The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #6

IGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up

WWE started building to Payback, and seems to know exactly where they’re going. Ring of Honor has plans for Best in the World, but they seem to be a up in the air. As for TNA, they had Slammiversary on Sunday. Did they manage to build it well on the final Impact? And how did the pay-per-view go, anyway? With questions like this, you know what you’re about to read.

iGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up1

The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up is not a typical news report. It does not discuss anything  that occurs outside of the context of the television shows. It is solely about the product that the company displays on our television screens (although they may be available on computer screens), specifically the stories that they present to the fans.

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WWE Championship: John Cena came out to kick off RAW because he’s well-known for his support of the military. He summarized the outcome of the title match at Extreme Rules, as well as the rivalry between the two men involved in said match. Eventually, he got around to saying that the title match at Payback would be Three Stages of Hell – Lumberjack, Tables, and Ambulance. Ryback came out after that and said he agreed that payback should be Hell. He called himself Beelzebub, Lucifer, and Satan before walking off. Paul Heyman came out immediately after Ryback and Cena’s show opening to introduce Curtis Axel, building him up as the guy that sent Triple H packing. He challenged Cena to a match, but Cena told Axel to stay away from Heyman. Axel told Cena he asked if he was looking for a fight, and Cena eventually agreed. Shawn Michaels was apparently in the building just because he happened to be in town, and was trying to talk Cena out of rushing back just to face Ryback, but Cena basically called HBK a hypocrite for giving his advice. Meanwhile, Bret Hart talked to Axel, bringing up his past with Curt Hennig. Bret Hart told Axel to get rid of Heyman, but Axel said that Heyman was the only one who believed in him. In the match, they actually had Axel play the sneaky heel, even being willing to take the count-out victory. Eventually, Axel pulled out all the stops, but Cena still kicked out of the Perfect Plex. However, Ryback sent out an ambulance, causing Cena to lose via count-out. Ryback then ambushed him, dominated him outside of the ring, and walked off just before Curtis Axel was announced as the winner of the match. Axel celebrated at the end of the show. On SmackDown, Ryback took on Kofi Kingston, and while it was somewhat competitive, it was still mostly Ryback showcasing his power. After the match, he planted Kofi through three tables, with fans chanting, “One more time!” after the first table slam.

My Thoughts: Cena manages to get the Canadian fans to screw up the rhythm for the, “We want tables!” chant, proving he is in fact bigger than Brother Ray. That, and he has no idea how chants work. Meanwhile, Canada called Ryback boring; I found his speech to be a little predictable. It was a better than Axel on the mic, though. The Shawn Michaels appearance was all kinds of random, and added pretty much nothing to this story. Bret Hart, however, was definitely a good addition with his conversation with Curtis Axel. When Cena came out for his match, wearing his “The Champ is here,” t-shirt, he actually said, “It’s on the shirt!” which was all kinds of lazy and stupid. As for the match with Axel, it was actually decent, except for the part where Cena, as usual, didn’t act like anything that Axel did actually hurt him, although that’s par for the course for Cena, so it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Still, at some point, somebody really needs to call out Cena for being selfish in the ring. As for SmackDown, the fact that they had to use a recent champion as a jobber and victim shows just how limited the WWE apparently feels in their options. Also, Ryback is not really playing the villain well, since he really should have stopped after one table, as the fans almost wanted to see the multiple table breaks.

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio once again took on Big E Langston in singles competition, and the two had an incredibly athletic competition. AJ tried to give Langston the win by removing the top turnbuckle cover, but it backfired, with Langston getting planted face-first in to the exposed steel to give Del Rio the win. AJ was livid, while Langston was very displeased. They had another match on SmackDown, and this time, AJ was actually a help to Langston, blinding Alberto just before Big E got the pin fall victory. AJ tried to get some props from Langston, but Big E kind of shrugged her off. In both matches, Langston actually managed to fight his way out of the Cross Arm Breaker.
My Thoughts: I don’t know why, but I kind of think that this is going to evolve in to a three-way match for the title at Payback. Big E continuously facing off – and sometimes defeating – the Number One Contender has got to be worth something. Sure, he’s Ziggler’s backup, but with the power he’s been showing, and the way that they’re showcasing him, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before the Big Gold Belt calls out to him.

United States Championship: Dean Ambrose took on Kofi Kingston in a true rematch instead of the non-match that fans got on SmackDown. Both men looked quite skilled, albeit Ambrose wrestled fairly dirty compared to Kingston. Ambrose picked up the win after tripping Kofi face-first into the stairs off the apron, and then hitting the head lock STO for the victory. Meanwhile, on SmackDown, Dean Ambrose was in a match against Randy Orton. While it appeared that Orton was in fact going to score a victory over the champion, the Shield came out and interfered. Orton didn’t really do much after that, but Ambrose was sent packing when Kane and Daniel Bryan came out.
My Thoughts: If Randy Orton is actually going to be taking on Dean Ambrose for the United States championship, the rivalry will definitely make things interesting. More to the point, it really will become a question of who WWE thinks has more name value holding the belt. Whichever direction they choose, if they really are going with Orton versus Ambrose, the fans are going to wind up seeing a fairly strong champion holding the United States title.

Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan was pacing back and forth in the locker room. Kane interrupted him and told him that Bryan wasn’t the weak link. Bryan countered the argument with a few things, which led to a big argument. Eventually, Bret Hart showed up and told Bryan the exact same thing Kane had told him. Bryan appreciated the advice, and when Kane asked why he listened to Hart and not him, Bryan said that Hart was “the best there is … was … and ever will be”, and Kane was just … Kane. Following Ambrose’s defense of the United States title, Team Hell No came out to take on Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the belts. It was a fight between two well-oiled machines, each getting in some great offense, though the main story was Daniel Bryan trying to prove that he isn’t the weak link, continually looking impressive throughout the match. However, Bryan’s wild streak cost his team the match after Kane tried to contain him, and got distracted just long enough to eat the loss. Kane and Rollins had a one-on-one match to open SmackDown, and the match was fairly decent. Eventually, Roman Reigns’ interference backfired, as the official’s back was turned while Daniel Bryan shoved Seth Rollins off of the top rope to give Kane the win, and the Tag Team champions were not happy. Of course, Reigns and Bryan had a match immediately afterward. However, Reigns basically poked a bear by slapping Kane in the face, which caused Kane to punch Reigns, causing the DQ. Bryan was definitely not happy with that. Meanwhile, in a match between Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns interrupted to cause the DQ, but Bryan and Kane came out to make the save. Bryan was a house on fire – a one-man wrecking crew, according to Michael Cole.
My Thoughts: WWE Creative has to be crazy to give such an awesome tag match away on television instead of pay-per-view. I wish every match on RAW was that entertaining, drama-filled, and imbued with personal intrigue and foibles. If only the other tag teams on the roster had rivalries or were allowed to have matches like that, the division might actually be thriving. Unfortunately for the division, but (mostly) fortunately for the fans, it’s just a great rivalry between Team Hell No and The Shield. Apparently, they’re also going to split up Team Hell No – or they’re going to reconcile their differences (again) and come out stronger for it. Personally, I prefer Kane on a team with Daniel Bryan, so I hope it’s the latter, especially with Bryan’s renewed vigor and the, “Yes!” chants he’s getting.

Intercontinental Championship: So Fandango being a complete jackass to Wade Barrett resulted in a match between Barrett and the self-proclaimed best dancer in WWE. Because Miz was their mutual opponent, Miz was out as a special guest, though people on the WWE app assigned his specific role – which wound up being that of referee. Barrett got some new entrance music, whereas Fandango had a very extended entrance. The actual match had Miz being very permissive as a referee, and then eventually gave Barrett the Skull Crushing Finale to give Fandango the victory. However, Miz then booted Fandango in the head, Summer Rae fell on top of Fandango, and Miz counted the pin. He then walked off in celebration. On Main Event, Wade Barrett took on Sheamus in a losing effort, although the match was competitive, and with Miz on commentary, they pushed the three-way rivalry between Miz, Barrett, and Fandango.
My Thoughts: The champion repeatedly eating losses really cheapens the title, no matter which opponents defeated him in his matches. Admittedly, the loss on RAW was mostly because Miz’s main beef is with Barrett, not Fandango. But sacrificing Barrett so that Sheamus could get a victory makes absolutely no sense, especially when they could have just made Main Event “3MB loses all the matches” night and the group wouldn’t have been diminished any more than they already are. However, it is nice that the Intercontinental title actually has a rivalry building.

WWE IS JERICHO: Jericho had the Highlight Reel on RAW, with Paul Heyman as his guest. Heyman was none too happy about Jericho’s description of him, or of being out in the ring alone. Jericho talked about Heyman’s past, including calling Heyman a walrus. The two talked about Heyman’s ability to align with, or to discover and develop talent. Heyman talked about Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar, but Jericho told Heyman to SHUT THE HELL UP. Jericho said he wanted to talk about CM Punk, who has been gone for six weeks, and brought up Punk’s very odd exit. Jericho mentioned that Heyman was wearing the same suit as six weeks ago, and the fact that Punk seemed to shock and surprise Heyman. Heyman talked around the issue, but eventually defended CM Punk’s actions and went off about Punk being the best in the world. Jericho stopped him with saying, “Blah!” repeatedly, and asked about CM Punk’s location. Heyman said that there was an announcement forthcoming. Jericho said that Punk couldn’t just sit at home and say he was the Best in the World, especially after his losses and leaving, then Punk was out of his mind. Jericho issued a challenge for Punk at Payback, via Heyman. Jericho eventually said that if Punk was not going to face him, Jericho was going to say he is the best in the world at what he does. Eventually, Heyman was so provoked that he accepted the match. Jericho told Heyman to let CM Punk know that after Payback, CM Punk would never, ever be the same again. On SmackDown, Jericho talked about CM Punk’s alignment with Paul Heyman, saying if you hang with dogs, you get fleas, but if you hang with Paul Heyman, you get way more (including mange). In the words of Bob Barker, CM Punk will get spayed and neutered. Jericho then had a match against Cody Rhodes, who he dispatched relatively quickly, countering the Disaster Kick with the Walls of Jericho.
My Thoughts: A renewal of the Jericho/Punk rivalry, but with Jericho as the fan favorite and Punk as the villain, is quite possibly the one way that I never thought that WWE Creative was going to go until I saw that they did it. Honestly, this is probably the best use of Jericho at this point, seeing as he’s basically gained his win back against Fandango, and Fandango is popular enough without Jericho being his opponent. Fighting over who the is the best in the world is exactly what should have happened before, and now that that’s the clear reason for their match at Payback, I’m all for it. Jericho’s clean victory on SmackDown was just icing on the cake, though I really wish they’d used somebody other than Cody Rhodes.

Damien Sandow vs Sheamus: On RAW, Team Rhodes Scholars took on Sheamus and Randy Orton in events stemming from the previous SmackDown. Sheamus and Orton eventually took the victory. On SmackDown, Damien Sandow talked about the events from SmackDown. He also spoke about his superior intelligence, and had thimblerig (the shell game) set up to prove it. Eventually, Sheamus came out and said that Sandow should give up his antics, but in order to get Sandow to stop, he’ll play Sandow’s game. Sandow mixes it up, repeatedly showing him the ball. Sheamus picks the wrong cup, and Sandow gives him another chance, which also doesn’t have the ball, but Sheamus catches the ruse – that Sandow has the ball in a pocket. Sheamus actually pointed out that Sandow got caught cheating, said a little poem, hit him in the gut with one of the cups, hit Sandow with a Brogue, and told the fans, “You’re welcome.”
My Thoughts: A squash match was definitely not the best use of Team Rhodes Scholars, but at least it continued a decent rivalry. During the shell game, the fans actually chanted, “Show your ball,” and Sheamus said nobody wanted to see that. I found that Sheamus’ use of Sandow’s catch phrases was a clever rib on the snarky villain. I know that this is probably going to end up with Sandow getting repeatedly embarrassed, but at least with this one, Sandow is a weasel that probably deserves to get slapped around, unlike Mark Henry.

The Divas: WWE Champion Kaitlyn was present at Natalya’s backstage birthday party on RAW. Later on, Kaitlyn and Natalya took on the Bellas in tag team action, with the Bellas playing fairly dirty while Kaitlyn and Natalya showed off actual superior wrestling skills. Natalya cinched in the Sharpshooter, one of them came in and slapped Natalya, Kaitlyn speared one of them. The other Bella tossed Kaitlyn out of the ring. She then locked up Natalya in a side head lock. She dodged a spear from Kaitlyn, which Natalya ate instead, and the Bellas took the victory. They then sang, “Happy Birthday,” even worse than Khali.
My Thoughts: There are some things without which everybody could do. Hearing “Happy Birthday” sung twice, and both times being horrendous, is definitely a part of the show they could have just skipped. However, the match itself was, at the very least, not horrendous.

Other Stuff: With RAW being on Memorial Day, they talked about honoring fallen members of the United States Armed Forces in multiple segments, including one which John Cena narrated. Sheamus, Orton, and the Prime Time Players all apparently were quite angry at The Shield. 3MB interrupted Natalya’s birthday party on RAW, smacking cake in to Hornswoggle’s face, which resulted in a match that saw 3MB take on Khali and Tons of Funk (result – foregone conclusion). Of course, after the match, Khali, as Natalya’s boyfriend, led, “Happy Birthday” very poorly. They had a video about the Wyatt family on Main Event which they also played on SmackDown, and it was kind of freaky. Antonio Cesaro got a win over Justin Gabriel on Main Event. 3MB lost to R-Truth and Tons of Funk on Main Event. Curtis Axel had yet another squash match against Sin Cara, but got to have a speech before the match where he said that, “When you’re a Paul Heyman guy, everything is … well … PERFECT.” There was a Bret Hart Appreciation Night on the WWE App after RAW.

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ROH World Championship: Mark Briscoe opened the show in a match against Colin Delaney, being mostly in control of the match. However, he really went overboard, beating up on Delaney outside of the ring, even suplexing him on to the apron. At some point, Delaney did manage to take control, so the match wasn’t quite a squash, even if it did end with Mark’s Frog Splash Elbow. Following the match, Nigel McGuinness announced that Mark Briscoe would challenge Jay Briscoe for the title. That brought out the American Wolves. Davey Richards said he would win the belt before Best in the World, and give Eddie Edwards the title shot. Steve Corino came out and had a beef to settle with Nigel, but said that it didn’t matter whoever won the belt, SCUM’s title shot was going to Matt Hardy, poking McGuinness. Jay Briscoe grabbed Corino, Corino ducked a punch that hit Edwards, and a huge brawl broke out. Other guys came out to break it up, and Michael Elgin came out to look at the chaos.

My Thoughts: They had a guy who has some national exposure come back to the company, and basically had him in an extended squash to build the man who will wind up challenging for the title belt. That seems like a very poor call, except for the part where Delaney was basically a punching bag for much of his career on the national stage. As for establishing the match at Best in the World, they really made the point that the title scene is an absolute mess, and the justification for giving Mark the shot might not exist after the weekend. Honestly, I have no clue why I should begin to care about any one person challenging for the title, because the line seems to be ever-extending. The one plus here was that Corino’s speech was the only SCUM involvement during the show.

Women of Honor: Veda Scott had an interview with herself, about how MsChif disrespected her. She spoke up for herself. She said she was more than just a journalist, she was a wrestler, and wanted to prove that honor lives in Veda Scott, and that nobody will underestimate her again. After that, Cherry Bomb took on MsChif, which was fairly slow-paced and methodical compared to most ROH matches. MsChif played up her arrogance, letting Cherry stand just in time to eat a beat down. That brought out Veda Scott, who distracted MsChif enough while the official was watching Cherry climb the ropes. MsChif went to yell at Veda, who dropped MsChif throat-first across the ropes! As MsChif reeled, Cherry Bomb hit the missile drop kick, followed up with a Death Valley Driver, and got the victory.
My Thoughts: Veda Scott’s speech was a decent little promo, and provided justification for Veda Scott’s interference in a previous match. As for the match, the ladies were okay, but MsChif seemed kind of lazy in the ring at points, especially with her front (AKA flip) bumps. The crowd’s lack of reaction until an inverted chickenwing submission attempt from Cherry Bomb got them involved. It’s nice to have a rivalry within the Women of Honor division, but having an announcer at the center of it makes the division seem like it lacks real depth.

Roderick Strong vs Taiji Ishimori: This was the main event of the night. That meant that the ring announcer didn’t state the competitors until both men were in the ring. The announcer stated Ishimori’s name in the Japanese fashion (last name first). Strong looked like he was going to be able to dominate the Japanese worker early, but Ishimori’s speed and agility had him keep coming back. Strong counter-acted Ishimori’s offense with a slam-and-submission strategy, keeping the high-flyer grounded and targeting the Japanese champion’s torso. However, any time Strong attempted a really big move, Ishimori had just enough agility to take down Strong. When it became clear that Roderick was far more effective with his hard-hitting offense than Ishimori’s high-flying style, Ishimori hit some high impact ground-based moves, attempting to generate some momentum. However, that was just a brief interlude, as Ishimori went right back to a more agile offense, going to the top rope, and even hitting a huge rana that almost got the win. After that, the two began to exchange offensive attacks, and Ishimori kept trying to go for the 450 splash. Taiji eventually hit it for the victory. After the match, the two men shook hands, and Strong raised Taiji’s hand before leaving the ring to let Ishimori revel in his victory.
My Thoughts: Why in the world did they give that match away for free? That was a pay-per-view quality match, and quite frankly, if this had been my first exposure to ROH television, I would come back continually in hopes of getting more matches like that. The unfortunate part is that ROH is kind of setting up new fans for disappointment. Still, as a main event, and a way to end the show, I have to agree with the live crowd. That was awesome. This is how you set ROH apart, because the other two companies on television basically never do cross-promotion with other companies.

Inside ROH: They built up the June first show in San Antonio, talking about a few matches, including an interview with ACH (who is from SAT) about his match against Jay Lethal. Kevin Steen asked Nigel McGuinness when he was getting his rematch for the title, and Nigel said he wasn’t sure, because it was possible that Steen was still with SCUM. Steen said that he would take on every SCUM member one-on-one, and Nigel said that if he could defeat them, he would get his re-match.

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TNA World and TNA Television Championships: The show started with Bully telling the rest of the group that their business is AJ Styles. D’Lo Brown said he was sorry that Mister Anderson’s plan didn’t work out, which led to Anderson giving D’Lo a beat-down. After that, they came out to the arena. Bully Ray got on the microphone and mentioned that Devon was going to end Joseph Park. He then talked about the No Holds Barred match for the World Heavyweight title against Sting, telling him, a little more viscerally and in a more verbose fashion, “Come at me, bro.” He talked about how Sting has defeated many big names, but Bully Ray is the one holding the title. He said he didn’t want to wait for Slammiversary, but he would have to. He then said he wanted the match booked for the evening – Joseph Park and Sting versus Team 3D – that instant. Sting and Park came out, a brawl ensued, and the men that would be taking on one another at Slammiversary were not the ones brawling with one another. Eventually, Sting and Ray went at it in the ring, starting the match proper. Just when it looked like Devon was going to get the win, Abyss’ music played, Joseph Park got ecstatic, and Bully left the ring. Devon ate a Scorpion Death Drop, and Park stopped Ray from stopping the pin fall victory. The show closed out with Sting and Ray exchanging punches, ending with Sting putting Ray in the Scorpion Death Lock. Devon made the save, and Sting ate a 3D so that Aces and Eights was standing tall.
My Thoughts: Having Aces and Eights look dominant, with the group’s leader making it clear that he could and would defeat his challenger, no matter what, was definitely the right call. However, it really was a good way to build multiple aspects of the pay-per-view all at once. The best part about all of it is that Sting could probably lose, and still look strong in the end.

TNA Tag Team Championships: James Storm explained his choice of Gunner as a partner, saying he chose a partner ready for war. Later in the night, Bad Influence teamed up with Aries and Roode to take on Gunner, James Storm, and the champions Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in an eight-man tag team match. The match was heavily reliant upon the fact that the heel teams really didn’t want to mix it up with any of their opponents, leading to a few false starts before the match really got going. Gunner eventually got the win for the fan favorites, getting Austin Aries to submit to a vicious torture rack. While the fan favorites did celebrate together, there was still a recognition that they were all going to be opponents at Slammiversary.
My Thoughts: The mention that Gunner has killed people and seen people die was a bit graphic, but fairly in line with other dialogue that TNA has used. Meanwhile, the match itself was definitely interesting. The fact that James Storm did absolutely nothing during the match, letting Gunner and Hernandez to do all the fighting and allowing Chavo to take the beating. It’s a slight detail, but one that really makes the dynamics of each team stand out.

Kurt Angle and AJ Styles: Angle talked about Styles’ choice to not join Aces and Eights, saying there was a mutual respect there because of a long history, but he was definitely going to keep an eye on Styles’ match against Mister Anderson. AJ Styles arrived on a street bike motorcycle instead of a hog, really emphasizing that he was not part of Aces and Eights, even with his new attitude and image. AJ took on Mister Anderson in the main event of Impact Wrestling, really taking control of the match after an initial brawl that seemed somewhat back-and-forth. Anderson managed to cheat his way back in to advantage, and went off on AJ with some submission attempts. Mister Anderson’s brawling-based offense didn’t seem to work as much as it used to against the high-flying styles, as AJ has really upped his striking offense. As it looked like AJ was going to get the win against Mister Anderson, Kurt Angle came out and attacked AJ, causing the disqualification. AJ went after Angle’s knee, and eventually the whole ordeal broke down in to a brawl between the Aces and Eights and their Slammiversary rivals. However, Angle and AJ got out of the fracas, brawling to the back.
My Thoughts: If that’s how mutual respect between the two men looks, I shudder to think how they would behave if they were written to hate one another. Angle straight-up sucker punched AJ, and AJ responded by deliberately trying to injure Kurt. The fact that they totally ignored the danger of going at it with an Aces and Eights member right there in the exact same ring really sold the rivalry for me.

X-Division Championship: Chris Sabin and Taryn Terrell teamed up to take on X-Division Champion Kenny King and Gail Kim in a mixed tag team match. Because Knockouts were involved, ODB was the referee. The match was a very even affair, although King and Kim tried to help one another by illegally interfering from the apron. However, the interference wound up being for naught, as Gail Kim ate a spear from Taryn, and Kenny King at a Cradle Shock. That let Sabin get the victory. After the match, Sabin got on the microphone and said that at Slammiversary, he would become a five-time X-Division champion. The speech allowed Kenny King to recover and ambush Sabin. However, Suicide came out to chase off King. It was not just for kicks, though, as Suicide grabbed hold of the title belt and raised it high and looking right at Sabin.
My Thoughts: Combining two different rivalries in to one match is really the only way you can make a three-way match with any sort of gravitas. This worked for me, it only because they really made it seem like King’s title reign was in severe jeopardy, since both of his opponents dislike Kenny, and have no beef with one another. If nothing else, we got a little preview of a few segments of the pay-per-view match, which really built up the show.

Knockouts Championship: Mickie James came out to celebrate her victory, and said it feels good to be champion. Mickie talked about her year, her title win, her album release, and that it’s been two years since she’s held the belt. She noted that there were doubters for her title win, and called out Velvet Sky. After complimenting Velvet heavily, Sky cut her off and thanked Mickie, but said she wanted a rematch. Mickie said that that was fine, once Velvet’s knee healed. Velvet said she wanted her rematch at Slammiversary. Mickie noted that Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell already had a match, which brought out Gail. Gail talked about her recent work, including weakening Velvet’s knee, which is the only way that Mickie won the belt, meaning that Gail was coming for the title. Velvet told Gail to get in line, which led to Gail attacking Velvet. Mickie looked gobsmacked as Gail looked to give Velvet a ring post figure four, but Taryn came out. That led to the aforementioned mixed tag team match that involved Gail, Taryn, Chris Sabin, and Kenny King.
My Thoughts: They’re doing an interesting slow burn of a villainous turn for Mickie. It’s one where she will slowly but surely become more and more self-absorbed, until finally she just becomes the hero of her story, when nobody else thinks she is. I like that, since there’s still a way to understand Mickie without necessarily liking her. As for Gail – that woman is crazy, and it may be possible that the biggest pop in their match was when Gail ate a spear. Wrestling-based rivalries for the ladies definitely work better for me, especially when all of the other rivalries ultimately are about what happens in the ring.

Other Aces and Eights Stuff: Dixie Carter was out to promote Slammiversary, to thank the fans, and to announce that TNA would announce the next TNA Hall of Fame inductee at Slammiversary. That brought out Wes Briscoe, D.O.C., and Garrett Bischoff. Garrett asked where the love for Aces and Eights was. He said that he knew Dixie was excited about her big celebration, but it was going to feel more like a funeral. They circled around her, and Samoa Joe and Magnus came out to make the save. Joe talked down at the three men, and challenged Garrett to a match. Garrett tried to cheat his way to a quick win, but Joe came back quickly, dominating the match. Aces and Eights tried to intervene, but Magnus came in and attacked them. It turned in to three-on-one, with Garrett getting himself counted out. Joe took out all three Dead Man’s Hand members with a suicide dive, and Magnus joined him in the ring. Joe called the three men cowards, and said he had contingencies for cowards. He said that at Slammiversary, there would be a match, and they would be bringing Jeff Hardy with them. Aces and Eights were incredulous. Later on, Bully was very adamant that every member of Aces and Eights had better get the job done in their matches. Bully said that Aces and Eights was declaring war, and he wanted victims – or else.
My Thoughts: This is either setting up for the eventual implosion of Aces and Eights, or the emergence of a true counter-part for the Dead Man’s Hand. Personally, I want to see this escalate, just to see if it can still be interesting even as cracks in the club’s armor begin to show. They could add new members, discarded members could become new enemies – it really could be epic, if they let it happen. The fact that they’re letting the lackeys have personalities is great. As for Jeff Hardy – well, he’s a big name, and a former champion, so his return is definitely a big deal.

Other Stuff: Hulk was asking Brooke about what was going on. Brooke tried to explain her feelings for Ray, and Hogan tried talking her down. Hogan told him to focus on the Knockouts division, which Brooke said was difficult. The rest of the talk was about the World Heavyweight title match.

Slammiversary and the Slammiversary logo  © 2006-2013 TNA Entertainment, LLC. Used under fair use rules.

Slammiversary and the Slammiversary logo © 2006-2013 TNA Entertainment, LLC. Used under fair use rules.

Note: This is not going to be a true recap of the show. This is more a look at what TNA gave the fans, story-wise. As the matches are the biggest way that wrestling companies are supposed to tell stories at Pay-Per-View events, I will mention details that seem to be relevant to the story in the match. Ultimately, though, the analysis will trend towards whether or not the matches and their outcomes were logical.

X-Division Championship – Ultimate X: Chris Sabin def. Kenny King {C} and Suicide via title retrieval to become the NEW TNA X-Division Champion
Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, and Magnus def. Aces and Eights (Garrett Bischoff, Wes Brisco, and Mister Anderson) via pin fall after a Swanton
Gut Check BFG Series Qualifier: Jay Bradley def. Sam Shaw via pin fall following a Boom Stick lariat
Television Championship: Joseph Park Abyss def. Devon {C} to become the NEW Television Champion
Tag Team Championship – Elimination Rules: James Storm and Gunner def. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode, Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez {C}, and Bad Influence (Daniels & Kazarian) via submission
Last Knockout Standing: Taryn Terrell def. Gail Kim via ten-count knock-out
Kurt Angle def. AJ Styles via roll-up pin fall
TNA World Heavyweight Championship – No Holds Barred: Bully Ray {C} def. Sting via pin fall after Aces and Eights interfered

Bully Ray vs Sting: This was actually a decent contest, and Bully managed to look like he could go toe-to-toe with the Stinger when they were on equal ground. It was actually an interesting in-ring contest as well, with each man really laying in to each other heavily. Brooke Hogan’s appearance to try and protect her husband, who she apparently loves even though he’s an outright jackass, felt unnecessary. As for the way that the match ended, the stipulation basically telegraphed that this was how the match was going to end. For once, though, Bully can truly say that he’s gotten rid of one of TNA’s heroes, at least as far as taking the title away from Bully. One does wonder what that leaves for Sting, however.

Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles: It’s kind of interesting how this match worked. AJ really did go in to Angle with his new style, and it seemed like Angle was out of his depth on how to handle it. They really worked at how this was unfamiliar territory for Angle, which really let AJ go to town. However, the moment that AJ started to show parts of his old style, Angle immediately took control. This dichotomy, of the familiar and the unfamiliar, was a nice bit of subtlety, especially since Angle had been declared the second entrant in to the TNA Hall of Fame earlier in the evening. The end of the match coming about from AJ crashing and burning on a springboard 450 (old AJ) was definitely interesting. I do wonder why they didn’t give AJ the victory, considering that they’re trying to make a new path for the man. Hopefully, this will have a satisfying resolution.

Gail Kim vs Taryn Terrell: How in the world can you ever argue that women don’t have a place in a wrestling show after a match like that? Sure, Gail basically carried the match, but this was just as hard-hitting and well-constructed as the better matches on the show, and blew some of the matches out of the water. Terrell would just not stay down no matter how hard Gail tried to keep her out for ten. That was really the story of this match, and it worked brilliantly, considering the build. This match was not just a great women’s match, it was a great wrestling match. The fact that Gail continually talked about how she was going to dominate going in to the match, and lost in a split second instead of getting the draw will make for an interesting path in the Knockouts division.

Tag Team Championship: This was decidedly a great way to make the match result. Bad Influence being eliminated first because they tried to out-cheat everybody else and failed, even though they were supposedly the best cheaters in TNA, was decidedly an interesting way to go. The champions getting taken out second, thus guaranteeing new champions, was not at all how I expected the match to go, but with it being a renewal of the rivalry between Bobby Roode and James Storm, it was the right way to go. Part of me wanted to see Aries and Roode win the belts again, just because those two are brilliant as a team. Giving Gunner the final spot, and having him win the belts for his team, was the right call, however, since they had him return with some major fanfare.

Television Championship: The more that they continue the conceit that Joseph Park and Abyss are brothers instead of the same man in different personas, the more people are going to wonder when they’re going to flip the switch. Still, Devon’s arrogance getting him planted directly in to the mat and losing his belt is fitting. Hopefully, Abyss will actually defend the belt on television, because otherwise, the title’s name is something of a misnomer. I understand why Devon didn’t defend it that much – the belt meant power, and trying to keep it was the be-all end-all. It still was stupid, even before Devon was revealed as part of Aces and Eights.

Gut Check BFG Tournament Finals: This wasn’t much of anything, and one tends to get the impression that Jay Bradley is going to be the Robbie E of this tournament. He’ll get a few points here and there, but in the end, he’ll be part of the tournament so that somebody can eat a loss from time to time without it hurting anybody important.

Aces and Eights vs Team Hardy: Can we all say, “Hail the conquering hero!”? That’s basically all to which the story boils. Honestly, Hardy getting the win was the only way this could go, given what happened at the end of Slammiversary. Joe and Magnus got their chance to shine, and Bischoff, Brisco, and D.O.C. did make the numbers game work for them. Overall, though, it does mean that, combined with the TV title loss and Mister Anderson’s loss on Impact, if Bully follows his promise, Knux is the only person in Aces and Eights that actually has a place at the Dead Man’s Hand table in the future. So, the question becomes, does Bully begin to fulfill his threats, or does he back down to keep his allies.

X-Division Championship Match: It was what happened after the match that was the most important part of this story, although of course this was an entertaining way to open the show. Each man looked like he could win the match, and there were very few times where the match seemed like it was a one-on-one match with an auxiliary member of the competition. The Ultimate X stipulation really made things entertaining, since there really was no way to fluke the victory. Sure, the victory was more due to endurance on the cables than anything done in the ring, but Sabin finally capturing the belt is satisfying. However, Hogan saying that Sabin could cash in the belt for a championship even though Destination X is no longer planned to happen is a little confusing. When can Sabin cash in a title shot? Is an episode of Impact going to be re-named Destination X? Still, Hogan singing Sabin’s praises made the title win seem monumental.

Nicholas Villarreal

Game Review/News Editor at iGame Responsibly
Nicholas Villarreal is a seasoned writer on the staff of iGame Responsibly, covering breaking news, as well as game reviews.

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