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Impact Slammiversary 2020 recap & reactions: Boston tough

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Impact hyped Slammiversary (July 18, 2020) as an event that would change their world. It is too early to tell how accurate that tagline will become, but the event did deliver three new champions, a handful of big names coming aboard, and saw Ken Shamrock turn back the hands of time.

Get the Slammiversary live results here.

Boston tough

The Slammiversary main event went through many transformations before the opening bell finally sounded. The original line-up was a five-way with Tessa Blanchard defending against Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, Michael Elgin, and Trey Miguel. That was reduced to a four-way with a mystery opponent after Blanchard and Elgin both parted ways with Impact.

On fight night, the mystery opponent turned out to be two men and back into a five-way. Rich Swann made us think he was still injured, then he swerved by dumping his crutches. That still left out the former World Champion who was the hook to selling PPVs. The surprise champ was revealed to be Eric Young.

This bout was elimination-style. Trey was ousted first via piledriver from Young. Trey made the error of trying to save Ace, so he could continue inflicting pain on his nemesis. Young pounced on the young Rascal.

EY was second to leave. He gloated over Swann’s limp body. The hesitation took too long and allowed Swann to roll Young up. After the pin, EY exploded in rage and attacked Swann’s healed leg with a chair.

Swann was in no condition to continue. Ace thought he had easy pickings, however, Swann had no quit and flashed a few roll-up attempts. Ace eventually clobbered Swann with the Fold and an elimination.

The finish came down to Edwards versus Ace to be crowned new Impact World Champion. They both exchanged big moves. Edwards actually kicked out of the Fold. He dodged a flying attack then struck with his second Boston Knee Party in this closing stanza. Eddie took no chances and hoisted Ace up for the Diehard Flowsion. Ace did not kick out. Edwards is now in his second reign as a World Champ in Impact.

This bout was the most exciting of the evening. It was a satisfying close to see Edwards find success. He has been a loyal member of the Impact roster since 2014. After dealing with a tumultuous Tessa, Eddie is the right person to stabilize the main event scene. He is easy to root for and shouldn’t cause any issues away from the ring.

The night wasn’t over just yet. Madman Fulton, who had been previously ejected, and Ace Austin cornered the new champ. That’s when Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows arrived. They teased whether to be good or bad and ultimately choose to protect Edwards and clear the ring of Ace and Fulton. Before Slammiversary faded to black, a video from EC3 hit the big screen.

Impact delivered on their promise of multiple top name stars making appearances for Slammiversary. Interesting moments were provided, but it felt more like a sell toward TV rather than enhancing the PPV product.

Virtuosa

Deonna Purrazzo came to Impact, she saw, and she conquered. The Virtuosa is your new Knockouts Champion after submitting Jordynne Grace with a double armbar. Purrazzo utilized a strategy of tenderizing Grace’s limb to eventually set up the finish. Grace fought valiantly with a hoss attack, but Purrazzo was too slick when it mattered most.

Purrazzo opened my eyes the most out of any talent on Slammiversary. She only had one short match before wrestling for gold, so she was somewhat of an unknown commodity to me. She displayed the focus and grit needed to make me a fan in the ring. Purrazzo had her game plan and did not deviate. She also had a nifty pendulum snap suplex that made me go, “Whoa!” I’m looking forward to Purrazzo’s next marquee bout.

Ken Shamrock steals the show

Who would have thought that a 56-year-old man would steal Slammiversary? That’s exactly what Ken Shamrock did. He teamed with Sami Callihan for a tag title shot against The North. Shamrock put in work. Real work. He wasn’t just standing on the apron waiting for spots to look good. Shamrock executed drop kicks, slams, fisticuffs, and mat work. He had two belly-to-belly suplexes that really caught my attention. One threw his opponent over the ropes, and the other was a superplex style.

The story of the match was if Shamrock and Callihan could work together without imploding. The Scorpion and the Frog fable was used with Callihan being the combustible part, however, it was Shamrock that was more hot-headed. At one point, he had Josh Alexander in an ankle lock. Ethan Page pushed Sami into Ken, who then became agitated with Sami. Shamrock also clocked Sami with an errant head kick when Alexander ducked. The scorpion and the frog didn’t blow up completely, so perhaps their relationship can be salvaged. Or not.

In the end, Shamrock missed a leaping plancha over the ropes. The North capitalized with a teamwork double flapjack slam to pin the world’s most dangerous man.

This match featured one of my favorite Slammiversary moments. Shamrock and Alexander were executing dueling ankle locks, while Sami and Page were slapping each other despite the submission pain.

New X-Division champ

Chris Bey surprised the world, or at least he surprised me, by defeating Willie Mack to become the new X-Division Champion. Mack had momentum throughout after an early cutter off the apron onto the floor. Bey turned the tide by using the referee to his advantage. He faked an injury so the referee would get in the way and prevent Mack’s frog splash finisher. Bey also used an incidental bump into the referee to poke Mack in the eye. That led to a high impact crucifix slam then Art of the Finesse springboard neckbreaker to win.

The finish caught me by surprise. Mack kicked butt until Bey exploded with offense at the end. I don’t see this title win as a star-making performance for Bey. He clearly has the skills, however, he had to resort to short cuts for the win. There’s ways to do that and still look strong, and there’s ways in which the cheater looks weaselly. Mack should be the favorite in a rematch.

This bout had another one of my favorite moments from the show. Bey was trash-talking by shouting the name, “Willie Whack.” Mack responded with two super loud slaps across the face. Mack’s slaps provided a hearty chuckle out of me.

Hottest free agent

Heath Slater jumped the guardrail to declare himself as the hottest free agent. He was ready to answer any tag team open challenges with a certain past partner (Rhino) or even fill in as the main event mystery opponent. Rohit Raju came down to protest. Things got physical, and Heath handled him in short order.

Later, Heath met up with Rhino backstage. Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore gave Heath the boot, since he was an outsider during these pandemic times. D’Amore didn’t seem too keen on signing Heath at that moment. Rhino told Heath to show up Tuesday night for TV, and he’ll see if he can smooth things over.

Knockouts #1 contender gauntlet

This was the dud of the show. There was too much cheesy comedy for my liking. A gauntlet match in Impact is more like a Royal Rumble, except the final two have a regular match. The last three came down to Taya, Rosemary, and Kylie Rae. Taya and Rosemary worked together throughout until Rosemary was leaning outside the ropes with a submission on Kylie. Taya came over to knock Rosemary down to the floor as an elimination.

The final showdown was brief. Kylie rallied with a Canadian Destroyer and a superkick to pin Taya. Kylie is pretty much the only contestant that increased her stock. None of the other Knockouts stood above the rest. Kylie now becomes the #1 contender to face new champ Deonna Purrazzo.

Entrance order:
1. Tasha Steelz
2. Kylie Rae
3. John E. Bravo (imitating Taya)
4. Kimber Lee
5. Kiera Hogan
6. Susie (aka Su Yung)
7. Katie Forbes
8. Madison Rayne
9. Havok
10. Taya
11. Alisha Edwards
12. Nevaeh
13. Rosemary
14. John E. Bravo (imitating Rosemary)

Elimination order:
1. Bravo by Steelz & Kylie
2. Steelz by Kylie via superkick
3. Forbes was eliminated but it wasn’t noticed until commentary alerted us
4. Susie by Taya & Rosemary
5. Havok by Bravo
6. Bravo by Kylie
7. Rayne by Kylie
8 & 9. Edwards and Nevaeh collided on the apron
10. Hogan by Rosemary
11. Kimber by Kylie
12. Rosemary by Taya
Winner: Kylie pinned Taya

The only story from this match that will carry over onto television was the triangle between Taya, Rosemary, and John E. Bravo. They both approached him separately beforehand making sure they had his support to win. I don’t know how that turned into Bravo imitating them and being allowed in the match. Inside the ring, Taya and Rosemary bickered about who Bravo should help. The whole situation was left unresolved for now.

Five-star athlete

Moose retained his self-crowned TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Tommy Dreamer in an old school rules match. That meant the action was extreme. Weapons included a trashcan, cookie sheets, a baseball jersey for choking, steel chairs, a kendo stick, and thumbtacks. The story going in was Dreamer doubting Moose’s heart and believing he was a waste of talent.

Once the bell rang, Moose proved to be too powerful and athletic for Dreamer to handle. It illustrated the difference between a five-star athlete and an average athlete that relied on tremendous heart to earn his way in the business. Dreamer had some moments of success, but it didn’t compare to Moose’s dominance. In the end, Moose closed it out by ramming Dreamer’s face into tacks on the mat then flattened Dreamer with a spear.

This was solid storytelling setting Moose up to be a threat. He completely outclassed Dreamer, as he should have. I’m sure Dreamer’s words about lack of heart will come back into play against a different opponent, but I’m glad it didn’t happen against Dreamer. There was no value for Dreamer to win.

Motor City surprise

The Motor City Machine Guns defeated the Rascalz in the opener. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley returned to Impact to answer the open challenge issued by Dez Xavier and Zachary Wentz. The story was the evolution of similar styles. MCMG inspired the Rascalz, but the Rascalz added new school flair. In the end, MCMG’s veteran experience paid dividends as they outsmarted the Rascalz to snatch the winning momentum. MCMG unleashed a flurry of teamwork kicks on Dez then slammed him down to the mat with their Dirt Bomb finisher. Sabin covered Dez for the win.

This was a jamming opener. It had a good story of the veterans weathering the youngsters’ blitz and utilizing their supreme tag team skills to take the action into their realm. MCMG clearly still got it, and they look ready to be at the top of Impact’s tag team division. Impact management agrees, since MCMG later informed The North that they would be receiving a title shot Tuesday night on the Impact Wrestling TV show.


Grade: B

This was a decent show for Impact. It made news while providing enjoyable matches. As much as they want to evolve into the future, there were a touch too many instances that made me think of LOLTNA. That’s not a putdown, per se. Impact has improved so much, yet they can never completely shed that stigma of nonsense.

In this show, it made no sense why John E. Bravo was allowed into the gauntlet match. Not once, but twice. If he was supposed to take Taya’s spot early, then why was Taya allowed to enter officially at a different number in the order. Also, the swerve of making the main event a five-way was a raw deal for the other competitors. Everyone just rolled with acceptance. I can appreciate the idea, but the execution was weak.

We’ll close on a positive. Johnny Swinger was great in his one minute of camera time. He took a Jaguar car from the rental dealer after hearing the name Anderson. Swingman didn’t see Ole, so he assumed it was open to take. Swinger is a hoot. Never change, daddy.

Share you thoughts on Slammiversary? How do you rate the show? Are you happy with Eddie Edwards as Impact World Champion? Which match was your favorite?