2020 was a very up and down year for IMPACT. 2020 started hot with a very good PPV in Hard to Kill, and then the wheels fell off when the Pandemic and the “Speaking Out” movement decimated many of their plans. Rebellion was relegated to a two episode IMPACT on AXS special that had to be completely re-written and was their first event with no fans. Slammiversary lost its entire main event when Tessa Blanchard and Michael Elgin got fired just a couple weeks prior to the event. But IMPACT did what IMPACT always does in the face of catastrophe, they weathered the storm and bounced back quite nicely and ended the year with the most buzz the company has had under the Anthem regime. With that said, lets countdown the Top 5 best IMPACT matches of 2020.
5. Rich Swann vs Eric Young (Bound for Glory)
The Swann-Young storyline was my favorite in the company in 2020 and no other story comes close. This match was a masterclass in storytelling and if there were a live crowd this likely would have been number 1. Swann overcoming devastating injuries and attacks from Young prior to the match, the killer promos by both men, and of course the match itself should be studied. Swann sold the entire match and made Eric Young look like the most evil man in wrestling. The only knock I have is that they should have picked up the pace a bit and had more hard hitting action because of the lack of crowd, but that would have been difficult given the story they were trying to tell.
4. Tessa Blanchard vs Sami Callihan (Hard to Kill)
This was their third match of their infamous trilogy, and was supposed to be the crowning of IMPACTs biggest star. This match had everything. Drama, storytelling, great action, and of course the beautiful moment with Tessa finally vanquishing the evil Callihan. Regardless of the controversy that surrounded Tessa in the hours leading up to the match, and the fact that her run ultimately ended in failure amidst the chaos that Tessa’s world brings, this match was fantastic. I’m not really in to intergender matches, at all, but this is as good as any match you will see this year. Tessa’s selling is top notch and the character work from Callihan is out of this world. If you are anti-IG matches, give this one a shot, they really won me over and have unbelievable chemistry.
3. Jordynne Grace vs Deonna Purazzo (30 Minute Ironman Match, IMPACT, Aug 25)
This match will likely win match of the year for many IMPACT fans and there will not be much argument. These two women had a banger of a match at Slammiversary and this was the culmination of the feud. Not many women’s matches get to go 30 minutes in a headline spot, so they were out to prove a point and the did. My only knock was that they had some screwy pinfalls in there that were really not necessary. Their last feud might be over for the time being, but I certainly hope they get to do it again.
2. Motor City Machine Guns vs The North (IMPACT, July 21)
The return of the MCMGs was one of the greatest moments of 2020. The legendary team returned at Slammiversary and defeated The Rascalz, which led to them challenging The North who were in the midst of a year plus long title reign. The Guns finally upended the North in a classic TV main event.
1. Rich Swann vs Eric Young vs Eddie Edwards vs Ace Austin vs Trey Miguel (Slammiversary)
This will likely stir up a little controversy but the main event of Slammiversary is my favorite match of the year. Which is surprising because I really don’t like the idea of multiple person matches for the world title. The original match that was scheduled featured Tessa, Elgin, Trey, Eddie, and Ace but after Tessa was stripped of the title and fired, and Elgin was fired, the company were left scrambling. They advertised a four way for the title with only Eddie, Ace, and Trey being named and the hook being that a surprise former world champion as the fourth opponent. When the surprise came, out walked Rich Swann, making his return after a near career ending leg injury. Just when we thought that was it, Eric Young also made his return after many years being hidden in WWE. The 5 proceeded to have a very fun, dramatic, action filled match that led to Eddie winning, Swann jumping in to a main event feud with an IMPACT legend, and Eric Young cementing himself as the company’s top heel.
Ace Austin and Trey Miguel were also made to look like main eventers, that night. Before Slammiversary they were typically involved in middle to bottom of the card X-Division matches and always shined. In fact their Hard to Kill match almost made my top 5. These two young stars really looked like they belonged right next to the other three who had far more exposure and experience. I don’t know what the future will hold for Miguel or where he will end up next, but if he returns to Impact he will almost be sure to have a spot in the main events. Ace Austin broke out in 2019, became a main eventer for most of 2020 and looks to take a bigger step further in 2021.