Impacting Wrestling looked to start off their 2020 pay-per-view schedule on a high note in their first-ever Hard To Kill event.

Eight matches took place on the card with all four brand titles on the line, with one person pulling double duty while another had a disadvantage from the start. Here are my thoughts and grades on each of the Hard To Kill matches.

Ken Shamrock def. Madman Fulton

Grade: C

Shamrock might be up there in age but he can still perform in-ring and looks like a total badass in the process. Fulton did a great job of selling Shamrock’s offense while also showing the potential he has as a monster heel.

While many fans do not like seeing former wrestlers go at it in the ring due to the match quality might be down from their glory days, Shamrock has done a solid job since returning to the squared circle.

X Division Championship – Ace Austin (c) def. Trey Miguel

Grade: B

The mind games of Austin to set up the match helped start this match off quickly, with the challenger Miguel taking out the champion in hopes to seek revenge and take the title. A high paced match between the two that resulted in Austin retaining his X Division title.

The in-ring chemistry was there and both of these guys look to be one of the future stars of the company, particularly Austin. He is an unlikeable heel who backs it up. At only 23 years old, Impact needs to do whatever they can to keep him around. A solid match with a post-match brawl between the two suggests that this rivalry is far them over

Knockouts Championship – Taya Valkyrie (c) def. Jordynne Grace and ODB

Grade: B

Valkyrie’s year-plus long reign as Knockouts champion was on the line as she faced off against Grace and the returning ODB in a triple threat match. The quality of the match was solid and it was nice to see ODB return but some might argue that a standard singles match between Valkyrie and Grace might have been better. In hindsight, however, it makes sense to add her as she took the pin to protect Grace and set up a standard singles match between Grace and Valkyrie for the future.

Valkyrie still looks to have an extended reign as Knockouts champion. She is such an obnoxious, stuck-up heel that is the type of villain that the company needs in Impact. The reign will end eventually and my guess is Grace is the one to dethrone the champion. A great wrestler that combines speed and power, she is the future of the division. Hopefully, we can see this story continue between the two and will see if they face off at the next pay-per-view.

Brian Cage vs. Rob Van Dam ended in a no contest, leading to Rob Van Dam def. Daga

Credit: Impact Wrestling

Grade: C

Before the event took place, there was a story out there that Brian Cage signed with All Elite Wrestling. In ended up making sense as he ended up getting injured after Van Dam, when he launched himself across the ring with a Van Terminator to a chair that was held by his girlfriend, Katie Forbes, that left his opponent unconscious.

The ref called off the match but Daga hit the ring out of nowhere, trying to talk Van Dam down. An impromptu, unadvertised match ended up happening. Van Dam dominated early and Daga did have some momentum but the interference from Forbes allowed Van Dam to walk away with the win.

This was more showing the character rebuild of Van Dam as an arrogant heel and it worked perfectly. Cage, who may no longer be apart of Impact, sold his injuries perfectly here, showing that Van Dam is just as violent as ever. The only problem really was Daga and why he was involved in this match. There was no real reason for him to show up but it shows that we may see a program between the two down the line.

Eddie Edwards def. Michael Elgin to retain his Call Your Shot Trophy

Grade: A-

I was not expecting this match to be as good as it was. This was just an all-out brawl with the opportunity for a future world title shot on the line that fueled this match even more.

The offense between the two was great with the competitors punishing each other with a series of strikes that set up slams, suplexes, and crazy bumps. Elgin looked powerful and Edwards’ resiliency told a great story. Having him withstand the beating for his trophy was the cherry on top of the story told.

Elgin’s face after losing was a nice touch here, as he was absolutely certain he was going to win but ended up on the losing end of a title opportunity. Clearly, this was the best match on the card up until this point.

Moose def. Rhino in a No Disqualification match

Grade: B

A solid No DQ match between one of the Impact’s mainstays and a veteran in the business. This was a straight-up brawl where both guys got a lot of chances to showcase what they can do. Rhino looked great here and showed that he can still perform in the ring while Moose continues to show that he is one of the bigger stars in Impact Wrestling

World Tag Team Championship – The North (Ethan Page and Josh Alexander) (c) def. Willie Mack in a 2-on-1 Handicap match

Grade: A

Swann suffered an ankle injury just 24 hours earlier, so this forced Mack to go up against The North by himself for the Impact tag titles. Page and Alexander took advantage of these, tagging out quickly to remind Mack that he is at a huge disadvantage. Despite that, Mack looked really strong here as the babyface, pulling off body slams and fighting his way to earning the titles for his team but given the injury to Swann, it made sense for The North to retain here.

The chemistry between Page and Alexander is great and continues to show that they are one of the more underrated tag teams in all of wrestling. It’ll be interesting to see who The North goes up against next and whether the partnership of Mack and Swann will last any longer.

Impact World Championship – Tessa Blanchard def. Sami Callihan (c) in an Intergender match

Grade: A+

History was made at Hard To Kill as Blanchard became the first woman to ever compete for the men’s world title in a major wrestling promotion. There was no better opponent here than Callihan, who has been in a year-long feud with Blanchard.

A violent match that blew expectations out of the water and showed that Blanchard can go against just about anyone. From teaming with legends in Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, and RVD to beating Brian Cage a few months back, Impact knew they had a star in Blanchard and pushed here correctly in this year-long story to become the top champion in the company.

From WWE having their first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view in Evolution to WrestleMania 35 having their first-ever all-women’s main event, this was just as big as a milestone in women’s wrestling. Rather her having multiple programs and title reigns in the Knockouts division, Impact took a risk and it looks to pay off.

The one thing that could ruin this is a short title reign. It would look like a cheap pop if she drops the title in short order. It would not make for her to do so after having this long build-up. It should be very interesting to see who will challenge her now.

Overall

Hard To Kill was a solid pay-per-view and Impact Wrestling started off on the right foot Sunday night. The historic main event took over but there were other solid matches on the card. After years of being the joke of wrestling, Impact has had a solid rebirth and this was just the case for what type of talent and matches they can produce. An overall solid event.

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