This year’s Slammiversary PPV takes place in Boston, Massachusetts celebrating the eleventh anniversary of TNA Wrestling. With Aces & Eights President Bully Ray defending his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against “The Icon” Sting in a No Holds Barred match and AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle on the card as well, this event was set to be historic.
The show opens with a video celebrating the anniversary of the company but is then suddenly interrupted by a message from the Aces & Eights. Depicting the many months of destruction the Aces & Eights have laid upon TNA, the video also features Bully Ray telling us to sit back and relax as a “The Old Era” of TNA is destroyed with “The Icon” Sting’s demise and a new destructive era shall be introduced tonight.
X-Division Championship, Ultimate X: King (c) vs. Sabin vs. Suicide
Overview: In the thirtieth edition of the Ultimate X match, Kenny King defends his X-Division Championship in the opening contest. In a spot-filled thriller of a match, Chris Sabin finally regained the crown as king of his division. On his way down from the Ultimate X cables, the title fell on Sabin and cut him open forcing blood to pour down the new champion’s face.
As Sabin made his way up the ramp after his celebration, Hulk Hogan came out and congratulated him. What was relatively well known but still a tad bit unclear, Hogan announced that “Option C” was indeed in effect and wished Sabin the best of luck when he challenges for the TNA World Heavyweight Title.
Analysis: This was an absolutely entertaining and crowd pleasing beginning to the PPV. There was a couple of very loud “TNA” and “This Is Awesome” chants and the crowd was electric the entire time. Chris Sabin was heavily predicted to win this match and he was the most deserving to as not only has he earned it after his return from injury but he is also the most capable X-division star for “Option C”.
Six Man Tag War, Team TNA vs. Team Aces & Eights
Overview: After Hulk Hogan was done celebrating with Chris Sabin, Anderson of the Aces & Eights interrupted and lead his fellow soldiers into the ring. Anderson and Hogan traded words; afterwards Magnus, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy came out for the Six Man Tag War.
As Hardy was making his triumphant return and climbed up the turnbuckle to pose, Anderson attacked him from behind to begin the contest. After a competitive bout, Team TNA’s experience advantage came into fruition as Hardy picked up the win on rookie Wes Brisco.
Analysis: Hulk Hogan and Anderson’s interactions were entertaining and the Hulkster was rather intense but also comical on the microphone. In the match, Bischoff and Brisco were used as tackling dummies for their opponents. Anderson, being the leader of his trio, carried his team and delivered the most offense out of the three. Bischoff performed decently but Brisco was a part of two botched Twist of Fate maneuvers from Hardy. Despite that, this was an entertaining match that put over Hardy’s return and established that TNA was ready to take the Aces & Eights to their limits.
Gut Check Tournament Final, Sam Shaw vs. Jay Bradley
Overview: Coming out to understandably lackluster reactions from the crowd, Shaw and Bradley were ready to fight it out to see who would get a spot in the Bound For Glory Series. After an average length match, Jay Bradley won with the “BOOM STICK” clothesline. Christy Hemme interviewed the winner and Bradley guaranteed that he’d win the Bound For Glory Series and that’s he’s our next TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Analysis: The crowd was not into this match and in a way, they probably weren’t supposed to. The previous two matches thrilled the crowd and this match was most likely serving as a rest period to insure that they’d be enthusiastic during more important contests later in the night.
Shaw and Bradley performed decently with the time and attention they were given but there wasn’t anything overly interesting about the match. It was a simple way to put over the winner heading in to the BFG Series.
Television Championship, Joseph Park vs. Devon (c)
Overview: Before the match, Devon and Knux attacked Joseph Park backstage and the latter didn’t come out when his entrance theme was played. Devon grabbed a microphone, taunted the crowd, and told the referee to start counting out Park.
Oddly enough, no one answered the count and Devon once again grabbed the microphone. After insulting the Park brothers, Abyss came out to the ring and Abyss vs. Devon was officially started. After a short contest, Abyss was able to overcome Knux’s interference to defeat Devon and win the TNA Television Championship.
Analysis: The longest reigning TV Champion in TNA history, Devon, has finally been dethroned in a nice surprise by “The Monster” Abyss. While not a great match by any means, it was compelling in its own right as another new champion is crowned and Aces & Eights lose yet another contest to further how they have never been tested like this before.
Tag Team Championship, Fatal Four Way Elimination Tag Match
Overview: After a video that greatly put over Gunner’s return and new pairing with James Storm, the three challenging teams all enter first waiting for the champions to arrive. Chavo and Hernandez, as per usual, came out to a non-existent reaction from the crowd.
After some long competitive action, Bad Influence are eliminated first via disqualification then shortly after Chavo & Hernandez are eliminated via pinfall. Down to Dirty Heels vs. James Storm and Gunner, the latter team won the match and are the new TNA World Tag Team Champions.
Analysis: In rather surprising fashion, Gunner and James Storm whom are a brand new tag team beat the three established teams in the division. The crowd was on fire in this match and was actually quite elated when Chavo was pinned and guaranteed that there would be new champions. Also, during the match, Storm and Roode continued their dynamic of former betrayed tag partners which always proves to create good storytelling.
The match was action packed and each team had their moment to shine, it was a long competitive contest that the crowd loved. Many thought Gunner would turn on Storm or his partner wouldn’t be able to wrestle due to his injury, but those doubts were put to rest as the newly formed team are now the champions.
Last Knockout Standing, Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
Overview: A recap video is shown featuring Gail Kim‘s recent destruction of fellow Knockouts and her feud with Terrell that has been ongoing for almost the entire year. These two Knockouts brought the fight to each other, even receiving several “Holy S***” and “This Is Awesome” chants from the crowd after some nasty spots. In clever storytelling irony, Terrell even locked on Kim’s signature figure four leg lock around the steel ring post which gave her opponent a taste of her own medicine.
Terrell then hit a huge cutter on Kim from the ring entrance ramp all the way to the ground below. Kim wasn’t able to make the ten count to continue the match, her rival rose to her feet at the 9 count in victory.
Analysis: This was awesome as the crowd said. This is what women’s wrestling can be; this was incredibly intense, physical and very entertaining. Simply put, this was the best women’s wrestling match of the year and possibly the past couple of years as well. These Knockouts deserve praise for this match and TNA deserves credit for this outstanding women’s rivalry which really had the perfect climax.
Grudge Match, AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle
Overview: The newest inductee into the TNA Hall Of Fame, Kurt Angle came out first to challenge “The Man Who Walks Alone” AJ Styles. Coming out to his new theme “Evil Ways”, Styles entered dramatically and eerily which flustered Angle and the crowd. “The Phenomenal One” stared into Angle’s eyes and launched himself at his legs to take him down starting the match. After a long back and forth match, Kurt Angle rolled up Styles to win the match.
Analysis: Though the match was absolutely great, Angle winning here doesn’t make too much sense. Styles, a huge part of TNA’s direction right now, could have used the win more as Angle quite frankly didn’t need the win at all. Angle isn’t going anywhere higher in TNA’s mainevent echelon, while Styles would have used this win as a proper stepping stone heading into the road to Bound For Glory.
World Heavyweight Championship No Holds Barred, Bully Ray (c) vs. Sting
Overview: Before our mainevent, Bully Ray announced that not only will he be beating Sting tonight but he will defeat him with the legendary banned piledriver maneuver. After both men were in the ring and their introductions were finished, Sting hit the Stinger Splash quickly on an unaware Bully Ray to kick off this fight.
Mid-match, Brooke Hogan came out to check up on her husband whom she is having conflicting emotions for. After Sting pleaded for Brooke to go back behind the curtain, Bully regained the momentum of the match and eventually hit the piledriver that he promised to deliver. Sting surprisingly kicked out of it and even kicked out of a huge powerbomb through a table.
The champion Bully then exposed the wood underneath the canvas in the ring and hit yet another devastating piledriver on Sting. But yet again, “The Icon” surprisingly kicked out of it.
Sting eventually restarted his offense and hit a Scorpion Death Drop on Bully on the exposed wooden floor. However, before he was able to cover Bully for the three count, the Aces & Eights attacked Sting and provided a distraction.
Somehow, Sting was able to wipe his way through all the members of the Aces & Eights except one. Ken Anderson quietly sneaked a hammer to Bully, and as Sting was flying off the top rope, the President of the Aces & Eights hit his rival with the weapon.
Anderson and Devon picked up Ray, and the celebration began. Bully Ray retained his TNA World Heavyweight Championship and it was truly “The End Of An Old Era” and the creation of “The Era Of The Aces & Eights”.
Analysis: This match was beautiful. Thanks to the introduction of the piledriver coming into play, Bully Ray and Sting were able to create a wonderful story in the ring. It was violent and physical as the match type called for and it greatly delivered on its promise of being a very entertaining mainevent.
Bully Ray winning proves all the doubters of TNA wrong, the company can indeed pick the right man to win in the right match. This wasn’t about Sting but more about Ray’s ascension as the biggest villain in prowrestling today. It was an absolutely great mainevent.
Final Thoughts: The Hall Of Fame announcement in which Kurt Angle was inducted was simply amazing. Angle displayed some powerful emotion that sold the honor of being an inductee. Dixie Carter‘s involvement and the video package made in tribute to Angle’s TNA career were also classy and well done.
There were a few interviews conducted including one with Brooke Hogan, Bad Influence, and Dirty Heels; each segment did their job either hyping up their upcoming match or advancing a plot in Brooke’s case.
This was a near flawless wrestling event. The Boston crowd, as expected, was great and sold the show very well in their own right. As opposed to the past, there wasn’t any noticeable technical mistakes all night which shows how TNA has greatly improved in that department. Also, despite a few bad lines from Taz, the commentary team was solid and were not a nuisance like they are sometimes weekly on Impact.
The stories and rivalries TNA had been displaying heading into this PPV were an entire year in the making. Every match delivered what it was supposed to, even the Gut Check match did its appropriate job. Besides Kurt Angle beating AJ Styles rather oddly, this would have gone down as an A+ perfect PPV but we may never see that in this new era of professional wrestling. But if you wanted an example of a near perfect mainstream wrestling show, then you ought to use Slammiversary XI.
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