REVIEW: Impact Wrestling – Hard to Kill (2022)

A Pay-Per-View event for Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling has really be firing on all cylinders for the last year with their Pay-Per-View output, and while Hard to Kill isn’t usually one of their biggest shows, it has to be one of the companies more noteworthy of “the big four” considering the message behind it. It’s been 22 years now since NWA-TNA Wrestling opened it’s doors, and from almost literally day one folks were writing it off. Everyone just KNEW the company was going to fold, and year after year, setback after setback, and it’s still here. Yeah it’s owned by somebody else, the name is technically different, but the history is there.

I’ve been loving each one of these shows this last year, and even the smaller Fite.TV shows are great quality. It will be interesting to see how this one does as soon as the dust settles for a couple of reasons. Last year was a huge show, featuring an anticipated tag-team match featuring AEW’s Kenny Omega – with any AEW involvement off the table, a lot of folks were wondering if there would be the sort of surprises that one could grow accustomed to watching Impact lately. The good news – This show was every bit as crazy as you can expect!

For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.

The first hour of the show is FREE on YouTube:

The Card:

  • 1P Jake Something defeated Madman Fulton by pinfall Singles match 5:25
  • 2P Mike Bailey defeated Ace Austin, Chris Bey, and Laredo Kid by pinfall Four-way match 8:10
  • 3 Tasha Steelz defeated Alisha Edwards, Chelsea Green, Jordynne Grace, Lady Frost, and Rosemary Inaugural Knockouts Ultimate X match – Winner will become the number one contender for the Impact Knockouts Championship. 9:00
  • 4 Trey Miguel (c) defeated Steve Maclin by pinfall Singles match for the Impact X Division Championship – Since Maclin lost, he can no longer challenge for the title as long as Miguel is champion. 12:50
  • 5 Jonathan Gresham (c) defeated Chris Sabin by pinfall Pure Rules match for the ROH World Championship 12:40
  • 6 Josh Alexander defeated Jonah by submission Singles match 17:05
  • 7 Eddie Edwards, Rich Swann, Willie Mack, Heath and Rhino defeated The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson) and Violent By Design (Eric Young, Deaner, and Joe Doering) by pinfall 10-man Hardcore War 23:25
  • 8 Moose (c) defeated Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey by pinfall Three-way match for the Impact World Championship 16:00
  • 9 Mickie James (c) defeated Deonna Purrazzo Texas Deathmatch for the Impact Knockouts Championship – Had Matthew Rehwoldt interfered during the match, Purrazzo would have been disqualified and Rehwoldt would have been fired. 19:40

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Commentary Upgraded!

While I enjoy Matt Striker, he needs somebody like Vampiro to bounce off of in order to be great, and the recent pairing of him and D-LO Brown wasn’t doing it for me. Having Tom Phillips come over post-WWE was awesome, and I hope he sticks around! I always loved him with Cory Graves on NXT, and I’m sure he will be amazing here as well. Now they just need a heelish color commentator to flesh it all out.

Ultimate X Returns!

Impact has always done an amazing job with their women’s division and this show was no exception. In a couple years of firsts, having a first Ultimate X Match featuring all female competitors was awesome. This match had some amazing spots, and I love how it ended. This definitely put Tasha Steelz on my radar, I only really saw her as a tag wrestler before, but she did great.

ROH and Impact Working together is Wild:

TNA and ROH used to work together all the time, but after the original owner of ROH was caught doing some questionable stuff online involving minors, and was later busted in a televised sting operation, TNA cut ties with the company entirely. This angered fans and wrestlers despite the severity of the situation (which always baffled me) and a feud began. That day is long passed, and ROH and Impact Wrestling are yet again friends, thanks again Forbidden Door!

From the moment we See Ian Riccaboni on commentary, I knew we were about to have a great match, and with Sabin and Gresham, they sure delivered. It’s cool to see Gresham basically proselytizing Pure Division rules wherever he goes, if that ends up ROH’s brand moving forward, it will be cool to see.

ROH Invasion

And when we thought that was all for ROH at this show, a full-on invasion happened in the big hardcore match. Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Vincent, PCO, and Maria Kanellis definitely made their mark on the show, utterly destroying Heath and Rhino in the aftermath of the bloody brawl. This is exactly the sort of thing that I wish would have happened after Kenny Omega won the Impact Wrestling World Championship. the fact that there was not a counterattack by guys like Rich Swann afterwards was a huge missed opportunity. hopefully Impact can capitalize on the buzz here, generate some good viewership for themselves, and help elevate Ring of Honor for its eventual return at Supercard of Honor.

Seriously, How Did Jonah Get Let Go?

I mentioned in another review how I was completely baffled that WWE dropped Jonah from the roster. This guy is not only huge, but super athletic – he’s basically everything that Vince McMahon looks for in a big man wrestler that isn’t a juiced-up muscle guy. He reminds me of a cross between Samoa Joe and Vader in many ways. One of my favorite parts of the match was an unintentional spot where the cameraman was obviously resting his elbow on the ring while filming. When a top rope move happened, Jonah came crashing down with such a force it shook the ring, making the cameraman nearly drop the camera, and giving the impression that the man literally shook the entire arena when he landed. I normally hate when WWE does zooms and shaky Cam nonsense, but this was pretty cool. Josh Alexander is also amazing, and took some real crazy spills in this match – jumping from the ring to the audience as some ECW-level craziness.

Hell of a Match

Matt Cardona has really been on fire lately with his gimmick of traveling to various promotions in order to “save them”. He basically rolls in like his mere presence garners so much visibility that he’s practically doing charity work. The fans HATE him when he does this, especially considering he seems to be doing a low-key impression of how guys like John Cena likely act backstage. They are a good guy to themselves, but a jackass to everyone else. It’s interesting to see him here as the top babyface of the company, going against a man so evil he attacked Josh Alexander while his family were standing in the ring crying tears of joy. Moose is the dominant force in Impact Wrestling right now, and Cardona seems poised to end it all.

You might be thinking, hey you missed a guy – and that’s right W. Morrissey (the former Big Cass) was also in this match proving that he is a main event competitor and always should have been. Morrissey gets all of his spots in and looks great in this match, I’m proud of the guy for getting his act together and not squandering the chance Impact took getting him on their roster. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for him.

Hardcore Country Reigns

Mickie James is amazing, and I’m glad to see her having so many amazing matches these past few months. This feud with Deonna Purrazzo has been great and both women literally beat the hell out of each other. It’s once again a case of two women, basically screwed by the WWE, showing that neither need the company to thrive. This match was fun but not perfect. On the good side – the violence was pretty crazy and really showed the utter disdain the two competitors have for each other. Mickie got color, and some truly crazy spots happened including tacks, chairs on legs, tables, and even guitars.

There was some weird stuff like the old classic Impact (or TNA I guess) idea of doing weird match types for the sake of it, and generally overbooking simple things. Rather than just being a last woman standing match, it was a Texas Deathmatch – meaning a pin fall had to occur before the 10 counts can start. Once it got rolling it was fine, but whenever they have to explain the rules for a long time, it takes folks out of the match. Matthew Rehwoldt interfered, but wasn’t fired or DQ’d, I guess because he didn’t hit anyone? There was also a weird callback to the infamous Wrestlemania XXII finger lick that seemed out of place. Overall solid match, but it could have been amazing with a few tweaks. Great way to end the feud, and a bloodied Mickie sitting tall with the belt was a great visual.

Conclusion:

I could jokingly say this was easily the best Impact Wrestling Pay-per-View of the year, but I legitimately think this was probably their best show in the past six months or so. Overall, match quality was better than Bound for Glory or Slammiversary, In my opinion of course. There really were not any matches that felt like filler matches, and there were some genuine real surprises including the Ring of Honor involvement.

I think Impact Wrestling is going to be the company to watch for the next few months considering the slight rub that they are going to be getting with Mickie James participating in the Royal Rumble this year while holding a belt for a rival company, and the anticipated cross promotions with Ring of Honor. Here’s hoping that this momentum can stay rolling enough that they can really capitalize. Of course, getting on a bigger television channel that more people get would be an amazing help for them, but it seems like Anthem is comfortable with them being on their own channel for the time being. As we roll into their 20th anniversary as a wrestling company, they have proven once again that they are in fact Hard to Kill.

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