Ken Shamrock def. Madman Fulton
I'm honestly stunned IMPACT went with this as the opener, as it ended up being one of the worst matches on the entire show. Maybe they just wanted to get it out of the way early? Either way, this was slow, plodding, and just a total bore. The only reason I was looking forward to this was to see Fulton potentially destroy Shamrock. Instead, we got a competitive contest where Shamrock won via submission. I realize he's a legend in wrestling and mixed martial arts, but he's also old and should not be beating a monster like Fulton so decisively at this stage of his career. I'm not even the biggest fan of Fulton, but seeing him lose like this was baffling.
Impact X-Division Champion Ace Austin def. Trey
I've hated how the focus of this feud has primarily been on Trey's "mom," but in the ring, these guys can get the job done. Needless to say, this is the match that should have kicked off the show. It was nicely paced and both Austin and Trey had solid showings. Trey never felt like a legitimate threat to me, so it was difficult to buy into any of his nearfalls, but it was an enjoyable outing otherwise.
Impact Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie def. ODB and Jordynne Grace in a Three-Way Match
Valkyrie's title defenses lately have not been the greatest and this was no exception. I really didn't see the point in ODB being involved aside from taking the pin (which she did) considering she hindered the match quality as opposed to enhancing it. There wasn't anything exciting about this at all, and any time it looked like it was going to get better with Valkyrie and Grace taking center stage, ODB stepped in and completely killed the flow. Valkyrie retaining the title made sense, but the finish felt flat. She carries herself like a champion, but her matches have been very underwhelming and it doesn't help that she is never booked to look strong.
Rob Van Dam def. Brian Cage by Referee Stoppage; Van Dam def. Daga
As refreshing as RVD's heel turn has been for his once-stale character, I don't know what to make of his act with Katie Forbes. To call her terrible would be an understatement, and all the jiggling and whatnot doesn't make me want to boo her. Rather, it makes me want to change the channel or turn the show off. Is RVD's new gimmick that he's going through a midlife crisis? At any rate, Cage vs. RVD was a total disappointment and ended way too abruptly. I thought it might have been real (which would explain why Daga came out to kill time with RVD), but once I read the news that Cage has signed with AEW, I realized it was just an angle. RVD vs. Daga was fine while it lasted, but I would have saved it for when it meant more.
Eddie Edwards def. Michael Elgin to Retain the Call Your Shot Trophy
Anyone who possesses the Call Your Shot trophy has the opportunity to vie for any championship at any time of their choosing. Basically, it's IMPACT's version of a Money in the Bank briefcase. Elgin earned the right to fight for it after beating Edwards in an excellent match last week on IMPACT! and this encounter was equally entertaining. Their chemistry is so strong that I wouldn't mind more matches between them if IMPACT opted to keep their story going. Edwards was owed a victory after falling to Elgin on two other occasions and he got that here.
Moose def. Rhino in a No Disqualification Match
Aren't all matches featuring former ECW stars in IMPACT No Disqualification? That's a serious question because I've always wondered that, but it has never been explained. For example, RVD used a chair on Cage during their match earlier in the evening and he wasn't disqualified, so I'm curious why this matchup in particular was announced as being given the No DQ stipulation. Nonetheless, this a mediocre match with the only selling point being that it pitted Moose's Spear against Rhino's Gore. Moose won and that's all that matters. Now let's get him in the Impact World Championship picture.
Impact World Tag Team Champions The North def. Willie Mack in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
The tag team titles were on the line here, so if Mack won, I assume Rich Swann would have been recognized as a co-holder of the championship. Speaking of Swann, he was legitimately injured on Saturday night, so for anyone hoping that this was an angle and that Mack would bring in a new partner to replace him, you were out of luck. This turned out to be a pretty good match down the stretch, even if it was hard to believe that Mack would last as long as he did on his own against The North. Since Swann wasn't involved, I'm sure we'll get a rematch for the tag titles eventually once he's cleared to compete.
Tessa Blanchard def. Sami Callihan to Win the Impact World Championship
The match these two had at Slammiversary was spectacular and they managed to outdo themselves here with the world championship being on the line. They beat the holy hell out of each other, didn't waste any time, and put forth a fantastic effort. All the kickouts eventually reached a point of ridiculousness, but the crowd popped huge for the finish, nonetheless. Not everyone will be a fan of the title change because of recent accusations made against Blanchard on social media (and rightfully so), but I'm interested to see how this plays out. She could drop the strap right back to Callihan or someone else at the next set of TV tapings, so time will tell. Regardless of what you think of it, Blanchard becoming the first female to win a world championship in the main event of an American pay-per-view is a huge deal.
As newsworthy and as awesome as that main event was, nothing else stood out as being special on this show outside of Edwards vs. Elgin. Those two matches were very well wrestled, but everything was either simply solid or subpar. It's safe to say that this was easily the weakest pay-per-view (not counting Twitch specials) IMPACT has produced in the past two years. It wasn't awful by any means, but between poor build and an underwhelming undercard, Hard to Kill didn't deliver the way it should have. Still, IMPACT will get fans talking with Blanchard being the new World Champion, so there is that. On a side note, I'm hoping to make the Rebellion event in April now knowing it'll be held in New York City.
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