Various: Knockouts Ultimate X Match Set for TNA Hard To Kill 2024, Mayu Iwatani Injury Update, Lio Rush on NJPW Contract Status

Knockouts Ultimate X Match Announced for TNA Hard To Kill 2024

Impact/TNA Wrestling announced one new official match for the card of their Hard To Kill 2024 event on January 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This new match announced is a Knockouts Ultimate X match. The official participants for this upcoming match was not given.

This will be the second time that a Knockouts Ultimate X match will take place at a Impact/TNA event in Impact/TNA history.

Current card for TNA Hard To Kill 2024:

  • TNA World Championship – Moose vs. Alex Shelley (c)
  • TNA Knockouts World Championship – Jordynne Grace vs. Trinity (c)
  • TNA X-Division Championship – KUSHIDA vs. El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Chris Sabin (c)
  • Knockouts Ultimate X match – TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA

Mayu Iwatani Injury Status Update

As noted before, Mayu Iwatani has been out of action for Stardom since this past November due to a dislocated pinky injury.

KAKUTOLOG held a recent interview with Iwatani. One of the topics discussed included Iwatani providing an update on her finger injury.

“It hurts so much! I was in a cast until December 5th, so it’s only been a week since I took the cast off. I’m still doing rehabilitation to increase the range of motion of my finger.

My pinky finger really started to look like a tsuchinoko (wide body snake-like being from Japanese folklore). I don’t even know if it will ever regain its shape. For the time being, I’ve been instructed to rehabilitate it and increase its range of motion, so now I’m really just undergoing treatment and receiving electric therapy.

Before, I couldn’t move it at all, but now I can bend it a little, but on the other hand, I can’t stretch it at all. I’m just wondering how much it will heal in the next two weeks or so… Well, I have the IWGP (Women’s) belt and a title match scheduled for January 4th, so I want to make it in time for that. I definitely think that is my big stage. I have dislocated my elbow and injured my medial ligament in the past, but if I don’t set a goal, I won’t do anything.

The doctors tell me that it is in a condition where it easily dislocates, and if it dislocates again, I will have to be taped for the rest of my life. My finger will also bend in strange directions and become stiff.”

Iwatani also gave her thoughts about her upcoming return at Stardom’s Dream Queendom event on December 29th and being hopeful she will be able to defend her IWGP Women’s Championship at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 18 event next month.

“I was ready to do a singles match (for my first match back)… but I said, ‘I’m a little scared if it stays the way it is.’ At the very least, in order to have an injury-free match on January 4th, I said, ‘Let’s have a tag team match on the 29th.’”

Iwatani continued stating:

“(A title match in the Dome) is still my goal… No, I don’t think it’s a mistake (that there’s not an announcement for the IWGP Women’s Title at Wrestle Kingdom 18). The current situation is probably wrong… you have the IWGP belt, and you are on the big stage where everyone can see you, on January 4th, and you don’t have the title on the line. This is wrong.

There were a lot of people who were expecting that from me… I think the possibility is almost zero, but I hope to be involved in some way.

Yes (I want to show something different as IWGP Women’s Champion), because there is no clear distinction between IWGP and STRONG. I feel that I have to create my own path as a champion… But there are really too few title matches… I would like to do more.”

English translation via 1 & 2

Lio Rush Comments on Dropped Contract Talks with NJPW

WrestlePurists held a recent interview with Lio Rush. One of the topics discussed included Rush’s thoughts about him not being under an actual contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling and was only working on a per tour date basis.

“No, it was no type of deal (with NJPW). It was no deal. I was going out there tour by tour. We were working towards a deal. I feel like that was talked about and in the works for quite some time. That never really came to fruition but, yeah, no deal on the table. Just me going out there, putting everything on the line, sacrificing, hustling, doing what I can to try to provide for my family the best way that I could so, yeah.”

Rush also gave his thoughts about his current working relationship with NJPW.

“I mean, the relationship (with NJPW) is great, the relationship is great. I don’t really know what the situation is. I don’t know when I’m going back, I don’t know if I’m going back, I don’t know if they’re interested in signing me. I don’t know what really the situation is but, I know what I want. I know what is necessary in order for me to continue to go to Japan. I think it just got to a point where I couldn’t and I can’t continue to go out to Japan months at a time and not be able to provide for my family the way that I need to. Not even the way I want to but the way that I need to. So, we’ll see. I mean, we’ll see what the future holds. As of right now, I have no idea.”

Rush also gave his thoughts about 2023 being the best year of his wrestling career so far.

“This year in New Japan was by far the best year in my wrestling career I feel like… I really enjoyed my time in Japan. I think from my in-ring work, from, you know, my promos, whether it was backstage promos, whether it was vignettes I was putting on social media, whether that was promos I was cutting in-ring on top of being able to go back to America and be on TV with IMPACT and cutting promos. I just feel like I was on point, I was sharp the entire time, and I never felt better honestly. I was in the best shape of my life. It was amazing and being able to do that in front of a completely new audience, in front of an audience that probably couldn’t understand what I was saying half of the time, but, they felt my emotion, my passion… It was real. Everything — and I don’t know how many people followed my New Japan run this year while I was in Japan but… everything that you saw, literally everything that you saw there, everything that I said was real. Everything came from the heart. Those fans saw me pour my eyes out in the middle of the ring, they saw me pour my eyes out backstage, you know, talking about my family and how I wanted to relocate and bring my family to Japan, how I was fighting for my family. All that stuff is real. It’s all coming from a real place and I think that’s why it came off as genuine and as well as it did because people felt that and I think that’s what made my run this year in Japan so successful because it all came from a real place. I wasn’t wrestling, I was fighting and I was fighting for my life, I was fighting for my family’s lives so, yeah, I think my run in Japan was by far my best year that I’ve had in wrestling for sure and I loved every minute of it. I loved going out there, waving to the kids, I loved crying with the fans, I loved them crying when they saw me, I loved learning the little bit of Japanese that I learned in order to communicate with them. From the fan art to going out and getting recognized at restaurants and afterparty clubs and stuff like that. It was amazing. It completely took me by surprise, but it was for sure some of the best moments in my career.

I think this was from the New Japan Cup. I came out with half face paint. This was my first match with Hiromu (Takahashi) for the IWGP Junior Title. The energy in that building was insane. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like that before. That has to be, hands down, my favorite match that I’ve had in New Japan so far.

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