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TNA Slammiversary 2016 Preview: Overview and Undercard

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TNA’s first pay-per-view (PPV) of 2016 is Slammiversary this Sunday. The two live PPVs they had last were marred by odd taping schedules and a shoehorned storyline with Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling which didn't give them time to build that show. This show is different though. They’ve taken time to build some of these stories and also showcase some young talent.

They’ve got young guys such as EC3, Mike Bennett, & Drew Galloway at the top of the card. They’ve got entertaining new characters such as the Decay to showcase. Talent like Eli Drake and Bram has had a chance to shine. Add that with Matt Hardy’s ability to take a ridiculous character and turn it into gold and TNA could have a really great show tonight and that could go a ways to help slowly start to improve the image of their brand.

The top three stories are as follows:

All of these stories originated months ago, a couple as early as Impact’s Pop TV debut in January. Because of that, I’m going to give these three their own posts to be able to really explore the story leading to their confrontations. (I will link them above as they are published.) Below are the previews for the rest of the matches on the show.

Originally, the card had a total of nine matches. However, there was word that Maria Kanellis cannot wrestle because of a broken hand. While TNA has not officially commented about Maria’s scheduled match with Gail Kim, it looks like that has been scratched. We’ll cover that story along with Knockouts match since those stories are intertwined.

Jade (c) vs. Sienna for the Knockouts title

When Maria Kanellis arrived on the scene in TNA, it was obvious from early on that her goal was to claim and change the Knockouts division. She made that clear in a promo early where she claimed that the current state of the division was trash. That did not sit well with then Knockouts champion Gail Kim, who has been a staple of the division for many years.

Maria used her cunning to stay ahead of Gail and slowly plotted to get what she wanted. She took the Doll House faction (Jade, Marti Bell, & Rebel) and convinced them to disband and fight each other for a title shot. (This title shot of her own that Maria was giving up since she has no desire to wrestle.) Jade won that match and when she finally had a title match against Gail, Maria interfered helping Jade win the KOs championship. The First Lady later on won a ladder match to become “Leader of the Knockouts” which is apparently a real position, giving her control over the division.

Unfortunately for Maria, she had underestimated Jade. She learned that when she demanded the new champ hand over the title to her and she refused. Jade was not going to play ball. So Kanellis went and found someone who would. And that person was Sienna.

Now Maria had what she was missing: Muscle to enforce her decrees. With her enforcer Sienna at her side, Maria had become more powerful. She ordered Velvet Sky face Sienna with her career on the line and Velvet lost, ending her TNA tenure. Maria tried the same with Gail Kim, but Gail defeated Sienna.

Recently, Sienna defeated Madison Rayne to win the right to challenge Jade at Slammiversary for the Knockouts title. Finally Maria has someone who will follow her orders and a chance to bring the title into her stable. The only thing standing in the way is Jade who is no easy challenge.

Eli Drake (c) vs. Bram for the King of the Mountain Title

Last January, Eli Drake won the Feast or Fired briefcase for the King of the Mountain title. (Well technically he switched his “Fired” briefcase with Grado but that's another story.) On the other side, Bram has been KOTM champion since defeating Eric Young for the title.

Drake had teased cashing in on Bram a couple times. He finally took advantage after Bram took a spear from Bobby Lashley after Bram’s match with the Destroyer. Bram was softened up enough for Drake to cash in and win the title.

Now the TNA up and comer has to face the Chesterfield Plague without the advantage of surprise and without Bram being softened prior. This is the chance for the brash Drake to truly prove himself against the dangerous Bram.

Trevor Lee (c) vs. Eddie Edwards vs. DJ Z vs. Andrew Everett for the X Division title.

This year, the forgotten division received a little more focus. Much of that was with the help of Gregory Shane Helms, the former cruiserweight champion. Helms decided to bring his fellow North Carolinian Trevor Lee in as his protege. In his debut match, Lee won the X Division title from Tigre Uno (and retained it during the subsequent rematches.)

Helms wanted more though. The X Division title wasn’t enough. He wanted his hands on the tag team titles as well and he felt Eddie Edwards was his ticket to do so. Edwards’ long time partner in the Wolves, Davey Richards, sustained a serious knee injury which will keep him out of action for some time. Helms suggested to Edwards that they team up and use Edwards tag title rematch clause to try to win those belts.

However, Eddie is a Wolf through and through and said he was going to wait for his partner to heal up instead. He did make his intentions for the X Division title known though. Eventually Trevor Lee had to defend his title against Edwards and DJ Z (who got a non-title win over the champ prior.) During that match, another man from North Carolina, Andrew Everett interfered on behalf of Lee, helping the champ retain. Andrew Everett was now part of the group known as the Helms Dynasty.

Since then, Lee had to defend his title twice and retained both times with the help of the Dynasty (once in an Ultimate X match and last week in a one on one match with Edwards.) Now he will have to face all three men again. He has a good chance with Helms on the outside and Everett in the ring, but that’s assuming Everett won’t see an opportunity to take the title himself and capitalize. How Lee and Everett work together when Everett has a chance to become champion will be the biggest thing to watch in this match.

The Decay (c) vs. The BroMans

The Decay are an intriguing trio who embrace their inner madness, are comfortable in the dark, and embody the essence of eerie. Looking like they were ripped out of a horror movie, they consist of a reborn Abyss (who now considers himself beautiful), the sadistic Crazzy Steve, and their leader Rosemary. Embracing the darkness, they won the titles against Beer Money in a Valley of Shadows match. Even more disturbing, they kidnapped Gail Kim to convince Beer Money to give them the title shot. Now they have a stranglehold on the tag championships.

Their opponents at the PPV are their polar opposites. The BroMans (Jessie Godderz & Robbie E) are arrogant, superficial, and boisterous. If Decay is straight out of a horror movie, these two are out of a Jersey Shore rerun. While Decay love the darkness, these two love the light... the light of the tanning booth. Now lead by their own leading lady Raquel, they look to become three time tag champions by defeating the Decay. Raquel helped them win this shot in a match against Tyrus & Rockstar Spud when she used her looks to distract Tyrus. Such tricks will come up empty against the Decay and if the BroMans want to survive, let alone win, they’ll need to be perfect.

Grado & Mahabali Shera vs. The Tribunal (Baron Dax & Basile Baraka) with Al Snow

Al Snow hates Grado. He hates everything he stands for, which is a guy who hasn’t earned his spot waltzing in to a business where he doesn’t belong. To Snow, Grado represents all that is wrong with the new ways of the business. So Al decided to stick up for the old school ways.

He ambushed Grado and Mahabali Shera backstage and broke Grado’s hand with a pipe. While Grado was recovering, Shera took up his fight and feuded with the veteran, trading wins. Finally, Grado returned and he and Snow were to settle their differences in a street fight. But the vet had a trick up his sleeve in Basile Baraka and Baron Dax, who attacked Mahabali Shera at ringside leading to Snow getting the win over Grado.

Now the Tribunal will face Grado and Shera. If Al Snow has his way, this will be the end of those two who don’t deserve the spot they have. On the other side, Shera and Grado are fighting to prove they belong here.

TNA Slammiversary airs Sunday at 8 EST on pay-per-view.

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