There are some compelling circumstances surrounding Impact Wrestling as they go into this very important anniversary pay-per-view. On the one hand, you have some semi-controversial stuff lately with Scarlett Bordeaux being released as so-called fans and dirtsheets senselessly speculate about money situations and morale. Similarly, the Killer Kross thing is hanging around out there as he has made it clear that he wants out of Impact and most likely will be sent off at Slammiversary (not confirmed but it makes sense). Of course there are other negative factors too but we don’t need to get into all of that. However, despite all of that bullshit, there are still significant and positive things on the horizon for Impact Wrestling. This show should be treated as a celebration of the history of Impact. I hope we, as fans, can focus on the good vibes that should come out of this event.
A new U.S. TV deal is potentially (and hopefully) going to be announced at this show as multiple hints have been dropped recently in this regard and there’s a history with this current regime of making announcements on pay-per-views. The Pursuit Channel has been awful, even when it comes to the low, low standard of simply being a placeholder until something better came along. Pursuit has been unacceptable, even for the most tolerant and patient of Impact fans. Most people I know watch the show on Twitch but the bad experience of Pursuit is common knowledge. I’ve said it a million times, but with the quality of the current Impact product, they really deserve better and I think that our collective wish will be granted soon. I kept thinking that the new network would be revealed this fall, but it seems like Slammiversary has been earmarked instead which is great. The sooner the better. Impact fans need something momentous to be happy and excited for and this will do wonders if it does indeed come to pass. The company could then gain a certain degree of respect back. Nothing is guaranteed, so even if a new TV deal doesn’t materialize for a while, life will go on.
Again, regardless of everything that has happened in the last month or so, I am very confident that Impact will put on a spectacular show at #SLAMM17. This will mark the first time that they’ll be running a show at this Gilley’s venue in Dallas, Texas. If things go well , maybe it could be added into their regular rotation of venues? The Slammy card looks fantastic and I would put it up against any other promotion’s pay-per-view. Below are my brief thoughts on the matches that have been announced so far.
The current Slammiversary card:
Michael Elgin Vs Brian Cage (Impact World Championship):
It’s a shame that Cage got injured at Rebellion because his title run could have been really special up to this point but instead the World Champ has been healing up on the sidelines. It is what it is and injuries happen but he obviously is ready to go now and this match with Elgin should be damn good. Here are two big guys that can really go and are both willing to take risks in the ring. I expect a long, action packed fight with tons of crazy moves. Big Mike has quickly been established as one of the top guys in Impact as he has destroyed everyone in his path so far. This is a potential Match Of The Year candidate if it goes down like I expect it to. The bottom line for me is that Cage has earned a fair chance at a World Title reign and I don’t see him losing the belt here.
Johnny Impact Vs Rich Swann (X-Division Championship):
The amount of time and attention that the X-Division receives on Impact is inconsistent to say the least. Fans keep waiting to see things really come together for the X-Division as we have for several years. Maybe the answer is Johnny Impact being champion? He earned the chance at the Ultimate X match back at United We Stand in April and now, three months later, he will cash it in. Swann is a great wrestler and I really enjoy his athleticism and charisma. However, whether it’s the creative team’s fault or whoever, the X-Division has continued to be treated as kind of an afterthought. I do like the idea of Johnny winning the belt and having stellar matches with the younger X-Division guys moving forward so I predict a title change here in a high-flying affair.
Rob Van Dam Vs Moose:
These are the kind of matchups that I was looking forward to seeing when it was first announced that RVD had signed a contract with Impact. Despite all the unnecessary criticism that Van Dam has received from the vocal minority on social media, he is still capable of having good matches, especially on a big PPV like this. This is not RVD of twenty years ago but he still warrants respect and I imagine that he and Moose will have a very entertaining fight. Moose is underrated between the ropes and often times gets forgotten by fans when it comes to the upper echelon of male Impact stars. I could see “Mr. Impact Wrestling” getting back into the World Title scene by the end of 2019 so I will go with Moose to get the W in this one.
*TAG TEAM MATCH UPDATED*
The Rascalz Vs LAX Vs The North (Tag Team Championship):
The tag team scene in Impact has been very strong for quite some time now mostly because of the emergence of this modern version of LAX. Looking back on it, the pattern of the division has been for the current champions to have a long feud with one particular team for several months. So it’s logical for the new challengers to be The Rascalz as they fit the role as one of the best tag teams in the world. Santana and Ortiz are awesome champions and have been established as the standard-bearers for well over two years now.
Impact threw a curve ball at us at Bash at the Brewery on Impact Plus as we saw The North unexpectedly capture the tag titles at this live event. I really like this development as it adds unpredictability to this Slammiversary bout while establishing increased importance for their Impact Plus and Twitch events. This was the first time that a championship changed hands at one of these type of shows under this regime if I’m not mistaken. The North is a great team and were deserving of this honor, however, I think that LAX will regain the belts at the pay-per-view and then feud with both The Rascalz and The North moving forward. It’s very possible that the North would also retain at Slammy or that The Rascalz could stun everyone but I will stick with my LAX pick.
Havok Vs Rosemary Vs Su Yung Vs Taya (Monster’s Ball for the KnockOuts Championship):
This Monster’s Ball has me very excited as it is the fight that I am anticipating the most out of the entire lineup. Rosemary is my all-time favorite KnockOut and I’ve always enjoyed hardcore matches so it’s a perfect recipe for me. Seeing Havok back in Impact destroying people has been tremendous. Add in the recently freed and always violent Su Yung and the formidable champion Taya and this melee becomes very hard to predict. I’m sure we’ll witness some crazy and innovative maneuvers in this one as all four women are committed to showing us that they can do hardcore just as well as any of the guys. Hopefully no one gets injured by some of the bumps that I’m imagining but there will be dangerous stuff happening, no doubt. I don’t know if it’s just my heart that wants it or if it makes the most sense, but I’m going with Rosemary here to capture the KnockOuts Championship. This chaotic match could end with several different scenarios and I love the unpredictability, especially with Father James Mitchell involved.
Sami Callihan Vs Tessa Blanchard:
It’s clear as ever that Impact is going to feature intergender wrestling moving forward despite the controversial aspects of this specific genre of pro wrestling. The KnockOuts roster is so talented and deep that management must feel that they need to be featured even more and this is a way of doing that and offering something unique. I’m somewhat torn on if I want to see this come to fruition in the long-term but for now, this matchup of Tessa Vs Sami is pretty damn awesome. Sami isn’t a huge guy physically so the optics of this fight aren’t to the unbelievable level of say an Alisha Edwards Vs Fallah Bahh type of mismatch. Tessa is remarkable and may actually be the most valuable wrestler in the entire company (although that is debatable). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Magnum T.A. or Tully Blanchard or both of them in the crowd and that would be fantastic. This bout effectively makes Callihan even more of an asshole heel while Tessa continues to be put over at the same time. I’ll go with Tessa for the win and the only reason that wouldn’t happen is if someone unexpectedly interferes.
Killer Kross Vs Eddie Edwards (First Blood Match):
I’m having a tough time getting as enthused for this fight as I normally would be mainly because it feels like Kross is leaving Impact and this is the way that they write out his character. While I think that is the most likely scenario (unless this whole thing has been a giant work) I’m still intrigued to see how things play out as it’s going to be a bloody battle. Impact spent a lot of time and effort establishing Kross as a dominant force that terrorizes everyone, so if they are planning on having him put Eddie over as the more crazy of the two, that’s not a bad way to go. I would be shocked if Eddie doesn’t win here in disturbing fashion and basically murders Killer Kross’ character. The writing is on the wall for that to happen but never say never in pro wrestling because we could still get swerved.
Seventeen years of Impact Wrestling. What a journey that it’s been! Lots of ups and lots of downs in that time frame. Through it all, they have survived. Now they’re poised to really stabilize themselves in the U.S. market for several years to come. When they get to the twentieth anniversary in 2022, I suspect that we’re going to look back at this current time as a transitional phase. I may be an Impact homer, but one thing I know for sure is that you don’t ever count this company out. Impact has been proving people wrong since day one. They have actually been in much worse situations going into a big PPV before and have still knocked it out of the park in spite of all the outside noise.
Let me know what you think of these Slammiversary matches and which ones you are looking forward to the most. Remember to make your match predictions before the show begins on Sunday night. As always, we’ll be watching this event together here at DiscussPW and breaking it all down afterwards with our analysis. I will update this preview if and when any more matches are added to the card.