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Impact Wrestling: Hard to Kill
January 16, 2021

by Samoa Rowe

ImpactHard to Kill

From Skyway Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Our hosts are Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown.

Decay (Rosemary and Crazzy Steve) vs. Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb with a K

The men start, and Steve quickly overwhelms Kaleb with rapid attacks. Decay trap Kaleb in their corner and take turns biting his arm. Kaleb hesitates on a dive and Steve counters with an uppercut. Tenille tags and walks right into Rosemary’s side slam. Tenille gains the advantage and hits a double underhook slam. Rosemary avoids an ill-advised WASSUP spot and Steve storms in on a hot tag. Tenille tricks Steve into chasing her into Kaleb’s dropkick. Kaleb spends too much time posing for a photo and misses a moonsault. Rosemary gets a hot tag and runs wild through Tenille. Decay hit Kaleb with a double chokeslam but Tenille saves the match. Rosemary spears Tenille, but Kaleb superkicks Rosemary. The ref stops Tenille from using spray tan, and doesn’t see Steve spray mist into her face. Kaleb gets misted by Rosemary as well, and he stumbles into Steve’s leaping DDT and pinned at 8:58. This was okay, Tenille and Kaleb were portrayed as such hapless villains, Decay needed to win, **.
Winners: Decay

Earlier today, Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and The Good Brothers arrive, and bully a stage hand like a bunch of schoolyard jerks.

Old School Rules:
Violent by Design (Eric Young, Cody Deaner, and Joe Doering) vs. Tommy Dreamer, Cousin Jake, and Rhino

Everyone brawls at the opening bell. Cody and Jake find themselves alone in the ring, and Jake relishes to get his hands on his traitorous cousin. They spill out, giving Rhino and Doering the spotlight for a much less urgent slugfest. Dreamer hauls Young into the ring for a cookie sheet attack. Doering then takes a 3 on 1 chair beatdown, but comes back with a crossbody block on Dreamer. Striker can’t stop marveling at how old Dreamer and Rhino are. Cody throws Jake off the top rope through a pair of chairs. Doering and Young try to expose some concrete but Jake dives onto them. Doering hits a Tower of Doom powerbomb that also knocks down Dreamer. Doering misses a charge on Rhino and hits the ring post. Dreamer spreads THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of thumbtacks in the ring and backdrops Young into them. Rhino GORES Doering, Deaner DDT’s Rhino, Jake slams Deaner. Young piledrives Jake for the win at 9:53. Pretty ho-hum "grudge match" that lacked focus, *½.
Winners: VIolent by Design

Impact World Champion Rich Swann and Chris Sabin try to get their heads ready for the main event. They hesitate to welcome Moose into the room, as Swann hasn’t forgotten about what he did to Alex Shelley. Moose says that he sometimes hated his teammates in football, but when the whistle blew, he’d die for them, and right now Impact Wrestling is his team. Swann and Sabin are satisfied and they settle in to prepare.

Knockouts Tag Team Championship:
Fire and Flava (Tasha Steelz and Kiera Hogan) vs. Havok and Nevaeh

Tasha and Kiera know they are at a size disadvantage and attack before the bell. Hogan gets dumped, leaving Steelz to get double teamed in the buckles. Hogan tags and manages a neckbreaker on Nevaeh. Havok tags and totally runs wild. Fire and Flava knock Havok off her feet and dropkick the face for 2. Havok gets isolated for a bit, but knocks Steelz off her back into the buckles. Havok catches Hogan and Steelz together for a double fallaway slam! Nevaeh gets an angry hot tag and puts both Hogan and Steelz down with a 2 for 1 DDT. Fire and Flava attempt a double superplex, but Havok breaks them with a double powerbomb. Fire and Flava regroup with drive-by attacks on Havok, forcing Nevaeh to make a save. Nevaeh gets swarmed instead, and Hogan’s Fisherman Suplex abruptly ends it at 8:45! This kept a great pace and featured nonstop action from bell to bell, the sudden ending only hurts a little, **¾.
Winners and new Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Fire and Flava

Gail Kim and Madison Rayne present the new Knockouts gold to Fire and Flava.

Decay pay a friendly visit to Taya Valkyrie. They run off together, giving Detective Acey Romero a chance to sneak into Taya’s dressing room.

Super X Cup Champion Ace Austin and Madman Fulton come to the ring to complain about not being booked. Ace demands that Scott D’Amore come out and proclaim him to be #1 contender for the X-Division title. Scott answers the call and chastises Austin for going about his business the wrong way. Scott does agree that Austin is a star and should have a match, so he brings out his surprise opponent, Matt Cardona!

Ace Austin (with Madman Fulton) vs. Matt Cardona

Austin is none too pleased to be facing Cardona and is quickly dumped from the ring. Austin uses his gymnastics prowess to avoid attacks on the apron, but Cardona hits a neckbreaker onto the floor. Fulton’s assist lets Austin hit an enziguri to the arm, and take control. Cardona survives a guillotine leg drop and rallies with the Broski Boot. Fulton attacks in full view of the ref and stomps Cardona into the canvas for the DQ at 2:33. Nothing match, this only served to debut Cardona and establish an instant rivalry with Austin, *.
Winner via DQ: Matt Cardona

Cardona dropkicks Fulton and puts him down with the Rough Ryder. Austin retreats, they’ll have to settle this later.

X-Division Championship:
Manik © vs. Chris Bey vs. Rohit Raju

It’s a poorly kept secret that Manik is TJP, and it’s driving Bey and Raju crazy. Bey gets shoved aside as Rohit goes right at Manik, but everyone regains their bearings for a standoff. Bey gets some shine, dropkicking Manik and landing on Raju in a senton. Bey leaps over Raju’s legsweep, but gets caught in a DDT for 2. Rohit gets a hot streak and kills Manik with a wild facebuster. Manik puts Bey into an insane modified cloverleaf, and holds on while Rohit puts him into an armbar. Manik busts free, wrenching Bey’s leg while also dumping Rohit. TJP might be a total moron but he’s a damn good professional wrestling. Bey misses an opportunity for a dive and Raju powerbombs him onto the ring frame. Raju unmasks Manik, but TJP pulls a hood over his face, and then reveals a facepaint mask. Manik hits a spinning DDT, but Bey cuts him off with a cutter in mid-air. Bey hits a double springboard stunner for a great nearfall. Rohit puts Bey into a tree of woe, but Manik sneaks hin for a vicious powerbomb . Manik and Bey trade Tombstone attempts, but Raju interrupts to trade thrust kicks with Manik. Everyone takes a breather. Match restarts with Manik’s DDT on Raju and Crucifix Bomb on Bey. Frog splash by Manik, but Raju hits a penalty kick and steals the nearfall on Bey! Raju goes to the top rope and blocks Manik’s Spanish Fly attempt, and then hits Bey with a Tree of Woe double stomp. Raju puts Manik into the Regal Stretch, but Bey breaks it up. Raju knocks Bey out with a knee strike, and Manik pulls Raju into a cover for the win at 13:50! High level spotfest that doesn’t care what Jim Cornette thinks, ***¾.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Manik

Knockouts Championship:
Deonna Purrazzo (with Kimber Lee and Susan) vs. Taya Valkyrie (with Decay)

Aggressive start by Taya. Kimber Lee blatantly assaults Taya at ringside, and Decay rush for the save. Susan tapes the whole thing as if she’s arguing about wearing a mask at a coffee shop. The ref tosses out all third parties and Lee’s expressionless tantrum is pretty funny. Taya tries to pick up where she left off, but Deonna wrenches her arm into the ropes and goes to work on the newly injured limb. Taya comes back with a lariat and tries to slap some sense into her bad arm. Taya hobbles through a comeback, hitting a weird piledriver and slam despite her knee buckling. Taya hits a surfboard stretch curb stomp and then an STF. Purrazzo answers with an armbar and then switches to the bad arm and Taya submits at 11:38. This settled into a decent match after a bumpy start, **¾.
Winner and still Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo

John E Bravo doesn’t want to hear Detective Acey Romero’s latest conspiracy theories, insisting that Larry D. shot him.

Ethan Page is feuding with his alter ego, The Karate Man. This results in a cinematic match that spoofs Mortal Kombat and Dragon Ball Z with intentionally cheesy green screen effects. I’m a little surprised that WWE hasn’t done this with Bray Wyatt and The Fiend yet. This isn’t for everyone, but it made me laugh. Karate Man wins by ripping out Ethan’s heart and exits to melodramatic rock music.

Don Callis approaches Moose in the hallway and makes a transparent attempt to flatter him out of competing in the main event. Moose isn’t playing and says he plays to win, and once he’s TNA and Impact Champion, maybe he’ll show up on AEW Dynamite. Brilliant segment in terms of making Moose a three dimensional bad-ass.

Barbed Wire Massacre:
Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards

The ring is covered in barbed wire props, including a steel fence, and plywood boards. They lock up and Sami attempts a shove into a board, but only gets some wire stuck on his leg. Eddie pushes Sami into the wire covered ropes, and then wraps a wire crown around his head. Eddie considers a Camel Clutch on a wire board, but Sami flings the prop to ringside (and knocking out D’Lo’s mic). Sami blocks Eddie’s dive with the board! Sami piles a broken piece of wire board on Eddie for a Cactus Jack elbow drop! Sami continues the onslaught with a barbed wire N64 controller, and that alone adds an extra half star to the final rating. Eddie answers with a desperation backpack stunner. Eddie fires a barbed wire chair shot and then hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Eddie misses a spear and hits the steel wall. Both guys wrap wire around their wrists and knock each other in the face. Sami grabs a wired bat, Eddie grabs a wired kendo stick, and Eddie wins the duel. Eddie gets shoved off the top rope and gets hung up on a strung chain. Sami props a new wired board onto some chairs and puts Eddie through the plunder with a second rope piledriver! Eddie kicks out! Eddie resorts to a low blow and hits the Boston Knee Party against a chair! Sami kicks out at 1! Eddie hits an Emerald Flowsion onto the board and wins at 18:48! This was a nasty bit of business with little wasted motion, ***¾.
Winner: Eddie Edwards

Alisha Edwards checks on her dead husband, who happens to be slightly less dead than Callihan.

"TNA World Champion" Moose, Chris Sabin, and Impact World Champion Rich Swann vs. Impact Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) and AEW World Champion Kenny Omega (with Don Callis)

For the record, Omega and the Good Brothers are decked out in Bullet Club merch. This could be an Easter egg for a potential Impact/AEW/New Japan arrangement, or they’re just testing the limits of copyright laws. Sabin locks up with Anderson and flips into an armdrag. Anderson thumbs the eyes for an advantage, but they wrestle to a stalemate. Gallows and Moose tag in for a hoss fight. Omega and Swann and feel each other out, but the Good Brothers interfere to rob us of a proper clash of champions. The match breaks down, and Moose puts Anderson in a Camel Clutch for stereo dropkicks by Swann and Sabin. Moose hits a standing moonsault on Anderson! Omega takes control on Sabin, hitting a brutal backbreaker. Swann gets a quick hot tag and ranas Omega onto Anderson. Sabin places Swann onto Omega for a DDT, and another on Anderson. Swann and Sabin clear the ring and hit stereo somersault sentons off the apron. Omega blocks Swann’s frog splash, and the faux Bullet Club takes control. Swann survives a triple splash and makes the hot tag to Moose, who cleans house. Discus lariat by Moose gets 2 on Omega. Omega and the Good Brothers dump Moose and swarm Sabin. Omega hits a gut wrench sitout powerbomb on Sabin for 2. The match breaks down with everyone taking their turn hitting drive by offense. Moose nails a top rope Spanish Fly on Omega! The Good Brother regroup with a dropkick/Samoan drop combo on Sabin. Sabin blocks the Magic Killer and hits a tornado DDT on Gallows. Swann and Omega tag in for an exhausting slugfest. Snap Dragon by Omega and a Tiger Driver, but Swann’s partners save the match. Swann and Moose hit Omega with a Doomsday Device for only 2! V-Trigger, but Swann reverses One Winged Angel and hits a 450 splash but OMEGA KICKS OUT! Magic Killer on Swann, but Moose saves the match. V-Trigger on Moose, who no-sells but suffers a second. V-Trigger to Swann and One Winged Angel finishes him at 20:25! Properly epic six man tag that lived up to the hype and novelty of bringing in an outside champion, ****.
Winners: Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers

Final Thoughts: This was kind of an uneven card, with some matches underperforming. The good news is that the main event delivered, and Omega pinning Swann sets up an intriguing road map for future weeks of television. Overall, I’d say this show was greater than the sum of it’s parts, and may go down as a classic pay-per-view of the era due to the buzz of AEW and Impact working together. Thumbs Up.

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