June 18, 2003
This is the TNA one-year anniversary show. It was a minor miracle that the company survived its first year.
Your hosts are Don West and Mike Tenay
The show starts with a video package of all the highlights from the first year of the company. They did a good job making the main event angles seem important. Sadly, they recycled some of the same clips over and over again.
A limo pulls up and we are led to believe it is Sting but Shane Douglas gets out instead. He says it is time to make some noise then heads inside.
Back to the arena, we see that they have a new stage set, which looks a lot better than the previous one did. It looks modern, featuring a video screen, and the production values look improved as well. The placed is packed too.
Sonny Siaki & Don Harris & David Young vs. Frankie Kazarian & D’Lo Brown & Sandman
Teany tells us that Kazarian’s teammates were so impressed by him that they asked TNA officials to have him on their team. Faces attack first. Kazarian hits Siaki with a springboard back elbow smash then gets two off a neckbreaker. D’Lo tags and hits Harris with a pair of armdrags. Harris gets a big boot and tags Young, who gets knocked down by D’Lo. Kazarian slingshots in with a legdrop then hits the Back to the Future (Ocean Cyclone suplex) but Young catches him with a spinebuster. The camera shows Sandman with the fans as Siaki suplexes Kazarian a few times. Kazarian lands a kick and tags D’Lo, who takes out SEX. Everyone else brawls outside the ring except for Young and Kazarian, who hits the Wave of the Future and D’Lo follows with a frog splash for the win (3:53) *1/2. After the match, they celebrate with beers but get attacked from behind. Mike Sanders and Ron Harris run out as well, making it 5-3. Siaki is hitting Sandman hard with the kendo stick then Jarrett and Sting come out. Young walks into a guitar shot from Jarrett and they pose to the fans, who are going nuts.
Thoughts: The match was rushed as could be but was all action. The point of this was to get the crowd going and I think to prove to them that Sting was actually there. The crowd went nuts for him.
Tenay welcomes the Spanish announce team, Armando Qunitero and Konnan.
West runs down the show, including:
AMW vs. XXX for the tag-team titles
Paul London vs. Chris Sabin for the X Division Title
Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn
Mike Sanders vs. New Jack in a Hard Ten semi-final
Sting & Jeff Jarrett vs. AJ Styles & ???
We are the shown the first of several flashback segments from the first year of TNA. This package shows a bunch of people confronting Vince Russo, including Roddy Piper (Why the fuck you would highlight that interview is beyond me), Jeff Jarrett, and Vince Russo.
Speaking of Russo, he comes out and is promptly greeted by a “You suck” chant. He tells the crowd his new haircut cost more than their trailers and talks about how his daughter said he needs to go back and lead the hillbillies of TNA. He then makes fun of southeners for a few minutes then declares that the North is about leadership, money, and power as the south is about incest, beastilaity, and disregard to loyalty. He says that Jarrett gave his sweat and tears for several months and they threw him away like a used condom. He then says he is now back and calls AJ Styles better than HBK, Bret Hart, and Sting. AJ comes out and yells at crowd. He whispers in his ear and the height difference is noticeable and not in a good way. This segment is dying as AJ runs down the crowd, stating that he is not one of them (meaning southerner) and accuses them of all the southern stereotypes. Russo said he will take the champ to New York as Tenay interrupts and yells at AJ, stating that he ahs been brainwashed. Russo says it is all about who you screw to get to the top as now D’Lo comes out and says he and Russo created D’Lo . He buries the WWE, saying they only saw him as midcarder but Russo gave him a shot. D’Lo then asks both guys why they changed, even mentioning that his family broke bread with AJ’s. Styles said he was going to ask D’Lo to be his partner tonight. D’Lo calls Russo a piece of shit and Russo said he made D’Lo and Vince thought he wasn’t worth a shit. Please, let this end ASAP. Russo tells D’Lo he can arrange him a slot in his show, of his little bitch. D’Lo attacks and Russo gets a single leg takedown and AJ joins in until Raven runs out and destroys AJ. He goes after Russo but Shane runs out and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. The crowd screams for a triple threat then red shirt security holds back Douglas. Way too long and AJ looked weak in his first appearance as the champ. He was dwarfed by Russo and dressed like he was the redneck version of Nick Carter. The visual of Russo taking down D’Lo was ridiculous as well. This segment ran about 15 minutes.
Goldylocks is backstage with Tracy and Nurse Veronica. Tracy states that the “sexist” NWA board said they could no longer wrestle men and Veronica says they will take care of things there own way. Watts comes in and asks if she took care of things and Goldy said she is going to interview Kid Kash, whether he likes it or not.
In the parking lot, Alexis and Julio are worried what Raven will do to them as he is pissed. CM Punk approaches then and asks if them if they told Raven about him joining the gathering. They told him now isn’t the time and that the Gathering might be no more. Punk then says there will always be a gathering and leaves by saying “Quoth CM Punk, nevermore. Intriguing segment and Punk came off well and not like the X Division jobber he has been booked like in TNA.
TNA flashback to when AJ Styles became the first X Division Champion. That was a great match.
X Division Championship Match
Paul London vs. Chris Sabin
Sabin flips off London after he extends his hand. They start off by trading off moves until London dropkicks Sabin to the floor. They fight on the apron and Sabin gets shoved into the post then London runs off and hits a shooting star press. Back inside, London covers and gets two. Sabin gets an eye poke then boots London to the floor after he tried to skin the cat. He then hits him with a twisting pescado and shoves him into the guardrail. Sabin eats boot on a charge but is able to take London down and catapult him into the guardrail. In the ring, London fights back but Sabin catches him with a knee after a crossbody attempt. A loud “TNA” chant breaks out as Sabin applies an abdominal stretch. The crowd is behind London as he fights out and takes Sabin down with a flying headscissors, planting his head into the mat. London hits a few kicks then a flying forearm. Sabin is able to play possum but London hits a reverse powerbomb for two. London is selling the ribs and Sabin hits a swinging gutbuster for two. CM Punk is now ringside then enters the ring and sits in the corner, just like Raven does. London blocks a frankensteiner and powerbombs Sabin. He hits the London Calling but sells the ribs and doesn’t cover. The ref checks on Sabin and Punk hits London with a DDT and Sabin hits the Future Shock for the win (7:53) ***1/4
Thoughts: A lot of great moves made this a fun match. The ending was terrible though. It looked bad and did not make a whole lot of sense for this to happen in the championship match.
Goldylocks is with New Jack. She asks him about Mike Sanders. Jack does not give a shit about him and has inflicted more pain and been kicked out of multiple promotions and this is not WCW. Shark Boy comes out but Jack says cannot play games tonight. He shows him a pair of giant hulk hands and Jack says he will beat everyone then come back to play. Jack says he does not know holds or moves but can whoop ass. They leave as Kash runs over to the storage cage and thanks the big scary dude (The not yet named Abyss). He says he needs his help one more time tonight.
TNA Flashback with Puppet the Psycho Dwarf whacking West with a kendo stick and Jasmin St. Claire giving Borash a lap dance. They also show Chris Rock’s appearance that he filmed for his “Head of State” Movie.
Hard Ten Tournament Semi-Final Match
Mike Sanders vs. New Jack
Sanders hits Jack from behind with a trashcan lid, going up 1-0. Sanders throws weapons in the ring but Jack fights back and ties it up. Sanders gets tossed to the floor but goes up 4-1 with repeated lid shots. He gets two more points, as Sanders is up 6-1. Jack fights back but misses a running chair shot and lands hard on a chair. Shark Boy is in the crowd with the hulk hands as Sanders goes up 7-1. Jack fights back and makes it 7-2 after using a cookie sheet. In the ring, Jack places the chair between the legs of Sanders and swings a piece of wood. The visual of Shark Boy wearing the Hulk hands in the crowd like a regular fan is pretty funny, actually. Jack goes up 7-5 as Sanders is on the table outside the ring. He rolls off but Jack places him back on and softens him up before heading up the top rope. Shark Boy goes up and gives him the Hulk Hands as the fans chant for him to use them. Jack first says no then poses with one hand. Sanders gets on the apron and Jack punches him with the Hulk hand and Sanders crashes through, giving Jack the 10-7 win (5:33) ½*.
Thoughts: The tournament itself has been a huge bust. However, the team of New Jack and Shark Boy is getting over well. In one of his shoot interviews, Jack said he was high and drunk during his entire TNA stay. It’s a really good commentary team. The weapon shots were pretty stiff in this match too.
They show a video package about Trinity. It mixes in clips from her stunt work and TNA. She says she loves pain, in her strong Brooklyn accent. They also show some clips of her in a bikini on the beach and her body is fine, but the face is not. She states her goal is to become the number one female in the history of this business. I thought that this did a great job at making Trinity look like a star.
Another flashback segment, this time of the TNA debuts of Dusty Rhodes, Raven, and D’Lo Brown.
Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn
They go at each other as soon as the bell starts. Lynn calls Credible an asshole. Well, her sure looks like one with the shants he is wearing. They trade hard chops in the corner until Lynn gets a rollup. They do a lot of counters and reversals until Credible hits a clothesline. Lynn rolls through a crossbody and gets two. Credible gets two off a superkick then flips off the crowd. He goes for the tombstone but Lynn turns it into a cradle and Credible reverses that and grabs the ropes for the win (2:43) *. The ref finally declares him winner, after ref was thought to have seen him cheat. Lynn attacks Credible and they brawl through the crowd. Security and refs intervene as both men are screaming at each other.
Thoughts: Really short but the point of this was to further escalate the feud and it did a pretty good job of that. I don’t care much for Credible but he played his part fine.
BG James, who is supposed to be Mike Tenay, interviews Konnan and Ron Killings in a sitdown interview. He mocks them for stealing set. He asked Killings about fried chicken and he tells him all about it. He then asks Konnan if the Taco Bell Dog is stuck up in real life. Konnan says he has some smoke and BG wants to cut the segment so he can leave. The segment was dumb but at least it was short.
Up next, the show another flashback segment. This time, they actually show us the clip of Puppet whacking off in a trashcan, mixed in with clips of the Dusty Interview when he brought that up in discussing Russo’s version of entertainment. If I ran TNA, I would do my best to pretend that this segment never existed.
Kenzo Suzuki vs. Perry Saturn
Suzuki is representing the World Japan promotion, which Saturn also wrestles for as well part-time. They trade clotheslines then Saturn takes control. He beats on Suzuki in the corner but runs into a boot. We get to listen to the Spanish announce team as Saturn gets kneed in the gut. Suplex gets two. Saturn gets a few rollups and a springboard dropkick. Stern hits a T-Bone suplex then almost falls backwards attempting a scoop slam. Saturn overshoots a springboard move the runs into a spear. Running knee smash gets two. Saturn hits a German suplex for two. He goes up top and drops an elbow but Credible runs in and breaks the pin up with a kendo stick shot for the Double DQ (4:35) 1/2*. Lynn then runs in and beats on Credible and they continue to brawl.
Thoughts: I remember at the time there was some sort of Japanese politics that prevented a clean finish. Both guys looked bad and Saturn was really sloppy.
Goldylocks is with AJ Styles. She sets him up to make a swallowing joke then AJ says it doesn’t matter who his partner is tonight because he trusts Russo to make the right decision. AJ has been playing second fiddle to Russo all show long, which is ridiculous seeing as he is the champion.
More highlights of TNA’s first year with Jarrett getting suplexed by Toby Keith and beaten up by the Tennessee Titans. They also showed a clip of Hermie Sadler beating Ron Killings.
In the back, XXX sneak attack AMW before their match.
Tag-Team Championship Match
XXX (Champions) vs. America’s Most Wanted
Low-Ki leads the champs to the ring with his arm in a sling. Daniels grabs the mic and says sports entertainment is now the new tradition. Daniels starts to talk about how he is going to Japan soon but AMW comes out and they brawl outside the ring. They go back in and XXX double team Storm. Skipper gets two off a double underhook suplex and then they hit their version of the Rockerplex. Harris clotheslines both men then goes back on the apron. Storm gets beat on until XXX has a miscomunication then makes the tag. Harris runs wild and gets two off a powerslam. He blocks the Play of the Day from Skipper and gets two off a catatonic. Harris misses a corner splash and Daniels hits the Angel Wings. Storm catches him with a powerslam for two. All four men brawl and Storm hits Daniels for eight second ride as he was on Harris’s shoulders. Skipper breaks up that pin attempt and flips over Storm. He brawls with Harris on the floor as Daniels hits Storm with a uranage. He misses the BME and walks into a spear from Harris. That only gets two and Skipper gets a quick rollup. Ki slides a belt to Daniels, who misses the shot and gets killed by a superkick from Storm. They hit Daniels with the Death Sentence but Skipper pulls out the ref then hits Storm with the belt as Daniels covers for the win (7:03) **1/2.
Thoughts: Good match that was too short. These teams really work well together. The three person dynamic of XXX is the only positive of the SEX faction. The crowd was really into the match, which is a good sign seeing as TNA nearly killed off AMW’s popularity.
Tenay is with Jerry Jarrett. He says that this is a special occasion. He talks about the tradition of the NWA and hopes they can achieve the prominence they had in the good ol’ days. Tenay asks him about his relationship with Russo. Jarrett says Russo is obsessed with his son and he hopes that it is not fatal. A giant waste of time.
Erik Watts is in the ring. He calls himself “Mr. Explosion” and wants to talk about some “Serious shit.” His man, Eric from WCW will be here soon and says that they have a special interview tonight. He then calls out Kid Kash, who heads to the ring while taping his hands. Watts makes height jokes then Kash says that beating up women gives him goose bumps. Watts attacks and holds up Kash for a chokeslam but sees Goldylocks on the video screen, screaming for help as she is locked in the cage. Watts runs back but cant open the cage then gets attacked from behind by Kash as Goldy is screaming for her life as Abyss is cutting off her hair. Another ineffective segment.
TNA Flashback of Styles against Jeff Jarrett and last week’s title match.
Tenay plugs the frequent buyers club. West starts to run down next week’s show but Chris Harris interrupts and announces that AMW will face XXX for the titles in a steel cage match. That will be the first cage match in TNA history. A good idea, seeing that XXX constantly uses interference to keep the titles.
Russo and Styles come out for the main event. Russo calls the mystery partner a degenerate and a scumbag, much like himself. He then introduces AJ’s partner as Sean Waltman, who is in street clothes. The crowd reacted well to him.
AJ Styles & Sean Waltman vs. Jeff Jarrett & Sting
The faces take control as the crowd is pumped. Sting overpowers and goes for the Scorpion Death Lock but AJ grabs the ropes. Russo is on commentary and berates the announcers. AJ is getting roughed up by Sting outside the ring as Jarrett has Waltman in the figure four. AJ breaks that up with a beautiful springboard leg drop. Russo talks up AJ as he stomps on Jarrett. He hits a dropkick as Russo and Tenay are screaming at each other. Waltman tags and locks on a sleeper. Jarrett escapes but Waltman gets a spinning heel kick. Legdrop gets two. Jarrett gets double-teamed behind the ref’s back then AJ locks on a sleeper as the crowd chants for Sting. Both men are down after clotheslining each other and AJ tags first. Waltman corners Jarrett but he crawls through his legs and tags Sting. The building erupts as Sting runs wild. He hits both men with the Stinger Splash and puts AJ in the Scorpion Death Lock. Waltman breaks that up with a bat and AJ puts Sting in his own hold. Sting escapes then takes down both men with a double clothesline. Jarrett is struggling to stand on the apron as Sting hits both men with the Scorpion Death Drop. Sting is now down and makes the tag to Jarrett, who has miraculously recovered. He hits a bunch of dropkicks as Russo leaves the booth. Jarrett ducks a superkick that takes out the ref then hits AJ with the Stroke but there is no ref. Russo hits Jarrett with the bat but Raven comes out and runs him off. He is about to DDT AJ but Shane Douglas runs out and they brawl on the ramp. Jarrett catches AJ with a boot and hits another Stroke. The ref comes to but AJ kicks out. Sting is roughing up Waltman as Jarrett hits the Stroke from the middle rope for the win as Raven and Douglas are brawling in the ring (11:49) ***. Russo runs in and chokes out Jarrett with the bat but Sting chases him away. Raven and Jarrett are facing off in the ring but Sting separates the two and raises their hands.
Thoughts: Good match that had a main event feel, which is something rare for TNA at this time. Waltman looked okay and Sting did a good job and came off like a star. My only gripe was that AJ ate the pin but a great way to close out the show.
Final Thoughts: The first year of TNA was rough. It almost went under in September then got saved a financial backer (Panda Energy). The anniversary show had its moments but the problems still remain. There is far too much Vince Russo on the show. He is featured more than anyone else. Also, the Erik Watts stuff is horrendous. I have no idea who finds him funny but his segments are a chore to sit through. The main even segment worked well and the X Division match delivered. The team of New Jack & Shark Boy work as the comic relief (not Watts) and the tag title feud is heating up. With the video on Trinity and the segment with Tracy and Nurse Veronica, along with the rule prohibiting matches between woman and men, it looks like TNA is starting up a women’s division. At least there are some positivrs to build on but reducing the presence of Russo on the show should be the main focus.