In terms of Slammiversary Moments, TNA founder Jeff Jarrett once said during a backstage segment at Slammiversary 2006: “At Slammiversary, four years ago Total Nonstop Action was put on the map; Critics didn’t even give us six damn weeks…six weeks to stay alive and here we are celebrating our four year anniversary.” Fast forward a decade-plus and the company formerly known as TNA Wrestling gets ready to celebrate 20 years of its existence in the world of professional wrestling.
Outliving promotions like WCW, ECW and the original ROH, Impact Wrestling continues to defy the odds when comes to the talent and the matches they’ve had or the fact they’ve survived every disaster that’s come at their feet over the years.
As the wrestlers, management and the Impact fans themselves prepare to celebrate 20 years of the promotion’s longevity at this year’s Slammiversary, I’ve decided now is the perfect time to make a list like this…with that said, here are the Top 10 Greatest Slammiversary Moments in Impact Wrestling History.
Slammiversary Moments | Honourable Mentions
- Jay White’s Debut
- Tommy Dreamer Passes the Torch to Eddie Edwards
- Madison Rayne Ends Roxxi’s Career
- Samoa Joe’s Debut
- The Return of the Motor City Machine Guns
- Deonna Purrazzo Wins the Knockouts Championship
10. Thunder Rosa Accepts the Challenge/Mickie James Returns (Slammiversary 2021)
Kicking things off with the most recent entry on this list as last year’s Slammiversary not only was the first Impact show to have fans back in audience since the start of the pandemic, but it also was the stage for two unexpected moments regarding the Knockouts Championship
‘The Virtuosa’ Deonna Purrazzo had been on a tear since her return to Impact and at Slammiversary 2021, Deonna was set to defend her Knockouts Championship against an unknown opponent as requested by Impact Hall of Famer Gail Kim. Going into the show no one had a clue as to whom the mystery opponent would be but once the reveal happened the internet and the fans in attendance lost their minds.
Purrazzo’s opponent was none other than former NWA Women’s Champion, Thunder Rosa making her Impact debut challenging the Iron Lady of the Knockouts Division for one of the company’s most prestigious titles.
While the action between Rosa and Deonna went back-and forth, most people knew exactly how the match was going to end and so it did with ‘The Virtuosa’ pinning the future AEW superstar in the middle of ring. But before Purrazzo could enjoy his massive victory she was interrupted by a returning Mickie James, who was the NWA’s female executive who helped in making the match between Rosa and Deonna possible.
While the crowd in Skyward Studios were happy to see ‘Hardcore Country’ back inside an Impact ring, that can’t be said for ‘The Virtuosa’ who took Mickie’s impromptu return as a sign of disrespect as her big title defense was now completely overshadowed.
Not one to mince words, Purrazzo berates James for spoiling her moment before telling Mickie to get the hell out of her ring and this causes James to answer back with a series of offense that leaves the crowd cheering and ‘The Virtuosa’ befuddled and enraged.
This would not only be Thunder Rosa’s last match under the NWA banner but Mickie’s return on this night helped to set the stage for her and Deonna’s feud that would last all the way until Hard To Kill 2022 where the two ladies faced off in the first ever Knockouts Texas Death Match.
9. Callihan Gets his Head Shaved (Slammiversary 2018)
Often considered the best Slammiversary of the modern era, Slammiversary 2018 is well remembered for a number of iconic moments and matches with perhaps the biggest one being the Hair vs. Mask match between Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr.
Following the infamous baseball bat incident on Eddie Edwards in early 2018, Sami Callihan was the most hated while at the same time most in demand wrestler of the year and his remorseless bravado to this incident further fueled the animosity people had with him as he began to feud with Pentagon Jr. who became the victim of Callihan’s attacks and mind games leading into this bout.
The match itself was an instant classic from top to bottom with Penta picking up the win, but it’s what came afterwards that’s focus on this entry as Callihan as per the agreed stipulation was now forced to have his head shaved upon losing the match however Sami’s associates Jake and Dave Crist weren’t going to let that happen.
It was only thanks to the intervention of Penta’s tag partner, Rey Fenix that the former Lucha Underground star was able to capture Sami and hold him down on the entrance ramp to get his haircut. When it was all said and done a bleeding, frothing from the mouth Callihan was left beaten and humiliated on one of the biggest shows in Impact history.
8. The Von Erich Family Stand Tall (Slammiversary 2014)
The Von Erich name is legendary in professional wrestling as they are one of the most decorated families in the sport next to the McMahons, the Harts, the Guerreros and the Rhodes Family.
While some fans may remember Lacey Von Erich’s time in TNA from 2009-2011, very few remember that the rest of her family appeared and even competed in Impact Wrestling all the way back in 2014 when that year’s Slammiversary took place in Arlington Texas.
Brothers Marshall and Ross Von Erich took on Jessie Godderz and Robbie E of the Bro Mans in a decent tag team match until it ended in disqualification, however the night would see Texas’ favorite wrestling family come out on top when Kevin Von Erich was able to apply the Iron Claw submission onto DJZ which got the crowd in Texas jumping out of their seats with enjoyment.
7. The Good Brothers to the Rescue (Slammiversary 2020)
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have been a dominate force in Impact’s tag team division but their debut within the company is quite spectacular due to the timing of when it happened.
After being let go along with countless other wrestlers by the WWE in mid 2020, it was unclear where The Good Brothers might turn up next although most expected them to either return to New Japan or end signing with All Elite Wrestling.
The answer came in the early hours of July 18th when both Gallows and Anderson stood in a dark room chatting for a little bit only for the lights to turn on and reveal that the Good Bros had signed with Impact Wrestling and just in time for their Slammiversary PPV which was taking place that same day.
Anderson and Gallows would make their presence known towards the end of the pay per view when they came out and saved newly crown world champion, Eddie Edwards from a beatdown at the hands of Ace Austin and Madman Fulton and the rest as they say is history.
6. Daffney Lands in the Thumbtacks (Slammiversary 2009)
The death of former WCW and TNA star, Daffney Unger hit the wrestling world hard with various fans, wrestlers, and promotions alike offering their condolences to the family of the fallen veteran while also sharing some of their favorite moments in the life and career of the ‘Scream Queen’.
At Slammiversary 2009, Daffney teamed with Raven to take on the team of Abyss and Taylor Wilde in the first ever mixed tag team monster’s ball match and it’s in this match where the former WCW Cruiserweight Champion would become a part of one of the most memorable moments of the entire night.
Towards the end of the match, ‘The Monster’ Abyss opens up a black bag containing thousands of thumbtacks and spreads them out inside the ring when Daffney attempts to sneak attack Abyss from behind but to little affect.
It’s at this moment when Abyss is looking at the crowd almost for support for what he plans to do next all while Daffney is down to one knee begging Abyss to not slam her into the tacks, however when Daffney attempts to flee she is then intercepted by Taylor Wilde who slams her back first into the tacks leading to reactions of shock and applause by the commentary team and the fans in attendance. A painful but iconic moment in the late but great career of Daffney.
5. Sting Becomes the First TNA Hall of Fame Inductee (Slammiversary 2012)
We head back to Arlington Texas for this next entry as TNA Wrestling celebrated its 10 years of existence at Slammiversary 2012 inside the College Park Center.
While the show had no shortage of great moments like Christian Cage making a surprise return to Texas’ own Brooke Tessmacher beating Gail Kim to win her first Knockouts Championship the moment that I’ve chosen for this list would have to be the announcement of the TNA Hall of Fame.
Then TNA President, Dixie Carter was in the ring and revealed a video package revealing Sting as TNA Wrestling’s first inductee into their hall of fame before ‘The Icon’ himself walked down to the ring to celebrate this moment by giving a quick and impromptu speech.
While the official induction ceremony for Sting would take place at that year’s Bound For Glory, this moment at Slammiversary 2012 is still one of the best especially when it comes to honouring ‘The Icon’.
4. The Return of the World Class Maniac (Slammiversary 2020)
Due in no small part to the company’s hype and promise of wrestlers (both past and present) showing up, Slammiversary 2020 was set up to be a must see event.
While the night did see names like Heath, EC3, The Motor City Machines and the previously mentioned Good Brothers show up, there was another return that took some fans off guard.
The main event which was set to crown a new Impact World Heavyweight Champion also announced that the mystery opponent in this match would be a former world champion, so when the time came to reveal who the mystery person was, we got Rich Swann coming to the ring as this was his first bout since being taken out with an injury earlier in the year.
Now Rich Swann was a former world champion yet, so the idea he was the mystery person felt like false advertising until some unfamiliar music began playing and from the curtains emerged Eric Young, the former TNA World Heavyweight making his return to the company after being away for almost five years.
EY would be added into this match as well as Swann with the World Class Maniac being eliminated by Rich which soon led to Eric mercilessly attacking the previously injured leg of Swann and helped to set the foundation for their feud that would go all the way to that year’s Bound For Glory Main Event.
3. Samoa Joe Retains the TNA World Title (Slammiversary 2008)
The King of the Mountain match was a mainstay when it came to Slammiversary as it was always the main event match for the pay per view in the previous five Slammiversary’s until it was discontinued in 2010 but made a return at the 2015 event.
An interesting fact regarding the King of the Mountain is that throughout the match’s history at Slammiversary, their have only been three people who were able to retain their titles: Suicide/Frankie Kazarian retained the X Division Title in the opening contest 2009, Jeff Jarrett retained the King of the Mountain title in 2015 and then there’s Samoa Joe.
At Slammiversary 2008, Samoa Joe had to defend the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Christian Cage, Booker T, Rhino, Bobby Roode in the King of the Mountain match and despite the odds he was able to win the bout making him the first and to date only person in Slammiversary history to retain the world title in the KOTM.
2. Kurt Angle Becomes the First TNA World Champion (Slammiversary 2007)
We go from one King of the Mountain match in which Samoa Joe was victorious to one in which the Samoan Submission Machine was on the losing end.
Following the news that the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) were ending their partnership with TNA Wrestling in mid 2007, the NWA titles understandably went away as well meaning that new champions had to be crowned.
At that year’s Slammiversary main event Chris Harris, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christian Cage fought in the King of the Mountain match as everyone was waiting to see who would become the very first TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
As you can tell from the title of this entry the Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle walked out as the winner becoming the first ever TNA World Heavyweight Champion in company history and the first person to have held the WWF/E, NWA, IWGP, TNA and Impact World titles in all of professional wrestling.
1. Raven Fulfills His Destiny (Slammiversary 2005)
You never forget your first… and when it comes to the greatest moment in Slammiversary history how can you top the final moments of the very first main event in the PPV’s long and storied history.
Reigning NWA TNA World Champion AJ Styles defended his title against Abyss, Monty Brown, Sean Waltman and Raven in…you guessed it a King of the Mountain match with Raven being added into the mix following Jeff Jarrett’s kayfabe arrest after assaulting a ‘fan’ in the crowd earlier in the night.
Since debuting for the company back in earlier 2003, Raven had made it his mission to become the NWA World Heavyweight champion and despite all the challengers and all of the obstacles, Raven was given another opportunity to achieve the lustrous prize that had avoided him for so long.
As the main event was reaching its conclusion, a bloody and exhausted Raven was able to take the belt and climb the ladder before hooking it into place thus becoming the winner and the brand new NWA Champion…finally achieving his destiny to become a champion once again and makes it an easy pick for the best Slammiversary moment in company history.
So what do you think? Which Slammiversary moment do you think deserves to be number one? let me know on Twitter @FullertonHakeem and be sure to check the other Impact-related articles I’ve previously worked on…Happy Slammiversary everyone