10th Jan2022

‘Impact Wrestling: Hard to Kill 2022’ PPV Review

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this review of Impact Wrestling first pay per view of the year, Hard to Kill which – and I’ll get right to it – has LITERALLY set the standard for the rest of any wrestling promotions PPV’s in 2022. This one raises the bar and then some…. Read on to find out why!

COUNTDOWN TO HARD TO KILL:

Match #1: Jake Something def. Madman Fulton

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

Two athletic powerhouses collide in the first match of the night! Fulton takes control with a unique spinning slam off the top rope. Fulton soars through the air, hitting a thunderous crossbody for two. Something targets the throat of Fulton, then clotheslines him off the apron to the floor. Jake takes Fulton off his feet with a dive to the outside. Something hits a sitdown powerbomb for a near fall. Fulton hits back-to-back chokeslams but it’s not enough to keep Something down. Something comes back with the Black Hole Slam to win!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #2: “Speedball” Mike Bailey def. Ace Austin, Chris Bey & Laredo Kid

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

Buckle up for a showcase of the breathtaking X-Division, featuring the IMPACT debut of Mike Bailey! “Speedball” immediately takes control with a series of kicks to Austin. Kid springboards off the ropes but Austin cuts him off with a mid-air kick to the gut. Bailey hits a double dropkick to Bey and Austin. Austin takes out everyone with a Fosbury Flop over the top rope. Bailey hits a springboard Spanish Fly to the floor. Bailey connects with a jaw-dropping Shooting Star knee drop to Austin for three!

My Score: 3.5 out of 5

HARD TO KILL:

Match #1: Women’s Ultimate X Match – Tasha Steelz def. Chelsea Green, Rosemary, Alisha Edwards, Jordynne Grace and Lady Frost

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

The Knockouts of IMPACT Wrestling make history once again as they compete in the first-ever Knockouts Ultimate X match for a future Knockouts World Title opportunity! Green hits Alisha with a Blockbuster off the second rope. Grace hits a powerful Spinebuster on Steelz. Savannah Evans makes her way to ringside and begins pummeling Grace. Moments later, Havok joins the fray as she attempts to give an assist to Rosemary. Green takes them out both out with a top rope dropkick. Alisha and Green launch themselves off the steel truss, colliding with their opponents on the floor. Frost is next to fly as she hits a top rope corkscrew to the outside. Alisha introduces “Kendra” the kendo stick as she punishes her adversaries. Alisha climbs across the cables but Rosemary spears her off. Grace powerbombs Steelz all the way from the cables down to the mat. Frost hits her signature Temperature Drop from the top of the truss to the floor. Steelz and Green race towards the X but Steelz gains control and secures it to win!

My Score: 3 out of 5

The end of the match felt flat compared to what had come before (what do you expect when all people are doing are grabbing an X off some ropes?) but that means nothing when the rest of the match was so good. Shoutout to Lady Frost, who’s new to the Impact roster but really made her mark here and stole the show with THAT move off the scaffolding! Seriously, she looked like a total badass! But then all the women came out of this match looking amazing. Props to ALL participants for making this first Women’s Ukltimate X a complete success.

Match #2: X-Division Championship – Trey Miguel def. Steve Maclin

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

The undefeated Steve Maclin challenges Trey Miguel for the X-Division Title one-on-one – but if he loses, he can never challenge again as long as Miguel is champion! Maclin jumpstarts the match with a scud missile while Miguel is making his entrance. Miguel quickly turns the tide with a tornado DDT on the exposed floor. Miguel soars over the top rope and ends up in the front row as he collides with Maclin on the way down. Maclin whips him into the steel guardrail to gain control. Maclin catches Miguel in mid-air and delivers a thunderous Uranagi. Maclin is in total control as he pummels Miguel with an elbow drop on the outside. Miguel hits a double foot stomp to create separation and gain the momentary advantage. Moments later, Maclin shuts him down with a vicious running shoulder tackle on the ropes. Miguel counters Mayhem For All into a modified Piledriver. Miguel hits a Meteora off the apron to the floor, causing Maclin’s head to collide with the guardrail. Back in the ring, Miguel hits another Meteora but Maclin somehow kicks out at two. Miguel follows up with yet another Meteora and successfully scores the pinfall to retain the X-Division Title!

My Score: 4 out of 5

Damn. This was a brutal fight and a wrestling match at the same time. This, the culmination of the Maclin / Miguel storyline, was a brilliant blow off for their feud. Maclin looked strong in defeat, having taken TWO Meteroas before being pinned; whilst Trey Miguel is the FIRST man to defeat Maclin since he started in Impact. This match was so, so good and set the bar for the rest of the night!

Match #3: Pure Rules Match for the ROH World Title – Jonathan Gresham def. Chris Sabin

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

Ring of Honor’s Ian Riccaboni and Bobby Cruise join the broadcast team as Jonathan Gresham defends the ROH World Title against Chris Sabin in a Pure Rules match! This marks the first time the ROH World Title has been defended in IMPACT Wrestling. Gresham and Sabin abide by the Code of Honor as they shake each other’s hand to begin the bout. Gresham targets the ankle of Sabin as he transitions an ankle lock into a pinning predicament for two. Sabin hits a modified DDT for a near fall of his own. Sabin connects with a spinning neckbreaker but Gresham puts his leg on the bottom rope to break the pin, deducting one of three total rope breaks from Gresham’s arsenal. Gresham quickens the pace with a springboard Moonsault, followed by a series of strikes. Gresham locks in a Crossface but this time it’s Sabin who uses one of his rope breaks. Sabin hits the Cradle Shock for three but referee Brian Hebner reverses the decision as Gresham’s leg was under the bottom rope. Both men exchange chops before Gresham stacks up Sabin for the three count!

My Score: 4 out of 5

This was a fanastic example of pure wrestling (pardon the pun) on the Hard to Kill card and showed that you don’t need crazy moves, high flying, or dangerous spots to make a wrestling match exciting. I’ve always liked Pure Rules matches and this was a brilliant example of one and a great way to introduce Pure Rules wrestling to a wider audience. I know Jonathan Gresham is ROH champion but Impact would do well to have him on the show more in future!

Match #4: Josh Alexander def. JONAH

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

Two of the most devastating forces in IMPACT Wrestling collide in this personal grudge match! Alexander charges towards JONAH and hits a powerful crossbody. JONAH turns the tide with a vicious slam on the apron. JONAH begins to wear down the previously-injured ribs of Alexander with a running senton. JONAH does further damage to the ribs with a torture rack submission. Alexander begins to build momentum with a clothesline off the apron to the floor. The fight spills into the front row where JONAH hits a huge clothesline. Alexander launches himself off the the top, colliding with JONAH on the other side of the guardrail. The ring rattles after a thunderous Superplex from JONAH. The rivals are exchanging open palm strikes when JONAH hits a powerbomb for two. Moments later, JONAH spikes Alexander with a Brainbuster for yet another near fall. Alexander avoids a Moonsault, then hits a powerbomb of his own. Alexander secures the Ankle Lock, forcing JONAH to submit!

My Score: 4 out of 5

What’s that? Three four-star matches in a row. Hell yes! This one was another amazing match that, like a lot of the rest of this matches on the PPV card, told a great story. This started out as a test of strength than became a test of endurance, with both men pushing each other further and further. Loved that JONAH didn’t lose this one in a test of strength, rather Josh Alexander went to the ankle lock, something he’s used before to make JONAH submit. Will this feud continue? Or will we finally see Alexander enter the title picture once again? I’d be happy with either TBH.

Match #5: Hardcore War – Heath, Rhino, Rich Swann, Willie Mack & Eddie Edwards def. The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) & Violent By Design (Eric Young, Joe Doering & Deaner)

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

There are no disqualifications, no count outs and weapons are legal in Hardcore War! Deaner and Rich Swann are the first two competitors as they battle it out for three minutes before a new competitor enters from alternating teams every 90 seconds. Swann wedges a steel chair between the ropes. Deaner avoids the 450 Splash, then sends Swann head-first into the chair. Karl Anderson is out next, giving his team the first numbers advantage of the match. Swann goes low on Anderson with a golf club but soon pays for it as Anderson hits him over the head with the title moments later. Willie Mack evens the odds and introduces a door into the match. Swann and Mack pay homage to Team 3D with a 3D on Deaner through the door. Doc Gallows is the next entrant as his team delivers an all-out assault with a variety of weapons. Eddie Edwards hits the ring with “Kenny” the kendo stick. Edwards takes out both of The Good Brothers with a shot of adrenaline to the outside. Violent By Design’s leader, Eric Young, is the next combatant to enter Hardcore War as he zeroes in on Edwards. Heath enters the match and he throws powder in Anderson’s face before clobbering Young with a lead pipe. Mack crashes and burns on a trash can Moonsault attempt. Joe Doering is the final entrant for his team, giving them one final numbers advantage. Rhino enters the match last with a steel chain and the match can now end by pinfall or submission. Battle lines have been drawn as Hardcore War erupts in the IMPACT Zone. Edwards lights “Kenny” on fire and clobbers Gallows in the back. Young delivers a Piledriver to Edwards through a table. Doering drives Swann through a barbed wire board in the corner. Heath hits Anderson over the head with a Dallas Cowboys helmet, followed by the Gore from Rhino to win!

My Score: 3 out of 5

This match lived up to its name, this was less a wrestling match and more the “war” part of its moniker. These guys threw everything in the ring and at each other, with plenty of blood and scars as a result. This was a bit disorganized but looked all the better for it – the chaos adding to the excitement of the match IMHO. I absolutely LOVED the run in at the end too!

Match #6: Triple Threat Match for the IMPACT World Championship – Moose def. Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

Moose puts the IMPACT World Title on the line against not one but two dangerous challengers in Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey! The bell rings and Morrissey gets an early two count on the champ following a big boot. Moose whips Cardona into the steel guardrail. Cardona goes for the basement dropkick but Moose counters with a powerbomb into the apron. Morrissey makes Moose suffer the same fate as he also powerbombs him into the apron moments later. Moose hits Go To Hell on Morrissey but Cardona breaks the pin with a modified Radio Silence. Cardona takes out both of his opponents with a series of Re-Boots in the corner. Moose delivers a huge Tower of Doom, launching Morrissey and Cardona across the ring. Chelsea Green comes to the aid of her husband as she hits a diving crossbody to Moose off the stage. Cardona pushes Moose off the top, sending him crashing through a table on the floor. Cardona hits Radio Silence out of nowhere but Morrissey kicks out at two. Morrissey almost puts Cardona away with a massive chokeslam. Cardona hits Morrissey with Radio Silence off the top but Moose stops the referee’s count. Moose inadvertently spears the referee. Morrissey has Moose beat following a BQE powerbomb but there’s no referee to make the count. Moose delivers a buckle bomb to Cardona that also wipes out Chelsea Green and the second referee. Moose hits a spear on Cardona as the first referee recovers to make the three count!

My Score: 3 out of 5

A good match but there were too many chair shots at the end of this one and the loss of the refs was a odd booking decision for a Championship match but I get that they wanted to have this more of a grudge-style triple threat match than a standard one. It ended up being a bit too gimmicky for me – plus I would REALLY have liked W. Morrisey to pick up the win rather than Moose, I think he could do more with the Championship going forward; but hey, ho, perhaps another match is on the cards? Just leave Cardona (and by extension Chelsea Green) out of it next time.

Match #7: Texas Death Match for the Knockouts World Championship – Mickie James def. Deonna Purrazzo

The following is courtesy of impactwrestling.com:

The next chapter in one of the greatest rivalries in Knockouts history will be written as Mickie James defends the Knockouts World Title against Deonna Purrazzo in a Texas Death Match! Mickie scores a quick pin in the opening moments of the match but a Texas Death Match will only end when someone is unable to answer the referee’s count of ten. Purrazzo locks in Venus de Milo, forcing Mickie to tap but she quickly recovers at the referee’s three count. ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C is seen watching on from the front row. Purrazzo sends her head-first into the steel ring post. Purrazzo hits a snap suplex on the unforgiving stage. Purrazzo drives a road case into the sternum of Mickie to score a pinfall. Mickie is able to recover at the referee’s count of nine but she’s busted open in the process. Mickie locks in a single-leg Crab, followed by a dropkick to gain momentum. Mickie uses her leg brace as a weapon, delivering a running knee to the side of the face. Purrazzo sends her into a pile of thumbtacks before choking Mickie with her own ring gear for a submission. Mickie is up at the referee’s eight count, then hits Purrazzo over the head with a steel chair. Mickie hits a Thesz Press off the apron to score a pin. It looks as though Purrazzo is down and out but Rehwoldt appears at ringside and brings her to her feet. Purrazzo hits Queen’s Gambit through a table for another pin but Mickie is somehow up before ten. Mickie takes out Rehwoldt with a guitar shot. Mickie connects with the Mick-DT into the thumbtacks. Mickie pins Purrazzo and keeps her down for the referee’s ten count to retain the Knockouts World Title!

My Score: 4 out of 5

So we get two high-profile hardcore women’s matches in the space of a month across two promotions… I’m here for it. This feud has been a highlight of Impact in recent months and, as I’ve said before, I’m not sure who else on the roster could really be inserted into the title picture (yes, I know Tasha Steelz just won a shot in this PPV’s Women’s Ultimate X match) so I have a feeling this feud may just continue – that is of course unless someone else on the roster can reimagine herself as good as Deonna Purrazzo did and make themselves Championship material. This match divided the audience in attendance with both women having fans on ether side all of whom were definitely invested in the outcome… This quickly turned into the hardcore aspect of a deathmatch, with chairs, golf clubs, a wheelbarrow(?) and eventually thumbtacks being used which, like the triple threat match before it, worked to sell the grudge between the two. Still not a massive fan of the Texas Deathmatch’s odd rules though lol.

News of the Night:

  1. Tom Hanifan, FKA WWE commentator Tom Phillips made his Impact Wrestling debut alongside D’Lo Brown.
  2. “Speedball” Mike Bailey made his Impact Wrestling debut on the pre-show.
  3. Ring of Honor stars Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis, Matt Taven, Vincent and PCO invaded Impact after the Hardcore War match.
  4. The Imapct Wrestling: Rebellion pay per view will take place April 23rd 2022.
  5. Rok-C, the Ring of Honor Women’s Champion, was in the audience for the Impact Women’s title match, taunting Deonna Purrazzo (though commentary made nothing of it?!)

Final Verdict: 4.5/5

Friday night saw WWE announce that Impact’s very own Mickie James would be in the 2022 Women’s Royal Rumble AND named the show on air… Everyone said it’s a big deal for Impact, how Impact can take a lot from this deal with WWE. You know what I say? I say WWE are the ones who can take something from this deal. Take how to put on a world class pay per view that is! Hard to Kill 2022 outclassed and out-performed ANYTHING that Vince McMahon and co. have presented as a pay per view in 2021 (and their new Day 1 PPV too). I know peopel have started putting down’s Impact’s womens division which, for the longest time was THE womens division in professional wrestling, but Hard to Kill showed why – even with a smaller womens roster – Impact is still one of the most progressive when it comes to womens wrestling. Given we have Impact seemingly working with WWE and also, after this PPV, the stars of Ring of Honor making their presence felt, I think 2022 could be Impact Wrestling’s year – I’m certainly even more excited for Impact’s programming going forward after this amazing PPV!

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