Over Drive 2022
November 18, 2022
Old Forester’s Paristown Hall
Impact Wrestling’s first live event since Bound for Glory, Over Drive, takes place this Friday (November 18th) at the Old Forester’s Paristown Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Headlining the promotion’s third live event of the year in Kentucky is Frankie Kazarian challenging Josh Alexander for the Impact World Championship.
Countdown to Over Drive
Rich Swann vs. Kenny King vs. Mike Bailey vs. Jason Hotch vs. Yuya Uemura vs. Bhupinder Gujjar
The pre-show is set to kick-off with this fun six-man scramble which I suspect will function as an unofficial top contender’s match for the X-Division Championship.
Jason Hotch, a Trey Miguel trainee, was one of the Gut Check winners this year and I’m a big fan. His in-ring style reminds me a lot of Ace Austin and Zachary Wentz and his match with Yuya Uemura on Before the Impact about six weeks ago was a real treat.
The storyline to watch in this one is between Mike Bailey and Kenny King. King cost Bailey his semi-final match with the aforementioned Miguel in the X-Division title tournament and I think they further that rivalry here. It could be that King steals the win from Bailey to give him more of a rub but I think they’ll cancel each other out, with Rich Swann maintaining his recent upward momentum with a win. Prediction: Rich Swann
Countdown to Over Drive
No. #1 Contendership for the Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championships
The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chris Bey & Ace Austin)
Ace Austin and Chris Bey actually seem to have some momentum coming into this show, having both won singles matches on TV recently and picking up the win in a four-way tag team match on the Over Drive go-home show that also featured the Guns.
I’m not sure how much time they’ll get on the pre-show but the last time these two teams wrestled each other (back at Against All Odds in July), it hit notebook territory. I expect another strong showing here.
What also intrigues me about this match is that the booking could go either way. Bey and Austin are off to the Super Junior Tag League after this, so they could win the match and retain the shot until Hard to Kill in January (when they’d presumably have more buzz about them) or they could have it at the tapings the next night. On the flipside, the Guns have been leveraging for a shot at Heath and Rhino since they won the belts, so a win here for them would make sense. Although the Guns will be introduced as NJPW Strong Tag champs on this show, the idea of Austin and Bey winning feels right. Prediction: Ace Austin & Chris Bey
Mickie James vs. Taylor Wilde
Mickie James’ ‘Last Rodeo’ run continues here as she looks to extend her run of wins to seven in a row, keeping her career alive and moving closer to another title shot in the process.
Although she’s taken long breaks from wrestling, I still love watching Taylor Wilde. She’s got great presence and movement in-ring and such obvious natural ability. She’s looked good in her two matches in this latest run, so I’ve got reasonable hopes for this.
James winning here seems more or less a lock. It’ll be interesting to see post-Over Drive whether she emerges as the title challenger for Hard to Kill or whether they keep her retirement story rumbling on through a couple of different opponents first. Prediction: Mickie James
Bully Ray vs. Moose
I’ll be the first to admit that while I thought Bully Ray winning the Call Your Shot Gauntlet at Bound for Glory was an erroneous misstep, the story they’ve told with him since then has been pretty decent. It’s framed around the idea that he’s desperate to achieve success the ‘right’ way this time after a career of turns and shenanigans but that no one on the roster trusts him. Less Tommy Dreamer on TV would be preferable, but you can’t get everything.
The other facet of Bully’s story has been Moose repeatedly trying to make him out to be the bad guy. Moose accused him of attacking Ace Austin backstage and then made out that Bully was trying to get involved in Chris Bey’s match with Tommy Dreamer. That came to a head a couple of weeks ago, with Moose jumping Bully from behind and putting him through a table.
Tables matches have a definite ceiling to them but this should be decent enough. Bully is still a serviceable worker and Moose always steps up when plunder is involved. The stip also gives you an easy way to put Bully over without having him pin Moose clean. Prediction: Bully Ray
Impact Knockouts World Tag Team Championships
The Death Dollz (Havok & Taya Valkyrie) (w/Rosemary) (C) vs. Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
Since the Knockouts Tag Titles were reintroduced in January 2021, nine different title reigns were spread across eight distinct teams. They are the promotion’s hot potato belts.
The majority of the build to this match has been trying to reheat Steelz and Evans after Steelz had a couple of underwhelming matches with Killer Kelly. It’s not fully worked in my view though as while Evans has come across like a dominant monster, Steelz got squashed on the go-home show and previously lost to a jobber via DQ.
Given the way these titles move around, I have no idea who wins. The champions stood tall on the go-home show, so conventional logic would suggest they come up short here. Whichever way they go, this figures to be the weakest match on the card. Prediction: Steelz and Evans
Impact World Tag Team Championships
Heath & Rhino (C) vs. The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Myers)
Impact put out a long-form interview in the build-up with Heath and Rhino that touched on their chemistry, friendship, and personal stories. Heath spoke about his upbringing, and Rhino discussed considering retirement earlier in the year after a knee injury. It was a really good video and one that solidified this as a routine first defense before they get into a meatier story with either Austin & Bey or the Motor City Machine Guns.
Interestingly, this is just the second time Cardona and Myers have teamed together in Impact and the first in a straight two-vs-two tag match. Cardona returned at Bound for Glory to a good reaction and earned them this title shot with an interference-laden singles win over Alex Shelley.
I can’t imagine the match will be a lot to write home about but it should be fun at the very least. Prediction: Heath and Rhino
Tournament Final for the Vacant Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Black Taurus (w/Crazzy Steve) vs. Trey Miguel
Frankie Kazarian cashing in Option C left the X-Division title vacant, resulting in an eight-man tournament that concludes here with Black Taurus facing Trey Miguel.
Taurus beat Laredo Kid and PJ Black to make the final, while Trey saw off the challenges of new Violent By Design member Alan Angels and former champion Mike Bailey.
This has the potential to be very good. Miguel is a fantastic all-around worker now, while anyone with a brain knows what Taurus is capable of in the ring when given a chance to stretch his legs properly. Miguel’s first title reign didn’t quite reach the heights it could have done because of some unfortunate personal circumstances on his side, so they could go back to him here but Taurus getting his first title in Impact is the fun pick so I hope they go in that direction. Prediction: Black Taurus
Last Knockout Standing Match for the Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Jordynne Grace (C) vs. Masha Slamovich
Back at Bound for Glory, Grace and Slamovich had a great match, easily the best Knockouts match in Impact this year. Here, they’ll run it back in one of my least favorite stipulations, a Last Knockout Standing match.
Masha’s return angle a week ago was brilliant, as it capitalized on a sneaky superb main event with Grace and Gisele Shaw and re-established Slamovich as a top-of-the-card heel.
The stipulation does suck, though. By their very nature, Last Man/Knockout/Wrestler Standing matches are staccato and clunky, dogged by bouts of waiting, stalling and referees counting. I do not doubt that Grace and Slamovich will work incredibly hard but this definitely won’t reach the same heights of their first meeting. In terms of the booking, it could go either way. I’ll lean towards Grace retaining. Prediction: Jordynne Grace
Impact World Championship
Josh Alexander (C) vs. Frankie Kazarian
It’s hard to explain just how much I’m looking forward to this.
Aside from a rather contrived contract signing segment on the go-home show, the build to this match has been nothing short of excellent. The video package below will get you up to speed.
They’ve told the story of Kazarian wanting to win the X-Division title at Bound for Glory but then seeing the opportunity to go for the big one. They’ve touched on his losses to AJ Styles and Kurt Angle in previous World title challenges and that at 45, he might not have many more in him. They’ve addressed Impact being a proper home for him, the place where he made friends and met his wife.
Much like with Alex Shelley’s title challenge earlier in the year, the simple, effective realism of the story has you rooting for the babyface challenger to beat the ace of the promotion and believing that he can genuinely do it. That’s what good wrestling is all about.
Dethroning an ace is always a cool moment and Kazarian winning wouldn’t shock me. In the build-up to his X-Division title challenge against Mike Bailey, they made a big deal of Bailey chasing down Christopher Daniels’ record of defences in a single reign and then he fell short. Impact have recently been pointing to the length of Alexander’s title reign on social media, showing that he’s risen up to third in the list of individual reigns by length. Again, that could be a misdirection.
Ultimately, I still think Alexander wins. I don’t know, though, and that’s what excites me. They could ruin it all by having Bully cash-in after the main event but I’ll cross the bridge if and when I have to. Prediction: Josh Alexander