It surely was nice to have TNA back on pay-per-view. As much as I enjoy the bell-to-bell television specials, there is just something about that special event feel that the company was missing for a long, long, long time. Despite the wait, TNA is back on pay-per view, bay-bay! And back with a well built and anticipated show. Here are my quick thoughts and takeaways from the show:
- First and foremost, the opening moment of silence was heart felt. TNA is a company that has roots and ties (obviously) to Orlando. The uneasiness could be measured all night in the crowd, as well as a minor "Or-lan-doh!" chant which was really cool to hear. TNA was in a unique position to not only serve and mourn with the city of Orlando last night, but also provide some entertainment to take them away from reality. I think they did a great job of toeing the line in doing both.
- I might be nitpicking, but the product is a far cry from the production and visual level it used to embody early in it's existence. I hate being "that guy", but it was very evident as the building looks darker (maybe intentional), but the subtleties like building aesthetics (apron, ropes, etc.) as well as the visual graphics weren't there. Some times the show had nameplate graphics for some wrestlers, and other times, it didn't. Some of the video packages also didn't seem as well produced as in the past.
Unfortunately, in an age when pro wrestling is more TV than live event, it's the presentation and the details that can go a long way. Especially, for the casual fan. Just my two cents.
That match brought a tear to my eye. Felt like a throwback, old school, X-Division title match there. Wow. #Slammiversary @IMPACTWRESTLING— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 13, 2016
- The X-Division shines the brightest on pay-per-view. This is without a doubt. The division just flourishes when it's given the chance to steal the show and the time to do so, and these four guys did just that. In what ended up being a weak under card, this match surely was remembered until the big three matches.
There is some serious talent to re-build this division around. Between Edwards, Everett, DJZ, and Trevor Lee, I'm excited where things can go. Lee's mushroom stomp easily brought out a loud "OH!" in my living room. Absolutely spectacular!
By the way, I am a fan of TNA injecting managers and valets back into the product. I like the concept of the Helms Dynasty as well. However, while the suit was nice, did Helms pick that thing off of a rack? The jacket looked like it belonged to Tyrus. But I guess anything - anything! - is better than rockin' a lime green leather jacket, right?
- Can the Impact Zone just get it together and jump aboard the easy trend of either singing EC3's theme, or sway in unison during that part of the song? At the very least, chime in at the right time during his promo when he asks for it? Come on guys! Have some fun! Regardless, EC3 on the mic is gold. Easily TNA's franchise. They should be commended for it, especially after losing former poster boy, AJ Styles.
Credit to TNA, they built their next hood ornament in EC3 when it didnt look like they would have a face after Styles left. #Slammiversary— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 13, 2016
- The Tribunal vs. Grado/Shera match was a rough watch. For me at least, Al Snow and his reprisal of The Coach/Bill Alfonso role, was the most entertaining thing here. Grado also just felt like the most polished guy in the ring as well. Nothing against the other three, but it just felt generic. I'm not ready to shut the door on these guys, but I wasn't overly moved here.
- I'm growing into a big Sienna fan (love her theme music as well), but the black bird entrance thing was a little weird. However, much props to her on making a special entrance for the event. TNA really has lost it's touch for that aspect.
Nonetheless, the Maria injury debacle turn three way between Gail, Sienna, and Jade is a nice option out of a tough situation. I'm a big supporter of Jade in the ring, but it just feels like she's lacking any serious purpose. This fan is just unsure what her deal is, or character, or overall, how she connects in with the others within the division, which is just awkward for the champion. The Marti Bell appearance was nice, and this should give Jade the development she needs in a revenge program. Also, it'll gives us a chance to really see what Bell has to offer.
As for Sienna, it should be interesting to see Gail chase the champ, who is also under the guidance of Maria, her ultimate end goal.
By the way, Allie is super annoying. But it's great!
- James Storm's promo felt like an odd political message regarding the Orlando shooting, and quite frankly, if it was, it was a nice touch. Also, thumbs up to Storm on the new boots/knee pads look.
I'm pretty sure at some point Braxton Sutter turns heel, I mean, he has to right?! By the way, Sutter's theme continues TNA's trend of really bad or really good theme music. Sutter's is straight trash. Regardless, both had a solid and entertaining match. I really enjoy Jame Storm's matches. The guy reminds me of a created wrestler in a video game who has all signature and finishing in his move sets. Gotta love the Tennessee Cowboy.
- *Be sure to point along when reading his name* EEEE-LI Drake is easily the most entertaining guy on the mic for TNA right now. He also apparently doesn't do well when climbing the top turnbuckle as we saw last night. The dude just kept tipping over. Though, he played it off nicely. Regardless, he and Bram had a very good match. Also, I really do like Drake's new combination finisher, blunt force trauma.
Oh, by the way, let's toss this out there for the 7,579,856th time - The KOTM championship needs a new look. That poor thing hardly looks prestigious anymore. Which says something, because it was once an attractive belt.
Do I Believe he is TNA MVP in 2016? Yes. I. Do!
- Remember what I said about EC3's entrance earlier, I echo it here again. Regardless, EC3 is such a big asset for this company. And that is rivaled by Bennett who might be number two as well, and in my opinion, the MVP of TNA in 2016.
I love the EC3 convention of taking moves from people he's beaten like trophies.— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) June 13, 2016
This was a fantastic match that closed the chapter on the entire "redemption road" story line for both. EC3 using moves from those whom has beaten in the past is really cool. I can't remember that ever being done before. The consecutive German suplex ala Angle was a nice touch. Speaking of moves, Bennett throws a pretty sweet cutter. Wouldn't mind if he started using that as a finisher.
Time to delete Brother Nero!
- I thought that Reby announcing Matt not only cheapened his aura as "Broken Matt" a bit, but it seemed like a carbon copy of what Maria and Bennett do so well. Again, unique entrances are sparse in TNA, you have to protect the ones that do work.
.@MATTHARDYBRAND looks like a 70's, pro wrestling villain. 👍👍— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) June 13, 2016
.@JEFFHARDYBRAND is still very special. #Slammiversary
Despite that, Matt's piano entrance and look is fantastic. It really is. I'm really, really digging Broken Matt. That may not be popular, but I find it so much better than plain old Matt Hardy.
As expected, this one was insane, and just a mess. Ladders, chairs, even a freakin' powerbomb through a keyboard! Yes, a keyboard! Did I say how much I like "Broken" Matt Hardy?
Im really digging the new Matt Hardy. Deleting people. Using keyboards. This is awesome. #Slammiversary— Dome Pondering (@DomePondering) June 13, 2016
I did find it a bit annoying the amount of kickout finishers we saw in this one, but who cares? Jeff was just setting up to do something pretty crazy...and he did. Yeah, he did. As always.
Looking forward to where Broken Matt goes from here. Do we get Jeff Hardy chasing after the title, next?
- For some odd reason, I began watching the clock before this one started, as I grew concerned that we would get a cheap main event. Hardly the case. In fact, not only did this one entertain, but so did the main event. But hey, that's modern day pro wrestling viewing, right? Such a shame...I'm guily of this all the time.
The BroMans are such an athletic tag team. I'm starting to believe the "BroMans" deal is sort of keeping them in a box. I'm also not seeing the fit with them and Raquel. But that might come in time.
The Decay continue to be unique, and terrific, and everything that is awesome. Nothing says Decay than Abyss viciously power bombing Crazzy Steve onto Jessie for the pin. By the way, how can you not love Rosemary?
- Finally, we get to the main event, and man I am just in awe of what I witnessed. I am sure to get some tweets on this, but it's easily my favorite match of the year. Hands down.
First, gotta love the kilt by Galloway. Again, special entrances make events feel well...special. And really, Galloway might be the first babyface I can remember who legitimately feels like a guy EVERYONE should root for. How can you not?
Second, TNA needs to make the "Knockout or Tap Out" stipulation a staple of their brand. I find it to be unique and interesting without running into the problems all of their other signature matches have in being too convoluted or confusing.
As for the match, I again had that eye-opening reaction when Galloway hit the Claymore kick right after the bell to start the match. That eventually lead into a super stiff and brutal bout with Lashley and Galloway trading hard hitting moves and submission holds. Heck, there was even blood!
For me, the finish was just gold. The roundhouse punch, followed by the chokehold where Galloway went limp, and Hebner stopping the fight by diving over to Lashley to release the hold, felt real. It had that authentic, big fight finish feel, and it was utterly fantastic.
For the record, Lashley, bruh, keep the headband. It drives people nuts, it makes you look like a legitimate baller, and well...you sweat a lot, so I'm sure it helps you.
From this pay-per-view, TNA has some big time building blocks in Lashley, EC3, Bennett, and Galloway. Guys with personality, showmanship, uniqueness, and can get it done in the ring. The future should be bright. EC3 vs. Lashley at Bound For Glory seems like the next stop. I guess we'll see.
For me, Slammiversary was, eh, "just okay" on the under card, but the big matches delivered. I purchased this event because the card looked great, but more so, this allowed me to invest and support the product of TNA, which lately, has been the only opportunity in which a fan could do so.
Again, my gripes were the presentation. Maybe even some wishes that TNA spaces out the card with plenty of time to let the big matches breathe (with replays and the allowance of moments to sink in).
Overall, the event was fantastic. I even loved the interactions on Facebook all day long. TNA had a special event, and it was great to see. They were back on pay-per-view, and after tonight, I am looking forward to Bound For Glory.