TNA: Sting talks, D-Lo gets his shot
NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
Don\'t worry TNA fans. Donnie\'s not gone, just having a little satellite trouble. Just consider me your humble pinch-hitter for this week. Truth be told, I\'m a little nervous about the increased note-taking speed I‚m going to need tonight - I\'m used to the pacing of matches on Raw. This week we\'ll get more in the developing feud between \"The Franchise\" Shane Douglas and Raven, the first title defense for America\'s Most Wanted and much, much more. Let\'s get to the Asylum.
The show opens with a recap of last week\'s program, highlights of which include the incredible tag team title cage match, D-Lo Brown and A.J. Styles in a cage and plenty of fun with Douglas, Raven, Glen Gilberti and Jeff Jarrett. Oh yeah, and Raven caught a fireball to the face courtesy of Father James Mitchell. Fittingly, Douglas comes to the ring to assure everyone that Raven will return next week after a trip to the hospital burn unit. The Franchise is a little miffed that Raven is trying to resurrect a belt that he threw in the trash back in 1994, so he\'s motivated to return Raven to the ICU upon his return. Turning to tonight, Douglas notes that the ring is set up for a Clockwork Orange match, but since Raven is unable to answer the call, he expects the ref to simply ring the bell and raise his hand. Not so fast, my friend.
Match 1 - \"The Franchise\" Shane Douglas vs. C.M. Punk - Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match
Don\'t know about you, but nothing involving Clockwork Orange is my idea of fun. Punk opens with a sweet Northern Lights suplex onto a chair, then hits a suicide dive to the floor. Douglas rallies on the outside, and the weaponry flies back and forth. A double underhook neckbreaker almost has Douglas down, but he responds with a reverse mule kick and goes for some brass knuckles. A chair shot slows him temporarily before he uses the knux and puts Punk away with a belly-to-belly suplex. Father Mitchell comes to the ring and is greeted by Punk spitting in his face. That earns him the fireball treatment, and Douglas and the evil minister retreat before The Gathering can rush to the rescue.
Announcers Mike Tenay and Don West run down the rest of the card. I\'m sorry, but I keep expecting to hear \"Ken Griffey Jr. rookies!\" bellowed at the top of his lungs every time West opens his mouth. I\'ll get over it.
The lights suddenly go out and come back on as Jarrett makes his way down the ramp. He has a mic, but so does Vince Russo, who makes himself at home on the stage with a lawn chair and a Pepsi. Vinnie Ru mocks Jarrett for being stressed out and laughs at the notion that he expects a rematch with Styles, which Russo makes clear is not going to happen. JJ fires back that the name of the show is TNA and fires up the ramp to clothesline his antagonist. Joe Legend makes his debut by battling Jarrett into the crowd as Tenay pumps up his WWE pedigree. Jarrett hits a suplex on the concrete floor but almost ends up in the announcers‚ laps seconds later. The melee spills back into the ring where Jarrett gets the edge with a Figure Four. Styles fires out of the back to make the save, and both Legend and Styles batter JJ with a trash can lid. A Styles Clash leaves Jarrett dazed, and the heels quickly break out the duct tape to tie him to the ropes. Never one to forego an opportunity, Russo enters he ring with his trusty baseball bat. Russo and Legend connect with the lumber as the message is driven home: there ain\'t going to be no rematch. That\'s Russo\'s English, not mine. As medical attention is summoned for Jarrett, we head into last week\'s cage match. I can‚t really do it justice, so if you missed it, go back and read Donnie\'s report. The link is down there at the bottom of the page.
Match 2 - Sonny Siaki and David Young vs. America\'s Most Wanted - Tag Team Title Match
Besides the belts, Siaki and Young are fighting to impress Russo for a possible reformation of Sports Entertainment Xtreme. AMW showcases textbook teamwork while dominating the early going. James Storm finally gets worn down, but he makes a tag to Chris Harris, who gets a near fall with the Catatonic. Several close calls follow after a Young spinebuster and Storm\'s Eight Second Ride. Finally, Young catches a superkick from Storm and receives the Death Sentence legdrop. Yep, that wraps it up.
A highlight package showcases \"Prime Time\" Elix Skipper, who my brother Nate has been giving props to since his WCW days. Eh, I could walk on the ropes like that... okay, maybe not.
Kid Kash wants to know if his mysterious friend lurking in the shadows got the care package he sent. You know, like mom used to send you at summer camp. Dubbing his mystery buddy The Abyss, Kash gets ambushed by Erik Watts. Naturally, that leads us to...
Match 3 - The Abyss vs. Erik Watts
Once things settle down in the ring, Abyss hits a backbreaker variation out of a fireman\'s carry. Watts fires back and gets the big masked man up for a powerslam and a chokeslam. The ever-popular ref bump gives Kash a chance to interfere, though it doesn\'t do much good when both he and Abyss get power bombed. Still, Kash\'s presence on the outside gives The Abyss (good movie, by the way) a chance to connect with his spinning sidewalk slam and steal a win from Watts.
It\'s time for a little journey behind the paint with Sting. Tenay gets Steve Borden to open up about the early stages of his career, where he grew up with little notion of a career in wrestling, though he had heard of Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. But with money running low, Borden left his managerial duties at a gym and (along with the future Ultimate Warrior) started sending out press kits. Jerry Jarrett was the only person to give him a call, which means his arrival in TNA has in many ways brought him full circle. Next week: more from Sting, including his thoughts on the Warrior.
Tenay and West update Jarrett\'s condition, and it\'s not good. The next recap features the animosity between Justin Credible and Jerry Lynn. Donnie didn\'t care for last week\'s showdown, but the ante is upped this week. That means...
Match 4 - Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn - Russian Chain Match
I wasn\'t sure about the rules of this match, but apparently the guys are going to be connected by a chain attached to collars around their necks. Justin doesn\'t even get a chance to put his collar on, as Lynn assaults him immediately and does the honors for him. Credible gets yanked into the ringpost twice and blood starts to flow. JL also ends up on the receiving end of some creative moves, including a flapjack with some extra velocity thanks to the chain. A big tornado DDT has Credible groggy, but he responds with a superkick in the corner. Lynn floats over to escape a move and slides under his opponent\'s legs, pulling the chain up into Justin\'s groin from behind. Then he hogties Credible\'s legs and gets the pinfall. Revenge comes quickly as Credible hits a Tombstone (what, he doesn\'t call it That\'s Incredible any more?) on the chain after the bell, making it look like this feud will continue. Cage dancer Lollipop heads down to check on Lynn.
Backstage, Frankie Kazarian tries to convince Bill Behrens to give him an X-Division Title shot. Styles happens on the scene and does him one better, offering him a world title shot since Jarrett is out of commission. Frankie is stunned and frankly, so am I.
Match 5 - Mike Sanders vs. Shark Boy
Sanders is also trying to impress Russo, in this case by bringing him the mask of Shark Boy. To that end, he goes after the mask early but to no avail. Tenay plays up the fact that the ref has to treat it like pulling hair and thus enforce a five count. Back and forth action features a Sanders facebuster into a neckbreaker and Sharkie\'s jawbreaker followed by a neckbreaker. And yes, there\'s some biting involved on Shark Boy\'s part. A top rope cross body by Sharkie earns Sanders a near fall when he rolls through, then Shark Boy reverses a Sanders move into a small package and gets the pin. Ron and Don Harris join the party, but Shark Boy is able to escape all three men and scamper up the ramp. Frustrated, the Harris Brothers turn to Sanders and drop him with an H-Bomb.
Welcome to the \"Asylum of Style\" with your hosts, B.G. James, The Truth and Konnan. Notable personalities mocked in this segment include Jeremy Borash, Russo and even James himself. Truth and Konnan finally bug out, which is what I should have done. I need a drink.
Tracy and Veronica are in the ring to continue their crusade against the ruling that they can\'t wrestle men. They issue what appears to be an open challenge, but it\'s accepted not by TNA wrestlers but by cage dancers Lollipop and April. The blackshirts run down to break things up, though the fans voice their displeasure with loud \"let them fight\" chants. We go to a video segment to promote the Hard 10 tournament final between New Jack and Sandman. I can sum it up like this: they\'re both violent, they have history with each other but they both want to win. And not surprisingly, neither is going to be paying much attention to the Hard 10 scoring system.
Match 6 - New Jack vs. Sandman ˆ Hard 10 Tournament Final
New Jack starts the party off by using a fork (I think) and his trademark staple gun. Then we get down to the scoring: Sandman (1, trash can lid); New Jack (1, chair shot); New Jack (2, trash can); Sandman (2, Singapore cane); Sandman (3, cane); New Jack (3, trash can lid); New Jack (4, chair shot); Sandman (4, cane); Sandman (5, cane); New Jack (5, crate). It‚s anyone‚s ballgame as they head into the crowd, then up to the balcony. More scoring: Sandman (6, chair shot); Sandman (7, chair shot); New Jack (6, chair shot); New Jack (7, chair shot). We\'re going right down to the wire. New Jack tries for a chair shot, but Sandman back body drops him over the edge of the balcony and through a conveniently placed table on the floor. That makes the final score 12-7 in favor of your winner and beer-guzzling hero, Sandman.
A quick teaser airs for next week\'s arrival of Negro Casas and Shocker, all the way from Mexico. They will be competing in some sort of opening round match that will eventually determine the number one contender for the X Title. Someone alert John Molinaro! West gets to do his usual rant promoting next week\'s show, which will see Raven return, AMW defend their belts again and more from Mr. Borden. Something tells me there will be more than that.
Main Event - Frankie \"The Future\" Kazarian vs. A.J. Styles - NWA World Title Match
I have to say I love how TNA does the \"Tale of the Tape\" and introduces the main event combatants like a boxing match. My note-taking speed is definitely going to be put to the test here. Mat wrestling starts things off, with Styles acting cocky and Kazarian finally getting some momentum with a dropkick and a springboard guillotine legdrop. Styles takes a powder and heads to the outside. The Future uses a headscissors to pull A.J. back in, but the champ uses the ref as bait and hits a pair of neckbreakers and a kneedrop. A really cool spot sees Styles use his legs to guillotine Kazarian on the top rope. A hanging brainbuster gets two for Styles, who gets another with a dropkick. He calls for the Styles Clash but Frankie back body drops his way out. Styles unleashes a series of kicks and slows the pace with a chinlock. Both men are down after a double flying body press, allowing Chris Sabin to run down and hit Kazarian with a mean backbreaker. Styles presses his advantage with a superkick and goes up top, but Kazarian kicks him down. Sabin has thoughts of the Flux Capacitor but is stopped by the arrival of Trinity. Kazarian catches Styles coming off the top with a dropkick, then Trintiy\'s hurracanrana goes awry and catches the champ instead of The Future. The Wave of the Future connects but can only keep Styles down for two. Kazarian knocks Sabin to the floor and dives over the top rope to take him out along with Trinity. Styles catches his foe coming back in and power bombs him. That sets up a Styles Clash that sees Kazarian land on the back of his neck. Needless to say, that\'s all she wrote.
But that\'s not all she wrote for the show. Kazarian gets a post-match beating and Russo returns with his bat. Kazarian takes a shot to the ribs before D-Lo Brown arrives to make the save. Styles gets the Sky High and Russo looks to be in trouble until the redshirts save his bacon. Heh, heh. He‚s got his own security like back in the WCW days of R&B Security. Only about two other people will know what I‚m talking about. Anyway, D-Lo wants a title shot next week, which Russo grants. One problem: Vince says he\'ll be in Styles‚ corner. Brown says he\'ll have an equalizer in his corner. You heard it here first folks: Edward Woodward will be in D-Lo\'s corner next week! And on that note, I\'m out. Welcome Donnie back next week, thank goodness.
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998, but might take a short leave of absence to cure the writer\'s cramp he got watching TNA this week.