TNA Slammiversary XIII Review.

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 **Edited on October 1st 2018**

Slammiversary XIII “The Return of the King of the Mountain”

The event aired live from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida on June 28th 2015. It was the eleventh Slammiversary, and it marked the 13th anniversary of the birth of TNA Wrestling. It was also the first time the King of the Mountain match was featured since 2009, and the winner of the match would become King of the Mountain Champion. The event focused on the return of Jeff Jarrett, who left TNA a year and half earlier. After leaving TNA on bad terms, Jarrett remained an investor in TNA despite the creation of Global Force Wrestling.

His return on Impact before Slammiversary was shocking due to the bad blood between Jarrett and TNA Wrestling in recent times, and his return was kept a secret. Jarrett cut an emotional promo about a real phone call from the TNA offices asking him to return for one last match. I watched the event live on Challenge TV in the UK from 1am-4am. Slammiversary XIII marked the first occasion where fans in the UK and France could watch a live TNA PPV on television.

As TNA already taped many episodes of Impact, the World Heavyweight Championship could not be defended (Kurt Angle was left off the card despite being featured on promotional posters), so TNA needed a replacement main event. The King of the Mountain match could only be brought back if Jarrett agreed to return, and luckily for TNA he agreed to work the match and make Slammiversary XIII memorable for crowning the first King of the Mountain Champion.


 


The PPV was poorly hyped as the event could not include major title changes (due to pre-taped episodes limiting the booking), therefore the event was hyped by Jarrett to give fans something to get excited about. James Storm and Magnus non-sanctioned match was highlighted, and Austin Aries vs Davey Richards to decide the stipulation for the final best-out-of-five series match. The commentary team consisted of Josh Matthews, “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero, and “The Professor” Mike Tenay.


Three-way elimination match for the TNA X-Division Championship – Tigre Uno (c) vs DJ Z vs Manik

Tigre Uno defeated Low-Ki and Grado on the previous Impact (all three wrestlers won their triple threat matches to qualify) to be crowned new TNA X-Division Champion. Strangely enough, TNA decided to crown Tigre Uno on Impact and not at Slammiversary. Also I could not understand why DJ Z and Manik deserved title shots. Unusually, the crowd were not into this match at all, they were rather quiet until DJ Z was eliminated.

I felt like the fans were enjoying DJ Z more than the other two. Tigre Uno has a nice finisher, which we got to see as he defeated Manik to defend his X-Divison Championship. Streamers were thrown into the ring as he celebrated, which was odd considering it didn’t happen when he won the title.


Sadly, the X-Division has been nothing but a sad excuse to feature cruiser-weights in recent times. The match was unadvertised, and there was no heat between the wrestlers. TNA should be innovative with their X-Division, but there’s nothing innovative about this match. I seriously want to care about the X-Divison, but when they crown someone like Tigre Uno when he’s barely said a sentence on episodes of Impact, I find it difficult to care. The match was a decent opener, not the greatest but definitely not the worst.


TNA is trying to make Tigre Uno into a new Rey Mysterio, but we need to care about him first. They need to give him a feud and a microphone, not just put him in matches with no meaning. Also they should stop putting Manik in these X-Division matches. Aside from his typical rope trick (which is the only thing left from the original Suicide gimmick), Manik does nothing for me. They should take him out of the X-Division and have him form a tag team with a big guy.

Following the match, Jeremy Borash thanked everyone for supporting TNA over the years. Robbie E appeared to give a promo before his match with Jessie Godderz. For the first time in his TNA career, Robbie E was playing the babyface, and he told us how much he loved professional wrestling, and how Jessie was not a man, he’s a bitch. Probably the only time I have cared about what Robbie E had to say. I’m liking the change of personality, the Jersey Shore gimmick has been stale for a long time.


Singles Match – Robbie E vs “The Man” Jessie Godderz

I am seriously digging the new persona for Jessie Godderz. It’s clearly a rip of Ric Flair’s “to be the man, you got to beat the man” catchphrase, with a robe and everything, but it suits him. His look, demeanor and evil stare suits, I wish he debuted like this. It’s an attempt to get fans to take him seriously after the laughable Bromans tag team. Jessie delivered a short promo telling everyone to “look at me”, as he presented the perfect example of a man. The fans were riled up as they booed and chanted “we don’t care”, a better reaction to his Broman days.

The match was well heated, and the fans were into it. Robbie E as a babyface is a refreshing change, and Jessie did a great job at playing the heel. The chemistry was clear, as both men worked a solid contest. Robbie E had the advantage throughout, until Jessie locked in the Adonis Lock. I predicated a victory for Jessie, so I was shocked when Robbie E defeated him with an inverted DDT out of nowhere.

The ending was sudden and unpredictable. Both men were put over in my eyes. Jessie will be frustrated by the loss (he will take it out on someone), and Robbie E will gain some momentum. A really good match considering the participants, they have come a long way.


Following the match, Jeremy Borash interviewed Matt Hardy. Hardy highlighted his successful tag team career, but also reminded everyone of his singles career. He hyped the main event and told everyone he was going to become the first King of the Mountain champion.


Street Fight – Bram vs Matt Morgan

As a UK fan, anything involving Bram is exciting. I knew Bram was going to win after Morgan announced the match would be a street fight instead of a singles match. Bram suits hardcore rules, and the commentary team mentioned the fact on several occasions. They could not understand why Morgan had decided the street fight stipulation, but it seemed obvious to me that Morgan wanted to beat Bram at his own game. And the match did not disappoint!

The earlier phase of the match saw both men fighting, but Bram soon found the weapons and used them to his advantage. Morgan has never been into using weapons, and he rarely used weapons here despite the stipulation.


The end of the match was confusing, as Bram continued to look for something under the ring. After failing to find what he was looking for, Bram appeared angry and came back into the ring, walked past the referee, and then decided to look around under the opposite side of the ring. There was clearly some finish planned, but it wasn’t going to happen. Sadly we may never know how the match was supposed to end.

Luckily we got to see a vicious-looking Chokeslam to Bram on to a steel chair. Somehow Bram was able to recover from that and he nailed Morgan with his jumping DDT finish on the chair. An enjoyable match, but the botched ending killed all the momentum. The commentary team praised Morgan for a valiant effort after his two-year absence.


Singles match; the winner gets to pick the stipulation of match 5 for the TNA World Tag Team Championship at Bell to Bell. – Austin Aries vs Davey Richards

“This is awesome!”. A match is over in TNA when the fans chant this, and it’s always going to happen when Aries and Richards lock up in a singles match. This was Austin Aries last TNA match (although he will continue to be highlighted in taped episodes), and as a TNA fan who has watched every Austin Aries match since 2011, it’s sad to see him go. He’s been one of the main attractions of TNA Wrestling for several years, and he will not be easily replaced. His World Championship victory over Bobby Roode at Destination X remains one of the greatest TNA moments in recent times.


I wish TNA used him more as World Champion, but his incident with Christy Hemme likely killed his chances. Aries has been involved in more “match of the night” matches than any other wrestler since 2011. Davey Richards vs Austin Aries could also be seen as two of the greatest ROH Champions (of different eras) squaring off.

As you would expect, Aries did not hold back, and both men worked a beautiful match filled with intensity, back-and-forth action, and some heel antics from Aries. The crowd loved every second of it, and the pace never slowed. Despite the match ending with some interference by Roode and Edwards, allowing Aries to roll Richards up for the win, I was not disappointed as they already delivered by that point.

Afterwards, Aries got on the microphone and announced the final match would be a “Bra and Panties” match, only to admit that was a joke, and the real stipulation would be a 30-minute Ironman Match. The commentary team sold the stipulation as the perfect ending to an excellent best-of-five series, and I agree with them.

JB interviewed Eric Young, who claimed he would become the King of the Mountain Champion. Another Dollhouse segment aired, which disappointed my father (once again) as he labelled the gimmick as “corny”, and although I enjoy TNA giving the Knockouts characters (and giving them time to develop), Taryn does make it sound corny and too one-dimensional. It’s a decent way to get heat on Taryn, but it could be better if it was developed more and Taryn ceased over-acting.


3-on-2 Handicap match – Awesome Kong & Brooke vs The Dollhouse

As Taryn blabbed about the usual stuff on the mic, I wondered why Gail Kim was not involved to even the odds. Taryn used Marti and Jade as cannon fodder, and remained on the apron as often as possible. The commentary team discussed Taryn and how she doesn’t really care for Marti and Jade..The match was acceptable for the Knockouts, they showed why fans chant “Better than Divas!”, but it could have been more. Taryn’s absence essentially made this a two-on-two, and the team of Awesome Kong & Brooke were clearly the better team, and picked up the victory after Taryn was knocked to the floor.

You would expect a Knockouts Championship match at Slammiversary, however the taped episodes likely stood in the way of that happening, so this was a decent alternative. It seems the Dollhouse won’t be around for much longer when you judge Taryn’s behavior and the comments from the commentary team. Probably a good thing, as I don’t believe the Dollhouse are reaching their full potential.

After Taryn blamed the loss on Marti and Jade, we were sent to the backstage area with Magnus and JB. Magnus cut an emotional promo highlighting his last TNA PPV with James Storm (just like Aries, Magnus and Storm worked their last TNA matches at the event), and although Magnus tried to sound genuinely emotional, it didn’t come across as such and I found it rather awkward and out-of-place. He should have kept the feud going and asked for time after the match to thank the fans; referencing to real events only kills the illusion of hatred a feud generates.


Non-sanctioned match – Magnus vs James Storm

This match type is basically a wrestling match with no rules. Earl Hebner was there as a referee only to count pin-falls and call a submission victory. James Storm always excels in these conditions, and I was expecting a brutal contest between them. Storm ripped a guy’s sign in half before the match, which was great to see.

The match quickly spilled out into the crowd and they were all for it. Magnus was dropped through a table filled with food at one point. Then they went behind the entrance area and broke the show, as the lights cut out and the video screens showed errors. I thought it was cheesy, it’s been done before, but then the match got better so I can’t complain.

As a tribute to the cowboy gimmick, Storm introduced beer bottles randomly throughout the match. He also spat in the face of Josh Matthews, which I found absolutely hilarious. It was like the old dog in the yard putting the new dog in his place, and Josh can be annoying sometimes so I’m sure he deserved it. There were some interesting spots throughout, some which were unique, and the fans were loving the action and chanting “TNA!” and “This is awesome!“. After Magnus crashed through a table with an elbow drop, the fans chanted “Holy Shit!”.

Storm tried to use some unnamed white powder on Magnus, but Magnus noticed and the white powder backfired on Storm and blinded Hebner. Magnus went for the pin but Hebner was too blind to see it. Storm hit the Last Call and pinned Magnus as Earl regained his eyesight, Magnus kicked out at 2. More 2-count pinfalls ensued as Magnus countered, and Storm used a cowbell and two Last Call superkicks to put Magnus away. Storm made a guardrail bridge in the ring (propped up by two steel chairs), and Magnus countered his attempt to throw him into it with a superplex.

As the fans were going crazy, both men picked up a beer bottle and simultaneously smashed each other over their heads. As the bottles shattered, both men fell to the mat with James Storm landing on top of Magnus, resulting in Storm inadvertently picking up the pin-fall victory. Both men recovered after the match, and the fans cheered them out.

Both men are complete professionals. There are examples of wrestlers purposely holding back in these situations, but I believe they gave everything to the match, and they should be respected for remaining loyal to TNA for so many years.

Technical Difficulties – TNA had major sound issues after the match. The commentary team initially joked about Storm and Magnus breaking the show. The difficulties continued on for a long time as we watched men clearing the ring, and the referee making his way to the ring. Slammiversary XIII was the first live PPV for TNA in a long time, and it’s not surprising some mistakes were made on the production side. The difficulties were not completely fixed as the next match began, so Mr Anderson decided not to introduce himself.


Tag team match – EC3 & Tyrus vs Mr. Anderson & Lashley

It was difficult to take this match seriously after the sound issues and poor build for the match. EC3 is on a role, and I knew the match was simply to put him over two former World Champions who could have easily had their own matches on the card. All I remember is EC3 hitting Lashley with his finisher after Tyrus managed to knock Lashley and Anderson down. Probably the worst match of the night, a rather dull and predictable match which could be seen as a waste of Anderson and Lashley’s talents. I’ve seen worse though.

The commentary team began to speculate on whether the TNA Wrestlers would do anything to stop Jarrett winning King of the Mountain seen as he’s a Global Force wrestler. Jarrett and Karen were interviewed backstage, with Karen wearing a rather revealing super hero-like outfit. Quite the side-boob display. Jarrett promised the relationship between him and TNA would go to a “Global” level following his victory.


King of the Mountain match for the reactivated TNA King of the Mountain Championship

Jeff Jarrett vs Matt Hardy vs Eric Young vs Drew Galloway vs Bobby Roode

The announcers didn’t do much to explain the rules of the match. I started watching TNA in 2009, and King of the Mountain became a favourite of mine, and they usually explain the rules. I was expecting a screen to pop up showing the rules of the match, with Mike Tenay adding his wisdom to explain it further, but it didn’t happen. I’ll provide the rules below.

  • All wrestlers start the match “ineligible” to win. To become “eligible”, a wrestler must gain a pin-fall or submission over another wrestler. An “eligible” wrestler remains so for rest of the match. Pin-falls and submissions can occur outside the ring.
  • Any wrestler who is pinned or made to submit must wait for two minutes in the “penalty box” (a cage structure with a lockable door) before they can re-enter the match. Several wrestlers can be in the penalty box together if multiple pin-falls/submissions occur.
  • The championship belt is held by the referee until an eligible wrestler decides to climb a ladder with the belt and hang it on the hook suspended over the ring. The wrestler who successfully hangs the belt is declared the winner.
  • While a wrestler claims the belt, it can be stolen by other eligible wrestlers while the belt is in play.
  • If the belt is dropped and left in the ring for a short time, the belt will be handed back to the referee.

The championship belt used was the deactivated TNA Television Championship, which was vacated in July 2014 after an announcement by TNA Executive Director Kurt Angle. The championship was previously named the TNA Legends and TNA Global Championship. The plates shined more than usual, however the strap appeared old and worn.

The match began with the crowd chanting “Thank you Jarrett“. The TNA Wrestlers fought each other and left Jarrett alone in the ring. After some offense from Jarrett, the crowd chanted “you still got it!“. Jarrett performed the vintage Jarrett strut, which was a mistake as Roode rolled him up for a three-count. A surprised Jarrett was made to wait in the penalty box. After Roode’s failed attempt at hanging the belt, Jarrett re-entered the match only for Eric Young to throw him into the cage. Eric Young picked up a pin-fall on him outside the ring to send Jarrett into the penalty box again.

Young and Roode interrupted Galloway and Hardy’s attempted pin-falls. Jarrett re-entered the match with a flurry of offense. Matt Hardy hit a twist of fate on Roode and pinned him to become eligible. Galloway pinned Young to become eligible also. Roode and Eric Young were sent to the penalty box together. The commentary team talked about wrestlers attacking each other if they were locked in the box together, however Roode and EY put their recent troubles behind them and talked strategy. Jarrett interrupted a fight between Hardy and Galloway, and hit The Stroke on Galloway only for Hardy to break it up.

As Galloway climbed the ladder, Roode and Young were released and took everyone out. The former Team Canada stablemates stood together and sang “O Canada!” (good stuff), The alliance was short-lived as both men turned on each other. After Jarrett knocked Hardy and Galloway off a ladder, Young and Roode jumped in the ring and scored pin-falls on Hardy and Galloway.

Hardy and Galloway were sent to the box together, leaving Roode, Young and Jarrett staring each other down in the ring. Roode shouted “We built this place!”, and the fight continued. During the brawl, Young tried to steal Jarrett’s guitar but Karen cut him off and slapped him. Young grabbed the guitar anyway and went after Jarrett, who countered with a low-blow. Jarrett smashed the guitar over Roode’s head. Jarrett pinned Roode to become the last eligible wrestler in the match.

As Galloway and Hardy re-entered the match, Jarrett helped Roode into the penalty box. Jarrett tried to win the match but Eric Young had other ideas. After some failed stroke attempts, Young delivered a piledriver on Jarrett from the ring apron on to a bridged ladder outside the ring. Fans chanted “Holy Shit!” as Karen screamed.

Roode was let out, and all wrestlers fought outside the ring. Galloway climbed on top of the penalty box and flew through the air (I called him the Flying Scotsman), landing on everyone else. Loud “TNA” chant from the crowd. Afterwards, Jarrett remained on the outside as the others attempted to hang the championship belt. Eric Young ended up with the title as the rest were laid out.

Jarrett stopped Young and delivered a Stroke off the ladder, allowing him to pick the title up, climb the ladder, hang it on the hook, and become the first TNA King of the Mountain Champion. The commentators speculated over the future of TNA and GFW as the Jarrett’s celebrated the victory with their children in the ring.


Conclusion

The conclusion will be split into Good Points and Bad Points. Before I do, I want to note that the commentary team felt awkward at times. Pope made a comment on how Josh didn’t need to do his job because Tenay was there. Mike Tenay spoke the least out of the three, mostly contributing by explaining the history of the company and wrestlers involved, as Josh looked at his notes to clarify the facts. There was a lack of excitement from them, and on occasion reminded each other to “call the action”.

Bad Points

  • No Kurt Angle. No World Championship match. No Knockout’s Championship match.
  • The Impact zone is a small venue, so when the crowd was quiet, it was far too quiet.
  • Lack of grandeur. No fireworks or historic announcements.
  • The X-Division match failed to deliver with no build.
  • Technical audio issues could be seen as embarrassing (although it rarely happens), and it did not help the EC3/Tyrus vs Lashley/Anderson match. There were a few minor freezes on Challenge TV.
  • Botched ending to Bram vs Magnus.
  • Magnus’ backstage promo was out-of-place.
  • Recycled Legends/Global/TV Championship. A new belt would have gone down better.
  • A lack of historical remembrance for previous Slammiversary events.

Good Points

  • Personally, being able to watch a TNA PPV live (for free) on television for the first time
  • There were no terrible matches. Davey Richards vs Austin Aries won match of the night, while the main event delivered the concept of the King of the Mountain match.
  • Surprisingly decent match between Godderz and Robbie E, and the crowd was into it.
  • Enjoyed the street fight between Bram and Morgan, even if Bram appeared lost at the end.
  • The Knockouts were fun to watch as usual. Could have been more, would not consider it bad though.
  • Storm vs Magnus was brutal in places. Unique ending too. A really good send-off for two of the most loyal TNA wrestlers.
  • The King of the Mountain match was well thought out. The winner was predictable, but it keeps the speculation over Jarrett’s relationship with TNA going. In a way, TNA apologized for ousting Jarrett out of the company several years before.
  • All the wrestlers worked hard and there were few mistakes. Despite the limitation on booking, they made up for it with providing quality matches.
  • The crowd was at their loudest during the Aries/Richards, Stom/Magnus, and King of the Mountain matches.

The production in TNA continues to look mediocre when you compare to WWE, however the match quality is often better (and more consistent). However, wrestling fans often look for more, as they also want quality characters and stories to go with the wrestling. With the limitations to the booking, no World Championship match, and the sudden announcement of the main event in the same week, I can see why many saw Slammiversary as a throwaway PPV.

It was, to a certain degree, and it reminded me of the Bound for Glory PPV in Japan, with an old veteran (Great Muta) ending the night victorious over contracted TNA talent. Hopefully the Jarrett victory leads somewhere unlike what happened after Bound for Glory. The PPV was good or bad depending on how entertained you are by wrestling matches. The company lacks appealing characters and entertainment aside from the wrestling, which has been their downfall in recent times.

Overall I enjoyed the PPV despite the bad points. I wouldn’t say it was the worst PPV ever, I have seen far worse from TNA and WWE over the years. It could have been so much more though, and I suppose it depends how much the “could haves” and “what ifs” bother you. I tend to judge a PPV on what happened, not what could have happened, and on that basis I would say Slammiversary XIII delivered an event filled with quality wrestling matches, and as a wrestling fan that is acceptable. Thanks for reading!

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