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 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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