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NWA-TNA Episode 4: Moving Forward

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In this episode, TNA is looking to pick up the pieces after last week’s chaos. We’ll see what fallout there will be for Jeff Jarrett after his actions in last week’s tag match. The new NWA Tag Champions will face their first challengers in the Disciples of the New Church, Ken Shamrock will defend his NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Omori, K-Krush will face Hervey Sadler, and much more. So, let’s see how they’re doing!

Opening:

The pyro was delayed a bit, but we get it. Mike Tenay welcomes us to the show and gives us a quick rundown of the evening’s proceedings: Two World Title Matches (Heavyweight and Tag, I’m assuming) and six of the top cruiserweights will fight to be the #1 Contender to face AJ Styles for the X Division Championship.

Not wasting any time, our first match is starting up.

NWA Tag Team Championship Match: AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn vs Disciples of the New Church (with James Mitchell.

Disciples of the New Church, Slash and Tempest are out first to little reaction.

We get a recap of the Tag Team Tournament, including the beatdown of Storm and Harris, who are probably selling their injuries, because they have a good case for being #1 Contenders to the Tag Titles, given what happened last week. Lynn and Styles get a great pop and there still seems to be a little…dissention in the ranks. Styles seems a lot more excited than Lynn, but that might just be Lynn’s personality. I believe I said last week that Malice wasn’t ready for primetime, well neither are the other members of the New Church. Slash and Tempest have great looks for their gimmicks, both have great moves, but Lynn and Styles are totally outclassing them.

One thing the Disciples are doing right here is keeping their moveset simple, though Tempest just hit a plancha back into the ring and onto Styles that was pretty impressive. This match is pretty back and forth, Tempest hit a rather rough looking hurricanrana on Styles that I wouldn’t suggest he ever do again. Styles hits a springboard dropkick that bring Slash and Lynn in and we have chaos. Lynn and Styles are a great team. Lynn is doing a great job of keeping things going. We get things under control and we’re back to Styles and Tempest. New Church seems to have decided that they’re tired of playing nice, but their cheap shot attempt doesn’t work. Tempest hits an impressive Death Valley Driver that Styles kicks out of.

Okay, Slash and Tempest are impressing me here. Lynn tries to help Styles, but somehow the ref ignores the blatant double team to yell at Lynn. (It’s a good thing I know this is a work because all these refs would be fired for incompetence. It seems that Styles is taking all the punishment to make up for not doing a lot last week in the tag match. He sends Malice head first into Tempest and tags in Lynn, who just starts tearing up the place. Malice does the most leisurely run-in I’ve ever seen and gives Tempest the opening for a low blow. Tempest goes for his sloppy hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle again, but Lynn catches him and shoves him to the floor.

Tempest goes for the Death Valley Driver again, but Lynn executes a rough looking counter and hits the piledriver, but Malice does a better run in before he can go for the pin. Styles tags himself in right before Malice pulls Lynn outside. Styles hits the Corkscrew Senton and gets the pin. Oddly, Lynn isn’t happy about this or he’s not happy about how Styles did things. Lynn won’t get in the ring to celebrate with Styles and stalks off. We’ve got the seeds of a feud starting.

Result: Styles and Lynn win by pinfall.

Comment: That was a good match. I have to slightly modify my comment about The Disciples not being ready for primetime, they both have the makings of top heels, but they still need some work. The planting of the seeds for Styles vs Lynn is interesting. While I appreciate TNA promoting other NWA territories, I don’t think doing that while showing the TNA girls dancing is such a great idea.

Tenay and company are giving us a recap of Jeff Jarrett’s antics last week, but I can’t take my eyes off the godawful purple-with-black pinstripes suit jacket Don West is wearing. Tenay says that they’re going to try and get Scott Hall on the phone. We get Hall on the phone but he’s a little hard to understand, but he promises vengeance on Brian Christopher, K-Krush, and Jarrett.

After that, we’re on to our next match.

Brian Christopher vs Norman Smiley

Christopher is out to a loud round of boos. The commentators seem to realize that Hall made a huge mistake in having Christopher as a tag partner because Christopher and Jarrett grew up together in the business and we get the first mention of Christopher being Jerry Lawler’s son, which was never acknowledged by WWE until the Cole/Lawler feud. Christopher gets the mic but the crowd is making too much racket to hear him very well.  He says that there comes time in everyone’s life when they make the transition from a child to an adult, a child to a man and that he’s been labeled a child. More than that, he’s been labeled ‘Jerry Lawler’s son’

  • Girls make that child to adult transition too and 2. You are Jerry Lawler’s son, like it or not.)

He then says he’s lived his whole life in his dad’s shadow and that he always hears that the only reason that Brian Christopher is in the wrestling business is because he’s Jerry Lawler’s son. He says that he calls bulls**t. He says that after being in the business for fourteen years, he can finally say ‘Screw Jerry Lawler’. That does NOT go over well with the crowd. Christopher says that the crowd has never been in his shoes. He then bashes his father and says that Lawler was never a father at all. He wanted someone to look up to but his dad was never there. (Brian, he was trying to make a living).

Christopher says that all that changed last week at the expense of ‘Hey, yo’ because last week he kicked some ass and rode off into the sunset and that he feels good and can tell his dad to go to hell. (I hope he told his dad about this promo before doing it) This promo is quickly turning whiny because Christopher complains that his dad was never around when he needed him because he was too busy giving his attention to the wrestling business and Vince McMahon. This makes no sense to me because if Christopher’s been in the business for fourteen years, he would’ve debuted in 1988, before Lawler went to WWE in 1992. (Okay, someone come shut him up) Christopher says that from now on it’s going to be all about him and that he’s going to make himself famous and that it’s going to be all about Brian Lawler. (Huh, he tells his dad to f**k off, but decides to use the Lawler name) Well after all that, Brian’s opponent finally comes out and it’s Norman Smiley, who gets a much nicer welcome from the crowd.

Lawler gets the jump on Smiley and stomps the hell out of him. Lawler seems to be relishing his heel role, but he’s still playing to the crowd too much. Smiley gets his bearings and takes it to Lawler, but his moves are a little slow. Okay, I have no idea what is going on, but the crowd does. Lawler hits a NASTY DDT and gets control of the match back. This match isn’t great. I’m not familiar with Norman Smiley and this match is not leaving a good impression. Lawler played the crowd for a good minute before heading for the corner and Smiley didn’t move. Christopher hits the Hip Hop Drop, and gets the three count, even after playing to the crowd again. Afterwards, Lawler gets the mic and tells Scott Hall that he hopes he was watching the match because he’s next on Brian Lawler’s list.

Winner: Brian Lawler by pinfall.

Comment: The promo by Lawler was about the only good thing about this match and I have my issues with that.

We go to the back where Goldilocks is trying to catch up with Jarrett and the NWA VP Behrens. Jarrett thinks he’s got a title match against Shamrock tonight and the hapless Behrens is trying to explain that not only does Jarrett NOT have a title match tonight, he doesn’t have a match at all. Jarrett says that he’s the #1 Contender, which is news to everyone. Behrens tells him that he doesn’t have a match. Jarrett is livid and grabs Behrens and demands the match that only he thinks he has. Behrens also implies that Jarrett was behind what happened to Jim Miller (the NWA President whose name no one could remember last week) and if he (Behrens) can prove it, Jarrett will be suspended. Jarrett basically tells Behrens to suck his d**k and storms off.

While all that was going on, we kept hearing another argument going on off camera. From the upshot, it sounds like someone has an issue with Jerry Lynn.  We go black before Goldilocks can see what’s going on, and when we come back, we’re back at ringside for the next match. Up next is K-Krush vs Hervey Sadler, which already sounds like a trainwreck.

K-Krush vs Hervey Sadler

K-Krush is out to a loud round of boos and he doesn’t like it. He says that this is the last time he’s coming to ‘Trashville’ (Nashville) because the fans are a**holes. He insults the crowd some more but I’m not totally sure what he’s saying. He threatens and insults anyone waving a NASCAR sign and generally gets the crowd good and pissed off. Sadler comes out with his pit crew and a checkered flag because…I honestly don’t know. Even the commentators think Sadler’s an idiot for agreeing to this match, but they admire his guts. We start with trash talk and shoving. Apparently, someone has been giving Sadler some training because he shows some moves, but Krush ain’t having it.

This match is okay, Krush really plays up the arrogant heel with Sadler, who is basically a ragdoll that kicks out. Finally, Krush gets tired of this and locks Sadler in the Figure Four and after several minutes, Sadler turns it over, but Krush gets to the ropes. Krush goes for a Frankensteiner, but Sadler counters with a sit out powerbomb. Finally after a near fall and a failed dropkick, Krush uses a double leg takedown and feet on the ropes to pin Sadler for the win. Afterwards, Krush cheap shots Sadler for the hell of it.

Result: K-Krush by pinfall, with an assist from the ropes, but because of the cheap shot, the ref reverses the decision and gives the win to Sadler, because cheap shots after a match NEVER happen in wrestling.  :eyeroll:

Comment: I hate it when celebrities or non-wrestling athletes wrestle and Sadler did a good job, but Krush needed to win this one to maintain the respect of wrestling, the reversal was a stupid move that really did nothing but keep Sadler from looking stupid, which should not have been a problem since he had no business being in a wrestling ring.

Moving on, we get our first look at Omori, who is warming up for his big match. Alicia comes up and gestures to him and Omori pulls a handful of bills out of his bag. West and Tenay demand an answer from Ferrara, who tries to demure, but Ferrara will only say that he’ll tell them later.

Coming back from commercial, it’s time for our next match.

Hot Shots vs The Briscoe Brothers

 The Hot Shots, a generic looking pair of blond guys are out first and their opponents, another pair of generic looking guys, only these two are bald, are already in the ring and promptly bail out. According to the commentators, the generic bald guys are the Briscoe Brothers, and I only heard one of the names, but it sounds like it’s the same Briscoe Brothers that have become legends in the indys. This match is surprisingly good, this may be a tryout match for both teams and they’re making the most of it. It’s a little hard to keep up with the action and type, but it is fast and furious, and very fun to watch. For some reason, Slash storms the ring and take out all four competitors before throwing them all out of the ring.

Result: No Contest due to Malice’s interference.

Comment: While I get the reason why they had Malice do the run-in, it ruined the makings of a great match.

James Mitchell comes in and says that they aren’t leaving until the blood of Ken Shamrock is on the hands of Malice, because, apparently, they didn’t get the memo that Shamrock won fair and square last week and says that Malice will hurt everyone in the arena unless Shamrock comes out. To prove their point, they grab some random TNA tech person, but before the beating gets anywhere, Shamrock comes out and is in big trouble, but Omori, who doesn’t want to lose out on the title shot he flew in from Japan for, comes to Shamrock’s aid and the send the Disciples of the New Church running for the hills. Shamrock and Omori face off and it almost looks like it’ll come to blows, but we are sent backstage to the forever put upon Goldilocks.

One of the Dupps is kissing Fluff Dupp, who is still his cousin, in case you were wondering. Goldilocks is wearing a cowboy hat for some reason and is looking very disgusted by the whole situation. She asks the Dupp NOT trying to have sex with his cousin about their match with the Flying Elvises and asks how they plan on dealing with that, but the other Dupp is more interested in picking his nose. Other Dupp scoffs at the idea of ‘strategy’ and then uses horny coon dogs as a metaphor for what they plan to do with the Flying Elvises, which I hope doesn’t involve humping their legs.

Goldilocks is disgusted and still has to deal with the Dupp who had been making out with Fluff earlier, while the other Dupp cops a feel on Fluff in the background. (I couldn’t make this up if I tried!) Hat Dupp’s promo makes even less sense than the horny coon dog promo did and Goldilocks is about over all of this.

Back to the ring, we’re onto our next match and there’s a problem with the music. For some reason, a woman is coming out to the ring. She’s identified as Jasmine St. Clair of ECW. Ferrara and West say she’s a ‘movie’ star, but I don’t think porn really counts in this situation. Why she’s here is a mystery to everyone, including Borash.

Jasmine grabs the mic and shoves Borash away. Jasmine says she’s been watching TNA for three weeks and for three weeks she’s been waiting to see some ass, since everyone knows what the letters T ‘n A stand for. Everyone, including Borash and the commentators are excited for this. She tries to demure since she interrupted the tag team match, but no one really cares. The ref scheduled for the Dupp match shoves a chair into the ring. Apparently, Ms. St. Claire doesn’t like to dance without a partner and hauls Borash into the chair and gives him a lapdance, making him the most envied man in the building.

Before this gets too far, NWA VP Behrens tries to stop it and gets speared by Ferrara, while Jasmine keeps dancing. Behrens isn’t giving up and covers Jasmine up and makes her leave, despite the efforts of Ferrara and Borash, who now has to get both his brains back on business. Tenay asks Ferrara about the spear and Ferrara claims he thought it was a fan. They are in the Bible Belt, so a fan being offended by a striptease isn’t the stupidest thing ever heard of.

Dupps (with Fluff Dupp) vs Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada and Sonny Siaki)

The Dupps finally come out and no one’s happy to see them, or they aren’t happy to see the guys, Fluff is very over. The Flying Elvises are out next, and they’re a little more over with this crowd. Apparently, no one told the Elivises how the real Elvis actually moved or Estrada’s just a really bad dancer because his Elvis moves are the pits. Elivises get the jump on the kissing cousins and we’re off. For some reason, Mortimer Plumtree comes out, with either a paddle or a tennis racket, and seems to be assessing the situation before joining the commentators.

I’m not sure what to call this match. Interesting is putting it nicely, a collision is a little more accurate. There is a real style contrast and it’s not meshing very well. It looked like Blond Dupp had the thing won until the ref realized that the Elvis in question had his feet on the ropes. There’s some shenanigans with the Elvises and and Hat Dupp that nearly gets the Elvises a win. Never mind being nice, this match is a mess. Siaki badly botched a moonsault that looked like he really hurt himself. Somehow, Siaki and Estrade pull off a switcheroo and get the pinfall on Blond Dupp.

Result: Flying Elvises by pinfall.

Comment: How sad is it that the attempted striptease was a better segment than this match?

We go backstage and Lynn and Styles are having a fistfight, why is anyone’s guess. Lynn drops one of the belts on Styles and calls him a ‘glory hound’ before storming off. Guess we’re short a Tag Team Champion.

Now it’s time for the NWA Heavyweight Championship match.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ken Shamrock vs Omori

Harley Race is coming to the ring to represent the NWA, for some reason. Omori is out first to a minimal pop. Shamrock gets a great pop. This match starts out better for Shamrock than last week against Malice, Shamrock’s actually getting in some moves, but Omori isn’t doing well. Omori finally gets some offense in, thank heavens. This match is a lot more interesting than the title match from last week, but the contrast in styles of Shamrock and Omori is a little hit or miss. That said, Omori is a very good wrestler and is holding his own.

Just when it looks like Shamrock might get Omori to tap to the ankle lock, Jarrett runs in with a chair and lays out Shamrock and Omori. Harley Race tries to intervene and gets whacked with the chair for his troubles. Security comes out but after a couple of their guys get KO’d, the rest stay out of the ring. Bob Armstrong, who just watched his son Scott, who was the referee, get leveled by Jarrett is LIVID and I think he just told Jarrett that he’s being suspended. Jarrett is demanding the title shot that he thinks he was promised. Harley Race is back on his feet before Shamrock or Omori. Everyone’s more worried about Harley Race than the two wrestlers that took several chairshots.

Result: No Contest due to Jarrett’s interference.

Comment: The match was okay, but it definitely felt like they were just waiting for Jarrett or the Disciples of the New Church to come out.

Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to talk to Jerry Lynn, who is rocking back and forth while crouched against a wall. Goldilocks tries to get an explanation from Lynn about what happened, but Lynn tells her to suck his d**k and leaves. As Goldilocks gets up to leave, she bumps into James Mitchell, who promptly calls her the Whore of Babylon. Goldilocks is NOT happy about this and Mitchell changes tactics, asking her, in a very condescending way, to tell Jeff Jarrett, if she sees him, that he (Mitchell) really wants to talk to him. He tries to couch it in the supposition that Jarrett is about to commit a sin and he can’t allow that and compares himself to God, which Goldilocks doesn’t appreciate. Mitchell says that if Jarrett won’t come speak to him, he can be the bearer of light or the bringer of great darkness. He then threatens Goldilocks by saying she can either lose the smirk or have it cut off. As Goldilocks is dealing with that, she, and we, hear some muffled yelling. Going to investigate, we find Bill Behrens, NWA Vice President, tied up and marked like Jim Miller was last week.

Six Man Match To Determine Ranking for the X Division Title Contenders: Low K vs Elix Skipper vs Kid Romeo vs Tony Mamaluke vs Christopher Daniels vs Jerry Lynn

We get the rules for this: Your ranking depends on when or if you are eliminated. First man to be pinned or submit becomes the #6 Contender for the X Division Title, second man is #5 and so on. Last man standing is the #1 Contender, though no mention is made of what happens to the rankings if the #1 Contender beats Styles. The commentators point out that if Jerry Lynn wins the match, he becomes the #1 Contender against his own tag team partner, who he just beat up backstage. Another wrinkle: You have to stay on the apron and tags can’t be refused.

Not surprisingly, this match is fast and furious, so it’s a little tough to follow, plus, I’m not familiar with most of the competitors, so I’m having trouble telling who’s who. Jerry Lynn seems to be the target of the other competitors, either due to his skill, having wrestled earlier, or what happened to Styles. Elix Skipper just had a botch. It looks like he was supposed to wrap his arms around the ropes to counter a move by Low Ki, but he missed and fell out of the ring.

Elimination #1: Jerry Lynn by ten count because Lynn didn’t stay on the apron, so he’s at the back of the line for a X Division title shot.

Elimination #2: Tony Mamaluke by pinfall by Elix Skipper

Elimination #3: Elix Skipper by pinfall by Christopher Daniels.

Elimination #4: Kid Romeo by submission to Low Ki.

Elimination #5: Christopher Daniels by pinfall to Low Ki.

Winner: Low Ki by pinfall after a Fisherman Buster…I think that’s what they called it. While Low Ki and the fans are celebrating, the Flying Elvises, who were not invited to be part of this match or the X Division Championship Round Robin, storm the ring and beat everyone up. Afterwards, Sonny Siaki grabs the mic and tells Tenay that they weren’t invited to the match and that they ARE the X Division and if the NWA doesn’t want them involved, screw them.

Back in the ring, Elix Skipper has come back and is fighting Jorge Estrada, but Sonny Siaki saves his partner. Tony Mamaluke and Kid Romeo storm in and the Elivises clear out.

 Comment: This match was amazing! All six guys did a great job and the six man did feel like they were just putting guys in to make the match longer, every guy looked like they could’ve won the match. The elimination of Jerry Lynn was odd, it was probably to protect Lynn from taking a pinfall, but a count out elimination was strange because NO ONE else was counted out.

Next week: AJ Styles will have an X Division Championship Match against Low Ki, Scott Hall will face Brian Lawler, Puppet will be back and facing the World’s Largest Midget, Meatball.

While all this is going on, Jeff Jarrett comes out again, chair in hand, still looking for the title shot he thinks he’s owed. He yells at Tenay and vows that he WILL get his title shot next week. He insults the Tennessee Titans and gets into what I hope is a worked altercation with some members of the aforementioned team. This must be a work because one member of the team has the worst looking punches I’ve ever seen. James Mitchell and his crew come running to the rescue, but Jarrett’s had enough of this nonsense and is swinging his chair at anything moving, including the Disciples. Slash attacks Jarrett and it is complete and utter chaos. The show ends with Slash and Jarrett fighting among the fans.

Overall Comments

So, how was TNA now that we’re past the first few introductory episodes? This was a really good show overall. They’re ironing out the awkward spots and things seem to be running much more smoothly. One major issue I’m still having with TNA is the treatment of women. It’s easy to write off the treatment of Goldilocks as just how things were in 2002, or that it was TNA being ‘edgy’, but it’s more than that. Whoever was writing for TNA at this time had serious issues with women and what I watched wasn’t ‘edgy’, it was misogynistic and sickening.

The other issue I had was the Sadler/K-Krush match. As someone who doesn’t like celebrities and non-wrestling athletes getting in the ring and wrestling, I found the match very hard to sit through. Sadler had obviously taken the time and made the effort to train so he could do the moves and he did a good job, but for him to get a victory over K-Krush was a stupid move that does more for Sadler than K-Krush.

An interesting angle that’s developing is the status of Jeff Jarrett, especially after tonight’s episode. Is he the top heel or is he a really unlikeable babyface? When the show started, I would’ve say he’s the top heel and I think that’s where he’s going to stay for awhile, but the issue with James Mitchell and his Disciples of the New Church and the events at the end of the show makes Jarrett look like an extremely unlikeable face.  It’ll be interesting to see how TNA builds on this next week.

Another interesting angle is the attacks on NWA higher ups that has been going on the last couple of weeks. The obvious choice would be Jeff Jarrett since he’s having so many issues with the NWA. After this week’s episode, though, I’m beginning to rule him out as a suspect. It’s too obvious and given the comments and actions of James Mitchell and his congregation, I’m willing to be that they’re doing it either to set Jarrett up or to get into his good graces, or both.

Stinker: K-Krush vs Sadler. Both guys did a good job but I hated the whole storyline and the finish. In terms of match quality: Elvises vs Dupps or Brian Lawler vs Norman Smiley.

Snoozers: Shamrock vs Omori. It felt like they were just waiting for Jarrett to come out.

Match of the Night: X Division match. That was an amazing match and every guy looked good.

Final Thoughts: I’m really starting to get into TNA and I can’t wait for the next episode.


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