When TNA Wrestling announced that Slammiversary XI was going to be in Boston, I literally jumped up in joy! Boston is only two hours away from where I live in Connecticut, so I just had to go.
With four friends and my father, our tickets were bought the day they went on sale. We waited in suspense for the day to finally come, and as soon as June 2 hit, our excitement level was through the roof.
I had previously been to Bound for Glory in 2011, so I had high expectations for this event. As I waited outside the Agganis Arena at the Boston University with my group, I saw fellow fans lining up in excitement.
There were guys dressed up like Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, a masked Aces & Eights member and even fans wearing t-shirts from every promotion you can think of. I even saw somebody wearing an old WCW Monday Nitro shirt!
As the doors opened, we made our way inside and went to the merchandise table. After the purchase of a few T-shirts, we made our way to the seats to wait for the event to start.
With Ultimate X set up and Dixie Carter signing autographs/taking pictures, which is something you’d probably never see Vince McMahon doing, SoCal Val welcomed the crowd to the event. After some words from Jeremy Borash, Slammiversary XI was underway!
Kenny King vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide: Ultimate X for the TNA X Division Championship
Chris Sabin was out first to a big reaction from the Boston crowd. Suicide got a pretty decent reaction as well, while champion Kenny King got a great heel reaction. After a fun and exciting match, Sabin was crowned the new TNA X Division champion.
The crowd was definitely pro-Sabin with “Let’s go Sabin” chants throughout the match. Suicide got a few chants as well, but nothing like what Sabin was getting. King was generating some great heat throughout the contest, which shows me that his character is working.
This wasn’t as spot-heavy as previous Ultimate X matches, but I was perfectly fine with that. The few big spots that were performed went over great with the crowd, while Boston was loving the action overall. This was the first time I have ever seen an Ultimate X match and I was not disappointed.
Post-match, Hulk Hogan came out to a thunderous ovation. Say what you want about the Hulkster, but the man still generates some of the best reactions I have ever seen.
He praised Sabin for winning the title and called him the future of the business. He also confirmed Option C was still in effect and that Destination X was taking place during the summer. Parts of his promo were hard to hear due to the crowd eating up his every word, but I think I caught the most important points.
Hearing Hogan give Sabin his seal of approval was great! Being praised by one of the biggest names the business has ever seen is huge. Sabin definitely deserves it, though. Returning after back-to-back knee surgeries couldn’t have been easy. Sabin looks better than ever, and his new in-ring style is working out very well.
Mr. Anderson, Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco vs. Samoa Joe, Magnus and Jeff Hardy
Before the match, Hogan remained in the ring as the crowd just kept going nuts for him. I didn’t really catch what he was saying during this segment due to that, and I also missed pieces of Mr. Anderson’s promo when the Aces & Eights came out.
I believe they were talking about the war between TNA and the Aces & Eights, but the crowd was loud it was hard to hear.
The Aces & Eights got a great heel reaction, though, so TNA is doing a good job in making them a hated group. As Team TNA came out, they all got solid reactions as well. Magnus got a good pop, while the reaction for Samoa Joe was just huge. Jeff Hardy was a bit mixed, but there were definitely more cheers than there were boos.
With a hot crowd throughout the match, Team TNA picked up the victory. The match itself came across great live. The action was very good, though Bischoff and Brisco dragged it down a bit. Thankfully, Anderson was there to keep Team Aces & Eights from being dragged down too far.
There was great teamwork from Joe and Magnus, which really made me miss their tag team, and Hardy looked great as well.
Boston was more into Samoa Joe than anyone else. I figured Hardy would get the biggest ovation, but I’m actually glad Joe did. The fans loved the Samoan Submission Machine.
Joseph Park Taken Out
Backstage, Joseph Park was being interviewed. After a solid promo, Devon and Knux beat him down. The audience didn’t seem too interested in the interview or the beat down, but when the blood was shown, most paid attention.
As soon as I saw the blood, the only thought that went through my mind was Abyss. When he returned a few weeks ago, I was really hoping for him to be on the card. I actually cheered when I saw the blood because I knew that an appearance by Abyss was looking likely!
Jay Bradley vs. Sam Shaw
As soon as Jay Bradley’s music hit, it was a signal for everyone to get out of their seats…and go to the bathroom. Many people got up and left for this match. Whether they were using the bathroom, went to concessions or the merchandise table, a good number of seats were empty for this match.
Bradley picked up the victory in what was an overall solid match. The ending actually got a bit of a pop, but I think that was more because the match was over. It’s a shame that many took this match as the “bathroom break match.”
These two guys are the future of TNA Wrestling, so it’s best to get to know them as wrestlers now as opposed to when they actually get a push.
Bradley now moves onto the Bound for Glory Series, which I think is great. He’ll get the chance to work with some of TNA’s best talent, and that will give him the experience he needs to not only work on his persona but also his in-ring style.
Devon vs. Joseph Park: TNA Television Championship
Before the match, Devon cut a good heel promo that got over pretty well with the crowd. It helped that he mentioned New York a few times, but he generated the heat he was looking for.
He would retain the title by forfeit when Park didn’t answer the 10-count. When the bell rang, I feared that was actually going to be it. I could tell others felt the same way as well. Devon got in another solid promo before Abyss’ music started to play.
When the Monster made his way out, the crowd went nuts for him. I was right there with everybody else, too! I got exactly what I wanted: “The Monster” Abyss!
He got into the ring and started to beat down both Devon and Knux, much to the delight of Boston. Then the bell rang, signifying that Abyss was taking his brother’s place.
Devon vs. Abyss: TNA Television Championship
After a decent match, Abyss became a two-time TNA Television champion. The crowd was hot for Abyss, but things would die down when Devon was in control. Only when he yelled at people in the audience did people yell back.
The Black Hole Slam got a huge pop, and Abyss winning got an even bigger one. Add in the fact that TNA was dominating the Aces & Eights, and people were definitely loving every second of it.
It’s so great to see Abyss back. Hopefully now that he’s a champion, he’ll be around much more. I can’t see Joseph Park going away just yet, though. It’ll be interesting to see how they balance the two characters now since one is holding a championship belt.
The Newest Inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame Revealed
Dixie Carter was out first to a decent reaction. A “You can’t wrestle” chant broke out in one of the sections, which was kind of weird. After the roster appeared on stage, she revealed Kurt Angle as the 2013 inductee into the Hall of Fame to a huge ovation.
A great video package was shown as any “USA” ad “Thank you, Angle” chants could be heard throughout the segment. Angle gave a good promo about how thankful he was for the honor, and his mention of Jeff Jarrett got a decent pop, too.
The announcement was very well received from the crowd. While I would have liked to see Jarrett get inducted, I am happy to see Angle get the honor this year. He is still one of the best wrestlers in the world and has done so much for TNA.
He would even acknowledge that there were TNA originals more deserving and thanked them for the great matches he has had with them over the years.
This segment really kept the momentum going, and it kept Boston as a rowdy crowd.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Bad Influence vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode vs. James Storm and Gunner: Four-Way Elimination Match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were out first to a great reaction, while Austin Aries and Bobby Roode got a pretty big pop as well. That’s what I love about TNA fans; it doesn’t matter if a wrestler/team is a babyface or a heel, they recognize greatness when they see it!
James Storm and Gunner got a decent pop, and the champions got some really loud boos. Boston was supporting the heels in this match.
Bad Influence would be the first eliminated by disqualification much to the dismay of the crowd. The action that preceded it, though, was excellent. The match saw great tag team wrestling throughout, while also giving fans some good spots.
There was Hernandez’s feat of strength having a guy on each shoulder, pure intensity between him and Gunner and pure entertainment from the two heel teams. Hernandez also flew from the walkway into the ring, while Guerrero even did beside him!
The Bad Influence DQ was followed by the immediate elimination of the champions due to Daniels hitting Guerrero with the title belt. Guerrero getting pinned was well-received to say the least. I don’t think anyone wanted to see them retain the titles.
The action between the final two teams was quite good as well. Aries, Roode, Storm and Gunner kept the crowd going with great action for the remainder of the match.
Storm and Gunner winning the titles got a bigger reaction than I thought it would have. I think many were surprised that they won, including myself, so I feel the big reaction came from the surprising ending.
I wasn’t expecting Storm and Gunner to last past Slammiversary, so I am interested to see where TNA is going with them as a team.
Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell: Last Knockout Standing
Out first was referee ODB. The fans went nuts for her! She got a bigger reaction than both Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell. In fact, Gail’s reaction was pretty mixed while people didn’t seem to care too much about Taryn. Boston changed their minds by the end of the match, though.
After a cutter from the walkway to the floor, Taryn was crowned the victor after Gail was unable to answer the 10-count. After this match, I have a newfound respect for the woman formally known as Tiffany.
The match itself was pretty good and very physical. The match was really fun to watch live, and as they really got going, the crowd started to wake up. There were a number of good spots throughout the contest, including: the use of a chair, Taryn landing face first on the walkway, Gail getting her own ring post Figure-Four applied to her and, of course, the ending.
Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell showed here that the TNA Knockouts division is one of the best women’s divisions in wrestling. Fans would never see the WWE Divas compete in a match like this. They showed that the TNA Knockouts are not only beautiful, but they are tough as nails and they can wrestle.
I was originally a bit disappointed that neither Mickie James nor Velvet Sky would be competing, and that the TNA Knockouts Championship wasn’t going to be defended. After this match, though, I didn’t care. Gail and Taryn represented the division perfectly here!
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
TNA’s newest Hall of Famer was out first to a huge ovation. The love for Kurt Angle was certainly continuing from his Hall of Fame announcement. Confusion originally set in when AJ Styles’ music hit, mainly because it was new music. Thanks to the video screen, we quickly figured out that it was in fact Styles.
I personally like the new entrance theme; it really fits his new attitude. When he finally came out onto the stage, the TNA original got a big reaction.
When this match was announced for Slammiversary, I almost fell out of my seat. I couldn’t believe that I was going to get to see Kurt Angle and AJ Styles go one-on-one live! They did not disappoint, either.
I think the best way to describe this match is by simply saying “Now that was wrestling!” From start to finish, Angle and Styles delivered another great match for TNA fans.
The crowd was into the entire contest, cheering for both Angle and Styles. When you’ve got two of wrestling’s best talents in the ring, it’s hard to choose who to cheer for.
The Olympic gold medalist got the victory, which made sense due to his induction into the Hall of Fame. Hopefully, that means Styles will want some revenge, though. I wouldn’t mind seeing them fight one more time. This was definitely the match of the night!
Oh, and if anyone was wondering what those “Randy Savage” chants were all about, well, that guy dressed as Savage I mentioned early was in full Macho Man mode on his way back to his seat.
Bully Ray vs. Sting: No Holds Barred for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship; If Sting Loses, He’ll Never Get Another Shot at the Title
Bully Ray kicked things off with a promo backstage. He gave a great promo that got some solid heat from the crowd. His threat of using the dreaded Piledriver got a fair amount of cheers, though. It’s not often that move gets used, so seeing it could be considered a treat of sorts.
Sting was out first for the match to a thunderous ovation. I think it rivaled Hogan’s from earlier. Bully Ray then came out to a great heel reaction, and things got started with a Stinger Splash to the delight of the crowd.
The audience was into the entire match, which was quite good and very physical. Hearing chair shots live is an experience in itself. They sound pretty sick live!
As promised, Bully used the Piledriver. Sting kicked out of it to the surprise of Boston. We were even more surprised when Sting kicked out of a Powerbomb through a table and when Bully started to cut the ring mat apart. Exposing the plywood under the mat, Sting got another Piledriver, this time onto the plywood.
The spot looked really sick, and fans went crazy when Sting kicked out again.
After help from the entire Aces & Eights, Bully Ray was finally able to keep Sting down after a shot with the hammer. It took a whole stable to defeat one man, which makes Sting look strong in defeat.
At the same time, Bully Ray also looks strong despite the help. He not only retained his title against a 15-time World champion, but his victory ensures that Sting can’t become a 16-time champion due to the stipulation.
Bully’s win went over well, heel-wise, with the crowd. He and the Aces & Eights got booed heavily as the entire stable celebrated in the ring. The group may have started out with a bad night, but they got their momentum back here.
From WWE to independent promotions, I have been to many wrestling events. I have been a part of WWE crowds in my home state of Connecticut and in Detroit, TNA crowds in Florida and Philadelphia and a number of indy events in the Northeast.
Slammiversary XI marked the fourth pay-per-view event I have ever attended as well. I have been to two WWE shows, Vengeance 2004 and Survivor Series 2005, and now two TNA shows. Add in many tapings of Raw and SmackDown, and I have seen many crowds. Slammiversary XI has topped them all, though!
The show was overall great. From top to bottom, TNA Wrestling brought their A-game for the 11th anniversary show. All of the matches delivered and the crowd was hot all night. The Boston crowd was without a doubt the best I have ever been a part of.
Bound for Glory in Philadelphia was great, and a Raw taping in Hartford last year was excellent as well, but this event trumped them both. There is nothing quite like a live TNA crowd. TNA fans are some of the most passionate fans I have ever met, and it shows with events like this.
I feel that TNA did everything right with this event, both from a live perspective and in terms of storylines. I really hope everything I experienced, especially the hot crowd, transitioned well on pay-per-view!