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NWA-TNA PPV #26 review
December 18, 2002
Live from Nashville, Tenn.
By Gregg Allinson, Torch Team Contributor
Show opens with cameraman apparently just filming whatever he feels like as "Professor" Mike Tenay talks about tonight's matches and Jeff Jarrett's answer to Vince Russo. Finally, the hyperactive cameraman settles on the announcer's table, where Tenay sits next to "Major" Don West (who else?). "The NWA World title belt... it's not a regional title, it's not a company title."- Mike Tenay. A highlight package of Double J's title defenses in Belfast and Glasgow for WWA and Tokyo for Zero-One air, interspersed with clips of Jarrett talking to Jeremy Borash. Jarrett says that it's great when TNA chants start on these tours, but there's nothing like Wednesday nights, because they're something special. Great package that really made Jarrett, the NWA title, and the regular TNA shows all seem very important.
Outside the Asylum, Goldy attempts talking to Curt Hennig. He ignores her and walks into the ring to a mystifyingly large pop. He starts off talking about Vince Russo, then veers into his usual incomprehensible nonsense about being the greatest wrestler ever to lace up a pair of boots and Brock Lesnar. Christ, why don't you just marry the guy already, Curt? After that brief visit to Planet Hennig, we start coming back to reality as Hennig calls Russo nothing but a "magazine writer". Russo walks out with Creative Control (Ron & Don Harris). Hennig chases Russo, but Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, and Christopher Daniels rush to Russo's rescue. BG James seizes Don West's headset off-camera and launches into a totally bizarro and over-the-top Jim Ross impersonation, and all I can think is "Thank god Ed Ferarra's not around anymore, or this would be twice as bad as it is". As the Harrises rip down TNA banners all around the Asylum, Russo welcomes Hennig to Sports Entertainment Extreme (SEE). The assembled forces of SEE attack the announcer's table, but still don't really cause any damage to it, The Professor, or the Major. SEE Membership Count as of this segment: 9 (BG James, Puppet & Teo- remember, James ate them months ago- Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, Christopher Daniels, The Harrises, and "Damn" Vince Russo).
Girls/Scroll: Tenay calls Ki, Daniels, and Skipper's turns "sickening" as he and Don West generally badmouth SEE.
Backstage, Goldylocks is talking to Bullet Bob Armstrong. A.J. Styles comes strolling by and Bullet Bob kicks him out of the NWA for apparently joining SEE when he attacked Jeff Jarrett at the end of last week's show. A.J. says that he hasn't joined SEE, he just did what Bullet Bob is always telling people to do: do their talking in the ring. A.J. says that he's "scored every one of those boys in the X-Division. I deserve to be a World champion". Until he is, he's going to be all over Jarrett. Styles says "zip it", then leaves, and Bullet Bob follows him. Puzzlingly, we never really see Bullet confront A.J. later on in the show or anything...
(1) Jason Cross won a 10 Man X-Division Gauntlet For the Gold (#1 contender match): Because of their treasonous actions, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper have been kicked out of the match. Jason Cross and Amazing Red start, but not before we cut to a backstage fight between A.J. Styles and Jeff Jarrett, which a helpless Mortimer Plumtree is trying to break up.
Back in the ring, Cross and Red lock horns. Cross does a nice flip that lands him in an ECW-style staredown with Red.
And speaking of ECW, in comes Tony Mamaluke as the third competitor. Mamaluke's strategy seems to borrow a page from America's Most Wanted's book, as he starts wailing on Cross and Red. He tries to get Cross to tap to the Sicilian Crab, but then Jimmy Rave enters.
The next man in isn't a man at all. Instead, he's a boy... a SHARK BOY!, who gets an enormous pop from the crowd. Mamaluke is trying to superplex Rave off the top rope, but Shark Boy knocks them both off. Mortimer Plumtree comes to the table and complains about A.J. being held down. Amusingly, Tenay and West largely ignore him for the rest of the match. Kid Kash enters, followed by Ace Steele (w/His Buggly Eyes). West and Tenay note that Ace is "Plumtree's man", but Plumtree explains that things just didn't work out between him and Ace (although there may be opportunities for Ace to work with Plumtree again somewhere down the road). For the first time I can remember, Ace impresses me by doing a sweet missile dropkick on Jimmy Rave, who subsequently eliminates Tony Mamaluke before getting pinned by Shark Boy. Jose Maximo enters and Kash eliminates Shark Boy. Jose does a superb top rope cross body block on Kash, then Joel Maximo enters, promptly getting into what Mike Tenay appropriately dubs a "slapfast" with Ace Steele outside the ring. David Young is the next man in and does a modified F5 on Cross, sit-out powerbombs Red, and backdrop suplexes the SAT. "Did I mention distinct size advantage?"- Don West. Everyone in the match does an Obligatory Suicide Dive of the Week. Ugh. Once that nonsense has passed, Kid Kash does an impressive huracanrana and tornado DDT on Young for a two-count. Joel and Red finally put him away with, respectively, a top rope DDT and Infra-Red. Joel's brother Jose is also eliminated by a top rope DDT from Ace Steele. Joel gets revenge by headscissoring Steele into a rollup.
Amazing Red eliminates Kid Kash by jumping off the top rope and snapping his neck down, and we're down to the first two men in the match: Red and Cross. Jason Cross wins with a Crossfire. Unfortunately, the Crossfire looked really weak, but otherwise, an outstanding match.
Scroll/Girls: Mike Tenay tells us to remember that TNA will be off the air for two weeks due to the Holidays. TNA returns January 8, 2003. After the scroll is finished, Mike Tenay announces that on account of the way he lost the X-title (eg, through outside interference), Bullet Bob Armstrong has added Jerry Lynn to the X-Division title match between EZ Money and Sonny Siaki. Don West hypes up the three way tag between the Disciples of the New Church, the Harrises, and America's Most Wanted as well as the street fight between BG James and Ron "The Truth" Killings.
Russo, along with his SEE cronies, again enters the ring and asks the crowd if they realize people tune in to laugh at them. Uh, OK... I don't, but if Curt Hennig can warp reality, I guess Russo can too. He generally bashes the crowd a bit more with comments about how bad Tennesseans' teeth are and such until he gets around to introducing the new members of SEE. Russo claims that TNA wouldn't use Low-Ki because he wouldn't commit to a 52 week contract. TNA told him to sit at home and think about it, so he did, and Vince Russo called him. Now, I certainly don't expect everyone in the audience to be a smark (unlike Russo), but the story is ridiculous. TNA will allow guys like Jimmy Rave and David Young to work whenever they can, but not Low-Ki, who's one of their top stars? And I'd imagine at least a few people out there know that Low-Ki is tremendously busy doing indy shows and overseas dates, so the idea of him just sitting around waiting for Vince Russo to call is, again, flatly ridiculous.
Moving right along, Russo says that he'd heard about Christopher Daniels for two years on the internet, but TNA was too cheap to fly him in. Russo promises to buy him a plane. Elix Skipper? He wasn't getting paid enough, so Russo not only vows to pay him what he's worth, but also get him laid twice a day. You know, I do like Elix Skipper, but it's kind of sad when Vince Russo has to fix you up with girls. Gold Club, here we come!
Russo tells BG James that there's no room for compassion in SEE, referring to last week when James apparently displayed dismay over hitting Bullet Bob with a chair. Russo also says that the Harris brothers must prove themselves this week, another reference to last week, specifically the Harris Brothers' Dusty Finish tag team title win. Finally, he calls out Jeff Jarrett and asks for his answer. Jarrett obliges and cuts one of those "history of the universe" promos, which seems to span Russo and Jarrett's entire careers and lasts almost as long. In the end, Double J says that he's not with Russo and that he'll never be with that "pompous Yankee SOB". Jarrett fights the forces of SEE with a chair, but is quickly overcome by sheer numbers. Security and referees hop into the ring as Russo gloats and SEE leave. Russo takes one last shot at West and Tenay by hopping up onto the announcer's table, drinking a bottle of water, then tossing it at the camera.
Girls/Scroll: More bitching about Russo.
(2) America's Most Wanted ("Cupcake Cowboy" James Storm &"Wildcat" Chris Harris) defeated The Harrises (Ron&Don) and NWA World Tag Team champions The Disciples of the New Church ("Killdozer" Brian Lee & Slash w/Belladonna, Minister James Mitchell) in a non-title match. Incidentally, this wasn't announced as a non-title match, although Don West did mention that it was about halfway through the match. Percy Pringle sits on the entrance ramp to scout the teams (although we never did see him interviewed by Mike Tenay, which Tenay promised he would do last week). Storm and Harris continue to show improvement, as Storm does a good side Russian leg sweep on Slash and Harris cross body blocks Brian Lee from the top rope. The match degenerates into a three way brawl in and outside of the ring until Athena runs in and low-blows Ron Harris. Don looks like he'll avenge the assault on his brother's manhood, but then the ROAD WARRIORS run in to save her! Athena runs away as Hawk and Animal clear the ring, then give Slash a Doomsday Device. Hawk splashes Ron Harris, then James Storm crawls back in to pin him. OK, I don't care if they are old and have largely embarrassed themselves for the past decade or so, I still grew up as a Road Warriors mark and went nuts for this.
Scroll/Girls: The Major and Professor talk about the Road Warriors' shocking appearance.
Backstage, Goldylocks asks the Road Warriors for some comments. Animal says "There's your sports entertainment extreme!" and leaves. Hawk sticks around for another second and says that they still snack on danger, dine on death, and Russo's next before following his brother out the door. Nice. If they come back in black leather and silver spikes next show and start poking peoples' eyes out, I'm marking out.
Meanwhile, Bullet Bob gives a totally loopy promo to the TNA locker room about seducing somebody, excluding them, and "X"ing them out. OK, OK... so it was supposed to be a play on Russo's SEE (or SEX, as the spelling-impaired Russo likes to call it), but the seduction bit was just weird. I really don't want to see a cross-dressing Amazing Red trying to seduce Elix Skipper back into TNA. Wisely, they just cut away from this even as Bullet still doddered on about nothing.
Recap of Lynn and Siaki from last week. Why is it that the music they use in these recaps is better than the wrestlers' entrance themes?
(3) Sonny Siaki defeated EZ Money and Jerry Lynn in a three way dance to retain the NWA X-Title. Lynn and EZ worked together at first, shaking hands and ganging up on Siaki. Andrew McManus from WWA was shown watching at ringside. Siaki won the match with a Siakilypse on EZ Money after Kim Nielsen (the woman from last week) distracted Jerry Lynn.
Following the match, Russo saunters out again and hugs Kim, then offers her to Siaki in exchange for his allegiance to SEE. Lynn gets back up and attacks Siaki, but he and Kim beat on Lynn, and the two leave with Russo. Security checks on the fallen Jerry Lynn. SEE Membership Count as of this segment: 11 (BG James, Puppet & Teo, Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, Christopher Daniels, The Harrises, Sonny Siaki, Kim Nielsen and "Damn" Vince Russo).
Girls/Scroll: The Professor once again reminds us of the Holiday Hiatus.
(4) BG James defeated Ron "The Truth" Killings in a Street Fight. Killings lays down an anti-SEE rap, only to be attacked by BG James. This short match was only notable for, perhaps, the worst visual pun in wrestling history: BG James actually drags out a kitchen sink to use against Killings. BG pins Killings, but only after some assistance from Ki, Daniels, and Skipper.
Following the match, Bullet Bob says that SEE is pretty brave when the numbers are in their favor, but what about a fair fight? He's got the SAT and Amazing Red in the ring, and tells Russo to send three of his best against them.
(5) Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, and Christopher Daniels defeated The Amazing Red and the SAT. Really strong match, which is to be expected, considering the competitors. Jose and Red broke out a Rock and Roll Express Memorial Double Dropkick on Christopher Daniels, and almost everyone got in at least one spectacular move, such as Daniels' double springboard moonsault on Jose. Bizzarely, Don West actually gets up on the table and starts chanting "Go Red Go!", which actually kills the "Go Red Go" chant the crowd already had going dead. Low-Ki gets the win for SEE by doing a devastating top rope Fireman's carry on Red. My only problem is this: why are a bunch of barely legal cruiserweights representing "traditional wrestling"? I mean, don't get me wrong, I like the SAT and I'm a huge Amazing Red fan, but I still don't understand why people like the Harrises and BG James are part of SEE while the young, spectacular athletes like Red and the Maximos are TNA (although it does look like SEE is definitely tilting towards being dominated by younger workers).
Following the match, Vince Russo asks for the answer to the greatest mystery in wrestling: why are there always tables underneath the ring? BG James replies "Because we put them there." Wow, that's the first time BG James has made me intentionally laugh in years. SEE sets up a table and puts Red and the SAT on it, but then Curt Hennig rushes to the rescue. He's making a good accounting of himself til DAVID FLAIR (?!) rushes in with an axe (interesting psychology there... of course, Hennig's father was famed AWA wrestler Larry "The Ax" Hennig), hits Hennig with the handle, and locks a figure four on him. Jeff Jarrett hops in and smashes the forces of SEE with a chair and locks Flair in a figure four, but then A.J. Styles joins in the fun and beats up Jarrett. Daniels and Skipper drive Jarrett through a table and Russo takes the axe to the TNA sign on the entrance ramp. He ends the show by saying "The following program has been bought to you by Sports Entertainment Extreme". The program that followed NWA-TNA on DirecTV was the Best of UFC 2002. So I guess Carlos Newton, Tito Ortiz. Matt Hughes and company are all SEE members now? SEE Membership Count as of this segment: I've completely lost count (BG James, Puppet & Teo, Low-Ki, Elix Skipper, Christopher Daniels, The Harrises, Sonny Siaki, Kim Nielsen, David Flair, A.J. Styles, every fighter in Ultimate Fighting Championship, and "Damn" Vince Russo).
The Bottom Line: Appropriately enough, the final pre-Christmas NWA-TNA resembled a Christmas party. Some nice surprises, welcome returns by old faces, some people you never want to see again, and a bunch of things that made no sense at all. The SEE storyline is just boring and stale, and I hope it ends soon so that we can get back to what made TNA so enjoyable for most of the year: a strong focus on in ring action with minimalist yet well booked storylines. I also really really hate the Russoisms infecting the show (right down the Jim Ross impersonation and "old school vs. new school" feud... god, this promotion's becoming WCW 2000 before my very eyes). On the other hand, none of the matches were really that bad apart from the street fight (which was very short)... hell, most of the matches were outstanding, showing exactly why the X-Division's made such a big splash this year. It was also great to see the Road Warriors, Elix Skipper, Shark Boy, Low-Ki, David Young, and Christopher Daniels again, but unless he's improved dramatically, I really don't see what David Flair brings to an already overcrowded roster.
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