Last night was Impact Wrestling‘s biggest PPV of the year, Slammiversary XVVII. Although we’re not recapping the show in full, a couple of things that happened there have people talking today. One was a bold choice for a main event, and the other is the return of a veteran wrestler fresh off a (perhaps not 100% complete) WWE contract.
Many people expected the main event of Slammiversary to be the Impact World Championship Match between champion Brian Cage and challenger Michael Elgin, but in fact it went on next to last. Cage was able to retain his belt, but Elgin lashed out after the match. He attacked Cage, and then turned his attention to Impact announcer and executive Don Callis. As Elgin was attacking Callis, a masked but distinctively shaped figure appeared in the ring. He hit Elgin with a Gore that left no doubt it was Rhyno. If you’re wondering why he didn’t say his name or show his face, it might be because his WWE contract wasn’t supposed to be up until July 17. Rhyno was previously a part of Impact from 2005 until 2010, so it’s hardly surprising that he’d return there, at least until he decides to give politics another try.
The actual main event of the show turned out to be the Intergender Match between Tessa Blanchard and Sami Callihan. Although Callihan ultimately won the match, it put Tessa over as a strong contender who can credibly face men more impressive than Disco Inferno. Sami even showed her respect at the end of the match, handing back her baseball bat rather than hitting her with it. With WWE pushing Mixed Tag competition instead of actual intergender, and AEW President Tony Khan saying it won’t happen there either, now is an interesting, and possibly very smart, time for Impact to fully embrace intergender wrestling. It will be interesting to see who Tessa Blanchard feuds with next, or if she starts with getting her win back against Sami Callihan.
Here are the rest of the Slammiversary XVII results: Willie Mack defeated Jake Crist, TJP and Trey Miguel in a Fatal Four-Way to open the show. The North, aka Ethan Page and Josh Alexander, successfully defended their Impact Tag Team Championships against LAX and the Rascalz in a Triple Threat that may have been LAX’s farewell to Impact. Eddie Edwards defeated Killer Kross in a First Blood Match. Moose defeated Rob Van Dam. Taya Valkyrie retained the Knockouts Championship against Jessicka Havok, Rosemary and Su Yung in a Four-Way Monster’s Ball. Finally, Rich Swann defeated Johnny Impact to retain the X-Division Championship.
Impact has had and continues to have a wide variety of problems as a company, but when they can pull it out for a big show like this, it leaves you with hope that maybe they can get a decent TV deal and remain in the larger wrestling conversation.