When it was announced that Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary PPV was going to be held in their spiritual home of Nashville, Tennessee this year on the exact 20th anniversary of their first-ever show, it was evident that the show would be fuelled by history and nostalgia.
Now a little under a month away, the show currently has three matches set – the return of two big gimmick matches in the shape of Ultimate X and Queen of the Mountain and Josh Alexander’s third defense of the Impact World Championship.
Given the occasion, it was important that the World title challenger was someone with history and longevity with the promotion, ideally someone who’d held it before and had been involved with Impact from the start. They’ve picked Eric Young and while he didn’t make his debut for the promotion until 2004, I don’t think they could have picked a better candidate.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) May 13, 2022
Young has worked more matches for Impact than anyone else currently on the roster (Chris Sabin is second and I thought it a nice touch that they were the last two standing in the Gauntlet for the Gold) and been slotted into more or less every role imaginable.
Indeed, Young articulated that “jack of all trades” history in his promo on this week’s show, exploring how he’d gone from shy faction member to confident faction leader, from the paranoid guy waiting to be sacked to the menacing heel, from the curtain-jerker to a multiple-time World Champion.
This week’s promo was very strong and a definite step above a lot of his recent Violent By Design material. Those pieces have tended to be quite limited and repetitive, focusing on the slightly contrived mantra that “the world doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to us”.
Young this week touched on his WWE run and how any potential he’d had there was blighted by an old man who couldn’t see past his own nose. He noted that that run had left him frustrated with the wrestling industry but motivated him to improve and reach a new level, his final level if you will, where no one would be able to overlook him again.
With a number of weeks left to run and a six-man tag involving VBD, Alexander and The Briscoes seemingly on the horizon, I’ve got every faith that Young and the promotion will be able to properly delve into Impact canon to produce a nostalgic build for what will be a big, first-time match-up.
Outside of Young being a sentimental choice for this spot, he also makes total sense from a booking perspective. Alexander is beginning what should be a dominant, lengthy run with the title and he needs strong heel foils to go up against. Young fits that brief perfectly and is someone Alexander can run through without too much drama before moving onto the more obvious longer-term feuds with Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan.
My only minor quibble about the move is that Young has only had three singles matches since he came back from his ACL injury last year and he’s 2-1 in those, losing his most recent one to Jay White, but that’s ultimately besides the point as he’d been World Champion not long before the injury anyway and a Tag Team Champion this year.
Slammiversary will be a night to celebrate the history of Impact Wrestling and if it all comes together, it should be really special. It’s obvious what this spot at the top of the card means to Young and for all of the reasons I’ve outlined, I think he’s the right choice. Here’s hoping he and Alexander can go out there on June 19th and tear the house down.