Impact’s Slammiversary 2022 Pay-Per-View might not have been full of the big surprises and debuts that we’ve come to expect from the show in recent years, but it did deliver in perhaps more substantial ways, bringing together a great mix of exciting wrestling and warm nostalgia, celebrating Impact/TNA’s history while at the same time consolidating its present and leaving clear markers to its future.
Let’s have a look at the top 5 talking points to come out of Slammiversary 2022!
1. Impact Gets Nostalgia Right
Nostalgia is a funny thing in wrestling; hard to get right, easy to get very, very wrong (look at Sting-Triple H and the attendant run-ins from WrestleMania XXXI). So, with 20 years of Impact/TNA history to celebrate, Slammiversary 2022 got it very, very right by spreading tributes and little easter eggs all through the show without them being cloying or overbearing. In fact, a lot of the tributes were very warm and personal, which added to the genuine sense of celebration and occasion.
The appearances and tributes were too numerous to list in full, but the ones that stand out in my head: Sting, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles all sending in very warm and happy tribute video messages; Sami Callihan paying tribute to Abyss by bringing out a barbed-wire door during the Monster’s Ball match; Davey Richards and the former Magnus, Nick Aldis, appearing on the Impact Originals team; America’s Most Wanted appearing at the end of the tag title match to give both teams a beer; Dixie Carter appearing to introduce Davey Richards; Scott Hudson and Goldie Locks conducting backstage interviews; Scott D’Amore coming out in a Team Canada jacket; a lovely package on the original TNA commentary team of Don West and Mike Tenay; Gail Kim give a heartfelt interview; Mickie James being the enforcer for the Queen of the Mountain match, and Josh Alexander paying tribute to Samoa Joe and Eric Young paying tribute to Jeff Jarrett in the main event by using moves from their playbooks.
Wow—and I’m sure there were plenty of other nods that I missed too throughout the show!
All these touches made Slammiversary 2022 a joyful, celebratory affair, but as we shall see, it wasn’t all about the past: rather, this show was all about setting up Impact’s state of paly for the future…
2. The Good Brothers Reclaim the Impact World Tag Team Championships
If you read our predictions for Slammiversary 2022, then you’ll know how lousy I did picking the winners for the show. What’s fascinating in hindsight is how many title changes occurred—no less than four sets of belts changed hands throughout the evening. Wow! That really is a hell of a lot when you look at it on paper, and it suggests a shuffling of the deck by Impact bosses as they set up new major storylines and feuds for the year moving forward.
I certainly didn’t expect The Good Brothers to take the tag titles, and cleanly too. That’s nothing against Gallows and Anderson either; they’re a great time, but so are The Briscoes and they hadn’t had the belts long. There was still a hell of a lot for them to do as champions.
Still, this was a great battle between two iconic teams, with both units taking it to the floor and the stage in the early going with furious exchanges in the opening parts of the match, before giving us a great display of rugged, hard-hitting wrestling in the ring. Both teams have got real chemistry with each other, and there was a nice balance between brawling and wrestling here. And Mark Briscoe’s face always makes me inexplicably happy—I really don’t know why!
The only complaint I really have is that this match seemed to be kind of short; just as it seemed to be heating up and getting really good, it was over. The Magic Killer put Jay Briscoe out for the 1-2-3 out of nowhere and that was it. I don’t know if something went overlong elsewhere and they had to trim this one, but it did throw me a little.
Still, it’s a minor complaint and I get the feeling The Briscoes might not be done with the champs just yet. That’s absolutely fine with me.
3. Jordynne Grace Becomes a Two-Time Knockouts Champion, and Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo Drop Jaws
I’m a big, big fan of Jordynne Grace, so the fact that she won the Queen of the Mountain match at Slammiversary 2022, fending off Tasha Steelz, Deonna Purrazzo, Chelsea Green and Mia Yim, was definitely something to celebrate. Whether the title change was down to Impact bosses losing faith in Tasha, whether this was the plan all along, or even if they’re going to use Jordynne to put over Tasha in the long run, Grace has more than earned her stripes in Impact’s Knockout’s Division and is certainly world champion material. Personally, Grace is a more exciting option as champion than Tasha, so this feels like a positive move to me.
The match itself was big-time fun, with some crazy spots that Impact fans are going to be talking about for a long time. Certainly, the sight of Mia Yim leaping off the penalty box and missile dropkicking Chelsea Green into a ladder was something to behold. But the big point a lot of people will be talking about is an absolutely insane spot where Chelsea and Donna were tipped off the top of a ladder, WrestleMania X-7 style, and were sent flying through the air and crashing down through a couple of tables at ringside. The bump looked absolutely hellish. Hopefully, both women are ok, as it was a scary but jaw-dropping moment. We’ll be talking about that for a long time.
4. Mike ‘Speedball’ Bailey Becomes the New X-Division Champion
In the first title change to take place at Slammiversary 2022, Mike Bailey certainly surprised me by winning ‘Ultimate X’ to become the new X-Division champion. Not surprised because I don’t think Bailey doesn’t deserve it, because he certainly does; he has undeniable charisma and the guy is an absolute demon in the air He is pure X-Divison material.
My surprise comes from Ace Austin losing the title so quickly. Having only won it back in April at Rebellion, it looks like big things are on the horizon for Austin, what with his having participated in this year’s edition of New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors and having become a member of Bullet Club as a result. With all that in mind, I thought Ace Austin might get a longer run, so as to build him up into a bigger name. Whether Austin will chase the title now and win it back as a member of Bullet Club, thereby solidifying his status as a big player, remains to be seen. What I do know is that there’s no way New Japan would invest so much in Austin so early for it to come to naught.
In the meantime, ‘Speedball’ Bailey is going to keep on doing what he does best: putting excellent displays of aerial prowess, with the added bonus of doing it in high-profile title matches. Sounds good to me!
5. Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary Become the New Impact World Women’s Tag Team Champions
I honestly thought Taya and Rosemary would lose here. Why? Simply put, while there’s a lot of potential in an odd-couple tag team winning the championships, I thought the team would fall to pieces during this match and this would in turn lead to a feud between Taya and Rosemary. That this was not the case, and that in actual fact Taya and Rosemary began to work better together as the match went on, was something of a surprise.
It’s not a bad thing either. Taya and Rosemary are a new, untried team and that might just freshen things up as we head into a new year for Impact, what with Slammiversary traditionally acting like WrestleMania in that it culminates a lot of the year’s previous feuds and potentially sets up new ones.
Who Taya and Rosemary’s first challengers are going to be remains to be seen, but I’m definitely intrigued to see where this one is going.
What did you think of Impact Slammiversary 2022? Let me know in the comments!