By Graham "GSM" Matthews
MVP Interrupted TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young
The promos cut by both MVP and Young were good for what they were, but it's difficult to get excited about anyone involved in this stale storyline right now. Young has been a decent champion, but he has felt overshadowed as of late. MVP trying to negotiate with a babyface Young made no sense from a storyline standpoint and made him look incompetent. MVP has been playing his role well, but being the latest heel authority figure in TNA to be obsessed with power does him no favors. If nothing else, this segment established several matches for the remainder of the night.
Bobby Lashley def. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young (Non-title)
How are fans supposed to take Young seriously as champion when he loses to a heel authority figure's lackey within minutes? The match was a glorified squash and I expected to Young to bounce back with the win, but apparently not. Yes, realistically, Lashley would destroy Young, but that's no way to book your world champion. The fact that it was the first in a series of matches doesn't justify it. Young had been booked to be a strong title holder up to this point and its losses like this that hurt his credibility.
Magnus and Bram Addressed Willow
I'm liking Magnus' new direction in that he's "going back to his roots" to become more aggressive, though a lot of it doesn't ring true since nothing in Magnus' TNA history indicates he's ever been aggressive. Nevertheless, I'm glad the storyline has finally gotten to this point and both Magnus and Bram delivered their lines well. However, Willow's involvement in it drags it down because his gimmick is so stupendously stupid. Abyss returning to be in his corner for his match against Magnus at Slammiversary is a nice twist given Magnus' recent history with Abyss, but Magnus and Bram need to move away from Willow as soon as possible.
Knux def. Robbie E
I'm still baffled that TNA opted to put two of its biggest comedic gimmicks together in one feud. The Bro-Mans are extremely obnoxious and The Menagerie are extremely odd, so what incentive to fans have to cheer for either group? I still have yet to form a full opinion on The Menagerie. It's stupid yet unique at the same time, but I simply don't see how much shelf life it actually has. The Menagerie music playing throughout their matches will get annoying after all, though.
Bully Ray Saved Brooke From Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud
It was good to see Brooke back on television after a long absence. I liked that TNA didn't forget its own history and brought back Brooke to comment on Ray, whom she's been in a "relationship" with before. I expected her to turn on Ray in the ring with a low blow, but I'm glad TNA resisted doing that. This segment didn't get me any more excited about the Ray vs. EC3 match at Slammiversary, but it was an effective way of furthering their feud.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young def. Kenny King (Non-title)
It was rather obvious Young was winning this match after losing to Lashley in the opener, but at least they tried to have a good match. As annoying as King has been in recent weeks, he's still a solid worker and gets the job done in the ring. He worked a decent enough match with Young but nothing too spectacular. It probably could have used a few more minutes to feel more memorable.
Gail Kim def. Brittany and Madison Rayne in a Triple Threat No. 1 Contender's Match for the Knockouts Championship
This was certainly one of the better Knockout matches in recent memory. It was given good time and all three of the competitors are more than capable of holding their own in the ring, so that made for a nice match. The Beautiful People interference was unnecessary, but it set up the title match for Slammiversary. Angelina Love has successfully defended her strap against both Rayne and Brittany in the past, so it only made sense for Kim to get the next title shot. It's probably for the best that Rayne and Brittany aren't involved in the title picture right now and I look forward to how their story develops in weeks ahead.
TNA World Heavyweight Champion Eric Young def. MVP by Disqualification (Non-title)
Young played the underdog role well by playing up his storyline arm injury going into this matchup, so it was more of a one-sided attack on Young than it was an actual match. I was afraid they gave away too much of their Slammiversary main event, though that doesn't matter now that it's been confirmed that MVP won't be able to compete at the event due to injury. MVP looked ruthless in his assault, but him getting himself intentionally disqualified defied all logic. The whole reason he set up these series of matches was so he could pick the stipulation, so why throw that away? Young also choosing the Steel Cage stipulation was asinine given that we've seen so many times that the steel structure doesn't prevent interference. If anything, it encourages it.
TNA has done such a piss-poor job of promoting their Slammiversary pay-per-view that this show wasn't going to do anything to peak my interest. None of the matches on the card are particularly intriguing, though I'm actually in favor of the main event being changed to what it is now (the winner of the Joe/Lashley and Aries/King matches will advance to compete for the TNA title). There are some matches on the card that weren't even hyped on this episode, which was bizarre. The best news coming out of this show was that it was the last in a long set of tapings, arguably the worst in years. Slammiversary has proven to be the turning point for TNA in the past, but we'll see if history will repeat itself Sunday.