7/22 Powell’s Impact Wrestling Slammiversary live review: Austin Aries vs. Moose for the Impact World Championship, LAX vs. OGz for the Impact Tag Titles, Su Yung vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Championship, Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage for the X Division Championship


By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2018
Aired live on pay-per-view and on FITE TV
Toronto, Ontario at The Rebel Center

A video package opened the show. It focussed on the wrestlers and they showed their regular voice over guy who sounds a lot like James Earl Jones… Josh Mathews and Don Callis were on commentary… The four sided ring had yellow ropes…

1. Petey Williams vs. Johnny Impact vs. Taiji Ishimori vs. Fenix in a four-way. Mathews noted that Williams was a late replacement for Rich Swann, who suffered a concussion on Thursday (at the MLW event in New York). Mathews noted that it was a tornado style match with everyone allowed in the ring at once. There was a loud “Impact Wrestling” chant to start. There was also a “welcome back” chant as Impact and Ishimori squared off in the ring together.

Fenix performed a terrific flip dive onto Impact and Williams around 6:00 that drew “holy shit” chants from the crowd. A “Bone Soldier” chant broke out as Ishimori performed an Asai moonsault onto his three opponents at ringside (they missed part of the move live, but it was replayed). At 9:10, Fenix hit a cutter on Impact and had him pinned, but Ishimori broke it up. Ishimori performed a gutbuster on Fenix a short time later and had him pinned, but Williams broke it up.

All four men ended up standing in the ring and they all traded kicks until they were all lying on the mat at 12:00. In the end, Impact hit Starship Pain on Fenix and pinned him to win the match…

Johnny Impact defeated Petey Williams, Taiji Ishimori, and Fenix in a four-way in 11:00.

The broadcast team spoke about Johnny Impact throwing out the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game earlier in the day as photos were shown…

Powell’s POV: Exactly the type of crazy and fun four-way one would expect from these guys. It was no surprise to see Impact go over in his return from filming Survivor. In fact, he wore a bandana throughout the match, which is probably inspired by the buffs that the CBS reality show uses. Fenix continues to shine every time I see the guy. I keep waiting for one of the companies to really get behind him, but it seems like his brother Pentagon Jr. always gets the bigger push while Fenix doesn’t get the same love from creative. From a production standpoint, the hard camera appears to be from a higher position than usual. They are also taking the ROH approach of having the hard camera on the opposite side of the stage, so it’s hard to get a real feel for how many fans are in attendance. Fortunately, they are vocal and seemed to be mic’d well, so there’s a great atmosphere thus far.

Footage aired of King (Eddie Kingston) give the OGz (Homicide and Hernandez) a pep talk heading into their tag title match… A video package set up the Tessa Blanchard vs. Allie match…

2. Tessa Blanchard vs. Allie. The fans gave Allie a nice hometown pop. The women jawed at one another in mid-ring. Allie performed an early dive from the middle rope onto Blanchard on the floor. Callis noted that it wasn’t pretty yet it was effective. At 6:20, Allie hit a Death Valley Driver at ringside. Both women returned to the referee to beat the ten count. They traded shots in the middle of the ring. Allie got the better of it and performed a Backstabber (lung blower) for a two count.

Blanchard came back with a huracanrana from the top rope for a two count around 9:00. Blanchard went for a swanton from the top rope and Allie rolled out of the way. Allie performed a Codebreaker, but Blanchard rolled to ringside after taking the move. Allie rolled her back inside the ring and covered her for a two count. Blanchard rolled her over for a two count. Allie connected with a superkick for a two count. Allie showed frustration over not getting the pin. Alley went for another DVD, but Blanchard slipped away and performed a hammerlock DDT for the win…

Tessa Blanchard defeated Allie in 11:00.

Powell’s POV: Allie looked a little off early, but it still turned out to be an entertaining match. It was good to see Tessa go over here after she dropped a couple of recent matches to Madison Rayne. One can only hope that creative intends to showcase Tessa in a major way now that she has signed a long term deal with the company.

Backstage, Alicia interviewed Moose. He recalled saying he would be Impact World Champion in 2018. He said there’s a saying in the NFL that if you feel good and look good then you play good. He said he had a good breakfast and he looked good. He said he would kick Austin Aries’s ass and then the nation would chant Moose. Meh…

A video package recapped the insanity of the Eddie Edwards and Tommy Dreamer saga…

3. Eddie Edwards vs. Tommy Dreamer in a House of Hardcore rules match. Dreamer entered the ring after Edwards and they went right at one another. They quickly fought to ringside. Dreamer pulled a cookie sheet out from underneath the ring and slammed it over the head of Edwards. He also pulled out a trash can. Edwards ran the ropes and set up for a suicide dive, but Dreamer threw the can at his head around 2:00.

Edwards came back by whipping Dreamer head first into the ring post. Edwards pulled out a staple gun while the fans chanted “you sick f—” at him. Dreamer blocked the staple gun with a kick, then took it and tried to use it on Edwards, who returned the favor with a kick. Edwards went for a sunset flip. Dreamer leaned down and stapled his forehead. Edwards bled from the forehead.

Dreamer got an ECW title belt from a fan. Dreamer kissed the belt and then slammed it into the head of Edwards for another round of “ECW” chants at 4:45. Edwards came back and struck Dreamer with a kendo stick until Dreamer cut him off with a cutter. Dreamer hit Edwards with the kendo stick several times. Dreamer placed Edwards over a couple of chairs that were set up in the ring and then went to the ropes. Edwards cut him off with a kendo stick.

Edwards barked at Dreamer about talking to his wife. Dreamer cut off Edwards with a low blow and then performed a DVD from the ropes that drove Edwards through the two chairs in the middle of the ring (it was a safe bump with the chairs simply splitting apart from one another upon impact from Edwards). Dreamer covered Edwards for a two count.

Dreamer slid a chair inside the ring and poured lighter fluid onto the table. Edwards hit Dreamer with a low blow and then gave him a DDT. Edwards placed Dreamer on the chair and then delivered a Boston Knee Party that apparently drove the chair into Dreamer’s face. Edwards pinned Dreamer for the win…

Eddie Edwards beat Tommy Dreamer in a House of Hardcore rules match in 11:10.

After the match, Edwards acted emotional as he fell to his knees. Dreamer shoved Edwards away. With Edwards being emotional in the corner, Dreamer offered him his hand while the fans booed. Eddie’s wife Alisha Edwards came to ringside and encouraged her husband to shake Dreamer’s hand. Edwards and Dreamer shook hands and hugged. Dreamer held the handshake and then pointed the kendo stick at Edwards. Dreamer eventually gave Dreamer the kendo stick while Callis said it was like a passing of the torch. Edwards put the kendo stick between his teeth as Dreamer and then Alisha went to the back…

Powell’s POV: I think Callis spent more time talking about what a lunatic Dreamer is than putting over the insane Edwards persona. Anyway, it was really strange to see them get the fans excited about a flaming table only to not actually deliver it during or after the match. They had the fans with them during the brawl and I’m not sure why they thought it was a good idea to tease something they didn’t intend to deliver. There was noticeable disappointment with the fans over not getting the big table spot and they weren’t crazy about the post match story of the duo seemingly making peace. All of that said, this crowd is really fun and it’s an even better atmosphere for Slammiversary than there was for the Windsor tapings, which was a billion times better than the morgue in Orlando.

A pre-taped Matt Sydal interview aired. He said he sees through Brian Cage and the shell he has erected around himself. He said Cage has never figured out that the most powerful muscle is the third eye. Sydal said he was completely confident that the X Division Title would still be his… A video package set up the X Division Title match…

4. Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage for the X Division Championship. Mathews noted that Sydal has held the X Division Title for 136 days.

Sydal approached Cage and told him to open his third eye. Cage performed an early standing moonsault for a two count. Sydal went to ringside. Cage leaned between the ropes to look for him. Sydal returned to the ring behind him and kicked the back of Cage’s leg. Sydal stood over Cage on the ropes in the corner. Cage shoved Sydal over the ropes to ringside.

Cage slammed Sydal on the apron. Cage went to the ropes but Sydal cut him off with a kick. Sydal performed a running dropkick in the corner that knocked Cage to the floor. Sydal performed a double knee press off the apron. Sydal held his right knee after performing the move. At 6:00, Sydal caught Cage running the ropes and powerbombed him for a two count. Cage came back with a pump-handle slam for a two count.

Sydal threw leg kicks and then a kick to the head. Sydal performed a neckbreaker for a two count at 7:20. Sydal went up top, but Cage avoided his shooting star press. Cage turned Sydal inside out with a clothesline. Cage went for a powerbomb. Sydal countered into a snap huracanrana for a near fall. Sydal went up top and leapt at Cage, who caught him. Sydal countered into a pin for another two count. Sydal threw a knee to the head. Sydal went for a shooting star press Cage moved and Sydal’s feet hit the ropes on the way down. Cage performed a Drill Claw and pinned Sydal clean…

Brian Cage defeated Matt Sydal to win the X Division Title in 9:45.

Powell’s POV: A well worked match despite Sydal’s scary shooting star press at the end. While I appreciate the work of the wresters, the match felt odd to me in that heel Sydal came off more impressive for simply hanging with Cage despite the size difference. It continues to look like they intend to have Cage do the Option C bit where he gives up the X Division Title for a shot at the Impact Championship. I would have advised getting to Cage challenging for the main title without including him in the X Division.

Backstage, Alicia waited for Austin Aries to finish a call before interviewing him. Aries said he was doing a little business and apologized. Aries said Moose has been waiting for this moment his entire life, whereas he has been doing this his entire life. Aries said DeAngelo Williams won’t be there and that’s because he took care of it. Aries said Moose’s mom won’t be at ringside either because he just took care of that… A video package set up the Knockouts Title match…

5. Su Yung (w/Undead Bridesmaids) vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Title. The Undead Bridesmaids brought a coffin to ringside. Yung emerged from the coffin. Rayne went out to meet her on the ramp and eventually tossed her inside the ring to start the match. The bridesmaids remained on the ramp with the coffin at first and then a couple of them walked to the ring and stood on the apron and were motionless as Rayne pushed them down to ringside.

At 4:00, one of the bridesmaids held Rayne from the apron. Yung attempted to spray mist at Rayne, but she ducked at the bridesmaid took the mist in the face. Yung pulled out her bloody glove, but Rayne performed a cutter for a two count. Rayne performed the Rayne Drop for a two count and showed some frustration over not getting the pin. Rayne set up for a move, but Yung reached up and applied the Mandible Claw with the bloody glove. Rayne passed out and the referee called for the bell…

Su Yung defeated Madison Rayne in 6:50 to retain the Knockouts Championship.

After the match, Yung rolled Rayne onto the apron and had the bridesmaids open the casket. Yung picked up Rayne and placed her inside the casket while Madison’s husband Josh Mathews spoke about his wife’s carcass being placed in a casket (without acknowledging their relationship)…

Powell’s POV: The most forgettable match of the night so far and it definitely brought the crowd down. There was some silliness with the referee counting instead of disqualifying Yung for the bridesmaid interfering. Perhaps the referee has a soft spot for zombies in the same way that Tina Belcher does on Bob’s Burgers.

Konnan fired up Santana and Ortiz in a backstage pre-tape… A video package set the Impact Tag Title match…

6. “LAX” Santana and Ortiz (w/Konnan) vs. “The OGz” Homicide and Hernandez (w/King) in a 5150 Street Fight for the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles. There were two trashcans filled with weapons set up on the apron next to the ramp. Mathews noted that the OGz emerged from the clubhouse and questioned whether it’s symbolic that they have already taken over.

Santana and Ortiz wore white and black face paint and got off to the quick start. There were tables set up against the posts and two were slid inside the ring and set up in opposite corners. Homicide and Hernandez came back with trashcan lid and cookie sheet shots to the head of LAX. Hernandez performed his big leap over the top onto both opponents at ringside.

King threw a bottle of Drano inside the ring (the budget conscious economy size), but it didn’t come into play right away. Hernandez had a small cut on his forehead. Hernandez caught Santana leaping off the back of his partner in the corner and powerbombed him for a two count.

Ortiz brought a ladder from the stage area and threw it inside the ring. LAX placed Hernandez on the ladder and then performed double team dives on him. LAX hit a double team neckbreaker on Homicide from the top rope. They had the pin, but Hernandez dragged the referee to the floor. Hernandez did his big shoulder block that knocked Santana to ringside. Homicide did a big summersault suicide dive that drove Santana through the table on the floor.

In the ring, Ortiz performed a Death Valley Driver that put Homicide through one of the tables in the corner. Homicide flipped him off. Ortiz set up for a move, but Hernandez returned and broke it up, then performed a Border Toss through the table. Santana returned to superkick Hernandez and then performed a cannonball on him in the corner.

Santana and Hernandez did an awkward back into each other spot and then traded punches. Santana superkicked Homicide, who came right back with an elbow to the head. Konnan stood on the ring apron. Homicide set up for his finisher, but released Santana to spit in the face of Konnan. Homicide and Konnan jawed at one another. Konnan threw a bag of tacks to Santana, who threw some in the face of Homicide and then slammed him onto the pile. Santana performed a frogsplash onto Homicide, who was lying on the tacks, and then pinned him…

LAX defeated The OGz in a 5150 Street Fight to retain the Impact Wrestling Tag Titles.

After the match, King entered the ring and hit both LAX members with what appeared to be a sock with something inside it. The OGz held Konnan while King hit him with the weapon. They sprayed the Impact Tag Titles to apparently read OG, but it was hard to make out. The OGz left with the tag title belts…

Powell’s POV: A crazy brawl that the broadcast team and production had a hard time keeping up with. Believe me, I can relate on this end. I’m surprised that the OGz didn’t win the tag titles, but the fact that they took the titles means that the feud isn’t over. This was nonstop action. It wasn’t always pretty, but the effort was there and this was the big brawl that it needed to be.

An ad aired for the Global Wrestling Network app… A Sami Callihan pre-taped interview aired. He said no one is giving him a chance tonight, but he said Pentagon will get down on his knees in front of him when he removes his mask…

7. Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan in a mask vs. hair match. Callihan entered the ring and looked down at the left over lighter fluid from the Dreamer vs. Edwards match. Callihan did his thumbs up, thumbs down bit. Pentagon responded with his own catchphrase. Callihan blasted him with a kick to the face. Pentagon returned the favor with a superkick. Pentagon opened the vest of Callihan and slammed his chest with his open hand. Callihan rolled to ringside while selling it.

At ringside, Callihan took a glass and tried to hit Pentagon with it, but he moved and the glass struck the ring post. A short time later, Pentagon ran the ropes for an apparent dive, but Callihan hit him with a chair from the floor. Callihan Sami went under the ring and pulled out several chairs and threw them inside the ring. He also placed his baseball bat in one corner of the ring and then gave the fans a double middle finger. He pulled out a pair of spikes from under the ring and placed them in his teeth as he reentered the ring.

Callihan tore at the mask of Pentagon and the fans booed. The fans chanted “asshole” at Calllihan. Pentagon sat up and said cero miedo (zero fear). Callihan jabbed a spike at Pentagon, who then bled. Callihan tied Pentagon’s mask to the ropes and then grabbed a baseball bat. Pentagon kicked him away a few times and freed himself before hitting a backstabber.

Pentagon picked up the spikes. He pressed one against Callihan’s forehead and tapped it with the other. Callihan bled. Pentagon teased doing it to the referee. Pentagon placed the spike against Callihan’s head and then hit it with the baseball bat a couple times. The fans chanted “holy shit” in response. Pentagon threw one of the spikes to Callihan and motioned for him to come on. Callis challenged other promotions to keep up with what Impact is doing tonight.

Pentagon and Callhan hit each other repeatedly with the spikes until they both fell to the mat. Callihan had an old school crimson mask. The fans chanted “This is Impact.” Next up, the wrestlers had a chair duel that resulted in both men on the mat while the fans chanted “fight forever.” Callihan got back to his feet and took a pair of superkicks. Pentagon followed up with a backstabber for a two count. Pentagon set up to break the arm of Callihan, who ended up kicking him away.

Pentagon threw a chair at the face of Callihan. The Crist Brothers ran out. Pentagon saw them coming and knocked them both off the apron with the chair. Callihan threw powder into the face of Pentagon, who acted blinded at struck the referee. Pentagon broke the referee’s arm with the idea being that he thought he was on Callihan. “I can see, I have legs.” Pentagon realized his mistake. Pentagon hit his finisher, but the referee was selling his arm. Naturally, Pentagon was pissed at the guy whose arm he broke.

Callihan gouged the eyes of Pentagon and performed a piledriver onto a chair. A second referee ran out and made the count, but Pentagon kicked out. Callihan set up four chairs in the middle of the ring. Callihan brought Pentagon onto the chairs and they were both standing. Pentagon gouged the eyes of Callihan and then performed a package piledriver onto the chairs for a near fall. Pentagon acted stunned and the fans chanted “holy shit.” Callihan motioned for Pentagon to bring it. Pentagon responded with two superkicks. Callihan flipped him off. Pentagon kicked him again and then did the arm break spot. Pentagon followed up with another package piledriver and scored the pin…

Pentagon Jr. defeated Sami Callihan in a mask vs. hair match in 18:15.

After the match, Callihan dropped to his knees and held his arms. The Crist Brothers, who both had their arms in slings to sell past Pentagon attacks, attacked Pentagon from behind. Callihan ran to the back. Fenix and Impact security walked Callihan back onto the stage. Pentagon cut the hair of Callihan on the stage while Fenix held Callihan’s arms behind him. The razor worked better than most in pro wrestling head shaving angles.

Powell’s POV: They not only followed up the big LAX vs. OGz brawl, they damn near made me forget it. They definitely had the order right in terms of the hardcore brawling on this show with this being better than the tag title match, which was better than the Dreamer vs. Edwards match. It’s just a shame that they rushed into the hair vs. mask match. This was really good for what it was, but it would have been terrific in the culmination of a long blood feud. The only question is whether they saved anything for the main event.

Mathews and Callis set up the announcement video package that Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory will be held on October 14 in New York at the Melrose Ballroom…

Powell’s POV: This is the same venue that MLW ran last Thursday. I haven’t seen the venue yet, but I’ll have a better feel for it once the MLW Fusion shows taped last week begin air on beIN Sports. If nothing else, I like that Impact is going back to running smaller venues. It’s so much better to have a lively full house in a small venue than it is to have companies run big, empty venues just because it looks more impressive on paper.

A video package set up the main event… The ring announcer introduced MLB player Curtis Granderson of the Toronto Blue Jays. Moose made his entrance. Austin Aries was out second…

8. Austin Aries vs. Moose for the Impact World Championship. There were in-ring introductions for the title match. Aries gave the belt to Granderson, who showed it to both wrestlers and then took it to ringside. Aries slapped Moose early on. Moose responded by grabbing him by the neck and tossing him into the corner. Moose chopped Aries, who went to ringside and sold it by falling down as Moose was running toward him.

Moose ran Aries into the guardrail at 3:25. Moose charged at Aries, who ducked, and Moose went over the guardrail and into the crowd. Even this drew a “holy shit” chant from the still hot crowd. Aries rolled Moose back inside the ring at 4:30. A short time later, the trimmed down Moose performed a couple of running dropkicks in the corner and then covered Aries for a two count.

Aries came back and set up for a suicide dive, but Moose hit him with a forearm from the floor at 7:40. This looked like a thing of beauty, as Aries appeared to intentionally hit the rope so he would bounce backwards at the same time Moose hit him. At 8:40, Aries applied the Last Chancery. Moose reached the bottom rope to break the hold. They fought n the apron. Moose connected with a headbutt, but Aries came right back with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Moose stood up and Aries caught him with a suicide dive at 10:10.

Moose hit Aries with a big boot against the guardrail and rolled him back inside the ring. Moose set up for a move in the corner, but Aries pulled the referee in front of him. With the ref turned around, Aries hit Moose with a low blow. Aries set up for a brainbuser, but Moose reversed it and hit one of his own. Moose speared Aries and had him pinned, but Aries reached out and grabbed the bottom rope at 11:50.

Aries tried to leave. Moose caught him on the stage. Aries thumbed Moose’s eye. Moose powered up Aries and threw him into the crowd where a few security guard types broke his fall and tumbled to the ground with him. Moose brought Aries back over the guardrail. Aries clotheslined Moose with the top rope. Moose caught Aries with a big boot. Moose went for a big dive over the top rope, but Aries moved and Moose landed on the stage. Aries delivered the discuss five-arm to the back of Moose’s head. A short time later, Aries performed a brainbuster on the floor at 14:40.

Moose beat the ref’s count to return to the ring. Aries immediately greeted him with a kick to the head. Aries went to ringside and took the title belt from Curtis Granderson, who followed him to the ring and took it back before he could use it as a weapon. Moose rolled up Aires for a two count. Aries kicked him in the head again and hit a brainbuster and scored the clean pin…

Austin Aries pinned Moose to retain the Impact World Championship in 15:50.

After the match, Aries glared at Granderson, who handed him the title. Aries sat on the middle rope and motioned for Granderson to leave the ring, which he did. Aries taunted fans as he celebrated with his title belt on the ramp while Mathews wrapped up the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event with hard work from both men and a crowd that surprisingly didn’t lose much momentum despite the Pentagon vs. Callihan semi main event being so insane. Aries is a pro and Moose clearly took the match seriously based on his improved conditioning. I’m all for the decision to keep the title on Aries, as he is really clicking as a heel right now, whereas there’s no sign that the fans are ready to embrace Moose as the champion.

Overall, this was a very good effort from Impact Wrestling. They took the balls to the wall approach in terms of not really worrying about saving anything for the main event and it worked out fine. The live crowd provided an excellent atmosphere and the wrestlers really seemed to feed off of that. Creative also avoided the usual pitfalls that have plagued past regimes by simply booking straight forward finishes while letting the wrestlers carry the load. The last Impact pay-per-view was solid and this was still a big improvement. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight, and John Moore will be by with his Slammiversary Hit List on Monday. Check out my interview with Jeff Jarrett below from the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell.


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