Thursday, 21 March 2019

PPV REVIEW: TNA Slammiversary 2005

Three years after they sprang into existence and set about looking to fill the void in the pro wrestling landscape left behind by WCW's demise, TNA presented their first Slammiversary pay per view. 

Designed as a celebration of the company's short-lived past, it's exciting present, and what they were surely hoping was a prosperous future, the first Slammiversary would become the start of a TNA/Impact Wrestling tradition, one which would last for the next 16 years.

Yes, despite countless rumours that they too would eventually go the way of WCW, the company are still alive and kicking today, and to celebrate that fact, they uploaded the first Slammiversary to their YouTube in its entirety.

Does that make it worth your time?

Let's click the play button and find out together.





Remember when...

After a quick signature which told us that TNA was "the new face of pro wrestling," we got a nostalgic look back at the first ever TNA show from 2002, weirdly interspersed with clips of children running through fields and playing in parks.

We also got clips of some of the biggest stars to come through TNA over the past few years, including Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Sting, and Raven.

We also took a look at one time Jeff Jarrett did an angle with Hulk Hogan, years before Hogan would actually join the company properly, followed by highlights of the X-Division and a welcome to the company's third anniversary.

Out in the arena, pyro exploded around the entrance as Mike Tenay welcomed us to the show.

Jeff Jarrett Has Been Arrested

Together with co-announcer Don West, Tenay told us that Jeff Jarrett had been arrested and taken out of the Impact Zone for attacking a "fan."

That meant he would be out of tonight's 'King of the Mountain' match and would be replaced by his arch-rival, Raven.

With that out of the way, it was onto our first match.

Six-Way X-Division Match
Zack Gowan vs. Delirious vs. Jerelle Clark vs. Amazing Red vs. Prime Time Elix Skipper vs. Shark Boy

This one started with the set up of two men in the ring with everyone else needing to tag in before quickly -perhaps inevitably- descending into a six-way free-for-all with bodies flying everywhere.

Though there were some entertaining spots (a nice Infrared by Amazing Red onto the outside for one), the whole thing felt very rushed. It just wasn't given enough time for anything to mean anything, so you just got one spot after another with very little rhyme or reason.

What made this worse was the commentary from Tenay and West.

I've always loved Mike Tenay's commentary and never thought I'd have reason to criticise him, but here, he and West oversold everything. At one point, we had the usual "everyone takes turns diving to the outside" spot, and the announcers sold it like we'd just seen Undertaker throw Mankind from the top of Hell in a Cell.

It kind of took you out of the moment and made you think - if they're getting this excited over some -admittedly cool- X-Division spots, how are we supposed to take them seriously if something really huge happens like a world title change?

It's as if every spot was treated as the most amazing thing ever which, in a sense, made nothing the most amazing thing ever.

Anyway, after a short and disappointing match, Shark Boy hit Delirious with a Deep Sea Drop to pick up the three count.
Your Winner: Shark Boy 

Out in the back, Abyss hung around in the dark with some big steel chains, getting himself more and angrier and eventually punching his hand through a mirror while Tenay told us that The Monster would be in tonight's main event.

Alex Shelley Confronts The Shocker

Out in the back, Shane Douglas was happy to have found gainful employment as TNA's backstage correspondent. Here, he interviewed The Shocker, who in terribly bad English, told us that he was the best cruiserweight in the world.

His opponent for tonight, Alex Shelley, strongly disputed this. Shelley arrived on the scene to interrupt the promo and tell Shocker that he wasn't the only hybrid wrestler in the company.

"I can do your lucha libre, your catch-as-catch-can, your American pro wrestling, your Japanese strong-style, even MMA" said Shelley, after which he stormed off, leaving Shocker to rant at him in Spanish.

The whole thing was cringe-worthily awful. Shocker lacked the confidence to cut a compelling promo in English, and, even though he didn't have a language barrier to deal with, Shelley wasn't much better.

Alex Shelley vs. Shocker 

Thankfully, both men were better wrestlers than they were talkers, which I suppose is all that really matters.

Given plenty of time to play with, the two put on a good match that may have been better if they'd manage to get more than four guys on the front row interested in what they were doing.

Despite the lack of crowd reaction, the two worked very well together, blending lucha libre with European submission style to create something that was enjoyable from start to finish.

Despite dominating for a bulk of the match, Shelley fell prey to a roll-up and lost the match to his Mexican opponent.
Your Winner: Shocker 

Next, Tenay took us to a look at the fifth most memorable moment in TNA's short, three-year history, as voted for by the fans on the company's website.

That moment happened to be the time AJ Styles beat Jeff Jarett to win his first NWA World Championship.

Trouble with the 3 Live Kru

Out in the back, Shane Douglas asked 3 Live Kru about their recent issues.

BG James took the mic and told Ron Killings and Konnan that despite whatever issues they might have had, he was 3 Live Kru through and through and could absolutely be trusted.

Though K-Dog and Truth were sceptical, they eventually agreed to bump fists with the former Road Dogg.

Confusingly, it was only after this promo that we were shown what the issue actually was:

The Outlaw (Billy Gunn) had come into the promotion and James' current partners suspected that his loyalties lay more with his former New Age Outlaws teammate than with them.

I know I'm nitpicking, but it would have made much more sense to tell us what the issue was before going to the promo.

The Outlaw vs.  Ron 'The Truth' Killings

Looking to settle things once and for all, Ron Killings represented his team in a fairly average match against the Outlaw which could have been better had Killings been given more time to show off his offence.

While most of us today think of R-Truth as little more than WWE's resident comedian, there were times in this match when he showed us that he's more than capable of doing some really impressive stuff between the ropes.

Not that it was any of that offence which actually won him the match. After taking a beating at the hands of his opponent, Killing's reversed Outlaw's finisher (cobra clutch slam) and got a roll-up for the win.
Your Winner: Ron Killings

Post-match, Outlaw continued to beat down on Killings until BG James ran out and took the chair from him. Outlaw offered his former partner a free shot, but James was hesitant to strike.

Eventually, Konnan ran in and saw off Outlaw, arguing with James as he and Truth left the ring.

TNA's Greatest Moment Number 4

Continuing our fan-voted look at the company's best bits, we went to January 2003 and the debut of Raven.

Team Canada are Pumped Up

Backstage, Shane Douglas interviewed Team Canada about their ongoing rivalry with Lance Hoyt and The Naturals. Bobby Roode was particularly impressive on the microphone, as was Scott D'Moore, at first.

Indeed, the whole thing was shaping up to be the best segment on the show so far (including matches) until D'Moore likened himself to Hitler and Mussolini and tried to make it sound like a good thing.

This led us to a video package highlighting Team Canada and their rivalry with The Naturals.

Again, it probably would have been better to show us all of this *before* getting the wrestlers' comments on it.

NWA World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) vs. Team Canada (Eric Young & Petey Williams w/ Scott D'Moore and Alistair 'A-1' Ralphs)

By far the best match on the card so far, this one saw all four men deliver a compelling performance way beyond their relatively limited experience.

This one had it all: Exciting action in the early going leading to the drama and agony of seeing Chase Stevens isolated from his partner and outnumbered by Team Canada and, of course, a dramatic finish.

Throughout this whole tag-team title section of the show, the announcers had been speculating on a mystery mentor and "spiritual advisor" that The Naturals had mentioned.

At the culmination of this brilliant match, that mentor revealed himself to be none other than Jimmy Hart, who tossed Andy Douglas his famous mega phone to use as the match-winning weapon.
Your Winners and still NWA tag team champions: The Naturals. 

man, that was fun.

Up next, we were told that the fans had voted for that 2005's Lock Down cage match as the third greatest moment in TNA history.

Sean Waltman is Ready for the Main Event

Drug addiction isn't funny, so I'm just going to pretend that Sean Waltman had just woken up from a nap as that's about the best way to describe his dopey manner and appearance in this backstage segment.

Interviewed by Shane Douglas, Waltman sort of drowsily fumbled his way through a bland promo in which he said that despite being a good backstage politician, the real reason he was in the title match tonight was that he deserved it.

I'm a big fan of Waltman's, but he did not look good here.

Sonjay Dutt vs. Samoa Joe 

Making his TNA debut, it would have been easy for Samoa Joe to simply toss Sonjay Dutt around like a ragdoll and be done with him.

It would have made sense too. Joe was built by the announcers as a really, really big deal, so having him simply squash his opponent wouldn't have been out of place.

Instead, while The Samoan Submission Machine certainly dominated, this was more of a competitive match than an outright squash, with Dutt looking pretty impressive in his own right.

Still, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

After a couple of minutes full of enjoyable action, Joe hit the Muscle Buster, applied a Rear Naked Choke and made Sonjay tap.
Your Winner: Samoa Joe

Cutting to the announce table, Tenay and West told us about some of TNA's upcoming PPVs, including the big Bound For Glory in October which West likened to the Super Bowl.

Quote the Raven, NWA-TNA Champion...

Somewhere in the bowels of the building, Raven cut a mesmerising promo in which he described himself as a "human cancer" and declared that he'd rather hug a suicide bomber than be in his opponents' shoes tonight.

Why? Because tonight, said Raven, he was going to fulfil his destiny of becoming the NWA Kingpin. Quote the raven...NWA-TNA Champion...Never More

Bobby Roode (w/ Scott D'More) vs. Lance Hoyt 

I'm a big fan of Bobby Roode and honestly think he could be used better in WWE, but even I have to admit that this wasn't his finest moment.

Though there was nothing particularly terrible about his short match with Lance Hoyt, there was something off about it which made it almost a chore to watch.

Towards the finish, Hoyt looked to have things under control and set up Roode for a big boot. However, the two spent so long in the set-up that it was blatantly obvious the move wouldn't pay off. Predictably, D'More grabbed Hoyt's foot, Roode attacked and got the three count.
Your Winner: Bobby Roode

Afterwards, Roode continued to attack while D'More cheered him on, yet when D'More took his shirt off and went for a top-rope moonsault, Hoyt moved out of the way and mounted a comeback, hitting D'More with a moonsault of his own.

Team Canada ran out along with some EMTs who stretchered D'More to the back while the crowd sang 'na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye."

The whole post-match stuff was more interesting than anything in the actual match.

TNA's Greatest Moments: Number 2 

The TNA debut of Jeff Hardy in 2004.

America's Most Wanted Can't Get Along

Up next, we were shown a video package which highlighted the ongoing arguments between America's Most Wanted partners Cowboy James Storm and Wildcat Chris Harris. The two had been squabbling among themselves while simultaneously feuding with 3 Live Kru who also couldn't get along because of the whole Outlaw/BG James stuff.

America's Most Wanted (Wildcat Chris Harris & Cowboy James Storm) vs. 3 Live Kru (Konnan & BG James)

Despite some early miscues, Harris and Storm were able to get on the same page as they took the fight to their more experienced opponents in a decent, though unremarkable, match.

After a fairly average back-and-forth between both teams, The Outlaw ran in and immediately got into it with Konnan. That left James at the mercy of AMW, who quickly put him away for the pin.
Your Winners: America's Most Wanted

Afterwards, BG refused to accept Konnan's apology for leaving him high and dry, and simply stormed off through the crowd.

TNA's Greatest Moment Ever

As voted for by the fans, TNA's greatest moment was shown to be the time Elix Skipper walked across the top of the cage back in 2004. Deservedly so too, that was insane.

This quick clip was followed by a look at the rivalry between X-Division Champion Christopher Daniels, Michael Shane, and Chris Sabin. The three would meet next.

X-Division Championship
TNA X-Division 'The Fallen Angel' Champion Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Shane (w/ Traci Brooks) vs. Chris Sabin (w/ Trinity) 

Fought under elimination rules, this triple threat match was every bit as good as you might expect it to be.

Though not exactly a classic for the ages, it was certainly a very, very good X-Division match.

Towards the half-way point, Shelley had the choice to either finish off Michael Shane or rescue Trinity from the evil clutches of Christopher Daniels. He chose to eliminate Shane from the competition, prompting Daniels to hit Trinity with Angels Wings.

Poor Trinity was then helped backstage and that was the last we'd see of her on tonight's show which was a shame because, well, she looked smoking hot.

Anyway, that left it down to just Sabin and Daniels, both of whom gave us a very solid effort before The Fallen Angel picked up the three count.
Your Winner and Still X-Division Champion: Christopher Daniels 

Out in the back, Shane Douglas interviewed The Alpha Male Monty Brown about his participation in the upcoming King of the Mountain match.

Weirdly charismatic, Monty called all of his opponents 'Omega males' and promised to demolish them in our main event.

Speaking of which...

NWA World Heavyweight Championship King of the Moutain Match
NWA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs. Abyss vs. The Alpha Male Monty Brown vs. Raven vs. Sean Waltman 

If you've never seen a King of the Mountain match before, it's essentially a reverse-ladder match in that, instead of using the ladder to retrieve the title belt, you use it to go hang the belt up.

Oh, but in order to be eligible to hang the belt, you first have to pin somebody or make them submit, and the person you pin or submit then has to go spend two minutes in a "penalty  box."

Though it sounds like a silly idea that is way more complicated than it needs to be, this actually turned into a very fun main event.

A wild, out of control brawl in the best possible sense of the word, this one just had all five men destroying each other.

Highlights included Waltman hitting the X-Factor on Style from atop the ladder, and Styles himself hitting a top-rope Spiral Tap to Abyss, who was lying prone on a table outside of the ring.

Still, despite such big-time offence, this wasn't to be the champion's night.

Battered and bloodied, Raven eventually scaled the ladder, hung the title, and became our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Champion: Raven

Post-match, Raven basically meandered around the ringside area with his new title belt, looking genuinely moved to have won.




And so that was that. 

While TNA Slammiversary 2005 wasn't the worse show ever, it was far from the best either. 

If you're a fan of the company's X-Division style then you'll find a lot to like here. Between the X-Division title match, the tag team title match and the Shelley/Shocker outing, TNA gave us lots of quality action. 

Not that the main event was a letdown. Despite being more of a hardcore-style match (at one point, Waltman went around stapling people's balls) than a cruiserweight or technical wrestling classic, it was a fun match and the perfect way to end the show. 

For as long as TNA have this on YouTube it's worth watching, just don't expect the greatest show of all time or anything. 




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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.