Date: January 12, 2021
Location: Skyway Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Madison Rayne
It’s the go home show for Hard To Kill and that means we are going to be seeing the AEW people showing up again. There are a few other things to cover on the way there, but unfortunately that means we are likely to have more of the continuing adventures of Eric Young and Tommy Dreamer. Let’s get to it.
Opening recap, including a look at the end of last week’s AEW Dynamite.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Kimber Lee
Rosemary and Deonna Purrazzo are here too. Lee wastes no time in sending her into the corner and chopping away but Taya is back with a double leg takedown. Some chops in the corner have Lee out the floor but she is able to block the suicide dive. Back in and the full nelson with the legs has Taya in more trouble, followed by the chinlock. Lee cuts off a comeback attempt but a Swanton hits raised knees.
Taya makes the clothesline comeback and gets two off a shoulder block. A curb stomp doesn’t have much effect on Lee but the running knees in the corner work a bit better. Deonna puts Lee’s hand on the ropes for the break so Rosemary grabs her by the hair. Cue Susan to beat up Rosemary, with the distraction letting Lee roll Taya up for the pin at 9:13.
Rating: C. Lee is fine as a lackey for Purrazzo though I’m not sure where Susan is going to tie into the whole thing. That has been one of the wackiest things going in Impact for a long time now and as much as I hate to admit it, the thing is growing on me a bit. This worked out fine, though they are telegraphing the ending to the title match pretty hard.
We go to Kenny Omega’s bus where Don Callis tells the team that they need a win tonight. It is time for Karl Anderson to beat Rich Swann and everyone is cool.
Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone have a new paid announcement, with Khan praising Impact for all of its good things in 2020. They had these ads, Kenny Omega and getting to hear about AEW! We run down tomorrow’s Dynamite card but Khan isn’t sure that the Good Brothers are actual brothers.
Sami Callihan wants one more match against Eddie Edwards: Barbed Wire Massacre. Do we really have to do this again?
Hard To Kill rundown.
Chris Bey/Rohit Raju vs. Manik/Suicide
It’s a brawl to start with Suicide being sent to the floor. Manik doesn’t have time for the double teaming as Suicide comes back in with stereo backdrops putting Bey and Raju on the floor. Manik and Suicide both head underneath the ring, come back out from the same side, and hit stereo dropkicks to put the villains on the floor.
We take a break and come back with Manik and Suicide hanging in the ropes but getting knocked outside for their efforts. Things settle down to Suicide in trouble in the corner with Raju elbowing him in the mask for two. A belly to back suplex gives Bey two but Suicide reverses into a crucifix for the same.
Suicide manages to suplex him into the corner and rolls over for the hot tag to Manik (dang I miss crowd pops) to clean house. Suicide gets the Octopus on Bey while Manik stretches Raju’s abdominals. Both holds are broken up in a hurry so Raju goes for Manik’s mask. That doesn’t work out so Bey hits the Art of Finesse for the pin on Suicide at 12:42.
Rating: C+. Nice enough match here and it sets up Bey and Raju as the challengers for Manik’s title on Saturday. The story they’re doing may be a bit dated but it is the kind of thing that is always going to work, especially with the amount of talent from the people involved. They had a nice TV match here and Bey gets a boost on the way to the title match.
Taya Valkyrie yells at Rosemary over Susan, with Rosemary saying they (as in Rosemary and….whatever is in her head) will have this on Saturday. Valkyrie needs to get ready for her title match.
Cody Deaner vs. Tommy Dreamer
Eric Young, Joe Doering, Rhino and Cousin Jake are all here too. Deaner goes for the head to start and unloads in the corner until Dreamer avoids a charge. A slam drops Deaner but Doering…..I think misses a trip but Dreamer goes down anyway. Something misses again, as Dreamer just lays there on his side watching as Deaner gets up and is (very eventually) tripped by Rhino.
It earns the double ejection for Rhino/Doering but someone was REALLY off on the timing there as Dreamer was left sitting for about ten seconds waiting on something to happen. Anyway Deaner unloads in the corner and we hit the quickly broken neck crank. The Bionic Elbow is broken up and so is the Deaner DDT, but Dreamer gets knocked down anyway. Dreamer gets the boot up but Deaner slaps Jack, who jumps him for the DQ at 3:36.
Rating: D-. Between that awkward spot, the idea of putting Young and Dreamer not only in the same segment here but also in a pay per view match and the weird timing deal, this was one of the least interesting segments I’ve seen in a very long time. I know he works backstage, but if they have no one better than Dreamer for this much TV time, they’re in more trouble than I thought.
Video on the Knockouts Tag Team Title tournament.
Scott D’Amore officiates the contract signing between Havok/Neveah and Tasha Steelz/Kiera Hogan. Steelz and Hogan talk trash so Havok and Nevaeh grab them by their throats to shut them up. Well done.
Brian Myers asks Scott D’Amore about his next big match and lists off the people he has defeated. Josh Alexander comes up to say Myers won by DQ so D’Amore makes a No DQ match.
Tenille Dashwood vs. Rosemary
Kaleb With A K handles Dashwood’s entrance. Dashwood offers a handshake, which Josh transitions into a plug for Micro Brawlers. Rosemary doesn’t like the attempted cheap shot and knocks Dashwood down in a hurry. Kaleb offers a distraction and gets grabbed by the head, allowing him to use hairspray on Rosemary’s eyes. Tenille hammers away and hits the running crossbody in the corner for two.
Back up and they collide for the double knockdown, followed by Rosemary’s Sling Blade. The Upside Down has Dashwood in even more trouble but she’s right back with a butterfly suplex of all things for two. Rosemary gets in another shot so Kaleb offers a distraction. Cue Crazzy Steve to chase him off and take him down, leaving Rosemary to hit a spear for the pin at 8:12.
Rating: C-. Is anyone else just bored with Dashwood? She continues to have all of the tools in the world but for some reason nothing ever seems to click with her. This was no exception as she did all of her usual stuff but nothing ever actually came of it. Rosemary has a lot more going for her when it comes to character development, which might improve for Dashwood if she had more than being big on Instagram.
Rich Swann is ready for Karl Anderson because tonight it is one on one with everyone else banned from ringside. Then Karl can go back to the bus and say they’re going to get beaten up on Saturday.
Video on Ethan Page going a bit scooters and winding up setting up a match against Karate Man (himself) at Hard To Kill.
Moose vs. Matthew Palmer
Non-title and no time limit this time. Palmer hits four straight running dropkicks in the corner to start but Moose shrugs them off and drops him with a forearm. A big forearm to the back keeps Palmer down and Josh will not shut up about how Palmer has no chance, the Legend of Zelda, Sami Callihan, Hard To Kill and EVERYTHING else that comes to his mind. Palmer gets in a shot to the ribs and a middle rope knee to the face. A chokeslam plants Palmer and Moose elbows him out at 3:28.
Rating: D. Well that happened and makes last week’s match pretty much worthless. Moose doesn’t actually have a match at Hard To Kill but he did become #1 contender at Genesis, which was barely talked about here. I’m assuming this is it for the quick Palmer run, which was only going to be able to go on for so long.
Video on Kenny Omega being awesome. The other five people in the six man are ok too.
Karl Anderson vs. Rich Swann
Swann is defending and no one is at ringside. We’re joined in progress with Swann armdragging him into an armbar as the other four are seen watching from backstage. Anderson fights up and chokes in the corner, setting up his own armbar. The shoulder goes into the post and we take a break.
Back with Swann’s arm being draped over the top rope again, setting up another armbar. Swann fights up with a clothesline and some snap jabs, followed by a running kick to the back of the head. A missed charge lets Anderson hit a big boot for two but Swann rolls him up for the fast pin at 14:03.
Rating: C. That’s probably going to be Impact’s big win over AEW: the World Champion escaping with a rollup pin after getting beaten up for a good chunk of the match. I did like that the match ended so quickly as Swann steals the pin, though this feud does not exactly make you feel great about Impact’s history. Anderson isn’t going to lose anything by taking a fall though so this was fine enough.
We cut to the bus and see an empty sofa. That means Omega and Gallows can jump the Machine Guns in the back, with Swann and Anderson joining in. The big brawl is on to end the show.
Well almost as we get a quick preview for the pay per view to really end things.
Overall Rating: C+. You can look at this one from a few ways. The point of this show was to set up Hard To Kill and it did that rather well, meaning it did its main job. At the same time though, the wrestling wasn’t anything great for a good chunk of the show and some of the stories are just awful. Impact has a big gap between the top and bottom of the card and this showcased it even more than usual. That being said, the Hard To Kill preview worked well and that’s the point of the show.
Kimber Lee b. Taya Valkyrie – Rollup
Chris Bey/Rohit Raju b. Manik/Suicide – Art of Finesse to Suicide
Cody Deaner b. Tommy Dreamer via DQ when Cousin Jake interfered
Rosemary b. Tenille Dashwood – Spear
Moose b. Matthew Palmer via referee stoppage
Rich Swann b. Karl Anderson – Rollup
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