Impact Wrestling
Slammiversary 2023
July 16, 2023
St. Clair College
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Impact Wrestling returned to PPV this past Saturday, July 16th, for their biggest show of the summer, Slammiversary. Headlining at the sold-out St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario was Alex Shelley defending the Impact World Championship against Nick Aldis. Commentary was provided by Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt.

Countdown to Slammiversary

Jody Threat & The Death Dollz (Jessicka & Courtney Rush) def. The Shawntourage (Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans & Jai Vidal)

Jody Threat actually gelled quite well with the gimmick of her teammates. Sadly, that was the only real moment of gelling in this match.

The babyfaces won in a match that was largely passable and didn’t overstay its welcome at just over five minutes. There was quite a bit of awkwardness and clumsiness in that five minutes, as well as several irritating Tom Hannifan calls of ‘tag’, but I’m a reasonably generous mood so I won’t moan too much. **

Impact Wrestling Digital Media Championship
Kenny King (w/Sheldon Jean) def. Joe Hendry ©

The people of Windsor clearly know their onions because my man Joe Hendry was over big time. What a delight.

Hendry and Kenny King definitely have a decent match in them but this wasn’t it. Admittedly, though, this wasn’t them trying to have a ‘good’ match, but instead just a bit of comic relief on the pre-show.

King came out hot at the opening bell, showing off his frustration with Hendry’s Stripper Kenny song, but his offence was largely wayward as Hendry had the upper hand. To redress the balance, King roped in his protégé Sheldon Jean, who held King’s feet on the ropes for a leverage pin that ended Hendry’s title run at 247 days. **1/2


Six-way Ultimate X to determine the No.1 Contender to the Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Kushida def. Kevin Knight, Alan Angels, Mike Bailey, Jonathan Gresham, and Jake Something

Here, Jake Something returned to Impact for the first time in 16 months to become the sixth participant in this match.

In and of itself, that’s a cool moment and hopefully not a one-and-done thing for someone that Impact should never have lost. However, this was supposed to be a five-way. Surely if they knew he was coming back, they could have advertised a TBA spot, rather than just randomly adding someone else in?

Ignoring that, this was a fun main show opener. It didn’t reach the level of some previous Ultimate X matches but the high spots – Kevin Knight reaching the X when he jumped onto Something’s shoulders, Alan Angels hitting a Poison rana on Knight off the cables and Mike Bailey’s Moonsault off the structure – were all memorable and came off cleanly.

Angels, who has his first name back after leaving The Design, popped me here too because he hit a couple of low blows and used a chair on Something. No one does stuff like that in matches like this, so I enjoyed it.

There weren’t too many scampering across the structure to try and grab the X spots either, so that made the finish with KUSHIDA knocking Angels off fun. ***1/2

Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championship
MK Ultra (Masha Slamovich & Killer Kelly) def. The Coven (Taylor Wilde & Kilynn King) ©

I floated the idea of a Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly team on this very website a number of months ago. So, now they’re together and are the new Knockouts Tag champs, I’ll take all the credit.

All four women here are good workers and that resulted in an enjoyable match that was probably the best one in Wilde and King’s reign. The cameraman did miss Slamovich hitting the Snow Plow to win the match, but you can’t have everything. ***1/4

Scott D’Amore & Eric Young def. Bully Ray & Deaner (w/Kon)

First and foremost, Eric Young is a real mensch.

Secondly, my main wish with this coming in was that it a) didn’t take up too much time and b) was fun at a bare minimum. They delivered on both counts so you’ll see no complaints from me. Not today, anyway.

D’Amore’s tag team partner transpired to be the aforementioned Young, who rallied remarkably well from his murder by Deaner last year to return to the company for a third stint. The crowd popped big for that and to be honest ate up the whole match – who else is getting a full rendition of the Canadian national anthem during their matches?

D’Amore showed some decent offence in the traditional tag match part of this, with the back half being devoted to all the bells and whistles. You had A1 coming in from the crowd to wipe out Kon and special enforcer Darren McCarty both donning the referee’s shirt and helping D’Amore to put Bully Ray through a table.

Instead of the hometown hero getting the pin, it was the Lazarus-esque Young, who launched himself over the stricken Ray to hit an Elbow Drop on Deaner for victory. ***

Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship
Lio Rush def. Chris Sabin ©

Such was my confidence in how good this match would inevitably be, I had already lightly pencilled four stars into my notebook. Now, that page of my linen-backed A6 book reads NR, not-rated.

The reason? From opening bell to referee Frank Gastineau counting three, Lio Rush needed just 80 seconds to claim championship gold in a fourth different televised promotion.

Having knocked Chris Sabin off the apron with a handspring kick as he made his entrance, Rush then wiped out the champion with a brilliant suicide dive. Sabin was checked over by the ringside doctor and referee, only to push them away and valiantly fight on. That didn’t pay off, as he was hit with a John Woo dropkick as he tried to take his coat off, and then Rush pinned him after two Final Hours. NR

As a change of pace and something different, I liked this. From the logic standpoint of the medical professional not having the final say on what’s safest for the people they’re paid to look after, I thought this was egregiously dumb.

Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
Subculture (Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster) (w/Dani Luna) def. ABC (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) ©, Rich Swann & Sami Callihan, and Brian Myers & Moose

So, the team who had no logical reason to be in this match ended it as champions. Lovely, great booking.

Snide Sinclair aside for the moment, the work here was fun and frenetic. It was go-go-go from the outset as you’d expect and was, before the finishing sequence, trending towards notebook material.

The finish, though, bothered me. Poised to secure another defence but blind tagged out by Brian Myers, the ABC were set upon by Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz at ringside, Austin thrown into the ring steps and Bey spiked by Wentz with a Snapmare Driver.

Myers then tried to take out the other legal man, Flash Morgan Webster, with a Roster Cut but missed, with the Welshman countering and setting up partner Mark Andrews to secure victory with a Shooting Star Press.

I get that Impact want to get heat on Wentz and Miguel and on the surface I like the idea of a secondary tag programme, but the means of getting there wasn’t for me, particularly after a multi-team match that made no sense in the first place and a title change that wasn’t necessary. ***1/2

Eddie Edwards (w/Alisha Edwards) def. Frankie Kazarian (w/Traci Brooks)

Much like the match before, this was trending towards notebook territory before an overbooked, irritating finish.

The crowd were onside from the start, repeatedly chanting ‘Boston Sucks’ at Eddie and Alisha Edwards. This, unfortunately, is an allegation that I cannot comment on.

Given more time than anything else on the show, this was a slow-burn veteran battle that was ticking a lot of the right boxes. They hit the Edwards/Davey Richards suplex spot to the outside, the signature offence of both men was given time to breathe and the interference spots with Traci Brooks and Alisha on the outside made sense.

However, the ref bump did not. Was there any need, really, for this trilogy to ‘end’ with Kazarian getting pinned after a kendo stick shot, having previously got a visual tap on Edwards? Obviously, because this feud most continue. ***

Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Championship
Trinity def. Deonna Purrazzo ©

While I tend to skip most wrestling entrances, I’m glad I didn’t on this show. Impact have done a great job with Trinity’s, as she feels like a big deal, and the addition of a violinist to Deonna Purrazzo’s gave this the aura of a big-time match.

Although it wasn’t perfect, this was probably the best version of this match possible. Credit for that largely has to go to Purrazzo, who led the dance from the outset and crafted a structure that built well and gave both women a lot of shine.

Purrazzo worked over Trinity’s right arm early on but this didn’t transpire to be a typical Purrazzo limb work match. Instead, they favoured the big bumps down the stretch with Trinity hitting a springboard Facebuster and Purrazzo hitting a gnarly Queen’s Gambit piledriver on the apron.

Another big spot teed up the finish, with Trinity reversing an Avalanche Queen’s Gambit attempt into an Avalanche Full Nelson Bomb. One awkward transition later, Trinity had locked in Starstruck, her Rings of Saturn variation, to force a submission and title change.

I suspect my rating here is probably higher because of the three anti-climaxes beforehand but all in all I thought the work was good, the effort was high and the title-winning moment for Trinity was cool. ***1/2

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Alex Shelley (C) def. Nick Aldis

A moment of silence here for the Nick Aldis deniers, who I hope now reside firmly in the mud.

When Alex Shelley lost his first Impact World title challenge last year, it was because he got emotional and made mistakes. When he beat Steve Maclin last month, it was because he was dialled in and made no mistakes.

In this second title defence, the story was that Shelley was good enough, he was on Aldis’ level, but that two mistakes, two moments of over-exuberance and hot-headed instigation, nearly cost him everything.

The first mistake was in the opening exchanges, when Shelley spat water in Aldis’ face, ran at him and started the ten count of punches in the corner. Aldis, fresh and ready to go, countered it into a powerbomb and had his patented King’s Lynn Cloverleaf locked up in the opening two seconds.

Shelley got out of that and from there, when he focused on his own game, he had the advantage. Yes, Aldis had power and size on him and those were factors, but Shelley had the superior technique, working over the bigger man’s knee and manipulating his fingers in the turnbuckle spikes.

That work on the fingers prevented Aldis from locking in the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf again, forcing him to look for a shortcut with the title belt – the self-same belt that had lit the fire under this feud a handful of weeks before. Although a bit melodramatic, here came the second mistake.

Shelley got wrapped up in possibly using the belt himself, conflicted between doing the right thing and getting a measure of revenge. He chose the former but that delay allowed Aldis to hit an unsighted low blow and a Michinoku Driver.

Again though, the mistake did not prove costly. Shelley kicked out for a great nearfall and once back in the zone, there was only one winner. A DDT onto the belt, a superkick and a Shellshock later and it was successful defence number two for the pride of Detroit. ****

Post-match, Shelley’s celebrations were interrupted by the return of JOSH ALEXANDER. Back for the first time in four months, Alexander now figures to be the next challenger for the title he never lost. I’d expect that to be the main event of Emergence, their next live special at the end of August, one year on and roles reversed from these two having one of Impact’s best-ever matches. Take my money.

Final Thoughts

On a packed weekend of wrestling, Slammiversary did nothing to set Impact Wrestling apart.

Indeed, the show lacked either the horrific ignominy of Triplemania or the much higher peaks of New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Instead, it was merely a good show that never sucked but also never peaked that high either.

There were five title changes, three big returns and three bits of overbooking but in terms of must-watch stuff, the only thing I can heartily recommend is the main event. If you’ve got the time, it’s breezy viewing at just under three hours, but if you’re short during this here G1 season, Shelley-Aldis is the one.