March 24, 2023
St. Clair College
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
UPDATE (March 24)
This card has undergone numerous changes due to injuries, here is the latest on a tumultuous 24 hours for Impact Wrestling.
This Friday, March 24, Impact Wrestling return to Canada for the first time in more than three years for Sacrifice 2023. Emanating from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, the sold out event is headlined by a six-man tag team match pitting Josh Alexander, Frankie Kazarian and Rich Swann against Time Machine.
PCO vs. Kenny King
As has been the case for a number of months now, the bigger story at play with anything to do with PCO has been his ongoing feud with Eddie Edwards.
King recently reunited with former Honor No More stablemate Edwards to beat down PCO and it would appear, like Rikishi all those years ago, that he was also the driver of the car that recently hit PCO in the Las Vegas desert.
King has had good matches this year with Mike Bailey and Rich Swann so I’m confident that this should be better than his last meeting with PCO at ROH’s Death Before Dishonor in 2019. PCO is definitely going to win, as they’re obviously building to a hardcore match of sorts with Edwards at Rebellion, but he also needs to look good here because he’s not done anything memorable in-ring since his programme with Jonah a year ago. Prediction: PCO
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Gisele Shaw (w/Savannah Evans & Jai Vidal)
These two met at last month’s No Surrender event in a singles match that ended with a very TV finish: Jai Vidal distracted the referee, allowing Savannah Evans to return as Shaw’s heater and cost Purrazzo victory.
Purrazzo then got involved with Shaw’s recent title challenge against Mickie James on Impact’s weekly TV programme, leading to the rematch here.
Both Shaw and Purrazzo are involved in the title four-way at Multiverse United, so they could go either way with this one. At the moment, my instinct is that Purrazzo gets her win back this time. Prediction: Deonna Purrazzo
Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bailey
Just like Shaw and Purrazzo, these two also met in a singles match at No Surrender. Gresham and Bailey have a very different story brewing to those two, mind you.
Gresham won at No Surrender but since then he’s lost via submission to KUSHIDA. Bailey, meanwhile, beat Shane Haste in singles action before teaming up with Gresham to beat Decay in a tag match.
The dynamic between these two has, so far, been very much one of a friendly, competitive rivalry based on respect. The amount of buddying and arm slapping has been a bit excessive though, so I’m still firm in the belief that the eventual play is a Gresham heel turn.
Bailey has got a singles match with Hiroshi Tanahashi at the Multiverse United show six days later, while Gresham isn’t currently booked. Factor in that, the evolution of the story, and this being Bailey’s first singles match in Canada as an Impact talent and him winning this meeting is the only outcome. Don’t be shocked post-match if Gresham refuses a handshake. Prediction: Mike Bailey
Busted Open Match: Tommy Dreamer vs. Bully Ray
I made my thoughts on this programme pretty clear in my latest column, so I won’t get too negative here.
All I will say is that I’m disappointed it’s happening and I’m disappointing that instead of using these two to put over young talents, Impact have got them putting over each other.
This First Blood match should be the end of it, but it won’t be. Bully Ray is going to win, leading to some big babyface moment for Dreamer further down the line that everyone is clamoring for. Prediction: I hope it’s quick.
Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry © vs. Brian Myers
Although his match with Moose at No Surrender divided opinion (I’m still annoyed about the Dreamcast), I think Joe Hendry’s Digital Media title run has been tremendous fun. I do think though that it’s coming to an end here, however.
The real story here is Moose. He still feels humiliated by Joe Hendry’s custom entrance video for him but after losing twice to the champion knows he won’t get another shot. Instead, he tried to help Matt Cardona and after that backfired, he’s trying to help Myers.
Hendry could win here and they set up his next title match at the Multiverse United show but I’ve just got this inkling that Myers is going to win – after all, what else are they going to do with him now that Cardona’s gone? Prediction: Brian Myers
Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championship: A-B-C (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (C) vs. TMDK (Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito)
I’m not entirely sure why TMDK are getting the shot here, as Haste has a 0-1 record in the promotion and this is Tito’s Impact debut, but I’m down with it as this should be a fun first defence for the champions.
We’re definitely going to see Tito eat the fall here but I think there’ll be enough heat during and after the match to build into the four-way tag at Multiverse United also involving the Motor City Machine Guns and Aussie Open. Prediction: Ace Austin and Chris Bey
Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel © vs. Lince Dorado
Since his victory over Crazzy Steve in Monster’s Ball, Impact’s presentation of Trey Miguel has been nothing short of rotten. They made him look like a punk at No Surrender with PCO and the follow-up angle on the TV was dreadful too. It’s WWE-esque treatment of a champion and as a fan I’m annoyed because Impact have done such a good job in recent years of eschewing those tropes.
Here, Miguel is facing an opponent of Santino Marella’s choosing, namely the reigning MLW Middleweight Champion Lince Dorado.
Dorado is someone that’s been on my radar since the Cruiserweight Classic but he’s never been someone I’ve seen ‘it’ in. He’s a solid hand and as Miguel has improved so much in the last couple of years, there’s a strong chance this is very good. Miguel winning is a foregone conclusion, although I would be shocked if his win was clean. Prediction: Trey Miguel
Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship: Mickie James © vs. Jordynne Grace
Earlier in the week, I was ready to bury the build to this match. The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I feel I’m working myself into a shoot that it’s been quite clever.
On the one hand, Mickie James’ involvement in the Bully Ray-Tommy Dreamer feud has made this match feel a bit like an afterthought. That is, without question, bad.
However, that afterthought feeling has given, by design or by accident, Impact a couple of fun storyline threads. One is that it’s furthered Jordynne Grace’s frustration since Hard to Kill. She felt that James tapped out in that match and has wanted a rematch ever since. She had to wait because Masha was next in line at No Surrender, then Gisele Shaw got a shot on TV and then Mickie was back to slapping Bully Ray in the face. Does that tee her up for a quick, dominant win at Sacrifice? Or will that frustration cost her and lead to a long telegraphed heel turn?
Likewise, have they been trying to tell the story that Mickie James hasn’t got her head in the game because she’s focused elsewhere. Add in that she maybe/definitely tapped in their first match, a match she was as prepared as possible for, and you’ve set the stall for Grace running through her here in short order.
With all that on the table, I think going back to Jordynne Grace is absolutely the cooler move at this point. There’s no reason why they couldn’t swap her and Mickie around for the title four-way at Multiverse United. However, it’s the day before Grace’s first competitive bodybuilding event, so perhaps the timing doesn’t work and this is just a way to do the rematch and let Mickie move forward.
Either way, this should be good even if it doesn’t peak as high as their Hard to Kill main event. I’m intrigued by the booking and the outcome and Grace is getting better every time I see her. Prediction: Mickie James
Josh Alexander, Frankie Kazarian & Rich Swann vs. Time Machine (Kushida, Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
It doesn’t take me to tell you that this match has got fun written all over it.
KUSHIDA is challenging Josh Alexander for the Impact World Championship at Multiverse United, with Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin pivoting back to the Tag Team Title mix. With Time Machine also being the established trio, conventional booking wisdom says that they should be walking out of Windsor with the victory.
However, if you’re Impact, do you end your first show back in Canada, a country you tried to make your home base, with your top star, ace and proud Canadian taking a loss? I’m not so sure.
The other factor to note here is Steve Maclin. The man challenging, and likely beating, Alexander for the belt at Rebellion is conspicuous by his absence from this card at the time of writing. It feels a weird move to not have him on the card and it would be weirder still to not have him involved in the show at all. He got involved in Alexander, Kazarian and Swann’s trios debut, costing them against BULLET CLUB, so I doubt they run the same angle again here. More likely to me is an Alexander victory, followed by a post-match Maclin assault to garner maximum heat. Prediction: Josh Alexander, Frankie Kazarian and Rich Swann