Slammiversary is in the books, and it was in my opinion, one of the better show TNA is going to produce. Let's break it down.
The show opened with the always entertaining Ultimate X match, between Chris Sabin, Kenny King, and the recently returned Suicide. All three competitors were on their game and it was a great decision to have the fast-paced X division start the show. Chris Sabin winning was easily the right move, as he was by far the most over guy in the match and he can be a big star for TNA IF he can stay healthy, which of course, is a really big if.
After the match Hulk Hogan came out to congratulate Sabin on his victory, which was kind of strange since Hulk has never really been a big fan of smaller competitors. Secondly, he announced that the X division champion will get a world title shot at Destination X, which is even stranger, since TNA dropped Destination X as a ppv earlier this year.
Hogan then came out for a brief back and forth with Anderson and Aces & 8s, where he utilized enough cheap pops to make Mick Foley blush. "Boston is a city that isn't afraid of you, they are not afraid terrorists." Really Hulk? Using a recent tragedy to get yourself over? That is low, even for someone as shallow as Hogan.
Anyways, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Magnus came out to take on Anderson, Brisco and Bischoff in a six-man tag that was fairly mediocre. Brisco and Bischoff are still very limited in the ring, and they could only perform a few moves before tagging out, slowing down the match. Hardy was very over, but he was his usual sloppy self, failing to hit a series of moves and even screwing up the Twist of Fate. Samoa Joe was the man who came out and saved that match. The intensity, size and speed of Joe separate him from everybody else in wrestling, and he was the main man in this match. TNA needs to see and use a lot more of that Samoa Joe.
Following up that match was the Gutcheck qualifier for the Bound for Glory Series between Jay Bradley and Sam Shaw. This was probably the weakest point of the show, as this match seemed more suitable for an episode of Impact then a ppv. The match was slow and unexciting, with Bradley going over and cutting a simple promo on the BFG series after the match. No one is really going to remember this one as an instant classic.
The next match was Joseph Parks/Abyss vs Devon. Devon and Knux jumped Parks before the match, setting up the obvious return of Abyss to take on Devon. It was cool to see Abyss come back, but the match was not that great, as it was wrestled at a snail's pace, with Abyss easily dispatching of Devon.
In what was in my opinion, the best match of the night, the 4-way tag match was on next. Daniels and Kazarian were very entertaining with their antics on the apron, and all of the tag teams (except for Chavo and Hernandez) were very over with the Boston crowd. Austin Aries was the most impressive man in the match, flying all over the ring and never missing any of his spots. James Storm and Gunner winning is a smart move, as they were pretty over and they can continue to feud with Roode and Aries.
The Knockouts match was easily the most surprising match of the night. If I were to pick a Knockout to appear in a Last Man Standing match, it probably wouldn't have been Taryn Terrell. But I think she surprised everyone by being extremely game for the match, as her and Gail Kim took some serious bumps, including a devastating running cutter off of the elevated ramp. One of the things that made TNA different then the WWE was their focus on women's wrestling, and they have kind of gotten away from that in the last few years. Last night, they turned back the clock a little bit, as there is no way the WWE would ever have a match like that.
Angle vs AJ Styles was my most anticipated match of the night, and it was pretty good. The similarities between AJ and 1997 Sting are way too striking, and TNA should really do something different soon to avoid that stigma. Anyways, AJ secretly carried Angle for most of that match. AJ gave Angle a ton of lift on the suplexes and set up Angle everywhere the injured Kurt needed to be, once again proving why AJ is one of the best. Angle taking the victory on a roll-up should set up some more matches for these two down the road.
I wasn't a big fan of the main event. It started with Bully Ray saying that he was going to use the famously banned piledriver to finish off Sting, an odd statement since Bully has used the piledriver often in the recent past (including on Angle). The match was your typical Sting match, not a lot of wrestling holds, fairly short for a main event and a lot of near falls. Bully taking apart the ring lining and using it to piledrive Sting on to was a unique touch, but other than that, the match was pretty rudimentary. Aces & 8s coming out to screw Sting was fairly predictable, unless you thought TNA would make a 55 year old champion.
The main issue I have is that in the previous matches, Aces & 8s were defeated pretty easily. In both the six man tag and Devon's match, the faction was dispatched with ease by the TNA representatives. Then, at the end of the show, Bully Ray retains with the help of Aces & 8s and the show goes out with the faction looking strong. I find it contradictive to have a group look like chumps for most of the show, but then try to end the show with them looking strong. How scary is a group that loses 2 out of every 3 matches? TNA did the same thing at Lockdown, with Aces getting squashed in the lethal lockdown match, yet finishing strong. If they are intent on making Aces & 8s look like dominant threats, the booking of their matches needs to become more consistent.
Overall I thought TNA did a pretty good job with last night's show. They got a pretty vocal crowd that was into the show the whole night and most of the matches delivered. Hopefully they can continue to build on this momentum and raise the quality of their weekly shows.