25 June 2017

Pros and Cons of Slammiversary 15

Let me talk to ya.  I've decided to buy the Slammiversary Pay-Per-View on Sunday.  That's right, I will actually purchase the event with my cable provider and dish out the 50 bones.  Some modern day wrestling fans would probably consider that very old school and scoff at the notion but that's just how I do things.  I know a lot of you also purchase the PPV's and I'm not judging those of you that stream it instead or cannot afford to pay for it.  I'm not putting myself on a pedestal by any means.  I also totally understand if you haven't been persuaded by Impact Wrestling to buy this show because it's not exactly the most exciting card I've ever seen.  However, I can afford it, and the good slightly outweighs the bad in my opinion.  I do not automatically buy every Impact Wrestling PPV but I have not missed one for several years now.  Since there have only been 2 or 3 per year for quite some time, I usually can be persuaded to spend my money and support the company in this way.  The decision this particular time to do so was delayed because I wasn't sure where the direction of Slammiversary was headed.  Also, I had some potential plans fall through for the holiday weekend here in the U.S. so there was a legit chance that I could've missed Slammiversay LIVE, and that would have been just fine.  Things worked out though and I hope to make the best of it as we celebrate TNA/Impact Wrestling's 15th year anniversary together.  So let's break down the pros and cons of this thing. 

The Slammiversary matches announced (as of this writing) are fairly hit and miss.  The World Title match between Lashley and Patron is being billed as a unification match but you wouldn't necessarily know that because there has been very little explanation so far of a new Impact World Championship belt, so maybe it isn't ready yet?  Who knows?  Maybe the winner just carries around both belts for a while?  I don't get it.  Did I miss something with these unification matches?   This main event match should be great given their prior work when Patron debuted.  Rosemary Vs Sienna is also a unification match (and this KnockOuts fight should also be impressive) but I'm not sure what that will end up meaning for the winner either.  LAX have already been walking around with both Tag belts.  Will those also be unified soon?  Why have they been so coy and vague about this unification stuff?  The idea of the GFW belts being unified with the TNA belts really doesn't even mean that much as Global Force Wrestling was basically a failure of a company for the most part.  I get it that the Jarretts have a lot of pride and most likely negotiated that GFW would have this kind of recognition and subsequent exposure on Impact.  Hopefully this unification thing also signifies a completed closure at Slammiversary for GFW as an entity.  Just get it over with already.  I really don't want to see any GFW belts after the PPV.  If the TNA name is being forced out, then why in the hell would the GFW name be allowed to continue on?  If Impact Wrestling is the designated name, then fully commit to that being the branding in all facets. 

The Steiner/Mathews Vs Borash/Park match could either be very entertaining or it could be a complete disaster.  What is Steiner currently like physically underneath that leather jacket?  I know he's pretty tatted up now, but have his muscles deflated like a balloon?  Can he still wrestle well enough to carry the other participants?  Lots of unknowns here.  The DeAngelo Williams/Moose Vs Eli and Adonis match is also a wild card.  It may get some mainstream attention if Moose's promise on social media holds true regarding the potential in-ring performance of Williams.  That's really going out on a limb though because an NFL player doing some training for a month or so is much different than wrestling for the first time in a real match on a live pay-per-view.  I hope they pull it off but I'm not going to set my expectations high on this one either.  (God, I yearn for the day when Eli is on his own again and being that main event player that he is destined to be.)  So those are two "loose cannon" type of matches.  If they're both busts, it will put a bit of a damper on things.  The EC3 Vs Storm strap match has some potential and should exude some enjoyable old school brutality.  Eddie/Alisha Vs Davey/Angelina in Full Metal Mayhem could be pretty good but they've already done similar matches and spots recently so I'm not sure how they'd top what has already happened in this feud but we'll see.  So after the Ultimate X match several weeks ago, Dutch alluded to an even better match happening at Slammiversary.  Apparently that meant a 2 out of 3 falls match between Sonjay and Low-Ki... and while this bout should be fine, it's probably not going to wow anyone like other types of X-Division matches could have.  I assume Low-Ki will take back the strap now that Sonjay has had his special moment (well deserved, mind you) in India.  I could be wrong but this card doesn't necessarily scream "HUGE 15th YEAR CELEBRATION!" to me.     

There are some cool things happening outside of the actual match-ups that have helped sell this PPV.  There is the Impact Hall Of Fame announcement which they've always done a good job of keeping secret before it comes to light at Slammiversary.  This will be the first year that Dixie Carter doesn't make the announcement, so I assume that Jeff Jarrett will finally appear on camera.  If it's Bruce Prichard making the announcement then someone calling the shots has lost their damn mind.  Prichard does not represent Impact at all.  He's there for a paycheck and to promote his podcast.  He has very little history with the company and the few years of it that he does have, well, they've not exactly been positive.  Please do not let Prichard make the announcement.  I'm begging ya.  On the other end of the spectrum, Don West becoming more involved is awesome.  When he initially came back into the fold to beef up the Shop Impact sales and move some merchandise with his salesman wizardry, it made many fans (including myself) very happy.  Now that he's confirmed to be on the broadcast team for Slammiversary, that fact alone nearly sold me on buying the PPV.  It's been so many years (over eight) since we've heard the excitable and boisterous tones of Don West on any show.  He will add a lot to the overall spectacle, mark my words.  He's truly one of a kind.  I was hopeful that Tenay would accompany him but it doesn't appear meant to be at this point since Robert Flores was announced for the play-by-play role.  The esteemed father of Alberto El Patron, Dos Caras, appearing at Slammiversary and being in Patron's corner is very appropriate.  There are also rumors that Patron's brother, El Hijo de Dos Caras, will also be involved somehow.  Also, word is that Shaquille O'Neal may appear on the PPV and will end up being the person that Jarrett has hinted at on Twitter.  I'm not sure if this actually ends up happening, but if it does, I hope they didn't have to pay him a huge sum of money.  It seems as though they are really going for some mainstream exposure with #Slamm15 but at what cost?  We're all looking forward to seeing which other Japanese and Mexican wrestlers end up in matches on July 2nd.     
To me, this is a make or break type of PPV in order to keep momentum going.  Live shows are not always Impact's forte, as has been proven in the past, but I will try to remain optimistic for the time being.  There are more unpredictable factors than usual when it comes to this event, so I hope it all comes together and creates the proper type of buzz that they could really use right now.  The U.S. TV ratings have experienced a nice, steady climb in recent weeks so a high quality Slammiversary could go a long ways to help continue that trend.  I'm sure some people will read this column and accuse me of being too negative, which is fine.  I am simply being a realist.  I will never be that fan boy who applauds every single thing that happens with Impact Wrestling, no matter what they do.  How would we ever provide good feedback for the company if everything that happens is described as "GREAT!" and "AMAZING!" regardless of what direction things go in?  If something sucks or I don't like something that happens, I'm going to be honest about it.  We don't work for the company, but we sure as hell spend money on buying shows, merchandise, tickets, and we devote a lot of time and effort to be engaged in the product.  Many fans come and go but we represent the loyal, hardcore TNA/Impact Wrestling fans that have stuck with them through thick and thin.  We will remain TNAMecca because we refuse to erase fourteen years of prior history at the drop of a hat.  I genuinely hope that Slammiversary 15 is a rousing success and I wish nothing but the best for Impact Wrestling moving forward.         

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