Another week, another recap not on time… At least I’m consistent in the matter.
LAST WEEK: America’s Most Wanted beat up Diamond and Swinger and want a raw-hide strap match. Kid Kash takes on his mentor Ricky Morton. Raven and The Gathering battle Shane Douglas and the New Church. Jeff Jarrett vs. Legend – Double Pole Match.
DID YOU KNOW: Breakjng it down to his yearly salary – in the time it takes to air an NWA TNA PPV, Alex Rodrigues has made $5707? US funds. I don’t know how this is really relative to anything other than it annoys me to no end to know in the same timespan I’ve made a mere $7.76 Canadian.
LIVE from The Asylum, MIKE TENAY and DON WEST sit at a table and talk about wrestling.
SIMON DIAMOND and JOHNNY SWINGER (with the Manager Of Champions) vs. AMERICA’S MOST WANTED (in a non-title raw-hide strap match)
There’s about a dozen potentially decent tag-teams in TNA, and I’d push all of them over Diamond and Swinger. Last week I predicted a title change, which I can’t back up now – so I’ll just go on record and saw the next time AMW puts the belts up against Diamond and Swinger, the titles are going home with the bad guys. Rules of this one – there’s leather straps tied on to the top ropes, and you can use ‘em to whip your opponents. Pier 14 brawl! Everyone winds up on the floor, throwing punches. Gilberti, like all former World Title contenders should do, RUNS AWAY TO KEEP FROM BEING HURT. Which is too bad, I was really getting into Evil Glen before they turned around and decided Disco was the best way to go. Chris Harris goes to whip Simon Diamond – but Gilberti grabs the strap away. Diamond picks up Harris in a sidewalk slam position, and Swinger finishes with a slop drop for 2. Diamond gets in a shot with the strap. Harris gets tossed to the floor where Gilberti whips Harris and rolls him back in, where Diamond vertical suplexes him for 2. Swinger hits a running clothesline – but Harris manages to come back with a boost of energy against Diamond and nails him with a forearm shot. Swinger charges and gets dropped to the floor – allowing a hot tag to Storm. Storm DDTs the shit out of Diamond and chokes him out with the strap until Swinger hits the ring to break that up. Swinger chokes Storm out and hangs him on the apron while Diamond kicks him in the ribs. Gilberti rolls him back in which gives Swinger a 2. Diamond sends Storm back out to the floor – then slaps Harris who distracts the ref while Gilberti whips Storm. Diamond goes for a slingshot plancha – but Storm smartly rolls out of the way and the plancha hits Gilberti. He gets in for a tag, but Swinger cuts him off at the legs, so Storm enzuigiris him and tags in Harris. Full nelson slam for Swinger! HUGE backdrop for Swinger! A couple of tattoo style shots for Swinger, but Diamond sees his partner having enough and gets in. For his trouble, he’s belted with the Flying Jalapeno and 8 shots to the back. Storm hits the floor chase Gilberti – so he hits the ring, and tries the Chartbuster on Harris. No dice, Gilberti gets shoved off and SPEARED! Whipping all around for Glen! Swinger and Diamond save – and backdrop Storm to the floor. Double pancake for Harris – Swinger covers for 2. Storm comes off the top with a missile dropkick for Diamond. Swinger tries a superplex – but Storm cuts him off from the attack. Storm powerbombs Swinger from the apron who STILL superplexes Harris in the interim! Amazing. Harris covers Swinger, 1, 2, kickout. Diamond cleans house, but goes for a dropkick off the top which Harris avoids, and immediately places him in a Sharpshooter. Storm whips him for fun. Diamond taps – but the referee is too busy telling Swinger about the difficulties he and his wife have encountered while attempting to make babies. Storm attempts to intervene and gets clotheslined. Swinger grabs a chair and clocks Harris. 1, 2, no? False meets finish. Swinger tries to hit Harris again, but the referee pulls it away – so he just gets another one which Storm superkicks back in his face!!! For 2. Bah. The Death Sentence is called for – but Diamond kicks Storm in the mouth to cause him to fall back – and again gets 2. Swinger is tossed to the outside – Diamond gets caught on the top rope allowing the champs to hit a Super Scorpion DEATH Drop, which gets the pin and the win! (11:05) **3/4 Overdramatized at the end, and I’m growing a little impatient with the constant false finishes in every match. But I suppose that’s the nature of this business. Gilberti hits the ring with his boys again after the match, who stomp on the champs and steal the belts. Considering they’re 0-3 against the champs, someone wanna remind me why they keep getting matches?
TONIGHT: Chris Sabin vs. Frankie Kazarian again… Kid Kash has issued a challenge to a legend, and it’s been answer by THE Living Legend, Larry Zbyzsko! Chris Daniels will preach about the World Title. Plus, a cage match for the belt – AJ Styles and D’Lo Brown. And to determine the #1 contender to the X Title, we’ll have a four way dance.
Backstage, RED SHIRT SECURITY tells JERRY LYNN he can’t come in. This is straight from THE JACKYL, who arrives on the scene. Lynn whines about giving the people what they want, while Callis tells him he’s done nothing but offend the audience. Callis hands him a list of offenses, while he wants Lynn to read over carefully – and once he fully understands the nature of his actions, he may return to work. Lynn throws the list back at Callis – then launches luggage. Callis threatens police! Lynn: “Don’t fucking…don’t bother.” Oops, the censors (do we HAVE censors?) missed that one. So did everyone else it seems since it came under his breath.
Pre-recorded comments – Michael Shane says last week he beat Chris Sabin, and he won’t walk out empty handed next time. Joey Matthews has a great love of money, and it’s landed him in TNA to go after the X Title. Danny Doring promises to become the X Division Title – and tomorrow it’ll read Danny Doring, #1 Contender in the great book of wrestling. Norman Smiley speaks for Shark Boy, who’s far more interested in wiggling. Norman wants him to focus – telling him there’s no time for wiggling. That whole segment was neat.
MICHAEL SHANE vs. JOEY MATTHEWS vs. DANNY DORING vs. SHARK BOY (for the #1 contender to the NWA X title)
Tenay notes we haven’t seen Matthews since very early on in TNA, one of the first weeks they taped. So if we’re discussing bringing in talent from early on, how long until we get the return of Cheex? Or for that matter Del Rios? (Bonus points if you remember him…) Shane and Doring start. Doring snaps off a spinebuster – and Matthews tags himself in. Matthews and Shane beat on Doring, sending him to the floor, but Shark Boy tags Doring before going out and missile dropkicks both Shane and Matthews. Hurricanrana on Matthews – followed by a hiptoss, and Doring is tagged back in. Before leaving, Shark Boy bites Matthews. Shane and Matthews once again work the double team and stomp on Doring. Shane gets 2 on a cover. Shark Boy comes in and clears the ring, finishing with himself and Matthews – so he starts to Wiggle! Naturally, the Wiggle doesn’t hurt anyone, and Shark Boy gets backdropped to the floor. Matthews heads out – and gets nailed with a springboard plancha from Doring. Inside, Shane elbows Shark Boy and rolls him to the apron – and nails a tope con hilo on the other two. Shark Boy goes up top and hits a plancha on Shane. Back in – Matthews hits the Slop Drop on Doring, but Shark Boy breaks up a cover, which is weird because I BELIEVE this is elimination, though no one ever really said so. Matthews blocks a Deep See Plunge, tries a rana, but that’s blocked too and the Deep Sea Plunge hits this time! Doring finally turns on Shark Boy and clotheslines him. He goes to the top and nails the guillotine legdrop, but before he can follow up SKIP OVER hits the ring. What the hell is this all about? Alley-oop on Doring, Bossman Slam on Matthews, Play Of The Day on Shark Boy, and Elix bails. He grabs a microphone and says he’d had every intention of beating down Jerry Lynn – but since he’s not here, he took those guys out instead. Every week, he plans on ruining good matches until he gets a piece of Lynn. This is eerily reminiscent of a non-as-entertaining Sid Vicious. Oh, and apparently the match is still going. Michael Shane, the only non-Elix attacked competitor warms up the boot. There’s Sweet Chin Music to Joey Matthews. Say goodnight Joe! (7:02) Doring gets up, and he too eats Sweet Chin Music. (7:14) Shark Boy blocks the third superkick attempt and nails a neckbreaker! Cover, 1, 2, goddamn. Shark Boy mounts the corner, punches Shane 9 times and bites him in the face. Shane immediately comes back with a fisherman’s buster, covers, and scores the pinfall. (8:16) ** The match was okay, but was the Skipper run in REALLY necessary to continue Big Important Storylines?
SCOTT HUDSON is back again. He stands with ERIK WATTS, the director of authority. He promises to knock out Vince Russo later if he tries anything during the World Title match. And if Siaki, Legend, or Trinity hit ringside – AJ forfeits the belt on the spot.
MY LEAST FAVORITE WRESTLER is back to bore us all! Douglas brags about some wins over Raven, citing it’s exactly why he’s the Franchise, which REALLY makes no sense. Blah, blah, blah… This goes on for about 9 hours, before RAVEN hits the ring with a bodybag. Douglas escapes the Raven Effect and kicks him in the testicles. Raven recovers and superkicks Douglas then hits the Raven Effect. THE NEW CHURCH appears on the not-Titantron, who have taken THE GATHERING hostage. Raven heads towards the back to save his friends, but isn’t sure where they are. Mitchell gives a hint: “Follow the smell of burning flesh.” And the segment ends.
LARRY ZBYSZKO is indeed here tonight! SCOTT HUDSON wants Larry to slap some sense into Kid Kash. We’re now up to 30 glorious years.
KID KASH vs. LARRY ZBYSZKO
Well, I’ll give Larry credit, he’s in the exact same shape he’s ever been in – which is more than we can say about most old timers. Kash does what Larry normally does best – and stalls like crazy. The crowd chants “WHERE’S YOUR WALKER?” and Larry pretends he’s on one, before telling the crowd to kiss his ass. Hah! Kash goes for a figure four, but Larry kicks him right off. Larry tries an armbar, but Kash gets to the ropes. Larry gets in some shots to the ribs, before Kash runs the ropes and hits a springboard crossbody for 2. Kash doesn’t agree – and gets in RUDY CHARLES’ face, so Charles shoves him right back to his ass. Back to Larry, Kash works a sleeper, but Larry knows his way out of that, so he moves to the Hand To The Face. Larry prefers the Hand To The Groin, and squeezes for all he’s worth. Backdrop to Kash – hairtoss, and Larry rides him a little on the mat. Zbyszko tries a backbreaker submission – but here comes MANKIND. He charges Larry, who sidesteps and he splashes Kash in the corner. Abyss recovers, hits the Black Hole, Kash rolls over, 1, 2, 3. (6:02) 3/4* So we’re 2 out of 3 in bad finishes this week… Check the end of the recap for a full report since I started recapping these shows.
SCOTT HUDSON and RAVEN are super sleuths, in search of evil! However, THE NEW CHURCH isn’t backstage, they’re in the ring! Mitchell is prepared to show Alexis and Julio real pain – so Raven hits the ring. Brian Lee and Slash take bulldogs – and Raven belts them with trashcan lids. A Raven Effect for Mitchell is stopped by SHANE DOUGLAS who hits the ring, and gives Raven a belly to belly. Julio tries to come back, but gets dumped by the Killdozer! Raven’s put in a bodybag while Slash sticks out his tongue. Before they do any more damage, we’ve got to cut away to…
A Mad Mikey video package. His alarm goes off – and he smashes it with a hammer. Mikey goes off to play basketball, but the opponent is so tall and teases him with his height. So Mikey kicks the shit out of him, stands on his back, and slam dunks the ball. Later, someone won’t take his phone call – which naturally makes Mikey angry. He smashes the phone, goes to the office where the fellow is talking to someone else on the phone and chokes him out with the phone cord. Back home with the roommates, Mikey labels all his food in the fridge – but they eat it regardless. Mikey stuffs him in the refrigerator.
SIMON DIAMOND, JOHNNY SWINGER, and GLEN GILBERTI pose with their newly stolen tag-team titles. Gilberti: “James Storm, last week you told us that your mamma gives you better whippings than we do. Well then Storm, I guess you don’t know who your daddy is. And where I come from, that makes you a bastard.” Gilberti tells Harris and his bastard partner if they wants the belts they can come get ‘em. So AMERICA’S MOST WANTED shows up, beats up the trio, and take their belts back. The heels grab the leather straps for and lay the champs out again with plenty of shots. BLACK SHIRT SECURITY gets involved – and force them to take a stroll to the back.
Quick history package on the Kazarian/Sabin feud.
TALE OF THE TAPE - The future is now! - Future Shock vs. Wave of the Future - Controversy surrounds this rivalry
FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. CHRIS SABIN (for the NWA X title)
Kazarian gets the first shots – a dropkick followed by a clothesline. Leaping dropkick in the corner – cover, it gets a 2. Sabin recovers and throws Kazarian with a German suplex directly head first into the turnbuckle. He follows with a clothesline for 2. The fans jump into their “HAIL SABIN!” chant. Corner to corner running kneelifts connect, and a vertical suplex gets 2. Kazarian avoids a swinging uranage by latching on to Sabin’s legs and rolling him back for 2. Sabin is unimpressed, and sweeps Kazarian’s legs out from under him for 2. Kazarian quickly fights out of a headlock, but winds up tripped again. Sabin slides to the apron, goes for a slingshot something but gets superkicked on his way over and flies backwards to the floor! Sweet combo! Kazarian follows up with a whip into the ring – and a DDT to the mat. Back in, Kazarian covers for 2. Sabin tries going up, but Kazarian follows with a super backdrop, holds on with a bridge, and gets 2. Kazarian goes up – Sabin follows, but Kazarian hooks the top ropes with his hands while Sabin tries to German suplex him, and the picture we’re left with while Sabin grunts and pulls at Kazarian is far more graphic than anything else I needed tonight. Kazarian eventually shoves him off – but Sabin’s right back up there and launches him with a super belly to belly overhead suplex for 2. Sabin dropkicks Kazarian which bumps the ref. Awww fuck, here we go. Sabin gets the title belt and lays out Kazarian. Cover, 1, 2, 3. (6:24) What the FUCK is their problem? ANDREW THOMAS hits the ring and tells the other referee what happened and demands it restarts. The referees get into a shoving match, Kazarian hits a DDT, Thomas slides in, and counts 3. (7:17) *1/2 Now RUDY CHARLES is in, says he’s holding the title up, barring Erik Watts’ decision. That is the biggest load of shit I’ve seen in quite some time – and keep in mind I DID order WWE Vengeance. BOOK TWO GUYS AGAINST EACHOTHER, BUILD A FEUD, WHEN IT’S TIME TO BLOWOFF THE FEUD, BOOK A WINNER.
I’m not in a good mood.
Technical difficulties follow. Why the fuck not? Tenay covers beautifully since he’s a diamond in the sour milk.
3 LIVE CREW go to a trailer park. Hey, this is like the wrestling, it’s lame! Konnan and Ron Killings find a redneck working on his car, and he follows them around while he rubs himself. BG James is in a pond, washing car parts. Meanwhile, the redneck continues to rub himself. Inside BG’s trailer, he offers a surprise for Konnan. And the redneck rubs himself. The surprise is redneck clothes for Konnan. Killings spots the redneck and chases him down. 3 Live Crew return to the Asylum next week. And the shit rolls on…
The crew erect a steel cage.
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS stands in the crowd and cuts a promo. He got tired of tradition, and promises to stop the spreading of it. When we think tradition, we apparently think of Jeff Jarrett – so he launched the first stone towards him. Daniels promises to show the fans how sportz entertainment has changed his life – and will show everyone the light. Tradition is stagnation – and the true tradition is metamorphosis. He hopes to open just one mind tonight, because if he does so, the fight against tradition will be that much easier. Daniels chews out some fat kid, stating he’s not prepared for change. Ditto an old lady. He finds a younger fan and asks him if he’ll embrace change? The fan throws his drink so Daniels lays him to waste. TRIPLE J rushes to the aid of all people! Daniels takes off. Jarrett sits in the ring, asks the guys to keep putting up the cage, because he’ll take Daniels out in a cage match. RED SHIRT SECURITY head down to ringside to drag Jarrett to the back, so he waves a chair at them. BLACK SHIRT SECURITY joins too – holding off the red shirts but asking Jarrett to come with them. Everyone’s distracted, and misses Daniels suddenly in the cage – and beating the crap out of Jarrett. Red Shirts hold Jarrett back, and Daniels kicks him in the midsection, followed by a DDT. He poses, and we move on.
We get the history with AJ Styles and D’Lo Brown. They ended their tag-team partnership to chase the World Title, and the next thing you know, Styles with help from Russo takes the World Title. D’Lo’s unimpressed by the fact he needed help – and two weeks later called him out inside a cage. They went all of 4 minutes before Vince Russo interfered. They had a World Title match a couple weeks later, which saw interference from Sonny Siaki. Two weeks later, another World Title match, two out of three falls. Both men grabbed the belt off a ladder – and Styles retained since tie goes to the champion. Tonight is being dubbed as the Final Showdown – right back to where they started, inside the cage.
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED come back to ringside. Storm wants Gilberti in the ring next week – and proposes a 6-man tag-team match. Tenay and West suggest they team with Jeremy Borash, but Storm announce their partner is on the phone. Dusty Rhodes’ voice hits the arena!!!! Excellent! Things are gonna be funky like a monkey!
Here’s a pre-taped interview with MIKE TENAY, VINCE RUSSO, and AJ STYLES. Tenay wants to know why Styles associates with Russo. “Why? Why not.” I hate that answer. He says he’ll do whatever it takes to be the champion forever – and it doesn’t matter to him how. Tenay wants to know if it was Russo that caused him to stab D’Lo in the back? Styles says he learned nothing from D’Lo Brown, and infact D’Lo was learning everything from him, and he doesn’t need that. As for the cage match – Styles thinks they’re idiots for allowing Russo ringside. Tenay keeps going on about Russo, so Vince tells AJ he can step aside. Styles heads off, and Russo gets RIGHT into Tenay’s face. Tenay doesn’t back down and tells him off. Russo says if he’s ever disrespected again, he best watch out.
More pre-taped fun with SCOTT HUDSON and D’LO BROWN. The premise is D’Lo’s prepared himself for this night since he was born. Tonight, without any interference, it’s 1-on-1 and there will be no more excuses.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Brown Styles 6'3" Height 5'11" 280 Weight 215 9 Years Pro 4
- A TNA first: NWA World’s Title at stake in a steel cage - Siaki and Trinity barred from ringside - Russo handcuffed to Director of Authority Erik Watts
D’LO BROWN vs. AJ STYLES (in a cage match for the NWA world title)
True to their word, ERIK WATTS and VIC VENOM are handcuffed together at ringside. Let’s see how they can fuck up THIS finish, considering it’s been booked to be completely clear of interference. Styles attacks first, with a kick to the back of D’Lo’s leg – but D’Lo comes back with a shoulder block. Styles barely grazes D’Lo with a dropkick – and he stays on his feet. D’Lo blocks a hiptoss by pounding on Styles – and goes for catapult. Styles clings onto the side of the cage (ala RVD, Survivor Series 2002), and bounces off with a back elbow. AJ takes down D’Lo with a clothesline – so D’Lo responds with a much harder clothesline of his own. D’Lo’s whipped to the corner – he goes for a floatover, and Styles kicks him right in the beans! Styles tries a springboard crossbody, but D’Lo catches him and throws him into the cage. D’Lo with a scoop slam – and heads up to try something. Styles won’t allow it and crotches him – and follows with a dropkick that sends D’Lo into the cage. Look out – we’ve got us a bleeder in Styles! He dropkicks D’Lo face first in the cage, and he too starts to bleed. OUT OF NOWHERE, D’Lo hits the hardest looking Samoan Drop I’ve seen in my life! He follows with a release German suplex, and backdrop. Styles blocks a backdrop and goes for a Styles clash, but winds up backdropped anyway. D’Lo heads to the top, hits the Lo Down, covers, 1, 2, Styles kicks out. The sad part? Nobody in the arena believed that was the finish. D’Lo charges the corner – Styles backdrops him into the cage, powerbombs him off the top, and hits the Styles Clash. Now, on paper, and even in the ring, that technically should be it if you want to sell ANY finisher. For some stupid reason however, Styles kicks out because he, get this, RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MATCH. Yes, when you’re out cold, you can still recognize the importance of the match. D’Lo comes back by driving Styles into the cage and a running sitdown powerbomb. He follows with another short powerbomb, and climbs all the way to the top of the cage for the Big Exciting Spot. HERE COMES THE BULLSHIT!!!!!!!! Russo throws powder in the eyes of Watts and shakes the cage to try to get D’Lo to fall. It fails – and Watts drives Russo HARD into the cage. That causes D’Lo to fall off the top, Styles drapes an arm, 1, 2, 3. (10:19) **1/4 Unfuckingbelievable, they found a way to screw with the EASIEST match on the card to book. Oooh, I feel a rant coming on.
THE BULLSHIT REPORT
WEEK MATCHES BAD FINISHES June 25 7 3 July 2 7 3 July 9 7 3 July 16 7 4 July 23 7 4 July 30 8 5 August 6 5 4
Completely unacceptable. I understand the need for shitty finishes from time to time to keep building a feud – and not ALL of these finishes are really as bad as all that, but COME ON! Almost literally, every single heel cannot go over without some form of cheating. It’s really a sad fact.
Two of the matches tonight were handed shitty finishes for no other reason than to protect the faces from looking weak in defeat as the feuds begin to patter away. Really now – is Frankie Kazarian REALLY so important he can’t lie down for 3 to help build Chris Sabin? When looking back at a guy like Mick Foley who did nothing but job his entire career, did you ever believe for a second he was a lesser main eventer as a result? All you need is a push behind you, and a couple of clean jobs won’t hurt you in the long run when you happen to clash with someone who’s also got a push behind them.
Somebody needs to tell Russo when you do things all the time, they don't mean shit.
For example, remember when they were doing a Ladder Match like every other week? Now it looks like they're diluting the Cage Match as well.
If there's a run-in or a screwy finish in every match, it won't mean anything. It'll be like WCW where the fans just sit on their hands, waiting for the screwjob.
And if they don't want the heels going over super clean, what's wrong with a pull of the tights? Or grabbing the ropes? Or an exposed turnbuckle? All perfectly acceptable methods of cheating without ruining the match.
Maybe if I somehow got ADD, I'd understand RussoLogic.
I wish someone in the TNA offices would remember that the titles CAN change hands on a DQ - which would force smarter cheating than "run ins when the referee is bumped".
Or not even cheating - so much as being a dick.
One of my favorite matches is Sting vs. Lord Steven Regal from Great American Bash 1996. Regal is a DICK throughout the match but keeps his cheating to a relative bear minimum. Things like taking Sting down and rubbing his elbow into Sting's ear while on the mat, and just plain out mocking Sting's style while Sting was out. It worked HUGE and drew massive heat. And every time Sting would come back, Regal would bail until he had the advantage again. It was great to watch. I guess I'll group Bret Hart into the same type of category as a fantastic heel wrestler who KNEW how to draw heat in other ways than having run ins.
As far as gimmick matches go, over the past 4 years or so I've come to accept the fact they're going to get overused and there's nothing we can do about it. The great success of the first Hell In A Cell repopularized the cage in a HUGE way, and of course the TIT finals revolutionized the ladder match. As a result, we've got bookers all around the country constantly hoping to reproduce greatness and give us the NEXT GREAT GIMMICK MATCH instead of sticking to the basics and letting the wrestlers work with what they know.
There's nothing I can do about any of it, except sit on my soapbox and keep whining. I think I will.
A wonderfully detailed column as always, and I am just glad you could understand all the dialogue that I couldn't (such as Scott and Rebekah's argument and what Scott said to Al after his imaginative sell). Thank you Cubsfan.