GFW/Impact ran its first pay-per-view of 2017, and its first big show under the Anthem Sports umbrella, on Sunday night in Orlando. Slammiversary delivered on all of its big matches, with a few in particular standing out as top-notch.
GFW has some big hurdles ahead. Can they re-brand the company successfully under the GFW name? Can they build an audience on Pop TV? The more pressing question is whether or not Anthem can secure a more worthwhile television deal in 2018, which even Jeff Jarrett hinted at during his press outings last week hyping Slammiverasry. Jarrett said he wanted the company to “get on TV in 2018.” That’s an indictment on its current TV deal and means Jarrett wants to get the company back to a point its viable as an entertainment entity.
The question is whether or not it’s too late.
A lot of people expected January and March to be an official re-launch under the Anthem group for Impact. It was more of a soft reset. The push into the “new era” for the company feels like it was starting with this show.
LAX beat Garza Jr. & Laredo Kid, Drago & Hijo De Fantasma, Naomichi Marufuji & Taiji Ishimori to retain the GFW/Impact Tag Team Titles
This was a really good match, and most definitely the right match to open the show with. It was complete chaos at times and the crowd, which Impact touted as being at capacity, was going nuts.
LAX won the match and retained, which was to be expected. Really, it was either LAX or Garza Jr./Laredo Kid that would win this match. I felt, at the announcement, it might have been difficult to have international wrestlers in this match, with the audience smart enough to know full well that part-timers weren’t going to win the tag titles, but this ended up being a terrific match and I think the action overcame that predictable booking.
DeAngelo Williams & Moose beat Chris Adonis & Eli Drake
I’ve been a fan of Williams’ build-up heading into this match. It’s a shame the table didn’t break on his dive at the finish, but I thought this match was booked perfectly. They made Williams and Moose both look strong, and even though Williams got the pin, Moose did most of the damage. They also had Adonis take the loss, which again, is smart booking. There is a lot more ceiling in Drake as a heel and mainstream star for GFW than Adonis.
Williams looked good enough that I hope this isn’t the last we see him in GFW. I think he could be a worthy asset for them moving forward.
ECIII beat James Storm in a strap match
I was disappointed with this match, overall. Perhaps it was a small timing issues, but I thought this match felt too short and rushed into the finish. The finish definitely protected Storm, with them talking about how the shot he took in the corner of the ring being why he couldn’t continue after hitting the Last Call kick. But again, this match wasn’t long enough and I thought needed to build up more. Storm also whipped ECIII countless times – I think I did actually count 31 – and it was brutal.
Jeremy Borash & Abyss beat Scott Steiner & Josh Mathews
Alright … here I’m going to eat some crow.
The build-up to this match was way too long and GFW devoted way too much television time to hyping this silly feud. That being said, this match was a lot of fun.
Yes, you can tell by the headline above, we saw the return of Abyss instead of Joseph Park, and James Mitchell also made his return. That was a fun surprise.
Overall, I thought they that had enough bells and whistles to make it a fun experience, including what looked like some pre-shot stuff. It doesn’t justify the terrible booking in putting together the build up to the match, and the amount of time dedicated to it, but this was definitely a good blow off to the Mathews-Borash feud. At least, let’s hope it’s the blow off.
Meanwhile, Don West and Robert Flores on commentary were really good, I thought. All night, the new voice on the product made the show feel special and it also gave it a different feel.
Eddie Edwards & Alisha Edwards beat Davey Richards & Angelina Love in FulL Metal Mayhem
This match I was deeply disappointed with. For the time they had, it was really entertaining, But the problem is that the match wasn’t nearly long enough. They had something good going with this feud, but the steam seems to have completely been let out.
The match wasn’t long enough. It had some good action and the effort was there from all four, but given the heat this feud had at the beginning of the year, I really felt like this match had something missing. With the Edwards’ also getting the win, I’m not sure where this feud can go from here.
Sonjay Dutt beat Low Ki in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match to retain the X Division Title
This was the biggest surprise of the night. I’m willing to see where they go from here with Dutt as champion still, because I really thought they would up the belt back on Low Ki and Dutt’s win was more just to do something fun in front of the India crowd. The belt has been such a hot potato at times in its history, I do give them credit for putting it on Dutt and trying to make something of it, although I would argue that Low Ki has the better chance to do something noteworthy with the championship.
Sienna beat Rosemary to win the GFW/Impact Women’s Championship
The crowd felt like they were starting to drag over the last two matches, which should make it interesting once we get to the main event here in a moment. For the most part, this match was fine. There wasn’t a lot of drama, though, which I think resulted in the crowd getting a bit sleepy.
Alberto El Patron beat Bobby Lashley to win the GFW/Impact World Heavyweight Title
This was a pretty good match, but I felt like they went over the top with all of the interference during the match. You had King Mo, you had Dos Caras, and you had a lot of shenanigans.
I’m still a fan of Lashley as the World Champion, because I think he brings an aura of legitimacy to the title. But I don’t fault GFW/Impact for putting the title on Del Rio at this pay-per-view. It gave the company a solid ending to a solid show. The question now becomes whether or not they can build on some momentum.