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NewsTNA Slammiversary 2016 Review

TNA Slammiversary 2016 Review

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Trevor Lee (c) vs. DJ Z vs. Andrew Everett vs. Eddie Edwards – TNA X-Division Championship

Trevor Lee is young and talented, but he’s not getting decent reactions at the moment. DJ Z has spent years as the extra body thrown in to create the illusion of a broader X-Division. I understand TNA wanting to use Eddie Edwards as Davey Richards recovers from injury, but this feels like a demotion.

Not so long ago, Eddie and Davey dominated the tag team division by defeating teams like Team 3D and The Hardys in Full Metal Mayhem, and other teams like Beer Money. Without his partner, Eddie’s left in the mid-card with little chance of moving up. To me it feels like a setback because he could be challenging higher up the card, yet he’s going for a title which has been misused and underappreciated for a long time.

Pope was quick to point out Shane Helms’ change of attire from his neon green suit before the referee banned him from ringside. With him gone Trevor Lee and Everett teamed up and made it more of tag match. I’ll admit, when this was live I had serious streaming issues so I decided to watch it again without interruption.

Ok I’m done. When I saw it live I wasn’t too impressed, but it was hard to judge as the stream kept freezing; and I missed the finish. While I felt the match had good pace, it was difficult to care for any of the challengers except Eddie, so if he didn’t win it was going to be a downer for the rest of the PPV. Everett was impressive; if you like photogenic spots. Eddie Edwards is the new X-Division Champion, but the real question is … will he have any serious challengers?

It was a good opening. Not the greatest X-Division contest ever, but at least it warmed up the crowd. Forgot to mention I’ll be rating matches out of five stars (1 = terrible 5= excellent), and I’m judging on how they compare to past TNA matches. As far as an X-Division match goes, it lacked hype, serious challengers, and the guys only got 10 minutes. At least the right man won, even if it feels like a step in the wrong direction.

3 1/2 Stars ***-

The Tribunal (Basile Baraka and Baron Dax) w/ Al Snow vs. Grado and Mahabali Shera

Before the match EC3 cut a promo on his upcoming bout with Matt Bennett. As always he delivered a passionate promo telling the story and hyping the encounter.

Who are The Tribunal? Baraka was formerly known as Sylvester Lefort in NXT as a tag team wrestler, while Dax worked as a monster heel called Marcus Louis in NXT. As the NXT roster grew, they were relegated to enhancement talent til their releases in February. In March they signed with TNA, and in April made their debut as a tag team with Al Snow as their coach.

“Coach” Al Snow carries a whistle now … and yes, it’s as annoying as it sounds. As for The Tribunal, I see long-term potential in Dax, but not Baraka. Too early to say because I didn’t see much of Baraka in NXT. So yeah .. Grado and Shera were trying to do comedy but the crowd weren’t into it. Rolling around in the ring while there’s a new team trying to pick you off? I don’t want to see that, I want to see Grado and Shera working together to at least look like a threat. It was an inevitable victory for The Tribunal.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some enjoyable moments (like Al Snow’s disbelief of Grado’s toughness), but it was an extended squash match which went on too long. If you want to make this team look good, it shouldn’t take over seven minutes to pick off this comedy act. Al Snow was the only guy getting any kind of heat from the crowd, so on that basis I can only give.

2 Stars **

Jade (c) vs. Sienna vs. Gail Kim – TNA Knockouts Championship

Before the match the new talent Braxton Sutter (bad name, but perhaps it will grow on me?) interrupted James Storm’s promo and exchanged greetings. Storm walked away with him as they talked about who he would fight later in the night.

After the hype video for Gail Kim vs. Maria, Gail made her way to the ring and called Maria out. Maria came out with her assistant Allie, as she explained why Maria couldn’t wrestle. Really high pitch on Allie, she could break windows with that voice. Gail wasn’t believing her excuses and neither were the fans. Gail threatened to attack Maria, forcing Billy Corgan to enter.

Corgan showed the x-rays of Maria’s broken hand, and promised Gail would get her match with Maria when she’s cleared. To clear things up, Corgan added Gail to the Knockouts Championship match and announced it would start immediately. Sienna entered wearing a black peacock-like attire (sorry I don’t know what it’s called), making her look a little less plain. Jade made her entrance looking the happiest I’ve ever seen her, as she sported long tights instead of short.

Questionable finish. Sienna is the new Knockouts Champion after Marti Belle interfered and hit Jade with a weapon of some kind (baton?), leaving Sienna to claim the easy pinfall. I understand that TNA wanted to move Jade away from the title so she could feud with former Dollhouse partner Marti Belle, but did it have to go to Sienna? I mean, she’s strong, and a good worker, but she hasn’t been around long and it feels too soon. It didn’t feel like .. “oh man Sienna won!? That sucks!”, it was more like “Sienna won? I suppose? Is there no one else?”. Do we know who she is? How many times has she picked up a mic? Where did she come from?

For a triple threat Knockouts match it was pretty good actually. Jade and Gail Kim have chemistry so any time they squared up it was good. No botches from what I saw, so it seems they were all on their game. The crowd was kinda chanting for Gail, and some for Jade too. Didn’t hear much booing for Sienna, but definitely for Allie when she broke up a pin. Gail punching her in the face was really welcome from my view. A decent match which only happened because of Maria’s hand injury, and I guess it keeps the Gail vs. Maria storyline going as she can challenge Sienna til she recovers.

3 Stars ***

James Storm vs. Braxton Sutter

Before the match Lashley was interviewed by Jeremy Borash. He emphasized the stipulation and told Drew he was “in his world now”. After telling Borash to announce him as the new World Champion, JB’s reluctance angered Lashley, so after further intimidation Borash announced him as the new champion.

Sutter is 36 years old and has displayed gratitude for making it to TNA after working for sixteen years as a wrestler. It was face vs. face, so it was a respectable contest with no cheap shots. It showed some of Sutter’s skills, but I felt like Storm dominated too much and Sutter lost too easily in the end. But there wasn’t any hype for the match as it was booked on the night, so it was a decent filler between two title matches.

The highlight was James Storm’s promo beforehand where he talked about how his life was in gods hands, and went on about how if you ain’t doing what you want with your life, you might as well step aside. Without saying it, I felt like he was addressing his decision to return to TNA instead of signing with NXT without blatantly saying it. He wanted the fans to know that it doesn’t matter where he works, as long as he wants to be there and the fans want to drink with him, that’s all that matters. He will always be remembered as someone who did what he wanted and didn’t conform to the rules, and appreciated the company he’s called home for fourteen years.

The match felt a little off to me. I don’t know whether they wanted to make Sutter look good, or like a jobber punching above his weight, but in the end I wasn’t impressed and I think Storm did everything he could to make it exciting. Sutter has the look, and may have good charisma, but we didn’t see anything spectacular which is disappointing.

2 1/2 Stars **-

Eli Drake (c) vs. Bram – TNA King Of The Mountain Championship

Dummy Yeah! In a backstage interview Eli Drake’s charisma oozed all over the place as he stated he needed no introduction … and a few seconds later introduced himself anyways. He described Bram as crazy, and recognized the threat to this title. After losing his train of thought, Eli recovered it and ended by saying he would be “the champion forever and that’s just a fact of life!” I can’t get enough of E — Li —– Drake.

Eli made his entrance and tried to get up on the turnbuckle, slipped backwards, and recovered enough to not fall on his head. I laughed out loud. Despite the hilarity I freakin’ loved this match. Bram brought the intensity, and I had no clue whether he was being a face or a heel, but he’s English so I don’t really care. I think the fans weren’t sure who to cheer for so they directed their hate towards Eli.

Later in the match Eli stood on the ring ropes looking out at Bram, almost slipped again, corrected himself, and flipped backwards out of it. Again he sold his disbelief, and told the ref to check the ring ropes and turnbuckles while trying not to blush from embarrassment. One of the biggest events of the year for TNA and he messes up twice. It was only eight minutes long but it didn’t feel like it. With the time they had, they put on a solid match for the KOTM Championship so I’ll award their efforts with a higher rating.

4 Stars ****

EC3 vs. Mike Bennett w/ Maria

Mike Bennett in a backstage interview before the match. I’m not sure which was hyped more, this feud or the Hardys. Either way. it felt like TNA hyped them more than the World title match.

These guys are true pros, but the match never clicked for me. There were too many false finishes and the One Percenter does not look good when it takes three to finish someone off. Maria getting involved was predictable, and in the end it came to nothing as EC3 put an end to this feud. The rivalry succeeded as it cemented Bennett as a main event player going forward, and while he was defeated, it will not take him away from the position he’s earned.

With all the hype and promotion, the match underperformed and should have gone over twenty minutes instead of fifteen. With three One Percenters and other big moves happening one after another, there was no time to sell offense and build suspense to the finish. The guys did what they could, but inevitably it suffered due to a lack of time.

3 1/2 Stars ***-

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy – Falls Count Anywhere Full Metal Mayhem

Blah! Ok, let me turn on “Rant” mode. So just last year Matt Hardy was just being one half of The Hardys winning the tag team titles. Jeff got injured, so Matt went into the main event scene against EC3. Matt beat EC3, but then was forced to vacate which lead to the double turn of Matt going heel and EC3 going face. I accepted the change, and I loved to hate the “Iconic” Matt Hardy. It was a stretch at first, but they made it work.

So a few months go by, Matt loses his title and Jeff smashes him through a table. Next thing we know a bunch of Willows show up and Matt reveals a new version of his character. Looking like a mad super villain from a bad movie, not only has he completely changed his look, he’s changed his accent to sound more “proper” (like he’s failing to do an English accent) to cover up his Carolina accent. Dammit, just writing this hurts my head.

So they have this series of vignettes showing Jeff turning up at their old house were it all began. And it’s cringing television, poorly shot and edited, non-existent acting from Jeff, and somehow it received praise by some TNA fans and Dixie Carter defended it?

The part with Reby Sky throwing the baby doll to Jeff is the kind of cheap heat you don’t want to show on TV. They did not need to go this extent to hype an old feud between two brothers. Why is TNA putting in so much time and effort into this feud? Do they think we’ve never seen Jeff vs. Matt? Give them some ladders and that’s all we need.

Ok end rant. Sorry but the build for this has been difficult to process. Imagine your typical Matt vs. Jeff TLC match and that’s what this is. Plenty of jumping off ladders, a few broken tables, and inevitably Jeff comes out on top by doing the Swanton on Matt through a table. Matt also introduced a keyboard to the match. It was the second longest of the night, and in the end I was left wondering why they went to so much trouble to change Matt’s character again and do all the vignettes just so Jeff could keep him in his shadow.

Hard to rate. Nothing we ain’t seen before, but to work this match is always a risk so kudos to them. I’m beginning to wonder if The Hardys are taking too much airtime and money from TNA, and whether they really need to be hyped so much at this point. I’ve seen better matches between them. Maybe I’m being generous with the rating, because I know any Hardy fans would have enjoyed it. Bump it down by at least half a star if you’re tired of Jeff vs. Matt.

3 1/2 Stars ***

Decay (c) w/ Rosemary vs. The Bromans w/ Raquel – TNA World Tag Team Championship

Abyss revealed his secret; he’s beautiful. Loving his work with Decay, and Crazzy Steve is getting some mic time as well. Strangely enough (or maybe not) I didn’t want The Bromans to win because I guess I would rather side with Decay than two Jersey Shore wannabes. Then again … they do have Raquel.

An exciting match! I liked the dynamic of the girls getting involved and not holding back. Also we got a bunch of mists from Rosemary and Abyss. Nine minutes of action to bridge the gap between main events was a good call. Fairly obvious Decay would retain so it made for a good toilet break for those in need. Either way it didn’t have much hype and while The Bromans worked well, they never looked like the better team. Abyss finished it in style by throwing his partner on to Jessie for the win, much to the delight of the beautiful monster.

3 Stars ***

Drew Galloway (c) vs. Lashley – Tap Out or Knockout match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Oh man, this was a brutal contest. Drew smashed Lashley in the face and busted him open near his eye. This was really physical and heated and I have to applaud both mens efforts. You have two guys who could have been something in WWE fighting over this title and they went all out on the night. Loved how Drew got the Claymore off early, and used submission holds like the Iron Maiden and Sharpshooter to go with the stipulation.

Having no pins really added to the match. It was great to see two guys fighting constantly with no breaks for pinfalls. Lashley hit his spear halfway through the match as well. Unlike the EC3/Bennett match, they spaced the finishers out instead of leaving them til the latter half. After Drew crashed through a table, he returned with blood on his face and tombstoned Lashley.

Drew tried for the Claymore, Lashley sidestepped and delivered an MMA-like punch to the head knocking Galloway down. A gazed Drew passed out to the arm triangle choke and the referee wasted no time getting Lashley off him as Drew was knocked out.

While the main event felt like the third most important match on the card, in my opinion I felt like it delivered more than the others. It was brutal, intense, and the both men put in a great performance. Yeah … it’s Drew vs. Lashley, it’s not The Rock vs. Stone Cold, but for what these guys can do in the ring, this is their best worked match together so far. I’m sad to see a fellow Brit lose his World Championship, but he went down fighting and I’m proud of that. With that said I’ll rate it with the following as it exceeded my expectations, and they put everything into it.

4 Stars ****

To conclude, the PPV was decent, but it was far from great. It was lacking in production and looked like an Impact taping. With only 1,500 in attendance the crowd didn’t add much noise. There were no terrible matches, which is great … but with nine contests in three hours the main events lacked time and they suffered as a result. We could have done without the first tag match, and perhaps Gail Kim could have been added to the Knockouts title match before the show aired.

With only two major PPVs a year, you would assume the company would splash out a little and make Slammiversary appealing and memorable, but they didn’t so I’ll end by saying it was good but I’ve seen better episodes of Impact. The talent were great, but the company should not be proud of this event. Where’s the excitement? Why is the X-Division second-rate? Who is Sienna? And why is Braxton Sutter getting a match against James Storm after winning one match on TV? So many unanswered questions, perhaps someone can clear those up for me.

Thanks for reading everyone. See you again soon.

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