Slammiversary Recap & Analysis!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Slammiversary Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz conducts a detailed post mortem on the June TNA pay per view. Here’s what happened – and why..

Excellent ring work triumphed over some questionable storylines to make Slammiversary the company’s best pay per view in a while. The main events came off well and most of the other matches equaled or exceeded expectations.

Let’s look at Slammiversary match by match to see what happened in Detroit.

Jeremy Borash, assisted by a slightly disheveled-looking Lauren, welcomed fans to the live pre-show from the Palace of Auburn Hills, site of this year’s Slammiversary.

The Kingfish comments: The improvement in the TNA pre-show continues. Last month’s edition was the company’s best showing and this month’s represented another leap forward.

The camera work was much better this time. The close-ups are much more exciting and dramatic than the long shots and do a better job of conveying the excitement of a live telecast.

Lauren didn’t look very good. She needs to put more effort into her appearance, especially on pay per views.

Beer Money, in an interview, pulled a very clever gag. They poured on the respect for Team 3D – until they broke up laughing.

The Kingfish comments: It was nice to get a break from all that unctuous respect blather. Storm and Roode did a great job on this segment.

Besides the usual video clips, the half-hour also featured a tag team match.

The British Invasion d. Eric Young & Rhino
Pre-show Match
The Story: Eric Young is restless. The long-time fan favorite has been grumbling about mistreatment. Will pairing him with his old friend Rhino help Primetime get back in the groove? They’ll have to show some continuity if they expect to beat the team from the UK.

My Prediction: The point of this match, I predict, is that Eric Young will turn on his old friend Rhino to complete the heel turn. TNA has shown a propensity to just have the heel walk out on his partner, but it would be better if Eric actually turned on Rhino to the point that the War Machine suffered a beat-down by The British Invasion.

Predicted Grade: C+ (Not pretty, but maybe necessary)

The Actual Match: When Rhino, who started for his team, tried to tag his long-time friend Eric Young, the blond refused the touch and stalked out of the arena.

That left the War Machine to fight alone. He did a pretty good job, but he took a lot of punishment, nevertheless.

Jesse Neal, last seen as a guest ring announcer, came to ringside to root for Rhino. He kept begging the referee to let him replace Young as the tag partner and the official finally gave his blessing.

Jesse Neal looked a little tentative, which wasn’t surprising considering the circumstances, and the British Invasion put him away with their combo finisher.

Actual Grade: B

The Kingfish comments: They’re obviously elected to drag out Eric Young’s full heel turn so that it will peak just before his pay per view match, likely to be against Rhino.

After an opening video that celebrated the promotion’s seventh anniversary, Mike Tenay welcomed fans to the Palace of Au

Suicide d. Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed & Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin
X Division Championship
King of the Mountain
The Story: All four of the challengers want the title, that’s for sure, but the real focus of the match is the attempt by the Guns and Lethal Consequences to unmask the champ and reveal his secret identity. The question hangs in the air; Will they achieve one or both of their goals – or will the lust for gold win out over the desire to know who is under the hood.

My Prediction: Suicide will retain the championship when the shaky alliance between the two teams disintegrates under the pressure of the match and the rivalry for the belt. If I were the booker, the quartet would rip the mask off Suicide to reveal – Kaz or someone else. Then Suicide would appear on the upper stage, played by Daniels.

What I think may actually happen is that Suicide will go up the ladder and hang the belt – and then disappear.

If they can’t do that one, the challengers will unmask Suicide – and then another Suicide will appear in the arena, leaving the mystery unsolved.

Predicted Grade: A

The Actual Match: Curtis Granderson, the designated belt-holder, also joined Mike Tenay and Don West at the announce table.

All four challengers ganged up on suicide, yet it was the Mystery Man who sent Jay Lethal to the penalty cage. Suicide also pinned Alex Shelley, but Lethal’s two minutes elapsed and he came back about the same time as Shelly headed to the penalty box.

Lethal pinned Suicide to become the second competitor eligible to hang the title belt. When Black Machismo went to the Penalty Box, though, they turned on Consequences Creed in an effort to get one of them eligible. Creed pinned Shelley to join the ranks of the eligibles.

The Machine Guns found a clever way to break out of their in-match slump. Sabin laid down on the canvas and let Shelley pin him! Shelley scampered up the ladder, but Suicide cut him off with a Springboard Dropkick!

When Chris Sabin returned, he hit Jay Lethal with a Tornado DDT. It didn’t lead to a pinning cover, though.,

Suicide made one of his death-defying leaps to stop Alex Shelley from hanging the belt. The Masked Man grabbed the gold and continued up the ladder to hang the belt that symbolized his X Division title.

The lights went out and Suicide vanished.

Actual Grade:A

The Kingfish comments: Now, that’s what call a curtain-jerker! Some of the booking seemed a little arbitrary, but the numerous high spots and the Machine Guns’ clever strategies more than made up for any chinks in the logic.

Lauren updated fans on the Team 3D situation. The boys had not yet returned from defending the IWGP tag team championship.

The Kingfish comments: They really laid on the travel story to the point of overkill.

Lauren interviewed Shane Douglas, who described himself as “the man who beat the man.”

Daniels d. Shane Douglas
Loser Leaves TNA
The Story: Shane Douglas returned to TNA recently and he came with a gigantic chip on his shoulder. He has complained loud and long that Daniels got back into TNA despite losing in “Feast or Fired.” The Franchise and Daniels must now compete in a match in which Daniels’ spot in the promotion is on the line. It’s an old-fashioned, Loser Leaves TNA showdown.

My Prediction: In a perfect world, Shane Douglas would lose and go home. He still has mic skills, but his in-ring work has not impressed. Now would be a fine time to let him go off into the sunset, because it doesn’t look like he is physically ready for heavy duty.

A more likely ending would be to have Douglas win by foul means, perhaps help from Dr. Stevie. Daniels would retreat to the Suicide identity and Douglas would replace the two tag teams in the quest to unmask him. Douglas will want to prove that Daniels hasn’t left at all.

Predicted Grade: B-

The Actual Match: Daniels controlled the match with his speed and ring skill until Douglas reversed the momentum during some brawling in the ringside area.

Douglas did so much damage to Daniels’ left arm that he couldn’t raise it. Somehow, he pulled off a Suplex, but the cover fell short of a pin.

Daniels took Douglas to the mat with a Back Heel Trip and kept him there with a BME to win the match.

Actual Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: Shane Douglas looked unprepared for the job when he first showed up on iMPACT a few weeks before this pay per view. His ring work is still somewhat limited, but at least he looked like a wrestler for this contest.

Mick Foley told Jeremy Borash that he didn’t think Jeff Jarrett would try for the gold, because it might look funny to TNA owners if the man in charge was also the champion.

After a video and the “Tale of the Tape,” it was time for the Knockout Championship match.

Angelina Love d Tara
Knockouts Championship
The Story: Tara is the new Knockout at TNA and she has impressed everyone with her physical strength and ring skill. Her finisher is fearsome, but what remains to be seen is whether she can apply it to the blonde champion and leader of the Beautiful People.

My Prediction: Until Tara joined TNA, Angelina Love’s only viable opponent looked to be Awesome Kong, but now there’s Tara. Since there are not a lot of title contenders, the result might be to have Tara win by DQ when the outside interference gets too blatant for the official to overlook.

It would be better if Tara beat Love to set up a re-match at the next pay per view, but doing a DQ first would extend the storyline through the summer.

Predicted Grade: B

The Actual Match: Tara sailed toward victory until Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky attacked her in the ringside area. Angelina Love got three near-falls in fairly rapid succession, but Tara easily escaped.

After temporarily disabling the champion, Tara went outside to dish out some payback to her two blonde friends. Unfortunately, Rayne and Shy soon got their revenge by squirting hairspray in Tara’s eyes.

Angelina Love retained her title, but Tara will be coming for her.

Actual Grade: B-

The Kingfish comments: To paraphrase what might be one of your grandparents’ favorite songs, “This could be the start of something big.” That’s something TNA desperately needs, too, a Knockout program that involves two wrestlers, neither of whom is Awesome Kong.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Kong, but it is very hard to integrate her into a roster of women who are all much smaller than she is. Love-Tara will give TNA time to think up some more creative ways to use their prize property.

Lauren interviewed Dr. Stevie, Raven and Daffney. Dr. Stevie wanted to “treat” her and Raven told Lauren she “reeks of sadness.”

The Kingfish comments: The current incarnation of Raven’s character may be a little too crazy. That maniacal laugh is pretty unsettling and over the top.

Abyss & Taylor Wilde d. Daffney & Raven
Monster’s Ball
Inter-gender tag team match
The Story: Taylor Wilde brought Daffney to TNA and must surely regret it. The Screaming Siren has gone over the deep end and begun attacking her former friend. Abyss remains the target of Dr. Stevie’s inions, so this is an attempt to destroy two babyfaces in one match.

My Prediction: This feels more like the start of a program than its climax. For the storyline to continue, the heels must win. For the fan favorites to save their baby faces, the victory needs to be tainted. Put it all together and you’ve got Dr. Stevie with the candlestick in the library.

No, wait… this is wrestling, not Clue, Dr. Stevie will come to the ring, perhaps with other minions, and distract Abyss.

Predicted Grade: B

The Actual Match: The fighting was vicious and did not respect gender as the four combatants used fists, holds and weapons against each other.

When the action moved to the outside, Raven and Abyss slugged it out on one side of the ring, while Daffney got the better of Taylor Wilde on the other.

Daffney jumped on Abyss’ back as he and Raven fought. Taylor came up behind her and smashed her with a trash can lid! Abyss took abuse from Raven, but his superior strength soon enabled him to heave the newly returned heel against the outer guardrail.

Taylor positioned Daffney on a table in the ringside area. Taylor climbed an adjacent tower of speakers and jumped off, powering Daffney through the table!

Abyss got the bag of tacks, but hw took a chairshot to the face that busted him open. Raven’s Drop Toehold sent Abyss careening into a chair. Raven choked Abyss with a kendo stick, but Taylor saved her partner with a well-placed swing of a trash can lid!

Dr. Stevie meddled in the match and took a sickening trash can lid shot. Abyss threw Taylor Wilde like a barbie missile, but referee Andrew Thomas didn’t see what could’ve been a pin.

Abyss opened his bag and spilled tacks on the canvas. Daffney used all her feminine wiles to persuade Abyss not to dump her on them. Taylor Wilde lost patience and Bodyslammed Daffney right onto the tacks!

Abyss went after Dr. Stevie and got ready to Chokeslam his tormenter, Raven rocked him with the Evenflo DDT, but he couldn’t translate the move into a pinning cover.

Abyss hit a Black Hole Slam on Raven that sent him right into the tacks. Te Masked Monster immediately pounced on him for the one-two-three.

Actual Grade: A-

The Kingfish comments: The first inter-gender Monsters Bal turned out to be one of the best matches of its type. I’m not sure I like the idea of all those tacks lacerating that fine female hide, but it sure made for an exciting match!

It looks like Taylor Wilde and Daffney will now go the hardcore route with another gruesome match in the offing. Abyss and Raven ought to have a program, too, but it isn’t clear if that is TNA’s plan for them.

Jeff Jarrett, in a backstage interview, reiterated that he doesn’t want the title, but that he does intend to “take back” his company.

Sting d. Matt Morgan
The Story: Matt Morgan has applied to become a member of the Main Event Mafia, but Sting is skeptical. Morgan will try to prove he is worthy; Sting will try to make the brash young wrestler show some respect.

My Prediction: Neither man can afford the loss in this match, which makes it exceptionally tough to predict with any certainty, Sting will get the decision, but the Blueprint will work a strong match. When Sting puts away Morgan with the Scorpion Death Drop, it will at first look like Matt Morgan has made his point with the head of the MEM. The Blueprint will then attack Sting out of frustration, igniting a feud that could run for a month or two

Predicted Grade: B

The Actual Match:. Morgan’s awesome strength gave him an early edge. At one point, he grabbed Sting by the legs and swung him into the side of the ring with a very audible thud. Morgan tried the Bodyslam-Legdrop combo, but he couldn’t make it work as well for him as it did for Hulk Hogan back in those glory days.

When Morgan blew a Corner Charge, Sting nailed him with a Missile Dropkick. Morgan responded almost immediately with the Carbon Footprint, but Sting got his should off the canvas in time.

Sting Blocked a Hellevator and used a low blow to set up the Scorpion Death Drop. It wasn’t enough for a pin. Morgan used his raw power to break free of an attempted Scorpion Deathlock.

Sting went to the Scorpion Death Drop again and, this time, scored a direct hit. Sting covered and retained his Main Event Mafia spot against Morgan’s challenge.

Actual Grade: A-

The Kingfish comments: Had I known the full extent of the stipulation, which became that Morgan would get Sting’s place in the Main Event Mafia, I would’ve been tempted to predict a Morgan win. That’s because that outcome had much richer story possibilities than the actual Sting victory. Imagine Sting, now outside the MEM, fighting its members to vindicate his belief in the group’s original purpose as he understood it, to bring respect back to the wrestling world.

AJ Styles told Lauren that the “King of the Mountain” match was about strategy. He said they would be taking back the title.

Samoa Joe spoke with great intensity about it being his night.

After a long video and the “tag lines,” it was time for the tag team title tilt.

Beer Money d. Team 3D
TNA World Tag Team Championship
The Story: Beer Money won the Team 3D Invitational at Sacrifice. They got a trophy, a $100,000 check and the right to meet Brother Ray and Brother Devon for the title. Ever since Storm and Roode defeated the British Invasion, Team 3D has heaped praise on them at every opportunity. That’s all very well and good, but it doesn’t seem likely that the big bad boys from New York City will pin themselves – or willingly surrender the straps.

My Prediction:The build-up to a torch passing has been too overblown and too obvious. If Beer Money just goes ahead and beats Team 3D, there’s not going to be much suspense about it. Therefore, this has all been a mind game, concocted by Devon and Ray to set up the challengers for a surprise and a fall.

Team 3D will take unfair advantage at the start of the match, but whether Beer Money will overcome that handicap is far from clear. As my colleague Jay Shannon pointed out in his preview – and you should read <I<HeadLocker immediately after you finish mine – the circumstances offer a convenient alibi for a 3D loss.

That’s my prediction, because it allows Ray and Devon to claim that the flights to and from Japan loused up their timing and drained their energy. They can challenge Beer Money to a rematch, which they would most probably win by DQ so that Beer Money would retain the tag team championship.

Predicted Grade: B+

The Actual Match: The announcers kept working on the “long plane trip” angle, though Team 3D didn’t seem too much the worse for wear.

Roode took a Dudley Death Drop and, a little later, found himself on the wrong end of the Wassup, but he kept coming back. It didn’t lead to a pin, but it did ignite a “Get the Tables” chant, led by Team 3D and enthusiastically taken up by the crowd.

It took too long to get the tables, which allowed Robert Roode to hit a Spinebuster on Ray! Veer Money shook the ring with a Stereo Suplex on Ray.

The British Invasion, accompanied by Rob Terry, came down to the ring to observe. Though Devon gave each member of Beer Money a Spinebuster, their outstanding teamwork prevented either of getting pinned.

With Roode balanced on Devon’s shoulder, Ray came off the top with a Flying Clothesline. Roode hit so hard he bounced, but it didn’t put his shoulders to the mat.

Storm spit beer, but Roode took the suds in the face by accident. Team 3D applied their patented 3D finisher. Earl Hebner, the referee, had his attention elsewhere.

That’s when the British Invasion attacked. Team 3D polished them off , but in the confusion, Beer Money hit the DWI and scored the pin to claim the TNA World Tag Team Championship.

Actual Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: Despite the seeming obviousness of the long flight angle, that’s going to be the lynchpin of Team 3D’s alibi. There ought to be some rematches, but Ray and Devon may first go after the British Invasion.

Kurt angle d. Mick Foley & Jeff Jarrett & A.J. Styles & Samoa Joe
TNA World Championship
King of the Mountain match
The Story: You can’t tell the feuders without a scorecard in this contest! Everyone hates everyone, with the possible exception of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Will someone take the covered title away from Mick Foley or will personal animosities rule?

My Prediction: It is unlikely that Mick Foley will be TNA World Champion when Slammiversary fades to black. Samoa Joe’s injury may have changed the original booking idea, because his injury means it wouldn’t make sense to give him the title.

Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley could cancel out each other, as may Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe. That would leave the man who climbs the ladder and wins. The prediction here is that it will be The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles.

The most attractive alternative possibility would be to have Samoa Joe win, which would lead to a tournament when he had to forfeit the gold due to his much-publicized injury.

Predicted Grade: A

The Actual Match: Samoa Joe was the first man pinned, making Kurt Angle eligible to haul down the belt.

At the end, it was Joe climbing the ladder and Kurt Angle going up the other side. With all other challengers down, Joe calmly handed the belt to Angle, who hung it for the win.

Actual Grade: A

The Kingfish comments: I don’t know what to say about Samoa Joe’s traitorous turn. It surely was a surprise mostly because it was poorly motivated and didn’t make much sense. We’ve watched Joe’s revival for weeks and seen him lay waste to members of the Main Event Mafia while re-establishing his friendships with men like AJ Styles.

As happens all too often with TNA, it was a great match with very spurious storyline support.

Predicted grade for Slammiversary: B+

Actual grade for Slammiversary: A-

That’s all for today! I’ll be back tomorrow with my recap and analysis of Slammiversary on Monday. Hope you’ll join me then – and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(6/22/09)