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TNA: Hard to Kill - January 13, 2024
by Doc Allen
That's not a typo above, Impact Wrestling is officially “TNA” again. Personally, I was always relieved that the company chose to move away from the brand name, due to the lameness of the double entendre as well as its association with some of Vince Russo's most Russo-ific booking. I guess this is their attempt at kickstarting a new era for the company, as they've been stuck at a certain low level for years, so it's time to do something different.
Live from Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. WrestleTix estimates attendance at 1,582, basically a sellout. Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt are on commentary.
Eric Young video promo. He walks around Vegas looking dapper and focused. He flips a switch and revives TNA. Cut to the arena, Young continues delivering the company's mission statement before the live crowd and roster. He declares that they are HARD TO KILL, and no truer words have ever been spoken.
Tasha Steelz vs. Gisele Shaw vs. Alisha Edwards (with Eddie Edwards and Brian Meyers) vs. Jody Threat vs. Dani Luna vs. Xia Brookside
Winner gets a Knockouts Championship match. Melee to start, they go straight into the formula of everyone taking naps while 2-3 women take turns hitting spots in the ring. The action is fast paced and well executed, but it is pretty funny to see the women overselling at ringside with less than 2 minutes gone. Luna gets the most shine early on but may have injured her arm on a tope. Xia dives onto Shaw and Luna. Jody has a chance to win but hits a somersault senton to outside instead. Alisha clings to Jody's back while she climbs but gets knocked own onto the others. Tasha surprises Jody with a leaping cutter onto the pile. Luna delivers a Tower of Doom powerbomb. Xio nears the X but falls into Luna's powerbomb. Fans chant “This is awesome!” Alisha almost gets the X, falls into Luna's arms, but reverses into a DDT! Alisha unloads kendo stick shots, but Xia ambushes with a lungblower. Threat piles Xia and Alisha on her shoulders for a double F5! Jody sneaks up the structure but Shaw leaps off Luna's back to spear her down! Luna, Tasha, and Shaw race up for the X. Shaw swings the X around like a weapon, knocking the others down and claiming the victory at 12:02! I like that finish a lot, Shaw gets the win after hitting the latest high spot. Sometimes these kinds of matches are full of random stunts until someone happens to win, but not this time. This didn't stray that far from the normal formula otherwise, ***.
Winner: Gisele Shaw
Earlier tonight, AJ Francis gave Joe Hendry a chokeslam for interrupting his music video premiere. Tough, but fair. Cut to live, Francis gives a backstage promo with no audio. Oof.
Dirty Dango (Oleg Prudius and Alpha Bravo) vs. PCO
Dango declares his hatred for TNA Wrestling, which might have gotten him a babyface pop around 2011. A crew of doctors resuscitate PCO. Dango ambushes the freshly revived PCO, but quickly gets tossed out for a somersault senton. Alpha Bravo interrupts a moonsault and PCO takes a horrifying bump on his neck. I hope that medical crew stuck around. The match is thrown out at 1:25. ¼*
Rhino returns to save PCO from any more abuse. Director of Authority Santino Marella comes out to play Teddy Long, and we've got a tag team match, playa. Jake Something is added so we've got a trios match.
PCO, Jake Something, and Rhino vs. Dirty Dango, Alpha Bravo, and Oleg Prudius
Something flies in to kickstart a melee. PCO must be feeling alright because he hits a moonsault to ringside. Fans chant “TNA!” PCO then gives Dango a somersault senton on the ring frame. The wild brawl settles into a normal tag match, one of my favorite pet peeves. It doesn't take long for Rhino to get cut off in enemy territory. Dango misses a flying knee drop, Jake charges in on the hot tag. Blind tag by PCO, he gives Bravo a corner lungblower. Flying leg drop to Bravo's face. Prudius attacks PCO from behind, Rhino knocks the big man down with a shoulder block. Dango interrupts the Gore but Rhino launches him from the top rope. Dango dodges the GORE but Bravo takes it instead. Something powerbombs Dango onto Bravo. PCO's moonsault finishes Bravo at 7:27. Decent house show match, **.
Winners: PCO, Jake Something, and Rhino
A mysterious woman in high heels steps out of a limousine. We're promised a big surprise for later.
TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship:
MK Ultra © (Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly) vs. Decay (Rosemary and Jessica Havok)
This is a surprise bonus match and the first time Decay has been seen in a while, presumably lost in the Upside Down. Decay enjoy a hot start, Rosemary takes Masha to Suplex City. Kelly traps Rosemary's legs so Masha can hit a double stomp to the gut. Masha and Kelly take turns slamming each other onto Rosemary as they cut the ring in half. Rosemary bursts off her back to slug Kelly for invading her space. Hot tag to Havok. Kelly and Masha block double chokeslams but then run into double shoulder blocks. Havok delivers a two for one vertical suplex. Masha hits a Snow Plow but Havok kicks out at 1! Havok hits MK Ultra with chokeslams. Decay hit an assisted Liger Bomb and win at 6:20. Good short match, **¼.
Winners and new TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Decay
Scott D'Amore and Huddle for Health announce a new partnership. That's awfully decent of them.
Video recap of Steve Maclin defeating Rich Swann on the preshow. Maclin then gives a live interview about how he's taking over the new era of TNA.
Scott D'Amore introduces Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide CEO Dorian Roldan Pena to the live crowd. They've enjoyed a long partnership and play a video montage of their respective talent exchanges. They sign a new contract to expand their relationship. I keep waiting for some heel to show up to ruin the moment, but alas.
Chris Sabin © vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo vs. Kushida
Kushida cosplaying as a time traveling astronaut feels just right. Sabin is enjoying his 10th reign as X Champion. Fans chant “TNA” at the bell. They start with a 3-way lockup. They take turns hitting rapid arm drags until reaching a stalemate. They continue keeping a blistering pace, Kushida gains momentum with a flipping senton onto Sabin. Vikingo scores a springboard rana on Sabin. Vikingo overwhelms Kushida with various kicks, and then a 450 HURRICANRANA! Sabin interrupts the fun with snap German suplexes. Kushida breaks Sabin's crossface with a dropkick. They do a novel 3-way submission spot while fans chant “This is awesome!” Sabin boots Kushida down, also snapping Vikingo's legs. Kushida answers with an overhead suplex on Sabin, snapping Vikingo's legs yet again. Kushida monkey flips Vikingo into a rana on Sabin! Vikingo hits Kushida with a twisting head scissors, then nails a standing moonsault to ringside! They take turns hitting top rope attacks until everyone is down. Fans chant “All these guys!” Sabin recovers first to powerbomb Vikingo, Kushida breaks the pin. Vikingo hits Sabin with a torture rack GTS, followed by a springboard 450 splash onto the ramp! Kushida catches Vikingo in an avalanche Hoverboard lock takedown! Kushida puts Sabin in the Hoverboard lock, Vikingo breaks it with a nasty double stomp to his face! Sabin hits Vikingo with a telegraphed Canadian Destroyer on the ramp! Sabin hits Kushida with an avalanche German suplex! Sabin hits Kushida with the Cradle Shock to win at 13:04! Excuse me, I have to step outside for a cigarette, and I don't smoke, ****¼.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Chris Sabin
Alex Hammerstone vs. Josh Alexander
Fans support Josh with "Walking Weapon" chants. They shake hands but soon get on each other's nerves while exchanging holds. Alexander gets knocked down so he tries an ankle lock. Hammerstone kicks Josh outside and hits a slingshot crossbody. Despite being on the receiving end of the last high spot, Alexander takes control with clubbing offense. Hammerstone comes back with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Hammerstone misses a running boot, so Alexander slams him onto the ring frame! Alexander then hits a sliding crossbody, sending Hammerstone into the barricade. Alexander hits the Finlay roll and a flying knee drop for 2. Hammerstone survives an ankle lock and lures Alexander into a press TKO! Hammerstone tweaks his injured knee but still hits a power slam. Alexander returns to the ankle lock and grapevines the leg. Dramatic rope break by Hammerstone. Nightmare Pendulum by Hammerstone, but Alexander rolls away from the cover. Hammerstone settles for a DVD onto the ring frame. Missile dropkick by Hammerstone, then a TKO but ALEXANDER KICKS OUT! Fans chant :This is awesome!: Josh hits a rolling fist, but Hammerstone answers with consecutive suplexes and a Liger Bomb for only 2! Josh reverses the Nightmare Pendulum and nails a vicious German suplex. C4 by Alexander finishes it at 14:59! There were a few narrative hiccups here and there, but overall this was a pleasing hoss fight and the crowd was on their side, ***¾.
Winner: Josh Alexander
Video package connecting the current tag team division to the classic division.
TNA Tag Team Championship:
ABC © (Ace Austin and Chris Bey) vs. The Rascalz (Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel) vs. Laredo Kid and Mike Bailey) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
Trey is eager to fight Ace, but Gibson steals his opportunity with a blind tag. ABC double team Drake. The Rascalz invade the match with a flurry of tandem offense on Bey. Laredo Kid and Bailey blind tag in for a double flapjack on Trey. Moonsault/SSP combo on Trey gets 2. The ref has to talk all 8 guys out of a melee. Order is restored, Bailey hits his stupid series of jumping kicks on Gibson. The Vets take control of Bailey. The Rascalz steal Bailey from the Vets, but Laredo Kid gets a hot tag. Laredo Kid gives Wentz and avalanche Michinoku Driver for only 2. Trey superkicks Laredo Kid into the buckles, ABC and the Rascalz go to war. Ace slips but ultimately kicks Trey in Bey's torture rack. The match breaks down into chaos. Fans chant “this is awesome!” Rascalz hit a Doomsday Device, Bailey breaks the cover. The Vets take down Bailey, Laredo Kid saves with a double missile dropkick. Bailey hits an outside moonsault and rushes back for an avalanche poison rana on Drake! Bailey hits the SSP knee drop on Drake, the Rascalz save the match. Miguel hits a leaping rana to send Laredo Kid outside. The Rascalz hit Drake with the double stomp backbreaker, Ace breaks the cover. ABC and The Rascalz are alone for a slugfest. ABC put Miguel through a dazzling sequence called the Art of Finesse and win at 14:16! This was an ambitious and creative spotfest. They did well teasing an upset by the makeshift team of Bailey and Laredo Kid. Despite all the spotty action, the personalities of the Rascalz, ABC, and the Vets carried this. A few sloppy moments keep this from being truly great, but what a good time this was, ***¾.
Winners and still TNA Tag Team Champions: ABC
TNA Knockouts Championship:
Trinity © vs. Jordynne Grace
Just for the record, the champion is the former Naomi from WWE, not the Trinity who was a big part of TNA's early years. The fans give Trinity a superstar ovation. They feel each other out, Grace avoids Trinity's kicks. Trinity slides on her knees to duck a clothesline and connects with some kicks. She does the same dumb jumping kicks as Mike Bailey. Grace takes over with stiff offense. Trinity absorbs lots of punishment before hitting a spike head scissors takedown. Grace answers with a standard powerbomb and then an inverted powerbomb. Tope suicida into the rails by Grace, then a jackhammer slam on the floor! Desperation backdrop by Trinity earns them a breather. They exchange palm strikes in the ring. Enziguri, bulldog into the buckles, and split legged moonsault by Trinity gets 2. Grace answers with a Full Nelson, followed by a Muscle Buster for a good nearfall. Trinity counters into Star Struck, followed by the Rear View for only 2. Trinity hits a Heatseeker onto the ring frame, Grace kicks out! Fans chant “This is awesome!” Trinity hits a deadlift sitout powerbomb and reapplies Star Struck! Grace powers to her feet and delivers a vicious German suplex! Grace hits the Juggernaut Driver to win the title at 14:32! This easily surpassed my expectations thanks to Trinity stepping up to match Grace's power game, ***½.
Winner and new TNA Knockouts Champion: Jordynne Grace
Trinity and Grace make peace afterwards, there's no sign of the mysterious woman from earlier.
TNA World Championship:
Alex Shelley © vs. Moose
Moose offers a handshake, Shelley slaps it away. Moose punches the face, Shelley sprays water into his eyes. Shelley is too quick for Moose early on and tackles him into the buckles. Shelley goes to work on the shoulder. Moose hits a surprising dropkick, but pauses to sell his shoulder injury. Moose attacks the spine and wraps Shelley in the ropes to chop his chest. Scoop slam on the floor by Moose, but Shelley dropkicks his bad shoulder. Shelley refocuses his assault on Moose's bad arm. Moose escapes the Hoverboard Lock and lawn darts Shelley into the corner. Uranage by Moose gets 2. Shelley blocks a chop and reverses a powerbomb into a DDT! Shotgun dropkick by Shelley, Moose blocks a suplex, Shelley hits a baseball slide into the guard rails. Shelley sells a back injury, Moose trips him on apron, Shelley knocks him into the post and hits Shell Shock on the floor. Moose barely beats the 10 count, but Shelley is ready for a DDT into the buckles. Moose blocks the Border City Stretch and nails a powerbomb for only 2! Moose's shoulder looks hurt, Shelley hits a timely armdrag and then Sliced Bread #2 for 2. Moose's buddies in The System arrive for potential shenanigans, but Kushida and Sabin neutralize them. Shelley and Moose battle on the ramp until Shelley drops the shoulder hard onto the steel. They trade desperation blows in the ring. Moose hits a snug head butt to the jaw, Shelley fires back with an explosive clothesline. Superkick by Shelley, but Moose nails a spear to win the title at 21:32! Good, thoughtful main event, built around Shelley's speed and technical strengths vs. Moose's brute strength. Sometimes, it pays to keep things simple, ***½.
Winner and new TNA World Champion: Moose
The System returns for Moose's celebration, but Nic Nemeth crashes the party. Fans chant "holy sh!t" as Nemeth sneaks up behind Moose for a confrontation. Zig Zag on Moose for a huge pop. Nemeth escapes into the crowd and rips his shirt off to reveal a TNA shirt. Safe to say he's signed a deal.
Final Thoughts: Hard to Kill 2024 was a generally enjoyable event with a great X-Division title match, and a respectably sized crowd that was invented in the action. The fans spent the night chanting things like "TNA!" and "This is awesome!" rather than things like "Fire Russo" and "Bullsh!t" so I think this new era of TNA is off to a strong start. The Nic Nemeth debut felt more like Jon Moxley showing up at Double or Nothing 2019 and less like Jeff Hardy showing up at the ill-fated first Monday Impact, so that's another plus. I recommend this event.
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