Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

IMPACT Wrestling Report: Hard To Kill Review & Analysis

Last night was the long-awaited first PPV where IMPACT Wrestling and AEW collaborated on a main event match: Hard To Kill! What went down, did it live up to the hype, and what are my thoughts on the event overall? Read on.

Wrestle Week

All week long IMPACT Wrestling and AXS TV built up to Hard To Kill with a variety of programming, including This Is Hard To Kill — a nice little pre-show program that provided background on the main event, including sit-down interviews with those involved. While it was enjoyable, I felt that it spent way too much time on the main event. I get that that’s the draw for this PPV, but for fans who care more about more than just the main event, This Is Hard To Kill was severely lacking.

Alex Shelley Out, Moose In

Two days prior to Hard To Kill it was revealed that one half of The Motor City Machine Guns — Alex Shelley — was unable to appear at the PPV for some undisclosed reason. While Shelley confirmed that he doesn’t have COVID, it has been speculated that he came into contact with someone who did and that’s why he didn’t appears, as scheduled, in the main event. If this is the case, then kudos to Alex and IMPACT Wrestling for not putting the lives of everyone else in danger. Considering this was one of the biggest main events in the company’s history, Alex could have very easily kept that information to himself and appeared. Instead, he did the right thing. In his place was Moose, who put on the performance of a lifetime. This was a huge opportunity for the big man, and he delivered in spades.

Hard To Kill CELL-ebration

Yesterday morning, I took part in the second-ever virtual FanFest hosted by IMPACT Wrestling: Hard To Kill CELL-ebration. It was a fun time! Hosted by Gia Miller and Matt Striker, it was a like a backstage segment where the fans got to ask the majority of the questions. A range of talent came and went, including the following:

  • Rich Swann
  • Deonna Purrazzo 
  • The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) 
  • Eric Young
  • Chris Sabin
  • Moose
  • Tasha Steelz & Kiera Hogan

There were also surprise appearances by Rohit Raju and Ace Austin.

In addition to having the opportunity to take part in this two-hour interactive experience with the stars of IMPACT Wrestling, fans received a host of perks, including the following:

  • The official Hard To Kill t-shirt
  • A $25 gift certificate to ShopIMPACT.com
  • Randomly autographed swatches of the match-used ring canvas from BOUND FOR GLORY, held Oct. 24 in Nashville

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to kick off an IMPACT Wrestling PPV, these virtual FanFest events are worth checking out. I had a good time, and I’m glad I chose to take part in this special event!

Read my full, detailed review of this virtual FanFest here.

Hard To Kill PPV

The most interesting part about the Live Countdown to Hard To Kill was the fake crowd noise during the Brian Myers and Josh Alexander match, which would go on to permeate the remainder of the PPV. To my knowledge, this is the first time IMPACT Wrestling used this kind of production element to enhance the feel of a show with no one in attendance because of COVID-19. WWE has been doing this for a while, and it’s sometimes distracting because of how loud it can be. IMPACT opted to keep it at a relatively low volume so it added ambiance without taking away from the in-ring action. I did notice it reach a crescendo during the main event, which makes perfect sense. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd noise evolves in the weeks and months to come.

At the end of the pre-show Madison Rayne announced her retirement from IMPACT Wrestling, following 12 years of great success with the company.

I wish Madison the best as she leaves IMPACT Wrestling to live a life outside of the spotlight and fulfill other dreams that she has. She has been one of the most successful and influential female wrestlers of all time, and I wish her nothing but happiness.

Hard To Kill kicked off with the return of Decay! Seeing Rosemary and Crazzy Steve team up again was awesome. This team originally came to fruition in January 2016, and it’s been a few years since we’ve seen them together. Visually and physically, this reunion gave both wrestlers a shot in the arm that I didn’t realize they needed. They walked away with the win, and I look forward to what they have in store for us in the months to come. No one does theatrical storytelling better than IMPACT Wrestling, and I have a feeling there’s a lot of great stuff coming our way in the form of Decay!

The next match involved the team of Eric Young, Joe Doering, and Deaner — now known as Violent by Design. What a great name! For my money, Eric Young is the most talented wrestler in IMPACT Wrestling. His psychology is second to none, and he knows how to get it done in the ring. In this role, he’s being used to elevate Doering and Deaner and, so far, he’s done an excellent job. Violent by Design walked away with the win over Cousin Jake, Rhino, & Tommy Dreamer after Eric Young delivered his signature piledriver to Cousin Jake for the 1-2-3.

Next up was the Knockouts Tag Team Championship match, reinstating these titles after an eight-year absence. Both teams put on a great display of athleticism but Fire and Flava bested Havok & Nevaeh to walk away with the newly minted gold. Congrats to both of them! Wrestling is all about larger-than-life characters and these two ladies embody this approach to a tee.

Over the past 12 months IMPACT Wrestling has been all about shocking the people, and they did it again last night at Hard To Kill with the debut of Matt Cardona! Best known as Zack Ryder in WWE from 2005 to 2020, Cardona, like many in WWE, never got the attention he deserved. This is precisely why I’m so happy he’s in IMPACT Wrestling. I know they will give him the creative freedom to blaze a new trail and take his career to the next level. On this night he defeated Ace Austin via disqualification because Madman Fulton got involved, but it was a great showing nonetheless for Cardona. I can’t wait to see what Matt Cardona has in store for us in the coming weeks and months in IMPACT Wrestling!

I love Rohit Raju! He is seriously one of the most talented wrestlers in the entire industry, not just IMPACT Wrestling. Rohit is such an amazing heel that I always light up when he’s on screen. He takes it to another level on social media too. When COVID-19 reshaped IMPACT Wrestling earlier this year, Rohit became the company’s breakout star by seizing the opportunity to shine like many didn’t realize he could.

His triple-threat match against TJP — I mean, Manik and Chris Bey was spectacular! All three of these guys are bringing the X Division back to its glory days with their wonderful characters and awe-inspiring moves. It’s like watching Cirque du Soleil in a wrestling ring — I’m constantly astounded! While I wanted Rohit to reclaim his X Division title, Manik retained. Rohit lives to fight another day!

Speaking of retaining, Deonna Purrazzo held on to her gold — after successfully making Taya Valkyrie submit to a vicious looking double armbar. Both of these ladies are at the top of their game, and they put on a display that is worthy of the prestigious IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts division. Between this and the reinstated Knockouts Tag Team Championship belts, IMPACT is poised, once again, to take women’s wrestling to a whole new level.

In his final match for IMPACT Wrestling Ethan Page lost to his alter ego, The Karate Man, in a “match” that is unlike any I’ve ever seen, yet, somehow, perfectly suited for IMPACT Wrestling. I wish him the best in the future because he’s one of the most talented guys in the business.

I should also point out how fabulous IMPACT Wrestling’s new broadcast team is! Matt Striker has long been my favorite modern-day play-by-play man, and it’s so nice to have him behind the mic full-time in IMPACT Wrestling. And I had no idea that D’Lo Brown was this good on color commentary. Together, these two have great chemistry and I can’t wait to hear them call the action going forward.

The Barbed Wire Massacre between Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards was brutal. This storied rivalry came to a fiery conclusion with an epic brawl where both men laid it all on the line and didn’t hold anything back. I’ve been a fan of both for a long time now, and this match made me respect them even more.

During Hard To Kill the next IMPACT Wrestling PPV was announced for April 24: Rebellion. And many fans noticed the omega symbol in the artwork, hinting that this AEW and IMPACT Wrestling collaboration isn’t ending anytime soon.

So, how was the main event? Did it live up to the endless hype? Yes, it did. I’m not the biggest AEW fan but I recognized the importance of IMPACT collaborating with them heading into Hard To Kill. This partnership, if that’s what you’d like to call it, has never been done before, at this level, in the history of professional wrestling. This match had all six men wrestling their hearts out at a level I didn’t expect. It was an incredible showcase for all of their talents, and no one man looked better than the rest. What most impressed me was Moose. He did a standing moonsault, as well as a ring-shaking Spanish Fly. If anyone was the MVP of this match, it was Moose. He made it clear that he belongs in the main event picture, and Moose proved that he can step into any role, even at the last minute, and deliver.

While Kenny Omega and his team got the win, the real winner at Hard To Kill was IMPACT Wrestling and its fans. We got a hell of a show, and this was the perfect opening shot to a year that is going to go down as one of the best in IMPACT Wrestling history.

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