Impact Wrestling
No Surrender 2023
February 24, 2023
Sam’s Town Live
Las Vegas, Nevada

Watch: FITE

Impact Wrestling’s latest live special, No Surrender, takes place this Friday (February 24th) at Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. A regular haunt of the promotion, their latest trip is headlined by Josh Alexander defending the Impact World Championship against Rich Swann.

Countdown to No Surrender
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Gisele Shaw (w/Jai Vidal)

I did think that Deonna might have been done with Impact by now following the expiration of her contract at the end of 2022 but she’s still here and that’s definitely a good thing. Interestingly, since January’s Hard to Kill she’s turned babyface for the first time in her Impact run.

Gisele Shaw, meanwhile, has been with the promotion for a year now and she’s continued to develop her character. Pushed as a breaker up of tag teams, a recent win over Tara has led her to start calling herself the Black Widow of Impact Wrestling.

There’s not an enormous story to this one other than both women throwing food over each other. The match should be good, though because Purrazzo is one of the best female workers in North America and Shaw has come on a lot in her time with Impact. I’ve got no major feeling for the booking but I imagine Shaw goes over. Prediction: Gisele Shaw

Countdown to No Surrender
Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bailey

Unless this is going to be more of an angle than a fully-fledged match, there’s absolutely no reason that these two should be stuck down on the pre-show. I get that it’s “free,” and therefore available to everyone but I doubt they’re going to go out there and have a 15-20 minute notebook contest in the 30-minute countdown program.

Story-wise, Gresham has been looking to rebound from his singles loss to Eddie Edwards at Hard to Kill. After knocking off a couple of lower-level guys, he called out Bailey, who himself was coming off a fun Pit Fight win over Kenny King, for a singles match here.

Gresham has been showing some more heel tendencies in his character, indicative of a turn born out of a frustration that he can’t get over the line in his bigger Impact matches. If that’s the direction of travel, it makes most sense for him to lose here as that’ll develop his character and keep Bailey on the up as they head back to Canada and Bailey looks ahead to a match with Will Ospreay on the Mania weekend show. Prediction: Mike Bailey

Frankie Kazarian vs. Kon (w/Angels, Deaner & Callihan)

Kazarian’s decision to sign with Impact in January was a move that I absolutely loved because it’s indicative of what a healthy scene should look like.

The story of this match is all about the Design and the seven trials Deaner has set for Sami Callihan to become a fully-fledged member of the group. Kazarian called Callihan out for his involvement in the group but was instead confronted by Kon, leading to this being booked.

On the surface, this is a super easy way to give Kazarian a singles win on a live special against a physically larger opponent who’ll be in tag matches most of the time. Prediction: Frankie Kazarian

Time Machine (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA) vs BULLET CLUB (KENTA, Ace Austin & Chris Bey)

KENTA might only be operating at half speed most of the time but even the prospect of a half-speed KENTA in there with these five guys makes this one of my most anticipated matches on the entire card.

I’ve worked myself into a shoot over this now but there’s clearly a play here for Ace Austin and Chris Bey to eventually win the Impact tag titles from Shelley and Sabin. With that in mind, you’d think they’re a cert to get the win here to set up that title challenge for one of Impact’s Canada shows or even the Mania weekend card.

KUSHIDA challenging Josh Alexander for the Impact World Championship at the Mania weekend show does give me pause for thought but I don’t think he’s hurt by losing a six-man tag where he won’t eat the fall to a BULLET CLUB trio that features one current champion (Kenta) and two future belt holders. Prediction: BULLET CLUB

Four-way match to determine No #1 Contender for the Impact Wrestling World Championship
Steve Maclin vs. Heath vs. PCO vs. Brian Myers

There might be four people involved in this match but there’s only one winner here and that’s Steve Maclin. He’s locked on to be the one winning the title from Josh Alexander later in the year so he’ll be going over here. Simple as.

Beyond his inevitable victory, there are a couple of stories that should make this interesting. PCO and Eddie Edwards are building towards a big match at the next PPV and we should get some more storyline progression here. PCO cost Edwards against Heath in his qualifier for this match, so you’d anticipate Edwards will return the favor here and take the French-Canadian Frankenstein out of the equation. If they work it right, it’ll leave meat on the bone for a Maclin/PCO title match later in the year as well.

There’s also a little something with Heath too. Maclin used Heath’s finisher, the Wake Up Call, in his qualifier win over Heath’s tag partner Rhino, so if he uses it again here to win, it gives them a Maclin/Heath singles match to build to before Maclin challenges for the title at Rebellion in April.

With all of that in mind, that leaves Brian Myers. Sadly, it’ll be the Most Professional Wrestler that’s doing the j-o-b and looking up at the lights when the final bell goes. Prediction: Steve Maclin

Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Tag Team Championship
The Death Dollz (Jessicka & Taya Valkyrie) (C) (w/Rosemary) vs. The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) (w/Father James Mitchell)

It’s very rare that a man as verbose as me is lost for words but presented with this match, I struggle.

Following a recent title defense against Killer Kelly and Taylor Wilde, the Death Dollz were confronted by Father James Mitchell. He said that Rosemary hadn’t respected him enough, so she needed to face her punishment – a match with The Hex at No Surrender.

Although The Death Dollz recently became the longest-reigning holders of these belts since they were reactivated a couple of years ago, it makes more sense for The Hex, who recently left the NWA, to enjoy a winning Impact debut than for them to continue as champs. Either way, this won’t be particularly good or memorable, however long it lasts. Prediction: The Hex

Dot Combat Match for the Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Joe Hendry (C) vs. Moose

Dot Combat matches, essentially hardcore matches featuring computer equipment like microphones and keyboards, are becoming a staple of the Digital Media title and I’m cool with that because they’ve all been fun so far.

I’m also cool with Joe Hendry getting another chance to show what he can do in a longer form match on a live show. In case you weren’t aware, I believe in Joe Hendry and so do Impact Wrestling.

Although I’m fairly done with watching guys hit each other with stuff, this match should outstrip their Hard to Kill affair as we won’t have any Santino shenanigans. Although I could see Moose winning, conventional booking logic says that the babyface wins in a stipulation match like this. Prediction: Joe Hendry

Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Mickie James (C) vs. Masha Slamovich

Entering Hard to Kill, I was as invested in Mickie James as I’ve ever been. Her Last Rodeo storyline was brilliant, compelling stuff and I was totally sold on the idea she could have been retiring. Since that ended with her win against Jordynne Grace against Hard to Kill, it’s fair to say her booking has cooled me off a whole bunch.

Indeed, since she won the title for the fifth time, she’s been mired in the worst part of Impact every week and that’s the Busted Open melodrama between Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer. It’s not good, it’s building to something no one should want to see and it’s not doing Mickie any favours. Masha Slamovich, who became top contender by winning a four-way at Hard to Kill, has been brilliant as always as this snarling heel with her Russian promos and death warrants, but the title match has felt like a tag-on to the other story.

This will be the third time in four live events that Masha will be in the Knockouts title match and for that reason it feels like her winning the belt here is a plausible move. Mickie only having a six-week transitional reign would fit in with the crux of the Last Rodeo story, that she had lost a step and wasn’t quite at the top level anymore, and her possibly being distracted by the Dreamer/Ray nonsense.

However, what gives me pause for thought is the story bubbling away with Jordynne Grace and Grace wanting a rematch with James because James tapped in their match at Hard to Kill and got away with it. Although they could go back to Grace/James without James being champion, it works better I think if she’s still the champion. As such, although I think Masha should win, she probably falls short again. Prediction: Mickie James

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Josh Alexander (C) vs. Rich Swann

Frustratingly, the video packages Impact have put together to promote this match have done a more coherent and clear job of telling Rich Swann’s story coming into this match than any of the in-ring action involving these two has, which is a bit of a shame.

The narrative they want to push here is that this is Swann’s chance for redemption after almost two years away from the Impact title and it follows the trend of Josh Alexander’s babyface title challengers having these super compelling, human narratives.

For Alex Shelley, it was him challenging for a World title for the first time in his career. For Frankie Kazarian, it was about betting on himself and trying to channel lightning in a bottle on one night. For Swann, it’s about life coming full circle and him getting a chance he’s battled for.

Swann dropped the Impact World title to Kenny Omega at Rebellion in 2021, getting knocked silly in the process. He waived his right to a rematch for the title and since then has traipsed through feuds with W. Morrissey and Steve Maclin and teamed with Willie Mack. He even won the Digital Media Championship but he’s not had another World title match since that Omega loss in 2021. No Surrender is his chance to right that wrong.

As stories go, it’s a pretty good one and I have no doubt that this match will be excellent. Swann is a guy I’ve always liked more than most and I think he’ll thrive here because his underdog babyface style will force Alexander to work more heel than normal as he’ll have more of the match.

Sadly, there’s no real drama over the result. Steve Maclin has to be the one to beat Josh Alexander for the title and there’s no way that Alexander isn’t going into their first Canadian shows in three years as champion. Prediction: Josh Alexander