Slammiversary 2023, one of Impact Wrestling’s biggest shows of the year, is less than a week away.

On paper, it looks like a really good show.

Alex Shelley facing Nick Aldis for the World title and Trinity challenging Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts strap is as strong a double-shot at the top of the card as the promotion could pull off at the moment. Both matches have, in the main, been built quite well.

Scott D’Amore getting back in the ring to finally silence Bully Ray isn’t quite my cup of tea, but they’ve done well with it – the video packages and features with Scott have been fantastic. Steve Maclin getting injured on the Australia tour certainly puts a dent in their plans, but with respect to the stuff they can control, it’s been a good build.

Chris Sabin against Lio Rush for the X-Division title will steal the show, and otherwise, it looks like a good card with a lot of stuff that will be good at a bare minimum.

However, the build for many of the other matches has felt pretty repetitive and exposed some real laziness in Impact’s booking patterns.

Take Frankie Kazarian facing Eddie Edwards. It’s their third meeting in just over a month, and it should wrap up what has been a fairly traditional, basic story. Both students of the same trainer and now veterans, they initially faced off to settle a score of who had the right attitude for the locker room. After that first meeting, they tried to work together as a team. That experiment exposed more divisions, leading to a second match where Edwards, the heel, outsmarted the babyface. That, in turn, sets up the trilogy match where the babyface, Kazarian, should get the upper hand and settle the score.

Overall, the story is fine, and the blow off match should be decent. My issue is that they worked a story of two guys having a trilogy (eventually quadrilogy) of matches together only a few months ago with Jonathan Gresham and Mike Bailey. Gresham and Bailey’s program was more about friendly rivalry than the distinct face/heel divide between Kazarian and Edwards, but the core idea is the same. Ultimately, it’s meant that neither series feels particularly special.

We then have the multi-team match for the World Tag Team titles. It’s currently set for four teams, with ABC defending against Brian Myers & Moose, Subculture, and Rich Swann & Sami Callihan, but that’ll almost certainly go up to five (how will they all fit around the ring?!) on the go-home show when the returning Zachary Wentz faces Chris Bey.

Ignoring for a fact that it makes no sense for Subculture to be in this match considering their all-time Impact record is 0-2, a more compelling story for this should would have been a simple two-versus-two between ABC and Moose & Myers, with Wentz & Miguel facing Swann & Callihan in a No.1 Contender’s match further down the card. If you wanted to use Subculture, you could then drop them in on the pre-show.

Anyway, my aim as a previewer is to focus on what I do see rather than what I want to see. My issue here is that this will be third time this year that Impact has done a multi-team match for the tag team titles after previous iterations at Hard to Kill and Multiverse United. I’m not opposed in principle, but doing it so often smacks of laziness and just retreating to their comfort zone. I don’t know who needs to hear this but a) not everyone needs to be on every show and b) it is okay for people to lose now and again, and not everyone needs to be protected.

Multi-person matches to determine number one contenders are another frustrating, recurring theme. For varying titles, they’ve done one at Hard to Kill, No Surrender, Sacrifice, Under Siege, Against All Odds and they’re doing another here at Slammiversary with a five-way Ultimate X.

As someone who likes annual traditions and tournaments in wrestling, I like the idea of there being an Ultimate X at Slammiversary every year. It makes that use of the gimmick feel special, they can vary it up from year to year (some for the title, some for top contendership, some for the women), and it doesn’t constrain them in the way headlining an annual show with Money in the Bank or Lethal Lockdown does.

However, I do take umbrage with Impact just announcing the five participants without any explanation. Would it have been that hard to do some qualifiers at the Atlanta tapings? It would differentiate this from some of the other random scrambles that don’t have title implications and at least it would give the semblance of them doing something of note with Mike Bailey rather than whatever the last few weeks have been since his return from that stellar Best of the Super Juniors run.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but a) not everyone needs to be on every show, and b) it is okay for people to lose now and again, and not everyone needs to be protected.

On the whole, Impact’s booking is pretty solid and better than that of many of the other topline American promotions. The big ticket matches at the business end of this card, and most cards, for that matter, have been done well in the main, but when you get outside of those top four, the logic starts to disappear, and everything begins to feel done by rote.

I get that not every match needs a major story, but we also don’t need to recycle the same stories so quickly and repeat the same tropes so often.

To me, that’s a signal they need some new voices in the room.