The Greek God of Wrestling truly intended to do a Slammiversary preview. But it seems obvious that TNA cares more about “Bell to Bell,” its free offering Wednesday on Destination America, a network that has announced it is canceling Impact Wrestling, than about Sunday’s pay-per-view.
Why should I feature Slammiversary in Heel Turns when TNA doesn’t seem to care about it?
What makes me think TNA cares much more about Bell to Bell than Slammiversary?
There aren’t any title matches during Slammiversary. Bell to Bell features Kurt Angle defending TNA’s World Championship against Ethan Carter III and the final of the best-of-five series for the tag team championship between Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards and the team of Bobby Roode and Austin Aries.
In fact, Richards meets Aries at Slammiversary, with the winner choosing the stipulation for the final match in the best-of-five tag team championship series – a match that already took place.
Yes, you read that correctly. TNA is having a match at Slammiversary to determine the stipulation for a match that was already taped.
Don’t worry. Achilles Heel detests spoilers. I won’t give away the stipulation (or some other spoilers later on in this column). But the logic of TNA – even with all the extenuating circumstances surrounding their television product – defies belief.
TNA didn’t even bother to announce nearly half the Slammiversary card until a few days before the event. The participants in Slammiversary’s main event, a King of the Mountain match, weren’t announced until Thursday, the day after Impact Wrestling aired.
As a service to TNA, the Greek God of Wrestling is letting his legions of readers know that Matt Hardy, Eric Young, Roode and the seemingly forgotten Drew Galloway will join the returning Jeff Jarrett in the King of the Mountain match.
Jarrett’s return on Impact Wrestling this past week was a huge surprise. Jarrett owns Global Force Wrestling, which, in some ways, is trying to compete with TNA. His speech about why he was appearing in TNA was excellent television. Instead of capitalizing on it, however, TNA didn’t give fans any reason for the other wrestlers’ appearance in King of the Mountain.
Furthermore, TNA didn’t even bother to explain the rules for King of the Mountain, although that might be a good thing. The rules for King of the Mountain are so convoluted – they involve a belt hanging above the ring, a ladder, penalty boxes – that explaining the rules might cause people to not watch Slammiversary.
By the way, which belt will be hanging above the ring? There isn’t a championship on the line. At least TNA hasn’t informed us there will be a title on the line. In TNA, that could always change between now and the start of the match.
Other matches thrown together at the last minute include Bobby Lashley and Mr. Anderson batting Carter and Tyrus, and the returning Matt Morgan facing Bram in an angle set up Wednesday during Impact. In matches announced earlier, James Storm meets Magnus in a grudge match, Aries takes on Richards, Kong and Brooke square off with The Dollhouse in a handicapped match, and former partners Jessie Godderz and Robbie E try to settle their differences. Achilles Heel can’t help pointing out that Robbie E beat Godderz three times in six minutes a few weeks ago, so why would fans want to pay to see them wrestle again on pay-per-view?
Adding to TNA’s mess is that more than a few featured wrestlers, including those involved in Slammiversary and Bell to Bell, are leaving TNA this week. Achilles Heel won’t give you the names because some – but not all – of their departures might be part of a storyline with Global Force Wrestling. More importantly, I don’t want to give away spoilers for Slammiversary or Bell to Bell.
Bottom line: TNA is falling apart.
SMACKDOWN IN HERSHEY: WWE will be taping Smackdown on Tuesday in Hershey. Don’t forget WWE will be at Wells Fargo Center on July 10 for a house show.
WWE IN TOKYO: The card has been set for WWE’s July 4th card from Tokyo, which will be available on WWE Network. Finn Balor challenges Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. Given that WWE has produced a special on Balor and that Owens has moved to WWE’s main roster, expect Balor to win the title.
Other matches include John Cena and Dolph Ziggler teaming up to battle Kane and King Barrett, Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston, and Neville vs. Chris Jericho. There will also be a triple threat match for the Divas Championship, with Nikki Bella defending against Naomi and Paige. Cesaro will square off with Diego (of Los Matadors) and The Lucha Dragons will meet The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods.
OWENS COMING TO VOORHEES: Kevin Owens will appear at the Adventureland Store in the Vorhees Town Center on Sat., July 11. Tickets are required for autographs and photographs.
NO FUTURE: When Charlie Manuel was fired by the Phillies, the Greek God of Wrestling said Manuel would be perfectly suited to be a pro wrestling manager. The same can’t be said of Ryne Sandberg, who resigned as Phillies manager Friday. If he is considering trying to become a professional wrestling manager, the bland Sandberg should re-evaluate that decision as he looks toward his future.
CHIKARA CORRECTION: Achilles Heel rarely makes a mistake. When he does, though, he owns up to it. In the last edition of Heel Turns, I wrote that CHIKARA was going to be in Connecticut and Providence, R.I., this past Thursday and Friday. Upon closer inspection, CHIKARA will be appearing at those locations on July 25-26, which I – actually, one of my assistants – mistakenly read as June 25-26.
PICKING THEIR SPOTS: The Greek God of Wrestling wanted to watch a few episodes of Ring of Honor’s program on Destintion America before rendering a judgment. The jury is still out, but, while the crowd often chants “This is awesome,” I find too many of the matches to be spotfests.
The product is good, but the psychology is sometimes lacking. Earlier this month, I wrote about watching an old tag team match in which Tony Garea got a huge fan reaction by ducking a punch from Jimmy Valiant, who went sailing over the top rope. On a recent interview with Paul Heyman on WWE Network, Stone Cold Steve Austin bemoaned the DDT becoming a transitional move, often with the recipient barely selling the move moments after kicking out of the pinfall attempt.
That’s my one reservation with Ring of Honor. Matches should build to big spots. It shouldn’t be packed wall-to-wall with big spots. Too many big spots without proper setups cause fans to react less and less to big spots in future matches.