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Impact Against All Odds recap: Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun delivered

Against All Odds came and went as a special Friday night live event from Impact (July 1, 2022). The show pretty much played out as expected. One of those expectations was bloody violence in the feud between Sami Callihan and Moose. What else would you expect with a name like Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun. That fight delivered as advertised.

Raven was on hand to join commentary to enjoy his demented creation of a match concept. Weapons were hung on a chain above the ring. The list of items included wooden doors, a fence door, a table, staplers, a trashcan and lid, a barbed wire baseball bat, and more. The one item that never got used was a toilet seat.

Moose outsmarted Callihan to start by sneaking in from behind for a spear before the opening bell. Callihan dished out payback with a back body drop over the ropes through a table hanging from the apron to the guardrail. Callihan continued the assault with a Death Valley Driver through a fence door and a stapler to Moose’s privates.

Moose drew first blood for this bout. Callihan tried to force Moose inside a trashcan. Moose found a present inside and smashed a glass bottle over Callihan’s head. Moose proceeded to carve up Sami’s forehead with the glass.

Moose kept on the pressure for a double goozle chokeslam through a door in the corner.

Raven was having a blast watching all the pain and punishment. It was time to increase his enjoyment with Boxes o’ Fun. Moose poured out Lego pieces. Callihan poured out shards of broken glass. Callihan threw Lego chunks into Moose’s face to turn the tide for a piledriver onto the tiny toys. Callihan followed with a piledriver onto the glass.

Moose seemed doom. All of a sudden, an intruder entered the ring with his face covered. It turned out to be Steve Maclin. Mr. Mayhem hit Callihan with a low blow and a barbed wire bat then exited. Moose cleaned up with a spear for victory.

That match was something. I can’t say I had as much fun as Raven. Fun, fun, fun. However, it was wild, wacky violence. Mileage will vary on one’s enjoyment of this fight. Make no mistake. It was a hardcore affair with cheekiness. The Lego pieces and broken glass were a touch much, but it certainly fit within the vibe of the concept. I didn’t particularly care for the interfering finish from Maclin. This match was billed as a way to end the feud between Callihan and Moose. Maclin’s presence prevented that. The only reason Callihan wouldn’t want to continue his torture to Moose is because he might now put priority toward payback on Maclin. It feels a bit like a cop out robbing viewers of a proper feud conclusion.

Let’s jam through the rest of the card from top to bottom.

Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander retained against Joe Doering. Deaner was ringside to interfere, but his role was minimal. The main event story was the champ fighting to survive the powerful onslaught from Doering. Alexander came alive for a German suplex and a Northern Lights suplex. He went for the ankle lock, but Doering powered out. Alexander also found success for a superplex and three German suplexes. Doering took control again for a running crossbody, Death Valley Driver, and lariat. Alexander escaped a powerbomb to go low for a grapevine ankle lock. Doering stood up out of the submission, but the damage was done. Alexander’s plan of attack became low dropkicks to the ankle. Doering kept powering through to punish Alexander. In the end, Alexander hit another low dropkick leading to the C4 spike piledriver for the win.

Alexander and Doering put on a decent main event. It was all about Alexander finding a way to stop the monster of a man. No matter what Alexander threw, Doering kept moving forward. The match played out as expected in the end. Doering never really had that moment to make me believe victory was near, and Alexander rose up when it mattered most.

Knockouts Championship: Jordynne Grace retained against Tasha Steelz. Savannah Evans was ringside as Steelz’s enforcer. The challenger focused on chopping down Grace’s tree trunk leg. Grace still managed to hit an array of power moves, such as a torture rack powerbomb and stalling superplex. When Grace executed a musclebuster, Evans hopped onto the apron to distract the referee and prevent the count. Evans tried that tactic again as Grace was setting up a Grace Driver. The champ clobbered Evans then came back to stifle Steelz for the Grace Driver to win.

This bout had a simple and effective story. Steelz did her best to weaken the leg, however, Grace was too powerful. Grace’s title reign is off to a good start. She passed this tough test, and now it is time for the next. Line them up and let Grace knock them down.

James Storm, Chris Harris, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, & Heath defeated Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Kenny King, and PCO. Edwards wanted to replace PCO, but Vincent vouched for the monster. Edwards gave Vincent’s spot to PCO. That distrust played a factor in the finish. King had momentum and wanted PCO to hit a moonsault. Instead, PCO jumped for a cannonball onto bodies on the outside. Storm hit a thrust kick to King, and Harris delivered the Death Sentence flying leg drop to win. (Full details here.)

The return of America’s Most Wanted was the draw for this match. Storm and Harris delivered the goods. They kept it simple to showcase signature teamwork moves. Harris’ flying leg drop was a pleasant surprise. The story going in was his fragile state of health, so that set up a shock factor for Wildcat’s finisher. The PCO drama festered throughout for Honor No More. He always seemed like an odd fit with the group. It looks like a matter of time before he splits away. The fans want to cheer for PCO, so this should accommodate that nicely.

Knockouts World Tag Team Championship: Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie retained against Tenille Dashwood & Gisele Shaw. Madison Rayne was ringside to support the Influence. The bad girls used tricks to their advantage. Dashwood distracted the referee for Shaw, as the illegal partner, to land a flying corkscrew splash onto Rosemary’s leg. Rosemary kicked out and tagged in Taya. The champs were on a roll with a teamwork Road to Valhalla facebuster. Shaw saved Tenille on the pin. Rosemary clotheslined Shaw out of the ring. When Taya ran the ropes, Rayne hooked her foot for Tenille to gain an advantage. Dashwood called for Shaw to execute the Influence’s teamwork Collab finisher, but Shaw was too slow to assist. Rosemary broke it up by throwing Shaw out of the ring. That confusion allowed Taya to score a roll-up for victory.

After the match, the Influence stomped the champs. It was setting up for a big return for Havok, but she never arrived for the save. As the Influence made their exit, a different surprise came their way. Masha Slamovich handed an envelope to Tenille. She is the latest target for the Russian’s kill wall.

This was a story of the difference between a steady team and one thrown together quickly. It was nice to see that recognized for once. Most times have random teams work as cohesive units without any communication issues. On this instance, Shaw wasn’t ready for Tenille’s order on the teamwork finisher. That momentary delay was the window Rosemary and Taya needed to pick up the win. The Havok tease is curious without an appearance. That appears to be setting up a story turn in some way. The aftermath with Slamovich put a smile on my face. Tenille is going to be eating her meals through a straw very soon.

Impact X-Division Championship: “Speedball” Mike Bailey retained against Trey Miguel. Speedball worked the leg of Trey to slow him down. Bailey received a dose of his own medicine on a standing moonsault knee drop when Trey put his knees up to block. That resulted in both men with weakened bases. That was the story for the rest of the match. Whenever Trey had a window to close, he was too slow climbing the turnbuckles for an attack. He paid the price in the end due to his reliance on high-flying. Bailey shifted strategy to snatch Trey off the turnbuckles for a Flamingo Driver to win.

Total non-stop action. Speedball and Trey would make past X-Division champions proud. The wrinkle with injured legs added drama to the storytelling. Speedball adapted and overcome, while Trey couldn’t do the same. I also liked the mini story of Bailey trying for the standing moonsault knee drop on several occasions. At one point, he saw Trey put his knees up before liftoff, so he rolled Trey onto his back to land the move. That was a nice touch.

Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green defeated Mickie James & Mia Yim. Hot tag to Yim to run wild on Green for a DDT. Purrazzo broke the pinfall. Mickie leaped for a flying Thesz press to send Purrazzo packing. Yim executed a bridging German suplex, but Green would not stay down. Mickie and Mia climbed different corners looking to fly high. Purrazzo shoved Yim off the turnbuckles crashing onto the ramp. Green dodged Mickie’s attack. Purrazzo and Green pounced for a spinebuster neckbreaker combo on James for victory.

This bout was a good test run to stock up the Knockouts tag team division. Both duos worked smooth with their partners. Purrazzo and Green were slicker in the end. They would be formidable foes for the tag champs.

Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley defeated Ace Austin & Chris Bey. The Bullet Club was rocking and rolling until Sabin moved out of the way of a flying splash from Bey. The Motor City Machine Guns connected on a Doomsday flying dropkick, then Sabin crushed a Cradle Shock on Bey. Ace made the save to break the pinfall. MCMG kicked Ace into oblivion. Sabin and Shelley used a teamwork move to slam Bey inside out for victory.

That was a good match with nifty teamwork sequences. The Cradle Shock provided a rousing false finish. MCMG set it up perfectly for the win only for Ace to make the dramatic save. Sabin and Shelley continue to be at the top of their game. If there are no singles plans for either man, then it is time to get them back into the tag team title picture.

The free pre-show featured two bouts.

Dot Combat Match for the Impact Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers defeated Rich Swann to win the title. Weapons included keyboards, tripods, a mouse, a monitor, and other such technology related items. Myers turned the tide by hitting Swann in the head with a keyboard as he leaped into the air for a flying attack. The Roster Cut lariat sealed the deal for Myers. (Full details here.)

This was a fun little match with the Dot Combat zaniness. Myers made it work with two brutal moments to smash Swann’s head into a monitor and bash him with a keyboard midair. Swann brought the athletic flair to entertain. It will be interesting to see if Myers can elevate this championship. He has shown a creative way to turn nothing into something with his time on camera in Impact.

Black Taurus defeated Laredo Kid. Laredo had momentum for a moonsault. Taurus got his knees up. After a pop-up Samoan Drop, Taurus climbed the turnbuckles. Laredo sprang up for strikes to set up the Laredo Fly, but Taurus countered for a super hammerlock buttbuster. Kick out on the cover by Laredo. Taurus kept on the pressure for a Power Bull piledriver to win.

Good way to get your lucha libre fix. Taurus needed a big win as power monster of Decay. I hope this can put him on the path toward an X-Division title shot. Taurus might not win that one, however, he would put on a thrilling contest and be fodder for a quality victory from the champ.

Grade: B

Against All Odds was an okay show. There was action up and down the card to entertain with a variety of styles. The wrestling quality did not disappoint. The issue was the lack of pizzazz. This felt like a filler show with a rushed build two weeks after Slammiversary, and it did nothing special to rise above being a filler show.

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