Review: Slammiversary XII
X-Division ladder match ****
Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards vs. Tigre Uno vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Manik vs. Sanada
Not only was this a great opener with many high spots and physical moves, but it also showed how important the X-division is to TNA. Once again there is a call for there to be at least one X-division match per impact show. Richards and Edwards are a great injection to the division and the return of Manik was a genius move. The fans in the arena were into it and hopefully the higher ups can see this. Crazzy Steve was really the only low point, mostly because he didn’t actually wrestle, extra kudos to Richards and Manik for the sunset powerbomb from the ladder, onto the other ladder.
Bobby Lashley vs. Samoa Joe ****
One has to be impressed by how TNA can change their format quickly. Instead of MVP vs. Eric Young for the World Heavyweight title we get a triple threat steel cage match. It brings to mind how TNA brought in the winner of the Terrordome to compete against Joe and Rick Steiner at Sacrifice.
It is easy to expect a wooden performance out of Lashley against Joe, but this was a good physical contest with both men taking turns to sit in the driver’s seat. The outcome was as expected, but Joe could just as easily have won this.
Magnus (w/Bram) vs. Willow (w/Abyss) ***
The build up to the match between Willow and Magnus has been a bit strange since it was mostly born out of Bram booking matches for Magnus, this then having developed into a conflict within Magnus with Willow as some form of trial by fire. The match was decent enough with the unexpected win by Magnus, fair and square. This is of course not the end as the brawl between Bram and Abyss leaves the door open for a further program between the four. Again it is odd that Willow basically has got the same move set as Hardy and should really be altered if it indeed is so that Willow is Hardy’s dark alter ego
Austin Aries vs. Kenny King *****
This was truly the match of the night. When King and Aries are in the ring together it is easy to see that they have a history; they were together in ROH where Aries was the mentor to the All Night Express. In the ring they have great chemistry and they really pulled out all the stops. They seem to be comfortable enough with each other that they dare do moves that maybe not everyone wants to be part of. Nice high spots, quick pace and great moves made this an awesome match up with a fair outcome. It is nice to see Aries being used again; he is way too good to be on the shelf.
Bro-Mans vs. The von Erichs ***
This was unfortunately no more than a novelty match. It would have been nice to see the von Erichs really bring it, but it was quite obvious that they are quite green. Bringing them in for this night was a stroke of genius by TNA management and they should really be thinking along these lines more often. The crowd popped for the Texas icons and didn’t seem too bothered when they missed spots or botched moves. The Bro-Mans and especially Jessie has come into his own and the group is as annoying as they need to be. Seeing von Erich senior come in and clean house was also amazing and in the end the match did what it needed to do, which was make a great PPV even better.
TNA Knockouts Championship
Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky) ****
Time and again one has to be impressed by the matches that the knockouts put out. They give any other female division a run for their money. Much of it has to do with the core roster that can carry anyone and bring the best out of most opponents. Love and Kim are two of those, so it’s not surprising that a matchup between them would be stellar. Good moves and nice spots and an expected outcome.
Texas Death Match
Bully Ray vs. EC3 ****
Although the outcome of the match between Bully and Carter was predictable, there is some point in keeping his record clean for now, this match was surprisingly good. When looking at it on paper this might not be such a big surprise after all. Both Bully and EC3 are good wrestlers, albeit Bully a better worker than wrestler and entertaining. Bully Ray’s speech prior to the match, harking back to the days of great Texas wrestlers, put him over and Carter did the opposite during his promo. If nothing else both of these guys are great at working the fans. The match was very physical and violent with many brutal moments, but the lack of blood was somewhat disappointing since this would have added to the death match stipulation. When comparing it to Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley they ended up the same in physicality which becomes odd. It seems that TNA is scared of blood some times, while other times they relish it. Not the show stopper it could have been, but a solid good hardcore match.
“Cowboy” James Storm vs. Mr. Anderson ***1/2
Both Anderson and Storm are very good workers and have good fundamentals, the problem with them though is that they are very stiff in the ring. Therefore they both need an opponent who can work well with this and complements those styles, hence why Storm and Roode have had great matches, as well as Anderson and Angle. This causes some concern going into this matchup thinking that it might turn boring and more of an unentertaining brawl. This ended up not being the case; granted the match was short, but there was a lot of interesting spots and they both managed to bring their a game and complemented their stiffness with innovative moves and some new thing we haven’t seen before. Bringing in the Dallas Cowboys as a distraction so that Anderson could win seems like an effort to further the feud, but was entertaining enough.
World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Eric Young *****
This main event was most likely so much more than the original main event would have been. It had the perfect mix of wrestlers who all have different strengths and who complement each other. Aries is quick and high flying, Lashley a powerhouse and EY a good blend of the two. It started out as expected with Lashley taking early control, but Aries and Ey fighting back and trying to team up at times. They used the ring well this night and it was a good thing that they didn’t have to escape the cage to win. All three looked strong and there were times when any one of them could have won. Hurricanranas and elbows from the top on Lashley gave an air of him not being all powerful and showed that he can sell other wrestlers moves. To eliminate him towards the end was also a great idea and put Aries and EY in focus. It was interesting to see that the audience were behind Aries more than Young, but they seemed to be pleased in the end.
All in all Slammiversary was one of the best pay per views that TNA has put out in a long time. They let the strength of their roster be showcased and they were allowed to put on some good matches. Now they need to keep it up and continue to build on this momentum and not lose steam and bring in some fresh faces. The decision to add team 3D to the Hall of Fame was unexpected, but one has to wonder why it hasn’t been Jeff Jarrett, Jerry Lynn or even Ken Shamrock…