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   Wed, August 13, 2003



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COMMENT





TNA: Low Ki's return steals the show
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling


This week's show will go down in history when people talk about one of the best matches they have ever seen in TNA. Low Ki and AJ Styles managed to produce yet another match of the year candidate! Welcome back Low Ki! How did the WWE not find a place for this guy? Amazing.

This week's show also featured the debut of another Toronto-born wrestler, a solid ladder match, a couple of very entertaining six-man tags, the return of another NWA legend from the '80s and the announcement of a very innovative gimmick match.

Devon Storm, Vampire Warrior and Sinn VS. The 3 Live Krew

Storm and Warrior (formerly Gangrel) are making their return to TNA while Toronto native Sinn is making his TNA debut. This also marks the in-ring debut of 3 Live Krew as team in the ring. If you haven't been paying attention the 3LK is made up of K-Dizzle (Konnan), B-Gizzle (BG James) and The Suntan Superman (Ron "The Truth" Killings).

Storm and Sinn came to the ring with Warrior in the middle bringing back old memories of the Brood as VW was carrying that shiny goblet once again. The match went back and forth with the heels dominating BG and Konnan. When Killings was tagged in he took over and regained the advantage for his team. BG and Konnan each grabbed one of VW's legs as Killings jumped from the top across the ring and landed a leg drop in the ol' groin. The Harris Brothers were watching from the stands. They aren't big 3LK fans. The win came after about 4-5 minutes as Sinn took a pump handle slam from James. Welcome to TNA Sinn.
Winners: 3LK

The Director Of Authority, Eric Watts (who apparently has busted ribs from the beating a week ago) came to the ring and talked about the schmozz (copyright Bret Hart) that took place at the end of last week's main event. Vince Russo and NWA World Champion AJ Styles came to the ring. Styles with his title, Russo with his baseball bat.

Russo says that they have the title and they have all the Stroke around TNA. They say they have defeated all contenders, so they are going on vacation. Watts informs them that Styles can either forfeit the title or face Low-Ki for the title. The delivery by Watts was terrible and Russo/Styles stone-faced the announcement of Ki like it was no big deal.

Low Ki is making his return and they dropped his name so matter-of-factly that the fans didn't even get a chance to pop.

In the ring, Styles dared Watts to physically take the NWA title away from him. That's when Low-Ki came in and attacked Styles. The save was made by another Toronto native, Joe Legend. Watts helped Ki, but was attacked by Russo. Jeff Jarrett slid through and helped clear the ring.

Scott Hudson interviewing Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and Glen Gilberti. I've heard it said that everyone in the business has a Dusty Rhodes impression - well, Diamond showed his off this week - and it's a pretty damn good one!! He made it clear that they would not lie down for Rhodes. Gilberti said they are not the typical bad guys who will stand there and let Dusty line them up for the Bionic Elbow. They aren't as stupid as Tully, Arn and Ole. Great interview.

Elix Skipper VS. Jerry Lynn

Skipper was making his way to the ring when Lynn attacked him from behind. These two are both fantastic. Lynn brought Skipper into the ring and beat him down while screaming "YOU COST ME A PAY DAY", referring to last week's episode when Lynn was barred from the arena.

Skipper was whipped to the ropes, but sprung to the top rope (no hands) and came back in with a huge moonsault. Skipper then had Lynn straddling the top rope in the middle of the ring when he went for his tight-rope walk into a hurricanrana. Skipper has called this move "New School". Lynn had the move scouted and ducked the hurricanrana, sending Skipper crashing to the mat. Lynn managed to wrap Prime Time up and pick up another shocking win. The third straight. Lynn then snapped, attacking Skipper with his scale and a series of brutal submissions.
Winner: Jerry Lynn

Don Callis was in the entrance way taking notes and shaking his head disapprovingly. Lynn screamed "What are you gonna do? Suspend me again?" Lynn left the building through the back door.

Backstage Scott Hudson is talking to Chris Sabin, who is wearing the X-Division title. It was announced that Commissioner Eric Watts made the decision to return the title to Sabin after a controversial ending last week.

Frankie Kazarian (who beat Sabin in controversial fashion last week) and Michael Shane (who won the number one contenders match last week) must now face each other in a ladder match to name a new number one contender.

Frankie Kazarian VS. Michael Shane

Kazarian has been in four ladder matches while Shane has never had one. Shane's big cousin Shawn Michaels of course has had many.

When Kazarian when down the ramp to get the ladder, Shane lept over the top rope with a suicide dive through the ladder and onto "The Future". Frankie set the ladder up in the corner, and after a standing switch backdropped Heartbreak Junior into the ladder. He then went to the top rope in the middle of the ring with a springboad leg drop where he actually leap-frogged the ladder and came down on Shane! Wow.

Both men were on the ladder and Shane took FK down with a spinning neck breaker. Both men at the top of the ladder again when Kazarian came over the top and down with a Sunset-Flip powerbomb to the mat! Shane is OUT. Kazarian climbs the ladder for the win, but Sabin came runing out and knocked the ladder over sending Frankie over the top rope to the floor!

Shane then seemed set to win the match, but when he was on the ladder, Sabin came off the top with a springboard dropkick to take Shane down. Sabin then went up the ladder and grabbed the number one contenders contract.
Winner: No Contest!

Sabin beat the hell out of both men while Don Callis (TNA's Management Consultant) ran out swiped the contract and the X-Division title. Sabin didn't even notice. He totally snapped and just destroyed both would-be contenders.

Another Mad Mikey segment! Mikey is on the toilet reading the Enquirer. "Mikey is mad at Ben Afleck for cheating on J-Lo". Mikey's mad because he ran out of toilet paper! At that point the video froze and it appeared TNA was having technical difficulties. A camera in the parking lot showed Mikey choking out the guys in the truck because he didn't want the video shown! "I'm not mad - I'm not mad" he muttered to himself while throwing a tantrum. Nice! Crash Holly is dead. Long live Mad Mikey.

Kid Kash then came to the ring to face another NWA legend, as he has done the last few weeks. This week's opponent is one half of The Midnight Express, "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton!

Kash grabs the mic and says when he went to catering before the show, Dusty Rhodes ate all the brownies. He says that Dusty will have to be taught a lesson for that. Just like the one he taught "The Walking Mullet" Ricky Morton and Larry Zbyszko. Bobby Eaton is next.

Kid Kash VS. Bobby Eaton

Eaton was looking for approval from the crowd (and not getting it) when the K.I.D. jumped him from behind.

Eaton, on his back, gets his neck pulled back under the bottom rope then took a basement dropkick right in the face. Kash took his man to the outside and sent him shoulder first into the ring post. In the ring, Kash followed up with the Iron Claw. Eaton threw shots to the midsection and finally got to his feet. Bodydrop by Eaton. Big left arm lariat by Eaton. Two Count. Swinging neckbreaker by Eaton. Two Count. Eaton caught Kash in mid-air on a leapfrog and brought him down with a backbreaker. Abyss then made his way out. Eaton went over to confront him but took a low blow from Kash and a quick roll up.
Winner: Kid Kash

Backstage, Watts was laid out by Legend with stiff shots and chairs.

We then had a video package recapping the history between Shane Douglas and Raven. Raven was then shown live talking to Scott Hudson. He wants to destroy Douglas and find out who James Mitchell's mystery man is that has busted Raven up the last two weeks.

"The Franchise" Shane Douglas VS. Raven

Douglas attacked Raven to start the match. Whip into the guard rail and then a drop toe hold onto the steel steps. Douglas is dominating as he jaws with the fans and slaps a reverse chin lock on Raven. A NEW RAVEN RECORD! After a mere minute and twenty seconds, Raven is wearing the crimson mask!

Douglas continued to lay Raven out and eventually tossed him into the ring. After a couple of chops, Raven fought back but took a boot in the mouth to once again lose the advantage. Bionic elbow by Douglas as he went to the outside to get a chair.

Raven fought back as Douglas celebrated. He managed to wedge a chair between the top and second rope and tried to throw Douglas in. Douglas reversed and sent Raven into the chair and to the floor! Awesome! Douglas continued to fill Raven with right hands. This has been about 8 minutes of squash!

The crowd is going INSANE chanting for Raven as Douglas locked in a figure four leglock. Raven is screaming in pain as Douglas held onto the bottom rope for the very important "added leverage". Raven managed to roll over and reverse the pain forcing Douglas to smack the mat in pain. No, it wasn't a tap out. Raven then exploded with a series of 5 or 6 clotheslines. He went for another but Douglas seemed to fall before Raven touched him bringing the house down in boos.

Raven went for the Evenflow DDT, when Father Mitchell stood in the entrance way with a mic and someone in a bodybag. Mitchell said that Raven could either hit the DDT or save Alexis Laree who has about fifteen seconds of oxygen left.

Raven started to head down the ramp, but was stopped but Douglas. Raven floated over and rolled Douglas up for a quick pin. He then ran down the ramp to open the body bag. That mysterious white sleeve and glove popped out of the bag and grabbed Raven as the lights went out. When they came back on Mitchell and Douglas stood over Raven laughing. They had scissors and looked like they were going to cut Raven's hair, but security restrained them.
Winner: Raven

A Sonny Siaki promo aired where "The Ace In The Hole" said he would bury D'Lo Brown's career once and for all next week.

Backstage, Don Callis says that since Eric Watts is tied up (re: bleeding and screaming) he has been granted power by TNA to deal with the X-Division problem. Next week there will be an "Ultimate X" match. Four fifteen foot high steel posts will be set up (like a pole match) with steel cable running across the ring in the shape of an X. The X-Title will be hung from the middle of the X. The winner will be the man who brings the title down. No ladder will be used. Wrestlers will have to negotiate the cable. Oh boy - this sounds nuts! Callis says this will solve the problem between Sabin, Kazarian and Shane and will pop a huge buy-rate! He might be right!

A video was shown recapping the history between NWA Tag Team Champions America's Most Wanted and the triple threat of Swinger, Diamond and Gilberti.

America's Most Wanted and Dusty Rhodes VS. Johnny Swinger, Simon Diamond and Glen Gilberti

Gilberti told the announce crew that he hadn't wrestled in six weeks and he was going to start things off and put on a show. Gilberti was hesitant to start with Rhodes so Diamond and Swinger went after the champs. AMW took the advantage and tossed all three to the outside. They took turns throwing each other to the outside with cross body blocks. Funny spot: Dusty ran off the ropes as if HE was going to dive over the top. He stopped halfway and the crowd popped huge.

First time I've EVER seen Gilberti wrestle in tights that didn't have bell-bottoms. I guess the Disco Inferno is finally gone. Gilberti was beated down by AMW as Rhodes was tagged in. Rhodes pulled up the Bionic Elbow but GG fell back to his corner and tagged Diamond in. Dusty with an arm bar and then dragged Diamond to his corner. James Storm was tagged in. Storm was hit from behind by GG and then grounded in the wrong corner.

Tenay asks "Have we seen more competitive tag team matches from anyone other than Swinger / Diamond and AMW?" I think Triple X may have something to say about that. So would the World's Greatest Tag Team. Anyway.

Simon Series of suplexes on Storm before Swinger was tagged in. Storm with a kick to the head tagged Rhodes but the ref was distracted and didn't see the tag. Storm then reversed a double team and finally made the hot tag to "The Dream". Two Bionic Elbows to the top of GG's head. Rhodes then cracked Gilberti with the cowbell on his bullrope to get the win. Chris Harris barely worked at all.
Winners: Rhodes and AMW

As the bell sounded, Christopher Daniels ran in and clobbered Rhodes! AMW was being held out of the picture by the three men they just wrestled. The save was made by Jeff Jarrett who was then attacked by Legend. The heel squad dominated until Eric Watts came out to help Jarrett. Huge chair shot by Jarrett on Daniels. The ring was cleared.

Watts took the mic and said next week AMW will face Diamond and Swinger in a double bull rope match for the tag team titles. He also said that Daniels and Legend will tag against himself and Jarrett.

Don West did his hardsell for next week. We have about 30 minutes remaining in the show and I'm hoping they give most of this to Styles and Low Ki.

A video package of Jeff Jarrett is shown. I'm not sure why.

Low Ki being interviewed by Scott Hudson. Low Ki says that everyone across the world will remember this match forever. Don't forget, Ki does have a title win over Styles.

NWA World Title Match
AJ Styles VS. Low Ki

Tenay started by saying how last week Low Ki accomplished a life long goal by tagging with his hero the Great Muta in Japan. Now he is going to try and accomplish another of his goals by taking the World Title.

I apologize in advance, knowing I will not be able to properly recap this match. I don't think anyone can do these two justice with mere written words.

Low Ki's left shoulder is heavily taped. Interesting because I had heard that the injury was part of a gimmick in Japan. If it is, this is some serious, cross-promotion selling.

The match started with a slow grinding pace. Stiff collar and elbow tie up forcing both men into the corner, Low Ki climbing the ropes looking for an advantage. From his back, Ki hit a spinning double kick to Styles' face. He followed up with a key lock and a front face lock. This looked like a Pride fight. Very realistic.

Low Ki reversed a whip into the ropes and hit a STIFF short elbow in Styles' mouth. Styles came back with a 360 dropkcik and a single arm spinning neckbreaker. Low Ki was thrown to the ropes again but caught himself in an exploding 619! Eat your heart out Mysterio!

Dragon Clutch in the corner as Ki was outside the ring! Dropkick to the knees of Styles and then Deathblow kicks to the head and chest of Styles. Styles tried to get up but took the upside down bicycle kick. Fish out of water series with several teased Styles Clashes. Styles kip up into a flying headscissors! Low Ki thrown to the outside. Styles with a HUGE Asai moonsault where he cut Ki's head and pulled him down with a DDT, all in one fluid motion! WOW!

This is awesome.

Low Ki reversed a vertical suplex into the Dragon Clutch. Styles powered his opponent onto the top rope and guillotined him on the top rope. Reverse chin lock by Styles while sitting on Ki's back. Russo poked at Low Ki with his baseball bat. Styles went for a pin, but Ki managed to kick Styles in the head while being pinned!

Low Ki sprung off the ropes with a spinning back kick to Styles' head. Flying forearm into the corner by Ki. Double underhook-overhead-no release-bridging suplex by Low Ki! HOLY CRAP! Low Ki had Styles up for Ki Krusher and was going to run him into the opposite turnbuckles, but Styles reversed out.

Ki went for the Tidal Crush (double handspring spinning back elbow) but Styles moved. Styles opend up with fists and kicks, but Ki came up with IRON OCTOPUS! Yes! Somehow Styles got out with a wicked German suplex. Several near falls.

Styles leapfrog moonsault caught Low Ki around the head but took another bicycle kick in the face!

Styles rolled to the outside while Low Ki signaled for the Ki Krusher. Ki went after Styles but Russo tried to make the save. Low Ki attacked Russo and then laid him out on the announce table. Ki went to the top rope and was going to fly on Russo. Referee Rudy Charles got in the way. When Ki came down, Styles took Russo's bat and nailed Ki in the face. He covered immediately and we get a pinfall.
Winner and STILL Champion: AJ Styles

Another screwjob ending, but I'll forgive it since it was an UNBELIEVABLE match! Match of the year candidate folks. My recap doesn't do it justice. If you missed the show, ORDER THE ENCORE! You'll thank me later.

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! Wrestling and receive a 20% discount!