The NWA TNA week 28 Preview, January 21, 2003
The NWA TNA week 28 Preview, January 21, 2003
Feb 8 2003, 01:37 PM
TNA is getting weird on me. They seem to be going out of their way to make this column hard to write. I can go into this week’s preview KNOWING 6 matches on the card for this Wednesday night. However, I can only actually write a preview for 3 of them. Why? S.E.X. sells baby.
I don’t hate Vince Russo. To be fair…I don’t care about Vince Russo one way or the other. Some of the things he says make sense to me as a wrestling fan…and some don’t. For example: Justifying the burial of the cruiser division and putting the title on David Arquette…No. Pointing out that the arena is now turning away people since the S.E.X. saga hit full stride, and if Borash’s weekly column is correct also gaining steam in the buyrate department…Yes.
The most intriguing quote I’ve seen from Russo wasn’t from his sit down interview with Mike Tenay, but from his No Holds Barred chat the other day. He was asked about the WWE and he said that the main problem was that the storylines there were too fake for the viewer and that reality TV was what sells nowadays. Maybe the man has a point. Survivor has been huge for years, Joe Millionaire is a hit, the Bachelor and Fear Factor are hits…and the top shows on TV are shows based in reality like CSI and whatever courtroom drama is on that night. Is it easier to get into a storyline of AJ Styles paying his dues to earn an eventual shot at the NWA title than it is a storyline where HHH has sex with a dummy? Is it more entertaining to watch as three of the most talented wrestlers around (Daniels, Skipper and Low Ki) return from very real booking problems with TNA and use that very situation as their storyline than it is to watch Al Wilson die? I have come to believe that, like it or not…and most do not, Russo is right about this. He isn’t writing bad TV out there. He’s writing some pretty intriguing and entertaining stuff storyline wise.
The talent, however, has become a glaring issue. It isn’t a question of effort either…simply talent. S.E.X. will inevitably fail sooner than later, not because of Russo’s writing…but because of talent. B.G. James, the Harris boys and David Flair don’t have any talent…and yet have to carry this storyline. That’s four strikes by my count. Although, I have to give Russo credit for this…he isn’t making them the focus of the group. Since they returned on the last show of 2002, XXX (Low Ki, Skipper and Daniels) have gotten far more spotlight than the aforementioned group. Even Mike Sanders got more attention last week than those guys. The central idea behind S.E.X. is to give the wrestlers on the show an easily defined storyline so that the crowd knows who the good guys are and who the bad guys are (something that was really hard to tell in the first 20 weeks or so). This is a good idea from my perspective since TNA had no direction at all in the beginning.
The storyline isn’t standing still either. Every week it progresses a little bit at a time. The use of NWA legends like Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors is interesting from a storyline perspective. Hell…Larry Zbysko cut a real good promo on AJ Styles last week before getting the taste smacked out of his mouth. That was a good segment. As long as AJ goes over in there match this week (and I have no reason to believe he won’t) it’s safe to say that Zbysko will have served more purpose in two weeks with TNA than he has in the last two decades. The Russian Nightmare (awesome name) Nikita Koloff unmasked last week after laying out Dusty Rhodes. This will likely set up an American Dream vs. Russian Nightmare old school (meaning old people) match at some point. And I say…bring it on. Variety is the spice of life, and for everyone that hates the idea of Rhodes vs. Koloff there is someone who hates the idea of Styles vs. Jarrett (Styles is a cruiser after all…and that stigma doesn’t wash off easily). For a company in it’s early stages like TNA (no TV deal…etc…) variety is key. Don’t like cruiserweights…well then America’s Most Wanted will be defending the tag belts, don’t like that…well then Jeff Jarrett is trying to restore credibility to the NWA title, don’t like that…well then old school vs. sports entertainment will be up next. The point is the problem with TNA at this point is not the writing…it’s the talent. It’s kind of funny too…in the early weeks of TNA there was pretty much no writing or really bad writing with Bruce and midgets and Dupps, oh my…but there was a match that you could point to and say…that was pretty awesome. Now it’s pretty much the opposite. The matches are OK or pretty good at best the last two weeks. 2002 closed out with a bang with the very good XXX vs. SATs and Red match…but 2003 hasn’t had that yet.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that TNA is must order TV at this point…because it’s not. If they were having blow away X matches like last year on top of the more intriguing storylines than I would say that. I’m confident that it can happen that way eventually…but they just aren’t there yet. It’s been a slow progression for TNA. They started as the show that was known only for the X division, then the Truth broke out for a while and then America’s Most Wanted and the New Church ignited the tag team division for a while. Now I like the writing (go figure). I hope they can figure out a way to put it all together, because that is something that the wrestling world desperately needs.
Enough ranting…onto the:
NWA TNA preview for week 28
Konnan showed up last week. I only mention it here because I had forgotten it even happened until right this moment. He ran in and took out a couple of X division guys (Jason Cross and David Young) then ran away. Konnan falls into that category where he would be of no use in the WWE…but in TNA he’s better than Curt Hennig so he could take his airtime and I wouldn’t complain.
This week is being billed as the night of champions, because all three titles are on the line. It’s really not that rare of an occurrence, though. The belts were all on the line two weeks ago too…but they didn’t give it a snazzy name. Anyway, Vince Russo earned the right to pick all of the challengers for the titles this week when the team of XXX and Russo (although Russo never actually entered the ring, I’m sure it cause some people to have a conniption fit anyway) beat JJ, the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes last week. Sonny Siaki is already a member of S.E.X. so they’ve been playing up the idea of Russo giving him an easy opponent in his X title defense. As to who the opponents for the three matches will be…hell I don’t know. I fear B.G. James and the Harris boys getting title shots…although I would doubt that happening given their reduced role in actual in ring competition of late.
I was thinking that Russo would give the NWA title shot to AJ Styles in an attempt to woo him over to S.E.X. but Styles already has a match this week…so they appear to be going another way. I’m not going to complain about Styles waiting for his shot at the title since I think the storyline is worth watching…but I can’t help but feel they may have made a wrong turn on this one (unless they have a real good payoff to the Styles storyline down the road).
For the purposes of this preview (and for those who just skip down to the words in bold) we’ll do this:
Jeff Jarrett vs. Mystery opponent of Vince Russo’s choosing for the NWA title
Sonny Siaki vs. Mystery opponent of Vince Russo’s choosing for the X title
America’s Most Wanted vs. Mystery opponents of Vince Russo’s choosing for the NWA Tag Team titles
I figure that at least one title has to change hands here. The NWA title shouldn’t be going anywhere…but I think we could all see the tag titles going to S.E.X. this week. There’s an outside chance that Siaki could be upset by his opponent so that the whole ordeal backfires on Russo.
Red and SATs vs. Jimmy Yang, David Young and Shark Boy
This is another example of what I was talking about earlier. I see nothing wrong with a spot match on a wrestling show, as long as there is variety. Imagine a 6 man spot match on this card with a good AMW tag title match (not out of the realm of possibility unless the Harris boys are in it…hell imagine if XXX is hanging around and Ki and Daniels get the shot or something like that) and a good JJ match (not out of the realm of possibility unless B.G. James is in it) and the storyline driven Styles vs. Zbysko. That’s variety that pays off well. Oh yeah…Jimmy Yang is back BABY!!!! So are Red and the SATs…who haven’t been seen since the last match of 2002. Yang rules and his presence on the other side of the ring from Red makes this match better. Young has been getting a semi-push lately as the power wrestler of the X division. Watching him toss people around is fun. Shark Boy I don’t really like. Red and the SATs will win…but Jimmy Yang will always be the man.
Ron Killings and Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Sanders and David Flair
There is a couple storylines running through this I guess. First of all, this is obviously TNA vs. S.E.X. Also Flair hit Killings with his sack full of foreign object last week, while Lynn and Sanders had a pretty good match. Should be fun while Flair isn’t in the ring…and no match with Jerry Lynn can be that bad. I really don’t have anything else to say about this match.
AJ Styles vs. Larry Zbysko
Yes, you read that right.
I think Zbysko has been around for like…thirty years or so. That means he’s been wrestling longer than I have been alive. Aside from his time as WCW announcer and a feud here and there with Steven Regal or Scott Hall…I know little to nothing about him (with the exception of him once doing something with Bruno Sammartino when I was probably around the age of 1). That being said…I’m actually looking forward to this.
AJ Styles will break the mold in TNA. Oh yes…his time is coming. There was a time when I believed that the Truth was the most important person to the future of TNA, and although I still believe that his continued improvement as a character is vital to this company’s success…Styles has leap-frogged him for most important star of the future. Cruiserweights as legitimate heavyweight champions? Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
It would have been easy to just throw Jerry Lynn into the role of NWA champion. He has the experience and credibility (he is a former ECW champion…that and a nickel…) to pull it off nicely. He is the TNA MVP, after all. But TNA decided to take a much bigger chance and put Styles in position to be the first X division guy to break through to the heavyweight division. The story so far is that Styles considers himself the best in the X division and feels he deserves a shot at the NWA championship. He spent a couple weeks jumping JJ to no avail. Last week he defeated former NWA champion Ron Killings (through nefarious means of course) and continued to demand his shot. However, it seems that the old school doesn’t want to give it to him. Jarrett said he had to pay his dues and then Larry Zbysko came out and told Styles he was a punk who had to work for his shot. Instead of gabbing back and forth for minutes on end with Zbysko, Styles slapped the old timer. Now this shit is on. Styles believes that a win over Zbysko is key to proving that he is ready to move up. Zbysko is out to teach the young punk a lesson. They did all this in like six minutes. Six minutes to make me actually care about Larry Zbysko. That’s insane.
Roddy Piper interview
The last time Piper appeared on TNA it made headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time the segment has already been taped. So that’s where 5 minutes of the show will be spent.
That’s all the stuff they’ve told us about the show. There’s other stuff going on like the Rhodes/Koloff storyline that I expect will be fleshed out this week in some form. Konnan might run in again…and who knows what else they have planned. There are a lot of people without a place on the card as of yet. Kash, Money, Mamaluke, Road Warriors, James, Hennig, Divine Storm and so on. Some of them could wind up in the three title matches, some may not appear and others will pop up in some form. Then there is the whole “Expect the unexpected” angle that seems to bring in new faces (young, old and really old) every week.
I just wish that while I was “Expecting the unexpected” I could also “Expect a set lineup of a certain number of matches numbering more than 3”.
Maybe next week.
Best-case scenario: AMW vs. XXX (or at least XX) and JJ vs. Someone good.
Worst-case scenario: AMW vs. Harris boys and JJ vs. B.G. James.
Big difference there, eh?
Until then you can find me at [email protected]
Also…please email TNA at [email protected] and tell them to bring back Alex Winters.
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