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NWA-TNA Episode 8: Opportunities Won and Lost

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This week, TNA continues to deal with Jeff Jarret’s fight for his world title shot. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn continue to deal with the issues of their partnership, especially after last week. Malice of the New Church will try to make a sacrifice of Don Harris, and Truth will get the opportunity to make history. Let’s see how they do.

 

Opening

The montage is back.  We start backstage where The Dupps, Apolo, and Goldilocks are backstage. We start with our first match

 

Spanish Announce Team (Amazing Red, Joel Maximo, Jose Maximo) vs Flying Elvises (Estrada, Siaki, and Yang)

Spanish Announce Team, and yes, that is their name, is out to little reaction. Elivises are out to little reaction as well and we’re off.

This was a really good match. Amazing Red and his friends put on a good show, but the Elvises were absolutely dominate. Unfortunately, this was more of a spot show than a wrestling match. The ongoing storyline of trouble in the Elvises continued as Siaki seems to think he’s too good for the gimmick and his partners. Unfortunately, that bit him in the ass as Estrada and Yang got sick of his nonsense and bailed out, leaving him to face the SATs (no, I’m not kidding) by himself.  Siaki held his own, but still refused help from Yang when Yang came back to help him.

The match completely breaks down when Estrada and Yang come to Siaki’s rescue. Estrada and Yang would take out Red, but Siaki would come in and steal the pin. Estrada and Yang are not happy about this and the issues in the Flying Elvises continue.

Winner: Flying Elvises by pinfall.

Comment: This match went from okay to bad by the end of it. Not a lot of actual wrestling, just spots.

Tenay gives us the match breakdown: Jarrett and Apolo, who are both considered top contenders for the NWA Title will face off, a triple threat match for the X Division title, and Truth will face Ken Shamrock for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Tenay had an interview Apolo, who is not want for opening formalities, much to Tenay’s annoyance, he wants to get to the point of the interview: The fact that, despite being undefeated in TNA, he was passed over for a title shot against Shamrock for the NWA World Title. Apolo seemed to have taken Steamboat’s decision more personally than it was meant to be and implies that Steamboat’s decision was based on corruption, rather than Steamboat offering an opportunity to someone who seemed just as deserving. Tenay is incensed at the accusation but Apolo is just as incensed about Truth getting his spot. Apolo then says that he’s going to make Steamboat look him in the eye and tell him why he was passed over.

Backstage, Goldilocks is there as Apolo tries to confront Steamboat, who has no idea what is going on. He tells Apolo that he’s extremely busy and he’ll talk to Apolo when he’s ready, so Apolo shouldn’t come to him with ‘NOW’ crap.

Now that some gasoline has been added to the pissed off Apolo fire, the Dupps follow Steamboat, with a reluctant Goldilocks in tow, they’ve been waiting in their church clothes for hours to talk to Steamboat, but before we can find out what Dupps are up to, Lynn and Styles come crashing into the room in the middle of a huge fight. Guess Lynn is still mad about last week. The fight goes all over, including the handicap bathroom.

 

NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ken Shamrock vs Ron Killings

Steamboat is introduced as the NWA representative for the match, but he’s accosted by the badly dressed Dupps, who just want to talk to Steamboat about something. Steamboat isn’t interested in hearing their idea, he just tells them to do whatever they want (oh, god). The Dupps are happy about this and leave.

Truth is out first to an okay pop. Talking seems to be over, he’s all business. Shamrock gets a good pop and he’s all business as usual. At first glance, this seems like a piece of cake for Shamrock given his extensive experience in the ring. However, Truth is a wily competitor and refuses to back down. Of the three title defenses that Shamrock’s had since TNA started, this has been the best, to be honest. Truth and Shamrock seemed to really click in the ring and worked really well together.

Unfortunately, this really good match has a few too many cooks working on it. Watching this match are the New Church and Monty Brown. Don Harris is there as head of security. Unfortunately, Harris is only one man, and Brown, Apolo, and the New Church run in and cause havoc. The match keeps going, even after Apolo misses with a savant kick and nails Shamrock. Steamboat gets Shamrock back into the ring and goes after Apolo. Apolo’s kick does the trick, Truth hits a running cutter and it’s all over.

Winner: Truth by pinfall. NEW NWA Heavyweight Champion. Ron Killings is the first African-American man to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship*.  Truth can’t believe this is happening and neither can anyone else.

Comment: That was a really good match, I just wish they hadn’t felt the need to have all the run ins and have Truth get the win with help.

*TECHNICALLY, the first African-American man to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was Bobo Brazil, however his win over Buddy Rogers was because Rogers refused to do the match, claiming illness, and the NWA never acknowledged that Bobo had won and Bobo refused to accept a title he hadn’t won in the ring. Ron Simmons’ victory was for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship after WCW had severed ties with the NWA.

Steamboat comes back and is NOT happy with what happened. He tells Apolo to get his butt out there and face him like a man. Steamboat admits that leapfrogging Truth over Apolo might’ve been a mistake but that Apolo has been running around like a madman and that’s not going to fly, however he’s going to give Apolo the title shot he’s owed.

At this point, Jarrett interrupts and renews his claims that he’s still owed a title shot and is livid at the statement that Apolo ‘earned’ his title shot, while Jarrett has been waiting patiently for his chance (and yes, he said that with a straight face). Jarrett says that the answer to why he keeps getting passed is as white as his skin (Oh sweet Jesus, please don’t go there), and it isn’t because he’s been acting like a brat and insulted the people who make the decisions in the NWA. No, Jarrett says that he’s being passed over because of reverse discrimination.

(Oh, God, we’re actually going down this rabbit hole)

Steamboat is NOT having it and says that this bullshit (YES, Steamboat swore!) is going to stop tonight! Steamboat then tells Apolo that if he beats Jarrett in their match tonight, he’ll get his title shot and if Jarrett beats Apolo, he’ll get a title shot. On top of that, Steamboat is going to be the referee, to make sure everything is on the up and up.

Jarrett, who seems to have forgotten that Steamboat being referee means that he’s untouchable, says that he’ll see both of them in the ring and that Steamboat is fair game.

 

After all that, it’s time for Jive Talkin’, only the set has definitely been downsized from ‘Stuff we found at a yard sale’ to ‘Stuff that we found on site’. Disco isn’t happy about this and then the Dupps come out, just to make this more of a mess. The Dupps introduce themselves as Stan ‘Blond’ Dupp and Bo ‘Hat’ Dupp. The Dupps have some exciting news for us, they’re announcing the first Dupp Cup Invitational, whatever the hell that is.

Apparently, the Cup has been passed down through the generations of Dupps (there’s a joke in there, but I won’t deal in stereotypes, easy as they’re making it). Okay, apparently, the Dupp Cup is the spittoon, that everyone drank whisky, and God only knows what else, out of (EW!). Disco stops the description before we get into the TRULY gross things that happen with this ‘Cup’ and asks what the point is. Hat says that ‘Steamship’ said that they could do what they want, so they’re going to make the Dupp Cup the new hardcore division. Hardcore division of what, I’m not sure I want to know.

There are actual rules to this thing and they are as follows:

10 Points to win

  • Put your opponent through a table = 2 ½ points
  • Put your opponent through a flaming table = 5 points
  • Put your opponent’s head in the toilet = 2 ½ points
  • You get 3 ½ points if the toilet has poop in it when you put your opponent’s head in it.
  • Goose a woman = 2 ½ points
  • Goose a man = 3 ½ points (for the danger of getting the crap kicked out of you by the man, I guess)
  • Nail Jeremy Borash = 2 ½ points
  • Nail the old lady who sells the tickets = 2 ½ points
  • Use a farm animal = 2 ½ points (is 2 ½ the highest they can count?)
  • Spank opponent with horse manure = 2 ½ points, no extra points if they like it.
  • Introduce opponent to Jay, whoever that is, = 2 ½ points
  • Cry like a p**y = -5 points
  • Put opponent’s head in cotton candy machine for one full rotation = 10 points (wouldn’t that be murder?)
  • Hit opponent with fan brought weapon = 1 point.

 When asked about an opponent, Blond says that he saw what Disco did to his ‘girlfriend’, Goldilocks. Disco is completely unrepentant and refers to Goldilocks as a ‘dumb bitch’, which doesn’t make Blond very happy. Blond then says that he has something to show Goldilocks and after stripping down to his boxers, reveals that he’s wearing an undershirt with Goldilocks’ face on it (okay, I’m officially creeped out).

Disco again asks about an opponent and discovers that Blond wants to take him on. Disco refuses, citing that he’s a talk show host. As he’s talking, the big blonde that attacked Goldilocks last week comes out. Disco introduces her as Paulina from Tough Enough and says that she doesn’t want him to wrestle tonight (my neutered cat has bigger balls than this guy)..

Blond is not intimidated and refers to Paulina as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, however, it looks like Disco isn’t going to be wrestling. When asked about the winner’s purse, the Dupps reveal that the purse is the $.64 they have between them. So they up the ante to: The winner gets one night with Fluff Dupp and Blond and Hat get to watch (Sweet Jesus!).

 

The Dupps vs Ed Ferrara

That brings in Ed Ferrara, who can’t resist the urge to be a creep. He’s willing to do this for the chance to have sex with Fluff while the Dupps watch. He agrees to do it and just get things going, nails punches poor Jeremy Borash in the face, so he’s already got 2 ½ points. He then gooses Don West, so that’s six points.

The Dupps don’t seem particularly thrilled that Ed is more than halfway through getting a night with Fluff .  Jeremy Borash pissed off at being sucker punched, attacks Ferrara from behind and gets thrown over the railing, which I THINK brings the total up to 8 ½ points. By this point, the Dupps have decided that Ferrara isn’t going to get a night with Fluff and jump into the ring. Ferrara actually comes quite close to winning this thing, but he comes out on the short end of this trainwreck.

Winner: The Dupps

Comment: My IQ just dropped a few points after this.

Well, after that, we see another pre-recorded interview, this time between Tenay and Monty Brown. Brown is proud to talk about his background, which is pretty impressive. When asked about politics, Brown admitted that politics in football affected his career, but when he proved himself to the Bills and the Patriots, the politics didn’t matter. When asked about Truth’s rantings about ‘They’ and ‘Them’, Brown states that he doesn’t like Truth and doesn’t buy his complaints because he feels Truth didn’t make his opportunities like he himself did, which comes across as a little tone deaf, but before he can go much further, he’s attacked by Elix Skipper, who douses him with yellow paint and tells him to shut up and that he has no idea what Skipper and Truth went through because he (Brown) was too busy kissing the behinds of the people in the back. There’s a lot of ranting about learning on the streets and that Skipper considers Brown a chicken.

 

First Blood Match: Malice (with James Mitchell) vs Don Harris

Malice and Mitchell get a small pop, Harris gets a better one. This match was brutal and nasty, as you would expect for a First Blood match, not a lot of wrestling, but a lot of ass kicking.

Harris has his hands full because dealing with one member of the New Church brings the rest of them out. At one point, Mitchell gets a taste of his own medicine and gets some blood on his face. Harris is the first to bleed, but it’s really hard to see how due to a poorly executed blading job. To add insult to injury, Malice and Slash continue to pummel Harris, but he’s not subjected to the baptism.

Winner: Malice.

Comment: That was an okay match, not a barn burner.

Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get an interview with the de-throned Miss TNA, Taylor Vaughn, when she’s interrupted by Sonny Siaki, who is looking for Ricky Steamboat. After finally getting rid of him, she then interrupted by Bruce, who takes her microphone and storms into the locker room where Vaughn is and taunts her. Vaughn is NOT happy and shoves him into the corner, using a sexual slur in the process. Things get ugly before they’re broken up by the other women in the locker room. Vaughn challenges Bruce to an Evening Gown match to get her crown back. After Bruce leaves, Lo Ki and Styles come flying in, continuing the fight that Styles and Lynn had earlier in the night.

 

Apolo vs Jeff Jarrett

Special Ref Steamboat is out to little reaction, the audience seems bored with the show. Apolo doesn’t get a reaction. Jarrett actually gets a reaction. True to his word, Steamboat calls it down the middle. This was a really good match, Apolo still isn’t the best in-ring performer, but he looked really good out there with Jarrett.

Jarrett looked like a first rate heel out there, despite having some support from the audience. The problem was that Steamboat’s insistence on following the NWA’s rules hampered the match, at least to me. Even Flair got away with more underhanded stuff than Jarrett did in this match.

We get a false finish where it looked like Apolo had won, but Jarrett got his foot on the ropes in time. Apolo hit a German suplex on Jarrett but still lost as Jarrett was able to get his shoulder up a split second before a double pin, giving him the victory. Apolo is livid, not realizing that his shoulders were both on the mat too and accosts Steamboat, who tells him that he’ll talk to him in the back and that the decision was not based on any issue Steamboat had with him. Apolo is still angry and says that Jarrett stole the match, but he’s finally taken into the back by security.

With Apolo out of his hair, Steamboat turns his attention to the still celebrating Jarrett and makes a little announcement: Yes, Jarrett won the match, and Steamboat is a man of his word, HOWEVER, Jarrett will not be facing Truth for the NWA Title, Jarrett and Truth will be tag team partners next week in a match against Styles and Lynn next week for the Tag Team Titles. Steamboat’s justification is that while he promised Jarrett he’d get Truth and A title shot, he never said it would be for the NWA Title.

Not surprisingly, Jarrett is livid over the double cross, and the crowd, and myself, don’t blame him. He goes to attack Steamboat, but Steamboat hides behind security.  Jarrett yells at Tenay and West, like they have any say over what just happened.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett by pinfall.

Comment: That was a good match, but the swerve just didn’t work for me.

 

Evening Gown Match: Taylor Vaughn vs Bruce

Again, I won’t be covering this due to the sheer stupidity of the whole thing. I will say that Bruce comes out in a lovely red sequined number and a not horrible blond wig, though his orange wrestling boots clash with the dress. And after this trainwreck, Bruce stripped down to reveal that he was wearing lingerie, which is still apparently unthinkable in Tennessee, even though Goldust shattered that ceiling in WWE years before.

Winner: Bruce.

Comment: Can this storyline be over now?

West gives his over the top hyping for next week’s show and the merchandise stand. He’s no Billy Mays or Anthony Sullivan, but it’s not awful.

 

X Division Championship Match: AJ Styles vs Lo Ki vs Jerry Lynn

Lo Ki is out first, and the crowd seems to have woken up a little bit. Lynn gets a good reaction. Styles gets almost no reaction and he’s got a slightly new look. This was a good match, but there were points where it felt like Lo Ki was the third wheel because someone didn’t want to have Lynn and Styles face off yet. There were some pretty insane spots, but Styles and Lynn stuck to wrestling and all three guys tore the place down. Unfortunately, Lo Ki took out the ref, which resulted in absolute chaos.

Styles’ was definitely the heel in this match, but it was more the obnoxious kid that’s too big for his britches kind of heel, than an actual bad guy. It cost him tonight when taking the time to mock Lo Ki, ended with Lo Ki getting the pin and the title.

Winner: Lo Ki by pinfall.

Comment: I liked this match, but it felt like Lo Ki, who had already had a shot at the title and lost, was put in because Creative didn’t want Lynn vs Styles to be for the X Division Title just yet.

Backstage, Jarrett and Truth, who are going to be partners next week are facing off, Jarrett demanding his title shot NOW. Back in the ring, Styles and Lynn are going at it. Jarrett and Truth come out, still arguing and Jarrett is still demanding his title shot

 

Overall Comment

So, was TNA Episode 8 an improvement over last week. Yes, it was, but the bar was set so low, that’s no much of an accomplishment. This show was a lot better than last week’s disaster, the presentation was much more streamlined, the promos didn’t go on forever, and most of the storylines were meaningfully advanced.

The Jarrett situation annoyed me because Jarrett seemed to be making strides in establishing himself as the top heel in TNA, only to almost have to start all over again with this swerve of Steamboat double crossing him over the title shot. It just feels like instead of building Jarrett up as a heel, Russo, or whoever is calling the shots, is determined to recreate Austin vs McMahon with Jarrett and Steamboat, and while Steamboat is certainly more equipped than the NWA officials to play a character, he’s not a great heel.

The issue with the way women are treated is still there, but someone must’ve made Russo tone it down. There were still PLENTY of issues to be had, but it wasn’t nearly as bad a last week.

The Truth/Brown/Skipper situation is starting to take an interesting turn, because it does reflect real life issues for African-Americans. It’s still uncomfortable, but the pieces are starting to fall into a picture that somewhat makes sense as a storyline.

I hate the NWA-TNA version of Heel!Styles. I was already annoyed with him and he never said a word. He was an annoying little punk.

Stinkers: Dupps vs Ed Ferrara. I swear my IQ dropped.

Snoozers: Flying Elvises vs Spanish Announce Team. It was just boring.

Match of the Night: Jarrett vs Apolo.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this show more than I did last week’s and I hope next week’s show improves on this one.


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