Posted July 1st, 2017 by Bill Apter

By Don Murphy

Happy Independence Day weekend! In recent years, professional wrestling has experienced slow periods during the summer months. That’s not the case this year, as this weekend alone, there are three major events taking place, not including WWE’s weekly programming on Monday and Tuesday nights. For older fans like me, this may bring back memories of the NWA’s Great American Bash Summer Tour, with shows across the United States. For younger fans, who may have no idea what I am talking about, Professor Predictor is giving you a homework assignment to check out some of the historic “Bash” shows on the WWE Network. You won’t be disappointed. With that said, one of the shows that will highlight the weekend is Impact Wrestling’s 15th annual Slammiversary show, emanating from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. In addition to the nostalgia this show usually brings, this year is a particularly important chapter in the company’s history, as several of the matches on the show will unify titles held by Impact Wrestling superstars and those who are a part of Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling. We’ll also see the return of a wrestling legend, in addition to an appearance by an NFL Superstar. Impact Wrestling is an acquired taste for sure, particularly in recent years. You’re either a diehard fan, or the product is simply not for you. But, I think Sunday’s event has the potential to surprise fans across the board and be a highlight among the high-profile events this weekend. Let’s run down the card….

Unification Championship Match: Lashley (Impact Wrestling Champion) meets Alberto El Patron (Global Force Wrestling Champion)

Analysis: While the build to this match hasn’t been as good as it could have been, there’s an interesting story at play if you’ve followed both these men’s careers. For me, Lashley is one of the most improved wrestlers over the past five years. His promos have gotten so much better and he’s been positioned well as a dominant, big-time fighter. On the other side, El Patron has finally found a company where he can present his character in a way that resonates well with the fans. This is a good sign, as I think Impact made a mistake when they originally turned Drew Galloway heel and allowed him to sign with NXT. He played the “champion of the wrestling business and of the people” role very well and it’s been missing since he left. I think they’re getting a good second chance to re-create that dynamic with El Patron and thus far, the fanbase seems to be responding accordingly. The match itself should be respectable from an in-ring presentation standpoint, as both know how to put on a good match. In terms of the outcome, they’ve had Lashley be dominant for the better part of two years, and with El Patron recently debuting, I’m fairly confident that we’ll see El Patron unify the titles here and be the babyface champion, carrying Impact Wrestling’s banner.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Alberto El Patron becomes the Impact and Global Force Wrestling Champion

Unification Championship Match: Rosemary (Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion) meets Sienna (Global Force Wrestling Women’s Champion)

Analysis: I haven’t been sold on Rosemary as a babyface just yet, but with Gail Kim still sidelined, and her future uncertain, the move makes sense. I do like the alliance between her and Allie, as it’s given us some entertaining moments over the last several weeks and I’m hoping that we continue to see that story evolve here. With Sienna, it looked like they were starting to build her as a dominant heel champion feuding with Karen Jarrett and the authority figures. But, the creative team seems to have shifted focus, to the point where it’s unclear as to what direction they are taking. Rosemary should be able to carry Sienna to a decent match, combined with likely outside interference from Allie, Laurel Van Ness, KM, Braxton Sutter and Kongo Kong. I look for Rosemary to go over here, as there really isn’t another credible babyface on the roster at this point, who would make sense challenging Sienna.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Rosemary becomes the Impact and Global Force Wrestling Women’s Champion

X-Division Championship Match: Sonjay Dutt defends the X-Division Championship against Low-Ki

*The match will be contested under two out-of-three falls rules*

Analysis: For once, there’s a one-on-one match for the X-Division title, as opposed to the usual multi-man spotfest we generally get to start the show. This has been a nice change of pace for a division that has lacked direction for the last couple of years. Despite his ridiculous wrestling outfit, Low-Ki, even as he’s aged, continues to be one of the better in-ring workers across the industry. The same can be said for Dutt, who fell off the radar for several years, but never stopped honing his craft. This should be the match of the night and I see Dutt retaining here, given the company’s presence in India, in addition to the amount of time the company spent building to the moment when he finally captured the title.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Sonjay Dutt retains the X-Division Championship

Tag Team Match: Josh Matthews and Scott Steiner meet Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park

Analysis: When I first heard about this match, I rolled my eyes. But, I must admit, they’ve done a nice job building this match. I’m never a fan of bickering announcers. I didn’t like it when the WWE did with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler and I wasn’t a fan of it here. But, they’ve managed to win me over. The bickering hasn’t been as pronounced these past few weeks, the training vignettes have been entertaining on both sides, and it will be interesting to see what Scott Steiner can do, after being away from the ring for many years. Plus, Park is a crowd favorite and I’ve been entertained by him during the buildup. I do hope that this gives some closure to the feud and that they don’t go back to bickering announcers at the next show. Borash would be decent on play-by-play, while Matthews could assume the role of an obnoxious heel manager. I see the babyface team going over here.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park defeat Josh Matthews and Scott Steiner

Strap Match: Ethan Carter III meets James Storm

Analysis: This is another match that has had a nice build. The story is important here because although Storm has a legacy within Impact Wrestling, he’s been involved with several failing gimmicks lately. It’s nice to see that they were able to build him into a match with some level of credibility. Since turning heel, EC3 has been gold and he’s probably one of the most talented heels in the business. He can be humorous and entertaining when the situation calls for it, but he knows how to bring a level of seriousness to the character, so that he doesn’t become the “cool heel” that gets cheered. He’s incorporated the strap into the story so that the match makes sense and leaves the fans looking for the payoff to the feud. Carter will likely get a strong victory here and then move to a championship feud, likely with Alberto El Patron, if my earlier prediction rings true.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Ethan Carter III defeats James Storm

Tag Team Match: Moose and DeAngelo Williams meet Eli Drake and Chris Adonis

Analysis: This match will give Impact Wrestling some exposure on mainstream sports channels, given Williams’ participation. It may not be a great match, from an in-ring standpoint, but the interaction between Drake and Williams should make it watchable. The babyface team will almost certainly go over here, and then I am hoping they can find something better to do with Drake. He is vastly underrated and has a good amount of potential that hasn’t been tapped into as of yet. Adonis is a solid worker, but he has never really shaken the “Masterpiece” stigma and I don’t see much upside at this point. Moose is still very green and I haven’t really seen him evolve since joining Impact. He does have the Grand Championship, for what that’s worth, so it might be time for some re-packaging once this match plays out.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Moose and DeAngelo Williams defeat Eli Drake and Chris Adonis

Full Metal Mayhem Match: Eddie Edwards and Alisha Edwards meet Davey Richards and Angelina Love

Analysis: When this feud started, it was a dream match on paper. Both are highly talented and I’m always a fan of a feud that plays out over several months. It’s stalled in the past couple of months, but the nice thing here is that they have the potential to either end the program here, or create a finish that keeps it going. There’s more upside to the heel Richards-Love act, so I am picking them to go over here. Richards would be a nice antagonist to whoever ends up winning the X-Division title match and Love may have some more mileage as an in-ring competitor. Edwards’ career looks to be winding down. Alisha is credible, but a bit too green at this stage to be elevated on the card.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Davey Richards and Angelina Love defeat Eddie Edwards and Alisha Edwards

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship Match: The Latin American Xchange defend the Impact and Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Championship against Drago/El Hijo del Fantasma, Naomichi Marufuji/Taiji Ishimori, and Laredo Kid/Garza Jr.

Analysis: Aside from LAX, Laredo Kid and Garza Jr., I’m not familiar with the talent in this match. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the four I’ve mentioned and I am confident that the addition of the other two teams will make this an entertaining match. I do hope we get some back stories that will give this match a level of importance, beyond a talent showcase. LAX will retain here and then I am looking forward to the creative team inserting them into more robust storylines.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Latin American Xchange retain the Impact and Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Championship
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