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Cook’s Impact Insight 9.14.23

September 14, 2023 | Posted by Steve Cook
Team 3D Impact 1000 Image Credit: Impact Wrestling
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Cook’s Impact Insight 9.14.23  

Hey kids! Steve Cook here with you. I realize that most of you probably don’t know this, but I started out my tenure at 411mania as a recapper of TNA Impact on Fox Sports Net. I reviewed the show from the beginning before getting the call from my main man Larry Csonka, and debuted on this very website on August 14, 2004. As a result, Impact has always been very close to my heart whether I loved what TNA/Impact Wrestling was doing or not. In recent years I’ve been fond of a lot of what Impact Wrestling has been doing, and have been more than happy to review their events when my schedule allows.

What better way to celebrate 1000 episodes of Impact than to give you all a taste of what I was doing back in the day? I called it Impact Insight, a darn catchy title if I say so myself. Many of our old friends from 2004 appear on this episode, along with some of our newer friends. I think proper background has been given, so let’s dig into the rasslin, shall we?

Cook’s Impact Insight 9.14.23

We open with a video montage highlighting the top stars that made their way through TNA/Impact, along with the current names.

Scott D’Amore welcomes us to Impact’s 1000th episode. He points out the first people you see on Episode 1 of Impact are Eric Young, himself & Team Canada. True story. The next two weeks will be a celebration of Impact’s past, present & future. You can’t talk about Impact without talking about the Knockouts, and you can’t talk about the Knockouts without talking about Gail Kim, so here she comes. Gail thanks everyone, especially the fans for helping make the Knockouts difference makers for the entire wrestling industry. The Knockouts have always been about raising the bar and showing what they’ve got, not just talking. So we see a video package of the best Knockout moments.

This brings out the Beautiful People. Velvet Sky & Angelina Love to make their classic entrance letting those pigeons out. I’m still not sure what that meant, but the fans welcome them back. Angelina says it’s nice to see Gail, but she asks if that video package was the best that they could show. The clips of Angelina & Velvet were perfect, but the rest of the clips were full of ugly people. Velvet claims that the rest of the clips looked like security cam footage from Walmart. Gail calls them rude & obnoxious. Things almost break down before Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans come out. Gisele apologizes on Gail’s behalf & the behalf of the current Knockouts Division. Without the Beautiful People there would be no Gisele. She’s honored to have taken their spot and improved on it. Velvet & Angelina aren’t convinced, and ask who is so great from their division. This brings out Jordynne Grace. Jordynne says there are two constants in every generations. The greats like ODB, Tara, Traci Brooks & Gail Kim. The other constant is the annoying, vapid bitches. This brings out Deonna Purrazzo, who I wouldn’t classify as such a thing, but here she is anyway. Deonna is out here to represent her generation, not Jordynne’s or Gisele’s. The Virtuosa’s generation started when she beat Jordynne for the Knockouts Championship. Trinity comes out since she currently holds that title and has a neat glow in the dark pink jacket to showcase. Trinity respects everybody in the ring, but is in her moment & the proof is around her waist. Deonna puts over her three title reigns, and Gail puts over her seven. Awesome Kong is out with Raishia Saeed, and we go to commercial.

(Not sure if that’s the original Raishia or not, but it’d be pretty cool if it was! I miss Cheerleader Melissa/Alissa Flash tremendously.)

Saeed asks who wants to be the first to be crushed by Kong. Tasha Steelz is apparently out here to apply for that role. This generation talk doesn’t mean a thing without Generation Flava. She’ll join up with Velvet, Angelina, Gisele, Savannah & Deonna. She says that next week she’ll be the greatest that beat the biggest (Kong). We hear “Hardcore Country” & Mickie James is here. She doesn’t need to remind us of who she is or try to convince us that she’s the greatest, as we already know that. She calls the babyface team “Team Over”. Next week will be the greatest fight in Knockouts history. I feel like this segment went pretty long, but it beats the alternative where everything involving women is crammed into five minutes. Giving each lady their chance to speak is a good thing in my book, even if it’s one of those talking segments I used to complain about back in 2004. I’ve mellowed since then.

Backstage, Eric Young & America’s Most Wanted (“Wildcat” Chris Harris & “Cowboy” James Storm) are hanging out, presumably talking about those AMW/Team Canada battles from back in the day. Santino Marella & Stone Cold Shark Boy join them. Sharky volunteers to be Deputy Director of Authority, “Shell Yeah” is uttered and the party is on. You just can’t have a proper celebration of Impact without Harris, Storm & Shark Boy. I mean, you probably could, but it wouldn’t be the same.

Feast Or Fired Battle Royal: Heath, Steve Maclin, Laredo Kid, Johnny Swinger, Joe Hendry, Jonathan Gresham, Black Taurus, PCO, Sami Callihan, John Skyler, Kushida, Brian Myers, Kevin Knight, Bhupinder Gujar, Jai Vidal, Alpha Bravo, Yuya Uemura, Crazzzy Steve, Chris Bey, Moose: There are four briefcases on poles. Three contain contracts for title shots (Heavyweight, Tag Team, Digital Media). One has a pink slip. Joya (Hendry & Uemura) & PCO get televised entrances. PCO dives onto everybody to start the match. Skyler knocks Laredo & Taurus off the top rope and almost gets a briefcase, but Bey breaks it up. Bey retrieves Briefcase #3 and makes his way to the floor. We’re going picture in picture? All righty then! Some interesting sponsors on AXS TV. I’m being sold on some duct tape & Get Head Shaver. Maybe I should be looking at the action, but these products speak to my current needs. Briefcase #1 has been claimed by Crazzzy Steve, and since he’s crazzzy Moose is more than happy to let him leave the ring. Moose is blocked by Maclin & KIAed. Vidal gets choked by Swinger, but Bravo breaks that up. Callihan piledrives Bravo, then gets speared by Skyler. Kushida & Knight work together, but PCO clotheslines both of them down. Taurus spinebusts PCO. Joya hits the One Hit Wonder on Laredo. Hendry blocks so Uemura can get Briefcase #4. Callihan is the loser of a Keep Away battle & Uemura escapes. PCO & Vidal face off. Vidal’s mind games don’t work and he gets chokeslammed. PCO climbs up, but Callihan sends him back first to the apron. Skyler knocks Callihan to the floor. Kushida & Taurus meet up. Knight ranas Taurus out of a top rope powerbomb attempt. Maclin knocks him off the turnbuckle. Heath comes in and powerslams Maclin. They fight on the top rope. Maclin unhooks the case, but still needs to get to the floor. The other wrestlers block him from getting to the floor, then Rhino comes in with a gore! Moose grabs that case & our match is over. Play Rhino’s music!

Winners?: Chris Bey, Crazzzy Steve, Yuya Uemura, Moose (13:36)
Match Rating: ***

We’ll find out if these gentlemen are actually winners when the briefcases are opened. One of them will be gone, which might also be a win depending on where they end up. Heck, sometimes you get on TV more when you’re fired. Feast or Fired is a fun gimmick, I’m glad they brought it back here.

Gia Miller is backstage with Chris Sabin, who could become a 10-time X Division Champion tonight. He admires Lio, but does not respect his sneakiness & being an all-around bad guy. Tonight, he forges a legacy by becoming the first 10-time X Division Champion.

Rojit Raju & Champagne Singh want to know how Impact can celebrate 1000 episodes without them. They want the fans to name a tag team that has done more for the company than them. So here come Bully Ray & Brother Devon.

Team 3D vs. Desi Hit Squad: Bully & Singh start and the people want tables. Bully works the arm and tags Devon in. Devon hits a double clothesline and tags Ray in for that modified 3D. Bully goes up top, but gets tossed off by Singh. Raju tags in and punches away before getting speared. Devon tags in, some shoulderblocks and a neckbreaker. Singh gets spinebusted for two. Ray tags in, hits the slam and asks Devon “WHASSSSUP”. Headbutt, last rites, and time to get the table. 3D to Singh ends the match.

Winners: Team 3D (4:53 via pinfall)
Match Rating: **1/2

Things aren’t over yet, as there’s an unbroken table in the ring. Rohit gets to take a top rope powerbomb through the table as Dixie Carter gets a shoutout from the announcers. Not too much to this match, it was just nice to see Team 3D doing their thing again and getting that nostalgia pop.

Josh Alexander sees the Rascalz (Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz) goofing off in the hallway and is unimpressed. He tosses their bag away, and we’ll hear from him next.

We’re back, and Josh Alexander comes out to the ring for some words. No matter how many times he enters the ring, it’ll never stop being surreal. No matter what he’s done during his career, it always comes back to him being an Impact Wrestling fan. 15 year old him would never believe he’d be here today. His current issue is that he feels he should still be champion since he never lost the title. This brings the current champion out. Alex Shelley wants Josh to realize that the title isn’t his anymore. Shelley says that Alexander is welcome for everything that he’s done. Josh says that nobody was happier that Alex became champion than him, Alex turns that into markdom. Josh says that Alex inspired a generation, but the more Alex talks, the old saying is true. “Don’t meet your heroes”. They engage in a pissing match over how many years they’ve been here. Josh points out the one Impact World title match that Alex didn’t win, which was against him. Alex says he’s the main character now, and Josh is a side quest. Alex wants the match, Josh wants the match. The Rascalz attack both men from behind! Shelley & Alexander both fight back, but then Shelley exits the ring while Alexander gets beat down.

It looks like Alex Shelley is leaning heel, which makes sense for the Shelley vs. Alexander match we’ll get very soon. Whoever wins will be fine with me, as both men are tremendous wrestlers and make fine World Champions for anywhere they happen to be working. I should probably have a hotter take here, but I don’t.

Shark Boy books Trey Miguel against Josh Alexander next week. Santino is impressed with his booking. Kenny King is not impressed with Santino, as he wants a rematch with Tommy Dreamer. Santino offers him Eric Young next week instead.

Eddie & Alisha Edwards vs. Frankie Kazarian & Traci Brooks: Frankie has had to deal with a lot from Eddie & Alisha lately, so it was only a matter of time before his better half made her return. Some Ms. Brooks style attire for Traci tonight. Their son Rebel is at ringside and gets some trash talk from Eddie & Alisha. Traci & Alisha start, Kaz hits a rana on Eddie on the outside and things have already broken down. Eddie suplexes Kaz on the floor. Alisha sends Traci back into the ring & kicks away. Tag to Eddie, and it’s old school intergender rules on Impact. Traci with a slap and she tags Frankie. Kaz with some shots, but gets a knee to tbe back from Alisha & a Blue Thunder bomb from Eddie before we go to commercial.

We return to Alisha slapping Frankie. Traci wants to intervene but is held off by the official. Backdrop by Eddie gets two. Frankie changes the momentum with a backstabber, but Alisha prevents the tag by yanking Traci off the apron. Alisha hits a tornado DDT off the apron to the floor on Frankie. Back in the ring, Frankie fights back with some chops before getting knocked down by Eddie. Some choking on the ropes, then Alisha takes advantage behind the referee’s back. Eddie with some chops in the corner. Traci’s temper is getting the better of her so far. Alisha tags in, but gets Northern Lights suplexed for her trouble. Tag to Traci. Shoulderblock, clothesline, spear from Traci. Eddie from behind, he sets Traci up for the Backpack stunner but gets blocked by an X-factor. Eddie gets taken out by Frankie, then Traci hits a Fade to Black for the three count on Alisha.

Winners: Frankie Kazarian & Traci Brooks (8:02 shown via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***

I’ll be honest: this is the reason I wanted to review this show. With my history with Impact & Traci, it only felt right to be here & offer some kind of coverage. Great to see Traci back in the ring, and Frankie, Eddie & Alisha played their parts perfectly. Shoutout to Alisha, who’s finally getting to live out her full potential with this current run, she’s been doing a great job as the heel we knew she could be.

Frankie gets the microphone and asks us to turn our attention to the video screen. We see a video package for Traci’s induction into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame. Rebel joins his mom & dad in the ring, Traci is in tears and the fans say she deserves it. I couldn’t agree more, and even though I saw the spoilers and knew it was coming, I still had a tear in my eye. Dang, Rebel’s a big kid. Where does the time go?

This year’s Impact Hall of Fame class….man, so deserving. The original announce team with Mike Tenay & Don West, a team I appreciate more with each passing year. Wish Don was there for it, but it’ll be an emotional moment for sure. Then there’s the original Knockout, who never really got her due back in the day but never complained about it. A lot of your favorite Internet writers got to know wrestlers that were ready to spill the beans on everybody. Me, I got wrestlers that were loyal soldiers that had nothing but good things to say about everybody. My “career” may have been better off with the former, but I’m happier having interacted with my people. Traci is definitely one of my people. Anybody saying anything negative about her can’t possibly be taken seriously. I’d let them live one time.

Gia is with Lio Rush just moments away from his title defense. Lio says that Sabin is shook. He’ll come in hot, like he always does.

Tom Hannifan & Matthew Rehwoldt are finally on screen to run down next week’s episode. We see a clip from Victory Road with Tommy Dreamer defeating Kenny King to win the Digital Media Championship. Tommy says he’ll defend the title anywhere against anyone, and have fun doing so because that’s what wrestling is about.

X Dvision Championship Match: Lio Rush (c) vs. Chris Sabin: The X Division has defined Impact since the beginning, so it only makes sense to have a title match main event the 1000th episode (part 1). Sabin also main evented the first episode of Impact, which isn’t surprising. Lio gets cooking right away, diving through the two lower ropes onto Sabin on the floor. Sabin is sent back into the ring & Rush pauses before getting small packaged for two. Sabin on the offensive now. Sabin works Rush into a modified surfboard before getting clotheslined. Rush with a rear naked choke, but he can’t hold onto it. Sabin works to his feet and rams Rush into the corner. Rush with a back suplex for two. Sabin fights his way out of another chinlock, hits a missile dropkick and both men are down. Rush avoids a Cradleshock & gouges Sabin in the eyes. To the floor, Rush with an Asai moonsault off the bottom rope. Rush breaks the count, then vertical suplexes Sabin on the ramp. Takes a bit out of himself in the process. Rush teases a Cradleshock, but Sabin fights out and gets a rollup for two. Rush goes up top looking for the Final Hour, but Sabin follows him there and hits a superplex. Both men get back up, Sabin with some punches and then a powerbomb for two. Rush avoids a Cradleshock, but Sabin rolls through into an STF. There’s a Cradleshock, but it only gets two this time. Clothesline from Hell, Michigan, then a second Cradleshock…and that only gets two! Rush proving to be a tough nut to crack. Sabin places him up top, he teases a Cradleshock from there but Rush goes to the eyes again. Final Hour frog splash from Rush, but that only gets two! Rush knocks Sabin down with a punch, then another punch. Sabin fights back with punches of his own. Rush with some shots before eating some punches from Sabin. A kick, Shellshock, then a final Cradleshock for the 1-2-3!

Winner: Chris Sabin (16:01 via pinfall)
Match Rating: ***1/2

Sabin is now a 10-time X Division Champion, and some fellow Impact wrestlers join in the celebration. We see Rich Swann & Sami Callihan raise Sabin on their shoulders as Impact closes business for tonight. I like when the last thing you see is the first thing you saw, and Chris Sabin winning the main event on the 1000th episode of Impact falls in that category. My only gripe: can he go past 10 X Division title reigns? 10 sounds so cool, 11 or 12, not so much. Ten-time just sounds fantastic.

Thanks for reading! I’ll probably be back next week if the YouTube gimmick works.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
We all know what we're getting with anniversary episodes. A ton of nostalgia, with some odes to the present but it'll mostly be past glory highlighted. I think Impact did a better job than WWE usually does on their anniversary episodes...WWE has tended to job out their future to their past. Impact threaded that needle by involving their present and not making their future look bad. The random Team 3D match had them beating a team not currently figured in. The people that won matches are currently figured in. It hit the right balance.