TNA has been the recipient of quite a bit of criticism in the past year. In marking their five year anniversary, TNA returned to their old stomping grounds of Nashville, TN. A rowdy, vocal crowd at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium witnessed one of the better TNA pay per view events in quite some time, and the crowning of a new TNA champion.
Just prior to the main event King of the Mountain match for the vacant belt, TNA commentator Mike Tenay directed us to a video feature on Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett, who along with his father Jerry started TNA in 2002, was one of the potential mystery men in the fifth spot in the match. The video featured a very emotional Jarrett speaking about his wife Jill, who passed away on May 23rd from breast cancer. He spoke of her influence on the company’s early days, and frequently had to pause to regain his composure. He concluded by stating that he doesn’t know when or where he’ll wrestle again but being inside the ring is the worst place for him right now. He thanked the fans for their support for himself and on behalf of his wife. The piece was incredibly powerful and many in the live audience, and no doubt at home watching as well, were moved to tears. The fans chanted Jill’s name as well as “Thank You Jeff.”
It was then on to the main event King of the Mountain match, featuring former world champions A.J. Styles and Christian Cage as well as Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe (who debuted at Slammiversary two years ago) and mystery man Chris Harris. TNA commissioner Jim Cornette announced Harris stating that he had been with TNA since day one and deserved the opportunity. The rules for the King of the Mountain match are that you have to climb a ladder and place the TNA belt on a hook. To qualify to do so, you have to pin one of your opponents, who then has to spend two minutes in the penalty box. This is the fourth King of the Mountain match and I still think the stipulations are pretty stupid, but on the other hand the match features a loaded talent pool which certainly made up for the stipulations.
The match started with a brawl among all of the participants, with Joe and Angle targeting each other and allies Styles and Cage teaming up on Harris. After taking the “Wildcat” down Cage talked a pouting Styles into lying down for a pinfall, which Angle broke up. A few moments later Styles attempted a tornado DDT on Harris but was caught, used as a weapon on Cage, and then hit with the catatonic to make Harris the first man to qualify to climb the ladder. He never even got the opportunity as Cage dragged him outside and as they brawled Joe tossed a ladder out of the ring onto them. Joe and Angle rekindled their feud from late 2006/early 2007 until all five men returned to the ring. Harris set up a ladder bridge between the ring and the barricade as Styles attempted the Styles Clash on Angle, who reversed into the anklelock. Styles kicked Angle to the floor and charged at Harris, who backdropped him onto a prone Christian lying on the ladder. Harris tried to scale the ladder for the first time, but Angle returned to the ring and hit the Angle slam off of it to be the second man to qualify to climb the ladder.
Joe vs. Angle again took over on each other, and then Joe hit the musclebuster on Styles. Angle broke it up and tried to clothesline Joe, but took out official Rudy Charles by accident. Joe snared Angle in the choke, Angle tapped but the official was not able to make the call. Christian nailed Joe with the ladder and stole the pin on Angle to be the third man to qualify to try and claim the belt. His attempt was thwarted by Joe, who connected with an Ace crusher off of the ladder on to the belt.
The action kicked into higher gear from this point, with the wrestlers living up to the name Total Nonstop Action. Harris escaped the penalty box and tried to climb the ladder, hitting both Joe and Cage with the belt as they tried to stop him. Styles succeeded in knocking Harris off the ladder with a springboard dropkick. Styles climbed on top of the penalty cage and tried to suplex Joe, was locked in the choke, kicked Joe low but was then thrown off of the cage through the announce table. The cameras missed Harris shoving Joe off of the cage, but caught him suplexing Cage into the ring off the cage and then diving off with a flying clothesline onto Angle. The Nashville crowd was going insane by this point, chanting “This is awesome.”
The three men who had qualified to climb the ladder squared off in the ring, with Harris playing ladder airplane spin and taking Cage and Angle down. Harris climbed the ladder but Cage pushed it over and climbed up. Angle followed him from behind and locked Cage in the ankle lock on the top of the ladder in a cool visual. Cage kicked Angle in the head to break it up and tried to hang the belt, but Harris leapt off the top rope with a spear, crashing down to the mat. Angle was left holding the belt and hung it up to claim the title. After the match Samoa Joe offered Angle his hand. Angle responded with a kick and an Angle slam, hinting at once again locking up with Samoa Joe in the near future.
Easily the best King of the Mountain match yet, maximizing the stipulations without making them to confusing, the entertaining main event capped off an enjoyable three hours of wrestling. If TNA can continue to focus on what they claim — that “we are wrestling” — and stop the nonsensical booking and problems, then maybe they can finally silence critics and firmly establish themselves as a company continuing to go places.
The next TNA pay per view is Victory Road on July 15th.
TNA Slammiversary 2007 Results
The show kicked off with a video package of some of the highlights of TNA’s early days in Nashville and their weekly pay per views. Was it thrilling matches like the Triple-threat ladder match between AJ Styles, Low Ki and Jerry Lynn or the first cage match between AMW and Triple-X? Nope, but there were lots of shots of Cheatum the evil Midget. Which just goes to show you how far the company has actually come since its early days.
With that the show cut to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The show really did have a “big show” feel compared to the Impact Zone in Orlando, with a massive entranceway. It was evident that the arena was far from sold out, but the crowd’s energy level more then made up for the lack of people in its upper levels.
Match 1: Senshi & Rhino vs. LAX
This was originally advertised as Chris Harris teaming up with Rhino, which I am sure made several people suspect he was the mystery man. Despite having not teamed up together before, Senshi and Rhino, who had Hector Guerrero in their corner, meshed well as a team. The crowd was red hot from the opening bell which really set the tone for the night. A scary moment early in the match as Rhino went to powerbomb Homicide but dropped him over the top rope to the floor. Senshi had a difficult time against the more powerful Hernandez, but had more success with some of his trademark kicks. It wasn’t quite enough as he found himself caught and thrown across the ring twice. Senshi dove off the ropes to the floor onto Hernandez as Konnan slipped Homicide the slapjack and distracted the referee. Guerrero grabbed it from Homicide, clotheslined him on the top rope, and on the rebound Homicide was destroyed by a gore.
Winners: Rhino & Senshi
Mike Tenay and Don West advised the paid audience that Scott Stiener was injured and things were still up in the air for the tag title match. Jeremy Borash in the back spoke to Eric Young, who was distracted by Traci Brooks. Gail Kim came up and told Young to focus on the match, and then kissed him, before telling Brooks that it was a kiss from a real woman. Brooks then shoved Borash and called him a bitch, but that may have been intended for Kim.
Match 2: X-Division Championship — Chris Sabin (Champion) vs. “The Black Machismo” Jay Lethal (Challenger)
Kevin Nash, who has “injected members of the X-Division with personality” was on commentary for the match. While some may question the Macho Man inpersonation, Lethal absolutely nails it, is really good at blending Randy Savage’s moves with his own, and it gets great reactions live. A great X-division style match that reminded me of why I started watching TNA in the first place. Sabin has evolved into an awesome cocky heel which is a big change from his rather bland babyface persona. Lethal dominated much of the early bout but Sabin repeatedly stopped his momentum with dirty tactics. Things picked up in the final moments of the match as Lethal climbed up top but was caught with a mule kick and an enziguri for a near fall. Sabin tried to finish off Lethal with the Cradleshock but Sabin escaped and attempted a dragon suplex, which Sabin blocked by backing Lethal into the corner. Lethal connected with a superkick, the “lethal combination” and connected with a terrible Savage top rope elbow to win the belt.
Winner: … and new X-division champion … “The Black Machismo” Jay Lethal
A video package highlighting the TNA press conference altercation between Frank Wycheck and James Storm aired.
Match 3: Ron Killings & James Storm (with Jackie Moore) vs. Frank Wycheck & Jerry Lynn (with Kyle Vanden Bosch)
Not quite sure why Killings, in his first match back after an injury, is teaming with Storm, and no explanation is really given. The match seemed to appeal mostly to the live crowd who greeted Tennessee Titan Wycheck with a great reaction. Lynn and Killings started off before Storm was tagged in and so Lynn tagged in Wycheck. Storm shoulderblocked Wycheck then put on a football helmet and had Killings toss him a football, which he fumbled. The crowd booed that big time. Things didn’t bode well as some of the early bumps on the shoulderblocks on Wycheck were pretty sloppy, but he seemed to get the hang of things quickly and stunned me with a dropkick on Storm. Wycheck tossed Lynn outside onto the heels, then chased Killings around the ring and was surprised with a clothesline. Lynn made the tag and went on the offense before being thrown to the floor. Storm spit beer on cornerman Kyle Vanden Bosch, who tried to get into the ring. Killings and Lynn took each other out with cross-bodies and each made the tag. Wycheck took over with clotheslines and slams on both, but walked into a superkick by Storm, whose cover was broken up by Vanden Bosch. In the ring Storm tried to hit Wycheck with a beer bottle, hit Killings instead and Wycheck hit Storm with a cradle piledriver for the win. Probably one of the better “celebrity” matches I’ve seen.
Winners: Jerry Lynn and Frank Wycheck.
Match 4: Bob Backlund vs. Alex Shelley
Mike Tenay and Don West made a big deal out of the fact that Backlund “lost his mind” after losing the world title to Kevin Nash in 1994 as well as the fact that he was nearing 60. The match was short and inoffensive, and I think Shelley is a phenomenal talent with a ton of charisma, which helped the match a great deal. After some leg takedowns by Backlund, Shelley came back with chops and hiptoss. He locked on a shortarm scissors but Backlund lifted him on his shoulder and placed him in the corner. Backlund hit a suplex and an atomic drop as Chris Sabin hit the ring and grabbed Backlund, who pulled him into the ring and dropped Shelley face-first into Sabin’s crotch. Backlund surprised Shelley with a roll up into a bridge for the pin. Seriously? TNA jobbed out one of their biggest potential stars to a 60-year-old man? For the first time I found myself remembering what I dislike about the TNA product. Sabin and Shelley attacked Backlund, Jerry Lynn tried to make the save and Kevin Nash booted him in the face. What? Jay Lethal hit the ring and Nash exited while Lethal took out the Murder City Machineguns. The announcers made a big deal of Nash being caught in the middle of his proteges.
Winner: Bob Backlund
Christopher Daniels cut a promo from the audience about being an angel sent from the heavens to do God’s bidding, and his bidding was to defeat Sting and that God has given him the talent to be World Champion. They cut him off with his theme music. Oops.
Match 5: Damaja & Basham (with Christy Hemme) vs. The Voodoo Kin Mafia.
Will this feud between Hemme and the VKM ever end? At least I can tell the ex-Basham brothers apart now. The worst match on the show as it was so quick you just about blinked and missed it. Basham and Damaja went for a double suplex on Kip but BG hit a spear and Kip got a small package for the three count. After the match Lance Hoyt came from the back and grabbed Hemme and carried her back to the ring. He went to chokeslam Hemme but then hit a big boot on Kip, turning on the VKM. After helping Damaja and Basham beat down the James boys. Hoyt and Hemme swapped spit. Yikes.
Winners: The Voodoo Kin Mafia
Backstage Leticia and Rick Steiner were in Jim Cornette’s office. Steiner told Cornette he had a tag partner to replace the injured Scott. He whispered who it was and Cornettee told him he had a title match. Back in the building LAX jumped Hector Guerrero at the Spanish Announce Table and beat him down while security tried to break it up.
Match 6: Eric Young vs. Robert Roode (with Traci Brooks)
I’d expect better chemistry from these two considering both their Team Canada history and the length of this angle. I like both guys as wrestlers but this match just didn’t click for me other then when Young showed impressive strength by having both Roode and Brooks on his shoulders and hitting a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. I groaned when Roode hit Young with a chair and pinned him, resulting in him firing Young (the stipulation was if Roode won, Young was fired, if Eric won he was free of Roode’s contract ownership.) Jim Cornette hit the ring and restarted the match. Sigh. Boo to overplayed Dusty booking! Needless to say Young surprised Roode with a small package to win his freedom.
Winner: Eric Young
In back Brother Ray cut a great promo about how it was supposed to be two of the greatest tag teams ever in wrestling facing off but its not going to happen because Scott Steiner isn’t there. He verbally tore Scott a new one.
Match 7: TNA Tag Team Championship — Team 3D (Champions) vs. Rick Steiner and a mystery partner (Challenger)
The mystery partner was Road Warrior Animal. The live crowd popped huge for nostalgia. I groaned. I wasn’t really looking forward to the original match other then seeing two legendary teams go at it. Devon and Steiner started off with Devon dominating, and both teams tagged in. Ray and Animal traded shoulderblocks and then Ray hit Animal with a piledriver, which Animal promptly popped up from. Team 3D worked over Steiner until he came back with a powerslam on Devon and a backdrop on Ray. The challengers nailed clotheslines and and called for the Doomsday Device. Team 3D connected on Steiner with the 3D out of nowhere for the pin.
Winners: … and still tag team champions … Team 3D.
Match 8: Sting vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels.
Sting made his entrance from the rafters, old-school style. I was really looking forward to this match and while it was decent, it wasn’t as great as my expectations and didn’t really push Daniels into the uppercard the way I thought it was meant to. They faced off and both men failed to take the other down with a shoulderblock. Sting went for the Scorpion Deathlock early on, but Daniels escaped and rolled out to the floor. Sting clotheslined Daniels from the apron and Daniels sent Sting crashing into the barricade off of the apron and started working on Sting’s chest. Sting fought back but Daniels poked Sting in the eye and locked on the abdominal stretch. Sting came back with an inverted atomic drop and a series of clotheslines, followed by a faceplant. Sting went for the Stinger Splash but Daniels caught Sting with the STO. Daniels went for the Angels wings but was backdopped, Sting went for the splash again but was kneed in the chest. Sting reversed the Last Rites into the Scorpion Deathlock and scored the pin.
Match 9: No DQ Match — Tomko vs. Abyss
This was quite possibly the best match of Tomko’s career. The match started as a typical big man brawl until Abyss took over and brought out the thumbtacks. He tried to chokeslam Tomko on the tacks but Tomko blocked it and hit a sit down slam on the tacks, which Abyss kicked out from. Abyss came back with a Black Hole Slam for a two count and then grabbed another bag from under the ring. He poured out broken glass and grinded it with his feet. Tomko hit a clothesline and grabbed a piece of glass and started carving up Abyss in a cringeworthy moment. Tomko grabbed a barbed wire bat and chased Abyss up the entrance ramp and drilled him several times. Abyss escaped and began climbing scaffolding. Tomko climbed a ladder and tried to hit Abyss from above but missed. Abyss grabbed Tomko and threw him off the scaffolding through a black platform below. Abyss then dove off the top with a splash, which revealed the platform to be a giant stack of cardboard boxes, which really hurt the spot. Both men crawled back to the ring and Abyss surprised Tomko with a Black Hole Slam onto the glass for the three count.
Backstage Borash was with Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe as last minute hype for the King of the Mountain match. Angle said they needed to bloody each other and do what they have to do. Joe promised to bring it, and Angle said “It’s real. It’s damn real.”
Match 10: King of the Mountain Match for the vacant TNA Championship — Christian Cage vs. Chris Harris vs. AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Winner:… and new TNA Champion… Kurt Angle
Overall Event Rating: 8/10
Slammiversary Live NotesBefore the show, Christy Hemme and Kevin Nash were at a table signing autographs and taking pictures.
In the arena itself, several stars came out to ringside and some even went into the crowd doing the same, including Petey Williams, Lance Hoyt, Gail Kim, So Cal Val, Letitia, and TNA President Dixie Carter.
Dark match saw Traci Brooks pin a local DJ in a comedy match that saw him trying to fondle and grope her and she fighting back. Moral of this story is that fat guys shouldn’t try moonsaults.
Fittingly, for Music City USA, a local band played a few country rock songs to rile up the crowd.
It was also announced that during the course of the night, fans would be selected at random to go backstage for a meet and greet with the entire roster.
The local band played again while a video montage showed highlights from the company’s early days when they held all their shows in Nashville all the way through to today.
Nothing happened after the cameras went off.
— by Bob Kapur