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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Astorga

History Was Made At The Hard To Kill PPV On Saturday Night, Jan. 16, In Nashville, Tennessee

Photo Courtesy of IMPACT Wrestling


IMPACT Wrestling’s first event of 2021 was a classic

NASHVILLE, TN – (January 15) History was made at IMPACT Wrestling’s first major event of the year, the HARD TO KILL pay-per-view.


Six-Man Tag Main Event

Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers beat Rich Swann, Chris Sabin & Moose

For generations, wrestling fans have dreamed of World Champions from rival promotions colliding in the squared circle. When it finally happened in HARD TO KILL’s main event, it was impossible to escape the sense you were watching history, that the sport had reached a new epoch.

In the end of a main event that delivered on every level, All Elite Wrestling World Champion Kenny Omega hit his One-Winged Angel finisher and pinned the shoulders of his IMPACT Wrestling counterpart Rich Swann in the middle of an IMPACT Wrestling ring.

Somehow, this six-man tag match was always going to come down to the two world champions. The pair locked up early on, with Omega gaining the upper hand until Swann countered the One-Winged Angel into a Poison Rana. Swann then came close to scoring a pinfall after hitting a 450 Splash but, somehow, Omega kicked out.

After isolating Swann on the wrong side of the ring, Omega began to work his IMPACT counterpart over. The AEW champ targeted Swann’s ankle – the same one that was shattered one year ago. During what must have been the longest moments of the match for Swann, Omega tagged in and out with The Good Brothers also getting their licks in.

Swann reached a much-needed tag and Moose, as good as his word, went after the AEW champion like a man possessed. The former NFL offensive lineman scorched Omega – even hitting a standing shooting star press – and Omega needed to be saved from the three-count by Doc Gallows.

Not to be outdone, Sabin also took the fight to Omega, rocking him with a DDT and then diving through the ropes to wipe out The Good Brothers. Moments later, the Machine Gun had Omega pinned for a two and a half count, but his success was ended by The Good Brothers.

Speculation as to how Moose and Swann – bitter rivals who have been on a collision course to throw down themselves – could co-exist was proved misplaced. Moose saved Swann from several pinfall attempts, and in fact the pair worked together to deliver a Doomsday Device clothesline on Omega.

As the battle raged on, Swann crashed down on top of his AEW rival with a huge 450 splash, but Omega kicked out.

“What is it going to take to end this match?” new play-by-play commentator Matt Striker asked aloud.

The answer came soon after The Good Brothers destroyed Swann with their Magic Killer. Moose – again – stopped Swann from getting pinned, but the IMPACT champion had not recovered before Omega connected with a V-Trigger. Then came the One-Winged Angel and the pinfall that will echo down the ages.

Knockouts World Title

Deonna Purrazzo (C) Vs Taya Valkyrie

The eagerly-awaited clash for the most prestigious women’s title in wrestling almost spiraled into chaos early on, but the official regained control by banishing Crazzy Steve, Rosemary, Kimber Lee and Susan from ringside.

Few competitors can seize an advantage as quickly as Purrazzo, and she took advantage of the distraction to begin working over Valkyrie’s left arm to set up her Venus de Milo finisher. Valkyrie fought back but was again taken down, this time via a Russian leg sweep. The champion then switched her attack to her challenger’s legs before Valkyrie again fought back and mounted a sustained attack of her own. The story of the match was set – the methodical champion isolating body parts for punishment and the challenger absorbing it before finding the strength to return fire.

In the end, Purrazzo’s early work paid dividends. The two-time champ had enough in her to escape La Wera Loca via a rope break, but when Purrazzo locked in her own match-ending submission – the Venus de Milo armbar – Valkyrie was forced to tap.

Knockouts Tag Team Championship (Vacant Titles)

Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz beat Havok & Nevaeh

For the first time since 2013, IMPACT Wrestling has Knockouts Tag Team Champions. Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz - Fire and Flava, Hogan and Steelz - defeated Havok and Nevaeh in the finals of the eight-team tournament.

It was a classic match between a faster, more athletic team in Fire and Flava and the more explosive, powerful combo of Havok and Nevaeh. Hogan pinned Nevaeh after a match that, surely, will have a return bout.

Afterward, former Knockouts Tag Team champions and all-time greats Gail Kim and Madison Rayne came out to present the team with the belts. Earlier in the show Rayne – an MVP in the ring and out - had announced her retirement from wrestling.

X-Division Title (Triple Threat Match)

Manik (C) Vs Chris Bey Vs Rohit Raju

In a brawler vs technician vs high-flyer showdown for the championship that arguably put IMPACT on the map 19 years ago, these three rivals put on yet another thriller for X-Division gold.

Both Bey and Raju appeared anxious to get a piece of Manik, to the point where the two challengers cut each other’s best offense off and allowed the champion to escape certain defeat several times. Manik was literally mid-air and about the hit a mamba splash on ex-champ Raju, but Bey caught him with a springboard cutter. It was one of many stunning sequences in this instant classic.

Raju unmasked the champion, who’s facial structure seemed familiar but facepaint prevented a 100 percent positive identification. Bey took advantage of Raju’s momentary lack of focus on winning the match, working the former champion over before all three men exchanged near falls on the other. Finally, Manik pinned Raju to end a match that had everything that makes the X-Division great.

Singles Match (Unscheduled)

Matt Cardona beat Ace Austin via Disqualification

Still gloating at winning the Super X Cup seven days ago, Ace Austin demanded to be added to the X-Division Triple Threat match… but Scott D’Amore had another idea. The IMPACT Executive Vice President introduced huge fan favorite Matt Cardona – IMPACT’s latest high profile free-agent signing.

Cardona dominated Austin until Madman Fulton intervened on the Super X Cup winner’s behalf, forcing a disqualification. The pair continued the attack after the match, but Cardona recovered and sent them into retreat. It was a stunning – and totally unexpected – debut.

Barbed Wire Massacre

Eddie Edwards pinned Sami Callihan

The bad blood between two former IMPACT World Champions has been on the boil for longer than perhaps any feud in IMPACT history. That blood was literally on display at HARD TO KILL as these hated rivals hacked and tore into each other in a vicious Barbed Wire Massacre match.

There’s a reason this type of match-up is banned in several territories, but the rivalry between Edwards and Callihan had escalated far beyond any normal competition between professional athletes. These two men wanted the fight, to hurt each other. That’s exactly what they did in one of the most hardcore matches in IMPACT history.

Edwards began strongly, but a badly misjudged dive off the ring apron saw him crash into a board of barbed wire and the sadist Callihan began using a serial killer’s toolbox of weaponry on his rival.

Edwards desperately earned himself a breather by using his kendo stick on Callihan’s head, but worse was yet to come. Edwards barely kicked out of a piledriver delivered on folded chars. As if enough blood wasn’t already on display, both competitors wrapped their fists in barbed wire and traded lacerating blows. As the war of attrition raged on, both brawlers began to tire – perhaps from fluid loss as much as the results of physical exertion - but neither let up in assaulting the other.

Operating on fumes, Edwards hit a Boston Knee Party, but only got a one-count. He then executed an Emerald Flowsion on a board wrapped in barbed wire and that, finally, put ‘The Draw’ down for the one-two-three. Edwards got the win, but neither man moved for a long time afterwards.

Singles Match

The Karate Man beat Ethan Page

In a match that had to be seen to be believed, and even then still it was still entirely believable, these two competitors – virtual mirror images of the other – literally battled across the world until The Karate Man ripped the heart out of Page. Talk about no mercy.

Mixed Tag-Team Match

Rosemary & Crazzy Steve beat Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb with a K

The recently reformed Decay – Rosemary and Steve – used rapid tags to set the early pace, working over Kaleb early on. It was only when the social media manager tagged in Dashwood that his team got into the match.

However, after spewing green mist into their rivals’ eyes, Decay took the win when Steve finished Kaleb with a jumping DDT.

Six-Tag Tag (Old School Rules)

Eric Young, Deaner & Joe Doering beat Cousin Jake, Rhino & Tommy Dreamer

Eric Young’s ‘Violent By Design’ quest to cure the wrestling business of what he believes sickens it continued as the malevolent mastermind and his two acolytes defeated Cousin Jake and two hardcore legends.

Doering was especially intimidating in the early going – getting the better of all three opponents at once until Rhino, finally, took him down with a Gore. The match devolved into a brutal alley fight, with all six men shipping huge amounts of punishment.

Young got a taste of Old School Tommy Dreamer when he was dropped on thumbtacks but Young, as he often seems to, got the last laugh by pinning Cousin Jake after a piledriver.

Singles Match (part of Countdown to HARD TO KILL)

Brian Myers pinned Josh Alexander

Brian Myers won this battle of tag-team specialists, scoring a second victory over the former member of long-reigning tag champs The North. Myers controlled the early going after throwing Alexander off the top rope to the arena floor. Alexander fought his way back into the match and the pair traded near-falls. However, Myers regained the advantage by pulling the Canadian’s headgear down and laying him out with his lariat.

About IMPACT Wrestling

IMPACT Wrestling is one of the world's most significant wrestling entertainment properties, creating more than 200 hours of original content annually across television and other digital platforms. IMPACT Wrestling specializes in creating premium content, events, products, merchandise, and music, as well as the management and promotion of professional wrestlers. Its flagship show, IMPACT!, is broadcast globally, including AXS TV and Twitch in the United States, Fight Network and GameTV in Canada, Sony Ten 2 and DSport in India, FreeSport and 5STAR in the United Kingdom, in Africa, MVStv in Mexico and TAPDMV in the Philippines. IMPACT Wrestling is a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc.


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