At last year's Bound For Glory pay per view, It was announced that Hard To Kill would be returning on January 16th with the big news that the finalist of the Knockouts Tag Tournament will see the crowning of new Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Champions.
So in honor of Hard To Kill coming back on January 16th 2021, why not look at the previous year's Hard To Kill PPV and explore some of the lesser known and fascinating facts regarding the event that was filled with action, headlines and controversy all wrapped up into one.
10. ODB'S Involvement In This Match Was Due To A Real Life Tragedy
While 2020 may be seen as a terrible year for many wrestlers in the case of ODB, 2019 was just as bad.
In September of 2019, ODB posted on Instagram that her food truck as part of her own "ODB's Meat & Greet Food Truck Co." was burnt down, leaving the former TNA Knockouts Champion heartbroken and without one of her major sources for income outside of professional wrestling.
As things looked to be very bad for ODB she would get help in the form of her former employers and promotion Impact Wrestling; During Impact's November tapings, the company held an ODB Appreciation night which included in them donating the money they made from these tapings to a fundraising campaign which would help to get ODB a brand new truck while at the same time ODB would appear on the November tapings where she would get in the ring with names like Taya Valkyrie, Jordynne Grace and Tenille Dashwood.
At the time, the fundraiser goal was $50,000 but by early 2020 she would get up to $34,145 with fans also donating to the cause and even former TNA World Champion, Mick Foley helped when he raised $9,500 for the campaign.
The fundraising was a major success as ODB was able to raise enough money to get a brand new food truck to continue her business but the story doesn't end here, see ODB defeated Taya in a non-title match during the November tapings and as such she was included into the Knockouts Championship match at Hard To Kill making it a three way between Taya, ODB and Jordynne.
9. Daga Had His Last PPV Match On This Night
If you're unfamiliar with former Lucha Underground star, Daga then you should know that his best remember for three things in Impact Wrestling: His incredible in ring ability, his relationship with Tessa Blanchard and being struck in Mexico thanks to the pandemic...but more on that later.
After debuting for the company back in Feburary of 2019, Daga became a fixature in the X Division wrestling opponents like Jake Crist and Chris Bey while also competing in a few intergender tag team matches alongside his significant other but at Hard To Kill Daga would get involved due to some last minute circumstances.
After Rob Van Dam's opponent for the night went down with an injury (more on that later), Daga who had been in at least one or two backstage segments with Van Dam leading to this event was called upon to replace and wrestle RVD at Hard To Kill which at the time confused many as the fans didn't know exactly what was going on at the time.
The match itself was nothing too special and RVD ended up getting the win.
Months after this match, Daga and Tessa would be Mexico preparing for their wedding when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and it led to the both of them getting stuck in area; Despite his hopes of returning to Impact Wrestling to compete in the ring once again, Daga would ask for his release from the company on October 20th 2020 thereby making his impromptu match with Rob Van Dam his last pay per view match with the company.
8. Brian Cage Had A Bicep Injury Going Into His Match With RVD
The advertised "Dream Match" between Brian Cage and Rob Van Dam didn't necessarily leave up to the expectations of many fans, not because the match was terrible but in actual fact the match didn't even take place as Cage was attacked by one of RVD's girlfriends who were sitting in the crowd as fan which lead to Van Dam capitalizing on this attack with his signature Van Terminator into a steel chair right into Cage before his helped to backstage area.
Now before you starting saying "LOLIMPACT' you should know that the plans for this match was changed due to Cage suffering from a bicep injury he had suffered before the show.
It's unclear when Cage suffered the injury but it did change what the match could have been and instead it lead to Cage being written off of TV following this attack (oh yeah and Cage suffered a busted lip from this "match" too) and as a result, Daga would go on to wrestle RVD in a decent enough match but unfortunately Daga came up short against Van Dam.
7. Reports On Cage Heading To AEW Were Announced After The PPV
So I mentioned how Brian Cage's "match" with Rob Van Dam didn't go as planned thanks to the bicep injury he suffered well as it turns out Impact fans would get disappointed once again when news broke that the former Impact World Champion had signed with the brand new promotion, All Elite Wrestling less than a few hours after the show concluded.
Almost as soon as these reports were made public, Cage's wife and backstage interviewer for Impact Wrestling, Melissa Santos called out the reports as fake but even still the writing was one the wall as Cage wouldn't be seen on Impact television following this event (and no any appearances his made with his wife Melissa on Impact's Twitch account doesn't count).
The news frankly caught a lot of fans off guard as this meant that RVD attacking Cage will (at least for the time being) be the last image they would have of "The Machine"; Cage would debut at AEW with ECW legend, Tazz as his mouthpiece and the rest is history.
6. Rich Swann Was Taken Out Due To Injury
Continuing our theme of Impact stars getting injured in early 2020 let's talk about Rich Swann the former X Division who was experiencing quite a lot of momentum following his performance in a number one contender six person gauntlet match on an episode of Impact where Swann managed to survived more than 20 minutes against Moose and Michael Elgin before a beaten and bloody Rich Swann was eliminated by Brian Cage.
Sadly for Rich his monumental and his career was put on halt after an horrific injury.
Two days before Hard To Kill Impact was airing a sequel to one of it's new Impact Plus specials, Bash at The Brewery with the main event seeing an eight person elimination match between Tessa Blanchard, Brian Cage, Willie Mack and Rich Swann against World Champion Sami Callihan, Jake and Dave Crist and Madman Fulton; At some point in the match a tag team maneuver from the Crist Brothers lead to Rich suffering a knee injury that took him out of the match.
Much like the Brian Cage injury, this unfortunate circumstance drastically changed the card for the up-and-coming Hard To Kill event and could also explain why oVe continued on their losing streak until the group disband later that year.
Swann's injury forced the match up between himself and Willie Mack and Ethan Page and Josh Alexander for the Impact Tag Team Titles to become a two on one handicap match but this wasn't the only radical change that was made to this match by the time of Hard To Kill.
5. Ethan Page Was Suffering From Salmonella
While Rich Swann taken out with an injury before Hard To Kill, All Ego Ethan Page was walking into the tag team title match with a illness.
According to reports, Ethan Page had suffered from Salmonella before his match Hard To Kill and he went to social media to report that he wasn't feeling too good.
Despite this, Page was determined to defend his title and while his performance in this match was very limited (and understandably so) Page and Alexander were able to successfully retain their tag team titles in the 2-on-1 handicap match against Willie Mack.
Thankfully this match went on without a hitch and All Ego got better soon afterwards as there very well could have been a possibility that Ethan Page might of crapped himself on pay per view or even worse.
4. Moose Was Hospitalized
Christ almighty I'm really starting to think that this pay per view might be cursed as we have another string of bad luck affecting one the company's top stars.
At Hard To Kill, 'The War Machine' Rhino was set to take on Moose in a No Disqualification match which saw Moose come out with victory but that wasn't the only thing he walked away with from this match.
According to Tommy Dreamer on Busted Open Radio, he confirmed that a lot of the wrestlers who took part in Hard To Kill have suffered injuries from Ethan Page to RVD to Madman Fulton but when comes to Moose, suffered a concussion as well as a 'potential back injury' after being back body dropped on the entrance ramp during his no DQ match.
This resulted in him being sent straight to the hospital but like many of the other wrestlers I've already mentioned they would make a speedy recovery.
3. A Future World Title Match Was Teased At The Post Show Interviews
Before and following the pay per view, Impact hosted press conferences in which the wrestlers could speak about the matches and their thoughts going forward; Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, The North, Sami Callihan, Rhino are just so of the names that spoken during the conferences but it was Taya's post match comments that are the most interesting.
During the conference, Taya mentions how she's one of the greatest knockouts of all time while also praising the work that has been shown by the ladies in the Knockout Division; Taya is then asked about the whole Tessa Blanchard stuff that came out hours ago on social media but instead she negates the question but does mention that she feels that she should be the number one person to face Tessa if she does win the title as she (Taya) sees herself as the best representative for the entire female division.
These comments are interesting when you realize that only a few months later Taya would face Tessa in the main event for the Impact World Championship on the March 3rd 2020 edition of Impact which saw Tessa retaining her title in s historic and hard fought match.
2. Tessa Blanchard Gave A Speech Following The PPV
To say that Tessa Blanchard was the most talked about wrestler in early 2020 would be a massive understatement as Tully Blanchard's little girl would the subject of criticism over an issue from her past that got brought up by former Knockouts Champion Sienna/Allysin Kay on Twitter.
The backlash was swift to say the least and you can only imagine the emotions that were in Tessa's mind not just from the stuff on social media but the possibility that she could be making history by being the first woman since Chyna back in 1999 to win a major wrestling promotions most prestigious title.
Following her historic title win over Sami Callihan the audience at home had only a few minutes to enjoy this moment before the show immediately went to credits however for those in attendance at the Bomb Factory in Dallas Texas they got the opportunity to hear the new champion speak after one of the most important matches in her career.
During her speech Tessa is join by family members in the ring as she goes on to say "Over the past eight months this has been my life, Sami and oVe have been the thorn in my side and tonight we did it. Nobody...nobody in this life is perfect, were all human; It doesn't matter what you say about me, it doesn't matter what you call me...I've got the strongest minds I've ever known so whenever you come for me, you come for all of these people and now I am...the standard bearer of Impact Wrestling and man or women, pound-for-pound I am now one of the best in the world and I am now your world champion."
Regardless of what you may think of the decision by Impact to make Tessa the world champion before and after the controversy, you can't deny that her passion in that moment is truly undeniable.
1. Eleven People At This Event Would Be Gone Before The End Of The Year
It's safe to say that looking back at it now, Impact's Hard To Kill event really demonstrated what the year was going to be like for professional wrestling in 2020: Injuries, Illnesses and a whole lot of controversy but as it turns out you can add departures onto that list as well because Impact Wrestling certainly lost a lot of names by the time this year came to a close.
At least 11 people who either wrestled, refereed or appeared at his pay per view did not stay with the company by the end of the year; Daga would not appear for another Impact PPV thanks to the pandemic and he would ask for his release in October and I've already mentioned how Brian Cage disappeared following his attack by RVD but that's only just the tip of the iceberg.
Trey Miguel would leave in November (along his mates Dez and Wentz), RVD and his girlfriend Katie Forbes left in September, backstage interviewer Gabby Loren would be gone and soon replaced by Gia Miller, referee Kris Levin also left and the #Speaking Out Movement in the summer of 2020 led to both Dave Crist and Michael Elgin seeing both of their careers in Impact coming to an end plus Jake Crist wouldn't be seen on Impact Programming as a result of his association with his brother and soon his contract would run out in December.
Finally, the biggest and most surprising departure of all was the lady for whom this pay per view was centered around, Tessa Blanchard as she would be gone by the summer of that same year with the reasons as to her exit with the company being as tumultuous as her title reign.
While things would look at lot better for Impact Wrestling following this event, Hard To Kill 2020 is perhaps a prefect example of just how quickly things can change in professional wrestling.
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