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Impact recap & reactions (May 4, 2023): Former ECW champion to receive world title shot

Steve Maclin has a date to defend the Impact World Championship against PCO at Under Siege on May 26. That was supposed to be Mr. Mayhem’s first title defense, but he unintentionally talked himself into putting the belt on the line against a former ECW world champion next week. That man would be Rhino. Gore! Gore! Gore!

The story played out on Impact Wrestling (May 4, 2023) with Maclin tagging with Champagne Singh and Shera against PCO and two partners. Maclin was confident that nobody would want to join PCO. The champ explained his alliance with Champagne. As champion, shots will come at him in every direction. It is a tactical choice to have someone watch his back. For Singh and Shera, rubbing elbows with the world champ is something money can not buy.

When it came time for the match, PCO arrived alone, but he wouldn’t be by himself for long. Heath and Rhino entered on stage to insert themselves into the match.

PCO, Heath, & Rhino defeated Steve Maclin, Champagne Singh, & Shera. Hot tag to PCO running wild. Maclin made a tactical retreat, but Rhino was waiting on the outside for a Gore. Singh tried to pay off PCO. Heath popped Champagne with the Wake Up Call. PCO finished on a moonsault.

Later backstage, Maclin blew his stack at Scott D’Amore about Rhino’s actions. Other than being a heel who complains, I’m not sure what Maclin’s beef was. D’Amore decided to let Maclin handle it on his own, so he booked Rhino in a title bout for next week.

Impact made the official announcement.

Rhino has championship history in his career as the final world champion and final TV champion in the ECW era (not that phony WWE recreation), a former NWA worlds heavyweight titleholder, and various other singles accomplishments.

That’s not the only title match for next week. The Knockouts Tag Team Championship is also up for grabs when the Coven defends against Deonna Purrazzo & Jordynne Grace. Taylor Wilde and KiLynn King are a safe bet as is the Virtuosa and the Juggernaut combusting in their partnership. Purrazzo has a Knockouts Championship defense against Grace at Under Siege, so tensions will be tight.

The Coven didn’t want to risk the chance, so the witches performed a spell. When the burning candle disappears, so will Purrazzo and Grace.

Let’s blitz through the rest of the results from Impact Wrestling.

  • Moose & Brian Myers defeated Bhupinder Gujjar & Yuya Uemura. Movement was chaotic down the stretch. Moose hit the mark on a spear to pin Gujjar.
  • Detective Dango called in Joe Hendry to assist on the case of Santino Marella’s mystery attacker. After initially suspecting Mike Tenay, Hendry convinced Dango to interrogate Trey Miguel. The X-Division champ was innocent. (Full details here.)
  • Sami Callihan defeated Kon via DQ. The Death Machine accepted Deaner’s challenge. Deaner clarified that the match would be against Kon instead. In the end, the Design tried interference, but it backfired when Callihan low-blowed Kon. Callihan was focused on calling Deaner into the ring. All of a sudden, fifteen random Design goons rushed the ring to pummel Callihan. The Death Machine defiantly taunted Deaner to hit him in the face with a baseball bat. Boom. Callihan was down.
  • Later backstage, Callihan tried to recruit Rich Swann to join him against the Design. Swann was reluctant, since Callihan always gets himself into situations and needs help getting out. Callihan guilted Swann about their past to ask for help, not as a friend but as a brother.
  • Nick Aldis is okay with climbing the ladder toward a title shot for the prestigious Impact World Championship. Kenny King butt in as the gatekeeper, but he backed down from a match. Instead, King wants Aldis to work his way up to him. Aldis will wrestle Sheldon Jean next week. (Full details here.)
  • Jody Threat defeated Alisha Edwards. Alisha worked hard, but Threat overwhelmed her to win via F5.
  • The Motor City Machine Guns are taking a little break to pursue singles goals at Under Siege. Sabin will challenge Trey Miguel for X-Division gold, and Shelley will focus on the world title in a #1 contender match. (Full details here.)
  • Frankie Kazarian spoke on his career journey. After leaving Impact, he set out to prove himself again in ROH. The stars aligned to get in on the ground floor of AEW. He enjoyed his time there, but he reached the point of staying with the status quo or betting on himself. Kaz chose to bet on himself and return to Impact.
  • Rosemary was holding a cleaver to call Father James Mitchell for assistance in entering the Undead Realm. A powerful force was blocking her ability to cross over. Mitchell bargained an open-ended deal for his help. Rosemary entered at her own risk.
  • Jonathan Gresham defeated “Speedball” Mike Bailey. This match was round 4. Gresham won the first match, Bailey tied the score in the second, and the third was a no-contest due to outside interference from Trey Miguel. It was a technical duel with Gresham applying the octopus submission for victory. The full match is a treat.
  • Trinity debuted in Impact. The main event slot went to the arrival of Naomi. She entered a new chapter in her career with a new name. Trinity made it clear that she is here for the Knockouts Championship. Deonna Purrazzo interrupted for a little trash-talk. Jordynne Grace entered the scene to remind them of her title shot at Under Siege. Tension was thick. (Full details here.)

That was a strong episode of Impact Wrestling. Gresham and Bailey were the cream of the crop on the card. That’s no surprise. The rest of the matches were a little lopsided in competition, but the effort was high to perform.

The storytelling and backstage scenes were the strong suit. Having an army of goons smother Callihan was quite the visual. I often mention how Impact has purpose for wrestlers up and down the card, and Swann is another example here. He was floating a little, and now he will likely be a cog in Callihan’s story. Impact didn’t shoehorn it. They have developed the backstory between Callihan and Swann over the years, so it makes a lot of sense. Detective Dango will always make me laugh. The setup for Nick Aldis and Kenny King was simple and effective. The big splash of Trinity was icing on the cake. She didn’t do much on this evening, but she didn’t need to. Her arrival was the selling point on its own.

Closing with a minor news note. Jade Chung, Josh Alexander’s wife, was hired as a ring announcer.

Share your thoughts on the latest episode of Impact Wrestling.

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