The SmarK Rant for NWA-TNA PPV 03 – 07.03.02
Lord help me I’m kinda looking forward to doing these shows from a “something different to review” perspective.
Live from Nashville, TN, which would be the first show in the Fairgrounds.
Your hosts are Mike TeNAy, Don West & Ed Ferrera
We start with the electrifying Jim Miller, president of the NWA (although the graphic reads “Jim Wilson”), and he’s got a trophy to welcome TNA to the NWA family. Hopefully not a birthday cake as well. So anyway, Jim was on a tour of Japan and met up with Takao Omori, who gets a title match next week for some reason. In reality Omori had debuted with NOAH but immediately pissed off Misawa and got exiled to the US.
NWA World tag team title tournament: Chris Harris & James Storm v. Dick & Rod Johnson
Just for fun let’s count the midcard managers and valets on this show to show how much money was being wasted. First up, Mortimer Plumtree, manager of the Johnsons. Dick beats on Harris to start, but Harris gets a Thesz Press and brings in Storm for a flying headscissors. The Johnsons double-team Storm with a double slam, which we’ll call the Dutch Rudder for lack of a better name, and Rod comes in for more double-teaming that gets two. Storm gets stomped down in the corner and the Johnsons slowly work him over, but Storm comes back with a superkick and it’s hot tag Wildcat. Harris spears a Johnson, but Storm is busy with the other Johnson on the floor. The Johnson goes for the slam on Harris, but Storm comes in and dropkicks them over for the pin at 4:43 to advance to the finals. And then Plumtree trashtalks his team and they beat him up. You know, in their second match in the promotion. This was a match. *
Scott Hall joins us and he’s immediately interrupted by Jeff Jarrett, who issues generic threats to him until electrifying NWA President Jim Miller decides to restore some order. And then K-Krush tries to attack Hall and gets chased off like a geek.
Meanwhile, someone has attacked James Storm and he’s all beat up and bleeding, so Goldy Locks shoves her way through to make sure we can see.
“The Alpha Male” Monty Brown v. Anthony Ingram
Didn’t realize Monty debuted so early on these. Monty slugs the jobber down and catches him on a bodypress attempt, which he turns into a powerslam. Then he stalls for a bit and finishes with a stalling powerbomb at 1:35. He looked really tentative here and this was no good.
Meanwhile, Goldy is looking for the electrifying NWA President Jim Miller, but is unable to find him. And? I care why? So Puppet the Psycho Dwarf storms in and he’s not leaving until he beats some midget ass.
NWA World tag team title tournament: The Rainbow Express v. Buff Bagwell & Apolo
Manager #2 on the show, Joel Gertner. But first, we get an interview with Goldy backstage, as she makes faces at Bagwell and Apolo and acts like she’s the bigger star and above the whole thing. We’re now back to REMEMBER WHEN BUFF TEAMED WITH ALL THOSE OTHER STARS IN WCW? And of course REMEMBER WHEN LENNY AND LODI WERE TOO CONTROVERSIAL FOR WCW? And then we get Manager #3 as Alicia Webb comes down to ringside to get a payoff from Ed Ferrera while we ignore what’s going in the ring. Just as well, probably. Back with Apolo powerbombing Lenny for two. But then Joel trips him up and Lenny gets a DDT for two. The Express double-teams Apolo in the corner, but Apolo comes back with a full nelson slam. BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO NWA PRESIDENT JIM MILLER? Mike Tenay is wondering that, not me. I had never even heard of Miller until this very show. But apparently we’re very concerned with him and his well-being. Apolo randomly comes back with a superkick on Bruce, but charges and hits the floor. Buff goes up with the Blockbuster, but stops to pose and Lenny superkicks him for the pin at 5:48 to advance to the finals. This was a hellacious mess and Bagwell looked terrible. ½*
And then, as a bonus, Buff Bagwell cuts a patented Vince Russo-style promo where he bitches about “getting beat by two gay guys” and changes his name back to Marcus Bagwell before going home. So in their first match as a team, Bagwell and Apolo are in the semi-finals of the title tournament and then break up after ONE MATCH before Buff Bagwell changes gimmicks and then quits in his debut with the company. OH MY GOD THIS SHOW.
NWA World Champion Ken Shamrock joins us to a tepid crowd reaction, again dressed like a guy out for a run in the park, and he’s bitching about Monty Brown asking for a title shot. And then he bitches about having to defend against Malice and Omori, but James Mitchell (Manager #4) interrupts, and the lights go out as Malice appears and lays out Shamrock.
Meanwhile, NWA Vice President Bill Behrens is on the phone with someone who is apparently looking for the electrifying NWA President Jim Miller, but Jerry Lynn interrupts and offers to take the spot in the tag team tournament in the finals. And maybe get a partner later, I dunno, am I the booker or something? So for those keeping track, you can just get to the finals of a World title tournament by bugging people backstage, whether or not you even have a partner.
Puppet the Psycho Dwarf v. Todd Stone
Apparently this is a midget hardcore match, as Puppet attacks with a trash can and a kendo stick and then slams Stone on the can. We get the old “trash can on the head” spot and Puppet beats on the can with the stick, but Stone is clearly not even touching the can. Puppet finishes with a TKO onto the can at 1:50. And then he attacks Don West and the ref and Borash with the kendo stick afterwards. What the fuck is this show? DUD
Meanwhile, Goldy is now with Ken Shamrock, who is apparently in great pain and might be unable to wrestle tonight. Have they checked for internal bleeding? Ken was always a big fan of that one.
Last week: The lingerie battle royale happened.
Francine v. Taylor Vaughn
Apparently they’re doing a match, so we won’t count them as managers this week. Francine attacks with a belt and chokes Taylor out, but Vonn steals it and whips Francine and the ref for the DQ at 0:53. And none too soon, as she’s just about popping out of her top as it is. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW? DUD Ed Ferrera continues putting himself on screen and goes to console Francine while copping a feel, but gets slapped for his troubles.
Jeremy Borash brings out the racecar driver and his pit crew, but K-Krush and his posse interrupt because no one on this godforsaken show can so much as do a promo without someone else interrupting. And they get into a scuffle as I half-expect Ron Burgundy and his news team to join the fight. This is apparently going to lead to a match between K-Krush and Hermie Sadler next week.
NWA World title: Ken Shamrock v. Malice
Malice attacks Shamrock and goes after the neck as they’re like “Not the neck! He had an injured neck!” And yet did anyone SAY that the neck was injured at any point in this show beforehand? NOPE. We didn’t even see the attack on him! The lights went out and he was just laying there with Malice over him! Malice chokes him out and works the neck on the ropes and the crowd is just dead. Malice keeps working him over and working him over, but Shamrock hits the belly to belly out of nowhere to retain at 5:54. ½*
X Division title: AJ Styles v. David Young
Young is managed by Bobcat (Manager #5) of course. Young attacks to start, but AJ gets a dropkick and reverses a full nelson into an armdrag, then puts Young on the floor with a rana and follows with a somersault tope that he COMPLETELY blows. AJ was really all or nothing early on, either hitting giant highspots or crashing and burning. AJ tries to springboard back into the ring, but Young shoves him to the floor to block as AJ takes a crazy bump, and follows with his own moonsault to the floor. Back in, that gets two. Young tries a german suplex and AJ lands on his feet as Bobcat talks on the phone during the match. The announcers are horrified that she’s not paying attention to the match. Who cares? What does she add, exactly, in kayfabe or real life? AJ with a crucifix for two, but Young puts him down with a step up enzuigiri for two. Young with a headscissors and then a chinlock, and a powerslam gets two. They started hot but it’s really dragging already. Young holds a chinlock, but AJ fights back with a superkick and an inverted DDT and he kicks Young down, but Young fights back with his spinebuster for two. They head up and Young tries a rana, but AJ reverses into the Styles Clash off the top for the pin to retain at 8:50. This was OK. **1/4
Meanwhile, Goldy tries to interview the Rainbow Express while they do schtick and Joel hits on her. Joel says they’re the champions by default.
NWA World tag team titles: The Rainbow Express v. Jerry Lynn & AJ Styles
Well the jokes about AJ feuding with the Rainbow Express pretty much write themselves. Lynn and AJ toss them to start and follow with dives. Back in, Lynn goes behind on Lenny and then breaks because Lenny enjoys it too much. Bruce comes in and stomps Lynn down while Don West explodes with disgust at Lenny kissing his partner’s hand for the tag. AJ tags in with a leg lariat on Bruce for two, with the story being that he’s still tired and injured from the previous match, so JL comes in again with a top rope bulldog for two. Bruce goes low behind the ref’s back and Lenny comes in, but gets rolled up for two. Lynn misses a dropkick and Lenny goes to the Tiger Tamer, but AJ quickly breaks it up. Lenny Lane and Alan Funk are both good workers but they’ve just got ZERO chemistry together as a team. Lenny with a long delayed suplex on Lynn for two while West is sick of “all the primping”. But Ed Ferrera of course speaks up for the fake gay team because he has to book himself as the superhero white knight in addition to sex god and probably rock n roll star as well. Lynn comes back with a headscissors but Bruce drops him on his face for two. Bruce with a chinlock and he turns it into a headscissors while flexing his butt for heat from the crowd. Bruce with a powerbomb, but Lynn flips out of it and tries the cradle piledriver, then switches to a rollup for two. Lynn with an inverted DDT and he makes the hot tag to Styles, who hits Lenny with a superkick for two. Lenny hits the Stroke for two, but Lynn saves and hits the cradle piledriver on Lenny and AJ goes up to finish with the Spiral Tap at 12:23 and win the NWA tag titles. Not sure why they had to immediately put two different titles on AJ Styles, but TNA did a lot of questionable stuff early on. But man, the Rainbow Express were just not good at all in these early shows. It was mostly a passable dull match, but you’d expect WAY more from AJ and Jerry Lynn and it just didn’t deliver anything. **
Meanwhile, NWA President Jim Miller is found tied up and assaulted in the back. Well at least I can sleep at night now knowing what happened to him.
K-Krush & Jeff Jarrett v. Scott Hall & Brian Christopher
Big brawl to start and Hall fights to the back of the building with Jarrett and they end up in the dancer cages. They probably had to run a message to Hall to make sure he was aware that he hadn’t blacked out and woken up in a strip club. In the ring, Christopher backdrops Krush and goes up, but misses the Hip Hop Drop. Hall heads in and chokeslams Krush, but Jarrett attacks from behind and slugs away in the corner. Christopher comes in and misses a blind charge, bumping out of the corner as a result, and then Jarrett whips Hall into Christopher and knocks him to the floor for good measure. Krush comes in with a missile dropkick on Hall for two and Jarrett slugs him down. Krush comes in with a leg lariat for two and Jarrett gets a flying bodypress, but Hall rolls through for two. Jarrett with the sleeper, but Hall reverses to his own, and Jarrett escapes with a jawbreaker while Christopher screams for a tag from the apron. I would be remiss in not pointing out the guy with the “Hey Yo, Where’d I Put My Beer?” sign. Christopher inadvertently distracts the ref while campaigning for a tag, and of course Hall is thus unable to get the tag. Pretty obvious where this is going. And indeed, Christopher short-arms him on the hot tag and turns on him. And the ref is bumped as well, because why not? So Hall fights off all three heels now with no ref and he can barely go down for his own moves, looking COMPLETELY blown up. So Jarrett hits the Stroke and Christopher hits the Hip Hop Drop and Jarrett gets the pin at 11:41. And then we’re blessed with a Jarrett promo as well, as he claims that he beat Hall in 95 and 97 and then ran him out of WCW. And then, finally after two hours of this show, Jarrett grabs the trophy that’s somehow survived for the entire PPV and smashes it on Hall’s head. Forget Jim Miller, THAT was the tangling plot thread that was hanging over the show like the Sword of Damocles. *1/2
Hey yo, this show SUCKED. And who would be stupid enough to be building around Scott Hall as a top babyface in 2002? Unlike the second episode, which was the drizzling shits and then got saved by an all-time great main event, this one had no light at the end of the tunnel and was a complete slog to get through with a dead crowd. They didn’t even pop for the racecar driver! People from Tennessee love NASCAR, at least according to everything I’ve heard from Jeff Foxworthy. And yet, despite Dave Meltzer already shoveling dirt on the grave in the Observer, they’re somehow still around.
See you next week, TNA.