The Dames’ Diatribe on NWA:TNA – August 27th, 2003
Hello and welcome back for this week’s TNA Diatribe. For those of you who missed my Diatribe on this Sunday’s SummerSlam, you can always click on that link over there or better yet, head straight over to TheSmartMarks.com, read it and stick around for the rest of the goodies.
Before I get into the recap however, there is something that I need to get off my chest. Last week’s Ultimate X Match has been praised by the major reviewers out there on the net…and I cannot comprehend it at all.
Scott Keith gave it ****1/4. It received a ton of praise from Jason Powell of the Pro Wrestling Torch (pwtorch.com) as well as Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and of course, TNA’s very own Jeremy Borash, which is understandable. No one would want to shit on their own product.
I’m not trying to be negative or “smarkish” and those of you who read my material can attest that more often than not, I’m far from it at times. I’ve even been accused of being lenient in my star ratings towards TNA as opposed to my WWE reviews for some reason. As someone who’s watched and reviewed almost every TNA show (with the exception of five shows in the first few months of the promotion), I’d like to think that I hold TNA to the same standard as I do for every show I review.
For those of you who didn’t read my initial reactions for last week’s show and Ultimate X match, you can find them here. Anyway, it basically comes down to this. I cannot comprehend giving tons of praise to this match because a) the title belt fell off the structure, causing TNA officials to literally stop the match to rehang the title; b) the three wrestlers involved then blew a total of three big spots; c) the title belt falling AGAIN, causing the match to be stopped once more; d) a finish that was contradictory to the booking of the Kazarian/Sabin feud. It was a new, innovative, fresh match, but it was one that was very flawed in its execution. I know I’m not the only one who thought so as I’ve received plenty of e-mails from fans in the Asylum that night who also felt the match ended up being a disaster. The sad part about the whole thing in my eyes is that the match was going VERY well in the opening minutes of the contest and definitely had the potential to be the ****1/4 match that Scott Keith and others claim it to be. Disagree or agree with me? Go right ahead….but either way, I’d like your opinion, so send it over to email@example.com or SmartMarkDames@aol.com if you’d like.
Also, one last thing before the recap starts. I’d like to give a big shout out to Bob Barron, who is going back to school in Toronto next week. He’s helped me out immensely by ordering TNA every week and giving me a tape for the show all summer. I definitely appreciate it, Bob. Don’t worry though, as my best friend just got digital cable (and according to Jeremy Borash, TNA will be replayed 10 times during the week on InDemand PPV), so the Diatribes won’t be ending.
Now, let’s hit the recap.
The FBI is warning all of those who liked the Ultimate X match that they’re coming to get you!
We get a GREAT video package, once again chronicling the storylines in TNA and focusing on the loaded card tonight. These new packages, with the voiceover by Jeremy Borash, are very helpful on catching up those who are purchasing TNA for the first time or simply haven’t seen it in a while and need to catch up on what’s going on and why. These are tons better than the old style of packages TNA was using where they’d simply recap last week’s events with instrumental music and text explaining everything.
We start the show off with TNA’s musical ripoff of Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers” as Shane Douglas and the New Church make their entrance for the opening match. It’s odd seeing the New Church come out to this music instead of their “Oh Ee Oh” Evil Theme.
3 Live Krew vs. The New Church & Shane Douglas (w/ Father James Mitchell)
Match Background: These 3 man teams have no real reason why they’re facing each other tonight…except for the fact that they’re 3 man teams, I guess. 3 Live Krew, composed of Konnan, B.G. James and Ron “The Truth” Killings made their TNA re-debut two weeks ago after almost a two month absence, facing the team of Devon Storm, Vampire Warrior and Sinn. Sinn joined the New Church the following week, replacing “Killdozer” Brian Lee in the New Church stable.
The Match: 3LK come out to a big pop as they make their entrance, with Ron Killings and Konnan showing off the new 3LK shirt that actually looks marketable.
Konnan gets on THE STICK~! and cuts his usual promo and the crowd is HOT for it. Speaking of being hot, Shane Douglas is ALREADY getting yelled at by some hecklers in the front row.
The match starts off with Konnan and Slash locking up in the ring, going back and forth jockeying for position until Konnan hits the first big move of the match…a reverse DDT. Konnan backs Slash into a corner, only to jerk Slash’s head into his crotch, so when Slash hits back, it’s Konnan’s fault, really. Truth is tagged in and he hits the scissor kick on Slash to start. Shane Douglas then comes in, so Truth comes off the top with a Dudley Boyz-ish “Wassup” legdrop to the midsection. Slash is perched on the top and comes off the top with a cross body onto B.G. and Truth, only to get caught and triple teamed. B.G. goes for the Shake, Rattle & Roll punches, but gets distracted by Douglas, allowing Slash to get the advantage with a bicycle kick to the face. Sinn comes in and he combines with Slash for a cool double team. Slash basically reverse suplexes Sinn onto B.G. for a two count.
Father James Mitchell then joins the announcers and talks about Alexis Laree not being around anymore because when the New Church cut snippets of her hair last week, Raven was “too busy licking his wounds to save a damsel in distress”. According to Mitchell, she realized that Raven wasn’t always there to help her, so she’s gone from TNA. Interesting way to explain her departure to WWE without completely burying her…as it puts more heat on the Raven/New Church feud.
Meanwhile, in the ring, Sinn in still in with B.G. James and hits a HARD chop to his chest before hitting a sloppy rana for two. Douglas comes in now as Mitchell talks about Raven not only losing his title shot tonight…but eventually losing his hair. Slash comes in to work on James before handing him back to Douglas and the crowd is seriously into this match up. B.G. is able to counter an abdominal stretch with a hiptoss, hits an elbowdrop and a clothesline and is able to make the tag into The Truth. Killings comes in with Douglas and hits a GREAT flying head scissors and leg lariat with intensity! He heads into the corner with Douglas and goes for the mounted punches…but leaps off and performs a split, causing an oncoming Slash to nail Douglas in the corner with a clothesline instead! Sinn comes in and it turns into a big brawl with everyone spilling to the outside but Truth and Douglas.
Truth looks to perform the True Conviction on Douglas, but Mitchell comes into the ring…but Truth sees him first. He goes after Mitchell, but Douglas interrupts momentarily. Truth clotheslines Douglas over the top rope and Mitchell goes to creep on Truth….when Julio and CM Punk of The Gathering come running in! They get into a brawl with the New Church and they, along with the help of 3LK, clear the ring of them. The bell rings…and the decision is a no contest.
Winners: No Contest
My Opinion: Nice, energetic opener to start the show off as the crowd was very much into it, but it should have been a bit longer. Although a no contest here doesn’t exactly help anyone, TNA probably wanted to keep 3LK strong as well as the New Church. *3/4.
New TNA correspondent Terry Taylor is in the parking lot with Sonny Siaki and Trinity as they’re directing a hearse to back up. Taylor informs him that his match is…right now and Sonny is surprised, so he runs to the ring as his entrance theme begins.
D’Lo Brown vs. Sonny Siaki
Match Background: These two men have been feuding ever since Sonny Siaki cost D’Lo Brown his first shot against AJ Styles and the NWA Title. Since then, Siaki has cost D’Lo practically every title shot that he had against Styles, causing D’Lo to target him, naturally. Last week, Sonny Siaki said that he was going to bury D’Lo’s career and brought out a casket for a mock eulogy, but D’Lo was inside and gave him a beating, tossing him and Trinity in the casket. This week, they face each other one on one.
This isn’t the first time that these two men have crossed paths. Sonny Siaki and D’Lo had a skirmish in D’Lo’s debut with the company as Siaki, then a member of SEX, invited him into the stable and D’Lo refused. During the feud with Styles, D’Lo faced Siaki with the stip being that if he was successful, he would get Vince Russo in the ring for 5 minutes. Although the 5 minutes with Russo didn’t end up the way he wanted it to, he was able to pin Siaki to earn it though.
The Match: Siaki charges at Brown at the top of the ramp during his entrance, only to eat a leg lariat! D’Lo then whips Siaki down the ramp into the apron…and then hits an Asai Moonsault on him! He tosses Siaki into the ring before hitting an Eddie Guerrero slingshot senton on him and sending him to the outside again. D’Lo then charges through the ropes with a dropkick of sorts…but Siaki catches him by the legs and drops him to the outside, almost like a powerbomb! He then twists D’Lo into the steel steps, causing Brown to collide into them face first!
Siaki picks up D’Lo and hits a couple of chops before tossing him back in. Sonny then goes to the top and hits a split legged moonsault on D’Lo for two! I had NO idea he was capable of doing that! The crowd is egging on Sonny as he’s finally got some heat in this building. Siaki sets up on the 2nd rope and dives at D’Lo, but he’s caught with a Diamond Cutter on the way down and both men are on the canvas! Both men emerge with a slugfest erupting in the ring, but D’Lo takes the advantage. He hits the Sky High, but Trinity gets on the apron and distracts the official. D’Lo gets her away from him, but that’s all the time Sonny needed to get up and hit the original Siakalypse (snap neckbreaker)! ONE…TWO…NO!
D’Lo gets up and catches Sonny in the Sudden Impact, but as the official checks on Siaki, Trinity comes off the top rope with a Tornado DDT! Siaki gets up and hits Siakalypse NOW for the pinfall!
Winner: Sonny Siaki
After the match, Siaki and Trinity attack D’Lo and lead him towards the parking lot. They intend to throw him into the back of the hearse, but Jeff Jarrett attacks and nails Siaki with a guitar! Jarrett throws Siaki into it and checks on D’Lo….
My Opinion: The match was decent and once again, should have been a bit longer. In order to keep the feud going, I had a feeling that Siaki would get the pinfall and I’m happy that a “homegrown” talent like Siaki is in a position where he could believably pin D’Lo Brown. Jarrett’s interference at the end of the angle is just payback for Team Styles throwing him in the hearse before the Gauntlet match next week and will most likely lead to a series of tag matches. **
Tenay and West run down the card for tonight, but sadly, no Freddy or Jason clones are behind them. All of a sudden, Don Callis appears to the left of Tenay and says that he’s upset about Jerry Lynn receiving a title shot at the X Title tonight. This leads up to a video package on the Ultimate X match, which I’ve already talked about in length at the top of this Diatribe. The video package naturally makes the match look really good…but interestingly enough, they leave out everything from the entire 6-7 minute span where everything went wrong, taking footage from the beginning of the match and the finish. At the end of the package, they tacked on some post mach comments from Michael Shane.
The new X Champion, Michael Shane, is now in the back with Terry Taylor, who asks him how he feels about facing Jerry Lynn tonight. Shane then turns into a heel again this week and says that it doesn’t matter because he’s “the Showstopper…the Main event…the Heart Break Kid Shawn Michaels…cousin.” His message to Jerry Lynn is that he’s going to “dance all over his face.” Alright…even though he’s HBK’s legit cousin, it makes him and TNA look bush league when they blatantly use his relation to a WWE Superstar to try and get him over. I’ll admit this though…he’ll get some heat from the crowd over it, but I just think it’s being done the wrong way.
Michael Shane vs. Jerry Lynn for the X Division Title
Match Background: None. Shane won the X Title last week in the Ultimate X match and Eric Watts awarded the title shot to Jerry Lynn.
The Match: For those of you who care, Lollipop is back this week. I only mention that now because I just noticed it. Don Callis is at the announce table during this match as well.
Lynn motions at Callis during his entrance as Shane rips off more of HBK’s mannerisms coming down the aisle. They lock up with Lynn using his experience to keep a headlock on the mat. Shane finally escapes, takes Lynn down and slaps the back of his head, so Lynn trips him and does the same in return. They go to lock up again, but Shane takes a cheap shot with a boot to the midsection. Lynn takes over in the corner, whips him and hits a tilt a whirl head scissors on Shane! He starts to work the arm, but Shane goes to the ropes and knees his way out. Shane elevates Lynn onto the apron who goes for his guillotine legdrop, but Shane has it scouted, so he moves out of the way and drapes Lynn throat first on the top rope, sending him out to the floor. Shane connects with a baseball slide to the lower back of Lynn and then attempts an Asai Moonsault, but Lynn pulls him down and into the apron, face first. Shane reverses an irish whip on the outside and sends Jerry into the guard rail, following it up with a drop toe hold on the steps. Shane tosses Lynn back into the ring and taunts for the crowd on the apron, but pays for it with a dropkick that sends him to the floor again.
He takes Shane towards the announce table and points at Callis before ramming Shane into the table. He tosses Shane into the ring, allowing him to recover and he tries to suplex him back in. Lynn floats over, but ends up taking a Stun Gun on the top rope for two. Lynn gets up and goes for a suplex, but Shane counters with a pull to the hair. Lynn gets up and does the same to him though before Shane tosses him out of the ring. Back in the ring now, Shane works over Lynn in the corner, but Lynn whips Shane into the other side and drop toe holds him into the turnbuckles. Shane gets up and does the same to Lynn before heading to the top. Shane stands on the top, looks at the crowd and flips them off before jumping down to his feet, faking whatever he was going to do. He goes to the other side of the ring and starts “warming up the band”. Lynn gets up and counters it with a clothesline. Lynn points at Callis again before knocking down Shane…but he ends up getting low blowed from behind and rolled up by Shane for two. Shane looks for the Cradle Piledriver, but Lynn back body drops him and starts connecting with mounted punches. Callis starts complaining on commentary and takes off his headset as Lynn won’t quit. Callis heads to the back as the ref pulls Lynn off, but Lynn quickly refocuses on Shane with a nice spear! He picks Shane up and hits a big powerbomb, but Lynn is taking his sweet time now. He puts Shane on his shoulders and hits the TKO…but he won’t pin Shane. He signals now for the Cradle Piledriver, but lets go as Red Shirt Security come on down for the distraction. Michael Shane gets up and hits Lynn with Sweet Shane Music for the pinfall.
Winner: Michael Shane
My Opinion: I’m a fan of actual wrestling, which is what Lynn is good at, but something about these two just didn’t click. Technically, it was the best match of the night so far, but then again, they had enough time to do it. Lynn’s character was very preoccupied with Callis and because of this and the sequence towards the end, it seemed as if Shane was someone that Lynn could have beaten easily. That doesn’t bode well for the character of Michael Shane, especially after Chris Sabin was a red hot heel in the X Division that no one could touch. Speaking of that, where’s Sabin’s one on one rematch for the title? **1/4.
We now go to a pre-taped segment where Mike Tenay is interviewing Raven in the back. They ask him what he thinks about the fact that Mitchell and Douglas have been trying to cut his hair lately. Raven says that he’s got a destiny to be NWA Champion. He talks about Tommy Rich being the youngest NWA Champion when he won the title, but ended up in a blood feud with Buzz Sawyer and Rich never regained the title. In ECW, he was the World Champion…then he got involved with Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. Since then, he knows that he needed to get back into the title picture. He says that regardless of who is in his way or what they want to do to him, he’s never lost sight of the prize…and tonight, he shall fulfill his destiny.
All of a sudden, Vince Russo & AJ Styles interrupt, with Styles getting in Raven’s face. Raven piefaces Styles, enraging the champion and Russo holds him back….
We now to go a video package on Abyss, who dominated last week’s Gauntlet match. They focus on the Sandman/Abyss confrontation where he staggered the big man with his cane, only to be eliminated by him.
Abyss vs. Sandman
Match Background: These two men squared off in the Gauntlet last week, where Sandman caned him, but Abyss ended up eliminating him.
The Match: Sandman comes through the crowd with his usual entrance before coming into the ring. He gets in the ring and ducks an Abyss clothesline after taking a big gulp of a beer and fakes spitting it into Abyss’s face. Abyss covers up….only to get it right in the face the moment he stops doing so. Sandman canes him in the face, even though this isn’t a No DQ match from what I can tell, but at least the ref takes it away. Abyss knocks him down during the distraction and chops Sandmans bare chest in the corner. He tosses him to the outside, where Sandman hits an elbow and tosses him into the guard rail. Sandman goes back into the ring and tries a pescado, but Abyss catches him and tosses him into the ring post. Abyss then tosses him into the steel steps, but Sandman counters an irish whip into the guard rail and uses a chair to perform a Poetry in Motion on him. Sandman pulls a table out from under the ring, setting it up at ringside. Sandman pulls him back into the ring and goes to the top, hitting a senton! Sandman grabs the cane again…but Kid Kash then comes into the ring and shoves the ref into Sandman before shoving Abyss. He’s upset at the fact that Abyss tossed him over the top in the Gauntlet…and then gives him a low blow, followed by a slap! Abyss slowly gets up and just looks at him…so Kash comes off the ropes, but Abyss grabs him and goes for a powerbomb of sorts. Kash ranas Abyss over the top, onto the table, but the table doesn’t’ break! Sandman throws him back into the ring and goes for the pinfall, but Abyss kicks out. He whips Sandman into the ropes and hits the Black Hole (Spinning Bossman Slam) for the clean pin.
After the match, Abyss goes storming to the back…
My Opinion: It looks like Abyss is going to turn face here in a feud with Kid Kash, as TNA used Sandman as cannon fodder. For once, the table wasn’t really used, although I suspect that it was probably supposed to break off of the rana, making the Sandman nearfall a bit more suspenseful. The match itself wasn’t good at all as it was your usual lumbering big man match….with Sandman’s lack of wrestling skills. He did interject himself well with a few choice spots on the outside, so I’ll give it 1/2 *
In the back, Terry Taylor is with Kid Kash. Kash is arguing with Taylor, who accuses him of being nosy when Abyss gets right behind Kash. Kash turns around and shoves Abyss again, showing no fear. He talks down to Abyss (and like Jason in FvJ, he puts his head down to express sorrow) before Taylor interrupts. He tells Abyss to stand up to Kash, who he calls a punk and gets slapped in return. Taylor goes after Kash, but Kash puts Abyss in the way…stopping Taylor from charging. Well, it looks like this one is going to be a slow burner after all…
AMW vs. Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger for the NWA Tag Team Titles
Match Background: AMW and Simon & Swinger have been feuding for two months now, ever since Simon & Swinger came to TNA. After Simon & Swinger’s second, Glenn Gilberti, constantly interfered in their matches, AMW brought in Dusty Rhodes to make a 6 man tag. A Double Bullrope match was made last week where Simon & Swinger were finally able to get their first real defeat over AMW, so the match between the two teams was made for tonight for the NWA Tag Titles.
The Match: Interestingly enough, Glenn Gilberti is not with Simon & Swinger as they make their way to the ring. AMW seem to have changed their theme music to something even more generic. They begin brawling at ringside, with AMW still having their belts on. AMW have the clear advantage as Storm rams Swinger into the steel steps and Harris suplexes Diamond on the outside. Storm uses the steps to spring off of and nails Swinger as Harris uses a chain on Diamond…and this match STILL isn’t in the ring.
Finally, Storm and Swinger head into the ring, although they exit just as quickly. Swinger takes advantage now, before throwing him back into the ring where Simon Diamond awaits. They doubleteam Storm for a two count before Diamond concentrates on Storm alone again. Storm, in the corner, gets the feet up on a charging Diamond and goes for the Swinging Noose, but Diamond counters and hits a Northern Lights Su Suplex for two. He then tags Swinger back in, choking Storm out in the corner as Harris complains to the ref. Storm tries fighting out of the corner, but is unsuccessful. They continue working over Storm with quick tags, but Storm is finally able to nail a pair of enziguiri’s on Swinger before tagging out to Harris. Harris comes in and becomes a HOUSE…EN…FUEGO~! He hits a full nelson slam on Swinger and a Thesz press for Diamond, before hitting a bulldog and heading to the top. He comes off the top with a HIGH cross body and gets a two count on Diamond. Harris is doubleteamed though as Storm is still down in the corner…but Harris emerges from his corner with a BIG spear on Swinger! He gets up…and EATS a superkick by Diamond! Diamond turns around to catch one from Storm! Storm goes for the cover…ONE…TWO…NO! Diamond whips Storm into the corner, where he attempts a float over…but Diamond stops in his tracks and kicks Storm in the groin. He turns around, only to get caught into the waiting arms of Harris, who sets him up for the Catatonic. Swinger low blows him, allowing Diamond to roll him up for the ONE…TWO…NO! That was a finish Triple X used to beat AMW once, so I’m glad they remembered that spot.
Swinger is so mad, he starts pulling on his own hair. He places Storm on the top rope and attempts a superplex, but Harris gets up and tosses him off. Diamond goes up instead….and Harris gets under him. Harris starts climbing the ropes with Diamond on his back….and with Diamond about to suplex Storm when Swinger gets under Harris in a powerbomb position! This looks like it’s going to end badly for someone…
In a HUGE spot, Swinger powerbombs Harris…who has Diamond on his shoulders, who in turn superplexes Storm! That gets a BIG “Holy Shit” chant by the crowd and it is MUCH deserved. All four men are down as Glenn Gilberti comes down to the ring with a bull rope around his neck. He puts it on the announce table, grabs one of the title belts and a chair…and starts talking to the ref. Swinger tosses one of the titles into the ring, which is grabbed by Diamond. Harris, who was nearby, kicks the title belt into Diamond’s face and goes for the cover! Gilberti tries to stop the ref from making the cover, but he doesn’t listen to him so he goes down…ONE…TWO…he’s pulled out by Gilberti! The ref takes the title belt and heads back to the ringside area…and Harris tries to pull Gilberti into the ring by his hair. Gilberti nails him with a steel chair and Harris stumbles back into the ring…into the PROBLEM SOLVER~! He makes the cover…ONE…TWO…THREE!
Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger
After the match, Dusty Rhodes comes into the ring with his bullrope and chases away the heels to a BIG “Dusty” chant.
My Opinion: Good match by the two teams, although they’ve had better ones, namely, their first two encounters. I’m glad that TNA decided to put the titles on Simon and Swinger as AMW had no where to go with the tag titles if they had defeated them clean one more time. The work was just as tight, although Storm seemed to be a bit out of it after the brawling on the outside. He may have been hurt. The big spot in the match is definitely one to be remembered and something that’ll probably be stolen at one point. Here’s looking forward to more matches between the two teams now. **3/4
Dusty, still in the ring, gets on the mic and says…and I quote: “That’s some unadulterated BULLSHIT!” He challenges Gilberti to their bullrope match, RIGHT NOW.
Dusty Rhodes vs. Glen Gilberti in a Bullrope Match
Match Background: This is an offshoot of the AMW/Simon & Swinger feud as Dusty was brought in by AMW to counter the interference of Glenn Gilberti. Where was he during the tag title loss, hmm? Anyway, they had a 6 man tag two weeks ago where Dusty pinned Gilberti and he then laid a challenge out last week to Gilberti to settle things one on one in a bullrope match tonight. According to Tenay, Dusty Rhodes has been in more Bullrope matches than anyone in history, so look for him to be the more experienced of the two with it.
The Match: The two tag teams leave the area as Gilberti and Rhodes put on the bullropes. Rhodes immediately intimidates Gilberti with his use of the bullrope before locking up. Dusty backs him into the corner and grabs the cowbell…only to ring it in his ear. They set up a tug of war, which Gilberti wins easily…only to eat a Bionic elbow. Dusty connects with a few right hand and a Ric Flair-ish low blow for a pop. Dusty whips Gilberti, who bails out of the ring, but he’s still hooked on by the rope and gets dragged back in. Dusty starts choking Gilberti with the rope, but Gilberti makes it to the ropes…so Dusty rubs the rope across his eyes during the five count. Gilberti once again tries to bail and once again, he’s reeled in. Dusty grinds the cowbell into Gilberti’s forehead and hits him with it in the midsection. Gilberti gets up and starts kicking Dusty in the knee…and starts mocking the Dream with a Bionic elbow wind up, only to eat one by the originator. Dusty nails Gilberti off the ropes with the cowbell again before unhooking himself and grabbing another bullrope at ringside.
All of a sudden, Chris Daniels comes in (to a “Save Our Souls” chant) and nails Dusty in the back with brass knucks, allowing Gilberti to get the pinfall.
Winner: Glenn Gilberti
After the match, Daniels and Gilberti put the boots to Dusty until Chris Harris comes in for the save. Things go well for him until Simon & Swinger come out to attack as well…and Harris is saved by Jarrett. Jarrett pulls out a guitar and nails Daniels with it!
My Opinion: Although, I’m admittedly not a fan of Dusty Rhodes, he showed a bit of psychology in this match, completely dominating Gilberti with his use of the bull rope. He manipulated Gilberti and practically played with him until the finish. The crowd was entertained and the finish seems to lead to another Gilberti/Rhodes match down the line, plus an 8 man tag. 1/2 *
We now go to a pre-recorded sit down interview between Mike Tenay…and Mad Mikey. He asks him why he’s so mad and if he was born this way? Mikey says that he WAS slapped when he was born. Tenay asks if he had a bad childhood. He’s trying not to get mad as he remembers “That” commercial (the Life cereal commercial where the catchphrase was “Look, Mikey Likes It!”) and everyone made him eat things to say that stupid catchphrase. It’s haunted him his whole life.
Tenay wants to get traditional and talk about his wrestling career…but Mikey is mad about the fact that apparently Mae Young was the one who trained him. I doubt that’s legit though…
He says that he’s going to stop being mad when he puts gold around his waist….and then takes off Tenay’s shoe and starts having a temper tantrum for NO REASON. Hilarious!
Terry Taylor is in the back with 3 Live Krew, who are dancing for some reason. Taylor says: “Are you guys high?”, so James retorts with “Oh, You didn’t Know!” Pretty funny. Konnan and Truth say that they are high on life when Swinger, followed by Simon & Gilberti come into the frame and ask if 3LK saw the “massacre” they left in the ring just now.
Konnan starts insulting them on the mic when Jeff Jarrett all of a sudden nails Gilberti over the head with a guitar as the segment ends.
A video is then shown where text reads: “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. He’s coming….and he’s pissed. ” The bagpipes play to symbolize the upcoming return of Roddy Piper to TNA.
Tenay and West are flabbergasted that TNA officials are going to allow Piper to be on TNA TV with a live microphone again.
Tenay then announces that next week, there will be a special tourney next week. US. Vs. The World. 8 Top X Division wrestlers will have a one night tourney next week. Super X Tournament. They give us a video package for it before announcing the brackets. Jonny Storm (UK), Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian, Nosawa (Japan), Jerry Lynn, Michael Shane, Teddy Hart (Canada), Juventud Guerrera (Mexico). This is for bragging rights apparently…no titles on the line.
The brackets are as follows. Guerrera vs. Nosawa, Storm vs. Hart, Sabin vs. Lynn, Kazarian vs. Shane.
I’m a bit disappointed in the bracketing as the US competitors are all in the bottom bracket in the first round, guaranteeing a U.S. wrestler in the finals. They make sure to pimp Teddy Hart as Bret and Owen’s nephew, the first 3rd generation wrestler in the Hart family.
We go to a video package for the history leading to tonight’s Styles/Raven match. They show the end of the Gauntlet match as well as post show comments from Raven.
Raven vs. AJ Styles (w/Vince Russo) for the NWA World Title
Match Background: Although TNA barely mentioned it, these two actually have a storied past. During Jeff Jarrett’s title reign, Raven and AJ Styles both made it known that they wanted the NWA Title and were enemies because of it. In Week 29, Raven got into his first physical confrontation with AJ Styles as Raven had stolen the NWA Title from Jarrett and told AJ that he'd have to go through HIM in order to get a title shot. Things escalated in subsequent weeks with Raven and AJ brawling in the back and in the ring along with Raven dislocating two of AJ's fingers at one point. After AJ Styles got a title shot at Jarrett and lost, he tried to join SEX, but Raven, who was a member at the time, was against it. They had a match sometime in March to see who would face Jeff Jarrett for the title, but it resulted in a double pin. On March 19th, Raven faced AJ Styles in a Ladder Match to see who would be the number 1 contender. Raven ended up winning that match, going on to face Jeff Jarrett on April 30th for the World Title, but his Destiny went unfulfilled.
On June 11th, Raven, Jeff Jarrett and AJ Styles squared off in a three way match for the World Title…when Shane Douglas directly cost him that match, where Styles walked away with the title win. Last week, Raven earned his first title shot since April 30th with a win in a Gauntlet match, defeating his nemesis, Shane Douglas in the finals. Will Raven finally win the world title?
The Match: We get boxing style intros by Jeremy Borash, as is the tradition for all of the NWA World Title matches now.
The bell rings and both men get into a fighting stance…so Styles kicks Raven in the thigh. Raven shakes it off, but Styles does it again. He does it a third time, but Raven fights through the pain enough to land a right hand to Styles. Styles charges at him, only to be taken down with a shoulder block for two. Styles tries to quicken the pace as they run the ropes, but Raven holds on as Styles goes for a dropkick. Raven rolls him up for a quick two count. Raven tosses him to the outside, only to toss him back into the ring. As Raven steps in the ropes, Styles lands some right hands. Raven recovers and goes for the Raven Effect, but it’s too early as Styles escapes quickly. Raven once again tosses him to the outside…and once again throws him in for some reason. Raven delivers a suplex on Styles for two before tossing Styles over the top to the floor off an irish whip. Raven tosses him into the steps and then reaches under the ring for a garbage can. He uses it on Styles, although the match isn’t No DQ…but then again, they’re on the outside. Styles, now bleeding, is then Russian Leg Swept into the guard rail five consecutive times by Raven! Raven goes for the cover, but Russo distracts the official. Raven is distracted enough so that Styles can recover and nail a low blow, before going for his quebrada/reverse DDT combo, which is done MIGHTY sloppily.
All of a sudden, Julio & CM Punk pick up Russo from behind and take him to the back to a BIG pop!
Styles and Raven start brawling in the middle of the ring to MASSIVE heat now as Styles delivers an enziguiri kick to Raven’s CHEEK. Styles completes a vertical suplex and drives his knee into Raven’s head for a second two count. A HUGE “Go Raven Go” chant has started and Raven nails a superkick on Styles. Styles, now on the apron, comes flying into the ring with a flying head scissors and goes for the pin, but Raven is under the ropes. Styles snap mares Raven over and nails him with some STIFF kicks to the back! Styles then hooks on the MUTA LOCK~!, but Raven gets to the ropes!
Styles goes to ringside and gets a chair, throwing it into the ring. He picks it up and wedges it between the top and middle turnbuckles. Styles goes to whip Raven into it, but Raven reverses it! AJ stops before he hits the chair, turns around and BLASTS Raven with a superkick to the face! AJ takes the chair out and opens it up in the middle of the ring. He goes for the drop toe hold on Raven…and he gets it! Styles for a cocky pin and only gets two. Styles once again sets up the chair for the move, but Raven side steps the move and throws the chair at him! Both men are down and the fans are INTO this match! Raven gets up and he’s fired up! He connects with a pair of clotheslines and a running knee lift and the fans are going crazy! A clothesline in the corner and a bulldog get a nearfall on the champion! Raven takes the chair and opens it up in the ring himself. He goes for the drop toe hold, but Styles jumps onto the chair and onto the top rope! Raven grabs the chair and blasts AJ in the face with it as he springs off the ropes! He goes for the cover…ONE…TWO…NO! A “That was Three” chant erupts from the crowd as AJ goes for the Raven Effect on him…only to have it reversed! Raven looks to use the move on Styles, but Styles escapes and tries a rana! Raven catches him and hits the STYLES CLASH~! ONE…TWO…NO! The referee is pulled out by Sinn of the Disciples of the New Church! Raven goes to pick up Styles…but Styles surprises him with the Raven Effect DDT! ONE…TWO…NO! Sinn gets on the apron as Styles charges at Raven, who ducks…leaving Styles to dropkick Sinn to the guard rail! Raven picks up Styles and goes for the Raven Effect, but Styles rams them into the official! Raven still have the move hooked on though and gets it! He goes for the pinfall, but the ref is down! Slash comes into the ring, setting up to powder Raven, but Raven turns around and kicks it back into his face! Styles gets up and the blinded Slash grabs HIM…performing the Slash and Burn airplane spin drop on him! Raven clotheslines Slash out of the ring and goes for the cover! The ref is in position…ONE…TWO…NO! The crowd is going NUTZ!!!!
Raven places Styles on the top rope and looks to Raven Effect him off the top when Shane Douglas shoves him off, onto the top rope. Styles comes off the top with a rana attempt, but Raven just throws him down and goes for the cover! ONE…TWO…NO! Douglas gets on the apron, as does Slash, but Raven nails them both. Slash holds onto the ref as Douglas comes in and kicks Raven in the groin, so Styles hits the STYLES CLASH~! on Raven! ONE…TWO….THREE!
Winner: AJ Styles
After the match, Mitchell is at the top of the ramp laughing.
My Opinion: This was a GREAT match up that was marred by the interference. Raven knows how to tell a story and he definitely had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he timed his comebacks very well, fought off most of the interference and showed a lot of ring psychology with his moves in the ring. Styles was his usual great self, although he was a bit sloppier than normal. The Gathering taking out Russo was a nice touch as the fans truly came alive from that point, honestly believing that Raven could now win the title. Personally, I would have done the title switch because Raven is the hottest guy in TNA right now and his feud with Douglas would have more on the line if he was also the World Champion. It would make it mean a hell of a lot more and the match already has a ton of heat. Either way, this match delivered and I’m a happy camper. ***3/4
Chris Harris and D’Lo Brown appear at ringside all of a sudden. Harris gets on the mic and said that he’s sick and tired of the crap that’s been going on. He says that D’Lo was screwed, as was Harris and his partner (who he says was taken out), but they’re not going to stand by and allow them to screw Raven out of the title. He demands that the ref restart the match…or reverse the decision. All of a sudden, Simon and Swinger come down to brawl with D’Lo and Harris. Shane Douglas and AJ Styles come in to beat up on Raven some more and Chris Daniels comes in as well. Jeff Jarrett comes in with a chair and nails all of the heels, cleaning house. Erik Watts runs into the ring and grabs THE STICK~!
He makes a 10 man tag for next week….and then makes it a MOTHERFUCKING WARGAMES~! MATCH! As a “Wargames” chant starts up, he says that he’s also going to incorporate aspects of Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun match as well, as it’s going to be WITH weapons. Dusty comes into the ring and takes the mic from Watts…but not before Watts declares himself the special guest ref for the match!
Dusty comes out and says that he’s going to hold the key…as next week will now be known as Bloody Wednesday. Russo grabs the mic and says that if Dusty wants a fight, they’ll do it now! The heels charge the ring, but they don’t even make it into the ring before they’re knocked down as the show closes….
Overall: Most of the show was pretty average, but that main event was stellar. Also, the tag match was very good and the titles changed hands, so that’s always a plus. Next week’s card is going to be absolutely LOADED with the Super X Cup one night single elimination tournament and the WARGAMES~! Main event! Buy next week’s show…hands down!
Inside The Ropes July 3, 2003 By Canadian Bulldog No time to do one of my patented cute openings this week, as we have a lot to get to! Hi, there, my name is Canadian Bulldog and this is Inside The Ropes.