Which barriers to break? It’s time to face the flames, look straight at the fire you have lit and face it. Everything you have created over the last few weeks will become a reality this Saturday. Make it something unforgettable, unforgivable, so huge it will be too huge for yourself. Also, don’t make the wrong choice that will make you mess past, present and future. Everyone has worked so hard to be there and support you, don’t screw the ones who make you become famous because someone who made you famous is coming back. Well, stay true to yourself…
So, here we are, this week is the final Impact before Slammiversary XVIII. On the menu, from Nashville, XXXL will face off The Deaners. The Knockouts will square off in a 5 vs 5 Knockouts Tag Team match. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Moose and a mystery partner will square off with Crazzy Steve and Tommy Dreamer. We’ll hear from Ace Austin who’s back to his roots to train, and also from Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo as they’ll sign their Slammiversary contract. Of course, I’ll review this episode, but I will use it as a platform to preview the PPV and give you my predictions, with this Nutcracking spirit you love so much. So no more words, let’s get ready for some action, but your French Nygma Steph way, of course…
The Nygma’s Chart of the Week
Many hype videos on Slammiversary matches I chose not to relate here, they are all available on Impact Wrestling social media and YouTube Channel.
- Kylie Rae, Susie, Nevaeh, Alisha Edwards and Havok defeated Taya Valkyrie, Rosemary, Tasha Steelz, Kiera Hogan and Kimber Lee. Susie used Su Yung’s finisher. After the match, all ten women brawled, Kylie Rae was the last woman standing.
- Ace Austin and Madman Fulton were in Dayton, Ohio.
- Last week, Rhino challenged Hernandez to an arm-wrestling match but Moose tried to interrupt it, by asking if either man wants to be his tag team partner tonight. Both of them said no to him. Rhino won, Hernandez was not too happy about losing all his money.
- XXXL vs The Deaners (Cody & Jake) defeated XXXL (Larry D & Acey Romero). After the match, XXXL attacked The Deaners.
- Backstage, Moose found Rohit Raju and offered him to be his tag team partner tonight, telling Raju that he’s his “last resort.” Raju was unhappy he asked him the last but he said he’ll think about it.
- Backstage, Johnny Swinger was still on a mission to find a way to sneak into Chris Bey’s championship match this Saturday. He told the referee that he’s Bey’s “emotional support companion.” The referee said ok. Swinger will get to stand at ringside during Bey’s match on Saturday. As Swinger came back to inform Bey about, Swinger overheard Bey talking smack about Swinger to the backstage interviewer, Gia Miller. Swinger’s heart was broken.
- Jimmy Jacobs was standing by with Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo. Both women were about to sign their contract for their match on Saturday. After they both signed it, Grace and Purrazzo attacked each other.
- Crazzy Steve & Tommy Dreamer defeated TNA World Heavyweight Champion Moose & Rohit Raju.
- Austin and Fulton arrived at a gym.
- Hernandez wanted his money back. They fought in the parking lot, with Hernandez’s bandana and orange cones as tools. They both looked down to see the wad of cash they were fighting over. They decided to split their earnings and end their match.
- Ace Austin was training. We saw Trey and Wentz enter as Ace was teaching. Wentz hit Fulton in the back with a garbage can. Wentz was able to lock Fulton up for a short while before he broke free. Trey stepped in the ring and laid the smackdown on Austin. Austin hit a few punches before Trey threw him face-first into the ring post. Trey speared Austin up against the wall. Austin fought free and found a broom to hit Trey with. Austin slammed Trey with a chair, then locked him up in a sleeper hold. Trey superkicked him. Austin flew over the barricade. Fulton made his way back into the gym. Wentz followed him back with a barbed wire chair. Austin and Fulton fled as Wentz checked in on Trey.
The Nygma’s Nutcracker(s) and Noticeable Facts of the Week
– The most diverse Knockouts roster
I don’t honestly remember if Josh Mathews or Madison Rayne said these words but whoever it was, he or she was right. Over the years, we have tried to compare the rosters, define who has been the best in the long history of the company. In fact, there’s nothing to compare because every era is different. And this era is as unique as the previous, with a mix of characters, powerful women, Luchadoras, hardcore ladies. More than each of them, it’s the mix of them that creates this fabulous in-ring chemistry.
– The cinematic orchestra
Cinematic is wrestling’s new trend and we’ll hear about this weekend again. Impact Wrestling reminded us this week they are mastering this art more than any other company. The brawl between Rhino and Hernandez was brutal and funny. When it comes to Trey and Ace in the gym in Dayton, this was a great definition of what cinematic is, take every aspect of an unusual environment to make it a place to fight. Tables, guardrails, chairs, podium, every tool was welcomed when it came to hurt the opponent.
The Weekly “Enigma For a Nygma”
The last teaser for Slammiversary mystery former World Champion coming back was making Scott D’Amore very happy. What happened and who was in it? He sent his contract signed through FedEx, was it James Storm, Bully Ray, EC3 or Chris Sabin? Maybe it was Eric Young, EC3 or Kurt Angle but it could also be Lio Rush, Brian Myers, Amazing Red, Shane Helms, Doc Gallows, Gail Kim, The Beautiful People, a Bulgarian or Canadian or Japanese man, Mike and Maria Bennett, or Bully Ray. “Slammiversary has just got even more exciting, ” Scott D’Amore said.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 15, 2020
Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary XVIII Preview, Stakes and Predictions
Slammiversary is a part of the legacy of TNA/Impact Wrestling, one of the most iconic and longer PPVs in the history of the company. We haven’t really had a PPV since Hard To Kill in January as COVID-19 took everyone by surprise and made of Rebellion a 2-part special event. Things haven’t been put on hold, barriers have never stopped being broken, things were just slowed down a little because some talents couldn’t be there for any kind of reason.
I’ve wrapped the build-up of Slammiversary XVIII into a positive momentum but this moment is made to face the flames. As if COVID was not enough, Impact Wrestling had to face a major blow when they took the decision to make some roster changes. It was a storm after another one, but that was not enough to make the boat shift. At the same time, the company chose to bet on two intriguing situations. Moose revived the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and, at the same time, a time where two World Champions were coexisting in the company. If two is better than zero, I remain puzzled on what it means. Then came the teasers, the three glasses of whiskey. A former World Champion is coming back at Slammiversary? Who? Don’t know. Why? Don’t know. To be involved in which match? Don’t know. If I reviewed every teaser, don’t expect from me any kind of maybe, perhaps or I think because let’s get surprised.
Every Impact Wrestling PPV is a do-or-die one. In the current context, it is more than ever. Like I said earlier, the past, the present and the future are sometimes not made to coexist. I’ve been vocal on the fact the current roster, the one who is putting the company on their shoulders day after day, can’t be shadowed by a comeback. With six matches on the card, there is some space for maybe two more, depending on what Impact Wrestling are cooking. Who will make history on Sunday around 4 AM GMT? We’ll see. I will say what I’m used to saying, I genuinely want a PPV like Impact Wrestling can do, with good, great and awesome matches. What I absolutely don’t want is to tell you, tomorrow night, “I told you” or “I saw it coming”. Let’s scrutinize this card and see what may happen…
* The Rascalz Open Challenge
Wentz said on Twitter, “Who wants to get smoked? Time to shine on the biggest PPV of the year!” Dez added, “Did you really think we would miss out on one of the biggest shows of the year?! Who’s going to answer?! Find out this Saturday!!!” This match was added on Thursday afternoon and obviously, the rumour mill is now running wild. Will it be an Impact team or a new team made of those wrestlers teased? We’ll see that Saturday…
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… The Rascalz
* Knockouts Gauntlet Match
The eleven Knockouts involved in this match all have the potential to be number one contenders. During this COVID tapings, they really made an excellent work with their Knockouts. Kylie Rae, Tasha Steelz, Nevaeh, Kimber Lee made some striking debuts. Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie became a deadly team. Susie starts to remember the Su Yung inside of her. Things got really exciting. This PPV match is, I think, a way to celebrate the division and its hard work.
In IMPACT, their standard gauntlet matches start as a Battle Royal in the ring, with the final two participants then entering into a pinfall/submission situation to declare the winner. With so much talent in the ring, chaos can come from everyone everywhere. Do I really need to choose?
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Su Yung or Taya Valkyrie
* TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Moose (c) vs Tommy Dreamer
After spitting of TNA heritage and talents, Moose brought back the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and crowned himself as. At a moment where the Impact World Championship couldn’t be defended, reviving this title was not a bad idea because it could be defended on IMPACT week after week. And that’s what Moose did. When Tommy Dreamer came to save Crazzy Steve two weeks ago, it seems obvious he would be Moose’s opponent at Slammiversary. Moose, for as long as I can remember, has never been able to do a bad PPV match. He has always been there at the right moment to steal the show. Then, this belt is a remembrance of things past and, like Dreamer said so well, TNA is no more.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Tommy Dreamer
* Impact World Tag Team Championship match: The North (c) vs Ken Shamrock & Sami Callihan
If this match came as a surprise to many people, it wasn’t the case for me. After beating the hell of each other at Rebellion, something was meant to make of Shamrock and Callihan a team. The North have shattered the record of the longest-reigning IMPACT World Tag Team Champions in history. After LAX and The Lucha Brothers left the company, they have done such a great job to make the tag-team division something interesting. The problem now is they defeated every team in the division, so who was next? Page and Alexander attacked Shamrock, Callihan came to make the save and Scott D’Amore made the match. It may sound like it comes out of nowhere, and it is, but this match can be something special. Like you, I saw the Aces and Eights teaser. Will it change something? Don’t know again. If we have to look at the match for what it is, the major question is, can Shamrock and Callihan coexist as a team?
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… The North
* Impact X-Division Championship Match: Willie Mack (c) Chris Bey
As soon as he signed, Chris Bey became the natural #1 contender for the X-Division title. We were all expecting The Mack to defend against his best friend Rich Swann but the injury he sustained at Hard To Kill changed the game. Willie Mack defeated Ace Austin at Rebellion to become the X-Division Championship, a moment of glory as not only the match but The Mack were on another planet that night. Mack earned this belt and Swann was there to tell him it was not a dream. Until Chris Bey became the general thorn in Willie’s side, with the help of Johnny Swinger. This match has the potential to be the match of the night but Johnny Swinger could make it the waste of the night. I can only wish Swann to be there for his friend in case of Swinger is doing what I’m expecting him to do.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Willie Mack
* Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo
Seven weeks ago, Deonna Purrazzo appeared on our screens. She only wrestled one match in the Impact Zone but she’s already made a statement. She sneakily made her way into Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace‘s face and psyche. If Grace has been a brilliant champion, the way Deonna Purrazzo was propelled to the top so fast is a bad sign for her. The match should be something huge, with two of the brightest young stars in the game. Mostly with a title on the line, both woman will have to convince there’s a reason why they are on top of the Knockouts Division.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Deonna Purrazzo
* Fatal Four-Way Match For the Vacant Impact World Championship Match: Eddie Edwards vs Trey vs Ace Austin vs the mystery opponent
What a choice to make, and a match to watch… Eddie Edwards, 36, the cornerstone of Impact Wrestling as Scott D’Amore cleverly stated. He is a former 5-time Tag Team Champion, former 2-time X-Division Champion and former World Champion. He is also the first-ever gaijin to win the Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Heavyweight Championship. I could continue on his successes but Edwards has never left Impact Wrestling. Since 2014, he’s defended the company, helped it, supported it. A true cornerstone. Then, we have Trey, 25, and the former X-Division Champion Ace Austin, 23, two utterly talented wrestlers who have everything to become World Champion there’s no doubt about that. The problem with these two is the hate they have for each other. We saw it this week, Trey is on a mission, he wants to destroy Austin despite the massive presence of Madman Fulton by his side. When it comes to the mystery opponent, as long as he remains a mystery… I would only say I hope it’s someone from the roster or someone from the TNA era who has still some things to say and offer in the Impact Zone.
The Nygma’s Crystal Ball says… Eddie Edwards
To be eNYGMAtic…
I think I already told you so much I think there’s no need to tell you more. Don’t miss Slammiversary review on Sunday night. Impact Wrestling will tap some new episodes soon so who knows what’s going to happen next week? I had the chance to talk to Deonna Purrazzo last week, a fantastic interview you can find out here.
Since last year’s Slammiversary, even before, I have struggled with my own health to make sure you would not miss a thing on Impact Wrestling. Some weeks were harder than others. I have held on, thanks to your support and the company’s support. Every like or retweet, every word shared on @FrenchNygma is important to make me forget the pain and keep on. I’m not sure I will last very long, I will probably need some time off soon. That doesn’t mean it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning for me.
On this very “Nygma’s World Will Change” note, until Slammiversary, until next week, never EVER forget to stay #eNYGMAtic…
All pics, videos, and screenshots courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV and Basil Mahmud. Photocollage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @vulturehoundmag.