If a promotion has an anniversary and nobody’s around to notice it, did it really happen?
This weekend saw TNA mark its fourteenth anniversary with their Slammiversary pay-per-view – headlined by Bobby Lashley challenging Drew Galloway for the TNA title in a match that could only be won by submission or knockout. On the undercard was a bunch of matches, with the most notable being a Full Metal Mayhem match between Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy – made infamous by the “Brother Nero” mini-movie on Impact a fortnight ago.
Sadly, the events in Orlando earlier in the day cast a dark shadow over the event – understandably, when over fifty people had been killed on the other side of town, it’s hard to get excited over anything.
For the first pay-per-view of the “Pop TV era”, TNA did generate some intrigue, largely via the Hardys movie that went viral. Unfortunately for them, amongst the “casual, internet” audience (if such a thing exists), any goodwill generated was quickly tossed out of the window, courtesy of one tweet from Matt Hardy:
“I’m in Orlando, where the horrific shooting took place. My condolences to all. Let me entertain u with my handling of #BrotherNero tonight.”
After a hailstorm of criticism from that, Matt replied with the following tweets:
“Fans at hotel were sad about the Orlando tragedy & said they’re looking forward 2 #Slammiversary 2 find happiness & escapism-I want them to. The Orlando tragedy was devastatingly horrific & sad. My thoughts are with the victims & their families. Don’t misinterpret my words.”
Yes, it is true that TNA have a reputation that leads to sections of wrestling fans being overly eager to pile on every time they so much as look to make a mis-step. That being said, what happened with Matt wasn’t a case of people misinterpreting words; if anything, it was a case of someone believing that they were playing the character of a heel, making a comment “in character” and then defending themselves after the fact. Had there not been a history of such incidents in wrestling, particularly from Matt himself, then perhaps there’d have been a little more in the way of leniency.
So, Matt Hardy’s idiotic tweets aside, TNA’s slow slide into oblivion has of course continued, with the year-on-year comparisons continuing to display a sad state of affairs for the company. Last year’s Slammiversary saw Jeff Jarrett return to action in TNA for the first time in three-and-a-bit years, where he won a King of the Mountain main event over Matt Hardy, Eric Young, Drew Galloway, Bobby Lashley and Bobby Roode. Half of that main event aren’t even with TNA today.
Elsewhere from the 2015 card, Matt Morgan, Austin Aries, Awesome Kong, Brooke, Taryn Terrell, Magnus and Mr. Anderson are no longer with the company – so out of 26 wrestlers on the card, ten are gone. Go back to 2014’s card, and 16 of 32 are no longer there… almost WWE dead pool-like numbers!
In the UK, Slammiversary won’t air until Saturday (June 19), with the week-delay a marked change from last year’s event, which actually aired live. Just in case you needed another reason to be down on the future of a company which has been decried as “a Florida independent group that’s gotten worldwide TV coverage”.
Although the initial reviews to Slammiversary have been mixed, I’ll hold off on any thoughts until I’ve had a chance to legitimately watch the show. However, on paper, with the company’s roster weakening in terms of star-power with each passing year, it would seem that TNA’s decline isn’t about to change. That being said, if somehow TNA can get on a good run of shows, and avoid any PR nightmares (obvious or otherwise), and have the planets align, they have a chance.
But on their past record, it would seem that TNA’s decline will only get worse before it has a hope of getting any better.