We open with the NWATNA theme playing over muted video of Jeff Jarrett in the ring. Two black shirts come out and Jarrett beats them with a chair. The music cuts out and we get live audio. TNA appears to be in a new building this week, it’s dark and the production has dropped.
According to Mike Tenay, Jeff has been ranting for five minutes. Jarrett wants Ken Shamrock to hand over his belt and until that happens innocent people are going to be victimised and maimed. Sounds rather New Church to me.
We go to the back and a conga line of black shirts surround Ken Shamrock. Ken responds by beating them up. Then Bob Armstrong shows up to talk him down, but we can’t hear a damn thing because the audio is one the arena. Bob and Don Harris stand down and allow Shamrock out. Shamrock then barricades the door and tells his friend the Iron Brit, Ian Harris to guard the door. Yes this is the first time we’ve seen Ian Harris.
Mike Tenay tells us “this means there’s no other authority or security they’re all locked in that room” cut to Bill Berehens walking down the ramp. Bill suspends Jarrett for sixty days. This receives a mixed reaction; the crowd boos and the announcers cheer it. Bill asks Jarrett to do this the easy way and leave like a gentlemen or he’s going to have to get security to escort him. Oh the dramatic irony! Bill takes a chair shot to the head. Shamrock comes down to the ring and starts beating on Jarrett before Monty Brown and Apollo come down to hold Shamrock back. This allows Jarrett to clock Shamrock with a steel chair. Finally Lawler and K-Krush come down to the ring to pull Jarrett to the back.
Sadly Don West has dropped the silk shirt for an orange polo shirt. The announcers put over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match tonight between Ken Shamrock and Sabu in a Ladder/Submission match.
Amazing Red vs. Low Ki
Exchange of kicks to start things off and a couple of arm drags. Needless to say the action here is fast paced. Red sends Low Ki reeling with a slingshot hurricanrana to the outside and a neckbreaker off the middle rope. Low Ki gains the advantage back off a reversal to a powerbomb and a koppu kick.
Mike Tenay mentions that Low Ki’s name “comes from a Blackstreet song; No Diggity”, this match is great but it’s honestly worth watching to hear those words come out of Mike Tenay. Low Ki downs Amazing Red with a tidal crush. Ferrara makes a good point that Low Ki is working a striker’s game against the high flyer.
Low Ki hangs Red upside off the top turnbuckle with a dragon sleeper. A quick series of missing kick but a final roundhouse sends Red inside out and his hat comes off revealing his amazing ginger fro.
Spinning sweep by Red catches Low Ki off guard and he follows up with a standing shooting star press. Then hooks up a sunset flip Code Red for a two count. Beautiful tilt a whirl DDT gets a two. Nice series of choreographed combos, but not so choreographed that it looks fake. Red goes for the Infra Red corkscrew moonsault but there’s no one in the pool.
Ki hooks up the Ki Crusher ‘99 and drives Red to the mat getting the three and both men get a standing ovation as we go to the dancing girl cages.
We go to the back and Jarrett has found Ian Harris, he says “listen steroids move your ass out of the way I’ve gotta find Ken Shamrock”. Ian Harris calls Jarrett a “wanker” and Jeff backs off. Back to the ring for tag team action.
The Hotshots vs. Chris Harris and James Storm
Cassidey grabs the mic to announce they are “pricks, proud and protruding” before squeezing themselves for the crowd. Their opponents are Chris Harris and James Storm, not yet America’s Most Wanted, who were taken out of the tag team division earlier this month by the Hot Shots.
We go to a pretape video package where James Storm goes full cowboy much to dismay of Chris Harris. Harris feels Storm’s gimmick sucks and does not want him to bring the cap guns to the ring. Back to the ring we go and Storm and Harris start taking out the Hot Shots.
The crowd are literally shrieking for Chris Harris. Harris hits a lovely stalling vertical suplex and tags in Storm after who gets thrown to the outside and the Hot Shots take advantage. Cassidey has some interesting offence as a heel particular a hand spring elbow and a split legged moonsault. Stevens misses his own moonsault but Storm rolls into it, it’s enough for Storm to get the hot tag.
Eventually it all breaks down with all four men in the ring. Storm hits a reverse tornado DDT on Stevens, O’Reily goes for a front facing version to Harris but gets reversed into a Northern Lights and that gets them the three. After the bell the Hot Shots hit a German Suplex Superkick combo on the winners and then grab the cap guns and pistol whip them.
We go to the back to get an update on Ken Shamrock, Ken acts all concussed in front of the doctor before suddenly hulking out screaming “WHERE’S JARRETT” and flipping a table.
Apolo vs. Brain Lawler
The chants of Jerry’s Kid get underway immediately and Lawler launches his ring jacket at Don West. Apolo locks up with Brian and actually gets scooped and slammed by Lawler. After being suplexed about by Apolo, Lawler ribs his chain off, referee Slick Johnson does not pick it up...
Apolo gets rocked by a superkick out of the corner by Lawler before picking up the chain and choking Apolo. Lawler then stows away the evidence in his trousers in a move that wouldn’t be absent from the Hot Shots repertoire. Lawler goes for a suplex gets blocked by Apolo and gets suplexed, Apolo goes for a big splash but eats a pair of knees.
Apolo fights out of a chin lock and there’s a nice spot where Apolo throws a dummy punch, Lawler ducks and Apolo follows up with a clothesline. Tenay throughout the night is keen to point out there is forty years of wrestling history in this building.
Apolo hits Brian with an amazing superkick, picks up Brian for a TKO but Lawler slips out and drops him with a reverse DDT. Brian is bleeding from the lip and takes some time to do a little dancing. Ferrara is begging Lawler to make a cover but too much dancing leads to a rollup by Apolo and getting the three.
Brian can’t believe it and is left incredulous in the ring, he comes out to ring side and Don West tells him that he “still did a good job out there”. Lawler starts choking Don West on the table as Tenay shouts over and over again “BRIAN! BRIAN! COME ON BRIAN!”. Don is pretty quick to recover though.
We go back to the ring for our next contest. K-Krush is out to the ring and despite the choking instant just in front of him, Tenay calls for VT of Norman Smiley and Scott Hall being hung from the ropes by Krush. Krush has got the microphone and proclaims that people call him by his name “The Truth” and K-Krush was a name that “they” gave him and he’ll no longer be their damn puppet. There’s a chant for “anarchy”. The newly named Truth name checks Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan and O.J. Simpson in a racially motivated promo about being held down by “them”.
Suddenly Abyss’ music hits, but it’s not Abyss, it’s the Alpha Male Monty Brown. Who refers to Truth as the “oppressed one” and talks about making opportunities, how “they” gave him the opportunity in wrestling. Monty suggests that Truth can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk, Brown gets the Truth all riled out and lays down the challenge to the Truth.
Truth backs down calling Monty Brown “brother, bro, dawg” and then a sell out, Truth gets in a couple of right hands before Brown suplexes Truth. Truth attempts his usual corner dance spot but gets caught by Brown and driven into the mat with the Alpha Bomb. Crowd really got into this by the end despite the obvious racial motivations here.
We go to a video package showing AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn winning the Tag Team Championships, the dissension between the two over the last couple of weeks and then we get another video package with Mike Tenay interviewing AJ and Jerry Lynn.
This is not AJ and Jerry separately, no after the beatdowns from the past few weeks the two men are calmly sitting on the bleachers hanging out with Tenay. Styles claims that Jerry has opened his eyes and he wants to be like Jerry Lynn. Jerry reciprocates that he sees his younger self in AJ and understands where he’s coming from. The two are now seemingly on the same page so they can defend their titles against the Flying Elvises tonight.
NWA Tag Team Championships
AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn (c) vs. The Flying Elvises
The Elvises are out first tonight, Jimmy Yang is back from a tour with AJPW and will be competing tonight alongside Jorge Estrada. Sonny Siaki has joined the broadcast position as AJ and Jerry come out together and it’s Jerry to start off against Jorge.
Siaki is barely audible, pulling his third person referral gimmick, so there are these long periods of silence whilst the match gets underway. The commentary is pretty much focussed on how Siaki considers himself to be the only reason the Elvises are any good. The match is pretty good but very textbook tag team with some nice double team tandem offence from the champions.
The match spills to the outside and Siaki hits a clothesline on Styles. Unfortunately the camera misses this so you only see the aftermath. Sonny rejoins the broadcast table as the Elvises take over on AJ Styles. After some double team moves by the Elvises AJ hits the moonsault DDT trying to go for the tag but Jimmy knocks Jerry off the apron.
Can’t emphasise how distracting it is to have Siaki on commentary, this is worse than last week. AJ hits a reverse enziguri and busts Jimmy Yang’s nose open and finally AJ gets the hot tag to Lynn. Action spills outside the ring as Lynn dives onto Yang, Estrada moonsaults onto Lynn. Lynn picks up the Elvises for AJ to dive onto but Siaki dives off the broadcast table to push them away and Styles dives into Lynn.
Siaki throws AJ back into the ring (who isn’t the legal man) and we get a shot of a busted open Jerry Lynn on the outside. Tandem leg drop splash combo by the Elvises, they don’t make the cover. Lynn tries to get back into the ring offering enough of a distraction for Styles to climb to the top rope going for the Spiral Tap but Lynn hits a leg drop and splash to get the three much to the befuddlement of AJ.
Styles takes the belt and walks out leaving a bloody Jerry Lynn in the ring. The lights dim and we go to the dancing girls. Tenay tries to put over Jerry Lynn’s efforts and chastises Styles’ tantrum post match. The lights come back up and there’s a sofa on the ramp with Disco Inferno apparently it’s time for Jive Talking.
He introduces himself as the world famous Disco Inferno claiming to have an impeccable one loss record. Disco claims to have been a judge at the Atlanta Annual Pregnant Bikini Contest, I can’t find a record of this but can confirm such competitions do exist. Disco claims he’s here “to teach AJ Styles how to act like a superstar, not some glorified somersault artist”, “teach Ken Shamrock what the meaning of the word personality is”, “to help Jerry Lynn look younger” and “teach Jeff Jarrett and the entire state Tennessee how to speak English”.
Apparently we’re going to see the debut of Jive Talking next week, if that doesn’t make you continue reading...
We go to the back Shamrock asks Ian if Jarrett has come by yet and says he’ll wish that he doesn’t find him. The blackshirts are still locked behind the door and have been stuck there for the last hour. Back to the ring for another tag match.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger vs. Monty Brown and Elix Skipper
Diamond and Swinger are ECW alumni who came close to winning the ECW Tag Team Championships. Skipper who had teamed with Christopher Daniels last week is now teaming with ex National Football League player Monty Brown. Tenay points out how it’s funny that Elix Skipper’s gimmick in WCW was he was an ex-Canadian Football League player.
Skipper and Diamond open things up before a bit of interference from Swinger cuts off the faces. There’s a nice matrix bridge dodge of a cross body by Skipper. Skipper and Diamond are solid tag team workers against Skipper, but the crowd is clearly burnt out by the third tag team match of the night. Even when Brown gets the hot tag and hoists Johnny Swinger into a military press the crowd is silence.
Tenay claims the referee has lost control as all four men are in the ring, but Slick is at least aware that Elix Skipper isn’t the legal man when Swinger and Diamond double team Skipper and go for the cover. Brown gets the Alpha Bomb on Diamond which is horrendously impressive and they get the three count. Skipper hugs his new partner but it was a set up in order for the Truth to sneak up from behind and attack Monty.
Truth hangs Monty up by his belt on the apron. Monty gets up under his own steam. We got to the back with Goldie and the Dupps, she warns them that one crude remark and she’s done.
The Dupps complain they haven’t got a match tonight, Bo has apparently left Fluff Dupp with Pop Dupp. The last time this occurred, we are told, Pop Dupp overdosed on viagra and the sheep (and Fluff) didn’t walk straight for a fortnight. Stan suggests that in order to get a match all they have to do is bump into someone, they start bumping into Goldie and Bo grabs a breast. The camera pans right and we see Ian Harrison in the background.
Bo creeps up on Ian and bumps into him and runs to the ring with Ian giving chase. Borash is caught off guard as the Dupps slowly walk out to the ring with wooden boards. He announces the Dupps and their opponent “some big head muscle guy from the back” Ian Harrison walks out to no reaction.
Bo Dupp vs. Ian Harrison
Bo gets the early advantage but Ian Harrison powers out and starts throwing Bo around. Stan is on commentary offering. Bo takes control with a big boot and the crowd start chanting “USA”. The two go back and forth with some power spots, the match is slow, plodding and the crowd give up on it after a couple of minutes.
Harrison hits a powerslam, goes for the cover, the referee counts two and then stops because that’s not the finish. Stan was out of position and barely gets in the ring to break up the pin fall and the referee calls for the disqualification. Stan gets suplexed for his troubles as Bo measures him with a wooden board in hand. Ian turns round and the two just freeze and go into slow motion, Ian grabs the board and breaks it over his knee and the Dupps flee.
We go to the back and Jeff Jarrett finds the door still barred but unguarded, he unlocks the door and confronts the black shirts and then from behind the blackshirts comes Ken Shamrock. Security break the two up, Jarrett is still shouting about his title as we go to the ring.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ken Shamrock (c) vs. Sabu
We get a video package about the No 1 Contendership Ladder Match from last week against Malice. This is a ladder submission match so the belt is hung from the top of the rafters; which is weird because early in the match the referee counts a near fall.
The rules aren’t really laid out here, my best guess is you can win by submission or by getting the belt. Tenay gets word from his headset that security have gotten so fed up that they’ve left the building saying “screw it, we hope they all kill each other”. Professionals.
The early part of this is Shamrock putting holds on Sabu with Sabu getting the ropes. Sabu hits a clothesline and drops into an armbar, Shamrock reverses it into a knee bar. More word coming from the back “in order to bring some law and order to the NWA, they are sending Ricky Steamboat with full authority”. Ferrara suggests that Steamboat brings a gun next week in order to keep control.
This match is pretty much cold surprisingly Sabu and Shamrock work quite well together but there’s no reaction from the crowd until Sabu puts a hand on the ladder. Shamrock dropkicks the ladder into the face of Sabu and then throws Sabu into the dance cage. Sabu whips Shamrock into the guard rail and then sets up a table up on the ramp. Shamrock is laid out on the table as Sabu sets up a chair and goes for the double jump somersault but Shamrock rolls off sending Sabu through the table on the ramp.
Shamrock pushes the ladder into the ring. Shamrock climbs the ladder gets his fingers on the title, someone’s music plays, the lights go out for two seconds, then come back on, then Malice shows up climbs the ladder chokes Shamrock and then chokeslams him off the ladder. Then Malice climbs the ladder and takes the belt, Tenay randomly blurts out “that’s what Jarrett said he’d do” and then Malice walks out with the title.
This show was incredibly bad. I’ll say this much, the stuff with security, Ian Harrison and Shamrock was written very well. The idea of having a guy guard the door and being lured from his post was a good idea. However that being said it didn’t really play into anything other than the opening moments of the show.
This really is the Jeff Jarrett show; he opens the show, he gets suspended, he’s in two or three segments, he doesn’t wrestle (and hasn’t for the last two weeks) and when your main event angle happens the commentators have to talk about Jarrett.
I’ve read a couple of other reviews that say “watch this for Low Ki vs. Amazing Red” and then forget the rest. No. Don’t even watch this show for that, the two had pretty much exactly the same match in Ring of Honor almost a month prior on 22nd June 2002 – it’s longer as well.
Worth talking about the move to Nashville Fairgrounds. F4W writes the future for TNA looks “tenuous” and notes the move was mainly due to the previous venue being booked. This is the start of the early problems with TNA’s money troubles, the noticeable changes here are less big names and less pyro. This move was a big money saver for TNA and the show is being balanced in the books on the idea “there are 50,000 wrestling fans who would pay $10 a week or $40 a month to have an alternative to ‘sports entertainment’”.
That quote is from Jerry Jarrett who admits that the number is a lot less, but that they also don’t know the exact number. This will be important in the coming weeks and months.
There was nothing wrong with the wrestling on this show, it was sloppy in places for sure but the sore thumb sticking out here is the booking and story telling. When you look down the tag team matches tonight you’ve got Harris and Storm who don’t get along, Styles and Lynn who didn’t get along and now probably don’t get along and Brown and Skipper who betrayed a partner he just started tagging with for a beat down. Plus the Elvises are clearly teasing some sort of break up, with Siaki pushing his own agenda.
The show highlights the problem with doing this weekly pay per view stuff, everything has to appear big enough to be worth paying for so all the angles have to happen at high speed. In a normal wrestling program Truth would cut his promo one week, the week after he’d be confronted by Monty Brown and then maybe in two weeks you’d have the betrayal by Skipper. You build to something that the fans want to see, but because TNA has no guarantee that you’re going to pay for the confrontation in week two they have to do everything in one sitting.
Final thought: the booking for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is up to this point hideous. If you can get past the belt being won in a battle royal (which I’m OK as Flair did so in 1992), the first defence was against Malice, the second was a DQ and tonight ended with the belt being stolen. The champion was beaten down in the opening segment and spent the majority of the show hiding behind a door. Did we really need a Disco Inferno segment to hype up a talk show segment for next week? No one is paying money to see Disco next week and apart from Ricky Steamboat it’s the only thing they advertised for next week... see you then.