The year 2020 can probably best be described as a shit show from beginning to end. From real world events like the global Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic that led to the death of millions of people across the globe to the deaths of African Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor leading to massive protests both in and out of the U.S. and of course politics being politics.
The wrestling world wasn't having a good time in certain aspects either as the pandemic would lead to some promotions having to temporarily closed down or being forced to work under special conditions, events planned for WrestleMania weekend would get cancelled and so much more.
Surprisingly, Impact Wrestling had the most to gain out of any other pro wrestling company in America during this period. Proving that even during a global pandemic and a terrible year in world history, wrestling's greatest underdog can be able to push forward and produce amazing wrestling content.
Slammiversary 2020 was filled with suspense, intrigue and anticipation with rumors on which wrestler or wrestlers would be making their appearance on this night and the night itself was definitely a show worth remembering.
So with all of that said, here are ten interesting facts about Slammiversary 2020.
10. The Event Was One Of The Most Trending Topics On Twitter
Wrestling events trending in today's digital age may seem commonplace or if you're WWE, it's just another day in the office; For Impact Wrestling on the other hand, this was a very important thing.
The led up to this show was largely due the hype surrounding the event in addition to the matches that were announced, so the company as well as the fans themselves were looking to see if the effort the wrestlers and staff put into the PPV would pay off and sure enough that's exactly what happened.
In the first few minutes of the pay per view airing, Slammiversary 2020 was the number five most trending topic on Twitter and by the time of the first big reveal on the show, Slammiversary was trending at number one of Twitter ahead of other sports like the UFC and baseball.
The last time the Impact trended highly on Twitter would have to be few key episodes of Impact Wrestling between 2019-2020 with the most notable episode being Impact's debut on AXS TV in late 2019.
9. It's The First Slammiversary To Be Held On A Saturday
Usually, wrestling pay per views have aired on Sunday nights since the wrestling boom of the 1980's thanks to closed circuit events. It's basically been a tradition in the world of pro wrestling but there have been a few times where this hasn't always been the case.
The WWE (or WWF back in the day) had at least one or two of their major PPV's: WrestleMania and Summerslam air on days that weren't Sunday in the 1980's and the early 1990's; Impact Wrestling decided to do something similar for one of their major events of the year.
On the June 9th 2020 episode of Impact it was revealed in a quick video package that the date for Slammiversary would be July 18th 2020.
Impact's decision to air Slammiversary on a Saturday has been seen as a brilliant move as wrestlers were desperately looking to not only make some money during the pandemic, but to get back in the ring and wrestle.
You see a large number of wrestlers would be let go by the WWE in April and they were bound to a 90 day no compete clause, meaning that those fired wrestlers wouldn't be able to compete for another company until the beginning of a particular date.
And what was this particular date you might be asking?...well that date would just so happen to be July 18th, the exact same date of Impact Wrestling's yearly pay per view...absolutely genius.
8. The Hype Surrounding The Event
For critics of Impact Wrestling, the one common detonator that they tend to mention about the current product is that 'They can't generate any buzz for their pay per views' well outside of the Impact fan base that is. However, If there were people who still felt that way in the build-up to Slammiversary, they would be sorely mistaken...and in a massive way.
In the final moments of the June 9th 2020 edition of Impact, a video package was shown with a clocking ticking away as a black hooded figure drinking an alcoholic beverage is seen sitting in a chair while a TV reporter named Jon Burton would say the following words during a pseudo news broadcast:
"Breaking news from the world of professional wrestling. Over 24 superstars were released from their contracts amidst the ongoing pandemic. Their fates currently remain unknown, we will be closely monitoring the situation and we wish them the best in their future endeavors."
Following these words, a quick but flashing montage of wrestlers who were fired from the WWE and even names who had previously worked with Impact were shown with images of Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Mike and Maria Bennett, EC3, Rockstar Spud, Brian Meyers/Curt Hawkins and even an image of a Bulgarian flag filling the screen.
The video and the endless amount of after credit teases that the company would show following an episode of Impact, managed to get the wrestling world wondering about what wrestler or wrestlers who be appearing at this event and suffice to say, this got people buzzing to see would happen next.
7. Deonna Purrazzo Returned To The Company Months Earlier
April 15th 2020, the date that will live infamy in modern day pro wrestling as this was the date of 'Black Wednesday', a day that saw over 20 plus wrestlers and other workers for the WWE getting furloughed or fired from the company during the Covid-19 pandemic as a measure of cost cutting.
One of these wrestlers who were fired was former Impact and Ring of Honor star, Deonna Purrazzo who was let go along with her contemporaries just a few days after she lost a match Nia Jax on an episode of Monday Night Raw on April 6th 2020.
Less than a month or so following her pink slip from the WWE, a video package would air on the May 26th 2020 edition of Impact where Deonna under her gimmick as 'The Virtuosa' would appear and warned the fans and the Knockouts locker room on what to expect from her now that she's back.
Purrazzo would officially appear on June 9th and attack Knockouts Champion, Jordynne Grace by using a submission move called the 'Fujiwara Armbar'.
While Deonna would still refer to herself as a free agent in public (as she was under a paid per appearance deal) her presence on the shows and later the confirmation of her Knockouts Championship at Slammiversary with Jordynne, helped to show the ever growing change that was happening within the company.
6. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows Confirmed Their Signings With Impact The Day Of The PPV
Former NJPW and WWE Tag Team Champions, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows wasted no time in making their presence known following their firing from the WWE in the early April of this year.
Roughly 30 minutes or an hour after the clock passed midnight (which signaling the arrival of July 18th), both Gallows and Anderson appeared in a video discussing what they would do next now that they were gone from the WWE.
A few minutes into the video, a set of lights began to turn on which revealed that both Gallows and Anderson were inside an Impact Wrestling ring confirming the rumors that they have indeed signed with the company.
According to report both Gallows and Anderson have signed a two year deal with Impact which can also allow them to work dates in New Japan Pro Wrestling. And after the Good Brothers appearance at Slammiversary, there's no telling what will happen to them next.
5. It Was Shelley And Sabin's First Slammiversary Match In Eleven Years
Remember how I said in the first entry of this list that Slammiversary 2020 was the most trending topic on social media (mostly Twitter) thanks to a big reveal, while that big reveal came in the form of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin.
In the opening contest for Slammiversary, former TNA X Division and Tag Team Champions Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley also known as The Motor City Machine Guns accepted the open challenge of Zachery Wentz and Desmond Xavier of The Rascalz.
The reactions to the return of the Machine Guns was well received while the match itself was a great example of the high flying, death defying action that the company was and still is known for; Not to mention the match also showed that neither Shelley or Sabin had lost a step.
This match would actually be the first time that the guns would wrestle at Slammiversary in eleven years; The last time was at Slammiversary 2009 where the guns, Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed aka Xavier Woods and the masked man of mystery, Suicide fought for the X Division Championship in a King of the Mountain match to start off the show...how ironic.
4. The Controversies Leading To The World Title Match
Good God Almighty, where do I even begin to start with this entry.
As you all know, the Covid-19 pandemic pretty much made it impossible for a lot of people (especially wrestlers) to travel from state to state and in the process it put the kybosh on a lot of future plans and you better believe that Impact Wrestling was a company who were also affected by this.
First off, their world champion Tessa Blanchard was in Mexico with her husband and fellow pro wrestler, Daga and was asked by Impact management to record some promo material that the company would use to help promote both the world title match and Slammiversary but, this didn't happen as a number of things occurred with the biggest one being that Tessa was acting unprofessional by not submitting the promo work the company needed.
As a result she was terminated and later fired from Impact Wrestling being the first time since Ric Flair in the mid 1990's that a wrestling promotion had fired their world champion.
So now with Tessa Blanchard gone, you would assume that former NJPW and Impact Wrestling star, Michael Elgin (who was in the title picture for months) would seek this opportunity and become the new world champion right? Well it looked that way until the events of June 17th 2020, this would be the beginning of what is now known as 'The Speaking Out Movement'.
Without going into too much detail all you need to know is that the Speaking Out Movement did to the wrestling business what the MeToo Movement did for the entertainment business, it exposed a large and shady underbelly of misogyny and sexual abuse in wrestling.
Big Mike Elgin was one of those names who were caught up in this scandal and he would be suspended and then later fired from Impact for the numerous amount of allegations that came before him.
These events temporarily hampered the momentum leading to Slammiversary but the company was able rebound quickly with the world title main event being a four way with Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, Trey and a mystery fourth person for the now vacant Impact Wrestling World Championship.
3. It Was Eric Young's First Slammiversary Match In Five Years
Speaking of which, the main event for the Impact World Championship got a lot of people speculating on who the fourth mystery man would and they got there answer and then some when it was revealed that former X Division Champion, Rich Swann was included into the match.
Reactions to this was mixed as many fans were happy to see Rich Swann return to the ring after his horrific injury from earlier in the year, while other were a bit disappointed considering the company promised a former world champion.
Almost immediately following Swann's return and inclusion into this match, it was reveal former TNA Original and World Champion, Eric Young would also be included into this match thus turning the match into a five way (as were originally advertised).
Much like Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, EY's appearance here marked his first match at Slammiversary in years. EY's last appearance at Slammiversary at that time was at Slammiversary 2015, where he took part in a King of The Mountain match for the championship of the same name in the main event.
Eric Young almost appeared at Slammiversary 2016 but he and fellow TNA Original, Bobby Roode left the company in March of 2016 months before the event and became a part of WWE's black and yellow brand, NXT.
2. This Marked The First Time Eddie Edwards Main Evented A Major Impact PPV
Eddie Edwards ' victory at Slammiversary for the vacant Impact World Championship capped off an impressive event complete with a appearance from The Good Brothers and a returning EC3.
A lesser known fact about this match, is this was actually the first time Eddie had actual main evented one of the major pay per views in Impact Wrestling, If you don't count his participation in the 2014 Lethal Lockdown match (which was the main event for that PPV) then this was Eddie's first time main eventing a big Impact PPV.
This is surprisingly to discover considering that Edwards has been with the company since 2014, his won almost every single championship there is to win in Impact and his been a main event star since 2016...But I guess better late than never.
Fun fact, this was first title Eddie became the Impact Wrestling World Champion since 2016 where defeated Bobby Lashley in the main event of an episode of Impact to capture the gold.
1. The Originals Plans For Tessa Blanchard At Slammiversary
Tessa Blanchard's departure from Impact in the grand scheme of things didn't really hurt the company or the momentum going into the pay per view as the show went on to become a major success for the promotion.
But as it turns out, there were plans for the third generation superstar had she been able to appear on the show.
According to reports, the plan was for the Good Brothers to attack Tessa following the match thus turning the duo into heels; Apparently Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson wanted to get as much heat as possible during their first appearance on Impact programming and this attack by the Good Brothers could of also been used as way to write off Tessa from the company as her contract had already expired by this point and if the two parties couldn't reach an agreement, this could be a way to send her off.
But as previously mentioned, Tessa refused to cooperate with Impact management and as a result she was stripped of the title, terminated and then fired from the company; This led to management changing plans ever so slightly with the Good Brothers coming out after the match and attacking Fulton and Ace Austin turning the duo babyfaces instead of heels.
Overall, Slammiversary 2020 prove to be a success for Impact Wrestling and despite a few changes with the booking due to real world events, the company delivered on another impressive pay per view.
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