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SOUCEK’S SLAMMIVERSARY REPORT
July 2, 2017
From Orlando, Fla.
Report by Andrew Soucek, PWTorch contributor (@AndrewSoucek)
Announcers: Robert Flores and Don West
Happy Slammiversary everyone! Also, RIP TNA. Hello, Global Force Wrestling.
-Bobby Lashley and Alberto El Patron entered the arena. The familiar voice of Don West introduced us to the show.
-A video package aired highlighting the history of TNA/Impact. The old school pay-per-view voiceover guy was on-screen for it. They showed A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, the Main Event Mafia, and others. EC III, Lashley, Low Ki, and Patron all hyped up the event. This video was released a few days ago online but it was a pretty impressive look back. Somehow, Cheex didn’t make the cut.
-An owl was in the ring. Robert Flores and Don West were at ringside. One minute into the live show and I’d take Flores over Josh Mathews already. They talked about the upcoming matches.
-Representatives from Crash and Pro Wrestling NOAH took the stage along with Ed Nordholm.
(1) GARZA JR. AND LAREDO KID vs. DRAGO and EL HIJO DE FANTASMA vs. NAOMICHI MARUFUJI and TAIJI ISHIMORI vs. L.A.X. (Ortiz and Santana w/ Diamante and Homicide) – GFW/Impact Tag Title match
Don West was excited to see L.A.X. back in the promotion. Konnan sat in on commentary. Marufuji and Santana started things off. They exchanged a few holds before breaking off. Homicide tried to rile up the crowd. I thought they were heels? Marifuji and Santana exchanged a series of chest chops. Marifuji hit an impressive kick to the head and took control. Laredo Kid tagged in.
Laredo Kid hit a neckbreaker and Ishimori tagged in. The two exchanged strikes. Ortiz found his way in and had a chop-fest with Ishimori. At 4:35, Ortiz hit a Northern Lights Suplex for the first nearfall of the match. He followed that up with a Death Valley Driver. Garza Jr. made the save. It seemed like wrestlers were just randomly jumping in and out. Garza Jr. hit a series of highspots then did his trademark maneuver of ripping off his pants.
Fantasma jumped in along with Drago. They double teamed Santana. Ishimori ran in, then Marufjui. No clue who is legal. Diamante tripped up Fantasma at 7:30. Santana took control and kicked him on the ground. L.A.X. double teamed Fantasma. They nearly picked up the three count until Drago made the save. Garza and Laredo Kid jumped in and attacked L.A.X. An impressive pyramid spot was hit in the corner featuring four of the competitors. It’s all out chaos at this point. Tags have completely gone out the window.
At 11:30, Drago and Ishimori were the only two in the ring. Ishimori dove over the top rope and landed on his feet. Diamante tried to get involved. Garza Jr. caught her and threw her into a couple of other competitors onto the outside of the ring. She impressively landed on her feet. At 13:00, Homicide distracted the ref. Diamante kicked Garza. It looked like she hurt herself. She ran at him and she once again threw him out of the ring. At 13:30, Homicide hit the Gringo Killer onto the ring apron on Garza Jr.
AT 15:05, L.A.X. hit their top rope powerbomb/Blockbuster finisher on Laredo Kid for the win.
WINNERS: L.A.X. in 15:12
(Soucek’s Analysis: Complete chaos! A fun match with an insane amount of dives to the outside of the ring. Considering wrestlers just ran in whenever they wanted to, it felt like a no DQ match, but they always hid the outside interference from the refs. Strange. Impact hasn’t had something this wild in some time. It felt more like a Lucha Underground giant tag match. Not a knock at all, just felt different than what we’re used to seeing.)
Konnan took the mic and said a new member was going to join the group. He didn’t say who it was going to be.
-Backstage Joseph Park approached Jeremy Borash. Park said their opponents didn’t read the contract. He said it’s no-DQ. Borash freaked out. Park teased about relying on “an old friend.”
-A video package highlighting DeAngelo Williams and Moose aired.
-Backstage an announcer (not sure I’ve seen him before) approached Moose, DeAngelo Williams, and Gary Barnidge.
(2) ELI DRAKE and CHRIS ADONIS vs. MOOSE and DEANGELO WILLIAMS
Moose had a bunch of cheerleaders on the ring entrance doing the “Moose!” chant. Nice to see they’re going to more effort to make Slammiversary stand out visually from a regular episode of Impact. Flores name dropped Dennis Rodman and Pacman Jones appearing in the company. Hmmm…probably should have left those ones out.
Moose and Adomis started out the match, Flores called him “Masters.” Then he did it again about 20 seconds later. Eli soon tagged in and pointed that he wanted DeAngelo Williams. He got his wish.
Drake put Williams in a headlock and knocked him down with a shoulder tackle. Williams hit a couple of flying arm drags. He tagged back out to Moose. Moose threw Drake into the corner and hit a nice looking hesitation dropkick. Adonis and Drake double teamed Moose when the ref’s back was turned. Drake went up top for jumping attack. He botched it. The crowd jeered him. His facial expressions played it off well.
Adonis tagged in and mockingly slapped Moose, then chopped at him a bit. Moose flipped him off. Flores pointed out that would be a fine in the NFL. Williams got the hot tag. He hit a Code Breaker type move then a standing moonsault. He then hit a jumping neckbreaker for a nearfall. Adonis made the save. The heels attacked Williams 2-on-1. He fought them off. Moose hit an impressive Moonsault to the outside of the ring. They grabbed a table from underneath the ring at 8:15.
Adonis and Drake had enough time to recover. The ref also didn’t appear to care about tags in this match either. The heels set up the table. They put Moose on it. Drake was about to jump until Williams pushed him off. Moose recovered and hit a big kick. He put Adonis on the table. Williams climbed up top. He hit a Frogsplash but it wasn’t enough to break the table. They didn’t retry it. He got the pin.
WINNERS: DeAngelo Williams and Moose in 10:24
Moose, Williams, and a couple of NFL players celebrated into the ring. Drake tried to run away. They grabbed him. Poor Drake then got double powerbombed through a table.
(Soucek’s Analysis: It’s a shame the table didn’t break for the finish. Overall, this was very much on the high end of what to expect for the match. It’s always ridiculous to me when a non-wrestler can just jump into the world of wrestling and beat an actual wrestler, but Williams was impressive enough to at least make it look somewhat believable. Plus, Adonis is the one who took the pinfall, which isn’t that big of a loss.)
-Backstage McKenzie Mitchell talked with EC III. He trash talked James Storm. He said he’s a Carter and that the company needs him.
-A James Storm/EC III video highlighting their feud air and their history in the company. Good stuff. The production team continues producing solid promotional pieces.
(3) ETHAN CARTER III vs. JAMES STORM – Strap Match
Ethan Carter took his time getting strapped to his opponent. He taunted Storm as soon as the match began. Storm punched him repeatedly and knocked him into the corner. At :35 we got our first couple strap whippings as Storm laid in a few on Carter. Carter bailed outside the ring. He got back in and was hit a few more times. Storm was in control on the outside of the ring.
At 2:05, Carter took advantage of Storm getting back into the ring. He began choking him. Carter continued on offense and choked out Storm some more in the ring. He then started whipping Storm. It only angered him. He didn’t sell it. Storm hit a flurry of punches and then a neckbreaker. Carter threw Storm off the top of the rope and soon found some handcuffs. He put the key around his neck.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work out well for him. Carter tried to handcuff Storm to the ropes, but ended up getting handcuffed himself. He spit in Storm’s face. Storm whipped him 32 times. Good God! The ref was then kind enough to unlock Carter’s cuffs. Storm his the One-Percenter on Carter for a nearfall at 7:30. Carter got knocked out of the strap somehow. He tricked Storm and yanked him into the ring post. Brian Hebner put the strap back on Carter.
At 9:00, Carter hit the One-Percenter. Storm kicked out. Storm somehow recovered and hit the Last Call. He then basically Flair Flopped to the mat. The announcers put it over that the ring post shot was worse than they thought. Hebner told Carter to pin him. Instead, Carter hit an Angel’s Wings-type move for the pin.
WINNER: EC III in 10:37.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Not bad, but it could have used another five minutes. Besides Storm’s crazy 31 whip attack, the match wasn’t overly intense. The finish protects Storm, which means this is likely to go on for a bit longer. Hopefully, they have something better planned for the blow-off.)
-They quickly cut to Dutch Mantell and Karen Jarrett. Dutch said he needed “him” about an hour ago. Karen said she can’t get a hold of him either. “Hey Bruce. Call me. Please,” Dutch said. So…Bruce Prichard is missing?
-A video promo ran down the history of Josh Mathews vs. Jeremy Borash.
-Back at ringside, Storm was receiving medical attention. The Pope then made his grand return after missing the India tour. He joined the commentary team.
(4) JOSH MATHEWS and SCOTT STEINER vs. JEREMY BORASH and JOSEPH PARK
Looks like Steiner has some new tattoos since the last time we saw him. He tore up a young girl’s sign. Scott was a little…slow walking his way to the ring. Maybe it’s just for effect? Please don’t hurt me Scott! All four men decided to wear shirts for this match.
Mathews and Park started things off. Mathews showed no fear going against the much larger Park. His offense was pretty ineffective. Park hit a couple of shoulder tackles. He tagged in Borash. Mathews tagged out. Borash was terrified of Steiner and tagged in Park. Steiner attacked him from behind. Steiner looks like he’s wearing snow boots.
At 2:20, Mathews jumped off the top rope onto Park and Borash. Steiner tore off a barricade and tossed it at Park and Borash. That dude still is scary. They went to previously recorded footage of Steiner and Mathews chasing down Park and Borash in a golf cart. Steiner kept calling them “fat ass.” Steiner and Mathews got sprayed with a fire extinguisher.
Steiner and Mathews stole a guy’s truck. There were conveniently multiple cameras in the vehicle. Somehow they got to a motel pool. Mathews got backbody dropped into a pool. Somehow there was a camera in the pool. Borash jumped in. Shark Boy then appeared in the pool. He bit Mathews’ butt. WHAT AM I WATCHING?
At 6:20, ‘Sinister’ Jim Mitchell appeared. HOLY CRAP. He gave Park the Abyss mask. A “holy s**t” chant broke out. They went back to real-time in the arena. Steiner and Mathews were cornering Borash. Robert Irvine (Gail Kim’s husband) decked Mathews. Mathews quickly got back up and missed a Swanton Bomb. Borash hit him with a spear. Steiner broke it up. Shark Boy ran in for the save but quickly got beat up.
At 9:05, Mitchell appeared in the arena. Abyss was in the ring. The crowd loved it. Abyss double clotheslined Mathews and Steiner. Abyss pulled out a bag of tacks. Good thing everyone wore those shirts! Abyss went for a chokeslam, but Mathews kicked him in the groin. Abyss quickly recovered and hit a Black Hole Slam onto the tacks. Borash hit a Frog Splash. Looks like he hit a few thumbtacks on impact. Ouch. Abyss pinned Mathews.
WINNERS: Jeremy Borash and Abyss in 10:43.
(Andrew’s Analysis: I’ve ranted about how amazingly awful this feud has been for months. But as much as I hate to say it…that was fun. In no way, shape, or form does the match justify the insane amount of TV time devoted to it, but I’d still have to give the match a hit. The crowd simply loved every second of it and they had enough tricks up their sleeves to keep it fast and fun. Seeing Mitchell again was a blast and hopefully he sticks around to rejuvenate the Abyss character. Borash also showed off his bloody hand afterward. Yikes.)
-Alberto El Patron cut a promo backstage.
(5) EDDIE EDWARDS and ALISHA EDWARDS vs. DAVEY RICHARDS and ANGELINA LOVE – Full Metal Mayhem
Alisha and Eddie jumped Davey and Angelina before they got to the ring. The heels soon recovered and Eddie took out a Kendo stick and attacked Edwards. At 2:30, Love was suplexed by Alisha onto a chair. At 3:30, Love and Richards were trapped under the same garbage can. Alisha and Eddie hit them with Kendo sticks. Eddie then powerbombed his own wife onto Richards through a nearfall. Don West claimed that was true love. Angelina then attacked Eddie with a Kendo stick.
At 5:30, Love pulled out some tacks. Didn’t we just see those? She poured them down Eddie’s mouth. YIKES.
Eddie and Alisha got back in control. They set up a table. Love was bleeding from the bridge of the nose. Eddie climbed a ladder, Angelina tried to stop him then was powerbombed through a table. Eddie sunset flip powerbombed Richards through a table off the top of the ladder. That could have gone badly.
WINNERS: Eddie and Alisha Edwards in 8:15.
(Andrew’s Analysis. Another entertaining match, but it was way too short to be anything more. Considering how good this feud has been on TV, they deserved another 5-10 minutes to tell a more effective story. Still, GFW could use the occasional “mature” and wild brawl to standout from WWE. There was no man on woman violence either, so it’s not like they crossed any sort of line.)
-A video package aired highlighting the Low Ki vs. Sonjay Dutt feud.
(6) SONJAY DUTT vs. LOW KI -X-Division Title Match: 2 out of 3 Falls
Low Ki had his Hitman outfit on. West wondered how he can wrestle in it. Good question! The two exchanged a series of holds and competed in various tests of strength. Ki held Dutt to the mat then jumped on him. At 2:45, Ki started attacking with strikes. Sonjay took back control and locked in an armbar. Ki broke out and they sized each other up some more.
At 4:30, Don West exclaimed “it’s not about weight limits. It’s about NO limits!” After 15 years could someone please tell us what that means? Anyway. Dutt hit a Tornado DDT then attempted a moonsault. Ki knocked him down with a high-impact dropkick for a nearfall. To this point, the two were surprisingly working a relatively slow pace. However, we got a few falls left to go. Scratch that. At 7:15, Ki was tossed to the mat with a hurricanrana, then he rolled back up and hit a double stop for the first pin.
Ki up 1-0
Ki remained in control and tossed Dutt to the outside of the ring. At 10:19, Ki missed a Warrior’s Way. Dutt got back into the match. Ki sold an ankle injury and struggled to get to his feet. Ki then hit a springboard kick out of nowhere. He attempted a Warrior’s Way onto the ring steps. Dutt moved out of the way then hit a Moonsault in response. Ki continued selling the ankle. Dutt locked him in a sort of one-legged Boston Crab/Ankle Lock. Ki fought it off, but then his Dragon Sleeper attempt was reversed into a pin.
Ki and Dutt tied 1-1
Ki took off the jacket. He was hobbling on one leg. At 14:30 they exchanged a series of punches in the middle of the ring. Ki hurt his hand on one of the punches. Ki took off one of his gloves and punched Dutt in the stomach. At 16:00 Dutt made his comeback but was soon cut off. Ki attempted a Warrior’s Way at 17:50, he was tossed to the mat and Dutt hit a reverse Warrior’s Way for the win.
WINNER: Sonjay Dutt in 18:01.
(Andrew’s Analysis: Really cool finisher by Dutt. The two worked a solid match that took awhile to get going, but it was quite entertaining down the home stretch. For perhaps the first time all night, the crowd seemed a bit quiet for portions of a match. It won’t go down as a classic X-Division contest, but it was still a very athletic, hard-hitting bout. A shame that Ki didn’t get his belt back, as he’s the far more compelling character. Hopefully they still have something in mind for him in the coming months.)
-A video package highlighting Rosemary vs. Sienna aired.
-Gail Kim made her way to the ring. She’ll be handing the unified title to the winner.
(6) SIENNA vs. ROSEMARY – GFW Women’s Title/Knockouts Title unification match
Rosemary came out with half-a-dozen zombie-like women shuffle walking their way to the ring with her. Nice touch. She also wore a Skeletor-like mask. Too dated of a reference?
The two brawled as soon as the bell rang. Rosemary took control. Laurel Van Ness and KM immediately walked down the ring. Van Ness distracted Rosemary and Sienna took control. Sienna then got tossed into the ropes and Van Ness inadvertently held down the rope, which made Sienna land outside the ring. It looked like they hit heads. That could have been bad. KM picked up Van Ness and carried her away. Rosemary jumped off the top rope on Sienna.
At 2:50, Sienna hit a German Suplex. Rosemary did her new zombie sit up maneuver. Sienna remained in control and kicked away at Rosemary in the corner. For the next few minutes, Sienna was largely on offense until Rosemary connected with a suplex while caught upside down in the ropes. She followed that up with a missile dropkick. At 8:00, Sienna hit The Silencer but Rosemary kicked out. West said no one has kicked out of the move. Rosemary quickly got back up and hit the Red Wedding. Van Ness ran back to the ring and pulled Earl Hebner out of the ring. Poor dude is 68. He probably shouldn’t be taking bumps like that anymore!
Allie then ran out to the ring and chased off Van Ness with a Kendo stick. Sienna took advantage and hit Rosemary with a title for a believable nearfall. Rosemary hit the poison mist on Sienna’s hand. This burned her. Sienna reversed her way out of another Red Wedding and locked in a submission for the win. They played up that Rosemary got the mist in her eyes from Sienna’s hand.
WINNER: Sienna in 10:32
(Andrew’s Analysis: A bit lackluster. It wasn’t bad by any means, but besides that one close nearfall, there wasn’t a lot of drama. You can blame that on Sienna’s character cooling off over the past few months, and the fact that the GFW Titles haven’t meant anything in…well, ever.)
-Jeff Jarrett made his grand on-air return. He didn’t get much of a pop. No “thank you” chants. He thanked the fans for their support over the years. Actually, once he thanked the fans a few times they bit and thanked him back a little. A nice appearance but a bit surprising how quiet the crowd was for it.
-A video package for El Patron and Bobby Lashley aired.
(7) ALBERTO EL PATRON (w/ Dos Caras) vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/ King Mo) – Impact Wrestling/GFW Global Title Unification match
Jeremy Borash did ring introductions for the match. Lashley had half-a-dozen men in his entourage. El Patron also had his brother with him. Jeff Jarrett held both of the titles.
The two locked up then backed off. Lashley hit a quick German Suplex, El Patron recovered and gave him one back. Lashley was thrown outside the ring at 2:15. El Patron jumped over the ropes but was hit with a European Uppercut. Lashley tossed him into the announce table a few times. King Mo got in a cheap shot on El Patron. Dos Caras chopped Mo. Only took three minutes for some old fashioned TNA style outside interference!
Lashley grabbed El Patron and powerslammed him onto the ring steps. Lashley went for the first pinfall attempt at 4:30. Lashley climbed the top ropes but was knocked over before he could jump. El Patron then connected with a superplex. Lashley soon got back in control until El Patron locked in his Cross Armbreaker on the ropes. He then hit a backstabber for a nearfall at 9:10. El Patron dove outside the ring and missed Lashley.
At 10:47, El Patron locked in the Cross Armbreaker. Lashley fought out and lifted him up for a powerbomb. Lashley then lifted up El Patron on the top rope and hit a Death Valley Driver move off the top rope. “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!” yelled Don West in one of his trademark phrases.
King Mo picked up a chair at 13:00. Lashley slapped away at El Patron in the ring. Patron recovered and hit his diving stomp in the ropes move. It didn’t look as ridiculous as usual, because he actually jumped right away. King Mo got in the face of El Patron outside of the ring. They shoved each other. Lashley then locked in a Cross Armbreaker of his own. El Patron fought out of it. Lashley then hit a spear for a nearfall at 16:00.
Lashley attempted another spear but was dropkicked. El Patron follwed it up by knocking him out of the ring. King Mo tried to interfere but Dos Caras kicked him in the groin. Lashley went after Dos Caras and pushed him a couple times. That allowed El Patron to recover and kick him in the back of the head. He then his his Double Stomp again and that was it. Weak.
Winner: Alberto El Patron in 18:05
(Andrew’s Analysis: Alberto El Patron said the match was going to be “1,000,000 times” better than Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar. Unless Joe/Lesnar is going to be an all-time dud, then that’s a highly dubious claim. Overall, it was a pretty good match but badly hindered by non-stop interference. That’s been a trademark move of TNA over the years and it’s a shame that it doesn’t look like it will change. Lashley losing by being distracted isn’t a great way to put El Patron over.)
Overall, the show delivered. Everything was at least above average. No all-time classics on display, but a good effort from nearly everyone on the card. The announce team was a much needed break from all the arguing. I’ll have more to say on the Post Livecast GFW show. Thanks for following along!