-So Eric asked me to cover the event for Camel Clutch Blog, and really: who am I to say no to The Garg? He anticipates that tonight will be “one of the more talked about nights in TNA’s history”, and for celebrating ten years of “having six months left to live, tops”, you better BELIEVE some people will be talking. And I’m always happy to contribute to his site’s success.
-Live from Arlington, TX
-Expected history video package opens the show. For a company that’s viewed as same-old, same-old, they sure changed a lot from the first show (Shamrock and the muttonchops of MANLINESS) to Angle’s debut four years later. It’s advancing past that point that’s been the issue. Kudos for showing Raven’s awesome debut when he beat up Jarrett and stole the NWA Title. That’s when the company felt like WCW/ECW’s void-filler, and in a good way.
Talk Segment: Hulk Hogan
Ten years ago, the first talk segment was Shamrock, Jarrett, and Scott Hall saying that the concept for the night’s main event sucked. Right now, it’s preferable to this, although Hulk gets a nice pop. He’ll probably milk it now. If you squint, Hulk’s banana-yellow handband looks like a full head of hair. He promises the next ten years will be ‘just as awesome.’ I dunno, the novelty of going ‘balls-deep’ on Brooke will wear thin for the locker room, I’m sure. He says Joe and Aries is next, and it IS for the X Division Title. It’s like Hulk’s after my heart.
Match 1: Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe (TNA X Division)
Arm exchanges early, and Aries lands an arrogant strike, so Joe mows him over. Hey, there’s the Joe I remember. Aries lands some kicks, so the two get vicious with their strikes, and Aries gets the upper hand by knocking Joe to the floor. Suicide dive flies into a high Joe kick, however. Facewashes on Aries in the corner, and the crowd is eating this up. The champ tries a comeback, but gets snap-slammed by Joe for 2. That’s the only guy you’ll see doing that until at least August, right Orton? Joe takes Aries down with a Manhattan drop and mafia kick, but the backsplash lands on knees. Joe CREAMS Aries with a forearm strike, knocking Aries through the ropes. Joe’s dive fails, and Aries gets the suicide dive he was looking for earlier. Great stuff. Aries lands a neckbreaker over the middle rope, and follows with a missle dropkick. Aries goes corner to corner, but Joe catches him in a tommy-hawk driver for 2. Geez, let each other breathe! Strike exchange reads as a battle of wills, and Joe gets the powerbomb turned modified Boston crab. That’s turned into an STF, followed by the Rings of Saturn, and Joe turns THAT into a magistral cradle for 2. Joe isn’t having any of Aries’ comeback, and just beats Aries down in the corner, but A-Double blocks the Muscle Buster, and the exchange leads to Aries getting a 450 for 2! Joe hooks the Cocquina clutch, but Aries bridges back on the drop down for 2. Joe misses a charge in the corner, but he lands a tossing uranage to make up for it. Aries counters a second Muscle Buster into a crucifix driver(!!), followed by the corner dropkick, and then the Brainbuster to win! WOW.
WINNER: Austin Aries via Brainbuster (still TNA X Division Champion)
Rating: ****1/4. Ho. Lee. SCHNIKES. Uh, Eric, I may need to update my top fifty list, because they just spent fifteen minutes telling those in the tag title match “Go ahead, steal the show NOW.” Amazing stuff.
Match 2: Kid Kash vs. Hernandez
All Kash needs is the Kid Rock gear, and it’ll be like TNA 2002. Kash gamely tries to take Super Mex down, but is bulldozed with a shoulder block. Kash finally escapes the power quagmire by throating Hernandez on the ropes, and he begins working the arm, followed by a resortation to biting. Well, wrestling ain’t pretty, folks. Kash gets a cross armbreaker, and endears himself to Hogan with a backrake. Whatever it takes for a push, I suppose. The two botch a hurrachanrana, with Hernandez face planting, but Kash makes up for it with a tornado DDT. Hernandez quickly counters with a slingshot shoulderblock, and continues his dominates with corner splashes and more shoulderblocks. Just to change it up, Super Mex lands Air Mexico on the floor. Kash escapes a Border Toss, but is flattened by Air Mexico off the top to end this.
WINNER: Hernandez via Top Rope Air Mexico
Rating: **1/2. Hey, it was fast-paced and exciting. Wasn’t sure what purpose it had on PPV, but it beats a filler “comedy” segment”
Match 3: Devon/Garrett Bischoff vs. The Robbies
Well, the fun had to end sometime. E beats down Garrett, so little Eric can practice his selling. Garrett comes back with Wrestling 101, and Big T (not Ahmed) gets the tag. Garrett’s strikes are ineffective on T, so E drags him to the floor (to a considerable pop). Madiskank Rayne makes her way out to be all dreamy-eyed at Garrett, who won’t stay down on the Robbies’ pin attempts. Side slam/top rope splash combo gets 2 on Garrett. Garrett lands a modified flapjack on Robbie (which looked botched AND neat), and Devon gets the tag. Beatdown of the Guidos commences. Rock Bottom connects on E, followed by a shoulder block for 2, broken up by T. Garrett low-bridges T over the top, and Devon spinebusters E for the win.
WINNERS: Devon/Garrett Bischoff via Testify Spinebuster
Rating: **. Not bad at all. Formulaic, but Garrett seems committed to improving. Much like Tommy Dreamer in 1994, he seems willing to die for the fans. No complaints about this match.
-TNA lifer Jeremy Borash interviews fellow vets Daniels and Kazarian, who list off all of their TNA accomplishments. Daniels raises a toast to themselves, and promises to continue to inspire the world. See, THAT’S a positive message for the kids.
Match 4: Mr. Anderson vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy (#1 Contender’s Match)
Good thing Dixie’s not running for office; she’d have to throw a black drape over these three, given their history of, ahem, “partaking.” Hardy takes down RVD, but Anderson soon hammers away on Hardy. Hardy manages to stack both men in the corner, and lands a corner splash, and dropkicks RVD off Anderson’s back. Anderson halts the momentum with a neckbreaker on Hardy for 2, broken up by RVD. Then it comes to be RVD’s turn, and he gets his martial artistry on both men. Anderson counters a corner monkey flip into a cradle for 2. Tower of Doom spot goes nowhere, and Anderson chucks RVD outside, and Anderson lands a superplex on Hardy. RVD quickly tries for a Five Star, but both men roll away. Nice. RVD resets himself and goes all educated feet on both guys, but can’t put either away. The action tonight is literally too fast paced, geez. Split-legged moonsault on RVD, but Hardy breaks up the pin. RVD responds by monkey flipping Anderson onto Hardy. RVD is backslid by Anderson, but Hardy gets the double leg layover pin on Anderson, and both have to kick out before 3. Anderson Roll on Hardy, and he clotheslines RVD over, then covers Hardy for 2. Is K Allen Frye handing out workrate bonuses tonight? Fight spills outside, and Hardy goes airborne onto the others. Whisper in the Wind connects on RVD in the ring for 2. Sick Twist of Fate on RVD connects, and Hardy heads up top, hits the Swanton, but Anderson grabs the ref on 2. Hardy is taken out, and RVD tries Rolling Thunder on Kenny, who gets up and lands the Mic Check to become #1 contender.
WINNER: Mr. Anderson via Mic Check (New #1 Contender)
Rating: ***1/2. The action literally didn’t stop, as advertised, and there was much innovation. If the rest of this show holds up, we may be looking at TNA’s greatest PPV to date. No pressure, of course.
-Borash interviews Crimson, who assures everyone that he’s not losing. That means he’s losing, right?
-Indeed the open challenge is next, and it’s….
Match 5: Crimson vs. James Storm
I was kinda hoping for John Morrison, but I’ll take this. Storm clotheslines Crimson up and over to start, and continues beating him with his duster still on. Crimson gains control, but that doesn’t last, as Storm lands some Manhattan drops, and Last Call ends the streak, FINALLY.
Winner: James Storm via Last Call
Rating: N/A. Barely a match, but a nice way to return Storm, who could feud with Crimson a bit before winding up back against Roode for the title, maybe at BFG?
-Aries has words, which I miss during a pee break. Phooey.
#2 TNA Moment: Hogan’s signing. Okay, that’s the first thing that’s upset me tonight.
-Dixie Carter makes her way out and Tenay thanks her family for making the last ten years possible. Well yeah, somebody was responsible for letting Russo befoul this place. Dixie calls this the largest crowd in the US for TNA ever, which I can’t wait to see what this number is. Hope it’s not a laugher for the trolls out there. She politely thanks everyone, and brings out the roster for some self-congratulation. And the first inductee is…….Sting. Huh, not Christian? At least TNA can say they inducted him before WWE did. Peer testimonial video and huge ovation follow. Dixie gives him a huge vote of confidence, and the induction will be at Bound For Glory. Sting gives some humble thanks.
Match 6: Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher (TNA Knockouts Championship)
Rank Gail’s theme among the five best in TNA history, next to Christian’s original and…..I’ll figure out the rest later. Gail armdrags her, and gets condescending, which seems to work to her advantage. Brooke comes back with a front roll armdrag, but Gail takes over after an awkward baseball slide miss. Lousy middle rope clothesline from Tessmacher sort of connects, but Gail hot shots her on the top rope. Gail connects with a shoulderbreaker for 2, and applies an elevated headscissors. Brooke was so much more fluid last month. Brooke manages to land a neckbreaker as I’m getting drowsy. Back suplex is botched badly, and Gail responds with a Union Jack neckbreaker. Brooke is knocked off into the railing. Back in, Eat Defeat is weakly blocked, and Brooke gets a front cradle to win the title.
WINNER: Miss Tessmacher via front cradle (New TNA Knockouts Champion)
Rating: DUD. Just a bad match. We couldn’t get Mickie here?
-Christy interviews a tearful Brooke. Yeah, if I put forth that effort, I’d be crying too.
-Bully Ray abuses Borash to try and bring some decorum back to this show. He plans to kill Abyss if he shows up. Sounds like a definitive threat.
Match 7: Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park (Anything Goes)
Park has the Johnny Ace-Approved Track Suit on. It’s amazing how committed he is to playing a non-violent bumbler. Park misses with some free shots, and Ray slaps him. Ray eggs him on with his hands behind his back, and then misses a charge, so Park smacks him. In the hysteria, Ray takes him down. Ray continues the one sided beating, as the crowd gets heated. Ray gets a chair, but Park kicks the ropes and the chair hits him in the face. Park grabs the chair, and Ray begs off, but takes advantage of Park turning away and takes him off his feet. Ray smashes him with the chair across the back, and adds another lick for good measure. Eh, Joe’s taken worse…..so I’m assuming. Ray misses his senton off the middle rope, and Park begins LAWYERING UP. Park hammers away with inexperienced punches, but Ray takes him down with a mafia kick. Ray gets a table, as well as a kendo stick, but Park nails him with the stick for 2. The crowd is MAKING this. Ray counters a corner charge, and Park is knocked outside the ring. He crawls underneath, and he emerges as Abyss on the other side. Ray is rightfully stunned, and gets chokeslammed through the table. Abyss goes back underneath (who never showed his face under the hood, btw), and Park comes back out, and he steals the pin.
WINNER: Joseph Park via Abyss’ Chokeslam through the table
Rating: **1/2. Entertaining crap. I just can’t hate Joseph Park, no matter how silly the matches are. That said, I hope Bully gets a more serious push soon.
-Robert Roode says he’ll be the only one celebrating.
-Hogan comes back out to introduce Christian to the audience. Despite it being spoiled, it’s still pretty surreal. I’m gonna laugh if they chant “TNA” at him on Raw tomorrow. As it is, a “please come back” tonight. Christian makes nice with the fans, and announces the #1 TNA moment: Sting’s return in 2006. Not the one I would have gone with, but it was a nice moment. I think we’re building to a Sting title win.
AJ goes right for Daniels, but Kaz helps double team. Kaz gets a side roll cradle for 2, but Styles fires back with a picture perfect dropsault. Outside, AJ goes old school with a slide under the rail, and a Superman forearm onto Kaz. Angle levels Daniels when he tries to run interference. Styles drops a knee on Kaz inside for 2. Tag to Angle, who aids in a double suplex on Kaz. Kaz halts Angle’s momentum by going to the eyes, and tag is made to Daniels. Angle quickly backdrops him, and tags AJ back in, who proceeds to maul him. Daniels escapes the Clash and immediately tags Kaz. AJ ends up wrenching his knee after getting stuck on the top rope, and Daniels fake-tags back in. Daniels lands what appears to be a flying curb stomp to AJ’s chest, as Styles becomes face in peril. Kaz has a suplex countered into AJ’s suplex/neckbreaker, and Angle gets the quick hot tag. Overhead belly to belly for Daniels. Germans for both opponents! Angle Slam connects on Daniels, but Kaz saves on 2. Angle goes to put Kaz through the German ringer, and ends up getting a stack German on Kaz AND Daniels. Ankle lock is applied on Daniels, but Kaz gets a roundhouse kick to break. Angle escapes the Angel’s Wings, and double tags are made to AJ and Kaz. Wild sequence ends with AJ landing a DDT on Daniels and a reverse DDT on Kaz. They got the crowd back after that soft middle. Daniels gets Last Rites on AJ after a corner miss, Angle gets a t-bone on Daniels, and Kaz lands the slingshot DDT on Angle. Whew! AJ sets Kaz up top, but Kaz shoves him off, only to be snared in Angle’s running leaping throw! AJ and Daniels have an angry slugfest, but Daniels ends the sequence with a standing uranage. Daniels tries for the BME, but Angle gets a release overhead German! AJ nails Kaz with a Pele, and Angle lands a splash off the top, but Daniels pulls the ref out. So AJ lands a springboard shooting star to the floor! Angle counters Kaz’s Fade to Black into the Ankle Lock and gets Kaz to tap. I’m too exhausted; there’s still a match to go?
WINNERS: Kurt Angle/AJ Styles via Ankle Lock (New TNA World Tag Team Champions)
Rating: ****1/2. Another great match, making this an automatic thumbs up no matter what else happens. LET THE WRESTLERS WRESTLE. At least Dixie didn’t get involved in this masterpiece; save that for free TV.
Main Event: Bobby Roode vs. Sting (TNA World Heavyweight)
It’s been forever since a face won the main event, so I’m kinda pulling for Sting here. Roode goes old school with his robe, which would make Paul Orndorff proud (read Jericho’s first book). Stalling from Roode to start, which makes Larry Zbyszko proud. Roode leads Sting into a beatdown, but Sting counters with a knee to the face. He tries the Scorpion, but Roode bails. Sting hammers away outside, and Roode tries to beg away, only to be pummeled. Sting lands a hip toss and tries the Scorpion again, but Roode manages to escape a second time. Roode tries to keep away as best he can, and ends up regaining the edge by throating Sting on the top rope. Roode lands the Hennig necksnap, but Sting mounts a comeback. It’s short lived, as he misses the Stinger Splash in the corner. Roode hooks a sleeper, which means we’re about halfway through. Sting elbows his way out, and gets his own sleeper hold. Roode quickly counters with a back suplex. Roode goes up top, but gets caught and Sting plants him with a superplex. Scorpion is applied, and Roode fights for a long time before finally getting the ropes. Roode tries to escape, but Sting goes out after him. Roode eats the rail in the back of the arena, and Sting drags him back to the ring, but punctuates the beating with a Stinger Splash against the rail. Sting puts Roode in the Scorpion on the announce table, and Roode taps, but it doesn’t count obviously. Roode tries to hit Sting with one of Storm’s discarded beer bottles at ringside, but has it blocked. The ref grabs the bottle, and Roode slugs Sting with a second one to retain.
WINNER: Robert Roode via beer bottle shot (Still TNA World Heavyweight Champion)
Rating: **3/4. Nice slice of old school wrestling and brawling. As nice of a sentimental moment as it would have been to have Sting win, Roode winning is better longterm.
-Sting goes berserk after the match and mauls Roode up on the stage, culminating the beating with a Scorpion Death Drop off the stage through a prop table. And there’s your sort of happy ending.
OVERALL: Two match of the year candidates, a great three way match, and solid wrestling all around otherwise. TNA needs to keep this up, and maybe they won’t be the laughingstock anymore.
Full TNA Slammiversary 2012 results & winners..
Bobby Roode defeated Sting
A.J. Styles & Kurt Angle defeated Christopher Daniels & Kazarian to win the tag titles
Mr. Anderson defeated Jeff Hardy & Rob Van Dam – Anderson faces the Roode vs. Sting winner for the title on the 6/14 Impact show
Joseph Park defeated Bully Ray
Miss Tessmacher defeated Gail Kim to win the Knockouts title
Austin Aries defeated Samoa Joe
Devon & Garett Bischoff defeated Robbie E & Robbie T
James Storm defeated Crimson
Hernandez defeated Kid Kash
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.