Friday, August 19, 2022

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Slammiversary in Review: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


For a company that always seems to have a dark cloud floating around them, with periodical reports of it nearly closing their doors, TNA has pulled through with their annual Slammiversary PPV for another year. For their twelfth edition of Slammiversary, two Knockouts matches would grace the card. One would be a Knockouts title match featuring two fresh and rising stars in Jade and Sienna. The other was a heavy built feud between cornerstone Knockout Gail Kim and visionary leader of the Knockouts division Maria Kanellis. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we would only have one Knockouts match played out by the end of the night.

Slammiversary opens their PPV with their roster joined at the entrance for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the horrific acts that happened in Orlando over the weekend. Stay strong Orlando, we here at Diva Dirt also send our thoughts and prayers to everyone going through these very tragic events.

As the show progresses, we enter to our featured Knockouts match of the night. TNA produces a very well put together video packaged highlighting the feud between Maria and Gail. More of that TNA, please!

Following the hype video, Gail makes her entrance, sporting a bandage over her left knee after being attacked by Maria and her followers during Tuesday’s episode of Impact. For her part, Maria makes her entrance with a cast over her broken hand. Allie is by Maria’s side but is greeted with boos from the Impact Zone.

Mic in hand, Allie turns her attention to Gail, telling her she should be ashamed. Ashamed for faking an injury, all while Maria’s injury is real. Irony? Maria takes her turn to address Gail and assures that she didn’t want to be injured, she wanted to compete.

Gail takes her turn on the mic and begins with Allie, telling her to shut her mouth as her issues are with Maria. Gail then calls Maria a liar for trying to get out of another match yet again. Unlike before, Maria has proof of her injuries as well as the support of not so cool TNA executive Billy Corgan.

Corgan would come out to officially call off the Gail versus Maria match and instead surprise us all by inserting Gail in the already scheduled Knockouts title match between Sienna and Jade. A sense of fear suddenly rushed through me.

With a new competitor now in place, the Knockouts title match is set to begin. Challenger number two Sienna makes her entrance while the champion is last to enter the six sided ring. At the sound of the bell, Jade and Gail quickly corner Sienna with a fury of forearms. Through some more teamwork, Jade and Gail deliver power slams, running dropkicks and even an elevated moonsault to Sienna.

Sienna would toughen through her opponents two-on-one attacks and find a way to take them both out by stacking them over her shoulders for a double Samoan drop! Gail and Jade would scramble to the outside of the ring, leading Sienna to go after them. She goes after the champion first, who is resting close by the steel steps. Sienna grabs Jade and tries to replay her actions from weeks ago of swinging Jade’s head to the steps.

Gail makes the save with a strike to the head of Sienna, allowing Jade to counter and escape Sienna’s grasp. Gail and Jade exchange kicks that simultaneously take one another down. Soon all three women are scrambling to get back in the ring. When the three do reenter the ring, Gail is immediately tossed back out thanks to Sienna.

Jade runs the ropes and hits Sienna with a beautiful springboard DDT, quickly going for the pin. The three count isn’t reached as Gail would rush back inside to break up the pin. This would ope up to a chain of offense: Gail hitting Jade with a top rope hurricanrana, Sienna taking down Gail with a forceful clothesline and Jade then climbing the top rope to hit Sienna with a huhrricanrana of her own!

The champion then sets Sienna up for the packaged piledriver but Sienna counters to hit her AK47 cutter. Before Sienna can make a pin cover to Jade, Gail hits Sienna with an Eat Defeat and goes for the pin, nearly winning the Knockouts title for the sixth time had Allie not interfered by pulling Gail off Sienna.

Gail strikes Allie and then turns her attention to Maria, where the two get physical. With Gail focused on Maria, Allie tries to aid Sienna in the match by tossing the Knockouts title in the ring to use as a weapon. Before Sienna can deliver on the dirty play, a returning Marti Bell would emerge from the crowd and strike the back of her former DFF with a crowbar. Sienna makes the most of this surprise twist by pinning Jade for the three count to steal the win and Knockouts title!

After a small celebration, live Facebook interviewer McKenzie Mitchell tries to hold an interview with the new Knockouts Champion but is interrupted by Allie, who conducts the interview herself. Sienna goes on to say she got to where she is because she believed in Maria’s vision for a change in the Knockouts division. Yay for some McKenzie spotlighting!

Other Knockouts making appearances at this year’s Slammiversary are Rosemary and Raquel, who accompany their respective teammate during the TNA Tag Team title match. The Knockouts would get momentarily get physical at one point in the match but in the end, The Decay would defeat The BroMans to retain their tag team titles.

Thoughts: When the news of Maria not being able to compete at Slammiversary first broke, my initial thought was that Allie would step in and take Maria’s place. It was already done on Impact, so I’d figured TNA would have pulled the act a second time.

When Billy Corgan came out to and inserted Gail to the Knockouts title match, my biggest fear was that she would end up with the title and just completely spoil a chance of TNA building up their new stars of Sienna and Jade; something that, in a way, has already been happening. All of TNA’s focus has been around been around the Gail and Maria feud and while I do appreciate the creative drive behind it, it came at the cost of Jade’s reign as Knockouts Champion.

Aside from having a such a short reign as champion, Jade just never had the chance to really shine as champion nor to really defend her title aside from one forgettable title defense. She was treated as an after thought, sidelined on Impact for weeks in favor of Maria and Gail. I would have liked to see TNA make the most of a new star after taking away the Dollhouse gimmick, turning Jade face with the crowd really warming up to her.

I do have some concern with Sienna winning the title in such a short period after her TNA debut. Yes she has been as a force by Maria’s side but what else is there to be invested in? How will this effect her relationship with Maria? Will we see Sienna have a fair run with the title or a smilier situation when Maria demanded that Jade hand over the title to when she won it?

I won’t be completely negative on the title switch, as there were positives from Slammiversary. I absolutely loved this triple threat match and there was plenty of action from all three competitors throughout the match! The springboard DDT, the double Samoan Drop, the hurricanrana and chain of maneuvers before Marti’s interference.

Everyone shined through their move set, bringing something fun and fresh. There was also various storytelling: Maria and Allie still getting in the way of Gail Kim, Sienna trying to conquer the division by overthrowing Jade as champion and, of course, the surprise return of Marti Bell getting some payback to former pal Jade. Will other former Dollhouse member Rebel be involved in this?

These feuds still have a chance to flourish, despite the murky title switch, and with Impact being “live” this week, almost anything can happen.

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