Over Drive 2022
November 18, 2022
Old Forester’s Paristown Hall
On November 18, Impact Wrestling held Over Drive, their final live show of the year. Headlined by Josh Alexander defending the Impact World Championship against Frankie Kazarian, the show took place at the Old Forester’s Paristown Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary.
Countdown to Over Drive
Rich Swann def. Jason Hotch, Kenny King, Mike Bailey, Yuya Uemura and Bhupinder Gujjar
Even if you’ve not seen this match, you’ve definitely seen it before. Or at least something like it, about 100 times over across every indie show that opens with a scramble match.
The match was solid enough, with everyone getting their big spots and their time to shine. The highlight for me was Jason Hotch, who had a good outing here and continued to confirm my suspicions that Impact really might have something with him.
When previewing the show, I said that I though the feud between Kenny King and Mike Bailey would prove the defining story of the match and I was proved right. King pushed Bailey off the top rope as he was poised for Ultimo Weapon, leaving Rich Swann to hit a cutter on Hotch and pick up the win. **3/4
Countdown to Over Drive
The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) def. Ace Austin & Chris Bey
Although this didn’t quite hit the same level as their first meeting at Against All Odds, this was still a strong match and one that got a pretty good amount of time on the pre-show.
This was just the sixth time that Austin and Bey had teamed together in a two-versus-two setting and throughout the match they tried to tell the story that they were able to hang with the veterans but didn’t quite have the communication and strategy yet to outwit them. That was evident at the end, when Austin and Bey’s tag finisher backfired and the Guns capitalised for the victory.
With Austin and Bey now off to compete in the Super Jr Tag League, it’s obvious that they’re building towards another match next year where the added experience the young guys have picked up will help them get past the standard-bearers of Impact’s tag division. ***1/2
Bully Ray def. Moose
This was a match that happened. It wasn’t particularly bad per se but it never really got out of first gear.
One positive here, and one throughout the show really, was the added detail we’re getting in the production and commentary. For example, Hannifan noted that while this was the first Tables match of Moose’s career, it was Bully’s 89th and he’d won 74% of his previous ones. That sort of stuff will always pop me.
Moose hit Bully with a low blow immediately after the bell rang as they tried to go for a hot start but from there on it mostly just disintegrated into both guys hitting each other with stuff for 10 minutes. Unsurprisingly, Bully picked up the win by spearing Moose through a table. **1/2
Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Tag Team Championship
The Death Dollz (Taya Valkyrie & Jessicka) (w/Rosemary) (C) def. Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
While the previous match struggled to pick up any momentum because it lacked any real connective tissue between the big spots, this one never got going because it was just dull and uninteresting.
The work was fine for what it was but they seemed to wrestling underwater for the most part and I found it almost impossible to care, which isn’t good. Although I think it sucks, Havok’s new Jessicka gimmick seems to be over so I guess Impact are going to try and run with it. **
Mickie James def. Taylor Wilde
We were treated to a slower, more technical start here with a lot of grappling and what the commentators tend to describe as a ‘feeling out process’.
What eventually transpired was a good back-and-forth match, with Wilde proving the more impressive of the two – I sincerely hope she sticks around as she’s got a lot to offer the division.
Overall though it lacked enough of the necessary drama to make you believe that Mickie James would ever lose, even if the closing sequence was enjoyable. It wasn’t perfect or particularly clean, in fact there were quite a few whiffs, but it did sell the desperation of James wanting to keep her career alive. ***
Post-match, Deonna Purrazzo hit the ring and called Mickie a “selfish bitch”. She said that James had never cared about improving the division, she only cared about herself and ruining Purrazzo’s career. As such, Purrazzo has lined herself up to be the next challenger in the Last Rodeo. If Purrazzo is leaving the company when her current deal expires at the end of the year, this is a good way for her to go out.
Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
Heath & Rhino (C) def. The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Myers)
For quite a while there have been obvious limitations with Rhino. They seem even more apparent after his latest injury but look, if he comes in on a hot tag, cleans house and hits a couple of Gores, I’m alright with that for now.
I’m probably the high man here but I enjoyed this for what it was. There was a bit of comedy, most notably Matt Cardona’s crotch being driven into Brian Myers’ face while he hung in a tree of woe, but for the most part it was a traditional style tag match with a long build to the babyface hot tag.
There was a bit of shenanigans in the finish. The Motor City Machine Guns, who’d become top contenders earlier in the show and were sat at ringside, stopped Matt Cardona from introducing a chair. That distraction allowed Rhino to hit a Gore on Myers and retain. ***
Vacant Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Trey Miguel def. Black Taurus
These two went out there and had a banger, providing the spark of energy that this show and the Louisville crowd desperately needed.
Taurus, who was massively over throughout the match, hasn’t had too many opportunities in his Impact run to stretch his legs but he did here and absolutely delivered alongside a very willing dance partner in Trey.
There were so many great exchanges throughout the match, with the best being Trey’s step-up dive to the outside that he transitioned perfectly into a hurricanrana; that was worth an extra quarter-star alone. After both guys hit their biggest shots to try and win, an Avalanche Gorilla Press slam for Taurus and a Meteora for Trey, the finish saw a surprising heel turn for Trey, who used the spray paint from his entrance to blind Taurus and roll him up. ***3/4
As much as I know some won’t like it, I can get behind a Trey heel run. They needed to try something different with him for a second X-Division title run and he exudes natural heel energy. Also, I think the story tells itself – this is a guy who loves that title so much that he’s got it tattooed on his body, so you can make people believe that he’d do whatever it takes to win the title back and keep it.
Last Knockout Standing match for the Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Jordynne Grace (C) def. Masha Slamovich
Once again, these two stepped up and worked fantastically together, delivering a great match that cemented them as two of the best female workers in North America right now.
For the most part, the intensity of their work got them around the cumbersome nature of the Last Knockout Standing stipulation. Yes, there were still counts and periods of stalling, but they were nowhere near as egregious as they normally are in matches like this and the finish was built towards logically.
Slamovich tweaked her left knee early on and from there, Grace targeted it by any means possible. In the end that knee gave out on Slamovich, as she fell back down at nine after Grace had put her through a door with a Muscle Buster off the apron. ***1/2
Impact World Championship
Josh Alexander (C) def. Frankie Kazarian
Some people might take this as hyperbole but I truthfully believe this was a career-best performance for Frankie Kazarian.
He and Josh Alexander were given more than half an hour to work a proper main event. Sometimes that amount of time is a burden and you end up with something that feels long or takes far too long to get going. That wasn’t the case here, as both guys went at it from the start and made the most of the time to tell a compelling, engaging story.
The story coming in was Frankie Kazarian wanting to chase greatness in the promotion that he’d always call home. It was him, after two previous failed bids at winning the Impact World title, aiming to make it third time lucky and give his career the validation he felt it was lacking. It was him trying to find, on one night, the best-ever version of himself and hoping it was enough.
To my mind at least, the match told that story perfectly. You saw Frankie outsmart Josh in the early going, sneaking out of the Ankle Lock and forcing him into the ropes after applying the Chickenwing. You saw Frankie pull out moves I’d not seen him utilise in years like the Styles Clash and Back to the Future. The longer it went and the more the crowd got behind him, the more you started to sense that he might actually win. That Impact might actually have him beat Josh and give him that big moment.
Ultimately though, his night ended like all of Josh’s previous challengers have – eating a C4 Spike and looking up at the lights as the referred counted to three.
It wasn’t just Frankie that excelled here, by the way. Josh Alexander was fantastic once again, delivering another top class main event and showcasing why he’s one of the very best in the world. Although I think this was as good as his matches with Moose and Alex Shelley, my rating is a bit lower for two reasons.
The first is a weird moment they had on the top rope where they obviously went for something and it didn’t work and they both fell down. The other is the ref bump and assorted melodrama with the belt. I know I’m probably too rigid in my hatred of ref bumps but it wasn’t for me and while I got why Frankie would consider using the belt, the idea of him being deterred by Josh’s wife was a bit too ‘Johnny Gargano in NXT’ for my liking. Otherwise though, this was sensational. ****1/4
Post-match, Frankie Kazarian was frustrated but he put Josh over by raising his hand. Bully Ray then came down to the ring, announcing that he was cashing in his Call Your Shot trophy for the main event of Hard to Kill on January 13, Impact’s first PPV of 2023. Bully stayed true to his word about telling Josh to his face about when he’d cash the title shot in but as soon as Josh went back to celebrating, Bully beat him down with a chair on the outside. After tying Josh to the bottom rope, Bully then teased piledriving Josh’s wife on the concrete before ending the show by holding the belt high in the air.
Now, I know a lot of people will have hated that angle and will hate that Impact’s first PPV of the new year will be headlined by a 51-year-old Bully Ray. I get that, I really do. However, I think the segment worked and I’m prepared to see it play out. First of all, it was nasty, visceral and despicable in all the right ways. Bully came across as an absolute scumbag and now Josh will want to beat him. You can work that into a stipulation and also tell the story that mind games like that are Bully’s only chance of beat him. Likewise, if you delve into the fantasy booking realm a bit more, it gives Josh as ace of the promotion a new edge – surely he’d be mad that not a single person in the locker room came out to help or defend him and his wife. As he moves into the second half of this title reign, that’ll give him more character definition. I might hate this by January but I’m onboard for now.
Through the first four matches, Over Drive was on track to be Impact’s worst live special of the year. The last three matches more than made up for it though, taking this to a 7/10 overall. The crowd were pretty rubbish for the most part but when there was stuff to get excited about, like those last three matches, they reacted and were into it.
In terms of recommendations, I’d carve out 40 minutes or so to watch the main event and the closing angle as they’re well worth your time. The Knockouts and X-Division title matches are also worth viewing but they’re not essential.