The NWA TNA Week 40 Preview, April 16, 2003
The NWA TNA Week 40 Preview, April 16, 2003
Jun 19 2003, 03:45 PM
Last week’s show was the best of this year…and the first that I ever suggested skipping in my preview. I guess that’ll teach you not to listen to me. The line-up going in was less than attractive…but the results were great. The show was dripping with effort and the main event was off the hook. Even though the Main Event was the best match on the card, it was the Saturn/Mike Barton match that really left an impression on me. There hasn’t been a match of its kind throughout TNA’s history…and it was a welcome addition to a show that has been trying for a lot of variety lately. Last week we saw an amazing X division match, a somewhat wilder than usual hardcore match, a brutal (in a good way) fight, a non-match that served as an unexpected heel turn, a match featuring an over the hill legend (not my favorite genre mind you) and some straight wrestling matches. Mostly last week taught me that Disco Inferno has earned the right to be called Glen Gilberti, as his new “serious character” is the best of his career. I also totally buy Barton and Saturn as legit tough guys after just one match. Good week. You can read Dames’ Diatribe on the show (written completely without sound…and given a favorable review…thus proving that good matches don’t need heat or commentary to be appreciated) on the site now.
I’m sure some of you out there watch the syndicated TNA show Xplosion. I, myself, cannot, as it is not carried in my area. Josh Lowmon (Mr. Rant) wrote a recap for the site that you should check out. From reading the review it seems that TNA doesn’t put as much gloss on the Xplosion show as it does on its PPVs. That’s understandable since it’s basically just the dark matches on video…but still…they DO put it on TV. It also seems like Josh got a bum card for his first experience. There are weeks when I see reports that two guys have a great dark match (I recall Xavier and Kid Kash having one that I read about months ago) and usually there’s some X division guy who gets his first crack. This week the new faces included former PitBull Gary Wolf and Horace the Psychopath. Don’t worry…I’m sure it will get better. Either way you should check it out since this week will mark the first that TSM has not one, not two, but THREE TNA columns! How’s that for coverage.
I found this in my email box this week:
”If people really want NWA:TNA to get a TV contract boycotting the WWE will end up hurting them. If other companies look at WWE and see that their ratings are going down they will be more reluctant to bring in a new wrestling show. If WWE ratings start raising then other stations might be more interested in getting a TV show.”
The man makes a good point. One of the biggest headaches in trying to get a TV deal while wrestling is in a down time is that TV execs seem to have short memories when it comes to the monster ratings that wrestling is capable of putting up. Hell…even at it’s worst RAW and Smackdown are always near or at the top of the ratings on their networks. I’m sure part of TNA’s problem getting a deal is greeted with the phrase “We just don’t feel the time is right” or something of the like. Well…the time is always right because even at it’s worst wrestling still attracts more of the young adult market than most programming…and that’s what advertisers are looking for. If WWE were putting up 6.0’s and 7.0’s like they used to TNA would have found a network the day after they started looking. Now that the ratings are tilting towards the low 3.0’s…no one wants in on an unproven product. It’s understandable…but extremely frustrating to fans looking for something else.
Most of the emails I get are usually about why I hate certain people. The name that comes up the most is Athena, and lately there has been a Brian Lawler movement afoot. Funny that no one ever asks me why I hate Erik Watts or Jorge Estrada. So…here’s why:
Brian Lawler: I was never a fan of his character in the WWF, and given their style restrictions, never thought much of him in the ring. When TNA started he was pretty much doing the same thing and hadn’t really changed his style (which is fairly solid but I think would benefit more from being in a tag team). At the end of week 3 he turned heel and changed his character for the better. His promo in week 4 blew me away and I thought it was his best I’d seen. I liked the new serious and focused Brian Lawler (taking the name was a nice touch too) that I was seeing character wise…but it wasn’t more than about two weeks before they screwed that up. First they went with an “unfocused” character that led to some brutally bad and slow matches. Then they made him a paranoid character that was very controlling over his cheating girlfriend, which led to some even worse and slower matches. Then he disappeared for a while and came back with the hyena laugh. I’ll say this for him, Lawler is on a two-week streak where he has impressed me. I liked his match with Chris Harris two weeks ago and I thought he was able to make the best out of a bad situation last week with Dusty. However, at this point I kind of see Lawler as someone who hasn’t made the most of his fresh start in a new company. I can see how he gets so much crowd heat though since he is pretty darn good at acting for the crowd, but even this I feel hurts in translation across TV. He always looks to be over doing everything and it looks a little silly. I’m sure if I was there live I’d be chanting “Jerry’s Kid” right along with the crowd…but for the home audience…he’s a tad bit odd.
Athena: Ahh…Athena. I’m sure she’s a very nice person and she must have done something very right to earn the respect and love of the Nashville faithful. I commend her for that. However, I do have an issue with Athena. It isn’t with Athena herself, mind you, this is more of a gripe with TNA. Everything that I know about Athena comes from the emails that I get. Everything TNA has told me about her amounts to…Ring attendant. When I write these previews I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t get any information other than what I am shown during the weekly broadcasts. This leaves me with more question marks about Athena than anyone I’ve ever encountered on a wrestling show. Who is she? Where did she come from? Why is the ring girl the most popular person in the company? Imagine you live in New York or California and for some reason untold the ring girl gets huge pops and is involved in angles driven by knowing who she is. Athena is the least developed character on the show. At least with Desire I know what her purpose is. My dislike of the use of Athena can easily be remedied with a sit down interview where they go over her accomplishments and goals. It’s nothing personal.
The NWA TNA Week 40 Preview
This week’s preview is dedicated to all of the people who voted that TNA would last less than ten weeks in the TSM poll after week 4.
David Young vs. James Storm
Young turned heel last week thus changing characters yet again. Some people have said that they are against the turn because they liked his previous character…but I have to disagree. I liked his character when he was the lone power wrestler in the X division, but his Athena saving character was meh. I’ll be interested to hear the explanation for his turn to join S.E.X. but I do like him better as a heel. I just hope they let him grow into a character for a change instead of continually restarting him. Storm has his own storyline where my favorite tag team (America’s Most Wanted) is going through some possible break up storylines. Lately his partner Chris Harris has been trying his hand (and losing) in singles matches, and now I guess it’s Storm’s turn. This is my pick for sleeper match of the week. I like Young and I like Storm. I figure that Storm will lose which is good for Young as it’s a pretty big win. I don’t know where the AMW story is heading…but I think it involves both of them being able to win non-tag matches.
Slash and Brian Lee vs. New Jack and Sandman
The story here is that New Jack cost his team the win last week because he wanted to do his trademark balcony dive. This left Sandman alone to be double-teamed and beaten. Just as they were arguing about that Father Mitchell came in and threw a fireball at them and Slash and Lee beat them down. Look, they aren’t setting any workrate records out there but as I’ve said many times, I am a fan of variety when I watch a wrestling show. If you want to put on a match where people go through tables and jump off of high places…I won’t try and stop you. Slash is the most underrated wrestler in TNA.
Kid Kash vs. Mike Sanders
Huh? This is for Kash’s X division title. I’ve come to admire the way Kash works a match. He’s in obvious pain out there with his leg injury but he keeps on chugging along. Last week in his match with Raven there were a couple of spots where he had to either jump over the top rope or springboard off of them that he couldn’t quite get to on the first try. Without a moments hesitation he kept going as naturally as possible to pull the spot off. I appreciate that. Mike Sanders doesn’t really fit the X division…and when’s the last time he won a match? It’s odd to have a big 8 man match last week just to set up a # 1 contenders match where the winner will eventually get a shot at the X title…then turn around the next week and give one to a guy who hasn’t won a match since like…February? Match should be all right though. Kash’s major storyline is with his valet Trinity. Sander’s major storyline is that he is back with S.E.X. even though he constantly screws up. Seems like an odd pairing.
AJ Styles vs. Glen Gilberti
This match is a street fight and is a rematch from last week. They had a nice match last week and Gilberti looked real strong. Post match he beat the stuffing out of the ref for having an obvious bias against him. I LOVE when heels are justified to act like heels. I love it. I figure this match will be good, since it was last week and now they’ve had at least one match together. I dig the new “serious” Glen Gilberti and I dig the pissed off version of AJ Styles. I dig it all.
XXX (Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper) vs. Jerry Lynn and Red
This match is for XXX’s tag team titles. I can’t wait for this one, since the end of last week’s match (which came down to these two teams) was a lot of fun. Red is fun whether he’s getting beat up or bouncing around, Lynn and Daniels don’t really have off night…especially against opponents who can hang with them, but for my money…when he’s on…there are very few people I’d rather watch than Elix Skipper. I love his attitude in the ring and I love his moveset. He’s not always “on” but when he is he is the most memorable parts of the match. Last week he was on and his clothesline on Chris Sabin and his walking the top rope headscissors on Jerry Lynn are still fresh in my mind. I look for this to be a great match. To add some intrigue to it, Lynn and Red are partners this week…but will have to face each other to determine the new #1 contender to the X title very soon. Oh…and there’s a masked luchadore running around Tennessee as we speak.
Jeff Jarrett has a “surprise” for Raven. I have no idea what that is, but I’d like to see the buildup for Raven/Jarrett hit high gear now. I am into Raven’s “Destiny” and I am into Jarrett’s current “Issues” as to whether he is a face or heel. If TNA can tie them together this should be fun.
Mike Tenay will have a sit down interview with America’s Most Wanted. That should be good too. But I can’t help but realize it’s been like a month since AMW last had a tag match. Too long!!!
Truth wasn’t on the show last week, which bothers me because I’m a Truth fan…but the show was so good I can’t complain. I hope to see him back this week. I’m still waiting for that Truth promo.
TNA says that Saturn will be doing something this week. It doesn’t say “rematch with Mike Barton” though…and I really really wish that it did. We’ll see. I really think they’d drop a big ball without a rematch at some point…but I don’t know Barton’s schedule.
D-Lo Brown will be around and I assume he’ll be getting deeper into his S.E.X. storyline.
Other than that you never really know who’ll be doing what. I was impressed with the debut of Chris Sabin last week, as well as the performances of Jason Cross and Jonny Storm. Yes…even Shark Boy was good. If any of them are available it would be cool to see them on the show. You shouldn’t go from the main event one week to off TV unless it’s necessary.
All in all the show looks better than last week on paper…but on paper last week looked like it would be about one tenth as good as it turned out. I guess you just never know.
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