Christian Cage is pretty sure his opponent is Sharkboy. IS HE RIGHT?
The Steiner Brothers & Damaja & Basham vs. VKM & Team 3D: This is Rick Steiner's first match in I don't know how long. He looks fine. He's wearing a shirt and full-length tights (and that headgear!). This match has 6 grizzled veterans and 2 up-and-comers -- surprisingly, the up-and-comers win! Well -- first, Kip James fights off BOTH Basham and Damaja (the others are brawling on the outside), including getting a "moral victory pin" while the ref is distracted, but then Christie Hemme sprays something in Kip's face (hairspray, maybe?) and Basham rolls him up for the actual pin.
The purpose of that match was to hype two Slammiversary matches: 3D vs Steiner Brothers and VKM vs. B&D. The former almost certainly isn't going to happen due to Scott Steiner's injury, but the TNA website is still promoting it -- maybe they know something I don't (either Scott has Wolverine's healing ability, or there's a third Steiner Brother who'll step in). It's too bad, because that match is one of the only two selling points of this PPV. The latter match is almost certainly going to be not very good, and will also piss me off when VKM puts away B&D with ease.
Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles are all in Jim Cornette's office, complaining loudly. Cornette's had enough -- he makes a 6-man tag match for tonight -- Joe, Angle, and Styles against Rhino, Tomko, and Sting -- the three men that lost a chance to be in the King of the Mountain match. Furthermore, if any of those three pin any of the three that are in the KotM match, the pinner will take the pinee's place in that match!
Samoa Joe, AJ Styles & Kurt Angle vs. Sting, Rhino & Tomko: Actually -- Tomko doesn't show up! Someone beat him up in back -- Don West and Mike Tenay wonder if it was Christian Cage, wanting to keep Tomko out of the KotM match.
There's a nice spot where Angle goes for a tag and Samoa Joe reaches out -- then pulls back and brushes his hair. It's an interesting dynamic, because the "in" team doesn't care if someone else on their team gets pinned, just so long as they don't get pinned.
Sting forearms Joe on the apron, pissing him off enough that he comes in to help Angle out. Styles is brawling with Rhino on the outside, meaning that there is no one for the outnumbered Sting to tag. Wait, here comes Christopher Daniels! He jumps on the apron and extends his hand -- in desperation, Sting makes the tag! Daniels comes in and -- gives Sting the Last Rites! Angle covers and that's it. Joe seems pissed off that Angle got the pin -- geez, Joe, maybe if you had accepted the tag you could've gotten the pin.
In the back, Sonjay Dutt, Kevin Nash, and Jay Lethal are meditating. Dutt is in a crisp white Nehru jacket -- in his new "Guru" gimmick -- and Lethal is still "Black Machismo." Dutt says that this is all about Lethal defeating Sabin and getting the title. They are sitting on the floor, in a circle, holding hands.
Dutt: "Love him like a man. Love him like a human. Love him the way I love you, Jay, and you will have that X Division title."
Nash: "You know what they say: no one knows what a man wants...quite like another man."
Lethal: "I don't understand where this is going."
Heh heh. Lethal is not the only one.
Christian Cage vs. Abyss: Abyss returns! Cage is not happy -- he gets less happy as Abyss totally manhandles him. They brawl in the crowd for awhile before getting in the ring. Cage tries a few things, but Abyss shakes them off and Vadersplashes Cage. They counter each other a few times -- Shock Treatment to Unprettier to Shock Treatment -- but finally Abyss hits a chokeslam. 1, 2 -- no! Tomko is out -- we aren't sure why, due to the earlier speculation that Cage is the one who took Tomko out (clever!) -- but he Big Boots Abyss upside the head. Don West says that this confirms that it was Abyss that took out Tomko earlier, as revenge for Tomko participating in the beatdown that put Abyss on the shelf. Christian hits a frog splash for good measure -- but still only gets 2.
AJ Styles is out and slides a chair to Cage -- Abyss takes it away from him -- Rudy Charles pleads with Abyss not to use it, but Abyss cracks Cage with it anyway, getting a DQ for it. Abyss then takes out Rudy Charles with the chair as well!
Abyss grabs his bag of thumbtacks out form under the ring! Security runs in and confronts Abyss one at a time -- they each get a punch in the head and they all fall out of the ring. Here's TNA management -- Terry Taylor and Pat Kenney (Simon Diamond) -- punches for them, too. Abyss pours out the bag -- it's not tacks, it's SHARDS OF BROKEN GLASS!
He's going to chokeslam Cage into the glass -- no, Tomko and Styles are in. Cage grabs a barbwire bat from under the ring -- Abyss fights off all three of them and they flee. Tomko is held back by the other two, so I'm assuming he's going to have a feud with Abyss, or maybe even a match at Slammiversary.
Another good, straightforward show, with two matches centered around trying to get a chance at the title -- nicely done. Abyss' return I think was intended to be a blow-the-doors-off Steve Austin-style triumph, but came off curiously bloodless (metaphorically, not literally. But also literally) -- the crowd didn't seem too into it.
Slammiversary has a really unimpressive card, especially for the Fifth Anniversary show. The shows leading up to it have been the best Impacts for a while, but did the focus on the King of the Mountain match hurt the rest of the card?
Last 5 movies seen: Beowulf & Grendel *** - Breach ***1/2 - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner *** - Whole *** - Off Screen **1/2
The continued promotion of the Steiners/3D match REALLY sticks in my craw. It's bush-league, and it isn't gonna help the perception that TNA fails to deliver what it promises. That match is a pretty big selling point for Sunday, and I can only imagine how pissed off the people that buy Slammiversary for that match are gonna be.
To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires, and lights, in a box.-Edward R. Murrow
I thought it was another solid show although I would have preferred that Tomko was in the six man match and then he and Styles could've tried to worked together to try and get Tomko in the King of the Mountain match.
Not sure if they mentioned it on the show but Ron Killings will actually return on the PPV on James Storm's side of the Frank Wychek match. Jerry Lynn will be on Wychek's side.
Oh yeah that's the stuff. Right up until the last second. I could go for a Bryan/Cena/Orton triple threat as the Rumble title match, even if it doesn't seem like there's time left in the Mania calendar for Bryan to fit a reign in.