After an ungodly amount of time watching misfires and squandered potential, it’s good that TNA Wrestling can hit a home run every now and then and palliate my frustration. Slammiversary, despite a last minute change up to the main event of the night, was one of the better pay-per-view offerings that TNA has served up in quite a while.
EDDIE EDWARDS vs. DAVEY RICHARDS vs. CRAZZY STEVE vs. TIGRE UNO vs. MANIK vs. SANADA (TNA X-Division Championship Ladder Match): This match was a hell of a way to open a pay-per-view. There were so many awesome spots (including Crazzy Steve’s homage to Terry Funk’s usage of a ladder to clear the ring) that I couldn’t keep up. However, in the back of my mind, I knew what the outcome would be. There was little to no build up for this match, so it was pretty obvious the X-Division title would not change hands. WINNER: SANADA
BOBBY LASHLEY vs. SAMOA JOE: With MVP’s injury occurring, he could no longer face Eric Young in the main event title match. This was one of two matches to determine Eric Young’s opponents in the, now a triple threat, main event match. After all of the speed and high flying of the previous match, this match was a nice change of pace. Both men are physical, smash-mouth, yet deceptively quick ring workers. These men left it all on the mat and though the referee distraction was a bit far-fetched to work on someone who just doesn’t give a damn like Joe, it set up a devastating spear from his opponent to gain the pin fall. WINNER: BOBBY LASHLEY
WILLOW (with Abyss in corner) vs. MAGNUS (with Bram in corner): As a huge fan of Magnus, I have to say that I am disappointed that he’s been removed from the title picture so soon after losing the belt. That being said, this feud with Willow seems decent enough and this match had quite a few entertaining, though predictable (as Jeff Hardy/Willow matches will always be) spots. Though Willow hit two finishers on Magnus, he kicked out and somehow found a way to lay out Willow for the victory. WINNER: MAGNUS
KENNY KING vs. AUSTIN ARIES: The second of two qualifying matches for the main event title bout, this match was a much different style than the Joe/Lashley bout. These men took it to high flying, striking and even ground/technical wrestling. Minus a blown spot where the guardrail collapsed into the first row of the crowd, this was definitely one for the ages. A high spot reversal by Aries, nailing his Brainbuster off the top rope, secured his shot at the title later that evening. WINNER: AUSTIN ARIES
MARSHALL AND ROSS VON ERICH vs. THE BROMANS: I’ve had a soft spot for the newest torch bearers of the Von Erich legacy. But I have yet to see them really impress me in the ring. They did show tons of promise in this short, but sweet bout. Though the Bromans resorted to the steel chair and got themselves disqualified, they looked to send a message to the Von Erich boys…until family showed up for back up in the name of the legendary Kevin von Erich. Not only did he hit the Iron Claw in their home state, but it occurring on Father’s Day? TNA could not have brainstormed a more well-deserved pop than what they got at the end of that match. (WINNERS: VON ERICHS BY DISQUALIFICATION)
ANGELINA LOVE vs. GAIL KIM (TNA Knockouts Championship): Though I’ve never been sold on Angelina Love, she did put on quite the performance against the always solid Gail Kim. Maybe it’s just me, but how many matches can the Beautiful People win using nearly the exact same distraction tactic (this time, referee Earl Hebner taking an accidental dropkick)? Then Brian Stifler came in and refused to count when Kim had the pin, but made the quick count when Angelina pinned Gail. WINNER: ANGELINA LOVE
ETHAN CARTER III vs. BULLY RAY (Texas Deathmatch): The “no disqualification/last man standing” rules of this match made for a brutal display of violence. There were the standard tables, chairs and other wrestling paraphernalia. Then we started seeing weapons that gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling that I haven’t had since watching ECW in the mid-late 1990s (cowbells, glass shards and yes, a cheese grater). I’m no fan of Ethan’s aunt, TNA President Dixie Carter, being involved in matches or storylines. Her acting ability leaves much to be desired. But Dixie sticking her nose into this match, and nearly getting driven through a table, was enough to put any fan that is upset with TNA upper management on the edge of their seat. But interference from Rockstar Spud allowed EC3 to avoid getting a pile driver to the exposed ring foundation that Bully tore open earlier. He then gave Bully Ray a taste of his own medicine, putting him through some tables. WINNER: ETHAN CARTER III
KEN ANDERSON vs. JAMES STORM: After Storm spent a few minutes clowning on the hometown Dallas Cowboys. Said Cowboys were in attendance and were pretty irate at Storm’s disparaging comments and gestures. Anderson and Storm had quite a brief match, with Anderson hitting the Mic Check merely a few minutes in. But it was all about getting the crowd into it and Anderson to get over with the fans even more by standing triumphant in the ring with the Dallas Cowboys in the end. WINNER: KEN ANDERSON
BOBBY LASHLEY vs. AUSTIN ARIES vs. ERIC YOUNG (TNA World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match): This is the big one and MAN, it did not disappoint. I have been overly critical of Eric Young’s matches and him basically being champion just to promote his new television series. But I have to eat some of those words, as he and his opponents had probably the best triple threat cage match I’ve seen in about a decade. 3-way cage matches tend to get cluttered and the camera tends to miss important high spots. But these men knew how to work this match. Between Lashley’s power, Aries’ technical/high-flying style and EY’s insane devil-may-care ring style, they told quite the narrative. Young dropping an elbow off the top of the 20 foot cage, possibly made Macho Man look down from heaven and smile. Young in the end hit a pile driver on Aries to retain the title. Though it remains to be seen if Aries was truly defeated, or if he just laid down to allow EY the win as a “screw you” to the Director of Wrestling Operations, MVP. WINNER: ERIC YOUNG
I sincerely hope that this is the dawn of a new era for TNA Wrestling. This was, in my opinion, the best pay-per-view put out from either of the big 2 promotions all year long. What were your thoughts on Slammiversary?