The Crow's Nest - Post Slammiversary Thoughts
Jun 11, 2012 - 10:55:48 PM
1) Slammiversary Thoughts and Predictions (10/06/12)
2) Post-Slammiversary Thoughts (11/06/12)
Before I start my column today, I wanted to share this gif with you fine people.
Adorable right? One of the highlights of RAW for me personally, and judging by the amount of pro-AJ activity on Twitter tonight, I see I'm not alone in that.
But back to business.
Last night, TNA celebrated 10 years in business with their annual Slammiversary PPV. On paper, it looked as if it was going to be a solid event. There was a throwaway match (Kid Kash vs. Hernandez) to fill some time and give the fans a break. There were high energy matches like Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe and AJ Styles & Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian to get the crowd pumped up. There was a Knockouts match to give the men something to stare at. And of course, there was the main event of Bobby Roode vs. Sting to give the fans a payoff. Everything looked like it was going to line up perfectly. But did Slammiversary deliver?
In a word, no. As much as I enjoyed most of the matches that were put on, Slammiversary did not deliver as much as it should have. To me, that felt more like a 3 hour episode of iMPACT than it did a PPV, which is sad considering this was supposed to be TNA's biggest event of all time.
But I'm going to take a page out of my fellow Main Page columnist mizfan's book and look at both some positives and some negatives about the show last night. I'm not going to do a full report of the show, but there were some "goods and bads" from last night that I wanted to address. So with that being said, let's move on.
POSITIVE #1: Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe
If you remember from my predictions column, this was the match I predicted would be "Match of the Night". Up until the second last match of the night, this was absolutely true. There's always a lot of pressure on the wrestlers who are in the first match of a major PPV card because that match can set the tone for the rest of the show (see Bryan/Sheamus from WM28). Not surprisingly, Joe and Aries both rose to the challenge.
Aries has now held the X-Division Championship for 274 days, the longest reign in the title's history (Daniels previously had the record at 182 days). While the X-Division is still far from its former glory, Aries has single-handedly made a lot of people care about that belt again, and when someone finally does take it from him, they are going to get the rub of a lifetime. TNA needs to book the next X-Division title switch very carefully, because if done right, and thanks mostly to Aries' work as champion, the X-Division could very well be great again.
But more importantly than that, I truly believe that this match is the match that will propel Aries into a much deserved main event spot. He's been ready for a long time, but now more than ever it appears the fans are on his side. Later in the night he cut a promo saying he was on his way to the main event, and I can't help but agree. At this point, the title needs to come off Aries so he can grow. It's going to take one hell of a wrestler to fill the gap Aries will leave when he does move on from the X-Division, but luckily TNA has another veteran in Samoa Joe that proved he is more than up to that task.
NEGATIVE #1: Crimson's Streak
If you've been reading my columns long enough, I'm sure you've seen me bitch about Crimson on more than one occasion. In the time that he's been in TNA, he has not grown as a wrestler. He still can't wrestle at the level he should be able to, he still can't cut a promo, and he still hasn't connected with the fans in a really meaningful way as either a face or heel. Crimson is almost as green as the day he debuted. Crimson is functionally useless.
That being said, TNA put a lot of time into attempting to develop Crimson into an unstoppable monster, letting him gain a 470 day undefeated streak. He beat a lot of big names during that time (Samoa Joe, Abyss, Bully Ray, RVD, Matt Morgan and Bobby Roode just to name a few). While Crimson was far from the most talented wrestler on the roster, his streak got so big that that almost didn't matter. I thought that when it finally came time to end the streak, TNA would do the smart thing and book Crimson in a feud with someone who could use a push (Matt Morgan was my top pick) so that at least that time wasn't a complete waste. What did we get as the payoff to Crimson's massive buildup? A 2 minute squash match, entirely unadvertised, with the victory going to a guy who both didn't need it and didn't really have a storyline reason to show up and accept the challenge.
TNA screwed up in a major way last night. They had a chance to give a deserving wrestler a massive rub by having them hand Crimson his first loss, and instead we got that. Crimson deserved better, James Storm deserved better, and the fans sure as hell deserved better. This is exactly the kind of short-term booking that TNA is infamous for, and it's decisions like that that keep people from tuning in on a regular basis.
POSITIVE #2: Hernandez
I'll give you all a second to re-read that. Yes, Big Mex is being listed as a positive.
Very simply, Hernandez looked better last night than he has in a long time. Usually when I watch a Hernandez match I fear for the life of whoever his opponent is because Big Mex doesn't appear to have much control over his strength. Last night though, he brought his "A" game. His power moves were there, but more impressively he seemed to be utilizing a touch of aerial style as well. He got the big win, and I couldn't help but applaud the man.
Apparently TNA is going to try once again to build Hernandez up as a big name on their roster. I hesitate to be positive about this, because we've all seen the multiple failed attempts at pushing him before, but if he can continue to perform like he did last night, Hernandez could be a great addition to TNA's mid card. For the first time in a long time, I'm curious about what's next for him, and I think that speaks loads about how impressive he was.
NEGATIVE #2: Match Length
I mentioned earlier that Slammiversary felt more like a 3-hour iMPACT than it did a PPV, and one of the main reasons I feel that way is due to how short the matches were. Only 4 of the 9 matches on the card made it over the 10 minute mark, and the longest of them (the Tag Team Championship match) was only 14:20 total. The main event World Championship match? Didn't even hit 12 minutes.
I get that not every match can be 20 minutes of awesomeness, I really do understand that. There has to be one or two shorter matches, especially on such a full card. But when you have 3 "main event" matches advertised and NONE of them break the 15 minute mark, that's a problem.
It all comes down to time management. I fully expected a few video packages last night. It was a celebration of TNA's 10th anniversary, and I actually looked forward to seeing some clips from the past. But did we really need 3 separate Sting video packages, not even including the usual pre-match one? On top of that, did we really need Sting to draw the "Hall of Fame" segment out as long as it did (more on that in a moment)?
There is more than enough time in a 3 hour show to go around, even with 9 matches on the card. TNA just needs to figure out their time management a little better. Perhaps more than anything else, the short matches kept the show from reaching its potential last night.
POSITIVE #3: Tag Team Wrestling Steals the Show
I mentioned earlier that Aries/Joe was the "Match of the Night" right up until near the end, and it was this match that ended up stealing that honour. AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Kazarian and Daniels stole the whole show in what ended up being the longest match on the card.
Going into the match, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it would more than likely end up being entertaining, considering the calibre of names involved, but something was keeping me from being 100% positive about it. That all changed as soon as the opening bell was rung. This match had me on the edge of my seat right up until the very end, and even though my prediction ended up being very wrong, I couldn't care less.
I feel that special mention needs to go to Kurt Angle for his performance though. At 43 years old, Kurt Angle is in amazing shape and is still better than 90% of the wrestlers in the industry today. I always expect greatness from Kurt Angle, and last night he lived up to every one of those expectations. More importantly though, he didn't hog the spotlight. This storyline is all about AJ Styles, and Angle is smart enough to know this. So while Angle was great in the ring, his greatness truly shows by how he let Styles control things. Yes, Angle got the win by making Kaz tap out, but AJ got his revenge on the two men who have been tormenting him lately. Kurt Angle gets my pick for "Wrestler of the Night", and I can't think of a thing wrong with that.
NEGATIVE #3: The TNA "Hall of Fame"
When I heard that TNA was starting their own Hall of Fame, I thought it had to be a joke. Even I, as the self proclaimed "biggest TNA fan around these parts", thought it was a bad idea. TNA has had some great superstars come through its roster, but did it really need a Hall of Fame? What is the point? Are they going to build an actual hall for it? No? *smh*
As if that wasn't bad enough, a sizeable chunk of time was wasted last night inducting ONE person: Sting. This segment was considerably longer than any WWE Hall of Fame segment at Wrestlemania, and they induct a whole CLASS of people at those things. It was later reported that TNA will be doing a full induction ceremony with more names added in October at Bound For Glory, making this whole thing even more pointless and ridiculous.
For those of you who may not know, Bound For Glory is to TNA what Wrestlemania is to WWE. It's their big event of the year, the event where they try to pull out all the stops and put on a blockbuster card. It seems fitting that they would hold a Hall of Fame ceremony at that event, because we'll likely see some big names of TNA past returning. Why then, over 4 months before the official Hall of Fame induction ceremony, did TNA feel it was necessary to induct somebody? Could they not have just waited a couple months and, you know, buildup to the big day? Is that too much to ask?
As if that wasn't all bad enough, it gets worse. I'll be the first to admit that Sting has done some good things for TNA. As old as he is, he can still deliver in the ring, and he was a huge acquisition for the company. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as much as anybody. But you know who deserves the first induction more than anybody? I'll give you a second to think about it.
How about Jeff Jarrett? He's every bit the wrestler that Sting is, and he's also done some great things for TNA. Namely, HE FOUNDED THE WHOLE DAMN COMPANY. That's right folks, according to TNA logic, Sting deserves the inaugural induction more than the guy who created TNA. Sting's contributions to TNA might be great, but without Jarrett there would be no company for Sting to contribute to.
So not only did this whole bit steal far too much time on the PPV last night, TNA defied all logic by not paying its creator his dues. Decisions like that make it very hard for me to stand up for TNA sometimes…
So there you have it, a few things I liked about Slammiversary and a few things I didn't. Overall I still feel the show wasn't awful. The matches were, for the most part, pretty good. The problem was, like I said earlier, it just didn't feel like a big time PPV. On top of that, TNA made a few massive errors that heavily affected the show's overall rating.
Next month, TNA will air Destination X. Around this time last year, TNA appeared to be putting more time and effort into their failing X-Division, but those efforts seemed to dry up pretty quickly after the PPV. With the X-Division in such a potentially strong position now with Aries as champion, I really hope this year is different. TNA needs to bring it back to the glory it once had, because it truly was what used to make TNA a great wrestling alternative. Once again, TNA is loaded with potential, they just need to figure out how to properly use it.
Until next time folks, thanks for reading, and feel free to drop me a line through one of the methods below. Feedback has been great lately and I do my best to reply to everybody, so if you want to further discuss anything with yours truly, you know how to reach me. Adios.
Get In Touch With Me
Feedback Thread: Here
Tonight, TNA celebrates 10 years in business with their 8th annual Slammiversary PPV. As seems to be the case with TNA PPVs these days, it looks like a solid card on paper, fitting for such a milestone show. On top of that, TNA will be inducting the first member of their new "Hall of Fame" tonight.
So for today's column, I'll be taking a break from my "Fixing TNA For Dummies" series and taking a look at what could be happening tomorrow. I see no point in delaying it any further, so let's take a look at the event shall we?
TNA Hall of Fame Induction
The pick here seems pretty obvious considering who the company is advertising as their special guest of the night. Apparently part of the deal that TNA struck with WWE to allow them to have Ric Flair for their Hall of Fame night was to have Christian appear at Slammiversary. Christian had a great run in TNA before returning to WWE, and he was the first huge name to jump ship. As a mega-acquisition for TNA, and considering they went to all the trouble to fly Christian in for the PPV, it really seems as though this is the only logical pick for their first inductee.
I doubt he'll be appearing on any future TNA programming, unless he re-signs with the company at some point, so this will more than likely be a one-time thing. Christian did a lot for the company during his run there, and he really deserves this. Whether or not you agree with TNA having a Hall of Fame (I don't, but that's a topic for a different column), if TNA is going to do this, they need to do it right. There aren't many more logical picks for the first inductee than the former Christian Cage, so that is the pick I'm going with.
I have no idea what this match is doing on the card. Neither man has done anything of note on iMPACT for some time now, and frankly it's a surprise either of them are still employed right now. The one thing this match has going for it is that it promises to be hard-hitting and violent since both men work quite a rough style. Of course there's a significant size difference between Kash and Hernandez, but I'm sure Kash's speed will make up for that.
Because there hasn't really been much buildup to this encounter, there's no real storyline reason for either man to take the win, and there's also no reason that a loss would hurt either of them. I still don't think Hernandez will remain employed with TNA much longer, and that is the only thing that makes this pick slightly easier for me. Kash may not be doing much right now, but at least he's shown that he can still deliver in the ring when he is called upon.
Prediction: Kid Kash wins
Yup, Garett Bischoff is wrestling on another PPV. Apparently my wishes of serious bodily harm to come to that guy haven't done any good. Even worse, he's teaming with the current TNA Television Champion, which to me says that their relationship is going to end up with Garett getting a shot at the belt. Garett doesn't belong in a wrestling ring, much less anywhere close to a wrestling championship.
As for this match, I don't see any way that Devon and Garett lose. Team Robbie might have some entertainment value, but it's pretty clear that TNA isn't going to do anything serious with them. They seem to think Devon is capable of giving the TV Championship some credibility, and then of course there's Garett "The Second Coming of Christ" Bischoff, who they seem insistent on pushing to the moon. This match isn't going to be a technical masterpiece. It's not likely it's even going to be that entertaining. It's barely a step above a filler match. The winner is obvious, and I can only hope this match goes on early in the night.
Prediction: Devon and Garett Bischoff win
Before tonight, I figured there was only one logical pick for Crimson's open challenge. Now I figure there are at least 3, though I still figure my original pick makes the most sense.
Joey Ryan might be a bit of a long shot pick, especially since as far as I know he has still yet to sign with TNA officially, but if the reports are true, they want him. In what little I've seen of him so far, he appears to be a very talented wrestler that could definitely add something to the product overall. Being that his character is based on cockiness and overconfidence, debuting against the undefeated Crimson would seem to be something he would do, saying that he's capable of doing what no one else could do. Again, Ryan might be a long shot pick, but I wouldn't mind seeing it happen.
Pick #2 is Chris Masters. Masters recently wrestled a dark match for TNA, and I for one am surprised it took him this long to do that. Granted he is a member of the Ring Ka King roster, which at least has him associated with TNA, but I thought they would have brought him to iMPACT ages ago. Masters' latest run with WWE saw him improve greatly, though that unfortunately did not translate into any kind of real push for the guy. At this point, WWE's loss could very well be TNA's gain as Masters is a superstar in waiting. If TNA is looking for a new and fresh challenger for Crimson, Masters is a great pick. Have him answer the challenge, dominate the match, only to have Crimson cheat to win. Crimson needs something fresh, and Masters could be the answer.
But my final pick, and the one I think is most likely to actually happen, is Matt Morgan. His feud with Crimson is well-documented, and considering Morgan has conspicuously been left off such a monumental event, this pick seems to make sense. He's been announced on TNA live event cards for June 14 and 16 where he will face Crimson at both events. So with rumours that Morgan may be returning to WWE after his contract with TNA comes up, and with TNA's continued insistence on pushing the useless ginger, Morgan seems to be the most logical pick to answer the open challenge. If it turns out to be anyone other than him, I will be very surprised.
Regardless of who answers the open challenge, I don't see the streak ending just yet. MAYBE if Morgan answers the challenge and has renewed his contract, but even then there's a very slim chance. When Crimson's streak does finally come to an end, it should be as the payoff of a feud that's been given time to build. Regardless of your feelings on Crimson, TNA has put a lot of time and money into building his streak to where it is now, and that can't just be thrown away.
Prediction: Crimson wins
Miss Tessmacher seems to have strange luck when it comes to her booking. She seems to get pushed towards the top quickly, but just as quickly she is taken off TV for weeks at a time. When her and Tara were teaming together, it looked like the two of them were destined to feud at the top of the Knockouts Division, but that just seemed to go away.
Gail Kim on the other hand has been booked like a champ since she returned to the company. A lot of people seem to hate on her, but I for one am pleased with what she's done so far. She's a serious champion and has had a solid run with the belt so far, and when someone does finally beat her for it they're going to look good doing it.
That's not going to happen tonight though. As much as I like Tessmacher, she's basically a pawn in this match so Kim can establish a feud with Brooke Hogan. With Brooke being brought in to lead the Knockouts Division, she needs a villain to feud with, not the squeaky-clean Miss Tessmacher. Gail Kim isn't going to lose the belt until at least the next PPV. I imagine some kind of shenanigans will go down in this match, likely involving another Knockout or Brooke Hogan herself, but the result will be the same.
Prediction: Gail Kim retains
The one thing this match is going to accomplish is the official return of Abyss to TNA TV. The Joseph Park character has peaked, and there's really nothing else for him to do on iMPACT. As much as I dislike Abyss, at this point he's better for TV than his "brother". Bully Ray has been his usual great heel self during this feud, but without a new development (the "return" of Abyss), this feud is dead in the water.
I figure it will go down like this. Bully Ray is going to dominate the match, beating the holy hell out of Joseph Park. He's going to get cocky, play to the fans, and Park is going to pull the Abyss mask out of his suit. He'll put it on, Bully Ray will turn around, and Abyss will nail the Black Hole Slam for the win. The crowd pops, Abyss celebrates in the ring, and Bully Ray backs up the ramp looking like he's seen a ghost. The feud can then carry on to the next PPV where they'll likely have a match with some kind of hardcore stipulation.
That's just about the only way I can see this match being logical. It's even more obvious now that Joseph Park is actually Abyss, and he's starting to get stale. This is the payoff match to the Park/Ray feud, and the beginning of a renewed Ray/Abyss feud. I'm not a fan of Abyss, but at least his violent style will complement Bully Ray's. It's time for "The Monster" to return to TV, and this is the best way for it to happen.
Prediction: Joseph Park wins
This match is my advance pick for "Match of the Night". To think it all started with Aries accidentally spraying Joe with water…
Joe is a 4-time X-Division Champion, and it's no secret that he can deliver in a big way in the ring, especially against an opponent as talented as Aries. I'm hoping this feud goes beyond tonight, because it really has the potential to be the kind of feud that the X-Division has been missing. Two guys at the top of their game, fighting over a belt that used to actually mean something.
Aries is the longest reigning champion in the belt's history, and as good as he's been during his reign, he needs a real challenger that he can build a long feud with. Right now, Joe seems to be the best pick for that spot. Not only can he go toe-to-toe with Aries in the ring, he's a veteran name that can help build interest in the division again. Both men are great at what they do, and while this match may not be for the title, it's certainly setting the stage for that encounter down the road.
As for who's going to win tonight, that's a little trickier to say. I figure it depends on whether or not TNA plans to continue this feud further than one night. If not, then Aries is definitely taking the win. He's a champion, and he could use a win over a guy like Joe. However, if they DO plan on having these two guys feud past tonight, I figure it could go either way. Either Aries wins and Joe gets pissy and demands a rematch, or Joe wins and Aries wants a rematch, but Joe pushes for the title to be on the line.
Looking at my predicted outcomes, I've got to play the odds here, and that means picking A-Double for the win. That being said, this feud should not be ending tonight. There's money there, and TNA needs to recognize that.
Prediction: Austin Aries wins
The titles being on the line here is a bit perplexing to me. AJ and Angle aren't an established tag team, and while it might make sense for them to team against Kazarian and Daniels in a non-title environment, the belts being up for grabs just make this pick too easy for me.
Kaz and Daniels are, at this point, an established tag team. While they wouldn't be my first pick to hold the belts, they're a better pick than a random teaming of superstars. As good as Styles and Angle are, they're not winning the belts tonight. This feud is all about Styles, and it still has some life left in the tank. Styles can't get a big win just yet.
Keeping this short and sweet, the champs are retaining tonight. The feud will continue, and AJ Styles will get his win down the road, tonight's just not his night.
Prediction: Kazarian and Daniels retain
This match is probably the hardest one of the night to call. I figure there's an argument to be made for each guy to become the new #1 Contender to Roode's title, so why not organize this section like that?
Mr. Anderson… What can I say about the King of the Assholes? Like I said in a recent column, Anderson is only ever at his best when he is pursuing the World Championship. When he's not chasing it, or when he already has it, Anderson has demonstrated that he just gets complacent and boring. I've tried to stick up for Anderson in the past because I saw a lot of potential. Through all of his subpar wrestling, I tried to say he just needed the right push. Now, I'm off that wagon. Anderson is never going to be a staple of the main event scene. His time has passed. He could be a great upper-midcard talent for TNA, but a World Champion he is not. That being said, now that he's flip-flopped back to being a more face-like character that's somewhat over with the crowds, he would be a solid challenger for Roode. At least he'd be a placeholder until James Storm returns to feud with Roode again.
RVD has a pretty sweet deal with TNA right now. He makes good money, and barely has to appear on TNA programming to earn the cheque. On top of that, TNA usually puts him over his opponents to keep him happy. I figure RVD has a great chance of taking the win here, and while I doubt he would end up taking the belt from Roode, his veteran status provides Roode with quite the rub. However, much like I said for Anderson, I figure if RVD wins he'll just be a placeholder for James Storm.
Last but not least, and my prediction for who will win this match, we have Jeff Hardy. Love him or hate him, Hardy is CRAZY over with the crowd and is one of the biggest names TNA has on their roster. Since returning from his well-documented drug and legal issues, TNA has seemed hesitant to push Hardy back to the top. They've flirted with the idea, but never quite pulled the trigger. Tonight, on TNA's 10th anniversary, I figure the time is right to reward Hardy with a big win. I still think he'll just be a placeholder for Storm, but Hardy would provide the most entertaining feud with Roode out of the three men in this match. Hardy is crazy over with the fans, and Roode has mega heat. Their feud could be great, and it all starts tonight.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy wins
Get ready folks, this is going to be a short one.
There is no chance in hell that Sting is taking the belt tonight. Roode is on far too much of a hot streak right now, and if they take the belt off of him and give it to Sting, I vow to take a break from TNA programming. It would be a stupid decision, and as good as Sting still is, Roode deserves the win. I'd rather see him get it clean, but if he has to cheat to retain, at least he'll get some heat doing it.
Prediction: Roode retains
So there you have it, my predictions for tonight's PPV. I'm feeling pretty confident about my picks, but of course I love debating wrestling with other people. So feel free to send me your thoughts/opinions through one of the options below. I'll likely be on Skype later watching the PPV, so feel free to pop on and join the discussion.
The "Fixing TNA For Dummies" series will resume in a few days, so keep your eyes peeled for that. But until next time, thanks for stopping by.
Get In Touch With Me
Feedback Thread: Here