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Hard to Kill preview: Will Kenny Omega collect Impact’s soul?

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The day has finally come for Kenny Omega’s big match in Impact. He will be teaming with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to wrestle Rich Swann, Chris Sabin, and Moose tonight (Jan. 16, 2021) at the Hard to Kill PPV. Omega is fond of collecting title belts. With no gold on the line, perhaps he will collect Impact’s soul instead. Hard to Kill also features three championship bouts and Barbed Wire Massacre.

Let’s run down the storylines with predictions for each contest to get you prepared for the evening.

Hard to Kill is available on PPV and Fite TV. The show begins at 8 pm ET.

Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, & Luke Gallows vs Rich Swann, Chris Sabin, & Moose

After Omega won the AEW World Championship from Jon Moxley, he shockingly crossed over into the world of Impact Wrestling. Don Callis opened the door for his pal and gave him the star treatment. Displays of disrespect irked Impact talent, so Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns stepped up to do something about it. They were handily beat down in a Bullet Club reunion, and a trios match was made for Hard to Kill.

Breaking news from Friday announced that Alex Shelley would be unable to compete. Moose is taking his spot. This decision complicates matters for Team Impact, since Moose has his eyes on Swann’s Impact World Championship. At Genesis last week, Moose violently pummeled Willie Mack in an I Quit match. Swann ran down to save his friend by offering a title shot in exchange for mercy.

It seems likely that Moose will turn on Swann, but Impact is relying on his thirst for victory to be more important than any personal issues.

Prediction: Bullet Club. There is no doubt in my mind that Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers win. The bigger curiosity is if it will set up a future Impact title match for the Cleaner.

Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Taya Valkyrie

Purrazzo is clearing out the Knockouts division as she paints her masterpiece. Taya is the last big domino left. A win by Purrazzo over the longest reigning Knockouts champ would cement her Impact legacy.

Prediction: Taya Valkyrie. I have a peculiar feeling about this match. There are a lot of outsiders that may become involved: Rosemary, Kimber Lee, and Susan (Su Yung/Susie). With the way Taya lost to Lee last week, it leads me to believe she’ll rebound for Knockouts glory.

X-Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey

TJP was officially out of chances for the X-Division Championship, so Manik conveniently appeared to defeat Rohit and win the belt. It is well known that TJP has been under the Manik mask in the past. Rohit has been spending his time trying to reveal TJP’s face. That hasn’t worked yet, but don’t count out Rohit trying again during tonight’s match. It may be his downfall.

Bey was the X-Division champ prior to Rohit’s reign. Rohit tricked him to get into that match by promising to watch Bey’s back. Sleazy Rohit was not to be trusted and pinned Bey in a moment of trouble. Bey got back into the championship mix by tricking Rohit into helping him earn a non-title win over Manik. That victory was parlayed into a ticket to the three-way dance.

Prediction: Chris Bey. He seems like a future star, but his first stint as X-Division champ wasn’t all that active. I think Bey will win gold then go on a run to elevate toward the main event.

Knockouts tag title tournament final: Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz vs Havok & Nevaeh

Impact reintroduced the Knockouts Tag Team Championship through a tournament. Hogan & Steelz defeated Sea Stars and Taya & Rosemary. Havok & Nevaeh defeated Tenille Dashwood & Alisha Edwards and Jordynne Grace & Jazz.

Prediction: Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz. They were my original pick to win, and I’m sticking by them. This bout should be a classic contest of speed versus power. The edge should go to Hogan & Steelz for their skill in bending the rules without being caught.

Barbed Wire Massacre: Eddie Edwards vs Sami Callihan

In my opinion, this match is the true main event of Hard to Kill as it should be the blow-off of a three-year feud that ignited when Callihan blasted Edwards in the head with a baseball bat. An errant blow sent Edwards to the hospital with a damaged orbital bone. Impact turned a work into a shoot to make these two bitter rivals over the years.

The intention was to put the feud to bed during the first episode of Impact Wrestling in 2021 with one final fight. It turned into a nightmare when Callihan trapped Alisha Edwards in a cage, so he could attack Eddie with barbed wire and a bat. That led to the Barbed Wire Massacre stipulation.

Barbed Wire Massacre is one of the most violent matches professional wrestling can offer. The ropes are replaced with barbed wire. I venture to say blood is guaranteed.

Prediction: Eddie Edwards. Sami Callihan is such a scumbag that the hero must prevail, assuming the feud is truly going to be over.

Kumite: Ethan Page vs Karate Man

After losing the tag team belts, Page has been losing his mind. That opened the door for Karate Man to enter. Karate Man is an amalgamation of badass 80’s action stars. Karate Man is a new character used by Page a few times on the indie scene, but they are supposed to be two different people in Impact. During a therapy session, a challenge was issued and accepted. The two will settle their differences in the Kumite.

This oddity of a bout is the one I’m most looking forward to at Hard to Kill. I’m assuming they go the cinematic route, because how else would they have Page fighting himself. It should be ridiculous, over-the-top, bloody fun.

Prediction: Karate Man. I’m hoping he rips Ethan Page’s beating heart out of his chest then puts it back before death.

Old School Rules: Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, & Cousin Jake vs Eric Young, Joe Doering, & Cody Deaner

Young has a certain wicked vision about the wrestling world. He came to save us and brought Doering with him. Deaner’s eyes were opened with seduction of that vision, so he joined the crew. Rhino and Dreamer want to eliminate them as a cancer. Jake wants his cousin back. There’s only one way to settle this... Old School Rules! That pretty much means anything goes.

Prediction: Eric Young, Joe Doering, & Cody Deaner. This group is just getting started on their way to ruling the world.

Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb Konley vs Rosemary & Crazzy Steve

Tenille’s attempt to poach Rosemary away from Taya as a tag team partner failed, so a singles match was made. Konley persistently cheated on Tenille’s behalf. Rosemary’s plan to counter that interference came in the form of Crazzy Steve. Rosemary went on to win, and now she’ll have a chance to do it again in an intergender tag contest.

Prediction: Rosemary & Crazzy Steve. I don’t think the social media influencers will be prepared for the special type of weirdness brought forth by Decay.

Josh Alexander vs Brian Myers

Myers desired more opportunity due to all his wins. Alexander protested that their previous match ended in a cheap DQ. It will be settled in the pre-show.

Prediction: Josh Alexander. He needs to build momentum as a serious singles threat if his time is indeed done with The North.

Check back with Cageside Seats for live results. Hard to Kill begins at 8 pm ET on PPV and Fite TV. Until then, let us know your predictions.

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