Kester's TNA Slammiversary XI Rundown: Bully Ray ends Sting's hopes of another heavyweight championship reign, Kurt Angle bests AJ Styles, and Gail Kim could not answer a ten count
By Ryan Kester
Bully Ray vs. Sting
This was more or less the match that everyone expected to see going in, but Bully Ray and Sting managed to shake it up and add an intensity to their brawl that kept things entertaining. I particularly enjoyed Bully Ray's prematch promo about the No Holds Barred stipulation and how he planned to use a banned move to undo Sting.
Unfortunately, as the match went on, it became apparent that the story was going to revolve more around Sting's resilience rather than the threat of Bully Ray or Aces and Eights. There's no way to get around it, when one man is able to fend off an entire stable for the majority of a match, the stable looks weak. TNA can easily use the footage to spin the story towards Aces and Eights being unrelenting, but at this point they shouldn't have to be spinning anything. If TNA expects fans to give the group heat as if they're the threatening force, then it needs to be presented as such when it matters.
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
This match had an excellent work rate. It was the standard Kurt Angle formula of unrelenting signature spots and near falls, but it was done very well here.
It's interesting to see Kurt Angle getting the win so early in Styles' run with his dark character. It was by no means a dominant victory, so TNA can easily go back to this feud, if they wish, with little issue. The Bound For Glory Series is right around the corner, however, and this was the best possible finish to get separation between the two as they transition into the series.
Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
This match came out of nowhere. The Knockouts division has been delivering some solid stories and decent-at-best matches lately, but Kim and Terrell went all out in their Last Man Standing match. The spots they were doing were relatively simple and they avoided an overuse of foreign objects, but the match managed to stay brutal. This wasn't just a good Knockouts match, it was one of the more enjoyable Last Man Standing efforts in recent memory.
The big question coming out of this match is "where do we go from here?" The babyface got her revenge in a decisive manner, but the only other two active women in the division are just starting a feud over the Knockouts strap. I don't want to see a multi-woman feud in a division that is just beginning to tell good stories again, but I don't see how TNA could return to the Terrell/Kim feud in a satisfactory manner.
Slammiversary XI was a decent to solid show. There was plenty of good action involved, but it suffered from some clunky booking and didn't do enough going into the show to give it the big event feel.
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