Impact Wrestling
Emergence 2023
August 27, 2023
Rebel Entertainment Complex
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Watch: FITE

Just a week after Multiverse United 2, Impact Wrestling has another live show this weekend. This time they present Emergence 2023 from one of my favorite venues in North America, the aesthetically marvelous Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto, Canada. In the main event, Trinity will defend the Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship against three-time former champion Deonna Purrazzo. 

No Disqualification Match
Eric Young vs. Deaner (w/Kon)

Having last been seen reeling on the floor after being ‘stabbed’ by Deaner last November, Eric Young returned to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary as Scott D’Amore’s mystery tag partner.

In canon, Young narrowly survived the stabbing, but in truth, it’s because he left WWE for a second time because he wasn’t happy working for a certain somebody.

The story for this match has been, in the context of what I’ve mentioned above, fairly simple. Deaner thought he’d got rid of Young and now he realizes he hasn’t, he’s furious and wants to do it once and for all. I’m not quite sure of the mental gymnastics involved in ‘the stabbing didn’t work, so I’ll put him through a table instead’, but ours is not to reason why.

The logical blow-off to this feud is for Young to win decisively and put an end to The Design for good. The No DQ aspect does open it to shenanigans that could see Deaner go over but I think they’ve acknowledged that it’s not going to work with him on any major level. Prediction: Eric Young

Back to School Match
Eddie Edwards vs. Frankie Kazarian

“Andrew, what is a Back to School match?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. 

The answer is: I don’t know but it sounds a lot like a cinematic match. 

Edwards and Kazarian have been feuding for months and it all stemmed from them both being students of Killer Kowalski that have since taken very different attitudes to the business. I thought they were blowing the feud off at Slammiversary but instead, they went down the shenanigans route to keep it going. They then teased a mixed tag match involving their wives but we’ve not got that either. Instead, the promotion has put these two in a ‘Back to School’ Match at Kowalski’s old training school in Malden, Massachusetts. 

I have no idea what to expect with this but it should, really should, end with Kazarian the babyface going over and moving on to something else. Prediction: Frankie Kazarian

SANADA vs. Jake Something

Look at this viewing treat, a first Impact appearance in eight years for the current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA. 

In putting my notes together for this preview, I took a look back at the card from Sumo Hall in 2014 that featured Sanada beating Austin Aries for the X-Division title. It started with MAZADA, NOSAWA Rongai and Kazushi Miyamoto defeating Andy Wu, Daiki Inaba and Hiroshi Yamato in three minutes and 18 seconds and also featured the following: 

  • Ryota Hama vs. Kikutaro
  • Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka
  • Abyss vs. Yoshihiro Takayama ending in a Double DQ
  • Keiji Muto, Rob Terry & Taiyo Kea vs. Masayuki Kono, Rene Dupree & Samoa Joe

A different time. 

Jake Something made his return to Impact at Slammiversary and while the promotion definitely didn’t do enough with him the first time round, putting him in a spot like this is a positive step for his second spell. He definitely won’t win here but he’ll likely have a very good match with SANADA and hopefully get the IWGP champ a better reaction than he’s been getting at home. Prediction: SANADA

Time Machine (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin & Kushida) and Josh Alexander vs. Bully Ray, Brian Myers, Lio Rush and Moose

As much as I’m beyond done with this Bully Ray run and have been for months, I’ve now moved to a state of resigned acceptance. That said and trying to be fair, the build to this match has been pretty fun.

It’s not been anything particularly novel but it’s been the fun interweaving of Josh Alexander’s return to challenge Alex Shelley for the World title, Kushida being the top contender to Lio Rush’s X-Division title and Sabin trying to get back at Rush for the manner he won the title. There have been a lot of moving parts and the final angle on the go-home show was really good.

On the night, this should be pretty strong. It’s a sensible way to reintroduce Josh Alexander without burdening him with a big time singles match right out of the gate and it ensures a number of big matches are still on the table for a busy quarter ahead. The babyfaces should win clean but watch out for some angle involving PCO and Bully Ray because that’s in the works too. Prediction: Time Machine and Josh Alexander

Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Kenny King (C) (w/Sheldon Jean) vs. Johnny Swinger

I have said this many times before but the only good nostalgia act in wrestling is Johnny Swinger. He honestly is the best.

He’s also involved in the longest-running continual story on this show. Having asked Scott D’Amore for a World title shot many months ago, he was told that he needed to accumulate 50 wins to get one. In a great bit, he lost to a increasingly desperate cavalcade of jobbers, including Jai Vidal, local Canadian talent El Reverso and Barry Horowitz. He did get a couple of wins but they involved his former partner Zicky Dice posing as either a fake opponent or a fake referee. 

Swinger eventually got his title shot by virtue of winning a ‘Loser Leaves Impact’ bout with Dice and instead of going after Alex Shelley, he elected to go after Kenny King’s Digital Media strap because King called himself the champion of the galaxy or something to that effect. 

The story here has been a very entertaining bit and it would be good comedy if King just beats him in short order. The only correct decision though is belting up the Swingman. Do it, Scott, I’m counting on you. Prediction: Johnny Swinger

Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championship
MK Ultra (Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly) (C) vs. The Coven (KiLynn King & Taylor Wilde) vs. The SHAWntourage (Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans) vs. The Death Dollz (Jessicka & Courtney Rush)

Why spread out your three existing Knockouts tag team title storylines over successive shows when you can run through all of them on one?

Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly are the best team here and easily the most interesting the promotion have put together since they brought the titles back during the pandemic. They should retain, although whether the promotion can find some other teams to bring into the mix remains to be seen. Prediction: MK Ultra

Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championships
Subculture (Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster) (C) (w/Dani Luna) vs. The Rascalz (Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz)

Following Subculture’s title win at Slammiversary, Impact ran a four-team tournament won by The Rascalz to determine who got the shot here.

Miguel and Wentz beat Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham in the semi-finals before seeing off the challenge of Rich Swann and Sami Callihan in the final. Both matches were pretty good but rather irritatingly ended with Miguel using the spray paint because they couldn’t have gotten just one clean win, could they?

The feud that Impact are ultimately building is The Rascalz facing ABC, the team of Ace Austin and Chris Bey. That makes all the sense in the world as your Bound for Glory title match, so that means The Rascalz have to win here and end Subculture’s transitional reign at 43 days. Prediction: The Rascalz

Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Trinity (C) vs. Deonna Purrazzo

This is a rematch of the Slammiversary title match that saw Trinity end Deonna Purrazzo’s third reign with the belt.

That first meeting was decent, even if Trinity was a step behind. It was also a key draw for a show that did the promotion’s best live attendance since the pandemic and their best PPV buys since Rebellion 2021 when Kenny Omega was in the main event. 

Trinity is definitely retaining here but I think their second meeting will be stronger than the first. Not only will the chemistry be there now but Purrazzo has worked with more of an edge in the build this time so the dynamic should be a bit different. 

One thing to watch is Mickie James. She’s working RevPro’s show at the Copper Box the day before, so she’s clearly healthy again. With Subculture working that show and this one, you’d expect she’ll be making the trip to Canada with them and returning post-match to come for the title she never lost in-ring. Prediction: Trinity