When IMPACT ended this past Wednesday. I could not believe this is what pro wrestling on pay-per-view had become, and yes, to be completely honest, I wondered what TNA had succumbed to. It felt like everything was geared toward this upcoming week's "Bell to Bell" episode and Slammiversary, their anniversary show, didn't seem to matter. That's just how it came off to this fan.
Then we got the Jeff Jarrett return, the announcement of the return of the King of the Mountain match, a personal favorite, a few other matches that looked like blow offs to feuds, and things seemed, well, alright. Still, it didn't feel the way it used to, but that's wrestling these days. And quite frankly, that's a glaring result of the pay-per-view business more than anything else.
Anyway, after watching tonight's show, all I can say is "wow"! No seriously, it was really, really good, and I enjoyed it. Quite frankly, maybe "build up" and hype is overrated.
Here are my thoughts on celebrating TNA Wrestling's thirteenth birthday:
- First, it was actually nice to have TNA back on PPV. It's been a while, and I'm not counting Bound For Glory which was already previously recorded, and not considered a top show, even though it's supposed to be. What?! Yeah, yeah, I know...
However, despite popular belief, which is really just the internet, because you do know the internet runs the world, TNA PPV's were awesome. Just downright great wrestling. Sometimes IMPACT caters to storylines and promos, which they need to, but if effects the wrestling end. The talent very rarely, if ever, gets a continuous amount of time, uninterrupted and story line free, to do what their roster does really well - wrestle! Imagine that...
- It was a bit weird to see the apron, ring ropes, and everything say "IMPACT" for this event, but eh, whattya gonna do, right? That stuff is nice, but it didn't bother me the way it seemed to do other fans on Twitter. Then again, who doesn't complain on Twitter...
- I'll try to keep my pro-X-Division campaign to a minimum here, but Tigre Uno, Manik, and DJ Z was a great opener. Due to LUCHA Underground, luchadores and guys in masks are now cool again! I am actually a big fan of the elimination rules as triple threats are so overdone, especially at the main event level. All three men were awesome here. Can we also get behind Manik here? Just saying...
Oh and, more X-Division, please! Ok, That's it, I promise I'm done on that front.
- The Robbie E vs. Jesside Godd...er, excuse me, Jessie "The Man" Godderz was surprisingly good. I thought both men did a great job in this match, and to be honest, it was the first time (at least for me) that both were able to truly show their talent in a quality match. I'm a fan of Godderz's new gimmick and of course utilizing the Boston Crab. The simple finishers from the hey day need to comeback. The close to the contest came out of nowhere, espcially when I am not sure if Robbie E is using the reverse DDT as a finisher. Oh well. Also nice to see Robbie getting everyone behind him and toning down the goofiness - though he was so good at it. Boom!
And yeah, that basketball dance thingy he did was insanely hilarious.
- Matt Morgan was a nice comeback, and it really fit in with the feel of TNA celebrating their past. On these shows, I still think they could play up their history a bit, because it is rich and filled with plenty of talents and unique moments. TNA doesn't show that off enough. Nonetheless, I wouldn't mind seeing Morgan returning to the active roster.
As for the match, it was solid. It took a weird stall where Bram was looking for something he never found under the ring, but whatever, the dude is bad ass. Bright future for him in TNA.
- My pick for the night in stealing the show did so for a little while, but this match reminded me of the vintage days (can I say that? Call it that?) of TNA. When guys were super talented and really had an energy level that evoked an attempt to hijack the show from everyone else. Maybe it's because we haven't had a PPV in awhile?
This was that match as Aries and Davey gave us a great, great showing. Eventually, TNA is going to have to have Eddie and Davey go their separate ways as both are too talented not to have in the mix of things. Both could even be big faces opposing the huge crop of talented heels on the rise in EC3, Bram, and Godderz.
- I'm not sure why, but The Dollhouse's theme song is super catchy. They reaaaaaaaally want you, they really want you...Alright. I'm done. But seriously, it is.
Nonetheless, the TNA Knockouts are all the superb adjectives listed in their fancy video package. Josh Matthews, Mike Tenay, and The Pope kind of hit the nail on the head tonight - it was the X-Division, the Knockouts, and the Tag Team action that separated TNA from the others.
Speaking of the three announcers, besides the awkward back and forth at times between Matthews and Pope, I enjoyed their work tonight. Tenay is so much better in the role of support, and Matthews has brought a focus and story driven element to the call. Simple things like the names of finishers and giving nicknames to wrestlers, add great layers to the wrestlers and product.
- Whatever the rumors are, whatever the truth is, classy move by Magnus on giving TNA it's props as a business and taking the high road with class and pride. Ironically, these are the guys I believe TNA should hold on to.
As for their match, I can't do it any justice in words. Just make some time to see this match. They stole the show, and if it was their last match in a TNA ring, a big thank you to both men.
- I am prepared for you to scoff and possibly even call me a moron - and by all means, feel free to do so. With that said, for me, besides Paul Heyman, who is a wizard on the microphone - well, alright, maybe not an actual wizard because that channels all sorts of Harry Potter-like comparisons, but he's pretty damn good - is there anyone more entertaining on the microphone than EC3 in pro wrestling right now? All companies. All promotions. Anyone?
If you somehow already read the spoilers for this week (and if you didn't good for you!), and heard his promo, you'll get it. If you didn't, just wave that Men in Black wand thingy over your eyes, move on to the next paragraph.
- King of the Mountain is back! Heck yeah! I never understood how some find the concept to be confusing, but that's just me. Whatever.
This match was pretty entertaining for being an absolute car wreck, which is what most KOTMs are. From the piledriver on the ladder by Young on Jarrett, to Galloways dive, this was fun.
The poor Legends/Global/TV and now KOTM Championship looked like it needs to be given a remake, or at least a new leather strap, but it served it's purpose which seemed to be a prop to be used in the KOTM and a momento ending for Jeff Jarrett's return to TNA.
All in all, Slammiversary was fun. It really was. For a pay-per-view that seemed almost like TNA forgot it was on the calendar at points, it was a success, at least to this fan. The company seems to be gearing itself towards television, and that's a bit of a bummer, because after tonight, it's clear when given time, and if they keep it simple, TNA can produce quality shows around awesome wrestling.
Surprisingly, that was a really, really entertaining PPV. Kudos to @TNADixie and everyone else on celebrating 13 years. #Slammiversary— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 29, 2015
And you know what, in an era where wrestling fans spur plenty of negativity from the anonymous comfort of their couches in front of their screens, I'd like to put a positive spin if I can - much respect to the men and women of TNA who spent the week taping future episodes of IMPACT and still produced a quality show tonight. Especially, the wrestlers, whose bodies must be a bit banged up.
Anyway, I can't believe it's been 13 years, and through all the ups and downs, rumors and unfortunate truths, great moments and exciting announcements, signings and departures, it was good to celebrate it all with a quality show that felt like old times in certain ways. After all, who needs buildup to celebrate?