In Chapter Nine of the NWA TNA story — or should we say, “Chapter Nein” — babyface head of security Don Harris wore a Schutzstaffel tank top to the ring for a hardcore match about a backstage employee defeating the company’s top monster heel and them deciding they have “mutual respect.” I guess you can’t spell “Malice” without “Don Harris is a Nazi.”
In chapter ten, TNA breaks new ground by having their first kinda good show in company history, relying on AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn to wrestle what amounts to eight matches on one card. As mentioned in last week’s write-up, PPV 9 was so abysmally bad that TNA lost their financial backing from HealthSouth, so this week’s show, next week’s show and the “best of the X-Division” special after that all happen with a drastically cut budget and a safer product so someone will step in and let them keep doing it. Amazingly, someone does.
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. Global Wrestling Network: it’s way under the top!
And now, chapter ten of the TNA Wrestling story for August 21, 2002.
About All Those Styles/Lynn Matches
Okay, so, last week’s show ended with AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn, tag team champions that hate each other, taking on The Truth and Jeff Jarrett, tag team challengers that hate each other. Styles pinned Truth while Jarrett pinned Lynn, and two different TNA referees counted conflicting pinfalls instead of like, not doing that. Authority figure Bob Armstrong, who was not the authority figure when the episode began, showed up to strip the champions of the titles and make a series of matches for this week, including three (3) Styles vs. Lynn bouts.
It’s supposed to be a best 2-out-of-3 falls situation with different stipulations for each fall, like a “three stages of Hell” match. Only, the final fall is an Iron Man match, meaning they’re adding a bunch of falls to a series that already has too many falls. ESPECIALLY since last week the feud was thematically blown off with Styles and Lynn brawling outside of a place called “The White Trash Cafe.”
In the spirit of 2-out-of-3, here are three truths:
- every one of the falls in Styles vs. Lynn — which if you count the six falls in the Iron Man match comes out to eight total falls — is good, because seriously, you’ve got the legitimate future of the business who grows into one of if not THE best worker on the planet going up against a respected veteran workhorse who helped influence the next generation of stars, so even them play-fighting in the parking lot during redneck brunch is better than most other matches
- if you’ve ever seen a series like this in wrestling — Cesaro vs. Sheamus, I’m looking in YOUR direction — you know how a third fall with an Iron Man match stipulation is going to end. In a tie. Meaning …
- despite the entire episode hinging on the result of this contest and the payoff to 9 weeks of these two feuding, the series ends in a tie, making the entire thing meaningless and doing nothing but setting up another match for next week
Low Ki shows up after the match to announce that next week we’ll get an “unprecedented” three-way ladder match for the X-Division Championship, and drops his succinct and catchy catchphrase, “IT IS NOT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHTER, BUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT HE WILL BRING, AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS BE READY.” AND WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN ME SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
Don West loses his mind like Ki just announced a great deal on a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card:
“The three greatest competitors in the X-Division will put it on the line with three eight-foot ladders! You heard me right! Three eight-foot pieces of pure [forgets what ladders are for a second] metal, and steel!”
And yes, that sign behind him says, “GOLDYLOCKS’S FAVORITE MAN MELTED IN HER ‘PIE HOLE.'” He has another sign referring to him as her, “chocolate man.” Just once I want a woman in professional wrestling to be like, “well, I wasn’t going to fuck that fan, but he wrote about how much he wants to on a piece of cardboard, so …”
America’s Least Wanted
Goldy Locks (who is not being sexually or scatalogically terrorized for the first time in ten weeks thanks to the de-emphasis on “mature content”) interviews James Storm and Chris Harris, the future America’s Most Wanted, about how they haven’t been on the show for a few weeks. Harris, who joins Dean Baldwin in TNA’s recent fetishistic obsession with masculine cigarette smoking, blames Storm’s “cowboy gimmick” for them not getting booked. Yes, “Wildcat,” you guys haven’t been booked because the show that books multiple wrestling penis characters, an incest and shit-centric hillbilly gimmick, a gun-wielding dwarf who wants to murder midgets, a fake Baldwin Brother, a fake Eminem, a team of cultists who worship sheep blood in a trinket box and the Disco Inferno as a talk show host on pay-per-view won’t book you because one of you kind of acts like a cowboy.
They’re interrupted by their opponents for the night in a match that is booked [cough], ‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee and RON Harris. Not Don. You can tell the difference because Don has his Nazi tattoos on his right bicep, and Ron has HIS Nazi tattoos on the left.
Despite being called ‘Prime Time,’ Lee hadn’t actually been on TV for four years at this point. You might remember him as “Chainz” from the Disciples of Apocalypse, or as The Undertaker from that SummerSlam match where The Undertaker faced The Undertaker. He looks like Heath Slater and Lance Hoyt had a baby and passed on none of their talent.
Hilariously, Unbooked Cowboy Storm manages to win the match for his team when Lee attacks a “fan” at ringside and Ron Harris gets distracted by how many solutions remained before THAT one. I put fan in quotes because it’s a “fan” with frosted tips and tattoos who is extremely muscular and wearing skin-tight black clothes. Dude looks so much like a wrestler he’d get rejected by WWE security for being too obvious.
Join us next week when Serious Non-Gimmicked wrestler Chris Harris get booked in a match featuring The Hot Shots, whose point is that they put socks down the front of their trunks to make their dicks look big, Flash Flanagan debuting his Flock gimmick calling himself “Kobain,” and a team called “The Backseat Boys.” Also, Jeff Jarrett stands in the background smoking a cigarette like Robert De Niro in Goodfellas.
Lollipop Is Finally Here
This week’s biggest debut is the cage dancer named “Lollipop,” named after the fact that she has a lollipop. Get it? Do you get it? Do you get their joke. Do you get it. She’s just a nondescript, candy-associated dancer right now, but eventually she trains to become a wrestler and becomes a pretty important reoccurring character over the first couple of years in the promotion. She’s also the first person to get Actually Naked on a TNA show, so … look forward to that.
Things Are About To Heat To The Same Temperature In The Women’s Division
No gay panic Bruce segment this week, but we do get an appearance from “noted fitness model” April Hunter, who has arrived to challenge him for the Miss TNA crown. I think “noted” is a little strong.
If you’re wondering who that is beside her, no, Shelton Benjamin didn’t get into a car accident, that’s April’s boyfriend Slyck Wagner Brown, current Big Time Wrestling Tag Team Champion alongside the hilariously named “Tre the Smooth Operatin’ Gangsta.” Brown was trained by Killer Kowalski, which means he’s exactly as good as Triple H.
TNA Decided To Run Two 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Matches On The Same Episode
Yeah, so you know how the major plot of the episode is the 2-out-of-3 falls match between Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles, stretched over the entire two hours so it’s both the opener, hour one main event AND hour two main event? Well, TNA was like, “the Flying Elvises turned on Sonny Siaki last week and that’s ALSO a grudge match,” so they put THEM in a 2-out-of-3 falls match somewhere in the middle of the show, with all the falls in a row. Meaning the show technically featured two 2-out-of-3 falls grudge matches between tag team partners that hate each other. And this one features two guys who are dressed exactly the same.
They Also Ran The Same Low Ki Match As Last Week, But With Four Babyfaces
Pop quiz: what’s happening in this photo? The answer, after this.
Last week, new X-Division Champion Low Ki used not the size of himself but he size of the fight he would bring to defeat all three Flying Elvii in a fatal four-way elimination match. All they could do was be ready. That kind of worked because Sonny Siaki had spent the past several weeks being a jerk, so there was ostensibly a heel there to keep the match together. This week, Low Ki uses the size of the whatever to win ANOTHER fatal four-way match against a trios team, this time the Spanish Announce Team and Amazing Red. The problem there is that all of these guys are babyfaces and there’s no animosity between Red and the SATs, so it’s pretty dumb of them not to just hit Ki with 300 consecutive flips and pin him outright.
Answer: the game is glitching
Monty Brown Almost Kills The Truth
One of Bullet Bob Armstrong’s big announcements at the end of last week’s show is that The Truth would have to defend the NWA Heavyweight Championship against “The Alpha Male” Monty … [checks notes] “Monte” Brown. That’s an announcement that would make Mike Tenay scream in that same tone of voice he uses to say everything else. It doesn’t end up being very good, though, because about a quarter of the way through the match Brown throws an overhead belly-to-belly on the floor and spikes Truth on the top of his head.
You can’t really tell from the GIF, but Truth’s head hits before his body goes over, and then his body KEEPS going over while his head stays in place. The camera misses most of it, because TNA, but here you go:
Because of this, the rest of the match is a real “uh oh, we concussed Kurt Angle” situation. Truth retains via Stone Cold Steve Austin SummerSlam ’97 roll-up.
The Jeff Jarrett Story Takes A Weird Turn
As if it hasn’t already!
The last of Bob Armstrong’s LOOK AT ME, I’M THE GM NOW decisions was putting Jeff Jarrett in a match against a mystery opponent. Jarrett of course storms out in the middle of the show to demand answers from Mike Tenay and Don West, who you know have been hoarding the run sheet and not letting anybody see it. Jarrett gets attacked from behind by Brian Lawler, who is still screaming I KNOW WHAT YOU DID without actually telling us what Jarrett did, and when it looks like he’s about to, he gets attacked by Slash from the Disciples of the New Church.
The worst thing about Brian Christopher is that he’s got no idea how to tell a story in a wrestling match. He’s got one character he can do — sarcastic dancing guy — and he either does it to make you cheer him or boo him. Like, he’s supposed to be this enraged guy letting revenge consume him, and he’s in a match with an evil cultist who attacked him from behind, and he’s JUST changed his name to “Brian Lawler” because he wants the crowd to take him seriously. So what does he do? Stop between every other move to sarcastically dance. It’s all he’s got, and it’s not very good.
The rest of the show is a lot of Jarrett backstage yelling at Bob Armstrong, and the kinda sorta reveal that the mystery opponent Armstrong suggested is going to be Armstrong himself. We even get a bit with referee Scott Armstrong standing outside of Bob’s dressing room yelling at him to “not do it.”
If You Can’t Recognize The Guy In The Mask, Your Ass Better Call Somebody
Sure enough, Jarrett’s opponent turns out to be “The Bullet,” who is clearly not 62-year old Bob Armstrong. Despite this, the announce team starts screaming about how INSANE and UNPRECEDENTED this is that old man Bob Armstrong would dress up in his old gimmick and show up to fight Jarrett. Meanwhile, “The Bullet” is like, running around taking bumps and selling punches by throwing both of his legs in the air over his own head.
Note: This is also a pretty good example of why wrestlers should shave their legs, and why you should only wear gear that rides up in your balls like that if you’re Alex Wright.
Just as Jarrett’s about to pretend he’s God’s will and hit the old man with the stroke, The Bullet comes alive, kicks his ass and clotheslines him out of the ring. Jarrett can’t believe what he’s seen, and can’t believe it EVEN MORE when Bob Armstrong walks out onto the stage with a steel chair. But if you’re here … and he’s there … and you’re not him … oh, my medication!
And that’s it. That is the best of 10 episodes of NWA TNA Wrestling.
it’s Christmas, are you seriously gonna make me watch TNA
Anyway, join us next week for a triple threat ladder match that has never been done before anywhere ever especially not in WWE’s celebrated TLC matches two years before this, the epic showdown between Miss TNA Bruce and noted fitness model April Hunter, and The Bullet showing off his unusually road-doggish moveset.