DATE: January 8, 2022
VENUE: The Factory (Dallas, TX)
MAIN COMMENTATORS: Tom Hannifan & D’Lo Brown
Hard to Kill 2022 features a triple threat for the World Championship as Moose defends against Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey. The Knockouts World Championship is also on the line in a Texas Death Match as Mickie James (future Royal Rumble 2022 participant) defends against Deonna Purrazzo; whoever wins will have to contend with the winner of tonight’s first-ever KNOCKOUTS ULTIMATE X MATCH. All that plus a Ring Of Honor World Title defense as Impact kicks off their year!
- IMPACT WORLD CHAMPION: Moose
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS WORLD CHAMPION: Mickie James
- IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPION: Trey Miguel
- IMPACT DIGITAL MEDIA CHAMPION: Jordynne Grace
- IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson)
- IMPACT KNOCKOUTS WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The IInspiration (Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay)
- KNOCKOUTS ULTIMATE X: Chelsea Green vs. Tasha Steelz vs. Lady Frost vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Alisha vs. Rosemary (***)
- Trey Miguel [c] vs. Steve Maclin for the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
- Jonathan Gresham [c] vs. Chris Sabin for the ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
- Josh Alexander vs. JONAH (****1/2)
- HARDCORE WAR: Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Heath, Rich Swann, & Willie Mack vs. Violent By Design & The Good Brothers (***3/4)
- Moose [c] vs. Matt Cardona vs. W. Morrissey for the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
- TEXAS DEATH MATCH: Mickie James [c] vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
-OPENING VIDEO: Various talking heads discuss the horrific injuries they’ve suffered and how they’ve changed them…made them HARD TO KILL, if you will. It’s a really cool intro video.
KNOCKOUTS ULTIMATE X MATCH
Chelsea Green vs. Tasha Steelz vs. Lady Frost vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Alisha vs. “The Demon Assassin” Rosemary
This the first-ever Knockouts Ultimate X match, which seems crazy considering how long Impact has been around and how much they love breaking barriers. Goal of this one is to scale the cables and grab the big red X, guaranteeing the winner a future Knockouts World Championship match. Lady Frost has a shtick where she blows snow glitter and it “freezes” the camera; very cheesy but I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
Bell rings and the crowd chants “THIS IS AWESOME” while the Knockouts take the moment in. Soon enough the brawl breaks out and everybody attacks everybody else, Steelz connecting with a rana on Green to get her out of the ring. Grace connects with a spinebuster and tosses Steelz into Frost and Alisha on the floor. Steelz’s partner Savannah Evans makes her way to the ring as does Rosemary’s partner Havok. Havok lifts Rosemary on her shoulders to get the X, Green puts a stop to that with a missile dropkick. Work smarter, not harder. Green and Alisha battle on one of the beams and both launch into stereo crossbodies, Alisha taking out both members of Decay and Green taking out the others. Frost climbs the buckles and connects with a twisting splash of his own and goes to climb the beam but Grace attacks from behind. Grace bounces Frost’s face off the beam and climbs the cable toward the X; Frost jumps on Grace but GRACE HANGS ON. Rosemary peels Frost off, Frost connects with a rana, Steelz drops Frost with a pump kick and pulls Grace off the cable. Green clubs Steelz from behind who in turn hits Grace with a Code Red. Rosemary drills Steelz with a lariat, Green tries to climb the cable but loses her grip and lands on top of Steelz instead. OOF. Alisha introduces “Kendra” (her kendo stick), cracking everyone who comes near her. “SHE’S HARDCORE” chants as Alisha climbs the beam. She wraps around the cable, inching towards the X but Rosemary takes her back to the canvas with a spear! DANG. Steelz cables towards the X, Grace climbs after her and they crash to the canvas courtesy of a Super Sky High. Frost climbs the beam and CONNECTS WITH A MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR on I think Havok, Rosemary, and someone else. Grace heads towards the X, Steelz climbs after her and they trade blows. Green starts climbing as well as GRACE F*CKIN FALLS LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES JEEZ. Green and Steelz grab the X, Steelz snatches out of Green’s hands and lands on the canvas with it, getting the title shot!
Tasha Steelz defeated Chelsea Green, Lady Frost, Alisha, Jordynne Grace, & Rosemary (9:15)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Surprising result but I’m all for it; Steelz has been lost in the shuffle since Kiera Hogan left, undeservedly so, so I’m glad she got the nod. Fun match with cool spots. Lady Frost gives no f*cks and that rocks. (***)
-Trailer plays for THE FREE FALL, tonight’s sponsor. Movie looks fine, one of those Ashmore twins is in it.
-EARLIER TODAY: Mickie James discusses being announced as an entrant in the 2022 Royal Rumble last night. She’s not letting that high get in the way of her Texas Death Match against Deonna Purrazzo. Last night’s news was glorious but not as glorious as her walking out still the Knockouts Champion.
–Gia Miller interviews Deonna Purrazzo, joined by Matthew Rehwoldt. Purrazzo vows to end Mickie James’ fifteen minutes of fame, teasing she has a Plan A and a Plan B. Gail Kim interrupts, seeing where they’re going with this, and tells Rehwoldt if he lays a finger on James he’s fired and Purrazzo loses. Purrazzo freaks out at the injustice and vows that James will not make it to the Royal Rumble.
Trey Miguel [c] vs. Steve Maclin for the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Maclin has been campaigning for a shot at Miguel in a singles match, having lost previous X-Division Title chances in multi-man contests. Gail Kim, who I guess is an official now in Impact, granted Maclin the chance with a caveat: if he loses he cannot challenge for the title again until Miguel loses it. Miguel does his “spraypaint” entrance, joined by a couple of hooded folks who may or may not be RASCALZ (aka NXT’s MSK). Oh man I hope that was them, that’d be awesome,
Maclin attacks before the bell, hitting Miguel with a tope suicida. Miguel fights back, ducking a clothesline, hopping in the ring for a sliding stalling DDT through the ropes and on the floor. Hell yeah. Miguel rolls Maclin in and the match officially begins. Maclin catches Miguel in mid-air, sticking him in a tree of woe but Miguel muscles out and connects with a kick thru the ropes followed by tope con hilo, LANDING IN THE FRONT ROW. Well goddamn. Maclin catches a kick and throws Miguel into the barricade without a care in the world. Maclin continues the attack inside the ring, hitting a uranage backbreaker and leveling him with a side lariat as Miguel sits on the middle rope. Nice. Maclin focuses on the back, connecting with a double underhook backbreaker for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Maclin kicks Miguel off the apron and follows up with a NESTEA PLUNGE TO THE SPINE. Maclin rolls Miguel in and covers for the 1…2…Miguel kicks out, Maclin slows it back down grabbing a chinlock with a knee firmly wedged in the spine. Miguel tries to escape, Maclin clobbers him down and connects with another backbreaker, hanging to further bend Miguel over his knee. Miguel finally breaks the grip with a series of knee strikes, Maclin goes for another uranage but Miguel escapes and connects with a headscissors into a double stomp. Maclin rolls to the apron, Miguel stuns him and sends him crashing into the apron with a Flatliner-ish thing. Miguel climbs the corner struts and goes for a Meteora, Maclin hangs him across the top rope and connects with a RUNNING SPEAR. Both men spill to the floor, all sorts of messed up.
Maclin recovers first and rolls Miguel in for 1…2…Miguel kicks out, Maclin hammers him with a series of elbows to the jaw. Miguel goes for Mayhem for All, Miguel counters into a headscissors piledriver-ish thing. Miguel connects with a Scorpion Kick into a Paige Turner for the 1…2…Maclin kicks out. Miguel heads to the top and hops off the buckles when Maclin charges, Maclin hits a back elbow and the two trade punches on the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Miguel catches a kick and connects with a knee strike, Miguel climbs the buckles and CONNECTS WITH A METEORA ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR, MACLIN’S HEAD HITTING THE F*CKING BARRICADE. WHOA. Miguel rolls in but decides to roll Maclin in as well so he can win the right way, Miguel measures Maclin and connects with a top rope Meteora for the 1…2…MACLIN KICKS OUT! Miguel dazes Maclin with a Buzzsaw Kick followed by a Brainbuster; Miguel goes back to the top and connects with a second Meteora for the 1…2…3!
Trey Miguel [c] defeated Steve Maclin via pinfall to retain the IMPACT X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (12:53)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Miguel and Maclin beat the sh*t out of each other in this one, excellent match. Excellent title defense, even better showing by Maclin. Easily the best match he’s ever had. Great sh*t, pal. (****)
–Gia Miller interviews The Influence (Madison Rayne & Tenille Dashwood) and Kaleb with a K about The IInspiration not being here to defend their titles as advertised (they were in contact with someone who had COVID). Kaleb considers them champs already, Photoshopping the belts on them, Rayne saying they’ll take the titles later this month in Florida.
-ROH’s Ian Riccaboni joins the commentary team for the next match. YES. ROH’s ring announcer Bobby Cruise handles the in-ring introductions. This match will be contested under Pure Rules: each match has three rope breaks only, closed fists are not permitted (1st is a warning, 2nd is DQ), 20-count when a wrestler is on the floor.
“The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham [c] vs. Chris Sabin for the ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Sabin tries twisting wristlocks, but Gresham twists along with him to relieve the pressure and breaks free for a reset. Gresham trips Sabin up, Sabin grabs a headscissors, Gresham kicks out and they reset once more. Another rasslin’ sequence, this time Sabin gets the upper hand with an armdrag. Gresham cartwheels out of a side headlock and grabs a toehold, Sabin counters into a roll-up for the 1…2…Gresham kicks out. Gresham takes Sabin to the canvas with an armdrag and brings him to the canvas with a wristlock. Plugs for ROH and Terminus (first show next weekend) as Gresham transitions into all sorts of ankle locks into a roll-up for the 1…2…Sabin kicks out, Gresham regains control and goes back to work. Gresham rolls Sabin up with a crucifix for a two-count, Sabin tosses Gresham out to the floor and connects with a PENALTY KICK right to the skull and chest. Back in the ring Gresham goes back to the arm, Sabin dazes him with a forearm, Gresham surprises him with a rana and rolling pin, Sabin bridges up and connects with a helluva DDT for the 1…2…Gresham kicks out!
Gresham continues working the arm, Sabin responds with a running knee and HANGING SPINNING NECKBREAKER for the 1…2…Gresham puts his foot on the rope, using one of his three breaks. Two remain for The Octopus. Gresham catches a PK and slaps him in the face, followed by a Dragon Screw Legwhip. Sabin connects with a spin kick, Gresham responds with a moonsault into a kneedrop to the arm and a series of elbowstrikes into a crucifix for the 1…2…Sabin kicks out, Gresham immediately transitions into a Crossface! Sabin grabs for the rope, Gresham tries to grab it to prevent but Sabin muscles his way there. Two rope breaks remain for Sabin. Gresham goes back to the Crossface, Sabin rolls through into a roll-up for the 1…2…Gresham kicks out and locks in the Octopus hold (appropriate). Gresham keeps the hold applied, hammering down forearms to the side of the face, Sabin fights through and hits the CRADLE SHOCK for the 1…2…3!
WAIT NO Gresham had his foot under the rope, that’s rope break number two for the champ and he has one remaining. Oops. Gresham and Sabin stare one another down and trade chops, wearing both men down but neither man lets go of the other’s wrist. Sabin lifts Gresham up and it’s a SLAP FIGHT. Gresham catches Sabin with an enzuigiri, Sabin responds with a kick of his own and goes for the Cradle Shock, Gresham counters into a crucifix, Sabin rolls out, Gresham muscles him down and stacks him for the 1…2…3!
Jonathan Gresham [c] defeated Chris Sabin via pinfall to retain the ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (12:38)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: The few Pure Rules matches I’ve seen on ROH TV have been very much Not For Me, but this RULED. What a f*cking fight, just a beautiful match with all the stuff I love about pro wrestling matches. Gresham is the truth. (****1/4)
-Gia Miller interviews the victorious Tasha Steelz, joined by Savannah Evans. Steelz has created history tonight, and the winner of tonight’s Knockouts Title match has a date with her on the wrong side of the street. Oh word?
-FEUD RECAP: Josh Alexander gets screwed out of the World Title at Bound For Glory then beaten up by the debuting JONAH a month later at Turning Point. Womp womp.
“The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander vs. JONAH
Alexander and JONAH stare one another down as the crowd chants for both men. Alexander connects with a big boot, JONAH brushes it off but misses a corner lunge and the Walking Weapon lays into him with forearms. Alexander dodges a senton and goes for the Ankle Lock, JONAH kicks him off and out to the floor. Alexander boots JONAH, whose leg gets caught in the ropes and tweaks it, Alexander connects with a RUNNING CROSSBODY TO THE BACK THAT SENDS BOTH SHOOTING OUT LIKE BULLETS TO THE FLOOR. Jesus. Sound is starting to crackle out on the Fite TV feed but the picture is holding so fingies crossed. JONAH wrestles control of the match, sending Alexander injured ribs-first into the apron. Back in the ring JONAH drops Alexander across the top buckle, hurting the ribs even more and following up with headbutts and forearms. JONAH lifts Alexander on his shoulders and LAUNCHES HIM ACROSS THE RING AND FACE-FIRST ONTO THE CANVAS for the 1…2…Alexander kicks out. JONAH traps Alexander is a standing Sammartino Backbreaker to further hurt the ribs, Alexander escapes and tries a backslide but JONAH does not budge. JONAH switches the grip and flips Alexander over, Alexander picks the ankle and clubs it repeatedly. Alexander attempts a C4 but can’t due to the ribs, JONAH drops him ribs-first across the top rope and follows up with a senton for the 1…2…Alexander kicks out!
JONAH reapplies the Sammartino Backbreaker, Alexander escapes with elbows across the nose and follows up with a strike. He tries to pick the ankle, JONAH powers out but eats a chop. JONAH responds with a STIFF forearm strike. Alexander dares JONAH to hit him again, JONAH obliges and down he goes. JONAH raises his fists in celebration, Alexander uses this moment to kick at the leg. Alexander tries to clothesline JONAH out but he doesn’t budge so he tries again and he flies out to the floor, landing on his injured ankle. Goddamn. The brawl spills into the front row, JONAH clotheslines him back to ringside, Alexander responds with a STIFF RIGHT HAND. JONAH falls onto some now empty seats, Alexander climbs the buckles and connects with a FLYING CROSSBODY INTO THE FRONT ROW leading to a “HOLY SH*T” chant. Alexander rolls back in, JONAH does as well just beating the count and the Walking Weapon hypes himself up. Alexander goes for the C4 Spike, JONAH counters with a backdrop. Alexander dazes JONAH with a kick and follows up with a flying knee to the back of the head for the 1…2…JONAH kicks out! Alexander heads to the top, JONAH trips him up and climbs to meet him. JONAH dazes Alexander and CONNECTS WITH A TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX THAT DAMN NEAR BROKE THE CANVAS HOLY SH*T AGAIN.
Alexander and JONAH trade stiff shots, LEADING TO A SLAP FIGHT SUMO-STYLE. JONAH connects with a gut shot and connects with a powerbomb, stacking him for the 1…2…Alexander kicks out, JONAH turns him inside out with a lariat for the 1…2…Alexander kicks out again! JONAH busts Alexander open with headbutts then hits a BRAINBUSTER for the 1…2…WALKING WEAPON KICKS OUT. JONAH heads to the top, Alexander hops to his feet and applies an Ankle Lock. Alexander is forced to break to avoid DQ, JONAH drops him with a headbutt but MISSES A MOONSAULT and Alexander hits a release German suplex followed by a POWERBOMB FOR THE 1…2…JONAH KICKS OUT, ALEXANDER APPLIES THE ANKLE LOCK IN THE CENTER OF THE RING. Alexander stomps JONAH and locks the hold back in, JONAH bites his hand to avoid tapping, Alexander grapevines the leg and finally JONAH is forced to tap!
Josh Alexander defeated JONAH via submission (17:04)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: What a f*cking BANGER this was. Stiff as sh*t, some crazy spots from both men, a real battle between two big men. What a thing. I’m not sure I’m going to like a match more than I liked this one tonight. Holy sh*t. (****1/2)
–Gia Miller interviews Eddie Edwards, Heath, Rhino, Rich Swann, & Willie Mack ahead of tonight’s Hardcore War. Edwards says they are willing to die tonight if it means they win. Everybody gets their say as well, Rhino wanting to take out Eric Young for brainwashing him in Violent By Design.
Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Heath, Rich Swann, & Willie Mack vs. Violent By Design (Eric Young, Deaner, & Joe Doering) & The Good Brothers (“Big LG” Doc Gallows & “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson)
The rules are pretty much War Games but shorter periods and no double ring/cage. Deaner starts for his team with a garbage can while Swann starts with a steel chair. Swann dodges Deaner, Deaner dodges a steel chair shot and they trade blows. Swann connects with a bulldog followed by a snap suplex into a rolling 450. Swann wedges the chair between the turnbuckles (after a brief struggle), Deaner grabs at Swann’s face to avoid getting whipped into it and follows up with a trash can across the back. Deaner charges, Swann drops him with Trouble in Paradise but misses a 450 from the middle buckle and Deaner throws him head-first into the wedged chair. Deaner waves the VBD flag and uses the pole to connect with a Side Russian legsweep. Deaner sets up another chair, Swann superkicks him into it, Deaner sends him crashing into the chair with a drop toehold.
Three minutes are up and the next participant is Karl Anderson, bringing with him a golf club. He understood the assignment and is in street fight clothes. Swann dodges a club shot and connects with a superkick. Swann grabs the golf club and sends it right into the family jewels. GOOOOOAL or whatever they say in Golf. Deaner tries to help, Swann connects with a step up cutter off the chair, Anderson drops Swann with a Tag Team Title belt shot. 90 seconds pass and the next participant is revealed to be Swann’s partner/best friend Willie Mack who brings an axhandle Big Josh-style. Hell yeah. Mack takes Deaner out with the handle and introduces a RANDOM DOOR from under the ring. What is this, AAW? They create a makeshift table using the door and two chairs and put Deaner through it with a 3D! TESTIFYYYYY. Next participant is the other Good Brother, Doc Gallows. His weapon of choice is a CHAIN. He also understood the assignment. Gallows bounces the trash can off Swann’s head and sends him into a piece of the broken door Deaner is holding. They continue the assault, Swann getting the door piece cracked off his head as well. He gets some backup in the form of the next participant, Eddie Edwards, who brings Kenny (his kendo stick). Gallows goozles Edwards, Edwards sends him to the floor and hits Deaner with a tope suicida, BENDING THE BARRICADE. Edwards gets some momentum and hits a tope suicida on the other side the ring, taking out The Good Brothers. HELL YEAH. Edwards finds a PROPER table and sets it up on the floor. Anderson attacks Edwards from behind as the next participant, VBD’s Eric Young, makes his way out with two trash can lids, crushing Edwards’ head like a pair of cymbals. HA. Young focuses all his energy on Edwards as Gallows WRECKS Mack with a steel chair on the floor. Deaner bites Edwards, Anderson gouges Swann’s eye on the apron and Gallows joins in by throwing a chair at Swann’s skull. Gallows USES A FORK in Edwards’ mouth, Abdullah The Butcher-style, and Deaner drops him with a trash can lid. Help arrives in the form of Heath who HAS TWO HANDFULS OF POWDER THAT HE THROWS IN ANDERSON AND YOUNG’S EYES, then brings out a steel pipe that he wrecks everybody with. Edwards puts the trash can on Deaner, Heath cracks it with the pipe. Mack has finally woken up, Heath hands him a trash can and he MISSES A TRASH CAN MOONSAULT. Ooof poor guy. The final participant on the heel side, Joe Doering, makes his way out without a weapon because he’s all the weapon they need. Doering overpowers Edwards and Heath, throwing the latter spine-first into the post. Swann & Mack try a double superplex, Doering peels them both off for a double powerbomb which didn’t seem like the plan but it worked. Young uses the steel chain to rip at Edwards’ head, which has been busted open.
The final participant, Rhino, makes his way out with a chain of his own and now the match TRULY begins. Doering charges, Rhino uses the chain on Doering and Anderson as he makes his way to the ring. Rhino gets his hands on Young, ramming him into the barricade and apron. Rhino swings the chain then wraps it around his fist, punching Young so hard he does a Mr. Perfect-style flip sell. Heath and Gallows have been busted open as well, all ten men get to their feet and a standoff ensues. BIG OL’ BRAWL BREAKS OUT, CHAOS, DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER, ETC. Edwards and Young beat the sh*t out of each other with trash can lids until Edwards wins the war. Edwards grabs Kenny and cracks EVERYBODY in the skull, breaking the kendo stick. Edwards grabs ANOTHER Kenny from the timekeeper’s table…AND LIGHTS IT ON FIRE BEFORE HITTING GALLOWS WITH IT. Yessssss. Edwards and Young fight on the apron and YOUNG PUTS EDWARDS THROUGH A TABLE WITH A PILEDRIVER, TAKING BOTH MEN OUT. Swann hits a 450 off the apron to further take Young out, Mack introduces A BOARD COVERED IN BARBED WIRE. They set it up in the corner, Doering picks Swann up in a fireman’s carry, PUTTING HIM THRU THE BOB WIRE WITH A DEATH VALLEY DRIVER. Mack knocks Deaner out with the chain, Anderson hits a Gun Stun on Mack, Heath hits Anderson with a Dallas Cowboys helmet and Rhino hits a Gore, Heath covering for the 1…2…3!
Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Heath, Rich Swann, & Willie Mack defeated Violent By Design & The Good Brothers via pinfall (23:23)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: I was real low on this one going in but goddamn they exceeded expecations and then some. This was a ton of fun, I loved everyone bringing their own weapons especially Heath with his handfuls of powder. The spots were crazy, the action intense, absolutely no dull moments in the slightest. Not bad for a faux-War Games match. (***3/4)
Heath and Rhino’s celebration is cut short by the debuting Matt Taven & Mike Bennett. Swann tries to help but ROH’s Vincent shows up as well to attack him from behind. If that wasn’t enough in comes PCO of all people to further add insult to injury. IT’S A RING OF HONOR INVASION. The ROH Boys stand tall, joined by Maria Kanellis for the hell of it. Or maybe they’re called OGK? That’s what Taven’s shirt says.
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Well that’s surprising to say the least. Good for Bennett and PCO, yay I guess for everyone else but I don’t really know them.
-Gia Miller tries to get some comments from Scott D’Amore backstage but he has no idea either, and needs to call someone to find out why Ring Of Honor is invading.
Moose [c] vs. “Alwayz Ready” Matt Cardona vs. W. Morrissey for the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Cardona goes right after Moose, Moose tosses him out and Morrissey drops Moose with a big boot for the 1…2…Cardona breaks it up. Cardona sends Morrissey and Moose to the floor and connects with a tope on the big men. Moose powerbombs Cardona on the apron, Morrissey powerbombs MOOSE onto the apron and it’s a mess not even two minutes in. Morrissey rolls both Cardona and Moose in, a MISTAKE if you’re trying to win the match but whatever, and splashes both in opposite corners. Moose misses a second splash attempt and connects with a running dropkick. Cardona whips Moose in the corner, Moose flash hops the buckles and connects with a flying crossbody, followed by a Go to Hell on Morrissey for the 1…2…Cardona breaks it up with a legdrop. Re-Boots for both men. All three men end up in the corner, Moose powerbombing Morrissey as Morrissey hits a fallaway slam on Cardona. We’re hitting all the tropes here, folks! Moose and Cardona battle into the crowd by the stage, Chelsea Green shows up to beg Moose not to hurt her husband…then surprises Moose with a crossbody off the ramp! Cardona and Moose battle back to the ring, Morrissey flattens them both with a slingshot splash! HELL YEAH.
Action moves back inside the ring, Morrissey clubbing Cardona as he struggles to his feet. Cardona sweeps the legs and jackknifes Morrissey for the 1…2…Morrissey kicks out. Cardona sends Morrissey to the floor with a pair of knees, Moose enters the ring and Cardona dares him to come at him, bro. They exchange forearms, Cardona runs into a pump kick, Moose hops the buckles and CARDONA SHOVES HIM OFF AND THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPER’S TABLE WHICH THE F*CKING CAMERA MISSED. Cardona goes for an Unprettier, Morrissey muscles out and connects with a chokeslam for the 1…2…Cardona kicks out. Morrissey toys with Green as he stands over Cardona’s fallen body. Cardona escapes a powerbomb attempt and connects with a flying Radio Silence for the 1…2…MOOSE PULLS THE REF OUT OF THE RING. Eyyyy. Cardona dropkicks Moose through the ropes and rolls him back in and they trade forearms. Cardona counters a uranage with a roll-up for the 1…2…Moose kicks out! Moose charges, Cardona sidesteps, and the ref gets taken out with a SPEAR. Cardona hits Radio Silence on Moose, Morrissey takes out Cardona with a big boot and hits the BQE on Moose; he covers but the ref is out so the only pin he’s getting is visual. BEANS. A second referee comes out to check on the first/maybe take over officiating duties. Morrissey piles some chairs in the ring, Moose low-blows him and swings for the fences, cracking the chair over Morrissey’s spine. Cardona slides in and beats Moose and Morrissey down with a chair of his own…until a low-blow from Moose puts a stop to that. Moose measures Cardona with a chair, Green grabs it and gets shoved away. Moose almost hits Green with a chair but she ducks just in time, Cardona rolls Moose up for the 1…2…Moose kicks out. Cardona goes for Radio Silence, Moose counters with a buckle bomb that takes out Cardona, the second ref, and Green! Moose follows up with a spear and covers, the first ref counting the 1…2…3!
Moose [c] defeated Matt Cardona & W. Morrissey via pinfall to retain the IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (15:56)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Very good match, but following a plunder match with another plunder match killed its buzz a bit. Also the Chelsea Green stuff was unnecessary. Glad Moose retained though, I was afraid they were going to switch gears and hand it over to Cardona. (***1/4)
-Next PPV is Rebellion in April from New York.
TEXAS DEATH MATCH
Mickie James [c] vs. “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo for the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Rules of this match: after a pinfall/submission the wrestler has ten seconds to return to their feet; if they can’t then the match is over. James ended Purrazzo’s reign as champ at Bound For Glory, Purrazzo is gunning to regain her precious title and stop James’ momentum heading into WWE’s Royal Rumble at the end of the month.
James and Purrazzo roll around the ring jockeying for position in a collar & elbow. Purrazzo goes for a Fujiwara Armbar, James rolls her up for the 1…2…3. Purrazzo quickly gets back up so the match continues, that was more of a mind game thing I guess. James and Purrazzo throw bombs, Purrazzo brings her to the canvas with a knee, James ducks a pair of clotheslines but gets caught in mid-air and dropped across the top rope. Purrazzo locks in the Venus de Milo for the tap-out. Ref counts, James is back up at the 3-count. Match continues as ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C watches from the crowd (?!?). Purrazzo challenged Rok-C on the last ROH PPV and challenged her to show up in Impact so this is not wholly unexpected. Purrazzo and James go to opposite sides of the ring and start throwing chairs in the ring in kind of a shootout, ref Brian Hebner caught in the middle. Purrazzo goes for a table, James tries to dropkick her but she’s too far away so they just sorta…I dunno, fall to the floor. James hits Purrazzo with a chair and a golf club stored under the ring (left over from Hardcore War, I guess). James deposits Purrazzo in a WHEELBARROW that has mysteriously shown up at ringside, Purrazzo throws her skull-first into the post. Purrazzo steps on James’ head and stares Rok-C down, who’s got her World Title with her because why not the ROH belts look cool.
James and Purrazzo fight up the ramp and to the stage, Purrazzo connecting with a suplex. Purrazzo goes backstage and sends a piece of production luggage right into James, covering for the 1…2…3. Ref starts the Death Match count, a busted open James makes it up at the count of 9 so it continues. Purrazzo immediately pummels James back down, focusing her attack on the wound. They battle back to ringside, James rams Purrazzo back-first into the apron and rolls her in, more to create separation than anything else. Purrazzo arms herself with a chair, James slides under her legs and grabs a single-leg Crab. Purrazzo gets to the ropes but it doesn’t matter because it’s a Death Match. Purrazzo escapes to the apron, James sends her to the floor with a dropkick. James removes her chaps, using her knee brace to connect with strikes to Purrazzo, including a KNEE TREMBLER. James tries to set up a table in the corner, Purrazzo bounces her head off it and grabs a BLACK BAG from the trash can which can only mean one thing: THUMBTACKS, BAYBEEEEE. James dodges Purrazzo, Purrazzo escapes a Mickie-DT and pump kicks her right into the tacks! OOOO BOY! Purrazzo chokes James with her own chaps, James taps out so the hold is released. James gets to her feet at 8, Purrazzo knocks her back down off the apron. James pulls out a HARDCORE COUNTRY gee-tar, Purrazzo drills her from behind and f*cks her day up with all of the chair shots, causing her to roll around some more in the tacks. Purrazzo wraps the chair around James’ surgically-repaired knee, James escapes and cracks Purrazzo in the skull with a chair, sending her to the floor. James drops Purrazzo with a Thesz Press for the 1…2…3. Ref administers the Death Match count; 1…2…3…4…5…6…7….8….MATTHEW REHWOLDT runs out and picks her up to keep the match going; they turn around and James takes both out with a splash.
James rolls a busted open Purrazzo back into the ring and lays her across the table. James climbs the buckles, Purrazzo SLAPS HER IN THE FACE and tries to do a Queen’s Gambit thru the table but she pretty much sends herself into the table more than anything. Still Purrazzo covers for the 1…2…3 to start the Death Match count. 1…2…3…4…Rehwoldt gives Purrazzo a chair….5…6….7…8…9…MICKIE IS UP. James steals the chair, sending Purrazzo hands and knees-first into the tacks. James tries to use the gee-tar, PURRAZZO GRABS HER IN THE BUSINESS WITH HER TACK-LACED HAND, Rehwoldt gets involved and gets hit with the gee-tar, James kicks the chair in Purrazzo’s face and connects with the Mick-DT for the 1…2…3. Cue the death match count. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…James buries Purrazzo under chairs and table pieces…9…10!
Mickie James [c] defeated Deonna Purrazzo to retain the IMPACT KNOCKOUTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (19:44)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: These two had the strongest story going into the PPV so it made sense to main event the show with them. And while the match was pretty damn good, they did not hold back, the rules of the Texas Death Match killed the momentum for me a lot and the fact that the previous two matches were plunder-heavy took some wind out of the sails. Still it was a damn good main event to cap off one hell of a show. Impact keeping James as champ for Royal Rumble reasons is interesting, let’s see if WWE even acknowledges it or if they go full AEW and barely address it. Which wouldn’t be surprising. (***1/4)
James sits over the fallen Purrazzo, title around her waist. Looks like she’s heading into the Royal Rumble as Knockouts Champ!
When Impact wants you to throw 40 bucks down for a PPV they make sure it’s worth every cent and Hard to Kill is no exception with three matches hitting **** or more and not a bad match to be found overall. Highlight for me was Josh Alexander vs. JONAH, a match very much my sh*t that had me screaming at my TV. Impact integrating Ring Of Honor into their show more than just the World Title defense is interesting in theory but as someone who’s never really attached to ROH I feel like some of it was lost on me outside of the Gresham/Sabin match. I’m down for it to happen though, why the hell not? Give those folks something to do until April when ROH supposedly rises back up. Anyway Hard to Kill f*cking ruled and you should watch it. Now let’s see if Impact can keep up the momentum outside of their PPVs.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Josh Alexander vs. JONAH
- FAVORITE MOMENT: Heath makes his way out to Hardcore War with fistfuls of powder.