Powell's TNA Slammiversary Hitlist: Two great title matches and the main event was not one of them, James Storm makes a hot return, Sting names the first TNA Hall of Famer, TNA delivers the big show and anniversary feel
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to the 111-minute TNA Slammiversary audio review that Will Pruett and I recorded last night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php. Check back tonight during WWE Raw live coverage for your chance to win one of three free Dot Net Memberships that will be given away during the show.
TNA Slammiversary Hits
Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian: This was one hell of a tag team match. I'm not crazy about the idea of taking the belts off Daniels and Kazarian because they need them more than Angle and Styles, but it made for a good moment. The post-match celebration was great and the hot crowd was hot for the title change. The Styles springboard Shooting Star Press onto Daniels on the floor was a thing of beauty, and it was surprising to see Kazarian tap out moments later.
Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe: Another awesome match. I was actually hoping for a screwy finish that would set up the need for a rematch between the two because they work so well together. This was the best we've seen from Joe in a long time. He's been very good lately, but he was at his best in this match. Aries continues to shine as one of the true stars in the company and pinning Joe clean felt like a big deal even though Joe's push has been so uneven. Here's hoping we haven't seen the last from these two. Best of seven, please?
Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam: You have to appreciate the way they all spent so much time in the ring together and didn't rely strictly on the "one guy sells at ringside while the other two work in the ring together" formula. There's always some of that in a three-way match, but these guys took the time to come up with some good spots that had them all in the ring together. I was surprised to see Anderson win. I wonder if the idea is for Roode to beat him clean on Thursday in an effort to get him back on the credible track after having him lose to Sting twice on television and then win in a cheap manner on this show. I'm ready for an RVD heel turn. Lord knows he and RVD need something to do, and it's not like RVD would have to change much about his persona to work as a heel. He already cuts self-important promos and stops to point at himself during matches and it usually comes back to haunt his character. Either way, they really have to find quality programs for RVD and Hardy because both guys feel directionless right now.
James Storm vs. Crimson: I was disappointed to see Crimson's streak end. I never thought it clicked with him as a babyface, but he was doing a good job of getting under the skin of viewers by bragging about his winning streak as a heel. If nothing else, I wanted to see a build to the moment that Crimson's streak ended rather than having an open challenge opponent beat him. Ultimately, though, Storm is more important than Crimson. The "Goldberg" chanting crowd popped huge for Storm's entrance and treated him like a major star. The fans were hot for Storm's return and they loved it when he hit the Last Call for the win. I remain concerned that Crimson's entire character was about being undefeated, but this was a really hot return for the future TNA Champion Storm.
Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park: I've seen Abyss have some great matches with A.J. Styles and more hardcore wars than I want to remember, but I don't think I've ever been more impressed by his work. His character made rookie mistakes and he did such a good job of making it seem like he was a guy who had no in-ring experience. The fake Abyss spot was odd from the standpoint that you'd think they would have gone out of their way to show them both simultaneously. Perhaps that plays into an upcoming storyline or they want to save that for television. Ray was awesome, as always, and did a good job of bullying his seemingly inexperienced opponent and showing looks of surprise when Park caught him with shots. Mike Tenay and Taz also did an excellent job of explaining the nuances of the match and why Park kept looking to the crowd for their approval.
Sting named first TNA Hall of Famer: The perfect choice. Jeff Jarrett founded the company and certainly deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame as the majority of our poll voters feel. His time will come. It was important for TNA to start off with a huge name and they happen to have one who means a lot to their history and hasn't been inducted by WWE. I'm also hopeful that this will lead to a program where Jarrett takes great offense to being snubbed. I like the way the announcement occurred at Slammiversary and the actual induction takes place at Bound For Glory. It gives the anniversary show and the big annual event additional hooks.
Overall show: TNA delivered a major league show in front of a great crowd. The company never looked more professional from a visual standpoint. The lighting was excellent and they captured the sounds of the hot crowd. The wrestlers were big stars to this crowd and thus came across the same way to the viewers at home. TNA hasn't always done a good job of playing up the anniversary aspect during Slammiversary. That wasn't an issue last night, as everything from the greatest moments videos to Dixie Carter introducing Sting as the first TNA Hall of Fame member to Christian appearing to some great matches gave this a big event feel. There finally seems to be some buzz about the product and it will be interesting to see if it leads to better television ratings beginning with Thursday's night's followup show.
TNA Slammiversary Misses
Bobby Roode vs. Sting: The show was so good and all I wanted was a passable main event finish to close the show. We didn't get it. It doesn't seem to matter who is on the creative team, this company can't avoid the temptation of booking cheap ass finishes for their pay-per-view main events. They have to stop booking Sting in their pay-per-view main events. There's a place for Sting as the iconic figure in the company, but not as a challenger for the TNA Title. He can't go at a main event pace consistently enough to be counted on to headline shows, and it's time for him to move down from the top of the card in favor of the younger talent.
Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher: A disappointing buildup and a flat match. If they were going to book a title change, they really should have kept the feud strong coming out of their last match rather than having Tessmacher win a random four-way Knockouts match to earn a title shot just days before the pay-per-view. Tessmacher is charismatic and I like the idea of her being the face of the Knockouts division, but it's a shame that they didn't set up her first title win to feel like a bigger moment.
Devon and Garett Bischoff vs. Robbie E and Robbie T: I can't even remember the match aside from the "You Can't Wrestle" and "We Want Devon" chants. The thing that's stuck in my brain forever is the image of Devon and Garett post-match dance routine. Who in the hell thought this was a good idea? Please tell me this is the end of Devon feuding with the Robbie's. I've been joking for a while now about Earl Hebner being the object of Madison Rayne's desire and I'm actually starting to wonder whether that's the case. Garett Bischoff is the leading candidate, but I'd also be fine if she was interested in Robbie E and it led to him breaking away from the overplayed d-bag persona.
Taz isn't paying attention: I was embarrassed for Taz that he didn't know that Dixie Carter had tweeted the news of Christian returning to the show or that the TNA website's feature story shared that information. There were times when I couldn't blame Taz for not being totally engaged because it seemed like many in the company were on cruise control because things were so bleak creatively. Times have changed and Taz needs to step up and bring his A-game.
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