We’re just days away from TNA’s Slammiversary pay-per-view, and they certainly didn’t let us forget that on Impact Wrestling. Impact opened with Eric Bischoff & Hulk Hogan in the ring, as per the norm, and they were predictably boring. They discussed the firing of Mick Foley, whose departure appears to be legitimate, before bringing out the participants in this Sunday’s main event. The World Champion Sting and #1 contender Mr. Anderson exchanged some words in the ring, with Sting ultimately turning his attention to Hulk Hogan. Sting told Hogan that if he didn’t return to the Hulkster of old, Sting would drive him out of Impact Wrestling. Move along, nothing to see here.
Sting and Anderson met again in the main event, a tag team affair that put them on opposite sides of the ring. Sting teamed with another title holder, Television Champion Eric Young, to take on Mr. Kennedy & Gunner. In a truly shocking development, the match closed with Gunner pinning the World Champion. After the match, Sting attacked Mr. Anderson backstage, covering his opponent (and himself) with red paint before forcing Ken into unconsciousness with a violently applied sleeper hold. It was a surprising choice to have Gunner pin Sting, but it brings a level of unpredictability to the table that I can appreciate. The closing segment was odd too – the use of the paint was bizarre and Sting’s aggression was uncharacteristic of him. I’m excited to see the outcome of their match this Sunday, though, when Mr. Anderson finally gets his rematch. The rest of Impact, beyond the jump.
- In some great knockouts action, Velvet Sky picked up an upset victory over ODB. I’m really, really digging the slow build they’re giving to Velvet’s quest of the knockouts title. It’s amazing to be watching a women’s division on mainstream wrestling that I actually care about. I’d suspect that we’ve seen the last of ODB for a while, who made her entrance sans music (ala R-Truth) because she “isn’t under TNA contract.” I certainly wouldn’t complain, though, if we saw more from these two going forward.
- Speaking of the knockouts, Angelina Love & Winter stole a win from Mickie James & Tara after some interference from Madison Rayne. There was a lot going on in this match, and all of it was good. Madison attacked Tara, keeping their rivalry alive, and I enjoy seeing some continuity. After the match, the zombified Love continued to assault Mickie James, only releasing her when commanded to by Winter. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this Winter / Angelina relationship. Moreover, Angelina Love will be meeting Mickie James with the Knockout Championship on the line at Slammiversary, and with Velvet Sky targeting the title, it’s possible that the former Beautiful People will meet with the belt on the line at some point in the immediate future.
- A video of a bar fight between Samoa Joe and Crimson is shown. The whole thing seems incredibly contrived. Poor build for a poor feud.
- Mexican America defeated James Storm & Alex Shelley after Shelley accidentally superkicked Storm. I’ll be curious to see how the two coexist at Slammiversary when they team up to take on the British Invasion. If they’re unable to work as a team, could a Beer Money vs Machine Guns feud be brewing? Mexican America has some massive heat, but I’d rather see that heat used to push Hernandez as a singles star than he & Anarquia as a tag team.
- The was an in-ring confrontation between Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle, and while it wasn’t bad, I don’t think it’s possible for me to enjoy any segment featuring these two at this point. I am beyond tired of this feud, so I take solace in the fact that it looks like Slammiversary will be the culmination of it. Of course, I’d like to see Angle go over, but as long as the feud comes to a close, I’ll be content no matter how it plays out.
- Bully Ray issued an open challenge to anyone on Impact Wrestling’s roster (except Devon), which was answered by Rob Van Dam. With a small distraction from AJ Styles, RVD picked up the win over TNA’s resident bully. I’m looking forward to the Ray vs Styles match at Slammiversary, although I am concerned with the use of Rob Van Dam. The way he was used during his feud with Sting, I got the impression that once the angle was over he’d fall into relative obscurity while Sting feuded with Anderson and he had no natural story progression looming. Unfortunately, that’s been the case so far, as he doesn’t even have a match heading into this Sunday.
- The Sun Tzu gimmick that Abyss has adopted is a goofy one, although it’s certainly better than his Hall of Fame ring. It’s going to be Abyss vs Kendrick vs Kazarian at Slammiversary for the X Division Title, and I don’t need to tell you how hard I’ll be pulling for Spanky.
When it was all said and done, I guess Impact was an effective go-home show for Slammiversary. They hyped a lot of the matches that will be on the show, although mention of the Matt Morgan vs Steiner bout was conspicuously absent. I’m surprised not to see Gunner vs Young added to the event, but I guess time constraints will prevent it. Speaking of Gunner, it certainly looks like there are big plans in place for him after pinning the World Champion. Remember a few weeks ago when Impact opened with AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs Bully Ray & Tommy Dreamer? I was so excited that we were done with these 20 minute promos to open the show. It’s heartbreaking that we’re not.