Written by: Jake Ziegler from InsidePulse
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida
This is actually only the sixth pay-per-view called “Slammiversary,” but since the company started in June of 2002 this is technically their eighth anniversary, so that’s why it’s called “Slammiversary VIII.”
MATCH #1: Kurt Angle vs. Kazarian
Angle decided he wanted to run through every wrestler in the Top 10, but since the top 10 changes monthly that’s going to be kind of hard to do. And in true TNA fashion, as of this writing on August 30 they ended up dropping the angle when they had to strip Rob Van Dam of the World Title and hold yet another tournament. There is some girl screaming bloody murder in the crowd for some reason. I wonder if she’s okay. The crowd is rock hard for Kurt Angle.
Kazarian lands a couple of armdrags to prove that he’s no joke. Angle comes back and takes Kazarian down by the wrist. Kazarian counters as the crowd chants “USA.” They continue to go back and forth, and Kazarian hits a nice springboard missile dropkick. Angle fights back with two rolling German Suplexes, and then Kazarian breaks it up with a low blow. The referee goes for the disqualification but Angle begs him not to. Boy they’re really laying it on thick aren’t they. Kazarian throws Angle to the floor and then wipes him out with a somersault dive. He comes back in the ring with the slingshot legdrop for a two-count, and then locks on a front facelock. Angle fights out of it and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Kazarian comes back with a clothesline and goes back to the facelock. Angle counters with another German Suplex, this time Kazarian flips all the way over and lands on his chest. They get up and trade right hands. Angle wins that battle and follows up with a series of clotheslines and a back body drop. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count. Kazarian slips out of the Olympic Slam and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Angle comes back with a powerbomb for two and then locks on the Ankle Lock. Kazarian gets a rollup for two and then hits a dropkick for another two-count. He goes up top and Angle hits the pop-up belly-to-belly for two. The sheeple chant “this is awesome.” Angle locks on the Ankle Lock again but Kazarian kicks his way out of it. Kazarian hits the slingshot DDT for two. A contrived little sequence leads to Angle hitting more rolling German Suplexes, and a close up shows Angle calling the next spot. Angle hits four of them and then pulls the straps down. Kazarian counters the Olympic Slam again and hits the Back to belly piledriver for a two-count. He hits another clothesline for a two-count. He goes up top but Angle boots him in the gut on the way down and hits the Olympic Slam and Kazarian kicks out at two! Angle goes for the moonsault but Kazarian powerbombs him down and tries to use the ropes for leverage on the pin but Angle still kicks out. Kazarian goes for the belly-to-back piledriver again but Angle slips out and locks on the Ankle Lock, forcing Kazarian to tap out at 14:13. That match got pretty rave reviews but it didn’t do much for me. Other than Angle going through the top 10 and Kaz coincidentally being #10 in the rankings, the match itself didn’t have any story to it and was all moves, moves, and moves. The crowd was super hot for Angle and that made the match entertaining but it was hardly memorable.
MATCH #2: TNA X Division Championship Match – Douglas Williams vs. Brian Kendrick
Williams has been the champion since 5.16.10 and this is his first defense. Kendrick beat Williams on the May 13 episode of iMPACT! to earn this title shot. Tenay says it was a non-title match but since Williams wasn’t the champion then I think he’s wrong.
Kendrick goes after the arm and Williams seeks comfort in the ropes. Back in the center of the ring the engage in a test of strength and Kendrick is able to gain control and try a Fujiwara armbar. Williams once again gets right to the ropes. He goes for a front facelock but Kendrick slips right out. Unfortunately for him he runs right into a boot to the face. Now Williams goes after the leg. Kendrick kicks his way out and goes for a leglock of his own, but Williams kicks him to the floor. On the outside Kendrick punches Williams into the guardrail and then misses a charge. Williams hits a hard belly-to-back suplex. Back in the ring Williams is firmly in control. Kendrick tries to fight back but Williams catches him in a Samoan Drop for a two-count. Williams locks on a bow and arrow but Kendrick slips out and falls on top for a two-count. The champion jumps right back on the challenger and taunts him. He locks on a cravat and then drops Kendrick’s midsection across the top rope. He charges at him but Kendrick moves and Williams crashes to the floor. Kendrick follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Kendrick hits a missile dropkick for two. He hits a running forearm in the corner, an enziguiri, and a modified shining wizard for a two-count. He follows up with a single-leg dropkick for two. Williams comes back and straight up kicks Kendrick in the balls in front of the referee, who does nothing. Tenay and Taz try to stay he kicked him in the hamstring, but Kendrick sold the balls. Anyway Williams is back in control with headbutts and European Uppercuts. Kendrick counters with pinning combinations and neither man can hold the other down. Williams hits a snap suplex and a gut-wrench suplex. He follows up with a t-bone exploder for a two-count. He goes for Chaos Theory but Kendrick blocks it with a bite. Kendrick sets Williams up top but gets knocked back to the mat. Williams comes off with a solid tornado DDT to get the pin and retain the title at 9:35.
I like both of these guys and I’m in favor of them feuding, but is Kendrick even a babyface? In fact, why are these two even wrestling at all? The match was technically sound but there was really nothing to get invested in. Tenay and Taz put over how the anti-X Division Williams used a move off the ropes to get the win, and how that’s hypocritical of him.
MATCH #3: TNA Knockouts Championship Match – Madison Rayne vs. Roxxi
Rayne has been the champion since 4.18.10 and this is her fourth defense. Before the math can begin, the champion gets on the microphone and has something to say. She says that tonight she has everything to lose and nothing to gain. Therefore, she challenges Roxxi to put her TNA career on the line. Roxxi agrees just as Rayne hits her with the microphone and we’re underway.
Rayne immediately goes for a cover but only gets two. Roxxi is busted open (must be hard way) but that doesn’t stop her from fighting back. Rayne cuts her off with a back elbow to send her crashing to the floor. Back in the ring Rayne stays in control of a bloody Roxxi. After a bit of a beating Roxxi comes back with an enziguiri. The challenger forearms Rayne into the corner and then squashes her in the other corner. Roxxi it’s a boot to the face, a fallaway slam, and the Voodoo Drop but Rayne kicks out at two! She goes for another Voodoo Drop, and this one sends Rayne all the way to the floor. Roxxi goes outside and throws Rayne back in. When she tries to get back in the ring Rayne kicks her in the face and then hits the Zack Attack to end Roxxi’s career at 4:16. Really if you’re only going to give them four minutes why even bother? Roxxi looked good and they could have had some drama going with the blood but four minutes is barely enough time to get anything going.
MATCH #4: Student vs. Teacher – Jesse Neal w/ Shannon Moore vs. Brother Ray w/ Brother Devon
I’m not sure who I pissed off to deserve having to see this feud. Before the match can begin Ray calls out Brother Devon. Shannon Moore comes out as well to defend his tag team partner in Ink Inc. Ray says he’s trying to apologize but the fans just chant for tables. He gets his apology out and it looks like they’ve made up to the point that this match will no longer happen.
Of course it’s a swerve, as Ray sucker punches Neal and hurls him back into the ring. Devon is furious with his brother. I’m a little upset too; I would have much rather not seen this match. Ray goes to work on Neal while security forces Moore and Devon back to the locker room. The beating continues as the crowd tries to support Neal. This is just a total squash so far. Finally Neal fires back and lands a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Ray comes back with the Bubba Bomb and a couple of back slaps. For some reason Tommy Dreamer is out in the crowd and Ray notices him. Neal recovers and tries a Spear but Ray kicks him in the face. Ray tries a second-rope senton but Neal moves out of the way and this time connects on the Spear to get the upset pin at 5:53. Given what ended up happening with Dreamer I’m not sure what the point of having his debut here was. This was a fine iMPACT! match.
MATCH #5: Grudge Match – Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez
Matt Morgan comes out in a neck brace to announce that he will not be able to compete tonight due to an injury suffered at the hands of his former tag team championship partner Hernandez. He even provides a doctor’s note. Hernandez cares not about doctor’s notes and pre existing conditions, and takes Morgan down the aisle and tosses him into the ring.
For the record that’s two matches in a row that essentially started the same way. Hernandez goes right after Morgan’s injured neck. He wants vengeance! Referee Brian Hebner tries to stop him, and he gets set on the top rope for his troubles as I have Jimmy Valiant flashbacks. Morgan begs off and then pulls Hernandez through the ropes and to the floor. He hits a discuss clothesline and then throws Hernandez back in the ring. He throws Hernandez shoulder-first into the ring post twice. He throws him in a third time and lets Hernandez fall to the floor. Back in the ring Morgan stomps away and hits the elbows in the corner. Tenay has an obsession with saying guys are “stacking” their opponents in one way or another. It’s really weird. Hernandez fires back with a series of clotheslines and a shoulderblock. He rips Morgan’s shirt off and chokes him with it. The referee tries to stop him but Hernandez won’t listen to him and he shoves the referee down for the disqualification at 5:18.
Morgan thinks he’s escaped but Hernandez goes after him and tries to kick Morgan in the head against the ring post just like he did to him, but Morgan pulls the referee in front and he takes the kick. The match was pretty dull for a five-minute match of a blood feud. Given the finish this is another match that would have been more at home on Spike TV.
MATCH #6: Monster’s Ball Match – Abyss vs. Desmond Wolfe w/ Chelsea
This is the tenth official Monster’s Ball match in TNA history. It should come as no surprise that this is Abyss’s ninth time in the match (and he was involved in the women’s Monster’s Ball between Taylor Wilde and Daffney), and he is 3-5 so far. This is Wolfe’s first time. Abyss throws weapons into the ring before he even gets there.
Wolfe tries to hit Abyss with a kendo stick but misses. Abyss boots him down and the back of his head lands on the stick. Wolfe kicks a chair back into Abyss’s face and then sets the chair between the top and middle turnbuckles. He hits Abyss with the stick but can’t throw him into the chair. Abyss hits a side slam for two. He goes outside the ring and throws a barbed wire board into the ring. Of course Wolfe charges at Abyss and ends up hitting his head on the steel chair. Abyss gets more weapons and leaves himself open for a kick to the groin. Wolfe then hits Abyss twice with a trash can. He looks into another trash can and finds a teddy bear wrapped in barbed wire. Abyss comes back by squashing the bear into Wolfe’s midsection in the corner. He then goes outside the ring to give the bear to Chelsea. While outside he grabs a bag of broken glass shards. Wolfe goes to the floor and tries to hide behind Chelsea. He grabs the kendo stick and hits Abyss with it as they make their way over by the broadcast table. Abyss is able to grab Wolfe and chokeslam him through the platform. Back in the ring Abyss only gets a two-count. Abyss sets up for a superplex onto the barbed wire, but Wolfe counters with a sunset bomb. Even though his arms are sliced open Abyss kicks out at two. Wolfe cracks Abyss in the ring with the kendo stick. Abyss simply counters with the Shock Treatment for two. He goes for a Chokeslam into the glass but Wolfe counters it and hits Abyss with the stick again. Poor Abyss falls face-first into the glass. That only gets a two-count. Wolfe calls for Chelsea’s purse but the brass knuckles are nowhere to be found. While Wolfe yells, Chelsea throws the knuckles to Abyss. The Monster hits Wolfe with the knuckles and then hits a Black Hole Slam for the win at 11:46. The effort was certainly there but the finish was a cliché and a great deal of Wolfe’s offense was kendo stick shots.
MATCH #7: AJ Styles w/ Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal
Styles has something to prove as he backs Lethal into the corner and hits a solid chop to the chest. Lethal comes back with a slap to the face and Styles takes a powder. Back in the ring Lethal locks on a headscissors. Styles reverses to a dragon sleeper and then into a headlock. He hits a low dropkick but Lethal doesn’t capitalize on it. Lethal tries a monkey flip but Styles lands on his feet. Styles tries a hiptoss but Lethal counters to one of his own and then hits the dropkick to the face. Lethal works Styles over, focusing on the back, sort of. He sends Styles to the floor and goes for a dive but it’s not to be. Styles tries to take advantage on the apron, but Lethal trips him up. Flair comes over to check on his protégé. Back in the ring Styles comes back fighting with a choke hold. Styles drops Lethal’s crotch on the top rope and then hits a Pele kick for a two-count. Lethal drives Styles into the corner with shoulderblocks and then chops him. He hits a leg lariat for a two-count. Styles comes back with a belly-to-back suplex for a two-count. He throws Lethal to the floor and Flair takes his cheap shots. Back in the ring Styles goes back to the headlock. Lethal comes back with the handspring back elbow. Styles keeps going for wear down holds and Lethal fights out of them. Lethal hits a jumping leg lariat off the second rope for two and then a moonsault off the second rope for another two-count. He hits the Lethal Combination but Styles kicks out at two. He goes for a slingshot something but Styles catches him and hits a Death Valley Driver across his knee for two. Lethal fights back with a pop-up neckbreaker for a two-count. Styles comes back and locks on the figure-four leglock and Lethal reaches the ropes. He hits a brainbuster but Lethal kicks out. He goes for the Styles Clash but Lethal counters with the Lethal Injection, and Styles is saved by Flair putting his foot on the bottom rope. Lethal locks Styles in the figure four leglock now, much to Flair’s chagrin. This time its Styles reaching the ropes. Lethal hits Styles with a backbreaker and goes up top for the elbow drop but Styles moves out of the way. Styles comes from out of nowhere with the Pele Kick. He goes up top but his knee is too injured to make it all the way up. He awkwardly tries a sunset flip off the second rope but Lethal falls on him in a Northern Lights Suplex for the flash pin at 17:09.
Matches with finishes like that bother me. They went back and forth the whole match with no psychology and no selling, trying to prove that Lethal is on Styles’ level, but Lethal can only win on a fluke type pin. Then Kazarian comes down to try to keep peace between Flair and Styles, further weakening what should have been a big moment for Lethal.
MATCH #8: Mr. Anderson & Jeff Hardy vs. Beer Money, Inc.
Anderson & Hardy name themselves the “Enigmatic Assholes” in their pre-match interview. Roode and Anderson start the match for their teams. Not much happens and Hardy tags in. Beer Money takes control on Hardy, who rolls over to his corner for advice from Anderson. Hardy and Anderson come back with some double-team moves of their own. Storm goes after Anderson’s eyes and backs him into a corner for a slap to the face. Anderson comes back and tries to run off the ropes but Roode holds the ropes open and Anderson crashes to the floor. Back in the ring Storm gets a two-count. Anderson fights back on Storm with a clothesline out of nowhere and makes the tag. Tags are made and the match turns into a pier-six brawl. Storm throws Anderson to the floor and Beer Money hits the catapult DDT on Hardy for a two-count. They set up for the Last Call but Anderson pulls Storm to the floor. Hardy takes Roode down with a stunner and then hits a Swanton but Storm pulls the referee to the floor. Storm makes the referee think Anderson did it, causing a big argument and allowing Storm to drag Roode over and make the tag. Both Storm and Roode take turns working Hardy over in their half of the ring. Hardy fights back with a Twist of Fate out of nowhere. Tags are made and Anderson is on fire. Beer Money tries to cut him off but he hits Roode with the Finlay Roll for two. Hardy knocks Storm to the floor and kicks him into the guardrail. He jumps off Anderson’s back for a super Poetry in Motion. Anderson goes for the Mic Check but Roode elbows his way out of it and hits a spinebuster for two. Storm and Hardy rejoin the action and Storm hits him with the Eye of the Storm. A little heel miscommunication, in addition to clever teamwork by Hardy and Anderson leads to a bloody Anderson hitting Roode with the Mic Check to get the victory at 13:55. Beer Money can pretty much have a good tag team match with anyone, and Hardy is an expert at playing Ricky Morton. I don’t know how I feel about Anderson and Hardy being to lovey-dovey with each other but that was a good match nonetheless.
MATCH #9: TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match – Rob Van Dam vs. Sting
The storyline here is that Sting keeps talking about Deception, and that when he wins the World Title the veil will be lifted and everyone’s true colors will show. As far as I know nothing ever happened with that, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. RVD has been the champion since 4.19.10 and this is his fourth defense. Taz says that RVD has “blasted [him] in the face many times.”
Sting is wrestling with a t-shirt on for some reason. The fight quickly spills to the floor and ting throws RVD into the crowd. RVD reverses a whip and sends Sting into the wall, and then whips him in two more times. He drapes Sting over the guardrail and hits a legdrop. Sting runs away, and is able to duck and back body drop a charging champion into the crowd. Sting throws the champion around ringside for a while and then sends him back into the ring. He hits a Stinger Splash to the back and then one to the front. He covers but only gets two. RVD fights back with a spin kick and both men are down. Back up RVD hits a flurry of offense including a superkick. He hits the springboard kick out of the corner for another two-count. He slams Sting down and hits the split-legged moonsault for two. He goes up top for a cross body block and Sting pulls the referee in the way and he goes down. Sting goes out and gets his baseball bat and abuses the champion with it. Jeff Jarrett comes out and takes the bat and hits Sting with it. RVD recovers and hits Rolling Thunder but Sting kicks out at two. Sting comes back and tries a Stinger Splash but misses. RVD kicks Sting down and hits the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin at 10:53. Sting is just in no shape to be in the main event at this point. The match was lethargic and outside of RVD’s signature moves it was heatless. This is a bummer of a main event.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.