This coming Friday May 22nd, fans of TNA Impact Wrestling will be treated to one of the best overall Wrestling pay-per-views of 2014 in any promotion, Slammiversary VII.
Premiering at 8pm ET & 9pm CT on Destination America, be sure to sit back and relax and take in a cracking three hours entertainment as TNA present Slammiversary which emanated from Dallas, Texas in June 2014.
Below is a full review of the show, originally published in June 2014, and contains results and spoilers if you've not seen the event before.
So let's start as Slammiversary did with the X-Division six man ladder match that featured the returning Manik, TigreUno, Crazzy Steve, the then TNA tag team champions Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards collectively known as The Wolves, and defending champion Sanada.
Despite the lack on any build and the thrown together feel to this match in the days prior, it did not disappoint those in attendance or watching around the world. The match contained many high spots and crazy bumps straight from the off which continued throughout the contest involving each individual.
The crowd was exceptionally responsive to everything the competitors did and notably even Crazzy Steve was over despite the lack of story to the Menagerie following on from their debut. Crazzy Steve should be a fixture within the division going forward.
The match finished with a crazy sunset flip powerbomb onto a ladder from Manik on Davey, which gave Sanada the opening to take down his title to continue as champion.
Many have said that the main feeling after this match was that could have gone another two or three minutes with a bit more brawling and outside fighting prior to the ladders becoming involved. Overall, a great way to start things off and definitely got the crowd bouncing.
Up next MVP et al, took the stage to announce changes to the main event due to his injury and notably he received a lot of heat from the Texas crowd leading right into the Samoa Joe vs Bobby Lashley match. Again, the crowd ensured both had a great outing with Joe enjoying a large and responsive audience to perform in front of.
Joe and Lashley managed to get in their signature moves in building to a clean finish where Joe avoided hitting the ref and took a gore/spear for his troubles, leaving those in attendance a little disappointed that the fan favourite didn't win. This match took on a bit more impetus with the winner going onto advance which ensured intrigue throughout. So Bobby Lashley moves onto take on Eric Young.
Up next came Willow vs the UK’s own Magnus. Each had a man their corner, Abyss and Bram respectively. This match didn’t get going quite as fans know both men can. However, Willow did land some cracking moves including the backwards fall onto Magnus and co.
Bram and Abyss interfered, both matching each other big hit after big hit. Hopefully Bram and Abyss get some matches in the coming months. Or they could follow on with all four involved in tag matches moving forward. To me that’s what this match was – just a means to build the feud. Hopefully it continues to develop Bram and Magnus as future stars.
Next was the TNA Hall of Fame announcement. A touching and honest announcement which appeared to move all those in the ring and in attendance. True recognition to Devon and Bully Ray after many years entertaining all of us from ECW, WWE and TNA.
Our next main event qualifier match-up featured Austin Aries and Kenny King. This was King’s best match so far in TNA, he seems to have improved on his placement and general movement during matches which must have come with practice at TNA house shows.
Austin Aries reminds this reporter of Diamond Dallas Page in the bygone WCW as he is always over with the fans and never puts on a bad match, no matter who he is in the ring with. This was no different, with both former X division athletes putting on a great outing which kept viewers and the fans within the arena enthralled. That included those who Aries fell into, when the guard rail he was flung at by King gave way.
Austin Aries hit the brainbuster off the top rope for the 1,2, 3. So, Aries heads into the main event but not before he apologized to the lady at ringside he fell into when the guard rail gave way.
Now, nostalgia is a powerful thing and in the world of pro wrestling it's no different. Hell, even Jeremy Borash had been tweeting and Instagraming how much he was looking forward to the Von Erich’s appearance at Slammiversary. For what it's worth, its good to see TNA recognise other former and current promotions no matter how big or small. Moving forward this will help with talent relations between then and other promotions across the globe.
The Texas crowd loved the introduction of Ross and Marshall and it was very much the right choice, despite being obvious that the Bro Mans came out to spoil the Von Erich party. With Jesse and Zema coming out, they took the brunt of the big moves as they have on many occasion.
The DQ finish was bang on, giving the Von Erichs the win and allowed Dad Kevin to hit the ring clamping on the Claw on Zema for good measure. This brought a huge pop out of the live ‘home team crowd’ and capped off a great first TV outing for Ross and Marshall which they wont forget.
Gail Kim was out next to challenge Angelina Love for the Knockouts Title. This match felt slightly disappointing from both established wrestlers, but the match was better than anything WWE divas can offer at the present time. The main disappointment was the contrived finish involving two refs, a ref bump and school boy crush, but it did serve a purpose to continue this feud and hopefully cover the cracks until the Knockouts division is built back up with the returning Taryn Tarrell, Brooke, ODB and an in training Rebel.
Leading into the next match was a great promo from Velvet Sky’s new squeeze and Hall of Famer Bully Ray. Does he ever do a bad promo? On a different note he could have continued to carry the World Title as a great heel character.
EC3 was out first and got the reaction TNA will have wanted. He should be a big star for the future. Bully Ray again came out to an appreciative and firm fan's favourite reaction and you could tell that we would be in for a battle. At the start let's hope the token Spud & Dixie interference is not going to overpower this – gladly it didn’t.
Both men got in some aggressive and hard offence and both took big bumps and weapons shots. The token favorite of random tools and objects under the ring came into play including glass in a Dallas Cowboys bin, a cheese grater and pliers that allowed Bully Ray to expose the ring boards only to be hit with the 1 percent forward DDT/stroke move. Shortly after, EC3 received a 3D come Bubba Cutter chest first onto the glass.
Bully then allowed himself to lose focus with Dixie at ringside with her promised and still to come table bump. Running into EC3 seemed to knock out the TNA president which in turn gave Bully the chance to put her on the tables set up at ringside. This teased a splash, but led to EC3 hitting Bully with the Kendo stick sending him through the aforementioned tables, not without Spuds impeccable timing to pull Dixie out of harms way. Unable to answer the ten count, Bully lost and EC3 marches on.
Now the next matchup seemed to suffer from over runs earlier in the night but fans know that Ken Anderson and James Storm can do much better. Storm seemed to forget he was in a match with Mr Anderson and instead focused on The Dallas Cowboys at ringside. This eventually led to the Cowboys getting involved with Storm and that interference handed the chance for Mr Anderson to hit the Mic Check for the win. In another way this match afforded the live crowd a chance to rest for a bit.
Finally the main event of the evening, a cage match for the TNA Heavyweight Title. Fought between reigning champion Eric Young and double duty Bobby Lashley and Austin Aries, both who won earlier in the night. Lashley threw the ring steps out of the way prior to getting in the ring, we’ll see why in a bit.
JB advised the live audience that the way to win was pinfall or submission ONLY. In the early stages of the match all three brawled thoroughly well and utilised the cage successfully as a weapon. Aries took two heavy looking superplexs from Lashley against the cage wall. Within the match there was two big spots that brought the crowd to their feet. Firstly following an altercation in the corner where it appeared that Lashley was trying to superplex EY off the top of the cage. Aries interjected and snapped off a cracking hurricanrana that allowed EY to hit the big elbow on Lashley, jumping off the cage a full 18ft off the ground. This served only to build to the finish with Aries interrupting the 3 count.
The next big spot was Lashley spearing his way out of the cage door following on from a EY swerve. I recall he did something like this in WWE’s version of ECW in the mid 2000s. This gave the two better in-ring performers chance to go at it one on one.
Noticeably the arena was well behind Austin Aries at this point cheering everything he did, they built to a close with EY looking punch drunk that resembled the great Ric Flair, unfortunately without the face plant fall. EY escaped the Aries brainbuster set up to hit the pile driver for the 1 2 3. Despite the crowd being behind A double towards the end, no-one seemed disappointed that Eric Young retained.
I believe that's because both wrestlers through hard work are clearly over with TNA fans. Again this match had a great reaction from the fans and a simple and clean finish as the right way to cap off the pay per view.
So it has to be said, Slammiversary XII was an absolute belter of a pay per view. It looks like the near month break from Orlando impact tapings has given Dixie and company the chance to re-focus and take TNA in a new direction focusing greatly on the in-ring product.
If they keep the energy up that we saw in Dallas on the upcoming New York tapings this Slammiversary will be looked back on as a real turning point.
So to the last three points. Best and worst match-up and honourable mention.
Match of the night was Aries v King. King’s best outing for a long while and when does Austin Aries fail to deliver the goods?
Worst match unfortunately was Storm v Anderson. It was just not long enough and ruined by a need to involve the NFL guests at ringside.
Honorable mention include the Dallas crowd who showed what difference a loud and appreciative audience can have on the show. The Von Erichs for providing a great nostalgia moment and the pop of the night for “the Claw”.
So, enjoy this top notch event on Destination America this coming Friday if you're in the States, if not check it out online and if you agree or disagree let me know via the comments or via Twitter @EPJwednesday, Thank you for reading.