Impact Hard to Kill 2022 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
For Impact Wrestling, Hard To Kill is an attitude but Saturday night, it was the title of the first pay-per-view of 2022, a show headlined by a blockbuster three-way dance pitting world champion Moose against top contenders Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey.
History was made in the first-ever women's Ultimate X match, 10 top stars waged Hardcore War and Deonna Purrazzo and Mickie James settled their intense rivalry over the Knockouts Championship in a brutal, violent Texas Deathmatch.
Who wore gold by night's end, enjoyed bragging rights and set themselves up for a banner year?
Find out now with this recap of the January 8 extravaganza.
- Impact World Championship Match: Matt Cardona vs. W. Morrissey vs. Moose (c)
- Texas Death Match for the Knockouts Championship: Mickie James (c) vs. Deonna Purrazzo
- Ring of Honor World Championship Match: Jonathan Gresham (c) vs. Chris Sabin
- X-Division Championship Match: Trey Miguel (c) vs. Steve Cutler
- Hardcore War: Willie Mack, Rich Swann, Eddie Edwards, Rhino and Heath vs. Eric Young, Deaner, Joe Doering, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson
- First-Ever Women's Ultimate X Match: Jordynne Grace vs. Chelsea Green vs. Rosemary vs. Alisha Edwards vs. Lady Frost vs. Tasha Steelz (winner receives a future Knockouts title shot)
- Count to Hard To Kill: Chris Bey vs. Laredo Kid vs. Ace Austin vs. "Speedball" Mike Bailey
Countdown Show: Jake Something vs. Madman Fulton
New play-by-play commentator Tom Hanifan (formerly Tom Phillips in WWE) welcomed the viewing audience as the Countdown to Hard to Kill kicked off with a battle of heavyweights between Madman Fulton and Jake Something.
Fulton seized control early, working his opponent with his unbridled fury. Something fought back with a pair of throat thrusts and a dive to the arena floor. Back inside, he earned a near-fall, then followed up with a clothesline.
The heel halted his momentum with a chokeslam, then added another. An attempt at a third failed and Something put Fulton away with the Black Hole Slam.
Something defeated Fulton
This was a solid battle of the big men, won by a guy in Something that has all of the physical tools to be a future world champion. He's only missing a sustained opportunity to prove himself in a big spot with the company. Following his double-tough showing against Jonah Thursday night, and the win here, one can hope that opportunity is right around the corner.
A fine way to kick off the night's festivities and set the stage for the rest of the event.
"Speedball" Mike Bailey vs. Chris Bey vs. Ace Austin vs. Laredo Kid
"Speedball" Mike Bailey waited five years for the opportunity to compete in Impact Wrestling. Saturday, he paid off his patience, seizing the opportunity to compete in a four-way X-Division match against former champions Chris Bey and Ace Austin, along with the world-renowned Laredo Kid.
He would emerge victoriously.
A wild, chaotic match featuring the high-risk moves and jaw-dropping arsenals one comes to expect from the division, it would culminate with Bey and Kid on the outside of the ring, allowing the newcomer to delivered a 450 double knees to the back of Austin for the upset win.
Bailey defeated Austin, Bey and Kid
This was a great introduction to Bailey, in a match that suits his awe-inspiring offense. It would have meant more on the main card, where more would have been made of it than it was here in what amounted to a main card warm-up.
It is also disappointing that a match of this type, with the talent of this caliber, was relegated to the pre-show. Yes, there is only so much room on the main card but certainly, room could have been made for a relative sprint of a match like this one.
Regardless, Bailey earned the spotlight and paid off management's belief in him by shining in his first major in-ring exposure in a major North American promotion.
Knockouts Ultimate X Match
For the first time ever, six women battled in an Ultimate X match, a Knockouts Championship opportunity at stake. Digital Media champion and Texas' own, Jordynne Grace, headlined a field that also included Rosemary, Chelsea Green, Tasha Steelz, Alisha Edwards and newcomer Lady Frost.
The only way to win a match of the type was to scale the cables and retrieve the red X hanging above the ring.
Steelz's partner Savannah Evans and Rosemary's partner, Havok, made their presence felt early but were wiped out by the field on the floor.
Back inside, Rosemary turned Edwards inside out with a spear from the cables while Grace caught Steelz with a powerbomb from up high. Frost wiped out her competitors, Havok and Evans with a moonsault from the rigging.
Moments later, Steelz and Green raced to retrieve the X but it was the former that fell to the mat below with the prize in her possession, earning the aforementioned title and etching her name in the history books as the first woman to win a match of its type.
Steelz defeated Green, Edwards, Frost, Rosemary and Grace
There was a ton of pressure on these six women to go out and have a match that even the best to ever lace a pair of boots have struggled in. They showed guts, creativity and a balls-to-the-wall mentality as they executed some jaw-dropping spots.
Was the match perfect? Absolutely not. Were there a few messy or scary spots that were more a reflection of nerves and unfamiliarity with the structure? Sure, but this was a great way to kick off the show. Furthermore, it helped elevate Steelz as a singles performer, something fans have been waiting for since the break up of Fire N Flava months ago.
She's a star in the making, as is Frost, and both showed up and showed out in a strong first effort by the Knockouts division in a high-profile gimmick match of this sort.
X-Division Championship Match: Trey Miguel vs. Steve Maclin
Steve Maclin launched himself like a missile under the bottom rope, wiping X-Division champion Trey Miguel out during his entrance. A brawl between the two ensued, with the champ tossing his opponent down the ramp.
Maclin recovered, though, and seized control of the match, wearing his smaller opponent down by focusing his attack on the back and rib area. He added an elbow to the lower back from the ring apron, then added a side suplex on the apron to further punish his opponent.
Miguel finally created some separation, delivering a double stomp to the chest and gaining much-needed time to recover. Maclin cut off the Meteora, though, hanging Miguel up on the ropes. He added the Crosshairs, a spear through the ropes and to the exposed ribs of his opponent.
The champion recovered and delivered Metera off the ropes and to the floor, driving the back of Maclin's head into the guardrail at ringside. A Meteora back inside the squared circle earned just a two-count as Maclin showed incredible toughness.
That toughness could not prepare him for a third Meteora as Miguel successfully retained his title and became the first man to pin Maclin in Impact.
Miguel defeated Maclin
Miguel and Maclin had one of the best rivalries entering this pay-per-view and absolutely paid it off with the early Match of the Night.
Hard-hitting, physical and with all the drama you want out of a championship encounter, this was a fantastic contest that elevated the performers and title. Maclin was ruthless in his attack of Miguel while the champ was gutsy and resilient, then proved he knew when to up the intensity on his end to secure the win.
On a night in which it was originally scheduled to be on the Countdown to Hard To Kill show before The IInspiration was pulled from the card due to COVID-19 protocols, the X-Division match may very well have stolen the show.
Oh, and Maclin, he's a forgotten son no more.
Ring of Honor Championship Match: Chris Sabin vs. Jonathan Gresham
The voices of Ring of Honor, commentator Ian Riccobani and announcer Bobby Cruise, joined the broadcast team as ROH world champion Jonathan Gresham defended against Chris Sabin in a match the challenger waited two-and-a-half years for.
Fought under Ring of Honor Pure rules (20-counts outside the ring and three rope breaks allotted to talent), the celebrated in-ring competitors wowed the fans in Texas with a mat-based battle. At one point, Sabin delivered Cradle Shock for three, only to find out that Gresham had slid his foot under the bottom rope for the break.
A barrage of chest-rattling chops brought the crowd to their feet and demonstrated the sense of urgency that had engulfed the match. A series of pins and reversals gave way to Gresham bridging over Sabin and scoring the hard-fought victory.
Gresham defeated Sabin
Impact probably could have done a better job of prepping the audience for the difference in rules, but Riccaboni, Hannifan and D'Lo Brown did a great job of laying them out as the match went along.
Sabin is one of the best wrestlers in the company's two-decade history and has been in his fair share of high-profile bouts. Gresham, in his first opportunity to make a name for himself in front of Impact fans, earned their respect with tenacity and a mat game matched only by his opponent.
Sabin saved face by way of his controversial non-victory while Gresham came back to win the match and retain his title fairly and squarely. This was the second superb match in a row as Impact set the table for a hell of a show still to come.
Josh Alexander vs. Jonah
Jonah arrived in Impact Wrestling back at Turning Point, sending an emphatic message to the locker room by making an example of former world champion Josh Alexander. He has repeatedly left The Walking Weapon lying, including this past Thursday on AXS TV after he drove him through a table with a big splash.
Saturday night, he continued his dominance, controlling the early portion of the match by targeting the previously injured ribs of his opponent. Alexander finally created an opportunity for separation but Jonah countered an attempt at the C4 spike and added a running senton to the ribs for a near-fall.
A defiant Alexander fought back and dared Jonah to fight him. A series of clothesline attempts finally took the big man over the top rope and to the floor, where he brought his weight down on the ankle his opponent targeted earlier.
The action continued around the ringside area until Alexander jumped off the top rope, over the guardrail and into the stands onto his opponent. Jonah recovered and made it back into the ring, where he sent Alexander rib-first into the ring post and set him up for a massive suplex that drove the fight out of both men momentarily.
Jonah turned Alexander inside out with a clothesline for two, then delivered a brainbuster for another near-fall. He headed up top for a moonsault but missed, allowing the former world champ to rock him with a rolling elbow, followed by a German suplex, then powerbomb for two. He viciously stomped Jonah's face and chest, then applied the ankle lock as he sought the submission win. Left with no other option, the big man tapped, awarding the match to Alexander.
Alexander defeated Jonah
What an incredibly physical battle between two hated foes.
This was an incredible wrestling match, an unbridled hoss fight that built through higher-stakes spots until Jonah missed and Alexander took advantage.
The growth and evolution of The Walking Weapon over the last year have been nothing short of extraordinary. He has shaken all doubts that he could succeed at the top level of competition as a singles competitor and is undeniably the man in the company, another run with the top prize awaiting him sooner rather than later.
Jonah loses nothing here. If anything, he can make the argument that he lived to see another day rather than risking a severely damaged ankle. Who knows if he makes another appearance for the company but if he doesn't, he should earn rave reviews for helping drag greater aggression and toughness out of Alexander in what was a key win on his journey back to the world title.
The rules were simple: think War Games without the double rings and steel cages. Two men started, another entered from team in alternating order. No winner would be determined until all 10 men entered. The only way to win was by pinfall or submission. Most importantly, there would be no disqualifications.
Swann and Deaner started the match until Karl Anderson joined the heel side of things, his team holding the man advantage by way of Machine Gun's victory Thursday night on AXS TV. Mack entered next for the babyfaces, hitting the ring with an ax handle. "When did this become Anchorman 2?" Hanifan asked on commentary.
Gallows drove a golf club into the nether regions of Mack and busted Swann over the head with a piece of the door. Edwards, a former world champion in his own right, brought Kenny the kendo stick with him as he unloaded on the heels.
Young entered next, rekindling his rivalry with both Edwards and Swann. Heath hit the ring and blinded both Anderson and Young with powder, then downed them with a lead pipe. The action broke down, spilling to the floor before Doering entered, the final member of the heel team.
Carnage ensued as the clock counted down and Rhino hit the ring, looking to avenge the many beatdowns and mental torment dealt him by Young and VBD over the last year.
Blood flowed as the 10 competitors came face-to-face, then exchanged blows, neither holding a distinct advantage. A violent exchange of trash can lid shots to the face was won by Edwards, who added a kendo stick shot to the head of Young. The heart and soul of Impact splintered his weapon of choice as he took out frustration on the surrounding heels.
Edwards lit it on fire and blasted Gallows with the weapon, only to fall prey to a piledriver through a table at ringside by Young. Swann added a 450 splash to EY off the apron while Mack introduced a board of barbed wire to the fray.
Doering drover Swann through it with a death valley driver and Anderson flattened Mack with the Stun Gun. Rhino delivered the Gore and Heath pinned Anderson for the win.
After the match, Ring of Honor's Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Vincent and PCO hit the ring and laid waste to the babyfaces. Maria Kanellis joined them in the ring, standing tall to close out the shocking segment.
Rhino, Heath, Swann, Mack and Edwards defeated The Good Brothers and Violent By Design
The ring was a bit too packed with talent at more than one point in this one, but the wild and chaotic brawl was a nice change of pace after three killer wrestling matches. It represented something else Impact does extremely well, settled some scores and put Rhino and Heath over as the next challengers to The Good Brothers' tag titles.
More importantly, introduced the stars of Ring of Honor to the fray.
Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Vincent and PCO, along with Maria Kanellis, immediately injected a sense of uncertainty within the company. Is Impact in the midst of a full-blown ROH invasion? Might this be the start of another partnership between the company and the much-discussed "forbidden door?"
That Scott D'Amore put over having no knowledge of what happened and vowing to call "Baltimore" only strengthens the mystery and will keep fans engaged, waiting for answers.
Impact World Championship Match: Matt Cardona vs. Moose vs. W. Morrissey
Nonstop action dominated the opening minutes of the Impact World Championship match.
The defending champion Moose and challengers W. Morrissey and Matt Cardona each enjoyed bursts of offense but it was a big Tower of Doom spot from Moose that finally earned him some momentum. An appearance by Chelsea Green and a fearless crossbody to the world champion halted his momentum.
Morrissey riped out the opposition at ringside and flattened Cardona. The Long Island Broski responded with a codebreaker that sent Morrssey to the floor. An exchange between Cardona and Moose climaxed with the challenger sending the world champion off the top rope and through the timekeeper's table.
A prosthetic leg made its way into the ring from the crowd and Morrissey utilized it on Cardona, only for the babyface to deliver Radio Silence for a strong near-fall. Cardona again came within a second of winning the world title, his dreams dashed as Moose interrupted the count.
Moose accidentally wiped out the referee with a spear and Cardona flattened him with Radio Silence. Morrissey disposed of the underdog and delivered a powerbomb to the world champion but his fall went uncounted.
Both Moose and Cardona teased accidentally hitting Green with a steel chair. The champ responded by powerbombing Cardona into both green and referee Brandon Tolle. The distraction allowed Moose to deliver the Lights Out spear for the win.
Moose defeated Morrissey and Cardona to retain
If you enjoyed the hell out of the Attitude Era main events, you loved this.
This was a story-heavy brawl that used referee bumps to protect Cardona and Morrissey, interjected Green into the proceedings to payoff the errant chair shot angle from earlier in the program and most importantly, provided Moose a hell of a successful title defense.
This probably could have spared one of the ref bumps and still been incredibly effective, but that is nitpicking.
A feud that arrived at the PPV riding a solid storyline, it culminated in a match that exceeded expectations and proved that the top of the Impact card is strong, healthy and deep.
Especially when you take into consideration Josh Alexander, the ROH newcomers and, potentially, Jonah.
Texas Death Match for the Knockouts Title: Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo
Knockouts champion Mickie James defended against “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo in a Texas Death Match where, after each pinfall or submission, the affected competitor would have until the count of 10 to get back to her feet or she would lose the match.
James scored a quick pinfall but Purrazzo quickly recovered. The challenger tapped the champion out but James returned to her feet in short order. With Ring of Honor women’s champion Rok-C watching from the front row, Purrazzo sent James into the ring post and asserted her dominance.
The Virtuosa ran her opponent over with an anvil case on the stage, busting the champion open. After a pinfall and dramatic near-fall, James narrowly avoided loss, only to be beaten back down the entrance ramp. James recovered and rocked her opponent with a dropkick, sending her off the apron and to the floor.
Back inside, James used her exposed knee brace to pepper Purrazzo with shots to the face. She retrieved a table from under the ring but Purrazzo, laying in wait, attacked the champion. The Virtuosa emptied a bag of thumbtacks on the mat and, after a few teases, Purrazzo pumpkicked the champion into them.
Hardcore Country screamed in agony before picking tacks out of her hands, her title reign in jeopardy. Choked by her own chaps, James tapped out. She struggled to her feet, only for Purrazzo to take her back down.
James recovered momentarily and teased a guitar shot but Purrazzo grabbed a chair and teed off on the injured knee of her opponent, all while the champ rolled around in the tacks. The Virtuosa went up top but James rocked her with a steel chair, knocking her off the ropes and to the floor.
The champion delivered a Thesz Press off the apron and onto her opponent, scoring a pinfall. Matthew Rehwoldt appeared, lifting a bloodied Purrazzo to her feet in time for James to wipe them both out.
Back inside, Purrazzo delivered the Queen’s Gambit off the ropes and through a table, earning another pinfall. James made it up and as she built momentum, Purrazzo went low in a callback to James’ WrestleMania 22 match with Trish Stratus.
James shook it off, blasted Rehwoldt with a guitar shot, rocked Purrazzo with a Mick Kick and delivered the Mick-DT for the pinfall. 10 seconds later, after burying Purrazzo under plenty of plunder, James retained her title.
James defeated Purrazzo to retain
Impact Wrestling put an emphasis on women’s wrestling Saturday night, bookending its first PPV of 2022 with historic matches featuring its immensely talented Knockouts division.
The effort by James and Purrazzo was off the charts here as they brought the appropriate physicality and violence to a feud that has been the hottest in the company for three months now. The use of the weaponry was on-point and in the context of the story heading into the show, Rehwoldt interfering made sense.
James winning the match and showing tremendous intestinal fortitude while doing so, fighting off a body punctured by thumbtacks and a failed attempt by Purrazzo to play mind games to retain her title ahead of a Royal Rumble appearance on January 29.
Was everything perfect? No. Did the bounce-back chair shot by Purrazzo have the impact it should have leading to the finish? No, but that’s where the charm is. It wasn’t the polished, pretty wrestling match we get elsewhere. It felt natural and blemished, the way any emotionally intense battle would. It helped in the long run and helped elevate the quality.
It will be interesting to see who steps up to James next, with Tasha Steelz having won Ultimate X but Ring of Honor champ Rok-C also making her presence felt in the main event. Mystery creates intrigue and helps fuel strong television.
The coming weeks on Impact should be a hell of a lot of fun, especially for fans of women’s wrestling.