In what became an annual tradition, a match was created that would determine the fate of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship currently in the possession of TNA. Of all the whacky, over-the-top matches spawned from the brilliant mind of Vince Russo, a few corker of match ideas emerged from that wrestling booking mad man. But one in particular held a special place in my heart… the King of the Mountain match!
Now the rules to this match were kind of complicated. But in spite of that, the match produced a lot of high-paced action from five hungry wrestlers wanting the gold hanging above… well this time NOT hanging above the ring! Five men started off the match and the key was to score a pin or submission on one of the other competitors. This would send the pinned or submitted wrestler to the penalty box outside of the ring for 2 minutes I think it was. Whoever was able to score a fall was eligible for stage two of the match… trying to hang the TNA belt above the ring! Yeah, you read that right. HANG it above the ring, rather than taking it down like in a normal ladder match. But in TNA’s prime… nothing was ever normal!
I know in writing, it’s not that clear cut. This was something you actually had to see in action. And in the majority of Slammiversary events, this match would normally steal the show! It was original, it was full of action and it kept you engaged with the match like any match should. Also it was a match which suited every wrestling style, whether you’re a high-flyer like AJ Styles or a big bad monster like Abyss. These matches normally had a bit of everything and these matches were so good, it was actually incorporated into the X-Division as well. So in Slammiversary 2009, you had not one but TWO King of the Mountain matches! We had the TNA World Title main event and the X-Division title was up for grabs in a very good X-Division KOTM match. And if you’ve never seen that match, I seriously suggest putting that on your “to watch” list.
But then, tragedy struck. The King of the Mountain match was omitted from the 2010 Slammiversary event in favour of Rob Van Dam vs Sting (yes, RVD vs Sting. I wouldn’t recommend watching that match unless you’re in need of something to put you to sleep). TNA foolishly took away the niche element of one of their biggest PPVs that made it such a success. And why? I mean ever since, we’ve not exactly had a Slammiversary main event that has lived long in the memory. Every one of them included Sting and neither of them were hardly blockbuster matches (no disrespect to Sting but he’s not exactly at his peak anymore is he?).
It’s such a shame that TNA have been taking away the nicheness of their product that brought it to the dance. My debut column for PWMania was talking about how TNA took away the significance of the X-Division. And it’s happened to nearly everything that made TNA different and unique. The King of the Mountain match was an idea that the WWE wish they had introduced. I mean TNA has produced some quality moments out of those matches. In particular the 2006 match when Jeff Jarrett won the title in EXTREMELY controversial circumstances!
If TNA want to make the four big TNA pay-per-views in particular stand out and are worthwhile to the buyer of the show then bring these matches back. Slammiversary could do with a huge King of the Mountain match this year. I mean this is the sort of match that an up-and-comer like Gunner or someone could really shine in. I remember in 2007, when Chris Harris produced a blinder of a performance in that years’ King of the Mountain match. Sure his TNA career didn’t really take off after that, but this match would be a great chance for the under-utilized members of the roster to show just what they’re made off.
Back in the day, I was a huge TNA fan. Largely because of the originality of the show that made it so different from any wrestling company you can think of. WWE, WCW or ECW did not have the insanity that TNA provided. Positive insanity as I’d like to call it! It was this sort of “positive insanity” that made Slammiversary hugely successful during it’s time. And if TNA play their cards right and bring it back, the 2014 Slammiversary will be a show few will ever forget.