Impact Wrestling’s kicking off 2020 in style, and after struggling for a very long time, a bit of swagger. Now, as you know in my Impact Profiles series, I’ve called Impact Wrestling the promotion that just won’t die. And it seems Impact’s either feeling the same way or ripping off my writing (in which case, someone cut me a check please), because coming to you live, January 12th, 2020, from the Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX, Impact Wrestling presents Hard to Kill.
It feels good to write that. For the past few years, Impact’s struggled to get on PPV, depending mostly on ‘special editions’ of Impact, One Night Only Twitch specials, and co-branding with other promotions to keep something coming on a regular basis.
But 2020 is the start of a new decade, and Impact’s got some momentum going their way. They’re ready to make a move, and they’re eager to show off the best they’ve got.
In some ways this show’s been booked for a long time. Impact pre-tapes their shows well in advance, and as such dirt sheet readers have known the main event matches since the middle of October. On the other hand at times it feels slightly rushed simply because Impact is putting Hard To Kill on right after the holiday period. When you include the Thanksgiving special ‘throwback’ episode, and the two Year in Review/award show episodes, they’ve already given up nearly a month’s worth of programming to get ready.
But top to bottom, this is an exciting card. Not every match is going to be five star, and as I’ve mentioned in Impact Profiles, sometimes you just might scratch your head at some of the performers.
On the other hand, Impact’s got some of the hottest talents in indy wrestling right now. Some people would say they’ve got some of the hottest talents in wrestling, period. So without further ado, let’s do a rundown, along with my predictions!
Ken Shamrock vs. Madman Fulton
On the one hand, I’m almost surprised Shammy’s stuck around this long. I really had him pegged for a one time special appearance kind of guy. But perhaps Impact’s condensed taping schedule’s helped in that regard, and he’s sticking around longer. After all, three night’s work turning into three months of TV time has to be great for the veteran.
And I’m glad that Impact’s giving Madman Fulton something to do besides tag team matches with oVe or running interference. Fulton’s a talented worker, and he’s been booked well as a big man.
As such, I see the logic. Ken Shamrock’s known to snap, and Fulton is just snapped. So having two maniacs go at it makes sense. Don’t expect this to be a scientific display of grappling prowess. Expect this to be brutal, relatively short, and with a lot of high impact offense. The only question is, will it be Shamrock getting a win to stay at roughly .500 with the company, or will he once again put over the younger talent?
My gut says Fulton. He needs a win for his PPV singles debut, since he has so few singles matches. The question will be what Impact does with him if they do give him the duke.
Predicted Winner: Madman Fulton
Moose vs. Rhino
In my Impact Profiles series, I noted that most of the ECW alumni have contented themselves with more or less rehashing matches with each other. And just when I get done saying that… Impact has Moose do a program with Rhino.
In a lot of ways this makes sense. Moose needs to have a program to do. His arrogant Perfect-esque character is still a work in progress, showing a lot of refinement over the past few weeks. But he needs something to really bring it into focus.
Enter Rhino. The Man-Beast is still able to work the power game reasonably well, and he’s the sort of veteran threat that promotions love to have their near-top guys get wins over in order to prove their legitimacy.
The build up to this has been elementary, but at the same time works. Moose basically tells Rhino his day is past, Rhino wants to kick his ass… a few backstage fights, and boom, match made.
Again, don’t expect anything technical out of this match. If this match goes fifteen minutes total it’s too long, so expect it to be short and sweet. Considering this seems to be a way to keep Moose on TV while keeping him out of the main event picture currently, expect a Go To Hell, a spear, and a Moose win.
Predicted Winner: Moose
Brian Cage vs. Rob Van Dam
Man, where did this match come from? Yet again we see an ECW alum tangling with the young generation, and once again it actually makes sense.
RVD’s heel turn has been both great and cringeworthy. On one hand, Rob’s beef that nearly everything the young generation is doing can be traced back to stuff he innovated twenty years ago is pretty legit. RVD really did push boundaries, showing that athleticism and hardcore and impactful could all go together. And he’s acting like a jerk quite a bit recently.
On the other hand, Rob’s always been pretty cringeworthy on the microphone, and having Katie Forbes with him isn’t doing that any favors. Sure, Katie does have a very strong skanky porn star vibe to her, which matches with Rob’s current midlife crisis lifestyle. On the other hand, she’s no Pieter or prime Kimona Wanalaya. She looks pretty well used, in other words.
Brian Cage, for his part, represents the new generation. He’s bigger, he’s stronger, and he can fly just as well as RVD could in his prime. And he’s looking for that shot of momentum now that he’s no longer the Impact World Champion.
This one’s a tossup to me. I don’t really want to see RVD win, I think his midlife crisis schtick is not all that entertaining. It’s like the segments of ECW that nobody really talks about anymore because, well, they honestly weren’t that good. Don’t shoot me for that, I’m just the messenger. That being said, I don’t think Impact’s ready to bury all the old ECW fans, and Rob could be in line for an X-Division or even a World title shot down the line.
On the other hand, Cage is one of the keystone heavyweights of the Impact roster. When you’ve got a guy like him, you need to keep him winning, and having him lose to a man twenty years younger than him could be damaging.