My Top Wrestling Moments of the Week: Slammiversary, Daniel Bryan and More
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Another week of professional wrestling has come to an end, and it was an overall great week!
Things kicked off with TNA Slammiversary XI last Sunday, which was a great show. From top to bottom, TNA Wrestling really brought their A-game for the event. I personally got to attend the show, and it was the best show I have ever attended.
It was, without a doubt, the best pay-per-view so far this year. Click here for my full review of the show.
WWE Raw continued the momentum with a good show. Much like last week, there were more good matches than there were good moments. WWE Main Event kept the ball rolling with two solid matches out of the three presented, but the week dipped a bit with WWE NXT.
The show featured only one good match, with another being subpar and two more being simple squash matches. TNA Xplosion picked things back up with their one match on the show, while Impact Wrestling used the momentum from Slammiversary to give fans another good show.
WWE Superstars was decent at best, but WWE SmackDown made up for it with a solid show. The week came to an end with ROH Wrestling, which saw Ring of Honor deliver another very good episode.
What was the best show this week? Click here to cast your vote on your favorite show, or shows!
Chris Sabin Wins the TNA X Division Title; Gets Seal of Approval from Hulk Hogan
The opening contest of TNA Slammiversary XI was the Ultimate X match for the TNA X Division Championship. Not only was it a good, fun match, but it saw Chris Sabin return to the top of the division after two back-to-back knee surgeries.
Seeing Sabin win the X Division Championship was a great moment, and it only got better as he began to make his way to the back.
Hulk Hogan met him on the stage and praised him. He also gave him his seal of approval, which coming from one of the biggest names in the business is great. Hogan also confirmed Option C was still in effect.
Giving Sabin the title was the best possible result. While Kenny King was a great champion who got his heel character over quite well, he’s not quite ready for the main event. Perhaps someday if TNA continues to push him, but 2013 is not his time.
I just can’t see Suicide as a main event star. He’s an X Division wrestler or a midcarder at best.
Sabin has been with TNA since 2003, having debuted two months before the company’s one-year anniversary. He was, without a doubt, a pioneer of the X Division, and he has also proven himself as an accomplished tag team wrestler with Alex Shelley as the Motor City Machine Guns. The main event is the next step for him.
He couldn’t just be placed into the top spot, though, so putting him back in the X Division is perfect. Now as champion, Option C gives TNA the opportunity to elevate him to the main event, and Sabin gets to prove just how good he really is!
Abyss Returns to Win the TNA Television Championship
When Abyss returned a few weeks ago, I was excited at the possibility that he could be at Slammiversary. Then Joseph Park was booked against Devon for the Television Championship and I was a bit disappointed.
At the event, Park was taken out backstage and left bloodied. To an eruption of cheers, Abyss returned at Slammiversary to not only take his “brother’s” place in the match but also defeat Devon for the title.
When Joe Park is the main focus of the storyline, it’s always great to see Abyss make an appearance. The Park/Abyss storyline is finally getting interesting again. TNA is doing a great job in balancing the two characters and making it seem like they could actually be two different people.
I was so glad to see Devon lose the Television Championship. He has had the title for 170-plus days and has only defended it a handful of times. I was hoping to see someone like Samoa Joe or Magnus get the belt, but storyline-wise, Abyss makes sense.
Devon has been torturing Park for months now, so the Monster returning to protect his brother was logical. Abyss is now a two-time Television champion with this victory. His first reign ended when he was stripped of the title, so hopefully that won’t be the case here.
Now a champion, TNA is going to have to keep Abyss on television. At the very least, once every other week so they can keep Joe Park around until the storyline finally does come to an end.
Kurt Angle: TNA Hall of Famer
At Slammiversary, TNA president Dixie Carter announced the newest inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. After everyone on the roster, except for the Aces & Eights and AJ Styles, came out to the stage, she introduced Kurt Angle as the second inductee.
Angle was met with a thunderous ovation, and after a great video package, chants of “USA” and “Thank you, Angle” could be heard throughout the rest of the segment.
As Angle said during his promo, there are many TNA originals that deserve the honor over him, but he is a great choice for induction. Angle has done so much in, and for, TNA since his debut. He is also still one of the very best in the business today. Angle can wrestle anyone and have a good match.
His match with AJ Styles later on in the night was definitely the Match of the Night, as both guys had a straight-up wrestling match.
I liked that during his speech he mentioned Jeff Jarrett, as it was Double J that helped bring him to TNA, and it was even better to hear the reaction to Jarrett’s name. Hopefully Jarrett will be the one to be inducted next year.
Angle’s induction was a great feel-good moment, though, that was well-received by the Boston crowd.
James Storm and Gunner Win the TNA Tag Team Championship
During the 4-Way Elimination match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship, I was rooting for Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, while also cheering for Bad Influence. I wanted to see either team win the match, and I figured that one of them would.
When James Storm and Gunner defeated Aries and Roode in the final moments of the match, I was quite surprised. It’s that surprise victory which is why it made the list. When Storm chose Gunner, I was fully expecting for them to be a one-time team.
I never would have thought that they actually had a chance of winning the titles. At the end of the day, I’m glad that they did. The TNA tag team division has consisted of three teams for months now, and those three teams were featured in the four-way match as well. They traded the titles back-and-forth, and while the feuds, segments and matches were quite good, it was the same thing over and over again.
Storm and Gunner creates new situations for the title scene. The new team gives Storm some direction while also getting Gunner on television. They proved to be a good unit at the event, and if given the time, they could become a real force to be reckoned with.
I’m actually quite anxious to see where TNA is going with this new team!
Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell Show Why the TNA Knockouts Division Is the Best
What can I say about Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell that hasn’t already been said by me in my review or by others? The two Knockouts brought their A-game in their Last Knockout Standing match.
As they were making their way to the ring, I questioned their position on the card. Being the third-to-last match, they were pretty high up on the card for a match that didn’t have the TNA Knockouts Championship on the line. As they got going, though, I understood why they got the position that they did.
Gail and Taryn delivered one of the best women’s matches I have seen in quite some time. Not only did they deliver some good overall wrestling action, they got extreme. At least as extreme as any two women’s wrestlers have gotten in recent memory.
With the use of a steel chair, the walkway between the stage and the ring, and a great finish, the former Knockouts champion and no-doubt future champion gave fans one of the best matches of the night. The finish alone was just awesome.
Seeing Taryn jump off the walkway and hit a cutter (think Diamond Cutter or RKO) got fans chanting “Holy s***!” When was the last time you can remember fans chanting that during a women’s match? A “This is awesome” chant also broke out, which is something you rarely hear during women’s matches as well.
Gail and Taryn showed here that the TNA Knockouts division is one of the best in wrestling today. The division may be small, but TNA manages to get legitimate storylines for them. In fact, the division currently has two: Gail vs. Taryn and Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky over the title. This match may have ended this particular feud, but TNA still had two storylines going at the same time.
That’s something you’d never see in WWE. Half the time, the WWE Divas don’t even have storylines, just a champion and a No. 1 contender.
It’s been a while since the Knockouts division has truly been in the spotlight, but thanks to this match, the women of TNA have that spotlight once again!
Bully Ray Retains the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
The TNA World Heavyweight Championship No Holds Barred match had the stipulation of if Sting lost, he would never be allowed another shot at the title ever again.
With that stipulation, some felt that the result was clear: Sting would win the title from the freight train of momentum that was Bully Ray. Thanks to the help of the Aces & Eights, an unprotected ring and a few sick-looking piledrivers, Bully Ray retained his title over Sting.
While I personally don’t have too much of a problem with Sting being champion, Bully retaining was the best decision. He has never been better, and he is the driving force of the Aces & Eights. Without him, the gang would be nothing. Mr. Anderson is up there with him, but if Bully wasn’t there, the Aces & Eights would be completely dead weight.
He is the reason the gang has any momentum, so if he lost the title to Sting at Slammiversary, not only would his momentum be shot but so would the group’s.
It’s not time for Bully Ray to lose the World Championship. He’s too good of a heel champion to dethrone him just yet. TNA made the right call in keeping the belt on him.
Stephanie McMahon Returns to Raw
Much like last week, this past Monday’s Raw was good mainly due to the matches. There weren’t that many segments or moments that stood out, but the opening segment certainly did.
Stephanie McMahon made her first appearance on Raw in about a year this week, and it was definitely great to see her back. The segment itself started out pretty well but began to drag when Vince McMahon came out. It seemed like he was just wasting time until The Shield’s music hit. Unfortunately nothing happened there, but the return of Stephanie was good to see.
I was never too much of a fan of bringing personal lives into storylines. When it works, though, I accept it. Bringing in Triple H and Stephanie’s personal lives into his concussion storyline not only makes sense, it works.
Triple H is seen as the “Game” and the “Cerebral Assassin,” so using Stephanie as the worried wife makes him like everyone else. He’s a family man whose family is worried about him. Stephanie’s return is bringing a family dynamic into the mix, which Paul Heyman could work wonders with on the mic.
Once this is all over, though, I hope Stephanie sticks around. Raw does need a general manager, especially since Vickie Guerrero doesn’t seem to be doing much.
The Chris Jericho/Paul Heyman Contract Signing
When you give Chris Jericho a microphone, you just know that what he’s going to say will be entertaining. The same goes for Paul Heyman. Putting them together is pure entertainment.
They started last week with the Highlight Reel and continued this week with the Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk contract signing for Payback. Both Jericho and Heyman delivered once again here. Both guys are two of the absolute best on the microphone.
Y2J knows how to talk and sell with the tone of his voice, while Heyman can do the same, only with spot-on facial expressions. Jericho and Heyman are hard to match in terms of mic skills, and putting them together is creating some great segments.
Last year, Jericho and Punk had a great feud. In it were great matches and solid mic work. This time around, Punk will have Heyman with him. Seeing the three of them go at it on a microphone is going to be priceless. That is, of course, assuming that the feud goes past Payback.
I can’t see Punk appearing before the event, so if we’re going to get all three of them on the mic at the same time, the feud will have to continue.
Abyss Is Starting to Take Over
I like what TNA is doing with the Abyss/Joseph Park storyline. It’s obvious to fans that they’re the same person, but the storyline has taken some intriguing turns recently.
When Park sees blood, he turns into his “brother.” That has been going on for months now. Recent situations have seen Park do more than just hit a few moves, though. Park is now putting on the mask of Abyss and doing what he can’t do as himself.
I think the clinical term is psychosis. Something triggers the monster inside Park, in his case blood, and he turns into Abyss. Schizophrenia or split personality disorder may come into play as well. I’m no doctor; I’m just going by the one class I had in psychology during college.
Either way, whatever is inside of Park is going to take over completely soon. I wouldn’t doubt if Park makes it into the Bound for Glory Series but is ultimately replaced by Abyss.
I don’t know if TNA will officially reveal that they are the same person at some point, but for now, I think that TNA is handling the storyline very well.
Later on in the night, Abyss would take out both Devon and Knux backstage. He would also say, “I’m taking this belt…into the Abyss!” He was, of course, talking about the Television Championship. I have to wonder if Joseph Park will be dragged down there, too, never to return.
Mickie James Gets Closer to Her Heel Turn
As most readers that come by every week for this already know, I am a big fan of Mickie James. I have been for a while. For the past year or two, though, I have wanted to see her turn heel. Her babyface character, while still over, was getting stale.
TNA had teased a heel turn late last year, but nothing ever came of it. After winning the TNA Knockouts Championship a few weeks ago, her turn to the dark side got back on track. In fact, her heel turn is coming along nicely.
This week on Impact Wrestling, she got the chance to talk and wrestle, and both times she continued to tease her heel turn. Her promo to Velvet Sky backstage was great. Her voice and her actions while she was delivering her lines really sold everything she was saying. The way she acted during the “slow motion” line was great!
She also continued to be condescending toward the former champion. Velvet is ready to go for her Knockouts Championship rematch, but Mickie is talking down to her like she’s a child.
Later on in a match against Taeler Hendrix, she continued her heelish ways by mocking her opponent and feigning an injury to get the upper hand.
Her turn into heel is a slow one, but I’m enjoying the ride. TNA is really letting Mickie shine during this turn.
The Kurt Angle/Rampage Jackson Segment
“Rampage” Jackson, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of him coming in. He may be a mainstream name, but the last time TNA brought in an MMA star, nothing really came of it.
They made a big deal out of King Mo coming in and he only appeared maybe four times. Seeing as Jackson actually has name value, though, I was holding off judgment until something happened. That something was Jackson getting face-to-face with Kurt Angle.
Jackson didn’t get much of a chance to talk during his debut. He just mentioned that he was a big wrestling fan and that he was prepared to beat the best to become the best. All he needed was that last line and Angle did the rest. He gave a pretty solid, yet simple promo about Jackson not having to look far for the best.
The best part about this segment was without a doubt the staredown, which was pure intensity. TNA planted the seeds here for quite the showdown. Jackson will have to go through some training first of course, so I can’t see the match happening until Bound for Glory at the earliest.
Angle’s amateur wrestling background and Jackson’s MMA style may end up mashing very well together, and as long as Rampage’s training goes well, they could end up having a phenomenal match.
This segment actually got me excited for his signing, and I can’t wait to see how TNA develops the situation from here.
Dolph Ziggler Cleared to Return
After Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez cleared the ring of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal of 3MB, Dolph Ziggler appeared on the big screen. He revealed that he was medically cleared by the doctors and would be returning to the ring on Monday’s Raw.
It’s definitely great to hear that Ziggler is healthy and ready to return. Not having the World Heavyweight champion on Raw or SmackDown has been a bit weird.
I originally felt that WWE should have just stripped Ziggler of the title so that the championship scene could have kept going, but the outcry from fans would have been huge. WWE probably would have felt some major backlash if they did that.
Now that he’s returning, though, the title scene can get back on track. With No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio waiting for his title shot, it looks likes the match could be happening soon, most likely at Payback.
Slammiversary’s Top Match
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles
What can I say about this match that hasn’t already been said? Kurt Angle and AJ Styles went on before the main event and they gave fans one of the absolute best matches of the night. With a PPV filled with great matches, it was hard to choose which one I thought was Match of the Night.
After thinking long and hard, I went with this match due to its straight-up wrestling. Angle and Styles have faced each other on many occasions and they never disappoint. This match was so even that it was truly anyone’s game.
Adding storyline into the mix still kept it quite even. Styles’ new character is the best he’s had in years, and he was carrying all of the momentum. Angle, on the other hand, was just announced as the TNA Hall of Fame’s next inductee just an hour or so before the match. TNA kept them as equals and just let Styles and Angle take it from there.
Seeing this match live was a real treat. It’s not often that you get to see two of wrestling’s best go at it in a match. I have been to so many wrestling events that I lost count of the exact number I’ve been to. As a result, I have seen many great matches throughout the years. This one here, though, was without a doubt the best match I have ever seen live.
Angle and Styles kept the freight train of momentum that was Slammiversary rolling and tore the house down!
Raw’s Top Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
Monday’s episode of Raw featured a number of good matches, but I think Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback was the best out of all of them.
From start to finish, both Superstars delivered a great back-and-forth match throughout the time they were given. The action was solid, and exciting at times, as the contest really highlighted both wrestlers.
Ryback is truly at the top of his game. He went from squashing lower midcarders to having subpar matches to having very good matches in a year’s time. He has also become a great mic worker and has delivered some solid promos in his feud with John Cena. Ryback deserves major props for improving and for becoming a compelling heel.
Bryan’s new gimmick is doing wonders for him. I questioned the “weak link” character at first, but it’s bringing something out in Bryan that hasn’t been brought out in quite some time. Fans are now seeing “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson come out to play.
His in-ring style, which was already great, is becoming more and more intense as the weeks go by. With the way everything is working out, it seems like he may be turning heel. If he does, I don’t think it’s going to work. Bryan is absolutely loved by audiences, so he’s going to get cheered no matter what.
The future is bright for Daniel Bryan, and I hope it leads to a world championship!
Impact Wrestling’s Top Match
The only photo TNA had of the entire match! (impactwrestling.com)
James Storm, Gunner and Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and Kenny King
This was a good and fun match. With a fast pace and exciting back-and-forth action, the three champions and their potential future challengers really delivered for the TNA fans in this match. At the same time, the tag team division and X Division got some major spotlight.
The tag team division in TNA is certainly heating up. It may be small with just four teams, but the storylines are entertaining and the matches are great. Storm and Gunner as champions was quite the surprise, and that creates new situations in the division.
Both Bad Influence and the team of Aries and Roode will now be targeting them instead of each other. Former champions Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez will also get their rematch at some point. If Hernandez defeating Guerrero in a Bound for Glory Series qualifier match is any indication, they’ll break up during or after the rematch.
TNA still needs to bring in some more teams, though, to fill out the division.
The X Division is getting more and more exciting as the weeks go by. Kenny King was a great champion during his reign, and having Sabin as champion now is a good call. His new in-ring style is quite good and he’s better than ever as a result.
He’s the perfect guy to be able to cash in Option C when the time comes. He’s a TNA original who has worked hard throughout the years. He proved himself in the X Division, as well as the tag team division. It’s time to see what he can do higher up on the card. If there’s anyone that deserves a shot in the main event, it’s definitely him.
SmackDown’s Top Match
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton vs. The Shield
As the case with most SmackDown main event tag team matches, I thought that this was a good one as well. The action was back-and-forth throughout the contest and all four wrestlers kept up a fast pace.
The past couple of weeks Daniel Bryan has been the star of every match he has taken part in. This match was no different. Much like in his match on Raw, “The American Dragon” came out to play. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton were all great during this match, but none of them compared to Bryan. The former World champion is truly on a roll.
Orton’s RKO to Bryan creates an interesting situation. Is Orton turning heel? Will Bryan make the turn? At the very least, I feel it’ll make Bryan think he’s the weak link even more and just go nuts on somebody. With the way things are looking, that somebody may be WWE’s Apex Predator.
As for The Shield, they remained unbeaten as a unit in terms of pinfall or submission. The Shield have been stronger than ever since they won the United States and Tag Team Championships. It’s just not time for them to lose as a team/stable. The stronger they get, the bigger it will be when they finally do get beaten.
ROH Wrestling’s Top Match
The American Wolves vs. The Briscoe Brothers
I’m not really sure if I can describe this match properly and do it justice.
Davey Richard and Eddie Edwards, known as the American Wolves, took on longtime rivals the Briscoe Brothers, which consists of Mark and ROH World champion Jay. What resulted was one of the best tag team matches I have ever watched.
The chemistry these four have as teams and as opponents is just phenomenal. It's matches like this that shows Ring of Honor truly has some of the best talent in the business working for them.
The American Wolves won the match, which marked the first time they have ever defeated the Briscoes, so they certainly moved up the ladder in terms of the Tag Team Championship scene. After Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman get their title shot against reDRagon at Best in the World, the American Wolves could very well be next in line.
At Best in the World, Jay will be defending his title against his brother Mark, and ROH teased tension in this match when Mark accidentally punched Jay in the head. I can’t wait for the singles match at the event; it should be great!
As for this match, though, I can’t really do it justice by simply writing about it. So if you have the chance, please check out the June 8 episode of ROH Wrestling. I typically find the show at bollyrulez.net. The match is the main event, but the show as a whole is worth watching.
My Other Top Matches of the Week
With so much going in wrestling today, I just don’t have the time to give everything its own individual slide anymore. Actual matches will no longer get their own slide. An outcome of a particular match could, but not the match itself.
Instead, I will simply list what I found to be the top matches each week. To me, a top match includes one or more of the following: solid back-and-forth action, physicality (certain match types), chemistry between opponents, good storytelling and/or storyline development.
There are a few others as well, but those are the main ones for me. If a match in WWE, TNA Wrestling or Ring of Honor meets any of the criteria, they will be listed here.
Here are what I found to be the top matches this week:
- Kenny King vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide: Ultimate X (Slammiversary)
- Samoa Joe, Magnus and Jeff Hardy vs. Aces & Eights (Slammiversary)
- The Four-Way Elimination Tag Team Match (Slammiversary)
- Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell: Last Knockout Standing (Slammiversary)
- Bully Ray vs. Sting: No Holds Barred (Slammiversary)
- The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Randy Orton (Raw)
- The Usos vs. Prime Time Players (Raw)
- Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes (Raw)
- John Cena vs. Curtis Axel: No DQ Match (Raw)
- Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro (Main Event)
- The Usos vs. Rhodes Scholars (Main Event)
- Shark Boy vs. Robbie E (Xplosion)
- The Wyatt Family vs. Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno (NXT)
- Chavo Guerrero vs. Hernandez (Impact Wrestling)
- Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy: Ladder Match (Impact Wrestling)
- Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka (Superstars)
- Chris Jericho vs. Curtis Axel (SmackDown)
- Kane vs. Ryback (SmackDown)
- Matt Taven vs. Pepper Parks (ROH Wrestling)
- Tommaso Ciampa vs. Rip Impact (ROH Wrestling)
What was the best match this week? Click here to cast your vote on your favorites! Since the site only allowed room for a certain number, there was no room for “Other” this week. So if you had a favorite that wasn’t included, be sure to leave it in the comment section here on Bleacher Report!
Poll Results/Cast Your Vote
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Every week I post a poll of the weekly wrestling shows and one for the best matches of the week. I ask you, the readers, to vote on your favorites. Only one show could be seen as better than the rest, while just one match could be considered the best of the best. Who topped the poll this week? Let's find out!
Here are the poll results of what you thought was the best show last week!
- WWE SmackDown: 30.9%
- WWE Raw: 21.6%
- WWE Main Event: 15.4%
- WWE NXT: 12.3%
- TNA Impact Wrestling: 9.9%
- WWE Superstars: 5.6%
- ROH Wrestling: 2.5%
- TNA Xplosion: 1.9%
And here are the poll results of what you thought was the best match last week!
- The Shield vs. Team Hell No: 16.9%
- Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: 15.6%
- Cena vs. Axel, Orton vs. Ambrose: 9.5% each
- Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns: 6.4%
- Kane vs. Seth Rollins: 6.1%
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston: 5.1%
- Ambrose vs. Kingston, Jericho vs. Rhodes: 4.7% each
- Orton/Sheamus vs. Rhodes Scholars, Emma vs. Audrey Marie: 4.1% each
- Justin Gabriel vs. Antonio Cesaro: 3.4%
- AJ Styles vs. Mr. Anderson: 2.7%
- The TNA Eight-Man Tag Team Match: 2.4%
- Sting/Park vs. Bully/Devon, Sabin/Taryn vs. King/Gail: 1.7% each
- BJ Whitmer vs. Mike Bennett vs. Jay Lethal: 1.0%
- QT Marshall/RD Evans vs. ACE/Tadarius Thomas vs. Cedric Alexander/Caprice Coleman: 0.7%