Down Under Tour – Night 2
July 1, 2023
Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
The second night of Impact’s debut weekend in Australia took place on Saturday, July 1. Main eventing the show at the Equex Centre in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales was an Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship match between Deonna Purrazzo and Gisele Shaw.
Inaugural Oceania Pro Wrestling Championship
Adam Brooks def. Robbie Eagles
Steve Maclin suffering an injury against Alex Shelley on night one led Impact to rejig the card a bit for night two. One of the matches affected was this one, with the original third man in this match Brian Myers shuffling up the card to face Frankie Kazarian. A change that seemingly had nothing to do with Maclin’s injury though was the attachment of the inaugural Oceania Pro Wrestling title to this match.
Although there were a couple of sloppy moments, these two worked with real intensity and delivered a fantastic opener. The crowd, which seemed stronger and louder than night one, were massively into it and it was clear that both guys wanted to properly showcase their skills.
I had assumed that Eagles, as the NJPW contracted talent, would be going over but he ended up on the losing end, with Brooks getting the knees up on the 450 splash and then hitting a Swanton Bomb of his own for victory. ***1/2
The Natural Classics (Stevie & Tome Filip) def. The VeloCities (Jude London & Paris De Silva)
In my recent VOW Flagship debut, I said that the two Australian talents I wanted to see on this tour were Slex and The VeloCities. I got my wish fulfilled on this show but I was massively disappointed to see the VeloCities get under five minutes of ring time.
The five minutes we did get were a great little sprint, with the Velocities working go-go-go from the outset and really showing off their high-flying, dynamic offense.
The Natural Classics got the comeback win a bit too quick for my liking but this was good for what it was. **1/2
Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Joe Hendry (C) def. Moose
I’m almost certainly on an island (of relevancy) here but I thought this rocked.
It was just 12 minutes of these two just throwing big bombs at each other. Moose was absolutely dialed in (new contracts work wonders) and Hendry worked with an intensity that his matches typically lack.
The downside of this rocking was the fact that I spent most of the match frustrated at the fact that we’ve not been doing more of this stuff in Joe Hendry’s title reign. If there was more of this with the entrance videos sprinkled in, and less of the Santino Marella stuff, I think more people would be higher on his work. ****
Eddie Edwards def. Slex
I would like the people to know that Slex is the business and business is, in fact, booming.
For the second night in a row, Eddie Edwards worked his basic heel house show schtick and that meant this took quite a while to get going. When it did, however, it was pretty good and a big part of that was Slex.
Slex brought real energy to proceedings, with a picture-perfect Diving Tornado DDT to the outside followed by a Moonsault standing out as the best spot of the match. It wasn’t enough to get him the win but he should certainly have earned himself future considerations. ***
Steph De Lander def. Killer Kelly
This match wasn’t perfect but I thought it was fine and definitely a better showing for both than they’d had on Night One.
In contrast to the previous night when she won an extended squash, Killer Kelly here was the babyface in peril working from underneath against a more powerful opponent. She surprisingly lost though, as De Lander powered out of the Killer Clutch and pinned her with a TKO.
Given that Kelly and Masha Slamovich are seemingly the next tag team champions, and De Lander was clearly labeled an Impact wrestler in all the promo material, this seems like a setup for something down the line. **3/4
Frankie Kazarian def. Brian Myers
Now, this was always going to be affected by the product of expectations as Brian Myers, bless his soul, is never going to have as interesting a match to me as Steve Maclin would.
While I personally would have loved to see five minutes trimmed off this one and given to the Aussie showcase tag earlier on, the work here was solid enough.
In many ways, it was a solid, classic pro wrestling match. Myers, the heel, worked a bunch of holds and Frankie Kazarian, the babyface, got the crowd onside as he fought from underneath and hit all of his big stuff. A quintessential gentleman’s three. ***
Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championships
ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (C) def. The Motor Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley)
The people of Wagga Wagga were feeling the buzz here, chanting ‘this is awesome’ before the opening bell even rang.
Their praise was rightly justified because this match transpired to be fantastic and definitely the best yet in the series between these two teams.
The Guns, who currently hold the two top singles titles in Impact, were able to take on the mantle of the grizzled veterans in this match, working two on one advantages here and really laying it in on the babyface champions. The ABC, meanwhile, showed that they’d evolved from the young upstarts they were in their first meetings and fought back and used exactly the same tactics in equal measure.
Prior to their singles titles wins, Impact had been telling the story of the Guns not quite being on the same page in their matches anymore with an increasing number of miscommunications. You had more of those here but they occurred for both teams, making it feel much more of a story about two teams that knew each other inside out and were primed to counter each other’s tag team offense.
The finish too was brilliant and felt decisive, with the ABC hitting the 1, 2, Sweet on both Shelley and Sabin to complete their sixth successful title defense. ****1/4
Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Deonna Purrazzo (C) def. Gisele Shaw
Although the style might be a more acquired taste, I thought this was a very enjoyable match and probably the most complete performance in Gisele Shaw’s Impact career.
Deonna Purrazzo and Shaw had both won by armbar submissions the night before and that was the story of this contest, with both women targeting the arm of their opponent.
They both hurled each other into the ring posts and pursued the armbars throughout, with the eventual finish seeing Deonna, whose selling here was fantastic, use her legs to lock in the Venus de Milo to secure the submission. ***3/4
A step up on their debut show, Night Two of the Down Under Tour was a really good showing from Impact Wrestling. Both Joe Hendry vs. Moose and the tag title match cracked my notebook but all in all the whole show is worth your time at a breezy two-and-a-half hours.