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Compare and Contrast TNA and AEW: TNA’s 2nd Weekly PPV, 06/26/02

Compare/Contrast returns as Barrett takes a look at TNA Wrestling’s second weekly PPV show of 2002, featuring the first-ever X Division Champion crowned!

Hello, Gatecrashers! It’s time to take a look at the second TNA weekly PPV from June 26, 2002. I reviewed the first TNA PPV last week (check it out here) and it was not great! Jingoism, racism, sexism, homophobia and Jeff Jarrett as a main event heel. It’s going to be a while before TNA stops being the worst expression of American fears. At least I’ll have a lot to talk about!

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Last week, Ken Shamrock won the Gauntlet for the Gold to become the AND NEW NWA champion. Former four time WCW champion (all reigns in 1 ½ months) charged into “top heel” position by running down the show just as it started, courting death after interrupting Toby Keith’s ode to boots, asses and 9/11, and then brawling with this week’s opponent Scott Hall.

TNA got it’s first look at fresh-faced AJ Styles who goes on to do some stuff of note. K-Krush started a feud with two NASCAR drivers and “Too Racist” Bryan Christopher. The Dupps did a bunch of shitty redneck tropes. A bunch of women who looked lost along with Alexis Laree, Francine and SHANNON (AKA DAFFNEY) came out to set up the Lingerie Battle Royal. Goldilocks smelled a fart. Ed Ferrara and his white guy dreads embarrass everybody in the world.

Ed. What are you doing. 

MID: WCW Booking is Back Baby!

Jeff Jarrett’s “My World” theme is so useful; the alarm noise lets us know that we can hit the fast forward button. Jeff insists that the purported main event of him vs. Scott Hall starts RIGHT NOW! Hall comes down with Toby Keith and Jackie Fargo.

Jarrett does some super awkward chain wrestling to start before Hall takes control. Jarrett gets dumped to the outside and comes face to face with TALL COUNTRY SINGER. Jarrett gets a sleeper hold on Hall for a full minute but somehow it feels much longer. They double down right afterwards, fulfilling the promise of TOTAL NONSTOP NOTHING. Hall takes control and things are pretty good for a couple minutes. He HOISTS Jeff up for the Razors Edge but K-Krush. makes the ga-ga save for some reason. Fargo decks K-Krush and then gets chased out by Bryan Christopher. Jarrett sets up the stroke but gets hit in the yambags by Toby Keith. He really should have put his BOOT IN HIS ASS FOR AMERICA. Hall gets the pin.

A fine but indicative start to a TNA PPV. Lots of interference, a dirty finish, and a celebrity getting over on a wrestler. It’s not the last time it’ll happen tonight!

BAD: Clap ‘Em?

It’s the debut of Cheex! Cheex is billed at 402 lbs. Ferrara cannot stop with the fat jokes. I mean he CAN’T STOP. Combine this with a TERRIBLE match and you have an huge waste of time.

Cheex was in the dark match that broke the ring last week. I’ll assume it was due to the ring not wanting to be party to shit wrestling.

Cheex wrestles a bald white guy who probably thought he was the next Ole Anderson.

MID: Gimmie my money!

Alecia is back, collecting money from an incredulous Jeremy Borash. The implication is that Alecia is a sex worker, but I’d rather make up a new reason ever week as to why she’s interrupting a wrestling show to get that cash.

Okay, so… Alecia lent Jeremy Borash $100 to get a haircut. Alecia was so offended by his “fashion don’t” frosted tips that she wanted her money back RIGHT NOW YOU LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT BORASH GIVE ME MY MONEY

YOU AREN’T BOY BAND MATERIAL BORASH

This gets a Mid since the camera cuts to Hair Care Fashionista Alecia during the Cheex match. I’d rather watch a dumb plot that doesn’t go anywhere than hear Ed make fat jokes while Cheex tries not to run the ropes.

BAD: 

They replay almost all of the “NASCAR drivers talking shit” segment from last week to prep the K-Krush “Your Kind” vs. Bryan Christopher “My Kind” six man tag. Which, turns out, isn’t a six man tag, I guess I misunderstood when Christopher pointed to “his kind” Hermie Sadler and Sterling Martin and then asked K-Krush to get “your kind” for a match next week. Bleh.

K-Krush has his own face airbrushed on his ring gear. Five stars.

SHIRTS IS WATCHIN’.

Christopher comes to the ring with Hermie Sadler and Sterling, oh, I’m sorry… STERLIN Marlin.

“Hurlin” Sterlin Marlin

Christopher is still dressing and acting like Grand Master Sexay; a pastiche of a white person’s idea of what a rapper dresses and acts like. It’s pretty hilarious that a guy who is appropriating black culture is accusing a black man of reverse racism.

Christopher has the lamest no-sell “Hulk Up”. He wiggles his knees and yells. The crowd LOVES everything Christopher does despite his utter lack of charisma. They are all over K-Krush. Krush gets crotched on the middle rope by Marlin and Sadler. Huge pop.

LOOK AT THESE ATHLETES.

Hip Hop Drop for the pin. Crowd is on their feet even though the match was very mediocre. I can’t figure out why they were so involved! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY MAKE THEM CHEER A BLAND WHITE GUY WHO IS FACING A BLACK GUY?!?!?

BAD: Lingerie Battle Royale

“The competitor with their clothes on wins the battle royale and will be crowned Miss TNA.” Ferrara says “We’re all winners in this one.” No. This is definitely a “No matter who wins, we lose part of our soul” situation.

Jeremy Borash fucks up immediately by introducing Francine first, skipping… some other lady. I don’t mean to be dismissive but 2/3rds of the women in this match are obviously not wrestlers. They have NO CHARISMA and do not look like they want to be there. Shannon (Daffney) shows enough personality for everybody else.

“YAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”

All of them are wearing the same set of top and bottom pajamas. Under that is a mix of normal to sexy underwear. Mileage may vary. SASHA IS OUT AND I AM UP.” – Ed Ferrara. GROSS MAN DON’T BONER TALK ME. When the women are eliminated they RUN to the back as fast as possible. This whole thing is more embarrassing than Ed Ferrara’s dreads.

Three women gang up on Francine to take her out of the ring. She has a wardrobe malfunction and fights to keep her pajama top on until she can get it figured out. Ferrara comes out to console her at ringside and cops a feel on Francine. “He said he’d be hands on but not that hands on.” – Mike Tenay. NO MAN STOP. Francine DROPS TO HER KNEES and takes off his belt like she’s about to give Ed a binger, then WHIPS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM with the belt which is the only good part of this trainwreck.

Taylor Vaughn wins the match. Francine whips her from behind. Who is Taylor Vaughn? I don’t know! I don’t want to look her up. I think she’s had enough bad press already. Her ‘reign’ as Miss TNA does not go well!

Alexis Laree was in this match as well. A complete waste of talent but at least she got paid. I fast forwarded through this match so IDK when she was eliminated. I don’t know when anyone was eliminated. When I saw someone roll out of the ring in their skivvies I just felt bad for them. Yes, run to the back. Run to the back and keep running until the Von Braun Center is far, far behind you. Run until the memories fade.

MID: Young Talent

Goldilocks interviews Apolo and gets interrupted by new character Bobcat and her client Daivd Young. We haven’t met these people so Bobcat is just some lady with a boa yelling at Goldi. David Young says NOTHING. Ed Ferrara says that “Bobcat isn’t professional but dresses like a professional.” Fucking hell.

David Young was the other ‘get’ from NWA Wildside along with AJ Styles. They wrestled each other A LOT in that promotion. David Young is… not good. He can’t hang with the early 00s Super 8/Ted Petty style and he can’t merge what he does have with a more ‘old school’ style. He doesn’t have a superstar look either. He and I can be best described as “doofy lookin’”.

OOF MCDOOF.

Bobcat flirts with Borash, distracing David Young throughout the match. He hits a “perfect Arn Anderson spinebuster” but gets distracted again before missing a moonsault. SUPERKICK WITH LEG SLAP by Apolo into an F-5 Stunner thingy. The match is fine but doesn’t need this ga-ga.

Bad/Mid: BE GAY DO WRESTLING

Joel Gertner does his boring horny rhyming and then channels Connor4Real’s “Equal Rights (Not Gay)” rap to explain why The Qintissential Heterosexual Studmuffin is managing The Rainbow Express. “There are people with alternative lifestyles who live better lives than you do.” PREACH. “When they get the ring, they are all business” which is a lie, they just do a bunch of gay baity moves; trying to hump their opponent, jaming their crotch on the back of someone’s head, sexy covers… which doesn’t get as much heat from the audience as you’d think.

In a rare moment of homophobia working to my favor, the Dupps refuse to wrestle the Rainbow Express. Bill Bherens drafts nearby wrestlers Chris Harris and James Storm to fill in. We don’t know it yet but this is the inception of one of TNA’s biggest homegrown successes, America’s Most Wanted.

Chris Harris is absolutely ripped in this match. In my head he always looks like Braden Walker.

Don West goes APOPLECTIC when this happens.

Lenny does “The Tiger Tamer” because he looks like Chris Jericho, I guess? Too bad he doesn’t wrestle or cut promos like him.

Storm and Harris win with a roll up. It’s really a story of two matches; One with all the “gay” wrestling that barely got heat and an actual tag match that was fine. Storm and Harris are legit good as a team right away. This match doesn’t show off what they are truly capable of but we’ll see plenty in the years to come.

Mid – Not very nice, very evil

Ricky Steamboat introduces Ken Shamrock. Shamrock cuts a pretty good promo, promising to defend the title around the world. Minister James Mitchell interrupts to announce that he’s on a MISSION FROM GOD BUT NOT YOUR GOD and his Disciples of the New Church are going to take control of the NWA.

I always liked Mitchell’s gimmick, but it has the same problem as most “spooky boo” gimmicks. Why are you here? What does wrestling do to help your eeeeevil plans? If he said that he wanted to have the NWA championship in his stable because it would help spread the “new gospel” to more people, but instead it’s just… I’m evil and I have wrestlers.

“MWAHAHA I AM GENERICALLY EVIL FOR REASONS.”

Mitchell challenges Shamrock to face PG-13 rated Slash, but R rated Malice jumps Shamrock from the back. “Might makes right, and the meek shall inherit… nothing.” That’s good stuff! WHY ARE YOU HERE THOUGH. GO BE SATAN IN THE WOODS

BEST but confusing – The X Division Championship Tournament but it’s not a tournament

With almost no ceremony we learn the X Division title will be crowned tonight. The competitors in this tournament are AJ Styles, Low Ki, Jerry Lynn and Psicosis. Which is nuts because…

“They (The Flying Elvises) defeated three of the four men in this round robin matchup!” – Mike Tenay

YEAH!!! I AGREE!

So you have three guys who LOST last week competing for a title and three guys who WON last week steaming the wrinkles out of their jumpsuits at home. Why didn’t they make last week’s six man tag a qualifier for the X Division? Why not book TFRCIYITPTE to win so they EARN the shot? You could even have Psicosis and Storm booked as well, but then Storm jumps into the Rainbow Express match, giving up his shot at the X Division title! But no, we get three losers and Psicosis for no particular reason.

We get another overcomplicated TNA specialty match. This is a double elimination tournament, you have to lose twice to be eliminated, but it’s also EVERYBODY at once, so it’s not a tournament. When you get a pin, another opponent enters and a new match starts. I’m still not sure what’s happening.

AJ is only 3 years into his career here and already looks super crisp. He lacks personality though; he’s a pretty face and an exciting moveset. He pins Psicosis in just under 2 minutes with the Styles Clash. That’s one loss for Psicosis.

Low Ki is next for some reason and lays his signature stiff kicks on AJ. Styles hits a hurricanrana FROM THE GROUND. These two had fought on the indies a bunch. They work very well together. Lots of innovative counters. Ki throws AJ over the top turnbuckle into the post, then pulls him back from the top rope into a Dragon Sleeper. This does NOT GET A SUBMISSION. They stiff the fuck out of each other until AJ hits a rolling German into a Facebuster for the pin. This also gets 2 minutes and feels like a compressed 6 minutes of a normal Ki/Styles match. One loss for Ki.

Lynn in next to take on AJ. Cradle piledriver immediately and gets a pin. TACTICS WILEY VETERAN Under 30 seconds there. One loss for AJ.

Psicosis vs. Lynn, which would be an AMAZING match if they got 15-20 minutes. It’s still pretty great although MUCH more WCW Cruiserweight than indie spectacle. Lynn and Psicosis are very smooth together. Lynn hits another Cradle Piledriver and gets a win. Psicosis is eliminated. 3 minutes!

Ki hits one Kawada style kick to Lynn’s chest to start. Ki’s strikes are so goddamn stiff. It’s almost like he’s not sure it’s a work. Low Ki would have loved working in UWF.  Ki just works over Lynn for most of their section. The announcers are saying that Lynn has been in for a while and is “running on fumes”. He’s been in for all of 5 minutes at this point. Lynn goes for the Cradle Piledriver, Ki reverses into a Triangle Armbar. Lynn pulls Ki up for a powerbomb for 2. Ki goes for a Ki Crusher but gets reversed into a rolling DDT. Lynn adds a level of psychology to Ki and it’s great to see. Lynn with another Cradle Piledriver, removing Ki from the contest.

AJ back in. Discuss clothesline but only gets two. A “STYLES CLASH AAAHHHGG!!!” gets reversed into a Hurricanrana. Mike Tenay says “We are 15 minutes into this contest! Can you believe it!” Yes, I can. They haven’t been in there for more than 5 minutes a piece. “THESE ARE THE GREATEST ATHLETES I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!” – Don West. He LOVES this style of wrestling so much. When he says “I’ve never SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS” you know it’s true. It’s like he’s becoming a wrestling fan in front of us. He loses his goddamn mind when AJ hits a leaping two foot jump off chest backflip dropkicky thingy.

The Leaping Jump Off Chest Backflip Dropkicky Thingy

A lot of great ACTION before AJ hits a Styles Clash. Now they both have a loss. Whoever gets the next pin or submission wins. Ricky Steamboat comes in to referee the final fall. There’s a long pin reversal situation before a double down. They go to the outside, AJ hits an inverted DDT on the floor. They go back to the ring where AJ gets two. Now they go into a segment with reversals into BIG MOVES; suplexes, DDTs, a spinning inverted Gory special, a flipping facebuster… it’s nuts. AJ wins with the Spiral Tap, which he don’t do no more.

This move goes to 11.

FIREWORKS CONFETTI THEME SONG AJ STYES IS THE FIRST X DIVISION CHAMPION

YEAH BRO GET IT!!!

“REMEMBER THE NAME, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! AJ STYLES! THE FUTURE OF OUR SPORT HAS ARRIVED!” – Mike Tenay

The entire AJ/Lynn section got 13 minutes and they are super great. If you like these two together, then you have a lot to look forward to in the next few months of PPVs. Unless you like good stories along with good matches. Then you won’t like it.

I know I kinda crapped on the rules and the short time that the first eliminations got but this is BY FAR the best match that TNA has had so far. The X Division is here and it will SAVE so many PPVs and TV shows.

Watch the match yourself! It’s on the official Impact Youtube page. Of course it’s uploaded in the wrong aspect ration. LOL TNA.

GOOD: This little dickhead who is now, like, 30 years old.

blah blah blah

Hahaha!

My reaction when Buff Bagwell wrestles

This is while the booth sets up next week’s show. A one night tournament for the Tag Titles. Scott Hall and Bryan Christopher vs Jarrett and K-Krush. Ken Shamrock vs. Malice for the NWA title. This is a pretty good starter feud for Shamrock but he doesn’t feel like the center of the show. 

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And that’s it!

This show is slightly better than the first weekly PPV, mostly due to the final X Division match. It’s so fucking good. I don’t care that the pins came so fast and furious. It made the match feel important. Everybody was pulling out all the stops and taking big risks to get their hands on the new belt.

Aside from that, we had a continuation of all the racist, sexist and homophobic storylines from last week. At least we didn’t have to deal with the Dupps for more than 30 seconds or roided up dick men.

Next week we’ll Compare/Contrast with “The Most Luxurious Gaming & Wrestling Festival of All Time”, AEW’s 2nd PPV; Fyter Fest!

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