Slammiversary is right around the corner, and here we are gearing up for fifteen years of TNA/Impact Wrestling. While you may always of been a fan, or there might be matches you’re not excited for, you can’t deny this is a huge milestone for the company. So for this week, we’re going to review the top fifteen reasons to look forward to this anniversary show.
15) Unified Champions
– At Slammiversary XV, Lashley and Rosemary will defend their Impact Wrestling titles against Alberto El Patron and Sienna, who are putting up their respective GFW titles. Say what you will about the GFW titles, Magnus took that son-bitch all over the world defending it during it’s two years of existence. While we wrestling fans may not see it as “prestigious”, Impact has done a good job putting it over. Think about the names that tried to win that title; Matt Morgan, Ethan Carter III, Alberto El Patron, Chris Adonis, Bram, John Klinger, Bobby Roode and a slew of others.
You can’t shake a stick at those names. Sienna’s title has been defended against top names like Mickie James, Kimber Lee, Melanie Cruz, Amber Gallows, ODB, Eva Stories and others. It’s not like these belts were never defended; just never saw it on television.
So to see these two sets of titles gong at it is exactly what you want. At the end of the day, both the GFW and TNA titles will be put away into the history books as the new Impact Wrestling Championships will undoubtedly be debuted.
14) 2 out of 3 falls – Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt (c)
– After their amazing match at this past weeks Impact in India, Dutt and Low Ki have the opportunity to cement the X-Division back to top tier status with an amazing encounter that’s 15 years in the making. Sure, Matt Sydal might of paired up better than Dutt, but Dutt has the story and now has more emotional investment in his title win, with Sydal waiting in the background. Both Dutt and Low Ki are at the top of their game and a rematch with the added stipulation could really help propel the X-Division back to it’s once lofty perch.
13) More Josh Mathews Matches?
– The big issue with Josh Mathews is that he’s a great heel doing play-by-play and choking the announce table with his gimmick. Now, he’s earned his heel heat to the point fans really do hate him, and he deserves to be on the t.v. screens, just not at the table. The announce table is our thought bubbles. It’s where things are explained to the viewers. You don’t want the anger and rage to be associated with that. Mathews works best as a manager, but if he transitions to in-ring near-full-time that’s not a bad thing either. That’ll all be more evident after his Slammiversary match. His match in India was ok, but nothing amazing; outside of that Swanton Bomb. The problem is though with the India match, we don’t know how long his opponent had been training. He might look better against better talent.
12) DeAngelo Williams Debut – New Career?
– Former Carolina Panthers Pro-Bowl running back and all-time leading rusher for the team, is set to make his in-ring debut alongside former teammate and Impact Grand Champion, Moose against Chris Adonis and Eli Drake. This will undoubtedly get people talking but here’s the interesting dynamic; We know that Williams is already training with Scott D’Amore at his Can-Am school. However, storyline-wise, we don’t know that Williams is teaming with Moose. So why showcase Williams training if there wasn’t a desire to use him beyond Slammiversary? Now, that’s merely speculation, but a pretty solid observation. At 34 years old, and at the running back position, it’s unlikely that Williams will find a new team, especially with his less than stellar time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What might even be more interesting is what might happen if he does jump to Impact, does former teammate and current free agent Gary Barnidge join him? While WWE is known for signing talent from the NFL, Impact would of signed two former Pro Bowlers; that’s SportsCenter material right there.
11) Unused Talent
– There’s a lot of big names not yet on the card. Magnus, Matt Morgan, Matt Sydal, Laurel Van Ness, KM, Allie, Braxton Sutter, Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett to name a few. Personally, the show can be worked to include a battle royal of sorts that would feature the unused talents with the winner either getting a Knockouts or Impact World Championship opportunity. This also could work as a yearly “surprise-fest” at the anniversary show. You could have classic Impact talent return in the battle royal, legends and brand new up and comers all debut at the Anniversary Gauntlet-Battle-Royal.
10) The End to the Commentator Rivalry
– While I don’t mind the Mathews/Borash feud, I do agree that it shouldn’t be constantly shoved on us during every match and ever segment just because they’re both on commentary. So the end of the feud will be oh-so-delightful. Now, even though the commentary during the feud hasn’t been awesome, the fact that Joe Park is back and taking on Scott Steiner is amazing for all the right/wrong reasons. So even though I’m excited for it to end, I’m still very much looking forward to seeing how it does.
9) Robert Flores Makes Debut
– The former ESPN journalist and hosts of the MLB and NHL network will be making his debut for Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary XV. Jeff Jarrett has always liked bringing in mainstream personalities and DeAngelo Williams and Robert Flores both coming in does lift the public profile for the event. Flores has experience calling play by play just not on this level. Apparently he’s also a big pro wrestling fan, apparently making pro wrestling references on SportsCenter when he anchored the show. His Twitter bio even claims he was an initiator of the superkick. So he’s not unfamiliar with pro wrestling. If all goes well, he might just become a bigger part of the company going forward. The only question is, what happens to D’Angelo Dinero? Personally, for one night only, I say do a three man booth personally.
8) Pro Wrestling NOAH Talent?
– Jeff Jarrett said in an interview with Don West that Japanese pro wrestlers would be at the event. Scott D’Amore is hosting a pro wrestling tryout with Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Vice-President and legend, Naomichi Marufuji. One of the attendees will even get an Impact Wrestling developmental contract, while another will go train with the NOAH Dojo in Japan. Why would Marufuji be in the States/Canada the week of Slammiversary XV, participating in an Impact Wrestling tryout event, if he and his company weren’t at Slammiversary XV? You can expect to see NOAH talent at the event, possibly even in a World Tag Team title match.
7) Don West returning to the both for one night only.
– Lets be honest, Don West is one of two voices that are most associated with Impact Wrestling dating back years. If Mike Tenay won’t be at the event, the second best name one can get to celebrate the 15th year of Impact is Don West. West is always the guy that was associated with the casual fan. He was the perfect compliment to Mike Tenay’s no-frills expertise. West was the hype man, he sold everything and saw things from a non-pro-wrestling-expert, which was needed back then and possibly even today. To see him back with the company is a great thing, but to see him back behind the table is even better. It’ll be a fitting return for an Impact legend.
6) Surprise Returns?
– It’s the anniversary show, so expect something cool. Maybe, just maybe, a return or two? If they do the battle royal idea, you could easily bring back someone to the roster. Even if only one for one. Seeing Lance Hoyt, Matt Bentley, Gail Kim or someone else pop up who has a linage in Impact would be amazing. Hell, why not Petey Williams? A Canadian Destroyer for old time sake?
– Besides old school returns, the next best thing to look forward to is potential surprises. Karen Jarrett hinted at surprises at Slammiversary XV but who knows if that’s legit or if she’s just selling the show. Who knows, Jeff Jarrett is able to bring back people without anyone really knowing. Scott Steiner, Alberto El Patron, Magnus, they all popped up with little or no rumors really coming out about them joining the promotion. So with Anthem’s backing, and Jarrett’s ability to do what Dixie never could do, it’s very possible we see a major name pop in.
4) Women Taking Center Stage
– Despite a lot of women not being on the show, there are two major matches involving the female folk. Obviously we talked about the women’s title unification match with Sienna and Rosemary, but have we talked about Angelina Love-Richards and Alisha Edwards being involved in the first ever inter-gendered Full Metal Mayhem match? Angelina and Alisha are going to partake in a rare kind of match, centered around the feud of the year in all of pro wrestling. With these two matches focusing on women, Impact Wrestling continues to do what they’ve always done (unlike some companies), and promote high end women’s wrestling.
3) Hall of Fame Inductee?
– Who’s this years Impact Wrestling Hall of Famer? Will it be the original LAX? What about Don West and or Mike Tenay? Will Scott Steiner stumble his way through a Hall of Fame promo? Seems possible considering he just shat all over the WWE’s Hall of Fame. Then what about James Storm and Abyss? Not only where they both on the first ever TNA show, but they were also on the first Impact Wrestling event as well on Fox Sports 1. Abyss defeated Shark Boy and James Storm won the NWA World Tag Team titles from Lance Hoyt and Kid Kash. Or is there another name we’re overlooking? We’ll find out on Sunday.
2) The Feud of the Year
– While Okada and Omega have had two good matches, it’s not the feud of the year. They’re overshadowed by Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, who’s feud has been so good, Davey Richards is now no longer hanging up his boots this year. Which shouldn’t be too surprising. Richards and Edwards have had several high quality matches, including their Match of the Year candidate from earlier this year. The feud may or may not come to an end at Slammiversary, but with how hot this feud has gotten, it’d make all the sense in the world for Eddie to get the title back this summer, and build Bound for Glory around these two.
1) The Show Itself
– This is the first Impact Wrestling event that I’ve been excited for since 2014. It became clear after Hulk Hogan left that Dixie Carter was completely devoid of logical and competent thinking in regards to running a wrestling company. Dixie didn’t put on one complete show during her tenure as “lone wolf”. That all changes on July 2nd. Since Jeff Jarrett has come back, the company has had an uptick in positivity and quality shows. Jarrett brought back key cogs that were relevant and necessary to the promotions success that left after Kurt Angle got Jarrett fired.
But now the company is in the right hands once again, and the right man has the right pieces in place. He’s redeveloping the brand to feature amazing talent who’ll associated with the new era, the way AJ Styles, Beer Money and EC3 have become associated with their respective eras.
The main event may not be all we’ve wanted, but when you think about how much the show has to offer in spite of that, it’s pretty impressive. With Slammiversary comes the official launch of the new era, as it’s going to define how the company is perceived going forward. If the show is a success, then fans will see this and take notice. Impact will begin to be able to chip away at the large group of detractors with a few amazing matches.
However they have to execute. They have to leave fans wanting more. If they’re able to do this, then maybe, just maybe they can start getting some of it’s fan base back.