In Chapter Eight of the NWA TNA story the promotion took two steps forward by putting the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on The Truth, took two steps back with a “reverse discrimination” angle, and took one giant leap off a cliff with the introduction of the Dupp Cup.
Chapter Nine catches up with TNA as they put on a show so terrible it causes their sponsor to cut ties with them and almost put them out of business. More on that at the end.
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, and it doesn’t look like they’re ever going to fix it. Am I the only subscriber to the Global Wrestling Network?
And now, chapter nine of the TNA Wrestling story for August 14, 2002.
Showdown At The White Trash Cafe
Before you say anything, yes, the “White Trash Cafe” would’ve been a much better name for the Tennessee State Fairgrounds arena than “The Asylum.” And yes, “White Trash Cafe” is one of my favorite Eagles songs. The White Trash Cafe was also (up until it closed down for good, at least) a real restaurant in Nashville offering “elevated southern cuisine” and, occasionally, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn fighting in the parking lot.
This week’s [checks notes] best? angle starts with Goldy Locks trying to interview Lynn outside of the Asylum, and Lynn telling her he’s got “something to do” and making her ride shotgun and talk to him while he drives. After like 30 seconds of conversation, he pulls over at the White Trash Cafe to find AJ Styles standing in the doorway, back to the camera, yelling, “I GOT YOUR TIP RIGHT HERE BETWEEN MY LEGS.” Doing Make-a-Wish events for WWE when you started out yelling about your dick at the White Trash Cafe is the ultimate pro wrestling glo-up.
The segment ends with Lynn punching Styles into a freestanding outdoor bathtub.
Incredibly, this isn’t the whitest or trashiest thing to happen on this week’s pay-per-view as, yes, this is the one where Nazi-ass Don Harris, TNA Head of Security, comes to the ring in a Schutzstaffel graphic tee.
If you aren’t up on your World War II history, the SS were the branch of the Nazi war machine most responsible for the Holocaust, murdering roughly six million Jews and others during the war. When they weren’t doing that, they were running Hitler’s commercial enterprises and using the people they’d tossed into concentration camps as slave labor. Definitely the squad you want your company-representing babyface to wear on a wrestling show.
TNA ended up apologizing for it, per a 2002 edition of the Torch:
“On the August 14 episode of NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action one of our performers wore a shirt to the ring that had an offensive symbol that prompted many of our fans to e-mail us.
“We were not aware of the incident until we received the response from our fans, and we agree with those who say the shirt was offensive. We do not in any way condone such things and have taken steps to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. We apologize to those who were rightfully offended.”
Of course, the Harris Twins are also the guys who “hid” their SS tattoos by adding curlicues to them. Oh, and several years later these guys ended up working for Aroluxe Marketing and securing the name rights to “TNA”, starting the impossible name-change tornado of “TNA” to “Impact” to “Global Force” to “Store Brand Mountain Dew Presents Rasslin’ At The Ballpark” situation we’re still living through.
As the old saying goes, “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the white supremacist wore a Nazi shirt on the wrestling show and ended up in charge.”
A Hardcore Match You’ll Wish You Did Nazi
Last week, TNA showed incredible restraint by introducing the Dupp Cup, establishing that you get a ton of points for putting your opponent’s head in a “commode” full of shit and swirling it around, then waiting an ENTIRE WEEK until the SECOND DUPP CUP MATCH EVER to pull the trigger. Chekhov’s shitty toilet, you see!
This week, the Dupps reveal that they’ve brought an intact outhouse filled with their dead grandmother’s dumps from five years ago to The Asylum for use in their match, suggesting that when they’re done they’re going to do an MTV show in the style of Cribs called “Shitters.” Technically they say “shee-eee-eee-eeee-eeeters,” but that’s harder to put on a title card between 3 South and Doggy Fizzle Televizzle.
The Dupps defend the Cup against Teo, the world’s smallest Extreme Athlete, with Don West now standing at ringside breathlessly shouting the rules and point count. I know it’s a weird complaint to make against a division where the championship changes hands because Puppet the Midget Killer was hiding in an outhouse to help a midget he hates swirlie a cousin-fucking redneck, but I’ll never understand why every Dupp Cupp match doesn’t begin and end with someone hitting their opponent with a weapon 10 times in a row and winning. They’ll get a weapon, use it two or three times and then drop it forever like they’re in a video game.
I think the highlight here is that they spend the entire show building up to someone’s head getting jammed into a toilet filled with a dead grandma’s viscera and then when it happens, dude doesn’t actually get anything on his head. That was clearly an empty toilet. Can we get some prop turds in here, at least? Dip the man’s head in chocolate sauce or something?
Please Enjoy Monty Brown’s Tiger Cape
If you didn’t love Monty Brown already, here he is sleepwalking through a hardcore match in the Non-Dupps Division with Elix Skipper and cutting up his all-over-print animal shirt so egregiously it looks like he’s wearing a tiger cape.
Monty wins the match with an Alpha Bomb on a trash can, and all I can think of when “hardcore” wrestlers use trash cans is (1) why are there old-timey Oscar the Grouch metal trash cans under wrestling rings, like seriously, who still uses those, and (2) Tony Schiavone’s legendary call that explained how aluminum trash cans don’t hurt, but make “a lot of noise.”
Miss TNA Bruce Is Causing The Fans To Have An Existential Crisis
The guy in the camo hat absolutely hate masturbated to Bruce after this. Look at him. I keep changing my mind on what they’re saying to each other in the GIF, but I think it’s, “Would you do him?” “That ass is purdy!”
Having dispatched the one (1) actual woman in the TNA women’s division, Miss TNA Bruce is forced to crowdsource opponents from the crowd. Between “you suck dick” chants, Bruce decides to face a “fan” in an Old Navy sweatshirt named Tina Hamilton in maybe the worst recreation of Andy Kaufman’s act ever attempted. Instead of awkward, funny headlock takeovers and pulling a lady’s hair until you desperately want to see him piledriven, Bruce gets his ass kicked by the fan until he can roll her up for three. This is actually TNA’s women’s division.
Disco Inferno Is Here With Timely Baldwin Brother Jokes
This week’s episode of Jive Talkin’ attempts to top episode one (“hot sexy stupid bitch”) and episode two (the introduction of the Dupp Cup) with a celebrity guest appearance from “Dean Baldwin,” advertising his new film, Urban Heartthrobs, co-starring Frank Stallone and Carrot Top. No, that’s not a real movie, and no, Dean Baldwin’s not a real person. Brian Lawler jumps him at the end of the interview for no reason, to set up nothing.
Just gonna let that simmer in your brain for a minute.
The Flying Elvises Are Stupid (And Break Up Off-Screen)
Low Ki ends up in a four-way elimination match for the X-Division Championship against all three members of the Flying Elvises, and I want to point out two things:
- the story of the Elvises is that Jimmy Yang and Jorge Estrada are on the same page, but Sonny Siaki’s only in it for himself, right? So if you’re wrestling a 3-on-1 elimination match for a title belt, wouldn’t you say, “Siaki goes into business for himself, but Estrada and Yang work together, at least until they HAVE to fight?” I’d say that too, except I’m not TNA, who has these guys X-Divisioning it up against each other early in the match like morons
- I chose this screengrab specifically because after weeks of build up, this is our shot of the other Flying Elvises finally getting fed up and turning on Siaki. They cost him the match by hitting him when he bounces off the ropes, but TNA completely misses it and keeps them off-screen when it happens
Next week, Low Ki takes on the entire Spanish Announce Team — the wrestlers, TNA only has one announce team (thank God) — in a 3-on-1 elimination match. Because (?)
His Name’s Slim J And He’s Back Like A Vertebrae
Do you like Jack Evans? Do you wish he was half a foot shorter, 100 pounds lighter and acted like Eminem? Well folks, I’ve got the wrestler for you: 4 Mile’s own Slim J, here to take a Shady L to the SATs. Gonna guess this is the only time Slim J’s ever taken the SATs.
His tag team partners are (whoops!) two of the iconic faces of the early years of TNA’s X-Division: Shark Boy, who is still around as recently as July 2017’s Slammiversary XV, and Kid Kash, an eventual 2-time NWA Tag Team and 1-time X-Division Champion. Kash is clearly the workhorse of this team and really the only guy on his side who fits into the X-Division, because Shark Boy is a comedy wrestler about a shark pretending to be Stone Cold Steve Austin and Slim J oversells everything while actually selling nothing and somehow weighs less than zero pounds.
There’s A New Sheriff In Town, And None Of His Clothes Fit
Bill Behrens returns this week with a new heel general manager persona, “Bad Boy” Billy Behrens, and an ill-fitting cowboy hat I’m almost certain he bought at the White Trash Cafe gift shop before the show so they’d agree to let them fight in the parking lot. Behrens is here to prevent Jeff Jarrett from getting a title shot, announcing that Ricky Steamboat is no longer here, and he’s the new sheriff in town. I just want to take a second to point out that Behrens was actually in charge when the show STARTED, because the NWA President was too busy to come to a TNA show. And then Steamboat took over, meaning this is technically the fourth authority figure and third change of power in TNA’s nine week history.
Jarrett tries to attack the Bad Boy [cough] but gets jumped from behind like so much Baldwin by Brian Lawler. Lawler tries to attack him with a chair, but isn’t strong enough to pull one away from a random lady in the crowd so he just gives up. Not a joke.
Lawler starts screaming about how he “knows what Jarrett did,” setting up dozens of weeks of “mystery” that don’t actually go anywhere, turn into a story about whether or not Jarrett sexually assaulted Lawler’s girlfriend and which one of them is lying about it, turns into an angle about how X-Pac is actually the one that is or isn’t sexually assaulting her, brings David Flair and Erik Watts into the company and ultimately lead to (1) two different homosexual panic angles and (2) Lawler getting fired from the company for trying to beat up a fan who sat on his jacket.
Anyway, the important thing you need to know about this angle is that Jarrett finds Bill Behrens on the toilet and beats him up, revealing that Behrens wears multiple pairs of underwear at once like a never-nude Steve Bannon and also takes a shit with them pulled up?
The Truth, Jarrett vs. Behrens and Lynn vs. Styles White Trash Cafe brawl come together in the night’s main event, which teams Truth and Jarrett, who hate each other, against the Tag Team Champions who also hate each other. If you think that match has a logical conclusion that works out for ANYONE, hey, welcome to your first-ever TNA match.
The match — featuring AJ Styles’ first attempt at a not-yet-phenomenal forearm — ends with Styles pinning Truth (the World Champion), Jarrett pinning Lynn at the same time, and two referees counting stereo pins. This brings out Bob Armstrong to announce that the NWA Tag Team Championship belts would be held up as a result of the non-decision instead of, like, starting the match again.
Also yes, I said Bob Armstrong, not Bill Behrens. Armstrong is suddenly the man in charge of TNA and able to decide who is and isn’t champion, meaning this is technically the fifth authority figure in nine weeks, and the fourth change of power. The second in this one episode. Armstrong announces that the titles are held up, announces that The Truth will have to face Monty Brown for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, announces that Jarrett will have to face a mystery opponent who is DEFINITELY not a different popular wrestling Armstrong who has a history with Jarrett, and that Styles and Lynn will have a number one contender match for the X-Division title that’s actually 2-out-of-3 falls match with the third fall being a 10-minute Iron Man match. All of those announcements AT ONCE.
Dixie Will Rise
As I mentioned in the opening, this show was so bad and SO featured a guy in a Nazi shirt as the good guy that TNA’s financial backer, HealthSouth, dropped them the next day. With nobody to pay for the shows, TNA decided to tape two weeks of shows the next Wednesday, air a clip show on the third week and skip September 11th because America. That gave them a month to find a new backer or go out of business.
Spoiler alert: they find one, and they don’t.
Second spoiler alert:
Next Week in Chapter Ten TNA removes Ed Ferrara, Jive Talkin’, the Dupps and Bruce from the show and replaces them with a big sign reading, “NEED MONEY, ANYTHING HELPS.”
(Have you listened to this week’s huge McMahonsplaining podcast with Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss? Subscribe, rate, review)