The year 2020 can probably best be described as a shit show from beginning to end. Real-world events like the Covid-19 pandemic would lead to some promotions having to temporarily close down or being forced to work under special conditions while events planned for WrestleMania weekend would get cancelled.
Surprisingly, Impact Wrestling had the most to gain out of any other wrestling company in America during this period as Impact managed to use some of the opportunities proved to them like signing up wrestlers who were previously let go or desperately needed work to their roster and in the process, they added a new level of excitement to the promotion at a time when wrestling fans really needed something exciting to watch.
This excitement for Impact Wrestling in 2020 reached its peak at that year’s Slammiversary 2020 event which was filled with suspense and intrigue with rumours on which wrestler or wrestlers would be making their appearance on this night and the night itself was definitely a show worth remembering.
So with all of that said, here are 10 Interesting Facts About Slammiversary 2020.
10. The Event Was One Of The Most Trending Topics On Twitter
Wrestling events trending in today’s digital age may seem commonplace or if you’re WWE, it’s just another day in the office; For Impact Wrestling, on the other hand, it’s a very important thing.
The led up to this show was largely due to the hype surrounding the event in addition to the matches that were announced, so when the time came both the company and fans alike were looking to see if the efforts that were put into the PPV would pay off and sure enough that’s exactly what happened.
In the first few minutes of the pay per view airing, Slammiversary 2020 was the number five most trending topic on Twitter and by the time of the first big reveal on the show, Slammiversary 2020 was trending at number one on Twitter ahead of other sports like the UFC and baseball.
The last time the Impact trended highly on Twitter would have to be few key episodes of Impact Wrestling between 2019-2020 with the most notable episode being Impact’s debut on AXS TV in late 2019.
9. It’s The First Slammiversary To Be Held On A Saturday
Usually, wrestling pay per views has aired on Sunday nights since the wrestling boom of the 1980’s thanks to closed-circuit events. It’s basically been a tradition in the world of pro wrestling but there have been a few times where this hasn’t always been the case.
The WWE (or WWF back in the day) had at least one or two of their major PPV’s: WrestleMania and Summerslam air on days that weren’t Sunday in the 1980s and the early 1990s; Impact Wrestling decided to do something similar for one of their major events of the year.
On the June 9th 2020 episode of Impact, a quick video package revealed that the date for Slammiversary would be July 18th 2020.
Impact’s decision to air Slammiversary 2020 on a Saturday has been seen as a brilliant move as wrestlers were desperately looking to not only make some money during the pandemic but to get back in the ring and wrestle.
You see a large number of wrestlers would be let go by the WWE in April and they were bound to a 90-day no-compete clause, meaning that those fired wrestlers wouldn’t be able to compete for another company until the beginning of a particular date.
And what was this particular date you might be asking?…well that date would just so happen to be July 18th, the same date of Impact Wrestling’s yearly pay per view.
8. The Hype Surrounding The Event
For critics of Impact Wrestling, the one common detonator that they tend to mention about the current product is that ‘They can’t generate any buzz for their pay per views’ well outside of the Impact fan base that is. However, If there were people who still felt that way in the build-up to Slammiversary 2020, they would be sorely mistaken…and in a massive way.
In the final moments of the June 9th 2020 edition of Impact, a video package was shown with a clocking ticking away as a black hooded figure drinking an alcoholic beverage is seen sitting in a chair while a TV reporter named Jon Burton would say the following words during a pseudo-news broadcast:
“Breaking news from the world of professional wrestling. Over 24 superstars were released from their contracts amidst the ongoing pandemic. Their fates currently remain unknown, we will be closely monitoring the situation and we wish them the best in their future endeavours.”
Following these words, a quick but flashing montage of wrestlers who were fired from the WWE and even names who had previously worked with Impact were shown with images of Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Mike and Maria Bennett, EC3, Rockstar Spud, Brian Meyers/Curt Hawkins and even an image of a Bulgarian flag filling the screen.
The video and the endless amount of after-credit tease that the company would show following an episode of Impact managed to get the wrestling world wondering about what wrestler or wrestlers who appear at this event and suffice to say people buzzing to see what would happen next.
7. Deonna Purrazzo Returned To The Company Months Earlier
April 15th 2020, the date that will live in infamy in modern-day pro wrestling as this was the date of ‘Black Wednesday’, a day that saw over 20 plus wrestlers and other workers for the WWE getting furloughed or fired from the company during the Covid-19 pandemic as a measure of cost-cutting.
One of these wrestlers who were fired was former Impact and Ring of Honor star, Deonna Purrazzo who was let go along with her contemporaries just a few days after she lost a match to Nia Jax on an episode of Monday Night Raw on April 6th 2020.
Less than a month or so following her pink slip from the WWE, a video package would air on the May 26th 2020 edition of Impact where Deonna under her gimmick as ‘The Virtuosa’ would appear and warned the fans and the Knockouts locker room on what to expect from her now that she’s back.
Purrazzo would officially appear on June 9th and attack Knockouts Champion, Jordynne Grace by using a submission move called the ‘Fujiwara Armbar’.
6. Karl Anderson And Luke Gallows Confirmed Their Signings With Impact The Day Of The PPV
Former NJPW and WWE Tag Team Champions, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows wasted no time in making their presence known following their firing from the WWE in early April.
Roughly 30 minutes or an hour after the clock passed midnight (which signals the arrival of July 18th), both Gallows and Anderson appeared in a video discussing what they would do next now that they were gone from the WWE.
A few minutes into the video, a set of lights began to turn on which revealed that both Gallows and Anderson were inside an Impact Wrestling ring confirming the rumours that they have indeed signed with the company.
According to report both Gallows and Anderson have signed a two year deal with Impact which can also allow them to work dates in New Japan Pro Wrestling and since that announcement both Gallows and Anderson have become Impact Tag Team Champions, appeared on AEW and have helped to garner more attention to the company.
5. It Was The Motor City Machine Gun’s First Slammiversary Match In Eleven Years
Remember how I said in the first entry of this list that Slammiversary 2020 was the most trending topic on social media (mostly Twitter) thanks to a big reveal, while that big reveal came in the form of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin.
In the opening contest for Slammiversary 2020, former TNA X Division and Tag Team Champions Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley also known as The Motor City Machine Guns accepted the open challenge of Zachery Wentz and Desmond Xavier of The Rascalz.
The reactions to the return of the Machine Guns were well-received while the match itself was a great example of the high flying, death-defying action that the company was and still is known for; Not to mention the match also showed that neither Shelley nor Sabin had lost a step.
This match would actually be the first time that the guns would wrestle together at Slammiversary in eleven years; The last time this happened was at Slammiversary 2009 where the guns, Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed aka Xavier Woods and the masked man of mystery, Suicide fought for the X Division Championship in a King of the Mountain match to start the show… how ironic.
4. The Controversies Leading Into The World Title Match
Good God Almighty, where do I even begin to start with this entry.
As you all know, the pandemic pretty much made it impossible for a lot of people (especially wrestlers) to travel from state to state and in the process, it put the kibosh on a lot of plans and you better believe that Impact Wrestling was a company who were also affected by this.
First, of their world champion, Tessa Blanchard was in Mexico with her husband and fellow pro wrestler, Daga and was allegedly asked by Impact management to record some promo material that the company would use to help promote both the world title match and Slammiversary but this, of course, didn’t happen allegedly for reasons.
As a result, she was terminated and later fired from Impact Wrestling being the first time since Ric Flair in WCW in the mid-1990’s that a wrestling promotion had fired their world champion.
So now with Tessa Blanchard gone, you would assume that former NJPW and Impact Wrestling star, Michael Elgin (who was in the title picture for months) would seek this opportunity and become the new world champion right? Well, it looked that way until the events of June 17th 2020, this would be the beginning of what is now known as ‘The Speaking Out Movement’.
Without going into too much detail all you need to know is that the Speaking Out Movement did to the wrestling business what the MeToo Movement did for the entertainment business, it exposed a large and shady underbelly of misogyny and sexual abuse in wrestling.
Big Mike Elgin was one of those names who was caught up in this scandal and he would be suspended and then later let go from Impact for the numerous amount of allegations that came before him although many of those claims were made before he signed with Impact and they were already settled according to the man himself.
These events temporarily hampered the momentum leading to Slammiversary 2020 but the company was able to rebound quickly with the world title main event being a four-way with Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, Trey and a mystery fourth person for the now vacant Impact Wrestling World Championship.
3. It Was Eric Young’s First Slammiversary Match In Five Years
Speaking of which, the main event for the Impact World Championship got a lot of people speculating on who the fourth mystery man would be and they got their answer in the form of former X Division Champion, Rich Swann.
Reactions to this were mixed as many fans were happy to see Rich Swann return to the ring after his horrific injury from earlier in the year, while others were a bit disappointed considering the company promised a former world champion.
Almost immediately following Swann’s return and inclusion into this match, it was revealed former TNA Original and former World Champion. Eric Young would also be included in this match, thus turning the match into a five-way (as were originally advertised).
Much like Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, EY’s appearance here marked the first time he competed at Slammiversary in years. EY’s last appearance at Slammiversary at that time was at Slammiversary 2015, where he took part in a King of The Mountain match for the championship of the same name in the main event which was won by Jeff Jarrett.
2. This Marked The First Time Eddie Edwards Main Evented A Major Impact PPV
Eddie Edwards’ victory at Slammiversary for the vacant Impact World Championship capped off an impressive event complete with an appearance from The Good Brothers and a returning EC3 after the credits.
A lesser-known fact about this match is this was actually the first time Eddie had actually the main event one of the major pay per views in Impact Wrestling, If you don’t count his participation in the 2014 Lethal Lockdown match (which was the main event for that PPV) then this was Eddie’s first time main eventing a big Impact PPV.
This is surprising to discover, considering that Edwards has been with the company since 2014, has won almost every single championship there is to win in Impact and he has been the main event star since 2016…But I guess better late than never.
Fun fact, this was the first title Eddie became the Impact Wrestling World Champion since 2016 where defeated Bobby Lashley in the main event of an episode of Impact to capture the gold.
1. The Original Plans For Tessa Blanchard At Slammiversary
Tessa Blanchard’s departure from Impact in the grand scheme of things didn’t really hurt the company or the momentum going into the pay per view as the show went on to become a major success for the promotion.
But as it turns out, there were plans for the third generation superstar had she been able to appear on the show.
According to reports, the plan was for the Good Brothers to attack Tessa following the match thus turning the duo into heels; Apparently, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson wanted to get as much heat as possible during their first appearance on Impact programming and this attack by the Good Brothers could have also been used as a way to write off Tessa from the company as her contract had already expired by this point and if the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement, this could be a way to send her off.
But as previously mentioned, Tessa didn’t appear and thus she was stripped of the title, terminated and then fired from the company; This led to management changing plans ever so slightly with the Good Brothers coming out after the match and attacking Madman Fulton and Ace Austin turning the duo babyfaces instead of heels.