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Impact Slammiversary recap & reactions: Ultimate X delivers in its return

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Slammiversary was a great show. Impact stepped their game up with the spotlight shining bright. All the advertised matches rocked. Most importantly, the numerous surprise appearances and the main event delivered in an entertaining manner.

Last night’s show (July 17, 2021) saw Chelsea Green, No Way Jose, Thunder Rosa, and Mickie James arrive in the Impact Zone. Kenny Omega and Sami Callihan competed in a violent and fantastic title bout. To cap it off, Impact brought at “Switchblade” Jay White from NJPW for a Bullet Club war tease with the Elite.

Most of the big stories have been covered, so I want to start by giving love to the Ultimate X match and its multitude of cool moves.

Ultimate X returned to Impact, and it lived up to its reputation. The goal is to retrieve the X-Division Championship hung high above the ring on cables crossing to form an X. The setup allows for high-flying, death-defying, crazy moments, and that’s exactly what was delivered.

Josh Alexander came in as champ against Trey Miguel, Ace Austin, Rohit Raju, Chris Bey, and Petey Williams. Madman Fulton and Shera were banned from ringside as the muscle for Ace and Rohit.

Let’s jump right into the wildest spots. All six men were involved in a submission chain. At the peak, Alexander hung down from the cables for an ankle lock. Watching the clip is better than any description.

Bey connected on a flying cutter to Ace off the cables.

Maple Leaf Muscle went on a spree of Canadian Destroyers. First was Rohit. Next was Trey. The topper was Williams hanging from the cables dropping to a super Canadian Destroyer on Bey sitting atop Alexander’s shoulders.

Ultimate X even contained comedy bits involving Rohit. He was too short to jump from the turnbuckles up to the cables, so he used a variety of workarounds. Rohit stood on a chair with a long hook trying to unlatch the belt, and he also swung a rope over the cables to climb up. Rohit’s antics were cheesy, but they worked in the flow of the match, especially when Trey came flying in with a missile dropkick knocking Rohit off the chair.

In the end, Alexander and Bey were hanging from the cables trying to snatch the title. They recreated a callback to Ultimate X’s history but added a little swerve. Both Alexander and Bey had hands on the belt. Ace tried to steal it with a springboard leap, however, Alexander and Bey lifted the championship up out of Ace’s reach. Alexander secured full possession of the title and knocked Bey down to the mat for victory.

Ultimate X was a firecracker of action. There were plenty of big spots that felt more on the natural side, as opposed to being telegraphed with obvious participation. The vibe was unpredictable with never knowing what insanity would come next. I like the call to keep the championship with Alexander. He’s building a fantastic run with the title. Impact needs to offer new challengers for Alexander to continue elevating his status.

As entertaining as Ultimate X was, I do have to point out that the camera missed a few spots in the first half of the match. One instance was Rohit pushing Ace off the scaffolding to turn his fall into a moonsault onto bodies below. At least, Impact provided a replay of that one. Thankfully, production was on point for the second half and throughout the remainder of Slammiversary.

Let’s break down the rest of the show from top to bottom.

Impact World Championship: Kenny Omega defeated Sami Callihan to retain the title in no DQ. (Full details here.) This was a bonkers bout. The drama was high right off the bat when Callihan attacked for a piledriver as the first move. They had me for a second thinking Callihan could score the quick win and then do an instant rematch. Omega kicked out to keep the fight going.

The no DQ stipulation was used to full effect with chairs, tables, trashcans, a fork, a pizza cutter, a chair wrapped in barbed wire, thumbtacks, and salt to the eyes. There were even two referee bumps. All the chaos blended together well without feeling like a scuzzy garbage match.

In the end, Omega went to the V-trigger to soften Callihan up for the One Winged Angel. Omega hit one V-trigger clean, a second V-trigger with thumbtacks stuck in his knee pad, and a third V-trigger after shoving thumbtacks into Callihan’s mouth. Omega’s supreme finisher kept the championship around his waist.

Two thumbs up for the main event. Both men went all out putting their bodies through pain for our enjoyment. The Best Bout Machine upped his game to beat Callihan in his own specialty. It is more important to build Omega as high as possible to launch whoever eventually beats him into the stratosphere of stardom than to protect Callihan with a wonky finish. Sure, there were shenanigans on both sides with the referee bump preventing an Omega win and Don Callis causing a distraction to prevent a piledriver, but it was a fair fight for the most part and in particular for the finish.

I’m interested in seeing the emotional toll this loss takes on Callihan. He went full Death Machine and still couldn’t get the job done. That has to sting his ego. There’s no silver lining to make an excuse either. Callihan tried his best and just wasn’t good enough.

After the match, Impact had one final surprise appearance to send the internet ablaze. As the Elite were celebrating Omega’s success. NJPW Bullet Club leader “Switchblade” Jay White walked out for a staredown. Bullet Club aficionados collectively lost their mind in excitement for possibilities of an epic war. The show went of the air before it was known whether White came in peace or not.

Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo defeated Thunder Rosa to retain the title. (Full details here.) The story going in was Impact choosing a mystery opponent to provide an impressive challenge for Purrazzo to cement herself as the greatest Knockouts champion. Knock, knock. Thunder Rosa was at the Forbidden Door. It was a competitive back and forth contest. When Purrazzo’s armbar offense wasn’t getting the job done, she switched to the Gotch piledriver for victory.

Excellent surprise in picking Thunder Rosa. I was completely shocked by her appearance but extremely pleased since it guaranteed a good match. Purrazzo withstood Thunder Rosa’s barrage of offense and proved her claims of greatness with the win. As for what’s next for the Virtuosa, it appears that she will be collecting titles. In addition to battling Faby Apache in title versus title at AAA’s Triplemania XXIX on August 14, Purrazzo has a date with Ivelisse in title versus title at SWE Fury next weekend.

Purrazzo may also feel inclined to drop by NWA’s Empowerrr all-women’s PPV on August 28. Thunder Rosa wasn’t the only surprise for Purrazzo. After her win, Mickie James hit the scene.

James invited Purrazzo to partake in the NWA PPV. The champ declined due to the disrespect shown in not letting her to have her moment in the ring after retaining the title. Purrazzo insulted James, so a superkick was given to the champ’s face.

Impact World Tag Team Championship: Good Brothers defeated Joe Doering & Rhino, Rich Swann & Willie Mack, and No Way Jose & Fallah Bahh to win the titles. TJP was out of action, so a last-minute replacement was needed. Enter No Way Jose as the surprise competitor.

The four-way had a steady flow of action, as you would expect with so many competitors. The finish broke down into signature moves. Rhino was setting up for a Gore when ringside scuffling caused him to lose focus. Karl Anderson struck with a Stun Gun cutter. Tag to Luke Gallows for the Magic Killer teamwork maneuver.

Darn it. I’ve been asking for the super hoss duo of Doering and Rhino. When I finally get it, it is limited action in a four-way and they lose the belts. So much for that hoss dream. At least there was a nifty monster fight taste between Doering and Gallows. On the bright side, the Good Brothers looked strong in victory. They took advantage in the end by using their wits.

Chris Sabin defeated Moose. This was all about power versus speed. Sabin worked the legs to chop down Moose with dropkicks to the knee, a dragon screw leg whip, and a figure-four. Moose turned the tide by launching Sabin head first into the turnbuckles.

Moose went to work for an amazing moonsault fallaway slam.

Sabin smartly rolled out of the ring to prevent a cover. Sabin sparked fire and fury on the floor attacking Moose, but Moose caught Sabin for a powerbomb on the apron then swung him side to side several times colliding with the guardrail.

Sabin still had fight left and scored a series of roll-ups culminating with a victory roll to win.

Very enjoyable action in the big man versus little man style. My initial reaction was confusion about the decision to have Moose lose. Upon reflection, it is a good call. With the world title picture seemingly booked up with Bullet Club drama, Moose has time to teach Sabin a lesson in pain to come out on top in the end. There’s also no shame in losing to Sabin. He is no slouch as a former heavyweight champ and 8-time X-Division titleholder. If Omega squeezes in another match before presumably battling White, then Sabin would be an interesting call as someone fresh with credentials to believe he might pull the upset.

FinJuice defeated Madman Fulton & Shera. This match was thrown together when Fulton and Shera were angry about being banned from Ultimate X. It was basically a vehicle for the surprise return of FinJuice. The bad guys couldn’t get along, and FinJuice made quick work to win with a fancy tornado stunner from David Finlay stepping up off Juice Robinson’s chest.

W. Morrissey defeated Eddie Edwards. Morrissey was fighting the heart of Impact, so he literally went after Edwards’ heart. The big man unloaded a boot stomp and clubbing blows to the left side of the chest. Edwards was crafty and sandbagged a powerbomb to counter with a back body drop on the entrance ramp. Edwards followed with a Boston Knee Party. Edwards continued with momentum looking to finish with another Boston Knee party, however, Morrissey pulled the referee in front. Edwards stopped shot, so Morrissey ran the ropes for a punishing big boot to the chest. Edwards recovered to land a Boston Knee Party knocking Morrissey out of the ring. The 7-footer unwrapped a chain hidden on his ankle under his pants. He walloped Edwards with a loaded punch and finished with a powerbomb.

Morrissey and Edwards told a very good story in dominant power versus unbreakable spirit. The symbolism of the heart attacks was a nice touch. Morrissey picked up the win, but Impact did it smoothly to allow room for the feud to continue. It is too soon for Morrissey to be pushed into the world title picture, but he can’t be denied with a clean win over Edwards. Since Morrissey cheated, Impact can probably squeeze another six weeks from this feud while still feeling fresh.

Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green defeated Brian Myers & Tenille Dashwood. (Full details here.) In Cardona’s battle against exes, he needed to bring in the one person who he could trust as his surprise partner. Enter fiancee Chelsea Green (aka “Hot Mess” Laurel Van Ness).

The finish involved callbacks to Tenille’s low blow on Cardona. She tried it again, but Cardona was wearing a cup this time.

Green ended up picking up the pin after low-blowing Tenille with her arm cast and hitting an Unprettier.

Sometimes the obvious surprise is the best surprise. That was exactly the case with Green returning to Impact. I knew it should be her as Cardona’s partner, but I wasn’t 100% sure. Once Green appeared, a smile crept across my face. The match itself was on the fun side with a bit of flash as Green hit a Canadian Destroyer on Myers. The story followed through on everything that set it up. You couldn’t ask for anything more out of a mid-card match.

Knockouts Tag Team Championship: Rosemary & Havok defeated Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz to win the titles. Fire ‘n’ Flava used speed and quick tags to isolate Rosemary. That lead to the eventual hot tag to powerhouse Havok. Fire ‘n’ Flava took some hits, but they held tough to regain control. Steelz had the move of the match by running up the turnbuckles for a flying crossbody onto Rosemary.

Steelz focused on taking out Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus to make sure there would be no interference on the finish. That allowed Rosemary time to recover for a spear. In the ring, Hogan hopped on Havok’s back for a sleeper, but Havok countered with power to lift Hogan up and over for a tombstone piledriver to win.

The pre-show match worked the crowd well, who were hot for the return of live Impact. The title change makes sense, since Rosemary and Havok are a newly formed team with potential. They have loads of history together, so that allowed them to be on the same page with chemistry.

In addition to all the surprises, Impact aired a teaser vignette. It didn’t dawn to me at the time, but comments suggest Aiden English.

We’ll close with an image of Callis’ stylish scarf. The Invisible Hand and the Best Bout Machine truly are fashion icons.

Slammiversary on Fite TV

Share your thoughts about Slammiversary. How do you rate it? Who stole the show? Which surprise popped you the most?