailey has lost more matches than he has won this weekend, but he’s still seen his star rise. Ok, rollups are still a clean win, but they’ve always felt like a sort of way to protect the loser and lack the satisfaction of an emphatic pin. Still, regardless of that nitpick, this was probably the standout match of the show. ****1/4

Definitely agree with Andrew when it comes to commentary. Hannifan and Rehwoldt are a very comfortable listen and much like Impact at its best, their commentary hits the perfect mix of gravity and levity.

Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The Influence (Madison Rayne & Tenille Dashwood) © def. Decay (Havok & Rosemary), Gisele Shaw & Lady Frost, and Savannah Evans & Tasha Steelz

Andrew: To paraphrase a particularly frustrating sports chant about the people of Scotland, Rosemary gets cheered everywhere she goes. I do have to take umbrage with the spot she does promising to bite her opponent’s face off. If you’re going to say that, you probably should at least attempt to bite their face and not immediately go for the scalp. Faces and scalps are not the same thing, Rosemary. I expect better.

As for the match, it was fine. A bit on the spotty, unstructured side as you’d expect with so many people but it went at a good clip and they steered clear of the weird “how can they co-exist?” title change to Shaw and Frost that they seemed to be teasing. **3/4

Ewan: I love to hear the chants for Rosemary. I believe that only her and Eddie Edwards have been continuously employed throughout the TNA/Impact switch to the present day and it’s great to see that she’s still a solid fan favorite (and future hall of famer?). This match was fine for pushing stories forward, but suffered from too many people and too little time. Whie I agree with Andrew that it probably wasn’t time for Shaw and Frost to win the belt, I actually quite enjoyed their chemistry here and wouldn’t be adverse to them teaming up more down the road. **3/4

Tomohiro Ishii def. Eddie Edwards

Andrew: In my preview, I said that my main hope for this match was that these two just knocked lumps out of each other until one of them fell down. In the end that’s exactly what we got and I loved it. 

Since turning heel, Eddie Edwards has had really good matches on TV with Rich Swann and Rocky Romero. This outstrips both of those. Working a more-NJPW influenced style, focusing on strikes and the occasional big spot, this suited both guys and built to a lovely crescendo. While I’ll never turn down Ishii getting big victories, I really did not see him winning but it makes sense given their respective trajectories for Rebellion in April.

Scott D’Amore, take note: Book Ishii more often in Impact. Thanks in advance, AMS. ****

Ewan: Having watched three Ishii matches this weekend and noting that this one was certainly the best of the bunch, I think it’s time the wrestling world stop pretending that Eddie Edwards isn’t one of the best wrestlers in his generation. If MCMG are fine wines, then Eddie is the wrestling world’s equivalent to an earthy craft beer that gives you a cozy sense of home. 

Any worries that Ishii, having already wrestled once that night, was going to go through the motions were swiftly allayed as both men put on a performance worthy of a PPV. It was kinda funny how this match drew a “Impact Wrestling” chant, when Eddie had just cut a promo disavowing the company and Ishii is an NJPW star. Also we were thankfully spared from an excessive use of the ‘I chop you, you chop me’ spot that is rapidly becoming my least favourite wrestling cliche. Hopefully this match is an emphatic signal that Eddie’s Dreamer phase is firmly over and he’s ready to become a wolf again. ****

JONAH & Josh Alexander def. Moose & PCO

Andrew: On paper, this looked like a Mania Weekend match; four names stuck together in the hope of chaos. It had a bit more story to that but chaos was what we got and I thought this was tremendous fun.

While I may not like the bloke or the direction his story with Josh has gone of late, Moose really has gotten himself into remarkable shape and he was superb here. Not just in his exchanges with Josh but also, as Ewan rightfully points out, with Jonah. PCO being a loon was great, and he was the right man to eat the pin. ***1/2

Ewan: This match was a lot of fun, but my overriding sentiment was that it felt more like a TV main event than a PPV match. Then again, Mania Weekend is its own beast and getting as many people on the card seems to have paid off for Impact in terms of ticket sales. This was a great romp with everyone in fine form, but it never really threatened to be transcendent. Jonah and Moose had some very hype exchanges here and this would seem like an obvious program for later in the year. ***1/2

AAA Reina de Reinas Championship
Deonna Purrazzo (c) defeats Faby Apache

Andrew: Faby Apache wasn’t who I was expecting but it was good to see someone from AAA step up to the Champ Champ challenge. The match itself was a solid women’s three, with Apache getting her stuff in before succumbing to a submission. ***

As Ewan said, the post-match angle was very well done. Deonna followed up on her critique of the ROH interim title earlier in the night with another promo before being confronted by the returning Taya. In all honesty I had my fill of her during her initial run with Impact but her coming for the AAA title was inevitable and their Rebellion match could be very good.

Ewan: I was certain the challenger was going to be Taya, so Faby Apache was a welcome and worthy surprise. This was a nice little match and Deonna showed again why she’s one of the best technical workers on the planet. No shenanigans or rollups here; it was satisfying to see a clean-as-a-whistle tap out victory.

The post match angle was very well worked. Deonna cutting a promo on ROH ‘interim’ champion Mercedes Martinez and then being interrupted by a returning Taya (nice pop and ‘welcome back’ chant) to set up a match at Rebellion made her the gravitational centre of women’s wrestling at WM Weekend. I wasn’t too thrilled when Purrazzo lost the KO title last year, but smart booking from Impact has helped her retain momentum while continuing to be one of the best in the world. ***¼

Chris Sabin def. Jay White

Andrew: While Ewan persists with his wine metaphor, I’ll go down the Whisky route to eulogise about both Sabin and White’s matches and styles. For me, Sabin is like a smooth blend from up in the Scottish Highlands, something that no matter the occasion will go down well and leave you thinking “Wow, that was good.” White, on the other hand, is more of a fiery Bourbon. Sometimes, when the moment is right and it’s what you need, it’ll hit the spot perfectly. Other times it’s a bit too much and it just doesn’t work out in the way you’d hoped.

While not quite at the level of White’s match with Alex Shelley at Sacrifice, lacking a bit of drama down the stretch, this was still very good and smooth as anything. Sabin winning was a real surprise but with both men involved in the massive (in terms of numbers) tag title match at Rebellion, you get the sense that this isn’t over. Again, the roll-up finish worked for me. Jay’s Blade Runner finish has always been positioned as something he can hit from nowhere. Here they made it look more telegraphed and Sabin snared him. Lovely. ****

I’m not too sure where Steve Maclin fits into this, as his post-match involvement seemed very contrived, but he’s mint so all will be forgiven in time.

Ewan: I’m trying to get this “MCMG=fine wine” metaphor over because holy shit Chris Sabin is so fucking smooth. Jay White’s been having a pretty great year in Impact as a singles wrestler, and he can certainly add this match to his standouts with Eric Young and Alex Shelley. White has a fairly standard moveset, but he just brings so much presence and an excellence of execution (sorry Bret) that makes his matches so watchable. This was a match to savour and while I felt that the final third could have used a half step more energy, it was up there with the other two prestige singles matches as MOTN contenders. Post match with Maclin was a bit awkward but I hope we will be compensated with a Maclin/Switchblade match somewhere down the line. ****

And much respect to Andrew who has clearly put my bang average 2 star wine metaphor to shame with a stunning 4.75 star whisky analogy for this match. You still got it clap clap clapclapclap.

The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) def. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe)

Andrew: After their great match at Supercard of Honor, it was always likely that the Briscoes wouldn’t want the longest match, here. What we got was a perfectly serviceable tag match, albeit one that failed to really get the pulses going. Some could argue that’s a microcosm of most Good Brothers matches but as Ewan says here and I’ve said in other recent reviews, they’ve been much better and more energised of late. 

In a way a bit of an anti-climax to end the show but solid enough and the right team won. ***

Ewan: Now, there’s a lot of people out there who will call the GB bad workers, but I beg to differ, they simply choose when to turn on the gas. They had a nice match with GOD recently and as far as tag team matches go this was…fine I guess? Gallows even took a bump at one point. Like the other tag match, this felt like a TV main event but not a PPV one. Granted, with WM weekend, there’s a lot of shuffling around and if anything the Bullet Club interference at the end made this match feel more special. ***

Final Thoughts

Andrew and Ewan: This was easily one of the better shows of the WM Weekend and while a few matches underwhelmed, there was nothing that was bad on this card. Speedball/Shelley, Sabin/White and Edwards/Ishii were easily the best matches on the card and a testament to Impact’s strength this year and the partnerships that are paying off.

On the other hand, it should be noted that there was no room on the card for Ace Austin, Steve Maclin or Black Taurus, who were all in attendance at the weekend and are three of Impact’s best wrestlers. Maclin is having a standout year and I would have liked to see Impact trust him or Ace to deliver in a singles match, which would help boost their and Impact’s stars moving forward. 

Nevertheless, Impact are having a strong year so far and Multiverse, which appeared to be one of Wrestlecon’s biggest show in terms of ticket sales, is another feather in their cap. If you’re short on time, then watch the three men’s singles matches for technical wrestling at its finest.