Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
Join Date: Dec 2004
Re: Official TNA DVD Help/Discussion/Review Thread
Doing an Old School TNA Review today. I got my hands on their 10th Weekly PPV event from 2002. In the earliest days of TNA, it was obvious that they were still trying to find their identity, especially at the main event level. And the weekly PPV format didn’t lend itself to the best model of on going storylines. However, the obvious standout above all else was the X Division, and this episode demonstrated that perfectly.
BEST OF 3 SERIES FOR X TITLE SHOT: MATCH 1 = FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles
Vs. Jerry Lynn
This Best of 3 Series was basically the story of the night as AJ/Lynn would open & close this particular episode. They started off with a pretty exciting match with a nice brawl through the crowd and some cool stunts throughout the arena. It was a really cool match to start things off and it ended with AJ taking both a Cradle Piledriver on the stage, and the loss.
TAG TEAM MATCH
“Wildcat” Chris Harris & “Cowboy” James Storm
Vs. “Primtime” Brian Lee & Ron Harris
Yeah, Storm & Harris weren’t quite “America’s Most Wanted” yet. A pre-match promo for them showed that Harris was somewhat embarrassed teaming up with a cartoonish cowboy. Storm even had little cap guns! The Tag Titles were held up by this point, and Harris & Storm would soon win them for the first time. The Tag Division for TNA wasn’t really exciting yet, but by the end of the year, AMW & The New Church would fix that. As for this match, it was solid. Like I said, Harris & Storm weren’t a finished product yet, but they showed signs of greatness in there & their chemistry was starting to show. The finish was really weird as Lee got thrown to the outside and just randomly attacked a fan, and as Don tried to stop him, he got taken down by Harris & Storm. I have no idea where that went, but oh well.
2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH
Vs. Jimmy Yang
Two members of the Flying Elvises going at it. Now I have to question having a 2 out of 3 falls match on the same night that Lynn & AJ are having a Best of 3 series. I think it’s a little too much, but whatever. I was never a huge fan of Siaki as a worker, and I have actually seen very little of Yang, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here. The match was good though. It wasn’t entirely crisp, but The first bout was almost entirely controlled by Yang as he finished him off with a “Yang Time” 450 Splash. Siaki took back control in the second fall & eventually finished off Yang with a Seakales (sp?). The third fall was far more competitive and really showed off Yang’s athleticism & Siaki’s power. Proof of the match not being entirely crisp came with an awkward roll up finish where Siaki got the win. So yeah, it was a good match in spite of a few signs of sloppiness.
- Jeff Jarrett came out immediately after the match demanding an NWA World Heavyweight Title shot & wanted to call out “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, who I guess was an authority figure at this point. Brian Lawler then came out to attack Jarrett. You see this is a sign that TNA’s Heavyweight Division wasn’t that great at this early point in the company: Brian Lawler was on par with Jarrett. Goldylocks, who was an interviewer for TNA at this point (and not a very good one), came to the ring to ask him why he hates Jarrett so much. And before he could tell us why, he is attacked by his opponent Slash. This segment came off awkwardly, with Tenay shouting “TELL US!!!” on commentary. Its really times like that where the commentators should silence themselves. Anyways, Lalwer Vs. Slash began immediately.
A majority of this match was actually spent outside of the ring with lots of brawling around the ringside area. Once it got back into the ring, it became a decent match with high impact moves & reversals. Strangely, both men hit low blows, but the referee never called for the bell. Lawler eventually finished off Slash with a Top Rope Legdrop, The Tennessee Jam.
- We are then shown Bob Armstrong & Jeff Jarrett backstage as they argue about…something.
X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: ELIMINATION FOUR WAY MATCH
Low Ki (c) Vs. Amazing Red
Vs. Joel Maximo Vs. Jose Maximo
The three challengers made up a group known as “The Spanish Announce Team” or SATs. Why poor Low Ki is put into a title match that is basically 3 on 1 is anyone’s guess. But its awesome because it allows Low Ki to look like a total bad ass! Of course the SATs didn’t work together the entire match and there was plenty of competitiveness among the four. There wee some amazing shows of athleticism here & Low KI & Red were just so cool in there. Its easy to see why there were such big successes in the early days of TNA. The Maximos were alright, but I could see some signs of “youthful inexperience” in there. But for most of the match, they seemed to just be there to catch Low Ki & Red, lol. Jose was the first eliminated, and by his own brother. Red then too out the other Maximo with a corkscrew splash, coming down to the two best guys in the match. Low Ki won after a great exchange that ended in a Top Rope Ki Krusher. This was a really cool four way match here, and another strong outing from the X Division.
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Ron “The Truth” Killings (c)
Vs. “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown
Uuuuuuuuuh. What do I say here? I don’t like Truth as a talent, and even when he was at his best in TNA, Monty wasn’t quite completely polished as a talent. Subtract that Monty Brown by about 3-4 years, and you’ve got yourself a bit of a disaster here. Sure enough, it was. In between the X Title match & the conclusion of the AJ/Lynn series, this almost feels like filler. Oddly enough, Monty was using Abyss’ theme at this point. Strange. Anyways, I wasn’t a fan of this match. When a match goes longer than 5 minutes, you really see how bad Ron Killings is, and it showed in spades here. Started off alright, but then degenerated into a boring mess. And strangely, the match was worked in a way where Monty worked as the face & Truth the heel, even though the promos & talk from the commentators implied otherwise. This was just a match between two people that had no idea what they were doing. Truth won the match on a botched roll up out of the Alphabomb.
- After the match, Jarrett attacked Truth & Monty, only to be cut off by Lawler who ended up accidentally hitting Truth with a chair. Can’t say I care.
BEST OF 3 SERIES FOR X TITLE SHOT: MATCH 2 = NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles
Vs. Jerry Lynn
The match started backstage when AJ attacked Lynn during a promo. I’m not sure what the point is of following up a Falls Count Anywhere Match with a No DQ Match. Is there really that much of a difference? Oh well, AJ & Lynn only continued their excellence from earlier in the night. This match was more ring based than the earlier bout, and brought a hardcore element to their usual X Division action. There was a great spot where Lynn hit a Top Rope Hurricanrana to the outside that sent AJ through a table. Very cool! There were some really creative bits with a chair. Eventually, AJ finished off Lynn with a Styles Clash on the chair to tie the series at 1-1. Very good outing between the two here, but Match 3 followed immediately after to conclude the series.
BEST OF 3 SERIES FOR X TITLE SHOT: MATCH 3 = 10 MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles
Vs. Jerry Lynn
After going through two No DQ matches earlier, a 10 minute Ironman Match is actually a good endurance test to close it. AJ scored two immediate pins since Jerry was still knocked out after the Styles Clash on the chair from the previous match. He tried to keep Lynn grounded with a series of headlocks, but Lynn turned up the volume & started to hit some more high impact moves. Lynn scored a fall, but AJ followed it up with another (even though Lynn kicked when he wasn’t supposed to). With a 3-1 advantage with under 3 minutes to go, it seemed as if AJ had it secured, but Lynn fought back. He hit a Tombstone on AJ for a quick one, and then another with a Styles Clash on AJ with a minute to go. The match ended with both men scrambling for a quick pinfall, but no one was successful and the clock hit zero with a 3-3 tie. So yeah, this match was really exciting as well and focused more on using the clock to create the drama. Some might think that 6 falls in 10 minutes is overkill, but after what they went through in the first two matches, I can buy that they were spent, and the falls come a lot quicker. It was a cool conclusion to a pretty damn good Best of 3 series.
- After the match, Low Ki came out and kicked the hell out of a beaten up AJ & Lynn and then officially said that he would give the X Title shot to both men, which would be a Triple Ladder Match for next week’s show! Now most long time fans of TNA will tell you that bout was a classic.
- The show concludes with Jeff Jarrett beating up a masked man dressed up & acting like Bullet Bob Armstrong, but when the masked man fights back and Bullet Bob appears on the stage with a chair to challenge Jarrett, the show ends on a mystery of who the masked bullet is. Well he looks a lot younger than Bullet Bob, so I’m not sure how Jarrett made the mistake in the first place. A few weeks later it turned out to be BG James.
- I also have to comment on a few other aspects of the show. I already talked about how bad Goldylocks was as a backstage interview. She just sounds awkward. Also, in the early days of TNA, they used to have cage dancers for the entrances. That to me just looks so tacky & classless. One more thing, Don West was AWFUL on commentary this early into his career. He always had a lot of energy, and that’s good, but he said a lot of dumb things.
So what were my overall impressions of this very early edition of TNA? Well like I said, it was obvious that they were still trying to find themselves. The only thing that was really working was the X Division, and that was almost the whole show here. Between the AJ/Lynn Best of 3 series, the four way X Title match, & the 2 out of 3 Falls bout between Siaki & Yang, the X Division took up a huge portion of the show and provided some pretty exciting action. Everything else clearly needed some work. Harris & Storm were starting to click as a team, and it was just a matter of building the tag division around them to get things going. The Heavyweight Division was a mess though. Ron Killings was an awful champion. Monty Brown wasn’t ready based on this showing. Guys like Brian Lawler & BG James aren’t exactly World Title material in my eyes. I believe Scott Hall & Ken Shamrock may have already been gone by this point (don’t know for sure). Really, the only solid heavyweight they had was Jarrett, & he seemed to spent most of the early episodes just walking around, bitching about not getting a shot, and then getting humiliated for it.
This episode basically had two story arcs for the night: 1) Setting up the X Division Title Match for the following show and 2) The animosity between Jeff Jarrett & TNA Management, namely Bullet Bob. The first story was pulled off very well. Low Ki was established as a dominant X Champion, and AJ & Lynn were undoubtedly the two top contenders by the shows end, and the story concluded with a hook & announcement of the match. The second story was just awful. It was basically just Jarrett walking around and bitching, and attacking people whenever he wanted. That was it. So between a solid 2/3 Falls match, a strong showing for Low Ki, & AJ/Lynn being the stars of the show, this was basically the X Division’s night, which I’m assuming was the norm in the early days. The only truly bad match of the night was Truth Vs. Monty. That was awful. So all in all, this episode is basically the tale of two halves. If you focus on the X Division stuff, the show was very good. Everything else, not so much.