Has it really been five long years since Total Non-Stop Action made their debut with their weekly pay-per-views? Five years since we saw the likes of Low-Ki, A.J. Styles, America’s Most Wanted, and The Flying Elvises on the national stage? Part of me still misses those old weekly shows, but as with everything else in the world, we have to move on. Which is why I’m watching TNA’s latest pay-per-view offering, Slammiversary, this time taking place back in TNA’s old stomping ground in Nashville, and shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2. As usual, our hosts for the evening are Don West and Mike Tenay.
Tag-team action starts the show as LAX, Homicide and Hernandez, as always accompanied by Konnan (but not for much longer from what I understand), taking on Rhino and Senshi, who are accompanied by Hector Guerrero. An explosive match to open the show with. Once again Hernandez is proving to be a true monster in the making. Some of the moves he used on Senshi just had to be seen to be believed, and the other three in this match weren’t too bad either. A great opener came to an end when Guerrero stopped Homicide using the slapjack that Konnan had tossed into the ring, and bring his throat down on the top rope, stunning him enough so Rhino could score with the gore.
Then it’s on to the first title match of the evening, as Chris Sabin defends his X Division title against Jay Lethal, still stealing from Randy Savage, although Lethal still has to make a video rant on his website about how he’s going to steal Stephanie McMahon from Triple H. Kevin Nash, who seems barely able to walk these days, joins the commentary team before the “Guru” Sonjay Dutt comes down and starts throwing rose petals everywhere. Then it’s on to the match itself. This was the X Division at it’s best, a fast paced free flowing match between two wrestlers at the top of their game. Both wrestlers put in show stealing performances as they unleashed their full arsenals against each other. Sadly, Sabin’s long run as champion came to an end, as Black Machismo came out on top, finishing Sabin off with an elbow drop from the top rope to win his first title in TNA. A great match, and I hope it’s not the last time we’ll see these two in the six-sided ring against each other.
It’s back to tag-team action for the third match, as James Storm, accompanied by Jackie Moore, teams with Ron Killings against Jerry Lynn and some American football player I’ve never heard of before, Frank Wycheck, who are accompanied by another American football player I’ve never heard of, Kyle Vanden Bosch. I didn’t hold out much hope for this one. I never do for matches involving non-wrestlers. You know what? The football guy didn’t do that badly. Okay, he was somewhat limited, and it was obvious that he wasn’t going to set the world alight with a series of excellent technical moves, but he did just enough to get the job done, and after some great exchanges between the two teams, Wycheck got the victory. After Storm accidentally clobbered Killings with his beer bottle, Wycheck took Storm out with Lynn’s finishing move, the cradle piledriver. A very enjoyable encounter, and certainly a lot better than I was expecting.
Then it’s back to singles action, as Alex Shelley takes on Bob Backlund, or rather Mr. Backlund, in his first wrestling match in ten years. Considering that he hadn’t wrestled in such a long time, Backlund didn’t look too bad in there. This one was short and sweet. Backlund used his usual wrestling moves, Sabin tried to interfere, an attempt that backfired, before Backlund got the pin with a roll-up and a bridge. Not bad for a 58 year old. Then we got the extra curricular stuff. Backlund applied the chicken wing to first Sabin then Shelley, before Kevin Nash came down to the ring to save his boy. Jerry Lynn then arrived, trying to calm things down, only to get Nash’s big boot in his face. Nash then joined Shelley and Sabin as they attacked Backlund, before Jay Lethal came down to make the save. Interestingly enough, Nash left the ring when Lethal arrived. Could TNA be building up to the long-awaited Nash/Backlund re-match?
Time for Christy Hemme to continue her crusade next, as her men, Damaja and Basham face the Voodoo Kin Mafia four weeks later than planned. Another one that was short and sweet, and served it’s purpose. Hemme’s men beat up on B.G. for a while, before Kip got the tag and cleaned house, but just as Basham and Damaja were about to unleash a double suplex on Kip, B.G. came back into the ring to take Basham out, with Kip getting the small package on Damaja for the pin. Then we got the heel turn. After Christy was chased around the ring and up the ramp, VKM associate Lance Hoyt grabbed hold of her, and, under instruction from Kip, took he back down to the ring. Hoyt then turned on his buddies and attacked them, joining Hemme’s men, sealing the deal with a kiss. Lucky bugger that Lance Hoyt.
The next match could be termed as a battle for a man’s life, as Eric Young goes up against Robert Roode, who has the lovely Ms. Brooks with him, with Young’s contract up for grabs. This rivalry always reminded me of the Virgil/Ted Dibiase feud years ago, except that Young is a far better wrestler than Virgil ever was. A very good back-and-forth match saw great action throughout, and Roode seemingly getting the win. After Young took both Roode and Brooks down with a fireman’s carry, the referee tried to get Brooks out of the ring. With the referee distracted, Roode clobbered Young with a chair, and got the pinfall, which meant that Young was out of TNA. Then the boss, Jim Cornette, arrived on the scene, and because of the way the match had ended, he ordered an immediate re-start. Brooks tried to interfere again, only to be stopped by Gail Kim. This left Roode and Young alone in the ring, and just as Roode was about to finish him off, Young got the pin with a roll-up. A good ending to this rivalry. Well, I hope that the creative team ends this rivalry now anyway.
The second title match of the evening follows, and with Scott Steiner out with a throat injury, Rick Steiner recruited none other than Road Warrior Animal to challenge Team 3D for the Tag-Team titles. Now although this match was okay, it didn’t exactly set the pulses racing. Both Steiner and Animal looked okay in the ring, but the fact that they hadn’t competed much lately was clearly visible, and for the first time in ages I was actually disappointed that Scott Steiner wasn’t in a match. The end came when Devon pinned Steiner after the 3D.
Then it was time for the match I was really looking forward to, Christopher Daniels against Sting. The good match streak continued as the Stinger and the Fallen Angel put on a great match, with great drama and a tremendous back story. This was probably Sting’s best match since he signed with TNA full-time, and Daniels, well, he was Daniels, always at the top of his game, and putting on a great performance. The new characterisation really suits him to a tee. Sting came out on top hear, foiling Daniels’ attempt at his Angel’s Wings finisher to take him out with the Scorpion Death Drop. I really hope that they keep this feud going for a while, because it has so much potential.
It’s the battle of the monsters next as Tomko faces Abyss in a no disqualification match. If you were looking for a technical classic, then this isn’t the match for you. It’s basically one big fight between two big guys. It’s not graceful, but it’s effective in putting over the rivalry between these two. Because of the no DQ rules, anything was game. Abyss took the first sick bump onto the thumb tacks, and then brought a bag of broken glass into the ring. Tomko then went on to use a piece of the glass to slice Abyss’ head open. Then, when the brawl moved up the ramp, Abyss pulled Tomko off the top of a scaffold, before diving off the scaffold himself. Eventually, the fight returned to the ring, and Abyss got the win after taking Tomko out with a black hole slam on the broken glass. Not exactly pretty to watch, but it was simple, and effective.
After seeing a very emotional video package featuring Jeff Jarrett talking about the history of TNA, and the recent loss of his wife Jill to cancer, it’s on to the main event for the TNA title, the King of the Mountain match featuring Chris Harris, A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and Kurt Angle. All I can say about this one is WOW. Tons of great action, tons of crazy bumps, including Joe launching Styles off the top of the penalty box and onto the announcer’s table. Five great performances from five great wrestlers, with perhaps the best performance coming from Harris, for me showing that he deserves another run at the top of the TNA roster. As for the result, Angle emerged victorious, hanging the belt above the ring after Harris stopped Cage by taking him down with a spear from the top rope. A tremendous match.
In conclusion - TNA pulled out all the stops to celebrate their fifth anniversary, and it showed. It’s not often that I enjoy every match on a TNA show, but this was the case with Slammiversary. Tons of great action and great performances aplenty, top off by the tremendous King of the Mountain match, and the emotional interview with Jeff Jarrett. TNA Slammiversary is definitely the best show I’ve seen from them in ages, and let’s hope that they can keep this streak going.
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