Part II: Impact Wrestling’s Night of Surprises
Now we’re off to the TNA equivalent of WrestleMania (despite marketing telling us that it’s Bound For Glory). The opening package for the PPV is nicely done from the split-second teaser of who might the mystery opponent be for the four-way dance (and the mystery person being a TNA alumni) to the Bobby Lashley lookalike for a reporter.
The segments wherein two kids are talking about if the mystery people are good or bad people though? They don’t do anything to hype up the PPV so those segments can be cut off.
The PPV opens with a tag team match between The Rascalz and the returning Murd- I mean Motor City Machine Guns and Josh Matthews is right, what a way to start Slammiversary. This one’s a good opening match as both MCMG and The Rascalz do their X Division-tier tag moves with a little bit of psychology here are there.
A segment wherein Taya Valkyrie and Rosemary warn referee John E. Bravo to not screw things up followed the tag team action and LOLTNA rears it’s ugly head as the video package didn’t start for a few seconds.
Let me get this out of the way right now because after watching this match, I like Moose now. He looks like a million bucks, he can cut a good promo and he can work in the ring. Tommy Dreamer looked like a grizzly veteran rocking a Pro Wrestling Illustrated shirt on the promo package and he looks like Terry Funk with that Moose Sucks Eggs t-shirt.
The match itself is a great brawl with weapons all around from chairs to trash cans to a kendo stick and even thumbtacks and at the same time, it doesn’t present itself as a hardcore match as Moose and Dreamer didn’t rely too much on foreign objects.
The commentary is also great here as Josh “bundle of sticks” Matthews being the babyface commentator and Don Callis unleashing his inner Cyrus The Virus, being a cheerleader for Moose and being disgusted with the “innovator of violence”. One thing that brings it a bit down though is that they dug into Vince Russo’s playbook and not the one from 1998 WWF but the one in 2000 WCW as the reason why Moose became TNA champion is that he saw the belt on the table. Jim Duggan represent.
The Johnny Swinger segment is okay and the less I say about the Knockouts contender battle royale, the better. Also, Josh sounded like a total idiot when Don Callis said that whoever wins the Grace/Purazzo match, Kylie Rae (the one who turned down AEW for Impact) doesn’t stand a chance and he replied that Cyrus is being a downer. It’s called predictions, Josh.
After the car crash that is the Knockouts battle royale, the second surprise to come out for the night (the first one being MCMG) is Heath freaking Slater. He cut a promo about joining the four-way dance and then Rohit Raju shows up telling him that he has no chance in hell to be in the main event and drops a WWF reference about losing to Drew McIntyre. So what’s Slater-Gator to do? Beat the hell out of Rohit Raju of course.
After a hype package for the main event comes out, the X-Division title match begins with a recap of what happened on the road to the PPV. Nothing much to say about Chris Bey but boy, Willie Mack kind of reminds me of JYD/Keith Lee/Samoa Joe because of his big physique and the fact that he’s on the X-Division makes it a sight to see and he can move like a cruiserweight as seen on this match.
The finish of the match can be a trigger for Chris Bey to turn babyface with an injured neck and no Johnny Swinger to interfere as he becomes the new X-Division champion.
Say goodbye to whatever pop Slater had on the Rohit Raju beatdown because Scott D’Amore (who I mistook for Joseph Park, no relation to Jinri) pointed out that Heath is a free agent and so he has to leave, bringing the reunion with Rhyno to an abrupt end.
Up next, Shamrock and Callahan vs The North as The World’s Most Dangerous Man got his ass beat by the Impact Tag champions and so this sets up a team up with Sami Callahan. Think of this like the Austin/Michaels tag team in 1997 because these two simply can’t coexist but they had to team up to kick some ass.
The match itself is a regular tag match with some great spots like Shamrock and Josh Alexander applying ankle locks to their respective opponents in the ring. The match ends with The North winning after an argument between Shamrock and Callahan ensued. The tag champs then bragged that they’ve been champs for a year now and so MCMG appears, challenging The North for the tag belts.
Grace/Purrazzo felt like a 90’s All Japan match and I LOVE IT. It’s just an all-out fight between the two and commentary delivered the goods along with it. Josh then shills a Slammiversary DVD and tells Don that it’s just an empty case.
Time for the main event and let’s see who’s the mystery man is. The promo package mentions about Anthem needing to vacate the title after the Tessa Blanchard fiasco without mentioning Tessa’s name.
Eddie Edwards is the babyface veteran here as Ace Austin is the top heel and they’re trying to pull a Randy Orton here as they’re touting Ace to be the youngest Impact world champion and Austin/Edwards is a certain here because Austin cucked Edwards, so there’s some meat to the feud. Aside from that, Trey also had beef with Ace here as he got attacked by Austin from behind, many times, so there’s that too.
Impact swerves us and in a good way as they did two things:
- Rich Swann is the fourth man. Before this match, he did an interview on crutches and he mentioned that when he’s ready, he will be gunning for the championship. We don’t know that time is now (*insert overplayed Big Match John meme here*).
- Eric Young is the fifth man. Remember that the original plan is that it will be a five-way dance with Tessa Blanchard penciled in as the champ, and with EY being released from the WWF as a cost-cutting measure and Blanchard being released by Anthem due to multiple number of issues, D’Amore and Callis must’ve planned this in advance.
As of this review, this is the only match I rewatched in its entirety the main event sure delivered. A surefire feud develops here between Young and Swann as Rich countered an attempted piledriver by the World Class Coomer (because EY looks like one without the beard) and the former Super Eric retaliating by Pillmanizing Swann’s bad leg.
The blood feud between bootleg John Cena and bootleg Darby Allin comes to a climax once Swann gets eliminated. Match ends with Edwards chopping the hell out of Ace Austin and after a quick exchange, a Boston Knee Party, and Ace trying to pin Edwards with The Fold, Eddie landed another Boston Knee Party and then wins the belt with a Die Hard Flowsion.
The celebration is cut short when Mad Man Fulton attacked Eddie from behind and then The Good Brothers showed up. It seemed to look like that Gallows and Anderson are debuting as heels but then attacks Fulton and Austin. The night isn’t over yet as the show ends with a vignette of Ethan Carter III donning a hybrid of Fallen Angel/Broken Matt gimmick.
Slammiversary 2020 gets a rating of 4/5. Most of the matches are great from MCMG/Rascalz, to Moose/Dreamer, to Mack/Bey, to the main event and the best match of the night: Jordynne Grace vs Deonnah Purrazzo. Eric Young and Heath Slater are great surprises. The Shamrock match is fine. Don Callis and Josh “Michael Cole called me gay on Twitter” Matthews are fine on commentary. The only downer here is the Knockouts battle royale. It’s just pure cringe, believe me.
See ya next time for IDOLS@SCHOOL! The MNL48 iSchool review.