Impact Wrestling
Against All Odds 2022
July 1, 2022
Center Stage
Atlanta, Georgia

Watch: FITE

Less than two weeks removed from a stellar Slammiversary show, Impact Wrestling was back with another live special this past Friday (July 1), this time Against All Odds. Held at Center Stage in Atlanta, the show was headlined by Josh Alexander defending the Impact World Championship against Joe Doering.

Countdown to Against All Odds
Black Taurus (w/Crazzy Steve) def. Laredo Kid

There was no backstory to this coming in, it was simply an X-Division singles match (a rarity on big Impact shows) between two luchadors with great chemistry. When all was said and done, it proved to be a great opener.

It was smooth, slick and worked a great pace with a couple of crazy spots weaved in – Laredo Kid spinning out of a Torture Rack to hit a Crucifix Bomb and Taurus nailing a Hammerlock DDT variation off the top rope being prime examples. As expected, Taurus picked up the victory to keep his momentum rolling. ***1/4

Countdown to Against All Odds
Dot Combat match for the Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Brian Myers def. Rich Swann (C)

I’m probably the high man but I thought that this was tremendous fun.

The Dot Combat stipulation, with all sorts of tech equipment, is a bit silly but feels like a fun kink for this title and a possible staple moving forward.

At one point Swann was tied up in the ropes with what looked like a ring light and an extension lead, leading to an enjoyable sequence where he fended off Myers with one arm and a bevy of kicks. A big springboard cutter on the ramp followed as he looked to retain but he was eventually caught cold, Myers braining him with a keyboard as he dived in the ring before putting him down with the Roster Cut lariat. ***1/2


The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) def. Ace Austin & Chris Bey

They told a great story right from the opening bell as two of the brightest young jewels in Impact’s crown teamed up for the first time to take on the team recently voted the most impactful in the promotion’s history.

Youthful exuberance gave Austin and Bey a headstart in the early going but down the stretch experience and tag team knowhow took over and put Sabin and Shelley in the driving seat. This was always likely to be good but by the time Shelley and Sabin pinned Bey after a little over 13 minutes, this stood as the best two-on-two tag in Impact this year.

Add this to his previous tussles with Frankie Kazarian, Jonathan Gresham, Jay White and Steve Maclin and you realize that Chris Sabin is having a magical year. I say give him and Shelley the tag team titles pronto. Oh, and Gedo, if you’re listening, stick Austin and Bey in the Junior Tag League later this year please. ****

Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green def. Mickie James & Mia Yim

I have to say, the mash-up of Mia Yim’s theme and Hardcore Country was very cool and is definitely the best entrance Impact have had this year.

These four ladies stuck to a fairly traditional tag team formula and delivered a very solid match. Purrazzo and Green worked a number of quick tags in the early going, cutting off the ring and isolating the babyfaces. Eventually, James and Yim got more of a flow going and looked in the ascendancy until the finish, when a distraction from Purrazzo allowed her and Green to hit a modified Hart Attack on James. That Hart Attack looked awful but everything else was good. ***

Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Mike Bailey (C) def. Trey Miguel

Take a bow gentlemen because this was downright outstanding.

From the off here there was a different demeanor from Miguel. He was less happy-go-lucky but instead more cerebral, looking for openings and going after the left leg of Bailey.

The limb work would become the story of the match and went both ways as both champion and challenger attempted to take out each other’s base with kick attacks. The selling was superb from both. For example, after Miguel blocked a standing Ultimo Weapon with his knees, Bailey rolled him over the second time to do maximum damage and reduce the risk. Miguel, meanwhile, connected with his leaping hurricanrana over the top rope to the outside but landed knee-first. While normally he’d looked to capitalize on that move and string offense together, here he was screaming in pain and ended up eating a second Ultimo Weapon on the apron.

Miguel survived that and thought he had the match won with the pop-up Meteora but it was only a nearfall. He went for another off-the-top rope with Bailey draped in a tree of woe but the champion lured him in, kicking his legs out before busting out the Flamingo Driver for the win.

Matches like this make you realize how lucky we are to have Mike Bailey back on the scene properly doing what he does best. ****1/2

Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championship
Ragnarok (Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie) def. The Influence (Gisele Shaw & Tenille Dashwood) (w/Madison Rayne)

The Centre Stage reacted brilliantly to Gisele Shaw here which was heart-warming. The crowd, in truth, was brilliant all night and arguably stand as the best Impact has had this year. If I’m Impact, Atlanta is a big territory for me moving forward.

The match here was fine, probably about as good as it was going to be. Rosemary didn’t seem to be hugely involved here, the focus was more on Taya and Shaw. They both looked fine, although Shaw did whiff quite badly on a twisting splash attempt. The finish was cool, as they teased that this new-look version The Influence weren’t coordinated on the tag team finish, leaving Taya free to roll Shaw up for the win. **1/2

Post-match, Rayne joined Shaw and Dashwood in beating Rosemary and Taya down. That indicated that Havok was going to make her big return but instead it was Masha Slamovich who came out, staring Tenille down and marking her out as her next victim.

America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm), The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows) and Heath def. Honor No More (Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, PCO & Kenny King (w/Vincent & Maria Kanellis-Bennett)

How cool is it seeing America’s Most Wanted back together? The return of Chris Harris was one of the main two stories in this match. It was a well-known fact that he walked away from wrestling more than four years ago because of how physically beat up he was, so I was a little concerned as to how he’d look here. He looked decent though. No, he didn’t do anything too strenuous but he had a nice hot tag and got some fun tag team offense in with Storm, including the Death Sentence that won their team the match.

The other story was the emerging tension between Eddie Edwards and PCO. PCO had originally been dropped for this match but replaced Vincent after Vincent insisted to Eddie that PCO could be trusted. PCO has consistently been doing his own thing in Impact against the likes of Jonah and Steve Maclin and he’s been getting good reactions, clearly to the chagrin of Edwards. Here, Edwards looked to cut off his momentum by berating him and then hitting the blind tag to prevent a suicide dive to the outside. In the end, PCO went rogue, opting to crash into the bodies at ringside rather than doing the PCOsault into the ring that Kenny King called for.

Overall, this felt very long without ever kicking it up a gear or generating any major drama or tension. It did the job though and the last few minutes were just unbridled chaos. ***

Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun match
Moose def. Sami Callihan

“This is the fun I never had as a child” – Raven, 2022.

Running a second stipulation match between these two a mere 12 days after they did Monster’s Ball at Slammiversary necessitated an increase in intensity and ultimately I think they managed it.

There was a brilliant callback to Monster’s Ball at the start, with Moose jumping Callihan from behind after it had been the other way round at Slammiversary. Another callback came later in the match, with Sami trying to put Moose in a bin again only to get bottled over the top of the head.

It was a solid hardcore match with good plunder and a fair bit of blood. There were back body drops through tables, staples to the crotch, Death Valley Drivers through a fence, a sequence of door shots to the head and two piledrivers from Callihan, the first onto Lego and the second onto shards of brown glass.

What dragged my rating down was the finish, which felt very stupid. Having put Moose down with the piledriver onto the glass, Callihan opted not to go for the pin but instead to retrieve the barbed wire baseball bat. After getting it, he was low blowed and hit with the bat by Steve Maclin, who had previously been posing as a cameraman. Moose then hit a spear and pinned Callihan as Maclin stood there looking particularly vacant in a way reminiscent of all those NXT guys wondering why they were so evil.

I can understand them not wanting Moose to lose twice in a row here but you a) had the caveat that these are Sami’s style of match and not his and b) had the choice not to book the match in the first place. Look, I like Maclin and I think he’ll have a fun feud with Callihan but this annoyed me. ***3/4

Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Jordynne Grace (C) def. Tasha Steelz (w/Savannah Evans)

Tasha brought a good intensity to this match as the thoughts I articulated in my preview about the different optics between leading as a champion and being a challenger proved right.

My main gripe with this match was the selling of Jordynne Grace. I’m not some sort of selling fetishist but Tasha’s work on Jordynne’s knee was a key feature of the match. Savannah Evans followed up on it at ringside and commentary put it over big time. Grace, however, didn’t really address it though. Indeed, she hit a Muscle Buster and a stalling suplex from the second rope without as much as a grimace.

There was a slightly worrying moment at the end was Grace hit a very awkward-looking Grace driver onto Steelz’s neck. The referee immediately threw up the X after the match, so I do hope she’s OK. ***

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Josh Alexander (C) def. Joe Doering (w/Deaner)

I need a hype man like Cody Deaner. Every time Doering got in a big moment in this match, Deaner was there, and stood on the outside waving the Violent By Design flagpole like nobody’s business.

This was a very different style of match from Alexander but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. The best way I can describe it is to liken it to taking on a video game boss, who has a health bar that you’ve got to work down to zero. Alexander had his health bar sapped a fair bit too, often landing five or six shots before getting put down or backed up by a single clubbing Doering blow, but had enough in the tank to incapacitate the boss, namely with a chop block and a C4 spike, and advance to the next level.

This was possibly a couple of minutes too long but both guys worked hard and it was nice to see Joe Doering in a big spot like this proving that he can still go. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

On just a two-week build, Against All Odds looked good on paper and it thoroughly delivered in practice. Backed up by one of the best Impact crowds of the year, the show flowed brilliantly and was a breezy watch at just under three hours.

The X-Division title match between Bailey and Miguel is probably going to be Impact’s match of the year, so that’s well worth your time, and I’d also recommend the opening tag and the main event. Impact is in a good place right now and this show gets a big thumbs up from me.