NWA:TNA Week 22 Preview, November 25, 2002
NWA:TNA Week 22 Preview, November 25, 2002
Jan 17 2003, 03:27 PM
I love hype. I mean I absolutely love hype. This past week the hype got to me not once, but twice! First the hype for the NWA title match between Ron Killings and Jeff Jarrett really had me on the edge of my seat and to be quite honest, nearly shaking for the entire bout. Excellent video packages, ring introductions…it all made the match feel that much more special. I think it helped the crowd too, which was off the hook going back and forth between supporting Tennessee’s own JJ and the flashy upstart The Truth. It helps that the match delivered too. That was Wednesday. Then came Friday, when the hype machine for the Ken Shamrock – Tito Ortiz fight had me pressing the order button for UFC 40: Vendetta. I hadn’t watched an MMA event in years. In fact, I hadn’t watched one since a friend of a friend had a tape of UFC 1 and 2! At that time it was my feeling that UFC was just a show to watch 2 people club each other…and funnily the person with the most boring approach to the fight usually one. My how times have changed. The Ortiz/Shamrock fight was never in question as Ortiz dominated throughout the three rounds before the ref stopped the fight (apparently at Shamrock’s request). However, MMA picked up a new fan on that night. I was amazed at how much the product had evolved into something that I could really get behind. These guys are phenomenal. Vendetta provided me with more drama and flat out artistic beauty in their fights than wrestling has done for me in a LONG time…and those wrestling shows are works. Anyway, Friday was only a few days ago but I’ve already run to Blockbuster to rent some UFC tapes and dropped by my local Media Play to purchase a couple of Pride DVDs. I can’t believe what I have been missing. If it hadn’t been for the hype I never would have known. Of course, if it hadn’t been for the hype of the NWA title match, I may have given up on wrestling completely and sunk my money into all things MMA. How is it that NWA could get me this hyped about JJ/Truth in just a few minutes, and WWE can’t get me hyped about HBK vs. RVD on Raw in the same way? Hype can make all the difference in the world. Look at Rock vs. Hogan from this past WrestleMania. The match wasn’t very good, but the hype leading in and the crowd reaction to it MADE that match memorable. While the styles in MMA and Pro Wrestling obviously differ quite a bit, the ultimate goal is the same. You have one man against another man, and the job of the company promoting the bout is to create hype. UFC did that in spades. It’s time that Pro Wrestling got their heads out of the gutter and tried not pitching to the lowest common denominator for a while. It just might work out.
With that all being said, my job with this weekly preview is to give you the next card and what we can expect to happen. Well…that’s what it has been anyway. There are always a few people who drop into the NWA TNA folder on the forums just to come in and say that TNA will be dead soon, or there nothing but a second rate promotion, or that they won’t watch anything that Vince Russo is a part of or what have you. The statements change but for the most part the idea is something along the lines of “How can you watch this crap? I know I can’t.” Well…that’s what this preview is for. Straight up from someone who feels very deeply for this NWA TNA promotion, I will not only tell you what’s going to be on, but also why I care. Or…in some cases why I don’t care. No one is above making mistakes. TNA is no exception. However, as a TNA fan I have been rewarded several times over with something that I want to see. Something that I have not been able to say about being a WWE fan for a long time. Is it an alternative to the WWE? It is for me. I’d rather spend 40 dollars a month on 8 hours of TNA than I would spend just 5 dollars less for 3 hours of a WWE ppv.
But that’s me. It might not be you, it probably won’t be. But if you’re curious as to whether a weeks 10 dollar show will be for you, or if you’ve ever just wondered why some people won’t just give up on this promotion…
Well…I am here to give you the hype.
Divine Storm vs. The Briscoe Bros
Jeremy Borash announced that this match would take place in his last From the Inside column. Divine Storm made their TNA ppv debut last week when they lost the opener to EZ Money and Sonny Siaki. They are Chris Devine and Quiet Storm. The Briscoe brothers (Jay and Mark) will be familiar to fans on Ring of Honor. They have made one previous TNA appearance, all the way back in week 4, fighting to a draw with the HotShots when Malice ran in and squashed them all. Also of note is the fact that this match is a rematch of a dark match from the TNA show 2 weeks ago. Reports say it was a good match, and the fact that TNA booked them to have a rematch on pay per view would certainly support that. Quiet Storm has also been given a female manager named Trinity, who is like Lita to the Hardy Boyz; only she seems to be able to hit both the moonsault and the hurricanrana.
I have only seen these 4 men wrestle one time each. I always enjoy seeing new talent come in to TNA to continue changing the overall feel of the product. I’d also like to see Quiet Storm hit his finisher the Storm Cradle Driver that I hear is impressive. There is no reason to expect that this match will be booked anything but evenly, which should result in a competitive little match between two teams that are hungry to get off of the dark match track and on to the pay per view schedule on a weekly basis. I don’t think that they will get all that much time for the match, as I can’t see it going over ten minutes in any way. What that means is that the two teams will be rushed to hit their spots, which can go one of two ways. Either a sloppy match with no flow, or a fast paced spotfest that fires the crowd up for the rest of the show.
Brian Lawler vs. Bruce
Bruce is Alan Funk, formerly known as Kwee Wee who has taken over Lodi’s spot in the Rainbow Express with Lenny Lane.
Sigh…every week there is one match that makes my job hard. It always seems to be either a Bruce match or a Lawler match too. I actually think that Alan Funk is a semi-solid wrestler…but at this point he’s all gimmick. I actually think that Lawler can be a somewhat solid wrestler too…but he’s got the same deal going on. The history for this match is pure Russo. Lawler’s girlfriend (April) is constantly cheating on him with someone. Usually Syxx-Pac…but lately it’s been Bruce…who’s supposed to be gay. So the gimmick is that Lawler is constantly catching her…beating up whomever it is who’s sleeping with her and then getting duped into taking her back. Last week April ended up hand in hand with Goldylocks…so some HLA seems like a possibility.
Then there’s the actual match…that will look like a train wreck. Lawler will get mad at April, Bruce will hump his leg, Lenny Lane will run in and interfere since he’s upset that Bruce is cheating on him with a woman no less…what a mess. Shouldn’t last long.
NWA Tag Team Title Match
Slash and Brian Lee vs. Curt Hennig and Syxx-Pac
Slash and Lee are the disciples of the New Church led by Jim Mitchell (Sinister Minister). They have spent the last month trading blood with America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) in matches that have really livened up the tag division. Hennig and Pac we all know and have formed opinions about for years.
What’s most interesting to me is where this match came from. The Harris brothers just won a tournament last week to become the #1 contenders last week. Now…personally I don’t care if the Harris brothers ever get near the titles, but if you are going to go through the tournament…you might as well go through to the end.
I really don’t know whom they’ll put over here. There are a few ways they can go. They may put Hennig and Pac over since the Harris brothers are heels and that would avoid a heel vs. face match. However, they may keep them on Slash and Lee so that they can build up a decent title reign before AMW comes calling to finish that feud.
Hennig hasn’t looked good since his TNA debut, but he has had a few weeks off to gather himself. Pac has looked surprisingly good but was suffering from a hip injury that has been bothering him for a while. Slash and Lee have been on fire due to the AMW feud…but Hennig and Pac won’t bring that kind of intensity and hatred to the table. If Pac is anywhere near 100% this match could turn out alright though. I’d like to see Slash and Lee throw him around for a while.
NWA TNA X Title Match
Jerry Lynn vs. AJ Styles
The matches have been good, but the time is coming to move one of them up to the heavy division…if not both. All roads for these two guys seem to lead to each other. Lynn finally beat Styles three weeks ago to capture the X title. Styles beat Jorge Estrada and Crimson Dragon (Chris Hamrick) last week to earn another shot. I’m not one to complain about what has been a series that has delivered, so we’ll move on. I’ll say this for them…despite having met in the ring so many times…they are letting their work show it. Each time they face off they add something new and show that they have learned to counter everything the other has. It has made for some interesting matches.
I’d like to see Red added to this match for some reason. Mainly I want TNA to start putting over the next level of X division guys (Red, Kid Kash, EZ Money) and settle their differences with Zero-One so that random appearances by guys like Christopher Daniels, Low Ki and Jimmy Yang will pick back up. I also wish I knew where Elix Skipper was. If you take the time to sort that all out…you can have a main event scene that features JJ, Truth and Styles and Lynn racing to become the first Triple Crown winners in TNA, and still have an X division that features Daniels, Ki, Skipper, Yang, Red, Kash and Money. Looks good on paper.
For this week however we get Styles vs. Lynn one more time. It’s interesting to watch the evolution of this feud in terms of the matches. If you go back to week 2 with the infamous 4-man double elimination match to crown the first X champion…you’ll see that the last two falls between Styles and Lynn was ALL OFFENSE. Three weeks ago when they finally had what appeared to be the blow-off the match had more counters and reversals than I can count. So they have done a real good job of making this feud look like it keeps going as opposed to just doing variations of the same match all the time. That being said…I have no idea who wins here. I’d pay to see Red take on either of them again in a heartbeat. Long term I think Red ends up with the title sooner or later. Short term I don’t know what the plan is. TNA always has given Styles and Lynn a lot of time for their matches, as they know full well that these are the TNA MVPs. Should be good and afterwards we should have a better idea of what the future holds for the X division.
NWA Title match
Jeff Jarrett vs. Ron “The Truth” Killings
Last week’s title match delivered. This is the direct rematch. I don’t think that Truth has a prayer of taking the title off of Jarrett this soon. Nor should he. They should put Truth on a slow trek back to the top. I will be very interested to see what they do with Truth both here, and in the future. Jarrett has other fish to fry as Vince Russo directly put the title in his hands after swerving everyone. I am not a fan of Russo, however I am a fan of being entertained…and for at least one night he did that for me. The rumor going around is that TNA will be getting its first major storyline as a result of Russo’s return. The plan seems to be running an old school wrestling vs. sports entertainment type storyline. Right away my first question has to be this: If Vince Russo obviously doesn’t represent the old school wrestling side (and believe me…he doesn’t) why in the world did he cause the title to go on to Jarrett, who is the epitome of old school wrestling in TNA. That’s one question I expect to be answered this week. My next question is how this storyline will go. Will the X division play a part in it? I for one would love to see TNA cards with JJ vs. Jerry Lynn or Truth vs. AJ Styles. There are many ways this can go down, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. That’s me giving Russo his last benefit of the doubt.
As for the match itself, I see Jarrett retaining through some kind of shenanigans. They’ll be hard pressed to top last weeks match, but this should in no way be bad. Jarrett is the champion now, and you can tell he takes that very seriously. He’s going to have some hard work ahead with the weakness of the heavyweight division destined to show itself sooner than later. Malice is probably next in line…then you run out of options. After getting his ass handed to him by Tito Ortiz, Jarrett made a note in a radio interview that he’d like to see Ken Shamrock come back to TNA soon. I would too. Jarrett vs. Shamrock is the biggest title match that they could have done the first 8 weeks of the show, before Shamrock left. I feel somewhat slighted that I never got it.
Russo is the wildcard here. He’s going to be on the show in some form, and whatever form it is will tell us just enough to try and guess what the future of the storyline will hold. I would like to see someone step up to give Truth a feud for the next few weeks after the match, but I doubt that will happen. Match should get some time (though likely not as much as last week) and be pretty good. It will be hard to top the X divisions match this week, but it is certainly something that they should be striving for.
People who are not on the card as of yet:
Malice isn’t listed on the card yet, but he’s been squashing jobbers for the last two weeks and I imagine he’ll either be doing that again, or move on to beating lower card guys.
America’s Most Wanted aren’t listed either, but I assume they’ll get some kind of a match, possibly against the Harris brothers who are also not listed as of yet. They could also get the week off to just do a promo, or they could face off against the HotShots or some other team that is usually floating around.
B.G. James isn’t listed, nor was he last week when he faced Lenny Lane out of the blue. So you never know what he’s going to be involved in.
Sonny Siaki and EZ Money won their match last week, but aren’t listed so far this week. If they team up again they could take on AMW or the Harris brothers. If not Siaki always pops up somewhere.
As for the X division…Skipper has disappeared again. Low Ki, Jimmy Yang and Christopher Daniels aren’t being used until TNA figures out how to book them around Zero-One. Red, Kid Kash, EZ Money and the SATs are nowhere to be found as of yet either.
There will be more matches added to the card, I just don’t know what they will be as of yet. Hopefully Red, EZ Money and AMW will find there way on above the others.
In short…Styles vs. Lynn and JJ vs. Truth are proven winners. Divine Storm vs. Briscoes should entertain and the tag title match should be interesting for a few reasons…none of which really has anything to do with having a good match.
The card is subject to change, rearrange, be gutted and then glued back together. And it usually is.
Until next week…email me at [email protected]
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