June 19, 2022
Impact Wrestling returns to pay-per-view this Sunday (June 19) for Slammiversary 2022, emanating from the Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee. In the main event, Josh Alexander defends the Impact World Championship against Violent By Design leader Eric Young.
Although Impact PPVs typically take place on a Saturday, this one was booked for a Sunday for one very specific reason – it’s the exact 20th anniversary of their first-ever show back in 2002*. With that in mind, if you didn’t think that this show was going to be a nostalgia fest, you would be wildly wrong. Four of the promotion’s most infamous gimmick matches will be taking place and there should be a bevy of returns, some tongue-in-cheek and some serious, throughout the night. While it may not hit some of the in-ring heights of other Impact PPVs in recent memory, it promises to be a lot of fun.
*We’ve been celebrating Impact’s 20th anniversary all through June at Voices of Wrestling with our #Impact20 series. Check it out!
Countdown to Slammiversary
Reverse Battle Royal
Yes, the notorious Reverse Battle Royal is back!
In a wholly unironic way, I’m thoroughly excited about this. The previous two Reverse Battle Royals were both genuinely awful and highly endearing at the same time and if Joe Lanza’s notes are to be believed, Impact wants this to be a silly, funny, on-the-nose addition to the show.
For those who don’t know the rules (how could you not), here they are:
- 16 competitors start the match on the outside of the ring with
- The first eight to successfully make their way through the ropes will advance to the second stage, with the other eight eliminated
- The second stage is an over-the-top-rope battle royal – six wrestlers are eliminated at this stage
- Once only two wrestlers remain, traditional wrestling rules take over and the winner will be determined by pinfall or submission
Mahabali Shera, Raj Singh, Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice are the only people to have officially thrown their hats in the proverbial ring so far, which leaves 12 gaps to fill. I’m hoping for a lot of fun people – think Shark Boy, Chris Harris, Aces and Eights, Curry Man.
In terms of picking a winner, I honestly don’t know that it matters too much as this doesn’t have to lead anywhere. I do feel like it should be a roster regular though and as Steve Maclin is the most notable absentee from the show at this point, I’ll plump for him. Prediction: Steve Maclin
Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Rich Swann (C) vs. Brian Myers
The NWA isn’t the only promotion who have had to rejig its plans because of Matt Cardona’s bicep tear at GCW Downward Spiral last month.
I’ve noted on this website before that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Impact’s decision to introduce the Digital Media Championship. That said, I did feel as though Matt Cardona was the perfect candidate to hold it and make it into something special and different. However, his honeymoon clashing with some of the tapings meant that his run never really seemed to get going. Then, just as they tried to run an angle with it, Cardona keeping the belt after losing it to Rich Swann at a PWR show last month, he got injured. My assumption is that they were going to do Cardona v Swann here to determine ‘the real champion’ but obviously they’ve had to put a pin in that. In Cardona’s place comes Brian Myers.
With Cardona on the shelf for the foreseeable, there’s no real reason to keep this program going and a win for Swann keeps his momentum as a singles competitor going. Prediction: Rich Swann
Slammiversary Main Event
The Impact Originals (Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Frankie Kazarian, Nick Aldis + 1 x TBA) vs Honor No More (Eddie Edwards, Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, PCO & Vincent)
Honor No More has been tremendously fun this year. Turning heel has given Eddie Edwards a new lease of life and he’s doing some excellent in-ring work as a result. Taven and Bennett are a tremendous duo and PCO’s reanimated Frankenstein gimmick will always be enjoyable.
The story here stemmed from Taven and Bennett getting overlooked for a World Tag Team title shot at Slammiversary, with Edwards deciding that if they couldn’t get what they wanted, no one else deserved nice things either. Honor No More ruined Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian’s first match together in a long time, leading to a series of brawls between the two sides in recent weeks. It looked as though it would be Heath and Rhino joining Sabin, Shelley and Kazarian on Team Impact but Honor No More took Rhino out. Instead, Sabin and co have drafted in Nick Aldis (who really should be being billed as Magnus in Impact if we’re being honest) and the always dangerous TBA. In an ideal world, that TBA would be Monty Brown. In all likelihood it’ll probably be Christopher Daniels, James Storm or Johnny Impact.
While I would normally say that the established faction or team should win matches like this, this match has an Impact Originals win written all over it. The whole feud has centered on Honor No More not respecting the promotion or the promotion’s history, so the logical payoff is the home team taking the win. Add in the fact they’re having the match on the anniversary show and it’s a no-brainer. Prediction: The Impact Originals
Sami Callihan vs Moose
Sami Callihan broke his ankle at a set of Impact tapings last September in a tag team match with Eddie Edwards against Moose and W. Morrissey. While by all accounts the injury was entirely innocuous, they’ve turned it into an angle with Callihan blaming Moose for putting him on the shelf for the better part of eight months.
Since Callihan’s official return at Under Siege last month, the build has involved a lot of smoke and mirrors with the lights going on and off and a lot of backstage brawls. That has led some to think that they may go down a more cinematic route here and while that’s definitely a possibility, it seems unlikely.
I’ve got a lot of time for Sami and Moose saying that they’re adhering to the traditional Monster’s Ball rules here, with both men set to spend the previous 24 hours locked in a boiler room. In terms of the match, it should be good. Moose always steps up in big hardcore matches and this is Sami’s wheelhouse so if he’s healthy and brings the right intensity, they should really gel. Sami’s return vignettes also reference Edwards and Josh Alexander, so he almost certainly goes over here, with Moose then potentially taking some time off to rest up a few injuries. Prediction: Sami Callihan
Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championship
The Influence (Madison Rayne & Tenille Dashwood) (C) vs Ragnarok (Rosemary & Taya Valkyrie)
While depth in the Knockouts Tag division continues to be some far-off, inchoate notion, Impact have done a good job with the tools at their disposal here as the build for this match has been simple but quite good.
Rosemary and Havok demanded a shot at the titles but in a rare instance of heel champions actually using logic and reasoning, Rayne and Dashwood refused. They pointed to Rosemary and Havok both losing singles titles matches to Tasha Steelz as proof that they weren’t up to the mark; Havok getting squashed by Masha Slamovich soon after that only added to their argument. Rosemary continued to push for it though and was rewarded after beating Dashwood in singles action, Taya coming to her aid after The Influence instigated a post-match beatdown.
This feels like an obvious candidate for a title change. Rosemary and Taya have considerable history together in Impact, both as a team and as singles rivals, so it would seem appropriate for them to win the titles and get that moment together on the anniversary show. Prediction: Ragnarok
Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (C) vs The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows)
The Briscoes have been an absolute breath of fresh air in the tag picture since becoming permanent fixtures in Impact back in April. They make their second title defence here against the only pair to have beaten them in a straight tag in the promotion, The Good Brothers.
While Karl Anderson has admitted he only likes working when the lights are on, I have a feeling he and Gallows will put forth a good effort here on a big show against a team in the Briscoes who seemed highly motivated right now. Given that this could also be one of their last Impact PPV appearances (their contracts expire next month and New Japan seems an obvious permanent landing spot), that should also push them to put their working boots on.
The Briscoes currently trail their all-time series with The Good Brothers 2-1 but this seems like a prime opportunity for them to get their win back and level things up. Prediction: The Briscoes
Ultimate X match for the Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Ace Austin (C) vs Kenny King vs Mike Bailey vs Trey Miguel vs Jack Evans vs Alex Zayne
While I do feel that this Ultimate X match would feel even more special if they hadn’t done a throwaway one during Mania Weekend, I am still hyped for it.
King, Bailey and Miguel all won qualifying matches on Impact against Chris Bey, Laredo Kid and Alex Shelley respectively. Jack Evans was invited by Scott D’Amore, who explained this week that as Evans was an OG Team Canada member, he’d always be welcome in Impact. Alex Zayne was the final entrant, given the opportunity to get revenge on Ace Austin after the champion ended their Zest Friends team and linked up with The Bullet Club at the end of the Best of the Super Juniors. All six guys involved seem tailor-made for this sort of match and I have very high hopes for what they can put together.
In terms of the booking, I see only two directions – Austin retaining or Bailey winning the title for the first time. They’ve been building towards Bailey being the next champion for months and this would be a logical place to do it. He has a built-in story with Austin ready to go and he also dropped a great singles match to Miguel on the go-home show, so there’s an easy title programme to be made there as well in the coming months.
However, belting Bailey up now feels like less of a moment with Austin having been away in Japan for the last month. While Austin being a transitional champion solely for the purpose of being in the Best of the Super Juniors makes sense, it seems as though he’s got proper momentum behind him now and it’d be weird to take that away by having him drop the title. There’s a definite Zayne program coming out of this show for Austin and then they can cycle back to Bailey a little bit later in the year. Prediction: Ace Austin
Queen of the Mountain match for the Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Tasha Steelz (C) vs Chelsea Green vs Deonna Purrazzo vs Mia Yim vs Jordynne Grace
For the first time in more than six years, Impact fans are being treated to a King of the Mountain match. Well, a Queen of the Mountain, as for the first time in the match’s history, female wrestlers will be involved.
For those who’d like a little refresher on the rules, here you go:
- All five wrestlers start the match
- The only way to win is by hooking the title belt on the latch above the ring
- You’re only eligible to hang the belt if you record a victory over someone and falls count anywhere
- If you are pinned or submitted, you have to enter the penalty box (a cage) for two minutes
Mickie James was appointed as the Special Guest Enforcer for this match, which screams an angle. Her and Chelsea Green seemed on a collision course earlier in the year but that cooled off with Green going to get married. I have a feeling they reheat it here, which would rule Green out of winning.
The other budding feud in this match is between Deonna Purrazzo and Mia Yim. The latter returned to Impact at Under Siege in May, breaking up a post-match beatdown on Taya by Purrazzo. Those two are unquestionably the biggest stars in the division and a match between them feels like a big draw for Impact – do they opt to belt one of them up here to run it as a title programme over the next weeks and months?
I’m almost certain Tasha Steelz isn’t retaining here after she picked up a win on the go-home show, so that leaves Jordynne Grace, Purrazzo and Yim. Grace feels like the odd one out, which often means that that person is the winner. Prediction: Jordynne Grace
Impact Wrestling World Championship
Josh Alexander (C) vs Eric Young
“I know what makes you tick, Josh Alexander. But you haven’t got a damned clue what makes me tick!”
In one of my columns a few weeks ago, I explained why Eric Young was the right choice to challenge for Impact’s top title at Slammiversary. He’s worked more matches for the promotion than anyone else on the current roster, he’s thrived with every gimmick he’s ever been given (and there’ve been a fair few), and he’s a two-time World Champion.
Since he won Gauntlet for the Gold to seal this spot, the feud between Young and Alexander has been good. They’ve told the story that despite vanquishing Moose, Alexander is still highly emotional and that Young has managed to get in his head. Alexander lost his first match of the year in Impact a few weeks ago, a six-man tag involving The Briscoes and Violent By Design, and then got himself disqualified last week against Joe Doering. Young has proved that Alexander isn’t an unsurmountable challenge and that’s all he needed to do to have the mental edge.
My expectations for this are reasonably high. Young can still go in the big spots, as proved by his match with Jay White earlier this year. Alexander, meanwhile, is one of the very best in the entire world and is someone who is always prepared to go the extra mile to make his matches look and feel fantastic.
When the final bell rings on Sunday night, Alexander will be standing tall, sending the crowd home happy from what should have been a night to remember. Prediction: Josh Alexander