Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Final Slammiversary hype, Sting and Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray and Devon, Jeff Hardy's return announced, and more!
By Will Pruett
While looking at the card for Sunday's Slammiversary pay-per-view, I realized something; nothing on this show is pointless. Every match has been built with a distinct story and identity leading to a climactic moment at Slammiversary. Every match provides fans with a unique reason to want to see the show. This is what we had hoped for when TNA went down to four shows a year.
The main event has been built as a super grudge match. The title overshadows the grudge a little bit, but remember Sting and Bully Ray have history dating back to just before Bound for Glory. We all expected the turn then and didn't see it until Lockdown. Bully and Sting, while it isn't the match I most want to see, makes sense.
While I sometimes feel like TNA is taking too slow of an approach to TV storytelling and not allowing viewers to get attached the way I'd like, they are building up everything. In the last few weeks, we have even seen talking segments featuring the often ignored Knockouts and X Division hyping the top feuds in them. Chris Sabin, Kenny King, Gail Kim, Mickie James, Velvet Sky, and Taryn Terrell have all benefitted from these segments.
In building a pay-per-view TNA has used months of stories and slow burned them all. We didn't get to huge climax at the end of this episode, but we got a solid go-home. This was a nice show and TNA should be proud of the pay-per-view they've built to.
- Opening this show with the main event tag team match (Sting and Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray and Devon) was an exciting way to kick off and establish a new time slot. It surprised me in a good way.
- The opening match was more of a brawl than a traditional match, which played to the strengths of all four men involved. It was exciting and dynamic. There was a aura of mystery around it, especially when the Abyss music hit. TNA did some great stuff with the first fifteen minutes of this show.
- Kurt Angle mentioned that he still respects A.J. Styles, which doesn't make sense to me. I wouldn't respect someone who has attacked me as often as Styles has Angle. Maybe "respect" is as misused in wrestling as "literally."
- I enjoyed Garett Bischoff's promo more than I've enjoyed anything else he has done in TNA. Bischoff has improved on the mic and he seemed much more natural in being a jerk to Dixie Carter. I'm not saying he was amazing, but this was a nice accomplishment for him.
- I'm still happy to see Samoa Joe and Magnus back together. It makes me snapmare-loving heart smile.
- The return of Jeff Hardy didn't cause a pop from the crowd, but I didn't expect one. I wouldn't pop about hearing that a big star is going to return at a show I won't be at. It should be a cool moment on Sunday,
- Brooke Hogan continues to impress me in her segments. I didn't want to like her, but now I can't help it. I still see a heel turn coming, and given the work Brooke has been doing, I see it being pretty great.
- The eight man tag (Gunner, James Storm, Chavo Guerrero, and Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries) was a little bit of a mess to me. It was there to get all eight men on the show and get Gunner over heading into Sunday and it did so.
- I'm hoping Chavo and Hernandez get broken up after Sunday. I just can't get into the team, despite them turning in solid in-ring performances.
- Mickie James was terrific on the mic. She really fit into her almost-heel character well and left me looking forward to future Mickie promo segments. This was excellent work. Velvet Sky was decent here too, but Mickie did the heavy lifting and left me delighted.
- Gail Kim and Kenny King strike me as an odd tag team. I'm not sure why.
- I like the idea of putting the champion in jeopardy going into a pay-per-view. I liked the post-match developments with Kenny King, Suicide, and Chris Sabin more. I still believe Sabin wins and challenges Bully Ray for the TNA World Championship. This should be a great story to see develop.
- TNA did a lot to establish the guys Sting has beat for the World Championship and they did this really well. It made Sunday's stipulation seem more important than it has in the past.
- A.J. Styles vs. Ken Anderson seemed like a long match just to get to the final brawl between Angle, Styles, The Aces and Eights, Sting, Samoa Joe, and Magnus. It served a purpose, but it didn't blow me away.
The final image of this show was The Aces and Eights standing over a fallen Sting. Everything on this show pointed to Slammiversary. This show was the final part of a slow burn, not a sudden climax. It all made sense and it was (for the most part) all good. I'm looking forward to watching Slammiversary more after this show than I was before it.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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