TNA Slammiversary - five star show in the Lone Star state
By BOB KAPUR - SLAM Wrestling
|TNA World champion Eric Young about to jump off the top of the cage in the main event Sunday night. Photo by Bill Otten, B&B Productions
In a perfect world, every TNA Wrestling Pay-Per-View show would be in front of the crowd that was there for tonight's Slammiversary XII. The Dallas crowd was vocal and enthusiastic throughout the show, right up to the end of the main event that saw Eric Young successfully defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Bobby Lashley and Austin Aries in a steel cage.
Young's opponents were decided earlier in the evening, as it was announced after Thursday's episode of Impact that Young's originally scheduled opponent MVP was injured. Each of Lashley and Aries had to compete in matches that would see the winners advance into the main event three-way steel cage match with Young for the title.
The story of this match was Lashley using his size and strength to dominate his smaller opponents. Realizing they were in trouble, EY and AA teamed up to drive Lashley head-first into the cage to neutralize the threat. But only temporarily, as he got up, and dart-boarded Aries into the cage before going after Young. Eric hit him with a missile dropkick, but honestly, he and Aries were like those bi-planes that were ineffectively trying to knock King Kong down off of the Empire State Building. They would get him down or dazed for a bit, but it wouldn't take long for him to recover. When he was out, his smaller opponents would fight each other to try to score a pinfall or submission win (since it was announced that escaping the cage was not a stipulation in this one). Young showed some crazy strength, stacking both Aries and Lashley on his shoulders for a Spicoli Driver - wow. But that didn't stop Lashley for long, and the giant challenger climbed up top and placed Young on top of the cage, with some evil intentions in mind. Luckily for Young, Aries scaled up and hit Lashley with a hurancarana, leaving him prone for a flying elbow from Young from off the top of the cage. With Lashley out, Aries tried for a sneak win on Young after a Brain Buster, but the champ kicked out. Then Lashley recovered and nearly got a pin on Aries but Eric broke it up. Lashley went to finish things, but Young avoided a Spear attempt, and Lashley crashed into the cage door at full speed, smashing open the door and tumbling to the outside. This left Young and Aries fighting it out, and the two exchanged big moves and pinfall attempts. The two slugged it out in the middle of the ring, with Austin getting the advantage. He tried for a Brain Buster, but Young used the cage to block it. He then got Aries up for the piledriver, nailed it, and covered Aries for the three-count, successfully retaining his championship.
Slammiversary XII - Card Results
The show started out with MVP talking with Kenny King and Bobby Lashley. King wasn't happy about MVP being out of the title match, and that he and Lashley would have to compete to try to get into the title match in his place. MVP said it wasn't his decision - that Dixie Carter had pulled some strings, and basically King had to man up and deal.
Match 1: Davey Richards vs Eddie Edwards vs Tigre Uno vs Crazzy Steve vs Manik vs Sanada (c) -- Ladder Match for the X-Division Championship
The match started off with dives from Manik and then the Wolves from the ring to the floor, and things continued to be crazy throughout. Tigre Uno hit a big corkscrew dive onto all of the guys on the floor at one point early on. Uno was the first one to feel the steel after the Wolves hit him with a combo Superkick followed by a Release German Suplex onto the ladder propped up in the corner. Steve, who the crowd was chanting for huge, paid homage to Texas' own Terry Funk with a spinning ladder sequence. There was a nice move where Manik tried to climb the ladder, but Steve pushed it over - on the way down, Manik stepped on the top rope to launch himself onto some opponents on the floor. Later, Sanada slammed Steve onto a ladder then hit a moonsault onto him. Ouch. After a double-team move on Sanada, the Wolves squared off and raced each other to the top of the ladder, where they slugged it out with elbows and headbutts. Manik took out Eddie with a powerbomb off the ladder onto a ladder bridged on the upright ladder and the ropes, but he ended up getting sent out of the ring as well. This allowed Sanada to climb up the ladder uncontested, and grab the belt to retain his championship.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Sanada
Match Rating: 9/10
Director of Wrestling Operations MVP came out with King and Lashley and announced the two qualifying matches that would determine Young's opponents: Lashley vs Samoa Joe; and King vs Aries. This followed the exact same announcement from Mike Tenay, so seemingly was done either to fill time, or explain the situation only to the live crowd. During this segment, Lashley looked like he had no idea where he was or why he was there, barely reacting to anything MVP or King said or did.
Match Two: Samoa Joe vs Bobby Lashley
Lashley attacked just as the bell rang, but Joe was able to counter the attack, knocking down the big man with some Samoan chops and a series of strikes. Lashley took a breather on the outside but Joe dove through the ropes to crash onto Bobby hard. On the floor, though, some dirty tactics by Lashley got him an advantage, which he pressed in the ring with a nice spinning neckbreaker, and some crossface strikes. On commentary, Taz just compared Bobby Lashley to the Dynamite Kid, and that just seems wrong on so many levels. Joe mustered up the strength to fight back and dropped Lashley with some kicks, and his patented catch-drop uranage. Joe was thrown into the corner and stopped himself before he squashed referee Earl Hebner - but the momentary distraction left him prone to a Spear by Lashley which took him down for the pin.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Match Rating: 7/10
Jeremy Borash was in the Carter Family party suite, where Dixie and family and friends were celebrating TNA's anniversary. Dixie confirmed to JB that she'd had some major meetings while in her hometown of Dallas this week, but said the details wouldn't be divulged until later. She warned MVP that something bad was about to happen.
Match 3: Magnus w/ Bram vs Willow w/ Abyss
Magnus used his strength and new aggressive attitude to take Willow down early and punish him with some high-impact moves, then clamped on a headlock for an extended period. Willow was able to persevere, though, and soon his high-speed offense gained him the control, hitting a number of his patented Hardy moves. A Swanton attempted backfired, though, as Magnus moved. Bram tried to assist his buddy, but was stopped by Abyss in violent fashion. Magnus came to his friend's aid, though, and they double-teamed Abyss on the floor. In the meantime, Willow recovered and hit a flying blind backwards dive onto both men from the top turnbuckle, crashing his head hard on the floor in the process - looked really good, but dangerous. Still, he was able to bounce back, and when the action got back into the ring, Willow was firmly in control. Outside, Bram threatened Abyss with a weapon, who won that contest when he brought out Janice (his nail-spiked 2X4). While this was going on, Magnus was able to counter a Willow top rope move and hit his Magnus Slam for the pin.
Match Rating: 7/10
JB introduced Kurt Angle to announce the next inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. Kurt came out to a Texas-sized ovation, including a "U.S.A." chant. After some brief comments about the significance of the honour of being inducted, he announced this year's inductees - one of, if not the greatest teams of all time, Team 3-D. Bubba/Bully and Devon come to the ring to a huge response and an extended "We want tables!" chant that the Texas crowd seemingly could have repeated all night with no lack of enthusiasm. A "3D" chant followed, and the team looked sincerely grateful. The brothers embraced, reuniting after several months since Devon's departure from the company. Bully accepted the induction and said they were doing so in honour of their fans. Devon said he had vowed to never return to TNA, but when he got the call about the induction, he agreed to do it so that he and Bully could go out together on top. Testify!
A vignette aired to hype TNA's upcoming TV tapings from New York City.
Backstage, Ethan Carter 3 said that he's beaten the other inductees, Sting and Kurt Angle, and that when he beats Bully tonight, he will become the Hardcore American Icon.
Match 4: Austin Aries vs Kenny King
Aries tried for an early Brain Buster attempt, but King escaped. He couldn't avoid a flying dive, though, and Aries took the early advantage. But King was able to crotch Aries on a top rope move attempt, and hurt A-Double. Outside, King punished Aries, using the ring steps as a weapon, and whipping Aries so hard into the ringside barrier, that it fell over into the laps of the fans in attendance. After some more offense from King, Aries was able to fire up and break loose, and soon he was in control, including landing a sweet missile dropkick for a pinfall attempt. Some nice back-and-forth action, with both men landing some of their trademark moves. Up top, King went for a top rope somersault slam, but Aries escaped, and hit a Brain Buster off the top to get the pin and a ticket to the championship bout.
Winner: Austin Aries
Match Rating: 7/10
A few of the Dallas Cowboys in attendance were introduced. I'd have preferred if they'd introduced some Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
JB introduced Ross, Marshall, and Kevin Von Erich, from the legendary Von Erich family. After some short words from Kevin, out came DJ Zema and Jesse of BroMans, who dissed Texas, dissed the Von Erichs, and challenged the brothers to a match.
Match 5: BroMans vs Marshall and Ross Von Erich
Marshall started off strong, using his strength to counter DJZ's speed and craftiness. But the BroMans cheated to gain an advantage over the brothers who, it was announced, were making their national TV debut. BroMans punished Ross for some time, but he was eventually able to get the hot tag to Marshall who cleaned house. As he went for the pin on Jesse, DJZ came in and clocked him with a chair, getting his team disqualified. DJZ tried to assault the brothers some more, but Kevin Von Erich ran in and took out both BroMans members, even locking on the Von Erich Claw onto DJZ. He and his sons celebrated while the Dallas crowd went nuts for the trip down nostalgia lane.
Winners: The Von Erichs
Match Rating: 6/10
JB interviewed the Beautiful People backstage. Knockouts Champion Angelina Love said she was ready for Gail Kim tonight, while Velvet, sporting a new arm tattoo, addresed JB's questioning of her presence at ringside, noting they are known as the Beautiful People, so of course she would be there to support Love.
Match 6: Gail Kim vs Angelina Love (c) w/ Velvet Sky -- Knockouts Championship Match
Gail tried for some innovative moves early, but got caught and whipped down from the top rope to the mat. Love then took over, battering Gail with several vicious moves. The action spilled to the floor, and even with Velvet trying to interfere, Kim was able to take control. That lasted until the action got back into the ring. There, Sky's interference - hairspraying Gail's eyes - nearly helped Love retain, but Kim was able to kick out of a pin attempt. Senior official Earl Hebner came to the ring, then, chastised referee Brian Stifler for blatantly ignoring Sky's interference, and took over the officiating, with his first move being throwing Sky out from ringside and ordering her to the back. Later in the match, Hebner was knocked out, so Stifler came back into the ring. He failed - deliberately? to notice when Gail was pinning Love, but after Love reversed it, he was quick to come in and count the pin. Mike Tenay and Taz questioned whether Stifler was a dirty ref, or simply enamoured with the BPs that he didn't notice their shenanigans.
Winner and still Knockouts Champion: Angelina Love
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, Devon wished Bully Ray luck in his match, but said he had to go back to the hotel to celebrate Fathers' Day with his sons. Bully then told the backstage interviewer that he would soon stand over EC3's dead body after their Texas Death Match. Great promo, wherein Bully referenced a number of Texas wrestling legends: the Von Erichs, the Freebirds, Stan Hansen, and Terry Funk.
Match 7: Ethan Carter III vs Bully Ray - Texas Death Match
The two started off fast, with Bully Ray using a Texas bullrope to toss EC3 around at will. Bully then set up a couple of them between the ring and the announce table, and another one into the ring. As he did, EC3 was able to recover and waffled Bully from behind, and then smashed him a few times with a chair. Bully chaired EC3, then pulled out a cheese grater and scraped EC3's chest. Before he could really go to town on EC3's face, EC3 used a low blow to get out of trouble. He then used the chair on a prone Bully, but Bully was able to answer the 10-count. Bully crotched EC3 on the top, then hit a superplex. Bully then cut up the ring, allowing him to take off the apron and ring mat and expose the 2X4s in the ring floor. He was going to powerbomb EC3 on the bare boards, but Rockstar Spud came in to save EC3. EC3 hit a facebuster on Bully onto the boards, but Bully stood up before the 10-count. EC3 then got a garbage can that Bully had found earlier, and spilled its contents - shards of broken glass - in the ring. He was going to put Bully into the glass, but Bully caught him and hit a Bubba Cutter, sending EC3's chest and face into the glass. EC3 tried to escape to the floor, but Bully caught him, cracked him with a Singapore cane, and laid EC3 out on the table. Before he could splash EC3 through the table, Dixie Carter ran to the ring. Bully chased her with evil intent and was stalking her, when EC3 jumped up off the table and inadvertently ran into her, knocking her out. Bully took her unconscious body and lay it on the table, ready to splash her through them. But then EC3 nailed him from behind with the cane, knocking Bully out. Spud moved Dixie off the tables just as Bully fell off the apron and through them. He hit hard and was knocked out, therefore couldn't answer the 10-count.
Winner: Ethan Carter III
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 8: Mr. Anderson vs "Cowboy" James Storm
They brawled around the ring before the bell had even rang. Storm attacked Anderson's leg, clipping him and following that up with a Figure Four to add more punishment. Storm tried for a top rope move, but Anderson reversed it and hit a Lambeau Leap off the top. But he was in too much pain to capitalize, and got hit with a Last Call Superkick. Then, Storm decided to trash talk the Dallas Cowboys sitting ringside. He spit-sprayed beer onto them, sending them into a frenzy, attacking the wrestler to the point that Atlas Security had to come in to hold them back. In the ruckus, one of them got close enough to the ring to distract Storm, allowing Anderson to put him away with the Mic Check.
Winner: Mr. Anderson... Anderson
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Eric Young said he was crazy enough to beat both Austin Aries and Bobby Lashley in the cage to retain his TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Match 9: Austin Aries vs Bobby Lashley vs Eric Young (c) -- Steel Cage Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Winner and still TNA Heavyweight Champion: Eric Young
Match Rating: 8/10
Overall Show Rating: 8/10
Bob Kapur wants to wish all fathers out there a very Happy Fathers' Day. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.