On This Day (6/28) – The Mess That Was Slammiversary 2015

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“On This Day” is published every Sunday to look back at how the past has affected the present in the world of wrestling. Today’s feature focuses on TNA/Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary 2015.

On this day… June 28, 2015, TNA (Impact Wrestling) held one of its key pay-per-views in Slammiversary. The event emanated from Universal Studios in Orlando, and I personally had the opportunity to attend while on vacation.

I want to take a look back at this event, not just because it was the first TNA/Impact event I attended, but because it’s fun to reflect and see who’s gone where from that card. A number of people have landed in WWE. Some are now back in Impact or have moved on to other promotions.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect is how this event was handled in the build-up. Slammiversary aired after an entire week of TV tapings, meaning the company had filmed post-Slammiversary content before the pay-per-view aired. There were also rumors once again that TNA was officially going under, with a number of stars rumored to be leaving and the possibility that they wouldn’t have a home on TV much longer. The company’s birthday celebration felt very much like a funeral.

1) X-Division Championship: Tigre Uno (c) def. DJZ & Manik

Slammiversary opened with a three-way X-Division Championship elimination match that was added to the card just hours before bell time. New champion Tigre Uno was tasked with defending against two former champions in a match where Uno was at a disadvantage.

The X-Division stars set the tone for the night as they usually do, but this was at a time where the X-Division sorely lacked stories. There was no emotional investment behind these three competitors battling it out. Luckily, Impact has since improved in that realm.

In the five years that have passed, Tigre Uno held the title for nearly 200 days before departing at the end of 2016. DJZ was featured on and off before signing with WWE last year. He’s now part of a new cruiserweight faction in NXT. Manik, who we know was TJP, had his stint in WWE’s cruiserweight division, but he’s now back in Impact and could very well find a spot on this year’s Slammiversary card.

2) Robbie E def. Jessie Godderz

The BroMans had imploded and they needed a big stage to blow off their rivalry. Not much is remembered about this match, aside from Robbie E scoring the abrupt victory over his larger opponent. Their breakup was irrelevant within a year because they went on to challenge for the Tag Team Championship together at Slammiversary 2016.

Where are they now? Robbie E is a manager named Robert Stone in NXT, while Jessie Godderz is exploring a career in acting.

3) Street Fight: Bram def. Matt Morgan

Bram spent the road to Slammiversary beating veterans in open challenges to build up to a big fight on pay-per-view against the formidable Matt Morgan. The match was ruled a Street Fight just before the bell, which proved to be in Bram’s favor as he went on to score the win.

Bram’s career in Impact Wrestling didn’t take as off many had hoped, but he’s since found success as Thomas Latimer in NWA. Matt Morgan has stepped away from the ring and is now the mayor of Longwood, FL outside of Orlando.

4) Austin Aries def. Davey Richards

At this time, The Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) were embroiled in a Best of 5 rivalry against The Dirty Heels (Austin Aries & Bobby Roode) to crown new Tag Team Champions. Ideally, their rivalry would’ve culminated in Match 5 at Slammiversary, but it was saved for a “Bell to Bell” special the following week on Impact. More on that later.

So, to determine who would pick the stipulation for Match 5, Aries and Richards clashed in the most-technically-sound bout of the night. As fate would have it, A-Double pulled off the win and later chose a 30-minute Iron Man stipulation.

5) Handicap Match: Brooke & Awesome Kong def. Taryn Terrell, Jade & Marti Bell

The Knockouts division was run by The Dollhouse, comprised of then-Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell and her up-and-coming recruits Jade (Mia Yim) and Marti Bell. Brooke and Awesome Kong, who both had their sights set on Terrell’s title, put their differences aside in an attempt to defeat the trio.

Brooke and Kong pulled off the win, but it was confusing as to why Gail Kim wasn’t in the match to level the playing field. Regardless, Terrell vs. Brooke vs. Kong for the Knockouts Championship should’ve aired here instead of Bell to Bell.

6) Non-Sanctioned Match: James Storm def. Magnus

This non-sanctioned scrap was another highlight of the show. James Storm and Magnus brawled all over the arena, which even caused a power outage at one point. These two eventually left it all in the ring with the use of multiple weapons.

The highlight of Magnus hitting a flying elbow drop out of the ring onto Storm wasn’t enough to put away The Cowboy, though. James Storm stole the win in one of his final pay-per-view appearances. Nowadays, Magnus (Nick Aldis) and Storm can be seen in NWA.

7) EC3 & Tyrus def. Bobby Lashley & Mr. Anderson

Here we have a random tag team match to fill time before the main event. I don’t recall if there was a story here other than EC3 was on his way to becoming World Champion and needed a win on pay-per-view before that aired. In fact, EC3 should’ve faced World Champion Kurt Angle in the main event, but that was saved for free TV.

Bobby Lashley is for sure the one who’s had the most success over the years. He became a main event player in Impact before returning to WWE. EC3 could very well be on his way back to Impact where he’s sure to thrive after booking woes in WWE.

8) King of the Mountain Championship: Jeff Jarrett def. Bobby Roode, Eric Young, Matt Hardy & Drew Galloway

It was fun to witness a King of the Mountain match in person even though this one didn’t really mean much in the end. The King of the Mountain Championship was introduced for this random main event where Jeff Jarrett would walk away as the victor. Some might say this was “#LOLTNA” at its finest.

Ironically, every single person eventually found their way to WWE. And if I’m not mistaken, all of them were employed by WWE at the same time as of last year. Drew McIntyre is now a world champion. Matt Hardy is in AEW. Jarrett and Roode are still with WWE. And Eric Young is a free agent, so he could easily pop up at this year’s Slammiversary.

The card that could have been

As mentioned, TNA used Slammiversary as the build-up to a free Bell to Bell special on Destination America. It never made sense, but that’s what happened. Had TNA combined the cards for Slammiversary and Bell to Bell, the ideal Slammiversary card would’ve looked something like this:

  • EC3 vs. World Champion Kurt Angle
  • Brooke vs. Awesome Kong vs. Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell
  • Dirty Heels vs. The Wolves – 30-minute Iron Man match to crown new Tag Team Champions
  • Manik vs. DJZ vs. X-Division Champion Tigre Uno
  • James Storm vs. Magnus – Non-sanctioned match
  • The Rising vs. The BDC – losing team disbands
  • Robbie E vs. Jessie Godderz
  • Bram vs. Matt Morgan

Oh, what could’ve been. Unfortunately, we may be saying the same thing this year with the way the 2020 Slammiversary card is going. Tessa Blanchard and Michael Elgin have been removed from the main event, so who knows what other changes will be made.