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Hard To Kill: Setting the Bar High for 2021
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Hard To Kill: Setting the Bar High for 2021

Reviews by Dave

Pay-per-view air date: January 16, 2020

Hard To Kill Pre-show

IMPACT Wrestling had their most hyped and anticipated pay-per-view since Slammiversary, last July and again, they delivered. They had a great pre-show to set up all the matches that also served as the emotional farewell broadcast for five-time former Knockouts champion, two-time former Knockouts tag champion, Madison Rayne.

Brian Myers defeated Josh Alexander

The pre-show also included a hard-fought match between “The Most Professional Wrestler” Brian Myers and “The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander that saw Myers pick up a good win, pinning Alexander with a running lariat.

This was the debut of the new broadcast team of Matt Striker and D’Lo Brown. They weren’t bad but they are a definite work in progress, particularly Striker who needs a strong producer and I hope that’s Matthews.

Decay defeated Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb with a K

After a great cold open (standard for them), the reunited Decay–Crazzy Steve and Rosemary–defeated Tenille Dashwood and Kaleb With a K in a mixed tag match. Solid work with some good wrestling and good comedy.

Violent By Design defeated Tommy Dreamer, Cousin Jake and Rhino

In an Old School Rules, Falls Count Anywhere match with Tommy Dreamer, Cousin Jake, and Rhino facing the newly christened Violent By Design( a hot ECW callback name): Eric Young, Deaner, and Joe Doering. This was a big physical brawl that went all over the ringside area. Everyone had opportunities to shine with Doering looking impressive in his IMPACT pay-per-view debut. Young pulls out the win with a clean looking piledriver to Jake.

Fire N Flava defeated Havok and Nevaeh for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship

In the finale of the Knockouts Tag Title Tournament, Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz–now known as Fire N Flava–beat their months long rivals Havok and Nevaeh. Havok had one of her most impressive outings, using some hard knee strikes and taking full advantage of her size and power advantage (even pulling off a must-see powerbomb on both women at the same time) but it wasn’t enough as the smaller, faster women were able to isolate Nevaeh and Hogan finish her with her spinning cradle neckbreaker.

This is the second set of tag titles Hogan has won over Havok and Nevaeh, the first being the WOW tag titles with Diamante. Former KO tag champions and Knockouts legends Gail Kim and Rayne present Hogan and Steelz with the title belts, causing Steelz to have a genuinely emotional moment in the ring. Great torch-passing moment.

Matt Cardona defeated Ace Austin

After Rosemary offers Taya Valkyrie back up for her Knockout title challenge later, Acey Romero goes into the KO locker room, still investigating who set up his tag partner Larry D for shooting John E. Bravo. This plays out on the TV show Tuesday night in a big way.

Having been cut off during his promo on the pre-show, Ace Austin came out (with Madman Fulton), demanding IMPACT Executive Producer schedule him for the X Division title match seeing as he won the Super X Cup tournament at Genesis. D’Amore rejects that idea but since Ace is dressed out, he gives him a new opponent: the debuting Matt Cardona, who manages to win the match by disqualification as Fulton attacks him a few minutes into the match. A solid segment with a good surprise debut for Cardona. Austin and Fulton are just great. 2021 is going to be a banner year for both.

Manik (c) defeated Rohit Raju and Chris Bey for the X Divison Championship

To settle scores going back to the summer, X Division champion Manik successfully defended his title against the challenge of former champions “Desi Hit Man” Rohit Raju and “The Ultimate Finesser” Chris Bey. Fantastic three man match where they avoid a lot of triple threat cliches like one person conveniently being on the floor while the other two work and there was a minimum of overly convoluted spots. All three played to their strengths and it was a great, fast paced match.

Deonna Purrazzo (c) defeated Taya Valkyrie for the Knockout Championship

The longest reigning Knockout champion in history came up short in trying to reclaim her championship as Taya Valkyrie lost to KO champion, “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo in a very good match that saw Valkyrie put forth a strong effort but not be able to match the technical brilliance of Purrazzo.

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They had a moment where the referee could have stopped the match when the seconds for both corners got involved but instead, he sent Decay, Kimber Lee, and Susan (Su Yung’s newest and most horrifying incarnation–a Karen)to the back. Purrazzo pulled it off, submitting Valkyrie with her Venus Di Milo double chicken wing finish.

Karate Man Killed Ethan Page

Karate Man killed Ethan Page. Pure cinematic match and kept short.

Eddie Edwards defeated Sami Callihan

Eddie Edwards defeated Sami Callihan in Barbed Wire Massacre IV. It wasn’t a standard BWM match with the ropes taken down but set up like the old Raven’s Clockwork House of Fun match except with barbed wire all over everything. Callihan promised it would be like an old FMW match and it was with both guys taking insane bumps into barbed wire. Edwards beat Sami, hitting him with the Emerald Frosion slam on a barbed wired covered board. Sick.

Main Event: Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers defeated Rich Swann, Chris Sabin, and Moose

The Elite–AEW world champion Kenny Omega, Impact world tag champs the Good Brothers-defeated IMPACT World champion Rich Swann, “TNA champion” Moose, and Chris Sabin in a thrilling six-man match that saw them throw everything at each other for 20 mins. As well structured a match as you can get that played to the strengths of all six. The IMPACT announcers were WAY too complimentary of Omega, seeming to forget he’s an invader, not a guest. The Elite picked up the win after hitting Swann with Magic Killer, a V-Trigger, and then One-Winged Angel before pinning him, the most protection you can give anyone in a match. Three finishers??? Damn.

Great way to close a great show.

Thanks for reading.

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