Sunday, June 08, 2008

TNA Slammiversary Liveblog
-First day of the offseason, home from state track ... what the hell?

-Live from Memphis.

- Even Vince Russo's crazy booking hasn't made me lose hope in Jeff Jarrett's project. I don't watch WWE much anymore, and I keep hoping TNA will embrace a more realistic, UFC-like style.

As long as Russo's and people like him book TNA, I don't think this company can achieve its potential. I don't blame Russo for this. "Crash TV" is his style. Asking him to write differently is like asking Tony Bennett to record a rap album.

- Hey look, it's Eric Bischoff! Oh wait, it's just an Elvis knockoff. The montage has a Carl Perkins-inspired opening. It's quite campy.

- Hosts are Mike Tenay and Don West. This is the six-year anniversary of the company's origin. I honestly didn't think it'd last a month. And had other money people not stepped in, it wouldn't have.

Opening match X Division Title
Kaz vs. Petey Williams (C) (with Rhaka Kahn and Scott Steiner)

-Nice to see the TNA drug testing policy hasn't reached Canada yet. A huge fan of Williams, not a fan of Scott Steiner's mini-me angle. Williams is wearing a mask to protect a legit injury.

-Cool mat sequences start us off. Petey sets up the Canadian Destroyer (the sickest looking move in the history of pro wrestling, in my opinion), but Kaz reverses. Fans duel a "let's go Petey/Let's go Kaz" chant.

- Slingshot from Petey into hurricanrana. Smooth. Don West describes Petey's style (more mat based later) as similar to what Scott Steiner would do. Not sure if you want to mimick a 2008 Scott Steiner. Maybe Petey can go off on a rant about how Ric Flair tried to sabotage his career.

-The two are having a really good match, but cue the 1998 finish. Rhaka Khan runs in and Kaz takes her out. Petey gets a led pipe from Scott, opening Kaz up, but Kaz kicks out. The two each have a number of near falls, until Steiner interferes again, allowing Petey to lay out Kaz with the destroyer. *** 1/2. It would have been higher without the interference. Steiner beats up Kaz after the match, until Abyss makes his return. Great, more nonsensical angles for eight months. Abyss lays out the heels. Khan really looks green.

- The announcers recap the card. Eric Young comes out to announce he's found Elvis. This angle will die a slow death.

- We get a video look at Kevin Nash, where they talk about how he somehow got to be the one to end Goldberg's streak and help kill WCW (faster, anyway). Actually, they talk about the angle with him and Joe. How Nash continues to be pushed at the top of the card despite not drawing since 1997 remains one of the great mysteries of the industry.

- Video look at knockouts, which is the one thing TNA promotes 1,000 times better than WWE.

Six-women match
-Beautiful People and Moose v. Roxxi, Gail Kim (my favorite woman wrestler ever) and ODB ( think a female version of Crusher -- at least character-wise. Maybe I'm way off.)

-Roxxi lost her hair at the last PPV, giving her a Sinead O'Connor look. The Beautiful People are great heels. They try to walk about, but the faces bring them back. Velvet Sky takes down Roxxi, and Angelina Love dropkicks her down. Gotta say, I like Roxxi's haircut, and I hated O'Connor's music. These women have the audience in the palm of their hands right now. You'd never see that in WWE.

- Gail does a crossbody off the top. My only complaint about the show so far is West, who, six years in, still talks too much. He's a lot better than he was six years ago, but can someone tell me how the company can have Jim Cornette and not put him out there with Tenay?

- Gail plays the babyface in peril, then ODB tags in and the place goes crazy. ODB drinks from a vlask then goes off the top on Moose. This is a hell of a match. ODB poweslams Moose for the pin. *** 1/4. Best of all, no run-ins.

-Rhino predicts he'll win the TNA title. Nah.

-Tag Team Titles
LAX (with Hector Guerrero and Salinas) vs. Team 3D

- Nothing against Hector, but to me, LAX was Konnan. Babyface LAX doesn't quite have the edge. Standard back and forth tag-team stuff here. The match dies down as Salinas hits a "Wassup drop." That was all the rage back seven years ago. Homicide rolls up Brutha Ray for the win. * 1/2

- Robert Roode cuts a non-screaming promo about how he'll win the title tonight. Good promo.

-Awesome Kong v. ?????
Old-school angle here that just might work if it's given enough time. If a fan can beat her, she gives up $25,000. It's in Tennessee, where an angle similar to this went down some 25 years ago.

- Jeremy Borash actually does a terrific job of laying out the angle, making it seem like a big deal. Two women take the challenge, and Kong and her manager pick the one with mixed martial arts background -- and huge tracts of land. Serena is her name, and she's from Mississippi.

- Kong just destroys Serena and wins with an implant buster. Total squash, but that's the point. DUD. Kong wants to fight the other girl, Josie from Memphis.

-Josie actually gets some offense in, but not for long. But she ducks out of the way from a shot and Josie starts attacking. The crowd starts responding big. Old school angles can still work. Kong just beats up Josie after that and wins. *

-Eric Young comes out with Kong still in the ring. He brings out an Elvis impersonator. I said this angle would die, and the crowd just boos the crap out of it. Kong ain't impressed. Well, if they want to turn Kong face, this is a good first step.

- Elvis taunts Kong and bombs him. Not a fan, I guess.

-Christian cuts a promo about the King of the Mountain match.

-Jay Lethal So-Cal Val wedding angle. Lethal's Randy Savage impression is good, but this angle ran its course eight months ago. I think had they toned down the Savage stuff and let Lethal develop a tad more, it could have boosted him. Instead, he's become a cover wrestler.

-Minister Hank Wittman (?) performs the ceremony. Ace Young (I don't have a clue who he is) is a groomsman. So is Kimala, in a tux. Jake Roberts comes out next. He doesn't look bad, but I can't believe they'd waste an appearamce on something so trivial. Koko B. Ware is next, looking exactly like he did in 1990. Next is Jim Powers ... oh wait, no. Koko's bird looks like it wants to escape before watching the ceremony. Join the club, Frankie. George Steele is next. Sonjay Dutt is the best man. I need to watch his speech to get a few idea's for my brother's wedding next month.

-Lethal comes out. Yeah, this angle is dying. Don West selling it as a serious moment as Val comes down the aisle is either really funny or sad. Whittman looks like the late Fred Gwynne. Lethal is even dressed in the same tux Macho wore in 1991. Not the same one, but the same style. Sonjay tries to break up the wedding, but sadly, it goes as well as Matt Hardy's bid to end Lita's to Kane some years ago. Val starts crying. This may be the worst angle ever. Sonjay did take out Ace, which, makes him a face in my book. Not in my Facebook, but in my book.

-Booker cuts a promo, as we try to cleanse the pallet from that ridiculous promotion-killing thing we just watched. Booker T turns into King Booker in a promo.

- A.J vs. Kurt Angle
Angle's working with an injured neck. A.J. did a flip over the top onto Angle. These guys are sick. Just a crazy, crazy great match, as Angle seems to prefer being cofined to a wheelchair rather than give less than everything he has in a PPV match. Ending fell a tad flat, as Karen Angle came out and distracted Angle so AJ could hit the Styles Clash for the pin. **** 1/4.

-Angle grabbed a chair and decked Styles from behind, then threatened Karen with the chair. Security came in, but so did Tomko. They both beat up A.J., again.

King of the Mountain Match, TNA title
Samoa Joe (C), v. Christian Cage, v. Rhyno, v. Robert Roode, v. Booker T (w. Kevin Nash as Enforcer)

-An odd, complicated match. As far as I can figure, a pinfall makes a wrestler eligible to win the match. The man who takes the fall has to spend two minutes in the penalty box. Then a person has to hang the title above the ring to win.

-I know, I'm confused too.

- TNA does great ring entrances for this sort of thing. Booker pin Rhyno to get elible for the title. Nash has a Kenny Rogers-thing going on. Rhyno returns and takes on Christian. Roode pins Christian, Rhyno pins Roode. So Samoa Joe and Christian are not able to win yet. The crowd, probably still in awe over the absurdity of the wedding, is quiet.

-Christian does a dive on Joe and Booker from the top of the penalty box, then pins Booker. Joe finally pins Roode, then climbs and gets the belt. Effort was great, but the crowd was dead and the ending was abrupt. *** 1/2

-Show was decent, although as usual with TNA, the bad was really, really bad.



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