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NWA-TNA PPV #18 review
October 30, 2002
Live from Nashville, Tenn.
By Gregg Allinson, Torch Team Contributor
The show started with a pan of the crowd- some of whom were in costumes (including, amusingly, a guy in a Miss TNA gown and a guy in Mortimer Plumtree get-up)- then a shot of Kid Kash and Tony Mamaluke in the ring.
(1) Kid Kash defeated Tony Mamaluke. Nothing too noteworthy in this match, which is kind of surprising considering the skill of both workers. I guess the point of the match was to give Kash a win, as he seemed to get in most of the offense and West talked about how frustrated he was about losing so many matches. During the match, Mike Tenay mentioned the eight man tournament for the #1 contendership to the World Title. Kash won the match with the Moneymaker. "Major" Don West and "Professor" Mike Tenay seemed strangely subdued on commentary, which was my first indication that tonight might go awry.
Graphics hyping Curt Hennig against Jeff Jarrett, Amazing Red against AJ Styles, and Ron "The Truth" Killings against "Last Call" Scott Hall aired.
Interview with Scott Hall: Hall, in what has to be considered a backhanded compliment, calls the NWA "too stupid to quit" in it's quest to go up against "mega-companies", and says that he likes the "renegade, outlaw" spirit of the promotion (he'd continue repeating those two phrases ad infinitum during the interview). Mike Tenay mentions that Hall has held several titles, including the WWF Intercontinental title ("Four times" says Hall. Tenay quickly adds "But who's counting?"), but he's never held a world title. Hall says he'd love to win the NWA world title because it's the oldest title out there, and that while Killings is impressive, he's not as good as he thinks he is. Not a particularly great interview, but I am glad they did it all the same, because I really do think these pre-match interviews with the challenger lend a feeling of realism and importance to championship matches.
And for the third time in a week, we get a Tale of the Tape, hopefully cementing it as a permanent fixture of World Title matches. This one was actually largely the same as Hennig's- emphasizing the age and size of Hall- but, again, I'm glad it's there as it gives World Title matches a sense of legitimacy.
(2) Ron "The Truth" Killings defeated Scott Hall to retain the NWA World Title. Ron comes to the ring and does his usual rap. As the crowd chants "You suck", he fires off the best line of the night: "If I suck, you swallow". Truth complains about Team Derelict (unfortunately, he doesn't use that phrase) accusing Jeff Jarrett of being Mr. Wrestling III, which he thinks is ridiculous since Jarrett is more concerned with the "dressing room politics" of Team Derelict than Killings' title. Then he says "Just like the immortal Scott Hall says, don't bring it, don't sing it, just bring it." Oh boy. When KILLINGS is having trouble with his lines, you know something's gone wrong.
Hall enters the ring, says "Hey Yo", tosses his toothpick at Killings, and starts working his arm. Much like the AJ Styles/Syxx-Pac matches of the past few weeks, this starts slow. Unlike those matches, it never gets going. Killings does some amazing splits and kicks to try to interject some vitality into the proceedings, but Hall has just looked awful since his comeback last week, and tonight was no exception. Mr. Wrestling III runs in again, and Hall actually unmasks him, but he manages to hide his face and Killings gets a front suplex on Hall while he's distracted for the win.
During the dancing and the scrolling, the Major wonders why Mr. Wrestling III started out attacking Killings, but is now attacking all of Killings' opponents. He also says that Mr. Wrestling III had light hair, when it looked more brown to me.
An attempt is made to roll a recap of last week's build up to the Curt Hennig/Jeff Jarrett match, but the audio is out. They stop rolling it, Mike Tenay apologizes for the technical difficulties, then says that they're going to try to roll it again. No luck. Jeff Jarrett's music plays and he cuts a promo thanking the NWA for letting him take part in the tournament for the World Title. He also puts a bounty on Mr. Wrestling III's head, and offers to pay the person who unmasks him whatever they want. Hennig comes out, calls Jarrett a "dumb guy", and- as is unfortunately the norm for him these days- cuts a loopy promo about Diamond Dallas Page. He also wonders why we never see Mr. Wrestling III and Jeff Jarrett together, but as West has mentioned a few times by this point, he's pretty sure we have seen the two together. Hennig concludes by saying he's going to find Jeff Jarrett and kick his ass as Jarrett stand about fifteen to twenty feet directly ahead of him.
During a scroll, Tenay thanks the fans for their bids in the NWA-TNA.com silent auction.
(3) America's Most Wanted ("Cupcake Cowboy" James Storm & "Wildcat" Chris Harris) defeated The Hot Shots (Cassidy O'Reilly & Chase Stevens) and No Relation (Chris & Rick Michaels) in a Triple Threat Match to retain the NWA Tag Team Titles. Sadly, the Hot Shots ignored my advice and are still coming out to the same generic comedy theme they used last week. After No Relation hits the ring, they hug the Hot Shots, further cementing the alliance between the two. In happier news, the Cupcake Cowboy and the Wildcat now have matching trunks with "AMW" on the back. Storm and Harris charge the ring Road Warriors-style, like they did last week. West says that their newfound aggressiveness ties into the continued lack of respect they feel they're getting. Unfortunately, this week they're up against four guys, so they get the crap beaten out of them. Pretty much just a wild brawl, except for a frog splash (Tenay didn't identify it as a "five star" frog splash, so I guess it only rates two and a half) from Cassidy O'Reilly, of all people. Storm sets up Rick Michaels and Harris does a guillotine legdrop on him. Storm gets the pinfall. At the end of the match, the lights go out and Sabu appears in the ring. No, no, wait. Ron Killings appears on the screen and starts talking. No, that's not it either, oh, yeah: Prime Time Brian Lee and Slash beat down everybody while James Mitchell directs their efforts from the entrance ramp, marking the evil return of the Disciples of the New Church. Lee takes Storm back to the entrance ramp and chokeslams him off, and Mitchell enigmatically orders Slash to "sacrifice yourself for the good of the Church". Lee lays Harris on a table, then Slash jumps off the balcony and sends him through it. Nice. While it is kind of a shame they couldn't get Devon "Tempest" Storm or A Malice Wall back to lend some continuity to the stable, it was an effective reintroduction and Lee fits in well with the premise (now all they need to do is give him some vaguely scary punk or occult sounding name).
Interview with Bullet Bob Armstrong. Don Harris lurks in the background. Thank god- I was getting worried about him after last week's Harris-less show. Bob announces that if a champion gets himself disqualified or counted out, he'll not only lose the match, he'll also lose the title. Very cool. Another nice little step that makes the titles seem more valuable and gives the NWA a distinctive identity. He also announces that Harris will be refereeing the matches in the title tourney. Oh, uh, yay?
Graphics hyping the four Tournament matches air: Jeff Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig, Sonny Siaki vs. Jerry Lynn, Grandmaster Lawler vs. Syxx-Pac, and right now, Ron Harris against BG James. All of the matches except Syxx-Pac vs. Lawler (owing to Syxx-Pac's injuries) will happen tonight.
(4) BG James defeated Ron Harris to advance in the World Title Tournament. Even the NWA didn't seem to have much faith in this match, as most of it was spent showing backstage footage of Jeff Jarrett bloodying Curt Hennig (who bladed quite nicely - talk about your proverbial crimson masks). A very goofy angle is started here where Don Harris, apparently calling the match straight down the middle, is "fired" (from being a referee, not from the company, sadly) by Bob Armstrong. D. Harris accuses Bullet Bob of trying to save his son from losing. Don leaves, but not before beating up Bullet Bob. A new ref comes in and while Ron is distracted, BG rolls him up. Following the match, BG and security check on his dad. A Ron Harris/BG James feud over nepotism. Great. Somebody up there hates me.
A very special haunted girl dances during the scroll.
Graphics for the Priscilla/Jorge Estrada against Mortimer Plumtree/Ace Steel match air.
(5) Bruce & Ace Steel (w/His Buggly Eyes and Mortimer Plumtree) defeated Jorge Estrada & Priscilla in a "Mixed Tag Team" match. Before the match, Plumtree explains that a Plumtree does not roll around a wrestling ring with a woman, so he's hired Bruce to take his place, much to the delight of the faux Morty and Bruce in the audience. This was essentially a handicap match, as Priscilla didn't even enter the ring or, indeed, get involved outside of her patented ringside trip. Ace won with the Twist of Caine. After the match, Mortimer Plumtree spanked Priscilla. I thought this would be a perfect time for a new Elvis to debut and even the odds, but all we get are some referees. C'mon, Jorge! You promised that you'd hold auditions for a new Elvis like three weeks ago. What's the hang up?
(6) Jeff Jarrett defeated Curt Hennig to advance in the World Title Tournament. Not much of a match, really, as Hennig was still selling the effects of the bloodening Jarrett laid upon him during the five star MOTY between Harris and James. Hennig got beaten down with a chair and JJ pinned him. That's about it.
More girls, more scrolls.
Tenay hyped a Lynn/Siaki recap, but instead Goldylocks interviewed Jerry Lynn. (Russo alert) Lynn spent most of the interview complaining about politics holding him down. Then the recap aired, followed by an interview with Siaki where he sniffed Goldy's hair and bragged about his stamina and the fact that he could go all night long. In a flashback to his Elvis days, Siaki said "Sonny Siaki has left the interview".
Graphics for Siaki against Lynn air.
(7) Sonny Siaki defeated Jerry Lynn to advance in the World Title Tournament. Don West says that Lynn's leg is about 90 percent recovered. Hallelujah! It's a miracle! Siaki does some somersaults to show off his athletic prowess and Lynn mocks him by doing jumping jacks. The two lock up, brawl a bit, then Lynn does a tilt-a-whirl head-scissors. Siaki rolls out of the ring to get his bearings and the crowd gives him a chorus of "Rocky rip off" chants. Lynn does a baseball slide dropkick to Siaki, then bounds over the top rope with a running somersault. The two brawl outside the ring for a while, then Lynn gets a near fall on Siaki. Siaki lifts Lynn up by his leg and snaps Lynn's throat into the top rope. Siaki works the neck for a while before Lynn strikes back with a superplex. Pressing the advantage, Lynn unloads with a couple of clotheslines and a DDT, but Siaki kicks out. Lynn follows up with a fireman's carry and another near fall, but Siaki kicks out again. Lynn goes for the cradle piledriver, but Siaki reverses and gets a two-count. Siaki goes for the Siakalypse, but Lynn pushes him off into the referee, knocking the ref out. Siaki tries hitting Lynn with a chair, but in an homage to his most legendary rival, Lynn does a Van Daminator. Lynn goes for the pin, but of course, the referee's unconsciousness gives Siaki enough time to escape. Siaki DDTs Lynn on the chair, revives the ref, and- unexpectedly- only gets a two-count. Rather anticlimactic end where Siaki does a drop toehold and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin. After the match, Lynn takes Siaki up the entrance ramp and tosses him into the guardrail, avenging his knee injury and Siaki's tainted victory to advance in the tourney. A much better display of what these two are capable of than last week's match, even if the miraculous healing of Jerry Lynn's knee is a bit silly.
Catch the NWA in action around the nation. No word on if those dancing girls will be at each and every event or not, sadly.
Recap of the Syxx-Pac/Grandmaster Lawler epic to goofy soap opera music.
Backstage, Goldylocks asks Lawler and April about the status of their relationship. Lawler says that Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson pale in comparison to the legendary love of Brian Lawler and April Nolastname (OK, so I made up that bit about Lisa Marie and Michael, but I think it would've been awesome if he did say that and Jorge Estrada came out to make fun of him). He says that he gets mad at himself when he thinks that somebody as sweet and pure as April could go out with a scuzzball like Syxx-Pac. He calls Syxx a bunch more names, then makes out with April, disgusting Goldylocks and the entire viewing audience.
The camera shows a nice TNA Jack O'Lantern for a moment, then Grandmaster Lawler does an idiotic dance to the ring, with April in tow. Lawler gets into a fight with a fan, who's eventually saved by security, then he tells the audience that because of "assholes" like that fan, the audience doesn't get to hear his very special announcement and he walks off in a huff. Thanks, unnamed planted fan!
Girls. No scroll.
(8) AJ Styles defeated The Amazing Red to retain the NWA X-Title. This was just a psychotic match. It started with a bunch of armdrags and just took off from there. Styles, much like Sonny Siaki did in his match with Red, played the powerful bully and got a wicked brainbuster in on Red. Styles won the match by reversing a Red huracanrana into a rollup. I'd describe it in more detail, but I think Red was just making up moves in this match, and- much like Bruce Lee on the Green Hornet TV show- they'd have to slow this match down so that mere mortals could see all of them - not quite the MOTY candidate that Tenay and West put it over as, but that's only because it went about fifteen minutes. Give these guys a sixty minute ladder match with Plumtree and the SAT banned from ringside and you've got your MOTY right there. If Red keeps up this pace, he'll be mentioned in the same breath as Liger, Steamboat, Van Dam, and Mysterio by the end of 2003. Mark my words.
West Shill! Tables Match for a shot at AJ Styles: Kid Kash vs. The SAT vs. Ace Steel vs. Tony Mamaluke! Jorge Estrada vs. Bruce- if Bruce loses, Priscilla becomes Miss TNA! AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn! Curt Hennig vs. Jeff Jarrett! Sonny Siaki vs. BG James in a Tournament match!
The Bottom Line: I was ready to write this off as a train wreck due to all the production gaffes, poor mic work, and bland matches in the first hour, but the last forty minutes or so were just great, which I guess is no surprise when you consider the fact that four of the promotion's best workers were given a decent amount of time for a pair very good matches. Still, the first hour really bought the show down and very nearly made this one of the worst TNA PPVs in months.
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