KELLER'S TNA SLAMMIVERSARY 7 PPV TAKE 6/21: Ongoing thoughts, observations, nitpicks, and quotables
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
BOX SCORE BASICS
-In a pre-show match, The British Invasion beat Rhino & Jesse Neal.
-Jeremy Borash hyped the line-up.
-Lauren asked Sting why he put his leadership in the Main Event Mafia on the line against Matt Morgan with nothing to gain himself. Well, she didn't ask him that, but she should have. He actually answered as if she asked that, though, and he said he might be losing his mind or he's just confident. He said Morgan is still standing twentysome years after starting, and Morgan won't make an example out of him.
-Borash interviewed Dixie Carter who was in the crowd among fans. She wished all fathers a Happy Father's Day including her dad. She said she was proud of TNA reaching its seventh anniversary.
-The PPV began with video packages and then Mike Tenay inntroducing the show as they panned the Palace of Auburn Hills. The pryo on the stage revealed a lot of darkened empty seats, so the camera quickly zoomed in closer on the set. The set looked major league in the larger arena setting.
-Tenay explained the King of the Mountain rules. Wrestlers start the match ineligible to win. Once they score a pinfall or submission, they're eligible to win. The victim of the pin or submission must spend two minutes in a penalty box, unable to either qualify or win. The winner is the first qualified wrestler to hang a belt on a hook.
(1) Alex Shelley vs. Black Machismo vs. Suicide vs. Consequences Creed vs. Chris Sabin with the Opening Match Highspot Fest Title on the line. Everyone ganged up on Suicide, but when Lethal missed a moonsault onto a ladder, Suicide scored the pin. Lethal went into the penalty box for two minutes. Suicide pinned Shelley a couple minutes later, so he ended up in the penalty box, too. In a cool spot, Sabin arrogantly casually sat on a chair mid-ring as Lethal set up Suicide for a Russian leg sweep into the chair. Sabin moved just in time and then tried to steal the pin. Lethal shoved him off and made the cover. Creed and Sabin piled on top during the pin. They all raised their hands, but no one was sure who qualified. Shelley was released from the box. Suicide had to enter the cage. Shelley, Sabin, Lethal, and Creed all celebrated with a strange huddle dance. They didn't know what to do next since their main opponent was locked in a cage. Sabin and Shelley jumped Creed and Lethal. Creed pinned Shelley at 9:00 just as Suicide got out of the penalty box. As Suicide, Lethal, and Creed brawled at ringside, Sabin dove off the penalty box onto all three. In a brilliant move that somewhat made a mockery of the rules, Sabin laid down for Shelley. Shelley then grabbed the belt and climbed the ladder as Sabin reported to the penalty box. Suicide, though, dropkicked Shelley off the ladder. Shelley sold a knee injury. Suicide dropped Creed onto a ladder and catapulted Lethal in the process onto the mat. Lethal tucked at the very last second and folded in half upon landing. Sabin returned with a burst of energy and gave Lethal a tornado DDT for a win. All five men were eligible to win at that point, with Lethal sent to the penalty box. As Lethal was released, Sabin was slowly climbing the ladder. Lethal suplexed him to the mat. Shelley frog splashed Lethal immediately afterward. Lots more excellently executed highspots in and out of the ring with chairs and ladders involved. The last spot took too much time to set up, with Suicide running across a ladder set on the penalty box and Lethal's back as he was pushed under the ladder on the top turnbuckle and gave a neckbreaker to Shelley as he climbed the ladder. Suicide then climbed the ladder and got the win. The crowd booed, since they were behind the hometown Motor City Machine Guns. WINNER: Suicide in 24:00. (***3/4)
-Tenay and West hyped the rest of the PPV matches.
-Lauren backstage said she had an update on Team 3D. She implied they hadn't arrived from Japan yet. She then interviewed Shane Douglas, who wouldn't listen to her even consider him losing.
(2) Christopher Daniels vs. Shane Douglas. Daniels was on offense early, then Douglas took over after knocking Daniels into the ringside steps. He worked over his elbow for a few minutes. Daniels came back and hit the BME for the win. WINNER: Daniels in 9:00. (*)
-Borash interviewed Mick Foley, who tried to make the case that he had a 40 percent chance of winning, not 20, because Jeff Jarrett will be on his side. There are so many things wrong with that logic. Foley said Jarrett will help him because he knows for TNA to thrive, he better keep the title a long time. He said his next title defense will be in four months at Bound for Glory. He began singing, "I've got the World Title in my hands."
(3) Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne) vs. Tara. Sky and Rayne interfered on Love's behalf early. Tenay reiterated that Team 3D hadn't arrived at the arena yet. Tara had Love down at 6:00, then she went to ringside to take some revenge shots at Sky and Rayne. Love recovered and surprised Tara with a kick. Rayne and Sky then sprayed Tara in the face with a spray and Love finished her to retain the title. WINNER: Love in 7:00. (*1/4)
(4) Daffney & Raven vs. Abyss & Taylor Wilde in a Mixed Tag Monster's Ball match. Abyss splashed Daffney in the corner early. Abyss pressed Daffney and threw her onto Raven and Stevie Richards on the floor. Taylor dove off the top rope onto all three seconds later. A few minutes later after they brawled up toward the entrance ramp, Taylor dove off a speaker stack onto Daffney on a table below. Stevie's distracting the ref saved Raven during an Abyss cover. Abyss got up and complained, then moved when Raven swung a trash can at him, so the can hit Stevie and knocked him to the floor. Abyss poured thumb tacks onto the mat. Daffney hit Abyss from behind. He no-sold it. She pleaded for mercy and then tried to run. Taylor Wilde tossed Daffney onto the tacks. Stevie saved Daffney from Taylor's pin attempt. Raven bashed Abyss with a chair and then DDT'd him onto a chair for a believable near fall. Abyss came back and gave Raven a Black Hole Slam on the tacks for the win. WINNERS: Abyss & Wilde in 14:00. (**1/2)
-Borash interviewed Jeff Jarrett backstage. Jarrett rubbed his chin again to show that he was emotionally stressed and thinking really hard. He said he doesn't want the TNA Title because he has so many other responsibilities, but he feels he needs to in order to save the company. He said after he wins the title, he'll decide what to do with it.
(5) Matt Morgan vs. Sting. After some brawling at ringside, Morgan took control in the ring including a series of alternating back elbows. At 7:00 Sting took control and hit a Scorpion Death Drop. Morgan escaped a Scorpion Death Drop attempt. Sting hit a Scorpion Death Drop off the ropes in a countermove and scored the win. WINNER: Sting in 8:00. (*)
-Borash interviewed A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe. Joe said to Kurt Angle he is hunting and "we" will become the most powerful force in the history of pro wrestling.
(6) Team 3D vs. Beer Money. The chant of "Get the Tables" started when the bell rang. It took six minutes, but Team 3D got Beer Money down and set a table up at ringside. The British Invasion walked to the ring before tables could be used. They joined the announcers at ringside. West was thrilled and Tenay was dismayed. Late in the match Storm mistakenly sprayed Roode with Beer. Team 3D hit a 3D on Roode, but Rob Terry distracted the ref. Ray then hit a top rope crossbody block onto Doug Williams and Terry at ringside. In the midst of fending off the Brits, Beer Money hit their DWI finisher for the win. WINNERS: Beer Money Inc. in 17:00. (**1/4)
-Borash interviewed new-look Kurt Angle who's growing out his beard and hair. I didn't recognize him at first, but it's a good change to freshen up his look, but the risk is he's lose the recognition factor that's in theory so valuable. It gives him an MMA fighter look. He said MEM will resume their position on the throne in TNA. He said more than anything tonight is about he and Samoa Joe.
(7) Mick Foley vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle. West acknowledged that Joe has a torn tricep and three broken fingers. Angle wore a Pittsburgh Penguins Crosby jersey to taunt the Red Wings fans. Joe revealed a Red Wings Osgood jersey. He went after Angle. The refs ordered him into the penalty box even before the match began. Foley held Jarrett on top of him so the ref had to count a pin, which meant Foley went to the penalty box. Joe got out and delivered some offense on Angle. Joe seemed to be moving pretty well despite his injuries, including a jumping round kick to Jarrett. When Foley re-entered the match, Joe put him in his sleeper and choked him out as Jarrett, Styles, and Angle fought at ringside. Foley was sent to the box again. At 8:00 Foley got out of the box as Joe climbed the ladder with belt in hand to hang it. Foley knocked him off the ladder. Joe's bump was nasty, as he landed on the feet of the ladder, which was twisted and broken afterward. At 11:00 Jarrett brought his guitar into the ring, but he didn't use it before Angle attacked him and applied an anklelock. Jarrett kicked free and KO'd Angle with his guitar. Jarrett and Foley climbed opposite sides of the ladder, but Styles springboarded and kicked over the ladder. Styles and Foley climbed to the top of the penalty box. Styles teased suplexing him off of it onto the announce table below, but Foley instead arm-tossed Styles to the mat. Joe put a sleeper on Jarrett, but Jarrett dropped and then gave Joe a Stroke on the ladder. Angle entered and gave Jarrett an Angle Slam for a two count. Foley leaped off the penalty box with a flying elbow on Angle for a three count, which made Foley eligible to win and sent Angle to the penalty box. Styles knocked Foley off the ladder a minute later. Styles hit a Pele Kick, although he seemed to come up a bit short. Joe backdropped Styles with a backflip onto Foley on the floor, although he barely grazed Foley. Jarrett rammed Joe with a ladder and then climbed it. Styles took the belt from Jarrett. Angle left the box and yanked Jarrett's leg and the belt dropped at 19:00. Joe slidekicked the belt into Foley's face at 20:00. Jarrett and Foley battled at ringside as Joe climbed the ladder with the belt in hand. Styles grabbed Joe's boot and yanked him off. Joe landed in a way that could have blown out a knee or sprained an ankle at his weight. Joe stopped Styles from climbing the ladder, but seconds later Styles whipped Joe through the ropes onto Jarrett and Foley. Styles gave Angle a Styles Clash and then he grabbed the belt and climbed the ladder. Joe ran out and powerbombed Styles off the ladder just as he was about to win. Joe clotheslined Styles and then climbed the ladder. Angle climbed the ladder and Joe handed him the belt in a "shocking heel turn." Angle hung the belt and won the title. West said the reason Joe got DQ'd at the start was to make Angle eligible to win from the start. Kevin Nash, Booker T, Scott Steiner, and Sharmell all walked out onto the stage and smiled. WINNER: Angle in 24:00. (**1/2)
THOUGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, AND NITPICKS
X DIVISION KING OF THE MOUNTAIN: The ring was slightly off-center from the section of fans it was in front of, which is going to irritate me all show given my unfortunate involuntary obsession with symmetry... Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers joined Tenay and West on commentary for the opener, because if we learned anything from WrestleMania 2, it's that celebrities plopped into the announcing position really enhance a show. He only spent a few minutes with them before going to ringside to be the presenter of the belt to a wrestler who's eligible and ready to attempt to hang it to win... Those five did a great job with the format and kept things moving and made the most sense out of the rules they could. There were the usual spots where someone had to climb a ladder slowly to set up being knocked down or chased down, but all five delivered supreme athleticism and creativity...
DANIELS VS. DOUGLAS: We got the obligatory sitting headlock from Daniels that he fits into every match I've seen him in... With Douglas's limitations, there wasn't a lot to this one and too much mat work...
LOVE VS. TARA: Not a long match, but what they did looked good. They'd be candidates to have a longer, more epic title match on PPV to try to put the Knockouts Division back on the map as something more than an undercard T&A show. Tara lost some points for being a wise, experienced wrestler when she left the ring when she had Love down to take shots at Sky and Rayne...
TAYLOR WILDE & ABYSS VS. RAVEN & DAFFNEY -- MONSTER'S BALL: Just a standard garbage match in terms of the tricks and weapons, but well executed and paced overall for that type of match. It ends up coming across as a geek show with all of the thumb tack spots, but at least Abyss didn't land on his own tacks this time and it actually led to his win.
STING VS. MORGAN: West said Morgan deserves credit for getting into Sting's mind and getting him to offer up leadership in the Mafia in this match. Once again, West's job as much as anything seems to be to cover for lousy half-baked booking moves... Not sure what this match accomplished. Sting got a clean win as fans would expect. It confirmed Morgan isn't at Sting's level. So we'll see if there's next chapter in this evolution of Morgan...
TEAM 3D VS. BEER MONEY: West gave Tenay a hard time about raving about seeing Freddie Blassie and The Destroyer wrestle in L.A. after working in Japan the night before, comparing it to Team 3D's globe-trotting. West asked how old Tenay was and later said he probably saw Lou Thesz, too. Tenay said, in fact, he had seen him... It doesn't really work when he touts the work ethic of Team 3D and says while they were wrestling in Japan, Storm and West were drinking beers all night in a bar when you see the huge flabby guts of Devon and Ray compared to a relatively fit and svelte-looking Storm... Why did the ref stop counting when Storm hit Devon from behind when Devon had Roode covered? Devon still had Roode on the mat with his shoulders down, and Roode didn't lift his shoulders despite the illegal interference?...
MAIN EVENT KING OF THE MOUNTAIN: Jeremy Borash is probably the best ring announcer in pro wrestling today... During the ring intros, they showed more of the arena than they had all night, which revealed the extent of the seats that were mostly filled, was about one-third of the lower bowl's sections, as it went black when they spun toward the area behind the hard camera. They had the upper part of the lower decks darkened and all of the upper decks pitch black, and the parts of the lower deck they did show had a lot of visible empty seats... Okay main event in terms of the wrestlers doing what you'd expect in this format...
OTHER THOUGHTS: Shane Douglas showed the promo ability that helped sell tickets and put the original ECW on the map. He seemed to be channelling the late Road Warrior Hawk by the end of his backstage promo... Daffney's batting at Lauren's ponytail like a cat playing with a mouse during Raven's promo was funny. Raven's promo about Abyss was good... With all due respect to Sting's tenure and Kurt Angle's accomplishments in the ring and Mick Foley's national TV exposure and star power, such a small crowd in this major market in a major league arena really does make the case that none of these top stars in this PPV main event are really worth the pay differential they have over some of the other longtime roster members. That goes for "The Founder," too. There's a certain prestige in saying you're running at a major arena in a major market, but when you're resorting to seat fillers in front of the hard camera, it's just not time for it. You're better off bragging about a turnaway crowd at a smaller venue and leaving people wondering how many tickets you could have sold then remove all doubt by having such a poor showing for a major show in a huge arena... Lauren continues to overact. She could tone down her facial expressions and body language by about 80 percent and get her emotions across just fine. Humans have the ability to pick up on the smallest of facial cues, but she's playing to a legally blind man in the back row with her exaggerated reactions to every interview...
Shane Douglas: "The Franchise is a legend in this sport. I set the standard and I knock punks down trying to make a name for themselves, Daniels."
Raven: "I like you, Lauren. I really do. You know why? Because you wear your moral superiority like a cloak of human excrement. No matter how much you try to smile and show a joyous side, your reek of sadness and that turns me on."
Raven on Abyss: "You and I are hopeless addicts of a downward spiral that has nowhere to go except straight to hell."
Don West: "Raven's admitted he's not afraid to die in the ring. That's something that, something that... he just deals with. It doesn't bother him."
Don West: "I'll put that up against any Monster's Ball we've had. I don't care if girls were in it."
Jeff Jarrett: "I have no desire to be TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I have enough responsibility on my plate. But by the same token, if I don't get that title back and get control back of this company, there's no telling what brick wall we're headed into."
Mike Tenay on Beer Money: "They got that 100,000 dollar payday. I know, Don, 50,000 after taxes. I got to it before you said it."
Brutus Magnus making fun of Tenay's make-up: "I don't know if that was a slap on the back of James Storm or the foundation cracking on Mike Tenay's face."
Don West on Jeff Jarrett: "In no way is he lying down for anybody."
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