The SmarK Rant for NWA-TNA PPV #8 – 08.07.02
Live from Nashville, TN
Your hosts are Mike Tenay, Ed Ferrera & Don West
The SATs v. The Flying Elvises
The SATs are introduced as “The Spanish Announce Team” here, but I always thought they were the Spanish Announce TABLE? Either way, pretty funny. Big brawl to start and Siaki puts Red down with a clothesline and follows with the pop-up samoan drop before tossing him. Yang and Jorge double-team Joel and Estrada gets a springboard moonsault for two. Over to Jose and the Elvises hit him with a triple powerbomb and Siaki pounds on Joel while telling his teammates to get lost. So then Estrada and Yang leave the match and do commentary, leaving Siaki to get triple-teamed in the SAT corner. Kind of funny to hear Jimmy Yang doing commentary and sounding like a complete redneck goof (ie, Shane Helms) after his time in WCW as a martial artist. And then of course years later he made it into his whole gimmick. So the SATs work on Siaki while Estrada sings some passable Elvis parody on commentary. Meanwhile the SATs put Siaki in a surfboard while the other one does a dragon sleeper on him, and then Red dives off the top with a foot stomp for two. That was quite the combination move. Siaki fights back with a pumphandle slam on Red, but the SATs double-team him again because he won’t go tag Yang. Red gets a spinkick that Siaki doesn’t sell properly as this drags on. Siaki goes up and Red brings him down with a spinkick, to set up the debut of the SPANISH FLY from the Maximos and the corkscrew moonsault from Red for two. Yang and Estrada make the save at this point and clean house as the Maximos just unleashed a nuclear bomb of a finishing move and didn’t even get a two count. Red and Yang trade hot near-falls and Estrada does up, but the SATs cut him off and set up for another Spanish Fly. But Estrada reverses it and the Elvises double-team Red with a double flying splash, but Siaki steals the pin at 11:45. Where to even start with this? We’ve got the Elvises breaking up in every match but still winning, the SATs debuting their hot finisher and having it killed off in the FIRST MATCH, Sonny Siaki going 10 minutes with three guys by himself and mostly winning, a million botched spots, and a finish with a bunch of crazy moves that meant nothing. Not to mention the dead crowd for most of it. Which is not to say it was BAD, so don’t get me wrong. But a lot of it bugged and dragged it down too much. But I can also see how people would really like this one from a spot monkey perspective so if you fit that bill, then more power to you. ***1/4 (NOTE: I actually rated it lower than that initially while watching the show, but I hated the rest of this show so much that I went back and boosted the rating because it was really unfair to trash it after all the other stuff on the episode was so, SO much worse.)
Meanwhile, Apolo bitches about Ricky Steamboat giving his #1 contender spot to the Truth after he worked so hard to win it. Yeah, there’s absolutely no evidence he was in line for any kind of title shot within kayfabe.
Meanwhile, Apolo gets in Steamboat’s face, and Ricky calmly blows him off and basically tells him to get to the back of the line because he’s AWESOME. Also, the Dupps try to see “Mr. Steamship” but Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles come brawling through.
NWA World title: Ken Shamrock v. Ron Killings
The Dupps harass Mr. Steamship on his way to the ring for commentary, so Ricky tells them just to go ahead and do whatever it is they wanted. That might go badly. Shamrock takes the Truth down quickly and works the arm, and the crowd is immediately on Truth’s side despite his supposed heel status. Truth backflips away from Shamrock’s strikes and hits a leg lariat for two before going to a chinlock. Clothesline gets two, but Shamrock rolls him into a half-assed kneebar attempt before Truth makes the ropes and gets more over as a babyface somehow. Truth drops the leg for two and slugs away in the corner, but Shamrock takes him down with an atomic drop and both guys are down. Shamrock revives first with a powerslam for two and follows with heel kick into the anklelock, but Truth quickly makes the ropes. Shamrock clotheslines him to the floor and people starting wandering out to the ramp while they fight on the floor. Shamrock tries a suplex and Truth gets his own out there. Back in, Shamrock goes for the arm as I must once again use a metaphor I’ve used before: They’re not just on different pages, they’re in different LIBRARIES here. Shamrock is working one match and Truth is working whatever match he has on his own planet. Shamrock dumps him to the floor and they brawl out there, but now the 18th airborne runs in and Apolo “superkicks” Shamrock, literally missing by a foot, but Shamrock sells it anyway. Back in Truth hits a cutter for the pin and the title at 9:19 and THANK GOD, we’re done with Ken Shamrock. At least he didn’t have Sasha Banks boo-boo jobbing face here but this match was NO GOOD. *1/4
Credit where it’s due: They saw Killings was a hot act who was over, and more importantly WORKED CHEAP, and they pulled the trigger on him at the right time.
Ricky Steamboat then joins us in the ring and tells Apolo to get his ass out here and talk to him now. So the Dragon lays down the law and he’s tired of Apolo running around like a maniac, so he gives Apolo the title shot he wants. And OF COURSE that brings out Stone Cold Jarrett Helmsley, and he complains about reverse discrimination because Truth only got title shots for being black.
Me right about now:
So Steamboat declares that THE BULLSHIT STOPS TONIGHT. Oh, Ricky, if only I could believe you when it comes to these shows. What would even be left to make air? Anyway, later tonight it’s Jeff Jarrett v. Apolo, winner gets the title shot. Either way, we lose.
Jive Talkin’ with Disco Inferno
So Disco’s expensive sign has disappeared, which brings out the Dupps for some immediate fart humor. Amazingly there is a point, as the Dupps announce the first ever DUPP CUPP INVITATIONAL, with a spittoon being the prize. It’s a points-based hardcore match series, and we actually get a funny visual gag of a chalkboard listing all the wacky rules (“If it’s a BURNIN’ table…”), with “Nail Jeremy the creepy announcer” being the highlight while Borash makes shocked protest faces. The Dupps want Disco as their first opponent, but PAULINA FROM TOUGH ENOUGH makes another shocking appearance and apparently she’s intimidating enough to make them back down. So instead they offer one night with Fluff Dupp (but they get to watch) for anyone who wants to face them, so Ed Ferrera decides to take them up on it.
The Dupps v. Ed Ferrera
Ed takes out Borash immediately for 2.5 points, but Stan grabs a chair from a fan and bashes him a couple of times with it. So Stan heads over to the stage and finds a blowup doll, which apparently earns you 2.5 points. Bo goes after the ticket lady, meanwhile, but she chases him off with a broom. PAULINA FROM TOUGH ENOUGH goes low on Stan and hits him with the chalkboard. Back in the ring, Ed uses a chair from a fan a bunch of times and gets some points, and then pulls Bo’s pants down and spanks him with the wooden horse. However, Bo likes it, so Ed loses points. He retrieves a table, but Bo chokeslams him through the table to earn the final points and wins the match.
So how best to explain this? The IDEA was a funny one. The chalkboard full of wacky rules was a funny gag. But then they went and actually HAD THE MATCH and it’s like 10 minutes of explaining a joke to someone and completely sucking the humor out of the punchline. Like, do the people writing this show (ie, Russo) not understand how jokes work? The humor is supposed to come from building up the promise of delivering all this ridiculously outrageous stuff, but then (and this is the key) something happens and YOU DON’T EVER ACTUALLY DELIVER IT. That’s what makes it FUNNY. It’s IRONY. This was just dreadlocked idiot Ed Ferrera doing a stupid WCW hardcore match while the announcers drove the joke into the ground over and over. Like, if you SAY “It’s 2 points for punching that creepy announcer Jeremy Borash” and he reacts to it, that’s funny. If you then immediately have someone punch Jeremy Borash for real and get 2 points, then you’ve killed the joke completely. There’s a reason why Charlie Brown has been trying to kick the football for the better part of a half-century now. The humor is supposed to be derived from having the points be scored by all these impossibly wacky things that get teased week after week but never happen. Whereas here, they just did them all in one match. And it was fucking awful.
On the bright side, I believe this was the swan song for Ed Ferrera and it’s only Tenay and Don West on commentary from here on.
OK, moving on. I’ve spent too much time on this already.
Meanwhile, Tenay sits down with Monty Brown, who runs down his athletic background, but then Elix Skipper attacks him and dumps yellow paint on him because he’s a CHICKEN.
First Blood match: Malice v. Don HarriSS
They brawl on the floor right away and Malice grabs a chair, but Don boots it back in his face and whips him into the railing. They fight into the crowd and hit each other with chairs as we get to see just how pathetically sparse the crowd is. Yeah, they need to stick to the hard camera. Don West: “All rules are off here! If you bleed, you lose.” But isn’t that a RULE? So we continue with Walking Simulator 2002 as they wander around the arena doing nothing, with Harris tossing him into various objects over and over and somehow never drawing blood. But then Slash attacks with, you know, an ice pick, as you’ll often see on pro wrestling shows, but Harris beats him up as well and then beats up James Mitchell as well and soon everyone is bleeding except the two guys in the match. Into the ring for a Bossman slam, but they somehow butt heads on the move and Don gets an accidental giant gash above his eye and loses the match at 6:40. Apparently that’s where they were going anyway, but the finish was supposed to be a deal where the Church choked him out until he spit up blood, which sounds more like Russo’s type of thing. *1/4
Meanwhile, Siaki is looking for Ricky Steamboat, but Bruce interrupts and goes looking for Taylor Vaughn, and she calls him a “homo” and throws him into a locker. And then Low Ki and AJ come brawling through the dressing room.
#1 Contender match: Apolo v. Jeff Jarrett
Apolo slugs on Jarrett to start after some stalling, and gets an atomic drop and clothesline out of the corner. Jarrett bails and Apolo follows with a superkick off the apron, but Jarrett pulls him out and beats on him. Back in, Apolo gets a powerbomb for two and a sunset flip for two. They fight to the floor and Jarrett sends him into the stairs and busts him open. So Steamboat sends them both back into the ring and Jarrett beats on Apolo in the corner. Apolo misses a charge and Jarrett gets an enzuigiri for two. He takes out the knee and gets the figure-four, but Apolo fights out and they slug it out. Apolo gets a DDT and both guys are down. Apolo comes back with a corner clothesline and they do some reversals like they’re Austin and Michaels, but Apolo gets the superkick for two. Apolo with the german suplex and Jarrett gets the shoulder up and gets the pin at 10:20. I HATE that finish. If you’re too stupid to lift your own shoulder while doing a german suplex, you deserve to lose. Match was OK. **1/2 So after working the match as a babyface, Apolo gets all pissed off again and threatens Steamboat, even though he was clearly pinned and had nothing to bitch about. But then Steamboat turns around and tells Jarrett that when he said he was “going to give Jarrett the Truth” he didn’t actually mean that he was getting a title shot at the Truth, he actually meant that Jarrett was teaming with the Truth against Jerry Lynn & AJ Styles next week for the tag titles. Yes, it’s another Vince Russo special, as Jeff Jarrett Didn’t Read The Fine Print and this sets up a pair of Wacky Tag Team Partners Who Hate Each Other next week. What a horrible plot twist. And the crowd completely turns on the announcement and chants “Bullshit”, somehow turning Jarrett babyface.
Evening Gown Match: Bruce v. Taylor Vaughn
I feel like we’re scraping levels two stories below the earth underneath the bottom of the barrel with this show. Taylor gets some offense but Bruce suplexes her and beats on her in the corner, then gently pulls off her dress for the win at 2:00. And then he strips anyway, which is thankfully blurred out on this version of the show. What can you even say at this point?
Don West then does what he does best and shills the merchandise and next week’s show with an incredible hard sell. Honestly WWE should bring him back to the business to hype their PPVs.
X Division title: AJ Styles v. Jerry Lynn v. Low Ki
Ki and Lynn both attack AJ and hit him with a double flapjack, but Ki dropkicks Lynn’s knee and hits him with kicks. AJ takes out Ki, but Lynn clotheslines AJ and slugs away on the mat and follows with a powerslam for two. They trade german suplex attempts and stop to backdrop Low Ki, and Lynn gets the Gory Special on AJ before Ki dropkicks them over to break it up. AJ takes out both guys and stomps them down, but he tries a rana and Lynn hits him with a powerbomb that damn near rotates AJ over onto his head on the bump. YIKES. Low Ki comes back and beats on both guys with kicks, but he goes to the apron and Lynn guillotines him in the ropes. So Ki slingshots back in and manages to do a rollup on both guys at the same time, for two. Ki beats on Lynn in the corner and they trade nasty chops. AJ goes after him, but he gets wrapped up in the dragon sleeper for his troubles. Lynn breaks it up and Ki wraps HIM up in the dragon sleeper, but Lynn reverses to a DDT for two. AJ springboards off Lynn’s chest in the corner and they fight to the top, where Lynn gets a draping DDT for two. Ki hits Lynn with a snap suplex for two. AJ slugs it out with Low Ki and Ki wins that with a high kick and then follows with a double underhook suplex for two. They all slug it out and Lynn backflips AJ into an inverted DDT on Low Ki for two. Ki goes up and AJ follows for a slugfest on top, but Lynn brings them down with a Tower of Doom powerbomb and gets two on Low Ki. Lynn with a cradle on AJ, but Ki rolls up Lynn for two and then AJ rolls up Ki for two. Lynn rolls up Ki and then AJ rolls up Lynn. Ki gets a rollup on Lynn, but Lynn kicks out and Ki lands in the Styles Clash, before Lynn saves. That whole sequence was incredible. AJ springboards into the moonsault DDT on both, but they block it and put him on the top rope, where Low Ki gets the hanging dragon sleeper until Lynn breaks it up. Low Ki misses a charge on Lynn and JL tries a tornado DDT, but Ki blocks with a dragon sleeper on the ropes, and AJ springboards with a knee to break it up and gets two on Ki. Lynn saves, but AJ gets a neckbreaker on him for two. Ki breaks it up with a Ki Krusher on Styles, but AJ blocks, so Ki uses a Styles Clash on AJ for two. And Lynn gets a Ki Krusher on Low Ki for two! And then AJ gets a cradle piledriver on Lynn for two. Ref is bumped on a handspring elbow from Low Ki and everyone slugs it out, but Ki lands on the floor and AJ collides with Lynn. AJ grabs a chair and blasts Lynn with it, but Low Ki rolls over and pins Lynn to win the title at 16:25, despite AJ’s attempt to break it up with the Spiral Tap. Timing was messed up on the finish (the ref counted two, AJ hit the Spiral Tap, and then he finished counting three anyway) but HOLY SHIT what a match to end this flaming shitshow circus trainwreck of an episode. ****1/2
Next week: More stuff happens!