Another week of classic NWA TNA featuring Jeff Jarrett, R-Truth, James Storm, and Jerry Lynn versus AJ Styles!
This week, the tournament to determine a new #1 Contender for the NWA Championship continues. Ron Killings makes a surprising offer to Mr. Wrestling III. Jeff Jarrett’s response to the Mr. Wrestling rumors surprises everyone. The saga of Sean Waltman/Brian Lawler/April continues. America’s Most Wanted take on the New Church, and Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles clash again over the X-Division title.
How did they do? Let’s find out!
We start out with a recap of the NWA’s anniversary show, which actually looked like a lot of fun. Jorge Estrada won the North American Championship on that show.
Back in the Asylum, the long-suffering Goldylocks has the job of interviewing the newly reunited Rainbow Express. Lenny’s back and sucking on a Dum-Dum sucker like he has nothing better to do. Goldy wants to talk about the issue with Estrada and Priscilla, but Bruce wants the cameraman to look at his lovely iridescent boots.
Goldy jokingly asks if she can borrow them sometime, but Bruce, cattily, says no. Goldy replies that the backstage comments about Bruce being a bitch are true, to Bruce and Lenny’s shock.
Goldy asks about the Rainbow Express being back together, slightly mocking their issues. Bruce admitted that he and Lenny had fought but have made up. Furthermore, he decrees that Lenny is the Miss TNA Runner-Up, and so will get the Miss TNA tiara and sash if Bruce can’t continue.
Jorge Estrada (with Priscilla) vs Bruce (with Lenny)
Estrada and Priscilla come out, but they don’t have a lot of chemistry. However, Estrada is gentleman enough to open the ropes for her. Bruce and Lenny come out with Lenny basically fellating a banana.
This was an okay match. The biggest problem is that, without Siaki and Yang to cover for him, Estrada was exposed as not being a good wrestler. Bruce is a good wrestler, but his gimmick really obscures this.
That said, there were a lot of highlights, including Estrada suplexing Lenny and Bruce and the same time and nearly getting a pinfall. However, he BADLY botched a hurricanrana on Bruce onto the floor and nearly knocked himself out. Another…highlight was Estrada hitting a back suplex on Bruce, but his hand lands on Bruce’s crotch in the pinfall, and Estrada QUICKLY moved it away.
This is one of those feuds where it’s not clear what they’re fighting about or what the plan for this is and that was clear with the ending: Lenny chases Priscilla because Priscilla had gotten in the ring. Estrada takes both members of Rainbow Express out. Bruce gets mad at Lenny, who was doing his job and starts chasing and threatening Priscilla. As he chasing her, he slips on the peel of the banana Lenny had been fellating and knocked himself out (yes, I’m serious) leading to a countout win for Estrada.
Winner: Jorge Estrada by countout.
Now here is where things get odd. Under the new rules the NWA laid down last week, because Bruce got counted out, by right, his Miss TNA regalia should go to Estrada. Estrada give the stuff to Priscilla, but Lenny takes them back and we’re told that because Bruce didn’t DELIBERATELY get himself counted out, he’s still Miss TNA. Which is a nice caveat.
Comment: Bleh match, stupid finish.
Backstage, the woes of Goldylocks continue, as she’s stuck interviewing Sonny Siaki, who is right up in her space. Goldy’s not happy about this but tries to be professional and asks about the tournament. Sonny Siaki, still with the Rock ripoff gimmick, claims to be the past, present, and future of TNA and that he’s the start. Turning his attention to BG James, he calls him ‘Goofy’ and vows to be the victor. Turning his attention to Goldy, he claims that he knows that she bid on him in a silent auction to raise money for the D.C. Sniper Fund. Goldy looks repulsed by the idea, and her repulsion seems to grow when Siaki promises to show her some love after he beats BG James.
#1 Contender’s Tournament Round 2
Sonny Siaki vs BG James
Siaki comes out to very little reaction. James comes out to a better reaction and does his usual schtick, but Siaki gets the jump on James in the ring and it’s on!
Siaki is really coming into his own as a competitor, but it’s clear that James is past his prime. Siaki targets James’ knee, using kicks and a stretch muffler to try and get the victory. It actually looked like Siaki was going to advance, until Jerry Lynn showed up and distracted him. Siaki seemed to work through it until he went for his Money Clip. James countered it into a pumphandle slam for the win.
Winner: BG James by pinfall.
Comment: Eh this match was ‘eh’. Siaki really should have advanced, but it looks like they’re going with the Lynn/Siaki feud for now.
Backstage, Goldylocks is with Storm and Harris, who are in VERY bad moods. Goldy, trying to maintain some peace, seems to want to bring in James Mitchell there for a face to face segment, but Harris yells at her that if she wants Mitchell, she can go find him, but if she wants to deal with America’s Most Wanted, she going to deal with them.
Harris goes on to say that America’s Most Wanted are done dealing with this shit and will do what they want, when they want. He comments about how the New Church claims to be evil, but Harris says there’s evil in all of them and vows to go crazy on the New Church.
Storm has dropped the goofy cowboy gimmick and vows that they will destroy the New Church. He starts to us the cowboy whoop, but drops it for ‘Sorry about your damn luck!’.
Now THIS AMW I can get behind.
NWA Tag Team Championship Match
America’s Most Wanted vs New Church (with James Mitchell)
New Church comes out first. Mitchell gets on the mic and warns AMW that blood will flow because AMW didn’t learn their lesson from last week.
AMW wasn’t in the mood to play and the match started out on the floor. AMW dominate the brawl and when the match finally gets to the ring, Slash is bleeding BADLY. I’m guessing he over did the blading.
There’s a lot of back and forth in this match, but I can’t say that Slash and Lee are much better than Slash and Malice or Slash and Cobain were.
AMW would pull out the win by DQ after Lee was caught using a spike on Storm, but not until after Slash and Harris were both bleeding badly. A furious Mitchell ordered Slash and Malice to attack Harris and Storm. It took a whole lot of very brave security guards and Bob Armstrong to get things calmed down.
Winner: America’s Most Wanted by DQ.
Comment: Okay match, I’m glad Harris and Storm are getting into the AMW characters.
#1 Contender’s Tournament
Brian Lawler (with April) vs Syxx-Pac
Lawler and April came out first looking very smitten and happy. The fans were having it and insulted April, to Lawler’s dismay. Lawler pulled out a chair for April and put down his jacket so she wouldn’t get dirt on her lovely outfit. Waltman came out next and Lawler got the jump on him.
This was a really good match, even though Lawler was still distracted by April. April, for her part, seemed to either be playing mind games with Lawler and Waltman, seeming to try to get Lawler to not hurt him, which didn’t really help. Waltman turns the tide by dodging a Hip Hop Drop. Waltman’s hip was still bothering him, so he did a…modified Bronco Buster.
To further add fuel to the fire, Waltman went out and kissed April, which pissed Lawler off. Lawler attacked Waltman and then called April over, where he pulled her up on the apron by the hair and called her an extremely vulgar name.
Ew, are we really back to this?
Lawler’s distraction proved to be what Waltman needed. He got a low-blow in and the pin off a powerbomb. Having won the match and advanced in the tournament, Waltman takes off, with April in tow, and she wasn’t resisting.
Winner: Sean Waltman by pinfall.
Lawler was absolutely beside himself at losing his girlfriend again, and resorts to sleaze to win her back. He faked a heart attack in the ring so badly, Fred Sanford would’ve called it fake. Fortunately, for him, April fell for it and ran back to check on him.
Comment: This was actually a really good match for both guys, but the April thing is back to being cringey.
As the refs ‘check’ on Lawler, Tenay and West show us a pre-taped interview with Ron Killings. Killings and Tenay are talking and Killings, who was not ranting and raving about conspiracy theories, told Tenay that Tenay was the only person in TNA that he trusted. With that in mind, he addressed the Mr. Wrestling III situation and said that Mr. Wrestling had gotten him, so he offered Mr. Wrestling a contract for a title match with Killings. All Mr. Wrestling had to do was contact Tenay and sign the contract.
Killings also said that he found it odd that Bob Armstong signed off on the contract almost immediately, when it usually took a fight to get him and the NWA to agree to anything. However, he repeated that he had signed the contract and if Mr. Wrestling contacted Tenay and signed the contract, he would get the match.
Back in the Asylum, a visibly pissed Jeff Jarrett. As Jarrett paced the ring, Tenay and West repeat the rumors that Jeff Jarrett was Mr. Wrestling III, despite the fact that Jarrett and Mr. Wrestling III had been in the ring together.
Jarrett, politely, asked Tenay to come into the ring. While he waited, Jarrett called Killings an idiot for offering Mr. Wrestling a title shot. After Tenay got into the ring, with the contract, Jarrett addressed the rumors of him being Mr. Wrestling III.
Tenay, sensing a confession, confirmed that those rumors were going around and offered the contract and the offer Killings made.
Jarrett read over the contract and repeated the terms of the contract. Just when it seemed that the mystery was going to be solve, Jarrett tore up the contract in disgust.
I’m not going to lie, I cheered, and so did the rest of the crowd.
Jarrett repeated that he’d been waiting 20 weeks, five months, to get the title shot he deserved. He then said that he’d be damned if someone else was going to take the backdoor way. He then vowed that in two weeks, he was going to walk out of the tournament as NWA champion before storming out.
Tenay came back to the announce table and assured everyone that he had another copy of the contract and that the offer to Mr. Wrestling was still good.
Elimination Table #1 Contender’s Match for the X-Division Championship
Kid Kash vs Tony Mamaluke vs Joel Maximo vs Jose Maximo vs Ace Steel (with Mortimer Plumtree)
Another week, another #1 Contender’s Match and the usual suspects, minus Amazing Red, are all assembled. Rules are simple, and for once, TNA didn’t try to over complicate the rules.
One odd moment was that the match actually started before Ace Steel and Mortimer Plumtree were announced, which left the funny visual of Jeremy Borash announcing Steel while the other four competitors fought around him, and then bailing out.
The match started out in the usual way for this bunch, lots of high spots and flips, not a lot of actual wrestling. Kash was still the highlight of the match. Mamaluke tried to show off his wrestling skills, but a Table Match wasn’t a great place to show off a submission hold. Steel’s alliance with Plumtree, and Plumtree’s constant interference made an alliance between the other four competitors almost inevitable.
Mamaluke wasn’t a standout in the match, but he got the credit for eliminating Ace Steel by suplexing him through a table in the corner. Steel’s head was the on thing that ACTUALLY went through the table, but, much like Big Show’s foot years later, what counted was that some part of Steel’s body had been put through a table.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the hated Steel and meddling Plumtree didn’t buy Mamaluke much time. Kash and the Maximos teamed up to take out Mamaluke and he was moonsaulted through a table by Joel Maximo.
Once it came down to the final three, there was no honor among thieves. Kash and the Maximos duked it out. Kash would get the victory by hitting a hurricanrana on Joel Maximo through Jose Maximo through a table.
Winner: Kid Kash by eliminating the Maximos.
Comment: Really good match. Glad to see Kash finally get a push.
Jeff Jarrett vs Curt Hennig
Jarret came back out and announced that no one had seen Hennig all day. Jarrett clappedback at Hennig’s jibes about his and Jarrett’s history. That first match that they had in the Asylum when Jarrett was a rookie? What Hennig didn’t mention is that Jarrett nearly beat Hennig for the AWA Title when he was on 19.
As for the cracks about Double J and the Chosen one, Jarrett reminded ‘Mr. Perfect’ of a few little details: He was a 7x WWF Intercontinental Champion as Double J. The ‘Chosen One’ was a 4x WCW World Heavyweight Champion, something Hennig never became. Jarrett claimed that after the embarrassing defeat last week. He then demanded that the ref ring the bell to give him the match since Hennig wasn’t there.
Hennig did show up, through the crowd and not dressed to wrestle. The ‘match’ was really a lame-ish brawl that featured Jarrett selling his butt off to Hennig’s visibly weak punching. When Scott Armstrong tried to convince Hennig to get into the ring, Hennig shoved him to the floor. Jarrett fought back but spent most of the brawl as a punching bag. A second ref sent to take control of the situation was laid out with a chairshot to the head. After Hennig hit three Perfect-plexes in a row, a third ref came out and called for the bell. Hennig was disqualified due to laying his hands on two refs. Bob Armstrong comes out to check on his son, but the drama is over for now.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett by disqualification
Comment: Honestly, they need to get rid of Hennig. It’s sad to see him such a mess and it gets worse every week. The best that can be said for this week’s performance is that he looked sober.
Don West gave us his weekly ‘Please tune in so we stay employed’ sell and it’s time for the main event.
X-Division Championship Match
AJ Styles (with Mortimer Plumtree) vs Jerry Lynn
I should note that I’m not really sure why Lynn got this match since Kid Kash was the number one contender.
Both men got really great pops, in Styles’ case, it was despite Plumtree.
The match got off to a slow start with some basic wrestling moves and the usual jockeying, which was stymied by the fact that Styles and Lynn had been tag team partners and rivals for nearly five months and knew each other’s moves very well.
Plumtree was starting to show his usefulness as a manager, doing all the heel manager things: distracting the ref, attacking the babyface, etc. If Styles wasn’t so over due to his amazing talent, this would’ve been a better fit.
It looked like karma was going to bite Lynn in the ass. Sonny Siaki came out and distracted Lynn before being sent to the back. Unfortunately for Styles, the distraction didn’t work as Lynn kicked out of the Styles Clash. It would take a tombstone piledrive, but we had a NEW X-Division Champion! The show closes with Lynn celebrating.
Winner: Jerry Lynn by pinfall.
Comment: That was a really good match, but it sucks that Styles’ second title reign only lasted a few weeks.
Overall Comment: So how was Week 20 of TNA? Actually, this was a really good show. There were some blah matches and moments, but it was an overall good show. Most of the matches had a purpose and the storylines got moved forward.
It seems that TNA has decided what to do with Jarrett. He went from being the top heel to being super over due to the fact that he’s incredibly talented. It doesn’t mean he’s likeable, but the fans have finally rallied around him. For all his complaining and sneakiness, Jarrett showed an honorable streak that a lot fans respected. He refused to take the easy way out and claim to be Mr. Wrestling III, even though it would’ve given him a guaranteed shot at Killings, rather than going through the tournament.
I’ve been despairing over the Hennig/Jarrett feud, mostly because Hennig’s visible decline, but this week’s promo was really great. Hennig had been mocking Jarrett’s previous gimmicks, making him seem like a nobody, so to hear Jarrett clap back and remind Hennig of his own silly gimmick and what Jarrett’s gimmicks had actually been reasonably successful.
The women issue is still ongoing and still frustrating. The Sonny Siaki/Goldylocks thing seems to be an attempt at copying the Rock/Lilian Garcia interactions in WWE, but Sonny Siaki has none of Rock’s charm and humor, which makes the segments with Goldylocks very creepy. Add in the fact that Goldylocks is less willing to put up with his antics than Garcia was with Rock, and the segments become incredibly uncomfortable to watch.
The storyline with April seems to have gotten a little lost. Who is she siding with? Lawler or Waltman? TNA can’t seem to decide if she’s the instigator of this whole thing or if she’s a victim. Lawler’s terrible acting didn’t help the situation and the faked heart attack was just…no.
I’m getting a little bored with a new #1 Contender match every week for the X-Division that basically features the same people over and over. I realize that the division is small, but it’s getting boring and there haven’t been any real breakout stars other than Lynn and Styles.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show and hope the trend continues.