We are just months away from 2023 coming to a close and with a new year just on the horizon, we can start the process of reflecting on everything that was professional wrestling this year.
There were a lot of good but also some bad that took place in professional wrestling this year and we here at Lace_Em_Up will be talking about the year that IMPACT Wrestling as it relates to 2023.
Because despite being the third biggest promotion in the U.S., you could argue that this year was a great one for the company especially when it comes to their big four PPV’s. While not everything was a slam dunk it certainly was newsworthy, so let’s not waste anymore time, here is my list on every IMPACT Wrestling pay per view ranked from worst to best.
By in large, the 19th edition of IMPACT’s major summer event wasn’t the worse show the company did as a few IMPACT Plus Specials earlier in the year could qualify for that and while the show was still really good, there were issues I had about this year’s Slammiversary.
The first issue was the tag team match between Bully Ray and Deaner vs. Scott D’Amore and a returning Eric Young…From the announcement of Steve Maclin and PCO (Bully’s and Scott’s partners respectively) being out with injuries and the last minute inclusion of Deaner as Bully’s partner only made it more obivous as to whom would win, plus the action wasn’t all that special (outside of the finish) and the spot involving the referee heading to the back simply because he fed up with the madness that was going on was truly bizzarre.
The other issue was the semi-main event which was Trinity versus Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts World Championship; Now this is not the fault of the either lady, but the match itself felt pretty basic and didn’t feel anywhere near close to the hype the company built up leading into it.
Now let’s focus on the positives: The Ultimate X was a good way to kick things off and the suprise return of Jake Something also made things interesting, Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly winning the Knockouts Tag Titles was predictable but the action was good, the finish to the Edwards/Kazarian match felt weird as the bad guy coming out victorious…of course now with the ability of hindsight we know this wasn’t the end of the feud and the action in this match was soild.
Lio Rush’s win of the X Division Title over Chris Sabin was unexpected and certainly a top tier Slammiversary moment; The four way tag team match was great as well as the World Title main event with Alex Shelley successfully defending his championship against Nick Aldis before ‘The Walking Weapon’ Josh Alexander returned from injury, setting the stage for their impending title match later on in the year.
In short, it was a fun time with some underwelming stuff peppered in between.
3. Hard To Kill
Whilst Friday The 13th might be synonymous with a certain hockey mask wearing psychopath, it also was the date of the first IMPACT pay per view to take place in 2023.
Things kicked off in surprising and spectular fashion as the IMPACT World Championship kicked off the show with Josh Alexander defending his title against last year’s Call Your Shot Gauntlet winner, Bully Ray in a Full Metal Mayhem match which had everything from blood to violence to incredible moments and a satisfying finish with Josh remaining the champion.
The Motor City Machine Guns and Joe Hendry also retained their titles on this night but the biggest stories to come out of those bouts was the return and Debut of Frankie Kazarian and Santino Marella to IMPACT Wrestling respectively.
Some soild knockouts action occurred between Masha, Deonna, Kelly and Taylor Wilde to crown a new contender to the Knockouts World Title, Steve Maclin and Rich Swann had an enjoyable false count anywhere match (if you cand ignore some of the techinical issues minutes before and during the match) and the bout between Johnathan Gresham and Eddie Edwards was also good before being overshadowed by the return of PCO.
The main event saw Jordynne Grace defending her Knockouts World Championship against Mickie James with the stipulation being that if Mickie lost then her in-ring wrestling career would be over as part of her Last Rodeo storyline; The action was impressive with the end result seeing ‘Hardcore Country’ become the new Knockouts Champion, althought a spot where it looked like Mickie was tapping out to Grace in the match looked like it would be setting up a rematch down the road, but sadly injuries prevented that from happening.
2. Bound For Glory
Most fans probably would put this show as number one on their list, I can definitely see why at this has to be the greatest Bound For Glory of the entire Anthem Era up to this point.
From Chris Sabin retaining his X Division Title over KENTA in the opening contest to the crash car style of action within the Monster’s Ball Match to face paced action within the Tag Team Title match, BFG was cooking on all cylinders but things would only get better.
This year’s Call Your Shot Gauntlet felt like a really good royal rumble match that took place outside of the WWE which saw everything from returns (in the case of Juventud Guerrera, Johnny Swinger and Matt Cardona) to an amazing debut for Sonny Kiss and with the final two seeing Bully Ray and Jordynne Grace going at it before ‘The Juggernant’ came out on top and Grace announcing that at Hard To Kill 2024 she would challenging for Trinity for the Knockouts Title who herself successfully defended the title against Mickie James in a good first ever match up.
The three biggest takeaways from this pay per view would have to be the Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey match which led to the company getting it’s first Five Star Rated match in 18 years, the main event which saw Alex Shelley defeat Josh Alexander to remain the IMPACT World Champion in great match and of course the announcement that the company would be returning as TNA Wrestling in 2024 complete with new belts, a new set and improvements to the production…shocked the wrestling world with opinions varying upon the news though most have been positive.
With such a major announcement and soild action throughout the night, it’s easy to why people would claim this show to be the best of the whole year, but there is one IMPACT PPV that took place this year that surpasses it for me.
Taking place at the gorgeous looking Rebel Entertainment Complex coupled by number of high profiled matches and the promise of seeing not one but two new world champions being crowned on this night, Rebellion 2023 had a lot to live up to and sure enough IMPACT Wrestling certainly did.
The ABC vs. the MCMG in a Ultimate X Tag Team match for the World Tag Team Titles is arguably the best opening match to an IMPACT PPV (which is saying something) which made brand new stars in Ace Austin and Chris Bey in terms of tag team wrestling.
Sami Callihan prediectably turned on The Design in a six man tag match which allowed the team of Santino Marella, Dirty Dango and Joe Hendry to pick up the win, PCO got his revenge against Eddie Edwards in the Last Rites match and the X Division once against proved why it’s one of the best divisions in the company with Trey Miguel defending his title in a three way elimination match against Mike Bailey and Jonathan Gresham.
Whilst the Bully/Dreamer Feud was something many fans didn’t care for, the same could not be said as it relates to the 10 person Hardcore War which was fun, filled with memorable spots, began the feud and later partnership between Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly and ended the feud in satisfying fashion.
The last two matches saw real life couple Steve Maclin and Deonna Purrazzo become the new World Heavyweight and Knockouts Champions after some incredible action against Kushida and Jordynne Grace with fans not knowing as to whom would leave as the new champions.
Add in the surprise return of Nick Aldis back to the company just moments before the world title bout and you have one of the best pay per views IMPACT Wrestling produced in all of 2023.
Be sure to leave your thoughts down below in the comment section and don’t forget to check out article on the every IMPACT Wrestling PPV from 2022 ranked from worst to best down below: