Impact wrestling showcased its talent Saturday night during Slammiversary. The pay-per-view event is the signature event of the hottest promotion in professional wrestling right now.
Social media was abuzz with anticipation prior to the event and #Slammiversary was the number one topic trending on Twitter during the event. Fans across multiple social media platforms were glowing with compliments about the show. I am going to give you my top five moments from Slammiversary 2020.
5) The Slammiversary Build
My number five top moment did not occur specifically during Slammiversary but was a huge part of it. The teasers from both Impact Wrestling as well as from multiple free agent performers helped build the level of anticipation to a fever pitch. People were speculating and engaging in lively debates about who was going to be the mystery opponent for the vacant Impact world title, as well as who the returning former champion would be and who would be coming with them.
This was not simply a case of a one-time teaser trying to entice viewers into buying the pay-per-view. Impact Wrestling executed a brilliant strategy which drew in curious fans. Free agents such as Heath
Slater and Eric Young posted hints on Twitter as to their eventual landing spot.
Impact followed these up with more vignettes and teasers both online and during their Tuesday night show on AXS TV. Some of these hints included the Good Brothers as well as Eric Young. Surely this was just hyperbole, right? I mean there was no way Impact could deliver on all these promises. Think again. Impact delivered not only on these but with so much more.
4) Rich Swann returns
With so many rumors and so much speculation about who the mystery opponent would be for the Impact world title and who the returning former champion would be, Rich Swann was able to fly under the radar and make his return as the fourth opponent in what turned out to be a five-way title match. Impact gave us a hint earlier in the show when Rich Swann opened the door when a reporter was searching for the Good Brothers. Swann still appeared to be on crutches and indicated he was there to support former partner Willie Mack. Most thought nothing more about it.
During the main event after Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, and Trey Miguel had been introduced it was time to reveal the mystery opponent. Swann’s music blared through the sound system and out came Swann, again on crutches. The commentators noted that this was a mistake…
Rich Swann, the best kept secret of Slammiversary, made his presence immediately felt and even eliminated the fifth opponent, Eric Young, by pinfall. Swann looked spectacular in his return to in-ring action. He put his fully rehabbed leg on display for all the fans as well as the other Impact performers to see. Sadly, his triumphant return was marred by a brutal attack from Eric Young after he had been eliminated. This ended the night for Swann as he was later pinned by Ace Austin. Despite the setback, this was a great moment for Rich Swann and Impact wrestling.
3) The X Division Championship match
This was a fantastic match between men of two wildly differing styles. You had the reigning champion, Willie Mack, who had an advantage in both size and strength facing off against the insanely athletic and agile Chris Bey. As different as their in-ring styles are, their personalities are polar opposites of each other. In Mack you have the humble and hardworking blue-collar champion while Bey is the in your face, brash, and cocky challenger.
The intensity of both performers made this match highly entertaining and extremely competitive. This match had all the ingredients of a marquee championship match. Mack was able to execute an exploder suplex into the ropes. Just when it looked like Mack had an opening for a pinfall, Bey was able to use the referee as a shield to rip control of the match away from the champion. The challenger was then able to debut his new finishing move, “The Art of Finesse” to score a victory over Mack and become the new X-Division champion. This match showcased both men in a very favorable way and allowed a new champion to be crowned while allowing Willie Mack to go out as a ferocious warrior who left it all in the ring.
2) The surprises never stopped
We all knew that Slammiversary would have a few surprises in store based on the all the hype leading up to the event. What we did not know was just how many surprises we would see, nor could we have predicted how impactful these surprises would be. Slammiversary started with a bang as the Motor City Machine Guns showed up to answer the open challenge given by The Rascalz.
Not only was this dynamic tag team the first surprise of Slammiversary, they won their match and parlayed that into a title shot against The North on Tuesday night on AXS TV.
Heath Slater showed wearing a “Free Agent” t-shirt and appeared to heading toward a reunion with Rhyno only to be told he is not a member of Impact, yet, and that he could not be backstage but could appear on Impact on Tuesday night.
In the main event which was scheduled to be a four-way match to determine the Impact World champion there was not one, but two surprises as well as a surprise at the conclusion of the match. The first, as discussed earlier, was Rich Swann. The next surprise was when Eric Young appeared on the ramp and announced he would be the fifth competitor for the Impact world title.
Two surprises in the main event added excitement and intrigue to an already highly anticipated and eagerly awaited match. Both Rich Swann and Eric Young made their presence felt in the match and displayed some of the athleticism and violence we can expect to see from them in the future. The match concluded with Eddie Edwards defeating Ace Austin via pinfall to become the new Impact World champion. After the match Ace Austin and Madman Fulton brutally attacked the newly crowned champion. Enter the Good Brothers.
Gallows and Anderson entered the ring and after some dialogue with Austin and Fulton it appears they are going to continue the assault on Edwards. The tables are turned as Gallows and Anderson attack Fulton and Austin and clear them from the ring. The three men remain in the ring and enjoy a well-deserved beer together.
As Slammiversary goes off the air we get the final surprise of the night:
EC3 is coming to Impact. One or two surprises on a pay-per-view are to be expected but the sheer multitude of high-level surprises we witnessed Saturday night during Slammiversary is unprecedented.
1) The Knockouts title match
Bad blood had been brewing between champion Jordynne Grace and the number one contender, Deonna Purrazzo, since The Virtuosa returned to Impact Wrestling. This match would feature the raw strength of Grace versus the technical skill of Purrazzo. In the weeks leading up to the match, Purrazzo had twice attacked Grace from behind after a match, and put her in an arm lock. At the contract signing last Tuesday night Grace returned the favor by assaulting Purrazzo after both had signed the contract.
The buildup for this fight was intense and the actual match did not disappoint.
The match began with both women demonstrating raw aggression and obvious disdain for each other. Early on, the match resembled more of a bar room brawl then a championship wrestling match. Grace was able to use her size and strength advantage to score a two count early. It appeared as Purrazzo might be out as the champion applied a choke hold to the challenger. The referee checked on Purrazzo to be sure she could continue. Grace delivered a “Grace Driver” and seemed to be in firm control of the match after scoring another two count.
Purrazzo attempted an arm lock but is thrown to the canvas. Just as it appears the champion, Jordynne Grace is going to pin the challenger and retain the title the momentum shifts. The Virtuosa was able to apply an arm lock submission hold to one arm of Grace and then is able to lock the second arm of Grace. The champion resists for a brief time but is eventually forced to submit and Deonna Purrazzo is crowned the new Knockouts champion.
This match ranks number one on my list of favorite things from Slammiversary, in part because of the buildup to the match but mostly because of how entertaining it was to watch. Champion and challenger alike sold the animosity each had for the other. The action was intense and violent. The pace of the match was perfect as it did not drag on and the ending was not at all what I was expecting. I realize that Kylie Rae is the new number one contender in the Knockouts division, but this match left me wanting to see this feud continue. I would love to see a rematch between The Virtuosa and Jordynne Grace. This is why this match was my favorite part of Slammiversary.
I hope you watched and were as entertained by Slammiversary as I was. I find the in-ring product that Impact puts out every week to be refreshing and exciting and I find the storylines to be very compelling and creative. I look forward to watching Impact Wrestling every Tuesday night and cannot wait for the next pay-per-view, Bound for Glory in October.