Mr. Anderson finally got his rematch for the TNA World Heavyweight Title last night, and the Green Bay native made the most of it. Anderson recaptured the gold after a controversial ending in a match against Sting. Sting appeared to have the contest won after connecting with a Scorpion Death Drop, but unfortunately for the Stinger, Eric Bischoff was at ringside to provide a some game-changing interference. When Sting went for the pin attempt, Bischoff slapped the mat while the referee was counting, creating an illusion of a 3-count being made when in reality the count sat at only two. Sting, believing that he won the match, released his pin attempt and in turn the match continued. Shortly after, Anderson hit the champion with a low blow (right in front of the referee) and a Mic Check, which was enough to keep him down for the count. There’s a new Champion in the Impact Zone, and his name is Mr. Anderson…Anderson!
Surprisingly, TNA didn’t close the show with the World Title match. Instead, after Anderson had his arm raised in victory, Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett squared off for what should be the final time. After trading the momentum back and forth and a very entertaining match, Angle was successful in forcing Jarrett to submit to the Ankle Lock. As promised, Karen was not in the Impact Zone, although she did deliver a pre-match statement via satellite that culminated in Mike Tenay calling her a “grade-A ball buster.” It was an interesting choice to have Angle and Jarrett wrap up the show, as I would have suspected a World Title change to headline, although I guess with this feud running for as long as it has TNA figured it was the most significant battle on the card. With Angle’s win, he’s the new #1 contender, and we should be heading into an Angle vs Anderson feud beginning on this week’s Impact. I wouldn’t be surprised, meanwhile, if Jarrett moved into a feud with the currently-lost-without-a-story Rob Van Dam. The rest of Slammiversary, including a fantastic Last Man Standing match and three other title matches, after the jump.
- Bully Ray was able to best AJ Styles in the Last Man Standing match after kicking him through a portion of the stage. This was one of the best Last Man Standing matches in recent memory, and it featured a handful of memorable high spots. Bully Ray, who was a bloody mess as a result of a chain shot, teased powerbombing AJ off of the stage again but Styles prevented it. With Ray on the floor, Styles got a running start and dove off the stage at him with a truly impressive leap. Later in the match, with Ray on a table, Styles climbed up the scaffolding of the entrance set and nailed him with a big-time elbow drop that will surely be a part of video packages for months to come. I was glad to see Ray go over, but I was even more pleased that both men came away from this one looking strong.
- Mickie James successfully retained her Knockout Championship against Angelina Love after a botched jumping DDT. Despite the goofed ending, the match was solid enough. Prior to the contest, Angelina spoke for the first time under the control of Winter. She said that she no longer needed her meds, that she had finally seen the light and was now on the same page as Winter. I fully anticipated that Angelina would win this one in preparation of a title match with Velvet Sky down the line, but after the developments of last night, I’m wondering if a betrayal in the Angelina / Winter relationship is in the works.
- Crimson kept his undefeated streak in tact with a win over Samoa Joe. This wasn’t especially bad, but it was the driest match on the card. Afterwards, Joe shook Crimson’s hand in a show of respect. I’ll be curious where this undefeated streak takes the surging Crimson; hopefully not towards the World Title picture. I’m anxiously anticipating his first loss.
- Abyss survived a triple threat match with Kazarian and Brian Kendrick to keep the X Division Title in his possession. Kaz & Kendrick worked as a unit for the majority of this match, working over Abyss anytime all three men were in the ring together. The climax saw the partnership between the smaller guys dissolve and Abyss take advantage of the situation by crawling onto a downed Kazarian. The crowd was really into this one, and the pop for Abyss being beat on was tremendous. I’m one of the multitudes who was pulling for either of the other two guys, and although the match was good, it sure would have been nice to see Kendrick take home the gold. I think Abyss will probably get his comeuppance at Destination X.
- Matt Morgan snatched a win from Scott Steiner in a surprisingly entertaining match. I was expecting this one to be disaster, but the big men held their own. After having his Steiner Recliner reversed, Steiner busted out a victory roll that would have been impressive ten years ago and was downright unbelievable in this stage of his career. It was a big Carbon Footprint that put Steiner down for the count, and I’m really glad that Morgan didn’t pull the job here.
- “Gun Money,” which is the apparent name of Alex Shelley and James Storm’s makeshift tag team, successfully defended the Tag Team Titles against the British Invasion is a spiffy little tag team match. This was a fun contest that got the crowd going, which is really all you can ask of an opening bout. I’m not crazy about the Shelley/Storm pairing, but I certainly prefer them to the team of Magnus & Douglas Williams. Bobby Roode sat in on commentary for this one and was a natural. I know that nothing’s can’t miss, but I feel good about his impeding singles push.
Start to finish, Slammiversary was a good pay-per-view. The show exceeded my expectations, and I felt that a number of the matches outperformed the feuds and rivalries that were behind them. I’m happy to see the title off of Sting, whose whole reign has felt like a transitional one brought on by the departure of Jeff Hardy. I’m also excited, as I’m sure most of you are, to see the Angle vs Jarrett feud come to an end. The Last Man Standing match was pretty great, as was the X Division Triple Threat, and I really have no complaints about the rest of the card. The “controversial” World Title match ending was a little disappointing, but I can overlook it given the overall quality of the show. Bravo, TNA, bravo.