When TNA Wrestling launched, most critics didn’t think it would last eight weeks, much less eight years. Defying the pundits, the company has unapologetically forged its way into the history books. The road so far has taken many twists and turns, hills and valleys. Surprisingly, then, that this year’s version of Slammiversary was relatively straight-forward, simply a solid show comprised of a series of good, if unremarkable, matches.
The main event, pitting TNA World Heavyweight Champion Rob Van Dam against the icon Sting, may actually have been one of the weaker of the night, but that’s largely because they didn’t give it enough time, starting it with only about 15 minutes left after all of the introductions. They immediately went to the floor and into the crowd where they took turns whipping each other into a wall. Back in the ring, Sting was able to get the advantage, hitting RVD with a couple of Scorpion Splashes. Sting was wearing a T-shirt throughout the match, so possibly he was wearing a Bret Hart metal plate to inflict damage on Sting? Not the case. RVD was able to use his educated feet to surprise Sting with a double leg kick, but when he tried to follow it up with a body press, Sting moved and RVD flattened the ref. This gave Sting the opportunity to cheat by bringing in his baseball bat which he used to whack RVD’s legs. This brought out Jeff Jarrett, who grabbed the bat away from Sting and used it on the challenger. After he left, RVD hit the Rolling Thunder but Sting kicked out. Sting tried for another Scorpion Splash, but RVD moved, and Sting hit the corner hard. He went down and left him prone for the 5-Star Frog Splash, giving RVD the pin and the successful title defense.
Match 1: Frankie Kazarian vs Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle delivers a German suplex to Kazarian.
Kurt is curtain-jerking here, as part of the storyline where he is going through the top 10 contenders before he goes for a title again. But then Mike Tenay said that on Thursday, they will re-rank the top 10. So does that mean if somebody new comes on the list, he will have to go through them again? Or if Kazarian moves up, he will have to face him again? Somebody needs to explain this further. In any event, this was a very good match. Kazarian was able to match Angle’s pace, taking down Kurt with a missile dropkick early on, and then avoiding the trifecta of German Suplexes with a blatant low blow. The ref was going to call for the DQ, but Angle told him to let the match continue, presumably because he wanted to get the win cleanly. About ten minutes in, this one really picked up, with a series of finishing move attempts by both men, including Kaz hitting his reverse piledriver, which could have been disastrous given Kurt’s historical neck problems. Ultimately, Angle was able to clamp on the ankle lock and get the submission.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Match 2: Brian Kendrick vs Douglas Williams – for the TNA X-Division Championship
Williams did a good job of dictating the pace, keeping things slow and mat-based and stopping Kendrick from getting to the air. Williams with the first big move, driving Kendrick’s back to the floor on the outside. After some further punishment, Kendrick was able to turn the tide, ultimately hitting a flying dive to the floor. Nice creativity here, as Kendrick countered the rolling Chaos Theory suplex by biting Williams on the hand mid-way through the move. Taking a page out of his opponent’s book, Williams took to the air, hitting Kendrick with a swinging DDT off the ropes for the pin.
Winner, and still X-Division Champion: Douglas Williams
Backstage, Eric Bischoff had some bad words to say about Sting and his recent actions.
Roxxi is in disbelief after her loss to Madison Rayne.
Match 3: Madison Rayne vs Roxxi – for the Knockouts Championship
Before the match, Rayne questioned how Roxxi got a title shot, after only recently rejoining the company, and dared Roxxi to put her career on the line if she lost. As soon as Roxxi agreed to the stipulation, Madison corked her with the mic, busting her open huge – within seconds, she was wearing the crimson mask. Rayne beat her down for a while, but it didn’t take long for Roxxi to come back with a pair of Voodoo Drops, but before she could go for a cover, Rayne rolled out to the floor. Roxxi threw her back in the ring, but as she climbed in after her, Rayne gave her a couple of boots to the head to get the pin.
Winner, and still Knockouts Champion: Madison Rayne
Match 4: Jesse Neal vs Brother Ray
Tommy Dreamer arrives in the Impact Zone.
Before the match, Ray said he owed Neal, Shannon Moore and Brother Devon an apology for his recent behaviour. Swerve alert. Ray said that by challenging him, Neal was only doing what Team 3-D had taught him to do. The three embraced, but as they headed to the back, the swerve came to completion, with Ray attacking Neal from behind. Devon was angry with this, and tried to stop Ray, but Ray had security hold him back. As Ray punished Jesse, the cameras panned to a commotion in the crowd where who should be there but Tommy Freaking Dreamer! His appearance distracted Ray enough to leave him prone to a Neal spear and a pinfall.
Winner: Jesse Neal
Backstage, Hernandez promised that he would get revenge against Matt Morgan.
Match 5: Matt Morgan vs Hernandez
For the third match in the row, before they started, one of the participants grabbed the mic. This time it was a neck-braced Morgan who produced a doctor’s note that said he wasn’t able to compete tonight. As he headed to the back, Hernandez came out to deliver a second opinion. He pummeled Morgan for a while, but ultimately Morgan used some dirty tactics to get the advantage. Clearly, Morgan’s note wasn’t legitimate. Hernandez is one of the few guys who can claim a power advantage over Morgan, and he used it to ground Morgan, before choking his former tag team partner with his own T-shirt. The referee tried to stop Hernandez, but the big man’s temper got the better of him, and he heaved the ref across the ring, earning the DQ. After the match, Hernandez tried to kick Morgan’s head into the ring post, but Morgan moved, and the ref got hit instead.
Winner, by disqualification: Matt Morgan
Match rating: 5/10
Backstage, Hulk Hogan had no good words to say about Sting or his recent actions.
Abyss lies in the barbed wire.
Match 6: Abyss vs Desmond Wolfe
This is a Monster’s Ball match, so weapons are legal. Abyss brought out his plunder with him, but as he walked to the ring, he kept throwing the weapons at Wolfe who was already in the ring. This seems like stupid strategy to me, I think, because doesn’t that just leave your opponent with all the weapons? Didn’t matter here, since Abyss simply ducked Wolfe’s swing with the Singapore cane. Abyss quickly went under the ring for more weapons and found a barbed wire board. Meanwhile, Wolfe reached into a garbage can and found a teddy bear wrapped in barbed wire. His confusion by this let Abyss get an advantage, and after flattening Wolfe, the monster gave the bear to Chelsea. When he dumped out a bag of broken glass shards, that was enough for Wolfe who bailed. Abyss chased him up the ramp, and then gave him a chokeslam that broke the stage. After dragging Wolfe back to the ring, he tried to superplex Wolfe onto the barbed wire, but Wolfe reversed it and hit a super sunset-flip powerbomb, sending the big man onto the board, which carved him up pretty good. Abyss recovered, and hits a Shock Treatment, but couldn’t hold down Wolfe. Wolfe got the cane again and waffled Abyss right in the head, causing him to drop face first into the broken glass. Wolfe called for Chelsea’s loaded purse, but found it empty of the brass knuckles. Chelsea had them, but she threw them to Abyss, who nailed Wolfe with them, setting up a Black Hole Slam and a pin.
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, TNA Champion Rob Van Dam said he didn’t care about Sting’s recent actions, and that he was just going out there to beat Sting and keep his title.
Match 7: AJ Styles vs Jay Lethal
Good match between two wrestlers with very similar styles. Lethal got the first edge, yanking Styles off the apron as the Phenomenal One went for an Asai moonsault, and dropping Styles on his head. It didn’t last long, though, as Lethal got crotched on the top rope going for a move, and Styles capitalized with an enziguri, staggering Lethal. Things really began to pick up then, with the two exchanging several kicks and some hard-hitting offensive moves – really nice stuff. After some attempts to interfere, Ric Flair blatantly got involved, pulling Styles’ leg onto the rope to break up a Lethal pin attempt. Lethal got his revenge later on, mocking Flair as he locked on a Figure-Four Leglock. This punished AJ’s knee, and when Styles went for a top rope move, his knee gave out on him, slowing him down enough that Lethal was able to catch him in mid-air and roll up Styles for the pin.
Winner: Jay Lethal
Match Rating: 8/10
After the match, Kazarian came out to calm down Flair who was terribly upset with Styles for losing.
In the rafters, Sting wouldn’t apologize for his recent actions that has upset everyone else.
Backstage, Hardy and Anderson come up with a team name that combines their individual nicknames: the Enigmatic A-holes
Match 9: Beer Money Inc. vs the Enigmatic A-holes
The story here was whether Hardy and Anderson could work together and function as a team. The answer early on was affirmative, but soon the cohesiveness of Beer Money gave them the edge. They hit a few double-team moves, but eventually Anderson was able to escape their clutches and make the tag to Hardy. Hardy came in hot, but he fell quickly to another double-team move and a further Beer Money advantage. They continued this for a while, isolating Hardy from the corner, with more moves, including the Beer Money double suplex (the fans following the duo’s “Beer!” “Money!” bellows with “Sucks!”). Hardy fought back and finally got the tag to Anderson who immediately cleaned house. He and Hardy finally got on the same page, and after a few minutes, Hardy dispatched Storm, leaving Anderson alone to hit the Mic Check on Roode for the pin.
Winners: Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 10: Sting vs Rob Van Dam – for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Winner, and still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Rob Van Dam
Match Rating: 6/10
Overall pay-per-view rating: 7/10
Bob Kapur feels old. E-mail him in large easy-to-read font at [email protected].