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The Dames' Diatribe on NWA:TNA - August 20th, 2003

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Guest TSMAdmin

The Dames’ Diatribe on NWA:TNA – August 20, 2003



After last week’s blackout debacle, I’ve got nothing to say so let’s just hit the recap. For those of you who missed the Diatribe on last week’s show, which is probably most of you, you can find it here.


The program starts a little differently than I’m normally used to as Jeremy Borash does a voice over on an AJ Styles video montage, talking about his NWA Title reign and how he’s cleared past all worthy contenders for his title. However, Erik Watts is making it clear that due to Styles’ association with Vince Russo, he’s doing all that he can to “bring the title back to tradition”. Tonight, there will be a 13 man Gauntlet match featuring Raven, The Sandman, Konnan, Shane Douglas, Kid Kash, The Truth, Abyss, B.G. James, Chris Daniels, Sonny Siaki, Legend, D’Lo Brown and Jeff Jarrett. The winner will receive the next shot at Styles. It was a VERY impressive video package, which explained the ongoing World Title storyline very well with impressive visuals. Jeremy Borash, I stand up and applaud you.


We go LIVE into the TNA Asylum where Raven is in the ring battling Shane Douglas already! Also around the ring, The Gathering are facing off with Slash of the New Church. For those of you who are unaware, Gathering member Alexis Laree has just signed a development deal with WWE, so she’ll probably be gone after this week’s show.


Tenay lets us know that this is an unscheduled, unsanctioned impromptu brawl as CM Punk makes his return as well, battling a new member of the New Church, Sinn. Punk and Sinn end up on the outside as Raven nails the Raven Effect on Douglas in the ring! Raven grabs the STICK~! and calls out the Mystery Man. He declares war on him…and calls him out. The lights go out and via a small strobe light, you can see the Mystery Man behind Raven with a rope…and then we get total darkness once again. When the lights come on, Raven is hung over the top rope and the New Church with the Mystery Man in tow quickly leave the ringside area, but not before brandishing some scissors in an intimidating fashion. The Gathering work quickly to release Raven, who is also bleeding to end the segment.


My Two Cents: That was an awesome segment from start to finish. It had an old school ECW feel, where anything could truly happen at any time and an impromptu brawl just feels right between these two factions. Douglas being taken out with the DDT in the ring works well after he was on offense for most of last week’s one on one match with Raven and the question over who the Mystery Man is attacking Raven every week is becoming more intriguing. Hopefully, when it is revealed, we won’t be let down. As long as it isn’t Malice making his 14th re-debut, I’ll be relatively happy. I hope they explain CM Punk’s return to the Gathering, as he was scheduled to team with Raven & Julio in the 6 man Clockwork Orange House of Fun match against the New Church a couple of weeks ago, but never showed up, allowing Alexis to take his place. Sinn seems like a good fit for the New Church, gimmick and personality wise, but where was Brian Lee this week? Excellent way to start off the show.


Tenay and West question whether or not Raven will be able to compete in the Gauntlet match later on tonight because of his current condition. They run down the card for us, but I can’t my eyes off of the two fans behind them dressed like Freddy and Jason, mugging for the camera. If you haven’t seen Freddy vs. Jason yet, go see it. I DEMAND you see it. It’s better than most of the sequels for either Nightmare or Friday series and is probably the most entertaining movie I’ve seen all year.


Scott Hudson is in the back, looking to speak to Jerry Lynn, who’s already in a conversation with Athena. Hudson asks him about Don Callis and Lynn doesn’t understand why Callis is on his case because he’s not a big money superstar. Every time he’s pulled off of the show, he loses money and Lynn starts getting worked up when he talks about his bills and his daughter that he has to feed. Callis enters the frame then and demands that Athena remove herself, for no reason other than to be a dick. Callis runs down all of the things that Lynn did last week (break a scale over Elix Skipper’s head, attack an official, a post-match beatdown, etc.) and tells him that he’s taken his financial situation into account, so he’s “only” going to fine him $5,000. Lynn goes BERZERK as has to be held back by Red Shirt Security as Callis has him removed from the building. Callis is absolutely great in this role, being as smug as humanly possible. I found it pretty amusing that Callis read off Lynn’s “rap sheet” off of his clipboard, which we saw him writing on last week as Lynn was in the process of doing all of those things. It was a nice piece of continuity that I can appreciate.


We go to a video package on the X Title situation dealing with Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian and Michael Shane. Most people probably wouldn’t catch it, but TNA’s timeline is actually off by a week during the package, stating that the Shane/Sabin match was two weeks ago when it was really three.


We get some pre-recorded comments from all three competitors involved as the video package comes to an end. During the package, I noticed something that I missed last week. As Callis told Hudson about the Ultimate X idea, on the diagram that he held up, he had “Don Callis 2003” written at the bottom right of the picture, almost like a copyright. Callis rules all and although Watts needs to be kept on the show and as far away from the ring as possible, Callis really should be the figurehead of TNA.


Michael Shane vs. Chris Sabin vs. Frankie Kazarian for the NWA:TNA X Division Title in an Ultimate X Match


Match Background: Despite what TNA would have you believe, let me give you the real timeline for the set up of this match. Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian have been feuding for the better part of two months now, ever since Kazarian scores a clean pinfall on Sabin in a non-title match on June 25th. On July 30th, Michael Shane made his TNA debut, facing Chris Sabin in an X-Division Title match with Sabin’s rival, Frankie Kazarian as the special guest referee. During the course of the match up, Kazarian was an unbiased official and Shane was getting very close to scoring the winning pinfall in the match. Sabin, growing frustrated with the situation, shoved Kazarian to try and most likely be disqualified and get a shot in at him at the same time, but Kazarian hit his Wave of the Future move on him and went to score the pinfall. Kazarian was half a second away from counting the three when TNA Referee Rudy Charles stopped the pinfall and began arguing with him over his blatant interference. As this was happening, Sabin grabbed his title and nailed Shane with it to score the easy pinfall.


The following week, on August 6th, Shane became the number one contender for the X Division Title by defeating Shark Boy, Danny Doring and Joey Matthews in a 4-way elimination match. That same night, Frankie Kazarian once again faced Chris Sabin for the X Division Gold and the winner was inconclusive in a stupid, convoluted non-finish. Because of this, Kazarian faced Shane in a ladder match last week to see who truly was the number 1 contender and Chris Sabin got involved, making sure that neither man won. During the melee, Don Callis came to ringside, took the title as well as the contract that was originally hanging above the ring and went to the back where he made the following match up.


Tonight’s match will be the first ever “Ultimate X” match where there will be 4 15ft. high poles on every corner of the ring and they shall have steel cables going diagonally across them, making an X. The X Title itself will be hanging in the middle of it, 15 feet in the air and the competitors will have to maneuver their way through the wires to get to the title. There will not be any ladders allowed in the match up apparently. Sounds interesting enough…


The Match: At first sight, the set up for the Ultimate X looks impressive as the ring posts don’t just have a pole on them like regular “something-on-a-pole” matches, but are reinforced with an extra steel column. The wires don’t look flimsy at all and seem to be strong enough to support a person’s weight as well, but then again…that’s all at first glance.


Jeremy Borash gives us Boxing Style Intros for this match after every man in the match is in the ring, awaiting for the bell to start. During the intros, it’s evident that Sabin is without question, the most over man in the match.


At the bell, all three men immediately run to the outside for some reason, where they begin brawling. As a side note, because all four corners have the reinforced steel column for this match, the two sets of steel steps are in the middle of the ringside area, side by side, leading into the ring. I wonder if that will come into play during the match up.


Sabin and Kazarian start out in the ring, with Sabin NAILING Kazarian with a loud enziguiri. Sabin quickly climbs one of the columns and starts going across the wire, but Shane comes in and pulls Sabin down and then hits a swinging neckbreaker on him. Shane attempts to go up there himself, but Kazarian pulls him down and hits a swinging neckbreaker of his own. Kazarian tries it now, only for Sabin to cut him off and take him down as well. Kazarian and Sabin battle in the corner, as Kazarian sets Sabin on his shoulders most likely for his “Back to the Future” move, but Sabin punches away at him as he walks towards the middle of the ring. Shane is busy climbing across the wire, getting close to the X Title when they run into him and Shane hits an UGLY rana on Sabin off of Kazarian’s shoulders. He could have just as easily grabbed the X Title there, in my opinion.


Kazarian nails Shane in the chest with a big superkick and goes up top to makes his way to the X Title. Sabin jumps up and pulls him down, but Sabin is quickly tosses out of the ring. Shane and Kazarian start making their way across wires and end up next to each other….so Sabin double springboard dropkicks both men down!


With both men down now, Sabin grabs a chair and brings it into the ring, nailing Shane and Kazarian across the back. Shane recovers and wedges the chair between the top and middle turnbuckles. He tries to dive Sabin into it, but it’s reversed and Shane tastes the steel headfirst. Sabin swings the chair at Kazarian, who ducks and connects with a Van Daminator of sorts to take down the Champion. Kazarian places the chair in the middle of the ring, open and looks to put Sabin on it, but Sabin catches him and hits his swinging Rock Bottom onto the open chair, crushing it!


At ringside, Michael Shane is busted open big time and Sabin goes to the outside, attacking his wound viciously and then begins climbing the wires. Sabin is getting closer…but Shane comes back into the ring and nails him with a chair in the back, knocking down Sabin! The X Title itself actually falls down into the ring after the impact of Sabin’s drop…and all three men are down. The referee simply takes the title and holds it on the top turnbuckle as Kazarian nails Sabin with a chair and then the bell rings….


Jeremy Borash comes on the mic and declares that the match will be momentarily stopped as the title belt is “re-hung” onto the wires. A member of security comes out to do the deed as Kazarian puts the boots to both men. Shane is bleeding BIG TIME as the match is just stalled as security place a ladder into the ring to put the title back on. All three men brawl on the outside in what is clearly filler during the unforeseen problems with the title belt. Sabin tosses Shane into the guard rail as the bell rings again and the belt is properly placed above the ring. Security leave and take the ladder with them as all three men get back into the ring. Sabin places Shane across his shoulders in a DVD position as Kazarian climbs the top…and jumps off to sunset flip Sabin. He barely catches him, pulling down just his tights and causing Sabin to moon the crowd. Sabin flips down anyway and dropkicks Kazarian awkwardly to conclude that blown spotfest.


Sabin gets up and picks up Kazarian, holding him over his back by his feet…but Shane gets up and dropkicks Kazarian in the head….and Kazarian falls down, almost piledriving Sabin with his legs. Kazarian is somehow the first man on his feet and begins climbing the wire. Shane does the same on the same wire and ends up behind him, kicking him down to the mat. Sabin then gets up and meets up with Shane on the wire, but Shane hooks his legs on Sabin, almost for a rana. Sabin drops down, powerbombing Shane to the mat instead! The crowd erupts in a “TNA” chant for the highspot as Sabin climbs the wire again. Kazarian gets up now and looks to leap at Sabin…but blows the spot by tripping off of the rope. Sabin kicks him away, so Kazarian redoes the spot and spears Sabin down…and the belt falls off AGAIN!


This match is falling apart before our eyes…


The security guys come back into the ring with the ladder to put the title back up as all three men are down again. The match is restarted and Kazarian and Shane battle each other on the top of one of the steel columns. Kazarian knocks Shane off as Sabin is busy climbing across the wire, getting closer to the X Title. Kazarian and Sabin meet in the middle as both men kick at each other…and both fall without the title. Sabin and Kazarian get back up and start climbing across the wires again. Kazarian and Sabin once again meet in the middle…and Kazarian knocks Sabin down! All of a sudden, Michael Shane comes out of NOWHERE, climbing the wire like an Olympic monkey, blows right past Kazarian and takes down the X Title to become the new champion!


Winner and NEW X Division Champion: Michael Shane


Kazarian looks on dumbfounded as Shane celebrates.


My Opinion: This match started off GREAT…as it looked like the concept was going to work and allow for some really cool spots. Then, the title belt fell and it seems like TNA has no clue what to do about it. So, after stopping the momentum that the match had going for it, Kazarian blows some big spots before the match is stopped AGAIN for the second time. After all of the time that TNA has invested in Frankie Kazarian, something must not have clicked there as they booked a bloody, beaten down newcomer in Michael Shane to blow past Kazarian and take the title cleanly. I really wanted to give this match more credit, but damn…they had the ring working against them tonight. **


In the back, Scott Hudson is in the parking lot as a hearse is parked on the outside. Sonny Siaki is heard on the mic as some pall bearers remove a casket from the hearse and he talks about the funeral for D’Lo Brown’s career.


Americas Most Wanted vs. Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger in a Double Bullrope Match


Match Background: AMW and Simon & Swinger have been feuding for about a month, ever since Simon & Swinger came to TNA. After Simon & Swinger’s second, Glenn Gilberti, constantly interfered in their matches, AMW brought in Dusty Rhodes last week to make a 6 man tag. The match ended when Dusty Rhodes nailed Gilberti with a bull rope (with a cow bell attached to it) and afterwards, all hell broke loose. Many people got involved, especially Chris Daniels, who attacked Dusty Rhodes as well as Erik Watts. Watts then made this match tonight, a Double Bullrope match between both teams.


The Match: AMW come into the match in street clothes, as we see that the Ultimate X match set up (the steel columns) are still up.


Diamond is attached to Harris via the bull rope and Swinger with Storm. Both teams play a tug of war with each other momentarily until Harris nails Diamond…as Storm ties up Swinger and attacks him then. Harris and Diamond go to the outside, where he chokes Diamond with the rope. Storm and Swinger also head to the outside where AMW establishes the advantage. Storm whips Swinger into the steel column and follows it up with a slam on the top of the ramp as Harris is literally dragging Diamond by the neck using the rope. All 4 men in the ring now as AMW combine for a Hart Attack on Swinger for a two count. As Storm & Swinger head to the outside again, Harris nails the CATATONIC~!, but doesn’t go for the pin. Gilberti comes in and hits a Stunner as the ref is distracted…but the ref goes for the count and Harris kicks out at 2. Diamond now takes over on Harris in the ring as Swinger exposes the concrete on the floor and suplexes Storm on it! Swinger nails Storm with the cowbell and chokes him with the rope as Diamond does the same in the ring. All 4 men are back in the ring now as Simon & Swinger go for a double team…but Storm gets up and nails a superkick to stop it! Storm is all fired up and goes back on offense as Harris does the same.


Simon & Swinger end up colliding with each other…and Harris nails Diamond with the cowbell. Harris starts pulling him into the steel pole, but Diamond counters it and Harris is nailed. In the ring, Storm goes for a roll up, but only gets two. Storm pulls Swinger into the ropes, who gets nailed accidentally by Simon with a chair and Storm covers for a CLOSE two count. That definitely fooled me!


Swinger nails Storm with a low blow as the ref is distracted and Harris takes on both men by himself momentarily. Diamond stops him and Swinger goes for the Swing Thing, but Harris pulls on the bull rope, which was between his legs, low blowing him for payback. Harris then spears Diamond through the ropes and onto the floor!


Gilberti knocks down Jeremy Borash and tosses one of the title belts into the ring as AMW go for the Death Sentence. The ref inexplicably starts talking to Storm as Gilberi knocks Harris off of the top rope, so Swinger nails Storm in the face with a title belt for the win.


Winners: Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger


After the match, despite winning, they beat AMW down anyway until security come out to separate them.


My Opinion: The match was alright, but not one of their better encounters. I’m starting to get really sick of the stipulations between the two teams. Just give me a straight up wrestling match. I understand that Diamond & Swinger needed a non-title match in order to go over, but these bull rope/ strap matches are killing me. It was an energetic brawl, but it lacked that special something that makes a match entertaining to me. The ref’s distractions were particularly distracting as he had no real reason to BE distracted most of the time. **1/4.


In the back, Scott Hudson is with the Gathering. Julio tells him that Raven is injured…and he’s so mad that he’s challenging the New Church to a match right now. Douglas pops in and screams “Wait a second!”…but Julio just starts nailing him. The New Church comes in and a brawl erupts in the back.


In the ring, Sonny Siaki is with Trinity. He starts an unfunny eulogy on the career of D’Lo Brown as a casket is wheeled through the crowd and to the ringside area. They open up the casket and of course, D’Lo had to be inside. He starts beating the hell out of Siaki, throwing him into the casket and into the guard rail. Trinity gets on top of him, but he throws her down and slams her into the casket! He tosses Siaki in as well and closes it! The pall bearers wheel out the casket with both Siaki and Trinity in it as a massive “D’Lo” chant starts. I’m surprised TNA didn’t sell this like death, seeing as how the Ultimate Warrior was locked in a casket in an early ‘90’s angle and almost “died” due to suffocation.


In the back, Scott Hudson is with Chris Daniels and Legend. Legend hits his lame catchphrase before Daniels rules the mic.


Slash & Sinn vs. Julio & CM Punk (w/ Alexis Laree)


Match Background: This is an offshoot of the Raven/Mitchell/Douglas feud as the New Church and the Gathering have been facing off as well. After the New Church’s Mystery Man hung Raven at the top of the show, The Gathering issued a challenge to the New Church, which will be answered…right now.


The Match: Julio and Slash battle in the ring until CM Punk elevates his partner up and over the top onto Sinn, who’s on the outside. Punk then hits a suicide dive on Sinn as Julio and Slash go at it again. Double superkick by Julio and Punk gets a two count before Sinn pulls down the top rope, taking Punk over to the floor. The New Church perform a unique double team as Sinn suplexes Punk onto the ropes on the outside, so Slash can dropkick him in the head. BIG chop by Slash takes Punk down and starts taking a beating by Sinn. Slash connects with a stalling vertical suplex for a two count until Sinn comes back in with another massive chop to the chest of Punk. Punk starts fighting back and goes for the tag, but of course…the ref doesn’t see a thing, so when Julio comes in, he’s stopped. Punk hits an odd move (hammer lock into a clothesline) on Sinn, but Slash takes him down…but can’t stop him from making the tag to Julio. Julio is a HOUSE…EN…FUEGO~! and takes down both men! He nails a weird move on Sinn for two and rolls him up for another two count. Sinn nails a superkick though, so Punk comes in and goes to the corner for a top rope rana. Slash comes over and throws powder in the eyes…allowing Sinn to leap off with Punk in a powerbomb for a CLOSE two count! Julio comes back in with right hands and a double clothesline.


Julio then sets Sinn up on his shoulders and almost loses him, but regains his footing…as CM Punk comes off the top with a Blockbuster as Julio powerbombs him for a NASTY doubleteam that Tenay calls the Near Death Experience! ONE…TWO…NO! Slash makes the save and suplexes Punk over the head into the turnbuckles, almost breaking his neck! Mitchell takes one step into the ring, telling Slash to send Julio his way, but the irish whip is reversed and Alexis kicks the middle rope, low blowing Mitchell! Alexis goes to the top and nails a Tornado DDT on Slash! Full nelson Slam by Julio…but Douglas comes into the ring with a chain and nails Julio, putting Slash on top for the pinfall.


Winners: The New Church


After the match, Mitchell comes into the ring with a spike, but Alexis goes to work on him. Douglas comes in and belly to bellys her though…and Mitchell hands him some scissors. He starts cutting off snippets of hair off of her until security is able to stop them.


My Opinion: I’ve got to say that Julio has definitely stepped it up in the ring. For some reason, Punk seemed to be off of his game as Slash was his usual self and Sinn wasn’t too impressive. Julio and Punk’s tag finish looks to be all sorts of awesome though. Having the New Church go over is understandable to keep the feud going, so I’m all for it. It’s a shame that the last time we see Alexis in TNA, it would have been her on the receiving end of a beating. **


We now go to a sit down interview with Mike Tenay and the Director of Authority, Erik Watts. He asks how he received his position. Watts takes a shot at “the people up North” by saying that there is no favorites in TNA and they wanted someone who doesn’t play politics. Tenay then asks Watts to explain the difference between NWA and TNA. (Very good question as I’m sure that most people have asked that to themselves.) He says that TNA is the “promoting arm” of the NWA and owns 51% of the federation, not unlike AOL Time Warner. He says that they have the resources of the NWA to make sure they have the wrestling aspect down….which is why Don Callis was let into the promotion, to check up on TNA.


He asks Tenay to explain his relationship with Jeff Jarrett. He talks about their history and now they’re teaming up. (Wow…even I forgot they feuded for a little while.) Watts calls Jeff his brother that didn’t help him out when he was being held down by management in “another federation” and when he came to TNA, he was there to even the score. So, because he was in Jarrett’s business during his title reign, the NWA board took him off of the PPV’s and he had to work his way back up, which he did successfully. Watts actually makes it sound plausible that being taken off the show and having to work his way back up was a lesson taught to him by Jeff Jarrett, so all is forgiven.


Tenay asks him why he thinks that he’ll be the guy that gets the last word on Russo. He insinuates that Russo has more power than people know…and insinuates that he was the guy responsible for bringing in Callis. He says that there isn’t enough room for the both of them…


We now go to some pre-recorded comments from Russo & Styles, who are supposedly on vacation…. Styles talks about D’Lo & Jarrett and even Sting, declaring that they’ve taken care of all three, Sting by default because he’s too scared to face him. He laughs at the aspect of the Gauntlet match.


Styles then jumps into a pool by doing a couple of flips to impress Russo.


Erik Watts & Jeff Jarrett vs. Legend & Christopher Daniels


Match Background: Legend feuded with Jeff Jarrett for a couple of weeks before losing to him in a Double Pole match. Chris Daniels then took over the role of Jarrett opponent for the month when he jumped him at the close of the show three weeks ago. Jarrett’s former rival, Erik Watts, now the Director of Authority, got involved when he was handcuffed to Vince Russo for the Styles/D’Lo cage match two weeks ago and was beaten down for his troubles by Russo’s camp. Last week, Watts got beaten down by Legend in the back and later on that night, Watts made this match to take care of two birds with one stone.


The Match: Chris Daniels gets a new Tron video, as well as Jarrett, who no longer has the NWA Champion statement in it.


They begin brawling with Daniels and Legend at ringside before separating. Watts leaps OVER the rail to go after Legend in the crowd as Daniels squares off with Jarrett in the crowd as well. Jarrett throws a chair to Daniels’ face before making their way back into the ring.


Jarrett hits a gorgeous dropkick on Daniels before Legend comes into the ring for a double team. Legend drop toe holds Jarrett onto the knees of Daniels. Legend whips Jarrett to the ropes, kips up and clotheslines him down before tagging out to Daniels. Daniels whips Jarrett into the boots of Legend before connecting with a leg lariat of his own. Daniels puts Jarrett into a front face lock and tries to stop him from making it to Watts, but he’s back body dropped instead. Legend comes in to stop Jarrett, but can’t as he makes the tag…but OF COURSE, the ref doesn’t see it. Legend and Daniels doubleteam Jarrett again before Daniels hits a nice quebrada for two.


Legend comes into the ring to work on Jarrett some more, but Jarrett fights out of the corner and Jarrett is able to make the tag to Watts. Watts goes ballistic on both men and hits a pair of scissors kicks! He goes for a chokeslam on Daniels, only to be broken up by Legend…so he hits a turnbuckle powerbomb on Legend instead! Chokeslam on Daniels! ONE…TWO…NO! Legend stops the pinfall…so Watts comes off the top with a mule like missile dropkick!


Daniels hits an enziguiri on Watts though, only for Jarrett to hit a spinebuster on the Fallen Angel for two. Daniels is able to come back with an STO…and then goes for the Double Jump Moonsault, but misses! Jarrett goes for the Stroke, but Legend connects with a superkick! Daniels goes for the cover…ONE…TWO…NO! Watts and Daniels go to the outside as Legend is rolled up by Jarrett…who hooks the tights for the pinfall!


Winners: Erik Watts & Jeff Jarrett


After the match, Legend and Daniels attack, going after both men with chairs until black shirt security come in to stop it. The Red shirts come in…and for some reason, the smaller black shirts shove the bigger guys. This looks like Security Checkers right now. The lead security members get into a brawl, with Jerry Lynn coming in to help the black shirts! The red shirts end up clotheslining Lynn and literally remove him from the ringside area! Meanwhile, Legend and Daniels continue the beating on Watts…until two guys dressed like Jason and Freddy (with masks) come in and handcuff watts to ringside! The Freddy guy has a yellow and brown sweater on as opposed to red and green though.


“Jason” comes in and immediately enziguiri’s Jarrett…as we realize that Jason is AJ Styles and Freddy is Vince Russo, which is ironic for those who have seen the movie. “Jason” hits the Styles Clash and then they unmask. Russo yells in Jarrett’s face that there will be NO Gauntlet for him…before Daniels and Styles combine with Legend to put him through a table. Watts is helpless as he’s cuffed to the rail as they take Jarrett to the back and out of the building, where its raining. They throw Jarrett into the hearse, which drives off….


My Opinion: Once again, the match was nothing special tonight, but the activities after the match were interesting in my opinion. I like the way they’re keeping Jeff Jarrett out of the title picture, since the fans don’t particularly want it, but the way it’s being booked, when he DOES get his shot, he’ll most likely win the title back. That’s not what TNA needs. I don’t like Daniels in Russo’s camp because it takes away from his singles push. Legend is just there and isn’t doing anything of note, while Watts is being booked very well. **1/4.


A promo airs…with the bag pipes playing…insinuating the RETURN of Roddy Piper to TNA. Uh oh.


A video then airs of Dusty Rhodes challenging Glenn Gilberti to a match next week. Good Lord.


Next week, D’Lo Brown vs. Sonny Siaki, Michael Shane defends the X Title and AJ Styles defends the gold against the number 1 contender.


Gauntlet Match to find the Number 1 Contender to the NWA Title


Match Background: Raven and Jeff Jarrett have been taken out of the match due to their respective situations. This match was created by Erik Watts because AJ Styles supposedly doesn’t have any more opponents to face.


The Match: Jeremy Borash breaks down the rules for us as it’s battle royal style with the last two men in the match having a one on one match to see who will go on to face AJ Styles next week. Eliminations can occur via pinfall, submission and throwing your opponent over the top.


Kid Kash is introduced first…followed by Ron “The Truth” Killings. 90 seconds are shown on the clock as Truth poses for the fans and gets attacked by Kash from behind. Kash puts the boots to Killings in the corner and starts to jaw jack with the fans, so Killings gets on the top rope and hits a front dropkick, knocking Kash across the ring. The Truth then hits a fallaway slam off the top on Kash…but Kash comes back with a rana off the top.


Chris Daniels comes in and starts beating on Truth. Daniels works over Truth in the corner, but makes the mistake of whipping him to the other side, so he eats a split/spinning leg lariat combo. Killings puts Daniels down with a powerslam as Kash nonchalantly walks by and catches Truth with a backbreaker. Kash and Daniels work together on Truth as the clock winds down and B.G. James comes in.


He comes in to save Truth…and both men put on the iron claw on their opponents. B.G. James hits a hip toss as Truth does the same. More synchronized offense by the two set up your typical Rumble brawling in the corner. James tries to toss Kash over the top, but Kash skins the cat. James tries a clothesline over the top…and that doesn’t work. ANOTHER try and Kash STILL skins the cat as the clock winds down and Sonny Siaki comes in. He goes after the Truth with a somersault neckbreaker before putting the boots to James. It ends up with your usual Rumble brawling again, trying to throw others over the top to no avail. The clock winds down as Jeff Jarrett’s music plays…but no one comes down.


Siaki takes the mic and talks some trash for a few seconds, declaring himself the winner of this match before going on beat up on B.G. James some more. The clock winds down again and D’Lo Brown comes on out and goes right after Sonny Siaki. Mad Mikey comes down to ringside (wearing a shirt that reads “Stevie C5:C6:C7” and on the back “I Just Broke My Neck”) and heads to the announce table. He pounds on it before putting on a head set and complaining that he’s not in the match…and we miss Sonny Siaki’s elimination. Mikey is pretty intelligible as we get a replay of Siaki being thrown over the top by Brown. The clock winds down…and Abyss comes into the ring.


He knocks down D’Lo before going after B.G. James. James fights back…but Abyss grabs him by the throat. Truth goes to help and gets grabbed as well, but the both of them connect with a low blow. Truth goes for a leg lariat…but Abyss picks him up and tosses him over the top for the elimination! Abyss then eliminates B.G. James with a boot to the face.


The Sandman is the next man in as Kash and Abyss combine to double team Daniels….and then Abyss eliminates Kid Kash! Mad Mikey jumps into the ring and goes after Abyss….but he’s tossed over the top quickly. Sandman tosses Abyss a beer…and then spits in his face before hitting him with his cane. Abyss gets up and hits the Black Hole on Sandman…before Legend comes to the ring as the next man.


Legend connects with a kick to the Sandman and then chokeslams him. D’Lo is working over Abyss as Daniels takes a break, but Abyss hits the Black Hole on him. Konnan is the next man in and he goes after both Daniels and Abyss at the same time, hitting the rolling clothesline on Legend and a reverse DDT on Daniels. Konnan hits the X-Factor on Abyss, but eats a superkick by Legend. Sandman gets up…and takes a double team version of the Last Rites by Legend and Daniels! Legend and Abyss toss Sandman over the top as the next man in the match is…Shane Douglas.


He hits anything that moves, regardless if they’re heels or faces as Konnan eliminates Legend. The announcers speculate who the last man should be, since Raven is at the hospital. Abyss hits the kneeling backbreaker on Daniels, being put over big time on the mic by the announcers. The clock hits…and Raven slowly makes his way to the ring, still bleeding!


Everyone stops to look at him and Raven goes to work on all the heels. Douglas has the fear of God in his eyes as Raven goes after him, but Abyss stops him. Abyss goes for the chokeslam but Raven nails the Raven Effect on the way down and then tosses Abyss over! Konnan hits a Razor’s Edge on Daniels as D’Lo works over Douglas. Raven is down, recovering…


Konnan completely blows his spot, leading to an awkward moment as he waits to be eliminated by Daniels, who eventually does so. D’Lo hits the Sky High on Douglas as Daniels works over Raven. D’Lo goes after Daniels, but he hits the Angels Wings and eliminates him. Raven gets up and goes after Daniels, who attempts Angels Wings on him, unsuccessfully. Raven catapults Daniels up and over the top…leaving the last two men as Raven and Douglas! Douglas’ expression at Daniels’ elimination is GREAT.


This leads to a match between the two men right now….


They start a slugfest in the ring…and then Raven cross body Douglas over the top with both men falling at the same time! Thankfully, this match can only end by pinfall or submission though.


Raven grabs a chair from ringside and tosses it into the ring. Douglas takes the chair away and when Raven reaches for him on the outside, Douglas nails him with it! He goes for the cover…ONE…TWO…NO! Douglas, in total shock, goes back out to get the chair. He opens it up and goes for the drop toe hold…but Raven counters it and Douglas goes face first into the steel chair! Both men are down…and Douglas is actually up first! He crawls over to Raven and puts his arm on him for a close two count! Raven gets up and inside cradles Douglas for another two count! Douglas pops up and nails Raven with a clothesline…he goes for the Franchiser, but Raven counters it for a two count. Douglas signals for the belly to belly, but Raven headbutts out of it and nails the Raven Effect for the win!


Winner and NEW #1 Contender: Raven


My Opinion: I LOVED this battle royal. Abyss gets put over big time as a top threat in the heavyweight division, Daniels was the ironman of the match up and best of all, Raven was thrown back into the title picture by seemingly blowing off his feud with Shane Douglas. Raven was THE hottest wrestler in the company at the end of April and EVERYONE was clamoring for him to win the title…so this was a smart move on the part of TNA to throw him back into the mix and fulfill his destiny.


Overall: While others might have liked this show a hell of a lot more, the battle royal and the opening brawl was the only thing I truly cared for. The X Division Match was a disaster and the rest of the show was just a bunch of meaningless tag matches. I’m definitely psyched for Raven/Styles II though, this time for the NWA Title.


Oh yeah…WWE SummerSlam gets the Diatribe Treatment this Sunday! See ya then…


The Dames, Damian Gonzalez


I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my old e-mail account lately, so please send all e-mails to [email protected]

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