With IMPACT Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view right around the corner, we’re taking a look back at ten of the best moments in that event’s history.
Some of these events occurred on the company’s early anniversary shows, unnamed “Slammiversary.”
So with that, let’s get this started.
10. Second Largest North American Attendance in Company History – Slammiversary 10
“Slammiversary 10” was held on June 10, 2012, emanating from the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. The show was headlined by AJ Styles and Kurt Angle defeating the duo of Bad Influence (Kazarian and Christopher Daniels) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championships, and a main event which saw Bobby Roode retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Sting.
However, the most noteworthy moment of the night was the return of Christian Cage to TNA, who was contractually signed to WWE and the reigning Intercontinental Champion, at the time.
This was an agreement made by both companies, with TNA signing off on Ric Flair appearing at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony in 2012 in return for Christian to simply appear on the show announce the number one moment in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling history.
Speaking of WWE Hall of Famers, Sting was announced on this show as the first inductee into TNA’s own Hall of Fame.
The event was touted as the company’s largest attended show in North America, seating 5,500 fans. Considering they were the number two brand (and TNA would be the first to tell you that), this was a sizable turnout for a company that ran most of their shows out of a soundstage.
…And for anyone wondering, the “Lockdown 2013” PPV holds the company record for N.A. attendance, at 7,200.
9. Jeff Hardy vs “Broken” Matt – Slammiversary 2016
In TNA/IMPACT’s down years, the “Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick was one of the shining lights for the company and pro-wrestling in-general.
The cinematic-style series of vignettes that led to this match were visually captivating and a deviation from the television product TNA/IMPACT had been broadcasting for years. It’s for that reason why this match makes the list, not necessarily for the bout itself.
Following this pay-per-view, Jeff would go on to partner with his brother, once again, under the “Brother Nero” moniker.
…And then, of course, there was “Woken” Matt Hardy, which… was a thing.
8. Sting Debuts in TNA – One-Year Anniversary
This should be higher on the list given the Sting’s profile and the excitement of a debut.
However, tagging with Jeff Jarrett against the company’s future star and the well-known X-Pac doesn’t exactly sound like the right way to bring in the face of WCW.
At this time, Sting had been heavily involved with duties outside of pro-wrestling and signed a contract with TNA for four appearances; where he mainly feuded with Jeff Jarrett.
Sting returned to TNA in January 2006, tagging with Christian Cage against Jeff Jarrett and Monty Brown.
7. King of the Mountain 2 – Slammiversary 2005
TNA/IMPACT has had its fair share of interesting gimmick matches over the years, and the King of the Mountain is right up there alongside Lethal Lockdown and the Ultimate X.
The idea is simple (kinda): A reverse ladder match where pins and submissions are also included. …I did say “kinda.”
Fans had spoken well enough of the first, held during TNA’s weekly PPVs, and were at least intrigued to see it again.
The company naturally ran with the hype and drove its success into the ground by making it an annual event.
6. Pentagon Jr. vs Sami Callihan – Mask vs. Hair Match – Slammiversary XVI
A match not made for the squeamish, Pentagon Jr. and Sami Callihan provided the goriest event on this list with their creative use of a hammer.
From willingly accepting a chop from Pentagon Jr., to both men slamming their firsts into the ring posts via missed punches, this match was physically draining from start-to-finish.
But the highlight of this bout saw Pentagon Jr. wedge a spike into Callihan’s forehead, before hitting said spike, into said forehead, with the aforementioned hammer.
Following the win, Pentagon Jr. and his brother, Rey Fenix, put the boots to Callihan before scissoring off his locks. The match was well-received amongst wrestling fans and pundits, drawing a 4.25 star-rating from Dave Meltzer.
5. Sting Repels From the Rafters – Slammiversary 2007
TNA returned to their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, with the “Slammiversary 2007” pay-per-view taking place at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Up to this point, Sting had done all of his repelling at the iMPACT! Zone, and fans were wondering if he’d ever do it at another venue. Prior to his match with Christopher Daniels, the 3,500 fans in attendance got their wish.
Sting’s entrance immediately gave this match that extra spark (not that it needed it) and was the highlight of the night.
4. Kevin Nash (w/ Alex Shelley) vs Chris Sabin – Slammiversary 2006
Let’s just get this part out of the way right now: the match itself isn’t great. BUT, everything leading up to this match was.
After a lengthy main event stint in 2005, Nash began to shift gears, aligning himself with Alex Shelley and Johnny Devine as Paparazzi Productions.
The trio’s pre-taped segments, to this day, are some of the best television TNA ever produced. Over the shoulder cinematography mixed with shoot-style promos and a breaking of the fourth wall all compiled together to create comedy gold – later extending the series beyond this feud (i.e. the Paparazzi Championship Series).
Nash’s willingness to work with the X-Division, at a time when fans were up in arms about TNA’s decision to push veterans instead of homegrown talent, was a smart play and was well-received.
3. Samoa Joe Debuts in TNA – Slammiversary 2005
Off the heels of a twenty-one month reign as Ring of Honor World Champion, Samoa Joe debuted in TNA at the “Slammiversary 2005” pay-per-view in a winning effort over Sonjay Dutt.
Joe was dubbed “the Samoan Submission Machine,” forcing Dutt to tap out to the Coquina Clutch.
Following the event, Joe continued his reign of dominance, going on an eighteen-month undefeated streak. During that span, Joe would become TNA X-Division Champion twice (and lost the belt twice in multi-man matches, never officially being pinned or submitted).
Seen by many at that time as an indy darling, his victory over Dutt helped casual wrestling fans quickly relate and gravitate toward Samoa Joe.
2. NWA:TNA Debuts– First-Ever Show
It could be argued that this is one of the best moments in TNA/IMPACT, not just Slammiversary history, for this is the moment that started it all.
A company that many fans thought wouldn’t last seventeen days is nearing its seventeenth anniversary, and this show laid the groundwork.
On a night that featured some highs and some lows, fans were treated to Ken Shamrock winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, after a battle royal that led to a singles bout against Malice.
The event featured notable WCW alumni Scott Hall, “Buff” Bagwell, and Rick Steiner, but is remembered mostly for the appearance of Toby Keith – who suplexed Jeff Jarrett during the battle royal, exacting revenge from earlier in the night when he was shoved by Jarrett during a live musical performance.
1. Jeff Hardy Debuts in TNA – Second-Year Anniversary
In 2002, WWE had pushed Jeff Hardy to the moon as a singles star, resulting in the “charismatic enigma” taking a break from pro-wrestling.
During his time off, Hardy made a few appearances on the independent circuit (including a forgetful night in ROH) under his alternate persona, Willow the Wisp.
Fans were left confused and doubtful that they’d ever see the same Jeff Hardy they had grown to love over the years. On June 23, 2004, that doubt was erased.
A debut that very few fans knew about in advance, Hardy’s arrival in the TNA Asylum immediately brought fans to their feet. Stepping in for an injured Kid Kash, Hardy was automatically named number-one contender to the TNA X Division Championship.
His resume of high-flying, death-defying, somersaults as a member of ‘Team Xtreme’ were the perfect complement to TNA’s ‘Xtreme’-Division.
In what was originally supposed to be a one-off with TNA Wrestling, Hardy’s appearance was so well-received by the fans that it led to an eleven-year stint with the company, over two runs.