For the past few weeks, Impact Wrestling had been teasing that Slammiversary would feature a number of returning stars. And while that was indeed the case, those returns didn’t overshadow the high quality of the matches on the show. And in the end it wasn’t a returnee – but rather one of the company’s mainstays, Eddie Edwards – who walked out of the show on top.
Edwards was originally scheduled to compete in a Four-Way Elimination match for the vacant World Championship against Trey, Ace Austin, and a surprise opponent, who revealed himself to be Rich Swann who had been out of action for the past several months after suffering a leg injury. Swann had actually been interviewed earlier on the show. During that interview, he was using a crutch and made it seem like he was still some time away from being recovered. So his return was played up like it was the big surprise of the match.
But the surprises didn’t end there. Because before the action got underway, some creepy music hit, and a returning Eric Young – a former world champion himself – made his way to the ring, announcing himself as a fifth participant.
The action was too quick to call early on, with action taking place both in the ring and on the floor. In the ring, Trey and Swann put on a phenomenal display of aerobatics that would have had the crowd on their feet had anyone actually been in the stands (unlike other companies, Impact has continued to put on shows in empty arenas in order to more fully respect social distancing protocols). Meanwhile, Edwards got chokeslammed on the apron by Mad Man Fulton, who was at ringside to support his buddy Austin. This prompted the referee to kick Fulton to the back. With him gone, Edwards focused on pummeling his opponents, ending his flurry by powerbombing Swann onto a downed Young.
The action picked up after that, with Austin hitting some devastating kicks to the heads of various opponents (but not Young, who nonetheless ended up being busted open at some point). After a sequence that say Trey and Austin hitting everyone else with hurancaranas and flippy-spinny moves, Trey hit a stellar move, diving between the middle and bottom ropes to hit Swann, who was standing ringside, with a Canadian Destroyer on the floor.
Another great sequence saw a series of finishers being hit on one another, which ended when Eric Young hit a Piledriver to pin Trey. Young and Swann had an extended one-on-one segment that slowed down the pace (in a good way) that ended when Swann reversed a top rope move attempt into a Flying Bulldog that looked great.
In the holy s*** move of the night, Edwards and Austin scaled the ropes, but Young heaved Swann into them, sending the two flying and crashing hard through the timekeeper’s table on the floor. With them incapacitated, Young looked to end Swann with a Piledriver, but Swann reversed the attempt and got a quick rollup pin on the surprised Young. After that, Young snapped, and attacked Swann, going so far as to Pillmanize his leg repeatedly and then smash it with a steel chair before security escorted him to the back.
Swann was howling in pain, but refused to quit, though after a leg sweep, he quickly fell prey to The Fold by Austin and got eliminated. Austin and Edwards, the two men remaining, slugged it out with Edwards getting the advantage after a series of hard chops. But Austin used his quickness to scurry away and hit a huge Superkick to buy some time. Austin couldn’t follow up, though, and he got dumped hard in the corner and then ate a Boston Knee Party for a close count. Edwards finally put him away after a second Boston Knee Party followed by Die Hard to get the pin and win World Championship for the second time.
After the match, Mad Man Fulton returned to the ring and attacked Edwards from behind, clobbering the new champion. Before he and Austin could end Edwards once and for all, the Good Brothers – Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson – hit the ring. They faced off against Fulton and Austin, and took them out, putting Austin down with the Magic Killer before congratulating Edwards and celebrating with the new champ in a beer bash.
Slammiversary – Full Results
The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley)
Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley were the first surprise returns of the night, as they came in to answer the open challenge made by the Rascalz (Dez & Wentz). The Guns actually look younger than they did when they were last on Impact, although it looks like Sabin may have been taking things Nice & Easy, if you know what I mean. This was a fast-paced match that dazzled at times with some really neat double-team moves. In the end, the Guns hit double enziguris and then the Skull and Bones to get the win.
Winners: Motor City Machine Guns
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Taya and Rosemary separately told John E. Bravo that he had to help ensure that she won the Knockouts Gauntlet match.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Moose (c) – Old School Rules match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Moose has been sporting the TNA Championship after finding it backstage – wait, didn’t the title once get stolen for real that way? Dreamer paid tribute to Terry Funk for this one, coming out wearing a headband and a shirt that read “Moose Sucks Eggs.” This was what I call a softcore hardcore match, with a bunch of weapons being used but nothing that was ultra-violent. After Dreamer used a bunch of plunder on Moose, he got crotched on the ringside barrier, stopping his momentum. Moose walloped him with a Singapore Cane, and then put a garbage can on Dreamer’s head and then dropkicked it. Moose dropped Dreamer a couple of times onto a stack of chairs, but Air Moose crashed and burned in a moonsault attempt. Dreamer brought out a bag of thumbtacks, but after getting hit with a low blow, he couldn’t defend himself. Moose slammed his face into the tacks and then put Dreamer down with a huge Spear to get the pin.
Winner, and still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Moose
Match Rating: 8/10
Johnny Swinger pulled up to the arena in a Jaguar which he said was supposed to be Anderson’s rental. Not having seen Ole there, he took it. Interviewer Gia Miller tried to explain that it was supposed to be Karl Anderson’s, but Swinger was oblivious. This was quite funny.
Knockouts Gauntlet Match – Winner to be Number One Contender for the Knockouts Championship
For those who’ve never seen an Impact Gauntlet match, the convoluted rules here are that the match is a Royal Rumble except that when only two women remain, it becomes a singles match. This was okay for what it was, and nearly all of the women had their moments. Smartly, the entrances came in only one minute increments, otherwise this may have felt like it dragged.
Kylie Rae and Tasha Steelz started the match. Taya was announced as the third entrant, but it was John E. Bravo in a blonde wig that came out instead; he was eliminated immediately. Kimber Lee tried to partner up with BFFs Steelz and Kiera Hogan, but they were having none of that. Susie and her friend Rae joined forces to eliminate Steelz. Katie Forbes entered that, wearing an outfit that showcased her twerkability. One neat spot saw Kylie Rae thinking she was pressing Alisha Edwards over her head, but unbeknownst to her, it was really Havok behind her doing the lifting – when Rae finally realized it, Havok threw Edwards onto her. Rosemary joined her friend Taya to eliminate Susie. Then, Rosemary was announced for a second time, and this time Bravo came to the ring in another bad wig, pretending to be her; he was once again eliminated immediately. The final four left in the ring were Rosemary, Taya, Kylie Rae, and Kimber Lee. Lee refused to team up with Rae against the gruesome twosome, so Rae had no choice but to eliminate her. Rosemary hung upside down in the ropes to put a submission on Kylie, but Taya turned on her and dumped out Rosemary. After a short battle, Kylie hit a Superkick out of nowhere and pinned Taya to become the number one contender.
Winner: Kylie Rae
Match Rating: 7/10
As Josh Matthews and Don Callis recapped the night so far, Heath Slater came up behind them and stole a mic, making him the second surprise of the night. He then went into the ring and said that as a free agent, he was there to take the open spot in the main event. This brought out Rohit Raju who told Heath that there was no way Heath would jump the line to title contention over guys like him who have worked hard for that kind of opportunity. In a funny line, Rohit reminded Heath that the last time Heath had a title opportunity, he blew it, alluding to Heath’s recent match against Drew McIntyre on RAW. Rohit attacked Heath, but was dispatched of in short order.
Chris Bey vs. Willie Mack (c) – for the X-Division Championship
This was another fun match that showcased the abilities of both men, including the uncanny speed of big Willie. A gross move saw Willie hit a hanging neckbreaker that literally pulled Bey from the apron to the floor. A cool sequence saw the two battling it out on the top rope with Rey winning that one with a Slingshot Slingblade that looked super. Mack hit some brutal looking slaps, and then hit Bey with a huge Exploder Suplex that sent the challenger flying into the corner. After a series of power moves by both men, the referee was out of position and got bumped into by a running Mack. With the ref turned around, Bey took advantage of the situation and blinded Willie with a finger poke to the eye. This left Willie prone for The Art of Finesse (a Springboard Diamond Cutter) and it was all over.
Winner, and new X-Division Champion: Chris Bey
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Heath ran into his old buddy and tag team partner, Rhino. Scott D’Amore came up to them and told Heath that since he wasn’t actually signed to the company, he had to leave, since the building is closed to visitors under social distancing protocols. Rhino told Heath not to worry about it, but to come to Impact on Tuesday where he would work things out.
Sami Callihan & Ken Shamrock vs. The North (Josh Alexander & Ethan Page) (c) – for the Impact World Tag Team Championship
This was another solid match that followed up on the story of the uneasy alliance between Sami and Shamrock. In the beginning, the makeshift pair were in strong control until The North used some sneaky tactics to take over. A neat sequence saw Page and Sami exchange blows, culminating with both of them hitting a big kick to the face, and they both went down. Another creative moment saw Alexander and Shamrock clamping Ankle Locks on Callihan and Page respectively. Meanwhile, those tow, while locked in the holds, were facing each other on the mat and exchanging slaps to the face. The lack of cohesion between Sami and Shamrock led to some miscommunication, including Shamrock hitting a Sami with a huge Crescent Kick to the head. Later, Shamrock hit Alexander with a huge Superplex, but he missed a follow-up dive and crashed hard to the floor. A dazed Shamrock was prone for The North’s finisher, and with Sami still out from the Shamrock kick, he wasn’t able to save his partner from taking the pin.
Winners, and still Tag Team Champions: The North
Match Rating: 8/10
After the match, The North declared themselves the greatest team in the company’s history, and said that nobody could touch them. This brought out the Motor City Machine Guns, who let them know that on Tuesday, they would be facing The North for the titles.
Gia Miller went to Willie Mack’s locker room to try to interview him, but instead talked with Rich Swann who was there visiting his friend. He told Miller that once he’s back from injury, he’s going for the World Championship against whoever has it at that time
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jordynne Grace (c) – for the Knockouts Championship
The story here was Purrazzo working to weaken Grace’s arm to set her up for an armbar submission, while Grace tried to protect her arm in order to execute her devastating power moves. And the execution of the story was nearly flawless. After suffering a lot of damage to the arm, Grace was grounded. She tried to squeeze on a sleeper submission, but her arm strength was sapped, and Purrazzo was able to survive the attempt. After a while, Grace powered up, and hit a Michinoku Driver for a close fall, but then injured her arm while following that up with a Spine Buster. Grace tried to end things with a barrage of elbows to Deonna’s head, but Purrazzo was able to slip out of it, get behind Grace and lock on a Rings of Saturn type move, leaving Grace no choice but to verbally submit.
Winner, and new Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo
Match Rating: 9/10
Josh and Don promoted the DVD of the show which is available for pre-orders on the Impact website. They also announced that the company’s next PPV, Bound for Glory, will take place on October 24.
Trey vs. Ace Austin w/ Mad Man Fulton vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Rich Swann vs. Eric Young – Five-Way Elimination Match for the vacant Impact World Championship
Winner, and new Impact World Champion: Eddie Edwards
Match Rating: 8/10
Before the show went off the air, a graphic appeared on-screen, showing three vertical slashes. They faded away, and standing there, officially making his return to the company, was EC3.
Total Show Rating: 8/10
Countdown to Slammiversary – http://slamwrestling.net/index.php/2020/07/18/countdown-to-slammiversary/
The company delivered with exciting returning stars, fun debuts, and good to great in-ring action from top to bottom.