Impact is starting the year with Hard to Kill on Friday, January 13. The feature attractions include Mickie James staring retirement in the face when she wrestles Jordynne Grace in career versus title for the Knockouts Championship and Josh Alexander aiming to get revenge on Bully Ray in Full Metal Mayhem for the Impact World Championship. The show will also have three more championship contests, a #1 contender bout, Falls Count Anywhere, and the reveal of a new authority figure.
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Kushida won 6-way X-Division match. Other competitors included Angels, Yuya Uemura, 73-year-old Mike Jackson, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, and Delirious. Bhupinder Gujjar was advertised but not in the contest. First pin or submission equaled win. Kenny King ambushed Bailey to knock him off the turnbuckles down to the floor. Jackson, Angels, and Delirious were in the corner positioning on the turnbuckles. Kushida ran over for a handspring double kick at Jackson and Delirious. The Time Splitter seized Angels for a Spanish Fly into an armbar submission for victory.
X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel retained against Black Taurus. Match moved from PPV to pre-show. Crazzy Steve was ringside as the Decay hype man. Taurus hit a killer super gorilla press slam. On the Destination Hellhole lift, Trey escaped to counter for a Lightning Spiral. Trey put his feet on the ropes for the pin, but the referee caught him. Trey rolled out of the ring to place a foreign object in his pants and also grab a can of spray paint. The referee confiscated the paint. Taurus charged for Destination Hellhole, but Trey pulled out a second can of paint to spray the bull in the eyes. That was all part of Trey’s devious plan to cheat. Trey finished with a second Lightning Spiral for victory.
Rosemary, Taya Valkyrie, & Jessicka vs. Tasha Steelz, Savannah Evans, & Gisele Shaw not on pre-show as advertised.
The show was dedicated to Don West. The locker room gathered on stage for a moment of silence.
Impact World Championship: Josh Alexander retained against Bully Ray in Full Metal Mayhem. All objects with metal were legal. Hardcore brawl to start. John Skyler and Jason Hotch ran in to help Bully. Alexander was zip-tied to the ropes. Tommy Dreamer came out to even the odds. Dreamer and Bully shared a stare, then Bully handed a trashcan to Dreamer. Dreamer teased a heel turn then swerved to hit Bully with the trashcan instead. Bully speared Dreamer through a table. Alexander was still tied to the ropes. Bully bashed Alexander’s skull with a trashcan. Alexander’s wife ran in pleading to stop the violence. Bully was going to hit her in the head with a trashcan, so she low-blowed him in the groin. She cut Alexander free. Alexander set up a flying splash off a ladder onto Bully through a table. 1, 2, kick out by Bully! Alexander snatched the ankle lock, and Bully tapped out. (Full details here.)
Mickie James was nervous about the career versus title match. She spoke with Tara (aka Victoria) about doing her best to make the fans proud. Raven entered with encouragement for James. He was there for the beginning of Mickie’s career in Impact, and, in case this is the end, he wants to be there too.
Impact World Tag Team Championship: Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley retained against Matt Cardona & Brian Myers, Heath & Rhino, and Ace Austin & Chris Bey. 4-way elimination match. Heath & Rhino were eliminated on a roll-up from Cardona to Rhino. Major Players were eliminated when Myers took an Art of Finesse cutter from Bey and The Fold flipping neckbreaker from Ace. Bullet Club had momentum toward victory, but Myers caused a distraction. That allowed the Motor City Machine Guns a window of opportunity to capitalize with the Dirt Bomb teamwork finisher on Bey.
Frankie Kazarian made a surprise appearance to announce that he signed with Impact. (Full details here.)
Impact Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry retained against Moose. Athletic burly hoss style. Two chokeslams by Moose, two kick-outs by Hendry. Moose grabbed the title belt as a foreign object. The referee took it away. Moose kicked Hendry in the cojones as the ref’s back was turned. Spear by Moose. New champ. Hold on...
The new Director of Authority was revealed to be Santino Marella. He hates cheaters. Santino restarted the match. (Full details here.)
Moose charged for a spear, Hendry dodged, and Moose collided into the corner. Roll-up by Hendry, kick-out by Moose. After a dance of counters, Hendry planted Moose on a chokeslam spinebuster to win.
Kenny King didn’t think “Speedball” Mike Bailey was taking him seriously. They have a Pit Fight on January 19, and Bailey is out there in regular wrestling matches. There will be no wrestling in the Pit Fight. King hasn’t fought in a pit, but he has fought in the streets. He is starting to chip away at Bailey’s reputation. We’ll finally see Speedball get snuffed out in the Pit Fight.
Knockouts #1 Contender: Masha Slamovich prevailed over Deonna Purrazzo, Taylor Wilde, and Killer Kelly. Chaotic four-way pace of action. The finish had dueling submissions with Purrazzo in a Cobra Clutch choke from Kelly and Slamovich in a crossface from Wilde. Slamovich rolled over to escape, then she slammed Wilde with the Snow Plow on top of Purrazzo and Kelly. Slamovich pinned Wilde to win.
Raven joined commentary for the next bout.
Falls Count Anywhere in Atlanta: Steve Maclin defeated Rich Swann. The fight started outdoors with brawling by a dumpster, onto the sidewalk with cars zooming by, and into the parking entrance. They eventually made there way to the ring for rugged fisticuffs. Maclin won with a double underhook DDT onto a side ramp, which may have been equivalent to a concrete floor.
Eddie Edwards defeated Jonathan Gresham. Technical savvy of the Octopus frustrated Edwards, so Edwards relied on making it gritty to wear down his opponent. The closing sequence saw Gresham duck a Boston Knee Party to counter for a roll-up. Kick-out by Edwards. Gresham blasted a running forearm. He ran the ropes again and ate a crushing lariat. Edwards pounced for a tiger driver. Kick-out by Gresham. Boston Knee Party by Edwards to finish for victory.
PCO returns. After the match, lights out and lights on with PCO in the ring holding a shovel. He spit sand in Edwards’ face and hit him with the shovel as payback from being buried in the Las Vegas desert. Chokeslam by PCO to stand tall.
Knockouts Championship: Mickie James won the championship from Jordynne Grace in Career vs. Title. The main event went for around 20 minutes of riveting action. The story was James digging deep to overcome Grace’s powerhouse offense. The tide turned when Grace charged into the corner. James evaded contact, and Grace rammed into the ring post. James struck with a tornado DDT out of the corner to win. (Full details here.)
Very fun show. Two thumbs up to check it out.