Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard to Kill event from Skyway Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
Later tonight, Davie Portman will be joined by Andrew Thompson and Nate Milton for our Hard to Kill POST Show reviewing the card from top-to-bottom. That show will be available on the POST Wrestling and upNXT feeds.
The pre-show begins at 7 pm ET and the pay-per-views airs at 8:
*Six-Man Tag Main Event: Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers def. Rich Swann, Moose & Chris Sabin in 20:25
*Barbed-Wire Massacre: Eddie Edwards def. Sami Callihan in 18:49
*Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (champion) def. Taya Valkyrie in 11:36
*X-Division Championship: Manik (champion) def. Chris Bey and Rohit Raju in 13:49
*Matt Cardona def. Ace Austin by DQ in 2:28
*Knockouts Tag Team Championship Finals: Tasha Steelz & Kiera Hogan def. Havok & Nevaeh in 8:41
*Old School Rules: Eric Young, Deaner & Joe Doering def. Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Cousin Jake in 9:51
*Mixed-Tag Match: Rosemary & Crazzy Steve def. Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb in 8:54
*Pre-Show Match: Brian Myers def. Josh Alexander in 11:00
Matt Striker and D-Lo Brown were introduced as the new broadcast team for IMPACT Wrestling and were seated ringside for the pre-show match.
On the pre-show, Madison Rayne announced she was retiring from IMPACT Wrestling.
Josh Alexander vs. Brian Myers
Myers wore an armband as a tribute to Brodie Lee.
They are experimenting with using sound effects to replicate crowd noise, I didn’t think this helped a lot and felt very low rent compared to the ThunderDome atmosphere that fans are used to.
They had a fine match built around Alexander’s repeated attempts at the ankle lock until Myers pulled down Alexander’s headgear to cover his eyes and capitalized with a big clothesline and pinned Alexander.
WINNER: Brian Myers in 11:00
There was nothing wrong with the match but the sound effects of the crowd and other technical issues got in the way of the flow of the match for me. Alexander is a great asset for IMPACT, and it will be interesting to see if he grows as a singles star this year with the company.
The pre-show ended with the panel signing off but their microphones remained hot for another minute and felt very amateur.
Rosemary & Crazzy Steve vs. Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb with a K
This was not mixed tag rules as there was physicality between Kaleb and Rosemary. Crazzy Steve chased after Dashwood and ran into a clothesline by Kaleb for the heat. They built towards the women being tagged after Kaleb missed a moonsault whole Dashwood tried to take a photo.
Steve hit Dashwood with the mist, then Rosemary hit Kaleb with green mist and Steve hit a Deep Impact off the turnbuckle for the win.
WINNERS: Rosemary & Crazzy Steve in 8:54
It was a bit confusing at the end as the announcers didn’t know who the legal person was. The audience effects were less intrusive than the pre-show, so that was positive.
My favorite part of these IMPACT pay-per-views – they promoted the DVD RELEASE of the show. I love it.
Eric Young, Deaner & Joe Doering vs. Tommy Dreamer, Cousin Jake & Rhino in an Old School Rules Match
It was a hardcore match without going overboard and largely confined to several weapons shots and the usage of tacks.
Doering is a monster standing next to the others inside the ring and was the giant they pushed heavily throughout the match. At one point, the babyfaces all had chairs and outnumbered Doering 3-on-1, yet he fought them all off after refusing to go down from chair shots to the back.
Cousin Jake took a nasty bump off the turnbuckle when he was yanked by Deaner onto two chairs set in the ring. Jake came back later with a tope to the floor.
Dreamer poured the tacks and sent Young onto them with a back body drop. Jake hit a big sidewalk slam to Deaner but Young recovered and hit Jake with his mask and led to the piledriver and Young pinned Jake.
WINNERS: Violent by Design (Eric Young, Deaner & Joe Doering) in 9:51
The match was alright given the set-up and Violent by Design play their roles effectively. I thought Cousin Jake stood out and could showcase some of his offense and high-flying ability while Doering was protected as the “heater” of the group. The match didn’t overstay its welcome.
Rich Swann and Chris Sabin were in the locker room discussing Moose as the replacement. Moose entered the room and said “we’re a team” but Swann doesn’t trust him. He said Willie Mack would have replaced Alex Shelley, but Moose took him out. Moose said he won football games with guys he didn’t like and when the whistle blew, he would die for those players. He won’t let outsiders come and beat them and they agreed to work together.
Tasha Steelz & Kiera Hogan vs. Havok & Nevaeh for the Knockouts tag titles
Striker compared to Havok & Nevaeh to Terry Gordy & Dr. Death.
Havok was double-teamed early in the match and had to fight out of the corner. Later, she caught Steelz & Hogan and threw them with a fallaway slam.
They were setting up for a Tower of Doom and Havok took Steelz & Hogan by the throat and choke slammed them to the mat. Hogan came back with a stunner and superkick to Havok that sent her to the floor and ended the match by hitting Nevaeh with a Roll of the Dice with a bridge and got the cover.
WINNERS: Tasha Steelz & Kiera Hogan in 8:41
Hogan & Steelz have the potential to be a great babyface tag team and wrestle as the underdogs. The match was a bit sloppy in places but the story was overcoming the size of Havok and isolating Nevaeh at the end for the victory. I actually thought Nevaeh stood out the most of all four and Striker made mention of Les Thatcher, who was Nevaeh’s trainer.
After the match, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne presented them with the Knockouts tag titles.
Rosemary and Crazzy Steve met with Taya Valkyrie and want to help her tonight. Taya knows she can beat Deonna Purrazzo tonight but accepts their help and then they’ll celebrate in Slam Town. Acey Romero snuck into the Knockouts locker room.
Ace Austin and Madman Fulton came out. Austin was carrying his Super X-Cup trophy, which looks like the one I got playing soccer when I was eight. The sound effects randomly cheered Austin as he was mid-sentence.
Scott D’Amore was called out, he says that Austin is very good, but this isn’t how you go about things. He agrees this pay-per-view needs an Ace Austin match and reveals Matt Cardona as the opponent.
Ace Austin vs. Matt Cardona
Striker says without Cardona and Colt Cabana he doesn’t think wrestlers would be selling shirts, doing podcasts or have YouTube videos
This was largely an entrance and the surprise of Cardona appearing. Austin missed a dive off the top, was hit with a flapjack, the Reboot, and then Fulton attacked Cardona for the disqualification.
WINNER: Matt Cardona by DQ in 2:28
If you’re debuting Cardona, I feel you could have thrown another warm body at him, so he at least gets a nice win in his debut. Austin should not have been the sacrificial lamb, so they protected him in that sense but that was nothing of note. Although, D-Lo Brown noted, “what a debut for Matt Cardona”.
Manik vs. Chris Bey vs. Rohit Raju for the X Division Championship
This was the best match of the card, so far.
It was somewhat marred by the commentary which was too over the top with Striker and Brown having to pretend Manik’s identity was a secret and Striker not quite sure if it was TJP or not. Raju eventually tore off Manik’s mask but TJP was wearing face paint, so the mystery continued.
There was an awesome spot where Manik went for the Mamba Splash and was caught with a cutter in mid-air by Bey, who followed with a double Art of Finesse (OsCutter) to Manik and Raju. Bey has improved significantly and has become one of the standouts in this company.
Manik hit a springboard DDT on Bey and then shoved him into Raju on the apron and hit a crucifix bomb that Striker identified as a “Thumbelina Crucifix Bomb” and even D-Lo called him on that one. He admitted he didn’t know what he said.
Raju hit Bey with a series of knee strikes and then, Manik came from behind with a roll-up to retain the title.
WINNER: Manik in 13:49 to retain the X Division title
This was a really fun match and the three gelled well together. Raju has added a lot to his presentation and has an added aggression, Bey has become a great flier with very good timing, and TJP is always smooth, so this worked well.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Championship
Kimber Lee and Susan were in Purrazzo’s corner while Rosemary and Crazzy Steve were out with Valkyrie. They all got involved on the floor and were ejected quickly.
Purrazzo attacked Valkyrie’s arm and shifted to the knee as she kicked away at it. Later in the match, Valkyrie’s knee gave out as she went for Road to Valhalla. She finally stopped Purrazzo’s attack and executed a curb stomp and took over. Purrazzo then landed a tilt-a-whirl and applied the Fujiwara armbar, Valkyrie countered with a backslide but then Purrazzo regained her position with the Fujiwara and tied back both of Valkyrie’s arms and forced her to submit.
WINNER: Deonna Purrazzo at 11:36 to retain the Knockouts Championship
It was a sound match and heavily reliant on isolating the knee of Valkyrie and showcasing the submission work of Purrazzo and keeping it grounded, which was different from the previous matches. The division is centered around Purrazzo and it was a strong win to continue her reign as champion.
Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards in the Barbed Wire Massacre
This was super violent with the two destroying one another for the duration. The announcers hyped it up as the most violent rivalry in IMPACT history and that Callihan was in Edwards’ head and thus, had the advantage throughout the first half of the match.
They had tons of barbed wire used throughout including Callihan bleeding within the first three minutes. There was a Nintendo 64 controller wrapped in barbed wire along with boards, chairs, a fence on one side of the ring, and a big chain above the ring. The two traded shots with their fists wrapped in barbed wire and each went down.
They got their respective weapons with Edwards handing Callihan a kendo stick and Callihan passing him the baseball bat (the weapon that started the program from the errant shot to the face).
Edwards was knocked off the turnbuckle and his armpit came down on the chain and looked terribly painful. Moments later, Callihan hit a piledriver off the turnbuckle through the barbed wire board for a near-fall. Edwards fought back with a Boston Knee Party to a chair wrapped in wire and Callihan kicked out at one, a prelude to the finish as Edwards hit an Emerald Flowsion onto the barbed wire board and pinned Callihan.
WINNER: Eddie Edwards in 18:49
After the match, Alisha ran down to check on Edwards and this felt like the end to a lengthy rivalry.
If these types of matches aren’t your cup of tea, watching one in an empty studio isn’t going to change your attitude on them. But the two worked super hard and threw everything at one another. There was symbolism with the usage of the bat that ties back to the feud’s origin and explaining how Edwards had to overcome the mind games of Callihan and beat him at his one type of match.
They announced their next pay-per-view is Rebellion and will take place Saturday, April 24th. The “Omega” symbol was part of the logo for the pay-per-view.
Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Rich Swann, Moose & Chris Sabin
Don Callis introduced Omega and said Gotch, Hackenschmidt, Thesz, Race, Flair, and Hogan all pale in comparison and are “insects in the shadow of the God of professional wrestling”. Omega walked out wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt.
Striker immediately complimented AEW and how they give opportunities to talent without contracts – this totally goes against the story as the home announcers are praising the outsiders.
Swann and Sabin did a lot of tag team spots together including dives off the apron, which the cameras completely missed Sabin’s.
Striker was putting over Omega always having time for his fans and really intensifying the inter-promotional aspect of this program. Striker also brought up Kota Ibushi being the Double Champion in New Japan and hopes other champions will come to IMPACT.
Moose showed a lot during the match in his brief moments with Omega and they were definitely teasing more between them in the future. Moose played the babyface role throughout, assisted Swann and came off strong. His big spot was hitting a One-Man Spanish Fly to Omega off the top, which was very impressive. Immediately after, Sabin hit Omega with the Cradle Shock but Anderson saved.
Moose avoided the One-Winged Angel, hoisted Omega on his shoulders and Swann hit the Doomsday Device that Omega kicked out from.
Anderson & Gallows hit Swann with the Magic Killer but Moose made the save. Omega took out Moose with the V-Trigger, hit another one to Swann, and followed with the One-Winged Angel to pin Swann.
WINNERS: Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers in 20:25
It was the right finish for maximum value as Omega pinned the IMPACT champion and naturally continues this story that should lead to a 1-on-1 match with both titles at stake and should probably be the Rebellion main event.
It was a good six-man tag and I thought it was the match of the show. There are several pairings that would be a lot of fun, but the focus is Omega with Swann. There was no post-match angle or any surprise appearances but the major news was Omega pinning Swann.
Overall, I would say this was an average show with the main event, Barbed Wire Massacre, and the X Division title match as the three matches I would recommend. I didn’t feel Striker and Brown clicked on their first night together and it was a lot with Striker throughout the night, he’s an acquired taste and it depends on your preference in announcing style. The key to this show is the interest level and whether the curiosity of the past month led to a jump in buys. I would say if this isn’t the most purchased IMPACT show of the Anthem era, you would have to be disappointed.