20 Years of IMPACT: 2020

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Our World Changed in 2020. It’s easy to think about how 2020 changed the world in many ways but Slammiversary was an industry shaking event. For weeks beforehand, anticipation built around just who would appear at IMPACT’s yearly anniversary PPV extravaganza. At least one former World Champion was promised, many other debuts and returns were teased – but just exactly who and how many people would be appearing at Slammiversary was anybody’s guess. Slammiversary came and blew away all expectations.

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The Good Brothers team of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows announced they were headed to IMPACT 24 hours before the event and that set the tone for things to come. The Motor City Machine Guns returned to IMPACT for the first time since 2012 as a team to defeat The Rascalz in the opening match, Heath arrived to take out Rohit Raju before reuniting with Rhino, Eric Young returned as a surprise competitor in the main event and the show went off the air with a warning from the returning EC3. Brian Myers would soon follow and the face of IMPACT was changed forever.

A devastating knee injury put Rich Swann on the shelf for the first half of 2020 – but after a surprise return in the main event of Slammiversary, Swann looked better than ever – even going so far as to eliminate Eric Young from the match. The maniacal Young did not take kindly to that elimination, ruthlessly attacking Swann and specifically targeting Swann’s surgically repaired leg. Eddie Edwards would win the World Title for a second time at Slammiversary but he would then be dethroned by Eric Young.

The damage caused by Young’s attack forced Swann to announce his retirement, but Young still wasn’t happy – once again attacking Swann. Swann was out for revenge and overcame his injuries to challenge Young for the World Championship at Bound For Glory, pulling off a monumental victory against all odds to become IMPACT World Champion. Swann went from the heartbreak of injury in January to the triumph of a World Championship victory in October, as the roster flooded out to celebrate with Swann. Swann would close out the year with successful title defenses against Sami Callihan, Ken Shamrock and Chris Bey.

Taya Valkyrie’s record-breaking Knockouts World Title reign finally came to an end in Mexico City as Jordynne Grace captured gold and closed the book on Taya’s over year-long reign. A new force was about to enter the Knockouts Division though as Deonna Purrazzo announced her arrival in June and came straight for the champion Grace. The two faced off in an amazing match at Slammiversary 2020 with Deonna becoming champion before battling in an equally gripping rematch at Emergence – this time in the first ever Knockouts 30 Minute Iron Man Match. Deonna would briefly lose the title to Su Yung at Bound For Glory before quickly regaining it, proving the Knockouts division belonged to “The Virtuosa.”

Ace Austin’s X-Division Championship reign came to an end at Rebellion Night 1 as Willie Mack conquered the brash, young champion. Another X-Division newcomer Chris Bey quickly made his mark as he defeated Willie to become champion at Slammiversary. While Bey may be the Ultimate Finesser, he ran into the wily genius of Rohit Raju – who feigned to be allies with Bey only to take Bey’s title. Rohit managed to hold on to the title by any means necessary – even ensuring TJP could never challenge him for the title again. That never said anything about Manik however, as TJP’s masked alter-ego captured gold at Final Resolution.

The North continued to dominate the tag team division – becoming the longest reigning champions in history. That is, until they ran into The Motor City Machine Guns. After Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley returned at Slammiversary, they immediately found themselves in the position of number one contenders and defeated The North for the titles in a dream match. The Guns then retained the belts against The North and The Rascalz before Josh Alexander took out Alex Shelley, allowing The North to regain the titles in a four way at Bound For Glory. The Good Brothers can’t be kept away from gold for too long in any company though as they defeated The North to add the IMPACT World Tag Team Titles to their extensive resume at Turning Point.

Other notable events from 2020: Tessa Blanchard defeated Sami Callihan to become World Champion at Hard To Kill. Ken Shamrock was inducted into the IMPACT Hall of Fame at Bound For Glory. An innovative Wrestle House reality show series ran on IMPACT throughout the summer. Monthly IMPACT Plus specials returned with Victory Road. James Storm made his surprise return to IMPACT in the Call Your Shot Gauntlet at Bound For Glory. Moose defeated EC3 at Bound For Glory to take control of his narrative. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega made his debut in December in an event that would go on to shake IMPACT to its core in 2021.

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