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TV Review #1 – TNA PPV: Slammiversary X

TV Review #1

 

TNA PPV – Slammiversary X (2012)

Being a native Londoner, I didn’t get to see this wrestling PPV (Pay per View) until 13/06/2012, three days after the event.  So forgive me if this review is a little late.  I’d also like to point out I’m no wrestling expert, I’m just someone who enjoys watching it and I got a thing for writing reviews; so I’m combining the two.

To start with, I wasn’t overly excited for Slammiversary X, despite the fact it was a huge night for TNA, as they have currently been in the business for ten years.  My reasons being – One: Alex Shelley had recently left the company; he was one of my favourites and a talented wrestler, so I was disappointed with such a fact.  Two: There have been issues with TNA/Impact Wrestling recently which haven’t been sitting too well with me.  Three: The last few PPVs had been disappointing, especially Sacrifice(2012) & Lockdown(2012).  However, to my surprise, I actually rather enjoyed Slammiversay X.

I’d like to start with a note that the crowd were really behind this PPV.  This was nice to see, considering it was TNA’s 10-year-celebration in the business.  It certainly beat the dead/lacklustre crowd of this year’s Lockdown which really put a huge dampener on the whole event.

Back to Slammiversary X, we opened the show with a title match for the X Division Championship between Austin Aries, X Division Champ vs. Samoa Joe.

I’m an Austin Aries fan, so to put it simply, he delivers.  Whether he is a heel or face (Heel = bad guy.  Face = good guy.) you can’t help but be engaged by him and want to see more of him.  He has great in-ring ability and his character oozes charisma.  I have to give a nod of recognition to Samoa Joe too; he’s pretty decent as well.

The two men really opened the show with an electrifying match, and the crowd were behind both of them with loud chants for Aries and Joe.  Both men showcased their in-ring-ability really well; unfortunately, Joe didn’t win the match and Aries held onto his title and is still the X Division champ – after all, he is The Greatest Man to Ever Live.  My only criticism is the story behind this match was poorly developed on previous shows of Impact Wrestling.  Things were set up for Joe and Aries to accidentally/unknowingly disrespect each other until things finally came to a head and they slogged it out in the ring, but in two weeks this story was not fully developed.  It’s a shame, because it really would have added something more to their match at Slammiversary which was a very good match.

If you look at Aries’s previous feud with Bully Ray, where Bully Ray was constantly picking on Aries about his size, it really drew you in and you wanted to see their final confrontation – which was at Sacrifice (2012) and was the best match of the whole PPV.  The Bully Ray/Aries feud was very well done and developed over a decent period of time – not too quick, but then not un-necessarily drawn out either – and the Joe/Aries feud could have been the same.  Had TNA devoted more time to the Joe/Aries feud it really would have made their Slammiversary X match stand out more than it did.  Regardless, it was still a good match and a great way to open the show.

Next, we had Kid Cash vs. Hernandez.  This was a surprise for me, as I hadn’t seen either of them on TV for a while.  It was refreshing to see some of the other wrestlers on the roster instead of seeing the same ones over and over that we’ve been getting recently.  Again, this was a good match that followed Aries and Joe, with both Kid Cash and Hernandez doing really well.  Hernandez was the victor in this match.

The third match was a tag team match for the Television Championship.  The challengers were Robbie E & Robbie T vs. Devon (Television Champ) & Garrett Bischoff.  I wasn’t overly keen on this match, and I some what switched off, the crowd also wasn’t that keen.  Devon doesn’t really appeal to me much, he’s okay, but most of the time he’s off my radar.  Robbie E & Robbie T are okay, they make my chuckle now and then, but I’m getting fed up of Robbie E constantly trying to win the Television Championship belt back.  Then we have Garrett Bischoff, who people seem to hate at the moment.  Reasons being – One: He’s Eric Bischoff’s son.  Two: He has poor wrestling skills.  Three: Because he’s Eric Bischoff’s son, he seems to be getting an unfair push in the wrestling business.

Now I don’t really hate Garrett Bischoff, I’m all for giving him a chance, but, I don’t want him forced down my throat as the best thing since sliced bread when he clearly is not.  Garrett Bischoff has been in some major story lines and even been the main event on Impact Wrestling, as opposed to other, more talented wrestlers who get little, or no TV time.  Garrett Bischoff has been put into a top position over night – apparently because of who his daddy is – which most other wrestlers have to work hard for.  I would prefer to have Garrett working his way up and improving his wrestling skills than what I’m being given now.  If Garrett earns his position, fair enough; if not, time to consider a new career.

Back on subject, the third match at Slammiversary X was boring, it consisted of nothing more than Garrett having the crap beaten out of him by the two Robbies (some people may have enjoyed that) and occasionally him pulling off a poorly executed wrestling move – due to his lack of experience.  The crowd were chanting for Devon to get in the ring, and when he did there was some relief, but then again, I’m not a huge Devon fan so this was still boring for me to watch.  Devon & Garrett won and Devon got to keep his title.

We also had Madison Rayne show up, watching the match in her red cocktail dress, gushing at whoever her supposed crush is.  I don’t like Madison Rayne, she has a voice – or should that be screech? – which puts a banshee to shame, and whenever she is on TV the television set in my household goes on mute.  Thankfully, she was quiet, and the match was over with relatively quickly.

I’m little sketchy about the order of matches from now on, so forgive me if I get it wrong a bit.  My views are still the same though.

I believe next we had Crimson.  A wrestler who likes to go on about how he has been undefeated for 400-and-something days; I wasn’t paying too much attention, I can’t stand Crimson, he grates on my nerves.  Crimson gets in the ring issuing an open challenge for someone to step up and break his undefeated streak, piled with a load of arrogance on the side.  Believing that no one will step up, Crimson gets the referee to start a count out.  Then, someone does step up…none other than the ‘Cowboy’ James Storm.  YAY!

It was great to see Storm return.  He is a TNA original, used to be one half of a superb tag team, Beer Money, and currently one of TNA’s best main event stars.  Storm had recently been on hiatus doing some soul searching after his unfortunate loss at this year’s Lockdown.  But now he’s back and he’s all fired up.

And boy was he fired up; Storm beat Crimson about the ring like he was nothing.  It was great to see the crowd’s reaction to Storm coming back.  Especially when he set up the Last Call Super Kick to knock Crimson out and break the undefeated streak.  Storm coming back was a real highlight of the night for me.

Next we had Dixie Carter (president of TNA) come out and request that the entire roster – well, all of the roster that were present – to come out.  As she addressed the roster, she thanked them for their work and announced the first inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame.  This was none other than the Icon, Sting.

Do I believe Sting deserves this accolade?  Of course he bloody well does!   He’s a legend; he’s an extremely talented wrestler, works really hard, and is great with his fans.  He’s been wrestling for over 25 years, and despite his age and all what he has put his body through, he still doing remarkably well.  He’s generally well liked and respected in this business, and deserves this honour.

My only problem with the TNA Hall of Fame is that I question the sincerity of it.  Do I think TNA is a company with enough prestige to run a Hall of Fame?  I’m not so sure; perhaps in a few more years…maybe.  The only impression I really get with this new Hall of Fame, is TNA are trying to outdo WWE with their childish mannerisms of ‘look, our Hall of Fame is better than yours’.  Such an ideal leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  Regardless, congratulations to Sting, you deserve this honour; I just wish it could have been under better circumstances for you and I hope my initial impression of the TNA Hall of Fame is wrong.

Next was a three way match between Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy, and Rob Van Dam (AKA: RVD).  This was a No.1 Contenders match to see who would be next to get a shot at the World Heavy Weight Championship.  All three wrestlers have big followings and get good reactions from the crowd – perhaps Hardy has the biggest – and all three men put on a good match.  Anderson won the match and is next in line to challenge the World Heavy Weight Champ on the following Impact Wrestling; the most deserving in my opinion.  The match was quite good actually, not the best of the night, but still entertaining.  My only problem is, a month and a half ago we had the exact same match on Impact Wrestling.  The only difference then as to now, was that RVD won.  At least this time on Slammiversary it was a better match, and at least Anderson won this time.

Next we had a guest appearance from Christian Cage, a famed wrestler no longer affiliated with TNA.  He was there to present the No.1 moment out of the Top Ten Moments in TNA.  Throughout the build-up and Slammiversay, they had been showing the Top Ten Moments in TNA, No.1 was Sting helping Christian Cage out.  I don’t know what the entire list composed of the best moments was, I didn’t pay that much attention.  I also wasn’t overly fussed by this segment either.  I had no connection to Christian Cage, because I wasn’t watching TNA when he was in it, so this meant little to me.  However, the crowd seemed to like it, so good for them.

Next was a title match for the Knockouts Championship.  Gail Kim, Knockout Champ vs. Miss Tessmacher.  I wasn’t overly fussed by this match, TNA’s women’s division does nothing to inspire me.  Though I give a nod of recognition to Gail Kim, she’s a good wrestler, even though I can’t stand her – she must be doing a good job as a heel.  Gail lost this match to Tessmacher, and a new Knockout champ was crowned.

Now, I haven’t enjoyed Gail Kim’s run as Knockout Champ, but I’m not happy to see her lose her title to someone like Tessmacher.  Tessmacher is not a bad wrestler, but she is not in the same league as Gail and in my opinion needs to make great improvements on her abilities.  It just seems cheap for Gail lost her title to someone who was so inferior.  So I wasn’t happy with this match.

Next was Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park (Abyss’s brother).  For those who don’t know, Abyss has been missing since his last encounter with Bully Ray, and his brother Joseph Park has been looking for him.  Eventually, Joseph learned that Bully Ray was responsible for this with things culminating in an Anything Goes match.

For those who haven’t figured things out with this story line, the guy who plays the missing Abyss, is also playing Abyss’s brother, Joseph Park.  Yes, the fact stands out like a sore thumb; you would have to be blind to miss it.  Now, I actually think Abyss is playing his own brother rather well, I even like his catch phrase: ‘I’m looking for my brother Chris, you know…Abyss’.  But, it’s very hard to emerge myself into this story line when I know who is actually playing Joseph Park.  It’s even more laughable when we see Joseph trying to get in and out of the ring, as he fumbles you can’t help but become frustrated with the fact the man actually knows how to get in out of the ring thus making it impossible to buy the story line.

Getting back to the match at hand, for those who don’t know, an Anything Goes match is normally quite a brutal and bloody affair.  Especially for the likes of Abyss/Joseph Park who is famed for them.  This however, was a watered down, tame version of an Anything Goes match.  It was also very short.  At one point Joseph Park scurried under the curtain of the ring, and after a few minutes of wondering where Joseph was, Abyss appears from the other side, climbs into the ring behind Bully Ray, and choke slams him through a table; before going back under the ring and Joseph miraculously appearing and getting the win.  The crowd went wild at this, but in all honesty, it sucked, because it was so obvious what was happening.  It was obvious that Joseph Park changed under the security of the ring, come out as Abyss, then went back under the ring to change back into Joseph Park.  Not very entertaining.

Next, we had the excellent tag team match for the Tag Team Title of: AJ Style & Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian, the Tag Team champs.  This was a really good match.  Both teams were fantastic and it was another highlight of the night.  AJ Styles & Kurt Angle won, and became the new Tag Team Champions.

My only quibbles with this match are two things.  One: Considering TNA has no Tag Team Division right now, and are only throwing random people together briefly to make teams, the title seems to have little meaning.  Two: the story line surrounding this match, with Christopher Daniels & Kazarian revealing the supposed affair between AJ and Dixie Carter (president of TNA) is utterly ridiculous and tarnishes this superb match.

Lastly, there was the main event, for the World Heavy Weight Championship: Sting vs. Bobby Roode, World Heavy Weight champ.  I like both wrestlers a lot, but I wasn’t really feeling this match much.  TNA seems to at times have problems developing their story lines; it’s like they don’t understand how to construct them.  They’re either rushed, excruciatingly drawn out, illogically plucked out of thin air, filled with plot holes, or just plain stupid.  Unfortunately with this match, it was rushed.

Like James Storm, Sting had been on hiatus.  After Sting’s last confrontation with Roode, Sting was forced to give up his position as GM (General Manager) to concentrate on his wrestling and recover from his concussion.  When he returned to Impact Wrestling, he was declared the No.1 Contender for the World Heavy Weight Championship and thus given the opportunity to get revenge on Roode.  Sting spent a couple of weeks showing Bobby that he was coming for him, but this really wasn’t enough to build the importance of the match.

During the match both Roode and Sting put on a good show, but I feel both of them are capable of better.  Also, for a main event, it was rather short.

Roode once again retained his title with a cheap shot at Sting, smashing beer bottle over his head.  So yet again, Bobby Roode cheats to win, and I can’t help feeling sick and tired of such an outcome.  As much as I like Roode as a wrestler, and think he’s been a fantastic heel, I can’t help feeling his time as champ has run it’s course, and nor do I want to see another controversial victory.  I really felt at this year’s Lockdown, Storm should have reclaimed his title; it felt right and a lot of people wanted it, but that didn’t happen.  Now, whenever I see a title match against Roode, I can’t help but look at it with apathy, knowing I can predict how Roode is going to win.

I heard the phrase, ‘controversy sells’, but sometimes we like to get a victory for the good guys as well!

So after another disappointing and predictable win for Roode, we finally reach the end of Slammiversary…not quite, Sting seems to have lost it over the fact Bobby Roode has once again gotten away with cheating.  So Sting decides to beat the living hell out of Roode, delivering some devastating blows to Roode outside of the ring, then we reach the end of Slammiversay X.  All in all, I didn’t really care.  I was sick of another controversial win, the match wasn’t Roode or Sting’s finest, and there had been little hype behind it for me to get excited by.

Yet despite the disappointing main event, Slammaversay X on the whole was very good.  It had a few bad points, it had a few okay points, but there were some great highlights, and compared to rest of this year’s PPVs, Slammiversary X has been the best so far.

Good Points:

  • Brilliant first match: Aries vs. Joe
  • Kid Cash vs. Hernandez
  • Madison Rayne keeping her mouth shut.
  • Three way match
  • Kurt Angle & AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
  • James Storm returning.
  • James Storm beating Crimson
  • Sting inducted into the Hall of Fame

Bad Points:

  • Gail Kim loses to Miss Tessmacher
  • Devon & Garrett Bischof vs. Robbie E & Robbie T
  • Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park
  • Mediocre main event
  • TNA Hall of Fame trying to outdo WWE

 

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