TNA HARD TO KILL PPV HITS & MISSES (1/13): Laslo’s evaluation of Nic Nemeth’s debut, Shelley vs. Moose for the TNA World Title, Sabin vs. Vikingo vs. Kushida, Trinity vs. Grace, Eric Young

By John Laslo, PWTorch contributor

Nic Nemeth


JANUARY 13, 2024



To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of either of these guys. However, they were a great choice for this show. High quality wrestling at the front and center. Good choice. As another old school fan of 2 Cold Scorpio, I appreciate Swann’s nod to the Flash Funk era with his new gear.


I get that they were introducing A.J. Francis as a heel. I get that Joe Hendry is supposed to be the good guy. However, I am finding more and more of his songs to be downright mean. He comes out and smiles and is happy, but Hendry is a dick. A good portion of Hendry’s song was about a botched leap that Francis did. However, that leap was from a sudden blood sugar drop that Francis had from diabetes. That botch was what led Francis to be examined and ultimately diagnosed. Insulting a person because of something that happened because of a disease is gross. Good comedy sheds light on the powerful, it doesn’t punch down and it doesn’t hurt people for things beyond their control. Great chokeslam from Francis, though. Really crisp, and a great end of that segment.

(2) THE SYSTEM (Eddie Edwards & Brian Meyers) vs. FRANKIE KAZARIAN & ERIC YOUNG – HIT

I like this. I like where they are going with The System. A Heel Faction in suits is one of those things that always gets a pop from me. I really appreciated that TNA is really getting behind The System as a faction. Brian Meyers has done well with himself through this current run. He came in as a mid-card talent, and has slowly over time raised his value. Having him get the pin on Frankie Kazarian just goes to show how far he’s come.

(3) CRAZZY STEVE vs. TOMMY DREAMER – TNA Digital Media Championship No Disqualification match – MISS

I feel like I’m about to spend more time on this match than it warrants. The long and short of this is that the feud was kinda hot, but it should have only lasted a month, maybe two. Having this match at this point is way too late. It’s cold. The only good thing is that Crazzy Steve is the new DMC, and hopefully Dreamer can go back into the back. I really appreciated that both competitors had a barbed wire motif on their gear.



While this whole show was the mission statement of TNA, this very specifically was Eric Young outlining it point by point. It worked really well. Stupid TNA wrestling making me cry tears out of my eyes again.

(1) TASHA STEELZ vs. GISELE SHAW (w/Savannah Evans & Jai Vidal) vs. ALISHA EDWARDS vs. JODY THREAT vs. DANI LUNA vs. XIA BROOKSIDE — Ultimate X match – HIT

While the Maclin vs. Swann match was an excellent start, where wrestling excellence was at the fore-front, the real show started in the most TNA way possible. An overly complicated stipulation match with a ton of people in it. Granted, the Ultimate X is not the weirdest stipulation match in TNA’s arsenal, but it is quite possibly the most iconic. This match was amazing, hands down. Everyone involved put their heart into it. At the end Giselle Shaw walked away the winner, but the truth of it is that the person who came away looking the best was Dani Luna. Luna was front and center throughout most of the match, and had some really impressive spots where she caught another wrestler and then used a strength move on them. I got to give some credit to Alisha Edwards as well, she did a number of falls where she had to put her faith in her opponents to catch her.


I’m thinking this was a bunch of references to his time in WWE, which I don’t watch, so this was lost on me. I’m guessing others might have gotten more out of it.

(2) PCO vs. DIRTY DANGO (w/Alpha Bravo & Oleg Prudius) – MISS

When I looked at all the matches that were announced, this one made me go “Why”? There wasn’t really any story line reasons, and it wasn’t even a match that would have been a spot fest. I will say that I really enjoyed the PCO entrance with all the doctors, one of which I believe was the actual TNA medic.


Well, add Rhino and Jake Something added, well, something. It took this match from a bathroom break to a I’ll hold it for a minute. However, it was “three guys I like” against “three guys who I want to go away”. I have a feeling this is leading to a long drawn out feud between Oleg Prudius and either PCO or Something. Also, I was thinking about it, and I’m not a ‘tactical’ guy, but who makes white tactical vests? It feels like Alpha Bravo at a PPV is about the only circumstance I can think of, except maybe bringing freedom and democracy to Santa’s elves.


Alright, blonde woman. That only describes about half of all women who are wrestlers, and about a quarter of the Impact talent.

(4) MK ULTRA (Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly)(c) vs. DECAY (Rosemary & Havok) — TNA Knockouts Tag Team Title match – MISS

Wait. Why is this a miss? It was a surprise bonus match! We got back Decay! It had the most reposted gif of the night (the Rosemary and Killer Kelly back arch bridge spot). Yeah, but this match was a bit like the Crazzy Steve vs. Dreamer match. It feels like there were three months of build up that we missed. Like it was expected to be a hot match, but unlike the DMC match, which was stalled build up, this was payoff with no build up. I love Decay, and I love MK Ultra, but this should have been the end of a half year feud, not the start of one. I just kind of hope that Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly keep teaming together, and don’t get split up just cause they lost the titles.


I enjoy these little things. I think that Maclin has a fun intensity.


I am super geeked about this. While I don’t think they needed to specifically call out the partnership that has withstood the test of time, I loved this. I’m really hoping that they can use the partnership to expand their fandoms in their respective home countries. I want to see Psycho Clown in Ottawa, and PCO in Chihuahua.

(5) CHRIS SABIN (c) vs. EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO vs. KUSHIDA — TNA X Division Title match – HIT

I’m going to go out on a limb, and say this was the match of the night. El Hijo Del Vikingo is such a good fit for the X-Division. Chris Sabin looked and felt like he did fifteen years ago. He felt like a younger version of himself. I’m not saying that he’s lost a step or isn’t at the top of his game, not by any means, but Chris Sabin as TNA X-Division champ is a different beast than Chris Sabin Impact X-Division champ. While there were a lot of big spots in the Ultimate-X match earlier in the night, the spots in this match seemed more personal. There was an element of speed that I feel like very few could have matched. Look, I’m going to come out and say it, but when they announced Trent Seven was not appearing because of travel issues, they should have shifted Mike Bailey to this match. Which probably would have made an already hot match even hotter.


Damn, this was a great match. TBH, I’ve wanted this match for a long, long time. I don’t watch MLW that often, I’d make a point when a friend of mine who does watch regularly told me to catch an episode. Hammerstone was that kind of big man who can do anything, much like Josh Alexander. This match had a hard row to hoe, coming after such an amazing X-Division match. Unsurprisingly, this match slowed things down, way down. It replaced speed with intensity. It was an excellent example of keeping things simple, but taking advantage of ring psychology.

(7) ABC (Chris Bey & Ace Austin)(c) vs. “SPEEDBALL” MIKE BAILEY & LAREDO KID vs. THE RASCALZ (Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz) vs. THE GRIZZLED YOUNG VETS (James Drake & Zack Gibson) — TNA Tag Team Title match – MINOR HIT

There was so much happening in this match. However, it felt like a comfortable old shoe, like it has formed to my specific peculiarities and tastes. The thing with an old comfortable shoe, is that it is familiar. In this case the familiar was the formula of ABC vs. Rascalz vs. (Someone Else) has been done a few times now. It could have been done better without Laredo Kid and Speedball Mike Bailey. I’m not saying they were bad, and you’ll know I was kidnapped if I say that Mike Bailey was anything other than exceptional. However, they also had to get in their time. I think with this match, that time could have been better served with the Grizzled Young Veterans getting more time to shine against these two TNA veterans.

(8) TRINITY (c) vs. JORDYNNE GRACE — TNA Knockouts Title match – HIT

I feel a bit robbed with Trinity’s title reign. It was good, it was fun, but since about half of it was through the production upgrades, it feels like it was defended infrequently at best, and we are missing almost three months worth of defenses and matches. With the (almost certain to be true) rumors of Trinity returning to WWE, she needed to have a great capstone match. While Trinity still has a few dates on her contract (until the end of January, if I understand correctly), I think that this match is going to be considered the top of her run. Jordynne Grace is the perfect person to put on a match like that. Grace is one of those rare talents who doesn’t just elevate their opponent, she makes them shine. Through this match, Trinity didn’t just glow, she shined. Deonna Purrazzo wouldn’t be where she is without Grace, and when all is said and done, Trinity won’t get to where she wants to be without Grace.

(9) ALEX SHELLEY (c) vs. MOOSE — TNA World Title match- HIT

At the end of a long night, we get more of the System. I’m going to say that you can’t get more contrasting styles than those of Moose and Alex Shelley. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this match. On a card like this, the goal of being the match of the night was going to be hard. A main event should always strive to be the match of the night. This wasn’t it. It was a strong, fourth, maybe. I felt like this match was the most by the book, most exactly as I would have expected it to go. Which is really strange, neither Shelley or Moose is a stranger to expanding their comfort zones. It sounds like I’m really down on this match, and I’m not. It’s a really good match. Very good. Not great, though.


Hit, I guess? I’m not a big Nic Nemeth guy, but let’s face facts, anytime you can sign a former WWE world title holder, triple crown, money in the bank wrestler, you do it. It’s a big signing for that reason. This is a signing along the lines of Booker T. I’m not sure how much he’s going to move the needle, so to speak, but this signing makes as much sense as several of the others in the last few years, and more than some. This is ultimately a SAFE signing. Nemeth is going to show up, and perform at a high level. He’s not a Maclin who was a hidden gem, or Heath who was a good hand or Trinity who just needed the space to prove it. Nemeth is a proven talent with a proven record.


TNA has stepped up. This whole card was a mission statement. That mission is to provide great looking, high quality wrestling. For the short term, it looks like the gamble of taking so much time off for production upgrades looks like it is paying off, however, the long term remains to be seen. It certainly hurt a few things (DMC, Trinity, MK Ultra), but a few of the others it either doesn’t matter, or very shortly won’t matter. There’s a lot of prodigal fans returning and that’s great. I just hope that the momentum keeps up. Scott D’Amore has spent years rebuilding our trust in TNA, and he’s burned through a lot of it with this re-brand. However, he hasn’t burnt off all of it, I still trust that he knows what he’s doing and we’re not going to get another LOLTNA period. However, it’s now a much smaller reserve than there was back before Bound for Glory. So the question is are we giving him some breathing room or enough rope to hang himself?

RECOMMENDED NEXT: TNA HARD TO KILL PPV RESULTS (1/13): Lilly’s report on Shelley vs. Moose, Trinity vs. Grace, Alexander vs. Hammerstone

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Tony’s Takes: Sting’s final match, Samoa Joe’s AEW World Championship reign, CM Punk in WWE, Cody Rhodes as a best man

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