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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.