Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2022 HOT TAKE
Anniversary, definition: The annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event; a date that follows such an event by a specified period of time measured in units other than years.
Slammiversary, definition: The annual recurrence of a date marking action, violence, drama as produced by Impact Wrestling held in jubilation of the promotion marking another year of Total Nonstop Action.
Slammiversary 2022, definition: The one in a lifetime celebration of twenty years of slams, jams, drama, adrenaline and culture changing as seen through the prism of Impact Wrestling, past, present and future.
Nashville will forever be known as Music City, the market that launched an infinite amount of country music superstars. From Taylor Swift to The Grand Ole Opry, the talents and tales that have sprouted from Nashville have forever changed the music industry.
Nashville has had the same effect on the professional wrestling world. Forever known as one of the haunts of the legendary Memphis Wrestling circuit and the epicenter of the Jarrett family wrestling dynasty, without Nashville, the entire trajectory of professional wrestling history would have changed forever.
The year is 2002. With the deaths of World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, the very lifeblood of professional wrestling had been punctured. Out of the darkness, one brand new hope exploded upon the horizon, seeking to salvage the professional wrestling world, presenting an alternative via weekly Wednesday night pay-per-view events. NWA: TNA, as it was then known, began the journey that brings us to this Sunday Night June 19th, twenty years to the day of that first excursion into the unknown.
Like the best laid plans of generals and explorers alike, TNA found itself under siege financially and needed a safe port from the storm. The Nashville Fairgrounds and what soon began known as the TNA Asylum was selected, with Music City's most die-hard fans populating the events as AJ Styles, Low Ki, Abyss, America's Most Wanted and so many more rose to prominence, setting the stage for the explosion of alternative professional wrestling choices, great and small, that would soon capture the hearts and minds of fans worldwide.
From X-Divisions to King of the Mountain matches to the Ultimate X, from NWA: TNA to TNA Impact to Impact Wrestling, Nashville has been the prism in which professional wrestling experimented and perfected the men and women who emerged into the stars of today, providing the foundation that allowed the Impact Wrestling of 2022 to be forged, setting out to tour the world and eventually, this weekend, return home to celebrate all that was and is great about Impact in its best moments, where the adrenaline of the greatest athletics intersects with the high drama that only exists in the realm of professional wrestling.
Impact has carved its own legend over the last 20 years and this Sunday, it inscribes the latest chapter as it charges forward, full speed ahead into the future, live on FITE!
The night Impact Wrestling held its first-ever live event, Ken Shamrock captured the NWA Worlds Championship in the first-ever Gauntlet for the Gold. Over time, Impact Wrestling enshrined their own World title, just as over time, new generations rose to battle, seeking to prove their dominance over the professional wrestling landscape. This Sunday, The Walking Weapon Josh Alexander, who has his very world changed forever while watching that debut event and experiencing the X-Division, has fought tooth and nail, clawing and scratching, grappling and suplexing his way into Impact, ascending to the World Heavyweight Championship. If there is a sterling, shining example of Impact's legacy and what it has gifted professional wrestling fans, it may very well be Josh Alexander, who wants to be forever known as the centerpiece of Impact Wrestling.
The darker side of that shining star may indeed be Eric Young, the leader of Violence by Design and challenger to Alexander's Championship this Sunday evening on FITE. Just as Impact grew over the decades into newer, stronger forms, Young shed his initial skin as the timid, paranoid member of Team Canada, growing stronger and more twisted with each successive incarnation. Now fully evolved into his final form, Young has become the Final Boss in this real life video game for Josh Alexander, a fellow Canadian competitor who is just as versatile and talented as the defending World Champion, but a bleaker, more corrupted avatar that epitomizes the curse of darkness consuming all in its sight while seeking absolute power.
The World Championship always defines the promotion and this Sunday, Alexander vs. Young may define the very trajectory of Impact Wrestling's future, as much as it will define its legacy. This war of two of the most celebrated and important fighters in all of Impact history will emanate live on FITE from Nashville at Slammiversary.
For many, the epitome of the Impact Wrestling revolution the past two decades may indeed be the creation of the Ultimate X match, as competitors seek to cross cables in order to achieve their perfect Sportscenter moment by capturing the X-Division Championship. For Ace Austin, who just completed an incredible headline shattering tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling, joining the dreaded Bullet Club in the process, retaining his championship is just another chance for him to yet again prove himself as the ultimate Ace of Impact Wrestling. Of course, it's always easier to say than do when you enter the most unforgiving environment in Impact Wrestling especially when every other competitor is out to take you down.
Every challenger in the Ultimate X match this Sunday has a laser-focused goal in mind that culminates in the same dream, winning the X-Division Championship and taking Ace Austin out along the way. For Jack Evans, it's the hope of exploding back into the Impact scene with the most dramatic and impressive of victories. For Alex Zayne, it's representing New Japan while also seeking vengeance for Austin and Bullet Club's assault on him during a press conference. For Kenny King, it's a title victory that would add leverage and power for Honor No More's quest to tear Impact Wrestling apart. For Speedball Mike Bailey, it's a chance to take all that athletic adrenaline and focus it into finally scoring a milestone moment that will live on in the Impact time capsule forever. For Trey Miguel, it's a chance to exercise the disrespectful demons of the past while ascending to the angelic plateau of championship victory.
All six of these competitors will have to channel Indiana Jones and Evil Knievel alike in order to surpass the other fighters and achieve possession of a most prestigious championship. Whether they crash down to Earth or rocket through the stratosphere, Ultimate X, a match that has changed the perceptions of what danger in professional wrestling can be and having evolved the parameters of what defines career-making moment, will once again enrapture the global FITE audience as a new generation strikes back to show the world the X-Division empire they have forged together.
Mark and Jay Briscoe have been one of the most celebrated fighting siblings in the history of professional wrestling, having collected Tag Team Championships in every promotion they have battled across. Impact Wrestling proved to be no exception as they quickly scored the Impact World Tag Team Championships. Now the most ferocious chicken farmers ever known to roam the great State of Delaware seek to continue their championship reign with a victory over the ever-resurgent Good Brothers, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, who are not only dangerous but empowered by their reunion with the other members of Bullet Club.
Gallows and Anderson have rightfully claimed to have been the spark that reignited the Impact flame when they arrived at Slammiversary several years ago, but now they seek to plunder and pillage the promotion for their own good. While The Briscoes have not had a long tenure in the Impact world, they are renowned for never backing down from a fight, even battling off The Good Brothers when they dared attempt to disrespect the family's farm. Dem Boys are scrapping for revenge at Slammiversary in Nashville, and it's not just pride and respect, but the World Tag Team Championships in the balance.
There have been many women who have fiercely defined the very landscape of Impact Wrestling over the last 20 years. From Gail Kim to Awesome Kong to Dixie Carter to Karen Angle and beyond, there have been numerous definitive and strong females across the scope of Impact history, as well as many Knockouts Champions, but there's never, ever been a Queen of the Mountain. That will all change this Sunday, as Gail Kim has ushered in the return of this unique match with perhaps the most celebrated and twisted strategy ever devised.
Five tremendously talented female fighters will step into the ring, seeking to walk out with the Knockouts Championship. For defending Champion Tasha Steelz, this may be the hardest quest of all to accomplish as she'll relinquish the championship belt to Impact officials. Then, she and a field of competition featuring all former Knockout Champions - Mia Yim, Deonna Purrazzo, Chelsea Green and Jordynne Grace will all attempt to battle their way through the unique labyrinth that is the Queen of the Mountain match.
First, they will need to achieve a pinfall or submission to qualify. Then, ladders will officially come into play as they attempt to set them up in order to scale to the top and deliver the championship, hanging it above the ring to signify that they are victorious as champion. This journey will not be easy in the least, as any competitor who suffers a pinfall or submission will be banished to a penalty box for a period of time, forcing them to become an unwilling witness to those remaining on the battlefield, unable to compete until being released, potentially losing their chance at accomplishing a most distinctive, historic victory.
While Steelz has been one of the most boastful, antagonizing Knockouts Champion in recent memory, she is also one hell of a fighter. To achieve victory, she's going to have to outwit and outlast the perfection of the Virtuosa Deonna Purrazzo, the insanely powerful Jordynne Grace, the cunning Chelsea Green and the magnificent momentum of Mia Yim, who is back in Impact Wrestling with something to prove. The Knockouts have consistently made history in Impact, watching the ripple effects provoke change in all other corners of professional wrestling. This Sunday on FITE will be no different at Slammiversary.
Of course, with all the celebration of all things Impact, there also comes a defense of what Impact has come to stand for. Since the disintegration of what Ring of Honor was under Sinclair Broadcast Group ownership, its bitter alumni, now empowering themselves under the Honor No More banner, have sought to batter and break the spirit of Impact Wrestling and its faithful competitors and fans. Feeling they were abandoned by the principals of what ROH once stood for, they have become obsessed with ripping the heart and soul of Impact out and watching it bleed dry before stomping on what is left. Indeed, they almost accomplished that when Eddie Edwards rejoined his former ROH comrades and turned his back on Impact Wrestling, but the reunion of The Motor City Machineguns and the return of Impact original Kazarian from AEW has helped reinstill the fighting spirit against Honor No More. This Sunday at Slammiversary, this trio of in-ring masters will be joined by two Impact Wrestling originals yet to be revealed, seeking to turn the tide of battle and avenge attacks on Rhino, Heath and so many others, once and for all. It's much more than Honor at stake this Sunday, it's the entire culture Impact has carved out in the pro wrestling cosmos on the line.
That hatred that bonds those two warring factions together may only be outdone by the competitors in the Monster's Ball this Sunday in Nashville as the past sins of former Impact Wrestling Champion Moose have risen to haunt him in the form of another former World Champion, Sami Callihan, seeking vengeance for the leg Moose shattered last year, putting the devious Callihan out of action for months. Now, with no rules of engagement to ensnare them into even pretending to do the right thing, two of Impact's most ferocious and frightening competitors will face off in the environment that Abyss and so many others forged over the course of Impact's history - The Monster's Ball. Any and all weapons are legal. Any and all locations in and around the greater Nashville area are legal. Anything goes until one fighter can no longer battle on, falling prey to the better man. From the most desperate of men arises the most evil of acts and to survive the Monster's Ball, competitors need to find the depravity within and the will to survive. Impact's most savage bout rises from the darkness one more time, seeking to ensnare Moose and Callihan alike, live on FITE.
Perhaps the most unique friendship in Impact history was the one between the Undead Demon Rosemary and the trendsetting Taya Valkyrie. From Tag Team accomplishments to Demon Weddings to Wrestlehouse, these alluring yet toxic personalities exacerbated and propelled the other to great heights and greater darkness, and now, they are aligned yet again, seeking to capture the Knockouts Tag Team Championship. Can The Influence, having rid Impact of The IInspiration and all other challengers, surpass the most unpredictable pairing in Knockouts history, or will their challengers end up consuming their own souls in the process?
As if that twisted series of circumstances and personalities isn't enough. The reigning and defending Impact Wrestling Digital Media Champion Rich Swann is challenging for his own title belt against Brian Myers, who was given the title by the man Swann defeated for the title in Las Vegas several weeks ago, the now-injured Matt Cardona. Only in Cardona's askew world view could Myers be the champion, even if the rest of the world rightfully recognizes Swann. This all sets the stage for a Slammiversary showdown where Swann seeks to set the world right once and for all, taking what is his away from the Cardona clan.
These Championship encounters and world-shattering grudge matches will all highlight the jubilant Slammiversary 2022, where Nashville will see some of the most definitive Impact Wrestling matches and performances collide under one roof with FITE fans from all corners of the world celebrating live and watching FITE, including its exclusive alternative commentary stream featuring Impact alumni So Cal Val, Traci Brooks and Lisa Marie Varon as they provide their unique, insightful, cutting take on all things Impact from their powerful perspectives and experiences across the professional wrestling world.
FITE is proud to Cross the Line to continue on the tradition of Impact Wrestling, 20 years strong and still charging forward with the 2022 Slammiversary celebration and beyond, this Sunday evening!
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.