This week, TNA deals with the aftermath of last week’s X Division match, the falling out of Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles, and Jeff Jarrett’s insistence that he was promised a shot at Ken Shamrock’s World Heavyweight title. We’ve also got the ongoing mystery of who is attacking NWA officials that cross Jeff Jarrett. Is it Jarrett or is something else going on? Let’s find out
We start with a recap of last week’s ending and Jarrett’s insistence on being #1 Contender, as well as his assault on anyone who gets in his way.
We start with a segment taped earlier in the day of Goldilocks trying to get an interview with Ken Shamrock. In a display of the head writer’s serious issues with women, Shamrock screams at Goldilocks, who is just trying to do her job, and calls her a bitch before belittling and threatening her and telling her to back off.
(Seriously, Vince Russo needs a psychiatrist if he thinks that this is edgy and not misogynistic)
We start the usual pyro and Mike Tenay gives us the expected card for tonight: We’re going to have a #1 Contender’s match, which is going to be a ladder match between Malice and Jarrett.
Before we can find out the rest of the card, we’re sent to the back, where Scott Hall is assaulting Jeff Jarrett. We find out that Hall is going to face Brian Lawler later in the evening, but he wants to take care of some business with Jarrett first. Jarrett manages to turn the tides on Hall, but Hall seems determined to stop Jarrett from getting his match. They’re finally separated by NWA officials, though Jarrett is then told he forfeited his match, despite being attacked by Hall.
Don West’s jacket is red with black pinstripes. It’s not as godawful as last week’s but it’s not great.
Ladder Match to Determine the #1 Contender For the World Heavyweight Championship: Malice (with James Mitchell and the Disciples of the New Church) vs Sabu.
Malice and company come out to little reaction. No one is quite sure what’s going to happen since the NWA arbitrarily took Jarrett out of the match.
James Mitchell gets on the mic and he looks very smug. He says that he regrets announcing that due to unforeseen circumstances, Jeff Jarrett will not be able to bleed tonight. He says that Malice is willing to wash his hands in another victim’s blood and extends an open challenge.
Before much more of this charming tirade and the lights go out and when the lights go back up, it’s Sabu! The homicidal, suicidal, genocidal maniac of the original ECW. The crowd goes nuts! Apparently, Sabu was supposed to make his debut later in the evening, but crap happens.
Given the participants involved and the nature of the match itself, this is NOT a showcase of fine wrestling skills.
Unlike most ladder matches, the contract for a title shot seems like a distant second to just letting Sabu and Malice beat the hell out of each other. We were a good five minutes into the match before the ladder was even touched by anyone and another two or three before anyone made an attempt to get the contract. Malice is a good, if not very refined, wrestler and showed off a lot of impressive skills, but Sabu is just…not good. He’s good at finding ways of bleeding and breaking bones, but he’s not a great wrestler and it tells compared to Malice.
Compared to WWE, spots off the ladder have been few and far between. Again, the title shot is being treated as a VERY distant second to just letting two guys beat each other up.
Ah, we finally get the ‘Push the ladder so that the person on it lands on the conveniently placed table outside’ spot, which gives Sabu time to climb the ladder and get the contract.
Winner: Sabu. James Michell and his crew are not happy about this and attack Sabu from behind, but Sabu’s dealt with crazier people than this bunch and fights back, but the numbers game is a little too much.
Comment: To me, it’s never a good sign when a title shot isn’t as important as letting two guys, who aren’t the best wrestlers, fight. They could’ve had this match without the title shot on the line and made the title shot match between Hall and Jarrett.
Backstage, the NWA officials are STILL fighting with Jarrett, who refuses to leave without the title shot he was robbed of. It’s hard to understand what’s being said, but no one’s happy. I’m on Jarrett’s side a little, here, the NWA had no right to just arbitrarily strip him of his title shot over a backstage fight. If they didn’t want him in the match, they shouldn’t have scheduled it.
Back at ring side, the ref is helping Sabu to his feet after his beatdown when AJ Styles comes out. AJ doesn’t look like he’s in a good mood. Apparently, he wants to talk to Jerry Lynn about what happened last week, but Lynn seems to be in a fighting mood tonight, and tells him to shut up, but apparently, Lynn will tell us why he decided to beat up his tag team partner.
Basically, Lynn’s mad that he’s getting showed up by Styles, who is younger, and a little more talented than him and he thinks that Styles is a glory hound, even though Lynn was the one who tapped Styles to be his tag team partner. He also seems to be bitter over Styles beating him for the X Division title.
Styles doesn’t look like he can believe that someone he seemed to have a lot of respect for is acting like this, but the story seems to be making Lynn a bitter veteran who is getting passed by the younger generation and doesn’t like it.
Styles seems to take Lynn’s criticism to heart and agrees to basically play junior partner to Lynn, despite being a double champion. Lynn seems placated and turns his back, only for Styles to pay Lynn back for last week with a kick upside the head and a beatdown of his own, ending in a Styles Clash. Safe to say, this issue isn’t over. All of the commentators seem to be on Styles’ side, pointing out that Styles earned both belts.
Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get an interview with Jasmine St. Claire and we get a recap of the impromptu lapdance that made Jeremy Borash the most envied man in the building.
Goldilocks tries to interview Jasmine, only to be yanked away by Francine, who then proceeds to attack Jasmine. What follows is a really lame fight that lasts about ten seconds and Francine was left standing.
We’re told that the title match between Shamrock and Sabu will be next week on TNA. That should be…interesting. Back to the ring for our next match!
K-Krush vs Norman Smiley
K-Krush is out first to a decent pop. Apparently, his match against Hervey Sadler was a big hit with the fans and wrestling press and helped get TNA some attention.
Krush cuts a promo on the audience and fans at home and says he looks like a star and sounds like a star on the mic. The audience seems to be getting behind him…a little. Krush then asks that with all the tools he has, why isn’t he the biggest star in wrestling? He then gripes about having to work with Hervey Sadler. He then asks why WWF/WWE let him go and I think I know where this is going.
Yup, he’s going there. H hasn’t said it yet, but he’s basically saying that he’s not a bigger star because WWE and TNA don’t want to promote a black man. Surprisingly, a lot of the crowd seems to be behind him, despite his heelish efforts. Krush vows to take what’s his and spit in the face of anyone who gets in the way and that the truth will no longer be denied.
(So that’s where the name came from)
So, with that out of the way, it’s time for Krush’s opponent, Norman Smiley, to come out and he gets a bigger pop.
I really want to like Smiley, he seems talented and I’ve heard good things about him, but he’s not wowing me. This is a very acrobatic match, but Krush is more interested in winning than anything else, which is good.
This match doesn’t take very long and ends with K-Krush hitting what looks like a sloppy sit out Brainbuster on Smiley for the three count.
Winner K-Krush by pinfall. Afterwards, K-Krush attacks Smiley and beats him with his belt and actually does a rough hanging of Smiley over the top rope with the belt. Norman Smiley’s wife comes to the rescue and gets accosted by Krush instead before security comes in.
Comment: I’m not really sure what the point of this match or the aftermath was.
Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get an interview with Puppet the Midget Killer (I swear, it’s what she said!). Only Puppet is playing Oscar the Grouch (seriously, he’s in a trash can). Puppet wants some privacy and Goldilocks is perplexed by what he’s doing in the trashcan. Puppet seems to think Goldilocks thinks he’s spanking the monkey and makes some crude sexual innuendos that someone hiding in an easily overturned trashcan probably shouldn’t be making. Goldilocks is not impressed with this. Puppet says that what he’s really doing his putting his game face on and says he’s suffering from PMS: Pissed Midget Syndrome.
(:eyeroll: Trust me, dude, you wouldn’t survive REAL PMS, never mind an actual period)
To her credit, Goldilocks tries to keep this interview going and asks about Puppet’s opponent tonight, Meatball, the World’s Largest Midget. Puppet is insulted by Meatball and says he’s going to wrap his six inch pythons around Meatball’s neck and choke him out. He then hits on Goldilocks, who is NOT interested and calls his ‘python’ a garden snake.
(Get him, girl!)
Not surprisingly, given how she’s been treated, Goldilocks is over this backstage interviewer gig and says that she’s leaving when her singing career takes off. To give her further reasons to get the hell out of Dodge, she finds the Dupps making out on the floor, or at least Hat and Fluff. Blond Dupp doesn’t seem to be paying attention to anything but the lighter he was playing with. Goldilocks is about done with this when Blond Dupp starts to compliment her and then gets fascinated with his lighter again, then he compliments her lips but he’s not talking about the ones on her face.
(EW! Get out of there, girl!)
ANYWAY, it seems to be time for our next match.
Don West says that Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles will either have a one on one match against each other or a tag match, it wasn’t clear.
The Flying Elvises vs Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels
Elivii are out first and to a minimal reaction and their moves still suck. We get a recap of the Flying Elvises run in at the end of last week’s show.
Their opponents are two guys who got beat up by the Elvii last week.
This match is pretty fast and furious. Both teams have a legit bone to pick over last week, but Elvii are in control right now.
Siaki is so confident in success that he actually leaves Estrada to handle things in the ring, so he can run his mouth on commentary.
This isn’t as good a match as last week’s but it’s still very good. Siaki keeps going back to the commentary table.
Daniels gets tagged in and cleans house. I have to say that there’s a lot of whiffing.
This is one of those matches where you can’t look away or you’ll miss something. The ref misses a pin attempt because he was distracted by Daniels and one of the Elvises and it gives the Elvises the edge to get a win.
Winner: The Flying Elvises by pinfall.
Comment: I’m not wowed by this match. It just…didn’t work for me. There was a lot of whiffing showing light (showing that a move is staged). Suddenly, the Dupps come out and break 2x4s over the heads of the Flying Elvises. The Dupps are quite pleased with themselves and there’s kisses for every cousin.
One of the TNA girls has a visitor: T.O., one of the little people wrestlers, and he’s having a blast.
Backstage, the long-suffering Goldilocks is doing an interview with K-Krush and asks about the incident with Norman Smiley. K-Krush threatens Goldilocks, but is attacked by Scott Hall, who is still out for blood. I find it odd that Hall is allowed in the building and Jarrett was thrown out. Hall makes the comment of ‘2 down, 1 to go’, meaning that Brian Lawler is next on the hit list.
Back at the ring, it’s time for some midget wrestling action.
Meatball vs Puppet
So, we get our first look at Meatball, and he’s a big little dude. Apparently, Meatball is a bottomless pit, Tenay complains that he’s starving because Meatball had eaten everything in catering within ten minutes and is still hungry.
Puppet is out next and he gets an okay pop.
This match is weird. It’s not a squash, but it’s not great. Meatball wastes perfectly good food kicking Puppet’s ass, even has his own mini shopping cart. Puppet turns the dinner table and drops a full thing of flour and a watermelon on Meatball’s head.
I’m ready for this mess to end. Thankfully, Puppet gets the pin and can continue his anti-midget rampage.
Winner: Puppet by pinfall.
Comment: That happened and I’m glad it’s over.
T.O is still with the TNA girl and he’s loving it. The dancer doesn’t seem to mind until T.O. gets too handsy and nearly pulls off her top.
After all that, Jasmine St. Claire is back, soaking wet and not happy about what happened with Francine. Borash and the ref make idiots of themselves trying to open the ropes for her. Apparently, we’re either having a match or the ref is from the Puppet/Meatball fiasco and just stayed at ringside for the next match.
Jasmine gets on the mic and calls out Francine. Okay, so this is a match.
Jasmine St. Claire vs Francine
Francine doesn’t get Borash and the ref fighting over helping her into the ring.
If you’re expecting a match with skills like the ladies of today, you’re in the wrong place. This is a catfight that could just as easily be happening on Jerry Springer. Jasmine seems intent on ripping Francine’s hair out or her top off. She gets the top off, at least. Francine gets her back by ripping off Jasmine’s shorts, thankfully there’s a thong underneath.
Francine takes off her belt and starts spanking Jasmine, for lack of a better word. Blue Meanie, who is almost unrecognizable from his ECW and WWE years, gets in the ring and dares Francine to hit him, which she does. Meanie retaliates with a DDT on Francine, which incenses the commentary team, who didn’t seem all that bothered by Goldilocks’ treatment, but it may have been because none of the wrestlers actually touched Goldilocks.
Ed Ferrara is so angry that he goes to Francine’s aid, despite Francine beating his ass over the last few weeks. Francine is taken away on a stretcher.
Backstage, Goldilocks tries to get an interview with Low Ki, but Low Ki isn’t interested and walks away.
We get a tale of the tape for Low Ki and Styles.
X Division Title Match: AJ Styles vs Low Ki
Low Ki gets a good pop. I’m still not sure what will happen to the other contenders if Low Ki wins. Styles gets a good pop.
Ed Ferrara, who had been tending to Francine, is back and gives us an update on her condition. He sounds really upset, but I’m more interested in the match than in his Francine obsession.
This match starts off really good, lot of solid mat work before the fists start flying. This is easily the most alive match of the night.
This match is really amazing. Low Ki and Styles work really well together and the contrast in their styles works here. I have to keep reminding myself that Styles is in his fourth year as a pro and so isn’t as smooth in the ring as the AJ Styles I’m used to watching in WWE.
One of the things with the X Division as it is in 2002, when it was basically the Cruiserweight Division, is that you can’t take your eyes away for very long or you’ll missing a lot.
I think I’ve said before that Low Ki scares me and I’m not sure why. He’s extremely talented, but there are times when it seems like he’s not as careful as he should be when doing spots.
Whoa! Styles countered a corkscrew move by Low Ki in to a Styles Clash and that’s three!
Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall.
Comment: That was a really good match. Both guys looked great and put on a heck of a show.
I really thought this was the main event, there’s been no word about another match.
As AJ’s leaving, he gets speared by Jerry Lynn, who apparently didn’t like getting a taste of his own medicine earlier in the evening. Lynn hits his piledriver again before going to the ringside area and pulling out a ladder, indicating what kind of match these two are probably going to have next week. Lynn basically throws Styles on and into the ladder several times, probably trying to soften him up for their match next week. Finally, Lynn leaves and Styles is barely moving.
Okay, apparently there’s still some more show left.
Now it’s time for our actual main event.
Brian Lawler vs Scott Hall
Lawler is out first to a not positive reaction. Lawler gets on the mic, the crowd is rubbing the fact that he’s Jerry Lawler’s kid in his face. The more he gripes about it, the louder they get. He decides to drop some facts about his dad. 1. His dad’s been married three times, which is only a big deal if you lived in the 1950s. 2. Each wife was younger than Brian. Including Brian’s own mother, I guess. Even the commentators are lost on this one. 3. Brian left a ticket for his dad to come watch him wrestle, but Lawler’s not here and Brian accuses his dad of being a pedophile. We don’t get to hear the next line of BS because Hall’s music hits, to Lawler’s anger, but he’s so busy trying slander his father and mocking Hall’s legit substance abuse problems to realize who’s behind him. Turn around, dude. Or maybe don’t.
Hall’s getting tired of being sneaky but he’s being patient. FINALLY, Lawler turns around and this match is on.
Hall is pissed, and lays into Lawler. This quickly goes outside the ring, with Hall smashing Lawler into any surface that could do some damage.
Lawler seems to be over this and tries to head for the back, but Hall is after him and beats him up on the ramp.
Lawler keeps trying to escape and finally manages to get the upper hand in this match, ramming Hall’s head into the ringpost.
The crowd keeps reminding Lawler of being Jerry’s kid and it’s pissing Lawler off and he’s taking it out on Hall.
This match is actually pretty good, much better than I was expecting, but it just feels flat after the X Division match and the aftermath.
Lawler take some time to run his mouth on the mic some more, which gives Hall some time to get his bearings back, but Lawler gets the upper hand back quickly. Lawler goes for the Hip Hop Drop, but Hall stops him and is back in control.
I keep getting the feeling that Jarrett’s lurking somewhere, given how the night started. K-Krush comes out to get him some of Hall, but Hall sends him outside. Hall hits the Razor’s Edge and that’s the ballgame.
Winner: Scott Hall by pinfall.
K-Krush comes back again and nearly gets a Razor’s Edge but a low blow from Lawler breaks that up. Lawler and Krush give Hall a wedgie before beating him up and throwing him outside where Krush hangs Hall from the middle rope with his belt again. Officials come out to break things up and send Lawler and Krush to the back.
A stretcher is brought in and Hall gets on it, but I still think Jarrett’s lurking. Sure enough a guy, who looks like a doctor from a distance turns out to be Jarrett, wielding a steel chair and swings it at everyone in sight, but specifically, Hall. The show ends with Jarrett standing tall over everyone.
Comment: I’m honestly surprised Hall got a cleanish victory over Lawler. I figured Jarrett would interfere somehow. Still, this match felt flat after the X-Division match. I think the title match should’ve gone last.
So, how was Week 5 of NWA-TNA? This show was a little flat to me. There was about as much talking as there were matches and most of the matches weren’t anything to write home about.
The ongoing issue of Jarrett vs the NWA is becoming baffling on a level that even Austin vs McMahon didn’t reach. The fact that Jarrett was just stripped of a match within minutes of it being announced for really no good reason, is just silly. It still begs the question of whether Jarrett’s a top heel or a really unlikeable babyface. Both sides got an argument here.
I really hope that Brian Lawler talked to his dad before doing this heel run and that King’s okay with the things being said about him, because it’s just hard to listen to a child bash their parents, even in a scripted setting, when you know that that parent worked very hard to give their child a good life.
My ongoing issue with the way women, specifically Goldilocks, are treated on camera is still going. I’m not sure what kind of person finds this ‘edgy’, but it’s not good. My hat is off to Francine for taking that DDT from Blue Meanie, she sold it like a champ.
My second big issue this week is the NWA Title. I will admit that Shamrock’s title reign hasn’t been a barn burner, but the fact that Shamrock wasn’t even on tonight and that the #1 Contender spot was a distant second to two guys beating each other up bothered me. I still think Malice vs Sabu should’ve been a separate match from the #1 Contender match. I’m not expecting much from Shamrock vs Sabu next week, but maybe I’ll be surprised.
The third big issue is the rushing of the Jerry Lynn/AJ Styles storyline. I get that it would be very easy for a veteran like Jerry Lynn to feel out of place and out of step with the younger guys, and to resent it, but it feels like the feud between him and Styles is being rushed without much of a build. I wish we could’ve had more of a slow burn with this feud.
Stinker: K-Krush vs Norman Smiley. I still have no idea what that was all about.
Snoozer: Flying Elvises vs Daniels/Skipper. It was a boring X Division match. Something I never thought I’d say.
Match of the Night: Styles vs Low Ki. This was a really good match overall. I still find myself getting a little frustrated with Styles, but I keep reminding myself that in 2002, he was still pretty early into his career and wouldn’t be as smooth in his moves as he is in 2018.
Final Thoughts: This felt like a filler episode. It filled time but didn’t’ move much of the story forward.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 23
NWA-TNA Episode 23: November 27, 2002
Goldy is introduced and sings ‘God Bless America’ and sounds lovely as usual.
Opening: We open with Borash in the ring and he says that since it’s the day before Thanksgiving and because everyone is feeling grateful, despite everything the country has been through and is about to go through (the War in Afghanistan was about to start, I think), everyone at TNA is thankful to the fans for supporting them.
Briscoe Brothers vs Divine Storm (with Trinity): The Briscoes are back! They’re going up against generic new comers, Divine Storm.
This match was much better than Divine Storm’s previous outing last week. They and the Briscoes worked together very well and put on a really good match. Trinity got involved, hitting a hurricanrana on one of the Briscoes. There was also a really cool spot where one member of the Briscoes and one member of Divine Storm hit stereo diving sentons on each other’s opponent.
Ultimately, Divine Storm would win this round with a cradle suplex.
At ringside, Tenay addresses the revelation that Vince Russo was Mr. Wrestling III. The usually calm, neutral Tenay minces no words about how he feels. He does NOT like Vince Russo, he does NOT want to be associated with him, and vows to not let Russo destroy TNA the way he did WCW. West is a little stunned by Tenay’s anger, claiming that he didn’t realize that Tenay disliked Russo that much.
After the commercial break, Tenay is in the ring and he’s wanting to interview Jeff Jarrett. He gets Vince Russo instead. Russo seems to see no reason to play nice. He throws Tenay out of the ring and tells him to go sulk in the commentary area. Apparently Tenay had vowed to quit if Russo was allowed into TNA and Russo called his bluff, telling him he can go home and pout like Sean Waltman and they’ll replace him with a chimpanzee that will have more personality.
Addressing the audience, and seemingly unaware of just how many people hold him responsible for the destruction of WCW, Russo introduced himself as the Anti-Christ of wrestling and said that he came back because the business was ‘in the shitter’, without seeming to accept that he’s very much to blame for the state of the business.
Russo then tries to claim credit for Jarrett’s rise in the late 90s, claiming to have befriended him in WWE, despite the Double J gimmick, though it should be pointed out that Russo’s ‘friendship’ didn’t help Jarrett get out of the mid-cards in WWE. Russo then clams that the Jarrett’s begged him to come in and help TNA, saying that TNA means ‘Tits and Ass’ not ‘Total Non-Stop Acton’.
Proving that he has no clue what he’s doing, Russo disrespects the NWA greats who have been putting up with his garbage, and claims he’s saving TNA, instead of destroying it.
But Russo’s wants us all to know that he’s not a total psychopath. He offers Jarrett, who owns the company and put up with Russo’s BS even when it nearly closed the company down, be in on what he’s got planned for TNA, which will include some drastic changes. He will expect an answer by the end of the show.
After Russo leaves, an incensed Tenay calls Russo a cancer, stating that Russo is everything that is wrong with professional wrestling and says, point blank, that Russo killed WCW.
Throughout the evening’s show, there were various TNA on-screen talent plugging a silent auction to benefit a school for autistic children and for breast cancer awareness. The segments were pretty lame, so I’m not going to mention them past this point.
America’s Most Wanted vs The Hot Shots: Hot Shots don’t get a ton of love from the crowd,but there are some cheers. AMW are extremely over, but they aren’t in good moods after losing their rematch to New Church last week. The match was pretty typical for these teams. AMW was ground and pound, while the Hot Shots were a lot of flash and cockiness, butthe match was really good.
During the match, James Mitchell and Bella Donna come out, which distracts Storm and Harris, just when they had the match won. AMW pursued the Not-So-Good Minister and his lady, getting themselves counted out in the process. Mitchell, proving that there is no honor among thieves, ran for his life and left Bella Donna to the wolves.
Storm and Harris, proving that they are equal opportunity ass-kickers, were ready to hit the Death Sentence on Bella Donna, when Mitchell returned to half-heartedly try to save her. As the AMW were distracted, the New Church attacked from behind. Mitchell grabbed Bella and they got away, but Bella needs to rethink her life choices.
Backstage, Goldylocks is looking to talk to Jeff Jarrett about his upcoming match against Ron Killings and, presumably, Russo’s offer, but Dory Funk Jr is barring the door.
Funk, lets Goldy know that while Jarrett IS in the locker room, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone since he’s focusing on the match. When Goldy asks if he’s Jarrett’s manager, Funk simply says that he’s got a vested interest in the match.
NWA Tag Team Championship Match: BG James and Curt Hennig vs New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna): I’m not sure why the Harris Twins aren’t in this match since they’re supposed to be the #1 Contenders for the tag titles, but we’re getting James and Hennig. It was supposed to be James/Waltman, but Tenay informs us that Waltman has refused to show up because he doesn’t to be associated with Russo.
Michell gets on the mic and says that he doesn’t care about the difference between professional wrestling and sports entertainment, he’s just interested in being evil.
This match was really basic, which is probably the best option for everyone involved. Hennig looks like he’s laid off the booze and hit the gym a little more, but there’s no hiding the fact that his ring skills are lacking, though he shows some of his former brilliance with an interesting modified figure-four.
AMW run in, causing James and Hennig to be DQ’d just when they thought they had the match won. All hell breaks loose with AMW not only brawling with the New Church, but with the angered James and Hennig who feel that they were robbed of their opportunity. AMW would chase New Church into the back, but it’s clear that AMW have made enemies of James and Hennig.
Alyx Winters vs EZ Money: For reasons that I can’t explain, EZ Money has gotten over with the higher ups at TNA and is back for another match. His opponent is Alyx Winters,who reminds me a little of the Wunderkind from WCW.
The match has a pretty basic start, but there’s an interesting reverse Boston Crab/swing hold by Money. There’s a spot where Winters was supposed to float over Money, but Money didn’t run in and when Winters landed, it was balls first on Money’s knee. After that stupid spot,that Money was very proud of, the match went rapidly downhill. Money picked up the win with a cradle suplex and left poor Winters in the ring.
Backstage, we find Goldylocks with Bruce, who has been in middle of the drama that is the relationship of Brian Lawler and April. After seeming to be caught in the shower with April and probably NOT conserving water, unless April gets turned on by saving the Earth’s oceans, Bruce found himself fending off not only an enraged Lawler, but his former partner, Lenny Lane, who tried to claim that Bruce was ineligible to be Miss TNA because he was actually straight. If you find that confusing, join the club.
This week, Bruce has ditched the pastels and his fetching Miss TNA number for a pretty basic…guy look, long-sleeved shirt, baseball cap.When Goldy introduces him as Bruce, he corrects her and says that his name is now Allen Funk. A confused Goldy asks him about the April situation and Funk claims that he felt sorry for April because of how Lawler treated her and tried to comfort her. What that has to do with showering together, I have no idea.
Furthermore, Bruce states that he is gay, but that his heart got involved and that April is a very sexual person. Goldy makes a really bad joke, but asks what Funk plans to do with the Miss TNA gear, and Funk says he’ll give it to April.
Crimson Dragon vs Sonny Siaki: Last week, Crimson Dragon made a mediocre debut in a match involving AJ Styles. This week, Dragon and Siaki meet one on one. Dragon’s changed his look and looks like a very stylish ninja, while Siaki looks bored,though he gets a bit of a pop from the crowd.
The match was okay, Siaki does his best, but Dragon sucks. He botches several spots before Siaki can put him away with a super overhead-toss and a Money clip.
Once Crimson Dragon is vanquished, a disgusted Siaki gets on the mic and states that he’s tired of the lackluster opponents he’s been getting. If TNA won’t give him better competition than this, he doesn’t want to say. Sonny Siaki, in his own mind, should only be wrestling top guys and be in title matches.
Backstage, Goldylocks is with April, apparently, Goldy was wanting to interview Lawler, but found April instead. April says that Lawler has been in the production truck watching the footage of the shower scene all day. April doesn’t seem to get what the problem is, Bruce is gay and she’s faithful to Brian, which shows that either she’s an idiot or he is.
Goldy points out that no one believes her, especially after last week, to which April coyly implies that Goldy’s jealous. Angry and fed up…FINALLY, Goldy tells the cameraman to cut off the interview because she’s ‘done with this bullshit’.
To add more drama to this mess, Lawler goes to ringside, not dressed to wrestle and looking very sad. According to him, he gave everything he had to a woman and that April cheated on him and made him look like an idiot, though it must be said that Lawler was already doing a good job of making himself look like an idiot before April got there. In play at sympathy, Lawler then claims that April and Goldylocks had an affair, which didn’t win him much sympathy. Fed up, Lawler says he’s quitting the wrestling business and does his really bad crying act before walking away.
Tenay and West are dumbstruck, with even West saying that that was weird.
Thing get weirder back stage when Goldylocks tries to talk to Lawler, but finds him being comforted by Priscilla, Jorge Estrada’s manager. Lawler is STILL doing the fake crying thing, telling Priscilla that she’s the only one that cares. They walk away together, but we see Lawler grabbing Priscilla’s butt, so I don’t think we have to worry about him bouncing back from April.
X-Division Championship Match: Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles (with Mortimer Plumtree): The rivalry between Styles and Lynn is well-known, so I won’t go into it here. Styles won the right to face Lynn last week after defeating Jorge Estrada and Crimson Dragon.
The match was okay. Even the best rivals have a clunker and this was that match for Styles and Lynn. I’m not sure what was going on,but they just could seem to mesh as seamlessly as they usually do.
Added to the trouble was Plumtree, who was trying to use some heel manager tactics and not doing a great job at it. Unfortunately, Plumtree’s antics would end up costing Styles the match when the brass knucks Plumtree tossed him ended up with Lynn, who knocked Styles into next week for the pin.
In a pre-show interview, Tenay interviewed Dory Funk Jr. Funk, who has none of his brother’s personality, talked about how much being NWA champion meant to him, and talked about what he learned from all the greats he worked with, and plugged the Funking Conservatory wrestling school. For whatever reason, the person typing up the names of the former NWA greats Funk mentions spells Jack Brisco’s name as ‘Briscoe’.
Funk stated that he believed that the Jarrett/Killings feud was the future of the NWA and would be seen as a great rivalry in twenty years. As for Russo, Funk makes no bones about the fact that he doesn’t like Russo and feels that Russo’s sports entertainment had no place in professional wrestling.
NWA Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Killings: It’s time for the rematch. Both men get great pops, though Jarrett’s is a little mixed. This was a really great match, much better than last week’s. Jarrett and Killings took each other all over the arena, actually resulting in a double countout, but Bob Armstrong demanded that the match be restarted so that there could be a definitive winner.
There was a really lame ‘take out ref’ spot that was only saved by Armstrong’s selling, While Armstrong was ‘out’, Russo showed up, seeming to help Jarrett, handing Jarrett his guitar to finish Killings off. Instead, Jarrett breaks the guitar over the turnbuckle to the crowd’s delight, choosing to put Killings away with three Strokes to retain the title.
Angered, Russo go on the mic as Jarrett was leaving,demanding to know Jarrett’s answer, but the show ends before we hear what Jarrett has to say.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was Week 23 of NWA-TNA? Not great. There were a lot of blah matches andstupid/awful segments and only a couple of really good matches to cover for it.
The use of Russo was interesting, he seemed to truly NOT get that most people hold him responsible for what happened to WCW, a fact that bears out if you ever listen to him and seemed to honestly think that the wrestling business needed him. Spoilers: It doesn’t. In my opinion, having watched this show from the first episode to now, Russo’s involvement has been what’s kept TNA from really flourishing in the early stages, which nearly put the company out of business.
I’m glad the Lawler/April/Bruce/Goldy thing seems to be finally over because it was godawful to watch. Siaki getting fed up with having to deal with mediocre job guys was interesting, but they’re still trying to make him a Rock clone and it’s not getting over with fans.
Overall, this was an okay show. I’m hopeful next week will be better.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 22 – Boyhood Dream Fulfilled
The next installment of Tiffany MC’s weekly NWA-TNA Chairshot Classics!
On this episode of NWA-TNA (check out last week’s), it’s all come down to this: Jeff Jarrett has his date with destiny when he takes on Ron Killings for the NWA Championship, but a familiar face could call everything into question. AMW looks for revenge against the New Church, the Lawler/April situation takes several bizarre turns, and Jerry Lynn defends the X-Division Championship against Amazing Red. How’d they do? Let’s find out.
The show starts with Tenay and West give us a quick run-down of the card, and topping it off is the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match between Ron Killings and Jeff Jarrett.
In a pre-show interview, Tenay talked to Champion Ron Killings. Jeff Jarrett was also offered a chance for an interview, but he’d declined, stating that he needed to focus on his title match. Tenay tells us that he never heard back from Mr. Wrestling III about the open contract.
Ron Killings says that he’s not worried about Mr. Wrestling anymore. He’s been watching Jeff Jarrett over the past few months and knows that Jarrett’s passion was for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but Killings has that same passion. Being NWA Champion has justified everything Killings has been through in his career.
Killings says that their match is about who has the most passion for that title. Who wants it more badly, and who’s willing to go the furthest to get it.
Comment: Another great interview for Killings. I still wish they’d showed more of this Killings instead of the wild-eyed lunatic.
Divine Storm (with Trinity) vs EZ Money and Sonny Siaki: Divine Storm come out first and they look like budge Maximo Brothers, and Trinity looks like a typical wrestling valet for 2002. EZ Money and Siaki are out next. Someone must’ve told Money that his pants looked stupid, because he ditched them for trunks after his introduction. Siaki looks thrilled, as always.
The match started with Divine Storm getting the upper-hand, but the match went outside and everyone go into the act, including Trinity, who hits an okay moonsault on everyone. Back in the ring, Siaki is doing his best to keep this match together, but it was tough when the other three people in the ring are mediocre at best. Siaki would get the win for his team with his Money Clip move and Divine Storm retreat to lick their wounds. EZ Money, who did alright in the match, wanted to pose, but Siaki just wanted out of there.
Winner: EZ Money and Sonny Siaki.
Comment: Generic is the best way to describe this match. Siaki looked bored.
James Mitchell and Bella Donna, who looks sleep-deprived and high at the same time come out. Mitchell gets on the mic and talks about how the upcoming NWA Championship match is all anyone wants to talk about. The New Church isn’t satisfied with being Tag Team Champs. He’ll only be satisfied when one of his minions is World Heavyweight Champion. While he was talking, Bella Donna was feeling herself up and then leaning on Mitchell. It was creepy but not in a cool way.
Malice (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs Kory Williams: After all that, Malice comes out to face Kory Williams, who didn’t get an entrance, and is wearing a Matadores mask. The match was quick. Malice didn’t even take his vest off. The one…highlight was when Malice went to do a move off the top rope, and slipped off, falling FLAT on his face. That flub didn’t stop Malice from getting the pin. After his victory, he beats Williams up some more, as if it’s Williams’ fault he flopped.
Winner: Malice by pinfall.
Comment: Bleh. Malice falling on his face was the only good part.
Tag Team Tournament Final – Spanish Announce Team vs Harris Brothers: The winner of this match faces the winner of the New Church/America’s Most Wanted match later in the show. This pairing seems like a joke, though I’m a little worried that the joke is on the viewer.
Despite being outsized by the Harris Brothers, the Maximos showed no fear, getting the jump on the Harrises. The Harrises definitely had the edge as far as experience, but the Maximos were a lot younger and quicker. That didn’t stop the Harrises from trying to keep up, namely Don doing a big man’s version of the slingshot plancha onto the Maximos. The Harrises’ experience advantage would be the deciding factor in the match and getting the pin on the Maximos after an H-Bomb.
Winner: The Harris Brothers by pinfall.
Comment: Eh match. Neither team really seemed like a threat to New Church.
Backstage, Goldylocks is talking to April. Goldy starts with the question we all want to know: What the hell was April thinking showering (and presumably having sex) with Bruce?
April is upset by the accusation, pleading innocence. She claimed that it was a production trick to make her look bad. Goldy isn’t buying this and says that April makes her sick.
April begins to ‘cry’, basically making sobbing sounds, which doesn’t work on Goldy. Bruce, clad in his Miss TNA regalia, comes up and comforts April, while Goldy rolls her eyes in disgust. Bruce claims to be gay and that the whole situation was a production trick. Goldy comments that he’s as gay as Ralph Nader, which I didn’t totally get, but anyway.
At this point, Lenny marches up and claims that Bruce is a phony gay man, and is actually straight as an arrow. Lenny then claims that since Bruce is straight, he can’t be Miss TNA and Lenny wants the crown and sash.
Bruce refuses and a slap fight commences. To add further ‘WTF?’ to this situation, Brian Lawler run in and starts beating up Bruce, with Lenny’s help.
BG James vs Lenny Lane: James comes out and does his usual schtick, but gets interrupted by Lenny, who has his own entrance music. James isn’t impressed by this, or Lenny, and gets back on the mic, claiming that the following match won’t be a gay bashing, but that he will beat up a f****t (yes, he said that, AND the audience cheered).
After that charming introduction, Lenny keeps stalling, but finally locks up. During a somewhat awkward series of standing switches, Lenny came up with an…innovative counter: Rub his ass against James’ crotch, which broke the hold, and earned Lenny a punch. After that, James wrestled a little more gingerly, as though he was afraid that Lenny’s…gayness was contagious.
Thankfully, an enraged Bruce interrupts this ongoing trainwreck and attacks Lenny, which James finds very funny. Brian Lawler comes out and attacks Bruce, while April screams and cries outside the ring. For some reason, even though the ref SAW Bruce attack Lenny, James is able to get a pinfall victory on Lenny. Outside the ring, Goldylocks comes to April’s rescue, giving her a hug and leading her backstage by the hand, while Brian Lawler loses his shit in the ring.
Winner: BG James, but everyone lost.
Comment: Who let Russo have the pen back?!
Jorge Estrada (with Priscilla) vs AJ Styles (with Mortimer Plumtree) vs Crimson Dragon: Everyone comes out with their respective managers, Dragon comes out in really RED clothes and a generic white mask.
There’s no hiding the fact that this match was boring. Estrada is a mediocre wrestler at best, as was the Crimson Dragon. Styles looked bored and was having to limit himself to cover for his opponents and that barely kept this match from being a mess. It would take an elevated Styles Clash on Estrada through Dragon for Styles to get the pinfall. He’ll meet the winner of Jerry Lynn/Amazing Red next week.
Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall.
Comment: Styles looked so bored, it wasn’t funny.
Backstage, Goldylocks was with America’s Most Wanted. Goldy wants to know if there is a plan. Harris was in a bad mood and says that their plan is to beat the hell out of James Mitchell. What they want is to get their respect and belts back.
Storm says that he learned a long time ago that you kill a snake by cutting off the head. He warns Bella Donna that if she jumps on his back again, she’ll go on an eight second ride and Storm won’t be sorry.
NWA Tag Team Championship Match – New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs America’s Most Wanted: There’s a guy in the audience with a sign saying ‘Who the Hell is Athena?’ and I love him for it.
The match starts out on the floor in a brawl. We find out that Brian Lee is no longer ‘Primetime’, he’s now ‘Bulldozer’ Brian Lee, which doesn’t sound nearly scary enough for the New Church. The match was the usual brutal slugfest for these two teams. Harris tries twice to get a sunset flip on Malice, but Malice is too big. Mitchell and Bella Donna don’t do a whole lot, though Bella Donna still doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.
Getting frustrated by AMW’s refusal to lose, Lee gets the spike, but Storm blocks him with a kick. Storm then gets the spike and tries to use it. Bella Donna jumps on his back and gets thrown. Storm again tries to use the spike and gets DQ’d. Bella Donna, not realizing that the match was over, gets on Storm’s back again and goes for an Eight Second Ride. AMW is PISSED at this point and attacks everyone, including the ref. Now bereft of protectors, James Mitchell runs for his life before Security runs in and promptly gets the snot knocked out of them by AMW.
Winner: New Church by DQ
Comment: Not an awful match, much to my surprise.
In another pre-show interview, Tenay interviews Amazing Red. Red is clearly nervous about talking on camera, but comes across as very humble and eager. He talks about his childhood and what inspired him to get into wrestling, which was Hulk Hogan, Rey Mysterio, and watching cruiserweights. He also says that he respects Jerry Lynn, loves the X-Division and would love to win the belt. It was a good interview but the answers were stock answers and we didn’t see much of Red’s personality.
As for the X-Division Champion, he was doing an interview with Goldylocks, who says that she was looking forward to his match with Amazing Red. Lynn’s in a good mood and replies that he’s looking forward to this match too because Red reminds him of himself when he was younger. Red’s doing things right and Lynn is happy to do this match with him. It was a good interview, but Lynn seemed a little cocky.
X-Division Championship Match – Jerry Lynn vs Amazing Red: The match got off to an awkward start and stayed that way. Lynn and Red are both really good competitors, but they just couldn’t seem to mesh and it made the match hard to get into. Give the devils their dues, Lynn and Red really tried to put on a match that lived up to expectations, but it just didn’t come together.
Lynn would get the pinfall after a piledriver off the middle turnbuckle. Afterwards, Lynn helped Red to his feet and shook his hand.
Winner: Jerry Lynn by pinfall.
Comment: This match had a lot of potential, but Lynn and Red just couldn’t seem to get it together, which is sad because they both tried.
It’s go time.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match – Ron Killings vs Jeff Jarrett: This match might be at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, but it has a big fight feel worthy of Madison Square Garden, all that’s missing is the annoying guy that WCW used to introduce important title matches.
The match starts out with a lot of jockeying for position, but Killings doesn’t seem to be taking this very seriously. Jarrett gets control, but takes his eye off the prize briefly to do his signature Strut. Killings would turn the momentum around by hitting a low blow that Scott Armstrong would’ve had to have been blind to not see.
Killings hits the figure four, but Jarrett’s a master of that move and was ble to counter it. After Scott Armstrong got hit, but not badly enough to be KO’d, Killings took advantage of the distraction to get a chair, which backfired when Jarrett used it on Killings. However, Killings wasn’t daunted and actually countered the Stroke
The match goes out to the floor, then out into the crowd, but neither man is counted out. Somewhere in the brawl, Jarrett gets busted open, which shows nicely on his hair. Though he fights back, even coming back from being on the receiving end of a VERY elevated leg drop from Killings. Back in the ring, Killings accidentally takes out Scott Armstrong, but gets himself KO’d by ramming his head into Jarrett’s by accident.
During the melee, Mr. Wrestling III shows up and gets into the ring. He has the guitar and seems poised to use it on Killings, but hesitates, before turning to Jarrett, who has his back turned. Once Jarrett is on his feet, sort of, but before he turns around, Mr. Wrestling El Kabongs Killings with the guitar, knocking him out. Mr. Wrestling then clears out of the ring, letting Jarrett to get the pin.
Jeff Jarrett is the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion! The Boyhood Dream has come true! Jarrett is ecstatic, as is the crowd, even with the crazy finish. As he celebrates, Mr. Wrestling comes back into the ring and lets Jarrett see him as he applauds. He then reveals himself to be Vince Russo, the man who is widely, and somewhat justifiably, blamed for the destruction of WCW.
The crowd is STUNNED. Tenay shouts out ‘Oh, shit, it’s Vince Russo!’, which is as good a reaction as any. No one is more stunned than Jarrett, who has achieved a dream, but who knows what Russo’s going to want in return.
Overall Comments: So, how was Episode 22 of NWA-TNA? Well, it was definitely a mixed bag. The first hour was an absolute trainwreck. Mediocre matches that didn’t do anyone any good and the whole thing with Rainbow Express/Lawler/April/Goldy thing wasn’t just a ‘Who booked this crap?’ moment, but a ‘Who the hell let this air on TV?!’ It was like the first hour was Russo’s and the second hour was Jerry Jarrett’s.
Jeff Jarrett is FINALLY the World Heavyweight Champion. I give TNA props for how they built Jarrett up so that the audience WANTED him to become champion. It was very much like how they built Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin but letting Jeff be Jeff. My only regret was that it took so much time and two lukewarm reigns for us to get there.
I cannot ABIDE Vince Russo, but the swerve of him being Mr. Wrestling III was perfect. Jarrett and Russo were cronies in WCW before it imploded, so to see them on opposite sides will be interesting to watch.
Something has to be done with the X-Division. It’s getting stale with only a few really top guys and the rest being mediocre at best. Styles looked bored to death wrestling Estrada and Crimson Dragon.
Lynn/Red would’ve been a great match if they had just gotten it together.
The feud between New Church and AMW is fantastic. I’m not sure the upcoming match between the Harris Brothers and New Church will be as good, but we’ll see.
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