Detroit crowd rides highs and lows of Slammiversary
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
|Tara looks at the Beautiful People from inside the ring. Photos courtesy of Chris Schramm.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Heading into the start of the King of the Mountain match for the TNA World Title, Samoa Joe had the fans completely on his side, as he donned a Detroit Red Wings jersey and attacked Pittsburgh native Kurt Angle, who wore a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey to the ring.
By the end, however, that took a 180 degree turn. Despite battling the entire match, Joe handed the title to Angle on the ladder, presumably joining the Main Event Mafia, the same group he was out to destroy mere days earlier.
An estimated crowd of between 4,000-5,000 were loud for much of the night, especially rallying behind hometown favorites Rhino, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. Unfortunately, none of those men would end the night victorious.
In between matches, TNA offered solid interviews that seemed to help some of the live crowd get behind many of the storylines.
In a match for the pre-show, the British Invasion knocked off Rhino and Eric Young, who was eventually replaced by Jesse Neal after Young walked out on his tag team partner, drawing the ire of a crowd that was solidly in Rhino's corner.
Unfortunately, the Invasion was too much for Neal, as he took the fall relatively quickly after entering the match.
For the first time, TNA offered two King of the Mountain matches in one night, as the match for the X-Division Title set a high standard for the rest of the night.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson was the holder of the belt for the match. Tigers relief pitcher Joel Zumaya was also spotted on the floor.
Despite being ganged-up on early, Suicide, also a favorite of the crowd, retained his X-Division Title after jumping from a ladder held up by the penalty box and Jay Lethal's back and knocking Shelley off a ladder in the centre of the ring.
Daniels and Shane Douglas have the unenviable task of going on after that match and the crowd was not feeling it.
But all it took was some hardcore action to get the crowd back into it and the Monster's Ball match that saw Abyss team with Taylor Wilde to face Raven and Daffney was just what the doctor ordered.
It was a pier six brawl from the onset, as the teams battled through the crowd, hyping up those in the area. Eventually, Wilde and Daffney got near the set. Wilde got the better of it, as she brought the house down with a flying splash from the stage that put Daffney through a table.
But the ladies saved the best for last, as Wilde put Daffney into thumbtacks once they made their way back into the ring.
Judging by merchandise sales and reaction, the team many of the fans inside The Palace were there to see was Beer Money Inc., and they were not disappointed as the duo of Robert Roode and James Storm regained the TNA Tag Team Titles with a win over Team 3D.
The match was back-and-forth until the British Invasion made their way to the ring. Brother Ray got a big gasp out of the crowd by leaping onto them from the top rope.
Eventually, though, a distraction allowed Beer Money to pick up the win, much to the delight of those in attendance.
Kurt Angle is hoisted up by members of the Main Event Mafia after winning the TNA World Heavyweight title.
In the main event, Joe donning a Red Wings jersey combined with Mick Foley's introduction drew the biggest cheer of the night, as the crowd remained hot for his ensuing brawl with Angle. However, the main event did see some downtime, as much of the crowd sat on their hands for a good portion of the match outside of an occasional spot.
Despite the puzzling ending, many of the fans leaving The Palace on Sunday night seemed to be happy with the show, as there was a buzz in the arena throughout much of the show.
While it was certainly not the level of the Royal Rumble that was also held in Detroit in January (and sold out Joe Louis Arena), Slammiversary was a good enough show live that many in attendance might be seen "crossing the line" in the near future.
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Matt Bishop is SLAM! Wrestling's regular ECW reporter.