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[2003-04-30-NWA-TNA] Jeff Jarrett vs Raven

Superstar Sleeze

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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarett vs Raven - NWA-TNA 4/30/2003

Man, Jeff Jarrett has no friends. So for those keep tracking at home, Jeff Jarrett is NWA 4 Life (Straight Outta Hendersonville) and a surprisingly good babyface. Raven & The Gathering (Julio Dinero & a young Mickie James) are SEX 4 LIFE (and so am I). In addition to the Gathering & SEX, there is also the ECW Nostalgia Stable of Sandman, Justin Credible, Saturn and New Jack. ECW nostalgia has probably earned more money than the actual ECW promotion. All Double J has is asskicking Dusty Rhodes, who wiped the floor with SEX back in January when Raven debuted in TNA. 

I enjoyed this way more than I expected. I like overbooking for the most part but that part fell flat for me. It didnt add to the drama. It just felt tedious. SEX/New Church brawl. ECW Nostalgia beats up a bloody, handcuffed Jarrett until the lights go out and Sabu saves. Sabu wipes out a fan when he makes his great escape. The worst moment was when the ref couldnt get the handcuffs off Jarrett so fucking Raven had to do it. Ugh. Then Jarrett hits the Stroke for the finish. 

The actual body of the match was really good. Jarrett is a great fired up babyface. He gave Raven a good ass-whupping and Raven fed and stooged for him well. Dinero/Alexis were a good distraction. I think they did the whole heel miscommunication chair shot too early and that busts Raven open. Jarrett dives on the Gathering and he pays for taking his eye off the ball when Raven does his out of control plancha. Really damn good Raven heat segment, busts Jarrett open on the steel steps. Million Dollar Kneelfit. Drop toehold on the chair. Lots of great Raven staples. Sleeper was a good climax as he was losing control and then Jarrett kicks ass. Great fired up comeback from Jarrett. Taking out the Gathering and hitting the Stroke, what a shitty move, for two. Raven comes back with the DDT for two. They tumble over the top on a Cactus Clothesline. Jarrett hits a Middle Rope Elbow Drop Through a Table! Nice highspot! Jarrett rolls him back in and DDT! Very 2003 to steal the finisher! 1-2-Gathering pulls the ref out! Ref throws them out. Jarrett runs into the ref to bump the ref. Raven whacks him in the balls and then is the lame finish run. 

Honestly, the body of the match was a really strong old school babyface vs heel match. Raven used his Gathering really well and worked a strong heat segment. Jarrett was a strong, fiery babyface. It is too bad the finish let them down, but this was still a very fun match to watch. ***1/2

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [2003-04-30-NWA-TNA] Jeff Jarrett vs Raven
  • 1 year later...

This is (in)famously the first real match that TNA built up that had some significant buzz to it. 'Big fight feel' is a term that gets overused, but even in the less than salubrious setting of the Fairgrounds in Nashville this has that vibe to it. I really liked the opening exchanges, where the talk is about the contrasting styles and that both guys will be looking to make the other wrestle 'their kind of match', however once Raven starts to get the advantage in some technical exchanges you have Jarrett start with the brawling to counter. 

However after a good opening, they start with the gaga and the interference way too early, given the match was just starting to settle in. Both guys are very soon bleeding, which feels too much too soon. When they are allowed to just wrestle, it's good - Raven is in excellent shape here post WWE and I've always believed that Jarrett is much better suited in-ring to being a fired up babyface than the rather bland heel when he's forced to carry the bulk of a match. But the match structure that's been set up isn't trusted to keep people's interest and while all the outside the ring stuff and the run ins are entertaining it just overwhelms the match.

We get run ins from S.E.X and the New Church, although it's not evident whose side anyone is on or why the runs in are coming, and then we get the 'Extreme Revolution' (Sandman, New Jack, Perry Saturn and Justin Credible) who at least with the ECW past it's clear are here to help Raven, before Sabu (not actually aligned with the ECW guys) comes in to take them all out. At this stage, as you can maybe tell, there is just too much going on! Jarrett is good as the bloody babyface fighting against thee odds, but then starts to stretch things by becoming superman with the odds he is fighting to overcome, surviving handcuffs, group beatdowns and chair shots. At the time, the talk was that Raven should've won, and even watching this back many years since, that still feels a missed opportunity given how fresh and big a deal Raven seemed, but ultimately, given all the odds being stacked in his favour, you have to see him not winning here as a choke moment. 

The match itself is good when it's mainly just down to Jarrett vs Raven, and there is tons going on, which is entertaining in one sense, but it's just TOO DAMNED MUCH and ultimately all the extracurricular stuff swamps the match and prevents it from reaching its potential. (*** 1/4)        

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