By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Slammiversary build: Impact was put in a tough position when world champion Tessa Blanchard opted out of pay-per-view and the company made the right call to scrub Joey Ryan and Michael Elgin from the weekly television show. Impact pulled through with some quality television shows that built nicely to the retooled pay-per-view card. Of course, the real hook for Slammiversary has been the tease of wrestlers returning to the company after being released by WWE. We’ll find out Saturday whether the company delivers enough to live up to that hype, but the mystery has definitely piqued my interest.
Ace Austin and Trey cinematic: I’m not big on the cinematic approach in most cases, and I still feel like this could have been positioned as a straight forward brawl minus the musical score. Nevertheless, it served as good final hype for the pay-per-view. I’m guessing that this is something that was shot due to the situations with Blanchard, Ryan, and Elgin, as it’s hard to believe that Impact wanted a pair of cinematic brawls on the same show. Either way, it was a good brawl between two of the contenders in the Slammiversary main event.
Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo contract signing: Another good chapter in the build to the Knockouts Title match at Slammiversary. Grace got a measure of revenge by slamming the head of her challenger in the contract signing table. The build has been strong and I’m looking forward to this Knockouts Title match as any match on the Slammiversary card.
Rosemary, Taya Valkyrie, Kiera Hogan, Tasha Steelz, and Kimber Lee vs. Kylie Rae, Susie, Alisha Edwards, Havok, and Nevaeh: A showcase match for the Slammiversary gauntlet match that will determine the No. 1 contender to the Knockouts Championship. Madison Rayne was fun on commentary when it came to blowing off the need for a warmup match before she enters the gauntlet. Rayne has really improved as a color commentator while filling in for Don Callis during the pandemic. Susie picking up a rare win was a mild surprise, though it came with a tease for the return of her Su Yung persona. What does that mean for Kylie Rae?
Cody Deaner and Cousin Jake vs. “Team XXXL” Larry D and Acey Romero: The match between the teams that seem to be near the bottom of the Impact tag division didn’t do much for me. But the post match angle with Team XXXL turning heel created some cause for optimism that the super heavyweight team may get a push. Now if only they could get some promo time to establish their characters.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Rhino and Hernandez arm wrestling contest: The gag of the arm wrestling match lasting all week long was corny. I’ll never understand why pro wrestling companies choose to get cute at the expense of creating the vibe that they are presenting a simulated sport. So many companies claim to alternatives to WWE, yet most can’t resist emulating Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment silliness. The cinematic brawl that it led to isn’t my style, but it was fine for what it was.
Moose and Rohit Raju vs. Tommy Dreamer and Crazzy Steve: I don’t really get why Raju is slotted as the mystery partner fallback plan. He’s a talented wrestler and there’s no reason why he couldn’t be positioned as a player in the X Division. Ultimately, though, Moose vs. Dreamer is the least appealing match on an otherwise solid Slammiversary card, so I just didn’t care about the final push for their match.
Join John Moore for his live review of Impact Wrestling Slammiversary on Saturday night. Dot Net Members will hear my same night Slammiversary audio review, and my Slammiversary Hit List will be available on Sunday.