6/13 TNA Slammiversary PPV live coverage report: Rob Van Dam vs. Sting for the TNA Title, Douglas Williams vs. Brian Kendrick for the X Division Title, Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez, Kurt Angle vs. Kazarian
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to Jason Powell's audio review of TNA Slammiversary later tonight. You can access all Dot Net audio on the ad-free version of the site by signing up for membership via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
Aired live on pay-per-view
Orlando, Fla. at the Impact Zone
The show opened with a video package that started with the old NWA-TNA logo and footage of Ken Shamrock (bad timing). The history piece featured comments from Dixie Carter, Kurt Angle, and Hulk Hogan. A nice video package that concluded with hype that tonight's pay-per-view is eight years in the making... Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary...
1. Kurt Angle beat Kazarian by submission in 14:05. Tenay noted early in the match that the company will update the top 10 rankings during Thursday's Impact. The live crowd was really hot for Angle to the point that they chanted "USA." Taz joked that Kazarian must not be from the United States or something.
Kazarian caught Angle with a kick to the store early. The referee teased the DQ, but Angle talked him out of it to keep the match going. Kaz took control of the action due to the low blow. Angle came back and teased the ankle lock for a big pop at 7:45, but Kaz dodged it and regained control of the offense.
Kazarian took his time going to the top rope. Angle recovered and did the spot where he runs to the corner and hits the suplex off the ropes for a near fall. Angle went for the Angle Slam, but Kazarian avoided it. At 10:00, Angle hit four German suplexes and then pulled down the straps of his gear.
Angle went for the slam again, but Kazarian countered and then hit his variation of the piledriver, but Angle kicked out. Later, Kazarian caught Angle on the ropes and powerbombed him. Kazarian used the ropes for leverage, but Angle still managed to kick out.
Kazarian went for his finisher, but Angle countered into the ankle lock. Kazarian appeared to touch the ropes, but Angle dragged him back into the middle of the ring, where Kazarian tapped out. Afterward, Angle used his fingers to demonstrate one down and nine of the top 10 ranked wrestlers to go...
Powell's POV: Fun opening match with really good back and forth action. The live crowd is really into Angle right now and they should be. His babyface character feels fresh. He's an athlete again rather than a meathead heel. Kazarian always holds up his end of the bargain in the ring. They key for him remains making that connection with the fans. He seems closer to doing so as a heel than he did during his most recent babyface run.
Tenay and Taz discussed the eighth anniversary of TNA and ran through a list of people who have helped make it possible, including Jeff Jarrett, who they claimed was watching the show from his home in Tennessee...
Powell's POV: What's the point of saying Jarrett is home in Tennessee when anyone who attended the various TNA events over the weekend saw him there in person?
2. Douglas Williams pinned Brian Kendrick to retain the X Division Title in 9:35. TNA changed Williams's first name, but the graphic still read "Doug Williams." By the way, the referees are wearing the blue shirts and bow ties. The finish saw Williams hit a tornado DDT off the second rope. The announcers played it up as if he was beating the X Division wrestlers at their own game by leaving his feet for the finish...
Powell's POV: Good action and the crowd got into the match as it went on, but the fans don't see either one of these guys as stars. They seem to be on their way with Williams, though. The longer he keeps the title, the more credibility he gains, and the more it will mean when someone takes the title from him.
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed Eric Bischoff while his assistant stood by. Bischoff said he doesn't think that Sting has the best interest of the company or the fans in mind. Bischoff said TNA couldn't have a better champion than Rob Van Dam. Bischoff said he hopes Van Dam helps them get Sting off their plate for a while...
Powell's POV: Basic promo here. The dynamic with babyface Bischoff and comedically underdressed Miss. Teschmacher is awkward. It made sense when Bischoff was heel, but now it just strikes me as an odd pairing.
3. Madison Rayne pinned Roxxi to retain the TNA Knockouts Title and end Roxxi's career in 4:20. Before the match, Rayne cut a promo saying she was putting everything on the line, whereas Roxxi has nothing to lose. Rayne challenged Roxxi to put her career on the line just as Tara did. Roxxi didn't seem interested, but Rayne goaded her into it.
Powell's POV: Why in the hell would Roxxi or anyone else be goaded into putting their career on the line if they already have a title shot? Why in the hell would TNA not advertise such a stipulation in advance?
Just as Roxxi agreed to the stipulation, Madison smacked her over the head with the mic. Roxxi bled heavily. WWE trainers showed up to treat her. Okay, not really, but she did suffer a nasty cut. At 3:00, Roxxi hit her Voodoo Drop finisher for a near fall. A short time later, Madison hit her finisher and scored the pin...
Powell's POV: I wonder if the gimmick will be that Rayne gets put in a position where she will let Tara and Roxxi come back if she loses a match at some point. Roxxi was on a nightly deal, but there has been talk within TNA of Tara possibly returning at some point, so we'll see what happens. Both women tried, but I miss the old Knockouts division that featured a much stronger in-ring product.
A video recapped the Team 3D and Ink Inc. saga...
Brother Ray and Jesse Neal came to the ring for their match. Before the bell, Ray called for Devon to join him at ringside. As Devon was walking to the ring, Shannon Moore ran right past him. Ray said he owes everyone in the ring an apology. Even Slick Johnson? The fans chanted for tables.
Ray said Shannon said it best when he said he had been acting like a bully and a douchebag. The fans chanted, "You're a douchebag." Ray said Jesse is just doing what they trained him to do, and it's obvious that all the fans in TNA love him. Um, okay. Ray said Neal wasn't a failure in the Navy, he's a hero.
As Ray was apologizing to everyone, Moore headed backstage. Ray hugged Jesse Neal. Team 3D held up Jesse's arms. Team 3D headed backstage and Neal followed. Brother Ray attacked Neal on the entrance ramp and threw him back inside the ring to start the match...
4. Jesse Neal pinned Brother Ray in 5:55. Ray told the referee to get Devon away from the ringside area. Security held off Devon, who said, "This ain't over," before heading backstage. Ray dominated the match and apparently ripped off the dog tags that belonged to Neal's late friend.
At 5:00, Tommy Dreamer walked through the crowd. "What the hell is Dreamer doing here?" Taz asked. Brother Ray looked surprised. A short time later, Neal hit his spear finisher to get the win...
Powell's POV: Very nice reaction for Dreamer from the live crowd. I don't get the sense that it lived up to the hype with the net fans based on the feedback I've been getting via email. It's just a small touch, but I was happy to see Dreamer wasn't wearing a TNA t-shirt during his first appearance for the company.
Backstage, Christy Hemme interviewed Hernandez, who spoke briefly about his feud with Matt Morgan... A video package recapped their history...
5. Matt Morgan beat Hernandez by DQ in 5:20. Morgan came to the ring in street clothes and wore a neck brace. He said he had a doctor's note and couldn't perform due to the injury he suffered on Impact. As Morgan headed backstage, Hernandez came out and attacked him. Hernandez ripped off the neck collar and threw Morgan inside the ring.
Hernandez controlled the opening minute, but Morgan came back. Taz questioned whether the neck brace was just a ruse. Later, Hernandez tossed the referee to the mat for the DQ. Tenay stressed that it wasn't about winning or losing in this match, it was about revenge for Hernandez.
Afterward, Hernandez set up Morgan at ringside and prepared to kick his head into the post just as Morgan had done to him. However, referee Brian Hebner ended up in the way and took the kick from Hernandez. Earl Hebner and the other referees ran out to check on Brian...
Powell's POV: There have been a million ref bumps in TNA's eight-year history, yet a kick to the ribs made the other referees care enough to run out to check on Brian Hebner's status? Poor match placement. I get the basics of the angle, but Brother Ray spoke forever at the beginning of the last match and now Morgan did a lot of talking here. They really should have split those up.
Backstage, Hemme interviewed Hulk Hogan, who focussed his promo on Sting. Hogan said fans won't see a repeat of what happened last month when Sting beat up Jeff Jarrett before their scheduled match...
Powell's POV: Does this mean Hogan is getting involved in yet another pay-per-view main event? Ugh.
6. Abyss pinned Desmond Wolfe (w/Chelsea) in a Monster's Ball match in 11:40. It took Abyss all of 85 seconds to reach under the ring and pull out a barbwire board, which he set up in the corner of the ring. At 3:15, Wolfe reached inside a trash can that Abyss brought to the ring and pulled out a teddy bear wrapped in barbwire.
Abyss eventually took the bear and presented it to Chelsea. Abyss pulled out a bag from underneath the ring. Rather than thumbtacks, there was glass inside. After Abyss spread the glass in the ring, Wolfe bailed to ringside, where he pulled Chelsea in front of him. With Abyss distracted, Wolfe grabbed a kendo stick and struck Abyss with it.
The duo fought onto the stage. Desmond tried to hit Abyss with the stick. However, Abyss grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him right in front of the announcers' table on the stage at 6:10. There were like five guys chanting, "This is awesome." I have no idea what they would have chanted if they were seeing a truly awesome match.
Abyss bled from the arm later in the match. At 10:10, Wolfe hit Abyss from behind with the kendo stick, which caused Abyss to fall face first onto the glass. Later, Wolfe shouted at Chelsea to throw him the brass knuckles when he didn't find them inside her handbag. Instead, she threw them to Abyss. Abyss hit Wolfe with the knuckles and then performed the Black Hole Slam for the win...
Powell's POV: Abyss is going to get laid by Chelsea? Without paying for it? If so, this will compete for the least realistic storyline in pro wrestling history.
Backstage, Hemme interviewed Rob Van Dam, who said he doesn't care about Sting's agenda like Hogan and Bischoff do. He does care about the title belt being vandalized on Thursday (it was back to normal tonight). Van Dam said it's "The Whole F'n Show Time."
A video spotlighted Jay Lethal's issues with Ric Flair and A.J. Styles...
7. Jay Lethal pinned A.J. Styles (w/Ric Flair) in 17:15. Good back and forth action for the first ten minutes. Lethal was in control of the action when Flair yelled, "He's tired," to Styles. They continued to trade quality near falls, including one spot where Lethal flung Styles into the air and slammed him on the way down.
Flair distracted Lethal long enough for Styles to regain control and apply the figure four. At 15:00, Styles went for the Styles Clash (or whatever Michelle McCool calls it), but Lethal slipped through and hit a release dragon suplex. Very cool move. Lethal had the pin, but Flair pulled Styles to the ropes.
Later, Lethal applied the figure four. He eventually went for the top rope elbow and missed. Styles hit the Pele kick. Styles tried to climb the ropes, but he slipped and hit his face on the ropes. The announcers said he was having knee problems from the figure four. Styles went for the ropes again, but Lethal caught him with a clunky northern lights suplex and got the pin.
After the match, Kazarian ran out and tried to calm down Flair, who was bickering with Styles. A.J. was left sitting in the corner of the ring when Flair and Kazarian headed backstage. Taz said Styles losing due in part to the figure four had to be humiliating to Flair...
Powell's POV: TNA is trying to get Lethal over. The match was strong, but the live crowd doesn't appear to have a real connection with Lethal yet. They get a kick out of his impersonations, but I think the fans need to be introduced to the real Lethal before they can get behind him.
Backstage, Sting said he was going to take the title off the pawn Rob Van Dam. He said the veil will be lifted off everyone's eyes. "Some men want to rule the world," Sting said. "Some men want to make it a better place. Some men just want to watch it burn. Which man do you think I am, Robbie?"...
Powell's POV: Nice line to close the promo.
A video package recapped the Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy saga... Backstage, Hemme interviewed the duo. Jeff took offense to Beer Money saying "a former partner of mine carried me." He said no one carries him. Anderson said they had bigger fish to fry. He said they need a name. They came up with The Enigmatic Assholes...
8. Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson beat Beer Money in 16:00. Hardy did the selling for his team as the heels worked him over around the 10:00 mark. The fans amused themselves with various "asshole" chants even though the match was fairly dull while Beer Money was on offense.
Anderson made the hot tag at 12:00. Hardy used his partner as a springboard to dive onto Storm at ringside. Anderson went for the Mic Check, but Roode fought out and hit a spinebuster for a near fall that Hardy had to break up.
Later, Roode and Storm set up a bloody Anderson (must have been hardway) for their finisher, but Hardy took out Storm unbeknownst to Roode. Roode went for a suplex, but Hardy caught Anderson and flipped him back over. Anderson hit his finisher on Roode and scored the pin. Hardy and Anderson took turns naming themselves as the winners. Hardy concluded by wishing TNA a happy anniversary and added, "TNA rocks"...
Powell's POV: The match started slow and built nicely. However, with no titles at stake and with Beer Money losing way more often than they win these days, it was hard to get really caught up in the match.
The announcers set up a video for the main event...
Sting made his entrance followed by Van Dam. Jeremy Borash handled the in-ring introductions...
9. Rob Van Dam pinned Sting to retain the TNA Title in 10:55. Taz claimed he had goosebumps when the bell sounded. He might want to visit a dermatologist for that since it couldn't possibly be due to the matchup. Yeah, I know, the guy has to sell the match somehow. Sting and Van Dam fought to ringside where they traded offense.
They eventually fought their way back inside the ring. At 7:00, Van Dam leapt off the second rope and nailed Sting with a kick. Ouch! A minute later, referee Earl Hebner was bumped. He took a thumb to the eye a move earlier and then stood right behind Sting, so you could see the bump coming a mile away.
Sting broke out the baseball bat and went to work on Van Dam. Jeff Jarrett came out to a mild pop and took the bat from Sting. Jarrett took a couple jabs at Sting with the bat.Van Dam recovered and hit rolling thunder. Van Dam went for the cover and the recovering Hebner made a slow count. Sting kicked out at 10:00.
A short time later, Van Dam hit the Five Star Frog Splash and scored the pin. The fans popped for the move, but not so much for the rather ordinary finish. Van Dam celebrated with the belt as Tenay thanked viewers to close the show...
Powell's POV: The Jarrett run-in was better than Hulk Hogan ruining another pay-per-view main event, but he didn't get the reaction the company was probably assuming the founder would on the anniversary show. Then again, that might have been because the fans had their guard up for a potential heel turn since that's usually what happens when a babyface runs out in TNA.
Overall, this wasn't a bad show. They didn't capture the anniversary show vibe as much as I thought they would and in many ways this felt like one of the B-show pay-per-views rather than one of TNA's top events. I'll have more to say tonight in the Dot Net Member exclusive audio review. Thanks for following along with me tonight.
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