Our opening contest this week is for the NWA World Tag Team Championships. Father James Mitchell is out with his two New Church members: Slash and Tempest formerly Crowbar in WCW. We get a recap of the event from the week before in the tournament showing the champions AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn winning. The champs are out next to AJ’s ridiculous “Born in the USA” song.
NWA World Tag Team Championships: Jerry Lynn & AJ Styles (c) vs. Tempest & Slash w/h Father James Mitchell
An opening series of back and forth action between all four competitors eventually boils down to Tempest taking down AJ Styles. It’s also pointed out that Jerry will be back with us for the ranking match for the X Division Championship in the main event at the end of the night.
Tempest takes a drop toe hold and slides out of the ring, AJ with a handspring feint dive. AJ beckons Tempest in tries to cut him off but gets hung up and allows Tempest to drop a slingshot splash for a two.
We’re also reminded that last week America's Most Wanted were taken out by a mystery team and we still don’t know the identity of those persons. “There are just too many suspects” laments Ed Ferrara.
Lynn just comes in the ring and they start double teaming the challengers. AJ gets caught when he goes for a cross body by Slash and Tempest, Lynn dives to the outside with a tope to take out everyone.
AJ has been in the ring for the majority of the match and so the Church begin cutting off the ring. AJ eventually gets the hot tag to Lynn who runs wild with a tornado DDT and a wheelbarrow bulldog. Lynn goes for the cradle piledriver but Slash low blows him. Lynn breaks out of the Death Valley Driver to hit a Cradle Piledriver, Styles tags himself in and hits the Spiral Tap for the three. Holy fuck! All the pyro goes off. There’s some seeds of dissension sowed here as Styles celebrates and Lynn leaves.
Overall not a bad opener, there’s a lot plot going on here with the tag division.
We’re back to the announce desk and Don West is sporting a hot pink/purple pinstripe suit. It’s beautiful. Tenay recaps the actions of Jeff Jarrett last week and we get a video package whilst we’re waiting for Scott Hall to get on the telephone. After some extended highlights we get Scott on the phone, Scott cuts a promo saying he’s going after the three Christopher, Krush and Jarrett in that order and then hangs up.
Good timing is we’ve got to go to the next contest. Brian Christopher is out as we’re told that Brian and Jeff grew up together and their fathers were business partners: Christopher’s actions apparently now make complete sense. Brian gets a microphone claiming he’s been labelled a child all his life and “Jerry Lawler’s son”. One problem with these early TNA promos is that the commentators don’t lay out during them because they are so ridiculous they invite comeback and comments from all three; even Don West gets in a “maybe he’ll join Father Mitchell now that he’s disowned his daddy”.
The basic jist is Jerry was never there for Brian. Brian tells his dad that he can go to hell. The promo is largely about Jerry but Brian finally gets to the point that he wants to be known as Brian Lawler from now on.
Brian Cristopher Lawler vs. Norman Smiley
Norman comes down to the ring and immediately gets cut off by Lawler. Norman gets in a couple of drop kicks and the wind up scoop slam with Don West awkwardly shouting “come on Norman do it for Jerry!”.
We get the Big Wiggle but Lawler spikes Smiley down to the mat with a DDT. The crowd start chanting “Jerry’s kid” and it’s honestly the loudest I’ve heard the crowd, Lawler is getting some massive heat from the crowd.
Lawler goes shoulder first into the post, Smiley gets a flurry offence and a headbutt and gets a two as Ferrara flubs: “I tell you this Norman Smiley is tougher than a four dollar steak”... no reaction... “you see because you usually say three dollar but it’s one dollar more so he’s not so tough.” Don and Mike sell this like Ultimate Warrior sold Pedigrees.
Smiley hits a series of mounted punches in the corner but Lawler sneaks in a low blow somehow. Lawler heads to the top puts on the goggles but then throws the goggles away and hits the Hip Hop Drop for the three. Brian gets on the mic and tells Scott Hall that he’s next.
A solid back and forth match here and Ferrara flubbed a line on commentary.
We’re going to the back with Goldilocks, Jeff and Bill Berehns. Jarrett wants to know when he’s on and Bill tells him that he hasn’t got a match tonight. Jeff claims he’s the No 1 Contender and wants a match with Shamrock tonight. Bill refuses and Jarrett tells him to suspend this, pointing to his crotch. In the background we can hear someone shouting about Jerry Lynn from behind a door but before Goldilocks can follow up the door closes.
We’re back to the ring with K-Krush who comes out with two sets of pyro this week. Yes this is Hermie Sadler vs. Krush, this story has three weeks of build. Krush has got the mic and pulls some cheap heat against NASCAR and Trashville comments. Someone throws a beer but it hits Slick Johnson. Out comes Hermie with his pit crew equipped with a gas tank, stop sign and finish flag.
Hermie Sadler vs. K-Krush
Stand off and slaps exchanged to start things off. Krush crotches himself on the top rope and Sadler knocks him to the outside. Hermie ducks a punch from Krush who punches the ring post.
Krush hits an axe kick and goes for a one finger pin and only gets a two. Sadler takes a suplex and a powerslam from Krush both get a two count. Krush now locks in the figure four leg lock and Sadler reverses the pile. Krush whips Sadler to the ropes who runs the ropes in the most ridiculous way ever; the guy doesn’t brace himself he stiffens like a plank of wood and rebounds off.
Sadler shoots Krush up for a powerbomb and only finds two. Krush eventually stacks up Sadler and gets his feet on the ropes to score a two. Inexplicably after a cheap shot thrown after the bell Slick Johnson the referee reverses the discussion and raises Sadler’s hand.
Not a bad match, Krush did some moves around Sadler and Hermie took more bumps than I thought he would. Weird that they couldn’t think up a finish for this.
We go to the back and see Amori doing squats, Alicia walks into frame and demands some money. This is our introduction to our challenger for the title tonight. Back to the ring as the boys on the desk bicker about what the exchange of money is about, never mind that there’s a match or a world title match later.
Hot Shots vs. The Briscoes
Tag team action here as Tenay explains the open door policy with wrestlers here. The Hot Shots are Cassidy (O’Reily) and Chase (Stevens) and The Briscoes are Mark and Jay of future ROH fame just eighteen years old in this match; feel old.
We get some nice back and forth action before the camera cuts to Malice being followed by the rest of the New Church. The referee calls for the bell and Malice destroys the four young talents in the ring. It sounds like they’re piping sound effects whenever Malice chokeslams someone either than or he legit busted the mic.
Malice clears the ring and James Mitchell gets on the mic. Mitchell claims that they aren’t leaving the ring until the blood of Ken Shamrock is on the hands of Malice. Mitchell gives Shamrock two options: come out and fight or stay in the back whilst Malice assaults all the fans. Mitchell gives him ten seconds then says “times up” and starts looking for innocent victims.
They focus their attention of “the timekeeper” who doesn’t have a name but does have a rather hairy back as Malice loads up for a powerbomb. Only then does Shamrock show up. The babyface champion gets two punches in before he’s goozled by Malice who stalls waiting for Shamrock’s opponent Amori to hit the for the save. The two clear the ring and have a stand off to zero reaction from the crowd. Ferrarra and Tenay try to save the segment by talking about the intensity and then it’s to the back with Goldilocks.
Goldilocks is backstage with the Dupps, she asks Stan Dupp what their strategy is tonight for facing the Flying Elvises. Stan mentions a coondog that hasn’t gotten some in a while, licking itself for pleasure and before proceeding to hump the varicose veined legs of Aunt Belle making her squeal like a big. Then states this is what they are going to do the Elvises tonight.
Bo Dupp adds “you’ve gotta ask the questions first then strike later, if you see a fork in the road then you’ve gotta take it, never look a deaf man in the eye and remember if the shoe fits then it’s probably the right size.”. Furthermore “if it looks like shit, smells like shit, and you pick it up and you play with it and feels like shit. Then don’t put it in your mouth because it’s probably shit.”
We go back to the ring, some slow jazz plays, Borash announces a twenty minute time limit match and then the music stops... this happens for a bit and then out comes Jasmine St. Claire “of ECW fame, and so much more” as Mike Tenay puts it. Don and Ed are rather too forth coming about their pornography habits; Ed in particular claims he has to take a second mortgage out on his house every month.
Jasmine lures the microphone away from Borash, she’s apparently been waiting three weeks to see some ass. She asks if there are any men who want to see some real TNA tonight. Cut to a blond bloke with his shirt up frolicking in the aisle on the hard cam. Jasmine says rather woodenly that she’s got it and she’s going to flaunt it just for the crowd. Jasmine sets up a chair and grabs her sex toy Jeremy Borash claiming she’ss gonna make him sweat.
Borash gets a lap dance (note to self, please gif Borash’s facial expressions). St. Claire takes off her thong before Bill Berehns comes down with his jacket to wave this off before getting speared by Ed Ferrera which gets a huge pop. Bill no sells it and covers up Jasmine.
OK we’re now going back to the Dupps vs. The Elvises...
Dupps (Stan & Bo w/h Fluff) vs. The Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada & Sonny Siaki)
Tenay straight up points out the absurdity of this promotion; The Elvises won the first ever match on TNA and have not been seen since but their opponents who lost have gone on to become X Division and Tag Team Champions. Don claims he gets more emails about the Flying Elvises than any other group in TNA.
The Elvises jump start the match but the Dupps get control, we cut to the outside of the ring as Tenay yells “did you see the elevation by Bo Dupp?” sadly Mike no we got a shot of Jorge Estrada. No replay either as we’re treated to Mortimer Plumtree coming out to ringside and on to the commentary desk.
Of course this means that the commentary is focused on Plumtree and his scuffle with the Johnsons from last week and less about what is actually going in the ring. We get some exposition about the Johnsons needing to improve in the ring and the various suspects in the attack on James Storm and Chris Harris.
The action boils down to the Elivii hitting their signature manuveres and getting a three. The winners bail and we’re going straight to a disturbance in the back.
Jerry Lynn is beating up AJ Styles, the two partners are beating each other up in catering throwing each other over tables and into walls. Lynn pulls AJ on a road case and spikes AJ with a Cradle Piledriver telling AJ to “celebrate now, ya glory hound”. Back to the ring for our NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ken Shamrock (c) vs. Takao Omori
This is the first time we actually get a graphic of this match and the challenger is actually Takao Omori – I’m not even going to correct the number of times I misspelt this man’s name as this the first time I’ve seen it.
Few notes on Omori; he was in the 1996 Royal Rumble and was eliminated by Jake Roberts. In 2000 during one of NOAH’s biggest events Omori apparently called the match to end early going just six and half minutes; this apparently resulting in Omori being sent abroad to train with Harley Race though Mitsuharu Misawa denies that he was “sent” as he was never welcomed back. His Wikipedia page currently makes no mention of this match occurring, which bodes well.
Omori comes out to generic oriental martial arts music to no reaction. Shamrock comes out without his belt, the belt isn’t held up either. Shamrock gets the early offence with some strikes and a DDT. Tenay tries to big up how important this match is in Japan and that this isn’t a company belt but is open to challengers from other promotions.
The problem of course with this policy in reality is the fans don’t know how to react to these one time deals. The advantage of having a belt exclusive to your promotion is that you can build a feud and character. Omori has been on camera for less than five minutes and all the crowd know is he has a really solid chin lock. Tenay tells us that Omori’s finisher is a clothesline; again the crowd doesn’t know this and would probably assume that it’s just another clothesline that any other wrestler would do.
Omori goes for a swinging neckbreaker Shamrock either sandbags or didn’t get the call as he sells it about as well as Scott Hall did the week before. Omori misses the knee from the top rope. Omori hits the Axe Bomber clothesline and only Tenay knows it’s his finisher Shamrock gets out at two. Shamrock with a dropkick and then locks in a leg bar. There’s something going on off camera to the right because no one is looking at the match.
Omori goes for a full nelson slam but Shamrock reverses into an armbar and floats into the ankle lock. Which brings down Jeff Jarrett who wallops Shamrock in the back with a chair shot causing the DQ. A second to the head of Omori. This brings Harley Race into the ring and holy shit Jarrett with a chair shot to the head of Harley Race. The black shirt security are out with Bullet Bob to try and gain control but they get chair shots and another chair shot straight to the skull of Shamrock. Even for 2002 this is sickening to watch.
We’re going to the back with Goldilocks where Jerry Lynn is squatting headbutting a wall. Jerry stands up and says “you want some, I’ll give you some, open up and say ah” and then walls off. She stands up and bumps into James Mitchell who refers to her as the Whore of Babylon, Mitchell wants to speak to Jarrett before he commits a sin. We can hear a muffled cry which when Goldilocks investigates finds Bill Berehns in much the same state as Jim Miller from last week; gagged, topless and with FU on his chest.
Six man Elimination Match to establish the ranking for the X Division Championship
Low Ki vs. Elix Skipper vs. Kid Romeo vs. Tony Mamaluke vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Jerry Lynn
Instead of six guys in the ring, it’s two guys with four on the outside who can be tagged – the first to be pinned or submitted will be the sixth in line to the title rising up to the last man standing as the number one contender. Kid Romeo and the debuting “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels start us off.
The pace picks up in this match and there is a lot of wrestling, all six wrestlers tag in and out with each other. Various dives to the outside by everyone.
The first elimination occurs off camera as Jerry Lynn is crotched on the top turnbuckle and falls to the outside getting counted out. Second is Mamaluke who takes the Overdrive from Skipper. We’re down to four but it’s really Low Ki, Skipper and Daniels who are keeping the crowd in this match.
Daniels hits the Last Rites on Skipper for elimination number three. Kid Romeo hits an avalanche Air Raid on Daniels for elimination four but Daniels gets his foot on the ropes. Kid Romeo taps to the Dragon Sleeper frrom Low Ki and we’re down to Daniels and Low Ki.
After several minutes of back and forth Low Ki beats Daniels with a Ki Krusher to become number one contender. The pyro goes off and before it finishes the Flying Elvises are down to beat up Low Ki and Daniels. All five of the competitors minus Jerry Lynn come down to make the save and the Elvises bail.
We regroup at the announce table to discuss the matches for next week:
- AJ Styles vs. Low Ki for the X Division Championship
- Scott Hall vs. Brian Lawler
- Puppet the Hardcore Dwarf vs. Meatball the World’s Largest Midget
It wouldn’t be the end of the show without Jeff Jarrett coming down to demand a title shot. He gets in the face of the local football team Tennessee Titans for blowing their shot at the Superbowl, two of the Titans jump the rail and beat up Jarrett, then the New Church come down to fight and we leave on Malice and Jarrett brawling.
According to F4W this is the first week that Vince Russo was working full time for NWA:TNA, up until now he’d been a consultant for both WWE and TNA but had sent back his contract for the WWE without a signature.
There’s quite a lot of story going on in this show and it’s not in the matches. The tag division is mainly about a tag team that got assaulted and didn’t win, the X Division is largely about the dissension between the World Tag Team Champions and the World Title picture is mainly Jarrett moaning about a title shot.
Highlights worth watching would be the one on one between Low Ki and Daniels in the main event, but there’s better examples of that. Brian Lawler’s promo got some actual credible heat and gave the crowd something to chant. The Jasmine St. Claire skit was funny in places but came across really wooden.
Overall you can probably skip this show and stay in the loop to this point.