Credit should be given to Impact Wrestling; just when the wrestling world assumes the company is down for the count and headed to the wrestling graveyard, they briefly hush up their boldest critics and continue to survive. Whether or not that’s synonymous with them persevering varies by viewpoint. Recently, the company phased out the initials they’d originally been dubbed since 2003, “TNA” in favor of just naming the whole company after their weekly TV show. And just this week, it was announced that even that name will not stick as they look to give Jeff Jarrett‘s Global Force brand a rub by adopting those initials instead. Because of this merger, their championships will be unified on the night the company celebrates 15 years in business. Slammiversary, alternatively being dubbed #SlamXV for a fancy Twitter trend, is going down this weekend and the card is actually not bad. In fact, it’s so decent I’m giving it the Forecast treatment. Impact only does two live pay-per-views a year now, so it seem fair to give them each some attention on this site, and this is the first of those two events, Slammiversary.
Fatal 4-Way Match for the Impact and GFW Tag Team Championships
This match is about as international as it gets. The Latin American Xchange was a popular tag team in the golden days of TNA Wrestling, whereas a group of Latino/Latina wrestlers used their strength in numbers to place an emphasis on Hispanic representation in the company. Originally a heel militant stable, they were so popular that they turned face and captured the tag titles several times. There was also a team called Mexican America in the early-2010s that included Canadian Sarah Stock and Puerto Rican Thea Trinidad, but that was a totally unrelated group. The stable came back proper earlier this year with Konnan and Homicide returning alongside all new members Ortiz, Santana, and Diamante and they’ve been Tag Team Champions for a while now. Yet that could change at Slammiversary when they take on four teams: Drago (a personal favorite of mine from Lucha Underground) & El Hijo del Fantasma, Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori, and Laredo Kid & Garza Jr.
Who I Want to Win: Gotta give it to LAX; they are the team I know the most about and am therefore most invested in.
Who Will Win: Laredo Kid & Garz Jr.; they’ve picked up a number of wins as a team and it wouldn’t be unexpected to see them win the Tag Titles.
2 Out of 3 Falls for the X-Division Championship
I can’t help but be a little skeptical about this match, solely due to the state of the X-Division surrounding these guys. This division has evolved so little in the last number of years that the company had to bring back two veterans who were in the X-Division when I was 13 to bring the division back to prominence. And while I could bemoan this fact and scold Impact for not creating any new high-flying stars, I will instead commend the two competitors in the match. I’ve always enjoyed Low-Ki‘s work; he’s this vicious little guy with a deep voice who kicks hard and stomps even harder. Sonjay Dutt is a fine athlete as well, even if the most creative Impact has gotten with him has been that love triangle with SoCal Val & Jay Lethal, which is reminding me way too much of Noam Dar, Alicia Fox, & Cedric Alexander right now. So it was a big deal when he won his first X-Division Championship in his home country of India recently. This Sunday, Low-Ki gets his rematch as the company makes their way back in the Impact Zone.
Who I Want to Win: Sonjay Dutt; he’s only been X-Division Champion for a couple of weeks; don’t take that away from him so soon.
Who Will Win: Low-Ki, and it will be heartbreaking to see Dutt’s Cinderella story end so soon, but it’ll likely happen.
Intergender Tag Team Full Metal Mayhem
From the same company that bought us the admittedly pretty enjoyable Intergender Team Team Monster’s Ball Match from 2009 comes a match that’s remarkably similar in concept. It’s a No DQ match between two intergender tag teams. In one corner of this match driven by betrayal, there’s turncoat Davey Richards and his wife, six-time Knockouts Champion Angelina Love. In the other corner is the man truly scorned, Eddie Edwards and his wife Alisha, also known on the independent wrestling scene as Alexxis. This is booked as the most personal bout of the night; Richards was on the shelf for months while Edwards chased after and eventually won the World Title. Feeling the very way that Tommaso Ciampa apparently wanted to avoid recently, Richards turned on Edwards and the former tag team partners have been at each other’s throats since. Even the wives can’t stay off of each other; when not making out with and motivating Richards, Love is scrapping with Alisha, likely in an attempt to end her Impact career before it even really starts.
Who I Want to Win: Angelina Love & Davey Richards; my Angelina Love bias is showing.
Who Will Win: Eddie Edwards & Alisha, because these two need to be able to get revenge by vanquishing the antagonists. That’s how these stories go.
DeAngelo Williams & Moose vs. Chris Adonis & Eli Drake
Who said WWE was the only show in town who could land a celebrity guest? Impact has had celebrities come through over the years; if you recall, their very first pay-per-view featured both a musical and in-ring performance from country singer Toby Keith. One of the more controversial celebrity appearances they’ve had was Adam “Pacman” Jones, a controversial figure in his own sport and a surefire headline-grabber for Impact. The decision to give him a title despite not being allowed to wrestle a match was pretty boneheaded, but Impact must have been grateful for the publicity. In this match, they have another football player, albeit one who will probably add more to his matches than Pacman ever did. He teams with former footballer Moose to take on Chris Adonis and Eli Drake, which is perfect casting; two men who are such loudmouth meatheads they could’ve been the leads in Pain & Gain.
Who I Want to Win: Considering I enjoy the work of both Moose and Eli Drake, it’s a little hard for me to pick. For now, I gotta say Moose‘s team as long as the former Chris Masters eats the pinfall.
Who Will Win: Moose & Williams; this is wrestling, and in wrestling, celebrities always win against all logic.
Jeremy Borash & Joseph Park vs. Josh Mathews & Scott Steiner
Let the Heel Michael Cole flashbacks come pouring in. Somewhere over the last few months, probably among criticism from everyone up to and especially former TNA star Shark Boy for his brand of play-by-play commentary, Josh Mathews became the rebirth of 2010-2011 Michael Cole. He started screaming narcissistic things at the top of his lungs on commentary, was more biased on commentary than usual, and developed an ego the size of Universal Studios. This didn’t sit well with Impact veteran announcer Jeremy Borash, arguably the Ryan Seacrest of Impact, who Mathews soon had relieved of his duties for being a bully in a truly “pot meet kettle” moment. Through the legal representation of Abyss‘ bumbling lawyer alter ego Joseph Park, Borash was reinstated and a tag team match was booked for Slammiversary. Mathews, who lost Tough Enough and hasn’t wrestled a match since a random Smackdown in 2004, selected Scott Steiner as a tag team partner and all that’s left to do is pray that they let Steiner near a mic before the match so he can spit more hot fire on THIS level of scorch.
Who I Want to Win: JB & Park; no way in hell is this writer gonna cheer on a Josh Mathews win.
Who Will Win: JB & Park; Impact has to realize how big a pop would eminate from the Impact Zone should Mathews be put in his place.
TNA Knockouts and GFW Women’s Championship
Since Maria Kanellis left and Gail Kim was put on the bench with an injury, the Knockouts Division has primarily been all about four people: Allie, Laurel Van Ness, and the two women in this match. Van Ness has served as more of a sidekick for Sienna since being ditched at the altar, wearing the same unwashed dress week-in and week-out that probably smells of concrete and bourbon. Impact still wants us to believe that Allie isn’t fully developed as a wrestler yet; despite actually liking the Allie character a fair bit, my knowledge of her Indy work makes that harder for me to completely go along with. Sienna and Rosemary, however, represent two sides of the rebel spectrum. Sienna is the tough-as-nails, albeit sometimes silly powerhouse of the division who always speaks her mind and fears neither demons nor authority. Rosemary is like that kid who listened to a lot of pop-punk and emo music in school and embraced how weird and different she was wholeheartedly. These two will do battle in a match where Sienna looks to end the six-plus month reign of the Duchess of Decay.
Who I Want to Win: Sienna; at this point, it’s no secret how big a fan of Allysin Kay I am, and her last Knockouts Title run was constantly overshadowed by Gail im & Maria, so I would see this as a second chance for a fantastic title run for the Sienna persona.
Who Will Win: Sienna; if for any other reason to lead to an eventual championship feud with Rosemary’s maybe new BFF (and bitter rival in another universe) Allie, whose first title reign also could have been better than it actually was.
Someone is literally going to get their butt whipped at Slammiversary. The question is: Will it be done sober? The creek-swimmin’, moonshine-sippin’, deer-skinnin’, beer-drinkin’, Johnny Cash-listenin’ country boy is an Impact Wrestling veteran, having won Tag Team Titles as a part of both Americas Most Wanted and Beer Money, and even briefly holding the World Title in his lengthy run with the company. He also attempted to murder Mickie James once, but file that one under “Things TNA Wants You to Forget”. Ethan Carter III is just as successful; a two-time World Champion who at one point had a valuable unbeaten streak. Though he is a former WWE superstar, he put the work in to prove that he was a valuable commodity to the company as he’s succeeded. Compared to Storm, however, he’s still the new guard; and EC3 refuses to be held back by the new guard. Carter has also been at it with Bruce Prichard and that could play a part in this match, but whether or not it leads to a win or a loss for Carter is anyone’s guess.
Who I Want to Win: Ethan Carter III; what does James Storm have to gain from this exactly?
Who Will Win: EC3; remember when I said Bruce Prichard was involved in this feud? Well here’s a bold prediction; he’s gonna become a heel authority figure by aligning with Carter. My bold predictions are almost always wrong, but it’s a possibility that’s on the table.
Impact & GFW World Championships
Lashley has seemingly been Impact Champion forever; it’s starting to become hard to remember a time before he was champion in Impact. At one point, they literally had him win every men’s title in the company at once before denouncing the ones he didn’t feel worthy. That’s how much of an investment they have in the guy as their top star. But another big name looks to be a threat to that. These days when Alberto El Patron is being discussed in wrestling circles, questions of what he and WWE star Paige are up to immediately spring up; they’re the talk of wrestling tabloids for better or worse. But that kind of overshadows what he’s doing in Impact; he originally won the title on his first night, but the belt was eventually returned to Lashley. And now El Patron is on a quest to get the title back, and he’s enlisted the help of King Mo to do it. You remember King Mo? The MMA fighter who was previously signed to TNA and soon disappeared without wrestling a match? Yup, he’s back to combat the announcement of El Patron recieving the assistance of his legendary father Dos Caras.
Who I Want to Win: Kind of a toughy, but I’ll throw El Patron a bone just because Lashley has been on top of the mountain for so long.
Who Will Win: Lashley; this company seem really intent on pushing Lashley as the top guy from here on out, so I doubt the reign stops here.