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COMMENT





TNA: Raven runs wild
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Greetings and welcome to this week\'s NWA-TNA PPV report, emanating from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jon Waldman here, subbing for an...ummm...absent...Donnie Abreu.

I should preface this recap with a couple disclaimers:

  • First, this is the first time I have ever seen NWA-TNA. Hell, it\'s the first time I\'ve ever seen a NWA show period. I don\'t know all the wrestler\'s names, so if I leave someone out, or misspell a name, take it easy on me.
  • Second, I do not time matches. The length of a match is somewhat irrelevant in my mind. All I care about is whether the match keeps me entertained.

Now on with the show.

The opening sequence shows Glenn Gilberti, talking about TNA. Looks like we\'ll hear more from him later.

Another pre-intro segment shows Raven sitting atop a production truck giving a fairly decent promo, until he is attacked by Jeff Jarrett. This is all we will see of JJ tonight. .

The show opens quickly and we get highlights of Chris Sabin winning the X-Division title. Sabin then joins S.E.X. .

Match #1 - Elimination Fatal-4-Way match to determine the number-one contender for the X-Title: Jason Cross vs. CM Punk vs. Kid Romeo vs. Paul London.

The announcers note that Romeo has not been in TNA since July. For those who don\'t remember, Kid Romeo was a part of WCW and was getting a decent push near the end.

Romeo is the victim of a three-way beating as the match starts. Soon after, Punk and Cross are down on the outside though. Don West pushes that Cross appears to be injured. .

The match generally featured two wrestlers in the ring at once, with the beginning part of the match featuring London and Romeo. London has an awesome arsenal, but does not have the look of a wrestler.

CM Punk hits a deadlock DDT on Cross and nearly eliminates him, but Cross ends up eliminating Punk with the \"Crossover neckbreaker\" (second-rope flip-over neckbreaker).

The crowd is somewhat silent throughout the match for some reason.

At one point, Cross hits a corckscrew tope suicida on Romeo and London.

Romeo hits the \"kiss goodnight\" (behind-the back top-rope Snowplow) on Cross to eliminate him.

Some back and forth action before Romeo gains control. Romeo hits an inverted TKO on London, covers for two, then pulls off. Hmm... wonder what happens next...

As expected, London turns the tide with a double-underhook sit-out faceplant. He then hits one of the sweetest Shooting Star Presses I\'ve ever seen.

Winner: Paul London

Rating: 8 out of 10 - wicked high spots, decent flow to the match. All four men looked amazing in the match.

We cut to Mike Tenay and Don West, who is sporting the James E. Cornette look, sans pastel blue jacket. Tenay and West talk about the new \"Asylum Alliance\" tournament. Seven of the eight teams will be hand-picked and mixed together, comprised of member of different factions. The eighth team will be decided tonight, as D-Lo Brown and AJ Styles team up to face America\'s Most Wanted. This format of mixing and matching wrestlers sounds very familiar, I can\'t place, however, if it was NWA or WCW that did this though.

Tenay and West also announce that the NWA has decided to set up cameras everywhere in the building to keep an eye on all the wrestlers. THANK YOU! Someone finally gives an explanation for cameras picking up all the backstage stuff on a wrestling show. I am not being sarcastic here - this is much appreciated.

We head backstage to the S.E.X. locker-room, where Goldilocks is standing by with Sonny Siaki. Siaki\'s pretty decent on the stick. Siaki tries to rally the troops and assigns himself leader of S.E.X. this week while their regular leader Gilberti is absent. He wants someone to go find Raven. After failing to recruit David Young, Siaki goes on a Raven-hunt himself.

Backstage in another area, possibly the boiler-room, Raven chews out Julio Dinero and Alexis for what happened last week. Raven even threatens to pour what appears to be bleach down Alexis\'s throat.

Match #2 - three-on-two match: Christopher Daniels/Elix Skipper vs. Slash/Amazing Red/Justin Credible

Skipper is without his Grey Cup ring tonight.

The match was originally supposed to be a six-man tag, but Low Ki suffered an injury in England over the weekend.

Amazing Red, for those who have not seen him yet, looks awesome in the ring. I\'d say he\'s a cross between Rob Van Dam and Tajiri.

The match starts off hot with Red vs. Skipper, starts to slow down once Daniels and Slash are tagged, and slows even more when Credible is in. Credible, by the way, has the Jeff Hardy fanclub hankie hanging out of his back pocket.

At one point, Skipper is outside the ring. Credible hits a plancha on him. Daniels attempts to hit Credible with a Canadian tope, but nails Skipper instead. Slash then follows with a tope con-hilo, followed by Amazing Red with a tope suicida con-hilo to finish off the hot train-wreck spot.

Back in the ring, Slash hits a whirlybird on Daniels, and gets a two-count before Skipper breaks it up.

Skipper and Daniels then take over on Red, including Daniels hitting two tilt-a-wheel back breakers using alternating knees, and Skipper hitting a guillotine legdrop on Red while Daniels was holding him prone on the top rope.

Red eventually breaks out, and after hitting a double dropkick, tags out to Credible. Credible gets an ECW chant as he comes in.

At one point, Daniels nails Credible with a tag belt, but Slash breaks up the pin.

Hot ending sees Daniels and Skipper hit a delayed suplex/springboard bodypress combo on Red, but then Red hits a springboard press of his own and covers Skipper for the 1-2-3.

Winners: Amazing Red/Justin Credible/Slash

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 - a bit slow in spots, but still a great match.

Immediately after the match, Raven comes out and nails Red with the Evenflow (I refuse to call it the Raven Effect). He says the brutality will continue until he gets another match with Jarrett.

Next up, Goldielocks goes crazy in a store while trying to return a cellphone that doesn\'t work. Well, the store must be inside the Asylum, since there was a camera there. This was a total waste of time. Goldielocks, by the way, has a good look and is a decent speaker, but her acting is awful.

Back inside the Asylum, Goldielocks interviews Mike Sanders, who claims to have beaten the Undertaker, Sid and Andre the Giant. He says he\'ll have no problem beating Brian Lee, the \"Underfaker\" tonight in the Hard 10 match. What was Vince thinking when he let Sanders go?

Next, we get an explanation of the Hard 10 format. One point is awarded every time a wrestler uses a weapon. The weapons are distributed to fans. Five points are awarded if a wrestler puts another through a table. If the first wrestler goes through the table, the second wrestler gets five points. It\'s later noted that you must win by at least two points.

Match #3 - \"Hard Ten\" tournament match - Brian \"Killdozer\" Lee vs. Mike Sanders

I\'ll quickly run through the point-scoring on this one:

Lee hits Sanders with a trashcan lid to go up 1-0.

Lee hits Sanders with a 2x4. 2-0.

Lee hits Sanders with a trashcan lid. 3-0.

A \"fan\" refuses to give up a weapon to Sanders.

Lee hits Sanders with a trashcan lid. 4-0.

Sanders headscissors Lee into a trashcan lid wedged between the turnbuckles in a cool spot. 4-1.

Sanders his Lee with a trashcan lid. 4-2.

Sanders gets two quick hits with trashcan lids. 4-4.

At this point, the fans start to chant \"S-O-L\".

Sanders hits Lee with a trashcan off the apron. 5-4 Sanders.

Lee hits Sanders with a trashcan lid. We\'re tied at five apiece.

Lee his Sanders with a trashcan lid. 6-5 Lee.

Lee hits Sanders with a cookie sheet. 7-5.

Lee hits Sanders with a trashcan lid. 8-5.

Lee sets Sanders up on a table in the ring, heads to the top, but misses an elboe and goes through the table himself. Sanders wins 10-5.

Winner: Mike Sanders

Rating: 4 out of 10 - The match wasn\'t much to speak of, but was fast-paced and mildly entertaining. Hopefully more weapons will be brought in next time.

In the boiler room, Siake confronts Raven.

Backstage, New Jack plays Candyland with Shark Boy. This wasn\'t quite RVD and Kane talking about \"Hungry, Hungry Hippos\". Interesting note - New Jack was using a Sandman ECW figure to move around the board.

Backstage, Goldielocks interviews Ron Killings. The Harris\' attack Killings backstage. Don is supposed to be his tag partner in the AA tourney tonight.

New Jack and Sharkboy drag Killings out to the ring to set up...

Match #4 - Asylum Alliance Tournament match - Ron Killings/Don Harris vs. Shark Boy/New Jack

Winners: Kllings/Harris

Rating - 1/10 - This match was god-awful, and was 100% filler.

Sandman confronts Raven in the back, talking about their past. Raven gets some funny stuff in, talking about how he\'s never screwed Sandman over. Sandman lays Raven out with a beer can and walks away.

Backstage, Goldielocks interviews Kid Kash and Trinity. Kash looks a bit out of shape compared to his ECW days. Kash is awful on the mike. After they leave, a wrestler comes in and tells Goldielocks that \"THE\" Eric is coming. Really? Erik Estrada is coming to TNA???

Match #5 - Asylum Alliance Tournament match - David Young/Tracy vs. Kid Kash/Trinity

Believe the hype. Trinity is awesome in the ring. She did the most incredible high-flying, fast-paced moves this side of Lita.

Young and Kash start in the ring with the Chris Jericho tribute, exchanging armbars. They then work into a sequence of armlocks before the match slows down a bit.

Trinity wants in, but Kash won\'t tag.

Tracy eventually tags in, at which point Kash actually tags out to Trinity. Trinity nails a sweet huricanrana during her time in the ring.

Eventually, Kash comes back in and prepares to hit the Money Maker on Tracy, when the mystery Luchador appears on the TNA-tron. Looks like we\'ll findout who he is next week.

In the confusion, Tracy hits Kash with a chair, then David Young hits a wicked spinebuster and gets the duke.

Winners: David Young and Tracy

Rating: 5/10 - a solid match, but I was disappointed by Kash. He\'s definitely slowed down a bit since the days at the ECW Arena.

Backstage, Goldie interviews AJ Style and D-Lo Brown. Brown mentions his former employers and how they\'d never give him mic time.

Back in the ring, Raven hits Jeremy Borash with the Evenflow.

Match #6 - Asylum Alliance Tournament qualifying match - AJ Styles/D-Lo Brown vs. James Storm/Chris Harris (America\'s Most Wanted)

Match starts with a hot reversal sequence with Styles and Storm.

Back and forth action until AMW takes over.

Storm and Harris get some solid work in, looking very smooth as a tag team.

Quick tags and double-team moves a plenty from AMW.

Eventually, Styles gets the hot tag to D-Lo. D-Lo looks inspired as he hits his signature sports (let lariat, posing leg drop).

The rest of the match is back and forth action until S.E.X. interferes. Storm ends up getting the pin on D-Lo.

Winners: America\'s Most Wanted

Rating: 8/10 - Storm and Harris looked absolutely amazing. Styles was as good as I remembered him from WCW and D-Lo was a lot better than I remember him being in the WWF.

Gilbreti video, where he talks about how TNA needs more sports entertainment and less wrestling. He says the group should distance itself from the NWA.

Tenay and West then preview next week\'s action, with more tournament matches and Kid Kash against the luchador.

Match #7 - Clockwork Orange House of Fun match - Sandman vs. Sonny Siaki (Guest referee: Raven).

You learn something new ever day - Sonny Siaki is from Samoa. Add another branch to the family tree.

Sandman takes forever to do his entrance. He goes around the arena drinking and giving out beer. At one point he spits beer into the crowd. After he turn his back a kid pops up.

The ring has two chain link frames resting on turnbuckles with various weapons hanging form above.

This match was total garbage. I think Sandman\'s entrance was almost as long as the match.

The match had back and forth action. Throughout, Raven sits in the corner and watches the two go after each other.

Siaki blades and gets a decent amount of blood.

At one point, Siaki covers Sandman after three kendo stick blows, but Raven doesn\'t move to count. Sandman then rolls up Siaki, and Raven still refuses to count.

Eventually, Sandman gets the White Russian Legsweep, and Raven goes over to count. He gets to two before deciding to Evenflow both Sandman and Siaki.

Winner: draw

Rating: 2/10. This was a huge letdown. Sandman looked awful in the ring, and Siaki deserves better than this. The only entertaining part was Raven\'s refusal to do anything but sit and watch the two beat each other up.

Winner: Draw

After the match, the ring fills with Extreme Revolution and S.E.X. members as Raven causally leaves the building. Outside, Amazing Red ambushes Raven, bringing him back inside. Dinero and Alexis attack Red, but he gets rid of them. Red then sets up Raven on the outside on a table and hits a Swanton Bomb. The table, however, doesn\'t break. The crowd chants \"one more time,\" and Red obliges, this time putting Raven through to end the night.

Overall: This show was pretty good with some wicked X-division matches. The opener and the AMW vs. D-Lo/AJ were the best on the card. There was some terrible stuff, but it was kept to a minimum. Given that several stars such as Low Ki, Jerry Lynn and Konnan did not make appearances and Jarrett was only on for a short time, I have to give TNA credit for putting together a solid line-up.

I hope you all enjoyed this review. Drop me a line and let me know what you thought of the show. Until next time, this is Jon Waldman signing off.

Oh and one last thing. To the Abreu household - regarding the forklift blocking your front door - I have no idea how it got there.

Jon Waldman is a long-time writer with SLAM! Wrestling, who hopes that NWA-TNA will bring \"Special Delivery\" Jones back to the ring next week.