This week, TNA will deal with the fallout of the trainwreck NWA Title match between Shamrock and Sabu that ended with Malice taking off with the NWA title. Jeff Jarrett’s ongoing war against the NWA continues. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn continue to try and co-exist despite their dueling egos. So, let’s see what’s going on now!
Okay, old opening montage is back, but we’re still in the Asylum, it looks like and we go right into our first match.
X-Division Championship Match: AJ Styles (with Jerry Lynn) vs Elix Skipper
Elix Skipper doesn’t get much of a reaction and given what happened between him, Monty Brown, and Truth last week, that’s a surprise. Styles comes out with Jerry Lynn and he looks winded and sweaty for some reason, maybe the A/C isn’t working tonight.
Skipper gets the jump on Styles and we’re off!
Lynn joins Tenay and company on commentary and is playing cheerleader to Styles, which seems a little odd given that they’ve been beating each other up for the last few weeks.
This was a really good match. It got a little rough in places, but both guys did a really good job. Skipper positioned himself as a possible heel for a division that really needed one.
However, Styles is a pretty resilient champion and withstood everything Skipper threw at him. Ultimately, though, Styles pulled it out with a Spiral Tap. Jerry Lynn gets on the apron to congratulate his partner and all seems right with the Tag Team Champs.
Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall.
Comment: This was a good opening match. There were a lot of rough spots, but nothing too ‘WTF’. Also, Jerry Lynn’s cheerleading got a little hard to swallow.
After all the crazy shenanigans of the last few weeks, the NWA has decided that they need someone to lay down the law, so they sent Ricky Steamboat. We’re told that the day after last week’s taping, Steamboat started calling in the worst miscreants in TNA to his office and read them the riot act and these are his rulings:
- Malice has returned the NWA Championship to Ken Shamrock.
- Jarrett’s 60 day suspension has been lifted, by request of Scott Hall
- Jarrett and Hall will have a match tonight.
Ferrara implies that Jarrett refused to come to the NWA office for his talk with Steamboat.
Meanwhile, Elix Skipper is trying to make his way to the back, when Monty Brown comes out to confront the man who left him to the mercy of Truth. West applauds the butt kicking Skipper is getting, though Ferrara points out that Brown waited until Skipper had already had a match before showing his face, implying that the Alpha Male is an opportunistic coward. Either way, Skipper gets his clock cleaned for about a minute by Brown before they fight in the ring.
Jarrett comes out, carrying someone in a burlap bag, for some reason. Jarrett seems to be feeling generous tonight. He says that since Shamrock isn’t performing tonight, and Steamboat hasn’t gotten there yet, he’s going to take an opportunity to entertain all the fans.
(Why do I have a sense of dread in my stomach?)
Jarrett comments on his 60-day suspension, noting that he’s taking it very seriously, as indicated by the squirming person in the burlap sack. He comments that Bill Behrens not only denied him his title shot, but that he was going to have to start at the very bottom.
He admits that he didn’t go to the NWA meeting and decided to abide by their ridiculous rules work his way up from the bottom.
(Oh, that feeling is getting worse).
So, who’s in the bag? A little person, and it looks like one of the people Puppet beat up during the first few episodes of the show. And if looks could kill, Jarrett would be a pile of dust on the floor, judging by his ‘opponent’s’ expression. Jarrett beats his opponent up and then offers to have a match with old ladies and/or farm animals, while the hapless Elix Skipper is pulling one of the worst jobs of acting hurt I’ve ever seen.
Puppet comes out and he doesn’t find this funny either. Jarrett mocks Puppet and calls himself the ‘Dwarf Destroyer’. Puppet’s reaction is to pull a (clearly fake) gun, because that’s the solution to every problem these days. Jarrett decides that the smartest thing for him to do is clear out while security tries to calm Puppet down while not tripping over Skipper who is STILL in the ring. Jarrett takes advantage of the distraction of the security guards to lay Puppet out with a very gentle chairshot to the head (seriously, he barely touched him). Jarrett then wears the chair out on Puppet and Skipper.
Thankfully, this segment (and my sanity) are saved by Ricky Steamboat, who comes out to stop this dumpster fire and has one of the Harris brothers and Brad Armstrong as backup. Ricky Steamboat says that Jarrett’s not going to pull the same crap with him that he’s pulled on Jim Miller or Bill Behrens. Despite Tenay and company saying at the top of the show what Steamboat had decided, no one told Steamboat what he’d decided because he acted like Jarrett’s suspension was still in force.
(Good grief, guys, you can do better than this)
Jarrett asks how they’re going to do it, asking if Steamboat, Armstrong, and Don Harris are going to attack him three on one. He suggests that he and Steamboat settle this one on one instead with some stipulations: If Jarrett wins, he gets the title shot he believes he’s owed. If Steamboat wins, Jarrett will take his suspension.
Steamboat appears to think it over and asks the fans what they want. After a little more thought, Steamboat takes the challenge. Jarrett wasn’t prepared to have his bluff called, especially since Steamboat hasn’t wrestled in at least seven years.
Turns out, this is a ruse, Scott Hall comes in and lays into Jarrett. Hall pulls a stretcher out from under the ring, because that’s a logical place to store one, and cuts a promo on Jarrett.
Okay, apparently, Steamboat wasn’t behind Hall’s run in because Hall tells him to step aside because this situation doesn’t involve him or the fans, it’s between Hall and Jarrett. Hall vowed to send Jarrett out on a stretcher after their match.
(When Scott Hall is the only one who remembers that most of what was just discussed was already decided in kayfabe, there’s a problem)
Comment: What was the point of all that? That was awful, even for Vince Russo.
Goldilocks is trying to do with an interview with Siaki who has a match against Slash for some reason. She asks where the rest of Flying Elvises are. Siaki accuses her of checking out his ass and tells her to never check out his ass without permission again. He then tells her to never touch him again or think dirty thoughts of him again. He then says he doesn’t need back up from the Flying Elvises.
Slash (with James Mitchell) vs Sonny Siaki
Slash, now sporting an eyepatch and still without the rest of Guns -n- Roses, comes out to a minimal pop, as does Siaki.
Even though I really don’t care about either of these guys, this was a good match. Slash has a lot of potential, he just needs a lot of polishing. Siaki really showed himself to have real star potential, even if his fairly blatant ripping off of the Rock’s promo style doesn’t work as well for him as it did for Dwayne Johnson.
That said, this match had some rough spots, including a mutual crotching on the top rope and turnbuckle.
Slash gets the pin by putting a black hood over Siaki’s head and hitting a neckbreaker. Not sure why, but that’s how the match ended. Afterwards, the real ‘fun’ started. Siaki not only had to endure the indignity of taking a pin via neckbreaker, he got washed in the blood of…something, probably dark cornsyrup with some red food coloring added in.
Don Harris, who is every bit the asskicker he was back in WWE, runs in and saves Siaki, powerbombing Slash. Malice runs in and the two have a face off.
Winner: Slash by pinfall.
Comment: Uh…yeah, that ending happened.
Goldilocks is doing an interview with Ricky Steamboat, who seems to be the only male in the building who knows how to talk to a woman without being a sexist pig. She asks him what he’s going to do about the chaos that TNA’s been in since the start and what Steamboat’s going to do about it.
Steamboat admits that he’s had his fair share of headaches while working for the NWA, but the rules haven’t changed that much and that he was asked to lay down the law to all these wrestlers and if they don’t like it, tough.
Goldilocks asks why Steamboat thinks he’ll be more successful than Behrens, which irritates Steamboat for some reason and he tells her not to compare him to Bill Behrens and walks off.
Comment: Okay, I want to give Steamboat the benefit of a doubt that that last comment was maybe meant to indicate that Steamboat is having his own issues with NWA higher ups or that he doesn’t like Behrens and/or his handling of this whole situation, and not him deliberately being a jerk to Goldilocks, but the way he delivered it was very rude and unnecessary, especially to a really simple question. It doesn’t reflect well on Steamboat’s ‘good guy’ persona to have him act that way.
Truth is back out and he’s got some more stuff to tell us about ‘Them’. He calls out the dancer, who is just trying to earn a living, and assumes that she’s being made to dance in the cage instead of being there of her own free will and getting paid for it. The dancer isn’t having it and seems confused, then bored, and then pissed by Truth’s yammering. Finally, the dancer’s had enough of this and slaps Truth. Truth moved as if to punish her for not buying his BS when he was jumped from behind by Monty Brown in retaliation for last week.
The two fight through the crowd until Truth knocks Brown over the head with a 2×4 and goes to the back.
Steamboat comes out and addresses Truth by name and says that he’s gotten his (Steamboat) attention. He addresses Truth’s beef with ‘Them’ and tells Truth to at least have the balls to address him face to face.
Truth comes out but refuses to let Steamboat talk and spouts the same stuff he’s been spouting for two weeks about how ‘They’ have kept him down.
Steamboat’s not putting up with this and tells Truth that if he wants respect, he’s going to have to earn Steamboat’s respect and that he has no idea what Truth is talking about (Join the club, dude). He says that if the ‘Them’ Truth keeps blaming for his lack of success is an authoritative figure, then Truth is talking about Steamboat, but if the ‘Them’ is skin color, that’s another story, and it’s the first time that it’s been acknowledged that this storyline has been about race and opportunities. Either way, Steamboat is here to listen to what Truth has to say.
Truth doesn’t seem to realize that Steamboat is trying to help him out, and keeps lashing out, saying that Steamboat is just like ‘Them’, but then again, he’s not.
(Okay, maybe this is going to get better)
Truth says that Steamboat means as much to ‘Them’ as Truth does. As proof, Truth uses Steamboat’s own career as his proof and insults his Intercontinental Championship run, saying that the Intercontinental Title was for ‘second-class citizens’.
To Steamboat’s immense credit, he doesn’t lay Truth out with a solid punch to the face, and lets Truth vent, even when Truth insults everything Steamboat worked so hard to accomplish.
When Steamboat is finally given the mic back, he tells Truth that he gets where Truth is coming from, especially when it comes to ‘Them’, so he’s going to give Truth the opportunity of a lifetime: An NWA World Heavyweight Championship match against Ken Shamrock next week! I’m not sure who is more stunned, Truth, the audience, or the commentators. Truth accepts and celebrates by rapping to the audience after Steamboat leaves.
Malice (with James Mitchell) vs Apolo
Malice and Mitchell come out to no reaction and Mitchell has his box of anointing corn syrup with him. Apolo doesn’t get a better reaction, I think the overlong promos killed this audience.
Tenay and company point out that Apolo and Malice were both in line for title shots, but just got leapfrogged by Truth, which probably doesn’t make either of them very happy.
Why Steamboat might have decided to skip over Malice and Apolo is put on display because this match wasn’t very good. Apolo tries to hit a hurricanrana and it botches, thankfully no one’s neck was in danger. Malice shows a lot of potential as a dominate heel, but, like Slash, he needs a lot of work.
To everyone’s surprise, including mine, Apolo manages to get a pin on Malice after Malice dominated most of the match. Though, to protect Malice, it looks like he got his shoulder up a split second too late. Malice still isn’t happy about losing and attacks the ref and Apolo, which brings out Don Harris. Unfortunately for Harris, he gets overwhelmed by the numbers game of the New Church and gets his own ‘baptism’ of corn syrup.
Winner: Apolo by pinfall.
Comment: That was okay, it wasn’t a great match by either man, but Malice was protected as a toppish heel.
Don West decides to cleanse everyone’s palate (and wake the audience up) by bringing out Miss TNA, Taylor Vaughn. Vaughn gets a nice pop and comes out dressed like a beauty queen. The interview barely gets started when Bruce of the Rainbow Express comes out. Apparently, Bruce feels that the Miss TNA Lingerie match wasn’t inclusive enough and that watching Truth spout on about ‘Them’ has inspired him to go for what he wants: The Miss TNA Crown and that Taylor should give him a shot at winning the crown if she doesn’t want to be a bitch like ‘Them’. Taylor takes exception to being called a bitch and accepts with a low blow.
Taylor Vaughn vs Bruce For the Miss TNA Crown
I’m not going to dignify this trainwreck with a full account. It was a woman in a dress going up against a trained male wrestler over a fake crown. The best that can be said is that Taylor didn’t wrestle in heels, though she managed to get in a few basic moves.
Winner: Bruce by pinfall.
Goldilocks tries to get an interview with Lo Ki, who is prepping for his match with Jerry Lynn, but Lo Ki again states that he does his talking in the ring.
Lo Ki vs Jerry Lynn (with AJ Styles)
Lo Ki gets a good reaction, as does Jerry Lynn. AJ is on commentary and is continuing the painfully false-sounding cheerleading of Jerry Lynn.
This was a really good match. Both guys looked like a million bucks and it was a bright spot of this show. Everyone in the X Division works really well together, my only gripe is that there’s often too many high spots and not enough wrestling, and that there are no real faces and heels.
AJ seemingly tries to help Lynn sneak out a victory, but Lo Ki saw it coming and whipped Lynn to Styles’ sneak attack, which caused Scott Armstrong to throw the match out. Styles talks trash to the prone Lynn, leading us to believe that the ‘botched’ sneak attack wasn’t so botched after all. Even Lo Ki is confused and attacks Styles for costing him the match.
Winner: No Contest due to Styles’ interference
Comment: That was a bad way to end a good match.
Backstage, Goldilocks tries to get an interview with Don Harris about what happened with Malice. Harris acts like a bit of a jerk to Goldi but says while it’s cool that Malice got the jump on him this week, if it’s blood Malice wants, it’s blood he’ll get. We’ll be getting a First Blood Match next week.
The first episode of Jive Talkin’ premiered this week, but the whole thing was so insulting to me as a woman and a lifelong wrestling fan that I couldn’t bring myself to cover it like I normally would. Basically, Disco Inferno’s guest was the long-suffering Goldilocks and basically said that her real talent required kneepads (yes, SERIOUSLY). He then took off his pants and revealed his privates and basically thought Goldi should blow him on PPV. Not surprisingly, Goldi was NOT down, and kicked him in the balls. To make this garbage worse, she was attacked by a muscular blonde who puts her in a sleeper hold before rushing to Disco’s aid. Security goes to Goldi’s aide, but she has had just about enough of everything and shoves them away.
Don West, in an effort save TNA’s viewership, does the most over the top hyping of next week’s show ever.
Scott Hall vs Jeff Jarrett
Hall is out to a good pop and he’s brought his stretcher with him. Jarrett doesn’t have time to get much of a pop because Hall runs up the ramp to greet him and the fight’s on. They fought all over ringside and into the backstage area before finally making it back to the ring.
Once it actually got started, this was a really good match. When Hall has it turned on, he’s one of the best wrestlers in the business, Jarrett is always good. The problem is that the people in charge made this match such a mess. We had a run in by Truth, for some reason, Monty Brown ran in to neutralize Truth, Jerry Lynn attacked Jarrett for no apparent reason that I can think of, which brought Styles out to attack Lynn. I’m not sure who Styles was going to attack in the ring, probably Hall, but he was stopped by Don Harris. Harris’ intervention brought out the New Church, but while Armstrong stopped the Lynn/Lo Ki match for one incident by Styles, this match kept going, despite everyone and their fifth cousin taking shots at either Jarrett or Hall.
Hall’s fixation with taking Jarrett out on a stretcher backfires when he takes out the ref, which gives Jarrett the opening he needs to turn the tables and get his own equalizer: a steel chair. Steamboat runs out to stop this mess and nearly takes a shot to the head, but jumps out of the way, which makes the chair rebound on Jarrett.
Steamboat’s admirable attempt to keep this thing street legal is all for naught when his attempt to stop Hall from using the chair on Jarrett resulted in Jarrett hitting the Stroke on Hall on the chair.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett by pinfall.
Comment: That could’ve been a great match, instead it was a mess.
What the heck did I just watch? Apparently, all the stuff I enjoyed last week seemed to be because someone other than Vince Russo was doing the writing and this week was Vince getting the pen back and taking things back to how they were in Episode 5 while not totally doing away with what happened in Episode 6.
The issue of how women are being treated? That is back in full force and it was even worse than Episode 5. The treatment of Goldilocks and Taylor Vaughn was disgusting and insulting to female wrestling fans.
Another big issue was the sheer amount of in-ring promo segments. They spent most of this episode talking and the matches were a distant second. The first segment took a good 10-15 minutes of nonsense just to set up Scott Hall’s run in and explain to the live audience what Tenay and company had already told the PPV audience at the top of the show, which made everyone look stupid. The Truth/Steamboat segment was better and at least set things up for next week, but the segment still went long.
Stinkers: Just about every match stunk, but pride of place goes to Malice/Apolo.
Snoozers: Jarrett/Hall simply because what could’ve been a great match was ruined by stupidity.
Match of the Night: Styles/Skipper, just because it was the only match not have a wonky finish.
Final Thoughts: I have been watching wrestling since I was at least six, this was the worst episode I’ve ever seen, and I lived through the Attitude Era. I hope next week is better than what I just watched.