The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 06.04.04
Yup, since I decided to re-sub to Impact Plus, I figured I’d go all the way back to the debut of Impact because I couldn’t take much more of the weekly PPV reviews anyway. Plus these shows are a breezy 44 minutes long without commercials, which is more my speed these days.
I have no recollection of where or when this show was actually airing in the pre-Spike days. Some kind of sports channel I want to say?
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West, and yeah, it’s on Fox Sports Net. The weekly PPVs were still going and this was originally just a supplementary addition to hype those.
Team Canada (Petey Williams, Eric Young & Bobby Roode) v. Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt & Hector Garza
Everyone dives out of the six-sided ring to start, and back in for a headscissors from Dutt on Young as Tenay explains the rules here. 10 minute time limit with judges decision if the time expires. Yeah that probably didn’t last long. Team Canada works Red over in their corner and Roode beats on Red with shoulders in the corner and drops a knee for two. Roode and Petey hit an elevated bulldog on Red for two and Petey gets a legsweep while Don shills the continuing $9.95 weekly PPVs that were still going on at that point. Roode comes in with a delayed suplex for two. Young comes in for a double-team, but Red takes him down with a spinning DDT and makes the hot tag to Garza, who runs wild for about 3 seconds before Roode cuts him off with a powerbomb. Everyone hits their finishers and Red hits the Code Red for on Young for two, but Petey unleashes the CANADIAN DESTROYER and doesn’t even try for a pin. So there you go, that poor move was disrespected from the jump. Roode tries a Razor’s Edge on Dutt, but he reverses to a rana and Garza finishes with the moonsault at 6:37. A very action packed opener. ***1/4
Meanwhile, we get a clip from the very first TNA PPV, namely the incredibly fake spot where Toby Keith gives Jeff Jarrett a suplex and you can literally see Jarrett doing all the work and going up for the move like a feather.
Shark Boy v. Abyss
Abyss tries for a chokeslam and gets bitten by Shark Boy to break that up. Shark Boy goes up and gets caught and slammed, and Abyss follows with a corner splash and finishes with the Black Hole Slam at 1:18. A complete squash, back when Abyss was still young and fresh and the idea of a combination between Mankind and Kane was still pretty neat. But not to worry, Popeye is there to console Shark Boy. Real thing that happened.
NWA World tag team title: Kid Kash & Dallas v. America’s Most Wanted
For those wondering who Dallas is, it’s a very young Lance Archer playing the heavy for Kid Kash, and apparently trying REALLY REALLY HARD to be Test. BREAKING NEWS: The FOX BOX declares that this is a 30:00 time limit. Thank god for the Fox Box. Why is there no Fox Box on Smackdown? Storm trades takedowns with Kash and Harris comes in with an elbow in the corner and a bulldog for two, but Dallas makes the save. AMW works the arm on Kash, but he drops Storm with a stungun and it’s over to Dallas, who swears that he’s not Andrew Martin. Dallas chokes out Storm and we take a break, and return with Kash hitting Storm with a double underhook powerbomb for two. Kash goes to a rear chinlock and then goes up and launches himself off Dallas’s shoulders with a moonsault, but that misses. Hot tag Wildcat (which Tenay actually calls “the hot tag”) and he hits Dallas with a crossbody for two. Lariat gets two and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, as Dallas hits the Blackout into a Kash frog splash on Storm, but Harris breaks it up with a spear. Dallas charges and crotches himself on the top rope, and Harris takes advantage of his injured nuts and rolls him up for the pin and their fourth World tag team titles at 10:00. Pretty hot match as AMW were in their prime and Dallas was talented enough in between his Test impersonations that he didn’t completely embarrass himself. ***
Dusty Rhodes joins us, celebrating Impact being aired in “48 hundred million countries around the world”. I think he might be exaggerating a little bit. Dusty as usual talks about tradition and how they’re all about that tradition in TNA, while they’re standing in a SIX SIDED RING. Anyway, Jeff Jarrett has once again regained the NWA World title and Dusty is pretty upset about the situation, which of course brings out Jeff. They needed the extra two sides to contain all the ego in the ring right now. So Jarrett has had enough of Dusty interfering in his matches, and promises to take five paces and then Dusty out of town. So he does his five paces, and turns around so that Dusty can give him some elbows. He threatens to use a guitar, but Ron Killings makes the save and takes the guitar instead. This brings out BG James and Konnan to save Ron and they’re gonna do something at the next weekly PPV as a result.
Meanwhile, we take a look at the X division. I don’t know if you’re heard or not, but it’s not about weight limits. It’s about NO LIMITS. I still don’t know what that means.
Meanwhile, the Frenchfries Shane Douglas interviews Director of Authority Vince Russo, which is a sentence that can’t lead anywhere good, but at least Russo doesn’t have much to say and only promises that he’s got a big surprise for the main event.
X Division #1 contender match: Michael Shane v. Chris Sabin v. Elix Skipper v. AJ Styles
AJ is the big surprise, by the way, after spending the past while in the NWA World title scene. Winner of this gets a title shot at Frankie Kazarian on the next PPV. Everyone does some sloppy highspots to start as the crowd chants “This is awesome” 30 seconds into the match. Styles clears the ring and hits Shane with the dropkick, but Sabin springboards in with his own dropkick on AJ. Skipper clotheslines Sabin for two, but Shane gets a wheelbarrow suplex on Skipper as they compare him to supposed cousin Shawn Michaels. Buddy, I’ve watched a lot of Shawn Michaels, and you are no Shawn Michaels. Also calling yourself “Michael Shane” is a pretty transparent attempt to leech off his name and look. AJ comes back in with the moonsault DDT for two on Shane and rolls up Sabin, but Sabin reverses into a tornado DDT for two. Shane catches Sabin with an overhead suplex and goes up for a flying elbow attempt, but AJ crotches him and Skipper does the tightrope walk into a rana that puts Shane on the floor. I’m surprised that Tenay didn’t let us know that Shane was “TUNING UP THE ORCHESTRA!” before doing a big move or something. AJ does a dive onto everyone and then everyone promptly ignores the damage and heads back in the ring, where Shane sets up a superkick but walks into a Styles Clash and gets pinned at 6:25. They were working this at a MILLION miles an hour, but not in the good way, rather in the annoying meth-addled spot monkey way where it’s MOVE MOVE MOVE with no transitions or setups or story being told. Also Michael Shane sums up some of the worst instincts of TNA at the time, basically ripping off someone more successful while trying to distinguish themselves as different. ** Like Elix served no purpose in the match and was there to do a ropewalk and that’s it.
Anyway, for a first effort, this was a really entertaining show, even though they were trying WAY too hard a lot of the time, but you can’t knock the hustle. I’ll definitely keep going with this.