Slammiversary 2016 was a time in which the future of the company was completely uncertain… The issues that were plaguing TNA were becoming more and more prevalent in the eyes of onlookers as various news sites would continuously report on the ever-growing problems that were a result of the Hogan/Bischoff era of the early 2010s.
On the on hand, the company around this time saw names like Eddie Edwards, Allie, Eli Drake, Rosemary and others come in and eventually become popular figures in the later years of Impact’s history.
While promotion would continue to suffer from problems, the in-ring quality certainly didn’t, especially when it comes to that year’s Slammiversary 2016…
10. Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights!
A real shift was starting to show as more young and hungry talent was beginning to appear on the roster, which really began a changing of the guard within the promotion as the wrestlers who had been with the company for years were already looking to relocate elsewhere.
The first to go was Kurt Angle, who was already planning on leaving TNA as evident by Angle’s ‘Farewell Tour’ during the company’s recent tapings in the United Kingdom; The tour saw Angle take on names like Bobby Roode and Drew Galloway, with his last match happening on March 8th against Bobby Lashley to which the pro wrestler/MMA fighter defeated Angle in singles action, ending the Olympic Gold Medalist’s ten year run with the promotion.
Speaking of Bobby Roode, he and fellow TNA original Eric Young would be gone not too long after Kurt’s depart as the two of them left on March the 19th following the company’s ‘Sacrifice’ event which saw both men lose the Tag Team and King of The Mountain Championships respectively.
One month later, Velvet Sky would be the last to leave after losing a match to newcomer, Sienna with her job at stake; Most of the these names would end up joining the WWE a few months or year later, while Velvet would join Ring Of Honor and years later become a commentator for the NWA.
9. Drew Galloway [McIntyre] Makes Scottish History
Before he made his return to the WWE, Drew Galloway became a free agent following his release from the company in June of 2014 during which he competed in a multitude of promotions like Pro Wrestling Guerilla, EVOLVE and most notably TNA Wrestling.
By Slammiversary 2016, Galloway became TNA World Heavyweight Champion and was set to defend his title against fellow WWE alumni at the time, Bobby Lashley in the main event, but before that the former 3MB member accomplished an impressive accolade.
On the March 15th 2016 edition of Impact, Drew cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase (which he had won months earlier) for a shot at the world title and by the end of that episode, Galloway defeated Matt Hardy to become the new TNA World Heavyweight champion making him the first Scottish born wrestler to become a world champion in company history.
Galloway also became the first TNA wrestler to cash in the Feast or Fired world title briefcase successfully as names like Samoa Joe, Eli Drake, Hernandez and others had all tried and failed to get the job done…Not too bad for a guy the WWE once put in leather pants and told to act like an obnoxious air guitarist alongside Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal.
8. Davey Richards’ Injury Impact
Davey Richards, was one half of the largely successful tag team known as ‘The Wolves’ when he suffered a nasty knee injury during the company’s tour in the UK (Yup, that same tour that would see Kurt Angle have his last match in TNA).
This came in the midst of Davey and Eddie Edwards fifth and final title reign as TNA Tag Team Champions but in order for the belts to not be held up vacant, The Wolves lost the tag titles to Beer Money which left Davey out of action for months.
Now without his partner, the company decided to make Eddie Edwards a solo competitor where he ended up becoming a two time X Division Champion which would eventually lead to him getting a shot at and even winning the TNA World Championship before the end of the year.
Richards’ injury also helped in setting up future events that would culminate in a hardcore tag team match at next year’s Slammiversary…but more on that in the next article.
7. Maria vs. Gail Kim Cancelled Due To Injury
Continuing our theme of TNA wrestlers getting injured, we have the self proclaimed “First Lady of Professional Wrestling” Maria Kanellis-Bennett, who alongside her real life husband and pro wrestler Mike Bennett debuted in TNA and instantly became the newest bad guys on the roster.
While Mike was busy dealing with EC3 in the lead up to Slammiversary, Maria was focusing her efforts on former Knockouts Champion Gail Kim; While there was some heat between both ladies on screen, the animosity real came to ahead when it came time for Gail to get a partner for the first-ever female lethal lockdown match when she was left with no choice but to turn to Maria who as you can expect turned on Gail which led to her team’s defeat.
This would all lead to Gail Kim having a match with Maria Kanellis for that year’s Slammiversary, however, the highly anticipated match was cancelled due to Maria suffering a broken hand during the Impact TV tapings weeks prior, with Kanellis even sharing photos about her injury on Instagram and Twitter.
Although it’s unclear exactly what may have caused her injury in the first place, this caused the company to make the Sienna vs. Jade match for the Knockouts Championship a triple threat with Gail as the third participant.
6. Slammiversary 2016 is James Storm’s Penultimate Appearance
Due to James Storms longevity within TNA Wrestling, he has accomplished many impressive feats, however there is an accolade that a majority of fans may not know about the cowboy and that is the fact that James Storm has the most appearances at Slammiversary than any other TNA wrestler.
Storm’s appearances at Slammiversary has seen him wrestle first in tag team matches from 2005-07 and again from 2009-11. The storm would then return to the company at Slammiversary 2012 to defeat Crimson and end his undefeated streak, he would return to tag team action in 2013 when he and Gunner would win the tag team titles at that year’s event, and he would again return to singles action at Slammiversary in 2014, 2015, 2016 and lastly at 2017.
This means that James Storm has wrestled at Slammiversary at least twelve different times (as of the writing of this article), with his Beer Money tag team partner, Bobby Roode having the second most appearances with ten to be exact (especially if you include that time he did commentary in the opening tag team title match at Slammiversary 2011).
5. One Night Only’s Influence on Slammiversary 2016
For those who don’t remember or never heard of them, the One Night Only TNA shows were pre-taped events that the company would air on PPV on a yearly basis starting from 2013 until 2017.
Although the outcomes of the matches at these events had little impact (no pun intended) on the major storylines, it did allow wrestlers from the independent scene or other companies to participate in tournaments and matches with the athletes on the impact roster in a number of never before seen dream matches and in some cases the wrestlers who took part in these events would end up getting signed by TNA management a few months or a year later.
At Slammiversary 2016, at least six wrestlers who wrestled or appeared at this event were first introduced to TNA/Impact Wrestling fans at the one night only shows; The names in question were, Jade, Braxton Sutter, Allie, Baron Dax and Basile Baraka and finally Sienna.
Many of these names would debut months before this event with both Allie and Sienna first appearing at Knockouts Knockdown 2015 and 2016 respectively where they both faced off against Gail Kim in singles competition, Sutter first appeared at the 2015 X Division themed show called “X-Travaganza” where he lost a triple threat match to Kenny King, and The Tribunal (Dax and Baraka) would lose in a tag team match to the BroMans at the 2016 Victory Road event.
Meanwhile, Jade was the first person in the group to have taken part in the one night only events as she took part in the first three Knockouts Knockdown events in 2013, 2014 and 2015 where she battled names like Tara, Santana Garrett, Taryn Terrell and Brooke Tessmacher before being officially signed to the roster as a member of The Dollhouse in 2015 just months later.