It might be safe to assume now that what longtime TNA fans (or Impact, or...umm, GFW?) have longed for was a return to simpler times. A time when the company had a unique vision, felt different from the other mega-company up in Stamford, and overwhelmingly put on pay-per-views like a renegade company on the rise.
That's what Slammiversary felt like to me. From the opening video package narration, to the car crash of an opening match, right down to Shark Boy and James Mitchell, this event gave a fan like me hope - an element long gone in regards to this company - that things may in fact be turning around.
Heck, dare I say? This pay-per-view felt like old times. I'm not ready to go crazy about this company again, but it feels that way, and honestly, I'm into it. All of it.
Here are some more thoughts on the Slammiversary event:
- As much crap as the product has gotten in the past, it's easy to forget the names that have walked through the door and have appeared. The opening video did a nice job paying homage to the past while getting the viewer amped for the show. Oh yeah, as the old guard continues to slowly return as if the past five years have been nothing but a nightmare (because in some ways it has), Barry Scott was back on the mic with his voice doing that hype thing he does best. The guy can literally get you you amped to watch paint dry.
- On the topic of comebacks, it was great to hear Don West back on color commentary. His removal from the booth was the beginning of the company looking to outside-former WWE talent for positions instead of the unique voice they had. The guy isn't the best, but his enthusiasm is so damn impossible not to get caught up in.
Also, much props to Robert Flores who carried the ball in the lead announcer position like he's been doing it for years. What are the odds now JBL name drops RoFlo on WWE programming?
- The tag team match was absolutely insane and honestly, is one of my favorite matches of the year. Spare me the smark what-a-real-wrestling-match-should-be-like nonsense. This was fun. It was crazy. It had insane spots. And again, it was fun! I hope most of these guys stick around for a few weeks to give us some more gems.
Also, here is to hoping Diamante's injury isn't too serious. She's a fun act. Looking forward to her getting her time in the future.
- If no NFL team signs Deangelo Williams, seriously speaking, Impact should sign him. That dude trained for a few days and looked absolutely fantastic. He looked like he belonged. He looked better than some who are trying to make a career out of this pro wrestling stuff. Also, credit should go to creative, the agents, and Drake and Adonis for laying the match out the way they did to make help put him in the right situation to shine.
Always easy to rip the staff when things are awful. They deserves some praise here.
With that said, I wished that table broke on what was a beautiful frog splash by Williams. It would have made for a better clip in the mainstream media. If you watch the post-match again, they definitely called an audible on the fly to get someone through the table. Good call to do so.
- The EC3/Storm ending was very interesting. I feel like the Cowboy character, more than anyone in the history of the company, has continuously been railroaded when the going gets hot. I don't know if there are plans for a major (and hot) comeback with an edge to the character, but whenever Storm gets rolling (i.e. World Title Run, Revolution, DCC, etc...) something along the way cuts him off at the legs.
Nonetheless, the match was great, and as stated, the ending does leave some intrigue heading into Impact.
- I know the popular opinion is to side with the Hardys on the whole gimmick-gate situation over the "Broken Universe." And for the record, I'm on the side of Impact here. The WWE does this ALL the time. Intellectual property belongs to the company that gave you the platform to do so. End of discussion. But because it's THIS company...it's wrong. Wrestling fans are the worst sometimes.
With that opinion out there (feel free to hate me), it's also clear to see the real creative mind behind many of those "Broken Universe" clips we've enjoyed in the past. Jeremy Borash is THAT silent genius.
This match oddly enough, was entertaining and at times, had me grinning ear to ear like a child. The Shark Boy appearance was fantastic, and yes - I've wanted it for so long - James Mitchel return had me feeling like those old times again before wrestling fandom became so jaded.
It's also nice to see the company at the point where they can introduce and use these characters for special events. Yup, it's been fifteen years folks.
Oh, by the way...Scott Steiner, yo. Underrated.
- I enjoyed the Husband/Wife Full Metal Mayhem match, but there is a part of me that felt the back-to-back junk matches could have been split up. Nonetheless, the spots here were absolutely insane (thumbtacks in the mouth? WHAT?!!). It should be interesting to see where and how both move on.
- Man, my passion for the X-Division is coming around again. The last few months have been absolutely fantastic. This match was just another notch in that slow return to greatness as both men provided some awesome stuff in the two-out-of-three falls matchup. I also love the placement on the card for the match, making it feel important other than the typical, opener.
- It's hard to get creative in the Impact Zone, I get it, but kudos to the company on having some uniqe entrances for the night. Rosemary's by far was the best. In fact, she has a character that really can add some dimensions to it which can be a long-running mythical-kind of feel for Impact...GFW...err, this company. More on than later.
Both women worked hard and really delivered. I didn't mind all the of shenanigans that occurred (the usual Jarrett Memphis-style craziness) at the end of the match, the way others have in their reviews. Sienna is legit, and should get a run as the top dog. The crazy ending also sort of protects Rosemary going forward. Plus, it got Laurel Van Ness on TV, who is just the best character going today in pro wrestling.
Curious to see where Allie ends up in all of this. She really can be a big time player (and merchandise mover) for them going forward. Ah mean, come on. How can you boo, Allie?
When are we getitng the new titles? The two title look is cool, but it loses its brand connection after a while.
- When Jarrett came out, I thought we were going to get the Hall of Fame announcement? What gives?
- And finally, the main event was fantastic. The ending sort of felt a little flat, and a bit anti-climactic, especially after the big run Lashley just had, but both men really gave a great performance. I am a little skeptical of the El Patron win, but hey, I can see Lashley stepping away for some MMA fun after a lengthy commitment recently to Impact.
El Patron certainly is carrying a fire not seen elsewhere. I'm not sure if he is trying to prove others wrong, or he simply is enjoying his run in Impact, but it surely has made for some entertaining wrestling.
- And finally, there is the announcement that the company will now be called GFW, with Impact being the show's name. Of course, in pro wrestling, fans despise change. Whether it be their favorite wrestlers choice of trunks, title belts, or logos. This one, a jarring one for long time fans of this company - whatever you want to call it now - will be tough to take.
Honestly, I get the move away from TNA. The double entendre name as well as the limitations for mainstream business is damaging. Not to mention the hits the brand has taken ever since Dixie Carter offered up a Q&A on Twitter which went south in a hurry and cued open season on the company via the internet.
My opinion - it's whatever. Truthfully, does it matter? I find some to be overreacting to the name change. So, it's GFW Impact. This was a company under the name we want to protect that once didn't have a functioning website, professional graphics, or at times and stretches, hosted tapings involving material outcomes from an upcoming pay-per-view.
A name change is needed. A distancing is needed. Even the WWF became WWE out of necessity. That felt weird at the time too.
I just want what made me a a fan of this company - TNA/Impact/GFW or whatever - back again. And from this Slammiversary event, it seems like that is exactly the direction they are headed.
I just want to enjoy wrestling again, like old times.