This week, TNA will be dealing with the aftermath of last week’s shenanigans, including Jeff Jarrett’s somewhat understandable anger at his treatment by NWA leadership. Sabu will have his one-on-one match with Ken Shamrock for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn will have to try and put their differences aside in order to hold on to their Tag Team Championship. Plus, James Mitchell and his minions are running loose. This is also the first TNA to come from the Asylum of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. So, let’s see what’s going on!
This week’s show opening is a definitely scaledown from previous shows: No opening montage, no pyro, the Asylum reminds me of old episodes of the territory shows, which is actually very refreshing.
We start at ringside where Jeff Jarrett is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. He’s attacking the security guards sent to make him leave with a steel chair. Jarrett basically says that he’s done talking, his silence will be deafening and will consist of raw violence, because that’s worked so well up to now. He demands that Shamrock comes out with his (Jarrett’s) title or there’s going be bodies laying out around the ring. He then says that he’s been making his case for five weeks that he should be NWA Champion, but people aren’t listening. He basically threatens to hold the show hostage until he gets the title shot he was robbed of last week by NWA leadership.
We go backstage where Security is surrounding Shamrock, presumably to keep him from going out to confront Jarrett. Shamrock’s cooperation lasts about two seconds and then he’s taking out the security guards, except for one big, blond guy who seems to be the only security guard who knows what he’s doing, but he also gets his butt kicked.
Bob Armstrong and someone who looks like one of the Harris Brothers (DOA in WWE) are trying to calm Shamrock down, but step aside once its clear that he means business. Shamrock then locks Armstrong and Harris in the room and heads to the ring. Some unknown musclehead demands to know what’s going on and Shamrock tells to be sure that no one leaves the room or gets inside.
Back in the ring, NWA Vice President, Bill Behrens, who has been constantly trying to put out the Jarrett wildfire with a garden hose, decides to try gasoline instead. He suspends Jarrett for sixty days due to Jarrett’s actions over the last few weeks, ignoring the fact that Jarrett’s actions were a reaction to the NWA’s treatment of him, justified or not. He also tells Jarrett that he can leave under his own steam like a gentleman or be dragged out by security, apparently not realizing that his crack security team has been taken out by Ken Shamrock.
Jarrett’s reaction to this latest BS, is to whack Behrens upside the head with the steel chair, to the joy of the crowd. Shamrock comes out and a fight breaks out. Since Security is a little preoccupied, a couple of guys from the locker room come out to try and restore order. Jarrett uses the distraction to nail Shamrock with the steel chair. Before the babyface enforcers can do anything, Lawler and K-Krush come to Jarrett’s rescue. Jarrett says something to Tenay, but it’s hard to understand what he said.
While order is being restored, we get a rundown of tonight’s card. Again, Tenay talks about Jarrett’s disdain for authority, while ignoring the fact that Jarrett has a very good reason to be upset considering that the NWA officials have seemed to go out of their way to screw him over for expressing his opinion and not sucking up to them. Last week’s arbitrary revoking of his #1 Contender match is a good example.
Amazing Red vs Lo Ki
Amazing Red comes out to a minimal pop. Lo Ki gets a better pop, but he looks like he’s in a bad mood.
This match was very fast paced, but not a lot of wrestling, in my opinion. This was Amazing Red’s TNA debut and it’s easy to see why he became a staple of the X Division for several years and actually seems to have Lo Ki’s number, but Lo Ki gets his game together.
Have to say that Red loses some badass cred when Lo Ki kicks off his bandana and he’s revealed to slightly resemble Carrot Top.
Ferrara makes a comment that this match resembles a Jackie Chan movie and I have to agree to a point.
Lo Ki hits the Ki Krush and gets the three count.
Winner: Lo Ki by pinfall
Comment: I think I would’ve liked this match more if it hadn’t seemed like such a spot fest. There was very little actual wrestling and just a lot of kicking and flips.
We still have the dancing girls, but they’re a little more dressed than last week.
Goldilocks is trying to keep up with Jarrett who is trying to get Shamrock’s friend to let him into where Shamrock is, but Muscles isn’t having it, but Jarrett doesn’t care, but backs off for now.
Hot Shots vs James Storm and Chris Harris
Hot Shots are out first to an okay pop, they’re still pretty generic looking and the crowd doesn’t seem terribly impressed. One of the Hot Shots gets on the mic and says that, and I quote, “We’re pricks, we’re proud, and we’re protruding”.
Storm and Harris, who really should be in the Tag Title hunt, get a huge pop.
In an earlier interview, it’s revealed that the Hot Shots are the ones that jumped Storm and Harris in Episode 3, not the Rainbow Express or the Dupps. This doesn’t make any sense to me sense the Hot Shots weren’t part of the show that night. Anyway, Storm and Harris vow to teach the Hot Shots a lesson. Storm is acting goofier than a pet coon, to quote JR, and it seems to be getting on Harris’ nerves.
Back to the ring, the match has already started, and the Hot Shots are already trying to bail out, but Storm and Harris aren’t having it.
Apparently, Tenay doesn’t buy the story of the Hot Shots taking out Storm and Harris either, but Ferrara points out that the absence of Storm and Harris opened the door for the Hot Shots to get a match on PPV.
Harris is taking care of business and tags in Storm but Hot Shots keep him from getting into the ring and a fight breaks out outside. The Hot Shots are dominating Storm, but Storm refuses to stay down.
The Hot Shots are playing arrogant heels very well, problem is that they’re so unknown that no one really cares. Hot Shot #2 misses the moonsault but hits Storm anyway, but Storm is still able to tag in Harris.
Okay, whatever Storm was smoking, drinking, or rubbing into his belly seems to have worn off because he’s all business. Harris hits a Northern Lights Suplex for the three.
Winner: James Storm and Chris Harris by pinfall
Hot Shot #1 attacks them both from behind and take them both out.
Comment: That was a pretty good match. I hate how Storm was being portrayed in the earlier interview, but the match was good.
Backstage, the long-suffering Goldilocks is with the trainers, working on Ken Shamrock, to make sure he’ll be able to meet Sabu later in the evening. Shamrock seems to be groggy, but that only lasts a few seconds. He grabs the trainer and demands to know where Jarrett is, when the trainer can’t answer that question, Shamrock loses it.
Apolo vs Brian Lawler
Apolo is out first to a good pop. Lawler is out next to a pretty good pop. He’s not dancing around like he was last week and seems to have embraced toning things down, though he still hates hearing ‘Jerry’s Kid’ from the crowd.
This match is a real contrast in styles and personas, but it’s pretty good, at least so far. Apolo is dominating the match, but Lawler keeps coming back. Apolo is a beast, and I mean that nicely. He’s got a good look and can go in the ring. For all his whining about his father, Lawler seems to be taking moves out of his dad’s heel playbook.
After some ‘eh’ back and forth, Apolo goes for the kill, but Lawler counters. Lawler got his lip busted but doesn’t seem to mind it too badly. He still wastes too much time dancing, which you shouldn’t do with someone like Apolo. Lawler’s time-wasting costs him, Apolo does a quick roll up for the victory. Lawler can’t believe it and goes to the commentators, who try to explain what happened, but Lawler is livid and goes after Don West. Since there is still no security, the only people to help West are Tenay, Ferrara, and some other guy at ringside.
Winner: Apolo by pinfall
Comment: I was ‘eh’ on this match. It was good, but it seemed like a waste of both guys, who really didn’t benefit from any part of the match.
K-Krush is out to a mixed reaction. We get a recap of what K-Krush did to Norman Smiley, which is disturbing in any circumstances, but especially in the South. We also are shown him doing the same to Scott Hall.
K-Krush seems to have no remorse over what happened. He says his name is ‘The Truth’. Okay, that’s easier to type. He says that ‘They’ gave him the name ‘K-Krush’ and he won’t be ‘Their’ puppet any more. The crowd seems torn on how to react. A lot of people are supporting Truth, but just as many want him to shut up.
Truth says he doesn’t abide by ‘Their’ rules and it’s all about the truth. He still won’t come out and say that the NWA won’t put the title on him because he’s black, but he invokes Al Iverson, OJ Simpson, and Mike Tyson, saying that they are all great men kept down by ‘Them’, rather than by their own actions, and all of them are African-American athletes who had trouble with the law.
This crowd is getting nasty and the situation is saved by Monty Brown, who is completely over this. Truth looks really scary and isn’t backing down, so Brown MIGHT want to watch his step.
Brown talks about his accomplishments, which were a distant memory in 2002 and says that ‘They’ helped him accomplish his goals. He then tells Truth that maybe the problem isn’t ‘Them’, maybe the problem is that Truth isn’t as great as he thinks he is. Them’s fightin’ words, as my grandfather would say.
Truth is looking increasingly crazy and pissed off, which could be bad for Brown. He tells Brown that he doesn’t have a problem with him (why don’t I believe that), and that Brown isn’t the one Truth has a problem with. Brown’s got his own bills to pay and so does Truth. He then tells Brown to take his selling out, Uncle Tom (DUDE!), ass out of Truth’s ring.
The crowd goes ballistic, and so does Truth, who takes quick advantage of Brown’s shock to attack him. Brown quickly regains his bearings and the fight’s on. Brown hits the Alpha Bomb, but this issue is just getting started.
We get a recap of the Jerry Lynn/AJ Styles issue right before their tag team match.
We get a pre-match interview involving Mike Tenay. Both guys own up to their issues with each other, but they seemed to have declared a truce and are trying to work things out, but there does seem to be some remaining tension, and considering that they’ve spent the last two weeks beating each other up as often as their opponents, this truce seems shaky at best.
NWA Tag Team Championship Match: AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn vs Flying Elvises
Flying Elvises are out in full. Jorge Estrada and Jimmy Yang are going to be the ones competing this week, Sonny Siake is there to run his mouth. The champs are out to a great pop.
Unlike the Amazing Red/Lo Ki match, this is NOT a spot fest. There are a lot of spots, but there is actual wrestling in this. Lynn’s veteran experience is really on show here and the champs make a good show of working together in the early stages of the match.
This match is very fast moving, so it’s a little hard to keep up with but it’s still a really good match. These four guys are really good, it almost looks like they’re dancing with each other.
Finally, the Elivses get tired of being good dance partners and start playing dirty, which is easy for them since they have the numbers’ advantage. Styles is taking a classic buttkicking, but he’s giving as good as he gets, but he’s also making the Elivises look good.
Lynn finally gets tagged in and starts cleaning house. It LOOKS like a three count got broken up too late by Yang. Lynn calls on Styles to hit a move to take the Elvises out, but the Elvises get out of the way and Styles hits Lynn, which busts Lynn open, probably due to Lynn overblading a little.
Elvises are going after Styles, but I don’t think Styles is the legal man. Finally, Lynn gets the pin due to the ref actually remembering who the legal guys were.
Winner: Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles by pinfall
Styles apparently thought he was the legal man and is pissed that Lynn ‘stole’ the pinfall from him and leaves. Guess they’re still working on things.
Comment: That was a much better X Division match than Lo Ki and Amazing Red. Glad the storyline of Styles vs Lynn was advanced and that the Flying Elvises got some ring time.
Coming back from commercial, there’s a guy sitting in a mismatched 1970s looking living room suit that looks like it came from a garage sale (which, given that it’s summer in Tennessee, is probably very likely).
A close up reveals that our friend is revealed to be the notorious (and notoriously bad) Disco Inferno (Jeez, they were desperate for cheap talent). Disco’s got a new haircut and isn’t dancing, thankfully. He brags about his win/loss record and how great he is. No man is an island, but any man can be a delusional idiot, apparently.
Disco seems to be confusing his accomplishments with ones that anyone gives a damn about, before trashing Nashville, which really sets the crowd off. Disco keeps on talking and pissing people off. Apparently, his new goal in TNA is to help people. He wants to help Ken Shamrock get a personality and he wants to help Jerry Lynn get some cosmetic surgery. He compares himself to 90s talk show hosts: Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer, and Montel Williams. He’s going to his own segment called ‘Jive Talkin’ (Oh boy).
Backstage, Ken Shamrock meets up with his musclehead friend, who warns him that Jarrett is looking for him. Shamrock replies that Jarrett better pray that he DOESN’T find him.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger vs Monty Brown and Elix Skipper
Diamond and Swinger are out first to a minimal pop, though they’re apparently ECW alumni. Monty Brown and Elix Skipper get a slightly better pop. Tenay poo poos Skipper’s CFL career while bragging about Brown’s two Super Bowl trips.
Anyway, this match was okay. Skipper and Brown were actually a pretty good team with a contrasting look and styles that worked for them, but Diamond and Swinger weren’t slouches either.
Skipper is really good, but some of his stuff looks like he hurts himself just as much as the opponent. Brown gets tagged in and starts kicking some ass. An attempt by Skipper to help Brown out ends with Skipper nailing Brown, and Skipper getting nailed with Diamond and Swinger’s finishing move, but since Skipper wasn’t legal, they can’t get the pin. Brown hits the Alpha Bomb on one of his opponents and gets the pin.
Winner: Monty Brown and Elix Skipper
Things change when Truth does and run in and chokes Brown with his belt. Apparently, Skipper was in on this ruse, because he leaves Brown to his fate.
Comment: That wasn’t an awful match. If not for what happened with Truth, I would’ve said that with a few more matches to iron out the kinks, Brown and Skipper could’ve been a real force in the tag division.
Backstage, Goldilocks is stuck trying to get an interview with the Dupps, minus Fluff, but she warns them that if they start anything, she’s leaving. For some reason, Blond Dupp’s mouth is bleeding. He starts by saying that pink is his favorite color. Goldilocks figures she knows where this is going and starts to leave but they don’t let her. Finally, Hat Dupp says that the real problem is that they don’t have a match tonight and Hat left Fluff with Pop Dupp, which is apparently not a good thing for Pop, Fluff, or the sheep (EW!!!!!!!!). Blond Dupp has an idea, apparently, all you have to do to get a match is to bump into someone. They then start ‘bumping’ into an increasingly pissed off Goldilocks, who is stuck between them.
Goldilocks has finally reached her limit with this crap and warns Hat Dupp that if doesn’t get his hands off her breasts, he’s going to be singing soprano (Tell em Goldilocks!). Realizing that they aren’t going to get a match with Goldilocks, Hat Dupp gets the brilliant idea of bumping into a guy instead. So, Blond Dupp sends him after Shamrock’s musclehead friend, who is still guarding the room where NWA security is being held. Not surprisingly, Muscles is not impressed, or happy, with this plan and it looks like Hat’s going to get his match.
Hat Dupp vs Ian Harrison
Okay, this is apparently NOT the scheduled match, but the Dupps have wood and Borash is smart enough to not argue with them. Apparently, the Dupps don’t know who they just picked a fight with, they want him introduced as ‘Musclehead guy from the back’ and Borash just goes with it.
Okay, Muscles’ REAL name is Ian Harrison, he’s a professional body builder who has won or placed in several bodybuilding competitions and he’s known as the ‘Iron Brick’ in his native England. Basically, the WORST guy to pick a fight with. Considering that there’s been no mention of Harrison being anything BUT a body builder, this is either going to be fantastic or an absolute trainwreck.
Hat gets the jump on Harrison and this thing is on. Harrison seems to have some basic wrestling moves knowledge, but he’s going to need some work, and by some, I mean a lot more than whatever he’s gotten so far.
Okay, whatever they’re planning for Harrison just got declared DOA. Hat took him down with two elbow shots.
This match isn’t great. Harrison should’ve already crushed Hat to pulp and, instead, Hat is managing to get in a lot of offense. Granted, Harrison is clearly out of his element and Hat’s doing his best, but this is just ‘bleh’.
Finally, Blond Dupp does a run in and Harrison gets a DQ victory. The Dupps try to attack him with their might boards, but the boards meet a tragic end when Harrison snaps Hat’s board over his knee. At this tragic calamity, the Dupps run for higher ground.
Winner: Ian Harrison by DQ
Comment: On a scale of one to ten, that was awful. I hope they weren’t planning on making Harrison into a monster wrestler, because that isn’t how you do it.
Backstage, Jarrett is hellbent on getting HIS title. Since the Dupps got Harrison out of the doorway, he can now let the security guards, Bob Armstrong, and one of the Harris brothers out. Apparently, Shamrock’s already in there and a fight breaks out. Thankfully, there’s a room full of pissed off security guards to break things up. Finally, the Harris brother that was locked in all night tells Shamrock to go take care of his title and security’s going to handle Jarrett, never mind that Shamrock’s the one who locked them in all night.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match/Submission Match
Ken Shamrock vs Sabu
Sabu is out first to a great pop. For some reason, Sabu’s headgear is an American flag. We get a recap of last week’s ladder match. Shamrock gets a good pop, but this mix of gimmick matches is not giving me a lot of confidence in the quality of this match because it makes absolutely no sense.
This match isn’t great. It’s better than some of the matches we’ve seen tonight, but it isn’t the best. Sabu is a very odd pick for an NWA Title match because he’s not really that good of a wrestler, though he was matching submission holds with Shamrock. The ladder is only featured in a couple of spots, this is another excuse to have Sabu be Sabu and the opponent and stakes are a distant second.
Finally, Shamrock goes to retrieve his belt, realizing that Sabu is not going to submit and gets it in the easiest retrieval in history. While he’s trying to get the belt unhooked, the lights go out. When the lights come up, Malice slides into the ring and attacks Shamrock, chokeslamming him off of the ladder. Malice then climbs the ladder himself and takes the title. Never mind that he was not a competitor in this match, and therefore, has no right to the title.
Tenay suddenly remembers that Jarrett vowed to leave with the NWA title and hints that Jarrett might be behind this, which would be a pretty stupid thing for Jarrett to do, considering how treacherous James Mitchell and his New Church are.
Winner: Even though Shamrock had the title and had it pretty much unhooked, the match is declared a no contest due to the run in and confiscation of the title by Malice.
Comment: What did I just sit through?
So, how was the first TNA from the Asylum? It was okay. The matches were lackluster at best, except for a few bright spots, but the bigger story is the reset of TNA. This show was very scaled down, no pyro, or fancy stuff, much more reminiscent of how wrestling was in the 80s.
As far as storytelling, someone seems to have realized that a show based around stuff that was too trashy for the Attitude Era was probably not the best storytelling model. The storylines were taken back to basics and the other…stuff, the women who couldn’t wrestle, and the little people, were taken out. Even the dancers were more covered and not gyrating as much.
My issue with how Goldilocks, as the only woman in TNA, was treated and is still there, but in the one questionable situation that really arose, she was allowed to stand up for herself, which I did like.
The one situation I was extremely uncomfortable with was the K-Krush/Truth thing. I found the not quite calling the NWA racist while whining about racism a little hard to swallow and the hanging black men by the neck in the ring was disturbing on way too many levels to go into here, but especially to do this in the South, as was Truth calling Monty Brown an ‘Uncle Tom’. Someone needs to put the brakes on this or they’re going to start having big problems.
The NWA title situation needs to change desperately. I don’t want to say that Ken Shamrock is a bad champion, but his booking and the way the NWA title is being used is ridiculous, and tonight’s title match was a prime example. It was like they didn’t want to do another ladder match but didn’t want to make the match appear stacked in Shamrock’s favor, so they tried to do both and just created a big mess. The run in by Malice just added stupidity to the equation, though the hint that Jeff Jarrett masterminded the whole thing is at least an interesting theory.
Speaking of Jeff Jarrett, the confusing way he’s being booked is looking like they’re trying to recreate Austin vs McMahon, only it’s going to be Jeff Jarrett vs the NWA and it’s not working, mainly because Jarrett’s persona is too different from Steve Austin’s to make it work the way Austin vs McMahon did, plus the NWA people he’s up against are way too boring to be good Vince McMahon stand ins. Jarrett has proven to have the stuff to be the guy to build a brand around, but he needs better people to butt heads with to make this work.
Stinkers: Ian Harrison vs Hat Dupp. I don’t know what they were planning to do with Harrison, but whatever it was failed spectacularly. Shamrock/Sabu is a close second.
Snoozers: Apolo vs Brian Lawler. It was an okay match, but it really didn’t do either man any favors.
Match of the Night: Lynn/Styles vs Flying Elvises. This was about the only match that was actually worth watching again.
Final Thoughts: This was a rough reset of TNA, but I do think it shows some promise overall with a little more work on match quality and storytelling.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 27 – January 8, 2003
Tiffany MC’s weekly TNA IMPACT Chairshot Classics series continues!
It’s the first TNA of 2003 and we’re picking up right where we left off in 2002! Russo’s SEX faction continues to wreak havoc. Jeff Jarrett gives three members of SEX an opportunity. Bob Armstrong calls in the big guns to combat SEX’s threat, and America’s Most Wanted gets one more shot at the New Church. How’d they do? Let’s find out!
We start with a recap of Russo’s debut on TNA and his and S.E.X’s efforts to take over with ‘Sports Entertainment’ and his battle with Jeff Jarrett. TNA also has a new logo.
We open with Tena and several wrestlers in the ring, Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings among them. There are also a lot of NWA legends in the ringside area. Tenay says he’s going to introduce us to our ‘future’, which turns out to be two of the security guys. He also sings the praises of the four current starts in the ring, referring to Lynn and AMW as MVPs.
The point of this segment becomes obvious when Tenay starts talking about WCW and listening to Russo say he could make anyone a wrestler, using Judy Bagwell and David Arquette as example.
For those who don’t know about this, Judy Bagwell was the mother of Buff Bagwell and was heavily featured in some storylines towards the end of WCW’s run. David Arquette is an actor who won the World Heavyweight championship, despite not being a trained wrestler and having more respect for the title than Russo did. Arquette’s winning of the title was widely criticized at the time and cited as one of the many reasons WCW ultimately went under, though at that the point that the moment happened, the WCW ship was already taking on water.
Tenay begs the fans to go to TNA’s website and voice their support for ‘true wrestling’ rather than Russo’s ‘Sports Entertainment’. The fans seem to be behind this move, but Russo and his crew come out of the crowd.
Russo is not in a good mood and threatens to beat up Tenay, claiming he’s there to save the business. Tenay wasn’t impressed, or intimidated, pointing out that business is DOWN, Russo claims that it’s because of people like Tenay running their mouths. He then reminds us that WCW’s ratings were huge with him in charge and that, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, no one was coming to TNA shows before he showed up. He then insults the Traditional Wrestling stalwarts. Sara Lee, one of the NWA legends, and the only one with any guts, slaps Russo and the fight’s on! S.E.X gets the upper hand until the Road Warriors and Jarrett come barreling out of the back and S.E.X wisely beat a retreat.
Backstage, Desire throws out two of TNA’s dancers so S.E.X can have their locker room.
Back at ringside, the evicted dancers are being taken to a different locker room and it’s time for our first match.
EZ Money and Kid Kash vs Tony Mamaluke and David Young: Kash is easily the most over of the four guys in the ring. As usual, with the X-Division outside of a few people, this match was a mess, lots of high spots, not a lot of wrestling and there were a lot of botches. Kid Kash did his best to save it, but it was a futile effort.
Young and Mamaluke would get the win, but only after Young botched a spot with EZ Money and then had to pick up the pieces. Not a great opener and the fans were booing pretty loudly by the end of it.
After the match, the X-Division members of S.E.X come out and beat the holy hell out of everyone in the ring. We also see the formation of what would be a legendary tag team. Skipper gets on the mic and says the best part of S.E.X is the XXX. That’s right, the legendary team of XXX, which would have a fabulous feud with America’s Most Wanted, was part of this pathetic NWO/DX ripoff. Skipper then claims that, despite the X-Division functioning reasonably well without them, there is no X-Division without himself, Lo-Ki, and Skipper and that the X-Division is either with them, or against them.
At this point, Jarrett plays security guard and storms the ring. Jarrett claims it’s his and the NWA’s house. Jarrett gives XXX an opportunity, he’ll take each of them on in separate singles matches TONIGHT. XXX can’t believe their ears and accept easily. Jarrett ups the ante by saying that when he’s done with them, he’s going to put Russo through a table.
Backstage, Goldylocks is with Team NWA where Armstrong and company are holding a meeting. Goldy wants to know what the plan is since Russo is back. Armstrong asks AMW to get ‘him’ on the phone. Turning back to Goldy, Armstrong says he’s not dumb enough to think he can win this war on his own, it’s going to take everything and everyone he can muster and he needs a Grand Slam, as in baseball, not wrestling. Lynn and Killings step up and promise to strike back for the NWA.
AMW are back with the phone and Armstrong tells whoever is on the other end that he needs him now. Not sure who it’s going to be, but the conversation seemed positive.
X-Division Championship Match: Jason Cross vs Sonny Siaki: Desire is billed as Miss SEX, which is okay, I guess. For some reason, there’s a big pole in one turnbuckle, no idea what that’s about.
This match is a typical Siaki affair, lots of great moves, no chemistry and the audience doesn’t care. Fortunately for Siaki, Desire/Miss SEX was there to keep things interesting. This isn’t a good match for Jason Cross because he looked hopelessly outmatched by Siaki and didn’t get to break out a lot of his big moves. In the end, Miss SEX would be the deciding factor in the match, taking advantage of a downed ref to crotch Cross, giving Siaki time to get the pinfall.
However, Bob Armstrong isn’t going to stand for this and comes out, telling Miss SEX to get her ass into the back and trying to restart the match. Russo comes out and refuses to let the match be restarted, calling Cross a punk who was in no shape to wrestle anyway. After more increasingly nasty arguing, Russo says James will do a match instead and Lynn and Killings run out to answer.
BG James and Don Harris vs Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings: This match started with a fight. Harris and James were really outmatched in terms of skill by Lynna and Killings.
This match was just a mess. I’m not sure there’s anything redeeming that can be said about it. Killings botched a 450 and overshot the landing, but James gets a few points for selling it anyway. Killings and Lynn get a DQ win when a man, ID’d as Mike Sanders, whoever that is. We’re shown a pre-show interview with Percy Pringle, who is NOT in good shape. Pringle had last been seen on WWF TV in the late 90s before Undertaker had to take time off for an injury.
The interview was not much if you wanted to know his motives for being in TNA. Pringle had no opinions and no ideas about much of anything, but says his time in WCCW and WWE was good. Basically, he’s there but no one knows what to do with him. He did talk about the old NWA, but nothing ground-breaking
NWA Tag Team Championship Match – New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs America’s Most Wanted: Before the match gets underway, it’s announced that there will be no rematch, whatever the outcome. If New Church loses, they won’t have a chance to regain the titles, if AMW loses, no matter what, they’re SOL. The match started with a fight, as is usual between these teams and stuff is flying!
Things went about how they usually did for these teams, but the stipulation that this was last call for their feud seemed to have lit a real fire. It looked like AMW would get the win after a miscue lead to Slash throwing powder in Lee’s eyes while Belladonna had the ref distracted.
The end came after AMW hit the Death Sentence on Slash onto a chair. NEW Tag Team champions. Everyone goes nuts and while Belladonna rolls Slash and Lee out of the ring, AMW and the fans celebrate.
Backstage, Goldylocks is trying to do her job and talk to Bob Armstrong about what’s been going on, but Bob doesn’t have time for her right now, much to her irritation, though Armstrong was polite about blowing her off.
Axe-Handle on a Pole Match – Curt Hennig vs David Flair: Hennig comes out in street gear. This match explains the huge pole that’s been stuck to the ring all night. Hennig gets on the mic and cuts a really bitter and pathetic promo in the style of the ‘Priceless’ commercials by MasterCard which were all the rage back then. He talks about how much money to pay his dues and becoming the greatest wrestler, and take down Brock Lesnar. Hennig reminds us that he ran Ric Flair out of the WWF.
David Flair tried to get the jump on Hennig, but Hennig saw it coming. This was an AWFUL match. David Flair was a terrible wrestler and Hennig, without Jarrett to cover for him, looked terrible. Hennig would win this one, but everyone lost.
After the match, Goldylocks is waiting to talk to Flair, but gets blown off…again. Goldylocks is pissed and frustrated, and you can hardly blame her. Miss SEX, or whatever her name is, confronts Goldy for coming around ‘her boys’ and warns her to back off. Goldy stands up for herself and gets attacked. To make this more…odd, Athena comes to Goldy’s rescue and attacks Miss SEX before Siaki gets them apart.
Don West is trying to do his usual promo when Sanders from earlier comes out and berates Tenay, but says Tenay will have an opportunity to interview Russo next week (Oh goody). Tenay, clearly angry, agrees and we’re all left to wonder if we’ll see a fight between Tenay and Russo. My money is on Tenay in a fair fight. Don West can’t believe his eyes or his ears and it’s time for the main events.
Christopher Daniels vs Jeff Jarrett: Daniels comes out of the crowd to little reaction. Jarrett gets a good reaction and we’re off!
The match was short, but incredibly good, which is a plus given how the rest of the night has gone. Jarrett does a good job of making Daniels seem like a worthy competitor but, for once, he’s not having to damn near kill himself to do it. Jarrett won this with a Stroke after hitting a knee on Daniels.
Elix Skipper vs Jeff Jarrett: Skipper wastes no time jumping into the ring and dominating the first part of the match.
This match wasn’t quite as good as Daniels/Jarrett, but it wasn’t awful. Skipper’s put on a few pounds of muscle and looks like a viable threat. His moves are a little out of control, but it doesn’t hurt to watch him wrestle. It looked like Jarrett was going to be beaten when Christopher Daniel tried to help Skipper, but Jarrett ducked and got the pinfall.
Lo-Ki vs Jeff Jarrett: Now no one is holding back and it takes two refs to restore order with Scott Armstrong forcing Skipper and Daniels back.
Lo-Ki dominated much of this match and was as brutal to watch as ever. Jarrett made him look great and didn’t need to nearly kill himself to do it. Jarrett had the match won, but Daniels and Skipper interfered and the match was thrown out. XXX started attacking Jarrett.
EVENTUALLY, the Road Warriors come out and attack XXX, but AJ Styles runs in and attacks the Road Warriors. Then the rest of SEX comes out and the fight’s on. Russo’s like a kid at Christmas at the thought of having AJ Styles in SEX but Styles blows him off, the only side he’s on is his own.
SEX is about to put Jarrett through a table when Dusty Rhodes comes out and it Bionic Elbow City for everyone and that’s where the show ends.
Overall Comments: So how was TNA this week? It was ‘eh’ at best. They furthered the ‘Sports Entertainment vs Traditional Wrestling’ storyline, but that was it. Only a couple of the matches were any good and there was more time spent on promos than anything else.
The SEX storyline continues to be a mashup of the NWO and DX but there aren’t any big stars to lead it. Everyone it is either a has-been, a never-was, or a young guy just starting out. There isn’t a Hogan, or Nash, or Rock to be the focus of the group.
Russo continues to be trash and watching Sara Lee slap him was refreshing. I’m not sure what the inclusion of Dusty Rhodes is supposed to do, but he was still SO over with the crowd that it doesn’t really matter right now.
One sad note is Curt Hennig. This would be his final appearance on TV. He would pass away in February of 2003. RIP Mr. Perfect.
This week was a lukewarm okay show. I’m hoping next week will be better.
Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 26 – December 18, 2002
Tiffany MC’s weekly TNA IMPACT Chairshot Classics series continues!
It’s the last TNA episode of 2002! Vince Russo’s Sports Entertainment X-Treme continues to run roughshod over TNA. AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett both face questions about their loyalty. The X-Division fights to decide a new #1 Contender, and it’s Doomsday for the Tag Team Division.
How’d they do? Let’s find out!
We open with a recap of last week’s action with Vince Russo’s SEX faction. Back to reality, Mike Tenay tells us that this will be TNA’s final show of 2002 and they’ll be taking two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.
Before the show gets underway, Tenay talks about the importance of the NWA title and we get some really grainy pictures of Jeff Jarrett defending the NWA title in the UK, Northern Ireland, and Japan. Jarrett also gives an interview to Jeremy Borash, discussing how much the NWA means to him and how happy he is to fly around the world to defend it against whomever wants a shot.
Back in the Asylum, we go backstage where Goldylocks is trying to get a word with Curt Hennig who just ignores her. Hennig comes through the crowd in his street clothes and snatches the mic away from a confused Borash.
Hennig immediately starts complaining about what happened during his title match last week with Jeff Jarrett and claims that Russo screwed him over, though given how poorly Hennig has been wrestling, it could be said that Russo did everyone a favor. Hennig then says that he’d planned to wait until later in the show to do this, but he’s run out of beer on the bus and he’s waiting for Lesnar to return from the liquor store, which no one seems to buy, along with his claim to still be the greatest wrestler to lace up a pair of boots.
As for Russo, he’s ‘just a fan’ as far as Hennig is concerned, but that doesn’t mean Hennig won’t beat the hell out of him and tie him up like a pretzel. Hennig used a lot of rodent metaphors to describe Russo, which was a little creepy.
At this point, Russo’s come out and he’s running his mouth, though we can’t quite hear what he’s saying. Hennig takes the bait and gets jumped by Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, and Christopher Daniels. From what we can hear from Lo-Ki, these three were supposed to be part of the Gauntlet for the Gold match, but they’re pulling out. Russo taunts Tenay and West while James gets on the mic and mocks Jim Ross. It’s all NWO antics but none of these guys are cool enough to get it over.
Backstage, Goldylocks is talking to Bob Armstrong and asking him about what was going on. Armstrong doesn’t seem overly bothered, at least not yet, and says that Russo only thinks he’s in charge.
As this was going on, AJ Styles, who seemed to have joined Russo’s faction walked past, heading for the locker room. Armstrong stopped him and upbraided him for aligning Russo and warning Styles against whatever promises Russo might have made him.
Confused and irritated, Styles denied that he was aligned with Russo. He was doing his talking in the ring, just like Armstrong preached. He doesn’t care about Russo or SEX, he’s after Jarrett’s title and promises to keep coming for Jarrett until he gets a title shot. Armstrong doesn’t buy this and leaves to talk to Styles some more.
10 Man Gauntlet for the Gold for the #1 Contendership: This TNA staple is a mix of a Gauntlet match and the Royal Rumble. Two men start in the ring and every 90 seconds someone else will join the fun. You can only be eliminated by pinfall or submission. Our first two contestants are Jason Cross, who debuted last week, and Amazing Red. As the match is getting underway, we go to the back and find Jarrett beating the holy hell out of Styles while Mortimer Plumtree tried, but not very hard, to stop Jarrett.
Overall, this match was pretty good and was clearly there to eat up time on a holiday show. The biggest problem I had was that, outside of a few people, this match was mostly comprised of the dregs of the X-Division.
In the end, it came down to Jason Cross and Amazing Red, who were our first two contestant. Cross hit his AMAZING Crossfire, which Red sold by flopping like a fish on dry land, which was hilarious to watch. Jason Cross gets the pin and is now the #1 Contender, which is weird considering that he jobbed to Tony Mamaluke last week. ANYWAY, pretty good match and a surprise ending.
As Cross and Red leave the ring, Tenay announces that he’s been told by Bob Armstrong that Jerry Lynn has been added to the X-Division Championship match between Sonny Siaki and EZ Money since Lynn was screwed over by the woman who ran in to help Siaki last week.
Russo and his crew come out. Russo insults TNA and the fans, saying that people in New York, re: WWE, are laughing at TNA’s weekly PPVs. He also claimed that he could become a dentist and make a fortune in Tennessee.
Turns out, it’s time for the airing of the grievances by the three X-Division guys who have joined SEX. Lo-Ki’s complaint is that the NWA stopped booking him because he wouldn’t commit to a 52 week schedule with them; because pushing a guy who’s only around some of the time over guys who are there and getting over with the fans every week makes SO much sense.
Christopher Daniels’ complaint is a little more reasonable. He claims that the NWA wouldn’t book him because the cost of a plane ticket from California to Tennessee every week was too expensive. Though, given that TNA is just starting out and the NWA isn’t as big as it used to be, I can also see the other side of this. Russo soothes Daniels by saying he’ll buy him a new plane.
Skipper claims that the NWA wasn’t paying him enough money, though from what I’ve seen of Skipper’s work in TNA, it’s more like the NWA was paying him too much. Russo promises that Skipper will get paid twice a day.
BG James thinks he’s going to kick his own father’s ass, which I seriously doubt since Bullet Bob is in better shape than his own son. Russo warns the Harris brothers to not let him down, which already seems like a recipe for disaster.
Turning his attention to Jeff Jarrett, Russo tells his former…associate to bring his ‘hillbilly hick ass’, Russo’s words, not mine, to the ring.
Jarrett comes out and says that he’s spent the last three weeks listening to Russo run his mouth and it’s time to set the record straight. Jarrett gets in the ring and starts dropping some truth bombs.
Truth #1: Vince Russo was a magazine writer who acted like a fanboy (paraphrasing) to interview Jarrett in the early 90’s.
Truth #2: Vince Russo disrespects professional wrestling because he hates it.
Truth #3: Jarrett protected Russo from getting his ass kicked by the likes of Shawn Michaels, Scott Steiner, and Goldberg. Personally, I would pay to see any of these fights, but that’s me.
However, to his immense credit, Jarrett doesn’t completely throw Russo under the bus. He also cites his own less than stellar record in Sports Entertainment, including beating up old ladies. Jarrett seemed genuinely guilt-ridden by those actions. He also points out that if it weren’t for the fact that Russo somehow keeps finding jobs in wrestling, he’d be selling TVs in New York City.
Russo was unimpressed and said that Jarrett has lost his balls and has become a daddy’s boy, though I’m not sure Russo realizes that that’s not really an insult in the South. Trying another tactic, he says that the wrestlers in the back don’t respect Jarrett and laugh at him behind his back, but if he sides with Russo, Russo will make sure that he’s respected.
By this point, Jarrett was over this conversation and puts his position in plain English: He is not now, nor was he ever on Russo’s side. Them’s fightin’ words and all hell breaks loose. Jarrett puts up a pretty good fight by grabbing his favorite non-guitar equalizer, a metal chair, and starts swinging, but he was eventually overwhelmed by SEX and it took a run in by security to settle the situation down.
Non-Title Tag Team Match – The New Church (with James Mitchell and Bella Donna) vs America’s Most Wanted vs the Harris Brothers: For some reason, despite being part of the previous segment, the Harris Brothers were no in the ring when this segment started. Storm and Harris are still not being called America’s Most Wanted for some reason. Percy Pringle is there, but he’s sitting on the ramp and isn’t looking very good.
The match was okay. For awhile, it seemed like it was an AMW vs New Church match with the Harris Brothers looking on. The match quickly devolved into an all-out brawl. Belladonna is getting better at her role as valet, but she’s still learning. She jumps up on the apron and seems to be shaking her, admittedly lovely, ass, but since she’s facing the wrong way, it has little affect on Scott Armstrong. Mitchell is also on the apron and has more luck getting Armstrong’s attention.
It looked like the Harris Brothers were going to pull out a win, but then things got even crazier. First, Athena, who was destroyed by the Harrises at the instigation of Vince Russo, ran in and hit Ron with a low blow. Don grabbed her, but was stopped from actually harming her by the f***ing ROAD WARRIORS!!! Hawk and Animal storm the ring to a HUGE pop and take out the Harris Brothers. One Harris gets a trip on the Doomsday Device and the other one gets squashed by a Hawk splash.
Wildcat and Storm, wisely, don’t ask questions and quickly get the pinfall win, though since neither of them pinned a member of the New Church, it’s not clear that they’ll get a title shot out of this win.
Backstage, Goldylocks is trying to get a word with the Road Warriors, but their promo wasn’t one of their better efforts. Animal says what just happened is what Vince Russo can do with his ‘Sports Entertainment’ and warns that Russo’s next. Hawk actually pauses for a moment and warns Russo that the Warriors still snack on danger and dine on death and they’re coming for Russo, before storming out.
Confused and a little freaked out, Goldy begins to head for another part of the building when we hear Bob Armstrong talking. Sneaking into the X-Division locker room, we find Armstrong giving a…pep talk to the X-Division and trying to find some people to deal with the X-Division defectors. Armstrong’s clearly had his fill of SEX’s antics and is trying to stop it before it becomes the monster the NWO was in its heyday.
X-Division Championship Match – Sonny Siaki vs Jerry Lynn vs EZ Money: We get a recap of the Siaki vs Lynn saga and all three men come out and we get the intros in the ring, like a big match, but the inclusion of EZ Money kind of kills that vibe.
The match was okay, Lynn and Siaki worked well together, but Money was clearly in over his head and was probably just there to take the pin. It honestly looked like Lynn was going to regain his title when the lady from last week came out to the ring and got on the apron, enticing Lynn to come over. When he gave her his attention, she opened her jacket to reveal her goods and then slapped Lynn. Siaki took advantage and threw Lynn out of the ring.
EZ Money tried to go in for the kill on Siaki, but got killed instead with a Money Clip, retaining his X-Division Championship. Afterwards, Russo comes out of the crowd and is greeted with a hug by the girl and gets in the ring.
Russo addresses Siaki and says that it was always about him and that Russo’s had his eye on Siaki and called him the elite athlete of TNA, which shows how little Russo really gets about wrestling. The girl is introduced as Desire and she’s being offered as Siaki’s new valet. What are her qualifications? She’s got tits and a nice ass, which Russo thinks is all that’s needed, especially for SEX.
While Siaki mulls this over, the enraged Lynn attacks him from behind, but finds himself being attacked by Siaki, Russo, and Desire. Russo dismisses Lynn as a ‘Professional Wrestler’ before leaving with Russo and Desire in tow. So SEX has the X-Division champion instead of the NWA Heavyweight Champion, not much of a second option.
Street Fight – Ron Killings vs BG James: Killings came out first and started rapping, but James got the jump on him and the match is on. This match was a pretty basic Hardcore Match, though James and Killings were much slower to pull out the weapons than they would have in WWE. However, just as it seemed that Killings was going to get the upperhand, SEX attacked, which allowed James to pick up the win.
However, Bob Armstrong comes out and he’s had it with all this bullshit and grabs the mic. In the ring are the Maximos and Amazing Red, who have apparently volunteered to defend the honor of TNA against SEX. Armstrong then challenges Russo to send however many guys he wanted to face the SATs and Amazing Red and out come Lo-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper.
SAT and Amazing Red vs Lo-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper: The match started out as a brawl that SEX dominated for the most part, but Team TNA were able to get on top for a little while. This was a great match, even if the story was pretty shitty. Eventually, Team SEX was able to finally pull out the win. So, for now, SEX would be the dominate faction.
Russo and James come out and Russo insults Amazing Red, saying he’d taken craps bigger than Red. His goons prepare to put the Maximos and Red through a table, but Hennig ran out to stop them, but was quickly overwhelmed by SEX.
Then David Flair came out and attacked Hennig, though no one in the crowd seemed all that intrigued by Flair’s appearance. Jarrett came out and started cleaning house, but he was set upon by SEX and AJ Styles who came out to pick the bones before Jarrett was put through a table by Daniels and Skipper.
While this was going on, Russo was lounging around and generally trying to be cool and looking stupid. After Jarrett was put through the table, Russo destroyed the TNA log and claimed that the show was brought to them by SEX.
Overall Comments: So, how was this week’s TNA? It was okay. The SEX storyline was heavily featured, as usual, and the influx of the young guys helped keep SEX from looking too much like a crew of WWE leftovers, but other than Lo-Ki, Daniels and Skipper weren’t really established enough for anyone to care. Siaki’s defection would’ve been a bigger deal if he’d been over with the crowd.
The stuff about Jarrett and Russo’s relationship in WWE and WCW has been the only really interesting part of this whole storyline, the rest of SEX is basically a bad NWO redo.
Another interesting thing was AJ Styles. His position of not being part of SEX but taking advantage of the disruption they’re creating to advance his own agenda was interesting. He would’ve been a better pick than Siaki.
The Road Warriors things was interesting, but I’m not sure how well they’re going to fit into TNA. Hennig continues to disappoint, but at least he owned up to the drinking, but the Lesnar thing is becoming eye-rolling.
Overall, this was an okay show, it’s about what I expected from a holiday show. Hopefully things will improve in the new year.