By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Kenny Omega vs. Sami Callihan in a No DQ match for the Impact World Championship: Great effort from both wrestlers. I’m not big on the garbage match style and I’m completely numb to the use of thumbtacks (don’t even get me started on the silliness of Omega sticking the tacks in his kneepad and the idea that it somehow made his V-Trigger more lethal even though the tacks would point inward). But you had to know that they would be working that style given the match stipulation and with Callihan serving as the challenger. They did a great job, though I never really bought into Callihan’s near falls despite that many were well executed. Impact saved its biggest surprise for last with Jay White confronting Omega. White may not be well known to casual viewers, but he’s a phenomenal talent and I’m anxious to see where this leads. I was surprised that so many people assumed the pay-per-view went off the air prematurely, as it seemed pretty obvious to me that the company wanted this to be a cliffhanger. Nevertheless, because there was was so much confusion, it must be said that Impact could have handled this better simply by having the broadcast team close things out in a way that would have made things more clear.
Josh Alexander vs. Petey Williams vs. Trey Miguel vs. Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey vs. Rohit Raju in an Ultimate X match for the X Division Championship: A fantastic match with some great innovation. The wrestlers didn’t just perform the greatest hits from past Ultimate X matches, they ended up executing some very creative moves that hadn’t been done in past variations of the match. Alexander going over was logical given the big push that he’s been getting. I thought there was a chance they would use this match to get the belt off him to free him up for a run at the Impact World Championship, but that’s obviously not the direction they are going in, at least for now.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Thunder Rosa for the Knockouts Championship: Impact beat viewers over the head with teases for Mickie James as the mystery challenger, so it was quite the surprise when Thunder Rosa came out instead. A case can be made that Impact would have been better off advertising this match in advance, but it was one of the few true surprises on a show that was partially built around surprises. The match was well worked and it felt like a big win for Purrazzo. The post match angle paid off all the teases for James, and she had a good angle with Purrazzo that will hopefully lead to a match between the two. With Rosa and James both connected to the NWA and James promoting the Empowerrred pay-per-view, it looks like Impact officials have managed to form a working relationship with another past rival. Impact’s issues with New Japan date back to previous Impact management, but there has been bad blood between current Impact management and NWA owner Billy Corgan. It’s nice to see both sides apparently put aside their differences to work together.
Moose vs. Chris Sabin: A good match with a surprising outcome. Moose is coming off a loss to Omega and recently re-signed with the company, so I mistakenly assumed that this would be a bounce back win for him. Even so, I actually really like the decision to put over Sabin because it makes him feel like a bigger deal in the singles division rather than coming off like a guy who is only working singles matches because his partners Alex Shelley and James Storm are no longer around. That said, Sabin and Eddie Edwards stopping The Good Brothers from interfering left me wondering if we might be seeing the two of them form a tag team.
W Morrissey vs. Eddie Edwards: A solid match with Morrissey continuing to be built up as a monster. It means something to beat Edwards in Impact. I was actually hoping for a clean win for Morrissey, but they protected Edwards by having Morrissey cheat to steal the win. Impact has Morrissey, Moose, and Steve Maclin positioned as dominant powerhouse heels. It would be great if they were being built up as challengers for a babyface champion, but that’s not happening with Kenny Omega still holding the Impact World Championship.
Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green vs. Brian Myers and Tenille Dashwood in a mixed tag match: A soft Hit for Impact paying off the heavy tease that Green would team with Cardona. I’m not really sure about that low blow that Green hit on Dashwood, but I’m also not really qualified to say whether it would hurt, so I’ll just shut up now. I still enjoy the reinvented Myers persona so much more than Cardona, who hasn’t changed much from his Zack Ryder days. Green is a nice addition to the Knockouts roster and will apparently be splitting time between Impact and Ring of Honor given her appearance at their Best in the World pay-per-view.
Overall show: A solid outing for Impact. Most of the surprises were teased in advance and didn’t feel as game changing as some of the surprises did at Slammiversary 2020. But it must be noted that Impact pulled back on building the majority of the show around the surprises in the weeks that led up to the pay-per-view. While they were very different shows, I felt that Slammiversary and ROH’s Best in the World were comparable in terms of quality. Slammiversary didn’t feel like a must see event, but it was a satisfying pay-per-view buy that set up some interesting storyline possibilities for the television shows that will follow.
Rhino and Joe Doering vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack vs. Fallah Bahh and No Way (Jose) vs. Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson in a four-way match for the Impact Tag Titles: Jose has charisma and there’s a place for him on a roster, but he desperately needs to give up on the awful conga line gimmick that he brought with him from WWE. Jose adopted the Rosebuds after Adam Rose left the company and it became obvious from the start that it wasn’t going to work. I understand having him use a familiar gimmick during his debut, but here’s hoping that there are plans for reinvention if he’s going to stick around. The title change was underwhelming because I’ve enjoyed the Violent By Design faction, whereas Gallows and Anderson have become henchmen to Omega in two companies. Perhaps this will breathe some life back into their act. On a side note, it felt like a big drop off for Swann to work in a four-way tag match following his run as the Impact World Champion. He has an established storyline friendship with Mack and so it’s fine for one show, but hopefully there’s a plan in place to get him back on track in the singles division.
Juice Robinson and David Finlay vs. Madman Fulton and Mahabali Shera: If you blinked then you may have missed the match. It was nice to see Robinson and Finlay make an unadvertised appearance, but it didn’t pack much of a punch since they’ve already been Impact Tag Champions and haven’t been away for long. While Fulton and Shera were booked to bicker with one another, it does seem strange that they are the muscle for Ace Austin and Rohit Raju respectively, and yet they seem to lose more than they win. I’m not saying they should have won this match, but it does feel like they should be protected more than they have been.
Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz vs. Havok and Rosemary for the Knockouts Tag Titles: Impact is playing hot potato with the Knockouts Tag Titles. Jordynne Grace and Rachel Ellering won the titles in April and then dropped them less than a month later to Hogan and Steelz, who now dropped the titles after a two-month title reign. As such, it didn’t really feel special when Havok and Rosemary won the titles on the pre-show. To close on a positive note, here’s hoping that the title change was done to free up Hogan for a singles babyface run.