Or is it supposed to be Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary? No one knows anymore, so lets just hope for some good wrestling action and get on with it.
The opening video does a good job of hyping up the major matches of the night. If I hadn’t been watching TNA lately, this video would make me very excited for tonight’s event.
The show officially opens when the fireworks go off and the fans cheer. There is nothing in the arena that says Impact Wrestling on it. TNA – where brand confusion matters! Mike Tenay and Taz run through the card for those of us who don’t watch Impact but still want to throw down a day’s pay for the event. Holy shit, the graphics say Impact Wrestling! What the hell is going on here? Anyways, lets get to the wrestling.
The British Invasion (Magnus and Douglas Williams) vs. BeerGun (James Storm and Alex Shelly) with Robert Roode
Roode takes the beer and joins the announcers for the match. To remind the readers, Roode is injured as is Chris Sabin, so this amalgamation team has been formed. Williams shows some of that amazing British chain wrestling and ties up Shelly before either Alex or myself knew what the hell was going on. Storm and Shelly channel the Rock n Roll Express and the old school fans start to smile. The (kind of) tag team champions mash up their team’s signature moves to come up with new specialties for the unit known as Motor City Money. Magnus flies half way across the ring and drops a vicious elbow on Alex. Shelly tries to fight out but Douglas catches him with an exploder suplex and it was nasty. Shelly catches Williams and drops his face into the turnbuckle. Douglas quickly recovers, but not quick enough to prevent Alex from making the tag. Storm comes in like a house of fire! Cliches aside, he knocks the British Invasion loopy and the match is now in hands of Michigan Drinking Crew. Storm and Shelly both hit perfect kicks on Williams and there’s a new debate for the IWC. Storm tries to spit the beer in Williams’s face but catches Alex instead. Shelly hits a super kick on Storm by accident and it looks like this match is over. Williams comes off the top with a European forearm and it looks like new champions will be crowned. Storm manages a kick out and the Brits manage to fuck up. Magnus accidently kicks Williams but their opponents very purposely hit both a Last Call kick and Sliced Bread on Magnus. James pins Magnus and the titles are retained.
Kurt Angle arrives at the arena. Jeremy Borasch interviews Scott Steiner. JB’s mic says “Impact Wrestling”. Come on! WWE doesn’t use a mic that says Raw while you’re watching Over the Limit. Pick one logo and stick with it!
Matt Morgan vs. Scott Steiner
While Morgan is a very gifted big man, he’s not gifted enough to carry a match with the immovable object known as Scotty Steiner. Everyone and the referee get into position so Scott can kick back and hit Matt in the nuts without the ref seeing it. I guess the only way to properly book this match is to hit Morgan in the crotch and limit his mobility as well. Steiner uses his ridiculously large arms to hit Matt with clobbering blows in between leisurely walks around the ring. Chop, take a lap, punch, lets stroll around the block. Scott isn’t even methodical, he’s just plain slow. Morgan is selling the beating but whether its Steiner’s limited work rate or Matt’s shortcomings, the match isn’t believeable at all. Steiner pulling out a victory roll is a nice surprise. Morgan tries for moves, which Scott easily avoids. Matt catches Steiner with a clap around the ears, much like the best way to stun the Incredible Hulk. One carbon footprint later and this match is done. The announcers call it a great win for Matt Morgan. I cant see anything great about a moment of what I just watched.
JB interviews Double J.
Abyss (TNA X Division/”Extreme” champion) vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Kazarian
First of all, its 2011, nothing should be called Extreme anymore. Abyss press slams Kendrick to the floor where he lands on Kaz. While the match is technically every man for himself, there’s the brotherhood that is the X Division. Both Kaz and Brian team up to try to take Abyss out. The two challengers do a good job of using their advanced speed and mobility to keep Abyss off balance. The problem is that the demon from the deep is so big, one of his moves is equal to ten of his adversaries moves. Simple acts like a chop, a head butt, or a whip into the ropes are devastating maneuvers when performed by the monster. Abyss’s hands hit like clubs and he drops Kazarian out of action with the Shock Treatment. Abyss begins to scale the ropes, and this cant end pretty. The monster takes too long to climb and Kazarian is able to roll out of the way. The big man is hurt by this mistake and Kendrick takes advantage with flying kicks from every direction. Many kicks later and not even one of the loudest enziguri kicks you’ve ever heard is enough to stop Abyss. Brian hits a DDT but it keeps this beast down for only a moment. Abyss slams Kendrick down and its time for Kazarian to build on what little damage Kendrick was able to apply. Both Kaz and Brian pin Abyss at the same time but the champion kicks out from under both men. The two X Division veterans are trying everything they can to keep Abyss down for the three seconds but nothing is working. Abyss rolls to the outside and in a moment Kendrick and Kazarian remember they can fight each other as well. Hell, I’d think that would be the easier way to go about this match. Take Abyss out early and its easier to pin someone your own size than the monster that is twice as big. Kendrick catches Kaz with a thrust kick but before he can take advantage of it, Abyss pulls Brian out of the ring. Abyss crawls over and pins Kazarian, keeping the title for himself.
Fairly good match but a monster who needs to steal a pin is a poorly booked monster. His Sun Tzu promo at the end is pretty nice though. I really need to read my copy of that book sometime soon.
Crimson vs. Samoa Joe
Crimson’s winning streak is compared to Joe’s winning streak when he entered TNA. This promo gets over the match better than weeks of Impact Wrestling has. Joe is just crazy good and is being wasted in TNA. He controls the pace of the match and works over Crimson’s legs with moves you’ve never seen before. I can only describe the move as an atomic drop that hits the knees instead of the bottom of the spine. Joe hits a clothesline that would have defeated anyone without a push. Crimson shows flashes of a comeback but Joe stops it at every turn. The two big men trade chops, and its a trade that damn near anyone would lose against Joe. Crimson catches Joe with a power slam and… that’s it?!
Crimson remains undefeated, Joe remains poorly booked, and the last two matches have been booked the same way. More established heel beats on the younger guy all match long. Younger guy hits one move to get the win.
JB interviews Winter and Angelina stands there. Winter talks about their final destiny. Wrong PPV title!
Mickie James (TNA Knockouts champion) vs. Angelina Love (with Winter)
Mickie is the one trying to be a country music singer, but Winter has much better entrance music. Someone thinks the PPV is important, as both ladies are sporting new ring gear. There is an incredibly annoying girl in the front row screaming out “come on Mickie!” If you’ve ever seen young Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, that’s exactly what this girl looks like and she’s constantly taking me out of the match. Good back and forth in this match and every week I cant say enough about how great Angelina is in the ring. Winter gets a little involved, but not enough to make a difference. Angelina and Mickie have a great exchange. No real story within the match, but lots of good wrestling. Angelina and Mickie trade pin attempts, and both of them get the pin break thanks to the ropes. Mickie hits a great Northern lights suplex and everyone is shocked when Angelina kicks out. Winter tries to help Angelina pin Mickie but James gets the kickout. Holy botch! Mickie goes for a DDT and someone fucks up royally. I rewatched the scene 5 times and I’m still not sure what happened. I think Winter tried to fight off the DDT attempt and both women fell in confusion. Anyways, Mickie gets the pin and its sad that a slight miscommunication ended an otherwise great match.
Winter attacks Mickie after the match and hopefully we get that title match for the next PPV.
JB interviews Bully Ray.
Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles. Last Man Standing match.
This match is hard hitting from the start, which is different than your usual AJ matches. Ray has made his career by being a brawler, but its rare to see AJ throwing punches. I don’t know if there is legit heat or a great deal of trust between these two, but they are laying some heavy shots on each other. Taz says Bully Ray might be in the best conditioning of his life, and its not a joke. Ray is holding his own against a marathoner. The match gets more and more brutal. Ray drops AJ onto the ring steps and then squashes Styles below the same steps. You know, just for fun. Bully Ray lays in hammer chops across AJ’s chest. Styles’s chest is redder than his tights. Bully Ray stalls when AJ asks for another. AJ dares Ray to hit him even harder. Ray punches Styles so hard his legs buckle out from under him and I’d be shocked if he didn’t tear his ACL from falling so awkwardly. AJ finally fights back and knocks Ray down with a kick to the back of the head. Styles follows it up with a flying forearm from the top rope. Styles takes the referee’s count as a much needed recuperation time. AJ’s chest is disgusting. I can count every single one of Bully Ray’s fingers on the wound. AJ may have hit a high Pele kick but Ray hits an even higher sit out power bomb. Both men are destroyed, but the match continues. AJ gets the chain away from Bully Ray and wraps it around his fist before rapping the fist on Ray’s head.
Bully Ray’s head is split open and AJ takes a walk along the front row so every fan can get a good look at Ray’s gash. The referee starts to count and somehow the gravely wounded Ray stands up at the count of nine. AJ slams Ray over the top rope, onto the ring steps that are still on the floor, and then dives onto Ray just to make sure he stays down. He doesn’t. The fight makes its way to the top of the entrance ramp, and its now that much farther for one of the men to fall. AJ fights out of a powerbomb attempt and hits Ray with two Pele kicks. Ray rolls to the floor and AJ hits a running flying forearm leap from the top of the stage to Ray on the floor. AJ sets Ray on a table and climbs. Not to the top of the stage. No, Styles climbs the scaffolding and falls 25-30 feet onto Bully Ray and through the table. The fans chant holy shit, and there is really no other way to describe what just happened. Just when you think its all over, Ray kicks AJ off of him and Styles goes crashing though the stage wall head first! AJ isn’t moving and Ray uses the guard rail to fight his way up to his feet. Ray gets the win.
The fans chant bullshit. Yeah, everyone would have loved to have seen AJ win, but Ray’s victory is by no means bullshit. Awesome awesome match.
JB interviews Mr Anderson while the crew picks up all the plunder from the previous match.
Mr Anderson vs. Sting (TNA World champion)
Mr Anderson is too busy doing his usual mic work to notice Sting sneaking up behind him. The match starts with a brawl on the entrance ramp. Sting and Anderson fight into the crowd. Sting has a “different paint job” going on. I would call it a dirty Sanchez, but sure we can go with “different”. Sting and Anderson make their way to the ring where Anderson takes control of the match. Anderson desperately wants this victory. He’s taking every opening and any chance of leverage he can find because that tiny extra move might be enough to keep Sting down one extra second. Kenny gets too cocky though and any time he wants to showboat or run his mouth, its an opportunity for Sting to turn this match around.
Sting fights his way back to his feet and trades punches with Anderson. The Stinger gets the better of it and starts to knock Anderson on his ass a few times. Once Sting starts to get some offense going, Eric Bischoff runs out. Let the over booking begin!!! Eric doesn’t get involved yet but his mere presence is a distraction. Anderson hits a Mic Check but Sting kicks out at two. Sting hits a Scorpion Death Drop and the match sounds like its over. Oh that was nice. The referee counts one, Eric slaps his hand down. The referee counts two, Sting gets up. Sting heard three slaps on the mat, but only two were a part of the referee’s official count. That was actually brilliant. Sting is confused, Anderson hits a low blow followed up by a Mic Check and before Sting knows what the hell is going on, Ken Anderson becomes a two time world champion.
That was a brilliant ending to the match. Such a simple move, but I’ve never seen that before.
Karen Angle is interviewed live via satellite. I cant fast forward her shrill voice fast enough.
Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett. Angle’s gold medals are on the line. The winner of the match will also be named the new number one contender.
TNA is promising that this is the final battle. I can only hope they keep their promise. The match starts off slow. Not bad by any means, but for such a heated feud its an anticlimactic beginning to the final chapter of their feud. Both men go for cross body blocks and are down on the mat. It looks like this may be a moment to kick the match into a higher gear, but Jarrett locks on a sleeper. Angle fights out and looks to quickly finish off Jeff. Kurt goes for many of his usual signature moves but these two wrestlers are so familiar with each other that Angle cant get anything to connect for long enough to keep Jarrett down. Angle shrugs off Jeff’s attempt at the Stroke and answers it with an Angle Slam. Jeff kicks out at the count of two and Kurt needs to do something else to keep Jeff down. That something else is a moonsault, but Jarrett rolls out of the way. Double J takes advantage of Kurt’s mistake and hits the Stroke but Angle also kicks out at two. Angle and Jarrett trade pile driver attempts and it ends with Kurt rolling out and rolling Jeff into an Ankle Lock. Jeff fights out of the hold and knocks Angle into referee Brian Hebner.
Jeff Jarrett pretends he’s walking away from the match but instead he grabs a guitar and breaks it over Angle’s head. For once in his life Jeff picks up the remains of his smashed instrument and asks for a new referee. Even with the new official, Jarrett only gets a two count. Angle tries to catch Jeff with a schoolboy roll up but its deuces again. In that new math the schools are teaching, three belly to back suplexes only equal two as well. Angle tosses Jarrett half way across the ring with a second rope belly to back suplex. Kurt lands on one of the remaining pieces of the broken guitar and it cuts open the same shoulder that Jeff has been attacking. Unplanned, but fortunate addition to the match. Jarrett tries to defeat Kurt with humiliation and locks Angle with an ankle lock. Jeff holds on with everything he has and it looks like there’s no escape for Kurt. Kurt kicks until Jeff has loosened his grip enough for Angle to roll through and hook an Ankle lock of his own. Jeff cant hold on for anywhere near as long as Angle, and Jarrett taps out.
Once this match got going, it was a really good match. Wrestling did matter on this show and I’m willing to give TNA a check in the win column for tonight.