A while ago on Twitter, after the abomination that was last monday’s Raw, I promised that I’d give TNA more of a chance. I had some time to kill this Sunday (imagine that) so I caught TNA’s Slammiversary pay-per-view. I got to admit, I came away impressed on a number of levels.
What I watched wasn’t a “made for TV” production, as the WWE is apt to do, but rather a bunch of matches that had meaning in some form, some extremely well executed ring work, and some actual logical booking.
I gave up on TNA a while ago simply because of Russo style booking that was in effect. The last TNA pay-per-view I watched was last years Bound For Glory. While there was some fun spots, a lot of it left something to be desired. The most glaring example of Russo’s style was the TNA Title match between Roode and Angle. The match, while ok on some levels, used no less than 10 finishing moves spots towards the end, and felt hurried while doing it.
Now I give Angle a ton of credit for working through that match with a deeply bruised hamstring, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Russo is infamous for attempting “swerve upon swerve” in matches and angles he books. A ton of face time for the Bischoffs, Hogan, and the “Immortal” stable felt tired and recycled. Needless to say, this was WCW-lite, so there wasn’t a need to continue indulging it.
Fast forward to Sunday’s program which opened up with Hogan doing his General Manager duties. I was a bit fearful, but he welcomed the crowd and put them over as the reason for TNA’s success. Then he made changed the opening match between Samoa Joe and Austin Aries to an X-Division Title match. Fair enough.
The he left. Yup, he did his bit and walked out of the ring. Cool!
Aries and Joe, two of the best in the business, put on an absolute clinic. Simply put, with a bit more time and some build, this could have been a classic. Regardless, the match was fun with both men getting a good amount of time to look good. Aries had a stunning display of strength for his lithe frame when he muscled Joe up for his Brainbuster finisher, and it looked damn brutal.
Fast forward through a few other matches, and Christian (formerly Christian Cage in TNA) came out, put over the crowd and the company, and announced Sting as TNA”s first Hall Of Fame inductee. Simply, to the point, and classy. In a way, it was an homage by the WWE to Sting’s career to have a representative there during the announcement. Nicely done and the entire thing was appropriate.
The match of the night went to the TNA Tag Team Title Match where Angle and Styles took on Daniels and Kazarian. The match had an excellent pacing and ring work, good story in the match itself, and a ton of sick spots. When Styles nailed the Springboard Moonsault outside to Daniels, that was an instant classic that will stand out. Angle had a few nice “strong” spots, mostly with nailing the Double German Suplex to Daniels and Kazarian. The heel team of Daniels and Kazarian played their roles perfectly. Overall, a classic type of tag team bout and showed one of TNA’s strengths.
The Triple Threat Number One Contender match between Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and Rob Van Damn was a fun match as well. While not on the level of Aries vs. Joe and the TNA Tag Title match, it was a pay-per-view worthy match in it’s own right. There was a fine weird spots, but there was also some creative ones as well and the timing between the men was good as well.
The pay-per-view wasn’t without a few comedy spots. Bully Ray, whom I consider the best heel in the business, took on Joseph Park in an “Anything Goes” match. Needless to say, the storyline up to that point was a touch forgottable, but the match itself wasn’t without merit. Ray did his best to sell Park’s random shots. The ending itself, while a touch corny, was alright as well and left me with a chuckle.
Sting had a few feel good spots during Sunday’s event as well. Even though he lost the TNA Title match against Roode, he had a few nice spots for vindication, including a post match Scorpion Death Drop on Roode off the entrance platform. Overall, the match was anti-climatic in a lot of ways, but much better then what the WWE has considered a “main event” for the past few weeks. He also seemed genuinely touched by the highlight film prior to his promo in the ring during the announcement. When Hogan’s little spot about him telling Sting that “You don’t know how good you really are”, I teared up a bit. Yup, manly, salty tears.
I don’t make any bones about the fact I’m a WWE homer. That said, TNA put it all together last night. While it wasn’t the best pay-per-view ever done and had a few forgettable moments and matches, the entire pay-per-view clicked. It was well booked, well worked, and worth the time. If TNA can continue to do what they did last night, they will make the in-roads they seek into the WWE’s audience. They certainly made me take note.
- One match and a contract signing set for Thursday’s live Impact Wrestling (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- WWE/TNA Update: Christian All but Confirmed for Slammiversary | Bleacher Report (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- Tna Slammiversary X Predictions (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- WWE Issues Response to TNA’s Lawsuit (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- Sting Discusses TNA’s Hall Of Fame, Almost Joining WWE, His Retirement And More (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- Impact Wrestling Live: Slammiversary Build, Abyss’ Warning and More (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- Former TNA star Jesse Neal on his high point in TNA, working in the Indys, what WWE is missing, and more (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- IMPACT Wrestling Results 31st May 2012 (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)
- TNA Files Lawsuit Against WWE over leaked information (wrestleraw.wordpress.com)