Friday, 26 June 2009

TNA Slammiversary on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s gimmick match overload time again, as Total Non-Stop Action celebrate their seventh year of business with Slammiversary, headlined by a King of the Mountain match for the TNA World Championship, and shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2. Commentary duties are handled, as always, by Mike Tenay and Don West.

The show begins with the first title match of the evening, with Suicide defending the X Division title in a King of the Mountain match against Lethal Consequences and the Motor City Machine Guns, with some baseball guy I’ve never heard of acting as the keeper of the belt. This Suicide character is really starting to grow on me, as is the storyline surrounding him. As always with an X Division match, it’s full of fast paced action and some tremendous team work, as both teams went all out to take the masked man down. Needless to say though that this co-operation only lasted until Jay Lethal pinned Suicide and the masked man was put in the penalty box. We also had the interesting moment where Chris Sabin allowed Alex Shelley to pin him to he could become eligible to hang the belt, only for his attempt to be disrupted big style by Suicide. In fact there was so much great action it would probably take me pages and pages to document everything. In the end though it was the masked man who defied the odds, stopping Shelley from hanging the belt with a dive off the top of the penalty box, before climbing the ladder and hanging the belt. Suicide was still X Division Champion ending a tremendous match.

Next up was what was being billed as a second chance match, as “The Franchise” Shane Douglas faced “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. Hey, I know he’s only called Daniels in TNA now, but he’ll always be The Fallen Angel to fans all over the world. For someone who hadn’t been in the ring for a while, Douglas looked pretty good, although he was clearly hampered by the ankle injury he sustained early on. But overall this match was okay, nothing overly spectacular, just a good, solid match, with Daniels getting the pin after a BME. It certainly will be interesting to see if Douglas has any kind of future in TNA.

Then it’s time for the second title match of the evening, with Angelina Love defending her Knockouts title against the artist formerly known as Victoria, now known as Tara. Miss Love is, as always, accompanied by her Beautiful People cohorts, Velvet Skye and Madison Rayne. As always with the Knockouts division it’s a very good and very entertaining match, with some good exchanges between champion and challenger, mixed with liberal amounts of interference from Skye and Rayne on the outside. In the end the numbers went against Tara. Having grown tired of their interference, she gave both girls a good slap before returning to the ring, and while Love distracted the referee, Skye sprayed Tara’s eyes with hairspray. One Lights Out move later, and Love had the title retaining pin. Good match, but I’d like to see these two go at it again.

The Monsters Ball followed, with Raven and Daffney, accompanied by Doctor Stevie, taking on Taylor Wilde and Abyss. You know, I remember when they used to lock the Monsters Ball participants in darkened rooms for twenty four hours before the match, depriving them of food, light and water in order to get them ready. I guess times have changed now, eh? It’s basically one big brawl, with both teams hitting each other with a variety of weapons, and the obligatory TNA brawl through the crowd, and it’s damn entertaining at the same time. We got Wilde diving off a stack of speakers and putting Daffney through a table, and inflicting more punishment on the former Sarah Palin impersonator by slamming her down on a bunch of thumb tacks. The thumb tacks came into play at the end of the match, with Abyss taking Raven out with a black hole slam onto them, getting the winning pin for his team. Good stuff, but I’m not really sure of having the Knockouts involved in this kind of match.

It was back to singles action for the next match, with Matt Morgan going up against Sting, with the stipulation being that if Morgan gets the win, he joins the Main Event Mafia. The battle between legendary veteran and young up and comer made for interesting viewing. Morgan is improving with each and every outing, and putting him in the ring with someone like Sting can only do good for his career. It was a good match, well played out with a good storyline, and two good performances. This could be Sting’s best pay-per-view match this year. Well, it was certainly better than the match where he lost the title to Mick Foley. The veteran came out on top in this one, taking the big man down with a second Scorpion Death Drop. Nice stuff, although it does seem kind of strange that Sting is being treated like a face while the rest of the Mafia are being treated like heels.

The third title match of the evening follows, with Beer Money challenging Team 3D for the TNA Tag-Team titles. Now, because this match involves a run in from The British Invasion, I’m once again bound by the threats of legal action by Nick “Brutus Magnus” Aldis. If you recall, he’s threatened to take legal action against me if I say anything negative against him on the internet. So, because of this, rather than leave a blank space, here’s a recipe for won ton soup;

The name won ton means swallowing a cloud, and the wonton floating in this popular soup are thought to resemble clouds. This recipe for Won ton Soup serves 4.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
18 - 24 won ton wrappers
1/2 pound boneless lean pork, chopped finely
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
a few drops sesame oil
1 teaspoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 green onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 dashes of white pepper
Water for boiling won tons
4 1/2 - 5 cups chicken stock
green onion, thinly sliced, as desired
a few drops sesame oil (optional)

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Lay one won ton skin in front of you. Cover the remaining won ton skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.

Filling the won tons: Moisten all the edges of the won ton wrapper with water. Place a heaping teaspoon of won ton filling in the center. Fold the won ton wrapper in half lengthwise, making sure the ends meet. Press down firmly on the ends to seal. Use thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to center it. Keeping thumbs in place, fold over the won ton wrapper one more time. Push the corners up and hold in place between your thumb and index finger. Wet the corners with your fingers. Bring the two ends together so that they overlap. Press to seal. The finished product should resemble a nurse's cap. Repeat with remaining won tons.

Alternate method: Place the teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and twist to seal. The final result should resemble a money bag or drawstring purse.

Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 - 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.

To make the soup: bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the won tons and bring the soup back to a boil. Add the green onion, remove the pot from the heat and add the sesame oil, stirring. Ladle into soup bowls, allowing 6 won tons per person.

Main event time, the King of the Mountain match, with Mick Foley defending the TNA World title against Legends Champion A.J. Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle. Before the match even began Joe attacked Angle, and because of this, the referees ruled that Joe would begin the match in the penalty box, and that Angle would automatically be eligible to hang the title belt. Some good, and some questionable, action followed. Jarrett, Styles, Angle, and in particular Joe put in some great work here. But as much as I love the guy, I have to say that Mick Foley was very disappointing. Every time I see him wrestle now he just seems to be a shadow of his former self, having to take rests at regular intervals, unable to go at full tilt for an entire match, and even though he pulled off a high risk move when he elbow dropped Angle from the top of the penalty box, he failed to catch Styles as he, with help from Joe, dived over the top rope onto him. It was now pretty obvious why his main title defences have been in multi-man matches. But the big swerve at the end was what made this match. Having taken out all of the opposition, Joe climbed the ladder, about to hang the title, when Angle joined him on the ladder. Then, to everybody’s surprise, Joe handed the belt to his supposed hated enemy, and Kurt Angle became the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, with the other members of the Main Event Mafia, minus Sting, appearing on the stage to applaud their man, ending what was, for the most part, a good match.

In conclusion - this years Slammiversary event delivered, well, mostly. There were still too many gimmick matches for my liking, and even though they were good, it would be nice if they could cut down on their number. As for the main event, well, I’ve said my piece about Mick Foley, and now that he’s no longer champion, perhaps things will get better. But in all, it was a good show, which gets my thumbs up.

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