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NWA-TNA 2003 aka a passive-agressive way to deal with depression


El-P

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Nobody wanted it. That's why I'm delivering it to you, as long as my mental health sustains it.

 

The anguish began here BTW : http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/14057-nwa-tna-2002-revisited/?p=5670930

 

PPV 26

 

The Vince Russo show is back. Long boring awkward promo with shooty-shooty elements, bad gimmick matches and shit finish all over the card.

 

The only salvageable part of this particular PPV was AMW vs Slash & Brian Lee in what was a decent little title match, although they clearly went overboard with nearfalls at the end, which would be a stamp of TNA and, I guess indy wrestling as a whole, then WWE style too eventually. When Brian Lee is part of the best match of the show, good luck. Slash is pretty good though and the AMW is at least a fresh established tag team, sot them getting the belt back made for a feel-good moment in that wretch of a PPV

 

The main event was Jeff Jarrett running the XXX gauntlet, so he’s selling for a while then wins with his shitty finisher from nowhere, Randy Savage-circa 96-style. And Dusty Rhodes shows up at the end to save the day. Tradition and all. Because this isn't a shitty rehash of WCW vs nWo. Not at all.

 

EZ Money & Kid Kash vs Tony Mamaluke & David Young wasn’t exactly a hot opener and I haven’t been quite impressed by EZ Money yet like I’ve been in ECW and WCW. Kid Kash just seems like a lost cause at this point. Mamaluke misses Little Guido and David Young looks like a junior version of Mike Enos, which is cool enough I guess. But they didn’t mix well although they tried to actually work a tag match with some dynamic instead of doing just spots.

 

On the other hand, Sonny Siaki vs Jason Cross was just bad indy spotfest.

 

Some other bad matches involving BJ James & Don Harris who can even manage to ruin Jerry Lynn, with the run-in of Mike Sanders of all people (I kinda liked him in WCW, so why not), and most of all the horror of a dying-on-his-feet Curt Hennig vs David Flair in an actual wrestling gear in an whatever-on-a-pole match. Brutal stuff. Flair looks like he hasn’t improved one bit and without the insane gimmick looks even more exposed. That would be Hennig's last TV match (last match ever too ?). What a sad way to go.

 

Oh, and as far as horrible goes, Percy Pringle was grotesque at this point. Sad to see. Sad interview too, half shoot / half kayfabe, in a typical Russo WTF style.

 

Why I am watching this shit again ? Oh yeah. Depression, that's right. Makes sense.

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I'd argue AMW are almost the biggest highlight of TNA in 2003. Like you say they were a fresh, young team, which comes off well in comparison to the WCW relics hanging around, and they were also a really good working team, who had good matches with everyone from young spotty guys to the Brian Lees of the world. The XXX matches are great. Naturals matches are great.

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PPV 27

 

Incredible, but the main event of Road Warriors & Jeff Jarrett & Dusty Rhodes vs XXX (and Vince Russo, but he was a complete non factor thankfully), was actually kinda... fun when you had XXX bumping for the old legends. They made Animal actually look good, giving the old guy a double suplex spot. Hawk, not so much, he looks rough as hell. Dusty does what Dusty does and Jarrett takes the load. Well, it would have been fun until the shit finish, although the ultimate useless swerve of Nikita Koloff under the mask was kinda funny in a ridiculous way. But not really.

 

Russo shoot interview, Russo segment with Percy Pringle beatdown, complete with gross bladejob, Russo segment arguing with Dusty Rhodes (who himself cut quite the fun promo though). Yeah, we get it, Vince Russo is the main heel of this promotion and he talks ad libitum about writing pro-wrestling. Poor guy, still living off 18 months in the WWF and his complete failure in WCW (yeah, only Russo can make a career out of a failure stint).

 

In other surprise appearance, we get Larry Zbyszko showing up after a decent AJ Style vs Ron Killings match. Larry also cuts a decent promo about tradition. No, this is not the nWo angle, not at all. Hey, I can live with the idea of Larry Z. stalling his way into a fun match with AJ Styles, who’s easily the best worker of the company.

 

Jerry Lynn gets Mike Sanders who I liked quite a bit in WCW, but he doesn’t show much here and we get a shit finish with David Flair anyway. Well, sorry, infact the David Flair shit finish was the AJ Styles match, this is the Ron Harris/Dusty shit finish.

 

Kid Kash and Sonny Siaki have a bad spots match for the X Division title, the big surprise being that Trinity, who’s in with Kash, doesn’t get to do a moonsault. She did one earlier on during the AMW title defense, so there is that. And then Siaki gets no heat and has no character at all, so Desire’s boobs and ass, which she has in spades, are the main attraction. She also tried to strip Athena off her pants earlier in the show, in a moment that reeked of unplanned punishement for the poor girl, as she was gripping to her belt with all her strenght. WTF is happening here ?

 

Konnan is showing up to beat on X-division guys with a kendo stick. This is so WCW.

 

Third PPV in a row without any good match. Please, debut Raven already, please.

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PPV 27

 

Incredible, but the main event of Road Warriors & Jeff Jarrett & Dusty Rhodes vs XXX (and Vince Russo, but he was a complete non factor thankfully), was actually kinda... fun when you had XXX bumping for the old legends. They made Animal actually look good, giving the old guy a double suplex spot. Hawk, not so much, he looks rough as hell. Dusty does what Dusty does and Jarrett takes the load. Well, it would have been fun until the shit finish, although the ultimate useless swerve of Nikita Koloff under the mask was kinda funny in a ridiculous way. But not really.

 

Yeah, I remember this being surprisingly fun. My main memory is that Jarrett worked FIP, pretty much because he's the only one able to take a few bumps, but that Animal was surprisingly good on offence. Seem to remember he hits a pretty nice sitout powerbomb. I also remember a Hawk dropkick that was barely knee-height.

 

I'm sure someone else can confirm, but as I recall the Athena stripping was very much a shoot, and she really was trying desperately to hang onto her clothes.

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Saw this on 411 where someone had transcribed parts of Kenny Bolin's podcast interview with Vince Russo

On His First Year in TNA: “I think that first year might well have been my most enjoyable year in the wrestling business because my whole intention in what I was trying to convince Jeff of was that there was the attitude era and we need to evolve this to the next level and that is what we were really trying to do in the first year of TNA at the Asylum when it was the 9.99 pay per view but when you work with guys like Jeff and when you work with guys like Dutch and guys like Jeff, who I truly love and respect, at the end of the day they just tend to go back to their comfort zone and what they know and what they know is wrestling, so I think by the time we got the Fox Sports deal and we were going to be on TV, I don’t think Jeff really wanted to take the same chances that we took at the Asylum thus at that point we more or less turned into a full fledged wrestling company and the idea of evolving the business was kind of null and void at that time.”

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Man, this guy is such a tool on every level. He only rehashed the same shit he did in WCW. Not only his ideas suck, but he's got about three our four of them at most.

 

PPV 28

 

The Sheik is dead and TNA is live on PPV in Australia. To celebrate, Lollipop pulls up her tights into G-string shape to show little Aussie flags on her ass cheeks and sluts it up a notch by shaking da booty. In an awesome moment of timing, Tenay says at exactly the same instant « This is what we have came down to. »

 

Two notable things, other than Lollipop’s, a good AMW vs XXX (Skipper & Low-Ki) tag title match, although Chris Harris kinda flubbed the pacing at one time before the last stretch. But the work until then was fun, especially by Ki and Harris (ok, they fucked up a spot badly at the beginning but were fine after that). Not the crispest work as you can guess, as AMW go through too much stuff too quickly, but still a breath of fresh air. XXX steals one, old-school style with a belt shot.

 

Other good point, the debut of Raven, which probably had been spoiled since there was a « Raven » sign visible in the crowd during the terrible four-way main event of Jarrett vs Daniels vs Heavy D vs James, with Jeff bleeding, poor brawling in the stands, table spot and Jarrett eliminating his three opponents. Only cool moment was referee Scott Armstrong rebelling against his brother BJ James and kicking him in the nuts, although it didn’t make sense that a referee would do that, really. Raven steals the belt, with the entire locker room watching him DDT Jarrett without doing anything. Then runs away with Russo. Well, ok, the surprise was cool since Raven really is the first guy with any relevancy directly jumping from a WWE stint to TNA, but the execution was kinda goofy and the fact he’s aligned with Russo is a bummer from the start.

 

AJ Styles works a perfectly ok match with Larry Z., who’s more fun to watch than 90% of this roster honestly. Styles really shows his versatility by not trying to do stupid stuff, keeping it at the right pace and bumping good for Larry. Solid stuff.

 

Opener was ok for an SAT match as David Young, Jimmy Yang & Shark Boy worked quite well with those bad spotmonkeys. Amazing Red actually looked as bad as his partners this time around, very sloppy work for once.

 

What else ? Jorge Estrada looking terrible against Ashley Hudson, who as a wink to Australia isn’t as appealing as Lollipop’s ass shaking, really. Mike Sanders & David Flair making Lynn & Killings look boring and bad. Ok, I’m down on Sanders already.

 

Two useless segment with legends, a pathetic rambling pre-taped promo by Piper (leading to nothing) and Dusty Rhodes confronting Nikita Koloff, talking about Magnum TA and stuff. Ya know, nostalgia is okay for one show, but this is ridiculous and goes nowhere, no matter how good Dusty is on the mic. Plus you get a swerve at the end and a Dusty beatdown. Yawn.

 

And a useless gimmicky X-division title match bewteen Siaki, a jobber and Athena. Still made more sense than the main event and better worked than David Flair or Estrada. Basically a build toward Siaki & Desire vs Kash & Trinity. I hope for a moonsault.

 

Konnan beats up X-division guys again.

 

2003/01/22 AMW vs XXX (Skipper & Low-Ki)

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PPV 29

 

This show is all over the place ! The most infamous moment here is probably Tony Schiavone first and I believe only appearance on a wrestling card after the demise of WCW, cutting a shooty-shooty promo. He’s actually good at it, although it’s sad he has to play into Russo’s chauvinist pig stuff with Goldilocks. Plus after a while, his rambling against Mike Tenay (who’s goofy as hell when he gets that über-serious face of his) just goes nowhere and the crowd chants boring. « Total nonstop action has officialy stopped », as the signed said. Plus there was another Percy Pringle promo beforehand (which gets forgotten immediately, the poor guy just vanishes basically) and Russo showing up afterward. Schiavone as a heel announcer under anyone but Russo would have been quite entertaining though.

 

A bunch of bad matches basically building toward Jerry Lynn vs Ron Killings, with poor execution of the angle. Bad match too with Amazing Red vs Jorge Estrada, who looks useless at this point. Hey, Disco, well, Glen Gilberti is showing up. That is promising… (and I liked Disco, but with Russo at the helm, it's scary)

 

The mixed tag between the teams of Siaki & Desire and Kash & Trinity was a bunch of spots. Actually, it got a « tag your partner ! » chant when the guys were in. Trinity did a top rope quebrada. Athena runs-in. Konnan runs-in after the match and beats on Siaki, then requests an interview with Tenay. More shoot interviews coming I guess. You know, there’s something almost compelling about TNA being the official yet low budget spin-off of WCW’s demise.

 

Then you get BJ James apparently feuding with his referee brother now. Well, at least there are storytelling legs to that feud, but out of shape Road Dog vs retired Scott Armstrong, the lesser worker of the four, is not a match I’m dying to see.

 

In a kinda crazy way, it is kinda cool that the two most solid matches on this 2003 PPV came from matches involving Larry Z., against AJ Styles in a match were Styles has to beat him twice in less than ten minutes, and the Rock’n Roll Express, who turned on tradition because we need a swerve every week, against AMW in the main event. The Larry match was really well worked and even better than the previous week’s match. Ricky Morton still looks solid as hell and although he really doesn’t do anything spectacular, he’s still a good worker at this point. Solid main event, and Chris Harris could learn a thing or two about making a hot comeback from those guys.

 

Raven cut a promo which thankfully didn’t involved Russo nor tradition nor WCW, leading to a Jarrett beatdown. Then later he cut another one on AJ Styles when he requested a title match and immediately there’s some intrigue about a three man feud on top. Raven looks really good, and seeing him bumping and rolling around almost makes Jeff looks like a legit badass. Less Russo and SEX and more Raven vs Jarrett vs AJ Styles please.

 

2003/01/29 Larry Zbyszko vs AJ Styles

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I'm sure someone else can confirm, but as I recall the Athena stripping was very much a shoot, and she really was trying desperately to hang onto her clothes.

Yep. Athena had no idea the stripping was coming, that was basically Russo or Jarrett or someone amusing themselves by giving two different sets of instructions to her and Desire and then having a big LOL at the resulting trainwreck.
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The Lollipop story reminds me of one time as a teenager I was randomly browsing channels at 1AM eating cereal or something, and came over (no pun intended) an entire wrestling show that solely consisted of fully naked women. This was just on some ordinary channel, not pay per view or anything. There didn't seem to be any overt sexual content, other than that implied by the fact there were nude ladies (all slim, busty and attractive in a porm star type of way) rolling about in the ring.

 

It struck me as strange at the time and seems even more bizarre looking back. What was the market for this stuff, purely to titillate lonely men? Considering the amount of guys who think it acceptable or even a source of great pride that they spend hours of their time and thousands of their dollars at strip clubs, I can imagine something like this has a market.

 

It appears to be the Naked Women's Wrestling League:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_Women's_Wrestling_League

 

First hit on Google is predictably PornHub. Carmen Electra seems to have run the thing. Watching five minutes now and the commentator literally just said "Shades of Billy Robinson" as one girl worked on the leg of the other, with the main purpose of most offence being to contort the opponent into a fetal position for a better view of her vagina.

 

"Before creating the Naked Women's Wrestling League, the creators tried other products that featured naked women, such as online gambling, before settling on nude female wrestling."

 

:lol: Kept sliding down the sleaze scale until they reached the bottom and it finally stuck.

 

There has to be a place for this in the women's wrestling sleaze story thread down the page.

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PPV 30

 

Might as well just talk about what was good in that awful show.

 

Amazing Red vs Sonny Siaki was the best X-division match in a while and for once Siaki showed a little bit of personnality, although still deeply into that ridiculous Rock cosplaying. I credit Red, who’s playing underdog so well it’s easy to have a good match against him.

 

Then, XXX (Skipper & Low-Ki) vs Slash & Brian Lee was quite good too, with early brawling all over the place then developping into a very nice match, even better than the AMW two weeks before I’d say, before the shit finish double count which has a godawful execution to boot. Those refs just aren’t any good. Where do they come from ?

 

So, Konnan does his own shoott-shooty post WCW interview and calls everyone in the wrestling business racists because they don’t want to push latinos. Funny, we’re in 2016 and WWE is still clueless about this factor, and it took 12 years before Lucha Underground. Konnan is a much better talker than wrestler so this was at least effective.

 

A decent brawl between Raven & AJ Styles which makes you want to see that match. Zbyszko apparently acts on the behalf on Styles now, in some sort of a managerial role, which AJ really doesn't need.

 

The rest… really, was crap. Awful Russo promos and angles with endless beatdown and Jarrett under a mask that everyone could see coming, Jerry Lynn having bad matches again thanks to David Flair & Sanders, BJ James vs Zach Gowen in a ridiculous freakshow that had no purpose (sorry, I just cant buy a one-legged wrestler, although he’s an amazing athlete), Trinity & Desire working a long and disastrous match. Trinity won with a moonsault.

 

Just hard to watch even with the benefit of fast forward. And not enough Lollipop’s ass, really.

 

2003/02/05 Amazing Red vs Sonny Siaki
2003/02/05 XXX (Skipper & Low-ki) vs Slash & Brian Lee

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I'm somewhat biased since he was a friend of mine around this time: but Brian Lee wasn't that bad, dammit. You just had to know how to book him and what opponents to give him. In the atmosphere of all-chaotic-brawls, all-the-time which came with the New Church stable, Brian fit in just fine.

 

BJ James vs Zach Gowen in a ridiculous freakshow that had no purpose (sorry, I just cant buy a one-legged wrestler, although he’s an amazing athlete)

Sure, it had a purpose: for the WWE to hilariously steal TNA's new find away from them almost instantly (although not before hilariously signing the wrong one-legged wrestler first).

 

I was there for Gowen's debut in a dark match the previous week, and it showed what a mark Russo was. Gowen got real over real fast with the crowd, so of course Russo sends his wrestlers out of their separate locker room afterwards to go give him a S.E.X. t-shirt and induct the hot debuting talent into the booker's own stable. Of course by next week when Gowen actually wrestled on the PPV, cooler heads had prevailed and everyone just pretended that didn't happen, with Zack being a free agent once again.

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I'm somewhat biased since he was a friend of mine around this time: but Brian Lee wasn't that bad, dammit.

 

Hey, I just selected one of his matches. :)

 

The story about Russo wanting to put Gowen in SEX is pretty telling, indeed. What a moroon.

 

PPV 31

 

Curt Hennig is dead. Boots, picture and ten count inside the ring.

 

This was the most enjoyable show in a long while. Sure there was still a lot of crap, but also some legit good stuff, and some cool people showing up.

Gotta put aside all the SEX stuff, which sucked as always, especially all the matches involving the Nazis Brothers, BJ James, Disco & Sanders. Bullet Bob is out, JJ Dillon is in, so we get more rambling about old WWF and WCW stuff no one gives a fuck about. Tenay interviews David Flair, yawn. Funny how Tenay always comes off as somewhat of an asshole in those segments.

 

I’m actually getting used to the Sonny Siaki & Desire act, as at least Desire jumping in left and right gives the matches some sort of dynamic, plus she isn’t afraid to bump. Siaki is still the dullest Prince Iaukea ever. So of course, now he has to lose that belt. Damn. The match against Kid Kash was actually somewhat decent until the awful botched finish. No idea how Kash didn’t break his neck here. Damn, and he wins the X-title. Trinity didn’t even get to do a moonsault.

 

AMW & Rock’n Roll Express had another decent match, with Ricky looking solid again. Chris Harris is clearly the lesser worker of the team aka the Robert, but he's good at executing impressive power spots. BTW it’s a tag-team tournament to face XXX for the lifted title. No brackets showed. Hello again WCW !

 

TNA was all about former WWF & WCW guys talking past issues, now it’s time for ECW to show up. Both the Sandman & Steve Corino in the same show. Corino cuts a really solid promo, old-school style, on Low-ki and they work a very japanese style, stiff back and forth match. Cool stuff, although it doesn’t quite get over that much (crowd is pretty apathetic during the whole show) and the DQ finish was stupid as hell.

 

Sandman canes everyone in sight and Raven is disgusted that this guy follows him everywhere, so we get a really good garbage brawl by two old ECW favourites of mine. This just never gets old and it’s actually worked quite well. Raven is in the best shape of his life too. The post-match beatdown by SEX is useless, and Jarrett playing Steve Austin just doesn’t ring true at all. But Raven & & Low-ki vs Sandman & Corino in a post ECW match ? Yeah, I’m all for it.

 

Finally, the debut of Paul London too, with whom Jerry Lynn has a cool little match at the end of a rather useless gauntlet elimination match with a bunch of jabronies. London looks so early 00’s indy it’s ridiculous. No idea why anyone thought that look was a good idea, it’s so dull. Anyway, post match sees Konnan cut an interesting promo on Lynn, going back to him « posturing » as a luchador in WCW. The SATS are with Konnan. Damn, this angle was kinda promising, hopefully they get actual good luchadors instead.

 

And the funniest moment of the show, after Raven’s interview with Goldilocks talking about Sandman (which started a few seconds too late), a car shows up and AJ Styles takes a bit too long to get out and jump on Raven, who has the time to drop the line « Apparently AJ Styles can’t get out of a car ». Totally cracked me up.

 

2003/02/12 Steve Corino vs Low-ki

2003/02/12 Raven vs Sandman

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PPV 32

 

Well, the last part of this PPV was quite decent.

 

AJ Styles vs Jeff Jarrett was a good Nitro main event. Jarrett worked pretty hard but he’s definitely not a main-eventer, there’s something about him that just keeps things from getting really dramatic. Doesn’t help either that he gets booed as a babyface against heelish AJ Styles, who’s work here is impeccable, totally working along to Jeff’s strenghts and pacing. Still, pretty much a my turn-your turn match with overbooking galore at the end, with no less than six run-ins : Zbyszko to help Styles by cheating, JJ Dillon to get him out of there, the Harris nazis to fuck Jarrett, Vader (yeah, Vader !) to beat them up, Dusty to help Vader and finally Siaki & Desire to screw Jarrett. Larry Z. and Siaki really would have been enough. And the Stroke is such a terrible looking finish despite AJ Styles making it as good as it can be.

 

Raven & Low-ki vs Sandman & Steve Corino was a good little ECW on TNN main event, with Low-ki looking really tiny but also working very well with those guys. Some interesting twists by Raven on his requisite drop-toe-hold on a chair spot. Sandman also took part in quite a decent segment called The Interrogators where Tenay & West drop short questions and word associations for 60 seconds. And Raven had a decent little promo earlier on too, tying up stuff with the old ECW storyline. These guys are saving the show from…

 

…more SEX garbage, including more Harris Boys boredom in a tag tournament match against AMW. Still no brackets and only one match this week. More Disco Inferno fantasy booking. Amazing that they actually turn their own suckiness (talking about Russo & Gilberti) into actual characters and angles, which of course actually suck too. And worst of all, in a typical Russo fashion, getting some Tough Enough reject called Jonah so they can actually promote WWE’s TV. Plus woman with big boobs treated as a sex object. Whatever. Everything Gilberti and Sanders have been involved with has been complete garbage.

 

And in a great moment of booking fuck up, Jerry Lynn who won an X-division title match the previous week gets a shitty triple-threat with both SATs, while Paul London who was defeated by Jerry Lynn is getting an X-division title match. Clap clap clap. The jokes writes themselves. So, London vs Kash was very indierrific and full of contrived spots with usual Kash sloppy-as-fuck-ness, but it’s obvious London has potential already. Trinity doesn’t do a moonsault.

 

The undercard mostly sucks, the booking sucks, but the main event scene with AJ Styles & Raven thrown in just makes thing much better as long as Russo isn’t too involved. The X-division has become an afterthough though at this point, so what made TNA’s identity in the first months is gone. And Jarrett should turn heel tomorrow, kick-ass babyface just doesn’t work at all for him.

 

2003/02/19 Sandman & Steve Corino vs Raven & Low-ki
2003/02/19 AJ Styles vs Jeff Jarrett

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PPV 33

 

Two more good matches to the credit of that stupid promotion :

 

Jerry Lynn vs Juventud Guerrera. It’s easy to forget how good Juvy can be, but this match showed how ahead of the pack of those indie guys Juvy is in term of working a Nitro spotfest. Annoying Eddielenko sequence aside (Jerry Lynn is just as bad as Malenko as far as kicking out of his own « pinfall attempts »), this was very good. Juvy doesn’t seem to get along with Konnan that much though, showing too much respect to Lynn. Best X-division match in a long while.

 

AJ Styles showed his versatility by having a very good match with Sandman. Seriously, less than one year into TNA and Styles looks like one of the best worker in the world, and certainly one of the most interesting to watch too. Give him Jerry Lynn, Jeff Jarrett or the Sandman and he’s gonna get the best out of them. Sandman also looks quite motivated since he debuted, so this was a lot of fun. And Sandman got some action with Lollipop ! That guy gets all the ass he wants to apparently. Maybe the cigarette/beer breath. Or the long cane. Dunno. They gave him a good ripoff music too, like they did Raven.

 

The undercard also had a pretty good AMW vs Hot Shots match, already a taste of « old-school » TNA, by that I mean before Russo showed up. No idea what happened with the « tag tournament » since apparently AMW already have a shot at XXX. I guess it was a four team tournament, but we never saw any brackets…

 

Jason Cross vs Kid Kash was notable for a pretty good performance by Kash this time around and by that I mean his execution was on. I’d be tempted to say it was less contrived than the London match. Trinity didn’t do a moonsault. No idea what happened with Jerry Lynn’s title shot he won by winning the gauntlet match two weeks before, since every jabroni gets a title match before him.

 

Slash & Brian Lee had a mediocre match with Simon Diamond & Swinger. Yay ! More ECW alumni, although Swinger I couldn’t care less about. Simon is « that guy who seemed like he had potential in 2000 ». Nothing bad, nothing good. The Church are babyfaces and the crowd chants « Let’s go evil ! ». Funny, in a way. James Mitchell is really not allowed to demonstrate his character much, because we gotta have time for Disco & Sanders interview about, ya know, how great Vince Russo is (and you know that this part of the show is actually Russo getting fellated by two friends).

 

In a completely stupid booking decision, Raven, who said to AJ Styles he could beat any « X-division midget », got booked again… Julio Dinero. Who has never appeared in TNA yet and is bigger than Raven. Clap clap clap. Heatless mediocre match. Hey, it reminds me that EZ Money seems to be gone.

 

And then, awful main event of The Harris KKK vs Dusty & Vader. Ok, Vader throwing around one Harris is nice, but then Dusty selling in 2003 for these two oafs is as bad as you can imagine. Desire who’s outside with Siaki is wearing a miniskirt for the first time because she’s getting a leather strap spanking. Yep. Russo’s booking.

 

And then, more stupid Russo angle, with Russo’s kids filmed by Jarrett to tell how their father wasn’t there for them blabloubli, who cares, I ffed anyway. Big angle is Jarrett getting beatdown by, gasp, David Flair, Brian Lawler (oh no, not again !) and… Erik Watts. Ok. I feel this feud will be rotten.

 

2003/02/26 Jerry Lynn vs Juventud Guerrera
2003/02/26 AJ Styles vs Sandman

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Watts actually worked well as a face authority figure, especial with Don Callis to work with.

 

 

Well, that's pretty interesting, because of whom Watts reminds me of...

 

PPV 34

 

A few good matches again and less Russo = winning formula.

 

So, Konnan brings Super Crazy this week, so we get another really good match against Jerry Lynn, the familiarity plays into making it even better than the Juvy one. And again, Konnan is frustrated when Crazy doesn’t get the job done. Third week in a row Lynn doesn’t get the title shot he won with the gauntlet match. Well, at least, him going through luchadors is delivering good stuff. Wonder who the next one will be.

 

Meanwhile, Kid Kash defends against Amazing Red, and it’s Kash’s best match in TNA. Amazing Red is really growing on me, he’s an excellent underdog but his offense gets better and crisper. Very good match again, and Trinity doesn’t get a moonsault but catch the Red bullet in a brave move.

 

Good main event too, with Raven finally unveiling his Clockwork Orange House of Fun match, which sees a bunch of weapons suspended from chains above the ring and Kevin Sullivan as a special enforcer promoting violence, which is kinda cute. Raven vs Sandman in 2003, and it feels fresh to me, as they work a solid garbage match. Raven seems more motivated than he was in WCW and it shows. He bleeds buckets too and they work a pretty nice, not too contrived finish which has Sandman thrown from Raven’s Nest through a bunch of tables. The only thing it lacked was Joey Style, really. Raven cuts a very good whiny promo challenging Jarrett who comes down and proceeds to beat up the bloodied Raven with his belt and some weapons. What a great babyface. So, the whole Raven vs Jarrett vs AJ Styles is still going on.

 

On the failure front, Eric Watts and his second generation croonies just don’t cut it. People chants « We don’t care » at his relatively solid promo. But really, Jarrett is already feuding with actual stars in Raven and AJ Styles, why should he be thrown in an angle with Eric Watts, who has been at best a JTTS at the highest point of his career ? This segment died so hard. And of course we get a beatdown at the end of the show, because every show has to have several beatdowns so none means anything.

 

The rest ? Well, Russo is quitting he wrestling business (AH !), Sonny Siaki is acting like Stevie Ray managing nWo B-team, and Ron Killings is doing Sting’s Crow gimmick now (because Tenay has doubted his allegiance with NWA, this is soooo stupid and transparent). Enough good stuff on this show though with the X-division and the Raven stuff.

 

2003/03/05 Jerry Lynn vs Super Crazy

2003/03/05 Kid Kash vs Amazing Red

2003/03/05 Raven vs Sandman

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PPV 35

 

A two matches show. Some of the stuff that were good the previous week just weren’t this time around. Jerry Lynn vs luchadors was a little bit of a throwaway match as he teamed with David Young vs Damien & Halloween. Short Nitro sprint, enjoyable but didn’t amount to anything. Damien looked kinda old and off too. Third week in a row he doesn’t get his title shot too. Speaking of which, the good title match of the previous week turned into a stupid clusterfuck three-way with a british guy named Jonny Storm. Sloppy, contrived spotfest. But Trinity did a moonsault.

 

Debut of D-Lo Brown, who cuts the requisite shootish promo like it’s still the Monday Night Wars. Incredible that this mentality never quite disappeared at this point. So, he’s not joining SEX and helps Dusty Rhodes against the Second Generation Croonies later on. Well, I haven’t watched a D-Lo Brown match in a good ten years, we’ll see how this holds up.

 

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Mike Sanders. As bad as it sounds. Some blonde girl named Holly Wood going into a catfight with Lollipop, leading to the infamous (or not, since nobody’s watching anyway) exposing of Lolli’s boobs. Nice ones too. I’m sure Russo was so proud he put that on PPV. These are only boobs, people. Porn is everywhere if you really want some.

 

Harris Brothers beating Corino in 30 seconds. WTF was that all about ? I guess Corino is done. Damn, he was one I wanted to watch.

 

Well, no Russo on TV is a great thing because he’s such a godawful character anyway, but still way too much Russo's fingerprints everywhere.

 

So, the two good matches. Finally we get AMW vs XXX for the « vacant » titles after that stupid double pin stuff that should not be done ever again. It’s Daniels & Low-ki, the better combination, and the match is probably the best AMW ever had. Really solid built with too much ref stupidity at the end (and man does these referees look dumb as fuck too), but despite that a very good match with crisp work from pretty much everyone and some cool strenght spot at the end by Chris Harris.

 

And so we finally get Raven vs AJ Styles to define the N°1 contender for the title. Again, Styles shows he can work and have a good match against anyone in any style or pace. Raven’s probably the most solid he’s ever been at this stage. Not spectacular, but really good at holding things together and feeding his opponent too. Gets better and better toward the end until… aw gawd… a double pin. Same exact shit finish that they did with AMW vs XXX before. Well, Russo is still booking.

 

2003/03/12 XXX (Daniels & Skipper) vs AMW
2003/03/12 Raven vs AJ Styles

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PPV 36

 

Greatest PPV opener ever ! Hacksaw Jim Duggan is proud of going to war against Irak and tells France and Germany to « stay out of our way ! » I always hated Duggan’s dumbfuck jingoist gimmick. Realy worked out well, that war in Irak deal to find Ben Laden and mass destruction weapons, uh ? Ah, pro-wrestling and geopolitics.

 

This was a pretty bad show anyway except for the main event and the X-div match (against all odds). Well, XXX vs The Church was pretty decent actually and Malice came back so we can get a six-men feud, which could be fun for a while. Babyface Brian Lee does an awful looking tope. Crowd chanting « Evil ! » still is funny.

 

Week 5 of Jerry Lynn not getting his X-division title match he gained by winning the gauntlet match, and tagging with Jason Cross vs Juvy & Konnan didn’t do him any favors. The stuff with Juvy was sloppy and contrived Eddielenko sequences. Tease of Juvy and Konnan not really getting along, and Konnan is just as bad as ever. I'm not feeling where this is going now.

 

The debut of D-Lo wasn’t exactly thrilling although he looked good against the three Second Generationers, tagging with Jarrett & Dusty. Really, we don’t need Dusty in the ring regularly. They try to paint Watts as this great mastermind, but no one’s buying it at all. He looks like an overgrown Don Callis without the wit. D-Lo’s deal is that, since he’s a WWE guy, he gets a World Title shot from scratch. Yeah, that mentality was there from the beginning. His outfit, complete with black T-shirt, screams « I'm not a star » too. Jeff looked bad coming in as a house of tedious fire. When Brian Lawler is the second best in a match in 2003…

 

Stupid angle with hanging threat and shit after Ron Killings turned from nowhere. So now we have AJ Styles, Raven, Erik Watts, Ron Killings & D-Lo Brown more or less feuding with Jarrett. Overkill anyone ?

 

Then what ? Duggan & Moondog Spot (don’t ask) vs Disco & Sanders. DON'T ASK. Sonny Siaki dropping Athena on her head because she wouldn’t show her boobs. This show gets classier by the weeks.

 

Card was saved by the heelish attitude of Kid Kash, who’s going to turn because he’s jealous of Trinity. So, Triple Threat match with Trinity & Amazing Red and it was actually well put together with Trinity being bumped hard twice outside so we get a regular match until she could come back for some short action that wouldn’t expose her too much. Plus Kash working heel is a thousand times better than him just hitting spots sloppily. Trinity got screwed just before she could do a moonsault.

 

And mostly, card was saved by AJ Styles vs Raven in a garbage/ladder match for the N°1 contender. Seriously, AJ Styles is so good already, cool maneurisms, smart use of plunders, good sense of pacing. And Raven I think as never been as good of a worker either. I love the way he sells the shots and bumps around, whith some great facials rendered even better by the blood all over his face and crazy hair. I can even deal with the run-in since it actually led to a logical finish. So Raven won. If we apply the Jerry Lynn rule, he’ll never get his title shot.

 

2003/03/19 Kid Kash vs Amazing Red vs Trinity
2003/03/19 AJ Styles vs Raven

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