Tuesday, September 22, 2020

TNA Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2020

So Impact Wrestling... is still alive.

Now that we got that out of the way, seems that in addition to WWE and AEW, Impact Wrestling is also still producing wrestling shows. Unlike WWE and AEW, Impact is still running empty arena shows, otherwise known as TNA House Shows... hence the above Mick Foley quote that was posted ages ago. Just goes to show that even with nobody watching, Impact is still in business doing shows. That promotion will last longer than anyone else worth a damn.

But I digress... we're taking a look at their Slammiversary show from July of this month. This was apparently a big deal as it was pushed around the idea of some future endeavored WWE guys potentially showing up on this PPV. Fun fact: this ran on a Saturday, allowing WWE to run their Extreme Rules PPV the next night which promised an eyeball popping (that didn't happen) and a swamp fight (which also didn't happened and we got another "wacky" Wyatt skit). We're not touching that show because I haven't seen it.

So yes, as mentioned, it's an empty arena show that TNA wanted to charge money for. And providing the commentary is Josh Matthews (who does a fine enough job all things considered) and Don Callis (who does a fine enough job despite not calling Kenny Omega matches with Kevin Kelly).

Former TNA Tag-Team Champions The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) make their big return to Impact and defeat the Rascals in their open challenge. A fun bit of tag team wrestling, if nothing else. The Guns would challenge for and win the Tag-Team titles on Impact.

TNA World Champion MOOSE defeated Tommy Dreamer in what was booked as an "Old-School" match to retain the title... which, in TNA terms, old-school is just do the same shit they did in the old ECW because we can't leave that dead and buried in peace. For those who don't know, MOOSE pulled out the old TNA title out of mothballs and declared himself TNA champion, even though we already had a TNA Champion in Tessa... more on that later. So this is for an old belt that isn't officially recognized and god bless Tommy. He tries, man. He really does, but this was just painful to watch. Maybe in the TNA Impact bubble, this would've been great. But considering I've seen a couple pretty good brawls as of late on other shows, this feels lethargic and sad.

There was a women's gauntlet match thing; the TNA kind where they have a Royal Rumble type of match and there's a dude that's dressed as one or two of the women. There's a bunch of women I recognize - Madison, Taya, Rosemary, Kylie - and a couple I don't. It's not a particularly good match - they try to do funny shit and it just falls flat because it's an empty arena. The wrestling isn't particularly good. And they tried... but it didn't work. The match was won by Kylie Rae, who gets a future title shot.

Then Heath (Slater) shows up to accept an open challenge that's already been taken, then he cleans house. Well, at least he found work, I guess.

Chris Bey defeated X-Division champion Willie Mack to retain the title. It took a while for this show to get out of the slump, but here you go; a genuinely fun match.

Tag-Team Champions Ethan Page and Josh Alexander (a.k.a. THE NORTH) defeated Ken Shamrock and Sami Callihan to retain the titles in what can be charitably described as a thing that happened.

Deonna Purrazzo defeated Knockouts' Champion Jordynne Grace via double armbar submission to win the title in what I thought was a pretty good match. Purrazzo focused on the arm for the most part and it told a simple story as a result.

So we have the main event; a four-way to determine the vacant Impact World Champion because Tessa Blanchard - the previous champion - parted ways due to expired contract. And for weeks before the show, we had ads hyping up that some WWE names who had been let go in that great corona purge back in the spring would be showing up, including a former World Champion. Naturally people were excited, thinking they might get someone like Rusev (which was impossible because he had COVID at the time) or EC3 (who had been vastly underused in WWE and made some teaser videos) or even Bully Ray, who had left Ring Of Honor.

Said former champion ended up being Eric Young... cue the tumbleweed.

Yes, Eric Young was a former TNA World Champion, which happened back in 2014 because he had a scruffy beard and TNA had to do the same shit WWE was doing. I've talked about this in the past, so I won't dwell on this here. But Eric Young was largely a comedy wrestler in TNA and the only thing that was used to tease his return was his old Super Eric costume. This is shit I had to look up because I barely remembered anything Eric Young did beyond being an annoying little shit that made me question my wanting to watch this show. No disrespect to Eric Young; I'm sure he's a good dude and that stuff is years ago... but he's not exactly the kind of talent that would make Slammiversary "more exciting".

Eddie Edwards defeated Eric Young, Rich Swann, Ace Austin and Trey to win the vacant Impact World Championship in what I thought was a good enough match, but lost me after a while because of my lack of familiarity with most of the talent. Because when your biggest attraction in the match is a former TNA guy who I only know for his non-medy stuff, it does not instill much confidence.

Eric Young has since won the Impact World Championship... oops.

Then Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows show up to beat some people... and then they tease EC3 coming back. Show over.

So they used their one PPV in forever to announce that a bunch of former talent is coming back to the company... except now they're former WWE guys, so you could make the argument that it's the old TNA mentality of signing old WWE rejects, because we can't let them AEW folks have all the fun or something. Look, good for those guys; they came back to TNA and they're getting better stuff than they did in WWE. And while I mock the idea of TNA going back to the "sign all the WWE rejects" well, they did get a good buzz out of it and it also helps that they made good on their promise to give these guys better things to do than whatever the fuck they were doing in WWE.

Slammiversary as a show was fine. It had some good matches, it had some bad matches, but it wasn't amazing, wretched, or anything worth fussing about. Like I said in the Hard To Kill musings months ago, it was a fine show for what it was, but didn't get me interested enough to watch the weekly shows. Yes, the wrestling is good and the people they've got there are talented, but you can get good wrestling with great talent anywhere these days and that's no longer a standout reason to follow a promotion for me. That said, I'll give Impact credit; the few shows I've been watching from them over the past couple years have been entertaining enough fares and weren't complete dumpster fires, so they got that much going for them.

Bound For Glory is on October 24th, which is Dave Meltzer's birthday and he doesn't want to watch the show. In the meantime, I've got a couple other TNA-related write-ups down the line, so expect those in a short bit.

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