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Impact recap & reactions: Busy night for Knockouts leads to open challenge for AAA or ROH championship

Impact Wrestling (Feb. 3, 2022) was jammed with headline moments, such as Matt Cardona winning an Impact championship, W. Morrissey invading Moose’s hotel room for a beatdown, Kenny King making a surprise appearance to join the Honor No More faction, and the Bullet Club in the main event. The Knockouts division also had a busy night with multiple directions.

The most intriguing moment came from Deonna Purrazzo. The Virtuosa views herself as driving force behind the Knockouts division. As such, she decided to issue an open challenge for either the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship or the ROH Women’s World Championship next week.

As for the Knockouts champion, Mickie James was back from her voyage to WWE to compete in the Royal Rumble. Impact aired highlights of Mickie’s performance.

Tasha Steelz stepped in to help Mickie with a speech for after she loses the title to Steelz at No Surrender on February 19. Tensions increased. Chelsea Green popped up to watch Mickie’s back. Steelz didn’t have time to waste on that non-factor. Mickie thanked Green by offering a singles match next week.

The Influence tag team of Tenille Dashwood and Madison Rayne remain in line for a Knockouts tag title shot against the IInspiration. First, Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee were pulled for COVID exposure. Then, Tenille was not medically cleared. That put Kaleb Konley in the ring last week in tag action with Rayne to scout the IInspiration. Konley was pinned on the loss, but Jessie sensed a twinkle in his eye.

During this week’s show, the IInspiration planned to exploit that twinkle to their advantage by sowing seeds of discord with a gift. The IInspiration presented a present to Konley. He didn’t want to be rude, so he opened it to find a new camera phone.

Masha Slamovich keeps making a menacing impression by running through her competition. Kaci Lennox was on the menu, and she didn’t stand a chance. Slamovich crushed with her Russian Death Device finisher.

Impact also continued hyping Gisele Shaw coming soon.

That’s a lot of quality material for the Knockouts in one show. Possibilities are abound. I have no clue who could arrive to answer Purrazzo’s open challenge. With Impact’s use of the Forbidden Door, it could be a luchadora from AAA, a wrestler from ROH, a new free agent signing, or a short-term spot to pop viewers. For Green versus James, it appears to be non-title. I don’t buy the notion that just having a match will be reward enough for Green. I strongly suspect she could choose to win through questionable means as a way to shoehorn into the title match at No Surrender. The tag side has mystery to see if the allure of the IInspiration will be enough to seduce Konley away from the Influence. Rounding out the division is building up new stars in Slamovich and Shaw.

Let’s blitz through the rest of the show.

Black Taurus defeated Raj Singh. The Decay member won with a piledriver variation on the pre-show.

Matt Cardona defeated Jordynne Grace to win the Impact Digital Media Championship. Cardona cheated by using a chair then hitting his Radio Silence leg lariat. Later, Cardona rubbed it in calling Grace a loser.

W. Morrissey went berserk backstage after Moose’s cheap shot last week. Morrissey pummeled the Learning Tree for their role in the attack. Brian Myers was able to escape unscathed, but Scott D’Amore booked Morrissey versus Myers in No DQ for next week. D’Amore also informed Morrissey that Moose was sent back to the hotel. Morrissey decided to take the fight to Moose. He went to the hotel, kicked open the room door, and smashed Moose into the refrigerator.

JONAH defeated Crazzy Steve. Steve had some moments of offense, but it was only a matter of time before JONAH squished him. The Top Dog hit a running senton and flying splash to finish. Afterward, JONAH and Black Taurus had a little showdown. JONAH exited before fisticuffs erupted.

Jonathan Gresham defeated Steve Maclin. This bout was standard rules, not Pure rules. When Gresham grabbed the ropes to prevent a submission, Maclin lost his cool with punches. Since Maclin continued punching and ignored the referee’s warning for a break, he was disqualified.

Maclin aimed to send a painful message with a Boston crab to Gresham. Matt Taven ran out for the save to protect the ROH champion. Honor No More joined Taven to assault Maclin. That was Honor No More’s way of recruiting Gresham to join. He still didn’t want any part of that crew. Josh Alexander came on stage for the next bout while side-eyeing Gresham.

Josh Alexander defeated Vincent. Honor No More ran distraction games, so Rich Swann, Chris Sabin, and Rhino ran out to even the odds. Alexander put Vincent away with an ankle lock. Immediately after the match, Kenny King ran in for a Royal Flush on Alexander. King joined up with Honor No More.

King will be on Honor No More’s team against Impact at No Surrender on February 19. Honor No More plans to take over.

Bhupinder Gujjar defeated John Skyler. Gujjar hit a few flashy moves and closed with a flying spear. When Raj Singh entered to celebrate with Gujjar, the newcomer brushed him off. Gujjar didn’t want to be associated with Singh.

Bullet Club vs Ace Austin, Madman Fulton, Mike Bailey, & Jake Something. Jay White, Chris Bey, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Loa were victorious by taking Jake apart to set up for the Art of Finesse from Bey. Afterward, the Good Brothers and Violent by Design ran out to brawl with the Bullet Club.

Backstage, D’Amore booked Good Brothers versus G.O.D. for the Impact tag titles and Eric Young versus Jay White. Both bouts will take place at No Surrender on February 19.

Impact continues their string of strong shows with very good matches and story development throughout. This episode had an excellent flow from one segment to the next. It started hot with Cardona turning mischievous to win the Impact Digital Media Championship. It worked especially well due to the super babyface attitude Cardona carried into Impact. The arc of W. Morrissey hunting Moose was a blast of chaotic fun. Add in the surprise of Kenny King to advance the ROH narrative. Gujjar arrived with an impressive debut. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the ring. The Bullet Club closed the show in style to set up a pair of future matches. Impact is trending in the right direction toward No Surrender.

Share your thoughts on Impact Wrestling. What was your favorite match? Who stole the show?

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