With a month to go before Impact’s next pay-per-view, Impact has to do some work to elevate the third man in the main event of that show – Matt Cardona – to the same level as the World Champion Moose and the other challenger W. Morrissey. Both of them have been booked as dominant forces over the past year, while Cardona has been stymied in mid-card muck since his arrival, including a go-nothing, nobody-cares feud against Brian Myers. The ending of Thursday night’s Impact was a step in the right direction.
The show started with a video from last week after Impact went off the air. Impact Executive Vice-President Scott D’Amore announced that the main event of Hard to Kill will see Moose defend his World Championship in a Triple Threat match against Matt Cardona and W. Morrissey.
Match 1: Chris Sabin and Mickie James vs. Matthew Rehwoldt and Deonna Purrazzo
In this intergender match, there was no limitation on which opponents could fight, although the majority of the match saw Rehwoldt putting a beating on Sabin. Purrazzo got her licks in on Sabin as well. Eventually, Sabin got the hot tag to Mickie, and she spent some time beating up Purrazzo. After she hit Purrazzo with a Mick Kick (kind of – her leg sailed right over Deonna’s head, but Deonna sold it nonetheless), Rehwoldt flattened Mickie with a clothesline, only to eat a Missile Dropkick by Sabin. Sabin followed that up with a big dive onto Rehwoldt on the floor, but then got wiped out by a dive by Purrazzo. As the two got up, they got flattened by a huge Flying Thesz Press by Mickie who sailed off the top turnbuckle to the floor to hit the move – though why she would want to hit her own partner with it is a bit curious.
James threw Purrazzo back into the ring but couldn’t hit another top rope move because Rehwoldt grabbed Mickie’s leg. When Mickie finally broke loose, she did hit a Flying Thesz Press onto Purrazzo, but Purrazzo was able to roll Mickie over into a pinning combination, and used Rehwoldt’s help on the outside to keep Mickie’s shoulders down for three.
This had a couple of sloppy moments and some strange logic – honestly, Mickie looked like she was deliberately targeting her partner Sabin with that move off the top. This is building to the Purrazzo-James rematch, naturally. Still not sure that it made sense to take the title off of Purrazzo to begin with, but hopefully the plan is to give her the gold again, and soon.
Winners: Matthew Rehwoldt and Deonna Purrazzo
Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Matt Cardona. He said some boring babyface stuff when W. Morrissey interrupted him and threatened him, noting that there are still some weeks to go before the Triple Threat match and that anything could happen. Including anything that could take Cardona out of H2K. The two will compete tonight, and if Morrissey wins, Cardona will be pulled from the main event show on the Monday.
They showed clips from last week that set up tonight’s main event, a Street Fight between Eric Young and Rhino. Following this was a Violent By Design promo during which Young threatened Moose.
Match 2: Rohit Raju (w/ Raj Singh) vs. Lawrence D
They started off with some comedy, and then Raju took over. The match was ongoing when the cameras cut to Josh Alexander backstage. He stormed his way into the ring, cleared everyone out and then demanded Jonah come to the ring.
This took us to a break, and when we got back, the commentators informed us that the referee had thrown out the match.
Winner: No contest
Instead of Jonah, Scott D’Amore made his way down to the ring, where he told Alexander that Jonah wasn’t in the building tonight, because D’Amore told him to stay home because this situation is so volatile. And that instead of fighting tonight, Alexander would get his chance to put his hands on Jonah at Hard to Kill, where they will have a match. Alexander wasn’t thrilled with this news.
D’Amore told Josh that he had to keep his head and not lose his temper like he has been doing recently. Though the crowd may have expected Alexander to hit D’Amore, this didn’t happen. Instead, Alexander went to the floor, threw Singh into the ring and laid him out with the C-4 Spike.
Backstage, a merch guy asked Chris Bey and Hikuleo to sign some H2K posters, but they started to bully him. Laredo Kid came up to them and started berating their behavior. At least that’s what it seemed like – he did it in Spanish.
Elsewhere backstage, Steve Maclin confronted D’Amore and asked him for an X-Division Championship match against the champion, Trey Miguel. D’Amore refused, citing Maclin’s attack on a security guard last week as the reason.
As Maclin left, Rosemary and Havok came up to D’Amore and asked him if they were going to be competing in the Knockouts Ultimate X match. He said that he wasn’t making that decision and they needed to talk to someone else, but didn’t tell them who before he ran away.
Match 3: The Learning Tree (Zicky Dice and VSK) vs. FinJuice (David Finlay and Juice Robinson)
This wasn’t quite a one-sided affair, but it was pretty close. The Learning Tree were somewhat dysfunctional, largely due to Zicky Dice. In the end, FinJuice isolated VSK and put him down with a Flying Demolition Elbow. Dice and VSK argued with one another after the match.
In the back, Moose approached W. Morrissey. Moose said he had no hard feelings about Morrissey sneak-attacking him last week. He suggested they work together to take Cardona out of the match at Hard to Kill. Morrissey said that he would take Cardona out by himself and didn’t want Moose to help him during the main event.
Violent By Design were assembled in the Gorilla position before Eric Young’s street fight against Rhino. Young surprised Deaner and Joe Doering by telling them that he wanted them to stay in the back and not come out for the match. There was a neat tracking shot that followed him from behind as he moved from the conversation to the entrance stage and onto the entrance ramp.
Match 4: Eric Young vs. Rhino – Street Fight
This was a hard-hitting affair, starting with both men brawling in and around the ring. Rhino went under the ring and pulled out some weapons, including chairs, a garbage can, a road sign, and some baking trays. He battered Rhino with the, but before he could hit an Assisted Top Rope Stomp, Rhino recovered and hit EY with some powerful spots. He was pummeling Young, so Doering and Deaner ran down with the intention of helping their leader. Before they could do anything, though, Heath ran in and saved Rhino and took down the two interlopers. Young tried to capitalize with a hockey mask shot, but Rhino kicked out.
Young was setting Rhino up for the killing blow but Willie Mack and Rich Swann ran to the ring and started taking shots at Young (Swann’s roundhouse kick was right out of Mickie James’ “100 Ways to Miss a Headkick” playbook, but whatever). Thanks to their help, Rhino was looking to put Young away, but the Good Brothers ran into the ring and threw out Swann and Mack. With them dispatched, Young low-blowed Rhino and hit a Piledriver to win the match.
After the bell, the Good Brothers and VBD pounded on Rhino, Heath, Mack, and Swann. VBD and the Good Brothers seemed to set up an uneasy alliance, and they all posed in the ring to end the segment.
"Is it unity? That is the question!"#IMPACTonAXS@TheEricYoung @CodyDeaner @bigjoedoering @The_BigLG @MachineGunKA pic.twitter.com/24Ql4w5ggA
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) December 10, 2021
This was good, though the Mack/Swann stuff could have waited until after the match.
Winner: Eric Young
Speaking of uneasy alliances, that took us backstage to Gia Miller who interviewed The Influence and The Iinspiration together. Her question of whether they were forming a new supergroup wasn’t quite answered, as the two teams couldn’t help but disagree on which team should get top billing in their new name.
Match 5: The Iinspiration (Cassie Lee and Jesse McKay) and The Influence (Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood) (w/ Kaleb) vs. Decay (Black Taurus, Crazzy Steve, Rosemary, and Havok)
The match immediately went to commercial when Decay teased four stereo dives on to their opponents who were on the floor trying to come up with a strategy, since none of them particularly wanted to start the match against Black Taurus.
Back from the break, and Rosemary was isolated in the wrong corner, but when she popped up during an Iinspiration taunt, Lee and McKay backed into the wrong corner and had their faces bitten off. Later on, the dissension between the Iinspiration and Influence was evident when Lee and McKay stepped back when Taurus press-slammed Dashwood onto the floor, leaving Kaleb to take the brunt of the blow when he caught her alone. As Rayne yelled at the Iinspiration, Dashwood was left alone and she fell to a Spear by Rosemary to end this one.
Decay Decay DECAY!!!@WeAreRosemary @FearHavok @steveofcrazzy #IMPACTonAXSTV pic.twitter.com/j3BUPJKP0u
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) December 10, 2021
After the match, the Iinspiration had no kind words for the Influence, basically dismissing them and shooing them away from the ring.
This had some fun moments, but it seemed more to be setting up for an eventual match between the Iinspiration and the Influence. Not to mention that the dynamic of the match was flawed in general.
They showed a clip from the BTI pre-show where the newest Knockout signee Lady Frost beat Kimber Lee (w/ Brandi Lauren) after hitting a Twisting Moonsault. Gia Miller than interviewed Lady Frost. Scott D’Amore approached Frost to welcome her to the company. Frost asked him for a spot in the Ultimate X match, but he said she would have to check with the newest member of the Impact management team: Gail Kim. Kim appeared and congratulated Lady Frost, and announced that she would indeed be in the Ultimate X match along with Tasha Steelz, Rachael Ellering, Jordynne Grace, Chelsea Green, and Rosemary.
Match 6: W. Morrissey vs. Matt Cardona
The fight started before the bell had even rang, when Morrissey charged Cardona during his entrance. He then battered Cardona on the outside, using the ring apron for good measure. Morrissey then whipped Cardona into the ring post before rolling him into the ring where the match officially got underway. Cardona hit a desperate Codebreaker at the bell, but Morrissey was still fresh enough to kick out.
Morrissey beat up Cardona for a while, as the cameras showed Moose watching from the balcony, enjoying what he was seeing.
At one point, Cardona tried to fight back, but then got shoved off the top rope, and Cardona tumbled hard to the floor, where Morrissey continued the assault, including ramming Cardona’s head into the ring post, busting Cardona open. The wound only served as a target for Morrissey and he punished Cardona with shots to the head.
Cardona fired up, though, and came back with a number of moves to gain separation and to leave Morrissey reeling. He finally staggered Morrissey enough to get him in the corner where he was prone for a Re-Boot to the face, which nearly got Cardona the pin. Cardona followed that up with a Radio Silence for another near fall.
But Cardona was still weakened and as he slowly got up, Morrissey was up first and hit Cardona with a huge Boot to the Head, and then stomped and punched him in the corner repeatedly. Referee Brian Hebner tried to enforce the 5-seconds-in-the-ropes rule, but when he tried to pull Morrissey off Cardona, Morrissey shoved Hebner and sent him flying. This was enough for Hebner to disqualify Morrissey and he called for the bell.
A frustrated Morrissey then hit Hebner with a huge Thrust Kick, knocking Hebner completely out. Morrissey then turned his attention back to Cardona, putting him down with a huge Powerbomb. He was going to inflict some more damage, but Chelsea Green ran in to protect her man.
Moose then slid into the ring and tried to direct Morrissey to pick up Cardona so that more damage could be inflicted, but Morrissey wouldn’t follow Moose’s instructions. Moose squared up, but Morrissey surprised him with a Thrust Kick that rocked Moose and knocked him to the floor.
Morrissey told Chelsea, who was shielding a downed Cardona, to get out of his way, but she refused. So Morrissey flung her off Cardona and sent her tumbling across the ring. This angered Cardona, and he attacked Morrissey, sending him to the floor. Cardona picked up the World Championship and held it over his head while an angry Moose glared and a dazed Morrissey recovered on the floor.
Could this be the future of #IMPACTonAXSTV?
Be there LIVE at @thefactoryDE in Dallas, Texas!
Tickets for Hard To Kill: https://t.co/Ijd0hGrl2t pic.twitter.com/sULsrT0bV0
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) December 10, 2021
The match itself made Cardona look pretty weak, as he was dominated by Morrissey throughout. But the post-match stuff and the ending, in which a defiant Cardona stood tall, did help counter that. It still doesn’t seem like Cardona is main-event level, but with some weeks to go before Hard to Kill, a few more angles like this week’s closing may be enough to change that perception.
Winner, by disqualification: Matt Cardona
Impact Wrestling - December 9th, 2021
Sam's Town - Las Vegas, NV
The matches were good this week, though each one had some flaws, whether it was the oddball dynamic of the intergender matches, the crow-barring in of tag teams into a singles street fight, or the one-sidedness of the main event. But the show did do a good job of building towards the upcoming Hard to Kill PPV, including in one of the more challenging aspects: making Matt Cardona seem like a viable contender. On that front, the show worked thanks to a strong closing segment.