Hi folks! Today, I’m bringing you an Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2021 review of the event from Skywall Studios in Nashville, Tennessee on July 17th. It will also include ratings of matches on the main show. This is the first Impact Wrestling show with a live audience since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On the pre-show, Rosemary & Havok teamed up to take on Fire N’ Flava, Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz, for their Knockouts Tag Team Championship. They were victorious, and as a result, it feels like Havok has officially joined Decay. The crowd loved this! And so did I, it’s about time Impact gave Rosemary something, she’s one of the best they have.
For clarity, I’m basing my ratings on what Impact Wrestling is capable of, and not on a Dave Meltzer scale (which has no right going past 5 stars). I have only ever based ratings on what a company can do, as opposed to comparing it to every other type of wrestling the world offers. Let’s begin with the return of Ultimate X.
#1. Josh Alexander (c) vs. Ace Austin vs. Rohit Raju vs. Chris Bey vs. Trey Miguel vs. Petey Williams in Ultimate X
Extremely happy to see the return of Ultimate X, it has been too long. As evidenced by the lineup, Impact Wrestling has done exceptionally well to rebuild the X-Division over the past year or two, and the only guy who isn’t a former champion (Bey) is very much penciled in to become one. They fired the crowd up throughout. As was I, not just because we’re watching a bunch of guys working a set of ropes, but because the spots were both innovative and vintage in their execution.
Rohit Raju is a standout performer, as he showed us how far he’s come since his lackey days in Gama Singh’s Desi Hit Squad. Using his intelligence, Raju not only came up with several new ways of getting the title without climbing the ropes, but did so in an entertaining manner. I never thought I’d hear a Rohit Raju chant, but his time as champion during the pandemic proved why he isn’t worthy of jobber status. This guy should have a contract for life because he’s so naturally suited for TV.
The veteran Petey Williams proved again why Impact keeps him around. There’s only one Canadian Destroyer, and I was pleased to see it used several times. Chris Bey was all over the place (in a good way), but the last few weeks building him up to “choose a side” was wasteful because Madman Fulton & Shera were banned from ringside. Dropping the storyline neutered Ace Austin, who played his part in the match, but should have come across as more of a threat. Trey Miguel is similar. He had an interesting feud with Sami Callihan, but nothing came of it as he’s just slotted back in to place. I’m happy to hear fans getting behind the champion, the “Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander. He’s proof that you don’t need to be a high-flyer to be a great X-Division Champion.
The “HOLY S**T!” moment of the night was most definitely the interlocking submissions, beginning with Petey Williams & Rohit Raju on Trey Miguel, moving on to include Josh Alexander putting Chris Bey in an ankle lock upside down at the same time as having Ace Austin in a move, while he also had Petey Williams in a move. It was insane! Yet, this is typical X-Division making up things we won’t get anywhere else. We definitely need more of this, although they completely threw out the story. Sometimes it’s for the best though, so this time I’ll forgive them because they batted it right out of the park.
Winner: Josh Alexander / Rating: 4.5
#2. Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green vs. Brian Myers & Tenille Dashwood (/w Kaleb & Sam Beale)
Let me get this straight. Cardona & Myers have this long drawn out feud because they want nothing to do with each other, so they keep clashing and beating each other up? We come to a big PPV where they could bury this thing once and for all, but literally one week before the show, Myers gets Cardona’s ex-girlfriend involved like she still hates the guy after all these years apart? No explanation provided.
Dashwood doesn’t get on the mic to reveal any kind of deep-seated disdain for the man she assumed would be her husband one day… she just low blows him, laughs and carries on. All the while, we keep getting “Hot Mess” bombs from Scott D’Amore, making it even more annoying when Chelsea Green predictably shows up. And when she does, the crowd likes it, but she’s half-Green, half-Van Ness, while I’m sat here hoping she’d be one or the other. The commentary team allude to the fact that Green might not like Dashwood as she probably “heard stories about her” from Cardona, but nothing is explained and it’s obvious they are all extremely close in real-life; I bet even Dashwood enjoyed this.
The only good part was seeing the chemistry on the heel side, which I believe would make a fun stable. Other than that though, we saw Green giving Dashwood a low blow… and not only does Tenille sell the move like it would if she were a man (it can’t hurt that much, right?!), but the referee doesn’t disqualify her for it. Green picks up the win and we’re all supposed to be happy she returned, but I’m left thinking… what in the blue hell was that crap? C’mon guys, we can do better than this. The only smart part was Cardona bringing a cup for his groin.
Winner: Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green / Rating: 2
#3. W. Morrissey vs. Eddie Edwards
It probably didn’t get the build it deserves, although they couldn’t be anymore polar opposite. I know people hate Morrissey’s name, along with the fact he’s known for being abrasive backstage, but I’m digging his Impact work so far. It speaks to me because his character is based in reality, and his physique combined with the way he works compliments his demeanor. You rarely get a poor match out of Eddie, so he helped Morrissey through his best so far.
There’s a ton of potential in Morrissey, but it rests on Impact convincing fans he’s worthy of their respect, and if he can keep the respect of his peers. Edwards was generous and I applaud him for being professional. What I didn’t like, however, was one of Morrissey’s swinging moves, which dumped Eddie in a questionable way on the mat. The referee checked up on him right away, just to be sure. Aside from that, I’d like to see Morrissey vs. Edwards II without rules. Morrissey needs a reliable hand like Edwards to mentor him to the next stage.
Winner: W. Morrissey / Rating: 3.5
#4. FinJuice vs. Madman Fulton & Shera
Fulton & Shera come out way later in the show (than Ultimate X) to complain and fight over a referee so they can blurt things at him for banning them from ringside… when it was clearly a management decision. Hey guys! If you want to complain, find Scott D’Amore’s office and send him to sleep with your incessant nagging. You don’t go to the ring and badger an innocent referee.
As my brain melted, Scott D’Amore entered, cheered the fans up with some cheap pops, and let us know the real reason these idiots are out there is because “creative” needed it so they could bring back FinJuice. The next thing I know, FinJuice beat them. Is Impact planning on releasing Fulton & Shera? Because this is the perfect way to bury them before you do. I’d rather they skipped this sorry state of a match to give us extra time for other things.
Winner: FinJuice / Rating: 1
#5. Moose vs. Chris Sabin
Can I heterosexually be in love with Moose? In case you don’t know what that means, I’m not attracted to him like a man loves a man, but in the way I admire everything he does as a performer. How is he not signed to a bigger company? He’s got the total package. The only weakness Moose had before was the experience. But I think he’s now seasoned enough to be a World Champion anywhere he goes. So when Impact booked him to face Chris Sabin at Slammiversary shortly after wrestling Kenny Omega for the World title, I didn’t quite know what to make of it.
I went in to this fully expecting Moose to pick up a victory after losing to Omega. If he’s ever to win the World title, he needs to keep on top by beating veterans like Chris Sabin. I know Sabin though, I’ve seen much of his career and I supported him when he became World Champion; unlike his critics, who said he was unworthy. I knew he had a chance, but I didn’t see it happening this time. However, it makes sense, because Moose still has one huge flaw in his game, which is underestimating the underdogs too much. No matter how good or serious Moose gets, he still goes in to some matches with an overabundant confidence in his own ability. It’s another lesson learned, but only if he does anything with it.
By the way, this was a splendid match between two of Impact Wrestling’s finest, and the ending was like the icing on the cake.
Winner: Chris Sabin / Rating: 4.25
#6. Violent By Design, Joe Doering & Rhino (c) vs. The Good Brothers vs. Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs. Fallah Bahh & No Way (Jose)
If you like dancing, the entrances were more entertaining than the match itself. This tag team title four-way should have been way longer, but somehow The Good Brothers got together and finished Rhino with the Magic Killer in the middle of the ring.
How is that none of the other five competitors were in a place to stop it? Eric Young could have entered and done something about it because there’re no disqualifications. An “illegal” Karl Anderson interfered behind the ref’s back, although the match had long since broken down. There was some good action though, along with No Way (Jose) showing us a glimpse of what he’s got, so it wasn’t a dumpster fire… but it left a lot to be desired.
Winner: The Good Brothers / Rating: 2.75
#7. Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs. Thunder Rosa
It could’ve been anyone, and I’m betting most assumed it would be Mickie James. They pleasantly surprised me because the potential was ripe for an exceptional match between two girls who I had not once put together in my mind. Purrazzo hadn’t defended against an outsider before, so picking up the win would prove she isn’t just an Impact champion, but also worthy of being called a World Champion. Their styles struggled to mesh at first, but it’s expected when two wrestlers haven’t faced each other.
Rosa is a former NWA World Champion, so her overcoming Purrazzo wasn’t impossible, but unlikely, because Impact has placed a lot of trust in The Virtuosa. It was a very good title match, and it’d easily get better with more outings. Another thing I enjoyed was Purrazzo getting the pin instead of a submission, because Rosa isn’t the type to tap out, so it was logical to beat her another way. Mickie James immediately taking the spotlight felt like a heel move because Purrazzo deserved time to celebrate the win on her own. James talked about respecting everything she has done, but if she truly did… she wouldn’t be bombing down there a second after the champ retains.
It’s pretty rude to assume Purrazzo would work her NWA Empowerrr show after that, and even more so to kick her in the face for bringing up the trash bag and not accepting the invitation like an excited puppy. I’m all for Purrazzo here, because James came across like an entitled legend who everyone should roll over for. Yes, I know this is leading to a match between them at the PPV, but the way it went down painted Purrazzo in a positive light.
Winner: Deonna Purrazzo / Rating: 4
#8. Kenny Omega (c) vs. Sami Callihan in No DQ
I don’t understand why Callihan isn’t more valued in the business, he’s one of the best storytellers in the world. Yeah, he might not be super athletic, but neither was Mick Foley. He’s toned down many of his disgusting habits on the way to the Impact World title, and it felt like the last straw for an Impact wrestler to bring it home. Are there anymore viable challengers? It needed to happen here, in a match best suited for The Death Machine.
Don Callis has really grown on me as a heel. His commentary hasn’t got many boundaries anymore, so he can fish for heat by insulting challengers and companies as much as he likes. Kenny Omega has grown on me too, by proving he has a mind for hardcore wrestling. He had to find another level to match Sami, and has proven there’s no type of match he can’t excel in. It’s my favorite Kenny Omega outing in Impact so far, because Callihan has the tools to take him somewhere Moxley didn’t.
Not only that, but he did it mostly by himself. There was some slight Callis interference, but it wasn’t enough to change the result. Chris Sabin & Eddie Edwards ensured The Good Brothers wouldn’t change the game, so Omega has to be respected for defending the title in this environment off his own back. I can’t say anything bad about this main event, it was as perfect of a title match as you’ll find in Impact Wrestling. I find it hard to believe we’ll get anything better soon. That is… unless we get Kenny Omega vs. Jay White, which I’m sure Dave Meltzer will spew 9 stars all over! Thanks for reading.