Slammiversary 2018 can be seen as an important year in the eyes of Impact fans the world over as it saw the resurrection of a wrestling promotion that many believed was dead and soon to be buried.
By the start of the year, many fans were unsure about the future of the promotion but by the end of 2018 the wrestling world was paying attention to Impact… and for the first time in a long time, it was for all the right reasons.
One of those reasons includes that year’s Slammiversary 2018 pay per view; Considered by many to be one of the best PPV’s in company history if not one of the best PPV’s of the year and of the decade, Slammiversary 2018 was the night that saw an amazing venue in the form of the Rebel Entertainment Complex, spectacular in-ring action, a wild and energetic crowd, and a few career-defining matches to boot helped to make this show one of the all-time best and today I’ll be mentioning 10 interesting Facts About Slammiversary 2018.
10. The Grand Championship Was Officially Retired During A Press Conference
The team of Don Callis and Scott D’Amore wasted no time in “trimming the fat” off the company following their takeover in early 2018 as they decided to get ridden of the ideas that the previous regimes had incorporated over the years including the Impact Wrestling Grand Championship.
On August 13th 2016, the TNA/Impact fan base was Introduced to a brand new title belt called the ‘Grand Championship’ by then TNA figurehead, Billy Corgan; The title would officially get its first champion a few months later at that year’s Bound For Glory with Aron Rex (the former Damien Sandow in WWE) winning the finals of a tournament to crown the very first champion.
Throughout much of the title’s lifespan the belt was held by seven people between August of 2016 to July of 2018, with the names like
- Matt Sydal
- Drew Galloway
- Austin Aries
- And… Josh Matthews
On June 4th 2018, a Slammiversary press conference was held at the Real Sports Bar & Grill in Toronto Canada with the announcement of two title matches (the world title match and the Knockouts title match) taking place at Slammiversary but in addition to that, Austin Aries who was both the Grand Champion and World champion at the time made an announcement saying that the Grand championship would be absorbed into the world title thereby making the Grand championship a non-entity in Impact Wrestling moving forward.
Which makes total sense, because after a championship is held by someone like Josh Matthews all creditability seizes to exist.
9. Curtis Granderson Made His Return At Slammiversary
Slammiversary can easily be considered, Impact’s version of WrestleMania as the event usually sees a combination of pro wrestling and the stars of the sports world coming to create moments that become interesting bits of trivia for lists like.
This was certain proven to be true when the outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson was brought in as the special guest belt holder for much of the main event between Moose and Austin Aries with Curtis even getting a few moments to shine in the closing moments of the match.
However, this wasn’t the first time that Curtis Granderson made an appearance at one of Impact Wrestling’s most celebrated pay per views; At Slammiversary 2009, Curtis Granderson who was a part of the Detroit Tigers Baseball team was seen as the official belt holder for the opening contest, which was a King of the Mountain match for the X Division Championship.
8. Slammiversary 2018 Debuts Pave The Way For Impact Wrestling
2018 was the beginning of a new era for Impact Wrestling; After so many years of their big names and homegrown stars leaving or jumping ship to other promotions, the company desperately needed some new names to generate some life and intrigue back into the promotion.
The new regime didn’t waste anytime on capturing new stars as names like Brian Cage, Killer Kross, Scarlett Bordeaux, The Lucha Bros., Tessa Blanchard, Rich Swann and many more got wrestling fans interested to see what Impact was going to do with their new talent.
At Slammiversary 2018, most of the wrestlers who either wrestled or appeared on screen for the event were names that fans enjoyed watching from 2016/17 onwards or the new signees curiosity of the new regime; In fact out of the 24 wrestlers who appeared on this event only 14 of them were making the Slammiversary debuts.
While many of these names would leave Impact following a successful run in the company or some kind of controversy but regardless of that, this event and the one that came before it (Redemption 2018) made it clear to fans as well as critics alike that a new beginning was happening in Impact Wrestling.
7. Johnny Impact Made His Return To The Company
Following his departure from the WWE in the early 2010’s, John Morrison went on to heal from injuries he suffered previously before going on to wrestle in numerous promotions like Lucha Libre, Lucha Underground (where he would meet his future wife, Taya Valkyrie) and a couple of other independent promotions between 2012-2019, before appearing and signing with Impact Wrestling in 2017.
Around this time, Morrison or ‘Johnny Impact’ as he was known during his run was involved in a few film and T.V. projects most notably as a contestant for the hit reality show “Survivor” where Impact was scheduled to be on the show’s 37th season called “David vs. Goliath”.
After his time on Survivor finished, Impact would announce on social media that he would be coming back to Impact Wrestling at the Slammiversary PPV but he wouldn’t be the only one.
6. Rich Swann Couldn’t Compete In The Opening Four Way Match Due To Injury
The international fatal four way match to start off the show is seen as one of the all time best opening contests in Slammiversary history and it’s easy to see why.
The action throughout was fast paced, it didn’t looked too overly choreographed and it got the fans interested for what’s to come for the rest of the show. As great as the match was, it does make a few fans wonder as to what the match would have been like if Rich Swann was involved.
For those who don’t know, Rich Swann was originally suppose to be in this match but an injury would cause those plans to change; You see, Impact Wrestling and Major League Wrestling or MLW were having a working agreement to use each others stars for their respective show, however it was one of these shows that led to a sudden change for Impact’s yearly PPV.
During an episode of MLW, Swann suffered a concussion and as a result he would be unable to compete in the four way match at Slammiversary, however Impact was able to find a suitable replacement in form of former TNA X Division champion and Canadian born wrestler, Petey Williams. Swann would make a speedy recover from his injury a few months later and continued to work in both Impact and MLW.
5. Taiji Ishimori Announced That He Would Be Wrestling At The Event
For some wrestling fans Japanese superstar, Taiji Ishimori is best known for his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he wrestles under the “Bone Soldier” gimmick for the Bullet Club, however before all of that Ishimori was wrestling in Impact from 2017-18.
As part of a partnership between GFW/Impact Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah (a company which Taiji was a part of at the time), the Japanese wrestler competed in a large number of bouts for Impact ranging from a multi man tag match at last year’s Slammiversary, to taking part in the 2017 Super X Cup tournament to defeating Trevor Lee to become X Division Champion before ultimately losing the belt in a title vs. title match at the Crossroads event in early 2018 against Matt Sydal.
By March of that same year, Ishimori announced that he was leaving Pro Wrestling Noah, which left many fans to wonder if he would be coming back to Impact for any future events and sure enough the fans got there answer as on June 4th 2018 when it was revealed that Taiji would be making his returning to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary to take part in the fatal four-way match under his new gimmick as The Bone Soldier.
Taiji would wrestle for the company a little while longer as he and Petey Williams would compete against each other.
4. The Knockouts Title Match Was Made As A Way To Write Off Madison Rayne
In the lead up to Slammiversary, Madison Rayne was seen feuding with newcomer, Tessa Blanchard meanwhile Knockouts Champion Su Yung was seen feuding with former champion, Allie but as Slammiversary was growing closer and closer the roles were reversed with Madison feuding with Su and Allie feuding with Tessa…So what gives?
Apparently, in January of 2018, it was announced that Madison Rayne would be a part of a female championship tournament for Ring of Honor and she was looking to leave Impact Wrestling for Ring Of Honor.
As a result of this, the company decided to put the former five-time Knockouts champion in a title match against Su Yung with the goal of putting over the Undead Bride but also to write off Madison in a spectacular fashion.
Following her loss at Slammiversary, Madison was announced to have signed a one year deal with Ring of Honor in September however, issues regarding a reunion of The Beautiful People in Ring of Honor caused problems between Rayne and ROH management and it ultimately led to Rayne wanting out of her contract and she left in February of the next year due to “Creative Differences”.
She would return to Impact in March where she signed a multi-year deal with the company and went on to compete in a number of matches before becoming the host of her own kayfabe talk show and colour commentator alongside real-life husband, Josh Matthews.
3. It Marked The Original LAX’s First Slammiversary Match In 10 Years
At Slammiversary 2018, the fans bared witness to a fight between two branches of the Latin American Xchange: The new version (Santana and Ortiz with founder Konnan) and the original version (Homicide and Hernandez with Eddie Kingston, who had a history with Konnan and the group).
The feud saw the new LAX take on the OG version in a nontitle match which saw both teams brawl it out for team supremacy and while the match itself was amazing, what makes it interesting is that this was the first Slammiversary to involve Homicide and Hernandez as a tag team in 10 years…yes you heard me right, these two haven’t wrestled on one of Impact’s biggest shows as a duo within a goddamn decade.
Homicide and Hernandez’s last appearance at this pay per view as a team was all the way back at Slammiversary 2008 where they defeated Team 3D to retain their tag team titles and then fast forward ten years later and the original LAX proved that they could see go inside the ring.
2. Austin Aries Got Upset Over The Length Of The Pentagon/Callihan Match
The Hair vs. Mask match between Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr. at Slammiversary was an absolute classic period, the match was filled with so many iconic moments and is so great that it even made mine and Impact Wrestling’s list and video of the best TNA/Impact Wrestling Matches of the 2010’s.
However, there is one person who wasn’t so happy about the Callihan vs. Penta match at that would be former TNA/Impact world champion, Austin Aries.
After a heated Twitter exchange in February of 2019 between Aries and Callihan, it was revealed that one of the issues that both men had with one another was due to the fact that Austin Aries believed that the Sami/Penta match went on a little too long, which took some time away from the World Title bout which included himself and Moose.
Whether these claims by Aries are true, both men didn’t work with each other during their time in the company and by the time Callihan was getting closer and closer to the world title picture, Aries was already out of the company following his controversial actions at Bound For Glory… but that’s an interesting facts article for another time.
1. It Was The First Slammiversary In Company History To Sell Out
Since the company aired its first Slammiversary event in 2005, many of the shows have been done well when it comes to attendance numbers but sadly it wasn’t enough to cause the shows to be sold out from 2005-17.
Things would change as a number of reports revealed that Slammiversary 2018 was the first in the entire event’s history to have sold out the entire arena; In other words, the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto Canada could hold up to around 2,500-3,700 people as it’s capacity and Impact managed to sell the arena out.
This news shocked both fans and critics alike as towards the end of 2017 the company was looking at immediate shutdown following a disastrous merger between themselves and GFW, so to see the very same company who was close to joining WCW and the original ECW, pull itself out of this hellhole that they themselves created and produce a show like this and sell out the arena none the less was remarkable in every conceivable way.