Hey, it's time to give Impact some love. This set closes March and gets us through Rebellion. We're starting with Impact episode 981 content, specifically Miyu's debut for the brand and Josh Alexander defending the company top prize against Bullet Club's KENTA. The first chunk of this digest, leading into Rebellion, can be watched largely via THIS episode of nonstop action.

Miyu, the ace of TJPW, faced Killer Kelly in a match that turned out pretty damn good. Admittedly joshi talents don't always gel well with talent from other parts of the world, but the style clash here worked well. Killer Kelly is a talented European worker and a nice addition to Impact cards, so I shouldn't be shocked. A good, competitive women's match that felt better than a large chunk of stuff I've seen from AEW's 2D division of late.

Next, Josh Alexander's final match as World Champion for the company. I was big on his reign, considering it one of the best running at that time. It's a major disappointment that it ended the way it did, but having KENTA be your final opponent before that happens can't be seen as too much of a tragedy. Sure, it's post-WWE KENTA, but the dude still is a decent notch for anyone.

The match itself was a slow-burn, building from a slow and calculated affair with little dickish moves from the puro vet to establish a tone, and turning into a decent little fire by the end. A big match vibe and a real heavyweight fight, I found this title defense to be very enjoyable and worth a recommendation. With the company nearing their 1000th episode, maybe it's time more fans realize that the days of TNA are long gone.

Give them a look.

Next, from nonstop action, we have the before-referenced title relinquishing. The segment started with Maclin and KUSHIDA, joined by Scott D'Amore. A new champ will be crowned with both these dudes being the workers set for the vacancy fill match. Josh was brought out to give up the gold and came out with an armbrace and his family.

Emotional stuff. Well received live and by myself, as well. I will be a diehard supporter of this dude until the day I die. I'm glad he's back now and am glad to be catching up so I can get back to a period with him being an active worker as soon as possible.

Maclin was a dick here. Scott buried his ass and plugged Josh and KUSHIDA instead. The Time Splitter would end up standing tall, sending off the heel. Good TV. Note that the playlist has this positioned more accurate to airing order, but I felt it worked best to cover it here.

A sidestep now, as we move to the NJPW cohost event, Multiverse United - Only the STRONG Survive. This was ran at the Globe in California, which is the current home of PWG.

The X-Division Championship scramble included Kazarian, Connors, Rocky, Swann, and Kevin Knight all vying for Trey's strap. A frantic, rabbit-on-crack, sub-10 sprint with decent action complimenting the spirited pace, this one delivered nicely on the mindless action. The finish saw the champ retain vulture style.

Moose and Matanza was a big man battle with about a 12-minute runtime. A heavyweight midcard throwaway, they landed this one rather well and I honestly appreciate this random contest even existing. While the outcome surprised me a bit, in all this worked pretty well. Good content.

Deonna bested Shaw, Masha, and Miyu in a contender's match four-way next, working well as a showcase of the division. She felt like she took a major slump after AEW kind of nerfed her on national TV, but it's awesome seeing D.P. get back on track in a substantial way. Fun stuff!

Bullet Club's ABC duo faced TMDK's Haste and Tito, MCMG, and Aussie Open in a four-way tag with the IMPACT World Tag Team Championships on the line. I felt this was a very good use of talent considering the stage and circumstances and believe they did pretty well with the gimmick, too. Breakneck, nonstop chaos for 13-minutes and change and Bey and Ace retaining the straps in the end? Sign me up!

Tanahashi versus Bayley was a match I admittedly never realized I needed. While the outcome was never a question, truly, the match itself was good enough that it didn't really matter. This might not be the Hiroshi of yesteryear, but Tana2023 is still serviceable and Speedball is still Speedball so I think it's of no one's surprise that I recommend this one for your consideration. 

Fuck, more NJPW crossover shows with Impact is a must! I'm glad I see there's another for me to catch soon.

If you cannot afford to watch this one, and don't want to ride the Black Pearl, I'd suggest watching this...

This shows most of the event in slightly clipped fashion and works well enough to catch you up.

For fans seeking more to see from the TV program, we next have the MCMG against TMDK's Haste and Tito. A line dropped by commentary here made me wonder if they were trying to plant mental seeds to a World title run soon to come. This didn't pick up much outside of second gear, but was largely enjoyable regardless.

Next, Gresham versus Bailey III. Good, but they cut it while it was building into something with an interference, DQ finish when Trey ran in. So many better ways to run this one that still result in a triple-threat.

Edwards and PCO was good, but also, like a Koontz novel, failed to stick the damn landing. This one saw Eddie's wife get involved, then a scene of unintentional comedy to follow.

Last, from an in-ring action standpoint, we have a four-way X-Division showcase. It was really just a fun little spotfest, but it's hard to complain about that. In fact, I enjoyed this popcorn bout a lot for what it was. It even helped get the taste out of my mouth left by the last few bits, which were making me reconsider how much of the company I'd be catching up on.

Balls hitting walls as a palate cleanser.

We close this section up with Mickie James sadly doing the same thing Josh had done earlier, as she'd be giving up the Knockouts strap. Her last rodeo was meant to be a statement on her way out, but she's not cleared to continue. She left her hat in the ring and walked off.

The way this was recorded was very well done, honestly.

It's time! Rebellion. With that...hey, look fellow broke people! It's the related BTI with highlights galore.

Ultimate-X is a gimmick I admittedly love, thanks largely to a fondness of classics using the rules from the early 2000's. It should be considered obvious then that having these four (Bey, Ace, Sabin, Shelley) involved in one looked promising as hell in my eyes. One of the, if not THE, best teams in the world against one of the modern period's most underrated US duos? I mean, that's a no brainer. While I will admit that Ultimate-X contests seem to have lacked in creativity for a while, what this lacked in creativity it maintained in general quality and effort. A strong way to start a show, too.

PCO and Eddie Edwards' Last Rites match, which was just a coffin match, felt like a fun blowoff. That the winner was the French Canadian Frankenstein was a bit of a surprise to me, though. Regardless, this was a fun, chaotic brawl that really landed well for me, especially given the talent and circumstances. Note that the wifey did try to get involved, bringing a shovel with her, but it did nothing, Edwards ended up kicking her in the face, and moments later we had our victor.

One of the better coffin matches in a while, perhaps.

Next up, the X-Division Championship was on the line in a big name three-way and they admittedly went the safe route. That's not to call it bad or average or anything, because this was yet another entertaining pull from the show. It's just that I don't need a trunks pull finish here. Oh well, it's a b-show technically and US shows have problems removing old mindsets. Trey retained.


It's Maclin and KUSHIDA, vacancy fill style with the World Championship going to the victor. While the idea of having the time kid as champ was one that I really liked, moving to Maclin here is a logical choice. There's some value there and it'll be nice seeing them test the dude out in this role. Good stuff. Borderline great, even. After, the new champ called D'Amore out to officially crown him. It ended with the heel hitting Scott in the back of the head with the belt.

Aldis would run in and have a stare down. Nothing came from that, right?

Grace and Deonna for the Knockout's Championship was fucking great. Not only did this absolutely deserve the main event spot, but they also showcased the division perfectly through the hard work on display and, as a result, elevated the strap nicely. I really liked this one, folks. You might, too!?

All hair, The Virtuosa.

Goddamn, Rebellion had a lot of good content. I look forward to the next set. Thanks, as always, for reading and I hope you find something here that you missed and end up enjoying. Sorry for the rambling.

Match Ratings

  1. Miyu vs Kelly ***1/4
  2. Impact World Title: Alexander(c) vs KENTA ***1/2

    Multiverse United - Only the STRONG Survive
  3. X-Division Title Scramble ***
  4. Moose vs Cobb ***
  5. Contender's Four-Way: Deonna vs Masha vs Shaw vs Miyu ***1/4
  6. Impact Tag Titles: BC's ABC(c) vs Aussie Open vs TMDK vs MCMG ***1/2
  7. Tanahashi vs Bailey ***1/2

  8. MCMG vs TMDK ***
  9. Gresham vs Bailey ***
  10. Edwards vs PCO ***

    REBELLION
  11. Impact Tag Titles, Ultimate X: ABC(c) vs MCMG ***1/2
  12. Last Rites: Edwards vs PCO ***1/2
  13. X-Division, Elimination: Trey(c) vs Bailey vs Gresham ***1/4
  14. Impact World Title, Vacancy Fill: KUSHIDA vs Maclin ***1/2
  15. Impact Knockouts Title, Vacancy Fill: Grace vs Purrazzo ****

All matches from episodes IMPACT! on AXS unless specified