The title of Impact Wrestling‘s next pay-per-view, “Hard To Kill,” acknowledges a part of the promotion’s identity that’s been created by wrestling fans watch Impact move from channel to channel, through different company names and backstage regimes over the years. Its main event will showcase something Impact has consciously worked to make part of its identity this year: its embrace of intergender wrestling.
Impact announced today at a press conference in New York and via press release that Hard To Kill’s main event will see Tessa Blanchard challenge Sami Callihan for the Impact World Championship. Blanchard and Callihan have been feuding on and off since this summer and this will be their third singles match in Impact. In the words of the press release, this match will also be, “the first time in professional wrestling that a woman will challenge a man for the top title live on pay-per-view.”
That’s pretty specific wording in order to make this a historic first-ever event – they have to add “live on pay-per-view” because Sexy Star won the Lucha Underground Championship on regular TV in 2016 – but it’s still a huge deal for Blanchard and for Impact. The challenger said as much at the match’s announcement:
“I intend to become the first female World Champion in IMPACT Wrestling history on January 12th at Hard To Kill. This isn’t just about our rivalry, and this goes far beyond the IMPACT World Championship. This is about showing everyone that Tessa Blanchard is the real deal, and I’m here to stay. I can go toe-to-toe with any man or woman in the world, and in any type of match. I’ve earned this shot, and I won’t stop until I’m raising that belt up high for all of my doubters to see.”