The SmarK Rant for NWA-TNA PPV #7 – 07.31.02
One of the weirdest side-effects of the Covid pandemic is that people are really into these TNA reviews here in 2020. I don’t pretend to understand the science.
Live from Nashville, TN, drawing 550 people.
Your hosts are Mike Tenay, Ed Ferrera & Don West
X Division title: AJ Styles v. Elix Skipper
THANK JEBUS that they’ve got new music for Styles, more of a post-grunge theme now. I like it! Styles puts Elix down with a back elbow to put him on the apron, and slugs away in the corner, then springboards off his chest with a dropkick and rebounds into a lariat for two. I like the aggression from AJ here. Also, for those keeping track, AJ and JL are getting along this week and Jerry does commentary praising him. Skipper fights for a suplex and hits him with a dragon suplex out of the corner, then pounds him with elbows. AJ fights back with high kicks and Skipper cuts him off with a HARD backdrop suplex, then works the neck with elbows for two. He takes AJ to the apron and hits him with an axe kick, then goes to a crossface until AJ makes the ropes. AJ comes back and misses a flying legdrop. They fight to the floor and Elix hits him with a slick somersault pescado. Back in, Skipper tries the Play of the Day, but AJ counters with a Styles Clash, and Skipper reverses out of that. Elix tries a springboard, but wipes out, and AJ finishes with the Spiral Tap at 12:40 to retain. This was different and a bit slower than the usual Styles matches from this point, but hard-hitting and pretty good. *** Crowd was DEAD, though.
Mike Tenay lets us know that Ricky Steamboat, who apparently has some kind of authority now, has ruled that Ken Shamrock is still NWA World champion even though Malice had the belt after last week’s show. Also, Steamboat has removed the suspension of Jeff Jarrett because reasons, so Jarrett is in the main event tonight. Of course he is. None of this is said by Steamboat himself, of course.
Monty Brown heads down while Skipper is leaving the ring from the last match and attacks him in revenge for last week, then destroys him in the ring and hits his powerbomb. What a babyface, beating up the guy who just got beaten in a long match.
Jeff Jarrett hits the ring next while Skipper is still unconscious in the corner, and brings out a midget in a burlap sack and beats him up. So then Puppet comes out and PULLS A GUN on Jarrett, who then beats him up with a chair to make his own save. Yes, the midget pulled a gun and Jarrett no-sold it. Because he had a chair. So then Ricky Steamboat comes out, flanked by Bob Armstrong and Don HarriSS, and Jarrett demands a fight with the Dragon and if he wins, then he gets a title shot. But if he loses, then he’s suspended for 60 days. He was ALREADY suspended for 60 days and they reversed it. So they have a showdown and now Scott Hall comes out and attacks Jarrett and challenges him to a stretcher match tonight in our main event. This was all primo Russo bullshit. Like, seriously, this wasn’t even being played for laughs like “Bang 3:16” was. He pulled what was supposed to be a legitimate weapon and threatened to kill a man on PPV, and Jarrett didn’t even bother to treat it like he was in any serious danger whatsoever. And they were just like “Well, a midget pulled a gun on our top star, but STAY TUNED BECAUSE DISCO INFERNO IS COMING UP LATER!” Well they didn’t actually mention Disco but you know what I mean.
Meanwhile, Sonny Siaki accuses Goldy Locks of checking out his ass because that worked with Rock and Lillian Garcia two years ago, and he’s given the other Elvii the night off because he’s better than them. Buddy, you are not even worthy to do motion capture for the Rock in a video game, let alone rip off one of his all time great running gags.
Sonny Siaki v. Slash
Slash (the former Wolfie D from PG-13) attacks in the corner to start, but Siaki takes him down with a samoan drop while James Mitchell talks about his box of blood on commentary. It’s from Audad apparently. Good to know. Siaki backdrops him to the floor and comes back in with a senton for two. Slash comes back with an inverted DDT for two and follows with the helicopter slam for two. Elbowdrop gets two. The crowd just completely dies like they’ve all been shot by midgets and Slash works a headlock, and then they fight to the top and both guys land on their nuts. Yeah. Slash recovers first from the testicular torsion and tries a senton, but that misses. So Siaki makes the comeback with clotheslines and a pumphandle suplex for two. And then Slash finds a hood and puts it on Siaki’s head, hits a neckbreaker, and removes the hood before getting the pin at 8:00. I don’t get any of this. ½* So with their version of the Rock having taken the loss like a complete doofus due to having a sack on his head, the New Church attacks and tries to put the BLOOD OF AUDAD on him. And then Don HarriSS makes the save and lays out Slash with a powerbomb. Gotta keep the Blu Twins strong!
Meanwhile, Ricky Steamboat is here to LAY DOWN THE LAW. This was a good fired up promo.
The Truth joins us and he’s upset about his black sister being locked up in a cage to dance for the white man, on something that’s “nothing but a damn freakshow”. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Truth clarifies that sorry, you’re not a dancer, you’re a “2 dollar ho”. That’s ridiculous and offensive. There’s no way Jerry Jarrett could afford 2 dollar hos for his extras at this point, she was maybe a 50 cent ho at best. Anyway, Monty Brown makes the save because apparently he has to stick his nose into every other black person’s business tonight, and this time he’s the one who gets laid out. Ferrera notes that Truth makes good points and it’s hard to argue with his logic. West: “There’s no place for that here.” I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.
So we continue right on with Ricky Steamboat, who calls out Ron “The Truth” Killings because THAT’S HIS REAL NAME. HE’S SHOOTING! IT’S A SHOOT! REAL NAMES! Truth comes out and he does a strong promo about growing up as a fan of Steamboat (although I thought he grew up as a fan of John Cena?) and wonders why Steamboat never got a shot at the WWF title? Was it THEM holding him back? Keeping him down with the Intercontinental title, which was for “second class citizens”. And now THE MAN is doing the same “shiznit” to the Truth and he’s not gonna take it. So Steamboat decides to give Truth his shot at the NWA World title NEXT WEEK. Oh thank god because I can’t take any more of Shamrock. Also this was the best thing on the show thus far, easily. Too bad the crowd fucking sucks and didn’t care. Why are they taping in this shithole barn? At least the other place had an actual lively audience.
Malice v. Apolo
So just to clarify, Malice stealing the belt last week literally led to nothing and was dropped with a deus ex Steamboat decision off-screen a week later. Malice slugs away in the corner, but Apolo does…something…out of the corner that looked like he was trying a dropkick but ended up with him teabagging Malice’s face instead. I mean, still devastating, I suppose. They fight to the floor and brawl and whip each other into the railings. Back in and Apolo has a Lex Luger-level tiny cut on his forehead and Malice works on it while the announcers talk about the “blood streaming down his face” like he’s Dusty Rhodes or something. And then Apolo gets a superkick out of nowhere and pins him at 6:32. DUD Malice does a LOT of jobs for their supposed big heel monster. But he chokeslams the ref to get his heat back, I suppose. And then it’s MORE of Don Harris the conquering hero to make the save, but then Slash comes out and uses the BALACLAVA OF DOOM to lay him out. So they couldn’t even wait for THE NEXT SHOW to have the heels get their revenge on Don. At least WWE waits a week before going 50/50.
Taylor Vonn joins Don West for an interview, but Bruce of the Rainbow Express interrupts and he wants a shot at the Miss TNA title. So Taylor hits him in the balls and apparently this is a match.
Miss TNA title: Taylor Vonn v. Bruce
Taylor gets a terrible suplex and slam for two, nearly falling out of her dress in the process, and they do a ridiculous hair-pulling spot on the mat before Bruce puts her in an abdominal stretch and then goes up and misses a legdrop. But then he slams her again and wins the title at 2:10. A complete embarrassment with Bruce doing a completely unconvincing job of wrestling himself while Taylor had to pretend to be a wrestler. -***
Jerry Lynn v. Low Ki
They trade some stuff on the mat to start while AJ joins us on commentary putting over Lynn in return for Lynn putting him over on commentary earlier. Lynn and Ki trade wristlocks and OK, I gotta ask: Who the fuck was “Athena” and why were people at ringside so obsessed with her? Because it’s pretty obnoxious to have to look at their stupid signs for the entire show every week. They trade backbreakers and Lynn gets two and drops elbows and this crowd is SO DEAD. Low Ki kicks him down for two and pounds away in the corner, then follows with a power elbow for two. Lynn cradles for two, but Ki beats him down and throws chops in the corner. The angle actually reveals that they figured out that it would be a good idea to put a big screen for the crowd in the corner, since half the show takes place backstage anyway. So at least they learned SOMETHING. They fight on the apron and Lynn gets the guillotine legdrop and slingshots back in for two. Lynn wraps him up with a Gory Special, into a Gory Bomb for two. Now AJ is declaring that “they’re closer than friends, they’re BROTHERS!”. Yeah. Lynn tries the cradle piledriver, but Ki reverses into an armbar and Jerry has to stomp on his face to break. Lynn with a front suplex for two while AJ goes way over he top with effusive praise for his partner after weeks of brawling with him. Ki comes back with a stungun for two and they slug it out with kicks, which Low Ki wins with a springboard kick as this barn full of hicks FINALLY wakes up. Maybe their chaw finally kicked in. Ki puts him down with hard chest kicks for two, but he charges and Lynn catches him with a spinning powerbomb for two with a hot near fall. Ki rolls him into a small package for two and into the dragon sleeper, but Lynn reverses into a tornado DDT for two. Lynn sets up the piledriver again, but Ki reverses into the rolling kick, at which point AJ heads in to interfere and accidentally hits Lynn with an enzuigiri for the DQ at 14:12. And then we learn that it wasn’t accidental at all and in fact AJ is not Lynn’s brother as previously claimed. Wait, wasn’t Lynn the heel a couple of weeks ago? Anyway, good match that finally got a reaction. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Don Harris wants a first blood match against Malice next week. With two matches booked so far this is more planning than I’ve ever seen for a Vince Russo show.
Jive Talkin’ with Disco Inferno. On a PPV that people paid money to see. Well, some people paid for. Not a lot as it turned out. Disco lets us know that he’s looking for “the hottest sexiest bitch he can find” to be Miss Jive Talkin’. And his first guest is Goldy Locks, who he calls “one sexy hot dumb bitch” and promises that she’ll be the first person to expose her breasts on TNA PPV. So Goldy comes out, understandably offended. Disco interviews her about the music business and pretends not to know who Kid Rock is and then tells her to take her shirt off and show the world her breasts. So he tells that she can’t show her talents because she doesn’t have kneepads, then calls her a “dirty slut”, at which point PAULINA THOMAS FROM THE FIRST SEASON OF TOUGH ENOUGH attacks and chokes her out. Yes, you read that right, NWA-TNA secured the talents of Paulina Thomas! Yeah I don’t know who she is either. Seven weeks in and we’ve gone from “Remember this former WCW champion?” to “Remember this chick who washed out of a reality show and couldn’t make it in the business?” Like seriously, I can assure you that no one remembered or cared about this person from the show enough that they couldn’t just repackage her as someone else and be done with it. Anyway, they basically do a repeat of the Chyna-Marlena deal with her and Goldy, for those keeping track of Russo recycling his more successful ideas in the WWF.
Stretcher Match: “The Stone Cold Game” Jeff Helmsley Jarrett Austin v. Scott Hall
They do a bit of perfunctory brawling in the ring and then it’s TO THE BACK for some stuff backstage and into the crowd as they might as well have just advertised this as a Smoke and Mirrors match and been done with it. Jarrett dropkicks the stretcher into Hall and back into the ring where Hall gets whipped into it. Hall comes back and whips JJ into the stretcher a few times and then beats on him with it. This sets up the Razor’s Edge for two, but Truth takes out the ref and puts Jarrett on top for two. Wait, isn’t this a stretcher match? So then Monty Brown comes out and brawls with Truth to get rid of him, and then Jerry Lynn comes out and hits Jarrett and Hall gets two. But then AJ takes him out, and Don Harris takes him out, and Malice takes him out, and everyone brawls to the back. Mr. Russo, I watched a lot of Memphis bullshit in my youth and over my career as a smart ass wrestling writer, and you sir are no Memphis. Just bullshit. Hall grabs the stretcher and Jarrett dropkicks it back in his face, and then grabs his trusty chair, which is stronger than any gun-wielding midget or booker, but Ricky Steamboat now runs down and gets involved. Hall gets his own chair, but Steamboat stops him, and Jarrett hits the Stroke onto the chair for the pin at 12:24. So what the fuck was the point of the stretcher? As noted, this was a Russo “baffle them with bullshit” special with 8 million people running in to cover for the non-match and non-sensical stipulation. At least it had heat? I guess? *
This show makes me want to puncture out my own eyeballs sometimes. Could we not even have gone ONE WEEK without Jeff Jarrett? And now friggin’ DON HARRIS is supposed to be the next badass babyface hero?
Ironically this show probably has more people following it now on the blog than ever bought it on PPV in the first place.