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Impact Wrestling Down Under Tour Night 2 Results & Review (01/07/2023)


By Mick Robson


Patreons got this review first, as well as all the content The Arena puts out. For early access and to support the work we put in here, check out patreon.com/thearenamedia


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This one goes out to my dad, who would have turned 54 on the 1st of July. Sadly, he passed away far too young at the age of 42. Thanks for showing a bit of interest in my weird little wrestling obsession, sitting down with me to watch Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit from Unforgiven 2002, then taking me to my first ever wrestling show, a WWE Raw house show in Sydney in 2005. I love you.


We're back with Night 2 of the Impact Down Under tour! As mentioned in the previous day's review, this tour is an initiative paid for by the NSW Government to increase tourism to Wagga Wagga. As I sit down to write this one, it's Monday morning, I got back from Wagga late last night, and I certainly had a time. More about that in the Australian Showcase review- which I'll likely smash out right after this one.


Let's do this!


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We kick things off with our ring announcers, Piers Austin and Anj (didn't get her last name). They do a nice job hyping up the crowd. An injury to Steve Maclin in last night's main event results in some card shuffling, but it results in our gain, as we have an unadvertised match to crown the first ever OPW Men's Champion!


Match 1: OPW Men's Championship- Robbie Eagles vs. Adam Brooks


These two men have wrestled many, many times, most recently in the finals of the PWA X MCW Colosseum tournament last October. With that familarity breeds contempt and an awareness of each other's game, as they unload with furious chops and kicks. Robbie tries to surprise Brooksy with an early attempt at his Ron Miller Special submission, but the Loose Ledge squirms out of it.


Robbie continues to work the leg, but Brooksy fires back with aggression, and manages to drop Robbie to the outside with a fireman's carry over the ropes. He comes back in with a slingshot DDT, and like he did in last night's opener with Slex, Brooks is going balls to the wall here.


Eagles is never out of the fight though, and he gets the better of a series of counter moves after hitting a wild poison rana. He goes up top for the 450 Splash- but Brooks gets the knees up. He follow up with the Swanton- and that ends it!


Winner: Adam Brooks


History made as we begin to establish the Oceania Pro Wrestling brand through this Impact tour. Brooks, with a storied history in Melbourne City Wrestling, is a fine choice as inaugural champion. Couldn't have gone wrong either way, two absolute pros that can hold their own on any stage, set the bar high with an excellent opener.


Gisele Shaw cuts a promo on the big screen. She talks about showing the diversity of her game- she can do it all, and proved it last night when she tapped out Erika Reid with an armbar. She's looking to do the same to Deonna Purrazzo and take the title in tonight's main event.


Match 2: The Natural Classics (Stevie & Tome Filip) vs. The VeloCities (Paris De Silva & Jude London)


For my money, the two best tag teams currently in Australia. I was surprised when this wasn't the match to crown the OPW Tag Champions (that's on the Showcase tomorrow between The Parea and Top Tier). Again, these teams have wrestled before on several occasions- I saw them do battle at SLAM in Canberra in an absolute- well, classic.


The Classics arrogantly get in the VeloCities' faces to start, and Paris and Jude wipe them out with dropkicks. Since I'm basing these reviews on the live experience and not the FITE broadcast, I'm not doing a strict play-by-play, which is good because both teams set a crazy pace in general.


Stevie gains some control over Paris until he makes the hot tag to London. Jude with an armdrag/headscissors combo on both Filips. Jude with a double springboard stunner and it looks like the VeloCities have this in the bag- but after Jude gets caught on a dive and Paris cops the knees to the gut on a frog splash attempt, the Classics hit the powerbomb/neckbreaker combo to come out victorious and glorious.


Winners: The Natural Classics


As was the case on Night 1, the Aussies are putting their best foot forward on these Impact shows. I might have to go to FITE at some stage to check out what the commentary of Hannifan & Rehwoldt have to say about the Aussie talent, I imagine they would put them over strongly. My only complaint is that these matches are fairly short compared to their usual positioning as main event spots in Aus promotions.


Deonna Purrazzo cuts a promo in response to Gisele's one earlier. One submission win doesn't make you a technician, and the Virtuosa will teach her a lesson tonight. Confidence from the champ.


Match 3: Digital Media Championship- Moose vs. Joe Hendry (c)


So after the Aussies set the stage, the Impact guys now have to follow that. Hendry cuts a promo about visiting Wagga Zoo and seeing all the different animals, but it was at the Victoria Hotel where he saw the real wildlife. While enjoying a "non-alcoholic beverage" (boos) before switching to a "cheeky alcoholic beverage" (cheers), Hendry saw a dancing Moose! "Dancing Moose" chants directed at the former NFL star. Lots of fun.


Two big strapping lads playing the power game here, so very different tone and pace to our first two bouts. We get a test of strength, and then Moose no-selling a suplex- my god, he's a huge man. Despite being a beast, Moose decides to take a shortcut, kicking the middle rope into Hendry's nuts. This allows Moose to take control for a bit, before Hendry rallies back and hits a big time cutter.


They trade powerbombs for near falls, with Hendry's being a pop-up version. Moose tries to go the finesse route with a roll up, but is caught by the ref holding the tights. Hendry goes for a cheeky roll up of his own- and the ref misses him pulling the tights! Moose is pissed, but he got outplayed.


Winner: Joe Hendry


Chock-full of shenanigans but still not lacking in the action department, this was very entertaining in a different manner to the earlier matches. Variety is the spice of life!


A couple of videos air that appear to be just tourism ads for Wagga, with Impact wrestlers visiting different places. For some reason, we can't hear these videos as clearly in the arena as we could the promos. I guess the thinking is that we're already in Wagga, they don't need to sell it to us, it's more about selling Wagga to the TV audience on FITE.


Although on that note- I wonder how many in attendance were actually from Wagga. Of everyone I talked to, be they friends, acquaintances or just people I met over the course of the weekend, they all travelled hours to be here. Which made it a little funny when wrestlers played to the crowd like, "Come on Wagga!" We're not from here!


Match 4: Eddie Edwards vs Slex


This is what many people were calling for! Across the two Impact Down Under shows, there's been a bit of separation between the Impact matches and the Aussies just wrestling each other, having their usual matches in an Impact ring. Here, Slex gets a big opportunity against an Impact mainstay.


The crowd resumes the "Eddie sucks" chants from the previous night with Joe Hendry, so Edwards gets in everyone's face. Once the action starts, Eddie starts a pretty intense beatdown on Slex. I noticed a splint on Slex's finger- I didn't notice it on Night 1, but credit to him, I feel like that's an issue that looks small but would be a nightmare to have a match with in a bunch of little ways.


Crowd chants "you can't wrestle" at Eddie Edwards. Well, that's just objectively not true. He makes Slex pay for it with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Slex rallies back and although I generally see him wrestle as more of a power guy, he is the slightly smaller man here, and hits a beautiful moonsault for a near fall of his own.


Edwards is a savvy veteran, and chains together some high impact moves to end Slex's night. Backpack stunner. Tiger bomb. Shining wizard. Fin. Yeahhhh, those people saying Eddie couldn't wrestle are real quiet now.


Winner: Eddie Edwards


The established Impact guy wins, but Slex looked good throughout a lot of this match, holding his own. Also, he has a win over the new OPW Champion on Night 1 to hang his hat- or sunglasses- on. Very good match.


An ad airs for Slammiversary. I mentioned in the last review that I haven't been following Impact closely- I honestly came to this tour as it was a big step for Aussie wrestling to be working with an international company, and also I'd never been to Wagga. But Impact's won me over. I'll be watching and possibly reviewing Slammiversary.


Match 5: Killer Kelly vs. Steph De Lander


SDL grabs the mic, and immediately received boos. Most people here were here for Night 1, although it is a slightly larger crowd. Steph says that even though she lost, she's not a loser, and definitely better than that "weird freak" Killer Kelly. Kelly smiles evilly and crawls towards her in response. That doesn't creep me out... there's probably something wrong with me. On to the match!


Steph asserts dominance early with her size and power, clubbing Kelly down and hitting big shoulder blocks and boots. She looks to squeeze the life out of Kelly with a bearhug. With Steph's physical presence, it's honestly baffling that she didn't get more of an opportunity in NXT/WWE. She's making the most of this run as the "Indy Goddess" alongside Matt Cardona though.


Kelly rallies back with headbutts and strikes, nailing De Lander with a dropkick in the corner. She locks in the Killer Clutch, but Steph fights out of it and hits Death Adder (fireman's carry into a facebuster) for the win!


Winner: Steph De Lander


Big victory for Steph, especially in the context of this weekend. Killer Kelly basically dominated Aysha on Night 1, and here, De Lander dominated Kelly on Night 2. Steph mentioned in a promo being told by Impact to go and get more experience before coming back, and here she gets a clean victory against an Impact talent in a televised show- could we see SDL get a proper run in Impact Wrestling now?


We get a promo from Frankie Kazarian. He mentions that he was supposed to face Steve Maclin on this show, but now he gets Brian Myers, oh, and he's got to deal with Eddie Edwards on an upcoming Impact too. Okay then.


Match 6: Frankie Kazarian vs. Brian Myers


Myers bails out of the ring as Kaz wants to engage. When Myers gets back in, this time it's Kaz doing the same to him. I don't think anyone cares about this match enough for delaying the action to get the desired response, it doesn't elicit much boos or cheers, just a "eh, let's get on with it."


We get a lot of headlocks in this one. Mid-2000s Randy Orton would be proud. The crowd gets a bit lost and starts entertaining themselves by chanting "Power Ranger" at Myers- his gear vaguely resembles that of the White Power Ranger.


Myers is actually first to inject a little life into this with a good looking leaping enziguri. Kaz rallies back with a flying forearm and a springboard leg drop for a near fall. Slingshot DDT follows but his leg gets caught on the ropes and it looks pretty bad. Myers comes back with a spear. Flying elbow drop from Myers gets a near fall. Soon after, Kaz applies a crossface chickenwing and gets a quick tap.


Winner: Frankie Kazarian


This was probably the weakest match across two nights on Impact. Which is a major shame because both guys had great performances on Night 1. Weird psychology too with the babyface grinding things down to a frustratingly slow halt and the heel hitting some of the more exciting, high impact moves of the match.


Match 7: Impact Tag Team Championship- Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) vs. ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (c)


On paper, probably the best/biggest match of the tour. Actually was a little surprised to see it not be the main event. I remember watching Sabin and Shelley do their thing individually on TNA DVDs in 2005, and a few years later finding MCMG highlights on YouTube, so I was super keen for this.


Shelley carried himself with confidence here, but when it comes to confidence, it's hard to beat the swag of the Bullet Club representatives in ABC. "This is awesome" chants before the match starts- one of my pet peeves honestly, like trying to force something to be an epic rather than letting it happen organically. Bey & Shelley start the match, trading reversals before letting the forearms fly.


ABC are being the more flashy of the two teams, but when Sabin tags in, he wipes them both out with a cross body. MCMG are sent crashing into each other, and Ace comes in with a big springboard dropkick to take the Guns out.


Bey hits a double springboard cutter on MCMG. The pace picks up with double team action on both sides, but it ultimately ends with a tandem faceplant move on Sabin by ABC. Post-match, they shake hands and hug it out.


Winners: ABC


This was a very fun match, but I actually think I prefer the ABC's match the previous night with Myers & Moose. I might be still annoyed by the un-earned "this is awesome" chant at the start. Don't get me wrong, this was very good, just missing that bit of something for me. It could be that by this point in the tour, it was clear Impact were running this in a house show kind of way- the wrestling effort was there, but we weren't getting any genuine storyline progression or events of note, things like title changes were definitely off the menu. So we knew that ABC were winning, and Sabin was eating the pin. Can't fault the action though.


Main Event: Knockouts World Championship- Gisele Shaw vs. Deonna Purrazzo


Before the action can get underway, Gisele bails to the outside and talks trash to the crowd. This is what I was getting at with Impact running this like a house show- we've seen this heel tactic again and again over many matches in the past two days, it's a heat-generating trope that you don't see nearly as much of on shows that are truly considered canon.


Once we get going, it doesn't take too long for Gisele to zero in on the arm of Deonna, looking to take it and the title back to the States as a trophy. Purrazzo turns the tables and rams Shaw arm first into the ring post. The champ goes for a Fujiwara armbar but her own arm is hurt too badly. She later switches tactics and goes for the Koji Clutch, but Gisele escapes.


They continue to trade armlocks and counter holds, and while this isn't your crazy fast paced, high impact style, it's a very interesting game of chess playing out as both look for the right openings. Ultimately, it's Deonna locking in a double armbar- looked a bit like a Rings of Saturn from my vantage point- and the champ retains!


Winner: Deonna Purrazzo


Good battle. Not the best match on the show- that nod would have to go to MCMG vs ABC, probably followed by Eagles vs. Brooks, who really did their best to establish this new OPW Championship. But I understand the importance of positioning Purrazzo as a main eventer, and she does exude star quality in everything she does.


Overall Thoughts


Hard to separate the two nights to see which was better. I feel like Night 2 had maybe a slightly higher bar of matches overall, but that Kaz vs. Myers match was pretty draining and weirdly structured- I understand it was a last minute call due to Maclin's injury, but still.


The OPW brand is an interesting concept, I'll need to do some more reading about it to really get up to speed. Originally, it was NJPW coming over and they were going to do something called the Oceania Cup. Now we have Impact mixed in and OPW has their own set of championships... so is Oceania Pro Wrestling a feeder system to Impact and/or NJPW? Does it purely exist to help fill out cards when more internationals don't want to travel- there were a LOT of names from Impact, particularly notable ex-WWE stars that might have drawn more interest from casual audiences- that didn't make the trip to Australia. Those Impact stars who came though, gave it their all. There was little sense- from a bell to bell action standpoint- that the wrestlers were phoning it in, and it obviously meant a lot to the Australian talent to be on there.


Two great wrestling shows back to back, well worth a watch. The Impact Down Under tour is available to watch video on demand on FITE right now.


Until next time, take care.

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Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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