Hey Gatecrashers! It’s time for another TNA Review as part of the Compare/Contrast TNA/AEW series I’ve been half-assedly doing since late last year. I’m going to try to stick to a once every two weeks schedule and hopefully I can figure out how to write under 15 pages of text.
This event took place on July 24, 2002 at Nashville Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Last time on TNA’s weekly show we had a great ladder match between Sabu and Malice, an X Division match between AJ Styles and Low Ki, Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels teaming up, and a dwarf masturbating in a trash can. Can’t all be good.
Note: TNA was undergoing drastic financial issues and had to pivot real quick to cut down on costs. The lighting is not as good, there’s no pyro, less sideshow and more use of Jarrett and Shamrock than you would expect. To be honest, I didn’t notice the changes that much outside of the lighting being a lot harsher. It just goes to show you don’t need a lot of hoo-hah and ga-ga to make a wrestling show. You just need good wrestlers doing good wrestler things.
Bad Then Good: We need security for our security!
The show opens en media res with Jeff Jarrett in the ring hitting two security guards with a chair for some reason and then hollering about how he’s a man of few words (fucking lol) and then keeps holler-talking. He deserves a shot at the title, he wants what is rightfully his blah blah blah.
We smash cut to a bunch of security guards running into a room and Ken Shamrock just Wardlows the shit out of them. Bullet Bob Armstrong and head of security Don Harris confront Shammy but we can’t hear what he’s saying because WE CAN STILL HEAR JARRETT’S MIC AS HE’S BLATHERING IN THE RING.
Shamrock exits the room and another camera is waiting on the other side of the door. Shamrock bars the door to trap the security guards and management while he goes and confronts Jarrett. An absolutely huge dude who looks as if Ludvig Borga’s head was on Brian Cage’s body steps into frame. His name is “The Iron Brit” Ian Harrison and, even though I have seen this show multiple times back in the tape trading days, I do not remember this slabby beef man. Shamrock tells him to guard the door and rage walks out of frame.
Jarrett is feuding with, like, 6 people right now so if you forgot that he smashed both Shamrock and Harley Race a couple of weeks ago, here’s your reminder. Shamrock is out for revenge!
We cut back to the ring where Bill Behrens tells Jarrett to essentially calm the fuck down but also Jarrett is suspended for 60 days. I’m sure Jarrett will respect the suspension.
Behrens says Jarrett can go quietly or security will come down and take Jarrett out, OH BUT SECURITY IS TRAPPED IN THE BACK! JARRET BLASTS BEHRENS IN THE FUCKIN’ HEAD WITH A CHAIR! SHAMROCK COMES DOWN! LEG LARIAT TO JARRETT! WILD PUNCHES! Monty Brown and Apolo run to the ring! Jarrett bails! Brown and Apolo hold Shamrock back. JARRETT JUMPS IN THE RING AND WAMMOS SHAMROCK WITH THE CHAIR AND THEN RUNS!
Lawler and K-Krush come down to back up Jarrett while Brown and Apolo guard the downed bodies of Shamrock and Behrens. The heels bail.
I still don’t know why security went after Shamrock but the last bit of that segment was wild in a good way!
Good: Cherry Floppin Daddy
Why is this good? Don West dropped the stupid Zoot Suit that he wore a few weeks ago and is dressed like an Autozone employee instead. It’s an improvement! Ed Ferrara looks like he fell out of The Blue Meanie’s Goodwill donation bag.
Good: The Matrix Minute
Are you ready to hear Don West lose his god damned mind? It’s the debut of The Amazing Red! He’s taking on Low Ki who he faced off against in Ring of Honor about a month earlier in a fantastic match which was a variation of this ICW match that you can watch legally on Youtube. Need more? Check them out nearly 20 years later in Red’s home fed House of Glory!
There’s been a lot of talk about The Matrix Minute that popped the ROH crowd at Road to the Title. Basically it’s a bunch of dodged strikes which you don’t see much in wrestling. They do the same bit here but the hard cam is too far away to really capture the effect. It’s still fuckin’ awesome.
Mike Tenay, the whitest man who ever white manned, says “Low Ki’s name comes from a Blackstreet song called ‘No Diggity’” with all the energy of a midwest anchorman.
This is one of those matches where you aren’t sure if Ki realizes wrestling is a work or not. He kicks Red like Red owes him money. He’s able to just throw Red around the ring and stiff the fuck out of him, but Red keeps coming back. The end of the match is the famed “Matrix Minute” into Tidal Crush, into Ki Crusher for the pin. The crowd pops hard and starts chanting for Ki.
Red and Ki really put on as good of a match as they could in under 8 minutes. It’s too damn short and I bet there’s some dumb shit (Disco Inferno) that could have been cut from this show to give them 2-4 more so they could build a better story. Is there more dumb shit? Yes!
Mid: “My father was Mr. Testosterone, call me Ian.”
We cut to a quick backstage segment where Jarrett squares up to Ian Harrison who is still guarding the barred doors. We can see security guards banging on the window although I’m pretty sure there was an external door in the room they’re trapped in. Anyway, Jarrett is looking for Shamrock and, Ian, instead of telling him that Shamrock isn’t in the ad-hoc holding cell, tells Jarrett that he’s a “Nashville Wanker” and that he’s ready to “get it on”. Jarrett calls him “Joe Steroid” and “Mr. Testosterone” and says they’ll get it on “on my time.” Pretty pointless stuff here. So pointless that I’m not sure why I wrote a paragraph about it!
Mid: Hot Shotted
Generic wrestlers Cassidy O’Riely and Chase Stephens come down to the ring and cut the dumbest 10 second promo ever.
“We’re pricks. We’re proud. And we are protruding!” *grab crotches*
This has Russo stink all over it. RUSSOOOOOO!!!
They face off against what Mike Tenay calls “The Rodney Dangerfields of the Tag Team division” because they don’t get any respect. Tenay is a wildman everybody.
This next segment does some heavy lifting and I’ll do my best to sum up without getting too into the weeds. As America’s Yet To Be Dubbed Most Wanted make their way to the ring, there’s a cut to a pre-recorded video with Goldylocks interviewing the team. They VERY QUICKLY drop that the Hot Shots were the team that attacked them a couple weeks ago, taking AYTBDMW out of the tag title tournament, which is nuts because the Hot Shots weren’t even in the tournament so they have no reason to jump another team unless the booker is just making shit up week to week (RUSSOOOOOO!!!).
The second part of this interview revolves around James Storm talking like a cowboy and Chris Harris hating it and telling him to stop. Chris yells a bunch of shit along the lines of “Don’t bring those cap guns to the ring! Cowboy gimmicks are done!” Storm grins like a stooge and replies “WOO DOGGIES GET ALONG LITTLE DOGGIES YEEHAW LITTLE LADY WHOOPIE DOODILY DOO BANG POW BANG BANG PTEERROOO!!!” Harris rolls his eyes and GREAT WE HAVE YET ANOTHER WACKY TAG TEAM THAT DOESN’T GET ALONG. RUSSOOOOOOO!!!
Good: The match!!!
Early in the match, Ed Ferrara says the Hot Shots jumped AYTBDMW to get themselves on PPV and deserve a tag title match. Nice try, Ed, but you aren’t getting that plot over.
The Hot Shots and AYTBDMW have a pretty great 6 minute match. The Shots have an extended beatdown on James Storm with a bunch of pretty cool looking moves. Harris gets the hot tag and AYTBDMW pulls out some BIG MANEUVERS for the win. The Hot Shots attack after the belt and grab the fake handguns and proceed to PISTOL WHIP AYTBDMW. I guess the feud is not over. Boo.
I have to give it to the Shots. I was expecting them to be The Shits but they looked good here. Innovative tag offense that would stand up in modern day AEW. The Boner Jerks gimmick is hot garbo though.
Mid: Massaging the story
Golidy is backstage. Behind her we can see Shammy getting his neck worked on by NERD TRAINER. He sits up muttering “Where an I?” Nerd Trainer said “You were knocked out.” Shamrock FREAKS THE FUCK OUT, grabs the Nerd and yells “WHERE IS HE!? WHERE IS HE!?” Then he flips over the massage table. Cut to…
Bad: Gerald’s Kid
Oy, it’s a Brian Lawler match. He’s up against the as yet unimpressive Apolo. These two did have a half-assed staredown earlier in the show so I guess this match has heat.
I still think Lawler should have changed his look with his heel turn. He’s still in Too Cool gear and he looks too much like Kriss Kross to be taken seriously as a big heel threat.
The audience is all over Lawler, chanting “Jerry’s Kid!” The match is old school with a lot of punching and rest holds. Lawler and Apolo use their seven minutes to put on a VERY average match. Standout moments are Lawler biting his lip and bleeding out the mouth and… nothing else. In the end, Lawler does some sad 90s hip hop dance moves and gets rolled up for the win. Blah.
After the match Lawler wanders over to the announce desk, all upset and pouty. Don West says “You still did a good job out there.” Lawler goes shitnuts and chokes West.
I’m still not buying Lawler as a credible threat. This whole thing is so “try hard”.
Good: Time To Hear The Truth
There’s a video recap of K-Krush’s recent belt hangings of Norman Smiley and Scott Hall. Crossfade to Krush in the ring. If you have been wondering when K-Krush became The Truth, well, here it is!
“First and foremost, when you refer to me, you call me by my name. My name is The Truth! K-Krush is no longer! That name is gone, it’s dead, it’s stinkin’, it’s done with! They gave me that damn name! No longer will they name me! No longer will I be their damn puppet! From now on… I walk when I wanna dammit walk. I don’t talk when they want me to talk! The rules, the regulations, the guidelines that they created, I don’t abide by. From this point forward, it’s all about one thing and one damn thing only, it’s all about the damn Truth!”
He continues his promo, implying that “they (white people)” are keeping him and other black people down. He’s right! He mentions Alan Iverson, who had gotten in trouble a month or so before for his famous “I’m talking about practice” rant. Truth also name drops Mike Tyson who had been convicted of rape which everybody seems to forget. Daryl Strawberry, Ray Lewis, and O.J. Simpson are also called out as people who “THEY” have kept down. This all works to incite the majority white audience.
Abyss’ music hits and Monty Brown comes out because Abyss hadn’t stolen his theme song yet. Brown essentially accuses The Truth of reverse racism. Brown has made opportunities for himself after leaving football by coming to the NWA. He says, and actually in quote fingers, “they” gave him the opportunity. The truth might be that Truth can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk and that “K-Krush ain’t all that.” He challenges Truth to a match. Truth says they have different views and that Brown should “step his sellin’ out, Uncle Tom ass out of the ring.” YIKES. It turns into a brawl with Brown on top, finally hitting the Alpha Bomb.
Brown comes out of this looking like a star. He cut a very strong promo and then beat down a huge heel, even going so far as to get his finisher over. The Truth also had a fantastic promo, which is no surprise, he’s been on a roll for weeks. He’s kind of a store brand Smokey Mountain era New Jack, feeding into the inherent racism of the audience. The only thing that hurts him is when some folks in the audience actually agree with him and start cheering. The whole reverse racism angle is very uncomfortable but Truth deserves all the GOODS that I can give. He’s a heat machine!
Bad: Tag Teams That Can’t Get Along Part 2
Another video package showing the feud between AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn. No tag team in TNA can get along, but this tag team REALLY can’t get along. They both come across as petty, especially Lynn. These are the Tag Team champions! Fuckin’ get along, you keep winning! Who cares who gets the pin!
Tenay had a sit down with both men earlier today. AJ apologizes to Lynn, saying he wants to be Lynn. Lynn says that now that AJ understands where Lynn is coming from, they can work together against YET ANOTHER team that doesn’t get along, The Flying Elvises. This only leaves one question; who is going to turn on who tonight?
I don’t like The Elvises but it’s about damn time that they get a title shot. They are undefeated in trios, tag and singles competition. Ed Ferrara says the same thing during the match. OH NO I AGREE WITH ED FERRARA AM I THE HEEL?
Good: The Undefeated Tag Teams Collide!
FINALLY we have two of the three Elvises actually doing Elvis schtick! Jorge Estrada is sneering and shaking his hips while Jimmy Yang hits some classic Elvis poses. Sonny Siaki already said last week that “Nobody cares about the Flying Elvises’” so instead of being an Elvis, he’s doing his best The Rock impression, and it’s not good! Yang and Estrada will be going for the straps while Siaki joins on commentary. Great. The only good side is that Sikai isn’t speaking directly into his mic so you can barely hear him.
Siaki says that the other two Elvi are “Taking care of the light work”. Buddy, this is a title match, maybe give it some importance.
It’s so hard to talk about this match without talking about how much Siaki wants to be The Rock. He only refers to himself in the third person but has 1/10th the charisma. Ed Ferrara has to help him with his heel patter. Okay, I’ll shut up about Siaki… for now.
It’s always a pleasure to see Jimmy Yang in the ring. He’s an underrated gem of a wrestler and meshes well with StyleLynn. Estrada… has his moments. He’s in that zone where he’s not quite a cruiserweight but can bust out a standing flipping legdrop among a bunch of sluggish knee drops and dull punches.
AJ is the “face in peril” for most of this match. He gets held up in the heel corner and eats either dull punches from Estrada or gets slingshotted into the top rope by Yang. Styles accidentally busts open Yang’s nose right before the hot tag to Lynn. Lynn is a HOUSE OF FIRE, but then tragedy strikes when this happens:
Lynn blades on the outside while the Elvi double team AJ. He’s at their mercy until a VERY BLOODY Jerry Lynn cuts off Estrada and gets the pin. AJ was just about to hit the Spiral Tap on Yang. He looks absolutely perturbed even though he wasn’t the legal man (I guess) and leaves Lynn in the ring. Huhboy.
BAD: Disco Uninterestingo
Goddammit, they booked Disco Inferno. He’s sitting on a sofe that is part of a very cheap looking living room set at the top of the ramp. He puts himself over, listing his accomplishments which sound great out of context. I’m a minute in and this is already exhausting. He says he’ll teach AJ to be a superstar instead of a flip machine. He’ll teach Shamrock to have personality. He’ll teach Lynn to look younger(?). And he’ll teach Jarrett and all of Tennessee to speak English instead of Hillbilly. Oy. He keeps going! He says that next week he’s going to debut the best TV Talk Show called “Jive Talkin’”. I can’t remember if his first “show” involves telling Golid to take her top off or if it’s the one that is maybe the least funny Dupps segment ever but, good lord, Jive Talkin’ is a disaster from minute one.
You know, sometimes I really enjoy certain matches on TNA and then there’s trash like this. It’s in these moments when I remember that people were paying ten dollars every week to watch this bargain basement, sad, Russorific WCW clone.
Mid: Blink and you’ll miss it
Shamrock walks up to a still guarding the guards Ian Harrison. This is all the dialogue:
Shamrock: Jarrett been by here?
Harrison: Yeah, and I think he’s been looking for you!
Shamrock: Well he better hope to god he don’t find me!
Fade to black.
Mid: Establishing the Mid-card
Here we get the TNA debuts of long time wrestling journeymen and former ECW tag team Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger. Diamond worked in ECW from 1998 until the company folded, and Swinger was in WCW’s undercard from 96-99, before jumping to ECW in 2000. Both will putter around the TNA midcard both as a tag team and as singles competitors until Diamond more or less retires in 2010. Swinger did a stint at WWE as well, making him one of those rare wrestlers who was employed by WCW, WWE, ECW and TNA/Impact. Speaking of Impact, Swinger rejoined Impact wrestling in 2019 and apparently has a gambler/80s wrestler gimmick. This does not make me more interested in watching Impact.
Simon and Swinger face off against Elix Skipper and Monty (spelled Monte on the graphics for some reason) Brown with what is another ad-hoc tag team in a company full of them. Will this mismatched pair get along? Spoiler: They won’t, Skipper turns on Brown. The match is your standard midcard tag team fare; nothing interesting, nothing offensive, nothing to write about. Brown wins with the Alpha Bomb. Moving on.
Bad: Russo books the Black men to fight each other
During the post match celebration, Elix Skipper hugs Monty, turning him away from the entrance ramp so that The Truth can run in and hang Brown over the top rope. Ed Ferrara yells “I LOVE IT!” I know he’s supposed to be the heel commentator but, like, bro… The choking goes on for a while and, like a lot of the Truth stuff, it’s uncomfortable to watch!
Also, check out yet another tag team that can’t get along!
BAD: THE DUPPS ARE THE WORST SEGMENT EVERY WEEK
Goldy is trapped in yet another Dupps bit. Current NWA Champion Stan Dupp is playing with the lighter again while Bo leers. Goldywarns them to not be gross or she’ll walk. Stan then says that “pink is my favorite color… in so many ways” which IS gross and she does try to walk, but he (gently) pulls her back and apologizes. They mention they don’t have a match and that Fluff is gone before Stan calls Bo the big R slur. Somehow the segment gets even more stupid and offensive, so stupid and offensive that I can’t think of any reason to write about it. Suffice it to say that, as usual, everybody comes out of the segment looking worse than before. This shit is comedy kryptonite.
Anyway they “got no match”. Stan says that if you bump into someone you can have a match that night. They bump into Goldy and FUCK THIS SEGMENT I’M DONE. I TRIED. BO ENDS UP IN A MATCH WITH IAN HARRISON FUCK EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN GREENLIGHTING THIS SHIT
BAD: MORE DUPPS BUT IN THE RING
Bo and Stan come to the ring with boards. They tell Borash that Bo will be facing off against “some big musclehead guy from the back” which is actually funny, goddammit. So Ian comes to the ring with ENTRANCE MUSIC which makes no sense, he’s just some random guy as far as we’re concerned.
Ian Harrison and his HGH do a number on Bo. As I said before, Bo isn’t that bad of a wrestler, he just has THE MOST TRASH GIMMICK OF ALL TIME. The audience legit looks bored as fuck, resting their collective heads in their collective hands. Stan breaks up a pin and Harrison wins in 3 minutes by DQ. At least it was short.
Now that Harrison is no longer guarding the door, Jarrett can open it up and I guess look for Shamrock again? He is confronted by the Security guards and Don Harris, but then Shamrock is somehow in the room. Maybe he snuck in through the vents like Mission Shampossible. Shammy jumps on Jarrett. They get pulled apart by Security, Don yells at Shamrock “You did this your way, now we’re gonna do it mine! You go take care of your title, I’ll handle things back here!” There’s a jump cut back to the entrance ramp, so we never get to see what Don’s way is. I assume he just gives Jarrett a big ol’ hug to calm him down.
Good: Submission Ladder Match? Does that mean you make the ladder tap out?
Sabu beat Malice in a corker last week for a shot at the NWA World’s Title. Sabu vs. Shamrock for a title is one of those matches you could never have predicted. They play an extended recap of last week’s awesome match, but it eats up a lot of time, leaving almost exactly 10 minutes between the bell and the end of the PPV. The Malice match last week was about the same amount of time, so if this is half as good as that, I’ll be pretty happy.
Oh, yeah, I should mention that this is a Submission vs. Ladder match, which means you can win by Submission or by grabbing the title that is hanging over the ring. Weird.
About a minute into the match, Tenay gets word that Security is so fed up with how things have gone tonight that they have left the building.
Sabu actually does some grappling here and it doesn’t look bad, but in the end he’s just outclassed by Shamrock. Shamrock always has a counter to Sabu’s submission attempts. It’s not Angle/Benoir or anything but it is pretty sweet stuff. Eventually Sabu says “fuck it” and starts ECW-ing it up, bringing out tables and chairs to do some real damage to Shammy, except all he does is beat the shit out of himself.
Tenay says Shamrock moved out of the way at the last second but it really looks like he was in his car halfway back to Reno by the time Sabu jumped off the chair.
Shamrock sets up the ladder and gets his hands on the title before the lights go out. Malice runs into the ring and they fight on top of the ladder. Chokeslam off the ladder! Malice grabs the belt and holds it up over Shamrock’s lifeless body! No contest I guess? Malice walks up the ramp, looks back as if to say “We almost had something there” and we fade out.
And that’s the show!
This one was almost a good show. You should see at least one Amazing Red vs. Low Ki match in your life and this show has one, but I also provided links to two more so, like, watch those. Outside of that there aren’t any must see matches. The Jarrett/Shamrock stuff started off hot but there was just SOO MUCH OF IT that they lost me. Obviously the Dupps sucked shit and Disco can jump in a lake. A LAKE I SAY.
The upsides are what TNA didn’t do instead of what they did; less casual misogyny, no homophobia, no masturbating little people. However, we are about to get into a run of shows that is pretty bad about all of that! Go TNA!
Next column I’ll talk about the second episode of AEW Dynamite, which hopefully will be better than the first one. Read me then!