At the moment of this article being made, IMPACT is on the verge of its 1000th episode on AXS TV where a number of legendary wrestlers like the Beautiful People, Team 3D and Awesome Kong among others will be a part of this landmark event.
Outside of the company’s 2005-14 run on SPIKE and their 2016-18 run on POP TV, AXS TV has been one of the mainstays for the IMPACT when it comes to airing their content in the United States thanks in large part to their parent company, Anthem buying the network thus allowing the former TNA to air their programming without much constraints.
As we reach closer to that 1000th episode, Allow me to run down what I believe are some of the greatest and most important IMPACT Wrestling moments to ever take place on AXS TV.
Mickie James Surrenders the Knockouts World Championship
Bully Powerbombs D’Amore
The Return of Christopher Daniels
Josh Alexander Vacates the IMPACT World Title
#10. The Return of The Instant Classic
We kick things off with the long-awaited return of Christian Cage, one of many wrestlers who helped define TNA Wrestling in the mid-2000s.
Following Cage’s victory over Kenny Omega to capture the IMPACT World Championship on the debut episode of AEW Rampage, the Instant Classic appeared inside an Impact Wrestling ring for the first time since Slammiversary 2012.
After savouring the moment of becoming world champion in IMPACT once again, all while the fans break into chants of ‘You Deserve It‘, Christian goes on to retire the TNA World Heavyweight Championship handing it to ring announcer, David Penzer. It is taken to the back and Cage officially makes the Impact World Championship the number one prize to fight for in the company with the blessings of various IMPACT executives.
This moment was a great sense of closure for the history of the TNA World Championship while at the same time making it clear as day that the Impact World Championship is the definitive main title to those who haven’t watched the IMPACT product for some time.
While the AEW/IMPACT Partnership was mishandled in a number of ways, this and Christian’s last run in IMPACT was one of the few great moments to come out of it.
#9. Harris and Storm Reunite
Chris Harris and James Storm aka America’s Most Wanted were one of the most revered tag teams in TNA Wrestling due in no small part to their matches with LAX, The Naturals, Team 3D, and Triple X. They also held the tag team titles for a combined 517 days throughout their six reigns with the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
In 2006, James Storm would turn heel on Harris effectively ending their almost five-year run together leaving Storm to reach major success in IMPACT. On the other hand Harris’s career would flounder both as a singles star in TNA and as part of WWE’s ECW Brand.
That all changed on the 30th March 2022 edition of IMPACT when James Storm was being interviewed for his up-and-coming 1000th match in the company when out of nowhere a surprise from Storm’s past came onto the screen in the form of his former tag team partner. The two men would immediately embrace with a hug much to the delight of fans who were familiar with both men’s history with each other.
Also a quick shoutout to Storm who won his 1000th match against Eric Young. Before heading up to the ramp he dedicated his victory to a beloved backstage figure in the company by saying the words:
“Thank You Bob Ryder”
who was a long-time backstage employee for TNA/IMPACT Wrestling who sadly passed away in November of 2020.
#8. Farewell Rascalz
Back in the early years of the D’Amore/Callis era of IMPACT, the trio of Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel were a group of high-flying athletes who are best known for their backstage segments. This involved them joking around and enjoying a special kind of vegetable…If you know what I mean.
The group debuted in late 2018 and went on to feud with other teams like The North and LAX becoming one of the most popular acts within the company’s tag team and X Division. In mid-November 2020, it was revealed that all three of the Rascalz would be leaving IMPACT, so as a final goodbye the trio would be involved in an impressive tag team main event with Rich Swann teaming with Trey to take on Dez and Wentz. Both Swann and Trey came out victorious which led everyone more specifically all three of the Rascalz to start crying as the realization of this being their last match on IMPACT began to set in.
All three members draped their jackets on the ring ropes before giving a fond farewell to a company that helped to make them a star. Of course, due to some comments made by WWE Executive Triple H, Trey wouldn’t make the jump to the biggest company in pro wrestling and Wentz himself would leave the WWE following some controversy, nevertheless, Wentz would return to the company to reunite with Trey as a team on the June 29th 2023 edition of IMPACT.
#7. Trinity’s IMPACT Debut
On May 16th 2022, Mercedes Mone and Trinity Fatu better known in the WWE as Sasha Banks and Naomi shocked the wrestling world when they walked out of the WWE in the midst of their run as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. This was due to their unhappiness with their booking and the booking of the women’s division in general.
Although Mercedes would show up in New Japan Pro Wrestling and even win the IWGP Women’s Championship, no word was made on what the future held for her tag team partner. It was announced that Trinity would be making her IMPACT Wrestling debut on the May 4th 2023 episode.
When the time came for Trinity to make her debut, the always energetic Chicago crowd exploded with excitement seeing the former WWE Women’s and Tag Team Champion and that same excitement was shown in Trinity’s response to the fans and the ladies in the locker room which soon led to the arrivals of Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo and then Jordynne Grace who were set to face off at the Under Siege event for the title.
Trinity would make her motives clear when she challenged the winner of Grace and Purrazzo at Under Siege for the title later down the road, but in the meantime, Trinity would go on to wrestle matches with names like KiLynn King, Jai Vidal, and Gisele Shaw before challenging Deonna for the Knockouts title at this year’s Slammiversary where she won and became the new Knockouts.
#6. Don Callis Gets Fired
As one of the Executive Vice Presidents who helped rebuild IMPACT’s reputation during the early stages of the Anthem takeover, Don Callis was instrumental both in front of the camera and behind the scenes much like his associate and fellow EVP, Scott D’Amore.
However, in May of 2021, things would come tumbling down for Callis when he and D’Amore came to verbal blows inside the ring over Don’s biased actions against Sami Callihan in order to help his family and world champion, Kenny Omega. Things were thrown into a loop when Tommy Dreamer emerged from the back and revealed that he was Anthem’s hand-picked representative to settle this power struggle between the two EVPs.
Ultimately, Dreamer revealed that Callis was the one being fired and told him that his ‘trashbag’ would be waiting for him in the back. This was a reference to the infamous moment when Mickie James had her belongings returned back to her from the WWE in a literal garbage bag.
Don took his firing about as well as you can imagine with his response to crowds chanting ‘You Got Fired’ with ‘Real Men Quit…They Don’t Get Fired’; While the kayfabe reasons for Callis being let go from his position might be as problematic as the alleged real reason. His departure from the day-to-day operations led to Scott D’Amore fully taking over the reins as Executive Vice President before graduating to the rank of IMPACT Wrestling President in 2023.
#5. The Omega/Swann Press Conference
Speaking of Scott, Don and Kenny Omega we return to the AEW/IMPACT partnership with our next entry.
In the lead-up to the highly anticipated Winner Takes All Championship main event between Omega and Rich Swann at Rebellion 2021, a press conference was held. Here the champions and company figureheads like AEW President, Tony Khan answered questions that were sent to them by members of the wrestling media
Things went well for the most part despite the fact that Omega and his manager, Don Callis showed up late to the event. Eventually, Omega decided to take the mic and mention to the TNA/IMPACT Unified Champion that he wants him to do his best before faking an attempt at a handshake and slapping Rich Swann across the face leading to a brawl breaking out.
The conference was yet another pivot moment in the AEW/IMPACT partnership and helped to build up more hype for the embedding champion vs. champion match, which you can watch right on YouTube.
#4. Chris Bey Joins the Bullet Club
From winning the X Division Championship not long into his run to being a part of one the most popular tag teams in recent company history, The Ultimate Finesser’ Chris Bey has had a remarkable run in Impact Wrestling since signing with the promotion in 2020 but no one, not even Bey could have expected what was going to happen to him on the August 5th edition of Impact.
On this night, Chris Bey was accompanied by the leader of the Bullet Club, Jay White who proposed an offer to the former X Division Champion. This offer was to join the notorious club, but first, he needed to prove himself in a match against a pre-Bullet Club Juice Robinson.
Whilst the action between Bey and Robinson was amazing from beginning to end, it’s the events after the match that are the most important. Jay White proceeds to pull out a Bullet Club T-shirt and hands it off to Chris Bey signifying Bey’s inclusion into the Club and the reaction on the former X Division Champion’s face upon getting the shirt and giving the leader of the Bullet Club the ‘Too Sweet’ hand sign makes this moment all the more compelling.
Fast forward a few years since that moment and Bey has gone on to become one half of the IMPACT World Tag Team Champions alongside former X Division Champion and Bullet Club member, Ace Austin.
#3. The Virtuosa Becomes The Champ/Champ
On the final PPV under the original Ring of Honor banner, Rok-C (now known as Roxanne Perez in NXT 2.0) defeated Williow Nightingale to become the new ROH Women’s Champion. When the familiar music of the then Reina Da Reinas Champion, Deonna Purrazzo began to play in the building; Deonna confronted Rok-C and asked for a winner-takes-all match between herself and the newly crowned ROH Women’s Champion to which the young upstart accepted.
That match would take place in the main event of the January 13th edition of IMPACT, with both ladies going back and forth putting on a spectacular showing. Since news broke that Rok-C would be one of many wrestlers to be signed by the WWE, many expected how this would all turn out and sure enough Rok-C verbally quit the match leading to a new Ring of Honor champion being crowned.
So to recap, the wrestling world on this night not only got to see the ROH Women’s Champion take on the AAA Reina Da Reinas Champion inside an Impact Wrestling ring, but it also resulted in Deonna Purrazzo being the first woman in history to hold the ROH and AAA Women’s championships at the same time. Despite not being signed to either promotion which is quite an achievement.
#2. We are Honor…No More
If there was a group that could best exemplify the wild and unpredictable nature of Impact Wrestling in 2022, then it would have to be the random group of disgruntled ROH Wrestlers who invaded IMPACT Wrestling in the early part of the year.
Upon decimating some of the IMPACT locker room following a Hardcore War match at Hard To Kill, The Kingdom (Maria, Mike Bennet & Matt Taven), PCO and Vincent made their presence known by sneaking out of the crowd or trying to enter the building but were denied out of fear of a huge brawl breaking out amongst the locker room and the group of former Ring of Honor stars calling themselves Honor No More.
For much of 2022, the group along with eventually leader, Eddie Edwards ran roughshod over everyone and even won the tag team titles along the way, but once Tony Khan bought the rights to Ring of Honor, the group would soon disband by the end of the year with Edwards, Kenny King and PCO being the only one’s left before breaking off to do their own thing…As great of a debut and moment this was, there’s only another moment that tops it.
#1. Sami Callihan Becomes IMPACT World Champion
It feels rather appropriate that the number one IMPACT moment on AXS TV not only involves the world title being defended in the main event but also took place on the very first episode of IMPACT on AXS TV.
The main event saw Sami Callihan face ‘The Machine’ Brian Cage for the world title in a steel cage match which was a continuation of their battle in the main event of Bound For Glory 2019. Violence and raw emotion were seen throughout the cage match with Sami hitting Cage not one, not two, not three, not four, but five piledrivers with the last one being a top rope piledriver leading to the referee counting 1…2…3!
The look on the face of Callihan being handed the IMPACT World Championship was astonishing with many of Sami’s friends and family mentioning in documentaries how important the win was for the former Solomon Crowe. The moment felt well deserved for a man who had put the company on his back in order to get it to where it is today. And that’s why this moment is my pick for the number one IMPACT Wrestling on AXS TV.
So what do you think of my list? Which IMPACT Wrestling moment from AXS TV was your favourite? Be sure to leave your thoughts down below in the comment section and be sure to follow Lace ‘Em Up on Twitter @laceemupoffice You can follow me also on Twitter @hakeemfullerton and I’ll see you in the next article.