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The SmarK Rant For NWA-TNA – June 18 2003

June 18, 2003 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK Rant for NWA-TNA – June 18, 2003

– Well, it’s the first anniversary for a show that was living on borrowed time since day one. Who’d have thunk it?

– Live from Nashville, TN.

– Your hosts are Iron Mike Tenay & Major Don West.

– A nice video package sums up the happenings of the first year of the promotion in a few seconds. Really, there’s not much to tell.

– New set tonight, with lots of lights and chrome and stuff. Much more Nitro-like.

– Meantime, Shane Douglas shows up in a limo. Can he afford that on a teacher’s salary?

– Don Harris, Sonny Siaki & David Young v. Frankie Kazarian, D-Lo Brown & Sandman. That’s an interesting combination of guys. Big brawl to start as Kazarian starts with Siaki and gets a neckbreaker for two. Brown comes in with a forearm, and then dominates Harris with armdrags before walking into a Bossman slam. David Young (Master of the Spinebuster, you know) comes in, but D-Lo slams him for a Kazarian legdrop that gets two. Bridged electric chair gets two, but he walks into (you guessed it) a SPINEBUSTER from Young that gets two. Siaki gets a northern lights suplex for one, and then a T-Bone that gets two. Kazarian comes back with a superkick, and makes the hot tag to D-Lo. He cleans house on the heels and sideslams Young for two. Harris brawls with Sandman outside while Young and Kazarian slug it out in the ring, and D-Lo finishes Young with the frog splash at 3:55. They kept it quick, simple, and limited to the good workers, so it was fine. ** SEX does the heel beatdown afterwards, until Sting and Jarrett make the save to a big pop. Sting has the look again, and if he’s anything past half-decent in the ring he’ll be in the WWE within weeks.

– 1wrestling.com columnist and supposed booker Vince “Tag Jones” Russo joins us to insult the southern fans (talk about shooting fish in a barrel) and basically airs the views that Vince McMahon has been putting on the air about the south for years now. Witness Nidia. He makes a charming metaphor about Jarrett and condoms, and then brings out the very southern AJ Styles as his new protйgй. Figure that one out. We get a rather dull segment as Styles tries to quiet the crowd and makes with the cheap heat. Tenay finally breaks in to run down Russo and AJ’s choice of friends in general. Finally D-Lo Brown interrupts, looking for answers from Styles. D-Lo talks about old times with Russo with lots of inside stuff that no one cares about, and then accuses Styles of screwing him over. AJ responds that he was just doing what it took, and asks D-Lo to be his mystery partner. Russo takes credit for the whole D-Lo Brown gimmick, and D-Lo slugs him to trigger a brawl with Styles. AJ kicks his ass until Raven makes the save and goes after Styles, but Shane Douglas hits the ring and lays him out with the BELLY TO BELLY OF DEATH. The interview was pretty weak, but this should at least set up a tag match and did an effective job of laying out the issues.

– Meantime, we learn that chicks can no longer compete with men, and Erik Watts has another tiff with Goldylocks. I miss Scott Hudson already.

– Meantime, Raven’s group freaks out about not being there to save him from Shane Douglas. CM Punk tries to get into the group.

– X title: Chris Sabin v. Paul London. They do some mat-wrestling to start, which is a stalemate. They fight over a lockup and London gives him a shot in the corner, but Sabin snaps off a rana, and London responds with his own and a dropkick to dump Sabin. He fakes a highspot and they slug it out on the apron, where Sabin goes into the post and London follows with a shooting star press into a clothesline that has to be seen to be believed. Seriously. Back in, that gets two. Sabin tosses him, and then kicks him off the apron on the way back in. Sabin follows with a corkscrew plancha and they brawl outside, as London hits the railing, twice. Back in, they slug it out and Sabin dumps London, but he comes back in with a cross-body attempt that misses and ends up landing on Sabin’s knee. What a cool counter. That gets two. Sabin slugs him on the mat and goes into an abdominal stretch, as London’s gut seems to be the new target. He reverses out of it ala Owen Hart, and brings Sabin out of the corner with a headscissors. He gets a leg lariat to make the comeback and a flying forearm, and Sabin backs off. London charges but misses, only to come back with a double chickenwing into an inverted powerbomb that gets two. He’s still selling the ribs, so Sabin drops him with another gutbuster and gets two. London goes up as CM Punk joins us and sits in the corner, and London & Sabin fight over a superplex until London follows him down with a shooting star press that’s so good it puts Kidman to shame. Tight rotation, clean execution. Punk lays out London with a DDT, allowing Sabin to finish with the fisherman’s buster at 7:53. Bad finish to what was developing into a hell of a match. ***1/4

– Meantime, New Jack threatens to stick his fingers into Mike Sanders’ eyes and rip out his heart. Well, 10 points for enthusiasm, minus several million for anatomy. Shark Boy interrupts and wants a boxing match with Hulk Hands. I love those things. Kid Kash saunters in and sweet talks the “big scary dude” who appears to be living in a trash pile backstage.

– Hard 10: Mike Sanders v. New Jack. Sanders lays out New Jack with a lid for a quick 1-0 lead. New Jack’s whole mystique is shot without “Natural Born Killers” blaring throughout the match. If they can license that song or another song with a similar backbeat, they can create a bigtime crowd participation deal in the midcard. Without it, he’s just another crazy black dude. But then this is a company that books ECW guys without any understanding of how they got over in the first place. Jack comes back with the lid to tie it up. They head out and Sanders hammers with the trashcan to go up 6-1. Jack dives off the apron with a chair but misses and hits the railing. Sanders gets another lid shot for 7-1. Jack uses a baking sheet to make it 7-2. Back in, more devastating can lids make it 7-4. Shark Boy mugging for the crowd draws more attention. A headbutt with, you guessed it, a can lid makes it 7-5. They head out again, and Shark Boy offers New Jack a Hulk Hand to use on Sanders. He nails Sanders with it and sends him flying back through the table to win at 5:35. Having been hit numerous times with one of those things, my usual reaction is not flying back in pain. Really bad, boring match, even by New Jack’s usual low standards. -**

– Video package of notable debuts.

– Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn. Lynn attacks to start and they bitchslap each other, and Credible starts with the chops. Lynn returns fire and gets the rollup out of the corner for two. Justin goes for a quick piledriver, but Lynn escapes and tries his own, but Justin counters and kneelifts him. Back to the chops as they really unload, and Justin does a Flair Flip to set up a flying bodypress, which Lynn rolls through for two. Justin superkicks him for two. Tombstone is reversed for two by Lynn, but Credible reverses that for the pin (using the ropes) at 2:44. Really short and disappointing, but I imagine they’ll milk this for another few weeks anyway. Ѕ*

– My signal goes out for a bit, and we return with BG James interviewing Konnan and Ron Killings. They all talk carny to each other and nothing is really established.

– Kenzo Suzuki v. Perry Saturn. Saturn is looking all Rick Steiner now. Suzuki attacks with a clothesline to start, but Saturn returns fire. They exchange headlocks and Saturn elbows him down and pounds away in the corner. Saturn just looks weird and freakish with all the new tattoos. Suzuki goes low to turn the tide and a backdrop suplex follows. Kneelift and Kenzo chops away to set up a vertical suplex that gets two. Saturn rolls him up for two. Another one gets two. Springboard dropkick misses by a mile but Suzuki moves into it and Saturn gets two. T-Bone suplex and they somehow mess up a bodyslam, and Saturn slingshots in with a splash that ends up driving his knees into Suzuki’s ribs. Suzuki spears him weakly and gets a high knee for two. Saturn comes back with a german suplex for two. Saturn’s looking REALLY sloppy tonight. He goes up with a stiff flying elbow, but Justin Credible and Jerry Lynn run in and continue their brawl for the no-contest at 4:36. Saturn did NOT look like he was playing ball there. Apparently there’s all sorts of Japanese politics behind the screwy finish, not that anyone would care here. Ѕ*

– NWA World tag title: Elix Skipper & Chris Daniels v. America’s Most Wanted. The champs lay out Storm & Harris in the back before the match. However, they make it out unharmed and it’s a big brawl to start. Storm kicks Skipper down to start and gets two, but gets double-teamed by the champs and Daniels pounds him. Leg lariat from Daniels and Skipper comes in with a spinkick and a suplex for two. Chris Harris seems to have vanished. They hit a Rockerplex (haven’t seen that for a while) but Harris blows in with a double clothesline off the top to break things up. Storm makes the comeback as heel miscommunication results, and it’s the hot tag to Harris. Big lariat for Daniels and a powerslam for Skipper gets two. Sideslam into a uranage gets two. The champs double-team Harris and Daniels hits the Angel Wings for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Storm powerslams Daniels for two. Blind charge by Daniels hits boot, but Storm can’t capitalize. AMW end up with a double-team bulldog out of the corner, but Skipper hits Storm with a neckdrop to break up the momentum. Daniels goes up and misses a moonsault, and Harris spears him for a close two. Skipper rolls him up for two. Low Ki tosses a belt to Daniels, who misses and gets superkicked by Storm. Death Sentence (aka the Vegomatic) gets two on Daniels, as the ref is pulled out of the ring by Low Ki. Skipper then gets the beltshot and Daniels pins Harris at 6:48. That would have seemed to be an easy place to put AMW over big and reestablish them as the big team of the promotion, but I guess that wouldn’t been a swerve. Match was spotty and so incredibly rushed that I can’t believe they couldn’t cut at least three of the other segments out to make more time, but fun stuff. **3/4 Later a cage match between the teams is booked, one of the rare times where it actually makes SENSE because of the constant run-ins by XXX.

– Mike Tenay interviews Jerry Jarrett. I fast forward.

– Erik Watts joins us to interview Kid Kash. Watts makes short jokes, and Kash admits to being a wifebeater. Erik lays him out and starts to chokeslam him, but Goldy is trapped in a cage with Big Scary Dude backstage and thus distracts him from his work.

– Sting & Jeff Jarrett v. AJ Styles & Sean Waltman. Well, so much for NWA never using Waltman again. You gotta wonder about specifically denying his involvement to Meltzer, when really that’s the core audience who might buy the show based on Waltman’s being in the match. Anyway, stuff like that makes my head hurt, so we’ll move onto the match. Waltman, by the way, is wearing sweats, so obviously this was a last-minute deal. Big brawl to start as Sting no-sells Styles’ stuff and dodges a dropkick to set up the Scorpion deathlock, but Styles makes the ropes and bails. Sting follows with a pescado and they brawl outside, while Jarrett charges into an elbow from Waltman in the corner. Broncobuster misses and Jarrett powerbombs him into a figure-four. AJ breaks it up with a springboard legdrop. Styles comes in legally and drops a vicious knee for two. Straight kick to the head and snap dropkick keeps Styles in control as Russo swears up a blue streak on color. Waltman grabs a MAIN EVENT SLEEPER and a spinkick gets two. Lightning legdrop gets two. Styles hits the chinlock. Jarrett fights out and it’s a double clothesline for the double KO spot. Hot tag to Sting, who slugs everyone down and Stinger splashes both guys. Scorpion Deathlock on AJ, but Waltman breaks it up with his own bat. Hoisted by his own petard. Styles reverses the move to his own as a result, but Sting powers out. Waltman & Styles cut off the ring again, but Sting clotheslines both of them. Sting hits them with a unique double-DDT (one inverted, one regular) as the crowd goes nuts for the hot tag to Jarrett. Dropkicks for both heels and it’s a meeting of the minds, but Styles goes low on him. The ref is bumped off a Styles superkick as it’s BONZO GONZO, and Jarrett Strokes AJ with no ref. Russo waffles Jarrett with the bat, but Raven runs in to avenge himself until Douglas again breaks things up. So we’re left with Styles coming off the top and landing on Jarrett’s boot, and another Stroke and still no ref. Jarrett charges and hits elbow, but comes back with a Stroke off the middle rope that finishes at 11:49. Just some good solid Southern tag wrestling with the usual goofy TNA finish, as Sting barely even figured into the match. ***

The Bottom Line:

It’s weird that they built this up with a PPV-type blowoff atmosphere for weeks and then wasted so much time with the stupid skits in between matches when stuff like the tag title was calling for 10 minutes or more. Saturn-Suzuki was a total waste of time, for instance.

As a usual TNA show this was better than average with a pair of good main event tag matches and a strong X title underneath, but as a bigtime anniversary show, it was a major letdown. But even with the good wrestling, it could have been GREAT wrestling given better use of the time and a more organized booking team. Like, for instance, while you don’t want to drop stuff, you don’t have to advance EVERY angle EVERY week.

Thumbs up for this week’s show overall, but the potential is easily there for so much more and it’s being wasted.

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