Sting and TNA World Champion Bully Ray go face-to-face.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Effective opening segment featuring Hulk Hogan, Joseph Park, D'Lo Brown and Television Champion Devon. It wasn't anything special, but it served its purpose in setting up a match between AJ Styles and Kurt Angle at Slammiversary and a match between Joseph Park and D'Lo Brown for later in the evening. If nothing else, this was a standard segment that set the stage for the rest of the show.
Forgettable match with Bobby Roode defeating World Tag Team Champion Chavo Guerrero by disqualification. The match wasn't necessarily bad, but it was far too brief to mean anything. I understand that James Storm interfered to attack Roode after what happened last week, but it draws back to the feud these two already had. I liked how it was reminiscent of when Roode turned on Storm in late 2011, but I do not wish to see them face another at any point in the foreseeable future.
Nice segment featuring Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Mr. Anderson. Everyone played their roles well and gave viewers something to look forward to next week. I doubt Styles ends up joining Aces and Eights, but I continue to be intrigued by his character, regardless. I'm sure Angle vs. Styles at Slammiversary will be the match of the night, but I simply can't get excited about a bout we've seen one too many times in the last five years.
Fine match with Jay Bradley defeating Christian York in a Bound For Glory Series Semi-Final match. York has tremendous potential, but this was not one of his better outings. The same can be said for Bradley, who also failed to impress. Nonetheless, we've seen far worse matches involving Gut Check competitors before, so I'll take this bout for what it was worth. I like the idea of holding a tournament to see which Gut Check contestant qualifies for the Bound For Glory series, as it gives the series more meaning.
Decent match with Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky defeating Gail Kim. We've seen face one another countless times before, so this was nothing out of the ordinary. Sky isn't the best worker in the ring, but she held her own here and Kim mostly carried her to a exceptional match. Here's hoping that Sky's title match with Mickie James next week results in a heel turn for James, as she is in desperate need of a change in character at this point.
Good Triple Threat match with Kenny King successfully retaining his X-Division Championship against Chris Sabin and Petey Williams. As always, all three competitors executed some cool spots, but there was no real excitement to the bout. Williams getting pinned was logical, but the Triple Threat concept continues to grow tiresome. I would much rather see a one-on-one match between King and Sabin for the title at Slammiversary.
Throwaway match with World Tag Team Champion Hernandez defeating Daniels. Similar to Roode vs. Guerrero from earlier in the evening, this bout was mostly meaningless. The action was mediocre and Storm's interference was extremely predictable. I surely hope Storm's mystery partner isn't Chris Harris, who was clearly in no shape to compete the last time he returned to TNA two years ago.
Harmless match with Joseph Park defeating D'Lo Brown. The match wasn't meant to be a five star classic, so I was content with what we got. I enjoy the Park character, but I'm not sure how they're going to be able to manage it with Abyss recently returning. I'm also confused with Brown right now, as he appeared to be gone from the faction as of last week.
Solid segment featuring the contract signing for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at Slammiversary between Bully Ray and Sting . Sting can be a great mic worker when he's motivated, and this was surely one of those times. Ray was excellent as always and really sold me on the additional stipulations for the bout. Sting never challenging for the strap again if he loses is an intriguing twist that has me hoping that this is TNA's way of slowly moving Sting out of the title picture for good.
Overall, a decent show that succeeded in establishing the card for Slammiversary and making each advertised match feel significant. Nothing exciting happened on this show, and there didn't need to be. The taped shows are almost always less important than the live editions, so I'm excited for what else TNA has in store as Slammiversary quickly approaches.