NWA TNA Chapter Six: The Towering Inferno

In Chapter Five of the NWA TNA Wrestling saga, the fledgling company upped the violence and profanity for the hanging of a black man, an intergender attack after a catfight in the showers, and a dwarf masturbating in a garbage can because he’s sexually frustrated about how much he wants to kill midgets.

Chapter Six takes a step back, apparently removing 3/4 of the equipment and half of the seats from the arena for a scaled back affair with bleeped curses, minimal innuendo and tag teams GRABBING their dicks instead of dressing up as them. Also, the Disco Inferno is here. And the racial stuff is exactly the same, though, if the thought of losing that upset you and you were like, “not saying ‘shit’ five times is all well and good but I’d better hear someone get called an Uncle Tom!”

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, because they still haven’t fixed that.

And now, chapter six of the TNA Wrestling story for July 24, 2002.

Jeff Jarrett And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad British Doorman

The first image you see on this week’s pay-per-view is Jeff Jarrett wandering around the ring in a circle, chair in hand, waiting for “security” to hit the ring. When they do, their job is to get kicked once and remain bent over until he can hit them over the back with a chair. I honestly think the second guy would’ve stood there in the ring hunched over for two hours while people wrestled around him if Jarrett hadn’t followed through.

As you know if you’ve been following along with these columns, Jeff Jarrett (1) hates the National Wrestling Alliance and thinks it’s stupid, (2) refuses to do anything to get a shot at the NWA Heavyweight Championship, and (3) insists that the belt he doesn’t want in the company he hates is his. Jarrett wants Ken Shamrock, so he attacks security and smashes Bookings Director Bill Behrens in the face with a chair (pictured). Shamrock wants Jarrett, so he also attacks security, falsely imprisons them in the back, and instructs his friend and randomly occurring British bodybuilder (?) Ian Harrison to guard the door. Here’s Ian, who Jarrett calls “Joe Steroids,” creating a DON’T OPEN, DEAD INSIDE scenario with security:

My favorite part of this is that like 10 security guys just stood there pounding on the door for an hour and a half instead of finding another door. It’s an arena, guys, not a meat locker.

With security handled from every direction, the World’s Most Dangerous Man is free to hit the ring in flip flops and engage in a pull-apart brawl with Jarrett. I put that in italics, because how amazing is it that TNA devoted the first five minutes of their show to the concept that Jarrett and Shamrock were gonna fight without anyone interrupting them, only to have a bunch of people instantly interrupt them?

Jarrett manages to crack Shamrock in the face with a chair, setting up tonight’s main event: Shamrock defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against [checks notes] Sabu, in a [checks notes again] “ladder or submission match.” Perfect A-to-B-to-L storytelling.

Later in the episode, we find the Dupps talking to Goldy Locks about how they’ve accidentally left their cousin slash three-way girlfriend slash valet Fluff with their father, who once — and I’m putting this in boldface so you have to read it — overdosed on Viagra and raped her, and also raped a bunch of sheep. Their joke, not mine. Bo calls Stan a “retard” for letting this happen.

The point of this (LOL) is for Bo to introduce the idea that in pro wrestling if you aren’t booked for the show, you can just “bump into someone” and have a match. Stan grabs Goldy’s boob and tries to have a match with her. When she tells him he’ll be “singing soprano” if he does that again in what was ABSOLUTELY someone’s first draft of this conversation, Stan decides to see if Bo’s idea would “work on a boy.” Honestly, I think this entire segment might’ve been written by smashing a word processor against the side of a gas station toilet.

Long story short, the Dupps “bump into” Ian Harrison, and Harrison decides to abandon his post to go to a wrestling ring and fight them instead of, I don’t know, punching them there. With the door now cleared and security able to go wherever they’d like, you’d imagine one of two scenarios for the main:

  • security actually doing their job, preventing anyone from interfering, especially Jeff Jarrett, or
  • Jeff Jarrett taking advantage of the chaos, interfering in the main event anyway, and leaving with the NWA Heavyweight Championship, whether he won it or not, as promised

As you might have guessed, neither of these things happen.

The “ladder or submission match” between Shamrock and Sabu takes place as planned, and it’s nowhere near as interesting as it should be. Like, you don’t expect that match to be good, but if you saw it on a compilation somewhere you’d be like, “haha, holy shit, KEN SHAMROCK vs. SABU? I need to watch that.” It should be on the card at a WrestleCon show in the middle of the night. But yeah, neither of them are trying very hard, Shamrock has no idea how to wrestle someone who isn’t exactly Owen Hart, and the big spot is Sabu doing a double jump to the outside and going through a table. Shamrock was supposed to be on it, but he moved before the first jump. Nihilistic Sabu accepted his fate and plancha’d through it anyway.

In a perfectly TNA moment, Shamrock decides to win the LADDER OR SUBMISSION match by climbing the ladder. He gets to the top and has the match won, but (gasp) the lights go out. Instead of actually typing what happens here, I made a GIF, because you need to see how brilliantly this is executed. This might be the hardest I’ve laughed at a wrestling show in years. Behold:

“Sorry, couldn’t find my vest!”

Malice chokeslams Shamrock off the third rung of the ladder — slightly lower than an actual chokeslam — and steals the NWA title. He just leaves with it, and that’s the end of the match. This sets up next week’s big match of “Malice returning the title off-screen to Shamrock, who does not appear on the episode,” and the big title change in two weeks when R-Truth wins the NWA title from Shamrock and Malice has a first blood match with one of the Harris Twins.

Wait, what

The Tag Title Scene Almost Makes That Much Sense

You know, it’s fun to do AJ Styles’ southern accent in 2017, but 2017 AJ is Billy Crystal compared to 2002 AJ. Look at this Boomhauer motherfucker in his track pants and backwards UNC hat. Toby Keith would shade him for being too rural. It’s like Donkey Sauce became a man.

So to recap the story of the Tag Team Champions as quickly as possible, Jerry Lynn got into a tag title tournament finals on a technicality despite not having actually participated in said tournament and chose X-Division Champion AJ Styles as his partner. Styles won the match, which pissed Lynn off, because I guess he picked him because he wanted to lose? They’ve spent the past couple of weeks beating each other up about it. This week, concerned turtle Mike Tenay moderates a conversation between the two, and Lynn is reasonably like, “hey, sorry for being so weird about everything, I used to be a lot like you, we’re cool now.” Yes, great, perfect.

Styles and Lynn defend their titles against another team that’s breaking up from within — The Flying Elvii — and get in trouble when Styles tries a dive and accidentally sends Lynn face-first into the guard rail. This is the result:

That’s so much blood it’s almost Kane cosplay. Lynn manages to fight through it, however, and pins Jorge Estrada to win the match for his team. As you might have guessed, this pisses Styles off. Because HE wanted to win the match, even though he accidentally severely injured his teammate and almost cost them the championship, but it … worked out for him? You see, he’s mad about how Lynn got the pin in the match instead of him, even though he just spent a couple of weeks thinking Lynn was an asshole for getting mad at him for doing the same thing. I feel like I’m typing into a blender.

In Other Tag Team News, Here’s Your Latest Dick Gimmick

Three things you need to know here:

1. Every tag team match on these early pay-per-views is exactly the same. TNA has one tag team match formula and is not afraid to do it 3-5 times per show. If you’ve seen one of them, you’ve literally seen them all. All you need to know is, “every guy in a tag team hates his partner, and they basically won by accident, and nobody is happy.”

2. The Hot Shots have the worst catchphrase ever. “We’re pricks. We’re proud. And we are protruding!” And then they grab their own dicks (pictured). D-X made “suck my dick” a big catchphrase in the late ’90s, so in the early 2000s TNA was like, “the next logical step is a bunch of dudes fucking, right?” These early shows feel like they could turn into porn at any second.

3. The Hot Shots were the team that attacked James Storm and Chris Harris during the tag team tournament, because reasons. Harris and Storm win this, because The Hot Shots are terrible.

The most interesting part is the pre-match interview with Goldy Locks, in which Chris Harris shits on Storm for his “cowboy gimmick,” begging him not to bring the “cap guns” to the ring, and establishes HIS character, which is, as far as I can tell, “wants to have a cigarette.” He’s like, trying to smoke during the promo but can’t, because he’s so mad about GIMMICKS. “That buckaroo bullshit, how many times do we have to talk about it??”

This Shot Of Brian Lawler Choking Don West Is Like A Renaissance Painting


Disco Inferno Has His Own Talk Show Segment


No, this isn’t a picture of Josh Peck at a yard sale, it’s WCW’s own Disco Inferno debuting for TNA as a condescending talk show host who believes having “retired Joey Maggs” and technically been a member of the nWo Wolfpac makes him a Superstar. He promises to teach AJ Styles how to be a wrestler — does everyone over 35 in TNA have that gimmick? — and says he will “slaughter” Oprah Winfrey et al. with his new TNA pay-per-view talk show, “Jive Talkin’.”

The worst and most TNA thing about this is that Mike Tenay intros it with, “time for JIVE TALKIN’,” and then Disco does this five minute promo to reveal that the name of his segment’s going to be “Jive Talkin’.” Join us next week for the first installment, which is Disco Inferno calling Goldy Locks a bitch like 10 times. I wish that was a joke!

Red Alert

The lone highlight from this week may be the TNA debut of The Amazing Red, a future Tag Team Champion and 3-time X-Division Champion who ends up being a pretty crucial part of the X-Division for a long time. If you aren’t familiar with his work, imagine that Rey Mysterio was smaller and extremely loosey-goosey, in both the best and worst ways. Red is sort of the American wrestling equivalent of the Dragon Kid … the stuff he can physically do is beyond explanation, and about 40% of it connects like it’s supposed to. But when it does, oh man, it’s good.

Around this time, Red had become famous on the Internet for something called the “Matrix minute,” a sequence in a Ring of Honor match with Low Ki that replaced the feeling out process with a full-on kung fu movie-style fight. It was MIND BLOWING at the time, so they did it everywhere, including, conveniently enough, in Red’s TNA debut.

The best part of the Ki/Red pairing is that Red’s actually smaller than Ki, so every time a kick connects it medically ends his life.

Also of note in this match: Mike Tenay revealing that Low Ki named himself after a line in Blackstreet’s hit song ‘No Diggity,’ which is apparently the first time the dude heard the phrase “low key.” It actually means “quiet and relaxed,” which is a great way to describe a little guy who incessantly karates you to death.

This Week In Race Relations

We’ve talked about it a lot, but one of the strangest reoccurring things in pro wrestling is a promotion’s inability to have two (2) black wrestlers at the same time without either teaming them up or feuding them against one another. It’s been happening since wrestling became a thing. If Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann get signed to the same cruiserweight division, you know they’re gonna end up a tag team. And then they do! Taking that a step further, one of the worst reoccurring things in pro wrestling is when a bunch of white writers get together to have a black character openly complain about racial injustice, only to have a different, more “likable” black wrestler show up and tell him he’s stupid, and everything’s fine. Then one calls the other an Uncle Tom, and they fight. I just finished writing up most of the Faarooq vs. Ahmed Johnson beef of 96-97 if you need an example.

This week, K-Krush shows up to rename himself “The Truth,” and explains at length about how “they” try to hold him down, and how “they” think any great black athlete is a criminal. He brings up Allen Iverson, Mike Tyson and, hilariously, OJ Simpson as examples. He promises that “they” won’t hold him back anymore. So, sure enough, More Likable Black Wrestler Monty Brown shows up to tell Truth that the reason he doesn’t succeed is because he sucks, and “they” are actually really nice guys who have helped him a lot. Truth calls him an Uncle Tom, and they fight.

Later in the episode, Monty Brown teams up with (get this) fellow black wrestler Elix Skipper to defeat Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger. Tenay’s talking point for those guys is, “they were kind of good in ECW, so they’re going to try to be kind of good here!” Brown wins, and because this is TNA, Skipper is mad about that and turns on him. I’m not kidding. Truth runs to the ring, Skipper abandons Brown, and we get our second graphic hanging of a black man in two weeks.


Join us next week for Chapter Seven, featuring a guy winning the title of “Miss TNA,” more pretend in-ring blowjobs, and a dwarf pulling a gun on Jeff Jarrett.