Winner: Michael Shane Backstage, Director of Authority Eric Watts is telling Scott Hudson that there will be no funny business in the AJ Styles versus D'Lo Brown match this week. Vince Russo will be handcuffed to EW. Sonny Siaki, Joe Legend and Trinity will all be barred from ringside. If any of them show up, Styles will forfeit the title. Hrmmm - I smell a Watts heel turn. Shane Douglas in the ring yapping about how he has pinned Raven two weeks in a row. Douglas says Raven is not the last person to be Franchised - just the latest. Douglas called out Raven saying that still have a personal score to settle. Raven came out from behind and had a large black body bag with him. Raven tossed the bag in the ring and the two former ECW Champions battled back and forth. Raven hit Douglas with the Evenflow DDT and wanted to stuff Douglas in the sack. Father James Mitchell then came up on the Asylum-Tron. He and the New Church where all holding weapons (Brian Lee has a burning 2X4) and had the Gathering taped to a chair, being held hostage. Mitchell said Raven could finish off Douglas or save his friends - IF he could find them! Mitchell said to follow the smell of burning flesh. Larry Zybysco is in the house and wants to be the next 85 year-old man to battle that "young" whipper-snapper Kid Kash. Kid Kash VS. Larry Zybysco Kash walked to the ring without his 6'6" bodyguard Abyss. I'm sure he'll make an appearance to create the finish. The old timer is really over with the crowd. "Larry! Larry!" I find it amazing though: Low Ki, Amazing Red, Jerry Lynn, Legend, Jason Cross and Matt Sydal and countless other true talents aren't on this show but Zybysco is. This match was soooooooooo slooooooow. Painful slow. Zybysco countered one of Kash's few moves in the match, the Iron Claw with a Testicle Claw. Ya, that Larry is a real man's man. Zybysco had the advantage when Abyss came running in to try and end this piece of crap. Larry ducked and Kash took a splash in the corner. The ref tended to the former X-Division champ, while Zybysco felt Abyss's spinning sidewalk slam. Kash recovered and made the pin to end the worst match of his life. Winner: Kid Kash Raven is backstage slamming chairs against walls in frustration. He can't find his Gathering buddies. He says he's coming for Mitchell. Mitchell was back in the ring though with Lee, Slash and their two hog-tied hostages. Raven destroyed Lee and Slash (Clothesline / Bulldog combo) and then went after Mitchell but Douglas interfered. The four of them took Raven down and beat him to a melancholy pulp. Julio Dinero broke free of the rope he was tied with but was quickly thrown over the top to the outside. The New Church then put Raven in his own bodybag. Mad Mikey Time. His alarm went off in the morning and he smashed it with a hammer. He played basketball against a 7 footer who held the ball above his head. Mikey kicked him in the gut, beat him down, then jumped off his back and dunked! There were about 10 more little clips like this showing how funny little Crash Holly deals with his anger management issues. This character is going to be way, way over when he makes his in-ring re-debut. Diamond, Swinger and Gilberti were backstage with the tag belts they stole and they're talking trash. AMW jumped them and put the hurt on. The brawl started in the parking lot but went all the way back into the ring. As Diamond and Swinger were being taken to woodshed, Gilberti interfered and layed the champs out with belt shots. It was then a 3 on 2 stomp fest. A video package came up next recapping the "Future feud" between Frankie Kazarian and X-Division champion Chris Sabin. X-Division Title Match: Frankie "The Future" Kazarian VS. "The Future" Chris Sabin The massively popular heel champion Sabin had to defend his title against Kazarian again following Frankie's win in an elimination match a couple weeks ago. Watching these two go at it is fine with me. Every match they've had has been a classic. There must have been about 5 or 6 "OHHH" moments in this match. It is impossible to fairly recap it. Please order the replay if you missed the show. This match was really good...even if it was a little short. If you haven't seen Sabin yet, you MUST! This 21 year-old prodigy is one of the top workers on the planet. Bridging Electric Chair from the TOP ROPE by Kazarian!! Kazarian on the top rope - Sabin jumped to the top and in on motion took the challenger over with a vertical suplex. WOW. Ref bump. Sabin with a belt shot. Ref recovers and we have a pinfall. As Sabin was celebrating, the senior official ran down and reported the belt shot and demanded the match be restarted. Uh Oh - this looks bad for Sabin. 10 seconds later, Kazarian pulled the champ down with The Wave Of The Future on the belt. He got the win. Senior Official Rudy Charles didn't like that either so he took the belt and said he was going to talk to Eric Watts about the decision. Winner: Ummm no. 3 Live Crew Segment of the week. K-Dizzle and the Suntanned Superman are in a trailer park this week. They are asking locals if they've seen B-Gizzle. A creepy looking redneck who was rubbing himself points them towards a murky creek. BG James was there washing out a carburetor that he uses as a bong. The three of them were hanging around outside a trailer. James played harmonica, Konnan wore a blonde wig and Killings ran after the goofy redneck. Dumb segment without a punchline. Next week these three are making their return to the ring. Watching them is about to become even more painful. Chris Daniels came out through the crowd with a mic. He had to cut a promo about Jarrett and give the ring crew time to set up the steel cage. Daniels talked about killing tradition and the crowd chanted "Testify! Testify!" He says he is here to "save" the people from tradition and wants them to embrace change and undergo a metamorphosis. Daniels asked random fans if they were ready to change and told them they weren't: "too dumb, too ugly" etc. He asked a skinny indy-wrestler lookin' dude who threw his drink at the Chosen One. Security broke up the fight as Daniels beat the kid down. Jarrett then ran out and challenged Daniels to a scrap tonight. TNA redshirt security (Northcut and Wilson) came out to silence Jarrett. Black shirt security came to hold Jarrett off and protect him from the redshirts. Daniels then ran into the ring and layed out the former NWA champion. Red shirt security held Jarrett in place allowing Daniels to do his damage. The steel cage is STILL being set up. Cue the AJ-D'Lo video package. We are told that next week we will have a ruling on the X-Division title. Raven will face Douglas next week in a one on one match that has been built up forever. Bet the farm on Raven. America's Most Wanted came out to challenge Diamond, Swinger and Gilberti to a six man tag match. Their partner was on "the phone", piped in through the Asylum's speaker system. It's Dusty Rhodes. Ugggh. Dusty babbled about how AMW are his youngins' (wouldn't that be Dustin?) He rambled about helping them out next week. Cage is still being set up. Time to go to a pre-taped interview: Mike Tenay talking to Styles and Russo. Styles talked about how great Russo is - blah blah blah, and then Tenay did his "pissed off broadcaster" gimmick. He said that he and Styles had a friendship but Russo has brainwashed him. Styles started to respond, but Russo told him he could leave. Styles got up and walked away. Russo got right into Tenay's face screaming for him to keep his nose out of his business and to pay AJ the proper respect. I'm sorry, but for all the good Tenay does - I can't STAND HIM when he tries to come off like a tough guy standing up to Russo and friends. Who on Earth would be scared of Mike Tenay? We then get a pretaped D'Lo interview with Hudson. Can't anyone invent a "Cage-O-Matic" and just add water or something? We're going on thirty minutes of set up time. At 9:41 PM we FINALLY had the introductions for the match. Eric Watts came out first with a long steel chain that had cuffs on either end. Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Title: AJ Styles VS. D'Lo Brown This match has been dubbed, "The Final Showdown". Regardless of what some know-nothings have said - the Brown/Styles feud has been awesome! Every match has been four or five star. Styles missed a sit out dropkick and just glanced Brown's back. Brown started into the cage but adjusted and put the breaks on. Styles on his back did a kip up into a hurricanrana position. Brown attempted a Styles Clash that was reversed. Brown threw Styles into the cage, but AJ jumped and landed on the cage wall Spiderman style. He spun back into the ring with a flying back elbow. D'Lo regained the advantage and threw the champ into the cage face first. He followed up grated AJ's face against the wire. Styles was busted open. AJ reversed another whip in and hit a succession of running basement dropkicks into D'Lo's head, forcing his head to bounce off the cage. D'Lo was busted open. Brown caught AJ in a variation of the short powerbomb. Overhead release suplex by D'Lo. Styles went for the Clash, but Brown powered him up and threw him down for a modified spine buster. Frpg splash. 2 count. D'Lo went for a powerbomb but it was reversed into a Styles Clash. Only a two count! Running sit out powerbomb by D'Lo. Another powerbomb by Brown. Styles sold beautifully and appeared to be knocked out cold. D'Lo went to the top of the cage for the frog splash! He was set, but Vince Russo ran interference by throwing powder into Watts' eyes. Watts responded by picking up the smaller man and ramming him into the cage. That impact forced Brown to fall from the top back into the middle of the ring. Styles regained composure and draped an arm over him. 1-2-3. Styles retained his title. Winner: AJ Styles In the ring, AJ, Russo, Trinity and Legend celebrate. Russo was babbling as the show went off the air. Yes, the world title match should be the final match of the evening, but when they have the stipulation of a cage match - they have got to try and come up with a better system. They could have led off with this match, or maybe do something really bizarre like show some matches taped earlier (from the Xplosion tapings) instead of endless interviews and vignettes. Overall, a much better effort than last week, but the Kid Kash angle and the announcement of Rhodes making his return are just killin' me.

Donnie Abreu has been a wrestling journalist for eight years and is the co-founder of IceCold Media (http://www.icecoldmedia.com). Visit IceCold Media for all your custom media design needs. Mention that you read Donnie's column on SLAM! and receive a 20% discount!

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   Thu, August 7, 2003



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TNA: Rage in the cage, clubberin' is a comin'
By DONNIE ABREU - SLAM! Wrestling


D'Lo is ready to pounce on AJ Styles.

X-Division #1 Contender's Match: Michael Shane VS. Shark Boy VS. Danny Doring VS. Joey Matthews

Shane is back for his second appearance. Matthews was on the first ever TNA show, but has not been back since. Doring (better known as an ECW tag wrestler) is making his TNA debut. Shark Boy just rules. This is an elimination match. Doring looks HUGE. Way more muscular than he was back in 2000. He's also sporting a hair cut like John Cena had in OVW. Doring seemed quite a bit slower. He sold a shot in the corner by Matthews about 3 seconds late. His bumps were sloppy. Not a strong debut for the former "Danaconda". Shark Boy (who has recently been partnered with Norman Smiley) was doing the Big Wiggle throughout the match. Matthews was screaming his name at the crowd; in case they didn't know who the hell he was. On the outside, Doring dove onto Matthews, and the two of them took a 450 splash over the top from Shane. Sharky then came from the top onto Shane. Shark hit the Dead Sea Drop on Matthews but was nailed with a huge kick by Doring right after. Doring then nailed a leg drop on Shark and was ready for the pin. Elix Skipper than ran in and gave Doring the flapjack powerbomb, gave Matthews the spinning Rock Bottom and just ruined SB. He took the mic and said he was here for Jerry Lynn, but since Lynn wasn't here he'd beat on these chumps. Shane recovered and pulled a quick pinfall on Matthews and then superkicked Doring for another pin. Only Sharky and Shane left. Shane went for Sweet Chin Music, but SB has watched lots of old HBK tapes and he knew what the repeated stomps on mat meant. He ducked the kick but eventually got caught in a version of a fisherman's DDT.

Michael Shane is your number one contender. Decent match that was building nicely and then ruined by very abrupt finishes.

Winner: Michael Shane

Backstage, Director of Authority Eric Watts is telling Scott Hudson that there will be no funny business in the AJ Styles versus D'Lo Brown match this week. Vince Russo will be handcuffed to EW. Sonny Siaki, Joe Legend and Trinity will all be barred from ringside. If any of them show up, Styles will forfeit the title. Hrmmm - I smell a Watts heel turn.

Shane Douglas in the ring yapping about how he has pinned Raven two weeks in a row. Douglas says Raven is not the last person to be Franchised - just the latest. Douglas called out Raven saying that still have a personal score to settle.

Raven came out from behind and had a large black body bag with him. Raven tossed the bag in the ring and the two former ECW Champions battled back and forth. Raven hit Douglas with the Evenflow DDT and wanted to stuff Douglas in the sack.

Father James Mitchell then came up on the Asylum-Tron. He and the New Church where all holding weapons (Brian Lee has a burning 2X4) and had the Gathering taped to a chair, being held hostage. Mitchell said Raven could finish off Douglas or save his friends - IF he could find them! Mitchell said to follow the smell of burning flesh.

Larry Zybysco is in the house and wants to be the next 85 year-old man to battle that "young" whipper-snapper Kid Kash.

Kid Kash VS. Larry Zybysco

Kash walked to the ring without his 6'6" bodyguard Abyss. I'm sure he'll make an appearance to create the finish.

The old timer is really over with the crowd. "Larry! Larry!" I find it amazing though: Low Ki, Amazing Red, Jerry Lynn, Legend, Jason Cross and Matt Sydal and countless other true talents aren't on this show but Zybysco is. This match was soooooooooo slooooooow. Painful slow. Zybysco countered one of Kash's few moves in the match, the Iron Claw with a Testicle Claw. Ya, that Larry is a real man's man. Zybysco had the advantage when Abyss came running in to try and end this piece of crap. Larry ducked and Kash took a splash in the corner. The ref tended to the former X-Division champ, while Zybysco felt Abyss's spinning sidewalk slam. Kash recovered and made the pin to end the worst match of his life.

Winner: Kid Kash

Raven is backstage slamming chairs against walls in frustration. He can't find his Gathering buddies. He says he's coming for Mitchell. Mitchell was back in the ring though with Lee, Slash and their two hog-tied hostages.

Raven destroyed Lee and Slash (Clothesline / Bulldog combo) and then went after Mitchell but Douglas interfered. The four of them took Raven down and beat him to a melancholy pulp. Julio Dinero broke free of the rope he was tied with but was quickly thrown over the top to the outside.

The New Church then put Raven in his own bodybag.

Mad Mikey Time. His alarm went off in the morning and he smashed it with a hammer. He played basketball against a 7 footer who held the ball above his head. Mikey kicked him in the gut, beat him down, then jumped off his back and dunked! There were about 10 more little clips like this showing how funny little Crash Holly deals with his anger management issues. This character is going to be way, way over when he makes his in-ring re-debut.

Diamond, Swinger and Gilberti were backstage with the tag belts they stole and they're talking trash. AMW jumped them and put the hurt on. The brawl started in the parking lot but went all the way back into the ring. As Diamond and Swinger were being taken to woodshed, Gilberti interfered and layed the champs out with belt shots. It was then a 3 on 2 stomp fest.

A video package came up next recapping the "Future feud" between Frankie Kazarian and X-Division champion Chris Sabin.

X-Division Title Match: Frankie "The Future" Kazarian VS. "The Future" Chris Sabin

The massively popular heel champion Sabin had to defend his title against Kazarian again following Frankie's win in an elimination match a couple weeks ago. Watching these two go at it is fine with me. Every match they've had has been a classic. There must have been about 5 or 6 "OHHH" moments in this match. It is impossible to fairly recap it. Please order the replay if you missed the show. This match was really good...even if it was a little short. If you haven't seen Sabin yet, you MUST! This 21 year-old prodigy is one of the top workers on the planet. Bridging Electric Chair from the TOP ROPE by Kazarian!! Kazarian on the top rope - Sabin jumped to the top and in on motion took the challenger over with a vertical suplex. WOW. Ref bump. Sabin with a belt shot. Ref recovers and we have a pinfall. As Sabin was celebrating, the senior official ran down and reported the belt shot and demanded the match be restarted. Uh Oh - this looks bad for Sabin. 10 seconds later, Kazarian pulled the champ down with The Wave Of The Future on the belt. He got the win. Senior Official Rudy Charles didn't like that either so he took the belt and said he was going to talk to Eric Watts about the decision.

Winner: Ummm no.

3 Live Crew Segment of the week. K-Dizzle and the Suntanned Superman are in a trailer park this week. They are asking locals if they've seen B-Gizzle. A creepy looking redneck who was rubbing himself points them towards a murky creek. BG James was there washing out a carburetor that he uses as a bong.

The three of them were hanging around outside a trailer. James played harmonica, Konnan wore a blonde wig and Killings ran after the goofy redneck. Dumb segment without a punchline. Next week these three are making their return to the ring. Watching them is about to become even more painful.

Chris Daniels came out through the crowd with a mic. He had to cut a promo about Jarrett and give the ring crew time to set up the steel cage. Daniels talked about killing tradition and the crowd chanted "Testify! Testify!"

He says he is here to "save" the people from tradition and wants them to embrace change and undergo a metamorphosis. Daniels asked random fans if they were ready to change and told them they weren't: "too dumb, too ugly" etc. He asked a skinny indy-wrestler lookin' dude who threw his drink at the Chosen One. Security broke up the fight as Daniels beat the kid down. Jarrett then ran out and challenged Daniels to a scrap tonight. TNA redshirt security (Northcut and Wilson) came out to silence Jarrett. Black shirt security came to hold Jarrett off and protect him from the redshirts. Daniels then ran into the ring and layed out the former NWA champion. Red shirt security held Jarrett in place allowing Daniels to do his damage.

The steel cage is STILL being set up. Cue the AJ-D'Lo video package.

We are told that next week we will have a ruling on the X-Division title. Raven will face Douglas next week in a one on one match that has been built up forever. Bet the farm on Raven.

America's Most Wanted came out to challenge Diamond, Swinger and Gilberti to a six man tag match. Their partner was on "the phone", piped in through the Asylum's speaker system. It's Dusty Rhodes. Ugggh.

Dusty babbled about how AMW are his youngins' (wouldn't that be Dustin?) He rambled about helping them out next week. Cage is still being set up. Time to go to a pre-taped interview: Mike Tenay talking to Styles and Russo.

Styles talked about how great Russo is - blah blah blah, and then Tenay did his "pissed off broadcaster" gimmick. He said that he and Styles had a friendship but Russo has brainwashed him. Styles started to respond, but Russo told him he could leave. Styles got up and walked away. Russo got right into Tenay's face screaming for him to keep his nose out of his business and to pay AJ the proper respect. I'm sorry, but for all the good Tenay does - I can't STAND HIM when he tries to come off like a tough guy standing up to Russo and friends. Who on Earth would be scared of Mike Tenay?

We then get a pretaped D'Lo interview with Hudson. Can't anyone invent a "Cage-O-Matic" and just add water or something? We're going on thirty minutes of set up time.

At 9:41 PM we FINALLY had the introductions for the match. Eric Watts came out first with a long steel chain that had cuffs on either end.

Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Title: AJ Styles VS. D'Lo Brown

This match has been dubbed, "The Final Showdown". Regardless of what some know-nothings have said - the Brown/Styles feud has been awesome! Every match has been four or five star. Styles missed a sit out dropkick and just glanced Brown's back. Brown started into the cage but adjusted and put the breaks on. Styles on his back did a kip up into a hurricanrana position. Brown attempted a Styles Clash that was reversed. Brown threw Styles into the cage, but AJ jumped and landed on the cage wall Spiderman style. He spun back into the ring with a flying back elbow. D'Lo regained the advantage and threw the champ into the cage face first. He followed up grated AJ's face against the wire. Styles was busted open. AJ reversed another whip in and hit a succession of running basement dropkicks into D'Lo's head, forcing his head to bounce off the cage. D'Lo was busted open. Brown caught AJ in a variation of the short powerbomb. Overhead release suplex by D'Lo. Styles went for the Clash, but Brown powered him up and threw him down for a modified spine buster. Frpg splash. 2 count. D'Lo went for a powerbomb but it was reversed into a Styles Clash. Only a two count! Running sit out powerbomb by D'Lo. Another powerbomb by Brown. Styles sold beautifully and appeared to be knocked out cold. D'Lo went to the top of the cage for the frog splash! He was set, but Vince Russo ran interference by throwing powder into Watts' eyes. Watts responded by picking up the smaller man and ramming him into the cage. That impact forced Brown to fall from the top back into the middle of the ring. Styles regained composure and draped an arm over him. 1-2-3.

Styles retained his title.

Winner: AJ Styles

In the ring, AJ, Russo, Trinity and Legend celebrate. Russo was babbling as the show went off the air.

Yes, the world title match should be the final match of the evening, but when they have the stipulation of a cage match - they have got to try and come up with a better system. They could have led off with this match, or maybe do something really bizarre like show some matches taped earlier (from the Xplosion tapings) instead of endless interviews and vignettes.

Overall, a much better effort than last week, but the Kid Kash angle and the announcement of Rhodes making his return are just killin' me.

Donnie Abreu has been a wrestling journalist for eight years and is the co-founder of IceCold Media (http://www.icecoldmedia.com). Visit IceCold Media for all your custom media design needs. Mention that you read Donnie's column on SLAM! and receive a 20% discount!