Against All Odds (June 9, 2023) is a wrap, and Impact over delivered once again. In what felt like a filler show going in only two weeks after Under Siege, the headlines were flying with Alex Shelley winning the Impact World Championship, Nick Aldis earning #1 contender status for Slammiversary, Chris Sabin becoming a nine-time X-Division champion, and the dog collar match between Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly. There was one bout that flew under the radar that would have stolen the show, if not for Shelley’s big moment.
Sami Callihan reunited with oVe mates Jake Crist and Madman Fulton to battle the Design in an Ohio Street Fight. Impact clearly knew this was going to rock, because they gave the penultimate spot on the card to this match in front of the partisan crowd in Columbus, Ohio. oVe and the Design tore the house down.
Weapons were in abundance for the street fight. There were tables, ladders, chairs, trashcans, crutches, staplers, thumbtacks, barbed wire boards, and more. Interestingly enough, the spot of the match didn’t include any of that. Callihan was down in the center of the ring. Angels leaped for a frog splash. Crist spied the setup and also took flight to counter for a cutter midair to save Callihan.
Back to street fight violence. Fulton and Kon goozled each other on the stage edge, then both monsters crashed through a table below.
Deaner hit a burning hammer to Crist through a barbed wire board.
Callihan was against the odds solo fighting Deaner and Angels. Callihan kicked out after Angels climbed a ladder to land a frog splash through a table.
The tide turned when Deaner accidentally clobbered Angels with a baseball bat as Callihan moved away. Callihan struck Deaner with a low blow and a piledriver. Deaner kicked out of Callihan’s finisher. The Death Machine bashed Deaner with a baseball bat then executed a piledriver onto the barbed wire board for victory.
Let’s run down the rest of the card.
Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley won the title from Steve Maclin. This was a shocking result. An exposed turnbuckle played a major role. The flow of the action sent Maclin into the steel a few times during the match. Shelley was able to capitalize on that in the end with an STO into the exposed turnbuckle, a superkick, and a Shell Shock to win. This is Shelley’s first world title reign in Impact. (Full details here.)
Deonna Purrazzo & Trinity defeated Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans. Purrazzo and Trinity have a date to wrestle for the Knockouts Championship at Slammiversary on July 15. The question was if they could get along in this tag match to handle business. The answer was yes. Purrazzo and Trinity had zero problems as a tag team. In the end, Jai Vidal interfered to clobber Trinity on the outside. That didn’t matter. Purrazzo dropped low to trip Evans and transition for a magistral cradle to win. The heels pummeled Purrazzo after the match. Shaw set up the running knee spot that put Jordynne Grace on the injured list, but Trinity made the save. Purrazzo and Trinity shared mutual respect to make sure both are at their best for Slammiversary.
8-4-1 Match won by Nick Aldis. The 8-4-1 concept was an 8-man tag, winners in a 4-way, then the final winner earning a world title shot at Slammiversary. Bully Ray, Jonathan Gresham, Heath, & Aldis defeated Moose, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, Rich Swann, & PCO in the 8-man. Moose accidentally speared his partner Swann, and Gresham took advantage for the pin. Aldis prevailed in the 4-way. Gresham had Heath in a leg lock, then Aldis landed a flying elbow drop onto both men. Aldis slapped the cloverleaf submission on Heath for victory. (Full details here.)
There was a notable moment in the 8-4-1 match involving Bully Ray and Scott D’Amore. The Impact boss hadn’t been seen since being powerbombed through a flaming table at Under Siege. D’Amore returned to prevent Bully from using a chair on Gresham. Bully taunted D’Amore to hit him, so D’Amore did.
X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin won the title from Trey Miguel. It was only a matter of time before Trey went back to cheating with spray paint. He fooled the referee with a decoy can before blinding Sabin with the substance. Trey couldn’t steal the win this time. Sabin kicked out, cleaned his face with water, and returned for the Cradle Shock to win. Sabin is now a nine-time X-Division champion. (Full details here.)
Dog Collar Match: Masha Slamovich defeated Killer Kelly. Neither held back dishing out pain. They worked the chain well into the match. Kelly surprised Slamovich with the Snow Plow, but the Russian kicked out. Kelly went for a chokehold. Slamovich used the chain to choke Kelly to break the submission. Slamovich wrapped the chain around Kelly’s neck for extra oomph on the Snow Plow to win. Slamovich showed respect for her opponent after the match. (Full details here.)
Impact World Tag Team Championship: Ace Austin & Chris Bey retained against John Skyler & Jason Hotch. Brian Myers was ringside as coach for the Good Hands, and his presence paid off by walloping Ace with the title belt. The Good Hands hit the Magic Killer. 1, 2, new champs? No. Ace kicked out. ABC rallied. Bey took out Skyler on a slingshot DDT. Ace leaped for a super hurricanrana sending Hotch into the Art of Finesse cutter from Bey. Ace finished Hotch with the Fold.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Eddie Edwards. Alisha Edwards was ringside to provide interference in the battle between locker room leaders. The veterans worked strategy to escape signature moves. Eddie also had the helping hand of Alisha for an advantage. Kaz crushed a piledriver, but Alisha placed Eddie’s foot on the ropes to break the pin. The referee caught Alisha and sent her packing on an ejection. The match progressed with a superplex from Eddie. Kaz was able to secure a cradle on impact. Eddie kicked out then went for a tiger driver. Kaz escaped with a sunset flip and stacked down to score the sneaky win.
The free pre-show had a pair of bouts.
Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry retained against Dango. Santino Marella joined commentary for the contest, and Dango made a point to pester the Director of Authority. Dango was his own worst enemy though. He lost focus to waste time shouting at Santino, then he missed the mark on a flying leg drop. Hendry sprang up for a deadlift suplex and finished with a chokeslam.
KiLynn King defeated Nevaeh. Taylor Wilde was ringside. Nevaeh made her return to Impact after two years. The Ohio product had a good showing, but King was better in the end. King escaped Nevaeh’s finisher to counter with a head kick. The tag champ finished with the King’s Curse gutwrench slam.
Against All Odds turned out to be a solid show. The wrestling quality was never in doubt, but the build to the show didn’t feel special with anticipation due to the rushed calendar after Under Siege. Impact showed why you can never sleep on their product.
I’m still sitting here the morning after amazed that Alex Shelley is the Impact world champion. That result throws their whole main event hierarchy into a tumbler. Aside from the shock value, the match itself was very interesting. Add Aldis into the mix for Slammiversary, but I don’t think it will be that simple. Maclin has a claim that he was screwed due to the exposed turnbuckle. It will be interesting to see how the drama unfolds leading toward the next PPV.
On top of the feel-good moment for Shelley, Chris Sabin took home the X-Division Championship. Both Motor City Machine Guns are now singles champs. Even though Trey Miguel was doing good work as a heel, Sabin deserved that triumph. The touch of Sabin using X-Division legend moves made this match more enjoyable.
The Ohio Street Fight was a pleasant surprise of entertainment. The dog collar match was intense, as it should be. Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards put on the veteran tactical battle. The Good Hands and ABC laid out some tense false finishes before the champs retained. All in all, Against All Odds really excelled at providing cool finishes.
The only thing I didn’t like on the show was Scott D’Amore ruining Bully Ray’s chances in the 8-4-1 match. It made complete sense in a story manner, and the moment did put a smile on my face. My issue is that it presents a massive overreach of authority by D’Amore flagrantly interfering in the middle of a match, especially when Bully wasn’t breaking any rules. Four-way matches are no disqualification, so Bully was within his right to use a chair.
Share your thoughts on Impact’s Against All Odds special event.