April 6, 2012
Brian Hammons
Never Hand Over

TNA Slammiversary IX

1. British Invasion (Douglas Williams & Brutus Magnus) vs. James Storm & Alex Shelley - 3
2. Scott Steiner vs. Matt Morgan - 4
3. Brian Kendrick vs. Abyss vs. Kazarian - 5

Invasion had new team gear but same blasÚ work. Storm and Shelley gave Williams a double suplex onto Brutus and he landed right on Magnus' face. They play up the unfamiliarity of James and Alex as partners. Sliced Bread #2 finished the match and actual sliced bread is as interesting as it. Morgan started off in control but a shot to the gonads changed things and Steiner had a lengthy control segment that moved in slow-motion. Scott's still got some tricks up his sleeve like countering an Electric Chair Drop with a Victory Roll. Morgan's Carbon Footprint finishing kick actually looked deadly (for once) and nice to see him getting the rub. The X Division starlets fend off the big, bad boogeyman with the crummy mask and worse move-set. I laughed when Abyss did a Vader Bomb out of the corner and landed knees-first like a total twat. I liked the dynamic that when one guy would get smashed the other would fly in and try their hand at toppling the giant. Looking at Hebner's face he appears in more pain than any of the wrestlers. I don't have a lot of interest in Abyss' reign continuing but it is what it is. Kendrick looked rather good here.

4. Samoa Joe vs. Crimson - 4
5. Angelina Love vs. Mickie James vs. - 6

I liked Crimson's repeated knees to Joe's face while holding the cravat. Crimson seemed to have no idea how to bump for a dragon screw legwhip. I wish this had more of the violent intensity their restaurant brawl (recorded via cellphone) that aired on TV did. Some of Crimson's punches were lighter than a monocle made out of turds. Joe seemed to relish slapping Crimson around which was fun but Crimson's Red Sky finisher lead to a flat ending that felt hollower than Courtney Love's soul. James' selling was very good early and Love took a gnarly bump into the steel ringsteps. She hit the steps harder than she does the bathroom after all her meals, she's got to be down to 95lbs. or so now. Why did Love's Botox Injection bicycle kick look better than any of Sheamus' Brogue Kicks? They botched the finish but this is still marginally recommendable.

6. Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles - Last Man Standing Match - 8

I'm a sucker for a good staredown and we got one with AJ/Ray. I liked AJ asking for more of Ray's brutal chops even as they were instantly leaving giant purple marks on his chest. Shortly after Styles did this sell off of a punch where he folded backward over himself that I'd only ever seen previously by my brother in a backyard in '98. It's nice to see AJ bust out the "Superman" springboard 450░ splash. Usually when someone gets mounted in the corner it's ripe for cheesy '80's-style punches but not here as AJ just teed off on Ray's skull with big shots and slaps. Bubba crawling under the ring to blade was a little too obvious. AJ piecing Bully in his bloody face with legit shots was just all sorts of why I love wrestling. AJ dumping Ray from the ring to the floor? Sure, why not! Damn, Ray's bleeding more than Stephanie McMahon after Randy Savage took her virginity. The flying forearm off of the ramp was all sorts of ballsy and awesome. OMG! AJ climbing that steel trellis and dropping an elbow from 40ft. onto Ray through a table on the concrete was a New Jack-level of insanity. The finish with Ray kicking Styles' head through the entrance stage was original. This match was a great stew of blood and potatoes.

7. Mr. Anderson vs. Sting - 4
8. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett - 5

This had a couple neat passing moments, Sting's new face paint made him look like the long lost member of Demolition, him showing some moxie during the crowd brawl, etc. Anderson's control segment slowed it down to a snail's pace and the spoiled crowd had mentally checked out of the in-ring proceedings. The finish also dropped it down as the Bischoff interference was avoidable then we had Anderson use a low-blow right in-front of the referee -- pretty lousy way to win a world title.

Thought it funny some Joe Dirt redneck in the front row calling Jarrett out for doing a "Goldust move!" when he did the whole "slide under the bottom rope then uppercut" I think Ray Traylor originated. Kurt's laying in some of his stuff, even shots like a club to the back look much better when there's some actual force behind them. Jarrett's sidewinder punches still aren't doing him any favors. The way Jeff gets off of the mat, kicks out of pinfalls (don't get me started), etc. show a real autopilot comfort level he seamlessly falls into (and that's not a knock on this individual match just his work the last decade in general). Jeff's face taking an Angle Slam looked like my four-year old nephew's on Splash Mountain last month. I haven't seen eyes bulge out quite like that since I stepped on Adam's dog. They do a spot where they keep reversing tombstone piledriver attempts which puts them in a quasi-69 position looking like some ersatz tribal sexual ritual. No idea why this crossed my mind but: how fun would an Angle vs. Necro Butcher bout be? Finish I'm a bit conflicted on, like Angle winning clean with the ankle lock, felt almost UWFI-like to me, but the way it was transitioned from Jeff's own ankle lock attempt seemed clunky. I also felt, this being a blowoff to a big, personal feud, involving Karen, and Kurt's kids, etc. there'd be a bit more hate or violence or just a sense of urgency but instead it felt a bit understated. I can't wholeheartedly recommend it on its own as they've had several bouts that outright blow it away.

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