Saturday, 21 June 2014

TNA Slammiversary on Challenge - TV Review

It's time to step into TNA territory once again as we take a look at their latest pay per view offering, with Eric Young facing two challengers to his title in the main event of Slammiversary, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with the first title match of the evening, with Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Tigre Uno, Crazzy Steve, & Manik challenging Sanada for the X Division title in a ladder match.

This was kind of how I expected it would be, plenty of fast paced action, an absolute ton of high spots, with a bit of team work from the Wolves mixed in for good measure.

There was, of course, the obligatory holy you know what moments, the best of which came near the end when Richards and Manik were on top of the ladder. With a second ladder perching between the ring and the main ladder, Richards and Manik fought it out on the top rung, and after the masked man had rammed Richards' head into the wood he flew over him, taking him down with a sunset flip powerbomb onto the second ladder.

This ended up eliminating both men from the final push, and as Sanada climbed the ladder Edwards offered what can only be termed as very weak resistance as the Japanese star grabbed the belt to retain his title. A nice match, but the ending was a little tame.

After director of whatever his title is MVP announced that there would be two qualification matches to see who would challenging Eric Young for the World title in a three-way cage match it was on to the first of those encounters as Bobby Lashley faced Samoa Joe.

What we had here was your basic two big guys beating the hell out of each other kind of match, and it was quite entertaining in it's own way. There were no niceties as these two steam-rollered over each other as they sought the second spot in the main event.

Although I've been quite critical of Joe in recent times I have to say that this performance wasn't too bad, while Lashley seemed far more comfortable playing the heel instead of the beloved baby face.

As for the ending, after Lashley broke free of Joe's rear naked choke the two jockeyed for position in the ring before Lashley tried to whip Joe into the corner. Joe stopped himself so he didn't barge into the referee, and that moment of distraction opened him for Lashley's spear, earning him the winning pin and a spot in the main event.

The singles action continued with Magnus taking on Willow. Moving on.....

After Kurt Angle announced Team 3D as the latest inductees into the Hall of Fame it was on to the second World title match qualifier as Kenny King went up against Austin Aries.

Now this was a lot better than the first qualifier. A few years ago a match like this would have fitted in perfectly in an ROH ring, and although it was only about ten minutes long they certainly packed a lot of action into that ten minutes.

Both guys put in great performances. This was the best I've seen from King since his Ring of Honor days, and in Aries he had the kind of opponent who could bring out the best in him. The back and forth exchanges were great throughout, and I couldn't help but think how much these two could accomplish together if they were given another ten to fifteen minutes.

Hopefully that will happen some day, but on this day it was the greatest man who ever lived who emerged victorious, gaining the upper hand as they jockeyed for position on the top rope before Aries took his man down with a super brainbuster for the winning pin, earning the final spot in the main event.

The only tag match of the evening saw the debuting Von Erichs, Ross and Marshall, taking on the Bro Mans team of Jessie Godderz and DJ Z.

We had plenty of jaw jacking at the beginning of this one, but when the action began it was actually pretty good. Kevin's boys looked a little starstruck at first, but they got better as the match progressed, and their team work was quite good at times.

Their efforts ending up frustrating their more well-known opponents though. After Godderz was frustrated in his first attempt at a spot of chair swinging his second attempt was more successful as Marshall was about to get the pin on Z. In the end though the Von Erich's old man came to the rescue as he took Z out with a good old fashioned claw to the noggin.

Then it was back to championship action as Gail Kim challenged Angelina Love for the Knockouts title.

So I'm guessing that Gail Kim is now a beloved baby face, while the Beautiful People are back to being a couple of bitches, right? Now we've got all of that straightened out, this proved to be a very entertaining encounter with a lot going on for it.

Although there was one slightly iffy moment when Love took Kim out of the corner the action was pretty decent. Love's BFF Velvet Sky made the occasional appearance, and when she tried to halt Kim's progress by spraying hair spray into Kim's eyes referee Stifler did nothing.

Which meant that senior referee Hebner rode onto the scene and promptly sent Sky to the back while replacing Stifler in the match. After this the exchanges got even better, but when old Earl was accidentally dropkicked by Kim Stifler did nothing when Kim went for the pin, only springing into action when Love reversed Kim's roll up so he could count the title retaining pin.

Then it was time for a spot of good old fashioned Texas Death Match action as Ethan Carter III faced Bully Ray. The rules? It's basically a last man standing match.

The longest match of the show proved to be a very entertaining brawl between two guys who tore strips off each other. I've never really formed an opinion on Carter's work before, but if this match is anything to go by then he's a pretty decent wrestler. As for the newest entrant into the Hall of Fame it was his usual solid performance, although a part of me wanted him to be a bit more sadistic.

The match itself featured quite a few weapons. We had tables, chairs, (sadly no ladders), a cheese grater which actually produced no grated flesh and no blood, a bit of broken glass, which also produced no blood, and a spot of comical interference from that old Brummie Spud.

But just when it looked like we were going to get a spot of table action old Aunt Dixie came down to her nephew's aid. It almost led to her downfall though, because after accidentally bumping heads with her boy the Bully put on her on the tables, intent on putting her through the wood. Her loyal employee Spud managed to pull her out of harm's way though before Carter clobbered him with a kendo stick. The Bully then went crashing through the tables and failed to beat the ten count, giving Dixie's boy the win.

The penultimate match saw James Storm taking on Mr. Anderson.

So was this meant to be the big grudge match between two former World Champions? Because it didn't exactly feel like it. In fact it felt more like a set up for a match with an American football player.

Before the match began Storm insulted the locals before going on to insult some Dallas Cowboys players I've never heard off. Needless to say that Anderson was buddies with these guys, and when the match finally began it proved to be a very enjoyable and well-executed affair.

That was until Storm started arguing with the Cowboys players again and spitting beer in their faces. Security had to separate them at one point, but that didn't stop one of them jumping the guard rail as Storm continued to insult them from the ring.

This led to Anderson taking the distracted Storm out with the mic check for the winning pin, with the whoever they were jumping into the ring to celebrate with the victor.

The main event saw Austin Aries and Bobby Lashley challenging Eric Young for the World title in a steel cage match.

Long-time readers will know that I've never really been a fan of Eric Young. I've always found him to be one of the most annoying characters I've ever seen. But that doesn't mean that I don't think he's a bad wrestler.

As far as his performance in this title match, and the performances of the other two protagonists, they weren't that bad. Lashley looked like an absolute monster as he threw Aries and Young around the cage like a rag doll, and some of the exchanges between the two smaller guys were quite good.

The Joey Styles OMG moment came when Young invoked the spirit of the Superfly and climbed to the top of the cage to deliver a flying elbow to Lashley. A close second was for this spot was Young taking Lashley and Aries down with a death valley driver at the same time.

The action did get a little better when Young managed to avoid Lashley's spear, with the big man going flying out of the door and making this a singles match. Aries came incredibly close to getting the pin here, but just when it looked like he was going to take Young down with his brain buster the champion countered the move by pushing himself off the cage so he could take Aries down with the piledriver for the winning pin.

In conclusion - this was another of those shows I had considered skipping because of all the DVDs I've got left to review, but as I hadn't seen any TNA in a while I thought that I might as well give it a look-see.

They may be taking a lot of flack from the "internet parasites" about the way they're company is run, but that doesn't mean they can't put out a good show, which is what this is. The matches may have varied as far as quality goes, and the inclusion of the Dallas Cowboys didn't really do much for me, mainly because I haven't followed American football in years, but overall this was a pretty enjoyable show.

As for my match of the night no-prize I'm going for the great battle between former Ring of Honor running buddies Austin Aries and Kenny King.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this show the thumbs up.

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