Friday, 17 June 2011

TNA Slammiversary on Challenge - TV Review

It was time for TNA to light up the candles on the birthday cake again as they presented their latest pay-per-view offering, Slammiversary, shown on a three day delay on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with title action as the British Invasion, Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams, challenged James Storm and Alex Shelley, substituting for the injured Bobby Roode, for the Tag Team titles.

Recently I received some feedback on one my articles, saying that I shouldn’t go on about Nick Aldis so often. So…..

The next match was a battle of the powerhouses as Scott Steiner faced Matt Morgan.

This one just wasn’t that good. While Morgan put in his usual solid performance Steiner was, once again, very poor.

The guy may look like a tank, but the problem is he moves like one as well. Apart from his two usual suplex variations all Steiner seemed capable of doing was the usual punch, kick and chop routine.

This poor affair was ended, several minutes too late, when Morgan connected with the carbon footprint for the pin.

The second title match of the evening saw Frankie Kazarian and Brian Kendrick challenge Abyss for the X Division title. Wait a minute! When did the big goon win the bloody title?

This was your typical David versus Goliath battle, except we had two Davids in this one.

The action here was okay, especially when Kazarian and Kendrick were doubling up on the monster, but like the previous match it just seemed to go on and on without actually going anywhere.

Eventually it did come to an end. After Kendrick countered Kazarian’s finisher with a drop kick Abyss dragged old Spanky out of the ring and took the pin for himself. Now can they please get the title off the big goofball?

A lot of streaks were mentioned next as Samoa Joe looked to end the unbeaten run of Crimson.

If these two are in the middle of a heated feud it certainly didn’t seem like it.

These two put on a good wrestling match, but I kept wondering where the intensity was, because it certainly wasn’t in this match, and considering that a six month undefeated streak was on the line that seemed pretty poor.

Both guys acquitted themselves well here though, with Crimson taking the win with a sit down power bomb.

The title action continued with Angelina Love, accompanied by Winter, challenging Mickie James for the Knockouts title.

Now this was intense, especially when they were trying to tear each other’s hair out at the beginning.

The action after that was pretty good, with the former Ms Burchill interfering at certain moments, making this a very interesting match.

Until the end, with Mickie taking Angelina out with a very messy DDT for the win. The look on the champion’s face said everything. That expression didn’t last long though as Winter and Angelina gained a measure of revenge after the bell.

Then it was on to the last man standing match between Bully Ray and A.J. Styles.

Now this was more like it. These two tore strips off each other, putting on a very entertaining brawl.

I loved the bit where Styles had a Tommy Dreamer moment, calling on Ray to chop him time and time again. All he needed to do was to say that certain line.

Later, after a brawl on the stage, Styles dived thirty feed (in wrestling terms) off the scaffolding to put Ray through a table.

Styles was the first to slowly get to his feet as the referee made the count, but then Ray pushed him head first into the front of the stage. Seconds later the Bully beat the ten count, with the referee calling for the bell, giving Ray the win.

But here’s the thing that confused me. Styles clearly got to his feet while the referee was making the count. So sure, under last man standing rules, a different count should have started for him.

The penultimate match saw Mr. Anderson challenging Sting for the World title.

No big in-ring introductions here. Sting began the action by attacking Anderson during his opening promo routine.

When then had the obligatory brawl through the crowd (which would have been better in thee last man standing match) before they eventually got to the ring, putting on a good but somewhat overlong encounter.

Eric Bischoff made an appearance during the proceedings, his only real purpose being to slap the mat while the referee made his count after Sting took Anderson down with a scorpion death drop. Even though Anderson had kicked out Sting thought he’d got the pin.

Moments later Anderson connected with a low blow before taking the champ down with the mike check for the title winning pin.

The main event saw the final battle between Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle, with Angle’s Olympic gold medal and a shot at the World title on the line.

You know, for two guys that have had personal issues for years, and considering what was on the line, these two just didn’t seem that angry with each other.

Don’t get me wrong, the match was well executed. After all, Kurt Angle was in it. But it just didn’t have that special feeling, that last encounter kind of vibe.

So after nearly twenty minutes of solid action Angle escaped from Jarrett’s ankle lock and applied his version of the hold, Jarrett taping out with both hands so Angle could keep his medal and get a shot at Mr. Anderson’s newly won World title.

In conclusion - you know, I just don’t get TNA sometimes.

They’ve got a roster of top notch talent capable of putting on tremendous matches, but the majority of them just seem to be going through the motions.

When a feud is built up in a certain way you expect a certain kind of match from the protagonists. Slammiversary proved to be the complete opposite of this. Guys who should have been tearing each other new holes just seemed to be phoning it in, and this has been happening for quite a while.

So for that reason this year’s birthday celebrations gets the thumbs down. High on action but low on feud making intensity.