Late again! One would THINK a highlights show of which I’ve seen most of the highlights already would be something I could whip up on time, but I’m coming off the heels of a 70 hour week. (12 hours from Monday-Friday, 10 hours today) I get Sunday off simply because we’re not open, but I’m pulling it again this week… As long as they keep approving it, I ain’t turning it down. (And with any hope, it’ll mean I’m a homeowner by 23.)
And they say inbound customer service is more stressful than being a prison guard. Bah!
Hey, it’s only a penny! And it’s NOW!
Some exciting highlights air! I’ll give them credit for not hiding a lot of their performers, showing shots of Amazing Red, Scott Hall, New Jack, the Maximos, and others whom for whatever reason are no longer with us.
THIS IS A TNA SPECIAL PRESENTATION!!!!!
Welcome to an Empty Asylum!!! Somewhere, Tony Schiavone declares it a sellout, and Bobby Heenan mentions fans hanging from the rafters. Hey, speaking of Tony, I wonder if Alternate Universe Tony that appeared on TNA at the beginning of this year is gonna make the cut. I’m guessing not. MIKE TENAY and DON WEST are hosting as usual. The X-Division is hyped and merged right into…
Another highlight package! Ladder matches (and we’ve had a few…), and high flying spots are all over this one. LOTS of Amazing Red which is impressive, considering he didn’t spend more than maybe 6 months in the 16 month run of this promotion. Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles’ never-ending feud also makes the cut. Other notable names: The Maximos, Elix Skipper, Chris Daniels, Trinity (oh god…), Sonny Siaki (ACK!), Lo Ki, and Chris Sabin.
The X Division has recently become so heated however that an Ultimate X Match was created so that the on-going feud between Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian, and Michael Shane could be solved… And the results? Well, here’s the match!
MICHAEL SHANE vs. FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. CHRIS SABIN (in an Ultimate X match for the NWA X title)
JEREMY BORASH does the intros because Michael Buffer costs. Sabin heads to the floor to avoid getting caught up in a fight, so both guys follow – but can’t catch him, and give up and beat eachother. Let it be said that Sabin’s the smartest man in wrestling. He sneaks in to enzuigiri Kazarian, and climbs the ringpost towards the cable for an early win. Michael Shane’s on it, and hooks the leg of Sabin. Sabin drops – blocks a TKO but takes a neckbreaker. Shane goes up, and Kazarian pulls him down. Neckbreaker for Shane – and Kazarian rushes to the corner. Sabin cuts him off early – but winds up on the shoulders of Kazarian soon thereafter. Shane bolts up and across the ropes – and Kazarian wanders midring with Sabin on his back, so Shane hooks his legs around Sabin and delivers a rana off the shoulders. Yakuza kick for Michael Shane from Kazarian leaves him as the lone man standing. Kazarian goes across the cable quickly, and Sabin has to rush over to yank him down. Kazarian throws him out of the ring to rid himself of that distraction – and catches Shane out of the corner of his eye going for the belt. Kazarian rushes up another turnbuckle and climbs across as quickly as he can and meets Shane at the belt, fighting over it. Sabin meanwhile has snuck back in and dropkicks the both of them, and all three splatter. Sabin goes outside to get a chair from a helpful fan – and starts hitting everyone inside the ring. The chair is wedged between the top and middle turnbuckles, and Shane goes headfirst into it. Kazarian, in his continued quest to morph completely into RVD uses a Van Daminator. Sabin comes back with a windup slam RIGHT THROUGH THE CHAIR. It literally crumpled as Kazarian came down which is one helluva visual. Outside, we get a look at a top notch bladejob by one Michael Shane! Nice guy Chris Sabin grates it further with his elbow. Sabin now knows he’s got a great shot at the belt and starts his way across the ring. Shane is back in – grabs a chair, and clocks Sabin! Sabin falls, and the belt falls too…which is REALLY too bad because these guys have been working their asses off. The referee calls for the bell – and demands they re-hang the belt. A CREW rushes in to run it up the ladder as quickly as possible. I’m kinda hoping Chris Sabin shoves the ladder over while they’re up there, but no dice. All three brawl on the floor. Michael Shane gets whipped into the guardrail – and the belt hangs back in the middle of the ring. Back in, Sabin goes for a DVD on Shane – but Kazarian’s on the top rope with a sunset flip – showing off Sabin’s ass to the free world. Sabin rolls through the move with Shane on his shoulders and drops him down with a Samoan drop AND dropkicks Kazarian at the same time. A well deserved “hail Sabin” breaks out. He goes for a double leg slam on Kazarian, but Michael Shane delivers a dropkick, Kazarian wraps the legs and Sabin gets SPIKED head first backwards! I’ve NEVER seen that and it looks like it hurt like hell. Shane’s a bloody mess – looking like his cousin from inside a Hell In A Cell. Kazarian climbs across – going for the belt, but Michael Shane goes too, and kicks him off from behind. Chris Sabin now joins the fun and gets in behind Shane. Shane wraps his legs around Sabin’s head from the cables, Sabin drops and POWERBOMBS HIM FROM 10 FEET OFF THE MAT! That’s NOT an exaggeration either! Sabin goes back across for the belt – but Kazarian stops him and spears him from the corner!!! The belt falls again, awwww fuck. The referee again demands the belt be hung back up, and here comes that crew again. It’s put up far faster than last time. Kazarian and Shane fight in one corner, while Sabin goes across the other. Sabin’s ALMOST there, and Kazarian sees him and makes a mad crawl for it. They meet in the middle – fight like animals with lots of kicking before both fall back into the ring. Michael Shane lies on the floor, in a pool of his own blood. Kazarian and Sabin go for it again – and again meet in the middle. Kazarian hooks his legs over the cable this time – commando crawl style, and Sabin winds up falling. It’s Kazarian’s belt to grab, but HOLY SHIT, Michael Shane is on his feet and flying like a monkey across the cables. It took him about 1 and a half seconds from the corner to the middle. He sneaks in, grabs the belt, and falls down before Kazarian can grab it!!! We have a new X Division champion! (13:48) ****1/4
Back to our hosts! We’re moving over to tag-team wrestling now, that West feels is just as exciting as the X Division. Need some proof?
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED vs. TRIPLE X (in a cage match for the NWA World Tag-Team Titles)
Skipper and Daniels will be defending as usual – with Lo Ki still out.
TALE OF THE TAPE - TNA’s first ever cage match - NWA’s two best teams - Triple X 4-0 vs. AMW but…
JEREMY BORASH does the introduction. Why isn’t this the main event? I’ll give anything to see all four guys pummel Borash into a bloody heep.
We’re off! Everyone wastes no time in beating the fuck out of eachother – the way things should be. Triple X hit a double suplex on Harris, but Storm is in to even things out, and Harris comes back with a bulldog. Together, AMW throws Elix Skipper into Chris Daniels. Tenay: “This is not a climbing contest! We’re not going to see anyone win by climbing over the cage.” And god bless ‘em for it! Harris works over Daniels for a bit – but Elix gets tagged in, and the heels ram Harris into the mesh. Skipper tries the first pin of the match, but with the bottom rope ensures it’s only a two. A closeup reveals that Harris is already bleeding. And it’s a messy cut. Harris gets to his feet – and Skipper hits a double jump moonsault from the TOP rope and it hits beautifully! Daniels is tagged in, and he tries a pin for 2. Daniels hits a superkick and falls on top of Harris – which gets 2. Skipper is back in, and he tries his luck at a pin, with the same result as earlier. Harris fights back with a strong looking lariat – and sits inches from the corner. Storm gets the hot tag and you could repackage him as a maid because he’s cleaning house. Elix is backdropped against the cage and falls on his head – and Daniels takes a neckbreaker. A powerslam scores 2. Daniels quick throws Storm into the cage, then sets him up on the apron – and drives his knee into Storm’s head which hits the cage. Elix comes off the top with a crossbody to Storm, who was being held up in midair by Daniels. Elix slowly covers, and gets 2. Storm is able to tag out – and for the second time, Skipper gets backdropped into the cage and on the apron. Harris grabs Daniels and does the battering ram spot from one end of the cage to the other. A full nelson slam gets two – and Daniels is sliced wide open. Daniels recovers, hits the Angels Wings…and only gets 2! Storm saves Harris from a further beating with a clothesline to Daniels. Daniels recovers – and fights Harris all the way to the top rope. Daniels fights Harris off…and hits a uranage from the middle of the top rope! Skipper nails Storm with a belly to belly, and slams him into the cage. We have another bleeder – with Skipper being the only non-victim. Skipper heads to the top of the cage – but Harris cuts him off and POWERBOMBS HIM from the top! Good lord!!!! Harris covers…for 2! Daniels Rolls the dice on Storm, and gets a 2. Harris and Daniels again fight to the top…and Harris SPEARS him from off the turnbuckle towards the middle of the ring! And that’s a 2. Skipper finds Storm, and hits a Play Of The Day – before returning to his climb to the top once again. And FROM THE TOP he hits a crossbody! This is insane. The pin attempt is good for only 2. Skipper goes back up again – but Harris is right behind him, and shoves Skipper off the top to the floor! So locked inside the cage, it’s 2-on-1, and Daniels knows it… He screams at Skipper to get the fuck back in, then desperately tries to escape. Skipper tries to save his partner…so Harris knocks him off the cage coming back in. Hah! Storm suckerkick hits – Harris hits the Death Sentence…and it’s a 2??? That’s your finish 99.9% of the time! Skipper once again tries to get back in – and again Harris kicks him off the cage. Harris now goes all the way up…AND HITS A TOP OF CAGE DEATH SENTENCE! (Legdrop while opponent is on your partner’s knee) Forget it – Daniels is dead! And with that, the pin is academic, and the 6 month chase finally comes to an end for America’s Most Wanted. (17:48) ****1/4 What an absolutely brutal, messy cage match and a beautiful way to end the feud once and for all!
While June 25th was a highlight for America’s Most Wanted – winning the tag-team war, little did they know what lay ahead. Glen Gilberti was determined to take the tag-team belts over to his camp – and to do so, he recruited Johnny Swinger and Simon Diamond. Let’s look at that!
At first, Diamond and Swinger weren’t successful, dropping their first FOUR matches against the champs. Title matches weren’t about to continue, however haven beaten the champs down on a regular basis with various whips and foreign objects – America’s Most Wanted agreed to a Bullrope Match…which they lost. The challengers were rewarded with ANOTHER title match, and through nefarious means prevailed – highlights of which are aired, making them the new NWA TNA World Tag-Team Champions.
While that feud is hot – it’s nothing compared to Raven vs. Shane Douglas, says Don West. I’ll disagree, but then I’m REALLY biased when it comes to this one. ;-)
Here’s the scoop. About 3 months ago, Shane Douglas showed up in TNA and went right after Raven. No one was quite sure why. Douglas revealed he hated Raven for trying to revive a belt he buried (the NWA World Title) – and as a result had made a pact with the devil to rid TNA of him. The devil? James Mitchell! Together, they threw fireballs at Raven, CM Punk, and the now departed Alexis Laree. Raven fought on, and took a number of beatings as a result, and on the losing end of several tag-team matches – winding up hung one evening before he was saved by his friends. Later that night, Raven managed to win a Battle Royal to find the #1 contender for the World Title, defeating Douglas cleanly and getting revenge. However, it didn’t last as the run ins began during his title match – and once again the New Church was able to ruin his fun, leaving him a bloody mess. Then, a week ago inside War Games – Mitchell’s gang beat Raven some more and have vowed to cut his hair off one way or another, getting a lock of it just before the show went off the air.
NEXT WEEK: Raven vs. Shane Douglas – hair vs. hair.
Now, before Douglas was around – there was someone else in Raven’s way for the World Title. That man was NWA Champion, Jeff Jarrett. Here’s some clips from the April 30, 2003 match! Raven appeared in January of this past year, and immediately made it his goal to chase down the NWA World Title – finally getting himself a one-on-one match with Triple J. It drew some of the highest buyrates the promotion has seen to date – and ended after 20 minutes with Jarrett scoring the pinfall, more or less to the confusion of EVERYONE since Raven seemed a given for the belt. The match itself was excellent. Weeks later, AJ Styles was inexplicably given the belt – and the focus off Raven for awhile. But, TNA got the point and quickly turned Raven face. Strange seeing Sabu again – I COMPLETELY forgot about his participation in that one.
After disappearing for months, Vince Russo returned to TNA in June – and nobody seemed sure why. The first week, clean shaven, he ruined Raven’s chance at becoming the #1 contender to the World Title, in a match against Glen Gilberti. The next, Jarrett defended the belt against Gifted Glen – and this time he cracked Gilberti with the baseball bat, confusing the fans. Finally, he revealed what he was up to – in a 3-way dance involving Jarrett, Raven, and Styles. With Raven out, Jarrett and Styles were toe-to-toe – Russo entered with Jarrett’s guitar, nailed Jarrett (to a huge pop! I hope you were listening TNA guys!) and one Styles Clash later gave us a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Sting’s one and only appearance in TNA was teaming with Jarrett against Styles and Syxx-Pac, who hasn’t been seen since. This was one week into Styles’ reign for the record…and Styles wound up getting pinned by – you guessed it – Jeff Jarrett.
More Styles! (Is he REALLY that exciting???) After taking Jarrett’s belt, he moved into a feud with D’Lo Brown, his former tag-team partner. This more or less led to D’Lo’s credibility being COMPLETELY shot in no less than 2 months, jobbing over, and over, and over to AJ Styles in crappy finishes. I don’t think any of their matches ended cleanly in the favor of anyone – and left D’Lo left feuding with the even blander Sonny Siaki. The package makes it seem like this feud was exciting, but don’t be fooled by the flashy music and graphics – it sucked.
One week ago, the first ever TNA War Games was held. It was alright – didn’t really blow off any feuds which is kind of the point of these types of matches, but it was fairly rough and hardcore. The finish comes when AJ Styles is pinned after a super Stroke by – you guessed it – Jeff Jarrett. Afterwards, the New Church tries to cut Raven’s hair.
Tenay wonders if anyone can sort anything out in TNA… Well perhaps this man can, come next week. Who is he?
Just when you think you know what he’ll do next… …He shocks the world Just when you least expect him… …He shows up Just when you think you have all the answers… …He changes the questions
“They gave me kind of a home attachment. It was ruleless other than the ones they laid down, and it was shelter, and for me it was security.”
He’s coming… …And he’s pissed
RODDY PIPER “LIVE & UNCENSORED”… NEXT WEEK
Questions to be answered later this year? Will Jeff Jarrett get the title shot he so richly deserves? (Please god, no!) Will Swinger and Diamond survive the challengers in the tag-team division? All that, and more!
NEXT WEEK: The return of Roddy Piper, and hair vs. hair (West promises someone will be bald as a billiard ball).
MY LEAST FAVORITE WRESTLER gets the second last word – cutting (THE WIT!!!!) a promo with scissors. RAVEN gets the last bit – wondering if he was supposed to be ashamed of having lost some hair last week? Raven doesn’t feel shame in the least, and states he even enjoyed it just a little bit. “Walk with me…through my Clockwork Orange House Of Fun…hair vs. hair.”
And I guess that’s just what we’ll see next week! And I’ll be here…somehow.
Welcome, everyone, to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED edition of Inside The Ropes, often referred to as the thinking man's wrestling column. I'm Canadian Bulldog. We've got a lot to get to this week, so let's get right to it.