In Chapter Seven of the NWA TNA story, Jeff Jarrett kidnapped a midget and tried to kill him in the ring before an angry, midget-hating dwarf stopped him with a handgun. Other things happened, but that’s really all you’re going to remember.
In Chapter Eight, we’ll see the entire TNA main-event scene turned on its ear as new champions are crowned, new challengers are decided, and Jeff Jarrett gets Jeff Jarrett all over everything. Plus, we learn the rules of the Dupp Cup, TNA’s new “hardcore division.” If you think the rules are as simple as, say, “anything goes, because that’s how hardcore divisions work,” you are severely underestimating TNA.
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. Again, I’d give you a direct link to the shows but the Global Wrestling Network redirects everything to their main page, and it doesn’t look like they’re ever going to fix it.
And now, chapter eight of the TNA Wrestling story for August 7, 2002.
A Black Man Wins The NWA World Heavyweight Championship And Before The Episode Is Over The Story Is “Reverse Discrimination”
On last week’s pay-per-view — what is this, WWE? — The Truth got a shot at Ken Shamrock’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship by approaching “Ricky” The Dragon Steamboat and thoroughly explaining how pro wrestling is racist as hell. Steamboat agreed. This week, they have a match for what the company refers to as the most prestigious championship title belt in the history of the sport in the second match of the show, between a six-man tag involving three guys dressed like Elvis and a hardcore match where an announcer gets hit in the face with a blow-up doll.
Anyway, if you’ve seen any of Ken Shamrock’s title matches in TNA, you’ve seen this one. He was always an enthusiastic performer in the ring, but TNA put zero (0) effort into creating a character for him, so he was just this guy with a famous name showing up sometimes in sandals and gym shorts to ankle lock a guy while 15 dudes interfered. Here, Don Harris shows up and sits at ringside to make sure no interference happens, which is hilarious, because last week he straight-up interfered. TNA’s Year One mission statement should’ve been, “say something, do the opposite.”
Interference happens, of course, in the form of Apolo. And Malice and Slash. And Monty Brown. And Ricky Steamboat’s also out there fighting everyone. In the confusion, Apolo “accidentally” “connects” with a superkick, and there sincerely aren’t enough words in this sentence to put quotation marks around to emphasize how much he doesn’t:
Unless that kick broke the sound barrier, Shamrock didn’t get hit by anything. But still, Truth’s able to roll him back into the ring, hit one of the five or six moves he calls the “Truth or Consequences” — Truth has about a dozen moves called either “Truth or Consequences” or “The Lie Detector” — and wins the championship.
Here, amazingly, is where it gets bad.
Earlier in the show, Goldy Locks ran into Apolo outside of Steamboat’s office, demanding to talk to him RIGHT NOW. A little later, we find out via one of Mike Tenay’s essential sit-down interviews that Apolo believes Steamboat is corrupt and wants an explanation. I’ve attempted to transcribe Apolo as best I can, which is a real Da Vinci Code situation.
i work too hard for too long to let some corrop individual
YEAH MIKE YOU HEAR RIGHT, CORROP
EVEN THOUGH A CORROP,
WHY HE JUMP ON ME AND HE DON’T TELL ME HE GON CHANGE THAT
AND HE GAVE MY SPOT TO THE TRUTH
I NEED SOME RESPECT
TONIGHT, HE GONNA LOOK AT MY EYES, AND GONNA TELL ME WHY HE DID THAT WITHOUT TELLING ME, BECAUSE RESPECT IS ALL ABOUT, AND TONIGHT, STEAMBOAT IS GONNA STEP, FACE TO FACE, TO APOLLO, TONIGHT, HERE
Steamboat allows him to air his grievances in the ring, and decides to give him a title shot to prevent him from “running around like a maniac.” Before they’ve even left the ring, Jeff Jarrett shows up and cries reverse discrimination, saying he hasn’t gotten a title shot because he’s not black, Puerto Rican, or Hawaiian. Keep in mind that (1) the NWA Champion up until like 10 minutes ago was Ken Shamrock, who is extremely Caucasian, and that (2) this is a reaction to roughly seven days of programming. Although I guess it’s a pretty accurate representation of the “reverse racism” talking point that the white guy has had his way for a decade and claims discrimination because minorities have been doing well for themselves for a week.
Steamboat’s solution is to make Apolo vs. Jarrett for later in the night, with the stipulation that if Apolo wins, he gets a title shot, and if Jarrett wins, he “gets The Truth.” Even though he promised Apolo a title shot before Jarrett showed up.
Reading this you’re probably like, “well, Jarrett’s a heel, so he’s supposed to be acting like an asshole.” That’s fair, but I offer three counter-points:
- Jarrett gets cheered throughout the entire thing, because Tennessee
- “Steamboat sucks” chants, because he’s considering the point of view of minorities
- the finish of the match, which Jeff Jarrett wins because Apolo has his shoulders down for a German suplex
If that’s not baity and switchy enough, it turns out Steamboat’s very specific wording of “if you win, you get The Truth” turns out to ALSO be a bait-and-switch. Jarrett doesn’t get a title match against Truth … he gets one WITH him, as they’ll be teaming up to take on the team of, as Steamboat puts it, “JT and Jerry” for the NWA Tag Team Championship. No, Ricky Steamboat does not know the name of a person who currently holds two (2) championships in his company.
Note: this is the best part of the show.
JT Loses His X-Division Championship
The main event of the night is AJ Styles defending the X-Division Championship in a triple threat against Jerry Lynn and Low Ki, so they build to it by having all three buys brawl backstage for the entire show. Goldy Locks will be hanging out backstage talking to whoever and suddenly Styles and Lynn will burst in punching each other. They do it several times.
The match itself is pretty good, mostly build around everyone doing each other’s finishers, but the finish is … man, I don’t even know. It’s one of those moments that probably looks good on paper, but doesn’t work because (1) the timing is off, and (2) if you don’t keep what it says about your rules consistent for the remainder of the promotion (or episode), it loses its power.
So Styles is about to win the match with a Spiral Tap on Jerry Lynn. While Styles is climbing the ropes, Low Ki crawls into the ring and covers Lynn. The referee counts “one, two,” then waits for Styles to hit the move so the timing works. Styles hits Ki in the back with a Spiral Tap to break up the pin, causing Ki to flop a little, but land back on Lynn. The referee then counts “three.” The idea is, of course, that Styles didn’t actually break up the pin and Ki held the cover, but that’s not how wrestling has ever, ever worked, especially not THIS wrestling, including other moments on this episode where touching the guy making the lateral press immediately cancels the pin no matter what. So yeah, it’d be cool if there was an observed rule where to break up the pin you had to actually break up the pin, but they don’t have that, and they’ve NEVER had that, and they never have it again.
Oh, and after the match, Styles decides to kick Lynn’s ass again for some reason, and we cut that with footage of Jarrett and The Truth fighting backstage. So next week’s NWA Tag Team Championship match features two guys who hate each other versus two guys who hate each other.
BECAUSE EVERYONE IN TNA HATES EVERYONE ELSE IN TNA
The Flying Elvises (called The Flying Elvis’ by TNA, because I guess it’s possessive) take on the “Spanish Announce Team,” which is something wonderfully difficult to explain to a wrestling fan 15 years later. As Mike Tenay explains it, the SATs are named after the table that always gets destroyed at WWE events (of course), and these three guys have decided to name themselves after it because they’re “here to protect the Spanish Announce Team.” They’re wrestling on a TNA show to prevent the destruction of the Spanish announce table on WWE shows. Got it. Makes total sense.
The match is honestly a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s build around Sonny Siaki wanting to take on the SATs by himself, and the other Elvises bailing on him to let him get his ass kicked. Because, again, everyone in TNA hates everyone else in TNA. The highlight is Jimmy Yang and Jorge Estrada sitting in on commentary, and Yang putting Estrada on the spot to sing a song. I don’t know if they had something rehearsed and Estrada just totally forgot it or what, but they go to commercial in the middle of it and come back to him clearly improvising an entire Heartbreak Hotel parody. It’s BRUTAL.
Try to sing any of this to the tune of Heartbreak Hotel:
♫ well since [indistinct]
[commercial break, on a pay-per-view]
Sonny’s been getting his butt beat
he’s down the street on lonely field
he turned his back on us and now he’s getting beat by the SATs baby
getting beat by the SATs baby
because without Jorge and Jimmy, he’s in trouble! ♫
Nailed it? Anyway, Estrada and Yang go back into the ring when Siaki’s about to lose and kick the SATs’ asses, allowing Siaki to then steal the pin and pretend like he won by himself. I’m telling you, a few of these “teams hate each other and are breaking up” angles wouldn’t have been bad if they hadn’t all been going on simultaneously, and if the company was more than eight weeks old.
Don Harris Loses A First Blood Match By Hurting Himself
This would be the worst moment of the week on any other show, but is maybe the third of fourth worst moment on a Year One TNA pay-per-view.
Last week, the Disciples of the New Church introduced the “Ark of the New Church,” an ornamental box containing sheep blood they use to anoint people, or possibly baptize them, or something vaguely Kevin Sullivan Satanic. They put blood on Don Harris’ face, so this week we have a “First Blood” match between Harris and Malice.
If you aren’t familiar with First Blood rules, it’s self-explanatory; the first person to bleed loses the match. The New Church tries to cheat by putting sheep blood on Harris’ face again, but Harris knocks it back in James Mitchell’s face. Tenay pops for this, calling the box the “Ark of the Covenant” because he forgot its name and that sounded right. Although it would’ve been pretty funny if they’d opened that little box and Mitchell had gotten smashed in the face by two giant stone tablets.
The finish, incredibly, is Don Harris busting himself open on a Bossman Slam.
I guess when they hit the ground they bumped faces, and that busted him open? I think the best part is the referee clearly seeing what happened and nonchalantly walking over to yell at James Mitchell, presumably in the hopes that Harris and Malice would figure out what to do before he turned around. But nope, if you’re bleeding you’re bleeding, and Harris loses the match to himself.
The Women’s Division Of One Woman Is Still Doing Great
This week in TNA’s progressive women’s division:
- Bruce tried to sarcastically interview Taylor Vaughn in the locker room about losing her Miss TNA crown to him, so she once again screamed at him for being a “homo” and challenged him to a match
- Bruce agreed, making it an evening gown match
- Bruce showed up in full drag and beat the shit out of Taylor with like, zero effort
- Bruce won by slowly undressing an unconscious Taylor and being grossed out by the fact that he’d have to see a partially naked woman
- Bruce says he knows the crowd is disappointed that he didn’t lose, so he undresses to see-through panties that Global Wrestling Network has to pixelate
Behold, The Dupp Cup
This week’s episode of Disco Inferno’s pay-per-view talk show Jive Talkin’ features the Dupps, who you’ll recall are TNA’s in-Alabama-and-Tennessee depiction of rednecks as inbred, booger-eating morons who can’t stop fucking each other. This is the one where they unveil the Dupp Cup, TNA’s new hardcore division with an increasingly confusing set of rules and the trophy of a spittoon that’s been passed down in the Dupp family “for generations.” Bo Dupp explains that his son, Roun, took “his first dookie” in the cup.
Instead of just being a hardcore division, the Dupp Cup involves a 10 point victory system in which you earn a random amount of points for doing various “hardcore” things. These rules are as follows:
Put opponent through a table: 2 ½ pts
Put opponent through a “burnin’ table”: 5 pts
Put opponent’s head in a toilet: 2 ½ pts
Put opponent’s head in a toilet with shit in it: 3 ½ pts
Goose a woman: 2 ½ pts
Goose a man: 3 ½ pts
Nail Jeremy Borash: 2 ½ pts
Nail Sarah the ticket lady, an extremely old woman: 2 ½ pts
Use an animal as an attack in any way: 2 ½ pts
Spank opponent with “Horsey Poo,” a hobby horse: 2 ½ pts
If they like being spanked, you lose 2 ½ pts
Introduce opponent to “Jay”: 2 ½ pts
Cry like a pussy: -5 pts
Put opponents head in a cotton candy machine for one full rotation: 10 pts
Hit opponent with a weapon brought by a fan: 1 pt
Nobody will take them up for a hardcore title match until they announce that the winner of tonight’s match “gets a night with Fluff Dupp” — their cousin, or possibly their sister depending on the week — but they get to watch. Ed Ferrara immediately steps up to accept the challenge, almost an entire week after the narrative talking point that Fluff isn’t here because she’s being raped by her father, and the match is on. It’ll be both Dupps vs. Gary Oldman’s character from True Romance in the worst match you’ll see in TNA until the next one.
If you’re wondering what “Jay” is, so are they. They can’t decide if it’s Jay or “Jar” or even “Jai,” but it turns out to be a blow-up doll. In case “try to punch an old woman,” “have sex with our sexually assaulted cousin” and “put someone’s head in a shitted-in toilet” weren’t enough of a selling point.
The Dupps win the match because nobody’s really paying attention to the points counter, it’s just the announce team yelling I THINK HE’S GOT 8 1/2 POINTS RIGHT, SO THAT’S WHAT, 8 1/2 TO 5?? It’s wrong, of course, and you could just win the match by running up to your opponent and pinching them on the butt five quick times.
And that is a real episode of television from a company that is still around 15 years later.
Join us next week for Chapter Nine for the debut of TNA legend Shark Boy, The Dupps pitching a new show to MTV called Shitters — I’m serious — and Bruce offering a Miss TNA title shot to any woman in the crowd, because he beat the one woman in the division.
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