Pre-Show: Kushida def. Delirious, Yuya Uemura, "Speedball" Mike Bailey, Angels and Mike Jackson in a Six-Way Match
Wasn't Bailey was originally scheduled to face Kenny King on this show or am I just imagining that? If not, why the hell not? That was the main midcard feud coming into this show and I would have preferred to see that on the pre-show over this, which was a random collection of X-Division talent. It was fun while it lasted, and although the stuff with the elderly Jackson was ridiculous, the crowd ate it up. Kushida winning made the most sense and I'm happy to see him back in IMPACT.
Pre-Show: Impact X-Division Champion Trey Miguel def. Black Taurus
This is probably the coldest feud we've had over the Impact X-Division Championship in some time. That isn't to say it's been bad because there has been a story, but it's been fairly basic and I don't think anyone saw Taurus as a legitimate threat to the title. In other words, I had no issue with this being positioned on the pre-show. On the bright side, it's been nice to see Taurus spotlighted a bit more as of late and I thought these two had a terrific match.
Impact World Champion Josh Alexander def. Bully Ray in a Full Metal Mayhem Match
If this wasn't going to be the main event due to the women headlining instead, putting it in the opener was the next best thing. I know people have had their reservations about Bully being the focal point of IMPACT in recent months, but to his credit, he's done an excellent job in his role and successfully elevated Alexander in the end by putting him over here. They had a hell of a brawl that lived up to the Full Metal Mayhem stipulation and all the shenanigans with Bully's goons, Tommy Dreamer and even Alexander's wife were well done because they played into the story they were telling. This was a much different match than we've seen from Alexander's reign so far and he proved he could hang in the extreme environment.
Impact World Tag Team Champions and NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Team Champions The Motor City Machine Guns def. Bullet Club (Ace Austin and Chris Bey), The Major Players, and Heath & Rhino in a Four-Way Tag Team Elimination Match
All four teams worked hard and it was an enjoyable outing. It benefited from the elimination stipulation and getting rid of Heath and Rhino early on was the smart move. I liked how it came down to Motor City Machine Guns and Bullet Club as they worked extremely well together and the crowd was into the action. It was too soon for Motor City Machine Guns to drop the tag tiles, but I hope we get a rematch with them and Bullet Club at some point.
Frankie Kazarian Announced He Has Signed with IMPACT
I wasn't shocked to see Kazarian show up because he was on IMPACT programming quite a bit last year despite being under contract to AEW. Well, he announced here that he's officially under contract to IMPACT after making the decision to leave AEW earlier this year. Kazarian's home is obviously IMPACT and he's a strong addition to the roster since he still has so much left to offer. It would make sense for him to go back after the Impact X-Division Championship since he relinquished it and wasn't beaten for it late last year.
Impact Digital Media Champion Joe Hendry def. Moose
The Impact Digital Media Championship stuff typically isn't for me as it's a largely pointless undercard title, but Hendry and Moose have done their best to make it feel more meaningful with their feud. They had a well-worked match and Moose actually won the title by cheating originally, only for the outcome to be reversed when newly-appointed Director of Authority Santino Marella called for the contest to be restarted. That allowed Henry to rebound and retain. Marella is a fine fit for that role for as long as Scott D'Amore is out "injured."
Masha Slamovich def. Taylor Wilde, Deonna Purrazzo and Killer Kelly in an Impact Knockouts World Championship No. 1 Contender's Four-Way Match
There was no real story between these four women aside from all of them wanting to be next in line for a championship opportunity, but from an in-ring standpoint, this was an easy thumbs-up. They kept it interesting throughout and any of them could have realistically won. I don't mind Slamovich going over, but she almost has to win the title coming off her two straight losses to Jordynne Grace a few months ago.
Steve Maclin def. Rich Swann in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
Having this start backstage was a nice touch. It was hard to see and hear exactly what was going on at certain points because the production was subpar, but I appreciated the attempt and they made the most of the stipulation. Both guys get slept on often, but this served as a reminder of what they can do as it was an entertaining affair. Maclin has been clamoring for a shot at the Impact World Championship for months, so this gets him one step closer to contention.
Eddie Edwards def. Jonathan Gresham
These two were given plenty of time and they made every minute matter. This was a wonderfully-wrestled match. Edwards and Gresham are exceptional at what they do and I was happy we finally got to see what they could do together after their Rebellion match was cancelled last year. I expected Gresham to win considering he just signed, but he looked good enough in defeat where the loss shouldn't do much damage, not to mention it was logical to give Edwards a victory now that PCO is back to rekindle his rivalry with him.
Mickie James def. Jordynne Grace in a Career Threatening Match to Win the Impact Knockouts World Championship
Props to IMPACT for doing such a stellar job of raising the stakes with the match and making it feel like one of the most meaningful, must-see main events IMPACT has had in a while. This was part of James' Last Rodeo where if she lost, her career would have been over. Honestly, based on the build to the bout, her family being in attendance (oddly, her husband Nick Aldis wasn't there), James' elaborate entrance and everything else they did, it truly felt like James was losing. Thus, her winning was a pleasant surprise, and the match itself was excellent. This was the perfect way to close out the event.
The 10-bell salute to Don West at the beginning of the main show was vey classy. West was a big part of IMPACT's first decade and I loved that they've paid tribute to him over the last few weeks so beautifully. Hard to Kill was probably IMPACT's best all-around pay-per-view in many months. The opening and closing main events were terrific and there was a lot to like about the midcard as well. IMPACT felt like it lost momentum in the latter half of 2022, so hopefully this is their way of getting back on track.