We open on a video package of highlights of Jeff Jarrett beating up people. Nothing like a little nepotism to start off proceedings. We then cut to Ken Shamrock walking with a camera whilst Goldilocks chases him; he screams “BACK OFF BITCH!” Goldilocks shrugs this off and we go to the opening titles.
We’re gonna find out who the number one contender is for the title as Jeff Jarrett faces Malice in a ladder match, we’re not even three minutes into the show before we’re going to the back to find Scott Hall beating up Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett gets whipped into a garage door and the black shirts invade to break them up. Bill Berehns then yells that Jarrett is forfeiting his match and ejects him out of the building.
We go to the announce table with “The Zuit Suit Daddy” Don West, Mike Tenay and Ed Ferrara. The New Church is on their way out with Malice seemingly having no opponent.
Mitchell informs the crowd of Jarrett’s unavailability and issues an open challenge (an “extension of a thorn branch”) to anyone who wants to take on Malice. The lights go out. The lights come back on and Sabu is in the ring, the bell rings and the match is on.
Ladder Match for the No 1 Contendership for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Malice vs. Sabu
The crowd are hyped for Sabu in the opening moments. Malice gets a chair but Sabu gains the advantage with a couple of signature moves.
Malice goes for something on the ropes but there’s some serious miscommunication and Malice just spills to the outside. Everything breaks down here as first Malice grabs the ladder, then puts it down, then picks it up then down again. Eventually things get going with a basement dropkick to the ladder from Sabu and a double jump springboard splash.
Sabu goes under the ring and pulls out a table setting up on the outside, this allows Malice to regain control. Malice drops Sabu face first on to the ladder which causes Sabu to start bleeding from the nose. Back in the ring Malice whips Sabu into the ladder propped up against the turnbuckle, follows up with a splash, then picks up both Sabu and the ladder for a powerslam.
Sabu makes a comeback with some signature moves but gets powerbombed off the ladder for his troubles. Sabu then takes an overhead belly to belly onto a ladder. Malice climbs the ladder and Sabu manages to missle drop kick it from under him. Malice is first to his feet sets up the ladder in the corner, misses a splash attempt and takes that weird flying leg lariat thing. Sabu jumps off the turnbuckle driving the ladder onto Malice and follows up with an Arabian Facebuster.
Malice climbs the ladder but Sabu pushes the ladder sending Malice through the table on the outside. Sabu climbs the ladder and gets the contract.
NEW! No 1 Contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Sabu!
Sabu celebrates for less than a second before Tempest and Slash hit the ring to beat up Sabu. Sabu fights them off but Malice recovers and the three on one assault begins. Another table is set up on the outside and Malice chokeslams Sabu from the apron through the table.
We go to the back! Jarrett and Bill Berehens are still arguing on the outside (this has been twenty plus minutes). This segment is twenty seconds of shouting. We come back and Sabu is still on the ramp as AJ Styles comes out and grabs a microphone.
AJ says “Jerry Lynn, my partner” and we jump start this whole thing as Jerry comes right out. Jerry says “I don’t owe you shit” and gets in the ring. Jerry asks AJ how long AJ’s been wrestling (4 years), Jerry then asks AJ how long he’s been wrestling (14 years). We get a standard old guy vs. young guy promo basically establishing Jerry has done more than AJ has, and life in the old days was hard. Jerry berates AJ Styles and there are some people in the front row who actually applaud this.
AJ accepts this, Jerry tells Styles to respect him and follow his lead. Jerry turns his back and AJ blindsides him with an enziguri. Follows up with a discus clothesline and a deadlift Styles Clash.
It’s been maybe three minutes and we’re going to the back again! Goldy is in the back to talk to Jasmin St. Claire but before that interview she introduces a video package from the week before. Goldy literally says “Excuse me Jasmin” before Jasmin is assaulted by someone already in shot and on camera. It’s Francine! Francine drags her into the showers and tells St. Claire to cool off.
K-Krush vs. Norman Smiley
Mike Tenay mentions the “positive feedback to last week’s show from internet publications” and asks the fans to “continue to hold us to high standards and support if we succeed in entertaining you”. K-Krush has the microphone and claims that he looks, sounds, dances and smells like a star. Krush wants to know why he was let go by the WWF. K-Krush explains that they were afraid of promoting him and now he’s going to start taking things seriously.
What better way to cement this new attitude by facing fading orange trunks wearing Norman Smiley. It gets better as K-Krush starts the match guess what the commentators start talking about? Jeff Jarrett and Tennessee Titans. K-Krush gets schooled by Smiley early on but Krush follows up with some signature offence.
There’s some good back and forth in this match but the camera work is so awkward, the choice of close ups over a wide shot is a jaunting. The wide shows something about to happen for example jumping for a dropkick but the cut to the close up just shows the two men falling to the floor. Plus the camera guys tend to frame the ropes into the shot so there’s a big yellow bar across the middle of the screen.
K-Krush drops Norman Smiley with a front suplex face buster and gets the three. Krush then removes his belt and begins whipping and choking Smiley. Krush then hangs Smiley over the top rope, this sends the commentators into fits and Norman Smiley’s wife comes from the back, she pleads with Krush who then grabs her. Finally the black shirts comes out.
We go... to the back! Oh lord. The words “I’m supposed to be interviewing Puppet the Dwarf” come out of Goldy’s mouth and I know where this is going. In the future TNA would do video packages of moments that people remember like Elix Skipper’s cage walk, but this is something everyone remembers. Keep in mind five minutes prior to this the words “continue to hold us to high standards and support if we succeed in entertaining you” Mike Tenay previous said.
Puppet is a little busy. He’s inside an orange plastic rubbish bin and there’s the quite audible sound of thumping coming from the bin. Goldy asks him about the interview but Puppet wants a little privacy. Goldy asks him what he’s doing, Puppet asks her “hey little girl would you like some porridge?”. Puppet claims not to be “spanking his monkey” but is “meditating”. He claims to be suffering from a little problem he calls P.M.S.; pissed midget syndrome. The only cure is beating midget’s ass. Puppet propositions Goldy and she decides she’s had it with this job.
She walks round the corner and wanders into the Dupps. In brief summary Bo is doing something vaguely sexual to Flo and Stan admires Goldy’s labia; of course this is all a little cruder.
We go back to the commentators, who genuinely do not know how to react to this. Don West tries his best to move things along “don’t forget next Wednesday night AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn. They’re gonna do a match together.”
Jose Estrada & Sonny Siaki (The Flying Elvises) vs. “Primetime” Elix Skipper & “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels
The Elvises beat up Daniels and Skipper in the X Division contest last week, so this tag team match makes sense and has some progression.
The match jump starts inside and outside the ring. Eventually we get down to Skipper and Siaki as the legal men. Then bizarrely Siaki tags in Estrada and makes his way down to commentary., we can’t hear anything but Siaki breathing for a while. Siaki berates Estrada for thinking he’s the real Elvis.
Siaki goes back to the apron, tags in and delivers a nice over the shoulder backbreaker to Skipper. Siaki tags in Estrada who hits an amazing springboard triangle moonsault. Siaki leaves the ring again and gets on the headset to but over himself.
Skipper tags in Daniels who goes to work on the Elvises. Estrada takes down Daniels. Skipper enters the ring jumps off the back of Daniels, onto the shoulders of Estrada and into a hurricarana on Siaki. HOLY SHIT. Daniels hooks up Estrada in a Blue Thunder Bomb and gets a two.
The Elvises begin working over Daniels in a short quick tag double team segment. Skipper and Siaki get the hot tags to no reaction. Skipper hits a double underhook suplex into a front body scissors full nelson pin. It looked painful and weird. Siaki tags Estrada who drives Skipper to the mat with a facebuster then slips on a springboard somersault plancha.
Daniels gets the tag, hits a STO and follows up with the Best Moonsault Ever. Siaki breaks up the pin and tags in. Daniels tags in Skipper who hits a missile dropkick, Siaki follows up with a beautiful pumphandle suplex. Daniels hits a Cactus Clothesline on Siaki leaving Skipper and Estrada in the ring. The referee is busy on the outside shouting at Daniels and Siaki whilst Skipper hits the Play of the Day on Estrada but there’s no referee.
Siaki comes into the ring hits the Money Clip and gets the three. Siaki and Estrada celebrate for a few seconds before Stan Dupp runs into the ring with a piece of wood (geddit they got wood). Siaki ducks out of the ring and Estrada takes a board to the head from Stan, Bo and Flo. The Dupps barely make it through their square dance celebration.
This apparently is retribution for the Elvises beating the Dupps last week. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that match as it largely featured Mortimer Plumtree.
We’re going to back, again, with Goldy and K-Krush. She tries to ask Krush about lynching Norman Smiley but Scott Hall runs in and beats up K-Krush. “Two down, one to go”.
Meatball vs. Puppet
Back to the ring and Meatball comes out, his gimmick apparently is that he’s fat and eats a lot. This is evidenced by a shopping cart inexplicably filled with food is at the side of the ramp. He grabs a bag of Cheetos and heads to the ring. Out comes Puppet the Psycho Dwarf. Puppet throws some plunder into the ring.
The match starts with a steel trash can to the head of Meatball. Puppet throws the can to Meatball and delivers a boot to the can. Meatball throws Puppet to the outside. The crowd is dead for this until Meatball throws a custard pie in the face of Puppet. Puppet then breaks a watermelon over the head of Meatball.
Puppet hits a tornado DDT to the outside but only gets a two. Puppet hits a guillotine leg drop to a chair but Puppet is not done. Puppet hits a Vader Bomb on to Meatball and gets the three and then just walks to the back.
We don’t go to the back, we do get a segment where TEO(sp?) another midget rips off one of the dancers top much to the enjoyment of the crowd.
Jasmin St. Claire vs. Francine
Jasmin is selling the effects of the brief scuffle in the shower as both Slick and Jeremy battle to lower the middle rope. Francine makes her way down to the ring and the cat fight gets underway.
Jasmin takes Francine’s top off in the early going and Francine repays the favour by taking off her bottoms. Francine removes her belt and then begins whipping Jasmin.
This prompt the Blue Meanie to make a run in. Meanie is apparently Jasmin’s boyfriend he takes a couple of whips of the belt before he DDTs Francine. The commentators are outraged by this man on woman violence, Meanie carries Jasmin away as the medical team take Francine away on a stretcher. The seriousness of the situation is put over by the fact Ed is helping and not doing anything lewd.
We go to the back! Goldy tries to interview Low Ki who walks away. Tenay gets over the finishing moves of the two competitors for the upcoming X Division match.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Low Ki
Match begins and the commentators immediately start talking about Francine.
We finally get down to some action with an exchange of roundhouses. There’s a guy who’s been running round the arena all night with a sign that says “CHAD” he’s being evicted during the opening of this match so all heat is on him.
I’m not going to attempt to keep up with the action. It’s slow in the opening moments but establishes Low Ki as a quick striker and AJ is going to be doing a lot of flips and dives.
Low Ki wraps AJ in an amazing Dragon Clutch with AJ on the arpon and Ki bending his neck over the top rope. Looked awesome. AJ hits an awesome brainbuster on Low Ki for a two count. Styles misses the Spiral Tap but kicks out of the cover attempt.
Low Ki goes for a Pheonix Splash Dragonrana, AJ catches him hits the Styles Clash and gets the three. AJ makes his way up the ramp and then gets speared by Jerry Lynn who brings him back to the ring to hit a piledriver. Jerry brings out a ladder and suplexes AJ into the ladder twice. The crowd is mercilessly chanting for Jerry. Jerry leaves the ring, and then comes back again to hit another piledriver.
We go to the commentary desk where they lay out these two guys are going to be defending their Tag Team Championships together but we don’t know who their opponents will be. However we do get confirmation Sabu has asked for his NWA Championship match next week to be a ladder match, Ken Shamrock has apparently agreed but the NWA has ruled it’s retrieve the belt or submission.
It’s main event time...
Brian Lawler vs. Scott Hall
Brian gets on the mic for some cheap heat. Brian is going to offer us a few Jerry Lawler facts:
- Jerry Lawler has been married three times, all three times his wife was younger than him (the commentators thankfully point out the paradox of Brian’s mother being younger than him)
- Brian sent a ticket to Jerry Lawler to watch his son wrestle. Claiming that his dad hangs out at the local schools with a fistful of candies. (Ferarra asks what kind of candy works?)
Before we can get to fact three Scott’s music hits, but Brian cuts it off. The crowd goes wild as we see Scott Hall sneak up behind Lawler. Yes the near seven foot man sneaks into the ring. Lawler keeps talking and Scott has to keep moving around on the balls of his feet. Hall gives up as Brian keeps going and going before finally turning round to the right hand too late.
We get some brawling on the outside of the ring as Hall drives Lawler face first into the announce table. There is a lot of walk and brawl including a spot where Lawler swings a purse from a fan into the face of Scott.
Action finally gets into the ring. Brian takes command of the match mostly with dirty tactics and right hands. Brian gets the mic again because no one has been chanting Jerry’s Kid so he reminds them of the chant. No one chants. Hall starts making his comeback with an exchange of right hands, but Lawler puts him down with a superkick.
Lawler goes to the top for the Hip Hop Drop but Hall flips him off the top. Hall hits the Fallaway Slam and a back suplex off the top rope. Hall signals for the Razor’s Edge. K-Krush hits the ring but Hall quickly dispatches him. Hall hits the Edge on Lawler and gets the three.
K-Krush gets back in, Hall goes for the Edge again but gets low blowed by Lawler. The two crotch Hall with Krush’s belt and then Krush does the same hanging spot from earlier. Bob Armstrong and Don Harris are down to escort Brian and Krush to the back as the paramedics come down with a stretcher for Hall. Hall gets pushed down the side of the ramp as another paramedic comes out but SWERVE! it’s Jeff Jarrett with a steel chair as he lays waste to black shirts and Scott Hall.
This has got to be the show that
Russo started writing for the company. Thirty five minutes and we’ve
gone to the back four times, the second wrestling match has only just
started. A backstage
interview turned into a brawl just for a shot of Jasmin St Claire’s
ass. A dwarf masturbating in a rubbish bin.
You can tell a show is really bad when something resembling a plot walks in and you greet it like a dog after it’s owner comes home from the Middle East. A promo package for the Elvises beating up Skipper/Daniels followed by a match with the four people. PURE ELATION.
It’s like playing Russo bingo: sexual innuendo, man on woman violence, generic blond interviewer treated like an incompetent sex object, women as sex objects, off screen out of ring storylines.
The problem with the style of “car crash television” is the unnecessary need for continuous movement. Remember this is a post 9/11 world, in fact less than a year removed. Forgive the comparison but in terms of “you didn’t know what was going to happen next” that day was pretty much the epitome of the reality of a blow by blow unexpected thrill ride with obviously tragic loss of life and consequence.
This presentation has no
consequence, we have a setup of a match, the conflict of the contest,
a resolution with a victor but then it’s immediately subverted
either to something completely different or someone else interfering
with our story. Real life has consequences and real television stays
with those consequences and explores them. Good television and
entertainment can take those moments, hold
focus and spread them out for
minutes. Imagine if every
time Wile Coyote took a plunge down a canyon the camera cut to thirty
seconds of another
TNA feels a need to live up to it’s name sake and not stop. The commentators don’t lay out during promos instead they offer comebacks over the audience’s reactions. They can’t talk about what’s going on the ring, they have to talk about what happen five minutes ago because they don’t get time to talk about it. Did we really need to go to back after the Francine/St. Claire “match” to have Low KI not be interviewed?
This show is a microcosm of the majority of the problems with TNA; it’s a show full of incompetent people who never face the consequences of their actions and occasionally have a wrestling match.
I’d recommend watching this show purely out of sadistic pleasure because I’m pretty sure from here out it gets worse.