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Impact recap: Bully Ray phones in master plan on Hard to Kill go-home

Impact has the Hard to Kill PPV coming in hot on Friday, January 13. The event will be anchored by two feature attractions. Josh Alexander battles Bully Ray in Full Metal Mayhem for the Impact World Championship, and Mickie James wrestles Jordynne Grace for the Knockouts Championship in career versus title. Thursday night’s episode of Impact Wrestling was the go-home to hype the PPV card.

Since Josh Alexander and Bully Ray were sent home until Hard to Kill, Impact conducted a video phone call as the go-home segment to sell their feud.

Alexander was disgusted that Bully has no limits nor does he play by any rules. Bully got Alexander to admit he was in his head. Alexander didn’t seem to care, but Bully took pride in his plan working. Like a true super villain, Bully explained his motives in great detail.

Bully did all his treacherous acts for a reason. He knows he can’t hang with Alexander in a long wrestling match. That’s why he lashed out with violence using chairs, ladders, and tables. It was all in an effort to goad Alexander into a Full Metal Mayhem match. That is Bully’s specialty, and he is confident in winning the Impact world title.

In addition, Impact aired a hype package for the bout. Alexander is vulnerable, but he is also pissed. He will make sure Bully leaves as a sad, pathetic, lonely, broken man, and nobody will care.

After last week’s excellent career retrospective for Mickie James, all that was left was one final hype package. Jordynne Grace isn’t looking forward to ending James’s Last Rodeo, but that’s what she needs to do. It is either retire James or keep the Knockouts belt. Grace has no desire to lose the title. On James’ side, she has had a career full of incredible moments, and she will have one more moment at Hard to Kill.

In other action from Impact Wrestling:

  • Heath defeated Bryan Myers. Both Rhino and Matt Cardona were ejected from ringside. Myers landed a flying elbow drop. Heath kicked out on the cover. Myers turned his back to complain to the referee about the count, so Heath trapped Myers in a crucifix pin. Myers kicked out and complained to the referee again. Heath pounced for a Wake Up Call to win. Cool move alert! Heath had a nifty powerslam off the turnbuckles.
  • Bullet Club members Chris Bey and Ace Austin are ready for the four-way elimination tag title bout at Hard to Kill. That will be no sweat after getting to the finals of the NJPW Super Junior Tag League.
  • Savannah Evans defeated Rosemary. Taya Valkyrie was beaten up backstage, so the numbers games was 4-on-2 with Tasha Steelz, Gisele Shaw, and Jai Vidal ringside across from Jessicka. Rosemary was furious and took the fight to Evans. The Cannibal weathered the storm to clobber with power. In the end, the numbers game was too much of a distraction. Steelz, Shaw, and Vidal kept hopping onto the apron one after the other from different sides to cause chaos. That allowed Evans to hit the full nelson slam on Rosemary for victory. Afterward, they winners drove home their point by stomping Jessicka and Rosemary.
  • The Wilde Witch had a witchy vignette asking for strength from the powers that be. She called on fire, earth, air, and water. The dark feminine will rise in the #1 contender Knockouts bout at Hard to Kill.
  • Sami Callihan shaved his head in the first step of joining The Design. Deaner explained that shaving Callihan’s hair is part of the process in losing his identity. Callihan has to tear himself down to become stronger. Callihan teased tension the whole time if he would follow through. He did, and Deaner announced it as the death of the Death Machine. Deaner welcomed the birth of Callihan. (Full details here.)
  • Gail Kim was too busy to act as a temporary replacement for Scott D’Amore. The EVP was recovering after Bully Ray powerbombed him through a table. Kim did tease that a new director of authority will be revealed at Hard to Kill. (Full details here.)
  • “Speedball” Mike Bailey defeated Anthony Greene. Competitive bout. Bailey turned up the heat with an offensive blitz to win. Head kick, thrust kick, cyclone kick, and Ultima Weapon sealed the deal.
  • Moose, Eddie Edwards, & Steve Maclin defeated Joe Hendry, Jonathan Gresham, & Rich Swann. This was a PPV preview for three singles bouts coming together as a trios contest. The action blew up into moves all around down the stretch. Moose picked his spot to spear Hendry for victory.
  • After the main event, Edwards was by himself in the ring. The lights fluttered with lightning sounds to be heard. The unsaid implication was that PCO has risen from his burial in the desert.

This was sort of a paint-by-numbers go-home show from Impact. The matches were low stakes but high action. A video phone call between Josh Alexander versus Bully Ray isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing to sell a PPV, but the hard work in storytelling was already completed. If you weren’t sold by now, there’s not much more Impact could have done to change your mind. Same for Mickie James versus Jordynne Grace.

One positive thing about Bully explaining his master plan is that it shows Impact puts in a lot of attention to detail in storytelling. I figured Bully wanted a hardcore bout, but I didn’t think he would be so meticulous to use chairs, ladders, and tables as subconscious messaging to encourage Alexander into his trap. You have to appreciate the effort in these layers of planning. On top of that, it does make me wonder if Bully laid the foundation plotting something else to ensure victory at Hard to Kill. Whether there is a swerve or not in Full Metal Mayhem, the seed is out there to increase curiosity from fans.

Impact did drop enough fresh teases for the future to make the episode worthwhile. The act of Sami Callihan’s haircut was not that riveting, however, I am intrigued in seeing what Deaner has in store as Callihan goes through the process to join The Design. There is a lot of room to get as demented as they want. Bringing in a temporary authority figure could shake things up in the Impact Zone. PCO returning for vengeance on Eddie Edwards will be glorious.

Share your thoughts on the latest episode of Impact Wrestling.

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