Everyone knew it was going to be a night of surprises, where Impact Wrestling looked to motor through the gears using Slammiversary as that stepping stone.
Motoring was completely accurate, as The Motor City Machine Guns were the first shock of the night as they answered The Rascalz Open Challenge to kick the show off,
It would be impolite to say it was a case of The Guns showing us their greatest hits, as there was a lot more to the match than that. However, The Rascalz also played the role you would expect in a fast-paced opener.
MCMG came up victorious, and since they were not really in most people’s conversations for the evening (many expected The Good Brothers to fill the spot) there will no doubt be questions about how long they will stick around. At least we know their next step – An Impact Wrestling tag Team Title Match against The North this week on AXS.
The ‘real’ world’s champion was up next, as Moose defended his title against ‘The Innovator Of Violence’ Tommy Dreamer.
There was never a question around the nature of this match, although Dreamer turning himself in to a throwback of Terry Funk, bandana and all, added a little more to the inevitable weaponry.
A missed moonsault on to chairs by Moose followed by a DDT on to aforementioned chairs by Dreamer came close, but the Lights Out spear after ‘The Innovator Of Violence’ had his face mashed into thumbtacks was enough for Moose to retain.
It’s always difficult when you get a gauntlet/rumble/elimination match, especially when my esteemed internet provider decides 2am is the best time to cut your connection for repairs.
Seeing most of the contest, the women’s gauntlet was a chance for many wrestlers to get a showing on pay-per-view, including Jonny Bravo trying to interject himself.
However, the match came down to Taya Valkyrie and Kylie Ray, who came in number two, and it was the smiley one who left as number one contender to the Knockouts Championship.
Heath Slater hopped the barrier – a member of the invisible crowd – and made it clear that ‘they’ are coming.
One man who was coming was Rohit Raju, who made it clear he didn’t feel those who’ve been working hard should be usurped for those arriving now. Heath took him down, and seemingly wants to head straight to the top of the ladder.
The X-Division Championship match came next, with Willie Mack, or Willie Lack as his opponent kept calling him, defending against Chris Bey.
Bey stayed on top for a lot of the match, as Johnny Swinger stayed away from ringside as was confirmed this past Tuesday.
Willie Mack really built up a head of steam towards the match, including an exploder suplex into the corner which looked phenomenal.
However, towards the end of the match following a glancing blow to the ref, Chris Bey hit a springboard crucifix bomb and springboard cutter to become the new X-Division Champion.
As Rhyno and Heath Slater catch up backstage, Scott D’Amore comes up (with what can only be assumed is a contract in hand) and says that Slater, as a free agent, must leave the building. Rhino tells him not to worry, and to turn up Tuesday and he’ll have it all sorted.
Despite an expected flurry from Ken Shamrock and Sami Callihan, The North took control in their Tag Team Title defence.
For The North it was all about control and character, something they’d need to continue as Tag Team Champions beyond Slammiversary.
The logic of who the legal man may have broken down a little towards the end of the match, but they kept the interest levels high until an expected breakdown between Shamrock and Callihan.
Shamrock’s dive to the outside ended up landing on the floor, and The North picked up the victory soon after.
Another surprise appearance, as an injured Rich Swann spoke backstage having been there to support Willie Mack, saying he’ll be watching the main event closely.
“It doesn’t matter how strong you are, it’s a leverage issue.” Great commentary to tell the story of the Knockouts Championship match, as Deonna Purrazzo went after the arm of title holder Jordynne Grace.
Despite Grace showing what power she could with one arm, it was a clever manoeuvre to find a way to get the title off someone with her strength, as a double arm submission won the belt for ‘The Virtuosa.
Main event time, and this was where many of the surprises were expected, not least in the form of the fourth participant – who turned out to Rich Swann as he was clearly ready for action sooner than he had made out earlier.
This didn’t stop the psychotic moniker of Eric Young heading to ringside, and once again making this the five-way contest which was originally announced.
Young was the first to get an elimination, as he hit a piledriver on Trey. However, despite being dominant from this point on he got caught with a victory roll variation by Rich Swann to get taken out of the match.
The character of Young shone through at this point, as he attacked the injured knee of Swann before leaving ringside, leading to an opportunity for Ace Austin to make the elimination.
Austin, who had earlier gone through the announcers table with Edwards, was left across the ring from his long-time nemesis as the final two. Despite both hitting their finishers, it was Edwards who hit his a second time to become a two-time titleholder at Slammiversary.
His joy was shortlived as he was attacked by Austin and Mad Man Fulton, until the debut of newly-signed Good Brothers evened up the numbers.
An ominous yet silent message from EC3 closed what can easily be taken as the biggest Impact Wrestling pay-per-view in years, both in terms of quality and establishing a building block to move forward from.