Well, here we are. Slammiversary is finally upon us and the road that led us to this point has been up and down to say the least. Check out my full preview and predictions below.
All of those well done teasers and vignettes on the weekly Impact episodes have caused widespread speculation and buzz among the fans. There’s also the recent talent terminations which altered previous plans. Then there’s the unfortunate slog of the global pandemic dragging on with no clear end in sight, which has somewhat leveled the playing field. What a crazy time in the world and what a strange time for pro wrestling.
Again, despite it all (see my previous column), Impact Wrestling continues to roll with the punches and make the best out of multiple challenging situations. They should be commended for the flexibility and versatility that they’ve shown in the last few months. Impact has adapted to this unprecedented environment in a more efficient way than AEW and I will debate that with anyone. All wrestling companies (WWE included) have been forced to go to a “Plan B” and then “Plan C” and they might actually be on something like a “Plan K” at this point, which is insane.
The possibilities of which new talents may be coming in and/or returning to Impact Wrestling are many.
It’s been fun to contemplate all of the scenarios and how things might turn out. We all have our educated guesses but Impact Wrestling has done an amazing job of keeping things secret. They’ve only told you what they want you to know at this point. The current no-spoilers situation has helped out Impact Wrestling more than any other pro wrestling promotion during this pandemic. Nobody could have predicted how Impact would turn all of this shitstorm of controversy into an overall net positive outcome.
This pay-per-view on Saturday, July 18th could be the start of something really special for Impact. It’s all bigger than just this one show. This feels like the much deserved reward for the ownership and management team at Anthem. They have basically rebuilt the entire company in a few years time. This Slammiversary event is the payoff for the loyal core of their roster which has given it their all.
This show represents a perfect storm for a wrestling promotion that is ready to take a leap. I would caution everyone to temper your expectations a little bit because it’s not like The Rock is showing up or anything totally unrealistic such as that. However, Impact can and will debut some new wrestlers that’ll turn some heads. Also, there are some big name type of legends who’ve spent several years in TNA that they can still use in an effective way, especially in a short-term program. There are multiple tricks in their bag and the question is, which ones will they pull out? We shall see.
This Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2020 Preview column was originally published on Sunday, July 12th. As with everything else, the landscape is changing daily so I wrote this Slammiversary preview with the information that was available as of that day. If something major is put out there before the PPV, I will update things accordingly. I’m sure that a match or two will be added before Slammy begins.
Here are some brief thoughts on the Slammiversary 2020 card:
#1 Contender Knockouts Gauntlet: Simply put, this match should be awesome. This type of spectacle can be very entertaining if done the right way. There isn’t a limit for how many Knockouts might be involved in this gauntlet and that aspect alone causes excitement regarding who could possibly show up. The women’s roster in Impact is the best in the world. I truly believe that. This Slammy contest will be a showcase for just how strong it really is. It could end a million different ways but I’ll take Kylie Rae for the win with a wild finish here.
Sami Callihan & Shamrock Vs The North (Impact Tag Team Championship): I understand the logic behind this little feud that has developed but it still reads as kind of random. There are so many worthy tag teams in Impact right now that are being booked really well, but it may be time for new champions, even if Ken and Sami don’t take them away from The North. In my opinion, unless someone (or a new tag team like the Good Brothers) interferes, The North should retain. I do expect a debut or return of some sort in this one as the tag division continues to get deeper.
Chris Bey Vs Willie Mack (X-Division Championship): I really enjoy both of these wrestlers as they are great X-Division talents. Mack is a unique and athletic big man that deserved a title run. Chris Bey is the future of the X-Division as his ceiling is extremely high and he’s really coming into his own after being with Impact for several months now. This match is flying under the radar right now but it could be an absolute show-stealer. I see Bey as the new X-Division champion with some help from Swinger or someone else. Mack retaining would be totally fine with me also.
Deonna Purrazzo Vs Jordynne Grace (Knockouts Championship): These are two of the best female wrestlers in the world when it comes to in-ring skills. This title bout has been built up nicely and I can’t accurately predict the winner because I could make a valid argument for either one of them. Purrazzo has burst onto the scene and directly into the title picture. She’s very believable as her introduction to the Impact audience has been nearly flawless. I think Jordynne retains in a long showcase of the KnockOuts Division but Deonna is a big-time player that will be champion sometime in 2020.
Tommy Dreamer Vs Moose: It’s fair to say that this is the least desirable match-up on paper. The actual “Old School Rules” fight most likely won’t be anything to write home about but the TNA storyline here (and/or potential shenanigans from Sabin or someone else returning or debuting) is the end game. This is also a natural doorway for EC3 to walk back through. Who is going to be revealed as the new archnemesis to Moose? Will that person rear his head during this match? That should be enough of a hook to interest fans, especially if more clues are given ahead of time. Obviously, Moose retains against Dreamer but the potential separate feud (revolving around the TNA Championship) coming out of this should be intriguing.
Four Way Elimination for the Impact World Championship: And that brings us to this unpredictable main event. I could write a book about all of the possible outcomes here. This bout was also voted as the most anticipated in a recent poll that we did. Take the three competitors that we do know about. Each has an overlapping history to some degree with Ace Austin serving as the main antagonist. Madman Fulton watching Ace’s back makes him the favorite given what we know as of now.
The draw here is the mystery man. From what little information we have been fed, whoever it is has “former World Champion” on their list of accomplishments. Be that an ex-Impact/TNA World Champ, or ROH World Champ, or whatever ex-World Champion you can think of. My short list for that spot would be Eric Young, EC3, Sting, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray or Jay Lethal. If it’s anyone besides those six I’d be shocked. This is going to be a fun one and I’ll take Ace Austin with my heart choice and possibly Eddie Edwards as a heel turn upset pick slightly behind that. I do not see Trey winning. To be honest, there are too many potential surprises overall to cover in this Slammiversary preview.
I don’t care what any “expert” or dirtsheet writer or troll or whoever says, the future for Impact Wrestling is bright. Their trajectory is actually better than AEW’s is right now if you look at the big picture. It’s not about TV Network size or revenue sources or viewership/ratings. It’s about the overall direction at the macro level. Frankly, it’s also about how you can navigate through the shark-infested waters of a global pandemic and social unrest. If someone out there decides to not watch Slammiversary because of the “sins of the past from years ago” stuff, then shame on them. This PPV is the ideal time to give Impact another chance as they will be making headlines, that I am sure of.
Impact Wrestling is setting the standard for how you do shows with no fans in attendance, which is the new normal for the foreseeable future. They are paying their valuable talents while also trimming the fat. They are signing new and returning wrestlers that will help them make a splash in the pro wrestling industry like a Rusev (or whatever his new character name would be) for instance. I’m convinced that we will see either a new Team Canada formed or a new version of Aces and Eights or even both factions.
Impact is doing SO MANY things correctly in an extremely harsh climate. My advice for fans? Enjoy the pay-per-view and buckle up for the rest of 2020. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
If you’d like to make your own predictions, you can do so here in the comment section below. We also have a Slammiversary Predictions page available for bragging rights.