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Impact recap: Busy night for the Knockouts division

Impact had a busy night for their Knockouts division on Thursday evening. New tag team challengers were announced, Masha Slamovich executed another member of the Influence, and one more vignette aired for the arrival of Killer Kelly.

The show kicked off with tag team action in the Knockouts division. Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green wrestled Jordynne Grace & Mia Yim. The theme of interest was how well Grace and Yim would get along considering they are booked to fight each other for the Knockouts Championship at Emergence on August 12.

Purrazzo and Green took control down the stretch by dumping Grace out of the ring and double-teaming Yim. Yim turned the tables by pulling Purrazzo and Green together into a collision. Yim followed with a double stunner. She went for the hot tag to Grace, but Grace was missing from the apron. She was still down on the outside. Yim realized she had to handle business alone. She charged forward right into a double inside out slam from Purrazzo and Green. Purrazzo pinned Yim clean for victory.

Afterward, Grace apologized for the missed tag. Yim reacted by rolling her eyes. There was frustration about the loss, but there didn’t seem to be any hatred brewing between the two.

Purrazzo tried to use her pin over Yim as a reason to squeeze into the Knockouts Championship match at Emergence. Gail Kim wasn’t buying that line, especially since Purrazzo lost to Yim in a #1 contender bout. Kim did offer Purrazzo and Green a shot at the Knockouts World Tag Team Championship against Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie for Emergence. Purrazzo and Green were thrilled at that news.

The champs don’t seem too concerned about the challengers.

Rosemary and Taya were more concerned about Jessicka (Havok) after her change in the Undead Realm. Jessicka didn’t want to wear her spiked war mask. Instead, she glammed up with a fur coat. Rosemary was exasperated about the new Havok. Meanwhile, Taya and Jessicka bonded over their furry battle outfits.

Masha Slamovich was back for more murdering. She destroyed Tenille Dashwood last week. This week, Madison Rayne was on the hit list. Slamovich squashed her like a bug to win via Snow Plow driver. That increased Slamovich’s win streak to 13. Afterward, Slamovich handed an envelope to Gisele Shaw to signify that the Quintessential Diva is next to be slaughtered.

Last on the list is the third vignette for Killer Kelly coming to Impact. Once again, it left me scratching my head. Kelly was in her smelly motel room claiming to be a watcher of people. She decided to lounge outside. A random dude approached trying to strike up a conversation. Kelly ignored him and thought to herself that people don’t know when to shut up. I still have no idea how this relates to wrestling, but we should find out soon when Kelly comes to the Impact Zone next week.

In other action from Impact Wrestling:

  • X-Division Championship: “Speedball” Mike Bailey retained against Deaner. Joe Doering was ringside to interfere. Deaner was competitive at an impressive level, however, Bailey was too much to handle in the end. Bailey connected on a spinning kick to set up the Ultima Weapon flipping knee drop to the spine for victory.
  • After Deaner’s loss, Eric Young had a message for his Violent By Design troops. Young believes Deaner and Doering still have the sickness. To prove they don’t, they have to go eliminate the sickness. I didn’t know what that meant and wondered if EY ordered them to kill all the fans.
  • Bhupinder Gujjar has beaten everyone Brian Myers put in front of him and still hasn’t received a shot at the Impact Digital Media Championship. Myers flipped the script to weasel out. He claimed Vincent was badmouthing Gujjar. Myers advised that true champions never back down from a fight, so he left to try and get Gujjar versus Vincent booked.
  • Honor No More was upset about receiving zero title shots so far in Impact. Eddie Edwards will not tolerate failure any longer. His words were pointed towards PCO.
  • Ace Austin & Chris Bey defeated Matt Taven & Mike Bennett. Bullet Club bested Honor No More with a little help from Heath. Bey was rocking with momentum when Maria Kanellis hopped onto the apron as a distraction. Ace went over to get her down. Taven struck for a low blow to Bey behind the referee’s back, but Heath ran in for revenge on Honor No More to hit a Wake Up Call on Taven. Bey tagged in Ace. Bennett was still distracted by Heath when Ace pounced for The Fold to win.
  • Steve Maclin wasn’t worried about Sami Callihan. Maclin was bred for war. Lights out, lights on. Callihan attacked Maclin from behind. They brawled into the stairwell, where Moose was waiting to smash Callihan. Moose picked up a heavy trashcan with bad intentions. Lights out, lights on. Callihan was gone.
  • Josh Alexander was looking past Emergence to his next challengers. Rich Swann popped in with flavor and mojo. He requested a shot at the gold. Scott D’Amore agreed for a shot at a shot and booked Swann against Kushida for next week.
  • Impact World Championship #1 contender match: Alex Shelley defeated Chris Sabin. (Full details here.) Shelley had the upper hand for a Border City Stretch to tap out Sabin in a very good match. Shelley earned a world title shot against Josh Alexander at Emergence.
  • After the main event, stories merged with Deaner and Doering attacking the sickness of the Motor City Machine Guns. Kushida ran in for the save to help Sabin and Shelley. If you are wondering what happened to Alexander, Impact aired a clip after the show. Alexander was ready to run out for assistance, but he bumped into Raj Singh. That led to throwing blows with Shera.

Impact is doing a good job creating interesting TV matches with simple stories. When the taping was announced with Sabin versus Shelley and Swann versus Kushida, I wondered if explosive breakups were in the works. Nope. Impact went straight forward with matches for the sake of competition. Now having seen it play out, I think that was a much better approach than to force drama for the sake of drama. Sabin and Shelley had a high quality contest. Tag team partners colliding for #1 contender status brought enough drama on its own for a compelling duel. I expect the same quality next week for Swann and Kushida.

I think Sabin would have been a better choice as victor in terms of creating a more unpredictable main event for Emergence, however, I’m glad that Shelley earned his first world title match in Impact. That makes it a special story to earn interest. Shelley also has the mat grappling style to put on a banger with Alexander, even if I don’t believe at all that Shelley will be winning the Impact World Championship.

The Knockouts division is full of moving parts in a good way. Impact does an excellent job with cause and effect. Things happen to put in motion other events. It’s rarely stories within their own bubble isolated from the rest of the division. For example, the tag team victory by Purrazzo and Green earned them a title shot even though they haven’t interacted with Rosemary and Taya for foreshadowing. Speaking of Purrazzo and Green, the spelling of their team name made me laugh. I thought it was spelled as the pronunciation of Vexed. Then I saw it written as VXT. I assume that’s a funny reference to their dismissal from NXT.

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