AJ Styles delivers a devastating kick to Kurt Angle.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Solid opening tag team match with Sting and Joseph Park defeating TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray and Television Champion Devon. The in-ring action wasn't really anything to write home about, but it served its purpose in promoting two matches for Sunday's Slammiversary card. It was obvious Abyss wasn't going to enter given the fact that Abyss is Park, but it gave the heels an out for losing here. Furthermore, this was a smart way to kick off the show at their new time slot.
Fine match between Samoa Joe and Garrett Bischoff. Bischoff's pre-match promo with Dixie Carter was surprisingly good. His match with Joe wasn't half bad, but you had to know the interference from Aces and Eights was only inevitable. Even still, their brawl with Joe and Magnus was well done and the announcement of Jeff Hardy returning at Slammiversary was nicely executed.
Nice eight-man tag team match with James Storm, Gunner, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez defeating Bad Influence, Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. It was given a decent amount of time and everyone was able to hit their signature spots. It didn't do much to get me excited about the World Tag Team Championship match on Sunday, but it was a simple and effective set-up for the bout.
Great segment featuring Knockouts Champion Mickie James and Velvet Sky. This was the best mic work we've seen from James in quite awhile, which gives me hope that her pending heel turn will result in a success. Sky also played her role well here while James continued to her heel turn by not aiding Sky. Gail Kim's attack on Sky as well as Terrell's interference was a strange, yet exception set-up for the subsequent match.
Decent match with Chris Sabin and Taryn Terrell defeating X-Division Kenny King and Gail Kim. The match didn't consist of anything truly memorable, but it was successful in furthering both feuds going into Sunday. Sabin pinning King to win the match was a nice touch and teased the possibility of him winning the belt on Sunday. Suicide coming in at the end to pose with the belt was also effective in hyping the upcoming X-Division title match.
Good match with AJ Styles defeating Mr. Anderson by disqualification. While it was well wrestled, it was also rather boring. Not only that, but Angle's interference was uncharacteristic of him, but I guess it makes sense since Styles has attacked him numerous times up to this point. The brawl between the faces and Aces and Eights was clunky, but I did enjoy the final sight of Bully Ray and the feared faction standing tall to close the show.
Overall, a nice show that did an excellent job of hyping every advertised match for the Slammiversary card. Unlike the previous two pay-per-view events, Slammiversary feels worth watching since it's been built as one of the most important events of the year. This edition of Impact Wrestling was also crucial given the fact it was the first show to air in the new time slot, so I thoroughly believe it was successful in that aspect as well.