Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

IMPACT Wrestling Report: Slammiversary Review

This past Saturday, July 17, IMPACT Wrestling welcomed back fans for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it did so with one of the biggest shows of the year: Slammiversary on FITE. This year’s event marks the 19th anniversary of IMPACT Wrestling, formerly TNA Wrestling. As many of you know, I’m writing a book about the first 20 years of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling. But now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at this year’s Slammiversary!

Seeing, and hearing, fans back in the IMPACT Zone was pretty amazing. I know several of the people who were in the crowd for Slammiversary, and I’m thrilled that they were able to take part in this momentous ocasssion.

Knockouts Tag Team Champions Fire ‘N Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Decay (Havok & Rosemary) – Knockouts Tag Team Championship

During the Slammiversary pre-show the Knockouts Tag Team Championship belts were on the line. Fire ‘N Flava and Decay put on a solid match that got the crowd pumped up. And, we even got a title change in the process.

The video package that opened Slammiversary was excellent! David Sahadi, Eric Tompkins, and the rest of the production team outdid themselves throughout the show, but this opening set the tone for what was to come. Incorporating the voice of the late, great Barry Scott was both a wonderful tribute and a celebration of the company’s rich history.

X-Division Champion Josh Alexander vs Chris Bey vs Ace Austin vs Trey Miguel vs Petey Williams – Ultimate X for the X-Division Championship

The first match of the PPV was one of the most highly anticipated: the Ultimate X match for the X Division Championship. All of the guys in this match are stellar performers, and seeing the Ultimate X rigging at Skyway Studios in Nashville, which isn’t a large space, was very impressive. IMPACT Wrestling pulled off the presentation of this match perfectly, and the competitors in the ring took it to another level, frequently eliciting cheers and chants from the crowd, who lauded them for their insane athleticism. In the end, Josh Alexander retained the gold, showing how he’s more than earned the right to be called X Division Champion.

Brian Myers w/ Sam Beale & Tenille Dashwood w/ Kaleb With a K vs Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green

The next match featured the return of Chelsea Green to IMPACT Wrestling. I had a hunch that she might show up because of a conversation I had with someone close to the matter, and I’m glad that she did. Chelsea is a super sweet person, and I could tell when I interviewed her for my book that she loved her time in IMPACT Wrestling. Both Chelsea and Matt did an amazing job in this match. This bout not only showed us that Chelsea can still bring it, but it also provided us with a glimpse at the growth and potential that Matt has in IMPACT Wrestling. The “Hot Mess” and her fiance walked away with the win, and I wish them nothing but the best as they start this new journey together in IMPACT!

Eddie Edwards vs W. Morrissey

This match was largely forgettable. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exciting either. Eddie Edwards is wonderful, as always, but W. Morrissey just isn’t that compelling. I’ve tried to give him a chance numerous times, but he lacks charisma and is arguably the most boring big guy in IMPACT. I hope he eventually proves me wrong by stepping up and standing out, but he’s failed to do so at this point. Regardless of my opinion, the company, and Eddie, did their best to give W. Morrissey a push by providing him with a win.

Next up was a mysterious promo for the upcoming debut of a new wrestler in IMPACT. Fans quickly figured out that it’s former WWE Superstar Aiden English. It’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table upon his debut in IMPACT Wrestling.

Madman Fulton & Shera vs FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson)

An impromptu bonus match occurred at the behest of Scott D’Amore, and it featured the return of FinJuice. The fans were delighted to see these two high-energy competitors make quick work of Madman Fulton and Shera, and FinJuice seemed thrilled to be back in the IMPACT Zone, surrounded by their cheering faithful.

Moose vs Chris Sabin

Both Chris Sabin and Moose are two of my all-time favorite wrestlers in the history of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling. Sabin is a former World Champion and half of one of the greatest tag teams ever: The Motor City Machine Guns. And Moose has held gold and been in high-profile matches throughout his time with the company, reaching a higher echelon in recent months; and many fans, including myself, would like him to be the one chosen to dethrone Kenny Omega and bring the IMPACT World Heavyweight Championship back where it belongs. In the meantime, Moose has taken part in excellent matches, and this was definitely one of them. Both guys delivered in spades.

IMPACT World Tag Team Champions Violent By Design (Joe Doering & Rhino) vs Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs Fallah Bahh & No Way – IMPACT World Tag Team Championship

The Tag Team Championship match, which featured numerous teams, was a fun time, especially with a live crowd in the studio. To bring the energy level up even more, Fallah Bah introduced his mystery tag team partner, former WWE star No Way Jose. Now called simply No Way, despite Fallah calling him No Way Jose and the crowd chanting the same name, his debut was, arguably, the most fun segment on the show. There was a conga line of people, including Johnny Swinger and John E. Bravo (dressed to the nines, of course), among many others, dancing around the ringside with No Way, Fallah, and the fans. It was a jubilant moment that was followed by a highly entertaining match.

Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo vs Thunder Rosa – Knockouts Championship

The Knockouts Championship match featured two surprises. One, Deonna Purrazzo’s opponent was Thunder Rosa, an excellent women’s wrestler who has had epic matches in the NWA, AEW, and elsewhere; and, two, Mickie James came out after Deonna successfully defended her title to invite Deonna to take part in the NWA EmPowerrr PPV on FITE on August 28. The match with Thunder Rosa was solid, but the Mickie James segment was the big moment that everyone is talking about, not only because Mickie is back in IMPACT but because the NWA and IMPACT are collaborating. Considering what went down between Billy Corgan and Dixie Carter back in 2016, that’s a very big deal. Can’t wait to see where this leads!

During Slammiversary the announcement was made that the biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory, is taking place on October 23 in Las Vegas. I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to buy a ticket to Bound For Glory, and this show will be 10 years removed from my first-ever TNA Wrestling event: Bound For Glory 2011, which is when Hulk Hogan had his last-ever televised match, a street fight against Sting. Bound For Glory 2011 was wonderful, and I can’t wait for this year’s show. My book about the first 20 years of IMPACT Wrestling will conclude with the end of 2021, so having the chance to attend the biggest show of the year will provide me with a wonderful perspective to write from, especially as the world tries to return to some sense of normalcy.

IMPACT World Champion Kenny Omega w/ Don Callis vs Sami Callihan – NO DQ Match for the IMPACT World Championship

The no-DQ main event between Sami Callihan and Kenny Omega lived up to my expectations. Sami is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet in every conceivable way. His psychology and promo skills are incomparable, and Sami’s in-ring work is top-notch. He never phones it in. Sami is intense, impassioned, and authentic. It’s why the fans respect him so much. Just like his longtime rival Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan is an IMPACT guy, and I’m damn happy about that fact. Despite putting on one hell of a bout, featuring a ton of back and forth offense, Kenny Omega retained the gold, as expected. If the title is coming off Kenny, I don’t think it’s happening before Bound For Glory. Hopefully I’ll get to witness that moment live in Las Vegas.

At the end of the show Jay White came out, which meant nothing to me because, frankly, I had no idea who he was. Apparently, he’s the Bullet Club leader in New Japan, but I never gave a damn about that faction. I’ve grown tired of the whole Good Brothers/Kenny Omega/Bullet Club/Don Callis nonsense. It’s just not very compelling. Don Callis is the most interesting person in the bunch, and even he uses the same lines over and over again. It’s just not creative storytelling, so I look forward to it ending. Throwing Jay White into the mix doesn’t make it more interesting for me, considering I didn’t even know the guy existed prior to his arrival. Unfortunately, the show went off the air prematurely, with Jay White about to physically engage Omega and the Good Brothers, and even D’Lo Brown was still talking. I’m not sure where the miscommunication was that caused this to happen, but hopefully they’ll fix it before it’s uploaded to the IMPACT Plus app.

All in all, Slammiversary was a great show. The live crowd made it infinitely better, the matches were solid, the surprises were plentiful and, for the most part, enjoyable. The show may have ended with a whimper, but IMPACT is on fire. The company continues to blaze a new, bold trail, collaborating with more promotions and providing fans with the best entertainment for their dollar. If you ordered the show on FITE, you probably had a good time. If you haven’t ordered it, get the replay on FITE. It’s absolutely worth checking out, especially if you can do so ahead of tomorrow night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, which will feature the fallout from Slammiversary.

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