Impact Wrestling is back tonight with their Slammiversary XVI pay-per-view (PPV). It emanates from the Rebel Complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It airs tonight at 8 EST on PPV and the Fite TV app.
To get you all ready for it, we’re going to give you the quick rundown of the matches, our anticipation for each bout, and then our predictions. The anticipation will be a simple 1 to 5 with 1 being “not into at all” and 5 being “REALLY PUMPED”
Let’s jump right into it!
Austin Aries (c) vs. Moose for the Impact world title
Austin Aries lost his title to Pentagon at the Redemption PPV but won it back a month later, utilizing a low blow. That’s right, Aries is full heel now. That’s the best Aries.
Moose won this opportunity by defeating Eli Drake.
Since then, Aries and Moose were mostly kept apart, with this feud being built with interview video packages. The challenger discussed how he never loved football like he loves wrestling and focused on his relationship with his mother.
The champ focused on running down the challenger. He discussed how unlike Moose, he didn’t need to fail at his first job to decide to wrestle. A Double doesn’t think Moose has what it takes and told his opponent that he should hope the XFL needs a shitty linebacker when this is all said in done. Ouch.
Austin Aries also kicked Moose’s friend DeAngelo William in the junk when Williams came to Impact to give an update on his pal Moose’s training.
Last Thursday was the first time Aries and Moose were even in the same ring. The champ tried to convince the challenger he wasn’t there with a video message but then sneaked in from behind and kicked him low as well. However, the low blow and a following chair shot wasn’t enough to keep Moose down. He soon stood up and threw the smaller man into the corner.
Aries will have to contend with that tonight.
Kyle: 3 - This feud has been perfectly fine, but it really hasn’t been too exciting. Moose has acquitted himself decently but hasn’t done anything to make him feel like a big main event presence. With a pretty standard build and Moose not doing enough to make me buy him as a top guy, I’m fairly indifferent on this match.
Stella: 3- This is only getting a 3 because I love watching Austin Aries wrestle. Don’t get me wrong I like Moose a lot too, but considering he’s barely been on TV to prep for this angle I’m not exactly jumping up and down to watch this match. The fact that they had to build this angle through endless video packages is very disappointing to me. It’s the flipping’ main title! Practically every other match on the card has some kind of long, varied story line attached and this one was built in a press conference.
Kyle: Austin Aries - I don’t think Moose showed enough of that missing spark to earn top guy status in this feud. Aries is still the better champ.
Stella: Moose - He needs this win. Moose has done basically nothing in Impact (we don’t speak of the Grand Championship). He calls himself Mr. Impact, it’s time he proved it.
Su Yung (c) vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockouts championship
Madison Rayne returned to Impact with the design to announce some of the Knockout matches. But that didn’t last more than a day.
Rayne didn’t care for the post match antics of Tessa Blanchard so she stepped in. This led to a match which Madison won. She later picked up a win over the underutilized Taya Valkyrie. Those victories earned her a title shot at the champion Su Yung.
Su Yung is full horror movie champion and has been playing some creepy mind games with Madison. Last two weeks, Su Yung and her undead bridesmaids stalked the challenger into a field and swarmed upon her. This led to a weird dreamscape where Madison was in a at her own funeral. It ended back in that field with Madison covered in blood.
Again, it was very weird.
Kyle: 3 - While I enjoy how they go all out with the horror movie motif, they actually didn’t use that to build this match well. The last two weeks were this weird, creepy video that didn’t address the match they had at all. They needed to do a better job transitioning from the videos showing that Madison may be out of her depths to the match itself. Perhaps Madison explaining how those experiences would impact her when the bells rings. Given that and the lack of suspense with the outcome, I’m less excited than I wish I were for this match.
Really, right now I’m just hoping Rosemary is healthy enough to get a really cool post match angle.
Stella: 3 - I’m very torn. On one hand I love the Knockouts division - seriously it’s like 75% of the reason I’ve stuck with Impact - and I think that the videos they’ve done with Su have been creepy in all the right ways, but on the other hand this match has Madison Rayne in it. I know she’s important in the history of the KO’s, but I just find her wrestling style incredibly bland. Hopefully Su has enough charisma and creepiness to give this match the intensity a Knockout’s Championship match deserves.
Kyle: Su Yung - I say this with little doubt. Su has a future date with Rosemary and will be holding onto the title until then.
Stella: Su Yung - When Su loses the title it sure as hell will not be to Madison Rayne. Rosemary is coming for her.
Matt Sydal (c) vs. Brian Cage for the X Division championship
Brian Cage has not been pinned nor submitted since joining the roster. While some would think that would vault him right into the main event pictures, he’s going to climb the ladder instead. That means a chance at a secondary title prior to the top prize.
This is actually not his first match with Sydal. They had this match on TV for the X Division title. However, Kongo Kong interfered, leading to a count out victory with the X Division champion. Cage has since dealt with Kong and will try again to claim the prize.
Matt Sydal continues to be a utter douche with his spiritual third-eye mumbo jumbo. He thinks that will give him an advantage over the much larger athlete.
Kyle: 5 - Their first match wasn’t great, but I bet they held back knowing it was only the beginning. Brian Cage is a freak athlete who can move like an X Division wrestler despite his heavyweight frame. Matt Sydal is a great in ring performer, but his heel character is actually the best part about him right now. I expect this to be another showcase for Cage’s abilities, which are top notch.
Stella: 4 - I love watching Cage wrestle with high flyers of smaller stature because he can keep up with them. A big man like Cage should not be able to fly! Plus, Matt Sydal as a heel trying to get one over on the big man should be very entertaining.
Kyle: Brian Cage- They delayed the title change once already. They’re not going to do it again. Even another smoz finish that protects Cage but doesn’t give him the title wouldn’t work here. If he’s going to continue walking up the card to be their top top guy, he’s going to need to win gold here.
Stella: Brian Cage- Maybe my third eye is just closed, but Cage is taking this one. They may have done a good job making him look strong while keeping him outside of the main title picture for now, but he definitely needs something more tangible to give his record in Impact more weight.
LAX (Santana and Ortiz) (c) vs. LAX OG (Hernandez & Homicide) 5150 Street Fight for the tag team championships
At the last PPV, Santana and Ortiz lost their tag titles. Part of the reason is Konnan was attacked prior and wasn’t in their corner to assist them.
Konnan was gone for awhile and without leadership, the young duo hit a skid. Things turned around when Eddie Kingston (known as King in LAX) showed up. King is a member of LAX’s New York branch and stepped in to help Santana and Ortiz get on track. And they did. They quickly won back their tag titles and embraced King.
However, soon Konnan returned and he was suspicious that this was all too convenient. He suspected King had something to do with his attack and promised to provide proof.
He was right.
In the ring, he got King to admit that this was a ploy to take Konnan’s spot. King felt Konnan was washed up. Then he revealed he wasn’t alone in this conspiracy.
Former LAX members Homicide and Hernandez returned to attack Konnan and the young tag champs, who wouldn’t jump ship.
Tonight the old guard and the new guard will have a street fight for the gold.
Kyle: 3 - I don’t hate LAX as much as my colleague Stella, but I’m not into them enough to be really excited for this match. Santana and Ortiz are really talented and I’m looking forward to seeing them work. But Homicide and Hernandez don’t really do much for me.
What I like most about this story is it shows Impact’s commitment to long term story telling. This story kicked off at the last PPV months ago and they paced it well from then to now. This isn’t the only story they have like that and it’s something I’m really enjoying about the current product.
Stella: 2 - I’m only giving it a 2 and not a 1 because I do really enjoy Santana and Ortiz. I may hate a lot of what LAX does, but even I have to admit they have told a good story here. The slow build and the reveal of the OG’s was classic. I’m just mad I have to watch Homicide wrestle.
Kyle: Santana and Ortiz - I’m not too confident on this pick. I can see it going either way to be honest (and if they’d put a title on Scott Steiner, they’d certainly put one on Hernandez). But I think they use this to get the young guys who have a longer future in Impact a big win instead of the veterans who don’t need it.
Stella: Santana and Ortiz - I cannot stomach the thought of Hernandez and Homicide with the titles. Santana and Ortiz are young, very good and have elevated the Impact product. They should 100% retain.
Eddie Edwards vs. Tommy Dreamer in a House of Hardcore match
This is the other very long term story they are telling, stretching back to last winter.
Last PPV, Tommy Dreamer teamed with Eddie Edwards and Moose to take on Eddie’s big rival Sami Callihan and oVe. oVe won but after the match, Eddie snaps, viciously attacking his enemy.
This pattern continued the last few months, with Edwards becoming more and more unhinged. He eventualy defeated Callihan at a House of Hardcore match, but that wasn’t enough for him. Despite pleading from his wife Alisha and Dreamer, he wouldn’t let it go.
He issued a challenge to fight Sami in a forest, which Sami accepted. Eddie brutally dispatched of Dave and Jake Crist before using an antler to cut into Callihan’s head. This only stopped when Tommy and Alisha found him and stopped him.
Eddie snapped, attcking Dreamer for not allowing him to finish. He continued to descend into the darkness, accusing Dreamer and his wife of having an affair.
Tommy tried to wash his hands of it and leave Impact, but Eddie attacked him at his own promotion. Now they’ll do it in a House of Hardcore rules match.
Kyle: 4 - The only thing keeping this from a 5 is the fact that I don’t think I’ll be that entertained by a Tommy Dreamer one on one match, even with a hardcore stipulation. But outside that, this story has been very good. Eddie’s descent into villainy has been the most interesting he’s ever been in Impact. And the last time they had a PPV, that was the introduction of Eddie losing his mind. I’m hoping they have another big moment like that here.
Stella: 4- I don’t know how they did it, but they made me care about Eddie Edwards! I am so invested in this story! Eddie’s evolution from boring babyface who howls into a vicious mad man has been so fun to watch. Generally, I don’t like when “legends” come back because it seems irrelevant and like a ratings pull, but Tommy Dreamer has been such a good foil for Eddie.
Kyle: Eddie Edwards - I don’t see how Tommy winning would contribute to the story. It would be better if Eddie wins and someone else is the one to pull him back from the brink.
Stella: Eddie Edwards - Eddie taking out his wrestling dad is the next step in his downward spiral. I just hope he actually does a snow angel in Tommy’s blood.
Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan (Mask vs. Hair)
After Callihan survived Eddie Edwards, he turned his focus on Pentagon Jr.
It started when Dave & Jake Crist had a match against Pentagon and El Hijo de Fantasma. After the match, Callihan, who is never too far from the Crists, attacked Pentagon and tried to take his mask before being chased off by Fantasma.
This started Callihan’s mission to take Pentagon’s mask, which he actually did at a show off site. (This was not in a match but following a 3 on 1 beat down. Pentagon immediately covered his face.)
Sami would wear the mask to attack Pentagon’s brother Fenix. However, last week, Pentagon got the upperhand when he stalked oVe backstage and took them out one by one.
This will be hair vs. mask.
Kyle: 4 - I expect this to be a brutal affair. Both these guys have a sadistic side to them and that should be very evident tonight.
Stella: 4- Sami and Pentagon are both excellent wrestlers with a brutal streak. I expect lots of death defying moves, giffable moments, and hopefully some tears from Sami when he loses his weird hair. Man, I cannot wait to watch him get his head shaved!
Kyle: Pentagon Jr. - He’s not losing his mask.
Stella: Pentagon Jr. - What Kyle said.
Allie vs. Tessa Blanchard
Allie was gone for awhile after losing a casket match to Su Yung in an attempt to reclaim the title she lost at Redemption. She finally returned to aid Madison Rayne with her issues with the Undead Bride.
That led to a tag team match where they teamed against Su Yung and one of her bridesmaids. During that match, Tessa Blanchard attacked Madison, still angry after losing twice to her. Allie neutralized Blanchard, who was not having that.
Kyle: 4 - Both these women are very talented and this should be a very good Knockouts match.
Stella: 4- I’m a Tessa mark.
Kyle: Tessa Blanchard - Tessa is clearly the future when it comes to the Knockouts so the win would mean more for her here.
Stella: Tessa Blanchard - She’s a future Knockouts champion. Unfortunately, for Allie she’s just a stepping stone.
Ishimori vs. Johnny Impact vs. Fenix vs. Rich Swann
This is an exhibition match.
Johnny Impact hasn’t been on Impact since prior to Redemption. He’s been living on an island and then getting married.
Swann recently debuted. Ishimori isn’t really with the company since he’s in New Japan now as part of the Bullet Club. Fenix has been part of the Pentagon/Callihan story, but nothing on his own.
Kyle: 4 - Normally I’m way less interested in random exhibition matches, but I like all the men in this match. Also, I’m very curious to see if Ishimori wears a Bullet Club shirt.
Stella: 2 - Because I didn’t even realize this match was happening and I watch Impact every single week.
Kyle: Johnny Impact - He was the guy closest to the main event prior to leaving. The win here would mean the most for him.
Stella: Johnny Impact - Johnny was gone for too long for him not to win. He needs to reestablish himself quick and this four way is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone why he was in the main event.
Kyle: While I noticed I have a decent amount of 3s on here, I’m overall looking forward to this show. The new management and creative team has showed promise since taking over. I’m enjoying the long form storytelling and expect them to pay off something tonight and introduce even more.
Don Callis and Scott D’Amore have only been in this role for half a year and that time, Impact has showed consistency and put out a solid product. We should expect them only to improve and learn with time, creating an even better show.
Stella: I’m really excited for this PPV. There are several solid story lines coming to a head as well as some very interesting match ups. Plus we get to watch Sami get his head shaved. (Seriously, I am so excited about that).
In general I think Impact has really been on a hot streak. Sure their weekly TV show ebbs and flows (just like all wrestling shows), but overall they have seemingly found their groove. They stories are compelling, the wrestlers they have brought in are talented and exciting and the wrestling has been top notch.
That’s how we see it Cagesiders. Let us know what you think of tonight’s card and if you’ll be tuning into Impact’s latest PPV tonight. And keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all of your Slammiversary XVI coverage starting at 8 EST.