NWA TNA Chapter 11: Bankruptcy


In Chapter Ten of the NWA TNA story we watched AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn wrestle eight falls, met Lollipop the candy-themed cage dancer, and were introduced to “The Bullet,” a masked man who definitely doesn’t spell the word ass with a “crooked letter.”

Welcome to Chapter 11, the final weekly pay-per-view for NWA TNA Wrestling.

[checks notes]

… until Panda Energy takes over as the show’s financial backer, introducing Jeff Jarrett to Dixie Carter and starting the wonderful journey of friendship and good business we’ve been witness to for the past 15 years. This is the second of two shows taped as a last ditch effort for TNA while they looked for a new sponsor, and are followed by a “Best of the X-Division” special and an off-week for 9/11 since it had only been a year since the attack.

If you’d like to keep up with these columns as they go, be sure to check out the NWA TNA Wrestling: The Asylum Years tag. I’d give you a direct link to the shows but the Global Wrestling Network redirects everything to their main page. I don’t think anybody’s paying attention. Isn’t that the slogan on the sign outside of Impact Wrestling HQ?

And now, chapter eleven of the TNA Wrestling story for August 28, 2002.

We Still Have No Idea What Jeff Jarrett “Did”

A couple of weeks ago, an enraged Brian Lawler attacked Jeff Jarrett, screaming, “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID!” This week, Lawler arrives at the arena dressed like a Gadzooks gained sentience and walked out of a 2002 Tennessee mall and almost reveals what happened, but Jarrett attacks him.

What actually happened between them can’t be as bad as that outfit. Seriously, that makes Monty Brown’s tiger cape look like a three-piece suit. I can’t tell which part is worse, the orange Superman shirt, the frosted tips and chain combo that makes him look like 2003 Samoa Joe, or those jeans with the shaved thighs. Somebody in the early 2000s peeled an orange and was like, “hey, this would look great as pants.”

Goldy Locks tries to follow up on the interview later in the show, but Lawler calls her a “two-dollar whore” and berates her until she leaves the ring. As you do.

Lawler launches into the world’s worst Tracy Smothers promo where he has nothing to say, but tries to get heat by saying things like, “I want everyone to be quiet,” and “I demand complete silence!” It works if you’re Jerry Lawler. As it turns out, Brian’s girlfriend April is in the crowd, and the first second we see her she’s blaming a nearby NWA photographer for taking pictures of her against her will. It’s amazing, they’ve stopped even letting these characters get on screen before they’re trying to kill people from the NWA. Lawler hops the rail and shoves the guy down, and we’ve officially begun the Saga of April, the embarrassing, incomprehensible romance scandal angle TNA was known for before Claire Lynch became a thing.

Anyway, speaking of Goldy Locks …

No, not that, Harold Ramis.

Dumb*

*like the Nirvana song, because Goldy Locks has to meet the newest member of the Disciples of The New Church, “Kobain.”

Yeah, this is Kobain — sometimes spelled “Cobain,” to completely do away with subtlety — and his gimmick is that he’s a southern guy five years too late to join The Flock. He’s played by Flash Flanagan, probably best known for his enhancement talent stints in WWE during the Attitude Era, or for being Prince Nana’s “Weapon of Masked Destruction” in Ring of Honor. Seriously though, just imagine if Forrest Gump was reading Raven promos. “Ah overdose on the swate nectar of my payyyn,” etc.

Kobain makes his in-ring debut in a four-team elimination match, teaming with Slash, because I guess Malice has yet to recover from fist-bumping a neo-Nazi. They’re up against the teams of Chris Harris and James Storm, the Hot Shots — the guys who grab their dicks as a catchphrase, if you’ve forgotten them — and the “Backseat Boyz,” comprised of the late “Savior of Juggalo Championshit Wrestling” Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere, which was also John Hennigan’s name when he joined Led Zeppelin. The winner will become the last entrant in the next Gauntlet for the Gold match for the tag titles. The match makes me Hate Myself And Want To Die.

Not really, I just like the Nirvana jokes and wanted to Milk It. But yeah, once you get the extremely low-level embarrassing-at-the-time indie guys out of the ring — the Backseat Boyz and the Hot Shots — the match gets pretty good. Chris Harris and James Storm are a great tag team when they aren’t trying to play TNA’s weird self-loathing characters, obviously, which is why when they cut the shit they become one of the two undisputed best teams in the promotion’s history. And yes, if you’re wondering, they both involved James Storm.

I’m talking of course about James Storm and Manik.

After the match, Harris and Storm are attacked by their new blood rivals Wrong Harris and Brian Lee, who look like an hilarious before and after photo for the Hair Club for Bikers. Lee looks like you put a vest on Harris and used a Wooly Willy to give him fake hair and eyebrows.

The Women’s Division Is Still Not Super Concerning

Last week we met “Noted Fitness Model” April Hunter, who’d arrived to challenge Bruce for the Miss TNA crown. This week we get the match, and I’m about to type the saddest sentence I’ve ever attempted in one of these columns: it was, at the time, the best women’s match in TNA history. By like a mile.

April Hunter isn’t exactly Sara Del Rey in the ring, but she’s worked out before and has done some athletic activities in her life, which isn’t something I could say for Taylor Vaughn or like, 6 of the 10 women in the Lingerie Battle Royal that started this mess. It’s a lot of April doing big ambitious head-scissor takedowns Bruce has no interest in making look good, and Bruce pulling her hair a bunch. The finish is Bruce powerbombing her, and getting upset that he had to have a woman’s crotch in his face for a second.

After he wins, he decides he needs to undress her for some reason, but he can’t figure out how to work her top. That screenshot is from April realizing Bruce doesn’t know how to work her zipper and trying to help when she’s supposed to be knocked out. April’s boyfriend, Gold Standard Shelton Benjamin boardwalk caricature drawing Slyck Wagner Brown, hits the ring to make the save. Mike Tenay calls him “Silk Wagner Brown,” because he’s definitely heard of him before. This confrontation sets up nothing, as Hunter and Brown don’t return again until the middle of January, and Brown never actually wrestles a match on TNA television.

The Flying Elvises Storyline Isn’t Going Anywhere

A few weeks ago, after showing them hating each other and being bad at teamwork on every show in the history of the promotion, TNA “swerved” us by having Jorge Estrada and Jimmy Yang turn on their Flying Elvises teammate, ersatz Rock Sonny Siaki. This week, they have Yang and Estrada explain that they don’t care about Siaki anymore, and then hit us with the reverse swerve. This one’s complex, so stay with me.

Siaki, seen here performing rectal palpation on Monty Brown, wins his match with a low blow after Jeff Jarrett randomly causes a distraction. That sets up Brian Lawler having time for a third segment to attack Jarrett from behind and choke him with a belt, but not enough time to say, “Jeff Jarrett LIED TO ME ABOUT THE SUSTAINABILITY OF COLLECTABLE COINS,” or whatever he did.

Later, Estrada and Yang have a match with Los Maximos that is so impossibly boring it might as well have been the Headbangers vs. the Godwinns. I’m actually not sure how these four wrestlers could create something boring. Bad, sure, but not boring. But here we are, working for 15 minutes in the middle of a TNA pay-per-view doing chinlocks in an X-Division tag team match.

Anyway, the Elvises are about to get hit with the Spanish Fly when whosoever should appear by SONNY SIAKI, wearing nothing but white Keds and purple gym shorts, to attack the Maximos and give his former team the advantage. Yang capitalizes on this by completely overshooting a Yang Time, even though the Maximo didn’t move an inch, and having to call an audible with a suplex off the ropes so bad it looks like he tried to do five moves at once and didn’t commit to any of them.

TNA: where friendship takes the form of hating each other, but then feeling obligated to help out anyway.

In Other Maximos News

Kid Kash, the only man in the X-Division attempting to get heel heat instead of nWo “beat up everyone I see for no reason and keep saying I’m a bad-ass” heat, defeats the Amazing Red with a Muscle Buster.

It’s a perfectly fine opener, especially given how into this Kid Kash is and how easy it is to cheer for Red, but I want to share with you maybe the funniest botch GIF I’ve ever made for a TNA column. You might not think this is as funny as I do, but I’ve been laughing at it all morning.

I love it. Red’s like, “welp, the timing was off, so I’m just gonna hump the buckle.”

A Bullet Between The Eyes

Last week, a man with extremely hairy ginger under-thighs dressed up like “Bullet” Bob Armstrong to fight Jeff Jarrett, a man spread thin thanks to his feud with literally everyone on the show. This week, “The Bullet” returns for a one-on-one match with Jarrett, and does such Road-Doggian offense he’s got the (empty) crowd chanting, “you’re the Road Dogg.” Tenay and Don West screaming about how they don’t know who he is makes it even better. He’s doing dancing punches and wiggling his knees before he drops a knee. HE’S GOING FOR A PUMPHANDLE SLAM, GUYS. I feel like Bojack Horseman trying to explain that Vincent Adultman is three kids in a trenchcoat.

To put over this new character, Jarrett (1) punches him in the balls without getting disqualified, (2) handcuffs him to the ropes without getting disqualified, and (3) gets disqualified for hitting Actual Bob Armstrong in the face with a chair.

Jarrett’s five-point plan for making TNA a success was:

  • remember WCW? Here’s its worst guys
  • make wrestling fans masturbate
  • new authority figure every week for maximum confusion
  • gay people are the worst thing that has ever happened
  • hit as many old people as possible with brutal, unprotected chair shots to the brains

Triple X

Just gonna present this image to you out of context for a minute. Let your brain wander.

This week’s main event is a triple threat ladder match for the X-Division Championship, because Low Ki apparently doesn’t want to be champion and keeps agreeing to the hardest possible matches to win. His two successful title defenses before this were in four-way elimination matches where it was him alone against three-man teams. Your title reign might’ve lasted longer than three weeks if you’d gone one-on-one with like, Elix Skipper.

It’s a good match in the way late-era WCW ladder matches are good, which is to say they’re fun to watch as anthropological events, and kinda live or die based on your ability to watch guys set up spots without it bothering you. Also on your ability to deal with Mike Tenay and Don West screaming so much their skeletons fall out of their mouths and break the announce table. They’re so into this being the first triple threat ladder match ANYWHERE FOR ANY REASON that I don’t want to break their little turtle hearts.

The match gets incredibly dangerous at points. If you’re wondering what that Styles picture is, it’s after he’s been Tree of Woe’d to the ladder and had Ki kick him in the head a bunch of times. A lot less frightening than imagining that he fell off like that. But if you’re like, “aw, that’s what I wanted,” — first of all, rude — but second of all, you’ll love the finish: AJ falling off the top of a ladder to the floor, followed by a Jerry Lynn cradle piledriver to Ki off the ladder. Whew. Lynn is your new champion, finally, and TNA has their second best X-Division match to date. I don’t think it was as good as the double elimination match, but it was certainly more.

Oh, and by winning the X-Division Championship in this match, Lynn earns a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on the next show. Because reasons.

Next Week

For Chapter 12, we’re jumping three weeks into TNA’s future for a Panda Energentic broadcast as we crown new Tag Team Champions in the Gauntlet for the Gold, Bruce starts a can’t-miss feud with NASCAR’s Hermie Sadler, and The Bullet’s shocking identity is revealed. Also, Dixie Carter uses her dad’s money to buy another member of the nWo for the show, and a wrestler who’d one day become the Best in the World debuts.

No, not Screech.

That’s right, folks, be here next week for the TNA debut of Ace Steel. And whatever his tag team partner’s name was, I think he’s an MMA guy.

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