On the surface it is something that sticks out just because of Anthony Carelli being on Impact Wrestling after spending so many years with the WWE. The other part that sticks out is that Dustin Cameron fought Austin Aries in a World Title match which would lead most to wonder who is Dustin Cameron. Until I got some context I wondered the same thing like I might have missed something or that Eddie Edwards was having an identity crisis.
However, now seeing Austin Aries confront the former Santino Marella is strange like I mentioned but this also gives fans an interesting opportunity to see something totally different from other companies. This is exactly the type of thing that this company needs to do to reinvent themselves. One thing that I have continued to mention is that once Impact stopped trying to be a second to WWE and focused more on being their own company it helped them tremendously. This change in perception started when they moved to the "Great white North" which is also actually what opened the door for this to happen as Carelli's school is in Canada.
Overall some critics might look at this as Impact being second rate using Carelli like this or whatever odd idea that "hater" think up but the one thing I would say is that I am proud of Impact. As they have been really trying to earn the fans respect back and change the perception of that the company had which I think they are doing a fantastic job. Let the praise continue!!
Though this company has been extremely guilty of letting veterans remain on top for too long in the past they have changed. Right now they have youngsters in the main event and some have yet to even reach their full potential. However, even though they have changed that doesn't mean that they still don't have veterans, because it is possible to employ a veteran without having them main event. One name that comes to mind is Tommy Dreamer and his inclusion in the Edwards vs Callihan feud which has seemingly shifted to Dreamer vs Edwards. In my opinion Tommy was playing the role of mentor or friend to Eddie in the feud and now they have gone a different way with it because nobody turned heel, but instead there is a lot of resentment from Eddie to Tommy.
I have been watching wrestling for almost twenty years and Tommy Dreamer has been a big part of that as I have watched a good portion of his career. I don't remember the last time I saw Tommy cut such an impassioned promo like the one featured below. Overall though I want to offer some praise to Impact because they are showing that when you book a veteran right they could be an important part of the show. This being the opposite to the way the WWE books veterans namely Goldust, Mark Henry, Big Show, R-Truth as they make them look unimportant and that fans shouldn't care about them. It makes me happy to be able to say that Impact is doing something not only different then WWE, but something better then the WWE.
One of the biggest events in Impact's calendar has come and gone; all that's left now is to discuss what went on and see where we go from here. First of all this will be a little different then when I do this type of article for WWE events, because this was my first Impact PPV in a long time. I will point out now that for what it's worth this was one of the better PPV's I have seen in a while comparing it of course to the recent WWE events. Looking at all the action every match lived up expectations and some even defied expectations, because you didn't really know what to expect. As I mentioned in the predictions I have been watching Eddie Edwards for a long time at this point and didn't really know that he had in him what we have been seeing which is a credit to both the company and Eddie for showing just how good he can be.
The two matches I wanted to focus on were the 5150 Street fight and the Mask vs Hair match. Let's go in order and talk about the street fight first and all I have to say is WOW! I didn't expect that match to be as well put together as it was and part of me thought that the OGz might've won, but I am glad that they didn't and continued the feud another way. In my opinion Santana and Ortiz are two of the main success stories as the company continues to bring itself back from the dark ages. This might be a stretch but my guess in the New Japan section seemed to have panned out so I'll try again by saying that after this match I think LAX showed enough to be leaders of Impact's continued growth and movement toward stability.
Looking at the company as a whole there have been four names tied to the change in perception within Impact Wrestling and that has been the feud between Eddie Edwards and Sami Callahan which then included Tommy Dreamer & Pentagon Jr. This feud has really given glimpse into how important long term booking is to Scott and Don the only unanswered question is has this long term story arch found it's end. I don't think there is a question that after the show stealing performance that Pentagon and Sami put together the side feud is likely over between these two. I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but as I mentioned before I don't remember the last time I heard an international star get the reactions that Pentagon has been getting on Impact. I think they chose the right winner and that both men have come out of this looking great.
Flipping the coin I don't think that Impact Wrestling has ever seen someone like Sami Callahan who I think enjoys showing people just how evil he can be. Also I think that Sami can be compared to Juice Robinson based on the fact lack of success both men had with WWE and the opportunity they are getting to succeed with different companies. Overall I think that giving Impact another shot due to my dissatisfaction with the WWE has been a good decision as I don't think there has ever been a better time to be a fan of this company. For years I have been preaching the idea that we should all want to see Impact succeed as it would provide the wrestlers another stable place for them to work. I will admit that I have made jokes and not spoken very highly of the company, but now at least under the management of Don Callis, Scott D'Amore, and Anthem Sports they are giving us a reason to not just pay attention, but also to enjoy.
In my opinion the best decision they've made so far is to not try and be a distant second to Vince and instead to be their own company. Though management has to undo a lot of bad that has been done the name and identity of the product in recent years I think that if this show is any indication the future might actually be bright for Impact Wrestling.
Johnny Impact vs Ishimori vs Fenix vs Rich Swann
This is a thrown together match but it will still be a very good match as there is too much talent in this match for it not to have a chance to stela the show. I will keep this prediction short though as there really isn't much to it other than it being used to get these guys on the show. The winner of this one is a tough choice as all of them could use the win, but I think some might need it more. I'll pick Johnny Impact to get the win.
Tessa Blanchard vs Allie
This has been an interesting feud between these two knockouts which is interesting because I am not use to different types of feuds between women. Tessa & Allie have been really showing why Impact Wrestling will be a step ahead of other companies when it comes to how they book the knockouts division. Based on the way I think they will go later in the card I think that Tessa will get the win.
Impact Wrestling X-Division Championship Match:
(c) Matt Sydal vs Brian Cage
From the start the company has done wonders building up Brian Cage as a talent like we have never seen before in the company. For the Matt Sydal it has been interesting to see him in a positive position and maybe in a better position then he was in the WWE. Since I first saw Cage in the ring I've always thought he was a monster and it is incredible to think that he is able to work in the X-Division, but that is one of the major reasons this man is such a scary athlete, because he looks like Strowman and moves like Styles. I don't think that the company would go any other direction then keep the momentum flowing with Cage. For that reason Brian Cage gets the win tonight.
5150 Street Fight:
The OGz (Homicide & Hernandez w/ King) vs LAX (Santana & Ortiz w/ Konnan)
I will admit that I was shocked when Homicide and Hernandez jumped LAX, because after his last run in the company I never thought that Hernandez would be back and I didn't even know Homicide was still active. Either way though this really brings a different look to this feud then what I expected because of the built in history that exists between all the members of the feud. Honestly I've never been a big fan of Konnan, but the promo he cut a few weeks ago showed a side of him I don't think I've ever seen. I've see him show such passion and raw emotion in a promo and it was a very pleasant sight to see. Overall though I figure that the OGz aren't here for the long term and that makes this decision easier. I am going with LAX getting the win and K-Dog getting his revenge on King.
Impact Knockouts Championship Match:
(c) Su Yang vs Madison Rayne
With this run Madison is making a case for herself to be a future hall of famer if Impact continues the concept or if they chose to discontinue it. Either way though Rayne is on course to go down as one of the greatest knockouts in history. Yang on the other had is showing that she has a lot of potential and really would've been a great Sister Abigail. Then again its better her being her because she is unlike any other women in wrestling right now and in my opinion better then anything women in WWE just based on the fact that she is different. This feud has been a very interesting and unique feud to say the least which has drummed interest not to an all time high but higher then it's been for the other company. Though Su Yan has been a good champion I think the feud has been heading this way and Madison will get the win.
Mask vs Hair
Pentagon Jr. vs Sami Callahan
Sami Callahan is the hottest heel in wrestling right now and I will defend him up against anyone else, I feel like Sami has finally gotten the chance to find his footing. I have also never seen an international star get the reactions that Pentagon has been getting on Impact this match has all the makings to steal the show. Fact is these two are the most over stars in the company in one way or the other and I'm sure we will be seeing both Fenix and the rest of OVE in this which will make things all the more interesting. For anyone who doesn't know the importance of masks in lucha libre and that is one of the reasons this match is tough to predict. I think that at this point Sami can afford the fall but it would be too much for Pentagon. With that being said Pentagon gets the win tonight.
House of Hardcore Rules Match:
Tommy Dreamer vs Eddie Edwards
This is the most heated rivalry this company has seen maybe ever and it incredible to think that Eddie has been a part of this feud and the one with Sami as both hit highs on the intensity scale. Now I've been watching both Eddie & Tommy for years at this point and I have to say this is the most interested I have ever been in both men. Dreamer hasn't been in an feud like this or showed the intensity he has in this feud in probably almost a decade. In all honesty I didn't think that Eddie had this type of run in him as he never really showed this type of mean streak. However, this makes the new Impact stick out even more because we can expect the unexpected with talent. Even though I would like to see Tommy win just to keep the mental breakdown angle going on Eddie's side. I think it might be academic though that Eddie Edwards will get the win in this one.
Impact World Championship Match:
(c) Austin Aries vs Moose
The "Belt Collector" has had an incredible run since his return to the company and it really shows how much his attitude has changed in the last few years. I've always been a fan of Aries since his time in Ring of Honor and there was a time when I thought he was one of the best and in my opinion his shown flashes his old self in the build to this match. Now flipping the coin though I've said this a lot I have actually watched Moose from the start and it is crazy to think that Moose has come this far. Moose's career has been newsworthy from the start because every major company was interested in him and he chose Impact for a reason. This is the match that his entire run has built too and I think the hard work pays off tomorrow with Moose leaving Slammiversary with the gold.
Going back in the archives of Impact Wrestling you can find some bright spots from the company's past with a number of incredible talent. Seeing AJ Styles and Kurt Angle in the ring together was always a treat, because they never had a bad match with each other and the chemistry they have together was amazing. I think that even to this day if Kurt and AJ got back in the ring together the chemistry would still be there as these two are just that good.
Though some fans might look at the roster that Impact has now and think they don't have that household name anymore or as deep a roster as they did. However, I would disagree on both accounts because once Impact started looking at themselves as an independent company and not second to WWE they figured out what was needed to be different. The best way they could differentiate themselves was to give guys like Moose, Austin Aries, Sami Callahan, Eddie Edwards, and others an opportunity to lead the company. Now that the countdown has hit the single digits we see how much the company has changed in recent months.
The one characteristic most wrestling fans have is curiosity and though in most cases it is tied to dream matches and what it would be like if such and such was in a different company. However, for me it's normally centered around if a company has improved their tv programming or not and if it's worth checking out. Over the years I have seen Impact go thru a ton of phases and growing pain, I remember when Impact first started on Spike. For some reason though I always allow Impact to get another chance and a clean slate even if they always end up losing me for one reason or another.
Recently I have fallen back to giving Impact Wrestling another chance to keep me interested and I don't know what is about this time but they seem to be doing something right. Leaving the feud between Callahan and Edwards aside I've grown to have at least a bit of intrigue in other feuds going on within the company. For example the developing feud between Konnan and Eddie Kingston over LAX. Seeing Konnan talk with such passion and vigor is something that has been missing from Impact and honestly from Konnan; because seeing him care as much as he does makes you care a little bit more. This allows for emotional investment in not just the feud but the company as well because it makes you more interested to see what else is going on.
Overall though the biggest factor with this feud that ties everything together was the shock and surprise I felt when Homicide and Hernandez ascended from the crowd to attack Santana and Ortiz. As Don Callis said it best on commentary "I thought he was blackballed" directing the statement at Hernandez from his last run in Impact Wrestling. Maybe though it's time for the mantra to switch from one company to another and it be "Anything Can Happen in Impact Wrestling!" Never though I'd say that!
This press conference really points out just how much this company has changed in the last couple of years as they have more positivity in the news then ever before. Over the years I have always tried to push the hype for the WWE's biggest event of the year. However, thus far this year I have opened the spotlight to New Japan and now I will do the same thing to Impact Wrestling. Since the company moved up north they have found a lot of momentum and stability which is very different from the place the company had been at.
It is a little nuts that the company is making this type of deal about the show, but it is also a breath of fresh air to see another company take an event this seriously. I'm interested though after seeing this how the build will go for the match between Aries and Moose as the event gets closer.
In the latter half of the 1990's and early 2000's we finally started seeing new faces pop up in the WCW normally from their Power Pant. Fast forward two years and Chris Harris was one of the many up and comers to join the roster of a brand new company called NWA:TNA. It was fairly early after the formation of the company that he would join and form a tag team with James Storm. The tag team would be called America's Most Wanted and they would become the face of the promotions tag team division for many years before going their separate ways.
While he and James would lead the tag team charge the company would give Harris a few opportunities as a singles competitor. However, it became a little clearer that Harris was missing something really didn't have what it took to hold a singles run. I remember of his pushes when he was included in a King of the Mountain match and we thought this would start his push but nothing ever came of it. I think when you look at his WWE run you know what he was missing from the arsenal. The interesting side of it is that James Storm would develop his microphone skills over the years and things never got better for Harris. Overall it goes back to some talent having the skills to reach a higher peak in a tag team over singles.
Honestly I think that Chris Harris belongs in the company's hall of fame just based on the impact that he had on the company in the early days. For those who don't know James & Harris much like the Public Enemy had been long time opponents before becoming a team which was one of the reasons that management wanted to put them together. Now I do think that Harris more likely belongs in the hallowed halls just due to America's Most Wanted as the collective team has more accomplishments then Harris alone.
Before the company found stability with Anthem & their current booking team the company had a number of problems. It was around this time that it seemed like every other week we heard rumors about the possibility of the company going out of business or being sold to someone else. In the build to Slammiversary 2015 fans saw the extremely unexpected return of Jeff Jarrett to the company. After the events of Jeff, Kurt Angle, and Karen I think everyone thought that we would never see Jeff or Karen in the company ever again. However, much like the WWE Hall of Fame some fans were claiming that the TNA Hall of Fame wouldn't be complete without the founder of the company.
It was clear at the time that times were changing within the company and that Jeff coming back was a long time coming. At the time I hadn't actually seen an episode of Impact for a while at that point but I did tune into this episode of the show not sure what to expect. I was dumfounded when it was announced that not only would the King of the Mountain match return but the former "King of the Mountain" would be a part of the match. Following this event we would see the beginning of the working agreement between Global Force Wrestling and Impact which would continue for the rest of the year before it was announced that the two companies would merge. There is no doubt that this event was one of the last major events of Dixie Carter's time in the top position of the company.
TNA Slammiversary 2015
Tigre Uno (c) def. (pin) DJ Z, Manik three-way elimination TNA X-Division Title
Robbie E. def. (pin) Jessie Godderz
Bram def. (pin) Matt Morgan Street Fight
Austin Aries def. (pin) Davey Richards Winner Picks The Stipulation
Awesome Kong & Brooke Tessmacher def. (pin) Jade & Marti Belle & Taryn Terrell handicap tag
James Storm def. (pin) Magnus Unsanctioned
Ethan Carter III & Tyrus def. (pin) Bobby Lashley & Mr. Anderson
Jeff Jarrett def. Bobby Roode, Drew Galloway, Eric Young, Matt Hardy "King of the Mountain" (5-way)TNA King of the Mountain Championship
This is an old series I had done when I would infrequently watch Impact Wrestling and I used this series as a way to express my thoughts on the show. Before sitting down to watch Impact I will admit that I haven't watched wrestling on television for quite a while which is crazy considering some of the streaks I use to have when it came to watching weekly wrestling. However, I will say that it was really weird watching the show because it actually felt like they were putting their best foot forward and building some momentum. I'm very happy that this is the case and this actually speaks to the type of bookers that Scott D'Amore and Don Callis are & the mentality they have collectively.
The one part of the show that caught my attention was the feud between Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan as they are doing the best to make it not only real but very old school. Seeing highlights of the Street fight between Eddie & Sami was unlike anything I have seen in quite a while, but in a good way. Then seeing Sami selling the eye later in the show was a welcome sight because keeping with that type of things isn't something that is usually taken as an important aspect in most major promotions. Admittedly this feud still doesn't touch the Gargano vs Ciampa program in NXT, but compared to anything on the main roster this feud is better then anything WWE is doing.
Overall I don't remember the last time I was more interested in something Impact had going on then anything the WWE was doing on the main roster. It speaks to how much things have changed with the company since the sale to Anthem and the stability they have now found with their new parent company. I hope that they can keep building from here and moving forward on a good note and further away from their old unstable way of business.
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