The NWA TNA Week 39 preview, April 9, 2003
The NWA TNA Week 39 preview, April 9, 2003
Jun 19 2003, 03:44 PM
I have two very distinct ideas for the direction of this week’s column…and I’m not sure which way I want to go. So after I get a few plugs and miscellaneous comments out of the way we’ll either have a discussion about the current storylines running through TNA or how TNA should deal with the growing backlash against the WWE on the internet.
First of all, I enjoyed last week’s show. It was one of the few of the nearly 40 TNA shows that I watched while not also messing around online at thesmartmarks message board. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy taking part in the one and only TNA weekly threads…but I really enjoy the product more when I can kick back on the couch and give the show my full attention. I really like the David Young/Sonny Siaki feud and thought they had a nice go last week. My favorite match from week 38 was Truth vs. Elix Skipper, which is one of the many times that the match I liked most wasn’t previously announced. JJ/D-lo was fun, as was Lynn/Kash and even Brian Lawler didn’t bother me (first time…ever). But I don’t do reviews so you can check out Dames’ Diatribe on the show if you haven’t already.
I got an email from someone who has their own TNA site which can be found at http://tnattitude.tripod.com At first the site seemed a little to “in your face” for me…but after reading some of site I found a whole bunch of hilarious comments throughout. Dames and I are usually pretty similar in our opinions and thoughts, so if you’re ever looking for an alternate take on TNA this is a good place to look. However, someone who recaps shows for TNA and finds times to throw in some HHH glass ceiling lines can’t be too different in opinion from me!
All right I’ve decided to go with a review of current TNA storylines. I will say this however. Currently there is a movement at thesmartmarks message board to protest the quality of the WWE product and it’s failure to reflect the wishes of its audience. I wrote about this topic a while back and probably got more feedback for it than anything else I’ve written. Wrestling companies flat out HAVE to listen to their fans feelings at least once in a while. Since the WWE doesn’t seem interested in doing this anytime soon there is a planned boycott of RAW set for May 5th. You can read all about this by clicking on this thread at the board: May 5th where you will find places to send emails and whatever if you want to make your voice heard.
I’ve done the plug but this is still a TNA column…so here’s where I tie it all in. If there are so many people down on the WWE for reasons ranging from not creating new stars to pushing people based solely on size…what should TNA do to capture this market? Also…does the fact that you have to pay to see TNA make the whole topic worthless…because while people will become very passionate about what they can see for free…they wouldn’t be passionate enough to pay for it if it did fit their desired product model? Furthermore…since TNA’s audience is as close to 100% internet smark as you can get…should they realize that putting Dusty Rhodes in a wrestling match is just as bad as WWE trying to sell us on Piper right now?
The main problem with getting TNA into a broader market is that it is not available on free television. But ask yourself this question: If WWE’s free TV shows are down in the dumps with stars like the Rock, Goldberg and Austin and workers like Benoit, Eddy and Angle…would any of these disgruntled people watch a show for free when the stars are Ron Killings, Raven and Jeff Jarrett and the workers are Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn? This isn’t a knock on the TNA guys as I personally love a large portion of the roster but Truth is no Rock and Lynn is no Angle. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic, and I’ll try to cover it more in depth at a later date.
Until then let’s take a look at what TNA has been up to lately. There seems to be more feuds running in TNA right now than at any time in their history. Let’s use a simple A-F grading system to judge what’s being done right now. Of course these are just my opinions and they’ll likely conflict with your own so drop me an email telling me why I’m wrong and I’ll give you equal time in a future preview.
D-Lo Brown just received his title shot thus bringing that little chapter of his TNA career to a neat and tidy close. It remains to be seen where D-Lo will head next. He’ll remain in the title picture in some fashion…but the focus of that has turned completely towards Raven/Jarrett. He could feud with some part of S.E.X. and that seems likely since Mike Sanders interference backfired last week. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a D-Lo/Sanders feud starting this week, and that would have some potential.
The New Church will always be near the top of the tag team ranks, but lately they have turned towards this whole Sandman/ECWish thing that’s going on lately (more on this later). The Church seems to be stuck as the guys who will go wherever they are needed with little build up. They are kept strong and the fans love them so it’s not a terrible thing. However I can’t help but remember that the best thing the New Church has been involved in with TNA was their blood feud with America’s Most Wanted. I’d be more interested in a New Church feud than seeing them get slowly watered down as guys who just pop up when called on.
XXX are the current NWA Tag Team champions, and therefore will always have matches set when they are around. I am glad that the relationship between TNA and XXX seems to be working out. It’s better to have Christopher Daniels or Low Ki once or twice a month than not at all. I can’t knock TNA for not having a major feud laid out for these guys since they can’t be around every week. I like the way they are used for the most part…but Christopher Daniels is not a toy that Sandman and the Harris Boys should be playing with, if you catch my meaning.
Saturn is running with Sandman now that he’s in TNA, which is cool with me. Bart Gunn showed up last week and laid out Saturn, which leads to their match this week. I don’t know if this is a feud that is going to take more than that or not…so it gets an incomplete.
The bitter second generation semi-stars get my vote for the only TNA feud that I give a failing grade to. Erik Watts is linking himself up with Jarrett for a blowoff that no one wants to see. David Flair and Brian Lawler are feuding with Dusty Rhodes over a belt that isn’t real. Maybe some part of this could have been salvaged if Erik Watts could talk even just a little. He gets so lost during his promos that the intended purpose is usually completely lost. TNA was running a risk with this one from the get go. They took three people that no one cared about and gave them a storyline that had a one in a million chance of working out. While I admit it is somewhat interesting that three sons of legends have joined forces as the “next generation”…these three suck.
Sandman has been talking for weeks about his ECW buddies that he trusts and fights along side. It started when he was feuding with Raven and cut a promo with Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger (Both of whom I’d really like to see back by the way). Eventually this led to Saturn joining his side and last week New Jack. This has also led to some bad matches. It doesn’t get an F because the crowd loves it. It doesn’t get higher than a D because the whole thing lacks any kind of direction.
America’s Most Wanted is running a “will they break up” storyline. I hate it. I am a fan of both guys and the thought of them joining the singles division doesn’t bother me that much…but this angle does. If they split they’ll have to feud…and therefore one of them will have to win and the other will be “Jannetty’d” for the rest of his TNA time. If they don’t split this just waters them down. I hate it.
Jeff Jarrett’s title reign has been something that I have been very critical of in recent weeks. Last week he defended the title against D-Lo Brown and the crowd ate it up, just as they have when Jarrett has defended in the past. I was reading Dave Meltzer’s TNA recap on the observer site and he mentioned that the crowd treats JJ’s title matches as something special because they occur so rarely. I get that part of it…and that’s why his reign gets a “C” instead of the “D” I was originally planning. I guess the fact that they wrestle in front of the exact same crowd every week would water down the title match heat if they happened every week. I still believe that Jarrett should get in the ring and work far more often than he does…but I was probably too harsh on this before. We’ll see how I feel when he doesn’t defend the title the next few weeks.
Kid Kash is the X division champion and as near as I can tell he is feuding with his valet Trinity. His character is jealous of her and while I don’t see much potential for an actual blowoff to this “feud” I do like what it has done for Kash’s character. This will head straight to the “F” column if Trinity ever touches part of the X title though.
One of the newer feuds that I like is the one between David Young and Sonny Siaki. I like it because I think they match up well together and if given enough time I think the two could work a real good match. So why is it stuck with a “C”? Because the feud itself is pretty terrible. I know this will get me some hate mail from people reading this in Nashville…but Athena still doesn’t belong on my TV screen, and as much as I like Desire, I’d like to see Siaki get into a serious feud that didn’t involve her. The feud is built around both men hitting their finishers on the other’s woman. I think we can do better than that.
Jerry Lynn has been feuding with Konnan and the luchadores for weeks now, and it was TNA’s best feud until Konnan got in the ring. Nevertheless it remains intriguing now that a masked man is attacking Lynn week after week. Last week the two had a nice sit down interview that gave respect to the lucha libre style that was in danger of being single handedly destroyed by the booking of Lynn to beat everyone. Now they’ve added the intrigue of a mystery man who will feud with Lynn in matches that probably won’t suck. I still like this angle.
The Truth has returned to the fold as his own man who has sights set on being the top guy in the company. I was ready to give this an “A” since it is basically exactly what I asked for in previous columns…but something is holding me back from that. Truth seems to have a big fat anchor tied to him that is dragging him down from the top of the mountain. Not only is he aligned with Mabel of all people…but two weeks after his re-debut we still don’t even know why.
AJ Styles is currently feuding with S.E.X. and is doing far more to benefit the faction than the entire S.E.X./JJ feud did. Disco Inferno has discovered a talent after years of wondering if it existed and Styles makes everything interesting, at least to me. We’ll find out this week if those two can deliver together in the ring, but so far the promo’s have been great and Styles has had a food match with Mike Sanders to bring us to here.
Raven has a destiny to be NWA Champion of the World. That alone makes me excited and adds some prestige to the belt. When Raven talks about his destiny…I buy it. I fully believe that he will do whatever it takes to take that belt from Jeff Jarrett. This is important, since Jarrett has recently been portrayed as a champion with a black heart who will go to any lengths to remain on top. Raven, more than D-Lo or even Styles, seems like the only one with the intensity and desire to match it. A few weeks back Raven and Styles had a very good hardcore ladder match to decide the number one contender. A bloody Raven won that match and since then I think they’ve handled this feud perfectly. Raven took the next week off to sell his injuries from the match and when he returned he was more focused and at the same time more mysterious in his actions than ever before. Last week he came to the ring and sat in the corner more than once while the action in the ring seemed to have nothing to do with him. He took Alexis Laree back to the dressing room with him and she will apparently become his new valet. I’m not quite sure where this is going to end up but I get the feeling that Raven has a legitimate shot of unseating Jarrett when the time comes. If they can keep up with what they’ve been doing it might be a great blowoff to a great feud.
Now…let’s get down to what you all came here to see:
The NWA TNA Week 39 Preview
TNA will try to convince you that this is their 40th show. Don’t believe them. They lie.
Dusty Rhodes vs. Brian Lawler
This is a ladder match.
Nothing I can write can top the mental image I’m sure you just had of Dusty Rhodes and Brian Lawler having a LADDER MATCH.
Sandman and New Jack vs. Ron and Don Harris vs. Slash and Brian Lee
This is called a “Sandman’s armed asylum match” which basically means it’s a hardcore match with weapons all over the arena. …which basically means it’s like every other Sandman match. I’m never opposed to having a wild hardcore match thrown in for variety…but they haven’t been wild or…you know…good lately. Hey…New Jack’s here. Let’s move on.
Saturn vs. Mike Barton (Bart Gunn)
Well…I know that Billy sucks so let’s see if Bart got any better. I think he’s spent some time over in Japan and I think I read that he got better. This match probably won’t suck like the last two I previewed and I guess it could actually be pretty good. I’ll admit I’m having trouble getting passed the fact that this is Bart Gunn…and I’m sure some of you are too. Here’s how I look at it. Everyone has one shot to prove themselves to me. There was a time when I gave K-Kwik one chance to prove that he was better than I thought he was…and Ron “The Truth” Killings is now my second favorite wrestler. I still mark for Saturn and he can still toss people around with the best of them…so I won’t write this off yet. Who knows…it could surprise.
AJ Styles vs. Disco Inferno
I’m probably only doing harm to him by refusing to adopt his new name when I write these things…but come on…no matter what you call him or how much he improves on the mic…he’s still Disco Inferno. This match has had a nice buildup to it and I’m looking forward to seeing this match. AJ’s in it so that’s a plus. They had a pretty good pull apart brawl last week and if they bring that intensity to this match it should be some good fun. I’d like to see AJ kick the crap out of Disco for a while.
Sonny Siaki and Desire vs. David Young and Athena
This is an easy one. Will be good when Siaki and Young are in the ring, which will be the majority of the time. Desire is hot.
Jerry Lynn and Red vs. Jason Cross and Shark Boy vs. Johnny Storm and Chris Sabin
From what I can gather this is a match to determine the top contenders to the tag team title. Now…none of these are actual tag teams…but if the result is XXX vs. Lynn and Red…I’m not going to complain. I don’t know who Chris Sabin is, but I like seeing new talent appear, especially in the X division. Don’t be surprised if Lynn and Red don’t win. Konnan still has his mystery luchadore out there costing Lynn matches after all. I could see Cross and Shark Boy going over since both are guys they try to push when they appear (remember the ten man X gauntlet where Shark Boy cleanly pinned both SATs to get his finisher over…then disappeared from TNA?). Although I would doubt Storm and Sabin will win this match it could be an interesting way to put over some new people, which TNA does like to try. This will be a total spotfest and quite frankly I’m happy about that. I haven’t watched an all out spotfest in a while.
Who’s left out this week?
Jeff Jarrett – He has a sit down interview scheduled.
D-Lo Brown – We’ll probably find out what direction he’ll be taking now. A match with Mike Sanders in the near future seems likely.
Raven – I’d assume that the buildup for Raven/Jarrett should get kicked off this week.
Truth – I hope we can finally see that Truth promo that I’ve been waiting for this week.
Kid Kash – Doesn’t have a title defense scheduled.
AMW – We might see Chris Harris in some kind of a single’s match again this week since he’s still winless. Their teased breakup will surely be explored in some form.
Hmm…all those main eventers without anything to do…and the show seems to be lacking a main event. I can’t imagine any of those previewed matches serving as the main event…at least I hope not. With the right main event and the stars aligning just right this show might not be as bad as it looks on paper. Odds are you should save your money for a later show though.
Until next week you can find me at [email protected]
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