Which barriers to break? Slammiversary was a land of possibilities, built on a mass of teasing and supposed opportunities, and this idea the world would change on Saturday night. Someone extremely wise told me recently instinct never fools you. A day is not enough to change the world, the hard work you provide week after week, on TV and then on PPV, is the key. High expectations may be a reason to make the fans come back the weeks after, as long as you stick to the magic recipe that has made your success, action + promos + cinematic orchestra. Think about how you can make the past, the present and the future not collide, but merge into something so fantastic fans will never ever let you down again.
The major question was: could this desire to make the world change fit the mould Impact Wrestling have designed for themselves over the last few weeks and months? Are the former Champions coming back destined to make their revolution or enter your revolution? All Championships were on the line tonight, lots of questions marks were on the menu… Who are the survivors and the winners of that great night, from Nashville, in a no-crowd arena? How many “I told you” and “I saw it coming”? It’s time to find out, but your French Enygma Steph way…
- The Rascalz Open Challenge
Some were expecting a grand entrance from The Good Brothers, it was even better. MCMG made their way to the ring and surprised everyone. What to say of Motor City Machine Guns? Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are a part of the history of TNA, not only as a team but as singles competitors. They are former TNA World Tag Team Champions, Shelley is a former X-Division Champion when Chris Sabin currently holds the record for the most reigns, with eight. Sabin is also a former TNA World Champion and currently a producer for Impact Wrestling, behind the scenes. When we could expect a conflict of generations in the ring, we had one of these innovative and high-flying PPV openers we love so much.
If you think that kind of moves is made for the young talents, MCMG proved everyone wrong. Yes, The Rascalz pushed them to their limits but Shelley and Sabin had a reply or a counter for each of their moves. I wish I could describe the 15 minutes or so of this match but the problem is if you were blinking, you were losing track. Motor City Machine Guns picked up the win after a devastating ASCS Rush to Dez. This very good match reminded us how good Impact Wrestling are when it comes to letting talents shine and allow innovation to give a breath of fresh air to wrestling. And then, the Guns are back, which means the Tag Team Division will have the chance to learn from some of the best when they are going to square off with Shelley and Sabin in the Impact Zone.
Backstage, Taya Valkyrie did not want John E. Bravo to screw up her chances in the gauntlet match. Rosemary came in after Valkyrie left and said that tonight, she needs to win this.
- Old-School Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Moose (c) vs Tommy Dreamer
Old school match means toys. And toys there were. If Dreamer is The Innovator of Violence and a Legend of the rings, Moose is Mr Impact Wrestling and he never failed on a PPV. Dreamer’s t-shirt was absolutely funny, and a good tribute to Terry Funk who wore a “Dusty sucks eggs” in 1979 when they squared off in a tag team Texas Bunkhouse Match in CWF. We could say it was Dreamer’s way to pay tribute to a friend, I would say Dreamer was definitely mocking Moose. This match was also related to a conflict of generations but with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on the line, a belt that is not meant to exist anymore but Moose uses to forge his legacy even if he is not a fan of the past.
Moose made a grand entrance under a version of Carmina Burana and stood toe-to-toe against with Dreamer. Dreamer grabbed a trash can lid and smacked Moose in the head with it. Dreamer sent Moose into the guardrail. Dreamer missed his chance to hit Moose with a chair. Moose set Dreamer up on top of the guardrail. Moose pulled Dreamer up and suplexed him on top of the ramp. Moose rolled Dreamer up into the ring. He went to the outside and grabbed a kendo stick. Moose hit Dreamer in the back and also on the leg.
Dreamer fought back with a leg sweep and grabbed the kendo stick. Dreamer headed to the top but was met with a big boot to the face. Moose brought a garbage can in and placed it on top of Dreamer’s head. Moose planted a marvel of running dropkick. Moose grabbed multiple chairs and Rock-bottomed Dreamer into them. Dreamer held on and picked up a small black bag filled with thumbtacks. Moose connects a midsection shot. Moose tries to push Dreamer’s eyes into the scattered thumbtacks. Dreamer was able to pull up, but Moose slammed Dreamer face-first into the thumbtacks. Moose hit the Spear, got the win and retained the championship.
Outside, Johnny Swinger asked Gia Miller, who was waiting for The Good Brothers, to park his car.
- Knockouts Gauntlet Match For The Number One Contendership For The Impact Knockouts Title
Order of entrances: Tasha Steelz, Kylie Rae, John E. Valkyrie, Kimber Lee, Kiera Hogan, Susie, Katie Forbes, Madison Rayne, Havok, Taya Valkyrie, Alisha Edwards, Nevaeh, Rosemary, John E. Rosemary.
In the end, they were fourteen in this match, not Knockouts but there were fourteen entrants. Katie Forbes made a noticeable comeback, some teams exploded in front of our eyes and John E. Bravo was afraid of nothing to help his ladies. The countdown was pretty fast, even if it was supposed to be two minutes, and when all the “girls” were in, I pretty lost myself into who was eliminated or not.
Tasha Steelz and Kylie Rae kicked things off, a very good start. Tasha Steelz put Kylie Rae in a waist lock. Steelz then went for a Japanese arm drag, Rae landed on her feet. Then came John E. Valkyrie. Kimber Lee followed, then Kiera Hogan. Steelz got eliminated after Rae lands a superkick on her. Susie was in, tried to be nice until Katie Forbes entered the match and twerked with Kiera. Madison Rayne was the next, quickly followed by Havok. Susie wanted to introduce herself to her but Havok replied with a big kick. A Captain Hook Taya Valkyrie cleaned the ring and went straight to Havok. She eliminated Forbes and Alisha Edwards entered the match.
Alisha Edwards clotheslined Susie as she ran into the ring. Rae put Alisha in the firewoman’s carry. Havok assisted Rae, then sent Alisha into Rae. Nevaeh was in. Nevaeh and Havok sideswiped everyone before Rosemary arrived. She speared Susie. John E. Rosemary made his way to the ring and infuriated Taya Valkyrie who punched Rosemary. Susie, Havok, Madison Rayne and Alisha Edwards were eliminated (when was Nevaeh eliminated?). Rosemary sent Hogan towards the steel stairs. Hogan tried to hold on, but, she fell out of the ring. The last four were Taya Valkyrie, Kimber Lee, Rosemary and Kylie Rae. Rae hit a head scissors on Lee, which sent her out of the ring. Valkyrie tried to dump Rae out, but Rosemary was eliminated instead. Rae hit a superkick outta nowhere on Valkyrie and became the new #1 contender. She was so happily surprised. Honestly, I was so expecting Su Yung to come back that I forgot how good Kylie is. Bravo decimated a friendship, Havok and Nevaeh strengthened theirs, Rae was happy, and the match went way too fast when it was stacked of some of the best female wrestlers in the world.
- Heath Miller is a free agent
Heath Miller, fka Heath Slater, grabbed a microphone and headed into the ring. He’s a free agent now, and he was looking for a fight. He would like to compete later on tonight for the Impact World Championship, but Rohit Raju made his way down to the ring. He informed Miller that if he wants a title shot he’s going to have to wait in line. If anyone deserves a title shot, it’s Raju. Miller blocked out his threat and sent Raju out with a reverse DDT.
- X-Division Championship Match: Willie Mack (c) vs Chris Bey
Chris Bey didn’t need Johnny Swinger by his side, and he was not, to become X-Division Champion. He just needed to be as he’s used to being, a cheater. The Ultimate Finesser used the good old trick of the referee distraction to strangle the eyes of Willie Mack and win the belt. But summing up the match to this would be a shame as the match was so damn good they both made us thrill.
Chris Bey was knocked with a right hand from Willie Mack who sent him out of the ring. Mack kicked Bey right in the back of his head. Mack hit a cutter in a nasty bump to the apron and floor. Mack rolled Bey back into the ring and connected with a standing moonsault. Mack had Bey in the corner and connected with a few strong back elbows. Bey and Mack reached the middle rope. Mack tried to lift Bey. Bey blocked his chances with a few midsection shots. He rolled under and hit a sling blade. Bey unloaded a swinging neckbreaker.
Both men traded back kicks. Mack sent Bey over with an Irish Whip, then connected with a clothesline. Mack surprised Bey with a cannonball. Mack went on the top rope. Bey jumped over the referee to land a dropkick. Bey yelled for Mack to get up. Mack sent Bey into the corner. Bey got his boots up in time to block Mack’s attack. Bey was close to locking in another pin, but Mack kicked out in time. Mack hit a cutter but wasn’t able to connect with the Six-Star Frog Splash. Bey strangled the eyes and you know what followed.
We can ask ourselves with Impact Wrestling chose to stop Willie Mack’s reign so fast. Bey is still pretty fresh in the company and stole the belt. Then don’t make me say what I don’t think, Chris Bey is utterly talented, his repertoire and his talent are made for the X-Division. At 24, he reached a goal many Superstars would dream of reaching one day. The X-Division is where everything is possible, what we were proven once again.
Backstage, Rhino and Miller reunited. Scott D’Amore informed Miller that he is not allowed to be on their closed set. Rhino told Miller to come back on Tuesday.
- Impact World Tag Team Championships Match: The North (c) vs Ken Shamrock & Sami Callihan
Sami Callihan was expected to be the bad man in this match, missed. There was something strange in the build-up of this match and the end showed us why. Making Callihan and Shamrock team up was something dangerous, we’ve seen it the last few weeks. The North were perfectly aware of that and extremely focused.
Ken Shamrock tried to hook the ankle lock on Josh Alexander. Alexander got his arm on the bottom rope. Alexander headed over to his corner to discuss his strategy with Ethan Page. Meanwhile, Shamrock tagged in Sami Callihan. Callihan kicked Alexander in the back. Both members of The North were in. Callihan sent Alexander out of the ring and smashed Page with a chop to the chest. Callihan tagged Shamrock back in. Shamrock threw in a few shots before bringing Callihan back in. Callihan pushed his forearm up against Page’s face. Page got the rope break. Callihan hit an elbow drop on Page. Page sent Callihan towards the ropes, Alexander opened them up. Callihan goes tumbling out. Shamrock connected with a powerslam on Page. Shamrock and Alexander stepped out of the ring for a moment, but Alexander rolled Shamrock back in. Alexander threw a chop. Shamrock fired back with a shot of his own. Alexander fell to his feet but got back up to tag in Page. Callihan threw a chop. Alexander distracted him, and Page slammed Callihan with a dropkick. Page flexed his arms towards Shamrock before putting Callihan in a sleeper hold. The referee headed over and checked in on Callihan. Callihan kept his hand up by the third count.
Callihan desperately tried to make a tag to Shamrock, but Page was blocking him. Callihan and Page collided with double pump kicks. Callihan got Shamrock in. Page got Alexander in. Shamrock sent Page into the corner. Page rolled out. Callihan was back in. He looked for the Cactus Special. Alexander blocked it. The North took advantage of Callihan with a double team Crucifix Bomb. Shamrock sent Alexander out with a belly-to-belly suplex. Shamrock got the ankle lock in on Page. Alexander rolled in and locked Callihan in one too. Callihan and Page slapped one another while being locked in double ankle locks. Callihan rolled through and hit a cutter. Shamrock put Alexander in another ankle lock, broken again. Callihan and Shamrock disagreed the ring and started to push each other. Callihan connected with the GTS, then the Cactus Special. All four men have been in the ring. Callihan and Page brawled on the floor. Shamrock went for a kick and hit Callihan by mistake. Shamrock and Alexander fought up top and Shamrock hit a super belly-to-belly. Shamrock tried a plancha and tripped over the top. The North hit their finisher to retain.
It was not the match I was expecting from these four guys and what followed showed us there was something behind that loss. The North grabbed two microphones and bragged about how they’ve run through the entire tag team division in Impact. Ethan Page said that they are the greatest team in history. All of a sudden, the Motor City Machine Guns came back out. Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin informed The North that on Tuesday, they are going to challenge The North for the Impact Tag Team Championships. I suspect a long reign to be over very soon…
Backstage, Gia Miller believes that she has found the Good Brothers’ locker room. When she knocked on the door, Rich Swann answered. He said that he was eyeing the X-Division Championship.
- Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Jordynne Grace (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo
Jordynne Grace came to the ring so focused and strong we could think she would defeat the Virtuosa. But Deonna Purrazzo went too far in her mind. Grace tested her strength against Deonna Purrazzo. Purrazzo jumped out of the ring to catch her breath. She did it again, for a second time. Purrazzo put Grace in a waist lock. Grace elbowed her on the face. Grace dove to the outside and climbed on top of Purrazzo. She landed a few shots before sending her back into the ring. Purrazzo was up on the top rope. Grace tried to bring her down, but Purrazzo pushed her off. Purrazzo jumped off and connected a double stomp on Grace’s shoulders. Purrazzo locked Grace up in the ropes. Purrazzo had Grace cornered. She kept her down with foot chokehold.
Purrazzo locked up Grace’s upper body. Grace was able to put her foot on the rope. Purrazzo looked for the Fujiwara armbar, Grace rolled through. Purrazzo put Grace in a cross arm breaker. Purrazzo slammed Grace face-first into the mat. Grace connected with a strike to the back of Purrazzo’s neck. Grace shoulder-tackled Purrazzo and kept her down with a Rolling Senton. Grace had Purrazzo trapped in a sleeper hold. Purrazzo was starting to fade but rolled through. Grace clotheslined Purrazzo in the corner. Grace stretched Purrazzo around the ring post. Purrazzo found a way to make her way back in the ring. Grace powerslammed Purrazzo before planting a spinebuster.
Grace threw a few right-hand shots, then slammed Purrazzo into the mat. Purrazzo slipped from the back and sent Grace down with a pump kick. Purrazzo kept working on Grace’s damaged arm. Purrazzo sent Grace out with a snap suplex. Grace ran in on Purrazzo with a back elbow. Purrazzo drove her knees into Purrazzo. Grace looked for the Grace Driver and connected. After several suplexes and scoop and slams, Grace wasn’t able to secure another Grace Driver. Instead, Purrazzo countered by turning her single submission move into a double Fujiwara armbar. Grace tapped out.
What a match it was. Saying Purrazzo pushed Jordynne Grace to her limits is beyond the truth. The Champion resisted and made felt to Purrazzo there was a reason why she was the Champion. But Deonna is a Virtuosa and it prevailed. Probably that was closer to Match of The Night.
The next PPV will be “Bound For Glory” on Saturday, October 24.
- Four-Way Elimination Match for the Impact World Championship: Eddie Edwards vs Ace Austin vs Trey vs a mystery opponent
They were meant to be four, they were five. For an unknown reason, I felt whether Rich Swann or Jake Crist would be the mystery man. And it was Rich Swann. And Eric Young. What to say about Eric Young? A true TNA original, 2016 King of The Mountain. He’s a former 2-time NWA World Tag Team Championship, 3-time King of the Mountain Champion, former TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship, TNA World Beer Drinking Champion, 2-time TNA World Tag Team Champion, former TNA World Heavyweight Championship and former X Division Champion. He had spent fourteen years in TNA and could be considered as a true Legend.
I won’t describe all the action because it was quite something, and you have better watch it. Madman Fulton interjected in the match by slamming Edwards into the apron. The referee told Austin that he was going to ban Fulton from ringside, and if he didn’t obey, Austin would be disqualified from this match. Austin fought against it at first but Austin asked Fulton to leave. Swann stole the show for a moment until Trey unloaded this marvel of Canadian Destroyer. Sadly, he was eliminated shortly after being pinned by Eric Young.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 19, 2020
Young attacked both Austin and Swann. Young climbed up at a moment but Swann counters Young with a bulldog off the top rope. Edwards came flying in on Austin who was sitting on the apron. Off the ropes, Austin and Edwards crashed into a table on the outside via a powerbomb. Meanwhile, Swann rolled Young up and eliminated him. Young was furious that Swann eliminated him. He grabbed a chair and attached it around Swann’s surgically repaired leg. Young put the damage on Swann’s leg. The referee called for security. Austin tried to take advantage of Swann, but Swann countered his attack with a rollup. Austin connected The Fold on Swann and got him eliminated.
Remained Edwards and Austin. Edward and Austin exchanged chops and forearm strikes in the centre of the ring. Mathews and Edwards were surprised that Austin got the better of Edwards during their slugfest. Edwards gave Austin a little smile, then started firing chops. Edwards lured Austin to come towards him. Austin headed over to Edwards. Edwards threw Austin into the turnbuckle with a belly-to-belly suplex. Edwards connected with the Boston Knee Party. Austin rolled through with The Fold. Edwards connected with the Die Hard Flowsion. Eddie Edwards became a two-time World Champion.
Impact Wrestling had a choice to make between a young Champion and one of the cornerstones of the company. Each choice was a good one and they chose Eddie Edwards who has left his blood, his tears and his sweat in the Impact Zone for six years now. It was an absolute moment of joy UNTIL Madman Fulton made his way down to the ring and attacked the newly crowned champion. As Fulton was attacking Edwards, The Good Brothers’ music hit. Gallows and Anderson helped Edwards take out Fulton and Austin, even if I thought at first they would attack Edwards too. They grabbed some beers and celebrated UNTIL the video below closed the show. EC3 is back on Impact Wrestling.
I have no home
I’m not “back”
I’m not here for “friends” or “family”
In reality, who I am, has never been here
“Nostalgia” and “comfort” do not interest me
This isn’t what you think this is
— I|I essential character I|I (@therealec3) July 19, 2020
I have had this review title in mind for weeks. This is the name of a special episode of South Park TV Series in which the band Korn, portrayed as Scooby-Doo-style mystery solvers, was helping the heroes to fight ghosts at Halloween. Why this title so? Because for weeks, Impact Wrestling have sailed in troubled seas and they have never sunk. They have fought the ghosts of the past and present with a disarming easiness. They have teased us something that would change our world and…
Action wise, Slammiversary was flawless, to the point no Match of The Night can be clearly defined. Impact Wrestling PPVs always have had ups and downs, but not this time. Things were good in the ring to the point of not looking at the clock. Moose was exceptional as he always is on PPV. Deonna Purrazzo and Jordynne Grace delivered something to remember. And Eddie is the Champion (dear Eddie, my family is not thanking you because I screamed of joy at 5 AM). I was wrong on most of my predictions but not this one. Chris Bey’s win remains a mystery for me. Rich Swann is back and that was great. We were expecting Sami to be the baddie of the team and Shamrock was the one who made them lose.
Then, the mystery of the three glasses of whiskey. We knew for The Good Brothers but we didn’t know which match they will be involved in. I read the rumours on Sabin and Shelley and I desperately wanted them to come, even for a match. They are back. Heath Miller was once again a name that was rumoured. If he teams up with Rhino again, I buy it. Eric Young is back and we can say he made a bloody and violent comeback to Impact Wrestling. Finally, EC3 teased his comeback too. He was not into the PPV but the teaser said it all. He is back too. So, they were six. Now, the question is how are they going to adapt and mix with the current Impact roster because we should not forget the guys who sailed the high seas. Two generations will collide.
Has the world changed, as the teasers promised? Sorry, but no. The PPV just blew all expectations but it is creating new. Slammiversary trended #1, that’s awesome, but Impact has been trending for weeks on Tuesday. I think about the fans who came back to Impact Wrestling yesterday night because, when they were doubting, on social media or everywhere else, some fans have never stopped watching, some have been there since Day One. You don’t have to convince these people the show was fabulous and they will tell you the world didn’t change because they know what Impact is made of. Maybe the world changed for the ones who plugged in yesterday, I’m happy for them. The Impact family is large enough to welcome them all.
Here are the new barriers to break. Convince is harder than saying or doing. Look at the long term. Imagine the future you decided to reinvent from a certain past. Think, you love being #1, now do everything to stay #1. Slammiversary was a step, Impact is a weekly show. You made the fans come, now keep them by your side. See you on Tuesday with EC3 making his comeback, Heath Miller his debut, and MCMG vs The North, eNYGMAtically yours…
Slammiversary XVIII Full Results:
- Motor City Machine Guns defeated The Rascalz
- Moose defeated Tommy Dreamer to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
- Kylie Rae became the new #1 contender for the Knockouts title by winning the Gauntlet match.
- Heath Miller defeated Rohit Raju.
- Chris Bey defeated Willie Mack to become the new X-Division Champion.
- The North defeated Sami Callihan and Ken Shamrock to retain the Impact World Tag Team Championships.
- Deonna Purrazzo defeated Jordynne Grace to become the new Knockouts Champion.
- Eddie Edwards defeated Trey, Rich Swann, Eric Young and Ace Austin to become the new Impact World Champion.
All pics, screenshots and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Basil Mahmud, and Fite TV. All photocollage by @frenchnygma exclusively for @steelchairmag.