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

Watch: FITE

Poor Production spoils another good show

Impact Wrestling’s Emergence 2023 took place from the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto this past Sunday, and while the show was mostly very good, it was marred by one of the worst production efforts we have seen all year. The lighting was so bad it looked like one of those dimly-lit, smoke-field arenas that Shane McMahon still thinks his father saved wrestling from in 1984. The lighting was so poor there were times it was downright unwatchable. I talked to a couple of friends who are well-versed in live event production, and they told me it looked to them like they just didn’t have enough lights around the ring.

The lighting being so poor is a major disappointment because one of the major draws to the Rebel is the lights and overall look of the venue. It is, without a doubt, my favorite venue they run. Rebellion from earlier this April at the Rebel was the first time in years that this promotion looked major league despite having only a few hundred fans in attendance. 

Fortunately, PW Insider reported on Monday that help is on the way. IMPACT held an all-hands-on-deck meeting during the Emergence tapings and told the crew that their production facility would be going through major upgrades starting after Bound for Glory. According to the report, they will be bringing “state-of-the-art production technology and advances” to the weekly IMPACT show on AXS TV as well as their monthly IMPACT Plus specials and quarterly pay-per-views. 

Great wrestling can overcome poor production

Once you get past the bad lighting, Impact Wrestling’s Emergence 2023 was a good show. IMPACT’s tag division division, while not very deep, is showing that their top 4 teams can hang with any team in the world. The women’s division continues to be a cornerstone of the company with another Knockout’s World Championship match in the main event slot, and the company announced during the show that they had re-signed coveted free agent Jordynne Grace. Additionally, Jake Something had the opportunity to shine against the IWGP champion Sanada in one of Sanada’s better outings of 2023. 

Hits

The Rascalz defeat Subculture to become the new World Tag Team Champions:  This match is worth going out of your way to see if you love tag team wrestling. Subculture’s reign didn’t last long, but switching the titles was the right move here. The Rascalz are tremendous heels that can really work and are bringing much-needed style and energy to this division. 

Jake Something shines against Sanada: I typically do not like to compare matches from different promotions, but, this match blew away Sanada’s match with Jack Perry at Forbidden Door back in June. Sanada looked motivated and energized and Jake made the most of his opportunity here. The match was designed to make Jake look like he could hang with one of the top stars in the world in a losing effort, and it accomplished just that. Unfortunately for Jake, “Something” is holding him back. 

Bully Ray, Moose, Myers, and Lio Rush defeat Time Machine and Josh Alexander: I am probably the only member of this site who liked this match, but it’s what they get for getting their third-string guy out of retirement to write this. The match itself was boring for the first half before it kicked into gear and became cluttered with chaos. PCO (Gilbert household favorite) appeared while the ref was down (of course) and got himself triple powerbombed off the stage through a table. He no-sold it, scared Bully Ray, and chased him off. Steve Maclin then made his return from a hamstring injury and attacked Alexander, which caused every jobber security guard in Toronto to appear and break them up. The finish came when Josh Alexander accidentally ran into Alex Shelley, which caused them to have an altercation and ultimately led to Moose pinning Alexander with a spear. Sounds terrible, but it was fun and successfully set up Moose, a future title match, Maclin vs. Alexander, PCO vs. Bully, and the likely main event for Bound for Glory: Josh Alexander vs. Alex Shelley. 

Trinity vs. Deonna Purazzo: You won’t be getting 4.5 to 5 stars out of Trinity despite being in the ring with one of the best in the world in Purrazzo, but enjoyed the match, and Trinity looks great leading this division. 

Mike Bailey defeated Alan Angels: A really fun opener. Bailey is always great, and Angels is starting to come into his own. 

Joya begins their tag team run: Joe Hendry and Yuya Uemura are a fun new team, and The Good Hands job again, which is what they are here for. 

Misses

Eric Young vs. Deaner: This was the mandatory IMPACT plunder match that mostly missed the mark for me. Tons of interference from Kon, and apparently, Eric Young has no friends. Hopefully, Young winning here spells the end of The Design, which has been bad TV for almost a year now. 

Impact Knockouts World Tag Team Champions MK Ultra (Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly) defeated Death Dollz (Jessicka & Courtney Rush), Jody Threat & KiLynn King, & Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans: MK-Ultra is a pretty good team, but there was going to be zero chance this match was going to be good. The entire division in one match did nothing for me, although I see potential in a Jody Threat-Kilynn King tag team. 

Eddie Edwards defeats Frankie Kazarian in a back-to-school match: This was not good. A cinematic match with the crowd in attendance stuck watching a match that would have likely been very good had it been in the ring in front of them, on the TV screens. Lots of slow-motion melo drama that looked like it was filmed by the local community college media team. 

Kenny King retains the Digital Media Title over Johnny Swinger: I love the Swingman, but he had no business looking mostly strong against Kenny King. I understand what the story they tried to tell. Swinger finally got his shot and was in for the fight of his life. But having Sheldon Jean get involved as much as he did was completely unnecessary. It’s fine if King were in the ring with a top competitor, but Swinger is a total joke. 

More IMPACT News

  • Will Ospreay will be returning to the promotion for the first time since 2016 at Bound for Glory on October 21. While his opponent is yet to be determined, I suspect he will face Speedball Mike Bailey, which was booked for Multiverse United in April but canceled due to an injury to Ospreay. 
  • Jordynne Grace re-signed for 2 years, according to PWInsider
  • The referenced PWInside report regarding their production upgrades will disrupt tapings for the rest of the year. They will be relying on partner promotions to handle production in the fourth quarter.

    • The UK events scheduled from 10/26 – 10/29 will now be TV tapings
    • IMPACT will partner with AAA for a taping in November
    • An IPWF taping on November 11 and Final Resolution on December 11 will take place at Santino Marella’s Battle Arts Academy

  • Hard to Kill in January will take place in Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip, and NOT at Sam’s Town. 
  • Awesome Kong will be returning to the ring at the upcoming IMPACT 1000 tapings on September 9 in White Plains, New York.
  • A mixed tag team match between Eddie and Alisha Edwards vs Frankie Kazarian and Tracie Brooks has also been announced for IMPACT 1000. 

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