The SmarK Rant for NWA-TNA PPV 04 – 07.10.02
Word on the street is that TNA had broken me already after 3 shows. THEY WISH. It’s different and draws well on the blog and it’s gonna take more than last week’s show to drive me off.
Aha! Mystery of the weird commercial breaks solved, as this one has a disclaimer from the Fight Network at the beginning, so that’s where the tapes come from.
Live (but taped earlier in the evening I think) from Nashville, TN
Your hosts are Mike TeNAy, Don West & Ed Ferrera
Minor note: Vince Russo joined the company this week after parting ways with WWE at the end of his one-day return there.
NWA World tag team titles: AJ Styles & Jerry Lynn v. Slash & Tempest
“Tempest” is a repackaged Crowbar, who you may remember from WCW as mentioned by Tenay a million times. I’m sad that James Mitchell never e-mailed me back about publishing his e-mail because it was really interesting stuff, but it was also very personal so I didn’t want to offend him by just sharing it. James, if you’re reading, hit me up! Anyway, AJ’s country music theme is just the worst and most pandering garbage ever. Slash grabs a headlock to start and tries a powerslam, but Lynn escapes and bulldogs him for two. Slash tries a powerbomb but YOU CAN’T POWERB…well, normally you can, but in this case Jerry reverses to a facebuster for two. AJ comes in and works on Tempest’s arm while Tenay keeps reminding us that he’s the former Crowbar. SO WHY NOT JUST CALL HIM CROWBAR?! It wasn’t like a classic gimmick or anything but if you’re just gonna keep reminding people of it, then why bother changing it? Tempest slugs AJ down, but AJ takes him out of the ring with a drop toehold in a weird bump. Not sure of the physics there. Tempest trips him up and slingshots back in with a splash for two. They trade chops and AJ tries the Styles Clash, but Tempest backdrops him to the apron and AJ springboards in with a dropkick on him. The champs double-team Slash with monkey flips and trip them up into each other before dumping them to the floor. And then AJ tries a dive onto the Church, and they catch him, so Lynn follows with his own to knock them over. Great spot. AJ tries to springboard in, but Tempest pulls him off the apron. Lynn pulls Tempest into draping DDT position and AJ moonsaults onto Tempest for two off that. But then Slash distracts AJ and Tempest hits a death valley driver, which I shall dub THE TEAPOT, for two. The Church hits AJ with a double chokeslam for two and Slash follows with a helicopter slam (“Shades of Al Perez!” notes Mike Tenay, the only person in the world who remembers or cares about Al Perez in 2002) but AJ fights them off and makes the hot tag to Lynn. JL with the clotheslines and a tornado DDT on Slash, but Tempest catches him with a superkick. Lynn counters him into a bulldog for two, but Tempest goes low to block the cradle piledriver and goes up for a rana. Lynn blocks that for two and escapes a death valley driver, turning it into the cradle piledriver, but Slash makes the save. So AJ blind tags in and goes up with the Spiral Tap, which misses by two feet, but it still gets the pin anyway at 10:42 because Jesus is magic. Fell apart at the end but it was a super-hot tag team match and tremendously entertaining. ***1/2 And then because it’s been a week since they won the titles, Lynn gives AJ side-eye on the way out to begin their breakup. Good, this team is so played out and two weeks ago, even though they only formed the week after two weeks ago.
Last week, Brian Christopher turns on that hot young babyface Scott Hall. They really need to condense these recaps, since the only people watching these shows are ones that had previously ordered them. And Hall cuts a promo on the heels over the phone, as he is literally phoning in his big fired up promo.
Brian Christopher is out for his first heel promo, claiming that it’s time to step up and be a man, and also screw Jerry Lawler. So he bitches about what a lousy father that Jerry was because he was never there. Yeah, he’s also not here in this promotion, so cutting promos on him is a fucking waste of time. Anyway, to differentiate himself from his father, he’s going to be Brian Lawler from now on.
Brian Christopher Lawler v. Norman Smiley
Look, Brian does a wonderful cowardly weasel heel gimmick, but a bitter tough guy heel is well outside of his comfort zone. Lawler gets a neckbreaker while Tenay immediately declares how “serious” and “business-like” he is now. While still wearing his Grandmaster Sexay gear, by the way. Smiley gets a comeback with a pair of atomic drops and a Big Wiggle, but Brian hits him with a DDT. I gotta say, props to Nashville for cheering the black guy pretending to sodomize the redneck. Very progressive, like Rick & Morty skipping the 9/11 and just going with the Pearl Harbor instead. Lawler chokes him out with the bandana in the corner while the crowd chants for Jerry Lawler, because TNA. This is what happens when you book angles with guys you can’t produce. Lawler misses a blind charge and Smiley makes a comeback with a headbutt and a clothesline for two. Norman slugs away in the corner, but Brian goes low and then goes up and finishes with the Hip Hop Drop at 4:46. HE’S SO SERIOUS YOU GUYS. Seriously, though, this was a good match with a super-hot crowd. **1/2
Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett learns that he’s not actually getting the title shot against Ken Shamrock tonight, which he would have known by watching last week’s show.
K-Krush v. Hermie Sadler
Krush draws some MEGA-HEAT from the Nashville crowd with simple angry black guy stuff. Krush attacks to start but misses a charge and crotches himself on the top rope, allowing Sadler to dump him to the floor and follow with a forearm off the apron. Krush gets pissed and takes a swing at him, hitting the ringpost by mistake, and Sadler throws him back in and slugs away in the corner. That gets two, but then Krush MURDERS him with the axe kick and stops to dance about it. He pins him with one finger and gets two, then hits a suplex for two. Powerslam with another one finger cover, and that gets two. Krush with a figure-four and he uses the ropes just to be an ass, but Sadler manages to reverse it and Krush has to make the ropes. Krush tries a rana and Sadler reverses him into a powerbomb for two. Krush misses the dropkick and Sadler slugs away on him, but Krush takes him down and pins him with the ropes at 5:10. But then K-Krush gives him another cheapshot after the bell, and the ref reverses the decision and awards it to Sadler. OK, respect to the racecar driver, that was WAY better than it had any right to be. **1/2
Meanwhile, Takao Omori is doing some squats in the back, but Alicia Webb stops by and collects some cash from him.
The Hotshots (Cassidy O’Reilly & Chase Stevens) v. Mark & Jay Briscoe
WHOA. The Briscoes were just coming off their rookie year and VERY different, just a couple of skinny teenagers working promotions like CZW. In fact, they actually had to claim that Mark was 18 here because they needed to get around issues with the athletic commission since he was actually only 17. Mark and Jay double-team Cassidy but the babyfaces dump the Briscoes and follow with double dives. And then Malice comes in and beats everyone up for the DQ at 2:00. Too bad, I wanted to see more of Dem Boys!
Father James Mitchell then cuts a promo on Ken Shamrock, promising to beat up random people until Shamrock comes out and gives Malice some satisfaction. So they decide on the timekeeper and go after him, but Shamrock makes the save and the Omori comes out to help and make sure he still gets his title shot tonight.
Meanwhile, the Dupps educate Goldy on the mating habits of a coon dog that hasn’t gotten any for a while. Also, their daddy taught them that you never look a deaf man in the eye and if it looks like shit and feels like shit when you play with it, then don’t put it in your mouth. Because it’s probably shit. OK, this was pretty funny.
Jasmine St. Clair (of “ECW fame” according to Tenay) heads out for some reason as they add MORE useless valets and managers. Apparently she’s here because she “wants to see some ass” and offers Borash a lap dance, which leads to Bill Behrens coming out to desperately cover her up while Ed Ferrera tries to uncover her again. Ferrera making sure he puts himself over as the hero, check. Totally needless crap, because they’re not going to deliver actual nudity or sex, so it’s just teasing the audience to no payoff.
The Dupps v. The Flying Elvises
Jorge Estrada is right into the gimmick now while Sonny Siaki could not give less of a shit. The Dupps toss Estrada and Bo hits Siaki with a spinebuster, while Mortimer Plumtree joins us at ringside to fill our useless manager quota for the match. Estrada works a headlock on Bo Dupp, but Bo clotheslines him and beats on him in the corner. Stan comes in with a shoulderblock and legdrop for two. Estrada tries to leapfrog him in the corner and Stan hits an Alabama Slam for two. Bo follows with a powerslam for two. Siaki sneaks in with a fake tag and hits a neckbreaker for two on Bo and they work on Bo for a bit, but Stan gets the hot tag and hits Siaki with a full nelson slam. Siaki fires back with a pumphandle slam and a springboard splash for the pin at 5:00. Eh, just some fellas doing movez. *1/2
Meanwhile, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn are fighting like cats and other cats who don’t like the first cats. Yes, they’re already Wacky Tag Team Partners Who Hate Each Other. After ONE WEEK! Unsurprisingly, the rapid breakup was the first bit of creative meddling from Russo after he was hired.
NWA World title: Ken Shamrock v. Takao Omori
They trade strikes to start and Omori hits a leg lariat and goes to a chinlock early. Shamrock fights out and Omori hits a neckbreaker for two and follows with a full nelson slam. Omori hits the Axe Bomber for two but it’s not like anyone outside of Japan would know that it’s his big move. Shamrock makes the comeback with a dropkick and grabs a kneebar with no build to it, but Omori makes the ropes as the crowd is completely not paying attention to the match whatsoever. Shamrock gets a half-assed boot to the gut and transitions to the anklelock, but Jeff Jarrett runs in with a chair for the DQ at 7:52, beating up both guys like he’s Steve Austin or HHH or something. Yeah, Vince Russo + Jerry Jarrett booking team = JEFF JARRETT ON TOP, BABY. Even Harley Race randomly runs out and takes a chair to the face from JJ! Shamrock looked completely over it already and this was a huge disappointment. ½*
Meanwhile, Goldy demands answers from Jerry Lynn, who tells her to “open up and say aah”. Charming. Then the New Church stops by, looking for Jeff Jarrett, and we find Bill Behrens tied up in the back.
Six-Man Elimination: Low Ki v. Elix Skipper v. Kid Romeo v. Tony Mamaluke v. Christopher Daniels v. Jerry Lynn
Oh DAMN this is gonna be great. It’s basically a four corners tag team match, which is a match stip I really enjoy. This is to determine X Division rankings, with the winner getting #1 ranking, down to the first person getting eliminated as #6 contender. Daniels trades hammerlocks with Romeo, and then Mamaluke comes in against Skipper and gets a rollup for two before taking out the knee. Lynn slugs Mamaluke down and gets a monkey flip, but Mamaluke lands on his feet, so Lynn gives him a pumphandle backbreaker instead and follows with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Low Ki comes in and just pulverizes Mamaluke with kicks for two. Low Ki was definitely a guy who came along 15 years too soon because he’d have fit right in with the indy supershow of NXT. Mamaluke comes back and slugs on Low Ki, and brings in Daniels for some punishment and a sideslam for two. Ki hits Daniels with a Pele Kick and Romeo chops Daniels, but Daniels hits him with the heel kick and it’s back to Jerry Lynn. Gory Special for Romeo, but he escapes and gets his own before Lynn rolls him up for two. Lynn with a tornado DDT for two. Daniels comes in and misses a diving headbutt on Lynn, but then tosses him and follows with a moonsault. Then Romeo hits them both with a dive, followed by Mamaluke. And then Low Ki and Skipper hit their own for the trainwreck spot. Everyone brawls on the floor, leaving Daniels and Lynn in the ring to slug it out. Lynn necks him on the top rope and goes up, but Mamaluke crotches Lynn to put him on the floor.
Mamaluke hits a series of suplexes on Daniels as Lynn is apparently counted out and is the #6 contender as a result. Skipper comes in with the Overdrive/Play of the Day on Malaluke for the pin at 11:38 and Mamaluke is the #5 contender as a result. Low Ki beats on Skipper on the floor with crazy hard chops and back in for the Ki Krusher (muscle buster) into the corner for two. Skipper selling this stuff is just something else. Ki misses a disaster kick and Skipper counters him with a belly to belly and goes up with a missile dropkick, but Daniels tags himself in to save Ki. Skipper gets an inverted suplex for two, but Daniels rolls the dice for the pin at 15:00 to make Skipper the #4 contender. Romeo comes in and gets a facebuster on Daniels for two, then hits a Mysterio bulldog for two. He dropkicks Low Ki off the apron and goes up, but Daniels crotches him and they slug it out. But then Romeo hits an Air Raid Crash off the top and pins Daniels at 16:30, only to have the ref declare that Daniels was in the ropes. So Low Ki beats on a stunned Romeo and taps him with the guillotine at 17:15 to make Romeo the #3 contender. Low Ki gets two on the unconscious Daniels and then throws BRUTAL chops on him in the corner, but Chris hits his own and follows with a Downward Spiral and both guys are down. STO sets up the moonsault, but Low Ki crotches him and tries a guillotine on top, only for Daniels to fight him off. So this is a weird point in the show, because the canned heat suddenly cuts out and you just hear the quiet arena for the rest of the match, and it’s a world of difference. They do some amazing near-fall reversals and Ki hooks the guillotine, but Daniels escapes with a snapmare and they fight to the top, where Daniels hits Lance Archer’s Blackout for two. Low Ki kicks his way out of the neckbreaker and hits the Ki Krusher for the pin at 21:45 to become #1 contender. The last few minutes of this were pretty incredible and Daniels, Skipper and Low Ki made themselves stars in one match. **** And then the Flying Elvises attack both Daniels and Low Ki afterwards to set up a tag team match.
And then Jeff Jarrett comes out and insults a couple of football players at ringside, triggering a brawl with himself and the New Church, and we’re out.
NEXT WEEK; AJ Styles defends the X title against Low Ki! But also Vince Russo starts booking full time.
This was EASILY the best of the PPV shows so far and a hell of a two hour show. Not only that, but it was a crazy preview of the wrestling world to come, with appearances from tons of future indy stars. Definitely check this one out!