Impact Wrestling
Victory Road 2022
September 23, 2022
Skyway Studios
Nashville, TN

Watch: Fite

As Impact Wrestling continued their march towards Bound for Glory, their latest monthly special, Victory Road, took place this past Friday night (September 23rd) at Skyway Studios in Nashville. In the main event, Sami Callihan battled Moose and Steve Maclin in a Barbed Wire Massacre.

Countdown to Victory Road

Bullet Club (Ace Austin, Chris Bey & Juice Robinson) def. Team Gut Check (Jason Hotch, Shogun Jackson Stone & Jack Price)

A late addition to the card, this was a fun little trios match that went just under five minutes.

On one side you had Juice Robinson making his first Impact appearance in eight months and first since debuting his ‘Rock Hard’ gimmick, while on the other you had three Gut Check competition winners. The Gut Check team got a bit in, with Jason Hotch impressing, before the Bullet Club trio put them down with a combination move.

The finish was a bit wonky as the ref seemed legitimately confused as to who the legal man was, which led to some remonstrations with Ace, but otherwise this was decent for what it was. **

Tasha Steelz (w/Savannah Evans) def. Killer Kelly via DQ

Who knew that 2022 would be the year when doms came back into fashion?

Rather disappointingly, the crowd were pretty flat throughout this. The two women worked hard and the match they had was decent but it felt a bit slow-paced and the finish was horrendous. After being distracted by Savannah Evans on the outside, Kelly used a chain to choke Steelz. She was given a five count and not an instant DQ by the ref, who in turn was then choked out himself. That meant Tasha won by DQ, even though the bell never actually rang. **

Victory Road

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

My pre-match reservations about Delirious turned out to be entirely misplaced as this absolutely slapped.

Bailey led the early going before Delirious found an opening by biting Bailey’s foot. From there the former ROH stalwart was able to work over the champion’s arm, getting in some great looking offence down the stretch.

Bailey’s standing moonsault onto a prone Delirious with his legs folded under him was a superb spot and while his first Flamingo Driver attempt was blocked, he was able to hit it the second time round to rack up his ninth recognised defence. Christopher Daniels’ record is only four away now… ***3/4

The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) def. Honor No More (PCO & Vincent)

I honestly don’t think Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are getting enough credit for the years they’ve had in 2022. Both of them look as good as they’ve ever been and they continued their terrific run of tag matches here with another great effort.

In a match that had a great flow to it, PCO impressed once again and Vincent delivered his best performance in the promotion. The latter still ate the fall though, succumbing to a Guns double-team after PCO had crashed and burned on the outside with a dive.

The Guns against Matt Taven and Mike Bennett at Bound for Glory is going to be fantastic. ***1/2

Mickie James def. Gisele Shaw

I was a very big fan of Gisele coming to the ring with a ‘Happy Retirement’ balloon for Mickie – all celebrations are made better by balloons.

Retirement stories like the one they’re trying to tell with Mickie James can be spun in one of two ways, either a heel cheating to keep their career alive or a valiant babyface working hard from the bottom. James is perfect for the latter role and they gave her and Shaw time here to tell that story. They got across that James is having to work hard to keep up with the newer faces in the Knockouts division and that she will get knocked down during this Last Rodeo run but that she’s got enough to keep rolling for now.

There were a couple of awkward moments, mostly stemming from Shaw pushing herself to try new things, but this was good work from both women. ***1/4

Triple Threat Revolver to determine the No #1 Contender for the X-Division Championship
Frankie Kazarian def. Kenny King, Black Taurus, Trey Miguel, Yuya Uemura, Mia Yim, Alex Zayne and Laredo Kid

Reviewing scramble matches like this one is always a challenge; their spot-heavy nature means they’re always better enjoyed live and in the crowd than when watching from afar with a pen and notepad to hand.

Impact tried to tread a fine line here between giving every three-way match sufficient time to make it matter on its own and keeping the overall match as succinct as possible. They ultimately did a good job but the match dragged through the middle.

Black Taurus brought real energy as the final entrant, livening up the deciding match with Frankie Kazarian and Kenny King. Kazarian picking up the win was the right call, it just took a bit too long to get there. ***

Post-match we got a weird segment involving the Impact debut of Bobby Fish. He went for a very wink-wink nudge-nudge promo, calling for a fight with someone legit. He was confronted by Raj Singh and Shera, potentially sewing the seed for something at Bound for Glory.

Honor No More (Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) (w/Maria Kanellis-Bennett) def. Josh Alexander, Rich Swann & Heath

While a little disjointed at times, all six guys brought tremendous energy and effort to this one and it paid off with a thoroughly enjoyable 16-minute match that hit all the right notes.

You had Rich Swann showing off his underdog fighting spirit, Heath getting a big hot tag, the established heel team being presented as the more cohesive unit and some big exchanges between Josh Alexander and Eddie Edwards to add a bit of heat to their Bound for Glory meeting.

The finish was cool too. Rich Swann was torn between staying on the apron to tag in and diving to the outside to stop Heath getting beaten down. He went with the latter, leaving Josh alone in the ring. The numbers game caught up with the champion, Edwards inflicting his first pinfall loss since October 2021 with the Die Hard Driver. ***1/2

Jordynne Grace def. Max The Impaler (w/ Father James Mitchell)

Max The Impaler was given a lot here as they told the story of Grace being at a power disadvantage and having to fight an uphill battle.

Although she got in a couple of big power spots in the finishing stretch, namely an Alabama Slam on the outside and then a match-winning Grace Driver, Grace was able to show off more speed and lithe movements in this one. Good, hard-hitting stuff. ***

Post-match, Grace got on the mic and said that the Pick Your Poison stip goes both ways. She’s picked a friend to fight Masha Slamovich this week, namely Allie Katch in a Monster’s Ball match. I like Masha a lot but even she’s got her work cut out for that to not be awful…

Impact then aired a video package to show that Raven will be the latest inductee to the promotion’s Hall of Fame. That induction will take place during Bound for Glory.

Barbed Wire Massacre V
Steve Maclin def. Moose and Sami Callihan

I love it when wrestlers make an effort to vary up their attire ahead of a big match. All three did that here, with Maclin rocking the face paint, t-shirt and jeans, Moose donning a vest and trousers and Sami doing a Cactus Jack cosplay.

In my Victory Road preview I hoped that this Barbed Wire Massacre had a bit more life to it than the last one. Thankfully, all three delivered to ensure that was the case. There were a few sloppy spots, some sloppy to the point of dangerous, but you had doors, tables, chairs, controllers and Steve Maclin doing his best Steve Rogers impression with a barbed wire bin lid.

If you’ve seen any hardcore matches this year, there’s nothing here that’ll blow you away but everyone worked hard and the crowd seemed into it. Maclin probably had the best showing and he was the one that went over, low blowing Callihan and then spiking him with an awkward-looking DDT onto a blood-spattered broken door. You have to think he’ll be the first title challenger post-Bound for Glory. ***3/4

Final Thoughts

Considering how the card looked going in, it’s fair to say that Victory Road overdelivered relative to my expectations. There’s nothing on the show that you need to go out of your way to see but it was an easy watch and they put together a lot of building blocks for Bound for Glory, which is shaping up very nicely.